Tag Archives: gratitude

Sacrifice & Gratitude

And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’ ” Then the people bowed down and worshiped. (Ex. 12:26-27)

Up until this point, the Israelites had seen God’s hand moving on their behalf, but final deliverance would mean the death of many firstborn sons. Their freedom was purchased at a great cost, and their worship here seems to indicate they recognized that reality. They had to realize that God seriously loved them. “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life” (Is. 43:3)– what a sobering thought! Surely they must have had relationships with many of the families who lost children. They acted as their servants, and interacted with them daily. Now they would not only gain their freedom, but also plunder the treasures of the ones they served, and leave them grieving their lost children. Of course, this foreshadows God’s sacrifice of his own son on the cross. My thought is that the Israelites must have felt so unworthy of the sacrifices made on their behalf. I know that is how I feel about Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf. It is beyond comprehension that a life, especially a life so precious would die to give me life. Interestingly, many of the lives that were sacrificed in Egypt were the most innocent- babies died. Surely, they did nothing worthy of death. Again, the reality had to be extremely sobering. The only logical response would be worship.

When I think about the great sacrifice of Jesus on my behalf, I am often overwhelmed. It’s something that never gets old for me. Even as God told the Israelites to keep this event as a special memorial, we are to keep the cross ever before us. Passover became the beginning of the year for Israel, and salvation is the beginning of our new lives. Out of death comes life, and the recipient of life should respond in utter worship.

Therefore, 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. (Rom. 12:1)

Lord, help me to keep the cross ever before me, and to remember the sacrifice made on my behalf. I did nothing to deserve it, and yet you loved me enough to do it anyway. I stand amazed. Let my life be a constant act of worship, knowing that you loved me so much you gave up your only Son. Thank you!! I am so grateful, and I bow down before you now. Amen

How to Get out of the Wilderness…

It seems I’ve spent the majority of my life in the wilderness Lord. So why does it surprise me when I end up back in it? The Israelites were there because of their sin, so I have to stop and examine my heart. Is there some sin You are trying to burn out of my heart, or is this just life in a fallen world? Perhaps it’s both. Certainly there will be rough terrain between here and eternity, and much of it is just the consequence of being in the world. Some of it is fallout from past sin, but all of it is meant to teach me. While I can’t identify any blatant sin responsible for putting me here, I imagine You would like to use this time to help me identify attitudes that are less than content and grateful. I am supposed to rejoice always, yet, just like the Israelites in the desert, I find myself complaining and defeated. I am supposed to be content in all things, rather I am wishing today away and looking forward to the brighter future I envision. However, I get the feeling that until I can find contentment here in this valley I will not be moving on to that Promised Land that exists in my mind.

After the children of Israel were miraculously delivered from Egypt, they continued to complain about every little obstacle that arose, as if You did not see or care. I guess they figured that if You called them out, You would also make the path easy—but You didn’t. When I read those stories, I think it was ridiculous for them to complain after You had proven yourself over and over. Plus, You were physically manifesting yourself to them in a cloud by day and fire by night. I’ve often judged the Israelites for complaining, but here I am doing the same. Only my obstacles are 21st century problems instead of bitter waters and a lack of meat. For me it is constant demands, a messy house, lack of organization, and difficult people. You have proven yourself to me again and again, yet when a problem arises I act as if You don’t see or care. I complain. Though I think am grumbling about circumstances, in reality I am grumbling against You (Ex. 16:8), because You are sovereign over my circumstances. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10 that the examples in the Old Testament were written for our instruction, so that we can learn lessons about idolatry, immorality, and complaining. He reminds us that those who complained were “destroyed by the destroyer” (1 Cor. 10:10).  “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, and will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (1 Cor.10:11-13).

As I read all of that I realize that You definitely have some work to do in my life! Please forgive me, and help me change from a grumbler to one who praises You in all things. Yes, I praise You daily, but it is not enough. It’s like I tell my husband, he can take all the vitamins in the world, but when he fills his body with junk food he negates the good he’s done. I suppose it’s the same with spiritual health. I can praise You in the morning, but when I fill the rest of my day with complaints, I am working against myself—and You! Please help me to have a constant attitude of thankfulness and praise. Forgive the negativity that I have allowed to rule from time to time. Today help me replace every complaint with thanksgiving, because You are good and worthy of all praise. Today I will choose to be thankful. Amen