Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thankfulness as a Sacrifice

I would like to share something God's been laying on my heart lately. 

In my quiet time a couple weeks ago, I was reading through Ephesians and read Eph. 5:4 which says that we are to not let any foolishness or filthiness or even crude joking come out of you mouth but instead, let there be thankfulness.

That thought really stuck with me, and I tried to replace unnecessary words with thankfulness.

Only a couple days ago in my quiet time, I read Psalm 50. 

It's God talking and saying that while, yes, offering animals sacrifices is okay, God desires thankfulness. 

He says to make thankfulness your sacrifice to Him... then when you call of Him in times of trouble, He will rescue you.

Psalm 50:23 says, "But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God."

Through the good times and the bad times, the way we can worship Him—the way we can glorify our totally worthy God—is by daily giving thanks to Him for all He has done.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Let It Snow

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

It's snowing today. The beautiful storm reminds me of my redemptive story.

I was in a cave—a cave of sin—black as tar. The air in the cave was lonely and heavy, hard to bear. The cave was my sin, and I (on my own) could do nothing about it.

My actions followed the pattern of the cave. My actions left pain and heartache. My actions were like a murder crime scene, blood flung and splashed everywhere—on walls and stained to the floor. From all my actions, I thought I had escaped, but Someone never left my side.

I was turned in, going to the courthouse, positive I would be called out: "guilty as charged." The Judge examined my files, but He didn't need to. He's all-knowing, very wise, and most of all—holy. He doesn't desire someone with a cave like mine.

When He finished looking at my papers, He looked at me with eyes full of tears, eyes full of compassion.

"Ashlyn," He called gently, "I know the depth of your cave. I know the vastness of your horrific actions. But I must ask you a question."

"Yes, Judge?" I replied.

"Do you know the depth of my love? Do you know the vastness of my forgiveness?"

I stood in silence, confused, but a glimmer of hope sparked in me.

"While you were shedding blood in your horrible actions," the Judge explained, "I sent my Son out. I wanted Him to bring you in so I could heal your scars. But in your actions, you murdered Him."

I stood ashamed.

"But see, Ashlyn, that was part of My plan all along. Three days after you killed Him, He came back to life! He used His blood to wash away the blood stains you left behind. 

I glanced up from staring shamefully at my feet and looked out the window. It was snowing.

"The snow is covering up the murder crime scenes, and it's turning your black cave white. I have forgiven you. You are free."

I was dumbfounded. The Judge forgave me? He did all of this for me?

The Judge saw how confused I was, stepped away from His desk, and opened His arms wide.

I ran to Him. As He held me in His arms, I learned that this Man is not only Judge, but my loving Redeemer. 

The cave represents our heart. It is black with sin until Jesus' blood washes our hearts white as snow. God has forgiven us of all of our sinful actions, and He lovingly reaches out to us, desiring us to run to Him because He cares for us.

Come now let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18