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Surrender Part 2: 7 Reasons Why We Don’t Surrender and 7 Ways to Change

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“No! You can’t make me!” the child cried.

It’s true. God won’t make us surrender. He made us with a free will. However, our way simply doesn’t work. God knows that His way is best, and He doesn’t want us to miss out on all the great rewards or suffer the consequences of a disobedient life (see last blog and Deut 28).

Be assured He will work in your life to help you see that His way is the best. (Perhaps God will use this blog to help you do just that.) 

So why don’t we surrender and walk through the door that leads to the abundant life Jesus promised?

1. We simply don’t want to submit!

We’re stubborn and prideful. We don’t like giving up control. We want to be the ones in charge. “It’s my life, isn’t it?” Not if you’re saved and bought with the precious blood of Christ!

2. We’re afraid of what God might ask us to do

That it’ll be something we don’t want to do or think we can do. 

3. We’re in bondage to some sinful habit, and Satan is working hard to keep us there

4. We don’t trust God

We don’t believe His way is the best; we think we can do a better job than God.

5. It’s just too hard or don’t know how

Perhaps you tried before and failed.

6. We are unaware of the rewards awaiting us

7. We are unaware of what’s at stake

So how can we change and become more willing?

1. Know the One to whom you are surrendering

This is biggest key in submitting to God. You are yielding to a good, powerful, loving, and all-wise God—not to a bunch of rules and regulations or to a mean selfish God.

2. Accept your position in relation to God

God is sovereign (i.e. in control) already! He is the Creator and Author of all things. Not you. God is worthy of your submission.

3. Choose to by an act of your will

Just do it! Do it to demonstrate sacrificial love to your Savior. In light of all that He has done for you it is a “rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship” (Rom 12:1 AMP).

4. Step out in faith

“Once I came to that point of surrender, God began to ignite faith in my heart–faith that He would enable me to do whatever He called me to do, in spite of my personal limitations and inadequacies.”1

5. Pray and ask God to help you

Ask God to change your heart.

Years ago when I became my mom’s caregiver I saw a time coming where she would need full-time care and I was afraid that would be me. But oh, I was not willing! And I hoped God would never ask me to do such a sacrificial thing!

Then I heard on Christian radio that in times like these we should pray, “Lord, make me willing to be willing.” So I prayed and it worked! When the time came to take my mom in to live with us, I was willing. I was able to surrender to God’s will because He had changed my heart to align with His.

6. Plug into a support system 

We need other believers to keep our commitment to the Lord when discouraged.

7. Abide in Christ, the Vine

If you stay connected to your life Source, you will have everything you need to live a godly life, which certainly includes living a yielded one. (2 Pet 1:3)

 

Until next time, my friends, as you work toward surrendering your will to your faithful Lord, you will see

It really is the better best choice!

…Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom 12:2)

 

P.S. Learn how to actually abide in Christ, the Vine from a plant’s point of view in my latest book

Read the first 3 chapters for FREE!

 

1 DeMoss, Brokenness, Surrender, Holiness p 234

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture marked AMP is taken from Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Surrender: Part 1—Why Should We Surrender?

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Surrender and submission—these are not popular words. We all struggle with it. Why? Because we want to do things our way and in our timing. Yet as Christians we are called to do life God’s way.

Most of us know that God’s way is best. Many of us truly want to live for God, but it’s hard.

We need a new way of looking at submission and some motivation as to why we should surrender.

Surrender means to give up, or relinquish; to yield in favor of another; to give oneself up, as into the power of another.

In our case, we are yielding ourselves into the powerful hands of a good and loving Master—not a mean dictator or a bunch of rules and regulations. And we have a choice.

When we were physically born, we entered through the door that led into a sinful fallen world, one that is ruled by Satan. And like it or not, a sinful nature came with it; passed down to us through Adam and Eve (Rom 5:12); a nature that separates us from a holy God.

We didn’t choose to be born and enter into this fallen world, but we are here. And now we have a different door presented to us—one that leads us into a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6).

We enter this first door of surrender by accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior. We can choose whether or not to enter this door and be born again into a new eternal life with God.

