Sacrifice

With the Summer Olympics this year in Rio, I’ve really begun thinking about a key element in our Christian beliefs…Sacrifice.

Each athlete that participated in the games had to make sacrifices…they had to give up social aspects of their lives to prepare for competition.  They had to sacrifice time with their families, time with friends…even certain foods to achieve their goals.

There were a number of training sessions that took hours of dedication and hours of commitment on the part of the athletes to finely tune their bodies, and get them fully ready to compete in their respective events.

The Christian life is a lot like the lives of those athletes.  As Christians we are to live in a way that is set apart from the rest of the world.  We train differently; we are asked to give up certain earthly pleasures to fully receive the gifts that God has for us.  We have to finely tune our bodies to become fully prepared for life’s events…some of which we cannot anticipate; but we can still use our training to overcome.

This training was also essential in the life of Christ.

Jesus came to this world to show us the example.  He came to give us a way, so that we could see what it took to become fully prepared for the attacks that we might face.  Jesus came to this earth with a mission…to seek and save that which was lost.

The Lost?  Us…we are the ones that Christ came to save.

But you also have to think about all of this in terms of what took place.  Jesus lived a life of thirty something.  He lived a life that was fully worthy of the calling on his life, and He faced daily struggles similar to the ones we face each and every day.  Jesus was just like us.

He was stalked as a child by Herod.  He served as a threat, so Herod chose to have all children under the age of two murdered…God spared Him…His time had not come.

As He grew in age, He also grew in wisdom.  He learned the ropes, and spoke the truth.  He had a successful ministry during His early thirties…Jesus went through the training.  Training that required the ultimate sacrifice…the giving up of His most prized earthly possession…His own life.

Jesus knew that to overcome his opponent, He had to give up His very life to save those who would follow.

Jesus had to make a sacrifice to win the battle…to use Olympic terms: Jesus had to die to win Gold; and just as the Gold medal remains on display for the world to see and remember…the Cross stands as a reminder of this sacrifice that was so freely made.

Our place now is in its shadow…our place is at the foot of the emblem that stands for our true freedom…our place is within reach, but it’s up to us to step into the shadows.  It is up to us to embrace the Old Rugged Cross!

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Clearing a Path

I have been thinking a lot about something….and I finally decided that I would share it here with everyone. I’ve thought about it since the winter storm a few weeks ago and then realized that it happens in many aspects of life…it is clearing a path.

I began thinking about it while watching the DOT workers scraping the roads, continued thinking about it while shoveling snow and clearing walking paths, and it quickly became something that I was thinking about while watching football with the front line blocking for a running back…and as I began to think about this idea of clearing a way for others, I realized that it happens every day in our lives.

Think about your parents, think about those folks that we study in school, think about really anyone who has come before…in my case, I sit where I am today because of the prayers and work that was put in by my dad at WECR. Dad prayed over the station, he worked tirelessly many times to help transition the station into a ministry minded, Gospel station, and now I am continuing that because he cleared the way for it to continue.

Jesus did this for each of us by going to the cross…for our sins!!

God created us, we messed up…we began to put things on our path between us and God…we began to slowly walk away from God, and along the way we started laying things down behind us as we moved “forward” toward our “gods”. Gods of this world, gods that look like money, fame, fortune…relationships…cars…phones…sports teams…and the list could go on and on!

We don’t realize these things are in the way until we turn to look for God and we have trouble seeing Him because of all the “stuff” we have placed in the way, but that is what is so beautiful about what Jesus did…He came, and as he walked that hill to Calvary he cleared a path for us to come to God. Jesus got our stuff out of our way so that we could come to God ourselves!

Today, maybe it is time to begin working your way back toward the One who gave you life. Today, just maybe it is time for you to help Jesus move the heavy stuff in your life as you lay it to the side so that you can clearly walk the path to God. Don’t let your clutter keep you from experiencing God, clear the path…because, the path you clear might just be a path that will lead someone else to the Father.

Black Ice

During the winter we always seem to hear about “black ice” forming in areas of our community. I got to thinking about what this means…

Black Ice refers to areas where water has frozen on the road in such a way that it is difficult to tell if it is water or ice, and in some cases freezing so clearly that it doesn’t even look like the road is wet. This can cause chaos for a driver who doesn’t see it, causing accidents and trouble for many in a lot of cases if proper caution is not taken.

I got to thinking about this in terms of our Christian walk, looking at how the devil can surmise schemes that on the surface seem harmless, situations that seem just like any other. This can cause us much trouble as we continue down the road seeking to do right for God in our lives.

These areas of “black ice” can be disguised in friendships, relationships, and choices that seem harmless, things that are cleverly disguised to deceive us into a sense of trust; these are moments where we begin to slip and not understand why…moments that can be destructive if we are not prepared.

Today, I urge you to keep your eyes open for these moments; always be alert and attentive to the things that are going on around you…it may be a TV show or a movie you are watching, a harmless friendship, or even a relationship that could be the source of the “black ice”, but make sure that you are prepared for any weather that may come.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understand, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6