Tag Archives: Surrender

Two Different Prophets

There was a man in Israel many years ago. He was a “good” man and a Jew, one of God’s chosen people. In fact, he was a prophet, one of the chosen messengers of Yahweh. One day God had a task for this man. There was a great city in the heart of the Assyrian empire that was extremely wicked, exceedingly evil. God told this man to go to the people of the city and to call them to repent. But he was reluctant. No way was he going to these Gentiles! He knew that God would be merciful if they repented and this prophet didn’t want that.

 So what did he do? He ran.

 As far as he could; as fast as he could. All he wanted was to be away from the presence of Yahweh. Of course that’s what sin does, makes us separated and afraid of the Lord. But the story doesn’t end there. This prophet had found a ship going as far away from the wicked city as you could get in those days (they didn’t have space travel yet) and boarded it. But God wasn’t over with him yet.

 Soon the waters turned violent and a storm arose. It threatened to destroy the ship and the sailors were afraid, they each called out to their own god. The captain went and found our runaway prophet sleeping in the inner part of the ship and called him to call out to his god with hope that maybe that god would hear them. The sailors soon realized that this was happening because of someone’s evil. They cast lots and the lot fell on the prophet. He confessed that he was running from the Lord God Yahweh and the sailors were greatly afraid.

 After trying to row back to shore, they realized that the only way for this storm to stop was to throw the sinful prophet into the sea. As soon as that happened the storm ceased completely. Then something unexpected happened. The Lord appointed a great fish to swallow the prophet. Our prophet spent three days in the belly of this fish, crying out to God for mercy and forgiveness despite his sin. God heard him and caused the fish to spit the prophet onto dry land. Again God called him to go to the wicked city, this time he knew better than to disobey. So he went to these people and told them of their eminent destruction.

 What happened? The sinful people repented of their sins.

 This shocked the prophet and he mourned. For he did not want God to show these people grace. The story doesn’t have a happy ending. The prophet waited for the city to be destroyed and even when God showed his mercy to him again he still had no mercy inside his own heart. He ended up having more compassion towards a plant then the whole city.

 The prophet I spoke of was Jonah as many of you already figured out. The story of Jonah is one that those growing up in the church have heard since we could sit in our parents laps as they read to us. It’s so familiar and so we often overlook it. This story is so rich though, it holds so much truth for us no matter our age. Though there are many lessons to learn from Jonah, one that has struck me lately is his response to God’s call. He down right refused to do what God commanded because the job was hard and he despised the people of Nineveh. This is an amazing contrast to another prophet in the Bible, Isaiah.

 There Isaiah was, before God’s holy throne in heaven. With the angels and seraphim bowing before the amazing glory of the Most High, the Lord of Hosts. I wont even try to begin to describe the awe inspiring glory of God, for is it not only impossible, but it often limits the glory of God. When Isaiah beheld God’s radiance he was sure he would die. For he was “a man of unclean lips dwelling in the midst of a people of unclean lips” yet he had “seen the King, the Lord of hosts”.

 Then a seraphim flew to him with a burning coal in his hands and touched that coal to Isaiah’s lips saying, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sins atoned for”. Then Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”. “Here I am! Send me,” Was his reply to the Most High.

 God had big plans in store for Isaiah. Not only would Isaiah tell the people of their evil and call for repentance, but he would foretell the birth and death of Christ! He did amazing things and the words God gave him composed the largest book of prophesy in the Bible. Of course God did things through Jonah too. God used Jonah, even if he was not willing to be used, but Jonah got no reward.

 We are presented here with two completely different prophets. One that had a heart that turned a cold shoulder to God and despised His mercy. The other, when hearing that God wanted an ambassador, he cried out in an offering of himself. I wish I could say that I had the heart of Isaiah, but far too often my heart is like Jonah’s. I’m afraid that if I do what God tells me to do the results wont be what I want. If I surrender to God maybe things wont quite turn out right. The truth is, that God is perfect and when He calls us to do anything for Him, He knows what He’s doing.

 God is continually calling us to do “something”. Whether it’s simple things like reaching out to our single mother neighbor and shoveling her driveway or even just being faithful in our quiet times or it’s huge things like going to the mission field or continuing to trust in the Lord when your daughter dies, there is a constant call. So what will your response be? Will you humbly cry out to God, “here I am, send me!” or will you turn and run the other way?

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Lessons From Life: My Everything

 “Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
   you hold my right hand.
 You guide me with your counsel,
   and afterward you will receive me to glory.
  Whom have I in heaven but you?
   And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
  My flesh and my heart may fail,
   but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
   you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
   I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
   that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalms 73: 23-28 )

 These verses have been ones that God has been putting on my heart lately so heavily that they are not ignorable. He keeps asking me the question, “Olivia, am I the strength of your heart? Am I your portion forever? Am I your all?” I wince as I respond to Him, “Lord, I love you, you know I do.” He gently yet sternly asks again, “How much do you love me?” I wince again. “God, I’ve given you my life, what more do you want?” He is persistent. “Are you willing to give me those little parts of your heart that you’ve kept back? Those places in your life that you want to hold on to?” I start to panic… He knows about those things?! “God, what do you mean? I’ve given you my dreams, I’ve given you my heart and life.” He shakes His head. “Not all of your dreams. Not all of your heart and life. There are still those things that you want to be in control of. Give them to me. I wont let you down.” We continue on. Me in my hesitation to surrender these parts of me and Him in His gentle and yet strong pursuit of me and my everything. Until finally I came to my breaking point.