Once we’ve entered into this new life, God will present other doors of surrender to us. These gateways lead to true joy, peace, fulfillment, and fruitfulness. And we choose whether or not to humble ourselves and enter in.

God’s way leads to abundance; our way leads to emptiness and misery. So think of surrendering to God as a gateway to God and all His blessings.

Surrender—it’s the key to everything worthwhile.

Bear in mind, this surrender is not a one-time event—it’s a way of life, one of continual submission and obedience. But sometimes it is so hard to obey. We need some incentives!

There are Great Rewards in Yielding to God

  • Fruit of the Spirit, including love, joy, and peace
  • Intimacy with God
  • Answered prayers
  • Effectiveness in ministry
  • Eternal fruit
  • More glory for God
  • Eternal rewards—I want to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” How about you?

There are Great Consequences in Not Yielding to God

  • Loss of blessings in the here and now, and eternity
  • Unanswered prayers (Ps 66:18)
  • Anxiety, restlessness, joylessness, emptiness
  • A sense of heaviness because we are carrying all of our problems alone
  • Less awareness of God’s presence in our lives
  • Less confidence about our eternal home in heaven
  • A poor witness to the lost world

Our way simply doesn’t work! There is no door of self-accomplishment, self-actualization, or independence that leads to the life we want.

Jesus submitted all to the Father so that you and I could have a door that leads to eternal life in heaven with God and the abundant life here on earth (Jn 10:10).

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Phil 2:8)

 

So my friends, the next time you are deciding whether to raise that white flag or not, consider Jesus, the rewards and the consequences. Ask the Lord—He will help you take that step of obedience.

Next week: 7 Reasons Why We Don’t Surrender and 7 Ways to Change

Meanwhile listen to this awesome song by Hillsong- I Surrender 

 

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

God Wants to Use You—No Matter Your Makeup!

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All of us have a different makeup and temperament. Last week I mentioned I was like a wild mustang that needing taming in order to become useful to my heavenly Trainer.

Not all of us are highly-spirited horses that have a wild tendency. But the Lord has a beautiful purpose for each one of us. He did not create you to just stay in your stall and do nothing, or only to graze in the field. Did you know that without moving, a horse will get colic—a potentially deadly constipation?

You are uniquely different from everyone else on the planet; yet all of us are equally valuable to God’s plan, including YOU!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer 29:11)

Sticking with my crazy horse analogy—your God-given purpose may be to draw a plow, pull a wagon, round up cattle, provide transportation, or simply allow kids (young and old) to ride you for pleasure. Perhaps you may even be used for therapeutic reasons. I’m sure you know that horses have been greatly used to help both the troubled and the handicapped.

We get into trouble when we begin to compare our talents and purposes with others. We need not fret what others may or may not be doing. We need only to be concerned for what God desires of us. We cannot all be pastors, teachers, speakers, leaders. What good are they without a congregation, students, listeners, or followers?

I am talking to myself here.

Some of us will have to carry heavier burdens than others.

Others will be on some obscure farm somewhere.

Still others will be in the limelight at a fancy show.

You and I need to learn to be content to follow Christ no matter where He leads us. We need to yield to His perfect plan and be tamed by His loving wise hand. Only then will we enjoy this life here on earth as the Lord Jesus promised and wants for us (Jn 10:10).

But that takes trust.

We can trust our Trainer. If you give Him the reins and step out in faith, He will prove to you experientially that He is indeed trustworthy. That’s been this wild mare’s experience, along with countless others.

In the parable of the talents (Mat 25:14-30), the servant who received and doubled his 5 talents got the exact same commendation from his Master as the one who had doubled his 10 talents.

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (vv 21, 23)

But the one who received one talent and did nothing, got a very severe rebuke!

The challenge in fulfilling your God-given potential will be different than mine. I may not have as hard of a time motivating myself as you, but I probably struggle a lot more with impatience! Or I may get more discontented than you in times of inactivity.

We are each distinctive in our makeup, experiences, abilities, and tendencies. Use your strengths for the Lord’s glory, and give your weaknesses to God. He can turn then them into His strengths for His beautiful purpose (2 Cor 12:9).

