I am called to Surrender

Total Surrender?

Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” ~ Luke 9:61-62, NLT

“Genuine total surrender is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself.” ~Oswald Chambers

This is hard. I want to surrender to Christ—but I have to confess my motives do not match the purpose of His calling. I still want a comfortable life. I still want to be successful. I want to live in security. I am focused on the blessings of God, rather than on the God of the blessings.

But Jesus rebuked that kind of thinking. Don’t get me wrong—He promised that He would meet every need, that we would be provided for and loved, and he pointed out that we are much more valuable than the sparrows in the air of whom God is ever-mindful. But Jesus defined His priority pretty specifically.

Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.

“Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property–along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.” (Mark 10:28-29)

What was the reason for Peter’s surrender? For Jesus. And for the sake of the Gospel.

Love God. Seek His purpose. Isn’t that the commission when Jesus says to seek first His kingdom? Surrender isn’t a means to an end. It is the ultimate expression of love that says to Christ, “YOU are my end.”

Yielding under any other terms is negotiation, not surrender at all.

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His Will or Mine? A Guest Post by Jeannie Fulbright

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. ~Ephesians 3:20

My fifth baby wasn’t human. The first four had arms and legs. Number five? Let’s just say he was more than the world to me; he was the whole Universe. He was a book. An Astronomy book.

I self-published for exactly a year and sold 200 copies. Because I’m a writer, not a business person, I lost money. I couldn’t print any more books. Time to find a publisher.

Usher in desperation. Invite fear. Welcome determination. Most of all, ignore God because I’ve got this one covered with blood, sweat, tears and my own ideas for my future.

Enter rejections. Dead ends. Anxiety. Anger. Don’t they see how good my book is?

Before we hung up, my friend asked me if I had any prayer requests. She’s just that kind of person. I used to be. I told her about this publisher I needed and how they needed me. “Pray they call and say yes.” She began spouting some infuriating prose about “if it’s Your will.” I was livid. No! Not “if it’s Your will!” Pray it happens. This is what I NEED! It must happen. It’s the ONLY way.

With a tight voice and clamped teeth, I thanked her for her inept prayer, hung up and crossed my arms. Why didn’t she pray what I asked her to pray? Why couldn’t she just ask God for what I needed? Why did she have to invalidate it with the “if it’s Your will” caveat?

Two hours later, the publisher called with bad news. I fell to the floor and wept. It was over. All over. I had poured three years into this book. Three years of my life swept away as if they didn’t count. Dust. I was broken and couldn’t understand God’s seemingly cruel dealings with me. I thought the book was His will. I believed He led me to write it. Like a faithful servant, I was obedient to Him. It was His book, not mine. Each chapter was wrought after travailing prayer. The book was truly an act of worship, only to be thrown into a sludge pile and spit upon.

Wait a minute! A whisper to my soul. It was His book. It’s still His book. Whatever happens with His book is not my concern. My only concern was to act in obedience and write the book—whether anything came from it or not. I had done His will but had expected an outcome that was never promised. Conviction reigned down upon me. Surrender. Give up your rights to that book. It doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to God, and He will have his way with it. “Not my will, but Your will be done.”

I opened my hand and like a balloon released into the sky. I let it go. Peace flooded my spirit—a peace I had forsaken when my will was master. Oh, to be free. To be free from what I want, from what I need, from what I think is best, from what I desire to happen. All at once, I was released from my prison and could live again. I could smile again and look with hope to my future as a child of God.

“I give this book to you, Lord. Accomplish Your will with it. It’s not mine. I have no ownership over it. It’s Yours.”

When I finally released the book to God, He was able to have His own way with it. His plans were abundantly beyond all that I could ask or imagine. Surrendering to God our plans, our desires, our rights, our hopes and dreams will enable Him to fulfill His purposes for us.

Jeannie Fulbright is the author Apologia’s award winning, best-selling elementary science series. Exploring Creation with Astronomy is the first-born book in her series. She is writing a college handbook for high school students and, in her free time, is creating inspirational romance fiction under the name Jeannie Kaye. Visit her website at www.jeanniefulbright.com and her blog at http://www.jeanniesjournal.com

 

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Baby Steps: Reblogged Post from Kathleen’s Faith Walk

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” ~Mark 16:15

Six years ago a schoolteacher in our fellowship retired. He wanted to serve God in some way. Could I make a suggestion?

Certainly! There were many opportunities for ministering to inmates at the local jail.  Or, perhaps he could teach Sunday school or become involved in our college campus outreach. There’s also the Bible table along the beach promenade on Sunday afternoons.

Unfortunately, Dave felt all of the above were too “interpersonal” for him. He would help with the church’s technical needs instead.

Meanwhile, Dave’s wife became part of our beach evangelism team.  Dave faithfully came to help load and deliver our table, Bible and books each week. Two hours later he’d return to help us carry our load back to storage.  He would spend a couple hours shopping or taking power walks along the beach promenade until we were ready to leave.

One day he decided to sit on a nearby bench and pray while waiting for us.  He did this for several weeks. Then one day Dave quietly picked up a stack of tracts and began handing them to people who passed by!

Today he is an active part of our beach ministry.  He easily engages people,  sharing the Lord with walkers and surfers who stop at our table. He offers to pray with those who express a need.  He is a delight to have on our team!

