Tag Archives: intimacy with Christ

The Value of Surrender: Saying Goodbye to Worry

***After spending time with the Lord this morning, I strongly believe there are readers who need to be reminded of this message today. He will be faithful to provide for you. To God alone be the glory!

Surrender. It’s an art that requires practice. A lot of practice.

Unfortunately, I’m still a novice in the art. Instead of releasing my grip and fully entrusting my cares to the King, I’d rather hang on to my dreams, my anxieties, and my need to perform, all through the white-knuckles of my small, clenched fist.  It’s not until I’m broken and left with nowhere to turn that I realize surrender is the only ticket for my relief. For my freedom.

He must become greater, I must become less.” John 3:30

I don’t want to wait until I’m broken anymore before I decide to give it all to Him. I want to practice this art of surrender every single day. What about you?

Surrender enables us to walk in complete freedom. And it severs the bonds of worry deep within our hearts. It contrasts with the self-reliance and the need to control our lives that choke our ability to let go and to trust God.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body,  I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

No one said it would be easy. In fact, it’s scary at times. But, it is the Lord Jesus who commands us to do this very thing if we are genuinely interested in pursuing a deep relationship with Him.

Let’s take a look into what Jesus says: “If anyone would come (to get to one point from another) after Me, he must (obligation, something necessary) deny (refuse to grant, reject, decline) himself and take up his cross (affliction, trial, troubles, faultfinding) and follow (to come after in time, to pursue, chase) Me. For whoever wants (covets, wishes, aspires) to save (redeem, defend, deliver, reclaim) his life will lose (to be defeated, fail to keep to or hold) it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24

Whoa. Just think about this passage for a second. Jesus is telling us that as we approach Him, we are required to reject ourselves (our own rationale in fixing life), to take these exact troubles (what is going to happen?, how is it going to happen?, when is it going to happen?, why hasn’t it happened yet?, or why did it happen that way?), and to pursue Jesus.

If we, in any form or fashion, attempt to believe that we can save our own lives and repair our own hearts then we will be absolutely defeated. But, if we aspire to freely give up our afflictions, then He will be faithful to redeem our lives and deliver us from our situations. Very powerful. 

Despite what it may seem, beloved, surrender is the victor’s stance. And we are victors in Christ Jesus. Surrender must be a way of life for us as His children.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:24-25

No matter what the situation is, we all want to know the answers to questions only He can answer. Here are just a few:

  • How will the house note be paid this month?
  • Will the Lord send me a helpmate?
  • Will I be healed from this sickness?
  • How do I parent my disabled child?
  • Am I going to have a job next month?

These are some serious questions, and as I was typing this segment of the blog, I felt a strong sense that the Lord wanted to speak directly to someone reading this today. Maybe several people reading this today. Please take this message directly back to the Lord as I am only a messenger (refer to 1 Corinthians 12:7-11). He will be faithful to confirm or to thwart that which is for (or not for) you. May He receive all the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

This is what I felt He wanted to say:

Deny yourself and follow Me. Give up your struggling in self-sufficiency and seek My heart, says the Lord. I am faithful, beloved. I see where you are today and I will comfort you if you will come after Me. I will not let you down. I am a wonderful Provider that owns cattle on a thousand hills. I am for you and not against you, My beloved. Trust in Me. Let it all go. I am for you. Always and forever, I am for you. I am a loving and faithful God. Seek Me while I may be found. Call upon Me and I will tell you many unsearchable things. I am the Great I AM. Look to Me always. Always, beloved. I know the way that is before you. And I will take hold of your hand and tell you ‘this is the way, walk ye in it.’Trust in Me, beloved. I am trustworthy and I am just. I am faithful beyond your understanding of faithfulness. Look to Me. I will not disappoint you. I will guide you along this path I have set before you. But, you must look to Me. I alone know what is ahead of you and I will not disappoint you. I will prepare you along the way. Do not be troubled, My sweet child. Do not be anxious, My beloved. I died so you may have freedom. Please do not be ensnared by hopelessness and empty troubles. Anxiety will cause you to waste away. It consumes enormous amounts of energy required for the day ahead of you. Trust in Me. I am a good God. A heavenly God. I know no evil. I know no sin. I am for you, beloved. I am for you. Look to Me. I invite you to look to Me. You will never regret where I lead you, My child. Never. If you will allow Me, I will bless you beyond measure. It’s okay if your heart hurts and you feel uncomfortable. I promise that I will lead you to restoration and redemption. I am faithful beyond faithful. Trust in Me for all your days and you will enjoy the best that life offers. I will grant you favor and success, My sweet child. I intend to do good to you, not to harm you. I intend for you to prosper and to succeed. These are the motives of My holy heart. I encourage you, beloved, to look to Me. Seek Me while I may be found. I am with you wherever you may go. I love you, dear one. You are My beloved. And I am Your God. Praise and glory be to My name alone.”

