"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Great Sacrifice

First off- I need to figure out what to do about google adding me into "screwed over because I've used 1g of storage" list.  Any advice on that is appreciated.  Boo!  The above picture is one that happens to have been uploaded into my google plus account, but honestly.  I have no idea how to work computers.  So here is a random one from this spring.

Second- today I will just be honest and say I've struggled with a lack of peace.  It's related to absolutely nothing- which is typically the case with me.  I just struggle with anxiety sometimes, so I've been trying today to just remember to refocus on Christ.  The amazing thing about today was that God was so faithful to allow my kids to just be pleasant albeit crazy because it's close to Christmas.  It really was a good day, I just felt the old familiar anxious tension in my body.  I read a couple blogs today that reminded me that this is not my home and that I am seeking peace in Christ alone.  Which always helps.

Third- I finished 2 Timothy this weekend.  Here are the verses that most stuck out to me:

2:9 But God's Word is Not Chained (I am called to live the gospel daily.  I have no idea the eternal ramifications of what I say and do.  That is both humbling/scary and exciting/humbling.)

2:14-16 Warn them against quarreling about words... Present yourself to God as one approved... Avoid godless chatter (makes me question some of the doctrine arguments that plaque the church, and makes me wonder about godless chatter and how much I waste my time with silly, mundane things that just don't advance the gospel or bring God glory...)

4:6 For I am being poured out like a drink offering... 

4:17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and ALL the Gentiles might here it. (Oh praise the one who promises such great things.  And that I get to experience the divine Presence in my life!  Christianity is such a blessed amazing life)

I have had a lot of thoughts on Christian life since I guess I started 1 Thessalonians.  I haven't really gone into them, because they seem so controversial almost.  But I am going to go ahead with some things I've been thinking here tonight.

I wrote a blog post a couple months back while I was in Leviticus called Chasing the Fire.  Leviticus was completely transformational for my life in the sense that saying things like "my life is a sacrifice for Christ" actually meant something.  So many Christian colloquialisms easily become trite.  Leviticus put some of those into a raw perspective.  When Paul refers to himself as a drink offering, that is a Levitical reference.  This was poured onto fire and consumed.  It was raw and painful and involved death of something.  Today we are freed from the law, but the sacrifice is still raw, painful, and involves death.  It's just the death of us.

And in America, what are we really putting to death?  How are we really being poured out?  We live in the most blessed country in so many ways.  We want for very little.  Even our secular Christmas stations tout gospel references for the entire public while even the Christians spend exhorbitant amounts of money on gifts none of us need.  Drink offering?

According to The Joshua Project there are close to 3 billion unreached people in the world.  Unreached does not mean non Christians.  That means they have never heard the name 'Jesus'.  While we sit here and listen to What Child Is This on your Christmas station, they have never heard anything at all about it.  Ever.  All these beautiful people in the world.  And they've never heard.  This comes down to about 7-8k people groups.  That's really not a lot.  I mean in America where millions of Christians go to their snazzy megachurches while driving their BMWs and sipping their lattes, there are 8,000 people dying to hear.  Surely if we megachurch attenders got together we could find enough people to go, right?

I understand that there is a need for Christians in places like America to fund missionaries.  I do.  But I have to ask myself, should there really be a shortage of people willing to pour themselves out raw unto death to share?  8,000 doesn't seem like it should be that hard to reach.  Yet we aren't anywhere close.

Churches love to discuss what spiritual gifts really mean, and how to be a better father, and how does the church interact with politics.  Those are all fine things.  But are they prompting us to pour ourselves out as a drink offering for a world that's dying?

To be fair, I don't think you have to move to Iran to pour yourself out.  But I do think all of us could look at our lives and question the excesses.  All things are loss compared to the surpassing knowledge of Christ.  And while I certainly believe that God is sovereign and can call people to all nations and purposes as He chooses, I have to say, there is definitely a need in the American church at large for true frantic-ness for getting the gospel to all these people.  Or even just a frantic-ness for our own country, sometimes our own churches.  There are lots of hurt, dying to know people that needa drink offering sacrificed for them.

Here is a really good blog about this topic as well.

I am also a huge huge fan of Voices of the Martyrs.  They send out free publications.  I can honestly say I wasn't mission minded prior to getting those.  They have completely changed my perspective.  And I just feel like God continues to redefine and refine my desires and my views on missions.  But that's a post for another day :)

I don't know what this looks like in your life.  I don't even know what it looks like in mine, except that I am growing ever more burdened for the people of the world, realizing that the Christian life is a lot more than my cute new boots and my cute new journal. I know that my life is meant to be poured out- in some way.  The question is how does God want to pour me out for the gospel?  I do know this, wherever the Lord directs me and whatever He asks me to do, I am willing to be sacrificed.  And I reckon thats a good start.

How do you think God wants to use you to reach the world?

miscellany monday at lowercase letters       

Covered in Grace

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Rubi Diaz said...

I ran into the google storage limit problem a few weeks ago too! Boo! I started uploading my pictures to photobucket.com and then adding them to blogger with the URL.

Hope this helps!


ThistleAshD said...

Thanks! I will have to try that!