Saturday, March 28, 2009
I lay it all down for the sake of You, my King.
I'm giving You my dreams.
I'm laying down my rights.
I'm giving up my pride for the promise of new life.
And I surrender, all to You ... all to You.
And I surrender, all to You ... all to You.
The Lord's been really layin' this verse and chorus of the song, "Surrender," on my heart over the past couple of days. ..... I've never quite understood why surrender is such a tough concept for me. I mean, sure ... I'm stubborn, selfish, fallen ... but come on! God has been, is, and continues to be MORE than faithful, MORE than enough, MORE than all I need and want ... and He provides so much MORE than I can imagine ... every single day. Sheesh, Mical. So why is surrendering my desires so hard? It's killin' me! Not so much the surrender part but the fact that I AM SO DAGGONE RIDICULOUS! God has proven Himself over and over and over and over (and .....) again. He has NEVER ever ever ever ever (ever .....) failed me. He is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING .... every single day .... every single MOMENT of my life. ..... But surrender. It is so daggone tiring ... so daggone on difficult ... so daggone opposite of the flesh. Which is why it's so hard. I am flesh. God is holy. Those two things are too opposite to go together .... thankfully, Jesus came along and broke that wall of opposites so that we (the flesh - me .... and God) could live in harmony with one another. And Jesus came along .... surrendering His life .... to enable us to surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and God (one in the same).
Whew! So what does that mean? .....
And in this process of surrender, there is peace. Sweet Jesus peace.
Isaiah 26:3 - The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace because he trusts in You.
.... But that peace only comes when we keep our mind .... our heart .... every nook and cranny of our being stayed upon Him, the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Peace comes from trusting in Jesus. Period.
Verse 4 - Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.
Verse 8 - Indeed, while following the way of Your judgements, O Lord, we have waited for You eagerly ......
Ah ha! There's that word again .... "wait." Mmm .... isn't that just becoming your favorite word? Bah! No way! But isn't it funny how God is bringing it up over and over again? .... Think He's trying to get your attention, Mical? Hmm .... ;) ....
The rest of verse 8 - Your name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls.
The desire of our souls.
The desire of MY soul.
Is He? ..... Are You, Lord?
Precious Jesus, BE the desire of my soul.
Verse 9 - At night my soul longs for You; Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently.
Help me to long for you, O Lord. Help me to seek you with every ounce of my strength .... not just until these areas of my life are surrendered but beyond .... until we meet face to face.
... Peace comes from seeking Christ ... diligently.
Surrender. It must be done. Peace. It's a gift along the way. Embrace it, Mical. Embrace it, everyone! ... How? By seeking God. By trusting Him.
And ya know .... trust is surrender.
When we trust Jesus with our lives, we are surrendering our lives to Him.
Let's give our hearts to Jesus ... and all that is within.
Let's lay it all down because Jesus laid down His very life for us.
Let's give Jesus our every dream.
Let's lay down all of our so called "rights." (Ha! Like we really have any of those!)
Let's give up our pride and live in the NEW LIFE we have in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Oh, everyone!!!!! My heart is crying out! (If you didn't notice). ;) .... I want to surrender ... every nook and cranny of my life to Jesus. I want that NEW LIFE that ONLY comes in an intimate, holy, completely surrendered relationship with Jesus. I'm not there yet. I've got a loooooonnnnnggg way to go. But I can't ever stop striving for that goal. Let's strive together, shall we?
