Sacrifice

“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.” –Psalm 50:14

The Lord brought me to this verse in our alone time this Good Friday morning. Many times in Scripture we read that God does not desire our burnt offerings and animal sacrifices – He desires our hearts. I believe somewhere in the Psalter it says the sacrifice God desires is a broken spirit. But this morning – on the one day of the year dedicated to the remembrance of the greatest sacrifice of God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ – He commanded me to make thankfulness my sacrifice to Him.

This is not just a coincidence my friends. You see, this Easter I am nearer to the Lord than I have ever been before, but further from my family than I have ever been before. Like Christmas and Thanksgiving, Easter is a family holiday filled with love and traditions. In 21 years, I have never spent Easter away from my family. While I am grateful I am not missing Christmas, it is a very odd Easter holiday as I am on the other side of the world bundling up in the winter chill during a holiday that is typically the epitome of springtime.

Though the Lord made clear to me earlier this week that the meaning behind Easter is still the same, I still felt the whole experience of Easter would be different – and it will be. But that is exactly where the Lord caught me this morning:

As He awakened me before my alarm buzzed, all I could see and hear was Jesus praying to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then walking over to see His disciples sleeping. “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?” (Mark 14:37) I heard Jesus ask.

As I got out of bed and began to clean myself up for the day, the Spirit began to sing this song from the depths of my soul:

“I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene. And I wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean?

How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be! How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!

For me it was in the garden He prayed, ‘Not my will, but Thine.’ He had no tears for His own griefs, but sweat drops of blood for mine.

How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be! How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!

He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own. He bore the burden to Calvary, and suffered and died alone.

How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be! How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!

When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see, ‘Twill be my joy through the ages, to sing of His love for me!

How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be! How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!”

After I had been awakened to the voice of Jesus the night before His crucifixion and had this precious song sung over me by the Spirit reigning within me, it was at that moment the Lord then brought me to read His Word in Psalm 50: “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.”

This Easter may feel different to me for several reasons, but I have more than enough to be thankful for on this Good Friday. When Jesus prayed the Father would take away the cup of suffering He was going to face on this day, but further surrendered to the will of the Most High and not His own, God did not take away that cup of suffering.

Jesus paid the ultimate price for my sins and the sins of all humanity on this day. Jesus gave His life so I might have life and have it to the full! Not only on this Good Friday, or on Easter Sunday, or on Christmas Eve, but on every single calendar day and during every single moment I should praise the Lord in thankfulness for the gift of life and freedom He has given me!

Jesus was sacrificed on this day for me. Jesus was put to death on this day for you. Jesus was crucified on this day for our brothers and sisters warring against one another in Africa. Jesus surrendered to the will of the Father on this day for those enslaved in Asia. Jesus gave up His life as a ransom for many – you, me, our neighbors, our co-workers, our family, our friends, and our enemies – those we know and have never heard of. Jesus died for all of us on this day as He paid the penalty for all of our sins. None of us are worthy. Scripture says not even one of us is righteous.

On this Good Friday, I am thankful for the saving grace of Jesus Christ. During this Easter holiday, I am thankful for the presence of the Holy Spirit Jesus has given me and the promise that He will never leave me. My sacrifice to God is thankfulness for His love and redemption. May He be honored and glorified through my thankfulness today and forevermore!

I pray the Lord brings to mind the countless ways He has blessed us in life, but even more, I pray He keeps our eyes on His Son who gave us life. Though I am thankful for the many blessings the Lord continues to bestow upon me, I am forever thankful for the LORD.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” –Psalm 23:1

Father, help us to remember You, and give thanks to You and for You all the days of our lives.

“But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.” –Psalm 50:23

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