So my friends, whether you are a race horse or a work horse—do it for Him! Give God your all. As Oswald Chambers would say: “My utmost for His highest!”

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving…. And there is no favoritism. (Col 3:23-25)

 

 

THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Are You Being Tamed by Your Heavenly Trainer?

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“That mustang is a wild one!” said the cowboy to the trainer. “But she has potentialif only we could harness her!”

People who know me, know that I am a high energy person. Some would call me hyper, but that’s such a negative term! But I have to admit—I am a very high-spirited person who can sometimes run amok! I am more like a wild mustang that needs harnessing.

Unbridled, a wild horse goes galloping off in every direction, doing whatever it likes—living solely for self. In the early stages of being broken, a wild horse will kick and try to throw the rider off. She is unwilling to change. She wants to maintain control. But the horse trainer wants to channel that wild spirit for a good purpose—whether that is to win horse races or to pull a wagon. Without cooperation she will remain a savage unusable beast.

God doesn’t want us to live unbridled, frenzied, and ineffective lives for His Kingdom—living for self and not Him or others. If we don’t want to remain an unruly horse that is unusable, we must let God tame us…

Not to break our spirit, but to break our will.

 Only then will we both win!

A horse trainer’s objective is for the horse to respond to the slightest tug on the reins, a gentle pressing of the knee, or a simple word—instead of using a whip.

That’s how I want to respond to the One who is training me. That’s how I am learning to respond. Only then will God and I be able to enjoy the ride.

Sometimes the Lord has me go at a slow canter, a fast trot, or a full speed-ahead gallop. Now and again He makes me stop to rest and graze. Occasionally, He’ll steer me into an open field where I can see much, or into a dark forest where I can barely see my next step.

When obstacles arise, He has me jump over them, go around them, or leads me in a totally different direction.

Sometimes He puts blinders on me so that I will stay focused and not get too distracted with the world, dangers, or even good things.

And every now and then, He just lets me frolic in the field!

He lovingly grooms me, tends my wounds, gives me an apple, tells me how much He loves me, and leads me to drink often from His Living Waters.

He knows exactly what I need and what’s best. He knows how to spur me on when I want to quit, or slow me down when I’m going too fast. He will maximize my fullest potential—if I yield to Him.

Being highly-spirited, impassioned, and full of energy are good traits, but without wise direction and restraint, a lot of time and energy is wasted, the potential within is never realized, and the intended purpose never reached.

I’ve discovered being completely and continually submitted to my Lord, is the best way to run this thrilling, though hard, race! I want to win this race–how about you?

Even if you’re not a wild and high-spirited racehorse, you still need training to fulfill God’s purpose for you. So stay tuned for next week’s blog for more on that!

Until next time, my friends, don’t be stubborn and unyielded, let God tame and train you into the useful beautiful horse He created you to be! 

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. (Ps 32:8-11)

 

THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Creation: God’s Revelation of Himself

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I have always loved nature. My mother gave me that. I love being outdoors—it refreshes my soul. (You can tell that by all the hiking blogs I’ve written :)!)

Seeing the beauty of this world has always produced a sense of awe in me. In fact, that is the response most people have when they see a beautiful sunset, the Grand Canyon, or the glorious display of the Milky Way. Why is that?

It is God revealing Himself to mankind—of His greatness, immenseness, intelligence, power, control, and beauty (Rom 8:19-20). Just as art reflects the artist, so too does creation reflect the Creator. Creation clearly reveals that God exists.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. (Ps 19:1-3)

Difficult as it may be to believe, I used to be an atheist. After I got saved, my appreciation of God’s creation escalated. Through my new worldview the intricacies of a flower, the colors of a sunset, the majesty of the mountains became even more awesome. I saw His handiwork everywhere.

The cool thing was, I then began to appreciate God Himself even more. My love for Him grew.

You see, we too are part of His creation—the epitome in fact (Gen 1:26, 3). The purpose of God displaying Himself in nature isn’t simply to show that He exists, but to bring us into a love relationship with Him.

So my friends, I have an exercise to help increase your awe and love of our magnificent Creator. You can do this exercise anytime or anywhere. You may even want to do it with your family. Use your imagination and let the Holy Spirit draw you into a time of devotion and worship for your Maker.

