Tuesday, November 30, 2010

loving touch

I have been considering the word "Grace" which is so common throughout both the Old and New Testament and yet is not a word that we often use in casual conversation, or to describe behavior between people.  I found, from notes in my Bible, that the Hebrew word, Chesed, is used for grace.  Chesed literally means "lovingkindness".    My notes go on to say that the psalmists frequently used this word to describe God's character.  I have been searching for a mental picture to associate with "grace" and I am beginning to see that grace is a word that has more than one part.  Part of grace is attitude (love) and part of grace is action (kindness).  As I considered the reality of grace, I thought of two other words to capture the meaning... "loving touch".  One of the things we love so much about God is that He has entered our personal worlds and touched our lives.  Not only has He touched us to open the gateway of faith so that we grasp His reality.  He also continues to touch us for healing, for comfort, for understanding and also for discipline.  I believe that grace is such a powerful concept because it captures the concept that God loves us and God also touches us.  We experience God.  We don't just believe in Him.  I wonder what happens when we substitute the words, "loving touch" for grace in some familiar scriptures?

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace (God's loving touch) and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Acts 14: Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace (His loving touch), granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

Romans 5:2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace (experience of His loving touch) in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace (God's loving touch) abounded much more,

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace (are held in God's loving hands).

blessings to all who are experiencing God's loving touch and to all who need to find those eternal Hands,
Rob Smith

Monday, November 29, 2010

Grace expressed

Ezra 9:8 And now for a little while grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. 9 For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; 

Most of the times you see the word "grace" in the Old Testament it is used as a synonym for favor and is followed by the words "in the eyes of..." where people found favor in God's eyes or in the eyes of a king or other individual.  In Ezra we find one example of how favor is not only found...it is "shown".  Grace with its origin in Heaven provides a way of escape, a path for help and an opportunity for another chance to find life as our Maker intended.  Ezra is frustrated because the few who have survived 70 years of captivity in Babylon and Persia are coming back to Judah and falling into sin right away.  He wants the people to realize that their freedom is not due to the grace of a Persian King to set them free, even though King Cyrus was the one who issued the order...but by the Grace of God, who is the ruler over every earthly king.  If we consider our lives carefully we may see where the Grace of God has moved through the grace of men to provide the way of escape and new beginnings we also have needed, as we have come out of captivity.  As we recognize that Grace we, like Ezra, should turn our face to God in the only proper response to Grace: gratitude.  Gratitude has the same word origin as grace and so as we are shown Grace, we ought to reflect our grace.  God's divine favor should meet with our appreciation and thanks, and ultimately our worship.
Rob Smith

Sunday, November 28, 2010

why grace?

Ruth 2:10Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

Ruth almost couldn't believe that Boaz would allow her great freedom to glean in his fields, to provide for her thirst and to ensure her protection from any men that might harm her.  Men can have different motives for doing good deeds and Ruth wanted to be clear about Boaz and the reasons behind his kind acts.  Like Ruth, we are strangers to the Lord when we first come to Him.  In fact, we may have been blindly living for years without even regarding Him.  But there may come a day when we realize that we have been gleaning in His fields and He has not only allowed us to remain...He has protected us, nourished us and provided all we have needed.  It's interesting to consider Boaz' response to Ruth's question:

Ruth 2:11 And Boaz answered and said to her, "It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before.

Boaz had extended grace, or favor, to Ruth because he'd been moved by her loyalty to her mother-in-law and her willingness to leave all that was familiar and risk her entire future because she put the needs of Naomi before her own.  Ruth had demonstrated faith.  She'd gone to an unknown place among strangers of a different culture because she was willing to trust the God that Naomi worshiped.  We also find God's grace..His favor..when we are willing to trust Him enough to go to a place we've never been for a higher purpose than ourselves.
Rob Smith

Saturday, November 27, 2010


grace "pleasing quality, favor, good will, thanks," from L. gratia

Grace, like faith, is another word we use frequently as Christians.  Like faith, grace, is a verb that connects Heaven and Earth.  When I looked up the meaning from the online etymological dictionary (quoted partially above) I immediately thought of the words of the angels as they announced the birth of Christ to the Shepherds:

Luke 2:3 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 
       14 " Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

It seems that the arrival of Jesus was accompanied by the arrival of grace (goodwill) to men in a very special package.   The angels had front row seats to observe the Glory of God and the grace of God as Heaven and Earth came together in God's Son.   

