I Surrender All

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by John Doyle

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present (Surrender) your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this this World, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Romans 12: 1 – 2

Let’s start the devotional by singing a verse from the hymn *I Surrender All*

All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give;
I will ever Love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.
I Surrender all, I Surrender all,
all to Thee my blessed Saviour, I Surrender all

Many of us over the years have heartily sung these words, but living in their reality may be very different. The word Surrender may be understood as a sign of weakness, and yet there’s no more secure place to live than in daily surrender to the Lord Jesus who is utterly faithful, unchanging and steadfast and Who surrendered His own life for us all.

The meaning of the word surrender includes ‘To yield to the power, control or possession of another; to agree to forego in favour of another; to give up one’s rights.’ If we’ve learned to be in control of our own lives, surrender may be difficult for us, because we fear being out of control.

I have heard some say “that surrender is the opposite to control. The Devil controls, but God never will” But we know as believers that God is in control of all things and graciously He gives us each the opportunity to surrender to His Ways and His Will for our lives. Surrender to Him draws us to the heart of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and intimacy with Him. In surrender we’re saying, Lord Jesus, I take You into every part of my life. I will hold nothing back. I make a free will choice to surrender all I am to You, and to uncompromisingly obey you.

A great start to Surrender is allowing the Lord and His Word to search our lives and help us expose those things that we are reluctant to Surrender as they have become a constant habit in our lives. I am not referring here to sinful things which we do need to turn from. The reference here is to those habits in our lives that keep us from a closer walk with God. When we seek the Lord He will never fail us, so let’s encourage one another in these difficult days of Lockdown to allow the Lord to search our hearts and lives and reveal those things to us that we have yet to surrender to God.

Another Hymn for us to sing together as we think on this important truth:

Search me, O God, and know my heart today
Try me, O Saviour, know my thoughts, I pray
See if there be some wicked way in me
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free

Lord take my Life, and make it wholly thine,
Fill my poor heart with Thy great LOVE divine,
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride,
I now surrender Lord, in me abide.

Our ways must be surrendered. We know that our ways are not His ways, nor are our thoughts His thoughts. In each of us there’s a human tendency to go our own way, through our own choices. But when we surrender our ways in exchange for God’s ways, He promises to lead us in His ways and show us the right way to go in these difficult times we are all going through. Remember that all the ways of the Lord are Loving and Faithful.

Our will must be surrendered, because we’re not our own, we’ve been bought with a price – the precious blood of Christ. This helps us to grow in our true identity in Christ.

Surrender is a heart attitude, and God can do much with a surrendered heart. He replaces hardness and selfishness with His love and compassion, and because Jesus is the centre instead of self, the fruit of our obedience is security and peace in Him, even in the storms of life.

Lets pray this prayer together:

Dear Lord we pray today for grace to surrender every part of our lives to You – grace to surrender our ways, our will, our walk and our hearts to You, so that Jesus is truly shown as our Lord. Forgive us Lord for the times we have gone our own way, done our own thing, and forgotten that we are not our own, but we belong to You. Thank You Lord for Your faithfulness and abounding love. You’ve led us in the past, to this present day, and we trust You to lead us until we see You in Glory Face to Face, in Your eternal kingdom. We bring our prayer to You in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Saviour.

In the Love of the Lord Jesus,
John and Barbara.

Continue ReadingI Surrender All

The Next Step

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by Graham Mol

I’m currently reading through a series of novels by one of my favourite authors and the following quote from the one book  has stuck with me:

“The most important step a man can take. It’s not the first one, is it? It’s the next one. Always the next step, Dalinar.”

― Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

The most important step a person can take is always the next one.  I love the wisdom contained in this statement. No matter where you are on your journey, whether it began days or years ago, whether it has been going well or not, whether you have been successful or made mistakes, the next step still remains the most important one. We find in this concept the Biblically extolled virtue of perseverance.

We see the importance of perseverance spoken of in Scripture. Jesus (and Paul) said that we should be persistent in prayer (Luke 18:1-8; Romans 12:12), our Lord told us to keep seeking, asking and knocking (Matthew 7:7-8). We are encouraged by the author of Hebrews to run this race of life with perseverance/endurance (Hebrews 12:1). We should not grow weary in doing good for we will reap the harvest in the end (Galatians 6:9), and those who endure to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13). Those who remain steadfast under trial will receive the crown of life (James 1:12).

