Tag Archives: surrender

Ruth 3,4; Acts 28; Jeremiah 38; Psalms 11,12

I’m finishing up listening to an audio version of a book called 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit by Nicki Koziarz (not paid or otherwise compensated to mention this book). A friend recommended it at large, and I tucked it away for someday. While I’m not sure how the title came back into my sight line, I can say that several times this year, there have been things I wanted to quit (and things I didn’t want to quit but thought I might have to because this pace is wearing me too thin). I decided to give the book a listening to. In it, Koziarz discusses Ruth.

Today, in Ruth 3 and 4, I read the conclusion of (Ruth’s) story, where her kinsman redeemer marries her, joy is restored, and she is part of royal lineage–and all because she made the choice not to quit. She exhibits strength, loyalty, faith, perseverance, patience, and trust.

And what doesn’t Paul go through in Acts? In this chapter, he’s warming himself by a fire after a shipwreck. He’s bitten by a poisonous snake and survives. After months, he continues on his journey to Rome.

30 For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him, 31 boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him. (Acts 28:30-31, NLT)

He persevered too, and not in a roll-with-the-punches sort of way: he boldly proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord. He was resilient and focused.

Jeremiah’s unpopular message made him a traitor to be lowered into a cistern and left for dead. But that wasn’t where his story stopped. Though he couldn’t climb out in his own strength, he was raised out of the cistern because of the petitions of an important court official. Jeremiah’s message didn’t change–surrender or else. A tough job.

15 Jeremiah said, “If I tell you the truth, you will kill me. And if I give you advice, you won’t listen to me anyway.” (Jeremiah 38:15, NLT)

He didn’t quit.

In the psalms, encouragement still (emphasis mine). Don’t quit.

I trust in the Lord for protection.
So why do you say to me,
    “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety!

But the Lord is in his holy Temple;
    the Lord still rules from heaven.
He watches everyone closely,
    examining every person on earth.
The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. (Psalm 11:1, 4-5, NLT)

And

The Lord’s promises are pure,
    like silver refined in a furnace,
    purified seven times over.
Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed,
    preserving them forever from this lying generation,
even though the wicked strut about,
    and evil is praised throughout the land. (Psalm 12:6-8, NLT)

Maybe one day the things I’m going through won’t seem so big-hairy-scary-heavy. Maybe one day I’ll look back and laugh at what I thought was difficult. In real time, the things are big and heavy and difficult. And yesterday, I was looking to quit.

Thank you, Lord, for all that you are teaching me about who you are and what you can do. Thank you for showing me that character is developed through trials, and perseverance is built one day at a time. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on you.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms, Ruth, Uncategorized

Genesis 47-48; Psalms 25; Galatians 3

Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Mannasseh’s head. And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.” But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” Gen 48:17-20 NKJV

Joseph was upset that his father was blessing his younger child. He tried to move his hand. Maybe he thought that his blind father had made a mistake? But, his father was clear that he was going to bless Joseph’s younger son first. How many times have I tried to control things with my own hands? Jumping ahead of what God has in store? Trying to change how things play out in my life? Instead of surrendering all to my Father, because he knows what is best? This is when I find that my eyes are on myself and not on God and His plans for my life. In these times I find myself in a tangled mess and the only way to get out is to look to Him.

My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses!” Psalm 25:15-17 NKJV

Thank you Father for the freedom that I have in You.

But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Gal 3:11, 28-29 NKJV

I want to surrender all to You Lord.

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You…Show me your ways, O Lord; Teach me You r paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation.” Psalms 25:1-5 NKJV

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Kings 3-5; Luke 23:1-26

“And they began to accuse him saying, ‘We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ the king.’

So Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’

‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied.” Luke 23:2-4

Jesus isn’t just accused of being Christ the king; he was and is the anointed one, the Messiah, the answer to all Israel’s hopes and dreams.

Peter later confirms this and Luke records this in Acts 2:36, “Let all of Israel be assured of this:  God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

The Jews anticipate a king who displays political and worldly power and force. A deliverer who elevates their status in a downtrodden and dog eat dog world. Jesus, the Messiah God sends is not who they want. When Pilate offers to give Jesus back to his people, they choose another hero, a murderer and troublemaker, Barabbas.

