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One person’s obedience and surrender to a process and to healing will ALWAYS unlock someone else’s heart for healing, surrender and worship. We are here on this earth for a greater purpose—one that is watched over and cared for by God who is like a gardener. He prunes and cuts away and it hurts. But He fights over you, dances over you and He uses lyric and melody and surrender to do it through. Your encounter unlocks an encounter for someone else. Keep singing. Keep writing. Don’t flee in heartache—run to Him. Don’t fight against the pain—feel it and take it to your comforter and let Him comfort and heal you deep down. If we live in the shallow end we’ll never experience the fullness of what the deep unlocks. —Kari Jobe

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Again a fairly new song to me – but wow, the challenge to draw near to Jesus and to live wholeheartedly in response to His great love for us…

 

 

last Wednesday, NZ time, the new Jesus Culture album UNSTOPPABLE LOVE was released on itunes. my lovely family had given me itunes $ for my birthday so that i could buy this album. i’m, as you may know, a big Jesus Culture fan. their worship satisfies me musically and spiritiaully, it makes my heart happy and more importantly draws me into the heart of God.

there are a number of our housegroupies who share the same love of worship and so we had a bit of a listening party before we kicked off the official business of the night. i had also decided to play one of their songs during our worship time at the end of the evening. it was a semi random choice based on the half listening from earlier in the day.

the song that had caught my ear was SURRENDER ALL… its majestic, stirring, beautiful, challenging.

there is just something incredible about this song, such a call to surrender and lay our lives down to know God and make Him known

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Last week i spoke at our 7pm service @ The River as part of a series called EYES OPEN.

I spoke about how Joshua lifted his eyes and saw God and that enabled the walls of Jericho to fall down and for Joshua and his people to move into victory.

The big question of the night was : What is the Jericho in your life?

Eyes Open – To See God

Eyes Open – To Surrender

Eyes Open – To See

Eyes Open – To Worship

Eyes Open – To Hear

Eyes Open – To Follow

Eyes Open – To Victory

  i listened to this via podcast the other night and thought it was EXCELLENT.  i thought it had some clear straight forward answers to some of the questions that young adults are asking… the how far is too far? type thing for life… 

i really like the framework of questions it encourages us to ask ourselves when pursuing a course of action… What does the Bible say? What do older, wiser Christians say? What is the wise thing to do? and will be filtering that into my language when mentoring or doing housegroup sessions.

i think we need to create an internal dialogue that asks those questions and surrenders our life to the answers, surrendering our life to Jesus and His ways and His love. 

 

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A recap from Pastor Perry Noble’s sermon "Can A Christian Smoke, Drink and Watch R-Rated Movies?" in 140 characters or less:

1. Everything we do affects everyone we know.

2. The Christian life is not about getting permission to do what I want, but about living in submission to all that God wants.

3. There is complete freedom in submission to Jesus.

4. Jesus’ plans for our lives are greater than our plans for our lives.

5. When making decisions, ask: What does the Bible say? What do older, wiser Christians say? What is the wise thing to do?

6. Submission leads us to ask not "What can I do?" but "What’s the wise thing to do?"

7.What you think about continuously, you will do eventually.

8. In light of my past experiences, my present realities and my future hopes, what is the wise thing to do?

9. It’s not what a person is doing that matters, it’s what’s in their heart that matters.

10.I don’t want to be the church that’s more concerned with what’s in someone’s refrigerator than what’s in their heart. ‪#‎YouAskedForIt‬

http://newspring.cc/blog/articles/can-christians-smoke-drink-watch-r-rated-movies-sermon-recap-in-10-tweets/

My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways. Proverbs 23:26

What does it mean to give your whole heart to God? To give your whole heart to God is to have all the energy of your soul always centered on Him.

It is in this way we are conformed to His will.

Sometimes our soul is very easily turned to outward, physical things; it is very easy to become distracted to the Lord, your Centre.

How far we turn away from Him will depend on how much we yield to the distraction and how far we allow ourself to be drawn away to surface things. In like manner, the means we use to return to God will depend on how far we have turned from Him.

As soon as you notice ourselves straying from the Lord, we should deliberately turn our attention within to the living God. Return at once to that place where we really belong: in Him. “

Madam Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place

 

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Now I must confess this passage is part of a bigger picture… it must be read in the understanding of the grace and salvation of God, that it is NOT by works we are saved or our own effort but by the free gift of God. We cannot work ourselves close to God. We cannot earn or repay salvation.  We cannot force intimacy with God by effort of will. We cannot manufacture anything.

 

So in saying that, almost a disclaimer, I say that with our will, strength, emotion and heart – with all of who we are – we must turn and keep turning towards God.

We can choose to stay faithful.

We can choose to be obedient loving children.

We can choose to listen to God.

Or we can choose to be faithless, sinful, disobedient kids who turn away from their loving Father and what we know is right.

Lets not pretend here… we know when we are sinning most times. We know we are making a choice to disobey God. We know we are making a choice to give in to ourselves.

We need to at those times choose to turn to God, to humble ourselves and repent, and His grace and His power that helps us stay faithful, that makes the way of escape from temptation, that is our deliverance.

Being obedient faithful Christians is a choice we make. It is a conscious decision we make each time we get out of bed in a way.

