Tag Archives: living in freedom

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 Cost of Obedience

At this time last year, God asked me to leave my academic workload in faith to start His Daily Dose. He gave me the name, the images (including the ubiquitous coffee cup up top), the blog topics, and the words to speak (which He continues to faithfully provide). Having never written a blog post or set up up a website in my life, I was totally lost. Jesus and I were definitely embarking on a new adventure. A painful, life-changing, yet rewarding adventure.

Since its inception, HDD has touched individuals in over 75 countries, and to me this is HUGE. Anytime I hear of an individual reader being impacted by HDD (and the words the Lord gives), that is truly transformational for me as a person. Doing what I do brings me extreme fulfillment, humility, and honor. But, it has cost me dearly, and for me to say otherwise would be completely dishonest. I don’t state that to bring me glory; I am simply stressing this point as a source of encouragement for you.

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34

Had I resisted His instruction, I would be graduating this fall and excitedly planning for grad school. At times, it’s easy for me to dwell on this fact. Only a couple of years go, Jesus and I made plans for me to become a Registered Dietitian then pursue a PhD. Never would I have thought that He’d interrupt His own plans (at least as I understood them to be).

Yet, because I surrendered my personal dreams to God, others have gained insight, encouragement, and counsel from the inspired words He has asked me to share through HDD. I’ve shed countless tears and battled scrutiny from others (including myself), questioning why I ever stepped off that structured road of academic progress to write blog posts everyday. I’ve been called distracted, lost, confused, unstable, and maybe even weird (and who knows what else people have said about me).

But had I proceeded to move forward with the original plan, ignoring His instruction, then my life most certainly would also have been miserable. Choosing to get into grad school (a glorified goal in my own mind) would have put me outside of His will, and I would have missed out on HDD. That thought prompted me to reflect on the true condition of my heart: What was my perception of real success? Was it to be found in education (or a career with a title)? Or is it found in following Christ (and helping His beloved throughout the process)?

Quickly I realized that instead of worshiping God, who gives me my dreams, I had started worshiping the dream itself. Unfortunately I was also seeking to resolve my identity from it . Over these past several months, I’ve been able to have a serious heart-check. Praise be to God.

“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 34:14

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.” Galatians 5:1 –

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Romans 12:3

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Throughout this gruesome, self-revealing process, I’ve come to realize that we often miss incredible opportunities (with great potential to transform this world). Sometimes it’s due to a heart of disobedience, but other times it can be the faith-deteriorating process known as over-rationalism. When God asks for something that doesn’t readily make sense, we may procrastinate, act in fear of the opinions of others (even within the family of believers), or sheepishly dismiss it as not having heard Him correctly.

We can so easily rationalize ourselves right out of God’s will. God is certainly logical, beloved. But there is nothing in the Word that defines God as always being rational to our human minds. Rationalism is very much a contemporary ideology that elevates the mind over the spirit (the very means through which God often speaks words of faith to us). Unchecked rationalism can extinguish the flame of faith, and I’ve experienced this in my walk with Him.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8-9

“‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool’.” Isaiah 1:18-19

At the end of the day, we will stand before Christ, the risen King of Glory, to give an account for our lives. Therefore, we will have times where we must choose between investing in Christ (being obedient to what He’s asked us to do), or pursuing what appears best to us (what we want to do).

If we truly desire to accomplish great things, it will cost us something. There’s no way around it. If we choose to obey Christ by denying ourselves, picking up our cross, and following Him, we will be criticized. Sometimes those closest to us will do the criticizing. Don’t be disheartened, beloved. God is good, and He will never leave us, forsake us, or lead us down a road of destruction.

Remember this today as you follow Him: Radical obedience requires radical faith with a deeply rooted trust in God. Yet whatever the cost, He will always honor those who seek to honor Him. He is faithful, beloved.

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Here’s the link to the HDD Launch Event & Photo Booth Photos: HDD Event & Photo Booth Photos

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Saying Farewell to Past Relationships

Today’s post may challenge many of your hearts and hopefully encourage a lot of your souls. My desire is for all of us  to be inspired to move forward into the bright future prepared by God in each of our lives.

