A fragrant offering.

Will your life bring God the highest of praise?

Throughout history, there have been few who truly lived lives worthy of the calling they have received. These few were not afraid to stand alone or to be ridiculed because they didn’t fit the mold of the world around them. They did not rely on their own strength in order to live out the plan that God designed for their lives. They stood firm in their faith despite countless trials and hardships. They believed for the impossible. They left a mark on our history that will never be forgotten even though many of them served in obscurity. They did not seek their own glory but the glory of the only One who is worthy- Jesus Christ. They were men and women of character, possessing qualities that modern Christians shy away from and even find repulsive. However, character takes time to develop; despite the common misconception that character is something that we can attain overnight- in our own strength. God alone can form a noble character inside the heart that is completely surrendered to Him. True Christianity requires absolute abandon- a truth that has been long forgotten by the Church. Abandoning yourself completely to God means no longer living for your own dreams, desires, and ambitions; it means yielding to God’s glorious plan and purpose for your life. The life God calls us to can only be lived by His strength as He lives in and through us. Yet, God cannot live through us if we don’t allow Him to have complete control over every area of our lives. Being a real Christian is not about going to church to hear a “nice” sermon on Sundays and then living unchanged by the Word of God for the rest of the week. Being a real Christian is about encountering God every day of our lives and giving up everything in order to spend time with Him. It’s about being in love with God and lifting our hands in worship to Him when no one is around but us and God. There are few people who get to know God in a really intimate way. The ones that do are able to rejoice in the midst of trials because they overflow with the joy of the Holy Spirit, a joy that is not dependent on the ever-changing circumstances of life. They know that they can become more like Christ if they persevere in faith, allowing the fire to burn away all the chaff in their lives and to refine their character. I can’t help but get so inspired by the story of Betsie ten Boom! Her and her sister Corrie were arrested and sent to a concentration camp for concealing Jews in their home during the Nazi occupation of Holland. Betsie grew weaker and weaker while being imprisoned at the concentration camp and before her death, she told Corrie, “…[we] must tell them what we have learned here. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here.” Hebrews 11:33-38 (ESV) is filled with examples of people such as Betsie ten Boom, “who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy— wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” Leslie Ludy, an example of a real woman of faith in our generation wrote in her book, AUTHENTIC BEAUTY, “Today, there are few examples of [men and] women who put their own trials and struggles aside to sincerely worship their [God], no matter what their circumstances. It is all too easy to become consumed with our own pain, doubts, and fears and forget that our heroic Lord is standing beside us, holding our hands, faithfully weaving all things together for His amazing purpose (see Romans 8:28). Too often we forget to adore Him, to thank Him for His incredible love and faithfulness to us. But in every generation there are a few who make another choice—a choice to shamelessly, tenderly, reverently adore their [God], no matter what they are going through. And they are filled with a matchless radiance that is not of this world. Are you willing to be one of the few?” The world will never be the same if you do.

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