Tag Archives: surrender

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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Failing to See the Big Picture

As much as I wish this were not true, I often fail to see the bigger picture. Whenever I become too focused on how I believe events should transpire, I’m left feeling disappointed.

Time and time again, I’m baffled at how similar my mindset can be to the ancient nation of Israel. These chosen ones await the coming of their Messiah and King through a lens of their own design. Despite thinking they have God all figured out, the Messianic prophecies are fulfilled far differently than they can even imagine. In the same fashion, I can take the promises of God, prophetic words straight from His mouth, and build a kingdom of assumptions – of lofty, unrealistic expectations.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

“The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.” Isaiah 2:11

Having the thought that my plans are equal with God’s makes me cringe in utter dismay.

When you take a step back, it may be obvious that elevating our plans to the level of God’s is sacrilegious or profane. However, in the moment, as we live our lives, we can easily become mixed up. My hope is to help others avoid making the same mistakes I have made.

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very  nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Philippians 2: 5-8

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

As human beings, we like to think we’re in control. Even if it means interfering with the plans of God.

Peter is a great example of this very point.

He and Jesus are tight. In fact, Peter vows to love Jesus and follow Him well into eternity. He’d do anything for Jesus, but the moment the Lord states that His time on earth is coming to an end, Peter interrupts to contradict Him. Then, of course, Jesus rebukes him for pushing his carnal opinion onto the will of God. Ouch!

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to lifePeter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’ Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns’.” Matthew 16:21-23

I get it. I know how Peter must have felt because I have done the exact same thing. I reason with Jesus. I talk with Jesus. I laugh with Jesus. I include Jesus in my decisions. I am totally down for Jesus being my everything. But if He moves unexpectedly in a way that I don’t like (without even consulting me), then I become a pretty miserable person. In these moments I certainly need to lean on His abundant grace.

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

Because we’re close and intimate, I can start thinking that I should be able to figure Him out.

Or, more succinctly: if I could predict God, I can control Him. That’s a better way of saying it. This thought leaves a knot in my stomach and makes me shake my head in disbelief! Thankfully Jesus can change my heart and bring redemption. Praise be to Him!

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” Ephesians 1:7-8

If God decides to carry out His promises differently than our expectations, we tend to resist Him.

Why? Because it means we were wrong. We’re hit with the sobering reality that, as limited human beings, we are utterly dependent on the hand of God. However, this is actually (and ironically) the BEST place we can be.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

In theory, it sounds great to depend on God. We know it’s the right thing to do, but when the outcome doesn’t transpire according to plan, it’s not so great. We’re hurt, we’re challenged, and we’re humbled. We must arrive at a deeper understanding of who we really are (limited and futile), and who God really is (omnipotent and everlasting).

God is sovereign and unpredictable. He’s also incredibly sweet, forgiving, gentle, and honest.

We truly can trust our Lord and look to Him for help.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” Psalm 40:3-4

May my lessons learned serve as a tool of encouragement for your heart today. Whatever God is speaking to you, trust Him. His timing is perfect, and He delivers on His promises better than anything we can imagine. Since we are so focused on the small things, I am thankful that He can see the big picture.

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No Bypass to Forgiveness: A Story of Redemption

Forgiveness.

A gift that’s so easy to receive, yet so challenging to extend. Especially when we think it’s undeserved. I know this road well.

And I’ve learned as a Christian, there is no bypass to forgiveness.

My hope is that you’ll be encouraged as I share my own personal experience in this area of forgiveness. I believe (through a prompting from the Holy Spirit) there is someone who really needs to hear this story today.

I’ve included an excerpt from my (untitled) book below describing a very challenging season in which I had to forgive my enemies. May He receive all the glory.

“It was in this season of my life that Jesus began to speak about forgiveness. The idea seemed pretty appropriate since I had just started counseling and was daily surrendering (which seemed like endless) offenses from my past. Yet, God was preparing me for something else: treason. Yes, treason. A concealed act of treachery was looming around in the shadows, indiscriminately en route to shatter my heart. It was an event I could have never foreseen. In those days, Jesus taught me no matter how hurt I was or the magnitude of the offense, I would need to forgive.

