Reading the book of Daniel is always a fascinating experience. Much of the book one can read with a good deal of understanding. Then, there is the part which remains nothing but mysterious. All we know is that Jesus Christ is victorious in the end! However, that is not the end, but the start of a new beginning. I love the mystery, but I also love to have decisive conclusions. This is the part where I let go and surrender to trust and faith.
Yesterday started with a meeting I wrote about which was a nice God moment. The rest of the day continued that way. It was the 2nd day of on-line (zoom) training for the state-wide sites having consultants working with them. The training was outstanding and very useful. Then, following the training I had two conference calls with districts I work with privately. Both of them were invigorating. Here it is the end of June and I want the next school year to start today!
I love the clarity God provides. It is now the time to pass along the wisdom with God leading so His Light doesn’t get turned into another one of “man’s ideas” which may or may not work. Whether work is secular or spiritual, God’s Light is always brilliant and awakening. My prayer is to continuously be His torch bearer as we move forward.
If I’m going to surrender anything today it is the discipline of structure. I follow a routine to the T almost always. Today however, had a 6:00 am meeting in town with another Celebrate Recovery leader. He said when he set the time that he knew it disrupted my devotional time and was that OK? I knew his needs were important or he wouldn’t be asking for a meeting. So, of course I said yes to his question. Even though I have been home for 1.5 hours I just now remembered to write my blog entry. Routines for me are my memory. If I break away from the routine my memory is shot for the moment. Well, the higher priority was the meeting and I’m sure glad we had it. God was glorified and that’s far more important than a routine being disrupted! GOD IS GOOD and this was one of those nudges I needed to listen to.
Our class yesterday was a miracle making one. I’ve never taught this curriculum where the men were as open to disclose as these men are. In the grief chart you hear a great deal being spoken from the second column, Anger & Bitterness. I keep reminding us that this is from the 2nd column of the chart. They have moved from the first to the second. God is moving them. Yes, we are awake to the anguish and pain and that is required in order to heal. Moving into this column awakens great pain which feeds the anger that must be expressed. We have cut open the “cancer Satan wants to use to ‘kill his prey'”. Our prayer warrior said she was sensing a great burden during our class time and rightfully so. However, this burden is turning into the steps of healing. “The prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective as we confess one to another.” James 5:16. This is what happened yesterday.
Day 5–Surrender. God has truly been emphasizing a message as I am reading Daniel. This message is that when we surrender fully to Him, we no longer compromise what we do to satisfy man. Daniel was called excellent because what he did, he did to always satisfy God. In my work with education I often bring the conversation back around to what is best for the kids/students. We never want to compromise what is best for the students and their learning just because it might be difficult for the adults. My line is that we are the ones being paid to do the work. We chose this work. The students are in school because the law of the land requires them to be. So, we want to always do what is best for them and their learning. In a similar way I find that this is what God is saying about never compromising His Ways to make it “easier” on us.
I have much to learn about this entire picture. We often collaborate with man to find a clear pathway reaching our goal/s. Is God the head of the collaboration team? I want Him to be fully in charge, but I don’t necessarily do this until after the fact praying He will bless the work of the team. I have some aligning to do.
Day 4–Total Surrender. I should never be surprised when I find that the topic of my devotional and the scripture reading for the morning are all centered around what God is teaching–Surrender. The devotional message was directly talking about staying close to the world but being separate of it. In so doing, we may be criticized by the ones around us for not conforming to the world’s ways. God asks us to represent Him and His Word and not conform to the ways of the world. Then, in Daniel 3 & 4 the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is told. They were to be destroyed in the fiery furnace, but instead, they were protected and the king promoted them because of their faithfulness to their Almighty God.
We will likely not have any book written about our faithfulness, but God is asking me to have a faithfulness that looks as resolute as His scripture. We may never know until we cross into heaven the impact of our living for Jesus. Nonetheless, I want to live committed fully each and every moment of the day.
One last thing, today’s lesson in Mending the Soul is addressing the explicit damage from sexual abuse. Our prayer warrior Lois is aware of this as I talked with her yesterday. This morning I’ve praised God for the miracles of healing He is starting as we step into this most traumatic topic which still makes me feel ill. Yet, I have learned that healing has its own pain as the wounds are opened. I rejoice in this pain for this time the pain is connected to healing and freedom. These men haven’t found it yet, but healing is starting. Praise GOD!
Total surrender–day 3. I am amazed that the older I get the faster the days go by. I believe we all experience this. When we are quite young I doubt we even think about time or I don’t recall that I did. What brought time into real focus for me was abuse. The older I got as a kid the faster I wanted time to go by so that I could get away from home and be free of that bondage.
In my flesh today I can hardly keep track of one day from another. However, in my spiritual life the day is different. The idea that I am totally surrendered in the morning as right now, is soon forgotten. By this time the next day I haven’t even remembered that I wrote this until I sit down to have my devotions and I reflect on the day before. That’s when it hits me–I was to be totally surrendered! What happened to that commitment? I went through the day making my choices all day long. It is almost as though there is no “time” in our spiritual life. It simply flows continuously. I am learning surrender and how it applies to my life of flesh where selfishness and pride want to rule. I’ve got a lot to learn about this total commitment.
I started the book of Daniel this morning. Talk about a totally committed man–Daniel is our outstanding example. God is awakening a need and showing how it is lived through this example.
