William Booth said: The greatness of the man’s power is the measure of his surrender.
It’s difficult for us to see surrender as power. We view surrender as weakness, as an ’end of strength’ situation or as a ’no way to escape kind of conclusion’.
But to surrender to God means total abandonment to Jesus Christ.
It’s the place where we give ourselves over to God without any calculations. It’s a place of true freedom and defiant joy.
Most of us think about what we are going to lose if we surrender totally to God. We think about the fun he will spoil and the pleasures he might take away, but all this comes because we don’t know him very well.
We don’t comprehend, really, his loving character, his luxurious grace, his generous kindness, his abundant love, his glorious plans for us, his fatherly sacrifice and commitment to us.
We see him as we see ourselves, corrupt and easily contrived.
But God is different, oh so different from us. When we dare to give it all to him, he gives back what can never be taken from us, it’s never a loss but a gain in all worth having.
There is a difference between living for the moment and living the moment. As we explore today our passage in Psalm 49 we see that: Living for the moment is more about responding to our whims and impulses without really thinking about the later consequences.
It’s about wasting time and our life in stuff that in the end will amount to nothing.
It consists mostly to a selfish life that appears to ’enjoy itself ’ without calculating the outcomes of its actions and decisions.
Living the moment is more about enjoying and participating at the moment by giving our full intentions and choice. It’s about being purposefully in a place and time with your mind, emotions and will present.
Living the moment is about a well-calculated choice and not just a thrust of our impulses.
God always instructs us to choose the latter one, living the moment, loving the now, this as he guides us with wisdom and grace and understanding moment by moment.
I haven’t seen more fearful people than the rich. Living in Montecarlo Monaco has surprised me with this discovery. I thought that the rich have nothing to fear for money can solve so many problems and can help people have better choices than them without it.
But the reality is that money itself creates fear and distrust in people like nothing else in life does.
Because money holds power, position and influence people who have it are constantly in fear of losing it, being betrayed and even losing their lives because of it.
There is this constant suspicion that you notice on rich people’s faces when you meet them that tells you that their life is not what you think it is.
Money can buy a lot of stuff, but it can not buy us redemption.
Redemption is our most essential need. There is no amount of money to buy us out of death!
God, on the other hand, does just that. He comes and offers us a ’fear not’ kind 0f life, a life where you accumulate stuff that death can’t rob or destroy, and a future to look forward to.
So, no matter how the financial times or the markets activity maybe, no matter the storms and trials we face, in him, we have everything unperishable and worthy. So, we fear not in bad times.
Listening is an art. For listening is the ability to give your attention, thinking and understanding to someone undividedly.
It’s better to listen to someone for five quality minutes that hear them talk for a whole day without paying any attention.
God gives us all undivided attention and a listening ear for all the time.
No matter what problems we have and whatever might be the nature of things we are sharing with him, he pays the same attentive interest and awareness.
We, in return, need to listen to him and not only talk to him. I do believe that when we incline our ears to listen to him as he does to us we will be amazed at his wisdom and simply profound by his understanding of us and our situation.
I have noticed that people who are careful to listen to God are great at listening to people also.
Are you a good listener? What can you do differently to become one?
I can tell you one thing about guided tours: The guide can make or break a tour.
There was a big difference in exploring the Colosseum with an outstanding guide and walking around Venice with an average guide.
The Colosseum guide made us see the people and the emperor entering the building, hear the applause and the triumph of the gladiators, tremble at the roar of the lions unleashed. It was as though we were transported right in the Roman empire days and we were brought for that hour to understand all that was happenings.
The tour in Venice on the other side was just like a stroll in a beautiful city, it was interesting but we did not become one with history.
God promises to be our forever guide, the one who walks with us until the very end of time. Holding our hand, whispering encouragements, comforting during hardship and bringing joy in every season.
He opens our eyes to wonders and pulls our attention to what really matters.
What is something that you need guidance right now?
How the truth that God is our forever guide makes you feel?
I have heard the word ’I love you’ from many people in my life.
I am thankful, I am blessed to be in this position where love is offered to me. But I know also that not all of them who say with their mouth that they love you, really love you. Love is known by the action.
An abuser utters ’I do this because I love you.’
A manipulative friend convinces you that her behaviour shows her love for you.
A controlling spouse tells you often that his actions are a sign of ’love ’
But I have learned to follow what people do, not what people say.
Love is a verb in action, not a static word.
Follow the actions of someone who tells you that they ’love you’ and judge if that is true.
When we think of God, what do we see?
What are the thoughts about him that we ponder?
His Love-in-action ( the psalmist instructs us ) is what we should meditate on. Look at the story, look at his record…what do you see?
Follow his word and mighty acts … that’s how we know him.
If you want to experience deep and ’awe demanding’ kind of emotions go to a live ballet or opera performance. Watching them on the television does not do any favours. I have been a couple of times in live performances and if we were together you would have seen a part of me that rarely peeks up in my daily living.
I stand up and shout words that I never use before, words like ’bravo, bravissimo’ followed by a loud applause and hand gestures that imitates the queen waving to her people from her chariot. The performance has invoked in me a sense of awe and wonder, the music has touched layers deep within my soul that are unknown to me. I rest astound and surprised that I am responding like that.
My soul is made for awe and I only catch a tiny glimpse there.
Sometimes, silently I experience similar feelings at the edge of the ocean or the feet of the mountain.
God has surrounded us with beauty, with melody, with stunning displays of his benevolence. God is stunning!
We sing and clap our hands as an expression of that joy and appreciation coming from within. We give praise, we clap our hands and adore him, because he soars over all (v9). Jesus forsook the luxury of heaven to be our salvation and bring freedom, that’s worthy of praise, that is worthy of clapping and making some holy noise.
All life is a decision between the two. God or evil, light or darkness, death or life It does not feel that way very often but if we dig deep down we soon understand that all fight and struggle in life come because we aren’t clear on our choices. We want to dance with danger and push boundaries that bring headache and restless nights.
Because of that, noise, turbulence and unrest overshadows our lives.
God on the other side calls us to stillness through submission. A submission that comes as the result of considering his character, reflecting on his goodness, meditating on his love. It’s not a blind leap into the submission, it’s the mindful act of looking up to him as the only one who holds the victory and freedom.
What does stillness be for you? Is surrender hard for you?
A lot of times “God being with us” means “God wrestling with us.”
Our God wrestles with us. Our God does not leave us, Jacobs, without becoming all he desired us to be. A holy people! A peculiar people, a people after his own heart.
We are always on the run, always trying to trick time and people, always cheating our real identity. But God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. He is our highest stronghold ( implying inaccessible hight for the enemy).
He takes hold of us and he changes us. He knows our weakness and he knows our shortcomings, yet his patience is praiseworthy.
He, like a faithful friend, is ’pressed’ to even wound us a little bit in order to see us walk in the right path.