The first use of the word "grace" in the Bible comes with the story of Noah:

Genesis 6:7 So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.

It's interesting to consider how the grace that Noah found led to his deliverance from judgment and the grace that we find in Christ also leads us to deliverance from judgment.  It's also interesting to consider the close association of finding grace and walking with God.
Rob Smith

Friday, November 26, 2010

the friendship test

We generally carry a lofty..exalted..view of the Lord.  Of course this is appropriate.  He is the one true God who has made all that we see, including our own lives.  He is great and He is all powerful and He is present everywhere.  Sometimes I think that it is easier to see this side of God than the more personal side.  Most of us have, or have had, close friendships with different ones throughout our lives.  There were a few friends to play with in the early years and a few friends to have adventures with in the adolescent years and a few friends to enjoy adult activities with later on.  Many of us have been blessed with a special kind of friend, called a spouse, to walk through the greatest of joys and challenges together.  We have especially appreciated those rare friends we feel free to come to in the dark times of despair, discouragement, and defeat.

But it occurs to me that, until our Lord has become this kind of friend, we have not found the kind of relationship He wants to have with us.  And so I thought of "the friendship test".  We can test the nature of our relationship to the Lord by asking ourselves if we have a friendship with Him that is as close as our human friendships.  Do we include Him like we include our friends?  Do we talk to Him as often, or as deeply, as we do with our best friends?  Do we laugh with Him and smile with Him to share the humor of life?

If we don't have a friendship with God that is as personal and real as our human friendships...what kind of relationship with God do we have?  I believe that we have been redeemed and restored so that we can enjoy and experience a friendship with the King that we adore.  He is the Great One and yet He longs to be our friend.

Exodus 33:10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.

blessings to other friends,
Rob Smith

Thursday, November 25, 2010

a personal Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving really is personal to be genuine, isn't it?  We are most thankful for those things that are most personal and most appreciated at the personal level.  So, as we celebrate Thanksgiving as a country and as families today, I also enjoyed a few minutes alone with the Lord by my favorite pond this morning.  I thought about the three parts of giving thanks.  There's the one who is thankful...there are the reasons to be thankful...and there is the One to express thanks to.  The exercise of actually saying Thank You to our wonderful Lord for the specific blessings He has poured into our lives seems to be one of the healthiest non-cardio forms of fitness. (Actually it is cardio...just a different view of the heart that is being exercised!).  To give thanks means to take a personal scan of our lives and consider the specific ways that we have been helped...from life itself, and health...to spouses who love us no matter what...to children who arrived as mystery packages in small bundles and then grew to reveal talents and qualities that amaze us...to parents who stood by us as we, ourselves, endured and inflicted growing pains...to the gift of His Son that we might live forever in Heaven.  So, giving thanks means to look in...to look up...and to express gratitude in sincerity to a great God who has demonstrated His love for us daily.  In a way it seems that expressing thanks should be as routine as breathing...we inhale His grace and exhale our gratitude.

Happy and blessed day of giving thanks to each of you.  I am grateful for all my friends and family!

Colossians 3:14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Rob Smith

Monday, November 22, 2010

Faith is...

Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.  (The New Living Bible)

Is there anything more dynamic and powerful than faith?  As people who have come to understand that God loves us deeply and personally and as people who have stepped out of total self reliance to really trust in God we have been washed by Jesus and washed away by waves of His presence and His promises.  We have found that God is not impersonal, distant, historical or debatable.  He is as real as the next person you see.  But this faith that connects us is not available until you exercise faith to be connected.  Something within must grasp that our greatest need is to be restored to God and then something within must realize that God has come to take care of that restoration.  It's almost like that time in junior high school when you went to yourfirst dance.  As you stood shyly in a corner of the dance floor you realized that the experience wouldn't be complete without dancing.  As you spotted a particular girl on the other side of the room, you knew that she would complete the dance.  Faith is like the courage to walk across the floor and ask for a dance.  Something inside tells you that, if you take that small step into the unknown, you will find what dancing is all about.
Rob Smith

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Heaven's reach

What kind of rope can the Lord throw from Heaven that we can grasp?  What kind of rope can the Lord throw from Heaven that He can use to pull us to safety?  
What kind of glue can the Lord use to attach the glory of His Kingdom to these shells of skin and bone that cover our spiritual identity?
What kind of wire can the power of God be transmitted over to reach us,  when we are familiar with cables, fiber optics and radio?