Friday, March 27, 2009
This is gonna be a long post! So get ready! .... Don't be intimidated by its length ... if you don't have time to read a long post right now, then come back when you do! ... Go grab some hot tea or a bag of popcorn, and then come back and get ready for some powerful stuff! It hit me hard, and I wanna share it with you all. :)
A few posts ago I mentioned that I'm reading Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot. Amazing book. Everyone needs to read it, but especially if you're longing for your guy to come along ... or for the guy you want to come around. ;) It's a book all about giving your love life to Christ. Again ... amazing stuff. ... Well, I was reading this morning, and chapter 15 is crazy good! VERY convicting! And VERY good! .... So! In the following paragraphs, I will share "snipets" from chapter 15 of Passion and Purity, and then chat about them a bit. .... It should be fun! Read on! :)
The University of Oklahoma, where I studied linguistics, has an enormous stadium. Nothing was happening there during the summer, so I often climbed to the top row of bleachers, following supper, to enjoy whatever breeze there might be after the day’s scorching heat, and to watch those sensational Oklahoma sunsets. It was a lovely place to be alone to think, read, and pray.
I was disturbed to find that I could not think, read, or pray except about Jim Elliot. He loomed in every thought, every line I read in the Bible or anywhere else. He got mixed up in the morphology, syntax, and phonetics I was stuffing into my head. He distracted my prayers. It is a good thing the Lord has compassion on all those fear Him, knows how we are made, and remembers we are only dust. He loved us both, knew exactly how we loved each other, and used even the detours to bring us home again. Someone once observed that the toothache you have this very minute is the worst pain in the world. Love sickness may seem a trifle compared with other maladies, but the one who is sick with love is sick indeed, and the Heavenly Father understands that. He steadily draws us along the pathway to glory, if our deepest heart is set on His kingdom, if we are not of those whom Psalm 78:8 describes as “a generation with no firm purpose, with hearts not fixed steadfastly on God.”Has anyone ever felt this way? When it doesn't matter what you do and EVERYTHING reminds you of that guy? When thoughts of him are lingering in everything? Yep ... I can relate to ya, Elisabeth. Daggonit! Why is my love for this guy so daggone strong? Powerful. I agree with Elisabeth ... Goooolllly! "It is a good thing the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him, knows how we are made, and remembers that we are only dust." Yep. 'Cause if not ... He would've given up on me oh, so long ago!
I wait. Dear Lord, Thy ways are past finding out, Thy love too high. O hold me still beneath Thy shadow. It is enough that Thou lift up the light of Thy countenance. I wait because I am commanded so to do. My mind is filled with wonderings. My soul asks “Why?” But then the quiet word, “Wait thou only upon God.” And so, not even for the light to show a step ahead, but for Thee, dear Lord, I wait.
This is such a great prayer about waiting!!!!
“When the will of God crosses the will of man,” Addison Leitch said, “somebody has to die.” Life requires countless “little” deaths – occasions when we are given the chance to say no to self and yes to God. The Apostle Paul said, “For continually, while still alive, we are being surrendered into the hands of death, for Jesus’ sake …” It is not that everything that has anything to do with ourselves is in itself wicked and deserving of death. It did not mean that when Jesus said, “Now my will ….” There could not have been even the smallest part of His will that was wicked. It was a choice to lay down everything – the good He had done and the good He might do if He was permitted to live – for the love of God. The same choice is offered to us. To see Bert’s profile, hear him sing; to contemplate the blessedness of marriage as I watched couples who were taking the same course at the university; to call up in memory the sweet anguish of those hours by the Lagoon; to picture Jim’s face as we said good-bye at Union Station – only “little deaths,” but little deaths have to be died just as great ones do. Every reminder that aroused a longing had to be offered up.
Man! This is the toughest lesson ever! It's the biggest lesson I'm learning right now. ..... I don't think my desires are ungodly or selfish .... but I'm confident that my desires are out of God's timing. So ... I MUST offer 'em up to God ... Every. Single. Day. ..... Boy, it's a challenge. It seems like every prayer these days is about ___________. _________ "looms" in nearly every thought. ..... Little deaths. They must happen every day. Every moment of everyday. .... "Every reminder that arouse[s] a longing [must] be offered up [to Jesus]."
