Surrender to be Free and Useful

Total surrender to God means freedom and usefulness. Too many Christians fear completely surrendering their life over to God and trusting Him with it. They often think, “what if God wants me to [fill in the blank]. And so they are afraid to surrender their all. Yes, He may lead you down a difficult road, but don’t you realize it is for your best? He sees your beginning and end and is sovereign over all. So, why would you trust anyone or anything else?

So, why is it so important to totally surrender to live a life of freedom and to be useful to God? Why can’t you surrender all, except a couple of things you want to hold onto? That’s because there is no middle ground with the Lord. He spits the lukewarm out of His mouth. If you want to go in with God, you have to go all in. You can’t hold anything back. Don’t try and just sacrifice your left toe into the waters, but dive in head first. Offer your entire body to God as a living sacrifice for Him to do as He pleases with you.

When you seriously commit to surrender to the Lord, the Lord often takes you into the deep waters of affliction. There you are painfully stripped of your self reliance and crutches and you are forced to acknowledge you are helpless and you finally surrender. Then you will find yourself sitting in pitch darkness struggling for air with nothing but Jesus. It’s just you and Him. And this is where you must answer this question: is Jesus alone really enough for me? In the dark waters of hopelessness, that is where Jesus extends His hands to you. You grab a hold of His hands by choosing to trust in His promises as written in the Bible. And it is by your faith in His Word alone you are lifted up out of the waters and brought onto dry land.

Through this time of refinement, you have learned to deny yourself, carry your cross, and follow Him. You have learned to find freedom through surrender. And now you have been made usable by the Lord by being emptied of yourself, so that He may live His life in and through you.

You have one life to live. Use it well.

A Child of God and the Covid-19

When hardships come, know this: God uses all things for our good (Romans 8:28). This is not only true for the Coronavirus, but in all things. Don’t forget who you are. You are a co-heir/co-heiress with Jesus to the Great I Am; the Alpha and Omega. He is your Father, and He loves you beyond what you can comprehend. With that, He is sovereign over all. Not just over the cosmos, but also at the molecular level. He has everything under control. These facts alone should give you comfort and joy.

As children of God still on this earth, He has a plan and purpose for our lives. One of the main purposes He has for us is to make us more like Jesus, which requires suffering at times. So don’t be afraid or surprised when you suffer… Jesus told us ahead of time:

“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

How can you be of good cheer when the world is panicked and in tribulation?

Look at the Apostle Paul as an example: he was brutally flogged, beat with rods 3 times, stoned and left for dead, shipped wrecked and left out at sea for a night and a day, tired, sleep deprived, hungry, cold, and naked. Yet, this is what he said after talking about his sufferings:

“as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” – 2 Corinthians 6:10

The Apostle Paul was able to think and feel this way because he put his hope in Jesus alone. We can too if we put our hope in Jesus alone. This is the key element of living the victorious Christian life, which is really Jesus living His life in and through you. You just need to surrender, and let Him have full control over your life.

So, how do you apply this during this viral pandemic? Do what you know God wants you to do, like taking reasonable measures to provide for and protect yourself and your family from the virus, but leave worry out of it. How do you not worry? Because Jesus is your life and He is working all things for your good. You don’t need to understand how He can use it all for your good in order for God to be telling the truth: He IS working all things for your good right now because He promised. What you need to do is stay surrendered, trusting, and obedient to Jesus, while leaving all the consequences to God. He will take care of everything; guaranteed. If you learn to trust in Him with the Coronavirus, you will be able to trust in Him with more; thus, becoming more like Jesus. This is one obvious blessing that could come from this virus.

In the good times and under tribulation: God is good!


Only Two Options On How to Live

Option 1) Depend on God. Option 2) Don’t depend on God.