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’.” Psalm 91:1-2 

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8 

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’.'” Exodus 3:14

For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. ‘Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, And it will be a memorial to the LORD, For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off’.” Isaiah 55:12-13

My hope and prayer is that you may be encouraged by the simple fact that God loves you. He is for you. As His children, we must allow Him to work in our lives. We must give up our burdens and lay them at His feet. We must choose to surrender our cares to the Great I AM. If you know of anyone that can benefit from this message, please share it through our many social outlets below. Thank you!

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The Reassurance of Christ as our Shepherd

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I am sharing one passage of scripture each day this week. Specifically, we will focus on how each scripture can be used for your encouragement and life application. To God be the glory!

While meeting with the Lord this morning, I stood in the midst of a thick fog and observed the unhurried flow of a frigid river. The scene was peacefully still,  and my mind immediately recalled Psalms 23. As we read this passage, let’s be encouraged with the fact that Jesus Christ is not only our Lord, but He is also our shepherd:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, brining honor to his name.” Psalm 23:1-3 NLT

This is beautiful. Can you see the righteous and true depiction of who Jesus is in your life? Pay attention to what His word is speaking to us. This Psalm describes a deep, personal intimacy in which David refers to God as “my shepherd”. We can adopt this same attitude towards Christ.

While there are submissive sheep, there are also rebellious sheep. Let me ask you: Are you obedient to the Lord? Do you allow Jesus to be your personal shepherd? As you seek to grow in obedience in your walk with the Lord, you can be greatly encouraged by the clearly defined outcomes of choosing to allow Jesus to be your own personal shepherd.

1. When Jesus leads and you obediently follow, then you will have all that you need. Let that sink in for a minute. You will lack for nothing if you allow Jesus to lead you.

2. Jesus allows, desires, and longs for you and I to rest. And not just to rest anywhere, but to rest in the most vibrant, life-giving circumstances because of His faithful provision. Jesus can allow a sheep who’s been wrestling in the mud of life’s trials and tribulations to rest in the presence of His goodness (even if the trials continue). This is why He is the Great Shepherd. He desires extraordinary good for His sheep, which we can gain by submitting to His leadership, obeying His word, and including Him in our daily life choices through prayer .

3. As your Shepherd, Jesus promises that He will lead and direct you into places of peace. We all want peace. We don’t want to fret and worry and fear. How reassuring is it to know God doesn’t want that for us either? If we surrender our life choices (and the stress that often accompanies them) to the Lord Jesus, then we will be in peace. God wants us to enjoy life and to live in peace (which is exemplified in the form of His Son, Jesus, who first died to pay for our sins, rose to give us eternal salvation, and now leads us daily). There is no reason for any Christian to forfeit His gracious blessings.

4. As your Shepherd, Jesus renews your strength. Soak in this truth for a moment. This is what you are promised when Jesus leads you. He will renew your strength. In addition to strength, Jesus will guide you along the right (the correct, true, and righteous) paths, so that you may bring honor to His name.

We must release control of our lives. By releasing our worries and our deeply ingrained fears, we can trust God instead. Trust this Shepherd, who promises that we shall lack nothing that we need. Trust Jesus, because He truly is for your good. You will reap the benefits of letting go and letting God.