Each one of us has made mistakes in the past. For some of us, this has included  bad decisions in relationships (I can relate). Oftentimes, we’ll cling to the memory of a past relationship and allow it to cripple our present and our future. We’ll falsely believe that dwelling on a past relationship can sustain us or even provide a bit of comfort by focusing on what “once was” or what “could have been”.

“Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk’.” John 5:8 ESV

Beloved, I feel strongly compelled to share this truth with you today: We cannot maintain an already dead relationship on the life support of our own thoughts and relentless striving. If the relationship was never in God’s will to begin with, we cannot continue to feed it with the trappings of inappropriate friendship and unhealthy intimacy. This only leads to co-dependency: an unhealthy bond between two people that exists out of context. Codependency is intimacy where intimacy doesn’t belong.

“’The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain.” Deuteronomy 1:6 ESV

We must move away from our past and into the future that God has laid out before us.

What I am sharing today comes directly from my own personal time with the Lord this morning. The Holy Spirit gently exhorted me to stop speaking about memories of my past, no matter how small or trivial they may seem. If a memory doesn’t feed into the health and sustainability of my existing God-given marriage, then it doesn’t need to be discussed, no matter how relevant it may appear to be to a discussion. Talk about a dose of truth and humility.

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” Proverbs 4:25 ESV

Today I want to encourage you to do the exact same thing.

When you sit back and think about it, what is really produced by meditating on our harmful past? Nothing, beloved. If Christ has healed your wounds by putting a past situation to death, resurrected you through the Holy Spirit, and provided a fresh outlook and new hope, then don’t go running back to your past.

Remember the story of Lot’s wife? God exhorts both Lot and his family to not look back at Sodom and Gomorrah, but Lot’s wife disobeys Him. This is a powerful demonstration of the devastation caused when we mentally live in the past. Essentially, if we choose the past, we reject our ability to fully enjoy today and to hope in what tomorrow may bring through God the Father.

“And as they brought them out, one said, ‘Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away’….And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.  But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis19:17; 25-26

I don’t know who you are, but some of you reading this today will have to lay your past down at the feet of Jesus. You will have to let go of that dead or dying relationship, beloved. Because it is no longer alive, you are inhibiting the manifestation of what God has for you by holding on to those memories.

 Think of it this way: your arms are fixed around a person from your past. You’re clinging tightly to them because you are afraid to let go of the security and comfort that this person has provided for you in the past. Maybe they made you feel worthy of pursuit and incredibly valuable, or maybe you were even engaged to be married. But as long as you hold on, your arms (and your heart) are completely closed to receive the bright future that God has for you. Is this what you really want? Because it isn’t what your Father in heaven wants for you.

In order to embrace your future, you will have to release your past,beloved. And I am praying for your hearts today. I am praying through the power of the Holy Spirit that you will fully surrender your past to Him through His grace. You will need His help, so allow Him to deliver you and then heal you.

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV

Denial (pretending that you are really okay when you actually are not) isn’t living in truth. And as Christians, we are called to live in the freedom and truth that can only be found in Christ. Jesus Christ is life, beloved. He died not just to give you salvation, but also to give you freedom in every area of your life. Many of you need to be reminded of this truth today: you are free. You are free through the truth of Jesus Christ. You need to confront any unhealthy consideration of the past so that you can experience freedom.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’.” John 14:16 ESV

Without freedom in this area, you might find yourself trying to act “okay” or forcing yourself to put on a smile each morning like an article of clothing. If you are in this situation, you are dying inside because the exact thing that you cling to is a dead relationship or a dead past. If this is you, please stop doing this today and run to Christ with your wounded heart.

Join me tomorrow for the beginning of a powerful series: “Six Steps to Successfully Move From the Past to the Present”. May God alone receive the glory, and may your hearts be purified and encouraged to draw closer to the truth found in Christ (just as mine has been this morning).

Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose! Are you currently a subscriber? We’d love to have you as a loyal reader! Just click HERE to begin receiving daily, encouraging emails sent straight to your inbox each morning. Thank you!

Photo provided by: Marta Bevacqua Photography 

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