Surrendering Looks Like…

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Surrendering is not an act of attrition, it is a deliberate act of contrition.

~ Lisa Blair

‘Looks like’ is a common idiom of our time. What does surrendering look like, you ask?


Surrendering is not a one-time event. It requires constant attention. “Until Jesus returns and takes His rightful place as the final authority and ruler overall, we have to make the decision over and over to surrender our minds, wills, and actions to Him (Romans 8:20–22; 12:1–2). Our first stage of surrender is the surrender of our lives to God when we are saved. www.compellingtruth.org/surrender-to-God.html

My thought for the day. There are many quotes of what people in the Bible have said when they surrendered their will to God’s will for their lives. The two that stand out to me today are:

  1. The angel came to Mary to inform her that God was pleased with her and chose her to give birth to His son. Mary, a young girl of marrying age, was betrothed to Joseph. Wouldn’t you imagine her first thinking, I cannot become pregnant until I marry, what will people think of me in particular and Joseph if I carry a child before the ceremony ends. However, Mary responded to the angel saying, “I am the Lord’s servant,” “May your word to me be fulfilled.” ~ Luke 1:38 NIV
  2. Jesus, the, was in deep prayer about the circumstances that would result in his death, He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; this is the human condition, to ask God to remove the situation so we do not feel the pain. However, the second part of the prayer is one of submission – Jesus then prayed, “yet not my will, but yours be done.” ~ Luke 22:42 NIV

So, what does surrendering look like? Surrendering looks like the person who moves out of the way to submit to another’s wishes. In this case surrendering is looking to God for direction and following His path for our lives rather than forging ahead blindly satisfying our own urges and direction for our lives. If Mary had not accepted God’s will over her own, Jesus may not have been born to her and the story of Abraham may not have been written as we know it. Our decisions not only affect us but many others in our immediate and future sphere of influence. Our decisions affect our descendants. *

If Jesus, the man, chose to run from his purpose, again, the story would have differed, and the Son of God, Immanuel-the God with us, would have led to a different story. Thinking back, how many times has God instructed, or better said, invited you to do something His way, to follow Him, not turn to the left or the right, and you did just what you were instructed not to do, waiver to the left or right and not stay on the path He designed for us, how did that turn out for you? Ask yourself, what happened when you listened and surrendered to God? I am certain the latter set you on a path you couldn’t imagine you could ever attain.

Surrendering looks like victory. It feels like love. Surrendering lifts the burdens of life off of your shoulders and places it on Christs’ shoulders. In Jeremiah 38:17-18, the scripture reads, Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If you will surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. 18 But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand.” (Je 38.17-18)

Jeremiah presents him with a choice – Surrender Babylon, or Don’t surrender to Babylon. The writing is on the wall. (https://thescripturesays.org/2014/08/22/jeremiah-38-41-if-you-will-surrender-to-babylon-then-your-life-shall-be-spared/)

Surrendering looks like victory. The writing is on the wall. God does not promise it will look like success, sometimes the direction is pain staking, but looking deeper we reflect that it was part of the path we must take to become more like Christ, when he said, but your will be done. Surrendering looks like, choosing the path of righteousness over the path of selfishness. Surrendering to God looks like and feels like love, a connection greater than anything this life could afford you.

Surrendering is the establishment of your lineage to God the Father, Christ the Son-our Savior, and the Holy Spirit. Surrendering is the act of no longer resisting God’s love and is the state of acceptance and no longer defiance. It looks like victory when we spread our arms over our head and jump up and down in joy, no longer relying on our own focus for our lives but rather God’s plan for our lives that is often unseen and unexpected. Surrendering is the act of faith. Surrendering looks like and feels like – Victory over our carnal state of being. It is the act of intentionally becoming part of God’s family.

* The Book of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Christ. It is a look at the descendants of Jesus. In the Jewish faith and many others, the lineage is important, it defines who you belong to, it expresses your values and character. 

Just between us.org

Resources: Bible.com; the scripturesays.org; compellingtruth.org

Images: google images

Day 4-The Glorious Grace of God (Guest Post)

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In Greek, the word ‘believe’ used as a verb is translated as, ‘believe’, but as a noun, ‘believe’ is translated as ‘faith’.

Grace School of Theology

The Need to Believe, Devotional, day 4, The Glorious Grace of God. YouVersion. Bible.com

Salvation is a free gift received by placing our faith in Jesus Christ alone. John wrote that Jesus declared to Nicodemus, “whoever believes in [God’s one and only Son] shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Today, some people have trouble accepting that belief is all it takes for someone to be saved. 

The main issue is the meaning of the word “believe.” When the Greek word is used as a verb, it is translated “believe.” When it is used as a noun, it is translated “faith.” The Gospel of John demonstrates the importance of this word with its repeated use of “believe” as a verb. It is used 98 times as a condition for salvation. The other Gospels and New Testament books use “believe” as a verb 150 times altogether. The consistent result of believing is eternal life. When one believes, one can then know that he or she has eternal life as a present possession—right now (John 5:24; 9:38).

