Tag Archive | surrender

Who Are You???

IMG_1601

“God is not calling you to an uncertain future. Let the discovery of your identity be an adventure.”

If you were to try and imagine a stranger, someone that you had never met, you would not be able to do it. Too many unknown variables. Sounds strange right.

The person that God is calling you to be is someone that you have never met. Thus you have no frame of reference for imagining this person.

When you meet someone for the first time, more than likely, you put your best foot forward because you expect an amicable meeting. As you do not know the person, you are unable to judge them on an unknown past. It is a clean slate. You cannot form opinions based on who they are now or what they may have done in the past because you do not know.

For the new person that God wants us to become, we must also do just that. We tend to let past experiences or current actions taint the image of a future self. This results in the attitude of “Nope. Not me. I can’t do that.” or “Are you sure?”

Paul wrote that we are to forget the past and be drawn forward by the new future (Phil 3:13 -14); that higher calling.  Christ says that in Him we are a NEW creation (2 Cor 5:17): recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn, of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of. (ALL WOW and ALL YOU!!!)

Let discovery of the new with God be an adventure. You CAN be what He wants you to be and do what He asks of you.

This new person is unveiled over time. It’s not like going from inside to outside. One minute here and the next, there. It is a journey. It may not happen as quickly as you might like. There will be struggles and tests and victories and the peace of God to over shadow it all.

Our cooperation is a determining factor in the length of the journey.

You may have heard the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, or have a strong sense from the Word or have been given a prophetic word regarding the plans that God has for you.

You may even have set out on this journey all bright eyed and bushy tailed only to face falls, failures, disappointments, and you have to believe that God still loves you and wants the best for you.

The thing is, God has already seen that new person. He knows what they look like. He sees the strength that has been built and the faith that has been cultivated and the gifts that have been discovered. He also sees where the chains were broken and where deliverance came and where burdens fell away.

So He is not calling you to an uncertain future. He is certain that you will be that person as long as you put your trust in and walk with Him. No matter how much like a fantasy it seems.

Remember, stop trying to picture this new person and giving definitions of what they are to resemble. You have NO frame of reference. You have no idea what God will do and how he will lovingly form and shape you, once you are in His hands.

Jump in!!! Feet first!!! You know He will catch you!!! Or fly with you. Or keep you afloat.

Ok God, so what now? Where do we go? What do we do next?

He is calling you forward but in all things be sure to count the cost. God wants all of you.

So be excited; not scared.

Don’t  imagine all the ways things could go wrong cause you are not God. There is no way that you could possibly know that.

I recently learned this saying: Stop borrowing trouble; which basically means stop worrying about something that you have no idea how it will turn out.

We can be quick with our ‘what ifs’. Just trust Him and be lead.

You are not your past. Your definition comes from your future. God’s future for you. His purpose for you.

Remember :

Don’t doubt Him. God knows the plans He has for you –  Jer 29:11

Don’t let the fear of failing stop you from moving. You may fall 7 times – Prov 24:16, Psa 37:23-24

Don’t think you know it all. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him – Isa 64:4; 1 Cor 2:9

Don’t set limits. He is able to do far more abundantly beyond what we ask or thinkEph 3:20, Isa 55:8-9

Don’t try to do it in your own strength. Humble yourself under His mighty hand and in due time He will lift you up – 1 Pet 5:6-7

 

My prayer for all of us, is that we believe the infallible Word of God. The Word that speaks of who we are to God and who God has called us to be in Him. That we know that He cannot lie and that if He says something about us, then it is so. That we know that His Words are meant to comfort and not condemn, to lift us up and not pull us down; to cause us to see the truth and to desire His truth in our lives. That I know and that you know, undoubtedly, unashamedly, that He loves us beyond all measure and will reach out to us and draw us to Him. Let God – not this world, ourselves, other people – define us.

By Marisse Cropper

Advertisements

Jesus under pressure – Our example

christ-crucified

Matt 26:41- “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”.

Life has many challenges. While challenges make us grow, sometimes the pressure of those challenges can make us feel like we will explode. Let’s look at how our Savior, Jesus Christ, handled pressure and follow His example by applying these principles to whatever we may be facing.

 

1. Jesus did not use earthly tools, He prayed.
e.g. John 18:10 – When the soldiers wanted to take Jesus, Simon drew His sword (earthly weapon). Luke 22:44 – when Jesus was in agony He prayed..”Being in agony He prayed more earnestly.”

