Our journey toward Christ-likeness involves an absolute surrender to Jesus Christ. Surrendering absolutely happens when a person is willing to follow Christ no matter the cost. It is more than commitment, it is more than involvement. It may cost you some discomfort, your personal desires and aspirations in life.
Someone once said, “A man may be outwardly committed to the work of Christ but may not have been inwardly consecrated and surrendered to the will of Christ.”
We can be committed but not surrendered. Jesus is looking for a heart that is completely broken and surrendered to Him. Absolute surrender to Christ focuses not on our doing but centers on our being, not in our competence but in our character.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24.
To be completely surrendered to Christ one must deny himself. To deny yourself is you have to die to your earthly passion. Christ must be the center and supreme purpose of your life.
Paul the great apostle understood what it means to live a life of an absolute surrender to Christ. He said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. He considered himself dead but alive for Christ. His life is not his own to manage. His life purpose and goal was for Christ and His glory.
The evidences of a totally surrendered life to Christ is spiritual transformation, a powerful living testimony that would lead to effective ministry for the glory of God.
Are you surrendered to Christ?
Are you absolutely surrendered to Him?
“All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.”
Written by Pastor Maurice Rivera
Over-time I have discovered as a writer that my readers relate most when I explain scripture as I have applied them to my personal experiences. This approach brings more light to the bible, those stories tend to stick more to the mind, and they are always enticing to read.
People enjoy reading stories. As such, I have always trusted the Holy Spirit to remind me of specific experiences which I can use to understand the scriptures. Once the Holy-Spirit told me, “I am always speaking to you, sometimes directly to your spirit and sometimes through the experiences around you. If you would learn to open your minds and take careful note of your experiences, you would discover my wisdom expressly shared and demonstrated to you’’
So I decided to add this to my prayers: “Dear Holy Spirit, I know you are not an illusion or a mirage, neither are you a mere belief or a thing. You are a Person, the third person of the Trinity. You are the power of the Godhead and you have been given to me to be a comforter and a partner. Help me to stay conscious of your presence and help me STAY CONNECTED to you”
Let me give you an illustration. I have noticed that when two people are in love, they have an overwhelming desire to share moments together but if they are not talking for quite some hours or – even worse a full day- , there must be a problem.
The same relationship can be seen between a Christian and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has emotions, He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30) and He loves. Many of us often forget that the Holy-spirit always wants our company, he doesn’t like to be ignored, he has been given to always be with you when you sleep, when you walk the streets, when you eat, when you drink.Every-time, every second, he wants us to talk with him, he wants our attention. He wants us to tell him our challenges, and he wants to also talk with us, he wants to give us wisdom on how to make decisions, he wants to tell us more about God’s kingdom. He wants our fellowship. He wants us to STAY CONNECTED. He doesn’t just want 10 minutes out of the 24 hours of our day. He is not an errand boy. He is our love.
If we will be diligent enough to stay connected and be careful we will learn a lot from our day to day experiences.Let me share two lessons which I learned in the past weeks. I hope it encourages our heart.
After my exams, my plan was to immediately take a vacation. I wanted to visit some nearby countries to give my brain a good break . I was so tired from studying. I planned the trip with two of my friends.
They planned the flights, the buses and the accommodations, and we shared the bill. The trip was really beautiful -peaceful flights, nice discussions, sweet meals, interesting places.It was fun! In Amsterdam, my friends had planned that all night we would keep walking around and to see places , so they didn’t bother to book a room that night. Since I didn’t plan with them, I didn’t know this,. Unfortunately, our planned night tour in city was far below expectations. We had already seen all the interesting places that day and by night-time we were all really tired.
We couldn’t leave the city because our bus was booked for the next morning according to the plan. The night wasn’t comfortable at all. We were visitors with no place to sleep. The only place available was the concrete seats at the Central Train Station. And even though we were tired and weak, the security men allowed us to only sit and not sleep. And we were like that all night! In the midst of this, the Holy Spirit said to me that this is an illustration of Christians on earth.
Christians are sojourners, we are travellers.We shouldn’t expect luxurious comfort here on earth. Our comfort comes when we remember our home, the place where we can finally be with God in body. Many Christians get distracted by seeking comfort here on earth.
“And if you call on Father, who without respect of persons judge according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (1 Pet. 1:17)
Paul speaking, said when we are pressed on all sides, we must keep moving. Our encouragement is that one day we will be home. Every traveller is encouraged at the thought of the word HOME. It’s always an encouragement. It always gives strength and hope. Likewise we are supposed to be encouraged as Christians. Our consolation shouldn’t be from the things here.