We live in a world that can be seen and touched but our destiny lies beyond in a place that transcends our senses.  

How are we connected to the Lord?

Faith is the way.  It is the rope that is sure and within our reach.  It is the glue that bonds us tight to His chest.  It is the wire  that has an origin in God's mind and heart and a terminal in ours.

This is the invisible rope, glue and wire needed to extend Heaven's arms to Earth's stumbling feet.  Perhaps the greatest miracles cannot be seen.

Jeremiah 38:11 So Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took from there old clothes and old rags, and let them down by ropes into the dungeon to Jeremiah. 12 Then Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, "Please put these old clothes and rags under your armpits, under the ropes." And Jeremiah did so. 13 So they pulled Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the dungeon

Rob Smith

Friday, November 19, 2010

faith: our confidence in the Lord


full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliabilityof a person or thing.

Faith provides confidence.  Actually the word "confidence" contains the latin root for faith: fidere (like the Marine motto: Semper Fidelis or "always faithful").  The "Con" prefix means "with, or together with".  So to be confident is to "have faith in something or someone".  We need to be confident in God because our confidence in everything else has a short life or a tendency to disappoint.   The confidence we have in God is absolute, once we have met Him on life's path and our eyes have been opened and the gate of our heart swung free to receive His forgiveness and His residence within.  Once we have come to meet Him personally, and we realize He loves us unconditionally, we are confident in Him and willing to trust Him wholeheartedly.  I really like the online definition (above) because we do have full trust in the "powers, trustworthiness, and reliability" of God.  Faith has been established in our hearts very much like the marines established a beachhead in the Pacific island campaigns of World War II.  Their presence on that foreign sand was achieved at great cost, but...once gained...was held and the position advanced until the entire island was won.  We were confident that the marines would secure the position that would lead to victory.  Faith is that beachhead in our lives and, because the Lord has landed, we are confident that He will win the entire island.

Ephesians 3: 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.

Rob Smith

Thursday, November 18, 2010

faith, exercised

Luke 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." 
6 So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. 

As we read of the miracles that took place in the New Testament we can probably relate to the request of the apostles in Luke 17:5.  We think that our problem is insufficient faith.  But it seems, from Jesus' reply, that the problem was not insufficient faith possessed...but insufficient faith exercised.  If we have been born again...regenerated...become new creatures in Christ, then faith has become more than a high sounding word.  It has become more important than sight.  Having tasted this living faith and welcomed the Lord into our hearts we have had a personal miracle and moved from death to life.  I think the Lord was really telling the apostles that it's not always about "having more"...it's about "doing more" with what we have.  After all, we don't "have" faith, like we have natural talents.  We have a relationship with the living God "through" the bridge of faith that He also has provided.  And I suspect that the Lord will walk across that bridge, and through our lives, to touch this world as we remove the barrier of "self".
Rob Smith

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

a supernatural resource

We read and hear a lot about our natural resources: oil, agriculture, timber, clean air, etc.  There are ongoing concerns about managing and preserving them to sustain us as well as future generations.  The debate on global warming shows up almost daily in the newspapers as we balance the continued industrialization of the world with our environment.  As I continue to consider "faith" and read through the use of the word in the epistles, it strikes me that faith is a great "supernatural" resource.  And, providentially, we don't have to worry about "over mining" or "faith depletion" as we live through our lives.

Faith encourages:
Romans 1:12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. 

Faith is the spark of life:
Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

We are justified before God through faith:
Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

It leads to peace:
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

It is our highway to God's grace:
Romans 5: through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

It is found in the mines and the forests and the deep wells of God:
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

It is our light for living:
Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

It is our fuel for living:
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the lifewhich I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Faith is the supernatural resource that is available to us all, that we might find our Lord, walk with our Lord and experience Life as He desires for us (and for others!)
Rob Smith

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

faith is a candle

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Faith in God is like a candle.  It starts in Heaven with God's great love for us.  The candle light has its source in the gift of Christ to us...the gift of forgiveness and restoration.  The candle is brought near us by the hand of God and we call this grace.  The flame of the candle is held near the unlit wick of our own candle.  If our wick is open, accessible and dry the flame of the candle from Heaven ignites our candle.  Once our candle is lit, the whole character of the candle is changed, from a decorative place on a table or mantle, to a functional carrier of light.  The candle now pushes darkness away and helps us to see clearly, for the first time.  We have received the light by grace and we now carry the light.  

