Category Archives: SURRENDER

CONSISTENCY.040516

Open Your Heart Concept

“Consistency is the crutch of small minds.”  Tex (from a letter to my kids)

Some people said Jesus was inconsistent because He said people should abide by the law one time, and the next time He said people should be led by the Spirit, and be merciful to lawbreakers. Even in the Old Testament, God said He’d rather have someone with an obedient heart than sacrifice, even though sacrifice was according to the law.

Over and over in the Bible, it says that God looks at the heart.  Somehow or other it should be the way we look at it too.  I’m sure people ought to do what they say they will, but you don’t have to do the same way ever time. Different situations require different responses.

And this isn’t situation ethics either.  It is just realizing that we ascribe to a higher law, which is layman’s terms is being true to God and the people that God puts you with, above being true to man’s law or any dogmatic principle.  (How do you know which is is right?  If you’re seeking God, you’ll know.)  Like it says in the Bible, “This is the first and great commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, . . . And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This is the fulfillment of all of the law and all of the prophets.  If you love God, you will keep His commandments; if you love your neighbor, you’ll treat him right.

My experience has been that if you abide by these two commandments, you won’t always appear consistent to the world, but you will usually do the right thing, and you will be consistent to God and in your heart.

BORN AGAIN: 031716 (John 3:3)

bible

KJ21    Jesus answered and said unto him, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

This seems like a relatively simple verse.  It says that you can’t SEE God;  you can’t SEE the kingdom of God (KJV); you can’t GET into the Kingdom of God (TLB); you cannot BE in God’s kingdom (NCV) unless you are born again.  Other expressions for knowing God, such as ‘get saved’, ‘have eternal life’, ‘go to heaven’, ‘have righteousness’, ‘be converted’, ‘have a relationship with God’; you can’t do any of those things, unless you are spiritually transformed.  [Changed on the inside]

The word translated as ‘again’ means ‘from above’ in Greek.  ‘From above’ means by God, by Jesus, by the Holy Spirit.

‘Born’ means what you’d think it means; that you’re the child of your father and mother; you have their substance residing in you.  So you can’t be ‘born again’, ‘born from above’, have God as your Father, unless you are spiritually transformed from your natural self to God’s own child.

So ‘Born again’ means ‘spiritually transformed’.

So it IS simple.  Jesus wasn’t making some ethereal, mystic statement.  He was just telling a truth.  He was just stating a fact.  You just CAN’T have a relationship with God unless you die to yourself, trust Him and let His Spirit come to live in you.  As long as you are holding on to control of your life instead of surrendering and letting God run your life, you can’t even SEE the kingdom of God, much less be a part of it.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

POLLY AND CHLOE.022216

A life raft floats in mid ocean awaiting rescue            For several years I’ve been writing this book, and after many ups and downs, God let it be published.  It’s about discipleship, but it’s not your standard book on the subject.  The other day I was at the bank talking to them about opening a new bank account for marketing and promotion of the book, and I was talking to the bank manager and one of the cashiers named Polly.  I showed them a copy I just happened to have handy (Ha!).  I told them a little about it, and I mentioned that it was available on the Barnes and Noble website on the ‘Net’.  I said I had been looking at their website and they had the first 29 pages of the book as a ‘reading sample’.  I thought that was pretty cool.  They were nice and said they thought it was really neat that I had actually gotten a book published!  I said, “Thanks.”

The very next day I was back in the bank, with all my paperwork in hand, to open that new account.  I was sitting at the manager’s desk, talking about the particulars, when Polly came up behind me, put her hands on my shoulders, leaned down and whispered in my ear, “I read the first 29 pages of your book, and I really like it.  I’ve been thinking for a long time that God wants me to be a missionary, and your book really inspired me.”  She walked away.  I sat there thinking, “Even if this book never amounts to a hill of beans, God has used it to touch someone’s life.” Praise the Lord! Continue reading

WHAT I BELIEVE; 8 sentences.021916

Doi Inthanon National park

1] ​When we trust​​ Jesus​,​ He takes care of us.

2] Whatever is wrong with us, Jesus can fix it.

3] ​When we surrender and trust Jesus, the Spirit so fills us that we are ABLE to do right; to ​show the fruits of the Spirit;​ and to let Jesus use us to touch others’ hearts.

