Tag Archives: sacrifice

Deuteronomy 18-20; Go Home

I came across some verses here today which remind me of something Jesus said. Moses is talking about warfare as the Jews prepared to take the Promised Land. “Don’t be afraid,” he tells them, “even if the enemy seems unbeatable, because the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, will be with you and will fight for you.” (from 20:1-4)

But then Moses instructs the army officers to weed out certain soldiers:

If you’ve recently built a house, go home.

If you’ve just planted a vineyard, go home.

If you are engaged to be married, go home.

If you are afraid, go home.

It makes me think of when Jesus, in Luke 9, tells a couple of guys the same thing:

You want to go bury your dad? Go home.

You want to go say goodbye to your family? Go home. Neither one of you is of any use in my kingdom.

An effective Jesus follower cannot have divided loyalties. Period.

Toward the end of his life, my dad spoke more freely about his experiences as a Marine fighting in the Pacific during WWII. He talked about fear, about duty, about focus and determination, senses heightened, everything forgotten but the task at hand.

He told me about a Marine in his division, who gave in to fear. He said the young man, at a critical point in the battle, stood up and tried to run away. He was immediately shot and killed by the enemy. I must have said something like, “How sad,” or “I feel bad for that guy.”

Dad quickly replied that there was nothing sad about it, that that Marine had jeopardized every other Marine in the area by revealing their position. He had no sympathy for that young man.

So what does this have to do with living the Christian life in 2017? I am reminded that being an effective follower of Jesus is not for sissies. It’s hard. It’s not popular. It takes intention and determination. It takes focus, and courage. It means loving Jesus more than your spouse, or your children. It means obeying Jesus even if it costs us a career, or a friendship. It means sharing the Gospel with that loved one, that neighbor, that coworker, even if that person will think you are an idiot.

It means living a life that doesn’t look like the world. This is war. And if you aren’t in this 100%, just go home. You might as well go golfing on Sunday morning, quit identifying with your church fellowship, stop quoting Scripture if your life doesn’t reflect the Truth.

Because you are putting the rest of us at risk. You are giving Christianity a bad name, you are undermining what God would like to do in the lives of the people you are in contact with. There are people who are totally committed to Jesus, who are obeying Him, loving Him, sacrificing for Him. And if you aren’t one of them, you are a liability.

The soldiers Moses was talking about were still soldiers, the men Jesus spoke to might have really loved Him. But they were told to go home anyway, because they were of no use in the battle at hand.

And neither are you if you aren’t in this all the way. The Bible doesn’t encourage us to kinda follow the Lord. It doesn’t tell us to turn over most of our life to Him. Scripture is pretty clear that it’s all, or nothing.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. (Matt 22:37)

I challenge you to find a verse that says differently.

I know this sounds harsh, but I think it needs to be said. We’ve come way too far away from this truth. And Christianity is suffering for it. There is nothing politically correct about being a Jesus follower. Jesus was hated and crucified because He refused to be politically correct.

I think it’s time we quit trying to look like the world, trying not to offend sinners, or by making sinners feel comfortable in the presence of a Holy God. It’s time we quit wimping out when it comes to standing for Biblical truth. The Church was never intended to be a country club.

It was intended to be an army of dedicated soldiers, giving it all for the purpose of sharing the Gospel. Here’s the good news: Moses reminded the people that God Himself, the God who rescued them from slavery, was fighting with them and for them. We aren’t in this alone. And that makes me believe I can commit myself 100% and He will give me the victory.

Otherwise, I might as well just go home.

Father, I pray for Your children today. Some of us might need to take a step back, to go home for a bit and be strengthened, and encouraged to join the battle. Some of us are ready to get in there and follow Your lead today. May each of us check our commitment level, and may we all make the determination to follow You 100%. You demand no less. You deserve no less. I pray Your Church will be strong, effective, and powerful as we submit ourselves to You, in Jesus’ Name, and for His sake.