I was e-mailing my friend, Alex, about this concept just yesterday, and as I was typing, a thought occurred to me. It relates back to an earlier chapter in Passion and Purity where Elisabeth Elliot states that "Passion is a battleground." Alex and I love word pictures, so I threw out the idea of God being our Commanding Officer ... telling her how thankful I was that HE is our CO. I went on to throw out more ideas concerning this idea. .... God is our Commanding Officer in the battle (the WAR!) of passion. And in this crazy fight, He is the Commanding Officer who not only LEADS us into battle (and out of it) and helps us OVERCOME (or win!) .... He also, and most importantly, LAYS HIS LIFE DOWN FOR EACH OF US. ..... That is powerful! ....... So in return, I should be MORE than willing to lay down my life for my Commanding Officer. I should lay down my life concerning my love life ... I should be jumping on opportunities to die these "little deaths." .... It's crazy-hard work, but passion is a battleground .... and I can't let my guard down even for a second!
The last part of the chapter that I want to share with you is this ....
There is a big however. It is this: We are not meant to die merely in order to be dead. God could not want that for the creatures to whom He has given the breath of life. We die in order to live.
Wow! That is powerful stuff. Listen to that line again .... We die in order to live. ..... It's true! REAL life only comes from knowing Christ, serving Him, and putting Him first in our lives. When we die to ourselves (give up our desires for Christ's), we live! In dying, we live! A crazy concept. Demanding. It requires E V E R Y T H I N G we've got. Period. God's call on our lives is a mighty one. It is NOT for the faint of heart. It is NOT for "Sunday Christians." It is NOT comfortable or easy .... and sometimes it is downright no fun at all ... at times it is the most difficult thing we will ever face. But it is our calling. It is our purpose. It is our life's mission. "Take up your Cross daily, and follow Me." .... Jesus never said it was gonna be easy. What, in that sentence, sounds easy? "Take." That's a command. Commands are not usually easy. "Your Cross." Our Crosses, in this case, are our very lives. Yep ... that's right! Jesus wants it all! Ha! He's not asking for much, is He? ;) .... "Daily." We are to offer up our lives every single day .... not just on Sundays, not just when we feel like it, not just when we're not very busy. And "follow Me." ... Lastly, Jesus calls us to follow Him - trust Him, serve Him, seek Him in all things. ....... Whew!!!! Crazy! Difficult (to say the least)! Purpose. .... OUR purpose. .......... It's not easy (not by any stretch!) ... but let's learn this lesson of DEATH TO SELF so that we can truly LIVE FOR JESUS. :)
Well, as you can see ... Passion and Purity is not a book for the weak-willed or lazy Christian. It is a book with a high standard ... the highest standard there is - God's standard. Please read this book! God is sifting through the silt and rocks (uglies) and the deepest longings (God-honoring parts) of my heart with each page of this book. Convicting me and challenging me in incredible ways! It has NOT been easy, but it's been so good for me! Take the challenge! If you are struggling to bring your love life under Christ's control ... or really ... if you're struggling to bring ANY part of your life under Christ's control ... read this book.
Okay .... I've repeated myself a thousand different ways .... hopefully you get my drift by now. ;) .... Good stuff, huh? ;) .... Let's keep surrendering our lives to Christ ..... everyday. :)
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
NEITHER. I don't like animals - any kind. My motto is "When pets attack!"
McDonald's. Best french fries. Sweet tea! Yeah ...
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
"Put first things first, and we get second things thrown in; put second things first, and we lose both first and second things." - C.S. Lewis
READ THAT AGAIN!
"Put first things first, and we get second things thrown in; put second things first, and we lose both first and second things."
That is big! Wow! Better preachin' than you think!!!! ....... Here's my paraphrase: Put God first in your life, and all else will fall into place. Leave God out of the #1 spot, and everything else will fail. ......... This is a BIG idea! This is a big REALITY!!! Life is pointless, futile ... trifling! ... if we do not make Jesus our E V E R Y T H I N G !!! He MUST be #1! Always and forever!