Get alone

Preferably outside and away from distractions. Quiet your heart and contemplate on the beauty around you. Meditate on Psalms 8 and 19. Try to focus solely on your Creator and that He made everything out of nothing. Thank God for each one of these things.

Utilize all your senses

What do you see? The countless number of stars, the funny antics of a squirrel, the amazing color of a sunset, the complexity and variety of flowers…

What do you hear? Birds singing, leaves rustling, children laughing…  

What do you smell? The fragrance of roses/lilacs, the freshness of the air after a rain…  

What do you taste? The sweetness of your drink, the lingering flavor of a breakfast cinnamon roll…

What do you feel? The warmth of a cup of brew, the softness of your baby’s skin….

Use your memory

Think about the places you’ve been that generated a sense of awe. Remember the mountain views and the sense of God’s majesty, the sound of waves crashing upon the shore and the power within, the piney scent of Christmas trees—reminding you of your Savior’s birth, or holding hands with your loved one and being reminded of God’s incredible love for you.

Contemplate on man as the epitome of God’s creation

Look at your hands and fingers. Be amazed at all the things you can do with them. Think about the incredible anatomy and physiology of the human body.

Look for the good

If your mind starts gravitating toward the negative, think about how Christ’s work has redeemed you from the negative effects of sin and of the Perfect Garden to come!

Never get over the wonder of your Maker!

…burst into song you mountains, you forest and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel. (Is 44:23)

Continue to worship as you listen to this song by Chris Tomlin, Indescribable, for that is who He is!

 

 

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

What Will We Be Doing in Heaven?

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I’m too curious for my own good! I want to know everything I can about the wonderful God who saved me! Don’t you? I want to know all the details of the early years of Jesus’ life, the parting of the Red Sea, and the tale of Jonah and the whale.

Questions, questions, and more questions.

But one of the biggest questions most of us have is…

What will we be doing in heaven?

I’m no theologian, but God gave me—and you—an imagination. I think it’s ok to theorize what heaven will be like provided our ideas don’t contradict His Word in any way or we assume that our theory is right. If it helps us hang in there when life gets tough by creating a greater longing for our heavenly home, then it’s a good thing. 

So here are my thoughts of what true followers of Jesus Christ will be doing and experiencing in heaven.

  • No more sinning. Halleluiah!
  • Uninterrupted and unhindered fellowship with our Lord and Savior. (See Ps 16:11, Rev 21:3). No longer will our sin or the physical realm prevent sweet communion with our holy God. 
  • No more need of forgiveness–Since we will no longer sin, there’ll be no need to ask for or give forgiveness. 
  • Worshipping and serving God with other believers.
  • Fellowshipping with other believers.
  • Unlimited time to build relationships.

Of these we can be certain. What follows below is my “sanctified imagination” of what we’ll be doing.

Conversing in depth with others

I think a lot of our bliss in heaven will be finding out all the details of biblical stories not recorded in Scripture. Won’t it be a blast to talk with Abraham, Moses, Daniel, and Peter?! To ask them what they were thinking, feeling, and what kept them going? To ask Paul to describe his Damascus road experience.

Then consider how interesting it’ll be to hear comprehensive testimonies of past and present spiritual giants—like Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, C.S. Lewis, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, Michael Youssef, and countless others.

Reliving biblical stories

Wouldn’t it be great to watch replays of biblical or historical events, like the parting of the Red Sea? Even better: to actually be there and experience it; to feel the wind, taste the salt air, see the 2 walls of water rise up, and walk across the now-dry sea floor?

Discovering how all the puzzle pieces of God’s beautiful big picture fit together

Right now, by faith, we can know that God is working out all things together for good (Rom 8:28). But in heaven I believe God will show us how He orchestrated all the minute details to make the most beautiful masterpiece with our joined lives; how He used the good, the bad and the ugly for His glory and our good. He’ll show us how our obedience impacted the lives of others for His kingdom—how giving to a missionary led 1000’s to Christ; how praying fervently for a wayward grandson resulted in multitudes knowing and growing in Christ when he became a pastor long after you died.