Non-believers have no choice but to live by option 2. Once one is born again, option 1 becomes available, but it is not automatic. When a believer is able to and chooses to depend on God in all things as a way of life (option 1), that is referred to as the Christ Life, The Abundant Life, and The Exchanged Life to name a few references. This is the way to true peace, fruitfulness, joy, and all the fruit of the Spirit for our time in the mortal body. But, no one can achieve option 1 on their own, God must lead them into the darkness to find the abundant life. To the best of my knowledge, the way to option 1 is to ask God for it, and really mean it. If the Holy Spirit answers yes to your prayer, He will break you, lead you to total surrender, will teach you to trust in Him, and then finally teach you to rest in Him. This journey will be extremely difficult and I don’t know what kind of hardship it will be or how long it will last, but as long as you don’t give up you will eventually come out of the fire having learned to depend on the life of Christ in you.

If you are tired of your life, done with it, cannot handle it, or even hate it, I say you are blessed since it will be easier for you to forfeit your life as opposed to someone who is comfortable. First count the cost in losing your life and be determined to go all the way with Jesus, then ask God to exchange your life for His. I promise, it is worth it.

Finding Satisfaction

Is not the great I Am sovereign? Did He not prove to you His majesty, glory, sovereignty, and power by creating the universe and everything in it? Did He not prove His love to you by laying His life down for you even on a cross? Did He not purpose you to enjoy Him, be completely satisfied in Him, and fellowship with Him for all eternity? Yet we look at everything but Him for our satisfaction and happiness. We worry. We want to be in charge, and do not want to be told what to do.

If you are honest with yourself, you realize the things of this world cannot satisfy. You look for happiness in things, status, or other people, but you are ALWAYS let down. It’s like chasing a mirage. So you keep moving onto the next mirage that promises happiness and satisfaction, and the tiring cycle repeats.

When you are in charge, it is your responsibility to fix all issues in your life and the lives of your loved ones. Yet, your power to fix is inadequate. If someone comes and steals your belongings/money you worked so hard for, what can you do? If yours or a loved ones health deteriorates and doctors cannot help, what can you do? Since you are in charge, you must fix it! You want to fix it so bad, but you simply cannot. So you have internal temper tantrums which ushers in horrid monsters like depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. This is reality with you being in charge. Is there another way? Yes, but only one.

Before Adam ate that forbidden fruit, our Creator had a plan for us. While the Spirit of the Lord was hovering over the formless earth at the beginning, He knew us. His sovereignty not only controls the galaxies across the universe, the timing of the tides in the oceans, and when the mountain lion gives birth, but He is sovereign over the smallest details of your life as well; and here is a glimpse of the power of His sovereignty: He uses it ALL for your good. If you would let go of the control you thought you had and hand over your life without restrictions over to the Lord, He then becomes in charge of you. Now, if someone robs you, you lose your health, or whatever, it’s not your problem to fix. God is in charge and He is able and willing! He promised He has plans to give you hope and a future, that His grace would sustain you at all times, that He is using all things for your good, that He would uphold you with His righteous hand, that He would help you and strengthen you, and many more irreversible promises.

So, to make it simple, look no further for that elusive true satisfaction and happiness, but live a life surrendered to Jesus. Trust in Him and wear His promises at all times. Then there will be nothing left to do but fellowship, enjoy, and rest in the Him; the way to true, lasting satisfaction and happiness… the way we were designed to exist.

From Despair to a Living Hope

In June of 2017, I was plunged into agonizing suffering involving insomnia, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. In the span of three months, I did everything I could to get better. I read a self-help psychology book, I prayed to God for help, read a lot of the Bible, researched like crazy on the internet for help, was prescribed 6 different drugs, and was even admitted into a mental hospital for suicidal patients for 2 weeks. All the help the world had to offer mysteriously had the opposite effect on me; instead of getting better, I grew worse. Towards the end of the third month, I lost 15 pounds and felt hopeless. My depression was so thick and dark that I felt as though I was a dead body walking around. My mind was constantly tortured with overwhelming fears, which increased my anxiety and panic attacks producing chest pains bringing me to my knees in tears throughout the day. Seeing no way out, I reviewed my life insurance plan and thought to end myself, but I was scared before God and my heart broke whenever I thought about leaving my family without a dad and husband. Then at the end of three months, not knowing what to do, I simply gave up and stopped trying. God brought me to the absolute end of myself. By the grace of God, the next day my depression lifted. But the fearful thoughts, panic attacks, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts still remained.

