Sap and Surrender

 

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As my class and I read through How to Pray by R.A. Torrey I ask myself, how do I know if I am abiding in Christ and staying connected to the vine? If I am in Christ and the connected to the sap (the Holy Spirit), I will bear fruit accordingly.

Therefore, to abide in Christ means that I need to be surrendered to God. By surrendered I mean as the Lord shows me areas in my life that I need to give up, that I do. It will be a continuous process of surrendering to the Lord for the rest of my life.

Yes, this is going to take a lot of time. I wish I hadn’t prayed for patience all those years ago. The Lord is finally answering my prayers. If that is the way that it needs to be, then the Lord will give me grace and strength to persevere.

Now the real question is, how will I practically apply or act upon what the Lord showed me?

With the Lord’s help, I will surrender those things in my life that the Lord shows me and to seek to abide in Christ. I may have to surrender on a continual basis, maybe even moment by moment.  Lord, I am going to need your help even more than before. I know You are faithful though, so I’ll make it. No problem.

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Losing Faith and Hope

As Christians and students of the faith we are about the business of gaining insight into God’s character.  It always amazes me how much more we can learn about His character as we move further along in our journeys.

Ever since God made me aware of my call to missions, I have been one track minded seeking out opportunities to go overseas and  joining different missions organizations.  I remember abiding in His strength only and being sold out to Him. I look back on that season with longing often as at that time I was completely sold out to Him.

For past few years I have been task oriented when it comes to my walk with the Lord and obeying His commands. If He tells me to do this or that, I will go do those things but in my own strength. What I didn’t realize is that I stopped abiding in his strength. After a while I became spiritually lazy and would be in self-indulgent. Of course, I would do whatever God told me to, which at the time I thought consisted of the notion of going to another country and dying for him. I began to rely on my walk in the past and therefore became lazy. Since I read the Bible and had learned so many lessons from it, I had the notion I didn’t need to read the Bible anymore. Even though I had no desire to read my Bible I would have gone and died for him.

Recently, my School of Discipleship class went through a book called Calvary Road. When I was reading through it I caught myself thinking that I knew these things, but then God convicted me the next several days saying, “There are so many things you think you know! You lost faith in the blood of the lamb, you lost hope in eternity.” I didn’t realize that I slowly but surely let the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches cloud my judgment. I had become a hearer of the word deceiving myself.

I was reading in the Word and read through Romans 3:25 “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” The Spirit led me to carefully analyze and consider these things. What is faith? Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction in the things not seen. What is conviction? Conviction is belief. Somewhere along the way I stopped believing. I was running on fumes. But the Lord is faithful and assured me that He is with me always. I am thankful that my logic and judgment does not dictate the truth, such as whether or not there is a God and His Son is Jesus. He has helped me realize that I need to become a Christian who lives by faith and not by experience,  feelings or emotions. He has shown me that reading his word refines my faith in Him. I love His faithfulness.

“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

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Who Wants Some Amazing Grace With a Side of Fries?

The School of Discipleship class here in Canada just recently finished reading Charles Swindoll’s, The Grace Awakening. One point Swindoll made had to do with the significance of giving others the freedom to be who they are.

The way I was best able to apply and more fully understand his point was by imagining what it will be like if I have kids someday. I hope I would be a parent who imparts wisdom and disciplines my children when necessary, but also one who gives them the freedom to be who they are, as well as the room to make mistakes.

I think that this practice of letting others be can be applied not only to parent-child relationships, but to friendships and marriages as well. While there may be times for speaking words of caution and correction to our loved ones, I believe there will also be times when the best thing we can do is to just let them be.

 

 

 

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Jesus Wept

“Jesus wept.”

– John 11:35

That’s the shortest verse in the Bible. And the only place in the Bible that it’s recorded that Jesus cried. Why? What was up? The verse is only a couple syllables long, but I believe these two words are there for us to learn from!

What’s the context of John 11:35? If you go ahead and read the other verses in John chapter 11, you’ll realize that Jesus was crying because His friend Lazarus had died. Lazarus had been sick; Jesus didn’t go to him right away; and Lazarus died.

