Surrender to Winner

IMG_8141

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.

Advertisements

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.

I Need Thee…National Day Prayer

“I Need Thee Every Hour” for National Day of Prayer. We all want control as individuals and as a nation. Sometimes we feel as though we are self sufficient and we don’t need the Lord. Whether we realize it or not, we not only need the Lord every hour, we can’t even walk without Him.

I know many who are reading this are tired and hurting. I just want you to know I’m thinking of you right now and more importantly, I’m praying for you. God is faithful and He is able. Let’s all pray for each other and our nation that we each would realize our need to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Love in Christ,
Pastor Mark

Provoke others!

What are some things that you encourage others to do?  We encourage people to be honest, to take a vacation, to make tough choices regarding family, and even at times encourage people to do wrong things.  How often do we encourage our family and friends to be faithful in their walk with the Lord?  To go deeper in their relationship with the Lord?  Sometimes I think we view someone’s spiritual life and walk with the Lord as private so we just don’t go there like we should.  However, the author of Hebrews wrote, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).  Certainly provoking other believers to “love and good works” reveals how God expects us to get involved in another’s life by encouraging them to do good things for the Lord.  In fact, I believe that we should encourage believers to go forward in their Christian experience as much, if not more, as we encourage people to do things that are not spiritual.

When someone misses church on a Sunday or Wednesday we should not say “well it’s none of my business where they are” as if we can’t play an important role in their faithfulness to the Lord.  The truth is God expects us to think of others and encourage them in their walk with the Lord.  When’s the last time you encouraged someone to come to Sunday school or get involved in men’s or ladies fellowship?  When’s the last time you invited someone to church or encouraged someone to join the choir?  It makes a tremendous difference in someone’s life when there is someone encouraging them to actively love and serve the Lord.  The Bible calls that provoking someone to love and good works.

It really is a great privilege to know the LORD and to have the opportunity to be a part of His great work.  I believe with all my heart that the greatest work on the face of the earth is God’s Work because it is an effective, life-changing work that lasts for all eternity.  What work can compare to knowing, loving, and serving Jesus?  Knowing Jesus satisfies like nothing else because He provides ultimate meaning and purpose in life.  It’s my prayer that we’ll desire to be faithful to the Lord and to be used of God to encourage others to get in on God’s blessings.

Let me encourage you to come to Sunday school and worship, to volunteer in our kids and youth ministries, to join the choir, to come to the marriage workshop on March 27-28, to get involved in our men’s prayer breakfasts and workdays, to get involved in our ladies fellowships, to enjoy God’s blessings that results from being a cheerful giver, to pray for your church, etc.  Join me church family in being intentional provoking others to love and good works.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Mark