Jun 5, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....


Today's Reading: Job 34

Good morning SHINE girls! Are you starting to be a little more intentional and disciplined? 

I'm getting there. Slowly but surely. 

It is so hard for me to sit down and plan to do something. I just like to roll with my day. (which is frustrating to those around me!) :-) 

I must be intentional about some things. Like, my time with the Lord. Period. The end. 

Okay, today my friend from way, way, way back is guest blogging. She is a beautiful girl who loves the Lord! Michele also blogs and is a really great writer. (as you will see.)

Be blessed today my sweet SHINE girls!

Raising My White Flag
by: Michele Fort

Job is a hard book to read.  Of all the books in the Bible, it’s the one I most often try to avoid.

Why?  Because Job is a hard-to-understand account of a man (a mighty, mighty good man I might add) who experiences unexplainable and unfathomable loss.  A man and his suffering.

Similar to the childhood game, “Mother, may I?” in which the player asks a question and waits for permission to be granted before acting, our accuser enters the presence of God, with just one question:  “God, may I?”  God’s response:  “Yes, you may.”

And in a flash, all that Job has ever known or ever possessed is gone. 

His children.  His possessions.  His health.  His position in the community.  His reputation. 

Job was stripped of everything.  Everything except his wife and his life.

Stripped.  All he had was taken from him.  All of this happened to him.  And God allowed it. 

As soon I come up for a breath from reciting this prayer, “Lord, please don’t allow all I have and all I know to be stripped away from me”, another word, a very different word, comes to mind. 

Surrender.

Surrendering is something I do, not something done to me.  Willingly, I choose to give something over to Someone else.  It’s not just a single action, but a posture in life.  It’s raising my white flag high above my head with the declaration, “I give up.  I hand it over it to You.  You win.”

But surrendering is hard.  For some reason, I think by hanging on to my “thing”, I am more capable of handling it or protecting it or making it more prosperous. 

In clenched fists, I hold on when God is telling me to let go.  To trust Him.  To surrender.

Just like last Christmas when an opportunity arose for our family to help some refugees from Bhutan, a tiny country north of India.

We were asked to collect blankets, winter clothing and coats to give these men, women, and children who had literally just stepped off the plane in cold Atlanta only wearing sandals and the clothes on their back.  My husband and I gathered what we were willing to give and asked others to do the same. 

The very Sunday we were to travel to Atlanta to take these items to the refugees and others already here from India, I got dressed for church, put on my brand-new coat I had only purchased days before, and walked out the door.
While donning my very new, very nice, very perfect coat, I got into the car while my husband loaded up the bags of old, worn coats into the trunk.  Without warning, I sensed these words in my spirit, “Oh, and don’t forget to give the coat off your back, too.”

“What?  Seriously, Lord?  Not my new coat.  Please.  How about I go inside and find another older coat to give?”

But even as I tried to wrestle with God over a silly coat, I knew what He was really asking.  It wasn’t even about the coat.  It was about my heart being willing to let go.  Would I give Him my best?  Would I think of others more than I think of myself?  Would I surrender to Him?

I wore my new coat to church for the first and the last time that day.  And then later in the afternoon, I carried it into the tiny apartment in Atlanta and laid it on the sofa as an offering.  Not to the refugees taking up residence there.  Not to the woman who would later wear it because she desperately needed it.  But to my God.  To the One who willingly laid down His life for me. 

Then I walked away.  Not dwelling on what I’d given up.  But thinking about what I would gain.  A more generous, giving heart.  Something I’d been praying to have.

“No matter what we give up, we are given so much more.”
~ Margaret Feinberg, The Sacred Echo

I wish I could say from that moment on, I continue to surrender my best, my all, with open hands.  But the truth is, I look down and find them closed and clenched far more often than I should.  It’s a daily surrender.  A daily death to myself.  A daily offering to Him.

At my church, we sing a song by worship leader, Chris Tomlin, entitled “White Flag”.

The lyrics are so incredibly powerful.  Read them below or click on the YouTube link to hear the song.


We raise our white flag.  We surrender all to You.  It’s all to You.
We raise our white flag.  The war is over.  Love has come.  Your love has won.

What could we lose by surrendering everything we have to Christ?  Better yet, what could we gain?

Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat—I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?” Luke 9:23-25 (The Message)


6 comments:

  1. I love the reminder, Michele, that Holy Spirit is God to you and me and all who hear His voice. Sooo know what this meant and still means to you!! I remember how I used to give things away...torn...no buttons...somehow thinking the poor people that got these things would be glad to have them...not realizing what I was doing to God! When I began, making sure that all things were in good shape...and giving even new things or things still with tags on them in my closet...was when my closet began to be full to overflowing...ever needing for me to take out and share...this today reminds me to do just that! The more I give away...the more I get back...pressed down and over-flowing...just like He says. I remember when I thought my mother had such a full closet of things...I had a lean one and I found that it has become full to over-flowing because the LORD knows I'll give it away, I guess...I didn't know that we are vessels for blessings...that we are stewards of Kingdom stuff...and we freely receive and can freely give...not losing anything...not one drip...only multiplied back. This was a great Word for today!!! We can't outgive Him. I love the Word surrender...I sang it ...like all of us in the Church...I surrender all!!! Not knowing that I was prophesying things to come...I was a poor wife of 3 boys...with sheet-rock walls and no heat and air about 30 years ago...and, I now not only have that same house...much larger...I own 3 other houses...2 left to pay for but both within 5 years...tithing...that giving of 10% is such a yoke on much of the church because we don't realize that the surrender of what is all His anyway...allows us...even if like me beginning with 2% and ever increasing until more than tithing today...God says Do IT!! We say we don't see how! He says, Walk by Faith not sight!!! Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen! If you see...that's not Faith...Do...seeing from the future...What does He say the promise is? What does He say you do to receive it? Don't look at those waves, Peter...look at Me says the LORD!!! That's how you do it. :) <3

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  2. Anonymous6/05/2012

    Thanks for sharing this morning and the reminder to give our best!

    Jenny Strantz

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  3. I love how God works through people. I have been so blessed in my relationship with God as of late. It is truly through surrendering all that you are when you feel your closest to Jesus. So happy to here testimonies of ladies. It is sincerely such an uplifting time in the morning when I read the shine blog. God has a purpose for every post. I am so grateful that we live in a world where we are able to come together to share in the Glory of the Lord. It is that personal relationship that you have with the Lord that allows us to live life through faith. It is not always unchallenging, but when challenging times occur (and we know they will!), that relationship with Him is what guides us through. Thank you Jill, Michele, & all that post! You are all blessings to me!

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  4. Michele,

    I love your willingness to surrender to the Holy Spirit, even when you were quite sure He could not be asking you to surrender something new and dear. I love walking in the Holy Spirit. It brings us into a new and incredible realm in your walk with Christ. Thank you for this post, I needed to hear this today.

    Love,
    Rebekah

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  5. :) I edited this and failed to edit the pronouns to agree, this makes my neck twitch a little bit. But I surrender that my point was made even with the error. Love you girlies!

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  6. I ve reading Jobe everyday and as you say Michele is confusing. But after reading your post it make sense right now in my life like Job I lost my marriage, my house my family and I've try to figure out how this happen , I havebeing praying for a miracle For God to help me.... I though I let everything in God hands but I realize that I am still holding on my ex husband I can let him go I pray prayes fort that but today I surrender to you my Lord can't do it by my self you win I am let go my. Broken marriage ,my broken heart my future my baby Chloe future and my ex future .... I got it this time Thank you Michele ..THANK Yoy My SHINE GIRlS .... Pray for me much love
    Conny

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Your comments are welcome!