Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Living Sacrifice

A Living Sacrifice

Over the weekend at our Annual Women's Retreat, I was blessed to be able to give a devotion. One of the beautiful things about these devotions at the retreats are the responses given by your sisters in Christ, the insight that other women give and the challenges put forth. So as you read this, realize it is just what I've learned while delving into scripture. I think you would get more with a video of the time there... but I pray that this is a blessing to you.

What is a sacrifice?

Webster's defines sacrifice as:

Simple Definition of sacrifice 
         : the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone

         : an act of killing a person or animal in a religious ceremony as an offering to please a god

         : a person or animal that is killed in a sacrifice

Full Definition of sacrifice
:  an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially :  the killing of a victim on an altar

:  something offered in sacrifice

a :  destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else
b :  something given up or lost sacrifices made by parents>

Let me tell you a story...
One day a pig and a chicken were walking down the street. 
The local grocer had a sign hanging outside his shop that said...
The chicken then looked over at the pig and said, "I'll supply the eggs... If you'll supply the bacon!"
The pig looked at the chicken with shock and said, "NO WAY!!! For you, it's just a contribution, but for me, it's total commitment!"

In the old testament, when it was the time for sacrifices, the priests would gather whatever it was that was supposed to go on the altar. 
But here's the thing... 
The priests did not just put a leg on the altar. Nor did they only use a foot, or an arm... or a head. The whole of the sacrifice was laid upon the altar. 
Every. Single. Bit.
Oftentimes, I believe, once we are saved. We are just that. We are saved. 

But the Lord begins to prick our heart about things that are still not surrendered.

We only want to be 'saved' we don't want to put our ALL on the altar. 
Maybe you haven't thought about it this way before. You know you have repented of your sins, you have realized your need of a Savior and have asked Him to be Lord of your life and you are saved. But maybe you know there are things that you are holding on to. Things that YOU want to control or continue in, and you know they are not of the Lord. Once we are aware of this, I believe it is of utmost importance to lay it down.

Sometimes we try to rationalize things with the Lord. When we KNOW that HE is God, not us.

Now, Lord! I want todo what's right by you, and I know the Bible says this is wrong, but no one knows what I'm doing.  It's only hurting me if anyone!  Let me just keep this part of myself, or that part of myself, Lord... because I like this, even though it is not good for me. I enjoy that... even though if I were truthful, I know it causes my brother to stumble and I know it's not good for me either.

Sometimes we hold back on our full surrender. 
Have you got these things that you know are not fully surrendered to The Lord? Have you become aware of a lack of total commitment? Are you all in? 

Here's something I realized while working on this devotion.

When God asked Abraham to give up Isaac as a sacrifice, I am sure it was a hard blow for Abraham. Here he was, he FINALLY had a son by his wife Sarah. Abraham finally seemed to get all his ducks in a row and was fully trusting that the Lord was on the throne of his life... 
But, He had learned through the school of hard knocks that he put himself through, that God could totally be trusted. He knew that God had proved himself faithful, time and time again... even though Abraham had tried to jump in and made a LOT of mistakes.
So his faith had grown by leaps and bounds. At this point even though I am certain his heart was SO heavy and sad, that if God did expect him to sacrifice his precious son... that God was ABLE to raise Isaac from the dead. He trusted God that much! That's pretty big faith. But I think Abraham finally got to the place that he was FULLY surrendered to the Lord. That he had realized that he had been trying to handle too much and kept getting ahead of God. 
The Lord had promised Abraham that his decedents would outnumber the stars of the sky!
I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 
Genesis 22:17

Are we willing to climb up on that altar? 
Are we willing to sacrifice ourselves, our plans, our thoughts, our expectations... in order for God to be the ultimate in our life? For His ways to be FULLY our ways and HIS thoughts to be FULLY our thoughts? Are we trusting Him enough to believe that if we lay our life down, HE will raise it up to be far greater than what we could have ever planned for ourselves? 
That's ALL in...

He wanted that out of Abraham. 
HE wants that out of us!

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Once we have fully given Him everything we have been holding on to, I believe things will be different. 
We should see it. Our family should see it. The world should see it.
We should serve more.
We should love more.
We should forgive more.
We should witness more.
We should pray more. 
We should be in The Word more.
And the list could go on, and on, and on, and on...

We are ALL in. FULLY surrendered. Dead to our old selves, but made TOTALLY alive in Christ.
What freedom! To know it is ALL in HIS hands. That we are completely surrendered to HIS ways.

The Bible says:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
     And do not lean on your own understanding. 
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
         And He will make your paths straight. 

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
         Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. 

It will be healing to your body
         And refreshment to your bones. 

Proverbs 3:5-8

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

Psalm 37:3-6

Fully surrender.... Seek Him! Find Him... Give Him your ALL!

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