Surrender

A Minute In It - What Do You Hold On To?

A minute in God’s Word will change your life. Take a moment to read the text below and then answer the questions at the bottom of the post.

54 So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. 55 The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. 56 A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”

57 But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”

58 After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”

“No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted.

59 About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”

60 But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.

61 At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” 62 And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly. Luke 22:54-61 (NLT)

Why did Peter deny Jesus?
What was he protecting?
What is it in your life that you are protecting?
Are you denying Jesus by holding on to what you have?

How Do You Worship?

But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” John 4:22-24 (MSG)

As Jesus leaned in and talked to the woman at the well, he did what he always does with us, he started focusing on her heart. He pointed out things in her life that were not what they should be. He highlighted her sins with his “only Jesus can fix this” spotlight. Jesus gently let her know that he could see what she was struggling with.

As the conversation between them became more intimate, she did what we all do. She deflected. This was getting too personal and uncomfortable. Let’s talk about something less heartfelt…..like where we should worship. Should we worship in this church or that church? Which denomination is better, yours or mine? The woman tried to make the topic of importance about something other than her life.

Jesus cut to the heart of the matter again.

He said all that stuff doesn’t matter. It is semantics. What matters is what is in your heart. What matters is that you worship God with all of your soul, with your very being. When you are in a relationship with me, your life will be changed. You will become a different person. That new being, that new person is where the worship starts. The way you live your life is your worship.

Are you living your life in worship? Do the decisions you make and the way you live life reflect a heart that is in love with Jesus? If not, then there is something missing. We were not created to just attend church and check the box. We were intended to worship with all of our heart, soul and mind.

That’s what a life surrendered to Jesus looks like.

Still Thirsty?

But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life. John 4:14 (NLT)

The woman came to the well. Same routine as yesterday and the day before. As she walked there in the middle of the day, the sun beat down on her. It was hot. But she came now because she couldn’t face the people in her village. Her life had been a series of one mistake (or bad choice) after another. And because the village was small and they all knew each other, everyone knew her history.

People are not kind. If you do something they don’t like, they judge you and make you feel like an outsider. That’s the way she felt. So instead of facing it every day and going to the well with the crowd, she went alone. Alone was painful but less painful than the people were.

As she approached the well, there was a man sitting there. A Jewish man. What was he doing here? He was n Samaritan territory. This was unheard of. She thought to herself, “I am going to get my water and get out of here. He won’t speak to me anyway. Jews don’t talk to Samaritans and men don’t talk to women. Ever.” As she approached the well, he asked her for a drink.

She almost dropped her jug. What in the world? As he engaged her in conversation, she felt herself relaxing. There was something different about him. He was talking about giving her water. He didn’t even have a bucket to draw water with. What was he thinking? Then he began to tell her about his water. His water was different. He said if you drank it, you would be filled up. Never thirsty. Never empty. He said if you drank his water something inside you would change.

Something would start and it would keep bubbling up to overflowing. She desperately wanted that water. She wanted to quench the thirst in her soul for something better than this life she was living. Her heart yearned for it. In that moment she decided. She would take some of this water. She would let it change her.

I want this water too. Each and every day I will look for the water that Jesus offered her. I will drink it and my soul will be satisfied. How about you?

A Minute In It - It's Not All Mine!

A minute in God’s Word will change your life. Take a moment to read the text below and then follow the instructions at the bottom of the post.

The earth and everything on it
belong to the Lord.
The world and its people
belong to him. Psalm 24:1 (CEV)

Take a moment and list the gifts God has given to you. List the big things (like maybe a car) and the small things. Don’t forget to put non-material things like time and people.

We are so focused on what we see as “ours.” Based on today’s text, it is all God’s. Knowing that everything on your list is not yours but God’s, how does that change what you do with it?

Spend some time in prayer and ask God to show you how to use what is His.

Deep Down Heart-Work

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Psalm 51:10-11 (ESV)

I’m not sure how to describe what I am going to talk about today. But the scenario goes something like this.

At the end of the day or sometimes early the next morning as I’m praying, I talk to God about the day (or the day before) thanking him for the things in it. Sometimes during this prayer, God brings to mind something I said or did. And sometimes that makes me sad. It makes me sad because I did not glorify his name during those moments.