John is careful to use figures of speech or word pictures that are passive, such as receive, drink, and eat. None of these pictures portrays or communicates the idea of merit, work, or achievement. There are no qualifying words used with believe such as, “really believe,” “truly believe,” or “genuinely believe.” There is only one kind of belief. There are no other conditions mentioned in John, such as repentance, surrender, commitment, confession, or obedience. Nor does the word “believe” intrinsically or inherently contain these concepts. All that is required to be saved is to believe—to place one’s faith in Jesus. Salvation—eternal life—is a gracious gift of God (John 1:12).

This is what a person must do to receive eternal life: Believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died for your sin, rose from the grave to defeat the power of sin and death and can give you eternal life freely, as a gift. 

Resource – The Glorious Grace of God. YouVersion. Bible.com. Contributor – Grace School of Theology.

Praying for Our Loved Ones

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We pray for our loved ones to be saved, but we do it through our own limited understanding and not through faith in our Lord. ~ Lisa Blair

In reading the Doctrine of Election, we are reminded that only God can provide salvation. The parts that stood out to me most are:

  1. “People are so ruined by sin that they are unable to respond by faith…unless God first gives the ability to respond.” 
  2. “God must draw people Himself and awaken faith in the dead hearts.” (John 6:37-40, 47)
  3. “By grace, God calls individuals to faith” (Eph. 2:8-9)
  4. “This favor of God is undeserved and unearned.” (Romans 9:20)
  5. “God must work in individual hearts to draw them to Himself.”
  6. “Because salvation is God’s work from start to finish, all the glory belongs to Him.”

As ambassadors of Christ, it is our mission to share the Word with them (nonbelievers). We are watering the seed that was placed in them before they were born. At some point, most if not all, of our loved ones will recognize the seed of faith growing within causing them to question their lifestyles and who they are in Christ. When that happens, God calls them to Him. Age is not the crucial factor, surely, we want our loved ones to be saved early in life, but we must not give up it may not occur until they are old. Our prayers are not in vain. A prime example is the life of Abraham. God’s promises may escape us in our youth where our free-will seems strongest, and blossom in the later years of life. Don’t give up on them. It is never too late, and our prayers continue to water the seed God placed in them before they were born.

My prayer is:
Lord cover my son/daughter/loved one in your Blood until they call out your name and receive salvation. Protect them on their walk in sin. Cause them to step back from temptation through faith they do not yet know they have. Thank you for planning our paths before you created life on earth. Help me to accept the things I don’t understand. Help us “embrace the struggle with this truth” and “settle our hearts on Your goodness and your unconditional love”. We thank you for standing by us in all times, circumstances, and situations. We will continue to share the Word with our loved ones knowing you are there to retrieve them from death. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

References: Bible Study Fellowship, Lesson 16, Genesis 25-26. https://www.bsfinternational.org

Other Resources:

What is the Doctrine of Election. http://www.gotquestions.com;

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">What is the Doctrine of Election? Grace to You. John McArthur. https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A331/what-is-the-doctrine-of-electionWhat is the Doctrine of Election? Grace to You. John McArthur. https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A331/what-is-the-doctrine-of-election

Photo – LAB Photos

Leave the Old Behind

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Love surrounds me and fills my heart. (Author Unknown)

The new year is almost here, and as Christians, we should be grateful for all the Lord has done for us during this pandemic year. In the midst of extreme changes and loss, there are things to be grateful for in our lives; taking time with the Lord will help you examine your spiritual growth. I am certain you will find that during your trials and temptations you became closer to God. You most likely reached out to people you previously had no time to contact (a blessing for you and the people you reached). You reevaluated what is important and what have been found to be distractions. And, you probably spent time with yourself and determined what you like and what you want to shed as you grow in God’s will, way and life.

2021 can be your new beginning. The challenge is not making resolutions but a to-do list. It is a time to confirm that you will follow the Lord’s leading. It is time we all place God as the most important person in our lives, followed by family, siblings, and friends. It is a time to eliminate distractions that steal the time we should spend in communication with our Lord. It is time to stay in the present and make each day count.

