What Does Surrender Look Like?

What Does Surrender Look Like?

Recently, I was asked by someone what surrender really looks like:

Surrender comes down to you taking inventory in your heart the areas which you truly haven’t given over to Him. You and only you know what they are. Surrender happens not only in the most powerful worship services or in the light of impactful ministry. It happens I think most often in the quiet moments when no one is watching. When you’re alone and by yourself. Are you prepared to surrender your preferences, desires, feelings, opinions, rights when it’s just you and Jesus?

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Quite often in the OT, when the Israelites were truly following the Lord, they established memorials (not idols) to remember the Lord speaking or doing a miraculous thing on that particular day. For the journey you’re pursuing right now, mark this very day as being the day you’re committing your life for a greater purpose than your own desires. Psalms 118:24 says, “THIS is the day the Lord has made. We will REJOICE and be GLAD in it.” It’s learning to live completely in the present and allowing God to have your heart in this very moment. Everything. Holding nothing back.

Will there be slips? Mistakes? Second looks? Temptations? Absolutely. But the goal for you Luke is the process. So I suppose I would say surrender happens not just in a moment or a day, but in the process, the journey that you’re taking. And that journey for you begins each day as you commit to do your very best.

Toxic Thoughts

Toxic Thoughts

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

A challenging passage that I was reminded of today followed by an equally convicting question:

“What are some of the causes of toxic thoughts in your life?”

Wow, I definitely need to mull that one over and yet I know I’d have pages upon pages to write on the subject. This passage speaks to me the reality of the battle in this life. Much of it takes place externally but perhaps more of it happens I the inside – inside our thoughts. At almost 7 years of recovery the battle to fight off lustful thoughts and fantasy is virtually a non-battle for me. I’m thankful for this that God’s power in me has helped me to overcome.

But as we all know the battle for our thought lives far surpasses sexual impurity. It spans into all directions and areas of darkness that the human mind is capable of. From selfishness, bitterness, anger, and pride. And a gazillion other areas that don’t even have room to be mentioned, our thoughts are able to go to some pretty evil places. And I do mean evil in the broadest sense of the word.

Thankfully, we’re given the power to literally take hold of toxic thoughts and surrender them to Christ. It’s certainly not always easy, but it refines in us a Power greater than ourselves.

God’s Desire for Reconciliation

God’s Desire for Reconciliation

Recently, I was reading a devotional by Eugene Peterson, author of the Message Bible. The title of the devotional was fantastic: “Desire for Reconciliation”. It’s central text was Genesis 3:1-10, which you can read here in the Message.

The passage talks about the serpent’s deception of Eve, the couple’s decision to rebel against God’s purpose for them, and God’s response to Adam when the man & woman were hiding in the garden.

After the reading, a reflection question came up: “How does this passage speak to your situation today?” And I jotted some notes notes down about my feelings of the passage. Here’s what I wrote:

God desires relationship with His sons & daughters. Too often, we hide because we’re afraid of what God will “see” when he looks at us or in us. Will he still love us? The answer is a definite & resounding YES! Because beneath shame & fear we really do long to be “seen” ultimately by Someone who will love us for who we are, not what we have done. I love how God’s primary question wasn’t: “How could you do this?” or “Why did you do this?” Truthfully, he knows the answers to those questions. No, his primary question was: “Where are you?” God wants to find us and to be close to us — even in the midst of the the worst decisions we could possibly make. What an incredibly comforting reality!

Do you feel God calling out to you today, asking you that same question: “Where are you?” Take some time to read that passage and think about how you would answer the Lord.

Give Your Family Your Best

Give Your Family Your Best

What a fantastic quote from @FierceMarriage on Twitter:

Make sure to give your family your best. 20 years from now, you absolutely won’t regret making your spouse & kids the highlight of your day.

Each day that I’m given from the Lord I realize this more and more what gifts my wife & children are to me. Why would I ever dare waste that time with them only to be consumed by TV, sports, or my iPhone???

Your family is your greatest ministry in life. They are not only your responsibility, but even more, they are your primary calling in life. I’m learning more every day that I can’t forget that.

When Christians Cuss: Thoughts On Our Language & Why It Matters

When Christians Cuss: Thoughts On Our Language & Why It Matters

I consider myself to be a pretty easy going guy in life.  Sure, I definitely have moments of stress and tension just like anyone else, but for the most part, I think things roll off my back pretty easily.  At least, I know I’m learning.

But, I have to say, there are a few things that really make me cringe: Changing a diaper for the first time, hypocrisy, and the very subject of this post – hearing Christians cuss and use foul language.

I think many people (including Christians) don’t understand the power of curse words & found language. Because they’ve accepted it into their normal vocabulary.  This is really tragic.

What is even more concerning to me is hearing Christians who use four letter words or the Lord’s name in vain without even batting an eye.  It’s as if the words they’re using doesn’t matter to them.  Or they attempt to use the “I love Jesus, but I’m not legalistic” argument.

Just as with any sin, the Bible gives us a standard to live by when it comes to our language. A few verses that speak to our language:

Ephesians 5:4 – “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”

Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Colossians 4:6 – “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

So it’s very clear that our language needs to be pleasing to God.

Please understand, this post isn’t a “smack your hand with a ruler” kind of post. It’s an attempt to clear up some real confusion I see in our culture that language doesn’t matter.  It’s really disappointing to listen people you look up to, spiritual growth podcasts, and individuals in positions of leadership throw around language that is obviously meant more for shock value than it is meant to convey truth.

I think that’s what it really comes down to for me. I’m not a person who curses or uses foul language. But I know that my words can hurt and still offend if I’m not careful. I want my words to encourage, build, heal, and convey truth. They’re not meant for shock value.