This stuff hurts

Sacrifice.

What is a sacrifice? Here’s the Webster’s definition:

1:  an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially :  the killing of a victim on an altar
2:  something offered in sacrifice
3a :  destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else
  b :  something given up or lost <the sacrifices made by parents>
4:  loss <goods sold at a sacrifice>
Anyone who knows Jesus knows the word “sacrifice”. We hear it all the time. We read of it often. It’s a part of our repertoire. But while using this word, do we really know the significance it carries?
Take a look at the third definition above. Did you read it again? Destruction or surrender of something (someone) for the sake of something (someone) else. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice who died for our sins. Right? His human body was destroyed for our sake, for our freedom. He was beaten, mocked, spit upon, flogged, ridiculed, belittled, and killed for our sake.
When I say “our” (above), I mean every human being who will ever walk the face of the earth, and that means you. The Bible says, in 2 Corinthians 5:15 “ He died for all”. Jesus was sent as a perfect sacrifice for the ENTIRE WORLD for all of history. He died so that we MIGHT be saved: John 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” He died for me. He died for you. He died for the ones who hate Him. He died for the ones who beat Him. He died so that I MIGHT be saved by His grace. It was worth it to Him.
That’s a sacrifice. A life. A holy God coming down into filth and wickedness, became the sin of the world throughout all of history, and then He died, so that I MIGHT come to know His saving grace. That’s a sacrifice.
How will I ever repay God for the sacrifice of His Son? I can offer Him all kinds of things to try and even the score. I can wake up real early and read the bible. I can pray for 5 hours a day. I can serve at every church service in every way imaginable. I can offer to help every single person that asks for help. I can cook and deliver meals to every one of my sick friends every time they’re sick. I can go to bible study every night of the week. I can give away all of my stuff. I can eat really healthy and workout all the time. I can treat my husband like a king. I can never raise my voice to my children. I can memorize the Torah.
None of those things are a sacrifice. A sacrifice hurts. A sacrifice requires blood. A sacrifice is a life. His life ended so that I could have eternal life with Him. The only way I can repay Jesus is to give Him my life. The rest of that verse from above (2 Cor 5:15) is “and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” Want some more?
Galatians 2:20, 21 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
1 Corinthians 15:31 “I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
Romans 7:4 “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”
Colossians 3:3 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Jesus is a radical God of radical change. Radical change happens when I allow that God to enter my life. I can’t let Him in when I’m do do doing. He changes me when I surrender the sacrifice of my life to Him. His life for my life. That’s how it works. When I lay Crystal down, that’s a sacrifice. I lay down my wants, my needs, my desires, my dreams, and I give it all to the Creator of the universe. I give Him my life because He gave me His, freely.
Do you need a touch from the Lover of your soul? He longs to speak into your life and fill the holes in your heart. He satisfies, He fulfills, He completes. Only Jesus gives us what we all long for. He accepts us as we are. He loves us where we are. He sees us as His prized possessions and He only wants good for us. He wouldn’t have died for junk. He died to save the ones He loves, His people. That was a sacrifice. He wants a sacrifice from each and every one of us, and sacrifice hurts. Does what you’re offering God hurt you to let it go? If it does, the blessing is huge! Surrender your heart, and watch Him work. Jump in.

Come thou fount…

While singing a familiar song in church this weekend, God chose to speak to me personally regarding a specific lyric I’ve belted out hundreds of times before. Many Christians, and non-Christians alike, are familiar with the popular song “Come Thou Fount”. The opening verse is this:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never-ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy unchanging love.

The words above strike a chord in my heart like nothing else can. I hear the familiar drum beat (our church performs the King’s Kaleidoscope version) and my heart skips a beat. Singing to the Savior of my soul, the Healer of my wounds, the Redeemer of my life, is one of my most beloved things to do. And this particular tune is a personal favorite. But this Saturday night during worship, God struck me when I sang the fifth line: Teach me some melodious sonnet. When walking with Jesus, He is constantly teaching us a song to sing to Him, is He not? What’s my song about right now?

The first four lines are speaking about God’s blessing, His grace, His mercy, and praising Him for all that. The fifth line, the singer (me) is asking God to teach her a song. She’s saying “Continue to teach me of Your blessings, grace, and mercy.” In other words, never stop blessing me, having grace for me, and showing me Your mercy. All of those treats make up the song in my heart for my God. And His word tells me that those things will never stop, which means I should never stop singing of them!