Recounting God’s faithfulness

We’ll be sitting on the heavenly shore, reminiscing with a friend about those times when we were so dismayed and how God stepped in and did the impossible. Then we’ll burst into singing, “Great is Thy faithfulness…!”

We’re going to be laughing and crying tears of joy and wonder why we ever doubted our faithful God! 

Experiencing unbelievable adventures and enjoying life to its fullest

We’ll be able to visit all the places on earth to which we’ve always wanted to go; do the things our bodies won’t allow us to do now, fulfill a lifelong dream, maybe even venture out into space (that’s for you astronomy nuts)! We will have indestructible glorified bodies and no fear.

And of course…

God will be with us every single minute and we will always be aware of His presence!

~~~~~

So my friends, the next time you feel dishearten with life’s difficulties, let your imagination (guided by the Holy Spirit) run wild about your future heavenly home. It will be a real and tangible place—not just in your imagination (Rev 21:1-3)!

Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Heb 11:16)

I’d love to hear who you would like to talk to in heaven. What would you ask them? What stories do you especially want the details of? Let us imagine together! Please comment below. 

 

 

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

 

 

Feeling Lonely? 8 Tips in Overcoming Loneliness

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Do you ever feel lonely? I do.

But I know I am not alone in my aloneness.

The human race has been plagued with this malady ever since the fall of mankind, and now with this forced isolation from the Covid-19 pandemic—we feel all the more alone!

There are many reasons why someone might feel lonely—even when not actually alone. I have “good” reason to feel lonely. I’m a widow, live alone, and still relatively new in my geographical  area. But do I have to be continually beleaguered with these feelings?

NO!

In fact, you and I need not be controlled by any emotion. Being an emotional yo-yo, I’ve had lots of experience and opportunities to demonstrate that victory is won through Christ. Here are 8 tips to help you during lonely times.

1. Address the Source

For me, when I experience loneliness I feel that:

  • No one cares.
  • I don’t belong.
  • I have no value.

But these feelings are not based on truth! They are a byproduct of dwelling on the negative. Just because someone doesn’t call, visit, or whatever does NOT mean they do not care. People do care. And even if they didn’t, God does! I do have value. I am precious in His sight. I belong to Him. He bought me with His own Son’s blood. He is always with me (Mat 28:20).

On these facts, I must focus. That is the second key in overcoming times of loneliness:

2. Focus on God and the Truth

Think about what is true (Phil 4:8). Speak it to your soul—with conviction and out loud if possible. (See My Egg Story for an example of how to do this)

3. We All Feel Lonely at Times

Even our precious Savior experienced loneliness.

“But a time is coming…. when you will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” (Jn 16:32)

Feeling lonely is not a sin. It’s simply part of being human in a fallen world. It becomes a sin when we let it control our actions.

4. Focus on Others

Get involved with people. Attend functions, invite others to get together, volunteer, communicate with people (and not just electronically!). Even during this pandemic we can stay connected by phone or tele-conferencing.

5. Turn it Around

Use your loneliness for good. Reach out to those who are also lonely. You’ll be able to empathize. Trust me—being an instrument to encourage another soul will help dispel all feelings of loneliness!

Being alone is a good thing for me because I am a writer and need that time to fulfill my God-given calling.

6. Stay Productive

—especially in regards to fulfilling your God-given purpose. When I am carrying out God’s will for my life I feel significant and all feelings of loneliness are dissipated. What productive things can you do with your alone time?

7. Make Right Choices

Don’t add to your loneliness by trying to fill that emptiness with things, food, drugs, entertainment, unhealthy relationships, etc. Fill it with the only One who can truly satisfy—Christ. This will take major effort! 

“The greatest challenge is to get over the initial hurdle. At such times [in feeling lonely] one does not feel like [doing the right thing] …but I find that when I take the step of faith to do what I know I should do, my feelings begin to change.”1

8. Stay Close to Your Redeemer

Read your Bible, think about God, praise Him. In so doing, you’ll be able to sense His presence more frequently and not feel alone. I have found sensing God’s presence is my most effective defense against loneliness.

To summarize we can simply say:

Get your eyes off yourself!

So my friends, whatever the cause of your loneliness, if you employ these principles you may have occasional visits of feeling lonely, but you won’t live there!