You know what John 11:35 tells me? Jesus was human. Gayle Erwin’s book The Jesus Style explains this so clearly. Jesus was human – and understanding that can be revolutionary! (If you haven’t read The Jesus Style yet, go do it.) Jesus was 100% man, and 100% God. If you can’t fully comprehend that, that’s okay. Neither can I. It’s like trying to wrap your mind around the concept of infinity. But just because I don’t fully understand something, it doesn’t mean I can’t believe in it with all my heart!

“Jesus wept.” Jesus felt sorrow, he felt pain. He understands my emotions!!! And it’s okay to cry. (In class in School of Discipleship one morning, we were discussing if it was okay for guys to cry. That’s a controversial topic so I won’t get into it, but we came to the conclusion that is IS okay for guys to cry. John 11:35 tells us that Jesus did!) But one point that was brought up about this verse – Jesus didn’t remain in His sorrow. He wept, and then He moved on. He was sorrowful, and then He did something about it! Jesus was sad that Lazarus had died – and then He raised him from the dead.

So, emotions are okay. Just don’t let them rule you. Feelings come and go, but facts are what you can depend on. That sounds awfully pragmatic…but it’s true. Relying on the truth – on what God says – is so much better than relying on what I feel.

And when we feel sorrowful, that’s okay.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

“There is a time for everything… a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4)

But don’t dwell in that sorrow, move on, learn from it, and do something about it. Cause that’s what Jesus did.

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How Much is God Worth to You??

“How Much is God Worth to You?”

This question has been rolling around in my mind recently since I have been going through the book ‘True Discipleship’ by William MacDonald… I think it is a very good one to ask as well as a hard one to apply!

I have also had to ask myself, am I really willing to forsake all for my relationship with God? I really want to be able to do this, but it is something that is not achieved overnight! (Or at least not for me!) I take encouragement from the message Pastor Danny Punnose shared with us when he was here. He shared with us that although willow trees grow fast, they have a very short lifespan of 20-30 years! In comparison, California Redwoods take years and years to mature, but they last for 500-700 years! This analogy shows us that even when we feel that we are taking an excruciatingly long amount of time to learn a lesson, we can be confident that if it is done in God’s strength and for His glory, it will surely most last! Praise the Lord! This message was and still is a great encouragement to me to continue pursuing a deeper and more sacrificial relationship toward God. I hope this will encourage you in your relationship with God as well. God Bless!!:)

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What is so Amazing about Grace?

Grace is so amazing! It completely boggles my mind! I don’t understand how the God of the universe could bestow grace upon us humans. To think, that because of His grace, I get to spend eternity with Him forever! If he would have given justice, hell would have been our destination after death. If it was mercy, God might have let us just live in an earth state for eternity. But no, He gave us…me grace! I can look forward to being in His presence till the end of time and beyond!

Looking forward to being with Him forever is staggering as it is, but I also have the chance to live in freedom until I wait for that day. His grace frees me to be no longer have to obey the enemy with his temptations, or my own fallen flesh. Through grace, I can live free from the bondage of these things, as well as my own pride and legalistic thinking.

Knowing all this, my mind (like I said before) is completely blown! I am reminded that the Lord loves me (I will never be able to understand how much He does) This makes me want to spend all my time with Him, alone. Just the two of us. To have no distractions keeping me away from knowing Him more.

This amazing grace is, well…amazing to know about, but it is so much better to live! Jesus has helped me to, more or less, chill out. I tend to be very legalistic, and when I make a mistake, I feel like a failure (which is not true). As I apply this grace, I am reminded that I will make mistakes, but God does not view me as a failure. He views me as what I will be when He is done perfecting me. I can’t tell you how encouraging and relieving that is!

When I am reminded of this grace that God has shown towards me, I find it easier to have grace for others as well. I need to continue to have grace for others, because the Lord is working in their lives as He is working in mine. He might be working on different characteristics or sins hidden deep down inside. I should let God be God and not judge my brother or sister because they might not have the same opinion on the issue being discussed. Grace gives me room to respect, and even more importantly, to accept their opinion. To have an open mind that is ready to hear different views on a topic. I know, and am reminded how much I didn’t deserve God’s grace, and this allows me to give grace to others.

I can’t say that I have attained the grace yet in all areas of my life, but I sincerely hope that one day, I will be able to say I am completely free. Free in Christ, free indeed. Free at last.

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