Obedience or Sacrifice?

By: Joan Meyler

Do you find fault with your body? Want to change parts for something “more attractive” or acceptable to the society in which you live?

On and off over the years, I have been toying with Romans 12:1(“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship”).

Trying to understand its meaning, myself and I have a conversation which goes like this:

“Living sacrifice? That denotes pain. Sacrifice is painful. Is God talking about your body or your thoughts?  Doesn’t 1 Samuel 22:15 say “To obey is better than sacrifice”? Then God must be talking about more than the outward appearance.  I believe that your actions are reflective of your thoughts so maybe this is saying that as you control your thoughts you gain control of your body. Jeremiah 1:5. Seems to clarify this as God speaks (my translation):Obedience“You have been in my thoughts.  I thought about how perfect you are. The qualities you have. The love in your heart. The compassion you feel for others.  I thought so much about you, that my hands began to form you in the secret places. My thoughts of you and my love for you created you.  Filled you with gifts and talents, surrounded you with all you will ever need. Your body is my gift to you. A housing for my Spirit in you.  I breathe my breath into you and filled your lungs with joy. My love caused your heart to begin beating and keeps it beating.  You are not your own.  You are mine, perfect as I am perfect.”

Realize there is nothing wrong with the way you look.  You don’t need to change any part of it. Understand that the “living sacrifice” is in the acceptance of who You are in Christ; His perfect creation. The one He made in His image. The one who through your love for him obeys his voice as it leads you through the seasons of your life.  Once understood, it is not a sacrifice (painful) to treat your body well, as you would something of great value.  Because you are.

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My Words are Alive

By: Joan Meyler

 

How are you?  How do you think Jesus answer this question? What is your usual answer to the same question? Psalm 19:14 tells us to “let these words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be pleasing . . .  to God”. Revelation 12:11 reminds us that we defeat the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  After God spoke the world into being, He asked Himself “How is it?” He did not respond ambiguously but declared “It is very good!”; meaning that everything planned and executed was of the highest standard (including you and me).

Your Words are Alive

Philippians 4:8 admonishes us to think, meditate, on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable . . . . excellent and worthy of praise, “because it is only by bringing our thoughts under control that we are able to speak life into our situations (Proverbs 23:7; 2).  Following the principles set forth in both Philippians 4:8 and Corinthians 10:5 we can change our lives for the better or worse.  Its all in our thoughts and the words we say.  Looking back at Genesis 1, God thought of the world he wanted to create; he planned it. Then He spoke it into being. Because He created us, we also have the power to create the life we want.  Remember, you create what you speak (Proverbs 18:21)

If your life is going the way you want it to, that’s wonderful; express your gratitude to God continuously (Psalm 34:1) and continue to walk in His abundant flow. If not, think about your thoughts and the words you have been saying, to yourself and others. Having negative or conflicting thoughts and speaking negative words bring negative consequences. Positive life affirming words produce positive consequences which release God’s provisions in your life, now. (Luke 17:21)

Let me encourage you to make a list of all the things you are grateful for and begin to thank our gracious, compassionate God for these blessings. Make a conscious decision to watch your words and thoughts. As you do so, you will notice the changes in all aspects of your life. Proverbs 23:7 tell us that we are what we think so why not take God at His word and prove him to be true (Malachi 3:10).

Yes, there is Power and Life in our words. Choose them wisely.

From Resurrection to Empowerment

By: Joan Meyler

For some, change is painful, unwanted; yet others welcome even embrace it.  Our experiences all point to change.  A new life. Not turn back the clock; but use our disappointment and pain to move the hands forward past the hurts. We try ways to turn the scars into a soothing balm.  Nothing works, the pain persists. We long for the place where we can emerge fresh, clean, wise and free of the pain of our past.  Jesus’s disciples believed they knew all there was to know about him. They had spent three action-packed years in intense training, having their understanding and knowledge of what they knew and thought they knew stretched beyond recognition. Then He had the audacity to die a criminal!  Their hopes, dreams, expectations dashed beyond recognition.

Jesus and a lady

The disappointment in His death, the pain and grief of loss ringing in their ears and hearts as the tomb was sealed; their hopes seemed dashed. But, ever faithful, Jesus kept his promise of resurrection and brought change to their lives. Once again, He proved himself to be who he said he was.  When we accept Christ as our savior, we also experience change.  There is a death that takes place within us and while we rejoice in our salvation, there is the dispelling of beliefs and practices which must be released before resurrection can take place. For forty days following his resurrection, Jesus continued to teach the disciples.  In secret! No one knows exactly what He taught them, but we can speculate that the lessons involved a review of what they already knew but had yet to practice.

Like toddlers on wobbly legs, we begin our new life seeking the Kingdom. Struggling against our old way of life, gaining trust and confidence as Jesus reveals truth to us. After the resurrection, the disciples felt joy, but they were also afraid. They, too, walked on wobbly legs. They also had to gain trust and confidence; have their faith increased.  Can you imagine the look on their faces when Jesus told them he would leave once more? It’s the same look on your face when you learn salvation is not the end, but the beginning. How blessed we are, that Jesus did not leave us without guidance.  The disciples did not wait idly for the coming of the Holy Spirit, they waited faithfully, prayerfully, trusting yet were surprised with the power trusted to them with His coming. This same power is available to us as we also faithfully, prayerfully, trustingly open ourselves to the introduction of the Holy Spirit; the one who walks alongside and teaches us all things.

Luke 24:49, John 14:26