Why pray?
a. Prayer brings with it strength from heaven (an angel came and strengthened Jesus in His time of need).
b. Prayer brings with it the very presence of the all-powerful God (The three Hebrew boys in the furnace had the presence of the Son of God (Christ) with them in their time of extreme pressure).

Personalize it: What is your method? How do you react under pressure? Earthly weapons/solutions or prayer? e.g. Do you talk to everyone about a situation and gossip rather than praying? Proverbs 10:19 –“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise”.

2. Jesus resisted temptation.
Temptation lurks when the pressure is on – Matt 26:41- “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”.

We ‘react’ when we are under pressure and may say or do the wrong things e.g. Matt 26: 73-74 – Peter lied, denying knowing Christ when put under pressure. The pressure of potentially being arrested, charged and killed was too great for him to handle. Luke 22: 48-50 – The disciples asked, “Lord should we strike with the sword?” They had no sense of the hour that they were in. Christ’s response was very composed/cool/collected – ‘Permit even this’.

What are some of the temptations we face under pressure?
i. To react in anger and sin e.g. giving someone a good piece of your mind (Bible cautions us to be angry and sin not).
ii. To forget about Christ/God and take matters into our own hands especially if we believe that God is not acting fast enough or doing what we think he should do.
iii. To deny Christ – how do we do that? We can be ashamed to identify with him in suffering as Peter did. Enduring suffering for Christ is not something that comes automatically to us so we might try to ease our way out of it (Mark 14:50 says that they (disciples) all forsook him and fled). We flee suffering and deny Christ sometimes by throwing away our faith in God- There are people that leave the faith when they are under pressure – I have a friend whose mother was ill with cancer for years and after her prayers for healing were not answered in the way she expected, she left the faith – denied Christ.

The GREAT temptation when under pressure is to deny Christ, to abandon God ESPECIALLY when He seems silent. God was silent through Christ’s trial of crucifixion – He had no representation in the form of a host of angels (as they were when they announced Christ’s birth); no forefathers (Moses, Elijah like at Mount of Transfiguration); no voice appearing from heaven (like when Christ was baptized)…absolute silence. Under pressure, we have to learn to trust God ‘even when we can’t trace him’ – when he seems to have left us alone and there is silence.

I pray this was an encouragement to you. We will continue next week with the last two points. Have a great weekend everyone!

By Robertha Reid

Perfect Imperfection

worship

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Cor 12:9

One Sunday morning, in the midst of worship, hands and voices were lifted and eyes were closed.  People were lost in the presence of God. I then wondered how would an unsaved person view this scene. Would they be moved by the presence of the Holy Spirit or would look on the worshippers as hypocrites? People whose Monday to Friday lives don’t equate to the Sunday lives.

All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory….

It then occurred to me, that is why we need God’s grace and is what an unsaved mind cannot understand. That even when we give our lives to God through Jesus Christ, we are still imperfect. That even as we lift our hands In worship, we are also grateful and thanking Him for just loving us as we are.  In that lies the perfection of His plan. The fulfillment of His grace.

We are no longer called to live under the law. He uses us, in spite of our imperfections, to accomplish His will. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us and God’s word to instruct us.

It does not mean that we should continually sin because we will receive grace. It means that our mistakes do not cripple us . It means that we do not live under the weight of condemnation. God meets us time and time again at the point of our weakness.

Look at Peter. He denied Christ three times in spite of having walked with Him. He was racked with guilt but there was restoration. Peter was able to take his position in the early church, as we all know. What would have happened, had he carried around with him, that previous incident? If he had not believed that he was still part of God’s plan?

I am often times my worst critic. The tiniest mole hill can become a mountain by the time I am done with it. There is the assumption that God and other people see those imperfections when they look at me. The thing is,  God does not see  like that. He sees someone covered by blood and redeemed by grace. Why is it so hard to understand that He does not need my perfection?

So each day, there is a new chance. A reboot of sorts. Where my kinks are worked out in Him and His love draws me forward.

Go to Him in your weakness and be amazed at what can be accomplished as we allow Him to take what we have and use it for His glory.

 

by Marisse Cropper

Opening Up

1246500_30652558

No ‘body’ is perfect. Regardless of what fashion magazines may want us to believe. We all have our days of confidence and then there are those days when we have something to hide.

A hat can hide a ‘bad hair day’, shoes can hide unpainted toes, clothes can disguise those few unwanted pounds and long pants…well…let’s just say that they can be very useful for hiding all types of things.

