Monday, March 9, 2015

Don't Go Away...Keep Trusting

Do you also want to go away? —John 6:67

Today's passage is in regards to some of Jesus' original followers choosing to turn their backs on him and go their own way. Jesus always gives us a choice. He never forces us to follow him. He never forces us to trust him. There are many people in this life who think they follow Jesus, when in actuality they really go their own way by their own sinful attitudes. Sometimes this attitude can be somewhat subtle in the way we trust or don't trust him. It can be quite risky to follow him. Always remember the following:

We must continually maintain an adventurous attitude toward Him, despite any potential personal risk.

Life indeed is an adventure that calls us to trust him even when things don't make sense and in the face of difficulty. Sometimes it seems like we should worry about the future or ask questions about why certain events were allowed to happen. In our human and finite way, we think it would've been better if things had gone smoothly and more happily. "If I were God," we say..."I would never allow hunger or suffering to happen in this world." We are not called to understand everything God orchestrates in this world. That would be impossible. What we are called to do is much more simple.

When God gives you a clear determination of His will for you, all your striving to maintain that relationship by some particular method is completely unnecessary. All that is required is to live a natural life of absolute dependence on Jesus Christ. Never try to live your life with God in any other way than His way. And His way means absolute devotion to Him. Showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead (or behind) is the secret of walking with Jesus.

Simple? Yes, but sometimes a tall order. It is simple if you stop and understand that you need to surrender your own understanding to him and lean entirely on him in everything. And I mean everything! As a Christian, you are called upon to believe that everything is a part of his divine purpose even suffering and uncertainties. He has these uncertainties in his hands and they are certainly not uncertain to him.

Don't go away. Keep following him. Keep trusting him. Keep believing. Surrender your lack of understanding to him.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Finding My Serving Niche

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (‭Acts‬ ‭20‬:‭24‬ NIV)

I love today's devotional because it is perfect for where I am with God today. I want to be in meaningful ministry. What does that look like? I am beginning to see what that might be...although He will lead and guide and direct.

Here is a direct quote from Chambers today.

Joy comes from seeing the complete fulfillment of the specific purpose for which I was created and born again, not from successfully doing something of my own choosing. The joy our Lord experienced came from doing what the Father sent Him to do. And He says to us, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). Have you received a ministry from the Lord? If so, you must be faithful to it— to consider your life valuable only for the purpose of fulfilling that ministry.

I already spoke to a pastor at my church about this. She heads up Celebrate Recovery at our church. I really felt lead to speak to her...and now I am waiting to see what happens next. I always figured that the Lord had me go through what I went through for a reason.  You see, I spent about 15 years of my life in spiritual bondage. The Lord brought me to a place of recovery. Now I want others to reach the same place of recovery. Maybe I can help them reach that place by sharing what the Lord did for me.

I also think of how Joseph went through his horrible trial. His brothers were worried about him retaliating against them, but this is how Joseph reacted.

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (‭Genesis‬ ‭50‬:‭19-20‬ NIV)

Now I feel the same way. I no longer regret what happened to me. I no longer feel trapped by sorrow. I know that the Lord had a purpose for it. I will not lament things not working out to what I once thought would have been a better way. Maybe I can help others who are trapped in the lies of Satan.

We each have to find a niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive a ministry from the Lord. To do this we must have close fellowship with Jesus and must know Him as more than our personal Savior. And we must be willing to experience the full impact of Acts 9:16 — “I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

Am I willing to suffer more for his name sake?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Greatest Source of Security: That I Am Not My Own

Never consider whether or not you are of use— but always consider that “you are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). You are His.

What do I count in my life as “dear to myself”? If I have not been seized by Jesus Christ and have not surrendered myself to Him, I will consider the time I decide to give God and my own ideas of service as dear. I will also consider my own life as “dear to myself."

These are words from today's devotional. I find them to ring true, of course. I have been trying to surrender more...and learning what that really means. One of the things I am discovering is to surrender regret to him. Sometimes I look back at my life and say , "What if...?" Or I say, "If only..."  God has been showing me that those questions are really an affront to His will for me. Everything has happened according to his will and plan. Nothing escapes Him. He knows all events-past, present and future. Nothing slips by him accidentally. So I must surrender "my own dear life" to Him. That means my past life and what I, in my arrogance would have considered a better plan. This means my present what I want now...and my disappointments now. And of course....the ever present unknown future to Him. Incidentally, it is not really "unknown" because He knows it.

Surrender means I can look back on painful circumstances and understand that He was in all of it. That He actually orchestrated all of it. All of it. Illnesses. Health. Broken relationships. Closed doors. Open windows. Lost loves. New found loves. Broken hearts. Recovery. Marriage. Children. Jobs. Unemployment. Employment. Lack of money. Having money. Grief. Joy.

Does this mean we have no choices? No. But it means that He knows...and it all is going to be okay. I am not my own. I am His. This is my greatest comfort and security.