Pastor’s Blog Wk 4.15.19: LOVE & SACRIFICE

It seems the longer I live, the more I discover that there are truly so many beautiful things in this world that provoke some of the deepest human emotions that are too difficult to articulate. The most priceless of such things, I believe, are not the things purchased with money or gained by conventional means, but those things that have been gifted to us by our heavenly father. Where do you find beauty in a world full of darkness? I think beauty is ever present, but not everybody sees it. For instance, I think the most beautiful sound is the boisterous laughter of a baby as he plays with his dad, or the explosive joyful tears of an orphaned child as they’re told that there is a family who wants to adopt, or seeing the miracle of a child being delivered out of the mother’s womb. Beautiful and priceless. I remember when my first child Mikayla was born. I sat there as time seemed to stand still, while I witnessed the literal birth of life. I was filled with awe and every type of emotion one could ever imagine rolled up in a short moment. As tears flooded my eyes I was overcome with joy at the wonder of creation by witnessing my wife giving birth to another human being, my daughter. One life becoming two. I remember driving home from the hospital thinking how weird it felt. Two people drove to the hospital but three separate people came back. A life that was inside a life was now on the outside. It was beautiful and terrifying at the same time. 

I truly believe the most beautiful things on earth are those things that are birthed from a place of love and sacrifice. Yes, sacrifice…it’s funny isn’t it, how when we think about things that are beautiful, we don’t ever think about the word sacrifice; however, in all three examples I just mentioned, sacrifice is an inseparable component of each. Can one truly love without sacrifice? Take for instance the most well-known scripture, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” His love for us was demonstrated by His act of sacrifice. What did He sacrifice? His only begotten son to purchase you and I. If you’re a Christian, you’ve heard this many times before but I sincerely feel most of us fail to comprehend the depths of such a beautiful truth. You see, whatever we give our life to is what we value and whatever we value we love. You cannot love something you don’t give time to, at least not the way God intends for you to love. This can be applied to the relationship you have with your friends, your spouse, your mother or father, your children or most importantly, God. He loves us in ways so beautiful and so intense no amount of books, poetry or songs could ever convey how deep is that love.

But just as much as there are beautiful things on this side of eternity there are also constant reminders of the fallen natured world we live in. A world filled with hate, betrayal, pain, disillusionment, rejection, sickness and death. You don’t have to live long to be victimized by this fallen world. The world deforms us, but the Word reforms us. The Bible says in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”Did you catch that? Jesus knew that in a fallen world His children would go through many painful and agonizing stages of life, whether they were self-inflicted or not, but He also tells us that we could have peace, not in the absence of these trials or tribulations but in the very midst of them. I can tell you from experience, when things seem to come undone and you feel like you’re losing grip on life, it is very easy to slip into hopelessness. But we must remember that our salvation is Jesus. King David had some intensely difficult times in his life, but in Psalm 23:5-6 he said, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.” David reminded himself that although things were falling apart during that season of his life, God was able to give him peace in spite of his circumstance. 

That promise was not only for David but for all of God’s children. The world is quickly turning into a very ugly place. The evolution of evil is taking full form and it is bringing with it immense suffering. The world is now teaming with selfish people and those who’s love has grown cold. But be not troubled, be not dismayed, be not discouraged, for we have already overcome. As the old saying goes, “this too shall pass.”  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin – Hebrews 4:15

So take courage son or daughter. And I pray as the day approaches, that we will hold firmly to the promises of God and be found worthy to be counted within the membership of Gods eternal family. Keeping our eyes on the beautiful gift that is Christ Jesus. Loving Him and loving others for Him, because he first loved us – living for Him and dying for Him, because He died for us and rose again for us. So go and find beauty in the simple things, not the worldly things. Remember, whatever you have lost, whatever you have suffered, know that God is working everything out for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. Let us finish as the Apostle Paul finished. “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ…”Philippians 3:8