March 7 – Don’t Let Up

Numbers 28-30

It sounds, from what I read today, that during the seventh month there was a continual sacrifice burning for ten days. It says the smell of grilling meat and baking bread was a soothing aroma to God. I like it, too.

Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

Giving my heart to the Lord was something that happened once. I asked Jesus to forgive me, and He did. But what I read today concerns a daily choice, a constant decision to offer myself, my body, my mind, my dreams, my desires, to God as a soothing aroma, a spiritual act of worship.

Paul says he dies daily. (I Cor 15:31) And that is what speaks to me from this Old Testament account of continual sacrifices.

I want my life to be a constant source of joy for my Heavenly Father. I want all my choices to soothe Him. And I never want to let the fire of my devotion die out. I want to be like that continual sacrifice burning on the altar. May I never let up.

November 8

Mark 15:22-41; Matthew 27:33-56; Luke 23:33-49; John 19:17b-37

Jesus died. He willingly, lovingly, painfully died on the cross that day. So many prophesies were fulfilled during those precious hours. Nothing that happened was a surprise or contrary to what God had planned before creation. The Lamb of God paid for the sins of the world once and for all.

From the sixth hour to the ninth, the sun stopped shining. Did all of creation mourn as Jesus took upon himself one sin, then another, and another? Then something amazing happened (as if Jesus giving his life wasn’t amazing enough). The curtain in the temple ripped in two, exposing the Holy of Holies. The curtain that had kept the common people separate from the presence of God was destroyed. Jesus’ death granted us entrance into the throne room of God Almighty. And we can stand before our Holy God clothed in Jesus’ holiness. No more need of a priest. No more ceremony required. When Jesus died God became accessible to anyone who calls on the name of the Lord.

As I read these scriptures today I can’t help but say with the centurion, “Surely this man was the Son of God.”

Dear Jesus, Savior, Lamb of God. I have no doubt that you are who you said you are. You are the Son of God and you died for me that day. May all who read these Scriptures today realize what it cost you. And may that knowledge change us. Thank you for the privilege of going boldly to your throne room where once I was forbidden. Thank you that because you died, there is no more need of a curtain to keep me out. I am your child. I am forgiven and my sins are covered by your precious blood. Clothe me with your righteousness and may I be one who serves you well from a heart of thankfulness and love.

September 9

Zechariah 1:1-6:15

“Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he as roused himself from his holy dwelling”. (2:10-12)

How thrilling was that? God revealed to the people that he himself was coming to live with them right here on planet earth. He would walk on the roads in Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. It won’t be exclusively a Jewish thing, he says. Many nations will become his people. And the world will know the Lord Almighty is in it!

This is a beautiful picture of Jesus, isn’t it?

In chapter 3 God draws another picture, this one of his redemptive work. He clothed Joshua with a clean garment and forgave Joshua’s sins. Sound familiar?

It is the Branch we know as Jesus who promises to build the temple and be clothed with majesty. Jesus, ruling on his throne, doing the work of a priest from that throne.

What a privilege it is to know this One who is our king and our high priest, sitting with the Father and working on our behalf. What an awesome truth that we need not be born of Jewish parents to be included in the family of God through the blood of Jesus. We are the apple of his eye, loved, forgiven, protected, cherished. 

It must have been thrilling for the Old Testament Jews to hear about Jesus’ coming. It’s even more thrilling to live it after the cross!

I pray you know him, that you are included with us who are his people. I pray that you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior, realizing your sin and asking him to forgive you. I pray that you worship the King of Kings and allow him to clothe you with his righteousness. That’s why he came. That’s why you were born in the first place.

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to our world, for walking where we walk and experiencing life like we do. Thank you for understanding our temptations and our sorrows. And thank you for dying so we can live. I pray for everyone reading this blog today. May we bow before you as King, allow you to intercede for us and be our sacrifice. And may we serve you out of grateful hearts, loving you because you first loved us.