Love Feast Day #9: Get Lost In His Sacrifice

happybirthday!Welcome to the Get Lost Online Love Feast designed to help you feast on the love of God for ten days in an effort to overcome the angst of craving a guy!

Each day I’ll post worship music to focus your heart, a key Bible verse, and a prayer to pray just prior to a short devotional that’ll bring your heart to the banqueting table of God for a fulfilling and relevant teaching on what your heart truly craves! (Each of these is an excerpt from a love feast chapter in Get Lost: A Girl’s Guide To True Love where you can have the full experience. )

You’re deep into his love now on day #9, so it’s time for some hard truth. Love costs something. How will you dare to submit to His sacrifice?

Get Lost in His Sacrifice • Submitting To His Cross

Focus your heart in worship by listening to this song:

“Hosanna” By Hillsong United

Gain heart focus by praying Scripture out loud:

O Lord, You created me in Your very image. In the image of God You created me. You created me female, distinct from male. Through this distinction, together we can be a full picture of You. Sometimes this happens in marriage when You call a man to leave his father and mother and to hold tightly to a wife. One wife. In that way, we become one flesh just as Your distinctly different parts—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—are really only One God. This is such a mystery to me, but You say marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church, and I choose to believe that. Thank You for letting me reflect You as a woman. Help me to do it with the same kind of sacrifice that You displayed and want to see mirrored in my life. (Adapted from Genesis 1:27; Ephesians 5:31–32)

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Matthew 16:24–25

A sinful woman comes to a feast where Jesus is reclining.

The others are feasting on food.

She’s there to feast on His love.

Upon her arrival, the others turn up their noses. They don’t understand why she’s even there. They know her scandalous past. But they wonder if Jesus knows.

For the record, He does.

And He knows that her past is precisely the reason she is there. She wants to erase it. Start over.

She takes out a little alabaster jar of expensive perfume. Breaks the wax seal on top. Pours the expensive perfume on Jesus’s feet and wipes them first with her tears, then with her hair.

The meaning is clear.

She’s completely His.

No man will want her now that the symbol of her virtue—that jar with its wax seal intact—has been ruined. In her world, only a woman with such a jar would ever be chosen by a man. She knew what she was doing when she broke open the jar and spilled out the perfume. She was saying, “There’s no one else that I could love like You. And nothing that means more to me. My future is dead. I’m Yours completely.”

Jesus once said:

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love [agape]has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:12–13

He loved you enough to give His life for you.

Do you get that?

Maybe you can identify with my confession: I have heard the story of His death so many times that my heart has become hardened. (If the person in the movie theater eating popcorn and opening candy wrappers next to me during the crucifixion scene of The Passion of the Christ theatre is any indication, I’m not alone.) How can I say it so that you hear the story in a fresh way? So that you don’t brush past the grief and loss and gravity of His sacrifice?

Let me just remind you how the earth groaned and suggest that it has not mourned in such a way since:

“It was now about the sixth hour and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed” (Luke 23:44–45).

Darkness covered the land for about three hours in the middle of the day. The sun hid. I believe the hush may have been suffocating. Fear-filled. All nature seemed to lose its ability to function, stunned by the horrific sacrifice occurring at the dead center of God’s love plan. Creation reported the enormity of the sacrifice. The depth of the spiritual darkness.

It cannot go without noting that the sixth hour was the exact time that the Jewish priests would begin the slaughter of the Passover lambs. Passover, you’ll recall, was the Jewish feast that had brought Jesus and His disciples to Jerusalem. They would have been among two and half million faithful observers crowding the city. Each family would bring a lamb for the priests to offer up. To picture the gore of the scene, simply consider this: in the year AD 70 Jewish historian Josephus recorded that the priests offered up more than a quarter of a million lambs on the Temple’s altar—256,500 to be specific.73 Each lifeless and blood-drained. You can imagine the stench of dying flesh, pools of blood, and the mad swirl of flies that descended onto the sacrificial lambs.

In timing His death to the day and hour that the Passover slaughter began, Jesus provided a vivid picture of what He was rescuing them—and us—from.

His body lifeless.

His blood drained.

The stench of death on Him.

The flies swirling on His body.

Just soak that in.

Stop.

Meditate.

Imagine the weight of the darkness. The hollow silence. The fear that tormented those at the foot of the cross. Surely all of life was coming to an end.

And it was.

At least life as it was once known.

Luke 23:45 reads:

“And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.”

At the moment of our dear Savior’s death, the darkness subsided. The three inch thick temple curtain that separated mankind from the presence of God in the Holy of Holies ripped in two, giving us access to His presence.

Our freedom from sin and death came at a great cost, but our Savior held nothing back.

And He encourages you to love just as sacrificially.

We don’t always get to choose our sacrifices, as the sinful woman in Luke 7. Sometimes sacrifice is thrust upon us. Such was the story of Heather Bullock.

She had a dream life complete with a dream guy. And a dream proposal that happened on a boat while dolphins jumped in the water. On top of all that came a dream house highlighted by a rainbow overhead when Heather and her fiancé found it. (No kidding!)

After six years of dating, this college senior’s life was going just like she’d planned. The wedding invitations had been sent. Her dress was ready. The next three months couldn’t go fast enough.