​4] When we surrender and trust Jesus, we truly begin to live, in our hearts and in our relationships.​

5] When we trust Jesus we help others develop close personal relationships with Him.

6] When we trust Jesus we grow more and more like Him every day.

7] When we share Jesus and His life with others, we DO change the world.

8] When we surrender and trust Jesus, we become ONE with Him and with God through the Spirit.

 

HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO YOU.122215

Female choir conductor during performanceSounds crazy, but every time I hear this song from Grease, sung by Olivia Newton-John, I think about God, and about how I feel the same way about God that she felt about John Travolta.  I am hopelessly devoted.  Even if God didn’t love me back, I’d still be totally committed, totally surrendered to Jesus, because I know that He is my only hope, my only Deliverer, my only real LIFE.  In the song, Olivia says, “My head says I should leave, but my heart says to ‘hang on till the end’.”  Sometimes I feel that way.  My head says there’s just no sense in what’s going on. Why would God do that to me or to someone I love?  But my heart keeps saying what Peter said, when Jesus asked the disciples if they were going to leave Him too.  Peter said, “Where would we go?”  ‘Course God is different from John T.  God not only wants me, but He loved me when I didn’t want Him or love Him.  He’s there every minute, in my heart, telling me He’s taking care of me.

‘Devoted’ makes me think about ‘devotional’.  When I was a kid, maybe 8-10 years old, my momma would give me a copy of the Upper Room daily devotional, those little bitty books that had a few words about God for each day.  She said I ought to read it.  She didn’t say much else about it, about why I should read it.  I remember thinking, ‘I can read the Bible if I want to think about God, and I do read the Bible; so what do I need with some old person telling me what to think about God?”  So being young and dumb, I didn’t read it.  I think if she’d explained a little more to me about why it was a good idea, if I’d just think about God for a few minutes, early in the morning each day, that it would truly change my life; that I would begin to feel the Presence of God in my life from that one small daily act.  So, and this is truly humorous (and sad at the same time), I promptly started reading a devotional every day when I was about 54 years old.  Doesn’t take me long to get it, huh? Continue reading

VICTORY IN JESUS.112015

FulmineHad a flash of light this morning when I was thinking about how to have “Victory in Jesus”.  You can write this down in your book.  The way to have victory in Jesus to is to do everything you do with, for or about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, WITH ALL YOUR HEART! You probably already know that I use six themes to organize my thoughts about the Bible; for instance:

1] LOVE: Deut 6:5 says, “You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.” Jesus said, “This is the first and great commandment.”

2] HUMILITY: Being humble, not proud, is another key to developing your relationship with God; in Proverbs 3:34, Solomon says, “God scorns the scorners, but gives grace to the humble” (this is echoed (quoted) in James 4, and in 1 Peter 5); Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, the humble, for they shall inherit the earth.”

3] GRATITUDE: In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul says, “Give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!”  (‘In all things’ sounds like ‘with all you heart’)  In Romans 8:28, Paul says,  “God makes all things work together for good to those who love the Lord . . .”

4] TRUST: In Proverbs 3:5-6, Solomon says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart., and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”

5] OBEDIENCE: In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul talks about Jesus.  He says, “Let Jesus’ attitude be in you.”  He says that even though Jesus is God, He gave up His heavenly position; He humbled himself and became a man; then He humbled Himself even more and surrendered Himself to be arrested, and beaten, and ridiculed, and spat upon; and He was obedient [to His purpose and to His calling] unto death, even death on a cross.  I don’t know about you, but for me, the degree and the depth of Jesus’ commitment qualifies as with all your heart.  And Paul says, “Let Jesus’ attitude be in (me and) you.”

6] SERVICE: Maybe it’s just me, but being a disciple of Jesus Christ is the best example of service you can do.  In Luke 9:23, Jesus says, “if anyone wants to be My disciple (My student, My follower), let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (‘Take up his cross’ means, as it says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ”, “I’m dead.”)  It means to “die to your sinful nature”. (daily).  ‘To die’ may not be with all your heart, but it’s plenty close.

With all your heart may not be the only way God wants us to do and be, but it’s certainly high on the list.  For me, with all your heart expresses the passion that comes with having the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord God Almighty, living in your own personal heart.

