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The Way Of The Master

A lone man methodically hanging laundry.

 

Unassuming yet powerful.

 

Those around him know there is something more beneath that quiet demeanor, something special, something deeper. After a personal attack, his true identity becomes known. A legend turns real. He is a master, the master. A young man falls at his feet in total surrender asking to be his pupil. He says to the teacher, “If you desire master, be my teacher.”

 

The scene is one from a movie called Ip Man II about the trials of a martial arts instructor. How striking it was to observe this student readily fall at the feet of this respected teacher in total submission. To come under this master’s authority, the pupil would receive guidance, training and instruction and the pupil had absolute faith that the master would deliver skills needed for survival.

 

It would behoove us to take a lesson from the student in this movie. Oh that we would be quick to fall at the feet of Jesus in total submission. Friends, that we would be QUICK to obey the Lord. As we fall, let us surrender our will and prepare our hearts to receive instruction from him. When the young man fell at the Sensei’s feet, he wanted a piece of the master. He wanted to learn how to be disciplined like him, how to fight like him, how to be like him. And as Christ followers, we to ought to want to look like, walk like and talk like Jesus.

 

A disciple is not above his teacher,

but everyone who is fully trained

will be like his teacher.

Luke 6:40

 

Likewise we must bring ourselves under the subjection of our Master. As I was working on last week’s post on discipline, it got me thinking about people we view as disciplined and martial artists came to mind. You can read that post by CLICKING HERE. In addition to being disciplined we view martial artists as obedient. The master is held in great esteem for his knowledge, skill and ability. The master is often seen as having quiet courage, gentle fierceness and absolute discipline and self-control.

 

Doesn’t our own Master possess all these qualities and then some?

 

Is Jesus not all knowing, all-powerful and everywhere all at the same time?

 

Is HE not the bravest of the brave?

 

Is HE not the sacrificial Lamb and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah?

 

Is HE not one who always does the right thing at the right time?

 

Submit to God and be at peace with him;

in this way prosperity will come to you.

Accept instruction from his mouth

and lay up his words in your heart.

Job 22:21-22

 

We obey our bosses, law enforcement officers, coaches, and doctors. We would do well to have at least that same level of obedience to Christ, submitting to Him wholly, without reservation. How many of you have received a prescription from a doctor, taken it to the pharmacy, paid your hard earned money and taken the pill all without asking the doctor any questions, without seeking alternative treatments, without researching the medicine or even reading the literature that comes with the medicine?

 

Yet our flesh screams in opposition to fully submitting and obeying Christ. Even now you might be mad at me and ready to close this post. Our flesh, the carnal man, the SELF that needs to be tamed is always at enmity with God, but praise Him that greater is He that is within YOU! The spirit at work in you enables you to submit to Christ’s authority in your life. If you are a kingdom citizen you come under the subjection of your ruler, Christ and you are expected to adhere to His commands. And Jesus himself showed you that even He submitted, doing the will of Him who sent Him. When you gave your life to Christ, you surrendered your rights.

 

I have been crucified with Christ;

it is no longer I who live,

but Christ lives in me;

and the life which I now live in the flesh

I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me

and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

 

Many see submission as:

Bondage

Prison

Suffocating

 

Submission IS:

Freeing

Liberating

Security

Protection

 

And submitting to Him, as scary, daunting and crazy as it may seem, is a sure way to be led in paths of righteousness for His namesake. It is a surefire way to have goodness and mercy following you all the days of your life. Submitting to Him is a mark of a true disciple.

 

Stick with me on this journey because I have a feeling we’ll need to dig deeper in this topic as we fall in total submission, following the way of the Master.

 

I know…this can be a tough one. Let us pray.

 

Lord you be high and lifted up above all the earth. Father I thank you. You are good and your mercy endures forever. You are faithful and communicate your love to us time and time again. Without you God we are nothing so I thank you for your promise to never leave nor forsake us. Only You can create in us a clean heart and a right spirit and that is what we need in order to fully submit to your Lordship. Without your guidance and leadership we are as sheep without a shepherd. But praise be that you are the Good Shepherd. Let us be obedient sheep that know, hear and follow your voice as you lead is in THE WAY everlasting.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

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I Surrender

“Yes”

 

“My Heart Says Yes”

 

“Yes To Your Will”

 

“I Surrender”

 

“I Surrender All”

 

“I Give Myself Away”

 

“Withholding Nothing”

 

These are the titles to songs I’ve sung time and time again. But as is the case with many songs we sing, we enjoy the melody, but do we allow the TRUTH of the lyrics to resonate in our hearts?

 

Do we ‘live out’ the words we sing?

 

In my heart and mind I’ve truly purposed to surrender ALL to God, withholding nothing. In my heart and in my mind I delightfully obey God. Yet I find myself in situations from time to time where my surrender has been usurped by MY wishes, MY desires, and MY selfishness.