Jason asked us to think about a few questions ....
* What matters most to God?
* What cause is God most passionate about?
* What is the primary reason God wants us to spread His Gospel?
Think about these questions for yourself ..... what kinds of answers do you come up with?
Now! Read these verses ..... Colossians 1:16-18, Isaiah 43:7, Ephesians 1:6-14, and 1 Peter 4:10-11. .... In case you don't have a Bible handy, I'll give you the "gist" of each passage. These are the "fill-in-the-blanks" that Jason had us fill out.
* Christ created all things so that ......... fill in the blank. .... so that "He, Himself, will come to have first place in everything." (NASB)
* God created us ........... for His glory.
* The ultimate reason God saves us is so that ........ we will praise and glorify Him.
1 Peter 4:10-11
* The primary reason God wants our service is so that ......... we will glorify Him.
Seeing a pattern? ;) ..... Yep, that's right! We are called to GLORIFY GOD. Ya'll can do what you want with these verses. And I challenge you to really read them; dwell on them; soak them up!
And I want to leave you with a passage that Jason left with us .........
1 Peter 2:9-12
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation." (NASB)
Good stuff, huh? ......... It's all God's words. :)
And think about it ... we were CHOSEN to GLORIFY GOD. This is our P U R P O S E !
This post is actually a question I asked under the "Question for You" application I used to have on my blog. It's such a good question to think about, and I love my answer! So I couldn't just delete it! :)
What do you want to be/do when you grow up?
I want to finally get this primary calling thing right ... to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. I want Psalm 16:11 to be the center of my entire being, not just sometimes, but on a moment by moment basis ... "In Your presence is FULLNESS of JOY." I want to live in such a way that JESUS is my EVERYTHING! I'm a workin' on it ... but I want to be ever closer to PERFECT joy in Christ!
I also want to work with young people. I want to work ... somehow, somewhere ... with kids, teens, and people young at heart! I want to pour myself into them and be poured into by them! I want to share Jesus with them ... share encouragement with them - "You CAN overcome these hard times! I overcame mine through the power and grace and faithfulness of my awesome Jesus!" ... I want to simply BE with them!
.... Could this mean teaching? I thought so for such a long time ... but I'm waiting on God for that one. Could that mean going into youth missions in the deepest jungles of South America or in the growing churches in China? I don't know. Letting God take that one! Could it be taking over the Sunday School program at my church? At a church in the ghetto of St. Louis? I have no idea! .... God knows though! And He'll let me know in HIS time!
... All I know is that I want to love on chil'rens and youth and .... people, in general!!! :)
Lord, guide! Direct! Provide! Give peace! Open doors! Shut doors! I will follow your lead!
So .... since it's my day ... I'm gonna splurge and write a couple of blog posts I've been storing up. It's one of my birthday presents to myself. :)
Gooolllly! My life has been oober busy the past couple of months! Hence, the lack of blogging. I'm workin' on it though. :) Slowly but surely finding balance. ... God is faithful. :)
Without further ado ... the previous couple of posts are some thoughts I've been wanting to post about for quite some time .......... Yay!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I battled these crazy offset commas for months and months. And when I finally dropped the pen and let God continue writing my sentence, I found that He took this love life appositive out. He knew that the sentence worked just fine without it. He knew the sentence worked BETTER without it. He helped ME see that my sentence was better (at least for now) without these so called "enhancements."
Perhaps ... down the road ... God will put this love life appositive back in my life. But for now, I'm really enjoying my sentence without this particular appositive. My sentence is reading so much more smoothly, and it is no longer wordy and confusing. .... It's amazing how that works, huh? When we give the pen to God, He writes a sentence (and an entire story!) packed with fulfulling and purposeful punctuation, adjectives, nouns, appositives, and so much more!
Keep trusting God to write your sentence! He is the Master Writer and Editor, and He knows what He's doing! :)