DON’T BE AFRAID, JUST BELIEVE.111715

Toned Photo of Tired Young Man sleep with Tablet Computer on the BedIn Mark 5:22-43,  is the story of Jesus, walking through town, “And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.   . . . [While they were going there] some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

How are you doing about this?  There is this lady in our community, a serious truster in Jesus, and her teenage son is in the depths of treatment for cancer.  Most faith-full lady I’ve seen in many a day.  She’s steadily sending progress reports on his treatment and condition; asking for continued prayer, praising God on the good days and on the bad.  Literally makes me cry when I think about what she’s going through.  We’re all still praying.  He’s struggling, but still hanging in there. In no small part because his Momma is following Jesus’ instruction to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.”  She’s just not gonna stop trusting Jesus.

SMALL GROUPS FOR JESUS 3.111115

drinks, communication, friendship and people concept - happy young women with cups sitting at table and talking in mall or cafeThis is my last post about “small groups for Jesus”, at least for the time being.  I just have a few more comments to make.

1] In my opinion, small groups are like family; they’re not about enforcing rules, and everybody being disciplined; they’re about letting God’s love flow through you into other people.  You may not believe this, but I’m convinced that almost every single person is acutely aware of their short-comings, and what they really need, on a regular basis, is encouragement and moral support.  (I find a lot of support for this attitude throughout the Bible; call it grace and mercy)  Small groups are, and should be, about sharing and expressing the fruits of the Spirit; and while self-control is one of the fruits and is therefore important to God and should be important to us; it is the very last thing on the list.  Wonder why that is?  (I don’t even know if there IS a hierarchy of the fruits, but I hear a lot more about love in the Bible than I do about self-control.)

2] One of the central, indispensible ingredients of a small group is trust.  Continue reading

MAKING DISCIPLES, HOW DO YOU DO IT? 110315

Teenager having daily devotional at home. Christian lifestyle. Peace and love while prayingIf you’re going to make a disciple, presumably you’re going to teach ’em something.  So what are you thinking about teaching them?  I’m of the opinion that if you want to have a lasting effect on someone, the best thing you can do is change their behavior; more to the point, you create some new habit that will stay with them for a long time, like having a quiet time: reading the Bible and some devotional and then talking and listening to God for a few minutes early in the morning each day.  If you don’t do anything but that, and it sticks, it’ll have a profound effect on their lives forever after.

But let me tell you.  It’s not easy to get people started on a new habit, even if it’s short; even if it gives them a whole new outlook on life; even if it changes their hearts and eventually changes their lives.  I’ve talked to my kids (I have four) about this subject on repeated occasions, and so far two have really gotten it.  I’m still waiting, and hoping, and praying that they will get it and keep it forever.  But it just doesn’t work to brow-beat them about it.  Some days I think repetition is the key.  On a good day, maybe they’ll say “Yes, I’ll do it.”  But it’s easy to fall off the wagon, even when you’ve been doing it for a long time.  I know that from experience, so I’m pretty unjudgmental about how, where, and when they have a quiet time.  The really great thing is, God is working! He’s moving in their lives, even when I’m not looking.

 

KBMT FOR JESUS #2. 103115

IMG_7045 (1)A lot of Christians think the process of making disciples is reserved for clergymen (aka pastors and priests), missionaries and others who are particularly called to this area of ministry; and the rest of us are supposed to sit in the pews, listen to them talk about God, pray a little, send a little money, and be satisfied that we have done God’s will.

But if you’re a “practicing” Christian, and you’ve been developing a personal relationship with Jesus thru a daily quiet time and weekly sharing with others in a small group, you already know that making disciples is part of God’s plan for your own personal life. (and I bet you are already developing those relationships  to make disciples, even though you may not yet realize that’s what’s happening or that’s what you call it.) You know, this discipleship process is ALL about developing relationships.

Since long before you and I even thought of it, God (by His Spirit) has been preparing the hearts of the people He wants you and me to touch for Jesus.  The main point of ‘making disciples’ is that you have to trust Jesus and obey Him in order to do His will in this.  Because He has all power, like it says in Matt. 28:18, and He is going to do His will in us, it will only happen as we surrender ourselves to Him, and let Him work through us to touch the lives of others.