Sweet Surrender - An Act of Submission

Sweet, sweet surrender. It’s an action that occurs when we give everything we have to God. How many times have we gone through the motions of surrendering to God at the altar, just for Monday to come and hit us right back in the face again. The following week we find ourselves, on our face, crying out to God how we messed up and ask for salvation once again.

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It becomes this repetitive cycle that seems never ending. Somehow, we think that asking for salvation each week is what keeps us off that thin line and falling over to the other side of the fence.

It’s not guilt that drives us to follow Him, it’s our love as we grow in relationship with Him. It’s diving into the word and learning who our Savior is. It’s spending each day praying and communicating with Him. It’s being a part of community and being around others that share our values in faith.

As our faith grows we begin to see old things fall away. They can’t remain in your life as the Holy Spirit grows within you. Things that once made you trip easily begin to fade into non-existence.

We no longer have to wrestle our past, our thoughts, and our desires. Just like Jacob, we let go and let God.

In Genesis 32: 24 it says, “So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.”

At times that how life feels. We continually wrestle with everything until we tell God, “Take it all.” We hold there until God does take it all and as we let go, God’s blessings begin to pour out.

This week read and meditate on Genesis 32. Take your moment and wrestle it out with God.

Be blessed,

Pastor Mark and the Devotional Team



Sweet Surrender

VERSE 1

Here I've fallen once again

An ember still alive within

I will wait on bended knee

For You to move the dead in me

CHORUS

Surrender

Sweet surrender

I cede all of me

In sweet surrender

VERSE 2

I trade it all to know your grace

Lord guide my steps within your ways

I place my tears into your hands

And in Your time to understand

BRIDGE 1

I'm letting go

I can't do this on my own

BRIDGE 2(x2)

I'm letting go

Where I am weak you make me strong

I'm letting go

In sweet surrender

Copyright 2018 @29:11worship

Roses - The Cross

Matthew 20:28 states, “For even the Son of Man did not come expecting to be served by everyone, but to serve everyone, and to give his life in exchange for the salvation of many.”

Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us that day on the cross. He gave a blood atonement to wash of our sins and create a way for us to have direct communication to God. No longer would we have to bring a blood sacrifice to communicate with our heavenly father.  Jesus did this to restore what had been done in the Garden of Eden.

Through communion we remember this sacrifice. It creates another level of worship and intimacy with Jesus. Instead of an animal sacrifice, we are able to sacrifice sins in our life that keep us from the highest level of intimacy with Him.

In the song Roses, featured in all of our weekend Experiences, we are introduced to exactly how much Jesus loved us when he died for us. It wasn’t about Him at all or the fact that he was about to be tortured, but it was his ultimate love for us that made him bear the weight of all our sins so that we could live our lives in absolute freedom. Take a look at the first verse in the song.

As crimson as the petals on a rose

 So was the love poured out for me

The price that set me free

And as scarlet as the blood

That soaked those beams

 So is your love for me

A rose is by far the most intimate flower that you can give someone. It professes that you love that person more far than you love yourself. So is the same of what Jesus did for us. His blood pouring out professes the same kind of intimate love. Once he was pierced, his blood washed away any stain that made us stay in bondage to sin and death. Jesus paid it all. Let that thought carry with you through this week. Death and sin are no more when our lives our sacrificed at the feet of the cross. We are able to walk with heads held high and chains of bondage broke over our lives.

This week have your own personal communion with Jesus. Take time to read about Jesus death and victory. Let it soothe your heart. Also take time to pray that if there is anything in your life that keeps you distant and experience full intimacy with God that you may lie down at the feet of Jesus.

Be Encouraged…

Pastor Mark and the Devo Team

Struggle...

Often there are times that we don’t want to share what’s going on in our lives. We’d rather bottle up those feelings and thoughts then share them with anyone. Maybe shame holds us back or we think that no one will understand what you are going through.

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One of the key things in getting through our struggles is to surround ourselves with friends. Not just any friends, but friends who will lift you up in prayer and encourage you. The positives one who will stand by your side and fight the battle in the trenches with you.


Proverbs 27:9 says, “Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.”


It’s so true! Good friends are just soothing to the soul. They are a true reflection of how your relationship with Jesus is. If you find yourself amongst people who tear you down and are toxic, it’s time to surround yourself with a different crowd.

Prayer:
God, today I want to make the choice to let people in my life who truly reflect the love of God. Friends who will be by my side and lift me up on each side when I am weak. I want people who will speak life into me. Jesus if there’s something in my life that holds me back from having a
true friendship to you, reveal that to me. I offer my repentance to you.

In your name,
Amen

Campfire Series Week #5

We Can't Escape Him...

“Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind. You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.

