Songs of Ascent: Day

Sacrifice

by

Today's Text: Psalm 129; Romans 12:1

As believers, as sisters, as we walk together – it would be beautiful if our ascent and our growth toward the Lord was built by smiles and blessing alone. If we could get closer to Him through constantly being understood and experiencing harmony. Goodness, that would be preferable.

But if you’ve walked with Him, if you’ve spent any amount of time growing through His grace, you probably already know that much of our intimacy with the Lord is built on us being made like Him as we experience tiny shadows and whispers of pain and sacrifice like Jesus did. We’ll never know the full weight, the full burden of the pain that Jesus endured on the cross for our sins, but we know hurt and we know sacrifice.

Psalm 129 is such a beautiful reminder that life with the Lord isn’t an ever increasingly beautiful fairytale. The psalmist was greatly afflicted for years and years and he knew the rest of Israel could relate. You’re going to suffer and I’m going to suffer and none of us are immune to pain.

So how in the world does this help us?  Does this push us closer to the Lord?
Insert Romans 12:1.

By the mercy of God, we can present ourselves as sacrifices, holy and acceptable, as worship. We can let the Lord grab up our hearts and shame and pain and hold them open to Him for His glory and the good of those who love Him. We can trust in the midst of trial and hold fast to the hope with which we were first presented when we placed our life in His hands.

Singing cheerful songs of blessing and glory and grace is an act that is good and right and often timely. But there is beautiful worship for all of us in recounting:

These are my afflictions. This is my God. He has the right to use my life how He deems and I will not respond as one who knows no hope. No matter the trial, I will not be prevailed upon. I will respond as a daughter who counts it an honor to identify with my Savior in suffering and sacrifice. When you pass by me, in any season, you can be certain that the blessing of the Lord is upon me.

  • LaurenC_

    As so many others have commented, the last paragraph of today's post was some kind of POWERFUL. I read it this morning, copied it to my prayer journal, and it has stayed with me all day at work. I, too, need it written on a sign to wear around my neck, with flashing neon arrows pointing to it so I won't forget it! What an incredible blessing SRT is. What gifted writers. God is here!! This reading plan has truly opened up my heart and mind. One comment to today's post, in particular, opened up my heart even more – this from Rici above: "He had a plan for me and suffering was indeed part of it. It had to be or I wouldn't be where I am today. Loving Him. Trusting Him." What a treasure God has given me, to grab this wisdom from you all! I just refreshed my reading plan in the app and saw that we only have a few more days left of this plan :( I already know it is one I will return to many times. This has been a truly beautiful Lenten season for me – in all its worry, pain, stress, and harsh pruning – it has still been beautiful and I can only thank God for bringing me here, to this place. I hope this season has been beautiful for you all, as well. Good night y'all!

  • megpadill

    I am sharing this prayer. I was inspired by the leader's original. I share it in faith. I share it in hope. As I make my own pilgramage with all of you that this will one day be true of me.
    This is Jesus the one I love, who gave his life for me, who suffered. Since I have given him my life, he may use it however he wishes and I WILL NOT RESPOND AS ONE WHO KNOWS NO HOPE. i WILL RESPOND TO MY HEAVENLY FATHER AS HIS DAUGHTER WHO CONSIDERS IT A GREAT HONOR TO KNOW THE LORD THROUGH SUFFERING AND SACRIFICE SO THAT WHEN ANY MEMBER OF THE HUMAN RACE, WHEN THEY SEE ME AT ANY SEASON OF MY LIFE, BE IT WINTER, POURING RAIN, BITTER COLD, GUSHING WATERFALLS, VERDANT GREENS, DRY AND HOT, OR BASKING IN SUNLIGHT –THEY WILL ALL KNOW THAT THE BLESSING OF THE LORD IS UPON ME. THIS IS MY PRAYER, MY DESIRE, MY DECLARATION OF FAITH, MY DREAM.

  • When you pass by me, in any season, you can be certain that the blessing of the Lord is upon me.
    ~WOW! That is a powerful statement.
    Today's lesson also reminds me of the verses in 2 Corinthians 12:10. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (kjv)
    Thank you ladies for the wonderful lesson and the encouragement it brings daily.

  • Powerful!
    That was just the encouragement I needed.
    Thank you for this lovely post.

