Monday, March 7, 2016

Surrender...and being thankful for the fire of affliction

To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. 

We must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God’s consideration.

Once we have done that, the Spirit of God will show us what we need to surrender next. Along each step of this process, we will have to give up our claims to our rights to ourselves. Are we willing to surrender our grasp on all that we possess, our desires, and everything else in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?(Chambers)

This is the up my rights. My right to be heard, my right to tell my side of the story, my right to have people understand me, my right to a fair hearing, my right to stay angry about things I can't change, my right to hang onto unhealthy thinking, my right to keep poisoning myself with my obsessive thinking. 

We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. When they see themselves in the light of the Lord, the shame, horror, and desperate conviction hit home for them.(Chambers)

It is so is my pride that is the problem. That is the root of my sin. My pride was hurt....and I, in my sinful human thinking, believe somehow that I have a right to be relieved of that arrow to my pride. I believe that somehow it should be fixed. That I have rights and I become obsessed by it.

"Lord Jesus, I surrender this pride...this demand for a fair hearing while I am on this earth. To be vindicated. Oh gave me a burden to bear. It is heavy....but I must bear it because it is the test that will help me come forth as gold. To answer that prayer I lifted up to you many years ago....that you would make me into a godly woman..."no matter what it takes." You heard my prayer and answered me. You bent down and listened to me and then you placed me into the fire of your affliction. Do I have a right to argue the fairness of it to you, Lord? Do I have a right to choose what affliction I face? No. You are God and I will trust you. You give and take away. Holy Spirit, fill me up. Empower me against the lies of the enemy who seeks to drag me down...into the miry clay. It is all my pride. The enemy knows my pride and how it was wounded. He stabs at it regularly. Oh Jesus...I want to be victorious over this! How do I get the victory when I fail again and again? be thankful for it? Is that what I hear you saying? The hard eucharisto? Thank you for the trial you put me through. Thank you for the fire of your affliction. Thank you for the misunderstandings and the accusations and the pain....I hate thanking you for these things. I want to be obedient...but it is so hard to do. How can I thank you for it? ...oh Heavenly Father, bring me to that place of thankfulness and joy."

If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you. (Chambers)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Finding victory over the itch of the enemy!

…in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses. —2 Corinthians 6:4

The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. And the only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to discourage you.(Oswald Chambers)

Ephesians 6:10-18New International Version (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
I'm guilty of getting bored and lazy with keeping up my walk. Then my guard gets let down, and Satan sees his chance to attack me. He is constantly looking for that foothold to grab onto so that he can then drag me into the dark woods. He knows me. He studies me. He knows my life story and therefore understands which footholds work best on me. My foothold wouldn't work on you...nor yours on me. We don't share the same hearts-aches or struggles or histories. He knows our soft spots.

Don't let your guard down! Keep up the good fight. You can't fight alone. You need the Holy Spirit and His power to come out victorious against the enemy's wily ways. No other quick fix will do. No other remedy. No other "do it yourself" power will work. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can overcome his attacks. He wishes to plunge us into spiritual bondage. He'll do it if we give him a chance.

The Lord gave me an interesting analogy today regarding this.

In March of 1994, I was attacked by a vicious dog. This dog was out to hurt me. He meant business! If not for the owner pulling the dog off of me, I would have been hurt much worse than I was. Even after only a minute or less of attack, my left calf and ankle were badly wounded, and I also had a nasty bite on my right ankle. I ended up in the doctors office. The wounds got cleaned out and bandaged up. I was instructed on how to change out the dressings and given a prescription of antibiotics. For several weeks I walked with a limp and had nightmares. Then I decided that enough was enough! I was not going to spend the rest of my life frightened of dogs, or plagued by scary dreams! I happened to have many positive experiences with great dogs. I wasn't going to let one dog ruin that. The nightmares ceased. I healed and life went on. However...I have scar tissue and nerve damage on my left calf some 22 years later. This scar tissue sometimes itches so badly that it is enough to drive me up the wall! If I start gets worse and worse. I have tried lotions, creams and vasoline. Sometimes there is temporary relief...but usually within a couple of hours or even less, it starts up again. After doing a bit of research I decided to try an essential oil blend. It worked! It is the only thing that brings hours and hours of relief! It's a smelly miracle. I don't always appreciate smelling predominantly like cloves...but if that's what it takes, I'll do it. Even so....sometimes I get lazy. It starts itching while I'm laying in bed. I don't feel like getting up, finding what I need and using it: a messy oil diluted in a carrier oil. Instead, I reach for the cream on my night stand. An hour later I'm scratching again. Why won't I ever learn? I get up, go smear a bunch of smelly oil on my leg....crawl back into bed and sleep soundly!

There are no substitutes when the enemy is grasping for a hold....aggravating you with the itch of painful memory, resentment, unforgiveness,...whatever your particular itch is. The oil of the Holy Spirit is the only relief from it. Call on Him! Get into the truth of his word! Put on the armor of God for battle. Persevere though His power. Now! Don't reach for the cream on your night stand...get up!