You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With your hand of love upon my life, you impart a blessing to me. This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength. Where could I go from your Spirit? Where could I run and hide from your face? If I go up to heaven, you’re there! If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too! If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there! If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting! Wherever I go, your hand will guide me; your strength will empower me. It’s impossible to disappear from you or to ask the darkness to hide me, for your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night. There is no such thing as darkness with you. The night, to you, is as bright as the day; there’s no difference between the two. You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord! You even formed every bone in my body when you created me in the secret place, carefully, skillfully shaping me from nothing to something. You saw who you created me to be before I became me! Before I’d ever seen the light of day, the number of days you planned for me were already recorded in your book. Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O God, your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore! When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.

O God, come and slay these bloodthirsty, murderous men! For I cry out, “Depart from me, you wicked ones!” See how they blaspheme your sacred name and lift up themselves against you, but all in vain! Lord, can’t you see how I despise those who despise you? For I grieve when I see them rise up against you. I have nothing but complete hatred and disgust for them. Your enemies shall be my enemies! God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways— the path that brings me back to you.”  Psalms 139:1-24 TPT

    Sin can be an eternal entrapment. It leads us down a dark road, beckoning to us. With sly words it whispers how your life will be better. “Just one taste,” it says, “and you’ll have eternal pleasure.” As darkness overtakes us we begin to feel the trap that was just set. It’s like being trapped in your own body. As you are lured further in, you look out from lost eyes and see what you once were. 

    Even through this, God’s love is there. We cower and hide thinking that He will never know the plague that has hit us; but really God sees it all. He sees you lost and hurting, wondering why you don’t come to Him. But, once again, sins lies tell us that God is harsh and judgmental. He really can’t see what you are doing, but the reality is, God knows every intricate detail that makes you uniquely you. 

    As you sift through the web of your heart, what holds you back from an intimate relationship with God? Is it feeling naked and afraid; caught in entrapment just like Adam and Eve felt? Is it feeling like you are too far gone? Is it thinking that once you accept Jesus, you’ll have a bunch of rules to follow?

    None of the above is true. Psalm 139 lays it out perfectly for us. It shows who our God really is and His true intentions for us. He is not a vicious all-mighty being who wants to see your destruction; instead He is a loving creator who desires holiness and intimacy with you. Once sin tastes holiness it has to flee! It can longer hide inside you and you can no longer hide from God. It will propel you to break down the barrier that stops you from relationship with God.

    As you read the Psalm this week, take in account how God knows your every breath, every step, and every word. It is not meant to scare you, but entice you into a deeper relationship with Him. Search the darkest parts of your soul and heart and let God’s light and holiness clean out the junk the weighs you down. 

    God loves you, and every little quirk and smile that makes you who you are. Let Him show you this week what true friendship can look like. 

    Be Encouraged…

    Pastor Mark and the Devotional Team!

 

Make a campfire moment between you and your heavenly Father this week…

Campfire Series Week #4

David's Freedom Is Our Freedom

"Lord, I have been a sinner from birth, from the moment my mother conceived me. I know that you delight to set your truth deep in my spirit. So come into the hidden places of my heart and teach me wisdom. Purify my conscience! Make this leper clean again! Wash me in your love until I am pure in heart. Satisfy me in your sweetness, and my song of joy will return. The places within me you have crushed will rejoice in your healing touch. Hide my sins from your face; erase all my guilt by your saving grace. Create a new, clean heart within me. Fill me with pure thoughts and holy desires, ready to please you. May you never reject me! May you never take from me your sacred Spirit! Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough you bring to me. Hold me close to you with a willing spirit that obeys whatever you say. Then I can show to other guilty ones how loving and merciful you are. They will find their way back home to you, knowing that you will forgive them. O God, my saving God, deliver me fully from every sin, even the sin that brought bloodguilt. Then my heart will once again be thrilled to sing the passionate songs of joy and deliverance! Lord God, unlock my heart, unlock my lips, and I will overcome with my joyous praise! For the source of your pleasure is not in my performance or the sacrifices I might offer to you. The fountain of your pleasure is found in the sacrifice of my shattered heart before you. You will not despise my tenderness as I humbly bow down at your feet. Because you favor Zion, do what is good for her. Be the protecting wall around Jerusalem. And when we are fully restored, you will rejoice and take delight in every offering of our lives as we bring our sacrifices of righteousness before you in love!” Psalms 51:1-19 TPT

Have you felt like you have sinned so much that the weight of it creates shame before God? In Samuel 2:12, we see David’s sins come full force by way of the prophet Nathan. Pretty much, Nathan calls out David’s sin. David thought he’d be clever enough and hide his affair with Bathsheba by killing her husband Uriah. In that moment, there’s so much more David could have done; he was faced with choices. Instead of just giving his heart to God and asking for forgiveness, he allowed shame to overtake him and take a human life. So, God took David’s son that was born in sin between him and Bathesheba. David, in his lowest moment cried out to God. He didn’t get bitter, he didn’t blame God. He took everything that had been done and allowed his creator to clean and refresh his heart. 

