The Greatest Sacrifice

Today America honors the men and women who have willingly chosen to serve this nation by serving in the Armed Forces. Since our country’s birth many have given their lives in defense of this nation on foreign and domestic soils. We stand proud and salute each and every one who did this for love of country and their fellow man.

But there is someone who made the greatest sacrifice for not only a nation but for all of mankind. His name is Jesus. He made the greatest sacrifice and He did it all for love. Love for you and me. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Jesus’s life was not taken from Him by force. John 10:17-18 says “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down of my own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from my Father.”

A soldier follows orders that come from someone who has authority over him or her. They complete whatever mission assigned to them with a goal to walk away victorious over an enemy.  Jesus also had a goal. His goal or shall I say purpose was to bring restoration between God and man by offering Himself as the sacrificial Lamb for the remission of all sin for the entire world. Not just a nation but of all creation!

His sacrifice disarmed our adversary the devil and removed the sting of death for all. He made a way for us to be free. All we have to do is acknowledge that we truly cannot save ourselves and accept the free gift offered to us which is salvation. We cannot save ourselves. Most of us tried to live a good life, follow the rules, have good thoughts, do good things but we failed miserably. The moment we were born we were doomed to repeat the pattern of sin that was birthed in the Garden of Eden.

For several thousands of years man was in need of a sacrifice to cover his sin. Animal after animal was sacrificed to meet that requirement. And then the time had come. A plan designed by God, that today none of us can truly grasp, was brought forth in God’s chosen time. Jesus was on His way! The Messiah, was incubating in the womb of young girl and He would save the world. The ultimate sacrifice for you and me waiting to come forth. Our deliverer! Our victorious Lamb! Our devil stomping redeemer was almost here. And finally the Life came forth in the form of flesh and blood to redeem fallen flesh and blood. His only purpose was to be the ultimate sacrifice for you and me.

When the time arrived to fulfill God’s plan Jesus was anguished in His spirit knowing what He was soon to suffer. But He chose His Father’s will over His. He left that garden of tears with you and me on His mind. And when the time arrived and He was breathing His last breath He said “It is finished!”  Yes Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

Three days later with the keys of hell and death in His hands He rose from the dead and left the enemy of us all shaking on the side lines. Resurrection morning had come and today because He lives and became the victorious Lamb we can have that same life now.

I hope as you enjoy this Memorial Day you will also reflect on the greatest sacrifice made for us all….Jesus Christ!

Living by the brook,

Marilyn Greganti

ABUNDANCE

I have been meditating on the word abundance. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. NASB.

God says we can have an abundant life. Abundance is having more than you need. I am not referring necessarily to temporal needs in our daily lives but more about the abundance in our hearts. I would say more times than we wish we are living life half empty. We aren’t experiencing abundance on a nearly empty tank! We cannot live life to the full when we do this. Eventually we will crash and burn.

Psalm 63:1 says, “O God, You are my God, I shall seek You earnestly. My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

When we get thirsty we grab something to drink but so many times when our soul seems dry we just keep on pushing and ignore the signs that we need to stop and drink. We need to take some time to sit at Jesus’s feet like Mary did and listen to Him speak to us. We need to fill our tanks with living water. Cars may run on gas but we run on Living Water! Jesus says for us to come and drink. Take some time to sit quietly and ask Him to fill you up today. Drink until it overflows, there is more than enough…….there is an ABUNDANCE!

CONSTANT

This was a word spoken to me in my spirit when I was having quiet time with the Lord early in May of this year.

Constant – Marked by firm steadfast resolution or faithfulness. Merriam-Webster

As I sat curled up in the chair in my study this morning I was thankful that the Lord also was there. I heard the word ‘constant’ in my spirit. I was reminded as I sat quietly in my chair that the Lord never changes. He is constant! I did not have to be concerned that He didn’t want to speak this early in the morning, or what mood He was in this morning or whether He remembered that I was impatient yesterday or if He really LIKED me that much. He is the same yesterday, today and forever! My forever friend who never changes. Yes He is CONSTANT! In a world that is in a mess and life that is not always so put together as a freshly made bed with hospital corners I can trust that He is here when I get up. I am grateful for my CONSTANT friend’s love and presence this morning.

Living by the brook,

Marilyn Greganti

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Kermit the frog had a saying “It’s not easy being green.”  Sometimes as a Christian it is not so easy either being green. There are a couple of significant scriptures that address people who love God being like trees planted by the water.  One is found in Psalms 1:2 & 3 “But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither and they prosper in all they do.” Another is Jeremiah 17: 7 & 8 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit.”

In today’s culture there is a sense of entitlement that the world owes them something. I think that this culture sometimes creeps into the lives of Christians and our church experience. We really don’t want to have to do much to be fruitful or have a blessed life. We want to attend church on a Sunday morning once in a while and expect that the pastor feed us so that we can sustain ourselves on that spiritual food until we come back again. But that is contrary to what the Bible teaches.  If we want something we have to do something.  If we want God to draw close to us, we must draw close to Him. If we want answered prayers, we must pray. If we want love, we must give love. If we want to flourish as a Christian, we must be planted, fertilized and watered regularly.

Have you noticed how green things are that are planted by brooks and streams? They are healthy because they are clustered together under the protection of other vegetation, they have good soil that provides them support and water to keep them from drying out.

As Christians we need the same things. We need to be surrounded by other believers, we need to continually enrich our souls with the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to water our spirits so that we do not dry out.  Being green and staying green takes work.  It is a process to become a mature, green tree in the natural and it is a process to become a mature, healthy, life-giving tree as a Christian too.

I want to continue on my path of staying green after 47 years of being a Christian but it will take me remaining involved in the process by staying planted along the riverbank of God’s presence and feeding upon His Word regularly so that my leaves stay green and I always produce fruit.

I hope it is your desire to be a strong, sturdy tree with deep roots and that you will produce fruit even in a drought. Just remember it isn’t always easy being green but what is impossible for us alone is possible with God!

Living by the brook,

Marilyn