  • Thank you ladies that went to my blog. The Lords been telling me I need to write it. And thankful for the constructive feedback I received. I plan on doing a major rehaul. Really excited about it and thank you, I want to make it something people will tell their friends about as when I get up to day 15… It'll knock your socks off. ! I have yet to tell the story in person that the person doesn't get goosebumps. Thanks to all of you ;) <3 U

  • I usually read 3 versions, NIV through my Bible and the NLT and MSG on you version. Romans 12:1 is a verse I've had underlined for a long time, and one I need to remind myself of often. But, the MSG version really hit me this morning: "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him." My husband often gets frustrated with his work, and I've been wanting to encourage him. As I lay in bed last night, Colossians 3:23 came to mind:"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." As I read the MSG version of Romans 12:1, I drew a correlation between these 2 verses. Col 3:23 doesn't speak directly to sacrifice, although maybe in the undertones, but "whatever you do" and "everyday, ordinary life" connected for me.

    "Lord grab up our hearts and shame and pain and hold them open to Him for His glory and the good of those who love Him." This will be another prayer for me.

    God Bless.

  • Count it all joy…these are but light afflictions…it is my reasonable service.

    God is continually working things out for my good even when it does not feel good. He is preparing me as the potter prepares the clay.

    I am thankful He is still working and I will therefore submit to Him. He is then able to create me into the a vessel fit for His use.

    Jesus stated this in three of His four Gospels: “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross (daily), and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24 NLT) (Luke 9:23 NLT) (Mark 8:34 NLT)

  • Rocknitat55 — Thank you! I need the prayers! And well said! What an I inspiration! God’s purpose for our lives is to glorify Him. He will us and whatever circumstances He chooses to be glorified and witness and inspire others to draw near to Him! May God bless you, Rocknitat55

  • Like so many have already stated, that final paragraph is truly from God…definity WOW!

    When I first gave my heart over to God, so long ago, I thought it should be a fairy tale. Afterall, He is the God most high, and shouldn’t “I” be considered better than all those”sinners” out there in the world? I’m laughing now at the immaturity of my thinking and my faith. Of course it didn’t hold up. It wasn’t given over to God as the sacrifice…I couldn’t let go.
    But when in this last year, God ever so patiently, started revealing himself to me, and I truly gave my heart over to him, the pain and the sorrows were also given over to him. And what grace He has shown me, and what love is given me.

    This is so right….it doesn’t seem like a sacrifice at all. It becomes this journey in grace. His perfect plan.

  • How I needed this today. It’s been a very difficult morning and I am having an MS flare up and I am weak and worn. We have only one pediatric neurologist here, and that office canceled my daughters appointment and cannot get in back in for months. As many of you know, my daughter has special needs and multiple health concerns. There is no way to help her be functionally healthy without her neuro appointments. I was angry and I have wanted to scream or run to fb and bash the office, but God spoke to my heart to do this devotion and pray first. I am so glad that I listened, because it says it all. I too want those words hung on a sign in my house and posted on my morning make-up mirror because I need this reminder daily and many times throughout the day. God bless. In His Love, ~Andi

  • jesusgirl71

    What hit me was that in Psalm 129, the psalmist says he was afflicted by his enemies, but not defeated. Even though we may *feel* defeated, we are *not* defeated, not in the end. christ is the victor!

  • That last paragraph needs to be blown up, printed, and hung around me at all times.

  • songmistress

    I love how God connects things up (He's so awesome like that)! Last night at church (which on the third Sunday of each month is our "alternative, cafe', magazine style service), the theme was on suffering. I (along with a few other talented people) provide the music for these services. We do a mix of praise and worship, contemporary Christian and, oft times, some secular…when it fits with the theme. So, I pulled out R.E.M.'s "Everbody Hurts" (if you want to watch the video of my interpretation of the song, it's here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyIv5iL7CME).

    "Psalm 129 is such a beautiful reminder that life with the Lord isn’t an ever increasingly beautiful fairytale. The psalmist was greatly afflicted for years and years and he knew the rest of Israel could relate. You’re going to suffer and I’m going to suffer and none of us are immune to pain."

    EVERYBODY. None of us are immune. But, I love how Romans 12 encourages us to be proactive, not to take a victim mentality (which, I admit, can be a problem for me – Lord, deliver me!). Because, see, as someone who battles with depression, I certainly understand the lines in the song that talk about days and nights being too long and feeling like one has had too much of this life…but, the challenge for me is the hanging/holding on bit. Which, really, I can only do by the grace of God and trusting Him with the bigger picture, giving myself as a LIVING sacrifice and praying for Him to be glorified in my living. For me, to keep living and not check out before my time, that is the sacrifice.

    Everybody hurts sometimes… but, we are not alone. We're not alone because everyone goes through something. And, most importantly, we are not alone because God is with us…in our afflictions; in every season, we are blessed. Amen.

