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Posts Tagged ‘sacrifice’

Freed To Be Free

November 15th, 2018

Freedom is both gift and destiny.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Galatians 5:1

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Freed to Be Free.”

Freedom is precious. Across centuries, men have been willing to sacrifice their possessions, positions, and even risk their lives to secure and defend the love of freedom that the Creator placed in our eternal spirit.

America, my native country, was birthed by the courage and sacrifice of people willing to cross oceans for liberty and religious freedom. They released their history and risked their lives in a treacherous journey across oceans to the new world. Such freedom is beyond price. But true liberty always comes at a precious cost. They sought religious freedom. What I write about today is an even greater liberty, spiritual freedom in Christ.

The simplest and most beloved Bible verse is, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have ever lasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV. Familiarity with that verse must not diminish the revolutionary truth of why Jesus died for you and me, as well as all the world. For yours and my disobedience, a sinless sacrifice was required for God to forgive sin and provide lasting redemption.

Jesus alone is sinless; therefore, He alone could become the Father’s acceptable sacrifice. The Apostle Paul’s confident assertion to the Galatians Christians was “You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh, rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13 NIV. Rejoice that, “Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1 NIV. No ifs, ands, or maybes. Spectacular Truth. But that is only the “what” of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. The more significant truth is “why” Jesus died on Golgotha’s hill. What Jesus did on the Cross is wonderful. Why Jesus chose to die is even more glorious!

The purpose of Calvary is clear – redemption from your past and the promise of a grand and eternal future. “For God made Jesus, Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV. In the excitement of celebrating such a consequential truth, it is easy to overlook an even more glorious truth. In Christ, spiritual freedom is both gift and destiny.

One aspect of God’s gift redeems your past, and another assures your ongoing spiritual freedom. The liberating truth is this: “It is for freedomthat Christ has set us free.” Paul reminds and warns that freedom does not allow you to live as you please. “You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh, rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13 NIV

In Christ, you were freed to be free. Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.” John 8:36 MSG. The liberty Jesus purchased on the cross is all encompassing – yesterday, today, and in every tomorrow. But the Bible promises and warns, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be entangled again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NIV. Selling your freedom and future for the pleasure of a moment is a fool’s deal.

Today I pray for you to be a proponent of Godliness, grace, and liberty.

Christian Communications 2018

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A Sacrificial Life

May 26th, 2017

Squandering life is wasteful. Sacrificing one’s life is noble

“If you give up your life for Me, you will save it.” Luke 9:24 CEV

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“A Sacrificial Life.”

This weekend our country will observe Memorial Day, remembering and honoring the men and women, and their families, who have served our nation and the lives sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy. I live in a military city with multiple military bases and hospitals. A significant number of the families of our community are either veterans or active duty military. When I meet veterans or see the faces of young soldiers serving bravely in far-flung reaches of our troubled world, I am humbled by the courage of the men and women who pledge their lives for the safety and sake of others.

They do not regard life as expendable or to be cheaply sacrificed. In contrast, more than most, they clearly see the incalculable value of life and yet are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for others. Only the person who would willingly sacrifice their own life has truly realized how precious life really is. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 NIV.

A few months ago, I received treasured, family heirlooms from my cousin – faded news clippings and the Purple Heart my uncle received while serving with the United States Marine Corps in WW II. Like so many young men, my Uncle Ralph was wounded in battle in the Mariana Islands, and after months of recovery was then a casualty in the assault of an enemy island, and was ultimately listed as, “missing in action.” He was my Dad’s older brother. For his sacrifice, he was revered in the Randolph family and his loss impacted my Dad, grandparents, and my uncle and aunt for their lifetimes. I only knew him through his picture as a Marine, displayed in a place of honor in my grandparents’ home.

If men and women will sacrifice their lives for freedom, love of country, and the safety of their families, should we who are called by His Name and redeemed by His sacrifice not give our lives in His service and the advance of His Kingdom? Squandering life is wasteful. Sacrificing life for God and others is noble. “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1 NIV.