To help you achieve this, I have a new resource for you: 10 Tips to Increase Your Awareness of God’s Presence. You can get your free copy here.

 

1David Jeremiah Overcoming Loneliness p 107

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

God Moments: Touches of His Presence

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2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for many of us. The pandemic has certainly caused a lot of havoc directly or indirectly in the way we live. What keeps you going? How do you not give up?!

I’ll tell you what keeps me going…

The sense of God’s presence. 

Experiencing those times when I know without a shadow of doubt that I just had an undeniable touch from my Lord!

Let me give you a sampling of some of my God moments:

  • When He comforted me during my greatest times of sorrow, inadequacy, and feelings of not being loved
  • The time I sensed God’s pleasure in me after Ed passed away because I chose to continue serving and obeying Him in the writing of my first book Our Knowable God
  • God’s provision when Ed lost his job (See My Egg Story: A Story of God’s Faithfulness)
  • When He gave me the entire book preface and intro to my second book (From the Vertical to the Horizontal: Empowered to Relate to People God’s Way) at 4 a.m. on July 4, 2012
  • When Ed and I led his sister to the Lord around our kitchen table in 2008
  • When I literally “felt” God’s cushioning hand protecting me in a car accident 
  • The time I hiked up Mount Cammerer in Tennessee and was astounded with His majesty and burst out into songs of praise
  • At the top of Mount LeConte when God kindnesses in making an impossible dream come true overwhelmed me
  • The way God confirmed my new church home when I moved out of state
  • The many times the Holy Spirit gave me understanding of His Word, often causing me to fall on my knees in awe
  • The countless times in the wee hours of the night when He comforted my aching soul 
  • The many times I felt that I was His precious daughter sitting on His “lap”

I have many many more; these are just a tiny sampling. It’s fun going down memory lane with my Savior; to look back and recount His undeniable revelations of Himself in my life.

During those times that I don’t feel His presence I know He’s still there. My faith is not based on feelings, but on the evidence of God’s faithfulness. Nevertheless, God knows we are emotional creatures (especially this one!). We live in a tangible world. He knows we need tangible touches and gives them to us if we would simply open up our eyes and look. He wants us to know He is real, faithful, and loves us beyond measure.

These moments I had were real and tangible morsels of God. My appetite has been stimulated; my stomach is gurgling, my heart is fluttering in anticipation of heaven and the great feast awaiting you and I.

God’s revelations of Himself spur us on to persevere during the hard times. They are foretastes of heaven. They help us know it’ll be worth it—that He’ll be worth it!

One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness….
so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 
(Ps 145:4-7, 12 emphasis added)

 

So until next time, my friends, go down memory lane with your Savior and recount your God moments.  I’d love to hear some of them. Would you please tell us in the comment section or on Facebook? It would greatly encourage me and my readers!

By the way, I have a brand new resource to help you experience more of God’s presence. You can get your free copy here.

 

 

THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide

Are You Too busy to Sense God’s Presence?

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I’m at a place in my life where I relish the times with my Lord in the mornings. I’m a writer, speaker, and teacher and need desperately to stay connected with Him and His Word. But the busyness of life can greatly disrupt those precious times. I especially recall the time I moved out of state. 

With all the details and aspects of moving and then immediately going away on a 10-day trip, it’s no wonder that I had a hard time concentrating on reading God’s Word; quieting my mind and heart before Him. I often found myself apologizing to the Lord for my distracted heart and begged Him to help me settle down so I could commune with Him. Sometimes I was able to; other times not so much! It’s very hard for a triple-A personality type to sit still—especially under these types of circumstances.

I knew that God understood and forgave me; that I’m just human, and that all this craziness was just for a short season. But the thing is—I missed those times with just the Lord and I, without all those things vying for my attention. I missed just relaxing with my Savior and savoring His presence. And you know what? I think He did too.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I never felt like God had left me during those times. I knew He was there because He Himself said:

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb 13:5)*

Nor am I saying I always feel His presence when I’m not busy. But through many hours of daily consistent times alone with God, I’ve come to a special place in my walk with God—I know deep down in my heart He is ever-present with me. That sense of His presence is simply a matter of degree and a conscious awareness of Him.