May your heart be encouraged and challenged today as you apply this passage of scripture to your own life.

Application Questions

1. What areas of your life do you believe are lacking the guidance of God? Where do you feel confusion, a lack of peace, worry, and/or a fear of what’s to come? I encourage you to prayerfully write these specific areas down on a piece of paper or in a journal.

2. Next, take these same areas you just listed (above in question #1), and prayerfully evaluate if you have surrendered these areas to the control and Lordship of Jesus Christ. By granting Jesus permission to lead you as your personal Shepherd and by trusting that He is eternally for your good, you can release your dependency on yourself and invite the power of the Holy Spirit to transform your life. This is where you will experience “rest in green meadows and peaceful streams.”

Recommended Prayer Points 

    • Deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the study of God’s Word
    • Humility to rely on Christ instead of yourself (or pride in self-dependency)
    • New measure of trust to depend on God and to believe He is truly for your good
    • Faith and strength to obey God’s word and to follow Him every day
    • Wisdom and discernment to know God’s will for your life

 

 

 

Photo provided by ndgallery.com 

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Healing a Heart with Humility: A Story of Forgiveness

In that moment of pain and rejection I described yesterday at the hands of a pastor, the Lord graciously provided me with further instruction: “Christy, I want you to forgive that pastor. Not because he deserves it, but because I do. I want you to humble yourself and remember that I am the One you are doing this for, and I am the One who sees you and rewards you. If you serve Me for the sake of other people’s approval, that is not true humility. When you do it for Me regardless of what people say, that is true humility

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble’.” James 4:6

Although we can never actually experience the full anguish of Christ’s death on the cross, I definitely felt Jesus could already relate to what I was experiencing. His people spit on Him as He offered Himself as a sacrifice for their sins. Because He did this for us, I felt peace in knowing that if He could do it, and He lives in me, then I can endure my own trials too. I could forgive the very people that were rejecting Christ in me. The very ones that should be loving and kind were instead spitting on my very soul with their lashes of profanity. Through the grace of Christ, I forgave that pastor.

The Lord was not done guiding me yet: “Christy, I also want you to be the one that prays over this pastor today, and I want you to give him your team’s farewell gift. Humble yourself, and I will exalt you. I will resist the proud, but give grace to the humble.”

With that instruction, I wiped my face, opened the door, and sat back down with my team. His grace was mightily sufficient for me. Inside the walls of that church, I was living the impossible made possible only with the power of Christ. Only after we had departed later that afternoon did I share with our team leader what the pastor had said.  .

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

Anytime I think of humility, I remember that moment of forgiveness through Christ. Today, I want to encourage you, beloved. The Lord has laid on my heart a burden for those of you that have been deeply wounded, rejected, and abandoned by the church – by leaders who should have been kind, compassionate, and gentle shepherds. Instead, they were tyrannical, foolish, or lacking in wisdom. They may have driven you to fester with anger towards His bride, towards those who love God, or even towards God Himself.

Always remember that people are only people. They are not God. Even those that deeply love Jesus will make some serious mistakes. Don’t judge God’s people based on what you have experienced with individuals. Don’t place your eternal faith and hope in God into the hands of fallen humans. You will always be disappointed.

Within the “churched” world, you can always find some set of legalistic laws to keep, some unrighteous judgements to make, or some hyper-spiritual rituals you must practice in order to be accepted by someone’s flawed vision of God. Why? Because every church is full of broken people, which is exactly where God wants them. This is the irony of the whole thing. Don’t lose your faith in God because of a choice one man or woman made. Don’t allow their sin to cause you to sin. Take full responsibility for your faith, and stop blaming this person for forcing you to leave behind your One true love, Jesus Christ.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” Isaiah 59:12

Will the church save you? No. But is it important? Yes. And is it biblical? Yes. May you humble yourself through the grace of Jesus Christ, to forgive those who’ve hurt you, and move on. He’ll take care of the rest for you. Stay in His word, beloved, and take charge of your personal walk with Christ.

“All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 66:2
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