Then, it was at this time the Lord used my dad to give me a book called, The Handbook to Happiness, by Dr. Charles Solomon. This book miraculously explained what I was going through, and what God was doing in me. A light switch turned on. I received counseling from my Dr. John Woodward from the author’s ministry called, Grace Fellowship International. Along with his and my dad’s help, I started to read and listen to many other resources and they all pointed to the same solution: To die to myself and let Christ live His life through me. God showed me through Galatians 2:20, Romans 6-8, and other verses that I died with Jesus 2,000 years ago and that it was no longer I who lived, but Christ who lives in me. But the problem was, my flesh, or the self-life, was battling the Spirit of Christ dwelling in me for control over my mind and body. The only way to hand over control to Jesus was to deny my flesh, and I realized only God could do this for me.

Through the intense suffering, Jesus slowly and graciously brought me to a point of complete surrender to Him. God enabled me to give up all my rights, to be healthy, respected, comfortable, loved, appreciated, receive good things, have a family, and have friends. I gave up all my hopes, dreams, career aspirations, goals, what I thought was best to serve God, my right to take my own life, and everything else. Then, the Holy Spirit led me to act on Romans 12:1 and offer myself as a living sacrifice to God to do with me whatever He pleased, not caring whether I lived or died. Then, I made up my mind to stop trying and understand, but instead fully trust God with everything. It was here I was challenged to whether I truly believed in the promises in the Bible or not. I knew if they were not true, I would surely die. Over the months, I wrote down many promises in the Bible that pertained to me and I meditated on a couple of them at a time all day. The three most powerful truths I hold onto are: His grace is enough for me at all times from 2 Corinthians 12:9, He uses all things for my good from Romans 8:28, and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me from Galatians 2:20. I took the promises by faith, hung my life on them, and jumped into the abyss expecting God to catch me.

After this revelation, I was still in agony, but now I had hope in God. As I desperately hung onto His promises each day, God started to slowly restore my mind and soul. The first month was very painful, but He started to breathe life into me. He started to increase my faith and gave me more hope through His promises. When I rebuked the suicidal thoughts in the name of Jesus Christ, those thoughts immediately ceased to my amazement. So, it was there I realized those suicidal thoughts were not from me, but were from the devil. I was then able to rebuke the fearful thoughts away in Jesus name. That was a crucial discovery. Over the next 3 to 4 months, God miraculously restored me. He stopped the anxiety and panic attacks, restored my sleep, freed me from all medications, and gave me peace of mind. He lovingly blessed me through this suffering. I now know and believe Jesus died on the cross not only to save me from hell, but He also came to rescue me from hell on earth by being my life. I no longer dare trust myself again, but now strive to live by faith in Jesus alone. This is the “abundant life” Jesus spoke of in John 10:10 and Jesus’ command to deny yourself, carry your cross, and follow Him in Matthew 16:24. Dying to self and letting Christ live through us is something that must be done daily until we are done with this life. This truth is not just for me, but for every child of God. If you are over-burdened right now and face a seemingly impossible situation, I tell you the truth, that burden was never meant for you to carry but for Jesus alone. So I urge you to unload your burdens onto Jesus, and take His promises in the Bible by faith. Your life is not your own for He purchased you with His blood. Your life now belongs to Jesus and He expects to live His life through you for His glory and your complete satisfaction.

You Died, So Why Worry?

You don’t need to worry. Galatians 2:20 says you died. So… you died. Dead people don’t worry. Not about their bodies, circumstances, problems, future, nothing… it’s no longer you who live, but Christ who lives in you.

You may ask: How can I make this a reality for me? If you are a child of God, it already is. It doesn’t become true because you believe, you believe because it’s true. It doesn’t matter how you feel, it’s fact: you died, and now Christ is your life. God said so.

