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Being Brave for the Journey

bravery in the journey

 

God may be calling you to a new journey or you may be in the middle of a journey and you’ve lost your mojo. You want to turn back, but you’ve come too far and experienced too many changes. I understand. I urge you to keep going, and to take that next step forward. I believe you can do it.

 

Below is a portion of my article on Precepts & Life Preservers, my friend Christine Duncan’s website. She is hosting a month long series: “God in the New Journey: Being Brave Enough to Step Out,” she kicks off the series with this post and Julie Loos wrote a beautiful piece highlighting Rahab’s choice. I hope you will be blessed, inspired, and challenged.

 

“Imagine the Israelites as they victoriously left Egypt. They’re dancing. Celebrating. Pinching themselves because reality seems too surreal. Until they stop abruptly at the edge of the Red Sea.

 

And just as abruptly their rejoicing changes to clamoring. A chorus of complaints rise up instead of hallelujahs. Rather than see the excitement of freedom they see certain death—drowning or by sword.

 

An option they never considered occurs, a miracle: the splitting of the Red Sea. They bravely stepped into the miracle. They bravely trusted God to hold the wall of water firm. Their new journey began with each faith step forward.  

 

What about us? What’s the new thing God is calling us to?”

Continue Reading by clicking here. 

 

commitment vs surrender

Which does the Lord want? Does he want my commitment or does he want my surrender? What exactly do these two words mean? I tell myself that I need to be more committed to spending time with the Lord. I need to be committed to loving people and serving others. But it is hard. I have weeks where I fail more than I succeed. And then I have weeks where I don’t do so bad. But it’s in the empty weeks where I stumble and fall and see just how clearly wretched I can be and how I just don’t want to do ‘this’ anymore because it is so so hard. So I looked up these couple of words and I found something I hadn’t known before.

Surrender:

  • to yield something to the possession of power to another
  • to give oneself up in to the power of another
  • to give up, abandon, or relinquish
  • to yield in favor of another

Commitment

  • to pledge
  • to bind or obligate
  • to give in trust or charge
  • to entrust for safekeeping
  • to do, perform
  • to engage oneself

The differences are subtle and it would be easy to exchange one for the other and mean the same thing, but I see something different between the two that is vital. It appears that with commitment I still retain authority over whether or not I commit. Commitment involves me doing something–pledging, obligating, or giving someone charge of something. Surrender involves yielding. Yielding is getting out of the way and giving authority of oneself up to the Lord.

I have been committed without  surrender.  Commitment without surrender has led to my lack of consistency in my walk with Christ. When I commit without surrender I am telling myself that I get to choose when and where I am committed to Christ. Maybe it’s just on Sunday mornings or when I am out and about, but the commitment can wane when I am with my family and I allow myself to act and say things that I would never dream of acting or saying to anyone else.

But surrender is where consistent Christ-living occurs. Surrender must be active and present for commitment to become woven into our daily moments no matter what we face. Maybe I need to be less of a committed Christian and more of a surrendered Christian. Maybe our churches need to preach more about surrendering instead of committing. Maybe we have it backwards.

Surrender first. Yield oneself to the power and grace of the Lord. Surrender all we are and hope to become. Surrender our pain and our joys. Surrender our wills to the one who knows us better than we know ourselves. Surrender to the One who holds us in his palm and whispers love to us in the darkest of days and deepest of nights.

Commitment second. Once surrender occurs, commitment is a natural progression. Surrendering leads to a people working through the power of the Holy Spirit and commitment alone leads to a people working through themselves which leads to inconsistency and legalism. Surrender is a yielding to the Lord’s authority and then giving him our pledge to live as he would have us to live. Without surrender commitment is empty and becomes a choice.

I know that each day I need to get up and surrender again. And sometimes I need to surrender every moment to the One who is my hope. I wish I could say this is an easy thing, but my heart deceives and who can know it? It is a fight to remain in that surrendered place and so I often I slip out of it without even realizing it.

I can only describe my experience with slipping out of that surrendered place and it usually starts with a dissatisfaction with the way things are.  I begin looking around at all the pain and hurts in those around me and myself. I begin to focus on the unanswered prayers or the news that smacks me around and down. I begin being too aware of my present and not aware enough of his presence. These are clues that I have slipped out of surrender. Another clue is  when commitment wanes and becomes too hard.

It’s both surrender and commitment. Working together. Complementing each other. Bringing purpose to our days. I need to choose both. Surrender and commitment, but commitment becomes a whole lot easier if I surrender first. Surrender is a loss of freedom that gives me freedom to commit and live for the Lord.  It’s both and.

 

 

 

dear worshiper

Dear Worshiper,

We are all worshipers, whether we realize it or not, we all worship something or someone. We were designed that way, and we will fill our spirit’s with something or someone until we surrender to the living God.

Worship is all about relationship. It’s about relationship with the Holy God who needs nothing from us yet longs to know us and be known by him. So, first, as a worshiper of the one true God and as a worship leader in my local church body, I want to encourage you with some truths I have learned along the way…

You delight God when you bow your heart before him.

You delight God when you bow your body  before him.

You delight God when you sing a new song.

You delight him when you remember all he has done in your life.

You delight him when you choose thanksgiving over fretting.

You delight God when you obey him.

You delight him when you join together in unity with other believers in one voice to sing of his goodness and mercy.

You delight him when you allow yourself to be overcome by the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit and you lay your inhibitions down and care only what your God thinks of you.

You delight God.

You delight him when you look up to him with hands open ready to receive whatever he has for you.

You delight him when you lead out in song of praise to him.

You delight him when you choose his ways over your ways.

You delight him when you seek to understand what he wants from you in worship/life.

You are his delight.

You are.

He sings over you.

As you sing of your delight in him, he is singing of his delight over you.

He dances all around you.

As you engage in a physical expression of praise, he dances with you.

You delight him when your mind and your spirit is wholly engaged in spirit and in truth.

You are his delight.

So, my fellow worshipers, worship is much more than congregational singing, it is a way of life.  Worship is not static. Worship involves movement, literally and figuratively.  Move your heart closer to him through your daily choice to obey him.  As you do, you will be changed, never to be the same again.

Be brave and worship with abandon.

 

 

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