    • Rocknitat55

      oh so timely this was today. I remember when I first became ill. Recovered and now on my walker. Its amazing how many people try to explain to me why I have been afflicted. And if I just had enough faith I would put my walker down.
      This devotion clarifys that sometimes things just are! In his infamous wisdom Gods got a plan. My life is not my own.
      As someone who suffered with depression before my illness, now I certaintly have to make sure that I leave the "good china in the cabinet" cause I can throw the best pity party. lol God bless u 4 sharing.

  • This has truly minister to while am going thru right. Thank you Lord for your unforeseen wisdom and truth.

  • jen kinkade

    that last paragraph really took hold of me! wow! thanks for sharing.

  • Save_By_Grace

    Wow God is good all the time! On Saturday at my church's youth service we were talking about Romans 12:1. I see how God keeps reminding me to live in sacrifice in holy and acceptable unto to God. God i ask you that you keep reminding me of living in sacrifice and to be humble just like you cause that is what im suppose to be.

  • Carolynmimi

    "We' ll never know the full weight, the full burden of pain that Christ endured on the cross for our sins, but we know hurt and we know sacrifice."

    The author of our devotional hits the nail on the head, no escaping hurt or sacrifice.  It is also true that the Christian life doesn't mimic a "fairytale" except of course in the ending, "they lived happy ever after."  Romans 12: 1 calls us to the higher ground, to live this Monday as a breathing, willing sacrifice…not a doormat! Not a dead weight lying down on the altar of the day.  But, ALIVE, as a witness to each other and the world.

    One of the interesting things about sacrifice is that when our minds and hearts are in the will of God, we cease to identify it as sacrifice. 

    In the 1980s we started meeting with a few friends from our Church to discuss the Bible in our home.  The group had a dynamic membership, but a core group that continued meeting weekly for several years.  From that group, my husband committed to preparation for pastoral ministry, a decision that carried us on a roller coaster journey far from our circle of friends and family.  Believe me, "pastoral ministry is not for wimps!"  

    Also, another couple began preparation for foreign missions, ending after several years in Kenya, where they served for 4 years until the wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He has returned to Kenya, remarried and continues to work to support pastors in that country.  Folks really questioned their sanity when they sold everything to go to Bible College. 

    Neither of us ever really considered what we did as sacrifices…but others did.  

    LIVING SACRIFICE by its very description changes as our paths sink into the valleys and then rise up from the the gloom to head up the mountain.  Our worship results from acknowledging Christ and bearing with Him the suffering of this world.  

    Let us praise Him together, Sisters.  The suffering of this day will pass as will the joy, but we move forward as living, breathing witnesses to each other and the world. 

    "Let the redeemed of the LORD, say so."  Have a blessed Monday!

    • songmistress

      "Romans 12: 1 calls us to the higher ground, to live this Monday as a breathing, willing sacrifice…not a doormat! Not a dead weight lying down on the altar of the day. But, ALIVE, as a witness to each other and the world."

      Well said. I all too often give into a victim mentality and what you have said, and today's devo, really speaks to me about continuing to work on that wrong mindset. I tend to just want to go on home to glory… but, God wants me to be a LIVING sacrifice here and now.

      • Carolynmimi

        I struggle with the same tendency…hourly, no sometimes every moment I have to breathe deeply and pray to keep my head in check. My heart longs to be willing, but my head tends to absorb the toxicity that pervades and I plummet, becoming less a "living sacrifice" and more a self proclaimed martyr. That is why we must rise to encourage each other, just as you have encouraged me today.

    • jesusgirl71

      One of the interesting things about sacrifice is that when our minds and hearts are in the will of God, we cease to identify it as sacrifice.  wow! this is a new perspective for me. Love it!

      • Carolynmimi

        That has been my experience as I travel this road. If anyone would have told me 20 years ago that I would leave my home, children ( they were adults), family, friends and Church to go 600 miles so my husband could pastor a church–his first and we were in our 40's–I would have cringed in a corner and cried "not me, Lord." Others making even greater changes, choices to live in the will of God have told me similar stories..once the step of faith is taken…once the sacrifice is given..it does seem like a Real sacrifice at all. I cannot speak for all…I know some who would contradict this, but God has seen us through some of the roughest and most fulfilling years of our lives..

  • Candacejo

    I just filled an entire page in my SRT journal this morning!

    "We can trust in the midst of trial and hold fast to the hope with which we were first presented when we placed our life in His hands."

    "…But we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

    Rockita you are so correct that deliverance comes in many forms! And when the Lord walks us THROUGH a storm rather than removing us FROM the storm, the victory is so much sweeter!

