Surrender

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Extravagant Love

Posted by on 27 Oct 2012 | Tagged as: Surrender, Watchman Nee, Worship

Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.

John 12:3

Christian devotion is the spontaneous act of extravagant love which ignores all social conventions and practical logic in order to pour out on Jesus all adoration, praise, and honor.

In our attitude . . .

Extravagant love is unreserved: no cultural norms or personal inhibitions will stop us from adoring our Lord.

Extravagant love is unashamed: no fear of embarrassment will prevent us from displaying our love for Christ.

Extravagant love is unexpected: we love Christ passionately because he loved us graciously.

Extravagant love is unrehearsed: our gratitude to him flows spontaneously out of thankful hearts.

Extravagant love is unreal: our love is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

 

In our actions . . . extravagant love is a passionate burning heart on fire for Christ.

Passionate love is expressive: our love for Christ involves our whole being.

Passionate love is excessive: we are over-the-top in our adoration of Christ.

Passionate love is external: no hiding our devotion to the one who died and rose again.

Passionate love is extensive: our love for Christ involves every area of our lives.

Passionate love is extraordinary: the world cannot understand our convictions, loyalty, and love for Christ.

Maintaining a passionate, extravagant love for Christ fulfills the command to love the Lord, your God, with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matt. 22:37).

“And the house was filled with the odor of the ointment” (John 12:3).By the breaking of that flask and the anointing of the Lord Jesus, the house was pervaded with the sweetest fragrance. Everyone could smell it and none could be unaware of it. What is the significance of this?

Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered — someone who has gone through experiences with the Lord that have brought limitation, and who, instead of trying to break free in order to be ‘used’, has been willing to be imprisoned by Him and has thus learned to find satisfaction in the Lord and nowhere else — then immediately you become aware of something.

Immediately your spiritual senses detect a sweet savour of Christ. Something has been crushed, something has been broken in that life, and so you smell the odor. The odor that filled the house that day in Bethany still fills the Church today; Mary’s fragrance never passes. It needed but one stroke to break the flask for the Lord, but that breaking and the fragrance of that anointing abides.

We are speaking here of what we are; not of what we do or what we preach. Perhaps you may have been asking the Lord for a long time that He will be pleased to use you in such a way as to impart impressions of Himself to others. That prayer is not exactly for the gift of preaching or teaching.

It is rather that you might be able, in your touch with others, to impart God, the presence of God, the sense of God. Dear friends, you cannot produce such impressions of God upon others without the breaking of everything, even your most precious possessions, at the feet of the Lord Jesus.

Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life (Fort Washington , PA: CLC, 1985), 281.

 

A Foot Upon the Thorn

Posted by on 13 Oct 2012 | Tagged as: Robert Murray M'Cheyne, Surrender, Trials

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Rom. 8:16-17

We live in the midst of the fallout of the fall: sin has affected every area of creation and all aspects of our lives. Disappointment, pain, and trouble are significant ingredients of our daily lives. Ill-timed, unexpected tragedies can shape our Christian lives for the better or make our hearts hard through bitterness. The choice is ours: better or bitter.

If we want to be better, we do not play the victim, but recognize that our Lord is sovereignly operating through our circumstances to conform us into image and likeness of his Son. Myrrh and frankincense, suffering and glory, cross and resurrection go together. There is no growth in the Christian life without a willingness to walk in the way of the Cross.

Every one that gets to the throne must put his foot upon the thorn. The way to the crown is by the cross. We must taste the gall if we are to taste the glory. When justified by faith, God led them into tribulations also. When God brought Israel through the Red Sea, He led them into the wilderness; so, when God saves a soul, He tries it. He never gives faith without trying it. The way to Zion is through the Valley of Baca.

You must go through the wilderness of Jordan if you are to come to the Land of Promise. Some believers are much surprised when they are called to suffer. They thought they would do some great thing for God; but all that God permits them to do is to suffer. Go round everyone in glory; everyone has a different story, yet every one has a tale of suffering. One was persecuted in his family, by his friends and companions; another was visited by sore pains and humbling disease, neglected by the world; another was bereaved of children; another had all these afflictions.

