“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Ephesians 1:17 (NKJV)
In reading Chapter 1 of Ephesians, everything needed to live a victorious life in Christ has been given to us. Believing in Jesus, the Holy Spirit is deposited in us as a guarantee of God’s promise of eternity. However, the blessing is not just for eternity but the journey here as well. In God’s expression of love for us, He provided the means for us to be victorious in everyday life. Surrendering your life to Jesus would not be necessary if we held all the answers. He would not have needed to lay down His life on the cross for us. However, God in His mercy and awesome expression of love for us, tendered His one and only Son that we might have life and have it more abundant. There is thankfulness in my heart today for all He has done for me. What about you?
Today I want to talk about change. The only constant is change. Circumstances don’t remain the same. They change, for better or for worse. However, they do change. When I reflect on my life, I see major changes and minor changes. My question is how much impact do you want to have when the changes occur?
When we make choices in our lives, do we make them with regard to changes that may occur? I have pondered change for myself. My heart’s direction is to impact my faith. Change it for the better. Strengthen it and grow it. Why? Because my faith will see me through when the changes come that are out of my control.
My faith helps me with the loss of family, friends and other things that impact me. My faith in God is the rock that anchors my soul. I have discovered that I can get through anything that occurs with God at the helm. It is not my intent to make it seem like it is so easy. Faith in God takes surrender and consistency, no matter what it looks like. I would like to add to the point that some may say that it is better to have control of everything by your own standards. That may seem to work for a while, however, things will change. When things are out of your control, what is your anchor? What do you hold on to when no matter what you attempt to do isn’t working out the way you want it to?
My faith in God is through the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my Savior and my Lord. Is everything down pat? Of course not. I will say that is my direction though. This journey of life is not easy, sometimes not even clear. However, through it all, God says He will never leave us nor forsake us. God gave His one and only Son so that this life of mine would be better. And, not only this life but the next one in eternity. What is your anchor?
When you are attempting to do something and you try several different ways yet still unsuccessful, do you conclude that there must be a better way? As I continue to grow and mature, I realize that, for me, Jesus is the better way. This life journey is not easy. It has many twists and turns. After I accepted Jesus, I was still initially challenged. However, I decided_with full transparency_my way wasn’t working for me. I know that each of us have the choice of free will. God doesn’t force us to choose Jesus. He asks us to.
The choice is whether to surrender or not. Surrender. your will for His will. God does know that this is a challenge for us. His mercy and grace is there to help us make this choice. The last several years have definitely been a challenge for us all. They have been stressful. I have not been overly stressed, but blessed. I have been concerned, having no anxiety because I knew that God was in control. That is a freedom I keep.
This freedom of not trying to fix everything in my life and trusting God is truly liberating. He has everything in His hands. In concluding, I will note that I understand it is hard to believe in the deity that you cannot physically see. However, you see evidence of Him everywhere. The sun, moon, stars, nature are all a part of Him. The other note is that it takes faith to believe in God and believe God’s Word for your life.
Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
As we close on 2022, evaluate where you are. If you need love, purpose, friendship, provision, protection, etc. choose Jesus Christ. God sent His only Son that we might have eternal life as well as life more abundantly here on earth. Everything may not seem differently immediately. However, God is true to His Word. His promises are real and true. Faithfulness is part of His character.
I pray that God will bless you all continually as we venture into the next year, 2023. Prayerfully, I hope that you choose Him for a better you and a better life. We were created to serve and glorify Him.
John 14:6 – “Jesus said to Him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
This is the last word from my post, Peace, Patience, and Presence. I exchanged the word present for being present in the body of the post to be clear. It is the result of being active or being present in the moments of your life. God’s peace works on your patience. Your patience works on your presence. There are several benefits to being present.
First you have more mental energy for the moment in which you are present. You let go of distractions. 1 Corinthians 7:35 – “I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.” I believe that when you are focused on what you are doing in the moment, being present with friends and family, even at work, life is much more enjoyable.
Other benefits include less emotional stress because you are not worried about what you cannot control. In this case, being present means you have given whatever your needs and challenges are to the Lord. Proverbs 12:25a -“Worry weighs a person down…” (NLT) From our life experiences, we know this to be true. Matt 6:25 – “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food, and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food and your body more than clothing?” Jesus goes on to tell us to “seek the Kingdom of God above all and He will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33. (NLT).
Being focused on one thing, engaged in the here and now; not stuck in the past or the future seems very simple. As we give our cares and worries to God, we are free to thrive. When we find our hearts heavy with things out of our control, we become burdened. Jesus has said for us who are weary and heavy burdened to lay those burdens at His feet. We are then free to live life more abundantly. This helps with our mental health as well. Our minds are not burdened with things we can’t control. Instead, our minds are focused on our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.