Romans 5: 1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

The candle light we now have is the light that fills Heaven and so the shadows that have stood between us and God  are eliminated and we have an unbroken path of light to Him.  He keeps our light by the same grace which first brought the light to us.   And now He leads us to share in His grace by carrying the light to others...
Rob Smith

Monday, November 15, 2010

meeting Him, faith to faith

Romans 1: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

In this life, on planet Earth, we won't meet God, face to face.   That will come when we transition to the eternal dimension.  But we can know Him, just has surely, when we have met Him, faith to faith.  Apparently we cannot know God at all unless He chooses to reveal Himself.  God is a participant in faith, just as we are.  It is almost as if faith is like a master translator of languages.  If we are in a room where people all around us are speaking in a foreign language, their words would fall on our ears like the babble of water over rocks.  There is sound without meaning and we are outside of the communication and the relationship that those words involve.  But faith is a translator that takes the words of God and opens our understanding.  When we grasp the meaning of the words we understand the magnitude of His love and the longing of His great heart to know us.  Did we initiate faith...or is it a function or capability that we chose on our own?  I don't think so.  Just as the translator has language skills that we don't have, so we need faith to begin outside of our personality and we can no more take credit for our faith than we can take credit for the effectiveness of a good translator.  We appreciate faith like we appreciate the translator, but we love and worship the source of the message...we don't worship the translator.  Just as a translator can open our knowledge of a foreign culture and create new relationships with a people who were totally foreign, so faith can open our knowledge of Heaven and create new relationships with our Creator.  Our potential for that relationship has been dormant until faith comes to awaken it.  Once awakened, faith is at our side forever and the messages of Heaven await our ears and our hearts...as we choose to listen and trust.  (Clearly there is a very close relationship between faith and the Holy Spirit!)
Rob Smith

Friday, November 12, 2010

faith considered part 1

A few friends and I have been studying the book of Hebrews, gradually moving through the great work over the past year.  We finally reached the wonderful "Faith chapter" of chapter 11 over the past month and have enjoyed reading and discussing the "heroes of faith" who are described in that section.  The subject of faith is intriguing.  Of course faith is very much like trust.  Our modern word comes from latin:  fides "trust, faith, confidence, reliance, credence, belief," according to the online etymological dictionary.  From this information we see that faith is like a mountain that has a different profile when viewed from different points.  I think we often believe that faith originates within ourselves.  But as I consider faith it seems to describe the outcome, result or impact of forces that come from without and that generate a response within.  Our faith in God truly includes all the aspects mentioned in the dictionary...but did we come to this faith on our own?  How have we come to so absolutely depend on the Lord...to the point where we trust Him more than anything, or anyone, else?  I think the "process of faith" or the "generation of faith" is fascinating to consider.  Perhaps faith is better described than defined.  Peter addresses his second epistle to "those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" (chapter 1:1).  So faith is something that is "obtained" or acquired....and the faith that causes one to be a Christian is obtained somehow by the nature, character and works of Jesus.  So how have we come to "obtain" it?  Was it by our powers of deductive reasoning...our comparative study of all world religions?  Did we give God a try and find that we liked the outcome better than other things we'd tried?  Perhaps we get a clue from verse 3 of 2 Peter 1:  "as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness"  It seems that faith is associated with a great gift! "through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue"  And God proactively "called" us...got our attention somehow!

to be continued...
Rob Smith

Thursday, November 11, 2010

raise your sails

A sailboat almost looks forlorn when it sits tethered to a dock.  Its sleek hull suggests a design that embraces movement but its bare pole of a mast awkwardly thrusts upward in stark contrast.  Most sailboats spend the vast majority of their time this way, bobbing listlessly like water-bound ornaments to the piers and marinas where they are held captive.  But on rare occasions the owners will slip aboard, untie the lines binding the craft, and motor out to the open water.  There comes a time when enough open water permits the sail to be raised.  Finally the sailboat is fully dressed and the promise of the hull is met when an equally sleek and billowed sail unfurls and is quickened by a breeze, and the boat moves with a power that is, at the same time, invisible and full of grace.

This is the picture that comes to mind of one who has been born anew through the miracle of faith in our living God.  Even though we have been joined with our Lord, we often sit awkwardly tethered to a pier.  We have potential for motion but need to move out to the larger water where the promise of our design is completed, as the sail of faith is raised to catch the very present wind-breath of the Spirit of God.  That is when our design is finally realized and we move with a power that is, at the same time, invisible and full of grace.

