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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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The Utimate Sacrifice

November 11th, 2014

“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NKJV.

Jesus’ redemptive life was given for all others’ salvation.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the ultimate sacrifice.”

On this day, America pauses to honor our military veterans who have honorably and sacrificially served to protect our country and preserve our freedoms across subsequent generations. Gratefully, we also acknowledge those men and women who presently serve in our Armed Forces, as well as the practical sacrifices made by their families.

On a personal note, I remember and honor my uncle Ralph, who served in the United States Marines, and fought in the battle for Guadalcanal in World War ll. He was the eldest of my paternal grandparents’ three sons and daughter. I was just months old when my uncle died in battle so except for my Dad’s conversations in later years and a fading picture of a young Marine in uniform, I never knew him. As a young boy, I remember that his name was always mentioned with pride and respect, yet with a note of sadness. To the innumerable others who suffered the horrors of war or made the sacrifice of irreplaceable lives, there remains a debt of honor and gratitude too incalculable to repay.

On this and every day, let us not forget another sacrifice more notable than all, a Savior whose sacrifice of life is truly incomparable. Read John 15:12-13 NIV. “For Christ died for sins once and for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive [resurrected] by the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18 NIV. John wrote, “God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:8-10 NIV. See John 3:16-18 NIV. A lifetime is too brief to fully comprehend the personal relevance of an ultimate sacrifice for which there is no parallel.

In amazement, Paul wrote that the righteous Son of God would be the price and pardon for the sins of unrighteous men and women. “Christ Jesus, being in very nature God . . [yet] taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:6-8 NIV. Jesus’ life was not taken by another; His redemptive life was given for all others.

Such a holy sacrifice is the recurring theme of the Apostle Paul, “Christ died for the ungodly . . God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:6-10.

Those words are too profound and powerful to read and then hurry on. Slowly and deliberately, consider such incomprehensible truth. “If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Such depth of truth deserves prayerful reflection, humble acceptance, and joyous praise. Reconciled to God by Jesus’ death, we are, “saved by His life.” I would not presume to know the full extent of that promise. This I know; His life in me is “the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27. With childlike simplicity, I merely embrace its truth and praise God for His promise.

Today, my prayer for you is to know and regard the price Jesus paid for your redemption.

 

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