Unconditional Surrender

Good morning. Today is Tuesday, October 23, 2012. Or, as it shall now be called, “Post-Monday.” Today is “TV Talk Show Host Day.” I don’t know when the last time I watched one of those. I remember my mother watching Mike Douglas every afternoon. And I think my parents watched Johnny Carson at night, sometimes. I used to watch “Talk Soup.” Does that count.

On this date in 42BC, Mark Antony and Octavian defeated Brutus’s army in the Second Battle of Philippi. Brutus committed suicide.
On this date in 1707, the first Parliament of Great Britain met.
On this date in 1915, thousand of women marched on Fifth Avenue in New York City, to advocate their right to vote.
On this date in 1935, Dutch Schultz, Abe Landau, Otto Berman, and Bernard “Lulu” Rosencrantz were killed in a New Jersey saloon. This became known as “The Chophouse Massacre.”
On this date in 1973, Richard Nixon agreed to turn over subpoenaed audio tapes of his Oval Office conversations.
On this date in 1976, Chicago had their first #1 hit with “If You Leave Me Now.”

On this date in 1993, Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays lived every kid’s dream by hitting a World Series home run in the ninth inning, to beat the Philadelphia Phillies.
On this date in 2001, Apple revealed the iPod. Really? It’s only 11 years old? Huh.

Today’s birthdays include Isabella of Portugal, queen of Spain, 1503, Adlai Stevenson I, 1835, John Heisman (the “Heisman trophy” Heisman), 1869, Gummo Marx, 1893, Johnny Carson (hence the day being “TV Talk Show Host Day”), 1925, Juan “Chi-Chi” Rodriguez, golfer, 1935, Pele, 1940, Michael Crichton, 1942, “Weird Al” Yankovic, 1959, Sam Raimi, 1959, Doug Flutie, 1962, Robert Trujillo (Metallica bassist), 1964, Ryan Reynolds and Cat Deeley, 1976.

Christi had her doctor’s visit yesterday afternoon. The doctor, now, doesn’t think that the pain is back-related. They are scheduling an EMG (I haven’t heard of that one) to test certain nerves in her leg. I’m not sure what comes after that, but at least they aren’t giving up. He only does those on Fridays, and the next available appointment is November 9.

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, who pretty much embarrassed the Cardinals in the last two games of the NLCS this week. Marco Scutaro was the NLCS MVP. That made me happy, since he used to play short stop for the Red Sox. Currently, the Sox have no short stop. They keep trading them away. They’ve struggled with that position ever since they traded Nomar Garci…Garcia…you know. That guy. It’s the “Curse of the Nomah!” Anyway…beginning tomorrow, I will be cheering for the Detroit Tigers. Because I’m an AL kind of guy. I never root for the NL unless they’re playing the Evil Empire.

Father, I pray for a glimpse of you this morning. The slightest glimpse of your glory would get me through this day. Reveal yourself to me today, please.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 124. This is another “Song of Ascents.”

1 A Song of Ascents. Of David. If it had not been the LORD who was on our side— let Israel now say—
2 if it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us,
3 then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us;
4 then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us;
5 then over us would have gone the raging waters.
6 Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth!
7 We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!
8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

I believe caution should always be used when making statements such as “God is on our side.” Of course, Israel had a right to say that. We, on the other hand, as a nation, do not. I’m a firm believer that God is not on any nation’s side. God is on God’s side. And he will take care of his children. But God is not American, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Communist, Socialist, or any of those things. It would behoove us to remember that. We do, nevertheless, have the comfort of verse 8. Our help truly is “in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” We should never forget that.

The reading for today in My Utmost For His Highest is called “Not a Bit of It!” The scripture verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. This is a popular memory verse. Chambers makes this opening statement in today’s reading: “Our Lord never nurses our prejudices, He mortifies them, runs clean athwart them.” We imagine that God will treat us differently than he treats others, that our particular prejudices are okay. This is where the title of the reading comes into play. “Not a bit of it!” This is a particular point where God is most definitely NOT “on our side!” He will deliberately wipe out our prejudices, if we are truly seeking to follow him. “God pays no respect to anything we bring to Him.” Hear this! We have nothing of any value to bring to God! “There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.”

The moment we are born again, the moment we get saved, the Holy Spirit begins this work in our lives, the work stated in 2 Corinthians 5:17. Eventually, there will come a time when there will be nothing left of my old self; all those attitudes and prejudices that I used to have…they will all be gone. All that will be left will be that which is of God. Here’s a good question. “How are we going to get the life that has no lust, no self-interest, no sensitiveness to pokes, the love that is not provoked, that thinketh no evil, that is always kind?” Only be allowing none of it to be left; only allowing that simple trust in God, that no longer wants God’s blessings, but rather only wants God himself! Have I gotten to a place where God could withdraw his blessings and it would not affect my trust in him? I’m probably not there yet. Yeah, I gave myself too much credit by saying “probably.” No, I’m not there. But I believe I’m growing and getting closer. I know that there used to be prejudices that are gone now, and I praise him for that.

Father, you are holy and righteous. You are Almighty God, El Shaddai. You are YHWH, God above all Gods, and you alone are worthy of our praise. I lift you up and praise you. I give you thanks for working in my life so much, especially in the past year. I can see walls being knocked down, prejudices being destroyed; I give you praise. My desire is that the life of Christ be lived in me and be visible in me as I decrease and he increases. Bring me to that place of unconditional surrender to you. May your Holy Spirit continue to make me new and chisel away at the old. I would be free from all hindrances to serving and worshiping you. Bring me to the place where, if you were to remove all of your blessings from my life, I would still praise you and trust you without hesitation.

I pray for this day. I continue to pray for Christi’s healing. I thank you that they now believe that the problem is not in her back. That’s good news. I pray, though, that they will be able to figure out what it is. But I still pray that you would touch her with your healing hand and completely remove the pain. I pray that she will have a good day at work, free from stress. Surround her with your Spirit and absorb or reflect any stress that comes her way. Give her wisdom and knowledge as she does her work today. I pray that my day will be smooth as well, with no issues hindering our performance today. Give me a productive day, that I might get things accomplished that need to be completed. I also pray for Stephanie today, that you would draw her heart close to you today, and bless her life. Give her some purpose in her life.

I pray for Justin today, as he has a mid-term exam. Bring all the knowledge to his memory, that he needs to have for this test, that he might do excellently on it. I also pray for Rachel, for any challenge that she might have today, that you would give her the ability to meet the challenge and overcome it.

Your grace is sufficient.

What a challenge it is, to get to a place where all we want is God, himself. May we all reach that place of unconditional surrender.

Grace and peace, friends.


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