This leads me to ask myself the questions, “When has Jesus asked to come into my life and I have turned him away because he isn’t who I want him to be? When do I accuse Jesus of upending my world and subverting my ways?”

I pray that God frees my heart from its own stoniness so that I can be more like the transformed Peter.  Daily, I surrender my life to Christ the King, the anointed One who is so much more than I could ever dream or hope Him to be. I pray that God keeps me from being bound by my agenda and not His. I want more of Jesus and less of me.

May it be so.

Klueh

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, New Testament

1Chronicles 15; James 2; Amos 9; Luke 4

I was on the phone with a friend yesterday when the question I’ve been struggling with arose:

How can I have a higher expectation of my children over similar issues I fail to overcome in my own life?

My friend and I had a similar issue of a strained relationship. It’s too soon to say how things are going for her with how she’s decided to handle it, but my results are more like banging my head against a wall: frustration, pain, getting nowhere, questioning why I’m still (doing this).

13 Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” 1 Chronicles 15:13 NLT.

I have asked God for signs to continue with the relationship, and each time he has told me to do so. Soon after, another issue arises and I find myself wondering if I heard him right. These doors are closed tight. Why do I set myself up for failure again? Perhaps I have failed to ask God how to.

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness … Luke 4:1 NLT

Spirit, lead me.

When Jesus was hungry and tempted in the wilderness, he quoted scripture.

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’” Luke 4:4 NLT

Next week, we’ll be breaking bread–a room of generations. Perhaps the lesson isn’t about the success in overcoming relational difficulties. The lesson could be about a lot of things–perseverance, surrender, seeking the Lord, obedience, faith in action, loving God, blessing an enemy. Maybe the result isn’t so much about getting what I want, but in teaching my kids (and learning for myself) how to live life with a heart for God in a broken world with broken relationships.

And maybe through the learning and doing of the other things, I might also get what I want too–healing.

But he replied, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent.” Luke 4:43 NLT

Lord, you are my how-to and my hope. Please, lead me.

Courtney (66books365)

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2Kings 21; Heb. 3; Hos. 14; Ps.139

Does God ever stop listening?

How many of us have ever asked this question? Probably more than we want to admit, but think about it… does the God of the universe ever stop listening to us? After all… doesn’t sin damage the relationship between us and our Father? As we continue to sin, over and over again, does it ever get to the point with our Father when He draws the line, takes the posture that enough is enough, and turns His back on us?

The focus of Psalm 139 is that God has perfect knowledge of us, and all our thoughts and actions are open before him. God sees, hears and knows everything—including our prayers. Nothing escapes His attention. However, it is possible to sabotage our own prayers with such things as expectation, attitude, and actions through sin, disobedience, hypocrisy, insincerity, lack of faith, and wrong motives. Additionally, our timing is certainly not God’s timing… what may appear to be silence may actually be a delayed response. Other times, God may deny our prayer request because in His perfect knowledge, He is preparing us for something far bigger and better than we knew to ask for. And lastly… attitude. In a recent NPR broadcast of Around the Nation, the interviewee was quoted as saying that “an effective apology involves a delicate balance between tact, tone and timing.” I can tell you that more often than not, I get the tone piece completely wrong! I’ve been called on this a number of times hearing “it’s not what you said, but how you said it.” Perhaps it’s the same with our Lord… He knows our heart… perhaps, when we come to Him, we should be working a bit more on how we’re coming across than trying to figure out how to get ourselves out of trouble! And really… who are we kidding… do we really think we can win in a debate with our Lord and Savior?? Certainly God takes notice of those who persist in refusing to walk in His ways (2 Kings 21:19-26; Hebrew 3).

In the following video clip, I believe that God is much more receptive to the man after 1:57 minutes into the movie clip than the individual at the beginning of the clip… can you tell why? What do you notice about the tone of the main character’s message?

Finally, we need to be glorifying God in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31), not just when things go well. Recently I shared with a family member just how well my daughter was doing after her heart procedure. The response was “Thank God!”, and rightly so… He chose to save my baby! But I wonder what the response have been if God made the decision to take my daughter during her procedure… would the response have been the same?