The Word states in Matthew 6:14 -15: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

In order for me to be healed and to live in complete freedom with Christ, I’d have to pardon the offense. Like many of you, this was a fairly easy concept for me to understand.

Someone wounds you. You forgive.

Jesus forgives us so we must forgive others.

But when this ‘idealistic’ opportunity encroached itself upon the territory of my own heart, I resisted.

Forgiveness was a forgone memory.

It was over the course of several months during a past marital separation that I had become very intentional in developing my relationship with Jesus. So, one October night when the wind was chilly and the leaves were swirling in the air, I became so dumbstruck by the beauty of the evening, I decided to take a stroll with Jesus. As we walked, I began to talk to Him about the marriage, about life, and about work.

And then Jesus began to speak:

“Christy, he’s having an affair. He’s having sex with another woman. In your bed. In your home.”

Silence.

These words pierced me to the core.

Whoa. In an instant, my hands were shaking, nausea engrossed me, and my heart was broken to pieces..again. I knew it was real. Jesus wouldn’t lie to me. His words pierced every inner organ I possessed. I didn’t need to see it, I knew it was true. An unfortunate, wicked truth.  

In hesitation I began to ask the Lord: “Jesus, who is it? Do I know her?”

In a gentle whisper He spoke her name. Thoughts flooded my mind.

I knew her.

I had prayed for her months before the separation.

I had her in my home.

How could I have been so betrayed by both of them?

I was angry. Really angry. And I literally had no idea in what to do, so I screamed. Loud. Then I bawled and asked Jesus to help me. In one simple phone call, it was all confirmed. He was having an affair and really had no intentions in leaving her.

So, what does one do when life dishes out this kind of trauma?

I was baffled with the complexity of the decisions before me and offended by the mere idea of forgiveness. And here I was again, with the need to surrender.

I’d have to let go in order to have this life of freedom I had been so eagerly pursuing for the past eight months. Oh, what a difficult task it becomes to forgive those who deliberately hurt and offend us.

It just didn’t seem fair. It didn’t seem like they deserved it.

And then a still voice spoke to my soul. “You know you’re right Christy. They don’t deserve to be forgiven much like you don’t deserve to be forgiven.”

Silence.

What do I say to a statement like that?”, I asked myself.

It was in this moment I realized Jesus had faced the same dilemma with Judas Iscariot. Judas was his friend. Jesus loved him. And Judas threw their entire friendship down the drain for a cheap thrill rendering a mere thirty shekels of silver. Jesus knew betrayal well. He knew the pain. It brought me great relief to know My Lord and Savior understood what I was facing from His own personal experience.

Will you do the same Christy? Will you forgive like I forgive you?” He whispered into my ear.

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25

Deep breath. Arms crossed and face affixed. If I was really serious about ‘knowing’ Jesus, not simply observing Him from afar (like I did for so many years), then I was going to have to follow in His footsteps. I knew that if I didn’t forgive these two, the only ones who would suffer would be me and Jesus. If I decided to harbor my anger, my jealousy, and my (justified) pain, that ball and chain would cling to my ankles within minutes. I’d be left in spiritual bondage full of bitterness and singeing with resentment.

And my heart would die. All my dreams of a new marriage and a new life would die too. I knew in my heart, I could never expect the Lord to truly bless me with anything new, if I couldn’t surrender the old into His hands.

“Yes, Lord. I’ll forgive them. But, it’s because of You. Just help me do it, please.”, I whispered barely above a level of sound.

I’m still in awe of how He saved me that day. And this my friends, is the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. It’s what is humanely impossible made possible through Him.

Your offender may never deserve to be forgiven nor may they ever ask you for forgiveness. But, Jesus deserves for us to forgive them. He is worth it.

Beloved, once I made the choice to forgive, He provided the rest and I was set free. Their poor decisions would no longer have power over me. I had peace. I had hope. I had freedom.

“Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven’.” Matthew 18:21-22 

And this, my friends, is the reality of living in a fallen world. We will be offended. We will be hurt. But, praise be to God who “makes all things new”.

Fix your eyes on Jesus, Beloved. Will you trust Him to help you forgive that someone? Remember: In the Christian faith, there’s no bypass to forgiveness.

Photo provided by detox.rachelwellness.com

 

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