Andrew A. Bonar and Robert M. McCheyne, Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray McCheyne, (Christian Classics Foundation, 1996., electronic ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1947), 216.

Wholehearted Devotion

Posted by on 04 May 2012 | Tagged as: Holy Spirit, Oswald Chambers, Surrender

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.

Col. 3:16 NLT

Wholehearted devotion toward the Lord Jesus Christ is to be filled with intense passionate love for our precious Savior. This Spirit-empowered dedication involves a love that cannot be explained, a passion that cannot be squelched, and a service that will not cease. To be wholehearted is to desire God’s heart, be fervent for God’s will, and be possessed by God’s Spirit. Wholeheartedness is the mind, will, and emotions on fire for the living God. In turn, our motivation is to please Christ, our ambition is to serve him, and our commitment is to love him.

Our natural heart does not love God; the Holy Ghost is the only Lover of God, and immediately He comes in, He will make our hearts the centre of love for God, the centre of personal, passionate, overwhelming devotion to Jesus Christ. (God and Jesus Christ are synonymous terms in practical experience.) When the Holy Spirit comes in and sin and self-interest are in the road, He will instantly detect them and clear them out as soon as we give our consent, until we become incandescent with the very love of God.

Oswald Chambers, Biblical Psychology: A Treasure Chest for Christian Counselors (London: Marshall, 1996), 189.

Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ

Posted by on 24 Jan 2012 | Tagged as: God's Sovereignty, Jeanne Guyon, Surrender, The Cross, Trials


And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.

Gen. 45:4-8

In a recent post, we discussed choices: reacting or responding (Heb. 12:14-15). Reacting is being angry at our circumstances, frustrated with people, and despondent at not getting our way (James 1:20). Responding is seeing the bigger picture: God has an appointment in our disappointment. It is not God’s will that people sin, but when God allows their sin to touch our lives, then their actions have become God’s will for us (2 Cor. 4:7-12).

To grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord, we must have a yielded will: a willingness to allow God to use our trials and tribulations anyway he wants in order to produce the life of Christ in us (Phil 1:29, 3:10). We must trust that in God’s sovereign purposes, he is using selfish people, hard places, and broken things to give us our heart’s desire: Christlikeness (Rom. 8:17). We must believe that God has an appointment in our disappointment.

To penetrate deeper in the experience of Jesus Christ, it is required that you begin to abandon your whole existence, giving it up to God. . . . You must utterly believe that the circumstances of your life, that is, every minute of your life, as well as the whole course of your life-anything, yes, everything that happens-have all come to you by His will and by His permission. You must utterly believe that everything that has happened to you is from God and is exactly what you need.

Jeanne Guyon, Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ (Gardiner, ME: Christian Books, 1975), 32.

What Is a Consecrated Life?

Posted by on 18 Aug 2011 | Tagged as: Francois Fenelon, Surrender

I Surrender All

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.

Phil. 3:8 NLT

Consecration is the abandonment of our lives without reserve to the loving purposes of God. A consecrated life is the conviction held deep within our beings that we are God’s without reserve, qualification, or equivocation. We do not hold back from Christ’s Lordship any rights, gifts, possessions, relationships, or privileges: all that we are and have are His.

God is not satisfied by the sound of our lips, nor the position of our bodies, nor external ceremonies. What he asks is a will which will no longer be divided between him and any creature, a will pliant in his hands, which neither desires anything nor refuses anything, which wants without reservation everything he wants, and which never, under any pretext, wants anything which he does not want.

Francois Fenelon, Christian Perfection  (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1975), 64.

 

When Trials Befall Us

Posted by on 04 May 2011 | Tagged as: Early Church Father, Faith, John Chrysostom, Surrender, Trials

 

Refined by Fire

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV

We live in the midst of the fallout of the fall: sin has affected every area of creation and all aspects of our lives. Disappointment, pain, and trouble are significant ingredients of our daily lives. Ill-timed, unexpected tragedies can shape our lives for the better or make our hearts hard through bitterness. Our choice: trust that God is sovereignly working or become angry that life is not going our way.

