Surrender to Winner

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Normally when you think of surrender you think of losing, but the greatest victory in anyone’s life is when they surrender to the Lord. Pictured is “Surrender Field” in Yorktown, VA where British General Cornwallis surrendered in 1781; the surrender essentially ended the fighting in the colonies and peace negotiations soon followed and the rest is history, our nation was born.

Years ago Valerie and I had the privilege of visiting Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown Virginia. I loved every place we visited but my favorite stop was “Surrender Field.” It was chilling just trying to imagine the long line of over 7,000 British officers and men surrendering. When I think of that I can’t help but ask myself, “Am I fighting against the Lord and His will for my life?” The best thing I can do is stop fighting and start surrendering to the Lord. You know, no one ever loses when they surrender to the Lord. It’s a win every time!

The Lord won’t force us to surrender because He loves us that much, we are not puppets on a string, but He is worthy of our complete surrender and trust. The most rewarding and satisfying thing anyone will ever do is trust the Lord and completely surrender to Him. One of my favorite songs is “Hold Me Jesus” by Rich Mullins. My favorite part of the song is, “I”d rather fight you for something I don’t really want than take what you give that I need.” How true.

So let’s surrender our families, our jobs, our time, our money, our talents, our future, our lives, our all to Him…and we will be glad we did. I don’t know about you but ain’t it time we start winning? We win by surrender…surrender to the One who made us, the only One Who is worthy. We’ll be glad we did.

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Can You See?

Think about this with me: Jesus had just healed a man that was born blind by giving him sight (John 9). Yet there were those who did not like it because they had their way, their beliefs, and their religion. How dare this man named Jesus go against what they believed. Never mind the great news about a man who was now able to see for the first time in his life. It was a great story and you would think the religious leaders would have been happy, yet they were not because they were blinded to the truth. They did not want to see it because they wanted control and demanded their way even though it was contrary to God’s way. Here is what I want to emphasize, God was among them doing what only God could do, but they rejected because they had to have their way. Talk about being blind.

What must it had been like for this man to see for the first time? Can you imagine with me the scene as the healed man looked on his neighbors for the first time yet some of them could not believe their own eyes about him? What irony. Through God’s mercy and power the man who had been blind since birth could now see, yet the Pharisee’s questioned the man’s parents and kept pressing him because they wanted to discredit Jesus. His response was not what they were looking for because the fact was Jesus did what only God could do. They hated that. They rejected Jesus. They only wanted their way no matter what. So, even though Jesus had mercy on this man and caused him to be able to see, they kicked him out of the synagogue. The only thing the blind man knew was that he once was blind but now he could see.

I want to ask those of you who are Christians something right now: Are you open to what God wants or do you resist so that you may have “control” and have your way? If your prayers are more about explaining to God what you are doing instead of asking what God wants you to do, then you don’t understand what being a Christian is all about. We need to remember that He is God and we are not. Who are we to tell God how it is instead of seeking His will? We need to come to Him admitting that we don’t have all the answers, in fact, we should be in the habit of constantly being open to God’s way and willing to wait on whatever God leads us to do. My fear in 2019 is we are not really interested in anything except what our feelings tell us and what we want. If we do not seek God’s will and only want our will then we are literally asking God to come to us on our terms; we are basically saying “I want my way and I am not open to anything else. I am not going to let go of something that means so much to me, so God it would be nice if you bless what I am doing, but if you do not then I am doing it my way.” We are blind when we do not want to see anything but what we want, what we feel, or what we think. Sounds like the Pharisee’s resisting what God did to the blind man does it not?

Being a Christian means denying self (give up all rights), taking up our cross (includes death to self and suffering), and following Jesus (after we deny self and take up our cross); not demanding our way, taking the path of least resistance that our emotions sense, and then asking God to follow us (Luke 9:17). The truth is it is impossible to please God without faith. Denying self and letting go is tough, it requires faith, but if we want God to bless then we must come to Him on His terms even if that means letting go of our way. When was the last time you let go of your way and made changes because God led you in another direction?

The Pharisees missed the truth because they stubbornly demanded their way and resisted God’s way, and because of this, they kicked the blind man out of the synagogue. Please do not be guilty of kicking God’s way out because you are too stubborn to see things any other way. Don’t miss out on God’s blessings because you are demanding your way no matter what. A lot of times God’s way will be different from our way, and His ways are higher than our ways because He is God (Isaiah 55:8-9). He is the Creator and we are the created. He is perfect and we are not. He is unlimited are we are so limited. It is always best to seek the Lord and make sure our way is lining up to His instead of leaving God out and asking Him to line up with us.

After the man was kicked out of the synagogue, I love this, Jesus pursued him. There were those who had given up on him but Jesus was not one of them. Jesus went to him and did not waste time asking the most important question, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man believed and he not only got physical sight but he also received spiritual sight through faith in Jesus. Of all the things that we do in life, the only thing that matters is what we do with Jesus. The Pharisees rejected and sadly, some 2,000 years later they are still suffering from their rejection and will continue to for all eternity. They are separated from God forever with no hope and no mercy. On the contrary, the man that received his sight, the one they kicked out of the synagogue, is in the presence of the One He believed in right now, and will be forever with the Lord in a perfect place called heaven. What about you? I pray that God will open the eyes of your heart. Believe on Him right now, and like the man that was able to see, you’ll be glad you did 2,000 years from now.

Memorial Day. Thank you.

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At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, that long wall of black marble engraved with the names of those killed in the war, people come to remember their friends and loved ones. People often leave tokens of their remembrance: flags, sealed letters, pieces of clothing, photos. Volunteers collect these tokens daily and store them at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection.

A book entitled, Offerings at the Wall, pictures many of these mementos. One man left dog tags, a headband, and a letter that reads, “To all of you here from Echo Company, 1st Marine Division…I leave you my headband which contains my sweat from the war, my dog tag, and a picture of me and Mike. Another time, another place. I’ll never forget you.”

A woman left a braid of hair and a picture of a house with an American flag hanging on the porch. Her note read, “Wayne, I think of you every day and miss you so much. I love you.” Written on one flag was the message, “May all of you who died, all of you still missing, and all of you who returned home never be forgotten.” This weekend may we never forget their courageous sacrifices for the freedoms we enjoy today in our great country.

Because of those who gave their lives while serving our country, we enjoy freedom as Americans. May we never take it for granted. If you ever get a chance, please visit Arlington National Cemetery. I promise you, it will give you a greater appreciation to being an American.

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Of course, at the top of my list of courageous individuals is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus willingly surrendered Himself as the sinless Son of God and became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21) even though He was innocent and did no wrong. Because of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice and defeat over death, hell, and the grave, you and I don’t have to be alone and separated from God by our sin with no hope. By faith in Jesus, we can be eternally set free from the bondage of sin by the blood of Jesus.

Thank you to those who displayed a Christlike love when you laid down you life for your country, and thank you Jesus for laying down your life so mankind might enjoy eternity in heaven where there will be no war, no death, no disease, no sorrow…Thank you.

-Mark Kannarney