Then came the text.

He didn’t love her.

He wanted out.

Taylor Swift’s twenty-seven-second breakup telephone call from Joe Jonas doesn’t hold a candle to this heartless act. Breaking an engagement by text?

Heather was left breathless. She cried more tears than she thought possible. Spent hours in the fetal position. Tossed and turned and watched old episodes of I Love Lucy through the night.

And her Savior saw her. The Word who was and is and is to come, may just have inspired these words for her long ache of a night:

You have kept count of my tossings;

put my tears in your bottle.

Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8)

For the next four weeks, she mourned the death of her love and her life as she knew it.

Then came the sun.

It rose over lingering thunderheads that Thursday morning, creating a spectacle of God’s glory that called even a brokenhearted bride to worship. It felt like a promise to her crushed spirit. In the morning rush to her student teaching assignment, she snapped a quick picture with her iPhone. She didn’t aim. She didn’t look. Until she got to school. There she grabbed her phone and glanced down to see what she’d captured.

It wasn’t what she expected.

Tears flowed. Not tears of grief but of hope.

In the photo on her iPhone the glorious morning rays served as a backdrop to a solid telephone pole, which created the unmistakable silhouette of the cross. Heather found herself breathless once again, but this time from the magnificence of a certainty that she knows a Love that never leaves, never hurts, never rejects.

(Creation still reports the truth of the Sacrifice to us, doesn’t it? But now it sings with the lightness of hope—of new life springing up in our places of death.)

At some point, each of us must choose if we will hold tightly to the broken pieces of our shattered plans as victims do, or if we will drag them up and hoist them onto the altar of sacrifice as victors do. Heather chose victory.

The sacrifice is evident in her seemingly supernatural ability to thank God for the groom who left her…because he told her before the wedding and he respected her desire to remain pure. (Now that’s a girl diggin’ for gratitude!)

The sacrifice is what gave her the strength to crumple up the wedding vows she’d written with her fiancé and renew her vows with Jesus.75

The sacrifice is what gave her the strength to abandon her plans completely and ask God to reveal His plan for her. And it’s what brought her to me.

You see, on one of the bad days, she decided she might just have to become an astronaut. Even visited the NASA website to learn how. Upon hearing of her wayward Googling, a true friend helped her redirect it.

“Let’s Google ‘ministry internships for Christian women,’” her friend suggested.

They did.

And found mine.

For a blessed season of my life Heather was been continuing to heal, all the while fearlessly pouring out everything she has into the hearts of teen girls through my ministry. (Which I’d take over being an astronaut any day!) That’s what I call sacrifice. Giving Him everything, when it feels like nothing is left.

Heather modeled for the photo on the cover of Get Lost which is quite fitting. She’s as lost in God as she’s ever been.

God’s will is what we would choose if we knew what God knows.76

—Nancy Leigh DeMoss

I realize that this devo seems to be all about breaking up with boys. That was not my intention when I drafted it, but then I realized that if we are to truly be released from the Violent Craving (which I taught about on tour and you’ll find more on it in the book) we must be willing to sacrifice our hopes and dreams for marriage even if we are never called to do it. This is a book, after all, about getting so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find you.

But the sacrifice is not just about boys.

It can be about anything.

For me it has been about horses.

I remember the first time I sat on a horse. Though still a little girl, I felt power and energy perched atop that sorrel Quarter Horse belonging to my Uncle Ron. My desire to have one of my own was birthed in an instant.

As I grew older, I thought I might outgrow my desire, but I never did. So I never stopped asking God to give me a horse. Just one! Then in the midst of writing books, organizing ministry events, and even starting a Christian high school with my husband, I sensed God ask me to stop asking.

“I’d like your horse,” I felt God whisper.

I wept. I didn’t want to give Him my dream.

I grieved. Wrestled with God for a good week. “I’m doing a lot for You. Can’t I just have this one thing? I’m working hard for You. Please!

I felt God say, “I need your resources right now. That’s a distraction.”

Though I knew it was true, my heart’s response was so ugly. I pleaded. I begged.

Then He reminded me of how much He’s given.

That His cross was far heavier.

That this was a really small one for me to carry.

At last I willingly sacrificed my love of horses. The desire was erased. Surrendered completely like nothing I’ve ever known in my life.

And I was okay with that.

What enabled me to do this was certainty in the fact that God is no killjoy. He delights in giving us good gifts. In fact,

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).

God wants to give you so much. In fact, the book of Ephesians says that everything He has is yours. But He asks you to give everything that is yours to Him.

Write Your Story

Did any specific dream or item come to mind as you read the stories of the sinful woman or Heather Bullock or my love of horses? If so, start there. Begin to write about it in the lines below and ask God if it is something He wants you to sacrifice. Here’s the real question: is it His? Could you give it to Him if He asked for it? Will you, if He already has? He wants all of you.

For a talk-show meet’s video-style video of me and some of my favorite girls talking about today’s Love Feast, watch this video.

This is a partial excerpt of Get Lost: A Girl’s Guide To True Love (Chapter 15). I’m happy to provide this as a gift as you join us for the ten day love feast. For the full text of Day Nine of the Love Feast, you need a copy of Get Lost.

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