Jesus’ call to discipleship remains the same today, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” Luke 9:23-25 NIV. Those last words pose a haunting question for every soul. The reward of your sacrifice in His Name by far exceeds the cost. Jesus was clear and His promise certain, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29-30 NIV.

Jesus issued a monumental challenge that still resonates within hearts where He dwells. Sacrifice means living for something, and Someone, greater than yourself. In Christ’ name, we are all asked to lay down our lives in service to others. This weekend, as you recall the price others paid for your freedom, remember the price the Savior paid for your salvation.

Today, I pray for you to value your life as a gift to be given back to God and others.

Christian Communications 2017

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Godly Generations

May 12th, 2017

The Godly impact of a life touches generations and reaches eternity

 “Telling the generation to come the praises of the Lord.” Psalm 78:4 NKJV

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Godly Generations.”

Few track and field events are any more exciting than the relay race. Four athletes give their all for their assigned portion of the race, and then pass the baton to the next runner. If the baton is not handed off properly within the allowed space, or is dropped, that team is disqualified. Each runner gives their best effort until coming to where the next runner anxiously awaits. For a few brief steps, they run alongside each other until the baton is safely transferred and then a runner moves aside while the other must continue. One’s portion of the race is completed; another’s is begun.

Your life of faith is like that. We each have our assigned portion of race to run, cheered on by those before us, and responsible to those awaiting us. Read 2 Timothy 1:3-6 NIV. The Apostle Paul often used the metaphor of a runner. “If only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 NIV. Read 2 Tim 4:7-8 NIV.

And parenting is like that also. This weekend holds a special day when more phone calls are made, more flowers sold, more restaurants crowded, and more greeting cards purchased than any other day of the year – Mother’s Day. My thoughts today are shaped by family events in past months. Our family welcomed two Great Granddaughters, Caroline Renee and Riley Madison. That struggle of birth and the gift of life are fresh in my mind as I write. I marvel as I watched our granddaughters with their helplessly dependent infants. They have counted their joyful sacrifice of self in the time and care given as privilege, not sacrifice.

The Bible commands, “Telling the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done . . That the generation to come might know them. Read Psalm 78:1-7 NLT. A mother’s influence is immense, far greater than she may presume during the busy years of mothering. A mother’s life is not lived for herself, but with a vision for the lives of the children and families who will follow her. She does not count herself to have succeeded until her children and their children’s children have prospered. And a mother’s influence is not limited to her lifetime. Moms are always with you even after they are gone. And Moms will always be in the hearts of their family.

My Mom is no longer with us, but she is forever in my heart. When she lived, I wanted to be with her; now, I wish I were more like her. Before, I enjoyed her company; now, I remember her character. Before, I enjoyed our conversations; now, I value the clarity of her words and wisdom. Before I admired the faith and values she taught me; now, I treasure the convictions she held steadfastly.

For a season, God gives Moms and Dads to us to impart values, example, life experience, character, convictions, priorities, hopes, and faith. Moms know others must run further than she could, while yearning for us to do so with less pain and more pleasure than her own, and with fewer struggles and more victories. Godly generations, behind as well as ahead of you, depend on your doing so.

Unless you understand that your brief life is a timeless connection of influence with those generations both before and after you, you may fail to live your life with a similar, Godly influence that is consequential and eternal. Man or woman, young or old, be God’s love wrapped in a human heart, so the Godly impact of your life will stretch well beyond your lifetime, even beyond the lifetimes of those whose lives you touch, “That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” Psalm 78:7 NKJV. Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to prize a Godly heritage and provide the same to those who follow.

Christian Communications 2017

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Sacrifice

April 28th, 2017

Squandering life is a terrible waste,

while sacrificing one’s life is a noble gift

“I urge you, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as

living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God;

this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “sacrifice.”

