Category Archives: Surrender

Prayer is…

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2014. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, God, Mother Teresa, Prayer, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Surrender

Like a Little Child

 

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” —Matthew 6:1-2

Dear Abba - Morning and Evening PrayersJesus says in effect: Like a little child, consider yourself to be of little account. Blessed are you if you love to be unknown and regarded as nothing: all things being equal, to prefer contempt to honor, to prefer ridicule to praise, to prefer humiliation to glory. To practice poverty of spirit calls us not to take offense or be supersensitive to criticism. The majority of hurts in our lives, the endless massaging of the latest bruise to our wounded ego, feelings of anger, grudges, resentment, and bitterness come from our refusal to embrace our abject poverty, from our obsession with our rights, from our need for esteem in the eyes of others. If I follow the counsel of Jesus and take the last place, I won’t be shocked when others put me there, too. (Excerpt from Lion & Lamb by Brennan Manning)

Dear Abba,
You know me all too well. I seek out honor and praise and glory on a daily basis like a bloodhound. I find it and I’m satisfied, but only for a day or two as someone or something comes along and ruins it. Then I’m off again, sniffing out something to prove to everyone just how spectacular I am. But I was not created to be a bloodhound, led by his nose. No, You created me as Your child, to be led by Your hand, the hand of a loving Father Who will provide all my needs if I will just trust You. And Lord, that’s where it gets hard.

~ From Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayer by Brennan Manning with John Blase

When I read this devotional yesterday morning Brennan’s words cut to the core of my being. Especially his statement about how our “resentment and bitterness come from our refusal to embrace our abject poverty …our need for esteem in the eyes of others.” So much of what we do or buy seems driven by our desire for significance.

It immediately made sense and then I proceeded to wrestle with it all day long.

Its one thing to consider yourself of no account; but quite another to have people and circumstances confirm it.

  • Could I trust God to be enough?
  • Would I surrender to His agenda?
  • Could I be content simply being a child of the King?

Yesterday I held the hand of our Father and found His love to be enough. Will I trust Him again with this new day?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Brennan Manning, Children of God, Christianity, God, intimacy with the Lord, Love of God, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Surrender, Trusting God

Letting vs. Making

available to GodThe potential pitfall for those of us who want to let our lives count comes when we shift gears from simply letting to frantically trying to make our lives count. Your life can count when you forget trying to make something happen and simply let your life be available to God.
~ Excerpted from Let Your Life Count by Donna Partow

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Christianity, God, God's Will, influence with the world, Religion and Spirituality, Surrender, Trusting God

God is the larger context

story of god“When we submit our lives to what we read in Scripture, we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but our stories in God’s. God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves.”
~ Eugene Peterson
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, God, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Surrender

God… the ultimate recycler

Turning Your Down into UpGod is the ultimate recycler—nothing goes to waste. He is able to use every experience, even your depression, to help you to grow. Chuck Swindoll, in his book Hope Again, puts it this way: “This variety of trials is like different temperature settings on God’s furnace. The settings are adjusted to burn off our dross, to temper us or soften us according to what meets our highest need. It is in God’s refining fire that the authenticity of our faith is revealed. And the purpose of these fiery ordeals is that we may come forth as purified gold, a shining likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.” Even amidst the fiery trial of depression, God is able to bless you and help you to grow. You must decide to meet him in this challenge for your life and learn more about him. Through difficult struggles, you learn about your true nature. You learn who makes up your true network of support. As you are comforted and supported, you learn about the steadfast love of the Lord.

~ Excerpted from Turning Your Down into Up by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD

What circumstance or mindset are you wrestling with and have you surrendered it to God?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Adversity, Christianity, God, Grace, Healing, Hope, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Surrender, Trusting God

Did Jesus miss the obvious?

It’s hard to imagine a more exciting scene!

Intimacy_with_GodJesus had healed enough people for word to spread like wildfire. The crowd quickly got so big it was standing room only spilling out of the house. (Mark 2) Every eye was riveted on Jesus until…

The ceiling split open and four guys lower their friend on a mat.

  • The sick were being made healthy…
  • The blind were seeing again…
  • The demon possessed were being set free…

Imagine the hopes and expectations of this man on the mat with legs refusing to work. And in the midst of all that healing going on Jesus looks at him and says…

“Your sins are forgiven.”

The guy must have been thinking something like: “Um, thanks Jesus but I was sort of hoping you would do something with my legs.”

Did Jesus miss the obvious?

Why would He skip past two legs “out-of-order” to focus on sin?

Surely the man’s legs were the real issue here? Or were they?

Jesus knows something the man doesn’t know—that he has a much bigger problem than his uncooperative legs. The bigger problem is the sin that separates him from God. What good does it do to have legs that work if you’re going to spend eternity apart from God?

So what’s the big, pressing issue for you in this life?

  • Poor health or a life-threatening disease?
  • Finances that keep coming up short?
  • The lack of a meaningful relationship or too many dysfunctional ones?
  • The death of a loved one?
  • Family members and friends who have never accepted God’s gift of grace?
  • Dead end job, bad boss, noisy neighbor, lousy teacher, apathetic students, annoying in-laws, kids bullying your kid…?

Tim Keller enjoyed reading articles by Cynthia Heimel and there’s one he’s never forgotten. She describes being around many young struggling actors and actresses who are desperately looking for their big break into show business. She observed that many of these who did make it into the business became even less content and more miserable than before.

She describes feeling sorry for them because they had the thing they had thought would make everything okay – and it didn’t. Then Heimel added a statement that took Keller’s breath away:

“I think when God wants to play a really rotten practical joke on you, he grants your deepest wish.”

Jesus didn’t miss the obvious. What He’s saying to the crippled man is this: “I’m not going to play that rotten joke on you. I’m not going to just heal your body and let you think you’ve gotten your deepest wish.”

The Bible says that our real problem is that every one of us is building our identity on something besides Jesus. Something or someone else is our savior. Almost always when we first go to Jesus saying, “This is my deepest wish,” His response is that we need to go a lot deeper than that.

What is it that we think we need to make life complete or okay?

If it’s anything other than Jesus, we’re settling for less!

Will we surrender our deepest wishes to discover a new depth of peace and contentment through intimacy with the Lord?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Adversity, Christianity, Contentment, God, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Peace, Priorities, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Surrender, Trusting God

Enough Already God

A piece of art, in any form, is crafted and put on display to reflect the artist’s creativity and skill; to reflect a virtue or beauty envisioned by the artist. According to the Apostle Paul, we are God’s piece of art.

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For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:10

The word for “workmanship” in the Greek is poiema and can be translated: achievement, work of art, masterpiece. The more passionate an artist is about a particular piece of art the more they will labor to reshape it and mold it giving it their utmost attention.

C.S. Lewis put it this way…

We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the “intolerable compliment.” Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life — the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child — he will take endless trouble — and would doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient [alive and conscious of its feelings]. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.
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 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Most of the time I really do want to be shaped and molded according to God’s intended design. I know that sin has marred and twisted not only my true identity in Christ but also my capacity to reflect the glory of God. But when that process gets uncomfortable or downright painful my heart cries, “Enough already God!”

But God’s love for us will not allow Him to stop working to reshape us into the person He made us to be. And to balk at His work in us is to want less of His love.

Grant us grace God that we might give ourselves wholeheartedly to the work of the Holy Spirit as He transforms us into your poiema!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Christianity, CS Lewis, Discipleship, Glory of God, God, Holy Spirit, Love of God, Morphing, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Surrender