But those are all physical things that we can conceal from the eyes of people around us.  Even when we have emotional difficulties, we can put on a brave face; a smiling face and shield ourselves from others. These efforts do not apply when dealing with God.

Do we have things that we try to conceal from God the Father? Things that make us think, ” Maybe if I don’t deal with them, they may go away or not seem so bad?”

1 Sam 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

God is able to see right through us and even though it may be uncomfortable, we must be able to lay ourselves bare before Him. Knowing that He will not condemn us but love us. He will not pick at us or laugh at our faults.

Psalm 139 tells us just how intimately God knows us.

Psalm 139:23-24  Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties
; And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

 My prayer for all of us is that we are brave enough to show God whatever faults, insecurities, hurts and  fears we have and then allow Him to have His way in us. It may not be easy but He will pick us up, heal our wounds and lovingly lead us for He is our shepherd.

 

 

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

 

By Marisse Cropper

 

 

 

 

The “Obvious” Solution

solutionIn 2 Sam 5,  David had been anointed king over Israel. The Philistines hearing of this, come down to stand against David and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim (Valley of the Giants / Old Tribe of Giants). David’s old foe had once again returned at a time when there was breakthrough. The enemy that had been defeated in his youth, was making its presence felt again. At a time when he was finally standing in the place for which God had anointed him many years prior.

This time though, the situation would not have been quelled by a sling and a stone (a previous solution). This time, he had the armies of Israel at his command and as always, the Lord to direct him.

David asks for direction: 2 Sam 5:19  So David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.” 

And the result : 2 Sam 5:20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim

Once again though, those pesky Philistines (your situation) would not go away. They came again to camp in the valley of Rephaim.

At this point, David could have said, “Ok army; Let’s go defeat them again.” The situation looked the same. Don’t assume the solution will be the same.

Again David asks for direction: 2 Sam 5: 23 -24 Therefore David inquired of the LORD, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.”

Totally different strategy!!  The outcome even looked different this time : 2 Sam 5:25  And David did so, as the LORD commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.

Who knows what can be accomplished when we don’t do what seems best to us and seek the Lord? Even if what seems best, is what worked before or what worked for someone else in a similar situation. It might even seem to be the most logical thing to do but ….

God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are much higher than ours. 

Don’t tackle it, get frustrated, then go to God.

Take the time to ask how to proceed and….wait for the answer.

Remember Gideon defeated an entire army with only 300 men. Not the obvious solution but God’s strategy!!

 

Have a blessed, enjoyable and restful weekend.

 

by Marisse Cropper

 

 

 

A Life of Sacrifice- Part 1

20140425-111239.jpg

(Photo from hearjesuschrist.blogspot.com)

Recently God has been speaking to me about being open to His rule in my life. I thought that I was doing pretty good in this area but after reading a book called “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan, I began to realise that I give God drops and pieces of my life when it’s convenient to me.

I have a habit of being quick to say no, not because I don’t want to do something but because I am very busy and barely have time for myself. Yet it seems that God has been challenging me to give my all to him; this includes money, gifts and even my time, the very thing I feel that I barely have.

Total surrender is not easy. It requires us accepting that everything we have been given has been given to us for God’s purpose and to expand his Kingdom.

Total surrender also means that we accept the way God allows life to happen to us. When Paul was in prison, I am sure that it was not easy, especially after being beaten, yet Paul was able to sing praises at midnight to God and say things like:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7

and
“I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ[b] who strengthens me.” Philippians 4: 12-13

We don’t always like the way life has happened to us, we may think God is being harsh, insensitive, or indifferent if we keep praying for particular circumstances and not seeing any change but if we have chosen total surrender to God, we must trust that he has total control of our lives and only has our best interest at heart.

The more we get to know God’s character, the more we will trust Him with our lives. So..what does the bible say about God’s character? Psalm 145:8 says “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.”

Psalm 18:30 (NKJV)
As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

As you go into the weekend, be encouraged and prayerfully ask the Lord to show you how you can take your life, time and resources to the next level in sacrificial giving. Surrender to the Lord and follow His leading knowing that His character and His track record are unmatched.

Next post we will look at some persons in the bible who set the example for us by the sacrificial lives they lived. Have a great weekend.

By Robertha Reid.

Today and Tomorrow

Encouragement for today.

Matthew 6:25-34
New International Version (NIV)
Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.