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The beauty of David’s story is that he wasn’t too far gone from God’s sight. God from the very beginning saw David’s heart. God could have intervened, but like any good parent, He allowed him to make his own choices; whether they be good or bad. No matter the choices we make, God’s arms are always reaching out to us when we are ready to return to Him.

That’s what baptism is for us; a fresh start from bondage. This weekend, we saw individuals from all walks of life come and commit their lives new and fresh for God. It’s easy to allow sin to take root in our life and it becomes our master; chaining us down to the point we feel like will never get back up again. It’s even easy sometimes to say that there are only major sins; that the little things don’t matter. In reality, sin is sin. There is no major one sin over the other. When we think about something and it plants itself in our heart and minds and it ultimately separates us from God; it’s called sin. We can cover it up and get religious about our decisions, but really, in the end all that matters are where our hearts lie before God. We can either choose a life of sin and rules that will constantly make us mess up. Because let’s face facts, we are human. There’s no list we can create or rules we make for ourselves that will ever be good enough. We will always fail. And failure creates shame. And shame pushes us away from God’s heart. Instead, we can confess our sins to God. From our confession comes total surrender. From surrender comes being washed clean of our old lives through baptism, and coming up a new creation. That’s when we begin to walk out our new lives with Jesus as our lead. When He’s first in our life, and we give the time to build a relationship with Him, we see the small changes He’s making in us that shows an outward appearance that others begin to notice.

The chains of slavery to sin are gone and broken! Our freedom creates ultimate joy that’s hard to contain.

What are your stumbling blocks? What sin tries to trick you into shame and bondage? This week read David’s story in Samuel 2: 12 as well as Psalm 51. Let God show you what freedom looks like. You are FREE in Jesus name!

Be Encouraged. 

Pastor Mark and the Devotional Team

Campfire Series Week #3

Deep Calls to Deep-

#2911Church Campfire Series

We spend our lives making and building friendships. As our friendships grow, so does our trust in people. It’s a great feeling to know that when we go through something hard, we can call someone up and they will be right by our side. But, sometimes we go through a hard time, and those friendships we have come to rely on falter; we may even feel like we have been abandoned by those closest to us. Trust falls to the wayside and we wonder where everyone is. These feelings sometimes get projected at God as well; maybe even feeling like God is no longer there.

David too, felt rejection from those he held close to his heart. In a troubled time, all those he called friends and family left his side, leaving him to deal with his problems on his own. His heart was downcast and his soul was heavy. It was from this dark place that he sat down and wrote Psalm 42. 

It is in these dark, quiet moments that our heart reaches out to the very depth of God’s heart. What David writes in the beginning beats true for all of us when we are in a troubled spot—

“I long to drink of you, O God, drinking deeply from the streams of pleasure flowing from your presence. My longings overwhelm me for more of you! My soul thirsts, pants, and longs for the living God. I want to come and see the face of God.”

I can see David over the campfire, tears pouring down his face. Instead of being bitter, David states how much he wants MORE of God. His only heart’s desire in that moment is to see God’s face and feel HIS presence. 

When humanity fails us, God is there to step in and show us that all we need is him. Sometimes we go through seasons in our friendships so that God can show us that he is the friend that will always be by our side and never let us down. He’s the one that can heal our brokenness and sadness and make us complete in Him.

If you are going through a dry season, a season of heartache, or a season where your friendships aren’t where they used to be, take this week and find a quiet moment by your campfire. Allow God to open that wound that is hurting and begin to heal it. Let God show you how vast His love for you is. As you draw upon Him and build relationship with Him, he in turn will heal your earthly friendships, fill you up to the brim with his spirit, and make your heart whole. 

Be Encouraged…

Pastor Mark and the Devotional team

Campfire Series Week #2

Rest In Me...

Psalm 23

“The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.          

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I always have more than enough. 

He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. 

His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss. 

That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name. 

Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! 

You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. 

Your authority is my strength and my peace. 

The comfort of your love takes away my fear. 

I’ll never be lonely, for you are near. 

You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight. 

You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit; you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows. 

So why would I fear the future? For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life.

Then afterward, when my life is through, I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!”

Psalms 23:1-6 TPT

How many would raise their hands and say life is messy, difficult, and can you leave you feeling weary? When we accepted Jesus into our lives, maybe we thought that He would snap his fingers and instantly our lives would clear up, our problems would disappear, and our path would be laid out clear and blue.

