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Posts Tagged ‘surrender’

When our son was in his late teens, tattoos were all the rage—as they continue to be.  So he headed to the local tat parlor to have a biohazard sign emblazoned on his left arm.  He thought it was really cool.

A year later, however, he grew tired of it: “This thing is forever!”  So back he went to his favorite skin artist to change it.  The only solution:  a large and beautiful Celtic cross.  “Awesome,” I responded.  “Now you are branded for Jesus for the rest of your life.”

Of course, I’m still waiting for that tat to become a symbol of a bond slave completely yielded to the Savior.  There are days or months or even years that look like that is happening.  And surely–and gratefully–he is well past the wanton prodigalness of the past.

In my waiting, I have spent some hours in Isaiah, my go-to book at such times.  From Chapter 40 through to the end, God repeatedly speaks words of hope and encouragement to me as He spoke to the children of Israel about to come out of captivity.  Here are a few of those words:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine…. Forget the former things;  do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:1,18,19)

This is what the Lord says–your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.  If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. (Isaiah 44:17-18)

“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.… I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

“Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed….Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives be rescued from the fierce?…Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you,  and your children I will save.” (Isaiah 49:23-25)

But here is the verse I really hang on to.  Our son may have a cross tattooed on his arm, but Jesus has him tattooed on His hands:

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49:16)

So I wait with hope, and occasional despair, until Jesus gains all of his heart, his mind, his life.

May the truth that your loved one is engraved on his palms give you peace.

What about you?  Is there someone you need to remember is “engraved on his palms”?

C2012 Judy Douglass

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Allegories are a mix for me.  Some I love, others seem so trite and contrived.

One of the long-lasting allegories that many—mostly women—read is Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard.  Based largely on a spiritual interpretation of Song of Solomon, it is the story of little Much-Afraid and her journey to join the Great Shepherd in the High Places of the Kingdom of Love.

I read it in high school, when I was a new believer.  It helped me to fall in love with Jesus.  In college I read it at a time of turmoil regarding my future, and Much-Afraid led me to a greater surrender than I had experienced before.

As my single adult years continued longer than I desired, God once again used this allegory, enabling me to trust that God knew what He was doing in my life.

The past few months have been emotionally stressful for our family. Lots of pain, ending in great loss.  Then suddenly a turn, filled with hope and restoration, but also with some painful realities.

My entire life with God has been a journey of learning that God’s way is better than mine.  The twists and turns of these days have challenged my peaceful surrender to that better way.

So reading Hind’s Feet has been just what I needed.

Each step of the way Much-Afraid learned a new truth.  Here are a few that spoke to me:

Acceptance with Joy—joyfully accepting whatever He sends my way.

Bearing with Love—living out love no matter what happens.

“What I do thou knowest not.”—I have no idea what work God is doing behind the scene.

“Am I not the Potter?”– Yes, He is, and He knows how to do truly beautiful work.

“Now shalt thou see what I will do.” –In God’s time, He will reveal what He is doing in me.

“God is not a man that He should lie.”—I can trust what He has said.  Even in pain and disappointment.

Sorrow and Suffering are needful companions to change me and to bring good from evil.

So once again I bow my head and my heart before Him, and I open my hands to Him, and I say,  “I trust You.  I know You love me.  You are committed to transforming me into the likeness of Jesus—a very challenging task.  Even as Your work in me is uncomfortable, You comfort me.  You have a perfect plan.  So I give you my way.  Take it.  Replace it with Your way for me.  Thank You, Lord, that You never give up on me.  You will accomplish Your plans for me.”

What about you?  Are your hands open to Him?

C2102 Judy Douglass

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The boy hesitated as Andrew pushed him toward Jesus.  “Sir, I have only a small lunch, 5 loaves and 2 fish, but if this could help feed some of the people, you can have it.” I’m sure Jesus smiled and said,  “Thank you.  I think this is exactly what I need.”

The boy watched in awe as, with that small lunch, Jesus fed more than 5,000, with lots of leftovers.

“Wow,” the boy responded.  “If He can do that with my lunch, I wonder what He could do with my whole life!”

Each of us could wonder the same thing:  What if I give Him my whole life?!?