Some trials come upon without our choice: some trials are self-inflicted. Whatever their source do not become despondent, depressed, or despairing. God is giving us our heart’s desire: Christlike character, Holy Spirit intimacy, and Fatherly guidance.  By faith, we must trust that our Heavenly Vinedresser is sovereignly cultivating Christ in us.

Let us not then be disturbed, neither dismayed, when trials befall us. For if the gold refiner sees how long he ought to leave the piece of gold in the furnace, and when he ought to draw it out, and does not allow it to remain in the fire until it is destroyed and burnt up: much more does God understand this, and when He sees that we have become more pure, He releases us from our trials so that we may not be overthrown and cast down by the multiplication of our evils.

Let us then not be repining, or faint-hearted, when some unexpected thing befalls us; but let us suffer Him who knows these things accurately, to prove our hearts by fire as long as He pleases: for He does this for a useful purpose and with a view to the profit of those who are tried.

St. John Chrysostom (c.347–407), “Homily on the Paralytic Let Down Through the Roof

HT: Christian Classics Ethereal Library

 

 

“Does God Have All of Me?”

Posted by on 11 Feb 2011 | Tagged as: Alan Redpath, Prayer, Surrender

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Psalm 86:11 NIV

One of my favorite authors and teachers is the late Alan Redpath, his sermons and books stir me to the core of my spiritual life. Today, I listened to his message, “God Seeks a Man of Prayer,” I was deeply affected by Redpath’s passion for Christ and his passionate heart-cry for prayer. His message was one of the most anointed sermons I have ever heard.

In that sermon, Redpath, former pastor of Moody Memorial Church, relates a story concerning leaving a church meeting with Stephen Olford. As they walked out the door, a Bible student asks Olford, “What is the secret to Christian leadership?” Olford responds, “Bent knees, wet eyes, and a broken heart.” Redpath elaborated by admonishing those in Christian ministry not to rely on a theological degree for ministry success, but be dependent on God’s grace and Spirit that “God clothes you with himself.” Redpath quoted Isa. 59:16 and Ezek. 22:30 as examples of Christians not seeking God, but God seeking us. Redpath relates that God is looking for a man (or woman) who is determined enough, bold enough, and small enough to pray and intercede for our nation on God’s behalf. With this kind of bold intercession, we not only grab ahold of God, but God lays claim to every aspect of our hearts.

Alan Redpath had two daughters who loved to swarm him when he came home at night. As he came in the door one evening, his little girls ran to meet him. One grabbed his leg and hugged him with all her might. He snatched the other daughter up in his arms. The one squeezing his leg said, “Now, I’ve got all of Daddy.” The daughter in his arms replied, “Yes, but Daddy has got all of me!” Perhaps the question we need to continually ask is, “Does God have all of me?”

Daily Christian Quote/Alan Redpath

“I Gave Myself Fully to the Lord”

Posted by on 03 Nov 2010 | Tagged as: George Mueller, Surrender

Full and Complete Surrender to the Lordship of Christ

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

Phil. 3:8

Surrender is a yielding of the heart to the Lord, which says, “yes” to God’s guidance, leading, and direction. Full surrender releases the Holy Spirit, the Resident Boss, to do anything he wants in and through us. Without hesitation, questioning, or equivocation, we joyfully obey the Holy Spirit’s commands allowing him to have his way in us. Only in full and complete surrender can true peace and fulfillment be found in the Christian life.

I became a believer in the Lord Jesus in November, 1825, nearly seventy years ago. The first four years after my conversion were spent in spiritual weakness; but in July, 1829, now sixty-six years ago, I came to a place of entire surrender of heart. I gave myself fully to the Lord. Honors, pleasure, money, my physical powers, my mental powers, all were laid down at the feet of Jesus, and I became a great lover of God. I found my all in God, and have continued to do so, in all my temporal and spiritual trials, for these past sixty-six years. My faith does not pertain to only temporal blessings, but to everything, because I stand constantly on God’s Word. It has been my knowledge of God and His Word that has thus sustained me.

