Have You Had Enough Already?

Not sure about you, but when it comes to all this snow, many have thrown their hands in the air and screamed, “Enough already!”  Perhaps you share that feeling.  Maybe you have seen more than enough snow this winter, and you are ready to wave the white flag and say to God, “I’ve had enough, I can’t take it anymore.  I surrender.”

Well, this week I was reading in Our Daily Bread and came across the following article that talked about surrendering in another way.  The key text was found in Deuteronomy 6:1-9, and it said, “These are the commands, decrees, and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children, and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.  Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.  Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.”

And here is what the article shared, “Recently, while watching a video of a church service held in South America, I noticed something I had never seen before in church.  As the pastor passionately called his flock to yield their lives to Jesus, one of the parishioners took a white hankie out of his pocket and started waving it in the air.  Then another, and another.  With tears running down their cheeks, they were expressing full surrender to Christ.

But I wonder if there was more to the moment than the flags of surrender.  I think they were waving flags of love to God.  When God told His people to, “Love the Lord your God,” it was in the context of His urging them to surrender their lives to Him.

From God’s point of view, life with Him is far more than just trying to be good.  It is always about relationship.  Relationship in which surrender is the way we express our grateful love to Him.  Jesus, in amazing love for us, surrendered Himself on the cross to rescue us from our helpless bondage to sin and set us on a journey to all that is good and glorious.

We don’t have enough words to tell God how much we love Him!  So, let’s show Him our love by surrendering our hearts and lives to follow Him.”

Surrender, by definition means to yield in favor of another.  So have you demonstrated that degree of love toward God?  Have you waved the white flag and told God you surrender to Him?  If not, why don’t you?  Surrender your heart to Him, and surrender your lives to Him in service.

In Christ,

Josh

Looking Down On Others

So lately I have been on a kick of reading through many of my old Our Daily Bread devotional books that I have in my office.  Recently I came across this one that I think we all need to take a look at.  One of the scriptures to consider was Romans 12:3 which says, For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment…”  And as you read on, here is what it said:

“After I had minor eye surgery, the nurse told me, “Don’t look down for the next 2 weeks.  No cooking or cleaning.”  The last part of those instructions was a little easier to take than the first part!  The incisions needed to heal, and she didn’t want me to put any unnecessary pressure on them by looking down.

C.S. Lewis wrote about another kind of looking down that we may have a problem with. In his book, Mere Christianity, he writes, “In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. . . . As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

Jesus told a parable about a Pharisee who felt superior to others.  In a prideful prayer, he thanked God that he was not like other men (See Luke 18:9-14).  He looked down on extortionist, the unjust, adulterers, and the tax collector who was also praying in the temple.  By contrast, the tax collector knew he was a sinner before God and asked for His mercy.  Pride can be an issue for all of us.  May we not look down on others but instead see the God who is far above us all.”

How often have we acted just like that Pharisee who felt superior to others?  We look at clothing, and decide we are better than that person.  We look at their job, or lack of, and consider ourselves “above” them.  Perhaps we even look at the crowd they associate with, and feel that we are superior to them.  And as a result, we don’t want to talk with them, associate ourselves with them, or even worse, include them in what is going on.  “Oh, they have sinned” we think to ourselves.  But who among us hasn’t?

You see, the problem with looking down on everyone else, is that it takes our attention away from looking up at God.  And He is the only one that has the ability to look down on anyone, “…and yet while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Looking down from Heaven, we are all in the same boat, we are all guilty of sin.  But down here, we tend to look around, and down on others rather than looking up to God.

How sad it will be to stand in front of God on judgment day, and have to give an account as to why we considered ourselves “better” than those around us.

In Christ,

Josh