What causes this variability?

Circumstances, people, our enemy, even God Himself at times. But I personally think the primary factor is the condition of our hearts.  

If you’re not sensing God’s presence, then ask yourself: “Am I right before my holy God? Is there any lack of confession or repentance on my end?” (Ps 66:18)

Whatever the cause, it sure is wonderful when we do sense God’s presence. It dispels fear, doubt, and gives us joy, peace, and contentment (see Is 41:10, Ps 16:11).

Do you have a sense of God’s presence? Perhaps you have never experienced this type of closeness with God or only to a small degree. Is this type of intimacy available only to a choice few? NO!

It is available to all who desire it.

In fact, God wants that closeness with you—yes you! He created you for that very purpose. He wants you to know Him and have the awareness of His love and care.

I’ve dedicated my life to helping others know this amazing truth.

How do you get to this place?

First, by understanding that this is a love relationship entered only through believing in Jesus Christ’s redemptive work for you personally.

Secondly, a love relationship takes time, effort, and a commitment on both ends to develop. God does His part. Will you do yours? I’ve written about how in my first book, Our Knowable God.

I’ve been walking with Jesus for 35 years now, and I can wholeheartedly tell you He is worth knowing!

So until next time, my friends, guard your time carefully and devote it to the Lord. He will reward you greatly with a sense of His presence!

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! (Ps 34:8)**

 

By the way, I have a brand new resource to help you experience more of God’s presence. You can get your free copy here.

 

 

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

**New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Increased Capacity: The Wonderful Cycle of Knowing God

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You’re sitting there, overwhelmed with the presence of God. You’re singing praises, utterly grateful for God’s love and the saving of your soul. “How can it ever get better than this?!” You feel so complete, contented, and loved.

Then something else happens. God comes through once again in a miraculous way, answers an impossible prayer, or meets a need in a profound personal way. I call these “God Touches” where you experience a “tangible” moment with your Maker.

And those feelings of “How can it get ever any better than this!?” return.

How is this possible? After all, God said, “I, the LORD do not change” (Mal 3:6).

I have 3 ideas for you to ponder.

1. God doesn’t change, but we do.

God doesn’t get better, but our perception of God does—provided we get our knowledge of Him from His Word. Our view of God becomes clearer as we peer intently into God’s beautiful revelation of Himself. God wants to be known in increasing measure. As we grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s truths and apply them, we will experience more and more of Him—and all that He embodies. Since God is good, and everything about Him is good we will naturally experience greater, sweeter, and “gooder” times with our Savior.

2. Our capacity to enjoy and know God increases.

Unlike our bodies, our new nature is not finite. As our new nature grows, there is more “room” for God in our hearts. There is a greater capability to understand the God of the universe.

And just in case you don’t know—you feed your new nature by eating (taking in) and digesting (processing, applying and obeying) God’s wholesome Word. Nurture that new divine nature within you; starve the old nature, and watch your intimacy with an infinite God flourish.

3. Irony

The other cool thing about all this is that although we are completely satisfied during these times of sweet communion with God, there’s still a hunger for more. This compels us to go back again and again; to seek Him in newer ways, newer understandings, and newer commissions. (Jer 29:13-14).

What should our response be to all of this?

Utter gratitude, humility, and worship.

What a privilege it is to be able to commune with such a holy awesome God!

Then we are to pass it on.

We are not to hoard all of His wonderful love and revelation. We are to share His love more and more with others.

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else…. (1 Thess 3:12)

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight…. (Phil 1:9)

Shout this out from the rooftops! “Behold your God! Let me tell you about my beautiful Savior who wants to be your God and Savior as well!”

As you expand your knowledge and understanding of God and His ways and obey Him, your capacity for love and intimacy with Him will grow—guaranteed! What else would we expect from an infinite God who abounds in love? Still, I’m amazed every time it happens, and the wonderful cycle continues.

 

All Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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