I get that being in the moment may seem very simple, however, not easy. Our minds takes us different places. It takes practice. Being mindful and present requires your action and commitment.
Courage means “the ability to disregard fear.” I got this definition from the Reader’s Digest Oxford Complete Wordfinder published in 1996. Twenty-six years ago. Still holds true today.
However, what does God say about courage.
Genesis 46:3-4 – 3) I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. 4) I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.”
God was speaking to Jacob. He was going to be with him during this major situation in his life. God promised to be with him. Jacob’s God was God. No matter what he went through, including death, God would be with him. We will all die someday. I would rather die with God than without Him.
Jesus reassured the disciples in John 16:33 – “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
There are so many Scriptures that encourage and direct us to be of good courage. I shared one Old Testament and one New testament Scripture because courage is necessary when we are going through, even unto death. There is a need to focus on more than what is just comfortable for us. In fulfilling God’s plans and purpose for our lives, there is a need for courage. Each of us, individually, must dive into the Scriptures for our own lives.
When we have the courage to stand on God’s word, our life is in His hands. God is not going to tell you to do something He is not prepared to carry you through. When we have surrendered to the Almighty God, there is nothing He cannot do in our lives.
Do you have the courage to surrender to Him? The gift of salvation is free. Moving forward on this journey can sometimes be a challenge, but you are not going alone. He tells us to be of good courage, trusting and relying on Him. Praise God! Hallelujah and Amen.
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”
As I sit and ponder this, I realize that there are many times the choices I make are not the best. However, the Scripture above tells me that even then, God is working out the good for our benefit. I do give God the praise and glory today because no matter what He loves me and is always looking to give me what’s good for me in spite of my humanity.
This Scripture also gives me rest. Not saying I want to make the wrong choices. When I do though, God is right there making sure by His protection that it works out for my good. This is not to say there won’t be consequences. They may very well be there. He is still right by my side to make sure that I get through them. The comfort of God’s love for me is everything.
I would like to encourage you today. No matter what, God is with you. His word states that he will never leave you nor forsake you. Psalm 9:10 – “Those who know your name trust in You, for You, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for You.” David wrote a good portion of the Psalms. His relationship with God is an excellent example of what that means. David was not perfect. He was repentant and humble when he did make some bad choices. And, he did.
God lets us know that making wrong choices doesn’t remove His love for us. His word shows us by the testimony of those gone before us. Stay the course because you can’t do anything He doesn’t know about or isn’t aware of.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God. And thank God for that!
Verse 35 – “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?
Verse 36 – “As the Scriptures say, “For Your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”
Verse 37 – “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loves us.”
Today, I want to talk about surrender. Surrendering to God is difficult, at best for most of us. Most of us don’t surrender until we come face to face with things being totally out of our control. Still surrender is challenging. Then, we realize we need to trust God whether we like it or not. We need to surrender.
Is surrender about trust? Why is it so hard for us to surrender to God? Do you trust Him? Is it because He’s not physically tangible? You can’t reach out and touch Him like you can the person close to you that you love? Doubting Thomas. Remember him?
John 20:25 NLT – He said “I will not believe until I see the nail wounds in His hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”
Are the trees, the birds, the sky, the moon, the seasons not enough physical evidence? Even humanity? Why won’t you trust God with your heart? The One who created your heart. Is your resistance to surrender because you want to maintain control?
Trust. What does that word really mean to you? The dictionary says it means a firm belief in the reliability or truth or strength, etc., of a person or a thing. The only real truth standing the test of time is God’s truth, His word. Trust also means a confident expectation. The word of God is the same yesterday, today and forever because it is truth. Truth does not change. Facts do. What other thing can you have a confident (trust) expectation in?
Picked up this book, The Transformation of the Inner Man, by John and Paula Sanford, from my supply a couple days ago. Started reading it and it is a very slow read because there is so much rich information. It is detailed information about faith and the healing journey. As well, it is about praying for others to be healed from the hurts and wounds from the past.
For me, this is important. Life coaching, the part of the helping industry that I am now directed in, is about helping others. To make a long story a little short, this book highlights what that means. The inner man needs a lot of help today. Faith and healing go hand in hand. God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit being the way. Surrender is what is called for. The pain and the unforgiveness held towards those that hurt us has to be surrendered to God. This is necessary and non-negotiable. This information revealed how these two emotions, in particular, keep us from healing.
