Saturday, February 26, 2011

Surrender = Freedom

I was four and at church camp. I couldn't understand the big words on the wall. Oh, yes, I knew what they were. But they made no sense. Something like, in Christ "Surrender = Freedom." How could that ever be? Silly adults!

As I grew up, I began to hear talk of another type of freedom. Not having to follow rules, living as one wanted. Apparently that's what it meant.

But I've found it's not. Like the angels of God now know, His law is for their well-being; I know now that rebellion is not attractive. I see in the Satan's experiment with it, a terrible result. Instead of a higher existence, a miserable, insecure life.

I'd often heard too, that the best gift you can give God is your heart. "Surrender to God everyday... moment-by-moment." I would, every morning and evening. But I wondered, how could I know? Maybe I was holding onto something. My life was no different. I didn't understand surrender.

I smile as I remember one of the times I experienced surrendering.

"Milk Tutzi, please." Mum said. I groaned silently. One or two goats are okay, but I didn't enjoy having to milk five of them.

Oh no! I could feel self rising up. I prayed under my breath. "I surrender my feelings to you Father, please deal with them. Help me be cheerful."

I went and got Toot. And I had peace and joy. Those upset feelings were gone.

Those words do make sense now. Surrender is freedom.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Where is the line to see Jesus?

"What is this long line for, mama?" the little boy asked as he beheld the long line of parents and children who were in line waiting see Santa. Then looking into his mothers face he said "If Christmas is Jesus' birthday, where is the line to see Jesus?"

I heard that little story on the radio around Christmas time, and I was reminded of it recently. There are countless numbers of lines today; lines of people waiting to see him or her or them or this or do this or that. But, where is the line to see Jesus? I'm afraid, the one who loves us most, the one who gave his life so unfairly for every single soul is the one who is least noticed, the one who is least wanted, the one who is least loved, and the one who is least popular among men. It is sad, and it is a shame!

Will we as Christians make a difference? Will we remember to seek to see Jesus and encourage others to do the same?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Seasons of Life and Finding Fulfillment

Seasons of life come and go and change, yet life remains. It is how we live that life, how we choose to relate to the season that makes the difference.

Fulfillment will come only by being content with the season of life God has placed you in, and by accepting and fulfilling the role and the duty that God has called you to perform. That is where you will find fulfillment in life.

Yet, God is the only one that can give you contentment and the ability to do his will. He is the only one that can fulfill the deepest yearnings of the heart; the only one who can understand the deepest emotion.

Will you today and always make him your friend - your truest and dearest friend, and find in him contentment and strength to perform your role in your season of life and find fulfillment, joy and peace?

There is a reason for every season...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Elyssa

“Do you have any children?” I asked our bearded visitor.
“Yes, I do,” he stated. “Their names are Jonathon and Elyssa.”
“How old is Melissa?”
“No, it’s Elyssa. She’s thirteen,” he replied.
I smiled, it sounded different, but I liked the name. She seemed so much older than my nine summers though.
Later, when my sister, Bethany started the newsletter “The Narrow Way,” she was featured in one of them. It told how she’d given her birthday money to a small African orphanage. She won my admiration. I began to try to save money to help orphans too.

Our dear visitor left after staying with us a little while. He went back to his homeland across the ocean. North America. I wished he could’ve brought his daughter so we could become friends. But it happened another way instead.

Around a year later, Bethany created a website, as part of Ben and her ministry. On that website was a forum. My siblings and I were on it, along with friends around the place. And Elyssa was too. We would discuss Bible topics along with health, nature and the like. But it all started when she posted her testimony. When I read it, I was shocked by how similar my experience was. I could so relate and understand. I messaged her, telling her how it had encouraged me. The messages, emails and letters haven’t stopped since.

The five years between now and then have given me a precious friend and close sister in Elyssa. Even though I’ve not met her yet, I know her. She’s helped me in my walk with God. Her fire for God has been a constant inspiration to me. She is a gift from God. I remember....

I took my Bible and a big writing pad for a walk. After seeing Cherith’s prayer list, I determined to have one. I wrote a long list of family and friends I wanted to keep in my prayers. On the under side of the page, I wrote out ‘requests.’
Rain. To do well at my piano exam. To be able to go to camp. And high on the list, desperately wanted, was... a true friend. I jotted down the year “2005.”

God answered. So soon later, He gave me you. I’m grateful that we can share this blog. I thank God that we are pressing forward together. Happy birthday, sis!!!!!
I really love you, Elyssa.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Perfectly..."

"Oh Grandpa, I think it's good enough!" I stated. "No, we want it perfectly clean" Grandpa replied with a smile and a twinkle in his eye as he pointed to the name of the bottle of "Perfect Glass" window cleaner in his hand. So we went to work, cleaning and cleaning this car that I didn't think deserved all that time and effort. Sometime later, I exclaimed jubilantly, "I think we are done Grandpa!" "Well, see that over there?" He asked pointing the rubber part on the floor, "I want to clean that, so no, we aren't done, not to my standards" He said with another one of those winning smiles and laughs that only dear grandpa can make. So back to work, with sponge and water and soap etc.. Finally I thought we were done, but no, the carpet needed shampooing, the little cracks needed a brush taken to them etc... Ah! We had to make it come up to Grandpa's standard of perfection, and we could settle for nothing less.