It all ends with God’s “unchanging love”. Isn’t that what it’s all about? He loves us so much that He blesses us. He loves us so much that He has never-ending grace for us. He loves us so much that His mercy will never run dry for those who love Him. And if all of that is true, how can I ever stop singing the song He’s written on my heart?

Each of our songs will be personal, based on the specific blessings, grace, and mercy God has for us. He is so very personal that we’d be silly to believe He’d give us all the same song. Some songs will be joyful and loud, others will be slower and somber, but all will profess His blessings, grace, and mercy.

Do you know what “melodious sonnet” God’s written on your heart? If not, try to remember who you were before He invited you to walk with Him. That’s always a good starting place for me. His love for us is never-ending and unchanging, so should our praise to Him be.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, and all of this sounds like gibberish to you, it’s quite possible I just didn’t articulate my heart very clearly. But it could also be likely that you’re reading this and haven’t yet “tasted and seen that the Lord is good”. If this is the case, and you want to know Jesus in the way I write about knowing Him, please comment or contact me privately. I would love to help you get the know the Man who’s stolen my heart, because He wants to steal your heart too.

Here’s that video of the song above, in case you need a little filling up:

Much love and blessings,
Crystal

Are you in love?

love

I’m in love. News to you? Shouldn’t be. See, I’m in love with God. And because I’m in love with God, everyone everywhere who knows me should be aware of that. It’s kind of mandatory that I shout from the rooftops my love for Him. One should never question whether a Christian is a Christian. The love we have for our Jesus should ooze from our pores. It should flow into every conversation we have. It should consume our every waking thought. That love we have for Him should overtake our lives in such a way that no one could ever question our allegiance.

Does all this sound a little crazy? Perhaps a bit radical? It is! The love I have for my Savior is crazy and radical. Wanna know why? Because His love for me is crazy and radical. His love for me is immense. His love for me is huge and more real than any other love EVER. I can only love Him because of how He loves me. That’s it. So if I didn’t understand, or try to understand, His love for me, then none of the first paragraph would be true in my life. I could say I was a Christian and I could still walk around this world with hate in my heart. I could say I was a Christian and some people would never know it unless they heard me say it. What sets me apart from the rest of the world? The love of God. It’s not anything I’ve done or anything I will ever do. It’s the simply, complex love of God.

My Jesus became my sin, He became the sin of the world, and then suffered a horribly painful death. My sin, your sin, the sin of the world, died with Jesus. It’s gone. My slavery to sin has been demolished. It is NO MORE. My debt, to my perfect and Holy God, a death sentence, has been PAID IN FULL. The death that I deserve to die for sinning against a Holy, Perfect God, has been accomplished. Because Jesus died for me, I don’t have to die. And because Jesus died for me, my God sees me as Holy and Righteous. Because Jesus died for me, I am covered in the blood of His sacrifice forever, never again to be trapped in the bondage of sin. IT IS FINISHED.

I have died with my sin, and it’s gone forever. But my Jesus rose again! I have been born again, with the Holy Spirit as my guide, to live this life to the fullest. My Father not only demolished my sin but He gave me everlasting, eternal life, through His son Jesus. My life is devoted to Him, the One who paid my debt. I will live everyday for Jesus, never being able to repay the gift He gave me, but hoping others will accept that very gift salvation. It’s the best gift I’ll ever receive.

I am in love with the Lover of my soul. He is my Creator and my Savior. He is my Rock and my Refuge. He is my Redeemer and my Healer. My God loves me with an everlasting love. My God created me perfectly and loves me dearly. I am His beloved and He is mine. This kind of love is unconditional. It is the only truly unconditional love I’ll ever know. My God’s agape love is huge. His love is larger than any circumstance this world can throw at me. His love sustains and provides.

God’s love for me is the same as His love for you! The exact same! It’s so simple, the love of God, and so unfathomable. It’s a Holy love. He loves you as if you were His child, because you are. You are an heir to the throne. You are royalty, with royal blood. You have a Heavenly Father and a Holy Spirit and a Blessed Redeemer. You can have heaven on Earth now, right now! Sweet surrender is all that’s required. Surrender to the King, admit that He knows infinitely more than you, and ask His Spirit to enter your heart. He will radically transform you with His radical love. His crazy, radical love is real, and it’s here, now. Take it.