What if I give him my time?  Would my day look different?  Would I get the priority things done?   Would He multiply my time to enable me to accomplish more of His work?

What if I give Him my talents?  He gave them to me to begin with—would He develop them more fully, more beautifully.  Would He fill me up and pour me out to touch every life I encounter?   Would he surprise me with the good works He created me to do?

And what if I give Him my treasure?   Do I really need so much of it?  It’s just loaned to me anyway.  He tells me not to invest in things that don’t last, but to invest in heavenly endeavors, where the return on investment multiplies many times—for eternity.

So what if I don’t stop at time, talents and treasure?  What if I give Him my hopes and my dreams?  It happened to me.  I had dreams:  to be a writer and editor, to marry a great guy, to make my life count.  I gave them to Him—and the vastness of the betterness has been staggering.  I would have settled for so much less—God had so much more.

But wait.  What happens if I give Him those negative things in my life–my shame, my guilt, my fears?  Certainly He won’t multiply those; maybe He will halve them.  No, not halves.  He erases them, forgives them, buries them, sets me free from them.

So Lord, I give you everything I am and have—puny as it all is—to do what You desire with all You made me to be. The song says, “I can only imagine!”  And that is true—I can only imagine.  But His Word promises that He will do far more with what we give him—even our whole lives—than we can ask or even imagine!

c Judy Douglass

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What do you want for your birthday?

My grandboy Aidan turns 4 in two weeks, and birthday gifts are an important topic.  By the age of 4 he actually has opinions.  Themes would be Star Wars, pirates, swords.   Preferably no clothes, though red pajamas in one of the above themes might be okay.

So do you ever wonder what God might like as a gift from you?  I think about such things, and I’ve come up with four gifts I believe would please my Father.

1.  My heart.

This is the most important one, and if I had only one gift to give, this would be it.  He says his greatest desire is that we would love him with our whole heart, mind, soul, strength—with our whole being  (Matt 22:37).  He desires to be first in our affections, king of our hearts.

And when I Iove like that, then I am ready to give him these additional gifts.

 2.  My will

Actually, this one is pretty hard for me, even still.  Growing up my greatest desire was always to have my own way.  And throughout my walk with God, we have had many conversations about His way or my way.  I sometimes lobby for my good ideas, but He has convinced me that His way is ALWAYS better than my way.  And it works best when I surrender willingly.

3.  My hands

This is a little funny—I don’t do hands.  That is, I don’t make things or draw things or build things.  I do words, not hands.

Then God reminds me of His conversation with Moses, when Moses said he couldn’t speak well and there was no way he could go tell Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go.

God’s response?  “What is that in your hand, Moses?”  It was his shepherd’s staff.  And that is what God used—to bring down plagues on the Egyptians, to part the Red Sea, to provide water for the people.

His response to me?  Give me your hands—the gifts I have given you—and I will amaze you with how I will use you.

4.  My feet

Seriously, He wants my feet?  Yes he does.  That is, He wants me to be willing to put my feet in motion, to go wherever He asks me to go.  That might be to a physical place.  Or an opportunity.  Someplace scary or uncomfortable.  Or a challenging relationship.

I never know where God might send me.  But I do know this—He has promised to go with me.

So don’t wait till next Christmas.  Wrap these gifts up right now and offer them to your Daddy.

© 2011 Judy Douglass

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My Heart Christ’s Home
I am sure many of you are familiar with the little booklet, “My Heart Christ’s Home.” As a young Christian I was powerfully influenced by this booklet.
What you might not know is that it is actually the last chapter in a book, What Jesus Says, by Robert Boyd Munger. The chapter and book end with a poem that I kept with me for years as a reminder of where I wanted to go in my walk with God. I hope it encourages you.
Oh, the bitter pain and sorrow
That a time could ever be
When I proudly said to Jesus—
“All of self, and none of thee.”

Yet He found me; I beheld Him
Bleeding on th’ accursed tree;
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self, and some of Thee.”

Day by day His tender mercy
Healing, helping, full and free,
Brought me lower, while I whispered—
“Less of self, and more of Thee!”

Higher than the highest heaven,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, Thy love at last has conquered;
“None of self and ALL of Thee!”

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