 

I invite you all into my VERY private space for a moment. Please don’t judge your girl, just pray for me as I illustrate how I can vacillate with this issue of surrender. I am currently the mother of 5 children ages 11 and under. When I got married I planned to have one or two children, my husband and my career. After the birth of my second child, the Lord gave me CLEAR revelation that my body is not my own and was bought at a price therefore I ought to glorify Him in my body and that included my womb. So surrender my womb to Him. That means that I do not have control over my fertility, reproduction, etc. He does. When people ask, “Are you planning to have more {children}?” my answer is, “I don’t know. His will be done”.

 

While I’ve surrendered my womb to Him, there are days when I literally tell the Lord, “Dude, 5 is good. You hear me? Five is good”. Those moments when I can’t even pee in peace without the two year old barging into the bathroom, while I hear the 4 year old climbing the shelves of the pantry and the 9 & 11 year olds are arguing all the while a pot is burning on the stove. All I want to do is pee in peace. Lord help me, 5 is good.

 

Yet I look affectionately at the cute pregnant lady walking past me in the grocery store and I feel the emptiness of my womb and wonder, “Will there be another?” My children declare almost daily their longing for a baby sister. They’ve already named her and have a bed ready for her. Each month that I get my cycle is fraught with emotions of relief mixed with a twinge of disappointment. Then if the cycle is a day or two late, I may get anxious with thoughts of how it could really work. How would I manage? Do we have enough money for another baby? I’d need a new car. What about this business I am trying to grow? And on and on.

 

So you see, even after placing my womb on the altar many years ago, I’m prone every now and again to want to try to run back to the altar and pick it up and run as fast and far as I can in the opposite direction. Even if I don’t pick it up, I may stare longingly, devising plans on how to retrieve it, or trying to negotiate with God on partial surrender (which by the way isn’t surrender). As I said, pray for your girl.

 

How then do we ‘train’ ourselves to obey? How do we surrender?

 

We hold fast to the TRUTH.

We meditate on the truth.

And what is the truth?

 

Jesus is the WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE

His WORD is TRUTH

 

When the feelings of “5 is good” come up I tell myself the truth saying:

~If I keep my mind on You, You will keep me in perfect peace

~Every good and perfect gift comes from You

~Children are a blessing and the fruit of the womb is a reward

~I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken nor His seed begging bread

~You will supply ALL my needs according to your riches in glory

 

Then Jesus gently whispers,

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15

 

He also reminds me that when I do what He says, He will make my way prosperous and I will have good success. In this, He knows I may be weak, fearful and uncertain so He reassures me not to be afraid but to be strong and courageous.

 

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9

 

 

So I cry out to Him in prayer:

 

You Lord are the Grand Weaver. You see all the strands and intricately weave them together to fashion my story. You pull the tapestry taut as you skillfully make me a new creation. You shed, pick and beat-up as you let off and take up so that I shine without spot or wrinkle. I am weak God. The current of life pulls me in and out. But you Oh God are my anchor. I surrender what I am, to become who you created me to be. I thank you for never leaving nor forsaking me. I thank you that you will be with me until the end of the age. Lord I’m feeling squeezed on every side but I turn my pressure into praise. I thank you for ministering grace and for moving your truth from my head to my heart. Now Lord grant me your peace as I walk out the path you’ve set before me.

 

To be who He created me to be requires a daily dying to myself. As a disciple, I take up my cross daily and follow Him. And in my everyday life that translates to delightfully obeying Him with a heart of surrender. I surrender. As in the above example, while the thought of a new baby is all at once thrilling and scary, I redirect my attention back to His word.

 

A few years ago, the Lord impressed upon my heart, “True disciplesOBEY”.

 

If you are a disciple, a close follower of Christ, do what He tells you to do. Though it may be difficult, He duly equips you. He doesn’t just say, “Follow Me” then runs off and leaves you. NO. He says “Follow Me” then He leads you in paths of righteousness, His rod and staff comfort you, He teaches you along the way, He orders your steps, He knows your uprising and your going down. When you purpose in your heart, Lord YOUR WILL be done, He sends ministering angels to strengthen you.

 

He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. Luke 22:41-43

 

For me it’s an undisclosed number of children. For you it may be your job, your marriage, your mind, your ministry, your health, your children.

 

In what area(s) is He calling you to surrender?
In what area(s) is He calling you to obey?

 

I want to join you in prayer so write your thing in the comment section below. Once you admit it, then surrender it, you can move forward in delightfully obeying Him.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 
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Principles for Daily Living Pt 1

Sometimes resolutions are made and forgotten. Sometimes they’re discarded altogether after a few days. A few years ago, after years of unsuccessfully executing my resolutions I decided to give them up. I have purposed in my heart to live a life based on principles and to steer me along I adopt one word that frames my year. You can read more about that by clicking here. And it’s not so much that I adopt the one word as the word chooses me and I accept.

