Faith Without Works (Three Word Wednesday)

My Bible slipped off my lap as I tried to balance it and my journal and write at the same time.

  • His faith cooperated with his works?
  • His believing what accounted to him as righteousness?
  • What are you trying to tell me, Lord?

My mind flashed back to the Jeff Cavin’s teaching CD (The Great Adventure) on Genesis 12-26, Rafal and I had listened to on the way to Frostburg last week. The focus of the teaching was mainly Abraham.

Abraham believed that God would give him the promised son and that belief was put into an account. The account said “righteous”. Later, after Isaac was born:

“[God] said, Take now your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love and go to the region of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon the mountains, of which I will tell you. ” Gen. 22:2

And Abraham did what God commanded him. We know the end of the story, but Abraham didn’t. He didn’t have a foreshadowing of the ram in the thicket. The ram was the foreshadowing of the Lamb of God who took our place on the altar.

It reminds me of the words I said in church as a child for so many years (without thinking about what I was saying) “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of His name for your good and the good of all the church.”

I pray that my sacrifice may be acceptable. Do I even know what that means? I am learning. How about you?

God gives us gifts, great and glorious gifts. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is the ultimate sacrifice, He gave up His seat on the heavenly throne to become to blood sacrifice for us. We are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. Yet, we are called to participate in His suffering. We are called to sacrifice.

“Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by His works when He brought to the altar an offering his [own] son Isaac?

You see [His] faith was cooperating with His works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression when he implemented it] by [good] works.”-James 2:21,22

My faith coooperates

My faith cooperates with my works when I am obedient, when I am willing to sacrifice my will for His own, when I am ready to lay down my Isaac for whatever He wills. I am justified through works as well as by what I believe (Tweet That)(James 2:24).Sometimes, God asks me to lay down a gift He has given me.

My word this year is sacrifice. It’s only a month in and it is turning out differently than I imagined. I pictured myself jumping around and singing, “We bring the sacrifice of praise unto the house of the Lord” while wearing a white skirt and twirling in happy circles. Instead, God is calling me to sacrifice time, to sacrifice my way of doing things and my time table. Basically, I am sacrificing my flesh on the altar of His will.

It means not doing some good things. The Lord wants me to lay them down and walk away for some better things. How about you? Have you been given a glorious gift or opportunity that God has asked you to sacrifice? Are you on the other side of it, or like me are you standing at the altar looking for the ram?

The works of obedience God calls me to are mostly in areas of my weakness, with a sprinkling of my strength and a healthy dose of my God-sized dream. Is God stretching you too? Asking you to sacrifice your comfort zone on the altar of obedience so He can be glorified?

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday, join us!

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Word for 2015

God does not hand out easy passes

I was walking through the neighborhood, it was unseasonably warm for the middle of December and I decided to pray about my word for 2016. As I began my prayer, the word SACRIFICE  immediately came to mind. I brushed aside and prayed again. Certainly, that wasn’t the word for me. I would rather have a word like abundance, hope, love, joy or how about a saying, ‘trouble-free year’. I know a trouble free year or even day doesn’t exist, yet hope springs eternal. I am told to consider it all joy when I encounter trials of any sort, but SACRIFICE?  Are you sure, Lord?

All the meanings of sacrifice traipsed through my mind:

  • We bring the sacrifice of praise unto the house of the Lord.
  • Lord, accept the sacrifice our our hands for your good and the good of all the church.
  • “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.”- Romans 12:1

So, the word for the year is SACRIFICE. I cannot chase it out of my head or hide it under a rug. It is there like a neon sign. Blinking. Reminding me that I can bring the sacrifice of praise unto the house of the Lord, the fruit of my lips giving thanks. I can choose obedience rather than the sort of sacrifice that is not God’s will. (tweet this) You know the kind when you try to convince God that you are doing something good when He wants you to do something else? I’m good at trying to negotiate my sacrifice of good works into His will, when I know deep down they’re not. I’m good at sacrificing my God-sized dream on the altar of someone else’s and then going home and crashing because I can’t take another step in the direction God calls me in. Sacrifice always means killing flesh. It doesn’t mean the flesh that is put to death (figuratively) isn’t doing something good. Obedience is better than sacrifice, but it does require sacrifice. I feel the straps already tying me down to the altar of self. I need to die. My desire to do good and please others must come under the knife of the word and motives sorted out.

It is a good word, this SACRIFICE. A good solid word. A word we don’t whip out at social gatherings or not often in the church assembly. I am excited and terrified at the same time.  I will keep you posted on how God is working out this word, SACRIFICE in me this year. This short post is certainly an epiphany. It has not been lived hard and long after dusty road to Damascus. I am, like Saul renamed Paul, am still blind, but soon I will see. God will send laborers across my path (like you) to minister truth to me and I will grow this year in ways that are over, abundantly above all that I could ask or think.

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday! Join us!

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Join me tomorrow for “A Year in Review” and I have a gift for you on New Year’s Day!  Check in tomorrow for more details! Blessings!