Harboring that bitterness creates issues spiritually and physically. First, being in sin and second, harboring that bitterness creates aches and pains no man-made medicine cures. “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. ~ Hebrews 12:15
I have prayed for God to open my eyes to deeper spiritual knowledge and He surely does that by the Holy Spirit. It brought back to mind the vision I had of tug-o- war. There is a tug-o-war between the flesh and the spirit. Which side is winning when you look at your life? The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. It reminded me how truly rebellious the sin nature is against God. We can look at the inner man and our childhood trauma. Once we have reconciled our childhood trauma, we are left with that pesky sin nature. Sometimes it may certainly boil down to just that.
Bottom line is that we are in spiritual warfare. The spirit man and the flesh are in opposition. Each day presents a choice. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” ~ Matthew 26:41
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…” ~ Colossians 1:9
When thinking about surrender to the Lord, it is easy to surrender today. Give everything to the Lord. Next day comes, lo and behold, the habit of taking things on yourself is right back at you. The hope is that when you surrender, it is a done deal. But, the flesh is weak. In continuing the theme that the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, this need to surrender daily comes to light. The flesh is not going to let the Spirit take control. You have to give control to the Spirit.
Mark 14:37-38 – 37)“And He came back and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Were you unable to keep watch for one? 38) Keep [actively] watching and praying so that you do not come into temptation, the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (Amplified)
Part of this revelation is apparent when we look at the Psalms. David prayed that God would renew a right spirit within him. (Psalm 51). If there was no need to surrender often, this prayer would not be unnecessary. The flesh, the world, and the enemy bring about the need to stay before the Lord and continually surrender. Life events and other elements seem to come forth out of nowhere. This is the reason we are called to be sober, keep watch. This spiritual journey cannot be taken lightly. It is also revealed in other parts of Scripture that we need to forgive one another, sometimes even seventy times seven. The flesh is not relenting easily. Neither is the world and definitely not the enemy.
Note the Scripture that says the enemy roams about seeking whom he may destroy. When awareness of the spiritual realm becomes a real priority, the process of surrender becomes much more desired. There is no way to walk in spiritual authority without surrendering. There is power in surrendering. You don’t have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Christ must be sought with your whole heart, mind, and soul. From there, you can share the Good News. Here comes immerse. Immerse yourself in the Word of God.
It is necessary to take the plunge and get into God. Surrendering empties ourselves of ourselves. We can then immerse to develop the most important relationship of our lives, the relationship with God through Christ Jesus our Lord. The true love we desire to give others flows from this relationship. We cannot get to know God if we don’t get to know God. Surrendering is a daily process along with immersing ourselves in His Word. Falling asleep is not just literal. We fall asleep in our busyness and in our lives. That is letting the call to “be sober and keep watch” fall by the wayside. When we put God first, He will make the way for the rest that is needed. Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven.
While the following questions were answered by me from a devotional I did today, I wanted to share them with you. I am not looking for answers on the post, of course. But thought as we continue on this journey, when we probe deep within ourselves about our relationship with Christ, we can move forward in growth. The key is to be honest with ourselves because God already sees and knows.
Do you feel like you have to earn Jesus’s love? Why or why not?
I used to. Today I know that Jesus loves me in spite of myself. I used to beat myself up regularly if I failed in trying to get something right or change behaviors that I thought were ungodly or not aligned with His will for me. I kept making some of the same mistakes over and over again. His love for me is always a comfort and a reminder that I didn’t do anything to earn His love in the first place and I can do nothing to keep it.
How has God’s love changed you?
God’s love has given me a peace that surpasses understanding as stated in His Word. The last two years of trials and challenges has shown me true strength. His love has erased the fear I used to have of living. His love has shown me that no matter what happens, I have hope, in Him. Even if I should leave this earth, I have a place with Him in heaven. How truly awesome is that!
What is Jesus calling you to put aside so you can follow Him completely?
Financial worry is at the top of the list. Yes, I had to answer this question honestly for myself. While I do go into prayer, I reflect on my reactions. Sometimes tears would result or me trying to figure out the next step based on what I can see and my limited resources. Based on the trials I have experienced over the last two years in particular, and over the years as a single parent, I would say this has been a thorn for me. I read an article today about Jonah and Deep Sea Surrender. I have included a link should you desire to read it. It is a poignant article.
Jonah did not surrender his rebellion to God’s will until he was swallowed up by the fish. And, as a thought by the writer indicated, it still took three days for him to get out. I believe the point here is that God’s love pursues us until we have surrendered all to Him. No matter what it is. After surrender, you still may not receive all the answers you think you need. The ultimate point is that you are now ready to be used for His purpose. Beyond that, you get a deeper understanding about Him and you.