Saturday, December 31, 2011

Treasuring Christ makes every day like Christmas

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

As we close out this month, and this year, I want to leave 2011 with thoughts on how we can make everyday "Christmas" by making our life all about "treasuring Christ" in 2012.  I believe if we unfold what it means to be a "living sacrifice" as stated in the above verses,  you and I by grace can do this:

1. Receive in order to Give for Christ in 2012
I want to challenge my readers to present themselves to God through Christ, every day, for 2012.  Perhaps you are reading this blog, and have not yet by grace through faith believed on Jesus Christ as your Savior, Lord and treasure.  Romans 10:8-10 tells us how to do that: what does it say? “The word is near you, in your heart and in your mouth”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.  Christmas is all about giving.  As we have witnessed in these last 30 blogs, God demonstrated His infinite capacity to give to a people who otherwise were not willing to receive.  By receiving Him into your life, you will discover the only way you can begin making your life a life of giving for His glory.

2. Giving yourself in 2012  is maintained by presenting yourself constantly to Him
By its very nature, the miracle of Christ's incarnation set the pattern for all of those who would by grace through faith believe upon Him.  Christ presented Himself, quite literally as a living sacrifice.  He was born into a world that was diametrically opposed to He and His Father.  He later on, at 30 years of age, would "present" Himself for baptism by John the Baptist - who heralded Him as "The Lamb of God". (John 1:29)

3. As you present your life in 2012, keep focused on the cross
As Christ ministered throughout the regions of Galilee and Judea, He was constantly "presenting Himself" as God's living sacrifice.  Six times throughout the course of His ministry He would predict His death.  Then on the cross, He did the ultimate presentation - He laid down His life for His sheep. (John 10). 

4. In focusing on the cross, draw your strength from His resurrection power in 2012
However three days later He would rise again, demonstrating that He was not the God of the dead, but of the living.  In His Humanity He still could say he was the living sacrifice.  As God, He could decree as much. 

5. As His resurrection power gives strength, glorify Him by coming to Him more in prayer in 2012
As He ascended up into Heaven, He has never ceased being that living sacrifice, since He ministers daily on behalf of all true believers at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 1:1-4; 1 John 2:1-2).  The Apostle John in Revelation 5:6 sees Him as "The Lamb in the midst of the Throne".  He is and will ever be the living sacrifice - the God man.

6. As your grow in prayer, make it your chief aim in 2012 to treasure Christ above all things
Thus are we to treasure Him in our hearts, just as Mary did as she watched him grow up before her sight. (Luke 2:51).  May we too be willing, as those who by grace were called and gifted by faith to believe on Him as Savior, Lord and Treasure present ourselves as living sacrifices.  Only at the cross and through the cross can this be a reality.  May you and I make everyday Christmas - imitating our Lord and Savior and Treasure Jesus Christ.

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