George Mueller quoted in His Victorious Indwelling, ed., Nick Harrison (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 192.

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Posted by on 24 Oct 2010 | Tagged as: Oswald Chambers, Sanctification, Surrender

Transformation of the Mind

And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 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.

Rom. 12:1-2 NLT

My Paraphrase of Romans 12:1-2:

Based on the fact that God has done so much for us in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, we should give ourselves wholly to God. By giving ourselves wholly to God, we worship. Our worship blesses God’s heart and our heart devotion replaces Temple ritual. We are to stop thinking like the world does assuming that God does not care about our needs or supernaturally acts in our personal lives. The world believes that only what can be seen is reality. The spirit of the world is embodied in the love of money, hunger for unbridled sex, and thirst for power. Don’t believe the way the world does, but change the way you think. As you change the way you think, you will mature and take on Christ’s character. As you grow up in Christ, you will know God’s heart and then you will be able to do exactly what God wants.

Commentary:

Romans 12:1-2 exhorts us not to entertain evil thoughts or allow our minds to become passive. The Apostle Paul reminds us that our reasoning processes are fallen and that they must be guarded. If our thoughts are not filtered by Holy Spirit discernment, Satan will use our minds to delude us and misled us into error. This error is not just about doctrine, but also concerns our everyday choices and life decisions. In other words, don’t believe everything you think, but allow the Word of God and the Spirit of God to transform all your thought processes.

Never submit to the tyrannous idea that you cannot look after your mind; you can. If a man lets his garden alone it very soon ceases to be a garden; and if a saint lets his mind alone it will soon become a rubbish heap for Satan to make use of. Read the terrible things the New Testament says will grow in the mind of a saint if he does not look after it. We have to rouse ourselves up to think, to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (rv). Never pray about evil thoughts, it will fix them in the mind.

Oswald Chambers, The Moral Foundation of Life : A Series of Talks on the Ethical Principles of the Christian Life (Hants UK: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1996, c1966).

Are You Dead Yet?

Posted by on 26 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: Keswick Convention, Lordship of Christ, Oswald Chambers, Surrender

Victory of the Heart

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.

Luke 9:23 NLT

Dying to self is not strictly the idea of giving up possessions: it is giving up the right to myself. My ways, my wants, and my demands are yielded to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Want a full, deep, intimate experience of Jesus? Give up the right to yourself and hand your heart and will over to Jesus and there find “joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).

Naturally, a man regards his right to himself as the finest thing he has, yet it is the last bridge that prevents Jesus Christ having His way in a life.

The approaches to Jesus are innumerable; the result of coming to Him can be only one—the dethroning of my right to myself, or I stop short somewhere.

Jesus Christ is always unyielding to my claim to my right to myself.

The one essential element in all our Lord’s teaching about discipleship is abandon, no calculation, no trace of self-interest.

Oswald Chambers, Disciples Indeed (London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1955), 35.

When you are forgotten or neglected or purposely set at naught and you don’t sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ – THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence—THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you are content with any food, any raiment, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God–THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any impuctuality or any annoyance–THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or to record your own good works, or to itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown–THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagant spiritual insensibility—and endure it as Jesus endured it– THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God while your own needs are far greater and you are in desperate circumstances—THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart—THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When like Paul-you can throw all your suffering on Jesus, thus converting it into a means of knowing  His overcoming grace; and can say from a surrendered heart, “most gladly,” therefore, do “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake”(2 Cor. 12:7-11)–THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

Are you DEAD yet?

In these last days, the Spirit would bring us to the cross. “That I may know Him…being made conformable unto His death” (Phil 3:10).

Anonymous, Bethany Publishing House Tract

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