A Living Sacrifice

As pregnant women, we get a true picture of what it means for our bodies to not be our own. We feel that little life (or lives) moving inside and we realize it is no longer about us.

We may feel sick from certain smells that never bothered us before pregnancy, we also may crave certain foods for no apparent reason. We are no longer in charge and often don’t even understand the changes taking place in our own bodies. This is just the beginning.

Romans 12:1 says “Therefore 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.”

As mothers of young children your body is a living sacrifice.

You are no longer your own. You get up in the morning, change diapers, breastfeed, have meals, tend to chores (when able) and meet others’ needs all day long according to their schedule, not your own.

A loving mother sacrifices her own wants and needs for her family. I can remember thinking when our four children were small that I would never feel rested again. I couldn’t imagine getting enough rest.

Yet, God convicted me with the truth of the above scripture one day at our home group. The home group leader, Phil, asked us to think about what in our lives were hindrances to worship. The immediate response that came to my mind was “my children”!

Then I felt shame.

These were gifts from God!  Why did I see them as a hindrance? Because I did not see my service to them as significant in God’s eyes. I thought a “ministry” was more important. Yet, the Lord showed me those children were my ministry at that time. NOTHING was more important. Offering my body as a living sacrifice WAS an act of worship – one very pleasing to our Lord.

As we have contemplated this Easter weekend the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, let us embrace the sacrifices we make as mothers moment by moment, day by day.

Jesus is our example – He laid down His life. As His follower, I must do likewise and be a living sacrifice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Think on These Things

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Spring is my favorite season of the year. I love seeing the trees bud, the flowers bloom, and the birds building their nests.

If you were here right now you would hear me break out in song!

(scary, huh?)

I remember a friend telling me years ago that it is good for our SOULS to work in the garden. It certainly is good for mine. I see God in all that He created and tending our little part of this vast universe does wonders in helping me keep things in perspective.

Such as –

  • I cannot keep poison ivy out of every part of our property – but I can keep it out of my flower beds and yard. I cannot keep hatred out of our culture – but I can keep it out of my own heart and mind.
  • When plants are new, I need to nurture and protect them. I need to nurture and protect my grandchildren from negative influences when they are in our home by my example.
  • I can protect my plants as much as possible, but their ability to grow and bloom depend on many variables like the temperature, rainfall, pests, etc. that are beyond my control. I must guard my own heart and mind and then trust God in the things beyond my control.
  • I must not neglect my plants after they start growing and even begin blooming. I must weed around them, pulling up weeds as soon as I see them before they take over. When I notice negative attitudes in myself and my children or grandchildren, I must address them right away before they “take root” and take over.
  • I need to “deadhead” or cut blooms from my blooming plants so that they will continue blooming. The best way to do this is share flowers with friends. I must give away or share the gifts God has given me so that I will continue producing more spiritual fruit.

These are a few of the thoughts that nurture my soul as I tend our garden. So many of the things that concern me in our world are far beyond my control.

Yet there are things I can do, starting with my own heart and mind.

I must start there – but not STOP there. As God gives me opportunities to put into practice what I have learned, I need to be faithful to respond.

In Philippians 4:8 (MSG)  Paul says the following –

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

As I tend my garden, I will think on these things – the true, noble, gracious, authentic, beautiful things.

Then, by God’s grace, I will put them into practice.

 

 

“Look at Me”

look at me
“Look at me, Gayle. Did you hear what I said?” My mother often said this to get my attention. She wanted to make sure that I listened to what she had to say.

“Look at my eyes, Hannah. Did you hear what I said?” I used similar words to get my daughter’s attention and communicate vital information.

Why look at my eyes? Because our eyes communicate as well. There is the look that says:
* I have said this before – but here it is again
* you are in BIG trouble if you don’t listen
* you have disappointed me.
* you are dangling from my very last nerve
and finally –
* the look that kills. (this look does not actually kill, it just
makes the recipient wish they were dead)

As a teacher I wait to give instructions until all my students’ eyes are on me. (Heaven forbid that one is glancing down between their legs to read the latest text message!) If I don’t have their full attention – invariably a student will ask – after I have given detailed instructions – “What are we doing today?” Time for the look that kills.

There are so many things that distract us in life. We immediately think about technology in this current age, but I propose there have always been distractions for humans. Think about leaving your log cabin and having to watch for bear, snakes, or a hungry wolf.
The point is that because we are thinking beings – we become distracted.

The God who created us knows this. He also gave us the ability to concentrate, yet it often takes an act of our will.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Amplified Bible

12 Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses who have borne testimony to the Truth, let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance and that sin which so readily clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,

2 Looking away from all that will distract to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith and is also its Finisher, bringing it to maturity and perfection. He, for the joy of obtaining the prize that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.

The solution is to “look away from all that will distract”. Being the queen of distraction – this is a challange to me. Yet, when I keep my eyes on Jesus – when I “look at Him”, I am able to understand clearly what He is speaking to me.