We know that it doesn’t quite work out like that. When we accept Jesus into our lives, problems don’t go away and life doesn’t get any less messy, instead, we learn to navigate with Jesus at the helm. I think it’s safe to say we all go through seasons of trusting in Jesus. Many times, we find ourselves searching our hearts; wondering if what we are doing is correct. Reflecting helps us to rely on Jesus.

We know that David was a shepherd. He spent many days and nights in the fields watching over them. I can imagine this being a time that David really had great one-on-one talks with God and found the perfect opportunity to find rest in Him. God seems to really have positioned David to being a watch over the flock because one day he would be stepping into his kingly role and have his own flock. More importantly, it solidified his heart to become one with the true king. David needed these moments to learn how to lean on God, allow Him to lead his life, and set up his heart to know that even in sin, God would still be there.

So powerful!

We are the sheep grazing in the field, and God is our shepherd. When we stray he’s there to lead us back. When our hearts are full of worry and fear, he’s there with his rod to guide to his arms, and when life is so messy, he whispers rest in me.

A challenge for this week is to ask God where you are at in relationship with Him. What do you need to put aside so that you and Him can grow closer together? Psalms 23 is a great guide to use as a period of reflection. Use these times in the field to rest in the pastures. Take a moment to lie down in the grass and close your eyes. Let God take all the burdens of your heart and show you his love and grace.

Be Encouraged…

Pastor Mark and the Devotional team

Campfire Series Week #1

2911 Campfire

A Cry for Help.  For the Pure and Shining One A song of praising, by King David

“Here’s my life motto, the truth I live by: I will guard my ways for all my days. I will speak only what is right, guarding what I speak. Like a watchman guards against an attack of the enemy, I’ll guard and muzzle my mouth when the wicked are around me. I will remain silent and will not grumble or speak out of my disappointment. But the longer I’m silent the more my pain grows worse!

My heart burned with a fire within me, and my thoughts eventually boiled over until they finally came rolling out of my mouth. “Lord, help me to know how fleeting my time on earth is. Help me to know how limited is my life and that I’m only here but for a moment more.

What a brief time you’ve given me to live! Compared to you my lifetime is nothing at all! Nothing more than a puff of air, I’m gone so swiftly. So too are the grandest of men; they are nothing but a fleeting shadow!” Pause in his presence We live our lives like those living in shadows. All our activities and energies are spent for things that pass away. We gather, we hoard, we cling to our things, only to leave them all behind for who knows who. And now, God, I’m left with one conclusion: my only hope is to hope in you alone! Save me from being overpowered by my sin; don’t make me a disgrace before the degenerate. Lord, I’m left speechless and I have no excuse, so I’ll not complain any longer. Now I know you’re the one who is behind it all. But I can’t take it much longer. Spare me these blows from your discipline-rod. For if you are against me, I will waste away to nothing. No one endures when you rebuke and discipline us for our sins. Like a cobweb is swept away with a wave of the hand, you sweep away all that we once called dear. How fleeting and frail our lives! We’re nothing more than a puff of air. Pause in his presence Lord, listen to all my tender cries. Read my every tear, like liquid words that plead for your help. I feel all alone at times, like a stranger to you, passing through this life just like all those before me. Don’t let me die without restoring joy and gladness to my soul. May your frown over my failure become a smile over my success.”

Psalms 39:1-13 TPT

Such a good word David writes while in the wilderness. In this series we get an intimate touch of the struggle of David and him laying a foundation down that really builds his character for him to be the leader and king we will read about one day.

I can just see David, keeping warm by a fire and looking up into the vast night sky while stars shine bright like diamonds above his head. I imagine it was in these moments that he really becomes intimate with his creator and his passion for him is fueled. David is the only one who is noted in scripture as to ‘a man after God’s own heart.

Jut like David, God wants us to have a heart that is fueled with passion for him. God burned with a passion to want to know us that he gave all that he had; his only son. He wants us to all that we have and surrender to him. Do you need to get up earlier in the day or stay up later in the night? Maybe putting our phones and computers down and unplugging from social media for a time will help in us knowing God at a more intimate level. 

David also watched the words that he spoke out. It would have been easy for him to speak out against Saul and be angry with him. He could have also taken words that were hurled at him and walked with those words above his head and walked out the negative. Instead, he chose to watch what he said. If he spoke out, he would surrender it to God, allowing Him to transform his heart.

Just like David, words we speak bring death or life. What words do you speak over yourself, spouse, children, friends, and family? 

Who holds the power of words over your life? As we walk in our journey with God, we will have many people speak death over us. It is up to us to take those words and surrender them over to God. He will transform them into something beautiful and wonderful. 

The only thing that matters is that God’s voice trumps all! Man has no power over you!

This week, take time to pause and allow God to speak over you. Read Psalm 39 and break it down verse-by-verse. It is there that we find the intimate place of God’s own heart.

Be Encouraged…

Pastor Mark and the Devotional team