There is joy and challenge in seeing the next step as the most important one. The joy of knowing that no matter what has come before or befallen us, we always have a “next step”. The challenge is for us not to stop where we are, to not give up or in, and step out once again, in faith, in our journey with the Lord.

Finally I wish to share a portion of Proverbs that captures the essence of the importance of the next step. May these words of wisdom resonate with you as you head into the rest of this week.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
(Proverbs 4:25-26)

God Bless

Graham

Continue ReadingThe Next Step

As I Have Loved You

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by Calven Celliers

As I sat basking in the morning sunshine, trying to thaw, and enjoying the time I was spending with

God, I found myself asking Him, “Now what? What’s the next step for me? Break my heart for what breaks Yours.” And then these words came to me –

People willing to make our mess their mess
are people with whom we naturally want to be involved.

What was God saying to me? I opened up my Bible and started reading the apostle Paul’s letter to the Church at Rome. Paul’s letter to the Christians in Roman is filled with theology. In the early part of the book Paul spends time expanding on who God is and what He’s done for us. Then he wrestles with the impact that should have upon us as God’s people living out our lives in this fallen world. He gives many commands as he explores how God’s love should affect the way we live and relate to those around us: be joyful, patient, faithful, generous, hospitable. Bless. Mourn. Rejoice.

One thing that is very apparent is that our God is a relational God, and He wants us to experience the blessing of being connected. For me personally, this has been the greatest struggle in the whole Covid pandemic. Even though I clearly understand the absolute necessity of all these restrictions, protocols and necessary periods of isolation in order to overcome the spread of the virus, it has also highlighted for me the importance of fellowship, interaction, and gathering together. I miss you, my Church family and dear friends. We were not meant to be self-sufficient, isolated, and independent of one another. Life is meant to be shared. God intends for us to experience life together.

You are called to belong, not just believe … the Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits isolated from other believers and deprived of fellowship.

(Rick Warren – The Purpose Driven Life)

The danger, of course, is the tendency for churches to become holy huddles that are so inward focused, that we neglect the very reason God doesn’t just save us and then immediately take us up to heaven to fellowship with each other and praise His holy name for ever and ever. And I suspect this is what God was trying to tell me. When this horrible season in world history is over and we can  resume some normality of life, the Church must be different. As followers of Christ, we must remember that our relationship with God must affect not only our relationship with each other, but the world in which we live out our faith as well. There are so many hurting, broken, battered and bruised people out there, and God wants us to be open to them too. We must reach out to them in love; into the mess of peoples lives and show them the love of Jesus. No mess is too messy for Jesus.

In Romans 12 the apostle Paul calls us as God’s ambassadors in this fallen world to 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another … 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone… 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”” (Romans 12: 15, 16, 18 – 20NIV)

Jesus reaches down into the pain, filth and stench of our shattered, broken lives, meets us where we are, as we are, dusts us off, offers us newness of life and loves us unconditionally. He never says ‘Clean up your act and then I’ll love you, accept you, save you or help you.’

In the Gospel of John Jesus says, 34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34 & 35NIV)

As I have loved you, so you must love one another! This is a love marked by selflessness and putting others above oneself, a love that even transcended cultural normalizations and expectations, a love that includes acceptance, forgiveness, and compassion. The early church was often noted for the way they loved others and their love was a witness to the validity of the Gospel message that drew people to give their lives to Jesus. These early Christians shared a life-transforming Gospel message and they shared a life-transforming kind of love. Today, we as believers can allow the Spirit to work through us and demonstrate that same life-giving and selfless love that will draw others to Jesus and serve as a powerful testimony to Jesus’ power and goodness.

The Christian life is not so much about rules as it is about relationships. It’s about a relationship with Jesus and with each other. If you don’t have a relationship with someone, they won’t care if you quote the rule book to them. If you have a relationship with someone, you probably won’t need to quote the rules. People willing to make our mess their mess are people with whom we naturally want to be involved.

 

God bless,

Calven

Continue ReadingAs I Have Loved You