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

Entering an Application Season Requires Commitment

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<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><br><strong>Our Application Season requires our commitment to relinquish our plans and strategies for God’s plan for our lives.</strong> This does not mean we are to sit back and wait for God to do everything, it means that before we do anything we must think about how we will accomplish what we plan to do and ask God for guidance. This includes reacting to situations and circumstances that may be driven by our own actions, as well as those out of our control. The immediate response for many is to snap back, which is waged through our fleshly desires to get back, or harm through words and deeds; cheating to succeed, telling white lies, skipping steps.
Our Application Season requires our commitment to relinquish our plans and strategies for God’s plan for our lives. This does not mean we are to sit back and wait for God to do everything, it means that before we do anything we must think about how we will accomplish what we plan to do and ask God for guidance. This includes reacting to situations and circumstances that may be driven by our own actions, as well as those out of our control. The immediate response for many is to snap back, which is waged through our fleshly desires to get back, or harm through words and deeds; cheating to succeed, telling white lies, skipping steps.

Applying Jesus’ attitude and character to how we approach life is a process. As we more frequently depend on His attitude and character, you will find that the process speeds up, you learn to immediately go into prayer and over time you will respond to life situations according to God’s will and way in a more involuntary manner, in short it becomes who you are, and rather than acting impetuously you act according to the Word of God, you act in a Christlike manner, exuding His demeanor, and if you fail, you immediately repent and attempt to do better the next time.

Scriptures About Commitment (ESV, openbible.info)

Psalm 37:5 – “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”

Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

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

John 8:12 – “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.””

Ephesians 4:29 –  “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Romans 12:1-2 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Main Point

Commitment is never easy. It requires that you do not take short cuts as you change/renew/convert your attitude and character. It is intentional. It is important to build a strong scriptural foundation. If you do not begin with the fundamentals, how do you know what Christ’s attitude, values, and character are? Just as children look to their parents, we must look to the Word of God for direction, wisdom, knowledge, and insight. But do not wait until you finished building a spiritual foundation. Begin today, remember, each day is a new day. Ask God for direction, and you will become more confident in praying and responding to His instructions. You will learn to feel comfortable in knowing that God intimately knows you and knows that you are growing in the Word. He will speak to you through ways you can understand. There have been times that while I was in prayer, God simply shared a Bible reference, such as – Psalm 63, often a scripture that I had not read, and had no idea what He was telling me until I read it. Once you have read the scripture, it all came together. God is amazing! He is the author and finisher, the alpha and omega, the Way maker, our counselor, and finisher of our faith. If you recall the first Application Season entry, I mentioned Isaiah who wrote, “Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say. “ 

“Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil! 

Dear friend, guard wisdom and understanding with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them. They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit. No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner, Because GOD will be right there with you; he’ll keep you safe and sound.”

Proverbs 3:5-12, 21-26 MSG

Bibleversestogo.com

Listen to God. Commit to this Application Season establishing the new you. Guard your thinking, use common sense and learn to become Christlike in nature, demonstrating God’s love in everything you do.

As we go through this APPLICATION SEASON together, ask God to personally relate each scripture that speaks to you and ask Him to explain how it applies to your life today. Interestingly, you will find that a scripture can speak to you in different ways during different seasons of your life. The Bible is an ever-evolving book unfolding new treasures as we become more like Christ. The Word meets us at the point  of our need is at the time. When praying, ask God what your next steps are in changing your attitude and character to align to His Word and Will, and believe me, He will provide the next steps. In many cases you will be asked to mobilize what you have learned within a short time of discussing it. Sometimes you will succeed and others times you will fall short, but each strengthens your walk and your character, each step places you closer to becoming like Christ.

References — openbible.info; biblegateway.com

Image — bibleversestogo.com; thepreachersword.com

Transforming Into the NEW YOU

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Each day we choose to live by the flesh or live by the Spirit. Choose the Spirit and work on becoming more like Christ in all that you think, do, and say.

~ Lisa Blair

This is the Application Season. Repeat, ‘I am applying the Word of God to my daily life until it becomes the first thought each morning and subsequently, throughout the day.’

Paul, God’s predominant ambassador, and author of much of the Bible focuses our attention on being saved, receiving God’s salvation and directs us to becoming ‘new’. He instructs us to become more like Christ in every action we take. We have been redeemed and our sins have been forgiven, but this is not a pass, it is the key that opens the door to becoming whole, to live a life like Christ. It provides a spirit consciousness of hope.

When we were baptized into Christ, we put on Christ. Christ is all around us and in us in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts us ‘on the regular’. It’s the Holy Spirit that speaks to us – beware, do not speak thoughtlessly, do not fall to the woes of this world as you walk the path of your destiny God has designed for you. Do treat you neighbors as you want to be treated, do love those who hate you, do what you can for the poor in spirit and economy. Allow the love of Christ to flow through you.

Become someone who is admired for following Christ. You know that person, the one everyone says, ‘there is something different about (name)’. People sense a peace when they are around (name). (Name) changes the atmosphere when they are present. Doesn’t that sound like Christ? Well, since He lives in us, and through us, we can emanate his love through us. People can recognize the difference, but may not recognize what the difference is. This of course is an opportunity to share who Christ is and how He lives in you when asked what makes you different.