Who is Your Husband?

After Ruth lost her husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law, she was left vulnerable, poor, and pitied; especially, in the culture she lived in at the time. She picked up leftover crops in a farm after the farmers first went through just to survive. This farm belonged to a man named Boaz. Boaz was respected, honorable, wealthy, and loving. By God’s grace, Ruth wed Boaz. After the marriage, Ruth was no longer vulnerable, poor, and pitied, instead she was now secure, wealthy, and respected. She no longer needed to beg or look for leftovers to survive, she could now simply look to her husband Boaz to meet all her needs.

In the same way, when the Holy Spirit started to dwell in us, we were wed to Jesus. We went from being vulnerable, poor, and pitied, to being the bride of Jesus, rich, and completely secure. Now imagine this: After Ruth wed Boaz, what would you think if Ruth went back out to Boaz’s field to search for leftovers so that she could eat? What if Ruth suffered from anxiety and depression because she was worried she wouldn’t collect enough food to avoid starvation for the next week? Completely ridiculous right? How would Boaz feel about that? Yet, so many of us live like this! Although we are married to Jesus, we live as though we need to fend for ourselves. We need to stop living like this, and instead look to our loving husband Jesus for all our needs! Stop trying to figure everything out. Stop worrying. Stop carrying your burdens. Trust in Jesus!

Why We Tremble

How many of us worry, tremble from anxiety, or are depressed? Let me tell you why my friend: It is the lack of child-like faith. What is child-like faith? To simply take Jesus at His word. God said that He uses everything for our good (Romans 8:28). He said His grace is always enough for us (2 Cor 12:9). Can you accept this? As a child simply believes his mom when she says she will pick him up after school, can you believe God when He makes you a promise? Not taking Jesus at His word is the chain that keeps so many in bondage. Holding onto control is the very thing fueling anxiety. God says to let go, and trust in Him instead (Prov 3:5). Do this, then you will be enabled to fear nothing in this world.

Purpose for Suffering – from Journal

[Please note: As with all other journal notes, I did write the authors down for some of the quotes because I never expected to share these with anyone]

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. – John 12:24

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. – Romans 8:29

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. – Philippians 1:29-30

For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. – 1 Peter 2:20

“God put you in that chair, Joni. I don’t know why, but if you’ll trust him instead of fighting him, you’ll find out why—if not in this life, then in the next. He let you break your neck because he loves you.” – from a Pastor that spoke to Joni Tada

For me:

God gave you insomnia. I don’t know why, but if you’ll trust Him instead of fighting Him, you’ll find out why – if not in this life, then in the next. He let you get insomnia because He loves you.

Embrace the suffering like Jesus did. And pray to God: Let Your will be done.

“God always seems bigger to those who need him the most. And suffering is the tool he uses to help us need him more.”

“Profound good in our lives often emerges in a crucible of significant suffering.”

“To this day he requires suffering of all his followers, some of it intense—but only for their good, and never equaling what he himself passed through.” – Joni Tada

Waiting on God – from Journal

“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” – Andrew Murray

“Give God the glory by resting, trusting, and waiting on Him.” – Andrew Murray

“Waiting on God pleases Him greatly because we surrender to His will and trust in Him to do everything His way and in His timing.” – Andrew Murray

From Spurgeon Sermon on YouTube: All Joy in All Trials – Minutes 32 to 34. Teaching: we get patience through these trials. We accept the trial as from God and do no complain, but calmly surrender our will to His will. This surrender does not happen all at once, but may take years of physical pain, mental depression, multiple bereavements, or disappointments to bring the soul to full submission to the will of God. After much crying the son is weened. After much chastising the child is made obedient to the Father’s will. By degrees, our quarrel with God will end and we will desire to not have two wills, but that God’s will will be our will. If our trials work to this, we are truly a gainer.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.  – Psalm 62:5

Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.  – Isaiah 50:10

Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.  – Psalm 37:3-5

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!  – Psalm 27:14

Isaiah 64:4

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. – Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2