God…SURRENDERED to US!
What an incredible thought, but totally TRUE reality!
When we think or consider SURRENDERING, we most often think of OUR need to finally and wholly surrender ourselves to God! To final give in. To finally die to our own will, and accept God’s. To finally die to a certain sin or two, and determine to live HOLY and CONSECRATED to God!
But when we think of surrendering, do we consider that God has totally surrendered to us, already?
He has surrendered Himself to us.
For God SO loved the world, He surrendered His one and only Son…the Father, displaying His LOVE, His mercy, His tolerance, His longsuffering with man, surrenders His imposition of righteous justice, and offers the one thing that can bring reconciliation between man and God!
Jesus SO loved us, like the true love a friend expressed, He willingly surrendered His life…how He lived it, how He suffered, how He died…that we might cross over from death to life, because of Him! He then ascended back to the Father, but not leaving us as orphans, not leaving us alone!
The Spirit was poured out upon us, not in part, but in whole! We are baptized, immersed, into the life of the Spirit of the Living God, so that we can have ALL that we need for LIFE and GODLINESS! He is the Spirit of Grace, the Spirit of Truth, our Advocate, our Counselor! HE is the one who continually desires to teach us truth, to reveal the Father, to reveal the Son to us, and to remind us of everything Jesus has said! He is the author of the Word, and the one who desires to enable us to grow in our knowledge of the Word, and the God of the Word!
When we surrender ourselves to God, we surrender ourselves to a God who has surrendered Himself, the entire Godhead, to us! When we surrender certain things TO God, we must also surrender ourselves INTO the things He has provided…into abiding in Christ, into the richness of His love, mercy, and grace, into the fullness of His Spirit. It is BY and THROUGH these things that I find I AM different, my life IS hidden away in Christ, and I survive and thrive in a totally new realm…
Colossians 3:1-3 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Yes, THEN I find my life hidden with Christ in God!
And HE is pleased, and HE is delighted!
We are flabbergasted, stunned, shocked, astounded and amazed at times by what God seems to allow to happen in our lives…troubles, trials, tragedies, temptations…of MANY KINDS!
ALL KINDS come at us…sometimes it seems in truck loads!
LIFE…LIFE is hard enough…then add to it what can appear as the insensitive, thoughtless statements that are made to us by God’s Word…
1Thessalonians 5:18 “…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Are you SERIOUS?
Giving THANKS? FOR THIS? IN the MIDST of THIS? How can it even SAY that?
And what about…
James 1:2“Consider it pure joy,my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”
Are you KIDDING ME? We are supposed to consider it PURE JOY to face all these trials that come our way? WHAT? WHAT? WHAT DO YOU MEAN? ARE YOU KIDDING?
There is an old fable...maybe you heard it before?
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried pitifully for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.
So he invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later,the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back,the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take astep up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed, as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!
Sometimes we just need to shake it off, and take a STEP UP! OH, the WISDOM to shake it off and take a step up! One day at a time. Sometimes one moment at a time. Just one MOMENT at a time...shake it OFF, and step up....step up just a LITTLE BIT higher!!
Wisdom…we ALL need WISDOM about HOW to survive though the various trials we are all going through…and BELIEVE me, we are ALL going through trials…
But PLEASE hear this...the truest WISDOM is not to JUST survive through trials. It is to come closer and depend even more on God in the midst of the trials!
Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (ESV) “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.  You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
We all need WISDOM to get through our situations…
We need to realize that God is so often throwing shovels of dirt our way, for us to step up onto. His grace is like that, flowing down from heaven, if we would just receive it and step up on it!
We need to LISTEN, to! Hear His words of comfort from up on high, echoing down sweetly to us, words of comfort and encouragement, that He IS nearby, that He DOES love us, that He IS caring for us, that He DOES know!
Learn the lesson, grow in the wisdom Paul grew in! Rely NOT on yourself, but on GOD, who raises the dead! So even as you feel the despairs that feel like you are despairing even of life itself, draw close to God, rely on HIM, and KNOW...BELIEVE...TRUST...set your hope on HIM, that He will deliver you!
Do the donkey dance, as your Father sings over you, and shovels more and more grace your way, making a way for your deliverance!
The acorns pound off the metal roof of the porch at this time of year. If you are one who is prone to being startled, it will happen as you sit on the porch. Soft music, beautiful breeze, gorgeous sky, magnificent trees stretching up into the blue of the sky…and BAM…another acorn makes it's descent to the earth.
I was standing out behind the camper, looking off into the woods. Suddenly, with a muffled thumping sound, another acorn fell to the ground and rolled near my feet. I had been contemplating the changing seasons, and the seasons of my life. I had been contemplating the leaves and their changing colors, their disconnection from the tree, and their aerial descent to the ground. Then the acorn fell.
“Next year’s seed.” God dropped into my heart with words almost audible; certainly audible to my spirit. “Next year’s seed.” Meaning in that moment began to flood my soul.
As I pondered the acorn, “Next year’s seed”, I stepped back into the porch. BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! Five acorns rifled off the roof of the porch in such quick succession they sounded like a machine gun! They were so loud, so abrupt, that it even startled me, and I do NOT startle easily!
God’s truth about the acorn, “Next year’s seed”, rifled off of my heart, and startled me. So often, when things are going on in our life, some as if they are out of control, as if some things are dying and we do not fully understand why, God is still in on it, and there is promise, even in the changes and transformations, in the season that seems like it is bringing death, and even death upon death. God is planting in you, in your circumstances, a seed for next year.
“Next year’s seed.” It will go through a winter, too, and so might you. Before the “good” God is working into you appears, before the seed is fully embedded and germinates in you, before any life at all appears, sometimes more “death” occurs…the winter sets in, the wind blows, the snows pile up, and the time stretches on.
But the potential and hope and purpose of the acorn does NOT change. It’s function is mandated by God. God’s intent will be seen in the spring; well, the beginning of His intent will be seen in the spring! Hope will be renewed! We will be delighted, even surprised, on what springs forth from the ground…that started in the fall, that started in seeming death, that started from an acorn.
In the picture I took, I purposely looked for and left the shadows. In every story told, in every parable related, there are subtleties hidden in the shadows that each of us must find.They are God’s applications in our own lives; I hope you will hear what God said to me, but I hope more that you will hear the whispers of the Spirit from the shadows into your own heart today!