Each decision and action should be tempered with the consciousness of who we are and WHO we follow.  Each decision is a choice to live in His Kingdom, not our own.  The war rages between kingdoms, between self and seeking first the Kingdom of God.

We can become easily distracted and turn away from God. But we can easily turn back and find grace and mercy from God. His arms are ever open and willing.

We can make conscious choices to do things that will stir our hearts affection for God:

  • worship
  • prayer
  • bible reading
  • journaling / personal devotions
  • attending church and connecting with a house group
  • having coffee with friends and talking about God
  • reading books about God

 

Let us draw near to Him and He will draw near to us.

God never makes you suffer unnecessarily. He intends for your suffering to heal and purify you. The hand of God hurts as little as it can.

Do not waste your suffering. Let suffering accomplish what God wants it to in your life. Never get so hard that you suffer for no reason and for no purpose. Paul says, “God loves a cheerful giver.” How much He must love those who cheerfully give themselves to His dealings.

Francis Fenelon from 100 days in the secret place

 

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My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into different kinds of temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

 

 

Fenelon in this passage from 100 Days In The Secret Place goes on to talk about how anxiety can sometimes be a resistance of the work of God in our lives. “The yoke that God gives is easy to bear if you accept it without struggling to escape.” He encourages us to count it all joy – and not just to give verbal assertion to that but to really count it as JOY – real joy – not a response filled with fear and anxiety – but an authentic joy and peace that we are in the hand of God.

How do we do this?

In real life suffering and the outworking of the refinement by God is not mostly pleasant.

It is painful and emotional. It may be physical illnesses or hardship.  It involves change and loss. 

What the joy can be defined as is I think is the constant trust and constant mental choice to keep our eyes fixed on our God – a mindfulness -  remembering (remember = stirring our hearts to faith) WHO He is and how wonderful and how He is near and good and great and merciful and faithful and the good things He has done and is doing and will do in our lives.

The joy is stirred when we remind ourselves of the promises of God – we feel less alone and less anxious because we know God is at work and that is a good thing.

It is as David does in 1 Samuel 30 – he STRENGTHENS himself in the Lord and that powers him up to continue to press on.

We count what we experience as BENEFITIAL perhaps is a better way of looking at it, and so we try to keep our attitude full of faith, full of hope and full of “God is great” instead of the negativity of looking down at our feet, at the circumstance and the emotions that arise. 

We stand tall despite the storm raging around us, confident that Jesus is with us.

I’m not talking about “faking it to you make it” but about monitoring our thoughts to respond in the right heart… (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ;)

God is at work in us transforming us and shaping us.

Surrendering to God rather than fighting makes the process somewhat easier… we’re not trying to swim against the current then. Emotions are fine. It is fine to be emotional – as people that is “the way we work.” Manage the emotions – not at the expense of being real, but manage them so that instead of spiralling into despair we continue to press on with confidence and faith, instead of isolating ourselves we continue to comfort others as God comforts us.

Remember – God is good. His mercy endures forever. His love is everlasting. His grace covers all. He knows us. He loves us. He has plans and purposes for us. He is creative. He likes us. He is near. He hears us. He speaks to us. He nurtures us. He guides us. God is good…

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God’s eyes are continually searching the earth for those rare individuals of ‘whom the world was not worthy’. Men like Moses and John the Baptist; Luther and Calvin; Whitefield and Wesley; Studd and Moody. Men who live in a different atmosphere than other mortals; men who have annihilated self with the Cross and whose lives are broken alabaster boxes from which fragrances arise to the heavens from the broken pieces of selflessness, self-sacrifice, and self-crucifixion. God is always on the ‘look out’ for such men. ~ E. A . Johnston

 

i believe that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.  but the characteristic or the heartbeat often overlooked in those people is the desire to be poured out, the surrender to Jesus, the laying down their own lives and living wholeheartedly for their Lord.  its not status quo living.  its not blending in.  its not a life of compromise.   its devotion.  love.   response.  if you want to be mightily used by God to change your world or THE world then develop an attitude of surrender.  develop a lifestyle of devotion.   this is i believe what makes the difference between ordinary and extraordinary.

its just like olypmic athletes.  the difference between an olympic marathon runner and a runner is that the olympic contender has done the hard yards and disciplined himself or herself to go the distance and to increase in strength and stamina no matter what the cost and the pain.  they are disciplined, dedicated and devoted.  an ordinary runner becomes extraordinary.

likewise – though we are just jars of clay so the excellence and reality of the power of God is seen (2 Corinthians 4:7) – i do think that a surrendered life is a used life.    “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” (2 Timothy 2:20-22)  ordinary or extraordinary.

 

Paul David Tripp  Until sin is finally eradicated, life for you and me is a battle of kingdoms. Will we live for the kingdom of God or the kingdom of self? Until forever is our home, life for you and me is a battle of treasures. Will we live for treasures on earth or treasures in heaven?

 

today i have a choice.  what kind of life do i want to live?  one for myself and my own soulish gain?  or one for the glory of God?

Your ways are not my own, I’ll stand in full surrender
I will not be moved
Whatever will come our way
through fire or pouring rain
we wont be shake
whatever tomorrow brings
together we’ll rise and sing
we wont be shaken

// loving this song by building 429!   not so much a traditional worship song but a great song to remind yourself and declare that we’ll continue to trust in God

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