I would have thought differently and cared a lot more if it was Grandpa's nice car, but for our 'junky' car that we are planning to sell, what was the use? I really didn't care for it, and it was already so old and beat up, why did it matter if everything was so perfectly clean? I didn't think it was really necessary, and I didn't understand why my dearest Grandpa cared so much about it, but never-the-less, I so loved being with him and working with him, it didn't really matter. It got me thinking though...

It's kind of that way with God and us. He sees potential; he sees what we can become even though we are pieces of "junk" and so undeserving of his care. He loves us and cares so much about us that he won't be satisfied with just "good enough". He will go through whatever it takes; put as much effort and time into making us perfect so that we can be perfect enough for heaven. God is working in us, and putting so much effort into us to perfect us, even though we so do not deserve it!

It's just an amazing thought that God is working with us individually, to make us perfect and and loves us un-conditionally no matter what we are like! He won't just start the work and do it haphazardly, but will do it to perfection!

“The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.” (Psalms 138:8)

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6)

I'm so thankful for those promises! I'm so thankful God will not give up on me or think me undeserving or hopeless or a piece of "junk". You know dear friend, he doesn't think that of you either, in fact, you and I are his treasures. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

To be Hungry

“...Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
On my lap my Bible was open to Matthew 5 – the Sermon on the Mount. I desired all the promises to be applicable to me. But most of all, I wanted to be hungry. Struggling with reading my Bible – I felt helpless. I knew I’d lost that love and fire for God. Here was a promise that I’d be filled. It sounded nice, but there was the first part of the promise to get past.
I tried to make that burning desire in me – didn’t work.
Then I remembered an editorial I’d read in Young Disciple. The thoughts came back. “Ask God to make you hungry. To give you a starvation for Him. It’s a prayer He loves to answer.”
I lay my Bible beside me on the green grass. I knelt.
“Father, You know Your promise, to fill me – satisfy my heart: I have a strange request. I’m willing to be made willing. I surrender. Take over my heart and put a hunger there please. I’m trusting You.”
I knew He would. I read Revelation 3:20. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door; I will come in to him, and sup with him and he with Me." If He were to sup with me, He would first have to make me hungry to eat.

Inspiring meetings at camp, coupled with Desire of Ages and other things, God did do that miracle in me. He gave me a heart burning to know Him more. To be like Him. A longing to spend time with Him. To share the joy of it with my friends.
My prayer was answered. In the cool breeze I prayed again. Now I thought of others. The one’s dear to me that don’t know God. I hear myself repeating that request again - for them. I ask now, knowing in whom I have believed.
“Father, thank-You for both making me hungry and filling me. Please make him willing to be willing. I can’t wait to see what you’ll do. I know you will. “

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Reviving, Reformation, Rekindling

The seconds and minutes were ticking by. It was dark; all was quiet and I should have been sleeping, but sleep did not come. I was thinking, and hungering and thirsting and pleading with God. I was thinking about the by gone years; the times when God used men and women in mighty ways. I was thinking about the times when he poured out his spirit and how it was manifeseted in marked ways. I thought about those men and women who did not count their life and their possessions too dear for Christ. I thought about their fidelity, and strength of character and I thought about us today. Why is it that we as a people are lacking the power of God? Why, why is He not using us like He used the apostles in Bible times, or the reformers during the reformation, or the Adventist Pioneers in the 1800's?

God wants to pour out his spirit upon us, He wants to be able to use us in a mighty way like He used the men and women of old, but it is us that is the problem! We are the ones that are making it impossible for God to use us. We have come to love ease, pleasure and plenty.

Where is the self-sacrificing spirit of those men and women of God who were willing to go and come when God called and who were willing to give up every earthly possession for the gospels sake? Where is the strength of character to stand for principle and righteousness though the heaven's fall? Where is love, that is stronger than death?

Not until we have set our 'house' in order, can God use us. It is not until we have stopped loving this world and the things of this world, and not until we put Him first and foremost in our lives that God can pour out His Spirit upon us.

Oh, awake! Awake! Awake out of our dangerous slumber! We must come out of our lukewarmness and make a stand! We must realize our time is short and make wise use of every moment!

We need a reviving of the Spirit, a reformation in our life, a rekindling of love. We need a hungering and a thirsting for righteousness. We need a realization of our utter uselessness without the power of God. We need a willingness and a self-sacrificing spirit. We need strength to stand firm, we need courage to press forward, we need love that will not waver or falter even through death.

We need, heart-work done and we need God! He will never be able to use us, until we are really willing and until we have laid all on the alter.

Oh my Father, the words to this song is the prayer of my heart. "Revive us again; Fill each heart with Thy love; May each soul be rekindled with fire from above." Oh, awaken us out of our foolish slumbering and bring us to reality!
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