Below are prayers welcoming a stronger llife with Christ in 2021 that I found on- line and speak to me. I hope they strengthen your as well. I wish you the best in the new year. ~Lisa Blair

For Peace in the New Year

At the start of each day, help us to recognize you above all else. Enlighten the eyes of our heart that we might see you, and notice how you’re at work through our lives. Give us the wisdom to make the best choices, fill us with a desire to seek after you more than anything else in this world. Let your Spirit and power breathe in us, through us, again, fresh and new. Thank you that you are greater than anything we may face in our day. Thank you that your presence goes with us and that your joy is never dependent on our circumstances, but it is our true and lasting strength, no matter what we’re up against. We ask that your peace lead us, that it would guard our hearts and minds in you. We ask for your grace to cover our lives this day. We love you Lord…we need you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” – Debbie McDaniel (Christianity.com)

Prayer for a Victorious New Year

Lord Jesus, I come to you in this brand new year with a desire to move forward, not backward. Last year is gone and with it all the foolish mistakes I made. I’m eager to put the past behind and to press on toward the mark of knowing you, loving you, serving you, and making Your name known in this coming year.

I need You, Lord. Without You, I can’t meet the heavy demands of life or the unrelenting pressures that I’ll face this coming year. I am making a new commitment today—not a New Year’s resolution—but a new desire to place You where You always belong, first place in my life. Make the “I will’s” of Scripture become my affirmations: “I will trust You; I will praise You; I will follow You.” I will replace fear with faith, knowing You are always with me. And with You on my side, it will be a victorious New Year.

I lay down my broken armor, my rusty tools, my self-defenses, and every excuse I’ve used for not living victoriously. Purge my bad habits; free me from wrong expectations; and fill my heart, soul, and mind with praiseworthy thoughts and actions. I want to exchange my past disappointments for Your divine appointments this year. My life is Yours; my relationships belong to You; everything I have is Yours, Jesus. Set my feet on the right path this year, and grant wisdom so I can make the right choices that will honor You. Let me see others as You see them, as precious ones You created. Renew the gifts and abilities You’ve so generously given me so I can bless others as You’ve blessed me.

I realize my desire for perfection is misplaced. My relationship with You doesn’t depend on my performance but upon Your presence in my life. I will make mistakes. But I don’t have to be perfect! You’ve already made me acceptable in Your sight because of Your death and resurrection. You covered my past, present, and future. You have given me everything I could possibly need for the coming year. In You, I am complete, Lord. Help me to accept my faults and make Your mirror my own. I want to reflect You daily.

Because of Your love and the price, You paid for my sin, I can not only enjoy a victorious new year but a triumphant life. You put a new “want-to” in my life and in my heart. And as the calendar turns another page in this brand new year, I want more than ever, to live it for You. There is no battle in my life too great with You in my life. There is victory in You, Jesus! – Rebecca Barlow Jordan (Christianity.com)
 

A Prayer to Keep God First This New Year

Dear God, Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you for all that you’ve allowed into our lives this past year, the good along with the hard things, which have reminded us how much we need you and rely on your presence filling us every single day.

We pray for your Spirit to lead us each step of this New Year. We ask that you will guide our decisions and turn our hearts to deeply desire you above all else. We ask that you will open doors needing to be opened and close the ones needing to be shut tight. We ask that you would help us release our grip on the things to which you’ve said “no,” “not yet,” or “wait.” We ask for help to pursue you first, above every dream and desire you’ve put within our hearts.

We ask for your wisdom, for your strength and power to be constantly present within us. We pray you would make us strong and courageous for the road ahead. Give us ability beyond what we feel able, let your gifts flow freely through us, so that you would be honored by our lives, and others would be drawn to you. We pray that you’d keep us far from the snares and traps of temptations. That you would whisper in our ear when we need to run, and whisper in our heart when we need to stand our ground.

We pray for your protection over our families and friends. We ask for your hand to cover us and keep us distanced from the evil intent of the enemy; that you would be a barrier to surround us, that we’d be safe in your hands. We pray that you would give us discernment and insight beyond our years, to understand your will, hear your voice, and know your ways. We ask that you would keep our footsteps firm, on solid ground, helping us to be consistent and faithful. Give us supernatural endurance to stay the course, not swerving to the right or to the left, or being too easily distracted by other things that would seek to call us away from a close walk with you.

Forgive us for the times we have worked so hard to be self-sufficient, forgetting our need for you, living independent of your spirit. Forgive us for letting fear and worry control our minds, and for allowing pride and selfishness wreak havoc over our lives. Forgive us for not following your ways and for living distant from your presence. We confess our need for you…fresh…new…again. We ask that you make all things new, in our hearts, in our minds, in our lives, for this coming year. We pray for your refreshing over us.

Keep your words of truth planted firm within us, help us to keep focused on what is pure and right, give us the power to be obedient to your word. And when the enemy reminds us where we have been, hissing his lies and attacks our way, we trust that your voice speaks louder and stronger, as you remind us we are safe with you and your purposes and plans will not fail. We ask that you will be our defense and rear guard, keeping our way clear, removing the obstacles, and covering the pitfalls. Lord, lead us on your level ground.

We ask that you would provide for our needs, we ask for your grace and favor. We pray for your blessings to cover us, we pray that you would help us to prosper and make every plan that you have birthed in our heart to succeed. We pray that others would take notice of your goodness and could not help but to say, “These are the ones that the Lord has blessed.”

