Remembrance of Sacrifice: Giving One’s Life

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

 MEMORIAL

Memory

Engraved-

Mindful

Ongoing

Remembrance-

Internal

Abiding

Legacy

Memories memorialized: In deeds. In minds. In hearts. On gravestones.

During this time of year, Memorial Day, when we share a special time as a nation to remember those who served our country, some giving the ultimate sacrifice of their lives and all sacrificing in ways that changed them forever–

 LET US NOT FORGET.

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During every time of year, every month and every day, let us always remember the One who gave the ultimate sacrifice for all humankind. Memorialized in communion on the Lord’s Day, remembered in our words during prayer, thankful for in our hearts when we consider the blessings in our lives, reflected upon in our minds when we realize we are the ones changed forever by His sacrifice, as we can now live eternally with Him–

LET US NEVER FORGET.

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During each and every day, let us remember our duty to sacrifice to God, first and always, and to sacrifice for others.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. (Hebrews 13:15)

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.(Hebrews 13:16)

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)

LET US NOT FORGET.

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 (Sharon G. Tate 05/28/17 blog) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

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WITH CHRIST: Joy on the Path of Life

You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence,

with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)

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The little girl with curly ringlets in her hair walked away from her mother, down the path on her own. A smile swept across the mother’s face, watching her daughter’s baby steps of independence. The expression soon changed to a thoughtful gaze as she envisioned her daughter walking ahead, forward in time–growing up, facing challenges, enduring trials, embracing life, holding another hand, her own baby’s steps leaving footprints ahead. There was joy in the mother’s heart and tears blurred her eyes, as she watched her little girl continue to move ahead of her, down the path. . .

Sadness with joy. It seems contradictory. Most would agree that happiness and joy complement each other, but how can one have sadness and still be joyful?

James says to Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)  Our characters can be transformed, reshaped, and renewed through such trials, so that we reflect attributes of Christ. The pain of the labor brings forth a new joy. We become more like Him, who took on pain, great suffering, abandonment by God, and our sin so we could live with Him eternally.

 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (I Peter 1:8-9)

What “glorious joy” it will be when we can see Him!  John wrote to the church family: “I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” (2 John 1:12) How complete our joy will be to see Christ, stand in His presence, and talk with Him!

 …fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

As the mother watches her little girl take baby steps independently down the path ahead, we know there is, likely, another scene where the child looks back to make sure the mother is still there and yet another scene where she returns to her mother’s arms. God watches our steps of independence and waits for us to turn back to Him. We may encounter ruts, sinkholes, flooding, barricades, and more along our independent path before we look back– and go back– to Him, but when we do, the joy surpasses any tribulation we will confront and endure to arrive at the place where He is.

The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing. (Proverbs 10:28) Our prospect is our choice. But only His way, His path is the one that leads to eternal joy.

(Sharon  G. Tate 05/21/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

In the Likeness of Christ: The Other before Me

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb? (Isaiah 49:15)

 M O T H E R

Other is the focus,

Child before her.

Mirroring selfless

His likeness to see.

 IF ONLY we could care for each other like the mother who loves her newborn child—unconditionally, tenderly, wholeheartedly embracing the responsibility of loving, caring, and giving to the “other” over self. This love may be likened to God giving His Son to us. We did not earn His act of love any more than the child born from his mother’s womb who feels the secure love of his mother’s embrace immediately. God’s embrace is there for us every moment of our lives. We are each the “other” who must accept His love, so He can keep us close to Him.

 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Matthew 23:37)

 We must be willing to accept this embrace of Jesus. The figurative language used in the passage above is of a mother hen protecting her young chicks with her own wings. The chicks are secure, while the hen has exposed herself to bear the burden of any external onslaught against her babies. Jesus, similarly, bore the pain and weight of the sin that would harm us eternally. His protection and security are there when we seek refuge with Him.

 As one whom his mother comforts,
So I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 66:13)

The mother’s comfort is tender and compassionate. The similar comparison is made to the Lord’s comfort in this passage. It is the kind of giving, selfless love that we should strive to mirror and reflect in our own words and actions.

Other is the focus,

You before me,

Mirroring Christ

His likeness to see.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 05/14/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Choosing the Path of Christ

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.” 1

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Someone once asked me, “Why do you always insist on taking the hard road?”

I replied, “Why do you assume I see two roads?” 2

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The Lord took one road, one path. It was one that had never been traveled before. Others have tried to follow the path in His footsteps, yet it is still “one less traveled by.”

The path Jesus took: Coming down to earth . . . learning to walk as a toddler . . . traveling the road to Jerusalem to sit with the teachers at the temple . . . sinking His footprints in the sand to call out those disciples who would become “fishers of men” 3. . .  hiking up the mountainside to deliver the Sermon on the Mount to the multitudes . . . going to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead … walking the path to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane . . . carrying the cross to die for us all on the road to Calvary. . . rising from death to return to the Father.

It was the hard road. It was the only road Jesus saw, in spite of the fact that another path was offered and could have been chosen. Satan’s temptations did not alter Christ’s path. His focus did not lead Him in any other direction but the cross.  And this has made all the difference for you and for me.

To follow Christ, we must follow the hard road. It may take us to those who would betray us. It may lead us to suffering and cruelty. It will direct us to those who would walk with us on this journey. It will lead us to the destruction of our earthly bodies. It will take us back from death to the path of life with Christ.

Choosing the right road, the path of Christ, does make all the difference. It is the way to salvation, the path of Christ, the road to death and back again to life.

1 Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken.” https://www.poets.org

²Author Unknown. http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com

3 Matthew 4:19

(Sharon G. Tate blog 05/07/17)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word