To continue the story, we survived the night, travelled to Belgium where we had booked a room. We were all tired resulting from a sleepless night. We just wanted to check into the room and rest before going around to see that city. Then we encountered another problem. We couldn’t check into our room. We felt like dying. Just then I remembered that a day before I travelled, I was sharing with a friend about my trip. Then he said “hey, my parents live in Belgium have their contact in-case you need a place to stay”. I never asked for their contact, in-fact I was merely sharing it with him, so we could pray together about it. I never saw the need to have their contact, because I believed all had been settled by my friends. I reluctantly collected their contact. It was when we were denied entry into the room that I remembered my friend’s parent. They were very kind and hospitable to us. We had a nice dinner together with them, with very soft and cosy beds and they even drove us again to the airport the next morning, to catch our flight.. We lost a room and got a house. We wished we had planned to stay longer with them.
Out of this experience, Psalms 46:1 made more meaning to me.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1)
God had seen that we were going to be in need of a place to be, and he made adequate preparation for us. The help was suited and crafted to perfectly suit the trouble we had. It was timely. This once again made me learn to trust God. Now, I know even better “He’s got my back”. Many of us are worried about the future not knowing that God has made adequate preparation for it without Him informing us, He only wants us to cast our cares upon him.
It’s like when parents are expecting a baby, they make ready everything for the baby, the baby doesn’t have to worry about what to eat, what to wear, or how to live. It’s made ready, the baby just comes to enjoy it. We are also “God’s Baby”. Let’s learn to trust in the provisions already made by our father.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
“God is not dead, He’s alive” we say boldly today. “But where’s the proof?” The Unbeliever’s reply. As Christians, we don’t just go about showing off knowledge. But REPRESENTING the God that is alive – with INFALLIBLE proofs. This stirs up the unbelieving.
Paul said “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in DEMONSTRATION of the Spirit and OF POWER” 1 Corinthians 2:4
He wasn’t just preaching – he was manifesting the God he preached. There should be signs and wonders – following the Gospel being preached.
To whom also He shewed himself alive after his passion BY MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)
Jesus (God) proved himself alive.
And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. (Mark 16:19)
And they went forth, and preached every-where, the Lord working with them, and CONFIRMING THE WORD WITH SIGNS FOLLOWING. (Mark 16:20)
There should be signs and wonders – following the Gospel being preached.
As Christians we should be HUNGRY for the Supernatural. It reveals God to some people. Healing the sick, opening blind eyes, working miracles and raising the dead is supposed to be normal with us. These signs “Back up” the GOSPEL.
The scriptures say,
Also…Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (Hebrews 12:14)
Many have said this, to explain how holiness will take you to Heaven. No, that’s a misinterpretation of the verse.
As it says, Be a representative of God on earth by Following peace with ALL MEN (Not God), Loving all men because if you don’t, nobody can encounter God through you. They won’t “See the Lord”in your life
You’re a Christ Ambassador. Re-presenting Christ to the world. In words and Deeds.
Do it well.
Written by Richard Robinson Abdalla
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6)
Just as the story of the prodigal child, who was welcomed home not as a servant but as a son (Luke 15:11 – 32). When a man believes the gospel (about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ) i.e. become saved, His spirit is given life, because his spirit was actually dead in Adam (Gen. 2:17) and he becomes born into the family of God (Eph. 3:15). God legally becomes his father just as the devil was his father before he was born again. On this account he is linked up and rooted and joined to Christ. God becomes the vine and he the branch, he becomes one with the father, a level of spiritual oneness with God (John 15:5). He carries God’s nature, he has Jesus’s own righteousness, he is not condemned anymore, because Jesus carried all his guilt, shame and condemnation, all this happened when he accepted Jesus as lord (1 cor. 15:33). So he now deserves, all that Jesus deserves because Jesus took his place at the cross. He is accepted in God’s beloved, Jesus.
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God… (1 John 5:1)”
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!… (1 John 3:1)”
Every Christian is accepted as a son, he has a legal right to the things of God, wherever he goes he can boast of God as his father, he represents God wherever he goes (2 Cor. 5:20). He can legally demand things to be done in the name of his senior brother, Jesus Christ. He is accepted. God accepts him as much as he accepts Jesus. God loves him as much as he loves Jesus. And God can only stop accepting or loving him the day he stops accepting or loving Jesus (Matt 3:17, Rom 8:29). Every believer has a legal sit at God’s right hand (the place of all authority), he is accepted and welcomed always in the church in heaven, so he can command things to happen in the name of Jesus, and make requests because he is righteous in Christ (1 John 4:6 , Eph. 2:6 , Is. 54:17). We must learn not to walk according to our feelings but according to the fact that we are accepted.