Help us to be known as great givers, help us to be generous and kind, help us to look to the needs of others and not be consumed by only our own. May we be lovers of truth, may the fruits of your spirit be evident in our lives – your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Shine your light in us, through us, over us. May we make a difference in this world, for your glory and purposes. Set you way before us. May all your plans succeed. We may reflect your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs your presence and healing. To you be glory and honor, in this New Year, and forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen. (Debbie McDaniel. Crosswalk.com)

If you do not have a relationship with Christ, but found yourself on this page, it is time to take you leap of faith. Recite Romans 10:9,

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

God will receive you into the family of Christ. Seek a good church home to assist you on your journey. God bless, you are in good hands. I pray you will know God, see Jesus and be filled by the Holy Spirit as we enter this new year. Only He can save you.

Resources: Christianity.com; Crosswalk.com; Biblegateway.com

Photos: LAB Photos; Google Images.com; Mu Tahiry, Nextdoor app.

Resources: Christianity.com; Crosswalk.com

Photos: LAB Photos; Google Images.com; Mu Tahiry, Nextdoor app.

Godly Sorrow and Worldly Sorrow are Not the Same

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Christians are born into sin, but not bound by sin. Sin produces either Worldly sorrow or Godly sorrow. The two are not the same. Godly sorrow brings repentance and eternal life, worldly sorrow brings self-forgiveness and death.

~ Lisa Blair

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV

What is this scripture saying to us?

The kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin. My concern is that most try to categorize sin as a minor act or a major act, making one easier to erase than the other. Many feel sinning is defined by weight, the truth is that sin is not defined by scale but by act. The act itself defines it as sin. Whenever we focus on self and not the Lord, our sin nature is in control, and we are acting in sin that leads to death. Sin is defined as either sin of omission or commission.

Types of Sin: Sins of Omission and Commission

Sin through omission is sinning without being aware, and therefore one cannot experience remorse or shame for having committed the sin. The other type is sinning through commission, meaning we are knowingly committing the sin, and thus consciously experience shame, not because we sinned, but because we have been caught or feel guilt, this produces worldly sorrow. When we sin against God, because He is God, we feel Godly Sorrow. It is important to understand that worldly sin (sin focused on self) begets worldly sorrow because we want forgiveness for selfish reasons; when we sin against God, we want forgiveness because we know we hurt Him.

Worldly Sorrow

Because we are human, we experience a contrite self-focused sorrow, a feeling of remorse or regret affected by a sense of guilt, a worldly sorrow. For example, when, as children, we fibbed to a parent or adult, we felt guilty and wanted to be absolved to remove the guilty, shameful feeling. Worldly sorrow focuses on regret and remorse and is focused on self, leading to death; conversely, Godly sorrow leads to salvation and life.

Godly Sorrow

Godly sorrow is the acute sense of sadness we experience when we knowingly sin against God. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation. Godly sorrow results from the heartfelt conviction that we have offended God by our sin, it has nothing to do with our feelings. This sorrow is sorrow towards God because the sinful act is against His Holiness first. It is unselfish in its focus.

True Repentance

Regret involves the mind primarily, and remorse involves the emotions. But, repentance includes a change of mind, a hatred for sin, and a willingness to make things right. If the will is not touched, conviction has not gone deep enough.

Repentance is not to be taken lightly. It is not a ‘get out of jail’ card. When we repent for hurting God, we immediately become responsible for eliminating this act of sin from our being. While elimination may take time, each time we are confronted by the sin, we learn to stand fast and turn away until it is powerless over us. God looks at our intent as we grow into maturity, following His Will for our lives. There is no complete perfection in this life. He looks at our righteousness through Christ who mediates on our behalf. Like Paul wrote, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14 NLT. We must press on, relinquish our quest for self-gratification and focus on how we live a Godly life. As we mature, our lives should become less hurtful to God because our eye is on the prize and less on self. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

Note

Earlier in my Christian walk, I prayed that God would forgive me for my sins of omission and commission, not realizing the focus of the prayer was on self. I did not understand wanting forgiveness was not an act of Godly sorrow, but one of worldly contrition. Now I pray that He helps me to remove myself from the equation and focus wholeheartedly on Him. When the focus is on Him, I remove my self-interest.

Once we define which type of sorrow we are experiencing, we can remove ourselves from being the subject. We can then acknowledge that we have sinned against God because He is our focus. It is not until we understand that it is not about us that we can suffer Godly sorrow that leads to salvation and eternal life.

Resources — gotquestions.com; purelifeministries.org; Nelson’s Quick Reference. Bible Commentary, Warren Wiersbe; Authentic Ministry “What is Real Repentance” II Corinthians 7:2-16. Pastor John Miller

Images — YouVersion/Bible.com; Google Images