 A few nights ago God got through. I’ve been having some daily joint pain in my hands and fingers that has been concerning me because it’s been going on for about three weeks. The things that seem to make it worse are typing (though only sometimes) and playing piano and violin (again this is only sometimes) which really worried me. The use of my hands and fingers are pretty much my life. I’ve always said that I could never live without my hands. The very idea that the pain in my hands could be an actual reason for concern (and not just my wild imagination) scared me. The thought of not being able to use my hands as easily as I would like made me scared. God gently yet firmly kept telling me to surrender it to Him. I complained, I protested, I objected, but in the end I had no choice but to let go. I had to put my hands into God’s hands.

 Earlier this week He had me weeping over the above passage. In more areas than just my hands, He has been showing me that I need to surrender, that HE needs to be my everything. He needs to be my strength, my beauty, my portion, my all, my desire, my life, my everything. I have been begging God for months to show me that. To let my heart truly know the words of this Psalmist and be able to sing the words of “Enough” by Chris Tomlin or Barlowgirl’s song based on Psalms 73 and know that I mean them with my entire being. Though in my brain I might of realized it would mean me coming to a breaking point first, it really didn’t set in until it was happening.

 In the last two weeks God has just been blasting me with the message of faith, surrender, and His wondrous sovereignty everywhere. From a theological note in my study Bible, to the Jerry Bridges video we watched for Sunday school, it’s been everywhere. God has really been trying to get His point across… that just shows you how thick sculled I am most of the time. I am so glad He finally got through to me. Wrestling with God isn’t enjoyable, and you don’t win, so it’s time to wave the white flag. I will leave my ramblings over what God is showing to me with the words of the song “Let Go” by Barlowgirl. These words mirror my heart so perfectly that it almost scares me.

Yeah I trust in You
I remember times You led me
This time it’s bigger now
And I’m afraid You’ll let me down
But how can I be certain?
Will You prove Yourself again?

‘Cause I’m about to let go
And live what I believe
I can’t do a thing now
But trust that You’ll catch me
When I let go
When I let go

What is this doubt in me
Convincing me to fear the unknown
When all along You’ve shown
Your plans are better than my own
And I know I won’t make it
If I do this all alone

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Own Your Life? (Continued, They Found the Secret)

 Well when I wrote the previous post I thought that I was done. Well obviously not. Let me start with how I decided I had more to add.

 On Sunday there was a small table with some books on it that were to give away outside the church library. They were books that usually looked older and were the ones that weren’t used as much. On that table was a book called They Found the Secret: Twenty Transformed Lives that Revealed a Touch of Eternity. I looked at the back and it had Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, John Bunyan, Oswald Chambers, and D.L. Moody so I decided to take it. I enjoy biographies, even if I already own a ton.

 This book isn’t a normal biography! Not in the least sense. Last night as I read the Introduction and the first chapter that was on Hudson Taylor I was blown away. This book isn’t of what these people did, it isn’t about what their ministry is, it isn’t about how they touched the hearts of the world. It is about their spiritual journeys. How they found the secret of life. What made them such amazing people. Let me share with you a quote from the introduction;

 “Every now and then we come across a life that is radiant, revealing a richness, a warmth, a triumph that intrigues and challenges us… Out of discouragement and defeat they have come into victory. Out of weakness and weariness they have been made strong. Out of ineffectiveness and apparent uselessness they have become efficient and enthusiastic.”

 A huge part of this was focusing solely on Christ. Caring for nothing else other than him. That is how these men and women found the secret. They came to a point in their lives were they could no longer go on without Jesus. They came to a place where they were broken and tempted, hurting and lonely, when they cried out to the Lord to fill them. To take their meager lives and make them so much better.

 Throughout the first chapter I was underlining passages and writing notes in the margins. I was just finding so much truth in this book. This is what I wrote at the bottom of the last page of the chapter:

I must decrease so that he may increase. Only Jesus should matter. I am nothing, he is everything. He is the God of everything, I am dust. I have nothing to offer, he has everything. May my life be exchanged for one far more beautiful. May he fill my every thought. May he give me rest, joy, and a peace that passes all understanding.

 So that is what I took from what I have read of this book so far. I would love you all to read this book too. I think it will be a great encouragement. Another thing I learned is to not judge a book by it’s cover. I really hope that you guys read this book and it will strengthen you all.

In Christ Alone, Nobody <><

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Servant’s Heart

“You say you have a plan for me
And that you want the best for my life
Told me the world had yet to see
What you can do with one
That’s committed to Your call
.
” ___ Surrender, Barlowgirl

 God has shown me what he can do if someone is willing to serve him. On Thursday night I was lying on my bed praising God for just using me. I was blown away by the opportunities that God has placed in my life to serve him. My dad had just got back from the deacons meeting and said that my project to raise money for LC2LC was approved and I had just heard that I would be writing for Seekers Of Truth. I was amazed that he was using me. My prayer for years has been that God would use me even more so these last few months. And I am amazed at what he can do with a young girl that loves him. It boggles my mind.

 What I want to ask you guys is: Do you have a servant’s heart? Are you willing to serve Jesus with your life? Are you willing to step out of the boring and easy and simple and to use your life to bring glory to your creator and savior? Just think about this. And never say that you are too young. For when the prophet Jeremiah said that God rebuked him. Let’s not miss out on the blessing of serving God and being able to do great and awesome things with the power that he is willing to give us.

~~~Nobody~~~

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