I recently asked, “Dave, I thought this ministry was too interpersonal for you.”

He replied. “It was.  I needed baby steps.”

 

About Kathleen

God delights in working through His people as they submit to Him. Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone (Mark 16:15). No matter where we live on this planet, people are separated from God because of sin. We ALL need a Savior, and there’s only ONE. It brings me great joy to share Christ with the lost and lonely. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal while facilitating Bible studies. I’ve found myself on college and university campuses, the beach, the streets, the hospital, the jail and the juvenile facility for incarcerated teens sharing God’s message of love. I also serve as an online missionary with Global Media Outreach. I’ve seen countless lives transformed when people turn away from sin and turn to Jesus. The changes God makes are real and lasting. These are some of my experiences… and they keep on coming!

Thank you, Kathleen, for allowing me to reblog this post! You can find Kathleen at http://www.kathleensfaithwalk.com

 

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Called to Surrender: Guest Post by Sondra Kraak

One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men. (Mark 1:16-20)

All those who follow Jesus must come to him by way of surrender. When Jesus calls, “Come, follow me,” the disciples do not pack up their gear and tote it around on a donkey. They leave their nets at once and follow him. Surrender, for a disciple of Christ, is a sacrifice, an act of worship, an all-out devotion.

Lest we think we might give over some of our life to the Lord and hold on to other parts, consider these words of Jesus from Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters– yes, even his own life– he cannot be my disciple.” Jesus simply means that we must come to him with all that we are. All our priorities, our relationships, our values, our service. Everything must be his.

This seems like an impossible calling. How can I, a control-freak perfectionist, live open-handed before the Lord Jesus Christ? The key to a surrendered life, I think, is to change our idea of “surrendered” to “surrendering.” The continuous tense implies something ongoing, and our surrender to Christ is to be ongoing. The Holy Spirit within us not only leads us into all truth, comforts us, and guides us, but empowers us to do what we cannot do on our own: live the surrendered life.

I was humbled last summer to hear the testimony of an ex-army ranger, a guy as tough as they come. This is a man whose incredible faith has led him to lay his life on the line multiple times while serving on the mission field the past twenty years. But he spoke of having an epiphany regarding surrender. Though he’d committed his life and service to the Lord, he still held on to his “never surrender” mentality of his army days. That perseverance attitude had carried him through many tough situations, but he realized it had snuck into his relationship with the Lord. He wanted to be control, to depend on his skill and expertise while romping through jungles. But finally, while in a situation well beyond his control, he spoke of surrendering afresh to the Lord and realizing that true strength came in living surrendered before the Lord.

What is my attitude toward life? Do I have the idea that I can write my own story? That I can worship God in church on Sunday and then do what I want during the week—as long as it’s morally acceptable? Every minute of my life must be surrendered to God, which to me means my life is like a soft wad of clay that at any moment the Potter might reach down and sculpt into something new.

Will you be clay in his hands?


Sondra Kraak

Sondra Kraak is a wife, mother, pianist, writer, and nature-lover. She blogs at http://www.sondrakraak.wordpress.com. A Pacific Northwest girl for years, she now lives with her husband and two children in the mountains of North Carolina. Sondra has degrees in English and Biblical Studies and teaches Bible study at church.

I am called to Surrender

I am Called to Surrender

 

“Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”  ~Luke 17:33, NASB

Letting go to find safety. Sounds off, doesn’t it?

My husband and I recently took our four kids to the YMCA of the Rockies (we love that place) for a family getaway. Among the many fun activities they have, the rock wall was the highlight this year, because they’d installed a new, three-story, more challenging contraption. All six of us were eager to give it a go.

Though it’s been awhile, I have been rappelling before, so I was more concerned with the climbing up part than the going down. But along with the new wall, the Y had installed auto belays. No problem, I thought. I climbed to the top, slapped the auto-machine, and started to lean back for the ride down. Uh, except it didn’t catch. With my right fingertips still in contact with the wall, I curled my fist and jerk myself back to safety.

“It’s okay,” the instructor called from the floor. “You’ll free fall for less than a second, and then it’ll catch, you’re just gonna have to trust it.”

Yikes. Did I mention that I’m afraid of heights? Seriously, I am. I like adventure, and I don’t want to live in fear, so I push myself to do these things, but truly, I’m wet-your-pants afraid of heights. Free fall? Even for a second? You’ve got to be kidding me.

But there wasn’t another option.

I drew a long breath–quite possibly my last, I thought, closed my eyes . . . And let go.

My heart wound up somewhere in my neck for that half a second before the belay caught, but then the slack gained resistance and I was in a controlled rappel down that three-story drop.

Surrender is a bit like that, I think. Letting go, trusting that God has control even when I don’t is kind off like leaning back into that free fall. But it’s what He’s asked of me. There are some places I get to climb–to participate in His plan. But there are others, like stuff with my kids, situations at church or work, where I don’t have grip on any of it. But God does.

In theses moments, I hear him whisper, “You’re just gonna have to trust me.”

 

Note: Susan will be back with us in a week or so. She’s busy painting and packing as she prepares to move. Please join me in praying for her and her family as they dive into a new adventure.