Children normally grow bold in making requests or even accessing their parents (no matter who their parents are) because they know they are loved by their parents, they know they are accepted, so it doesn’t matter the offence they committed yesterday, they know today and always they are loved by their parents. This is because they didn’t earn their parent’s acceptance by what they did, so it can’t be lost by what they do or didn’t do, rather they earned it simply because they were born into the family. Any other stranger may not have this acceptance even if he/she continues to do right, this is because he is not born into the family. So Likewise are we before our father in Heaven.
Christians who know they are loved, accepted, chosen before the foundation of the world (i.e. before they were born physically) are always candidates for exploits in faith (Dan. 11:32). A very good example is the apostle Paul. They grow bold in coming into God’s presence (Heb. 4: 16) to make demands, so as such it is important for every Christian to know that they are “accepted in the beloved” as Paul puts it in Eph. 1:6, and also to know “why”. We are accepted in Jesus as Paul states, not in ourselves.
Brethren, let us rejoice because we are accepted before God in Jesus Christ, not because of what we did (Titus 3:5), but because of what Jesus did. Let us also rejoice because he is continuously supplying us grace that we may keep standing in the salvation which he has granted us that we may not fall from this exalted position. The knowledge of the fact that we are accepted is what we need to continuously overcome sin, live a life of dominion and do exploits in faith (works greater than what Jesus did). 1 John 5:4, Heb. 10:39.
Grow in Grace!
Written by Samson Afolabi
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Pet. 3:18)
I opened the Facebook App on my phone just to take a sneak peep as a short break from my mathematics books, then I saw my one of my very close friend wishing is Pastor’s wife happy birthday and he added “grow in grace”. This 3 words jumped at me, and I asked what does it mean to grow in grace? I had also used the phrase as a prayer for many of my friends and this time I wanted to find out what it really meant. My search led to writing this.
This phrase is contained only in Peter’s last words in his epistle in 2 pet 3:18. Now what did Peter mean by grow in grace? This was what I saw;
1. A deliberate Action
The use of the word “grow” informs us of the deliberate, intentional aspect of the statement. Every believer is responsible for their “grace level”. We have to make the choice to grow up spiritually. Yes, do the work to grow. Paul speaking in Ephesians 4:14 encourages us not to be children tossed to and fro. So it means it lies in our capacity to choose either to be children (babies) or matured men and women of faith. And how can we be matured, by learning grace. Grace speaks of the Person of Jesus. So the next time someone tells you to grow in grace, know it’s more than a prayer, it’s a charge. Luke 1:80, and Luke 2:40 points out to us that our Lord Jesus also choose to grow. He grew and increased in favour before God and Man.
Spiritual growth is not measured by how many years you’ve been in church, it is measured by how much deliberate effort you’ve put into growth. Growth doesn’t fall on people, people put in effort to grow spiritually.
2. Learning Grace to Stand
Another question to ask would be why did Peter tell this men to grow in grace? The answer is found in reading some earlier verses. You will discover that they were to grow in grace to be able to stand against people who were misinterpreting Paul’s epistles. The Message translation from 2 Peter 3: 16 -18 makes it clearer. It reads,
“Some things Paul writes are difficult to understand. Irresponsible people who don’t know what they are talking about twist them every which way. They do it to the rest of the scriptures, too, destroying themselves as they do it.
But you, friends, are well warned. Be on guard lest you lose your footing and get swept off your feet by these lawless and loose talking teachers. Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 3:16 – 18] MSG
Many People have thought that when grace is taught, we give people the ticket to sin, NO! Peter says here “Learn Grace to Stand!”
3. Expand Your Capacity
“Enlarge the site of your tent [to make room for more children]; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, do not spare them; Lengthen your tent ropes and make your pegs (stakes) firm [in the ground]” Isaiah 54:2 [NLT]
To grow in grace is to increase in capacity. You will be able to do more as your capacity increases. Expand your inner capacity to do more. A 10 year old child would do more than a 2 year old child. If you want God to use you the more than you are doing now, then you have to grow, you have to enlarge your capacity. You need to train your spirit more, set yourself more to the tune of the spirit. Take away those things that distract you. Focus more on Grace (the person of Jesus). As we look steadfastly on Jesus, we are changed to the same level of grace as Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). Let me scream it out once again, GROW IN GRACE!
How do I then grow in grace? Study the scriptures and pray especially in the holy-ghost, listen to more edifying songs, listen to preaching’s that edifying your spirit, read spiritual books, fellowship with other brethren, have a spiritual company and every-other spiritual exercise that energizes your spirit man. As a final note, let’s know that it is God’s delight that we grow just as it is delight of every father to see his children grow. He delights to give us grace as we decide to grow in grace.
I Call You Blessed!
Written by Samson Afolabi