Ladder

Throughout my two years in the Discipleship Program I have realized over and over things in my life that I need to surrender to Jesus in order to continue to grow. Trying to continue without letting go is like trying to climb a ladder without letting go of the rungs. You'll tie yourself into a knot trying to stay back and move forward, plus you stand a chance of upsetting yourself.

There was a specific detail of my life that I spent a lot of time during the first-year wrestling through surrendering that. God eventually showed me Joel 3:16, which has kind of become my life verse.

The LORD also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the LORD will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel.

— Joel 3:16 NKJV

God asked me if He, as the King described in this verse, wasn't worthy of absolute surrender. He was and is.

This year I've come back to this same aspect of my life, just with a broader brush. I was wrestling with it again. Surrendering the specific detail wasn't too hard, I had done so before. My reaction was "Haven't I already surrendered this? Why am I dealing with the same thing again?"

God again asked me to surrender in this detail, but in a larger scale. What had before been a fine point, a certain playing out of events, that I surrendered had become a drastically life-changing decision that will likely govern large parts of my future. Jesus was now asking me to give Him everything. While I had surrendered the micro aspects, I still had to surrender the macro aspects of my life.

After this I wouldn't be surprised if this is revisited in the future. There is no endpoint to my surrender. This has taught me that surrender is a continual enlarging of what is given to Jesus.

—Disciple in GFA Discipleship Program



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We, disciples, recently completed our final class of the year which was a study of the Divine Embrace by Robert Webber. It was definitely a challenging book to read, not only because of the big words that the author used, but also because of the challenge he gives to Recover a Passionate Spiritual Life.

I think the main thing I took away from this book was an understanding that my spirituality is not based on what I do or don’t do but on God's Story, what He has already done for me and all of creation.

 Having grown up in a Christian home and made a decision to follow Christ at a very young age, for as long as I can remember I have known God’s Story. I knew that man had sinned and the only way to reconciliation with God was through trusting in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. But until going through this book I never really understood God’s story and how He invites me to enter into it.

One thing that stood out to me was the significance of Jesus being fully God and fully man. I’ve never realized before just how important it is that Jesus be fully human. This means that He experienced the same struggles and difficulties I do. In chapter 8 of the Divine Embrace, Robert Webber says: “As one of us, real flesh and blood, Jesus reversed the wound of Adam. Beginning in the womb of Mary, and continuing throughout his entire ministry, he struggled to surrender His will to the Father. And because He succeeded in surrendering His will to the Father’s will, in all things, he restored our will in his obedience. Even as Jesus struggled to surrender His will to the Father, so also, in our own spiritual life, Jesus is the model not only for victory but also for the struggle. Therefore we ‘fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith…’ as the writer of Hebrews encourages us, ‘so that you will not grow weary and lose heart’ (Heb. 12:2-3).

So, what will my response to God’s Story be? How will I live each day with my eyes fixed on Jesus?

For me, personally, living in light of God’s Story means being willing, as Jesus did, to surrender myself completely to the Father. In recognizing that my spirituality lies not in what I can do but in what Christ has already done, my desire is to no longer strive to do it on my own. As I have been asking the Lord to show me how to live out this life of surrender, He has been teaching me to simply rest in Him, trusting that He holds my life in His hands.

God has been teaching me that the surrendered life is a life of continual repentance. It means not allowing the enemy to fill my mind with guilt and self-pity when I fail, but confessing my sins as soon as I am aware of them. I am learning not to become overwhelmed by my shortcomings but rather, to ask the Lord for His mercy, pick myself up and move on.

God has been showing me that even when I fail and take my eyes off Him, He is still watching over me.  He will never leave me but will patiently wait for me to cry out to Him and allow Him to once again take my hand. In knowing this I can have peace that nothing I do can take me away from the loving care of my Heavenly Father. He is so much bigger than I am and knows what lies ahead. As long as He is leading me and my focus is on Him, I know that whatever happens I am in His hands.

—Disciple in GFA Discipleship Program

 



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Has the Lord ever prompted you to pray for something very specific but you were uncertain whether the Lord would answer or if it was really from Him? I’ve been there, and I am excited to share with you how the Lord does answer specific prayers when they are according to His will to strengthen our faith and to bring Him glory.

 Jeremiah 29:11-12. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”

It was a year or two ago when the Lord impressed upon my heart to pray for something specific and trust Him to bring the answer within a certain time frame. I had heard others share how the Lord answered specific prayer; but I wasn’t ready to commit myself to what the Lord was asking me to pray for. It just seemed to impossible for me. I was reminded of the verse in Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” And I know this is talking about the rich young ruler walking away from Jesus; but somehow the words that are italicized challenged me to step out in faith and watch God work out the impossibilities.

Well I came to the point of surrender and stepped out in faith to watch God answer my specific prayer. By now you may be very curious as to what the request was that I was praying for and whether the Lord answered my heart’s desire. The request was for a trip overseas for my 30th birthday, which sounds silly and rather selfish, doesn’t it? I thought so too at first which was part of my hesitation when praying about it; but the Lord had given me that desire and all he asked me to do was tell only Him, pray and believe. This trip wasn’t for relaxing and vacationing; but rather to visit friends who were on the mission field and see what the Lord was doing in and through their lives.

Bridge1 Thessalonians 5:24 “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” The Lord called me to trust Him and by His grace and perfect timing I was able to visit the mission field before my 31st birthday, so technically in my 30th year the Lord answered my prayers and showed that He is faithful all the time. We serve an awesome God who delights in blessings His children and watching grow in trusting Him.



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