So today, let’s look at what we are replacing to become more like Christ. The last post highlighted the replacement items. Today let’s look more closely.

Preface

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will reap. For he who sows of the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows of the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life…Do not grow weary of doing good for in due season you shall reap what you have sown. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all. (Galatians 6:7,9,10)

Main Point

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles (nonbelievers) do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:17-32, NIV)

When we grow in Christ we are growing in holiness, righteousness, and justice. We no longer are bound by our carnal nature, the flesh where our appetite is satisfied and fulfilled by: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. (Galatians 5:19-21, NIV)

Instead, always look to Christ for guidance. Walk by the Spirit. Allow yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit. As you make this exchange from living through the flesh to living through the Spirit, you will see your life change, you will no longer be a slave to your fleshly desires, yes you will be tempted, but you will possess the strength to overcome. And, should you sin, you have the freedom to repent and start anew. Isn’t God awesome. He know we are on the path and are conflicted by our humanness, but has provided the way and means to overcome and become more like His son, Christ to empower us to be overcomers.

What is the exchange? We are instructed to employ the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25, NIV)

Resources: Biblegateway.com; Bible.org, 8. Virtues Leading to Christlikeness. 3/1/2021

Images: Good Morning Gifs, TENOR; LAB Photos

Everything is New

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Wake up. Each morning is new, each moment is new, each breath is new. The Lord said, “Behold, I will do a new thing.” Isaiah 43:19 NKJV. When we follow His Word, we can do the same.

~ Lisa Blair

Everything is New. Applying God’s Word to our daily activities introduces Christ into our lives.

The Bible is our manual that should guide our lives. Our purpose is to become more like Christ. How do we emulate Christ? We practice instilling His values into our actions. We must apply what we learn through scripture and the archetypes, people, in the Bible to our reactions to the activities in our daily lives, those things we think and act on.

APPLICATION—APPLICATION—APPLICATION

The way we communicate with God differs for us all. The one way that is constant is that He speaks through scripture. While in prayer the other day, the Lord reminded me of His command, do not turn to the left or right, listen to my quiet voice (Your ears shall hear a Word behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’ (Isaiah 30:21 MEV). To add context, I way praying about this blog and how to reach more people. His quiet voice said, I needed to focus on how to apply His Word to our daily lives, hence the shift to THE APPLICATION SEASON. There is a time for every season, and this season is an application season.

Each day is new, we awaken from our sleep revitalized. During our sleep our cells regenerate, thus each day we are renewed. Each day is new as well. Nothing is as it was the day before, if it was, life would have no purpose. Scripture declares, each morning we are given new mercies. God gifts us each day with His mercy, we are refreshed to undertake the day to express Him in everything we do throughout the day.

God says announce what we want in prayer. Smile in the face of adversity, remain humble and at peace, even when anger tries to surface remain steadfast and ask yourself, how would Christ respond, would He respond in anger or love? Abolish limiting thoughts from your mind. Leave behind the thoughts and actions of yesterday, they spoke to the needs of that day. Each new day introduces different needs that are not the same and require new thinking. Cast those thoughts as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), and strive to animate your new and best self to align with the Word of God.

This means, we must regenerate our thinking to align with God’s thinking. We must see each day as new. Each day is an opportunity to change some aspect of our life. Circumstances may prevail that we did not create, but within that context, we can change the little things, or maybe the big things, beginning with the way we think, the way we act, and the way we respond to the circumstances in our life.

You say, ‘this is easier said than done’. I say, ‘we (all) must begin somewhere, at sometime in our lives, and the best time to begin is each new day’. Why? The fact is that each day is 24 hours in duration and the new day begins at the close of the last day, hence, each day is new.

As we study the Bible, we create an inventory of what the scriptures in the Bible are saying to us, as well as forming our lexicons with God, which is done through prayer. He directs us through scriptures, conversations with others [God often uses people to convey His expectations of us], something through what we have seen or heard. To begin to realign our thinking we have to address how we begin our day, after morning prayers, recite the mantra – ‘each God given day is new’, and in recognizing this fact you will begin to respond to things in alignment with the Word of God. We cannot allow pain (physical, spiritual, or emotional) or sorrow to cloud our thinking. We cannot allow pain or sorrow to morph into anger, jealousy, bitterness, or resentment. We cannot allow our struggles to blind us to the truth that God, and only God, is the giver of life. This is our season of application. This is our season of change.

So, this (new day) is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice in it, our conditions in life will not last forever, but a new day will always present a new day and a new opportunity to address the day differently.

Definitions

New Mercies – The dawning of every new day could be seen as a symbol of God’s light breaking through the darkness of His mercy overcoming our troubles. Every morning demonstrates God’s grace, a new beginning in which gloom must flee. We need to look no further than the breath in our lungs, the sun that shines upon us, or the rain that falls to nourish the soil. The mercies of God continue to come to us via a multitude of manifestations…there is no exportation date on God’s mercy toward us. His mercies are new every morning in that they are perpetual and always available to those in need. (What does it mean that God’s mercies are new every morning? (got questions.org. 2/28/2021)

Regeneration — to regenerate (according to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary) means new birth, and stresses new birth as the inception of a new state of things in contrast to the old. Pp. 517.

Images

(#1) My everyday God.com; (#2) LAB Photos; (#3,#4) Saddleback Church.com

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.