Life is a precious, priceless gift. Never regard life as expendable, insignificant, or to be cheaply given. Yet Jesus issued a crucial call to discipleship. “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Luke 9:23 NIV. In 1956, Jim Elliot, a 28-year-old missionary pilot, was one of five missionaries martyred by Huaorani Indians in Ecuador. In his personal journal, he had written, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” How very true!

Jesus issued a monumental challenge that still resonates within the heart that He created, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” Luke 9:24 NIV. Jesus does not depreciate your life as unimportant or without supreme value. But what did Jesus mean when He required that you, “lose your life”? Would it mean to trade a few years here for an eternity with God? Could it mean to live for something and Someone much greater than yourself? Yes, that must be it, sacrificing something you treasure for something that you would treasure even more, as well as forever.

Jesus told the story about a merchant trading in pearls. Fine pearls were admired by him, acquired by him, and prized by him until the day he saw a pearl unlike any other, more magnificent than any he ever hoped to own. In all his life and journeys, nothing could compare.  “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46 NIV. Its price to some would have seemed extreme, but not to him. Everything he possessed and valued was an inconsequential sacrifice for the priceless thing he would receive in exchange. Jesus Himself and His Eternal Kingdom are that “Pearl of great price.”

Jesus was unapologetic when He said, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29-30 NIV. Squandering your life is a terrible waste, while sacrificing your life for God is a noble gift. Heed Jesus’ warning, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” Luke 9:24-25 NIV. The Great Exchange is when you joyfully surrender what was formerly most precious to you to receive what you never imagined could be yours.

Today, I pray for you to surrender your life as a worthy gift given back to God.

Christian Communications 2017

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The Will of God

March 23rd, 2016

“That you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12 NKJV.

Lack of obedience impairs your ability to hear from God.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “the will of God.”

God’s will is not secondary to anything, but primary to everything. “[God] works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.” Ephesians 1:11 NIV. Through obedience, God includes you in the accomplishment of His will in His world, as well as His will in your life. In his letter, Paul clarified the supreme priority of God’s will, “We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Read Colossians 1:9-13 NIV.

The will of God holds incomparable, personal benefits. Paul continues, describing unsurpassed results when the will of God inhabits your heart and mind: (1) living worthily, (2) pleasing to God, (3) abounding fruitfully, (4) a growing knowledge of God, (5) strengthening in His power, (6) being patient and enduring, (7) rejoicing and grateful, and (8) sharing a Godly inheritance. The Bible describes God’s will in these words – “His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV.

I have found this to be true, “Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear a word you say.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 1802-88. Jesus told a story of a father and two sons. Their father asked each of them to work in his vineyard. One son refused his father, then reconsidered and did as his father asked. The other son readily agreed to do what his father asked of him, but neither started nor completed the task. Read Matthew 21:28-31 NKJV. Jesus asked his listeners, as I ask you, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” The answer should be obvious. Obedience is not what you say you will do; obedience is altogether what you do. You and I are to be defined as, “bond servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Read Ephesians 6:5-8 NKJV.

More than once, I remember my Dad asking, “Allen, did you hear me?” He was not doubting my physical ability to hear. He was accurately questioning my willingness and intention to obey. Hearing presupposes obedience. When King Saul disobeyed the specific instructions of God, the prophet Samuel asked him, “Which does the Lord prefer: obedience or offerings and sacrifices? It is better to obey Him than to sacrifice the best . . to Him.” 1 Samuel 15:22 TEV. For obedience, God offers no option, accepts no substitute.

“God listens to the Godly man who does His will . . The man who does the will of God lives forever” John 9:31/1 John 2:17 NIV. Maybe you struggle to know God’s will at times. Maybe you have not recognized God’s voice or have not listened carefully enough. Or maybe you have procrastinated doing what God has spoken previously. Lack of obedience impairs your ability to hear anything further from God. God will not move forward in your life when you have unfinished business with His will.

Today, I pray for you to do “the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” from your heart.

Christian Communications 2016 www.facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

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