Forgiven to Surrender

Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, favored by God] is he whose transgression is forgiven, And whose sin is covered.
Psalm 32:1
There are 52 weeks each year. Which means we have 52 Sundays to gather together and lift our voices in one accord to praise and magnify our glorious King. Sounds fantastic! Sounds exciting!…Until week 48… or week 33…or even week 2. If we’re not careful, it can become routine and robotic. We can become very calloused and numb to the whole thing.
That certainly is a trap for all people, but especially, I feel, for ministers–children’s ministers, music ministers, pulpit ministers, the hospitality team, etc. As we pour out each week, we must be vigilant that we are allowing God to refill us each week. And, most generally, it won’t happen on Sunday morning. We must carve out those moments during the week to sit at God’s feet and listen to Him–through His Word, through prayer, through personal worship.
We must remember that first and foremost, as believers, we are God’s children. It’s not about what we do or don’t do; it’s not about how much we give or don’t give. It’s about what He did for us and what He gave for us. I came across an article this week that reminded me of just that–before I’m anything, I’m forgiven.
When we find ourselves rundown–physically, spiritually, emotionally–we must remember and meditate on the forgiveness we have through Jesus Christ. On the cross, He finished the work. We no longer have to strive to be anything–good enough, holy enough, righteous enough, pure enough. Jesus is all of it and He freely gives it to those who come to Him, surrendered and repentant. I am refreshed by the Message version’s paraphrase of Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 11:28 – 30:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I long to continue to “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” A life lived in complete surrender to my Savior, walking with Him and looking at His beautiful face, knowing that I am His and He is mine.
When I was a child, I had a dream that has remained with me throughout every season of my life. It’s the only dream that I can remember and recall at will. It was simple, but the impact has resonated throughout my life. In my dream, I am a child, walking hand in hand with someone whose face I can’t see at first. I’m gleefully walking through the pasture, completely unaware of any cares or worries, all the while holding this person’s hand. As I walk, I look at the hand I’m holding and realize it is scarred. I begin crying; but then, I look up at this person and realize that I am walking with Jesus! I don’t see details of His face but I see love so pure that it permeated every fiber of my being. My crying turns to joy as His peace envelops me.
As I’ve grown, I’ve lost the simpleness of that moment in the dream. I complicated the relationship and fellowship with my Redeemer. I made it about “doing” and not about “being.” Thankfully, Holy Spirit has brought me moments of clarity and drawn me back to that moment, back to that peace and love. To live in that place of quietness, I think, is the destination for all of God’s children. Quietness isn’t idleness; it’s a full assurance, reliance, and trust that God is good and that it was His love for us that held Him to the cross so that we could be called “FORIGIVEN”.

I’m Listening To…
This Week’s New Song: Forgiven by Edmond Martin Cash, David Crowder

I’m the one who held the nail; it was cold between my fingertips.
I’ve hidden in the garden; I’ve denied You with my very lips.
God, I fall down to my knees with a hammer in my hand;
You look at me, arms open.
“Forgiven, forgiven, child there is freedom from all of it.
Say goodbye to every sin. You are forgiven.”
I’ve done things I wish I hadn’t done. I’ve seen things I wish I hadn’t seen.
Just the thought of Your amazing grace and I cry ”Jesus, forgive me!”
I could’ve been six feet under; I could’ve been lost forever.
Yeah, I should be in that fire, but now there’s fire inside of me.
Here I am a dead man walking; no grave gonna hold God’s people!
All the weight of all our evil, lifted away, forever free!
Who could believe, who could believe?
Forgiven, forgiven, You love me even when I don’t deserve it.
Forgiven, I’m forgiven; Jesus, Your blood makes me innocent.
So I will say goodbye to every sin; I am forgiven! I am forgiven!

This Week’s Hymn: I Surrender All by Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter, Winfield Scott Weeden

1. All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him, in His Presence daily live.
2. All to Jesus I surrender, humbly at His feet I bow;
Worldly pleasures all forsaken, take me, Jesus, take me now.
Chorus: I surrender all, I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.
3. All to Jesus I surrender, make me, Savior, wholly Thine,
Let me feel the Holy Spirit, truly know that Thou are mine.
4. All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give my self to Thee.
Fill me with Thy love and power, let Thy blessing fall on me.
5. All to Jesus, I surrender, now I feel the sacred flame;
O the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory to Your Name!

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