John 3: The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." 

Rob Smith

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

post-retirement planning

These days working folks in the U.S. generally have to give retirement planning a lot more consideration than a generation ago.  That's because very few employers provide pensions for long service.  It's up to most people to save enough during their working years to create a base of money to draw from in retirement.  So there is naturally a great deal of focus given to IRA and 401k accounts and to putting enough away to last for retirements that can be as long as 30-40 years.  And much attention is given to strategies to make sure that money will last.  Of course it is also important to make sure that Wills andMedical Directives are in place.  People with more material wealth than they can use in their lifetimes study strategies to minimize estate tax as their assets pass to another generation.  It is interesting that more people don't focus on their "post retirement" plans.  Retirements can, indeed, last for 3 or 4 decades, but after retirement ends...eternity lies forever beyond.  In our hearts we know that we will spend the forever that lies past our physical death somewhere.  But have we faced the options and made any choices?  We may have faced the options in our 401k plans and made some choices.  We may have protected our hard-earned material goods from taxes and ensured they go to loved ones when we leave this life...but have we considered where we are going when we actually leave?  I am starting into the New Testament book of First Peter this morning.  Peter wants the readers of his letter to think about "forever planning".

1 Peter 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

You may know of folks who have their retirement planning in place but have neglected their "forever plans".  I think we'll find some guidance in the book of First Peter.  Won't it be wonderful to walk through the gates of death and into the everlasting kingdom of our Savior!
Rob Smith

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

animal talk

Matthew 10:16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 

We live in a society that is fixated on the economy.  It seems that the ups and downs of our financial picture have become the landscape that we see before us in the news, in our chats with friends and neighbors, and within our personal minds.  Wall Street is one of the most visible representations of the economy and every business day millions watch to see if the markets are "up" or "down".  We note the trends of up and down days and have decided to name them "bull" and "bear" markets.  These two animals are all over the business pages and even the front pages of our newspapers and many link their personal worth to their portfolio valuations as the bull and bear seem to charge ahead or tear down our savings.  Jesus also used animals as symbols for living.  Instead of bulls and bears, we hear of sheep and wolves.  As believers and followers of Jesus, we are the sheep and He is our shepherd.  We are sheep who live in the midst of wolves.  Interestingly, we are sheep on a mission (a difficult concept to visualize).  In Matthew, chapter 10, Jesus is preparing his disciples to go out and minister to another flock, the "lost sheep ofIsrael".  They have been empowered to cast out demons and heal the sick to show the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven in their midst.  They are to be sheep ministering to sheep, in the mist of wolves.  I believe that we are still sheep, ministering to sheep, today and we live in the midst of wolves.  Some of those wolves would have us think that our world is one centered on bulls and bears.  But we see that the real struggle is not in the economy, it is in the hearts of men, who are being sought by One who would take them upward and away from the one who would hold them back and take them down.  We begin to understand why we are sheep who need to be as wise as serpents, who do not harm...but rather help.
blessings, from one sheep to another,
Rob Smith

Monday, November 8, 2010

living sacrifice

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 

Yesterday we listened to our pastor walk through the great promise of God's mercy to those who have trusted in His work of salvation through His Son...and we also learned about our responsibility...our "reasonable service" to make Him number one in our lives.  I was struck especially by the two words: "living sacrifice".  It almost seems a contradiction...an oxymoron...to consider a living sacrifice.  Sacrificing something usually means to kill it in the offering process...to give up something living that could have been a source of food, clothing or trade to honor or make amends before the Almighty.  So how could such a thing as a "living sacrifice" exist.  And then I realized that we have a dual track identity.  We are physical and we are spiritual.  We are of this world and we are of another world, as well.  To be a living sacrifice must have something to do with putting the natural man...ruled by the fleshly influences of this world...down so that the eternal, spiritual man destined for Heaven might emerge.  

Romans 12: 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

It seems that, as living sacrifices, we have the choice each day of dying to self so that the Lord can fill our thoughts, change our ways and show Himself to others who are still ruled by the ways of the natural life.  He showed us the way when He sent Jesus to totally lay down His natural life and demonstrate the reality and superiority of the eternal life, by rising from natural death.  We are living sacrifices when we chose to live in Him and for Him and with Him despite all the other forces that seek to rule us.  Something must die if life is to prevail.
Rob Smith