 

The one word is lived out through my principles. My principles are my fundamental truths that influence my actions. And living out these principles has seen its share of evolution. I am grateful today that the TRUTH has settled in my heart and I no longer view my principles as items to be ticked off a checklist. Yeah, I used to be like the Pharisee. There was a time I actually thought to be a ‘good’ Christian woman I had to literally ‘be’ the Proverbs 31 Woman. I actually made a list of the things I could do to ‘accomplish’ each of the attributes she possessed. Yup, I actually did that. I thought that was what was expected of me until I came into the truth and oh how liberating it was.

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

 

Let’s keep this in proper perspective. My relationship is with God and not with the principles. By living a life surrendered to Him, He leads me in the way and His power at work in me enables me to live out the principles. So here are a few of my foundational principles for daily living as it relates to my relationship with the Father.

 

Obey

As the hymnal goes “There’s no other way than to trust and obey”. I believe if we love God, we are compelled to obey what He tells us to do. Is obedience easy? NO. Do I always want to obey? NO. But I know that He knows what’s best. And out of my love for God, I want to obey. My obedience is a form of worship.

 

Follow

When we obey God is it a natural progression that we would then follow him. Time and again Jesus admonished his hearers “Follow Me”. We want to blaze our own trail. We want to create our own path. God said he would make a road in the wilderness. I think it would be easier to take the route already mapped out for me. Do you agree?

 

Faith

This is a work in progress for me. God has been so faithful to me. Yet doubt can sometimes creep up when I am faced with the unknown. Do I have faith that He will protect my children from danger? Do I have faith that He will heal me: mind, body, spirit? Do I have faith?

 

Prayer

I just have to talk to God. If I didn’t, I would really lose my mind. Prayer enables me to clear my head and to hear from the Lord. I’ve learned over the years that prayer is not a monologue but a dialogue with God. He’s waiting. Won’t you chat with Him today? Nothing fancy, no need for flowery language or rote repetition but sincere two-way dialogue.

 

 

The Word

His word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. God speaks to me most often through His word then He sandwiches the revelation through a confirming word from a person and/or an act of nature. Man I just love how the Father speaks to me. The Word gives me guidance, clarity, perspective, encouragement, chastening, and more.

 

These are just a few of the principles I live by that influence my relationship with God. These principles help keep me anchored so that I’m not left to my own devices making decisions based on how I feel at the moment.

 

What principles influence your relationship with God?

 

Tomorrow I’ll share what principles influence my relationship with self.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

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When You Just Don’t Want To

A hymnal? When was the last time you opened a hymnal? Well I opened one on Sunday evening and on the opposing page was the following hymn:

Trust and Obey
When we walk with the Lord in the light of his Word what a glory he sheds on our way! While we do his good will, he abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way. To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, but his smile quickly drives it away; Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh nor a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, But our toil he doth richly repay; Not a grief nor a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of his love until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor he shows, and the joy he bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at his feet, or we will walk by his side in the way; What he says we will do, where he sends we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Seems like this obey thing follows me everywhere.

This hymn, written by John H. Sammis in 1887, was inspired by a young man who stated during testimony service at church, “I’m not quite sure. But I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey.

As a disciple you’ve been called to OBEY God.

Not to just obey in the easy things.

Not to just obey in the comfortable things.

Not to just obey in the things you like or want to do.

But the true measure of your obedience is to OBEY in the difficult things.

To obey when you get a life threatening medical diagnosis

To obey when you’re told to give away something you treasure

To obey when asked to go into unfamiliar territory

To obey when a loved one betrays you

To obey and trust God when your spouse makes a decision you don’t agree with

To obey and trust God with your children

Did you read it in the lyrics above? NOT A DOUBT OR A FEAR…CAN ABIDE WHILE WE TRUST AND OBEY.

God is looking for your radical “YES I WILL” obedience; your delightful, lavish and immediate obedience.

Obedience is more than just taking action. It’s also the position of your heart. God wants you to obey Him not grudgingly nor of necessity but cheerfully.

In Genesis 12 we see God give Abram a directive and as soon as the Lord finishes speaking, Abram obeyed. God said GO and when He was finished talking the scriptures say, “So Abram departed” (Genesis 12:4). God is calling us to obey even if it doesn’t make sense to us.

I’ve had my share of having to obey in what didn’t make much sense to me.

Join this church. OBEY

Get involved in this ministry. OBEY

Leave a job I love. OBEY

Give how much money away? OBEY

Have as many children as the Lord says. OBEY

Submit to my husband. OBEY

Serve and serve and serve again without complaining. OBEY

And the list goes on and on. Come close. Let me let you in on a little secret. I didn’t always want to. I didn’t always feel like obeying. In fact I may have had a temper tantrum or two. But as a true disciple, I made a commitment to the Lord and took up my cross daily and followed Him. Thus I’ve purposed in my heart to obey. And I know the above lyrics to be true. Yet even today as I type this post to encourage you I need to remind myself because obeying isn’t always easy.

So what has God been calling you to do that you just don’t want to? Would you be bold enough, courageous enough to take that step of obedience today? Come on. I know you can do it. And if you’re willing, please share below so that I can join you in prayer.

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!