Posts tagged sacrifice
Posts tagged sacrifice
“I was proud, too proud to ask again. I did not understand you. I shut my eyes, and would not understand you, or do you justice. This is a recollection which ought to make me forgive every one sooner than myself. Six years of separation and suffering might have been spared. It is a sort of pain,…
The original poster said it all.
The Pharisees will not like this post, not today of all Days. But God has never been a fan of tradition at the expense of His will (Amos 5:21-26). Today, God’s will is for me to serve my very tiny flock with this. On the surface, this post has nothing to do with Good Friday. Then again, it has everything to do with it.
“O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39 KJV)
Even Jesus feared something, something that caused Him to beg in those final hours for His Father and ours to alter a course of events that had been set in motion “from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8)
Instead, His Father and ours abandoned Jesus on the cross for six agonizing hours. So that He would never have to abandon us.
And yet we fear.
Remember what I said last time about wanting something so desperately for so long that we’re afraid to ask God for or about it? That’s likely the thing we fear most.
There’s more than a little bit of confusion, hurt, resentment, and even PTSD mixed up with the fear. This thing, whatever it is for us, is something that others acquire with ease — and there is always someone close to us who does it with ease.
It blesses them beyond measure, even though they may be petty, dishonest, and hateful in other venues. In fact, our PTSD kicks in when the area of our most crushing defeat blesses someone else with sweet victory. Again. And sometimes in the wake of another of our spectacular failures. “What just happened here?” we ask ourselves.
I get so very tired of asking myself, “What just happened here?” after I’ve worked and worked to make it come out right, don’t you? Even if you’re not generally obsessed with crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s, you’re zealous about it here. The old demons won’t win this time, you promise yourself, and that’s the biggest failure of all.
You lapse into behaviors you thought you’d outgrown. You fight tooth and nail to overcome. Once again you are covered with shame. You want to win, once and for all, so you say, “Never again.” It becomes your motto, your crusade, your life.
You walk the road to Damascus, breathing murder over your fondest hopes. “Never again,” when Jesus appears and says — commands, really — “Again!”
You tell Him no. In His glory you tell Him no. He didn’t die so that you could, at long last, have life more abundantly on the stage of your greatest defeat.
You crucify Him all over again. Still, in His shame, He comes to you. “Again,” He rasps, and it is no less a command coming through parched and blood-caked lips.
If you want to conquer your fears of public performance, even of this charade — and that is how you think of it — don’t imagine the audience in their underwear. Instead, imagine them failing in the one area where you succeed so admirably.
Then what? Love them? Of course you love them, and that’s often the way you distract yourself from obeying the first and greatest commandment to love God over and above all others, above your fears and your failures.
You worship, you praise, you give thanks, you pray daily, you post Christian memes in the face of constant anon hate. If that’s not loving God, what is?
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (Jesus, in John 14:15 NKJV)
It has been God’s intention for you to succeed all along, but in this thing, as long as you keep trying to succeed by your own power, you will fail, even if you refuse to try again. Especially if you refuse to try again.
Your testimony will not be that you’re a success, but that you are a failure and He’s a success. Your purpose is not to get your critics, your haters, your patronizers, and your Job’s comforters to admire you. It’s to inspire them to follow Him, to walk in His steps, to do what He did. To come and die.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24-25 NKJV)
It turns out that what you call life, this steadfast refusal to claim the treasure that everyone else finds so easily and holds so loosely, is no life at all. It turns out that the greatest thing in life is yours only if you die.
Is it worth dying to your fears, your shame, your failures, your critics, and your self-criticism? Is it worth being used by the Most High God to show a thing or two to those who love you most ardently, those who hate you most blindingly?
Skip the service tonight if you have to. The Pharisees will be there next week, next month, next year. Turn your back on Damascus and set your face toward Jerusalem.
The Stone Which the Builders Rejected
"This is the gate of the Lord, Through which the righteous shall enter. I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes." (Psalm 118:20-23 NKJV)
"Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12 NKJV)
“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-17 NKJV)
freckles and fudge on We Heart It. http://m.weheartit.com/entry/3921048
The Good Sheperd
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:11, 14-16 NKJV)
Google Bilder-resultat for http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_NErXRSlEyjg/S_5D_6bplbI/AAAAAAAAE5c/WipqWIMqn6I/s1600/mp2.jpg on We Heart It. http://m.weheartit.com/entry/31901849
John 3:16, unpacked.
New typographic poster for John 15:13