You see, I have a Peter personality. Things come out of my mouth that I may have said differently if I thought about it for half-a-second. Some days, I just note that I should have said that differently. But there are days when my heart is sad because my words revealed things deep down that I don’t always see. Maybe not to everyone else but God always understands. And, because he loves me, we talk about it.

It is in those days that I drop to my knees and let Jesus hone in on the root of the actions. During those times, I ask him to change the deep down things that want to put me first and not him. I tell him I’m sorry and I want it to be about him and not me. I ask him to create in me a clean heart and I pray that he will fill me with his Spirit.

David understood this. When he was confronted with his sin around Bathsheba, his heart broke. Instead of defending his decisions, he went to God and poured out his heart. I may be a Peter sometimes in my actions, but I want to be more like David in my heart. It’s in those surrendering moments that we will be changed.

Seeking Through Surrender

O my son, give me your heart.
    May your eyes take delight in following my ways. Proverbs 23:26 (NLT)

Today my church kicks of a 40-Day Fast. We are seeking to hear what God has to say about the direction he is giving us. We can fast in a variety of ways. In short, you can do a food fast which is fasting from all food or a specific food or a soul fast. A soul fast is giving up something in your life that may be a distraction from hearing God’s voice (i.e. social media, games on devices, etc.) The purpose of a fast is not just to give something up but to add more of God in.

I decided to give up TV. Now, my schedule is such that I don’t get to watch TV every day. I don’t think I am addicted to it. But, I felt God saying this is what I have to fast from. I have to be honest. I was struggling with this. I couldn’t figure out why I was reluctant. I spend a lot of time with God; doing God-type things. I don’t spend a ton of time watching TV. What’s the deal?

I started praying about this yesterday, as I lamented not watching TV for 40 days. I came to the place where I realized that TV is my “comfort food” for my brain. It’s where I go to forget. It’s where I go to totally turn off and ignore everything around me. I decided that this was probably why I was struggling.

This morning, every place I turned in my worship was about surrender. It dawned on me that maybe God asked me to do this particular thing because it was the one thing I didn’t want to surrender.

I can eliminate any food from my diet. Been there done that.. There are a lot of mind over matter things I can accomplish. For some reason, this is different. And honestly, I don’t know why. But God does. And because he is asking, I am going to do it. I am going to surrender this.

I know in the process I will learn something about myself that i did not know. But more importantly, I am going to learn something about God that I did not know.

What is it in your life that God might ask you to surrender? Are you willing to do that so you can see him more clearly?

Let God

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ (‭NLT)‬‬

Have you ever tried to stop a bad behavior? And by bad I mean anything you are being convicted that you should not be doing. I have. Usually it goes like this.

I begin to feel a conviction (sense in my soul) that there may be something wrong with this behavior. Now, don’t get me wrong. If I am overtly sinning - like telling a lie or slandering someone, I know it’s wrong and I don’t have to wonder if I should stop that. I am talking more about a behavior that for some reason is not actually overtly sinning but God is saying “Stop”.

I begin to get the conviction and I’ll be honest, sometimes I am not pleased. It may be something that in itself is not a sin but maybe because I spend sooooo much time doing it, God is saying stop. Or maybe God knows this will lead me down a slippery path. Either way, I usually try to ‘discuss it’ with God.

I’m not sure why I do this. I know in the end I am going to admit that I trust him and I’m going to do what he says. I’m getting better.

OK. So I become convicted and I try to stop. And I try and I try and I try. Notice how many times I am trying? Obviously, I am not succeeding. It’s because I am trying on my own. I am not leaning into God for help.

I love today’s verse because it gives us the solution. But let God…..when we lean into God, focus on him, we begin to be changed from the inside out. Suddenly, God has changed the way I think. What was once appealing is no longer so. Where once I would try to rationalize, I now let it go. And in this process I find freedom.

Too often we think we have to clean ourselves up to come to God but the Bible says this is not so. God says come to me, let’s get to know each other and I will get you where you need to be. Our role? To do the things we can do to get to know Jesus. Spend a little time. Ask questions. Seek. (Kind of like you’d do if you wanted to get to know a person.)

God’s job is all the rest. And he will do it. He promises.

A Minute In It - I'll Keep This

A minute in God’s Word will change your life. Take a moment to read the texts below and then ponder the questions at the bottom of the post.

15 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”

16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ 18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ 23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. 24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’” Luke 14:15-24 (NLT)

What in your life would you struggle to walk away from to follow Christ?
Now, take a few moments in prayer and ask God what he thinks.