Thursday, March 28, 2019

10. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree (5) Submission

But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  –Romans 5:8

We have left out a great deal regarding the Passion of Christ, but the message is this; I quote Warren Mueller, The Passion of Christ Bible Study.  His words so express our feelings and passion for Christ.
“The life of Christ has set a pattern for living a passionate life for Him.  Believers in Jesus experience a spiritual birth that results in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3; 1 Corinthians 6:19) therefore, believers have everything needed to live a passionate life for Christ.  Why then are there so few passionate Christians?  I believe the answer lies in the fact that, so few Christians follow the pattern of Christ’s life[1].” 

Christ totally submitted to the Will of the Father.  Nothing less is asked of us.

I believe our submission begins with understanding in the heart of how much God loves us.  “Christ’s love for us is not dependent on a quality in us that makes us lovable.  He loves because He is love regardless of our strengths or weaknesses.”[2]

We submit to that love.

Once I was told I was too passionate [for the Lord], the words from one I loved and respected, pierced me deeply.  I was devastated.   I was in a state of quandary.  Can one be too passionate for Christ?  God is good and when you seek Him, you will find Him.   I feel God led me to a sermon written by Steve Saint.  Steve Saint is the son of Nate Saint.  Nate Saint, a pilot, served with Jim Elliott and three others as missionaries in Ecuador on the Pacific side of the Andes. These men were attempting to evangelize the Waodani people in the jungles of Ecuador.  In 1956 during one excursion the Waodani Indians killed these missionaries.

I began to read and as I read this sermon by Steve Saint my heart quicken.  Steve Saint had searched his heart and felt he did not have the passion needed to bring the story of his dad and the other missionaries to the world.  He prayed, “Lord give me passion.”  Reading these words my breath came in sharp gasps; and I lifted my voice to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and humbly thanked HIM for my passion.

Steve Saint portrayed his dad, Nate Saint, Jim Elliott, and the other missionaries in the movie, “End of the Spear.” 

We have had several years to think about our passion for Christ Jesus.  Does it not grow when we begin to relinquish self and submit to our Heavenly Father?

[1] Warren Mueller, The Passion of Christ Bible Study
[2] Lloyd John Ogilvie, Ret. Chaplain, the United States Senate, “The Call to Unity in Christ’s Body”.

Monday, March 18, 2019

9. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree - (4) Submission

Paul says, 5You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  6Though he was God, [Or Being in the form of God] he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  7Instead, he gave up his divine privileges [Greek he emptied himself] he took the humble position of a slave [Or the form of a slave] and was born as a human being.  When he appeared in human form, 8he humbled himself in obedience [submission] to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.  -- Philippians 2:5-8

In human nature it is not an easy act to surrender ourselves.  We struggle in our attempts to hold on to self, to maintain our iron will, to do and live as we want.  Charles Stanley, in essence, made a statement like this, we do not read God’s Word for the truth, but we read His Word to say what we want it to say.  The Word becomes a source to justify our life style not the life God intended us to live.  It is not an easy choice to submit our life to God’s Will and it will continue to be a struggle until that day of total submission as Christ submitted in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Our day of submission is our Gethsemane!

F.T. Pickett, Professor, Christian Life School of Theology, Author and Teacher, says: “Joy is derived from the confidence that the price of dying to our will holds the inevitable certainty of eventually realizing the triumph of HIS [will]”.

Richard J. Foster writes, “All of the luminaries in Scripture struggled as well:  Abraham as he relinquished his son, Isaac; Moses as he relinquished his understanding of how the deliverer of Israel should function; David as he relinquished the son given to him by Bathsheba; Mary as she relinquished control over her future; Paul as he relinquished his desire to be free of a debilitating ‘thorn in the flesh’”.  In the end each one submitted to God’s Will and they were blessed!

I quote Pastor James Merritt, “there are only three men in the History of the Old Testament who God did not reprimand.  They were Joseph, Daniel and Jonathan.”  Why?  They followed God’s commandments in total submission.

This does not mean they did not go through trials and suffering in their life, but it means despite the trials, they were in total submission to our God and Father.  In so doing they Glorified God.

To surrender self in total submission is the crucifixion of self.  Paul understood this perfectly in Galatians2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

In the crucifixion of self, we gain complete submission to Christ Jesus and the Will of the Father.  We are set free to pray, to act and to serve “where He (God) is already at work”.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

8. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (3) Submission

Teach me to do Your will [so that I may please You], For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.  Psalm143:10

Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest says, “Our Lord never dictated demands to His Father, and neither are we to make demands on God.  We are here to submit to His will so that He may work through us what He wants.”

Our intimacy with God grows in and through our prayers. As we give ourselves in submission to Him and His ways, we release our will so that His design and purpose can accomplish His Will in and through us here on earth as in Heaven.

Blackaby and King, convey this message, “Knowing God does not come through a program, a study, or a method.  Knowing God comes through a relationship with a Person.  This is an intimate love relationship with God. Through this relationship, God reveals Himself, His purposes, and His ways; and He invites you to join Him where He is already at work.[1]  Also they say:  We must give up our own plans, desires, and aspirations and be willing to make God’s desires and plans for our lives our own”.  This happens in and through prayer and our submission to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We claim His Word and we see in our heart how much God loves us.  There is no greater place to discover true submission to our Heavenly Father than in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46 ).

I would like for you to close your eyes and image Christ, the Son of God, in the Garden of Gethsemane as He began to be troubled and deeply distressed and exceedingly sorrowful. (Mark 14:33-34) Christ being in agony continued to pray more earnestly until His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:44) He continued to ask His Abba that this cup of destruction be removed from Him.  His human nature really wanted this sacrifice to pass away…. His heart was saying is there not some other way for the sins of this world to be healed…..that I would not have to suffer and die the shameful agony of sin.  Jesus, the one life lived in perfection, abhorred to be identified with sin, gross selfish sin.  Far greater than all the physical pain He was to suffer, the separation from His Father was incomprehensible.  The answer to His request was a resounding no.  Andrew Murray writes, “For our sins, He suffered beneath the burden of that unanswered prayer.”[2]  In view of this understanding, is it not incredible that we allow our faith to be daunted when our prayers are not answered in the timing and way that we think they should?!

Christ yielded to the Will of the Father.  His submission was complete.  Not My will, but your will be done (Luke 22:42).  Richard J. Foster writes, “Here we have the complete laying down of human will.”  “Here we have the perfect flowing into the will of the Father.”  “In the school of Gethsemane, we learn that ‘my will, my way, my good’ must yield to higher authority.”[3]

Christ exemplified complete and true submission.  God allowed His Son to carry the burden of sin in the world and save us from destruction.  We can be reborn, regenerated in reconciliation that we become a new being (Ephesians 2:10).  We are offered the opportunity to receive Christ as our Savior and receive the promise of eternal life.  It is in our submission that God can truly use us.  The purpose and intent of the mission we have been given is fulfilled in the laying down of our human will.  In this act of surrender, we are His and He is the Lord of our Life.

[1] Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King, Experiencing God:  Knowing and Doing the Will of God
[2] As quoted from Richard J. Foster’s book, “Prayer:  Finding the Heart’s True Home”
[3] “Prayer:  Finding the Heart’s True Home”, Richard J. Foster