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Sweet Surrender

Take your everyday, ordinary life...and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Romans 12:1 MSG


I’ve read that verse many times in different Bible translations. I find myself saying, Yes! I want to do that!

I am reminded of Jesus asking the sons of thunder, James and John, if they would be willing to endure the same sufferings that he would be going through. “Sure!” they replied confidently. However, they had no idea what that entailed.

Like James and John, I am eager to offer myself to God - as long as what he wants is in my comfort zone. Start moving beyond that and I get a little resistant.

I’m comfortable behind the scenes, away from the focus. A line in the movie The Princess Diaries pretty much sums up this sentiment. “My expectation in life is to be invisible. And I’m good at it!”

I received an email from someone who asked to interview me on camera for a show. No way! The same day God led me to today’s verse.

Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Did I really want to be living sacrifice?

But, God, does it have to be on TV? You know that’s not my personality. You made me this way.

Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, ‘Why have you made me like this? (Romans 9:20).

I agonized over this decision for a couple of days before choosing to submit to what God wanted to do in and through me. Since my Father opened this door, I am willing to take a step and see where it leads.

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a child-like ‘What’s next, Papa?’ (Romans 8:15 MSG).

Papa, may I embrace the wild ride you have for me in this wondrous, resurrection life!

Terri

What Was I Thinking?

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5


I was reading the Bible one day about people who didn’t believe what Jesus said. I thought, I believe the Bible.

In my spirit I heard, “No, you don’t.”

I countered. But Lord, I believe the virgin birth, the resurrection, that You’re God’s Son - all those things people have a hard time believing.

“You don’t believe what I say about you.”

Oh, how true! I believed them about others but not for myself. I could quickly spiral into depression and self-loathing from others’ comments, actions or looks. I had a very poor self-image - that is, until I saw myself like Jesus sees me.

Paul wrote, we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. He states it as if it’s common knowledge, something we are all doing.

I certainly wasn’t! I was believing whatever thought popped into my head or whatever feelings I felt.

I searched hungrily for verses that I didn’t really believe about myself. I wrote them, read them and compared them against my thoughts. Wow! Many of the thoughts I had believed for years didn’t line up with God’s word.

Now the real work began. Falling into old thought patterns and feelings was my default action. I had to make a concerted effort to believe the truth. God has the ability to change our thinking in a moment but for me it took time. As in other areas of my life, the more I practiced, the more skilled I became. One day I was set free.

I’m not done. I still have other areas I’m working on, but I am determined to choose life!

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20).

Terri

Who’s On First?

We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow.

I Corinthians 3:6 MSG



Batter up! I watched many baseball games over the years because my son played. In all those games, I never saw one player carry the whole team. The games that were truly exhilarating to watch were those in which the team played as a well-oiled unit.

One lesson I learned from baseball is that God doesn’t expect me to carry the whole load. He asks me to just do my part. I’ll have to admit that sometimes I think the weight is mine to bear. When I do, I become frustrated and stressed. That is a sure sign I’m not relying on Jesus and am trying to do it all in my own strength. He says, For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:30). When I allow Him to work through me, the load is so much easier to bear.

We don’t have to do it all alone. God provides us helpers. If the baseball team consisted of only pitchers or batters, not many games would be won. I am part of a ministry that was started by one woman who just wanted to bring a little sunshine into a few girls’ lives. Had she tried to carry the burden all alone, she may have burned out and the ministry would have remained small. She voiced her need for help. God promptly answered the plea with more people to carry on her vision.

A good baseball team is made up of players that are skillful at their positions, whether pitchers, catchers, outfielders, basemen or batters. The players work together to make a play. Wherever the ball goes, the fielders are prepared. As more people were added to my friend’s ministry, the girls were touched in ways she never dreamed possible. With a variety of gifted people working together, all the bases were covered!

Jesus, thank you that we can work with each other to accomplish your mission.


Terri

Well, Bless His Heart!

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 6:27-28


After a couple of days of pampering and self-indulgence vacationing in a tropical paradise, I was feeling a little guilty. I said a quick prayer, Lord, help me to bless your people today.

My husband got a wild notion to rent a scooter to explore the island. We were enjoying the scenery when we came upon a sign that read “This road is for bicycles only.”

“Should I go on the other road?” my husband asked.

“No,” I said, “the concierge said we could take this road all around the island.”

A short time later, two uniformed policemen blocked the road. The $30 bribe was not included in our all-inclusive vacation. But we were again on our way. We made it to the national park. As we rounded a turn on the bumpy caliche road, we lost control.

Since the scooter now donned a few additional scratches and broken plastic, the man we rented it from charged us an inflated return fee. Ugh!

We were assured by the concierge that we were legally allowed to ride on the road we had been on. The policemen were just taking our money.

Though hardly thrilled, we were grateful that things were not worse. I sensed that God wanted me to do more than thank Him.

Lord, this wasn’t what I was thinking when I prayed that prayer this morning.

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8). Love your enemies...pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27, 28).

I began praying for the two policemen and the gentlemen that rented us the scooter. For reasons only God knows, He arranged for us to cross paths at His appointed time. I am now excited to pray for God’s salvation and blessings for these men.

Lord, thank you for loving me when I was your enemy. Help me to love all people.

Terri

The All-Inclusive Cross

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19


My husband and I recently vacationed on a beautiful tropical island. The trip was all-inclusive. Once the price was paid, we didn’t have to worry about paying for anything.

The round-trip flight was included, as well as transportation to and from the airport and resort. Even the customary tips had been paid.

When I wanted to enjoy the sparkling pool, I was provided with chairs, umbrellas, and clean towels. If I wanted to read, reading materials were available. Free shows, dance lessons, and other activities were at my fingertips. I snorkeled right outside my resort where colorful fish darted to and fro.

After sunning on the beach, I was thirsty. A waiter promptly brought me a drink. When I was hungry, I could select from several restaurants in which to dine. I think we tried them all! I was free to order as much or as little as I desired.

Whatever I wanted, I could have because the price had already been paid. We have access to all we need because Jesus paid the price for us at the cross. Everything we could ever want or need was purchased for us through His death and resurrection! That is a mind-blowing thought for me!

Do we need a little peace? It’s been paid for! Forgiveness? Yes! Rest? Paid! Even wisdom, financial help and health. These - and so much more - are available to each of us! God will meet all your needs! (Philippians 4:19)

Just think - you don’t need a thing! You’ve got it all! All of God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus… (1 Corinthians 1:7 MSG)

All we have to do is ask! Our Father will graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32). He’s excited to shower us with the good things that Jesus bought for us!

Jesus, thank you for your costly and extravagant all-inclusive gift!
Terri