In today's fast moving culture many people don't take the time to stop and think about what is going on around them, most don't even think about what they are about to do before they do it. In contrast I believe that we should take every thought captive and meditate on why we do what we do before we do it. Without a valid reason actions are a pointless waste of time and since time is one of the most valuable things we have I believe that we should take some time to think about Life because it is important.
So here are my "Thoughts on Life".

Consecrated Lord to Thee

Today I have been thinking about the state of the Church and our nation. I have been thinking about how we can change our nation and what is required for us to move into what God has for our nation. One of the many things that has gone through my mind is that God wants us to be completely dedicated to Him, He wants us to be Concecrated to Him.

A couple of years ago I wrote a article of sorts about Consecrating the Church and I found it today and thought that it was time to bring it out again.

Consecrated Lord to Thee
By Joshua Russell 10-24-06

Take My Life and Let It Be A song by Frances R. Havergal.

Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee; Take my hands and let them move At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee; Take my voice and let me sing, Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages from Thee; Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in endless praise; Take my intellect and use Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine; Take my heart, it is Thine own, It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure store; Take myself and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.

Consecrate the Church
This is a song of surrender and submission to say “Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee” means take my life Lord, purify and use me. To offer your self up as a sacrifice is the meaning of Consecration (Consecrate - to dedicate something or somebody to a specific purpose ~ Encarta World English Dictionary.)

"Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, 'Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the LORD, the God of Israel, has said, "There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst." (Joshua 7:13)

Today’s Church must rise up and Consecrate it’s self unto the Lord. We must remove all sins from our midst not because it is required for salvation, but for three other reasons, which I would like to discuss in more detail, these are 1.) As an act of Gratitude, 2.) To enable us to stand before our enemies, and 3.) To prepare for tomorrow.

Reason 1: As an act of Gratitude
If you have truly accepted Christ into your heart how can you help but be Grateful for all that He has done for you? He gave his life so that you might live what more can you do than to offer up your life as a living sacrifice and consecrate yourself unto the Lord? If you are Grateful for your salvation and the grace given to you then should you continue sinning? If you are already forgiven of all your sins (past, present, and future) should you worry about continuing to sin? These are question that every Christian must ask himself / herself at some point in their life. I believe that the Apostle Paul stated it very clearly when he said

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? [2] May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1-2)

So what shall we say then? Will we say that since Christ has given us grace we will “live life to the fullest” or will we say, “Father not my will but Yours”. What will you say?

“So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, [27] that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:26-27)

Christ has cleansed us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9) by the washing of the water with the word, so that He might present to Himself the Church in all her glory. Who doesn’t want a perfect and spotless bride? A bride that is holy and blameless. For this reason we must sanctify ourselves though the Word of God, that we might become the holy and blameless bride of Christ. Ask any bride-to-be on the night before her wedding and she will say that she wants everything to perfect for her wedding. She will want her dress to be perfect and beautiful, and she will want herself to be perfect and beautiful. So I ask again, What more can we do than to offer ourselves a living sacrifice and consecrate ourselves unto the Lord?

Reason 2: To enable us to stand before our enemies
Imagine: it is 1314 A.D. and you are in the army of Robert the Bruce, you are fighting for the rightful King of you country, however you do not have on any armor and you are carrying several burdens. You might wonder how you are able to stand and fight while carrying these burdens, and you are right to wonder because you can’t. A knight can’t go into battle loaded with stuff and without his armor. Neither can a Christian go into battle and fight the evil one while loaded down with sins and without his spiritual armor.

This is the second reason why the Church must be re-consecrated unto the Lord. If we as a body are going into battle carrying our sins and leaving our armor how can we expect to stand strong against the wiles of the devil? We are instructed in Romans 6 to put on the full armor of God.

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." (Romans 6:11)

We are not called to put on only the parts of the armor that we chose, rather we are called to “Put on the full armor of God”. When arming for battle a knight would not put on his armor on-top of his court attire (worldly baggage), rather he would remove all of the things that would get in the way and hamper the efficiency of his armor. Likewise we as Christians must put aside the things of this world that way us down and keep us from going in to the entire world to spread the gospel (Mark 15:16). So today’s Church must set aside the things of this world, take up the armor of God, and consecrate itself unto the Lord

“But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness you are blessed AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, [15] but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:14-15 emphasis mine)

When you stand before an enemy you must do so with courage and with power. Imagine: the smallest weakest guy in school standing up for what is right against the biggest strongest guy in school. Would the big guy think that the little guy was very dangerous? Of course not he would laugh in his face and ridicule him in front of the entire school. Now imagine that the little guy is ready to make a defense against everyone who asks him to give an account. Imagine he knew karate and so could beat the big guy. Now consider your average Christian, they don’t know what they believe, they are apathetic about what their faith. They are sort of like the wimpy guy that doesn’t know karate, they don’t have a chance whenever someone challenges what they believe. They are not “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks them give an account for the hope that is in them [paraphrased]”, today’s Church must learn what they believe and be able to give an account of it to whoever asks.

Reason 3: To prepare for Tomorrow
The meaning of sanctification is.

SANCTIFICATION - The act of consecrating or of setting apart for a sacred purpose; consecration.” [Noah Webster 1828]

So in order to become consecrated we must go through the process of sanctification and set ourselves apart for a sacred purpose. In part 1 I discussed that how consecration (sanctification) should be done as an act of gratitude, in part 2 I talked about how we must be consecrated (sanctified) in order to stand before the enemy, remember how I talked about the knight without armor and loaded with stuff and how he can’t do battle? Now in part 3 I would like to talk about the reason for sanctification, which is the process of consecration.

As an example of sanctification consider the refining of gold. The gold starts off as a lump of ugly useless rock, and the refiner takes it and puts it into the fire (trials and hard times). While in the fire the sludge and grime (our baggage and stuff) are separated from the gold, it is then put in to the fire again and more sludge is removed this process is repeated several times (we go through hard times throughout our lives) to ensure that all the sludge is removed. Next the partially refined gold is refined in water (Eph. 5:26) and it is then 99.99% pure (our lives will never be completely pure until we are with Christ in eternity)

So you see how the process of sanctification takes a lifetime and even then is not complete no matter if you live to be 200 years old you will still not be completely sanctified. For as long as we are still in our physical, carnal bodies we will not be completely sanctified, however we must continue to “read the Bible, Pray every day so we can grow, grow, grow” we must continue to strive for purity and holiness because that is what it takes to be a living sacrifice. We, the body of Christ, his Church must prepare ourselves for tomorrow. For we are the bride and tomorrow is our wedding day, we must cleanse and prepare ourselves for our Savior and Lord.

If we want to be ready we must consecrate ourselves unto the Lord and dedicate ourselves as living sacrifices. So the question I ask you is this, Are you ready for the Lord to do wonders?

“Then Joshua said to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.'” (Joshua 3:5)