So when it appears that God has turned His back on us, I believe He is faithful and is always there… He certainly knows everything about us, but we need to work at strengthening the relationship if it is to survive. But just as it takes spending regular time alone with an individual to get to know them, time with God is critical! Without faith, we are bound to rely on ourselves and not the One who knows us better.

I’ve heard it said that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Until a few years ago, I would have said I believe that. No more… I believe that God give us MORE than we can handle… if He didn’t, why would we need Him?

Until next time… peace!

Greg (gstefanelli)

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I Kings 22, I Thessalonians 5, Daniel 4, & Psalm 45

I Kings 22 – The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all the prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.

I Thess, 5 – Do not say quench the Spirit.  (Do not resist His influence, like trying to smother a fire.)

Daniel 4 – Nebuchadnezzar said to Daniel, “…but you are able [to interpret the dream], for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”

Psalm 45– “Therefore God , Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness…”

Listening for God’s voice and speaking the words He gives me sounds grandiose, doesn’t it.  I mean, when I think about how to explain to anyone why I believe a certain way, make seemingly insignificant choices or major decisions, speak assertively or refrain from letting the words fly, I almost want to minimize the importance of seeking God.  How many times have we heard televangelists spout prophecies that do not come true and serve only to sell books or garner large donations?  How many kooks do we see standing on the corner shouting that everyone is going to hell if they don’t repent?  Have you ever felt queasy from manipulative pastors who say, “Thus saith the Lord,” before convincing you to get involved in the church – ministries where no one wants to volunteer (think children’s ministry), duties that the church doesn’t want to pay for (think lawn care or renovating the parsonage), or leading Bible studies in your home?

So I hesitate to add my insignificant voice to the clanging symbols of those I discern to have ‘lying spirits.’  Oh, and yes, listening to God and speaking His word sometimes means taking a stand against religious nuts.

So what is the litmus test for knowing the Spirit of truth and hearing the voice of God? I am certainly no theologian, and I can only speak from my personal spiritual walk, yet I do use a method, if you will, to hear from God and to choose when and what to say.

First, I go to the Source.  God, the Father, Christ Jesus, our Savior, and the Holy Spirit of God are but a heartbeat away anywhere, anytime.  With each breath and pulse I consciously and unconsciously reach for the Trinity.  Beginning with praise and letting go of any illusion of control, I begin to surrender spirit, soul, and body.

Next, I confess my biggest fear.  What could be worse than that I miss hearing God, mishandle His word, and bring harm to another?  Nothing; therefore, I am sometimes fearful to the point of passing over the tasks He has prepared for me.  Yet, I stay surrendered to His will.

Finally, I agree to be a fool.  This is the hardest step for me to take given my need to look smart and sound reasonable.  My ways, my perspective, the world’s expectations – all may have to be thrown out in order to let God have His way with me.  By this point, there is no way to smother His all-consuming Fire; the Holy Spirit will speak when I am willing to give Him my voice.

I wish I could say my method works every time, but I belong in the category of fallen man, redeemed, nonetheless.  So forgive me when I err and praise God when I do His will.  I am under a mighty compulsion to listen and speak to our great God, regardless.

Janet

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Filed under 1 Kings, 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Daniel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms

2 Samuel 7; 2 Corinthians 1; Ezekiel 15; Psalms 56, 57

Willingness to endure the hard times, as much as enjoy the good times.

When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it. 2 Corinthians 1:6-7, The Message. (emphasis mine)

I listened to a message on grief by Rick Warren. He said if you’re only living in the party, you’re only living half a life. That in grief, that’s where we grow. (And if you’re not grieving your losses, you’re stuck in that spot until you do.)

We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, The Message.

In my lowest moments (persecution, exclusion, depression, the waiting), after realizing I had done all that I could do–and all to no avail–I was at a place where I learned surrender. Over the course of three years, I would get lots of practice in learning to differentiate between the things over which I had control, and those that I did not. I learned how to lean on the Lord, and that I could trust him. I learned to pray, and to ask for prayer.

As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened.

Thank you, Jesus.

Courtney (66books365)

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