Total surrender. I know I started yesterday with this same line. It is simply a line that can’t be dealt with in one writing. I recently made a commitment for next school year to work with a school district out of state two days a month starting later this summer. I wasn’t going to do this but I’d asked God to give me His direct leadership in a way I’d know it was from Him. My plate was full enough I thought. Two days later I was called by the school superintendent out of the blue. We don’t know one another but my resume had an item in it which he wanted to talk about. The conversation led me to ask if he were a spiritual man? His response was a big, “Yes”. I then said I was too and I’d been asking God for a couple days to give somehow let me know that He wanted me or didn’t want me to take on this assignment. The superintendent then said, “Would you consider this call being the sign?” This time my response was, “Yes”.
Now that a couple days have passed I wonder. All of the what if’s have begun to start. I keep telling myself that I’ve made the commitment. The big item that hits me is that this is secular work and I keep thinking God wants me doing His spiritual work. Then I write this and know beyond any shadow of doubt that all God’s Work is spiritual regardless of what man labels it. Does total surrender mean doing what man calls secular? In this case, my answer is yes. The journey continues.
Totally surrendered. These two words have been what God is teaching me of late. In my own pride I’ve said to myself that I am surrendered to God’s Will. However, it has also been easy for me to back away from some things God has put before me. I tell myself that I am already doing much for God (in my own mind) so He won’t care that much if I say no to this one thing. Boy, doesn’t that sound like man and his thinking?
In the past few days God has been challenging me to fully commit and remove this negotiating from my behaviors. Jesus didn’t negotiate his behaviors with His Father and God doesn’t want me/us to do it either. In fact, the only time Jesus attempted to negotiate (in the garden when He prayed that God would remove this death from him) He then said, “Not my will but Thine be done.” These are the words I have told God many times but I am quick to question it if I am fearful or unsure.
Trusting God fully has been a huge lesson which life is not done teaching me. What trusting God looks like is total commitment each and every day. Today, I’ve made my commitment. Tomorrow, well, I’ll need to do it again.
Yesterday was one of those day where I felt as though I was in a whirlwind which kept me refocusing on this and then that and then back to this again. In all of it I felt like doors were opening which had been closed until right then. Some of this had to do with the consulting I do and then the other had to do with my youngest daughter wanting to relocate where she and her family live. By the end of the day I had a splitting headache even though all of the whirling had been positive. I couldn’t sleep last night due to all of it.
This morning I brought it all to Jesus as I journaled. As I was writing out all that happened and my feelings I found myself seeing Christ walk away from the crowd and from His disciples to “sup with His Father”. Instead of getting up to spend time with God last night, I stewed and pondered. I did pray but the prayers were mostly like pleading for clarity. This morning I’ve been able to praise Jesus and His Spirit. I’ve surrendered the details to THEM. Even at my grandpa age I am very human. God is showing me what total surrender is like and how to turn my humanness over to Him. It is not a sin to be human and have a headache. However, a new creation quickly knows when to walk away and sup with the Father so He can give His Light.
I am ready for today and Jesus is at the helm. Thank you Jesus!
This morning’s continued reading in Ezekiel ties so meaningfully into yesterday’s blog. In Ezekiel 37 God is telling him to command that the dry bones take life and spirit. In so doing these meaningless objects were given life with purpose.
As I was reading this I was envisioning everyone of us who comes to Celebrate Recovery and the scores of others who haven’t yet come. We see ourselves as “worthless dry bones”. We wish we had some purpose, but we are filled with the fear that if purpose were given to us we would just blow it as we have done so many times before. Yet, when each one of us takes our first step and then the next and so on, we find that God is beginning to knit our bones together and breathe new life (hope) into us. At some point in time, even when we don’t realize, purpose for others begins to happen. People we don’t even know are watching, are getting hope for themselves by seeing new life breathed into us. God is using our mess to create a hopeful message for someone else.
I find it so incredible that over and over God is taking the dry bones of our lives and giving purpose and meaning to them. He truly DOES make us into a new creation. This process of taking what was lifeless and giving not only life, but life with vigor and purpose makes me tear up all over again. Our God is absolutely WONDERFUL. How much I love Him!
As I started my devotions this morning I was asking Jesus what He wanted me to know today? It was as though He were right here saying it is time for me to trust His Holy Spirit. In trusting Him, I needed to heed His every call and surrender anything which would hinder me from surrendering something. His Words were: “Let Him have His Way with thee”. Those words bought to memory the old hymn I hadn’t heard since my teen/college years. They are:
Let Him Have His Way With Thee
- Would you live for Jesus, and be always pure and good?
Would you walk with Him within the narrow road?
Would you have Him bear your burden, carry all your load?
Let Him have His way with thee.
His pow’r can make you what you ought to be;
His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free;
His love can fill your soul, and you will see
’Twas best for Him to have His way with thee.
- Would you have Him make you free, and follow at His call?
Would you know the peace that comes by giving all?
Would you have Him save you, so that you need never fall?
Let Him have His way with thee.
- Would you in His kingdom find a place of constant rest?
Would you prove Him true in providential test?
Would you in His service labor always at your best?
Let Him have His way with thee.
As I did my scripture reading God was having Ezekiel tell the Israelites one more time about Him giving them a “new heart” in Ezekiel 36: 26-27. With all God’s work of late I truly related to Joyce Meyers comments: “…The new heart God gives is one that desires to love and be involved with people….” “…God gives us His Spirit and only because of His Spirit within us can we obey God and His Word. The Holy Spirit, Who dwells in us, strengthens us and enables us to do the will of God….”
As the journey continues with Jesus at the helm, surrender grows and the desire to surrender all grows greater and greater because Trusting and Believing are no longer Hope, but Truths.