  • Ladies, I have a favor to ask. I noticed that some of you did go on my blog that I have posted as a website on here. (And thank you). But I noticed no one has commented or is following. I would love to have one feedback. Granted its my experience…but I would love to share Tims story one day, and want to know what works and what doesn't. I will tell you too, this is just the set up. You see the whole crux of his story is the fact he witnessed a hit and run just a few days before he died, and chased the killer. Ultimately it will blow people away how God used it to bring Tm back. But I wanted to get all the lead in first. If anyone wants to email me at [email protected] I would appreciate it ;)

  • rocknitat55

    I am encouraged and reminded by this word today. That at anytime someone passing by, observing, participating in should see God in my life. This automatically puts me on notice… oh poor me me how dare I act in my pain as if I have no saviour. There is a scripture that says “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but God delivereth them out of them all.
    I suppose the problem is our definition of deliverenth is so different from his. In our minds and hearts we have the idea of what our delivereth is suppose to look like. We must remember his ways are not our ways. I remind myself daily as I run errands, clean house, shop, etc all with the aide of a Walker. God has told me that I am already healed! This sickness is not unto death! I believe it. If God said it. It doesn’t matter what it looks like or how I feel.
    Deliverenth come in many forms. SRT is such a form. So many of us all over the world cryied out to God for one thing or another, Lord teach me, comfort me, show me the way. And we were led here to this place where we gather each morning, some of us in homes, some without shelter but seeking the word of God which bonds us all together as a community.
    Lord, thank you for revelation knowledge. That my life belongs to u to use as you see fit afflictions and all. Ladies have a marvelous Monday!

  • Oh thank you for such timely words. I do grow weary of the so-called word if faith doctrine that tends to promote the notion that if you’re going through a tough time your faith is lacking or etc.
    Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (II Timothy 3:12 NKJV)
    though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8 NKJV)
    And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. (II Corinthians 1:7 NKJV)

  • “These are my afflictions. This is my God. He has the right to use my life how He deems and I will not respond as one who knows no hope. No matter the trial, I will not be prevailed upon. I will respond as a daughter who counts it an honor to identify with my Savior in suffering and sacrifice.”

    WOW!!! Does that ever hit me square in th heart! I’m with ya, AmyKelly…I want to have this before me always, written on my heart! Sooo needed this today! Thank you SRT! Thank you, Lord! Blessings to all today!

  • hooleywithaz

    happy monday! what a great reminder as we start the week. romans 12:1 reminds me of the language so often used to describe Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. He gave His body as a living sacrifice so that we all could have eternal life with Him and the Father and the Spirit. so it makes sense that we should worship in the same way, by offering our bodies and minds to God in worship, trusting and believing in Him who gave everything for us, that He will bring us through everything safely. no.matter.what.

    i've been having trouble making certain sacrifices lately, and this is so much help for me in trying to renew my strength so i can live like He wants me to.

  • This was great. I have come to a place in the last few years where I can truly be thankful for the valleys I walked through. During those time I felt so very lonely and often times I felt abandoned by our Lord. It's now that I can look back and be thankful for His grace and provision during those times. He had a plan for me and suffering was indeed part of it. It had to be or I wouldn't be where I am today. Loving Him. Trusting Him. Even in those dark times I realize all I have to do is reach out for His hand and He will guide me. I love reading the Psalms because I am reminded of those times of pain. But with that comes joy in the morning. I often pray that I might not get in the way, that no matter what, His light will shine through me. Time of trial or time of extreme joy or even times of just "normal".

    • hooleywithaz

      i love that…even times of just "normal". because He's there at those times too!

    • LaurenC_

      I feel your words so deeply. Thank you for sharing this from your heart.

  • This has really made me think this morning. No matter what I am passing thru at this moment, it is such a small sacrifice compared to the blessings God has given me. My prayer this morning is for this realization to stay with me as I go thru today. Please pray that His light will shine thru me consistently.

  • AmyKelly213

    But there is beautiful worship for all of us in recounting:

    These are my afflictions. This is my God. He has the right to use my life how He deems and I will not respond as one who knows no hope. No matter the trial, I will not be prevailed upon. I will respond as a daughter who counts it an honor to identify with my Savior in suffering and sacrifice. When you pass by me, in any season, you can be certain that the blessing of the Lord is upon me.

    Wow. I want to memorize this. I want to hang this on my door. Well written!! This has blessed me immensely! Thank you!!

  • I am really encouraged by the word each day, please pray me up that i may be a living sacrifice each day for the LORD. Thank you all much love and blessing..

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