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Awaken 2019: A Surrendered Heart

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“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” - Romans 12:1-2

Dictionary.com defines the word sacrifice as “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.” By this definition, every act of sacrifice has behind it an exchange. Whether it is a parent surrendering sleep to care for a newborn or a dieter giving up certain desserts in order to lose weight, the process of sacrifice begins with finding something better that can be gained in exchange.

In today’s verses from Romans 12, what is the bigger purpose that followers of Jesus are to sacrificially exchange their lives for as an act of worship? Answer: God’s glory. We are called to be living sacrifices in order to display the worth of God (v. 1)! John Piper describes this act of worship this way:

“Let every act of your body in living be an act of worship. That is, let every act of your living body be a demonstration that God is your treasure. Let every act of your living body show that Christ is more precious to you than anything else. Let every act of your living body be a death to all that dishonors Christ.’

Our lives are to display our devotion to the One we worship, who has set us free from sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).  This begins with a heart that is surrendered and continues as we daily offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God’s plan and purpose. Jesus expressed this reality to His disciples by saying, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). 

God desires to leverage your life for more than what you can see and what our culture sells. 2019 is another opportunity to present yourself as a living sacrifice to the Lord and allow Him to transform your life.  As this happens, it allows you to more clearly understand His good and acceptable and perfect will (v. 2).

The universal sign of surrender is waving a white flag (cloth, handkerchief) because white is color of purity and nonaggression. It communicates, I give up fighting.” Take a few moments today and make a fresh surrender of every aspect of your life to the Lord.

In conclusion, take some time to read and reflect on the following questions:

  • Do you struggle to release control of your decisions and trust God? See Proverbs 3:5-6
  • How is God leading you to leverage your time, talent, and treasure for His glory? See Acts 20:24
  • How are you allowing God to renew your mind on a daily basis? See Galatians 5:19-22

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Awaken 2019: A Desperate Heart

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” - Psalm 139:23-24

What is the impact of a spiritual awakening? Much has been written on this subject, but Del Fehsenfeld Jr., the founder of Life Action Ministries, summarized it by saying, “Revival awakens in our hearts an increased awareness of the presence of God, a new love for God, a new hatred for sin, and hunger for His Word.” A fresh encounter with God changes how we see Him and how we see ourselves.

Today’s verses from Psalm 139 give us a glimpse into the heart of a man named David in the midst of his deep longing for spiritual awakening which included a recognition of his own sinfulness. The raw honesty within these verses over personal sin provide a real-life example of a man who sought the Lord in desperation and ultimately experienced the amazing, restoring, undeserved grace of God. From the life of David, we discover several attitudes of the heart that are present when we truly long for spiritual awakening.  First, when we long for awakening, there is a willingness to be totally honest before God – “Search me”(v. 23).  Second, when we long for awakening, there is an inviting of whatever it takes to be right with God – “try me”(v. 23). Finally, when we long for awakening, there is a complete submission to the way of God – “lead me”(v. 24).

God deeply desires for us to experience victory over sin and for our lives to reflect His holiness. Moment-by-moment by His grace, He seeks to remove the impurities in our lives that grieve Him, hurt us, and hurt those around us. Because while sin can in no way change our eternal relationship with God, it can impact our daily fellowship with Him. In his book, Because We Love Him, Clyde Cranford said, 

“Our relationship with God is not in question. Through the blood of Jesus we were released from all our sins: past, present, and future, and thus enabled to have a relationship with God. Our fellowship is nevertheless hindered by unconfessed sins, which must be dealt with all along the way. Christ’s shed blood continues to cleanse us from the sins that hinder our fellowship with Him on a daily basis.”

Our sin is dark and deep, but our God is gracious and faithful. As we begin 2019, may we yearn for spiritual awakening. In true desperation, may we ask God to search us, try us, and lead us. 

In conclusion, take some time to read and reflect on the following questions: 

  • Am I being honest with God about everything in my life? See Matthew 5:8
  • Am I sensitive to that which grieves the heart of God? See Psalm 19:14
  • Am I allowing God’s Word to be the standard for my behavior? See Hebrews 4:12-13

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