A Symphony of Surrender

He walked onto the stage, bowed, stepped up on the podium, tapped the stand and raised his baton… they were ready; all eyes were looking up to him. The conductor had their attention.

This is a beautiful description of a life surrendered to God, our Chief Conductor. Do you know that He is ready and waiting? For some, it’s performance season–you’re ready to go, it’s what you’ve been in training for; for others it’s waiting, allowing others to catch up, but all are practicing for the grand finale. Through various circumstances (James 1:2-4) [1], He is fitting you to play your part in the Symphony He is conducting.

Consonance is used in music to describe accord or agreement; a harmony of sounds. Wikipedia says, “Consonance is associated with sweetness, pleasantness, and acceptability; dissonance is associated with harshness, unpleasantness, or unacceptability.”

SadFive years ago marked a turning point in my life; my symphony of dissonance was revealed. My emotional world was falling apart, I was desperate and needed help; I ended up temporarily separating from those I loved most to find it. I couldn’t see it then but it was the beginning of something good; it began my difficult journey from there to where I am today. It has involved great loss, pain, and grief of soul; I did not know it was possible for a human being to experience this, and still live. Yes, I had been through various types of suffering prior to this point; much of it physical pain in my body. But the greater pain was the inner pain of my heart, aware that something was wrong, and yet I did not understand how to make it right. Thankfully, our Good Father brought me through it by teaching me, humbling me, and showing me what to do. Now, I am making joyous music for Him.

Perhaps you feel like the suffering you are experiencing right now is overwhelming, David felt that way. When we read Psalm 143 we see in verse 4 he says, “Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.” Like David we need God’s guidance and help, we must cry out to Our Father (Matthew 6:9-13). This is where God meets us; especially in our distress.

Throughout my journey, I would have to say that without the tests, trials, and temptations (James 1:2-15) I’d have very little to offer to anyone who is suffering in this deep interior way. By God’s grace and merciful love to me, He has truly taken the ashes of my past and turned them into beauty. Only our God can do that. He has taken the pretty-woman-1509956__480parched places and made them into streams of living water. There is no way to fully thank God for the riches of His goodness to me; I’m grateful and desire to live harmoniously with Him. Romans 5:3-5 says, More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (ESV).

DESIRE
The first step in becoming a member of God’s Orchestra is developing a desire to become a part of what He is doing. He is pulling together a people that are making a lovely symphony of music for Him; yes there are squeakers among us, and loud basses playing at the wrong time perhaps, but the Conductor has a way of shaping us into something beautiful. Joining up involves learning from the Great Master and being willing to surrender to His leading.

PRACTICE
We’ve all heard the old adage: Practice makes perfect. Realizing that we will never be perfect this side of Heaven, we only need to practice becoming like the One who is perfect — Jesus the Christ, our Messiah, and Savior. Being in-tune, a ready player in God’s orchestra requires that we prepare ourselves for the lifting of His baton.
I found this excellent example of how the Holy Spirit works in us when we are prepared: “All musicians in an orchestra must be proficient with their individual parts, but a conductor of an orchestra has to learn entire scores because he or she functions as a musical traffic director, cueing musicians so they enter or leave the musical highway at the right time.”[2] In many ways this is how God uses our lives as we are surrendered to Him. It is so rewarding to live under His direction, guiding, leading and anointing, in whatever He has orchestrated.

DETERMINATION
orchestra-2098877__480Have you been to a symphony recently? I recall a fun school outing with our four children in Lake Placid to see the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra perform. It was a “School Performance” and we met up with some fellow homeschooling friends to attend and have a picnic. I was so impressed with the skill and excellence with which they performed; united as one, in purpose and determination.

Our level of determination, undergirded by our willing surrender to the Conductor, reveals our level of participation. People are looking for consonance, they want to know that there are people representing God who are united and in harmony with one another. Our determination in this task is a key factor as to whether we will be authentic ambassadors for our King.

We will face tests along the way. In the Bible, we are warned and encouraged to endure through many trials (1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV). [3] We are reminded that this life WILL involve suffering. Jesus told us, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV).

LOOK UP
sky-2667455__480Do not lose heart. Look up to the Master Conductor, He will guide and direct you. As stated earlier, He will give you direction onto and off the highway at the right time. How you ask? By knowing the score and the script found in the Bible. When we have desired, practiced and determined to live by God’s Words we have placed ourselves in a position to look up and have His nod, His eyes looking at us, letting us know whether to go ahead or wait. What a treasure we have in being a part of His Symphony!

[1] 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 (ESV)

[2] Leading the Orchestra> Learning Specific Scores https://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-a-conductor-of-an-orchestra-actually-do.htm

[3] Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. I Peter 4:12-13 (ESV)
Photo Credit: Pixabay

I Am Drawn to HOPE!

Hope Betinia

I am drawn naturally to where hope is found,
This is how I am made for life to abound.
I know that if Christ is my treasure in store,
He’ll fill my desires and I’ll need no more.

Sometimes though we are moved with pain,
And the brighter sky seems filled with rain.
How can I find this hope that I seek,
When my heart seeks answers in the worldly and weak.

When the weight of despair outweighs the rest,
My balance is off I’m overwhelmed by the tests.
The way of God’s Word seems too much to bear,
Am I drawn to an artificial answer in prayer?

Can running away to escape for relief,
Be the real answer to my deep time of grief?
But alas the Spirit does come to my aid,
And offer real hope in the midst of charade.

I’ve come to conclusion God’s way is the best,
If my hope is in Christ He will give me rest.
The assault that I feel will give way to peace,
While circumstance remains my unrest can cease.

So while there’s brief comfort in worldly relief,
I must fix my mind on a true heart of belief.
That my Heavenly Father provides me His love,
And as I’m drawn to Him then hope will come.

~ By Nancy Demary

Photo Credit: Demary

Broken

It felt like my life was laying before me in a thousand pieces…” my friend said, as she recounted what she experienced when she realized she needed God to put it all together again. A poignant picture of the old English nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty. Do you remember it?

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, Couldn’t put humpty-dumpty-3109758__480Humpty together again. That’s right, no human can put us back together. When we come to broken places in our life, only God, our creative designer, can recreate us. If we fail to recognize God, we’ll go around the bend again, and we will have picked up additional substitutions (heart idols) along the away. Eventually, adding all this together, the fall later becomes greater.

Sin has its way of marring the image of God in His creation. We all take on the wear of life and there are reset places along the way that God uses to align us once again with Himself. Not because He is cruel, rather because of His love and mercy He uses our broken places to bring opportunity for wholeness.

I have seen in my life, place where I allowed relationships with other people to come ahead of God. This is a common form of idolatry that is not always easy to recognize. Our Father designed and created us to fellowship with Him first, then with others in order to create wholesome bonds. Relationship with our Creator is what life is all about;  it is through our brokenness that we have another opportunity to recognize our need of relating to God.

But how do I relate to a Holy God? He seems so far off and impersonal, even scary sometimes. This was not always been man’s feelings toward God. When God created Adam and Eve they walked in free and open fellowship with the Father. There was no fear, shame, guilt; nothing was between them. But then sin entered (Genesis 3) and their relationship changed.

We are all born under this curse of sin and so we start life out in a strained, separated condition. Once we are old enough to recognize this, we have some choices to make. The Holy Spirit reveals this separation in a variety of ways. That is why it is so important to share the love of God with children so when they realize their sinful propensity, they can find their way to a loving Savior who can bring relief and a lifting from the burden of sin. Jesus makes it possible for us to choose to bloom-1839679__4801.jpgenter into relationship with our Father through a new birth experience. He talked to Nicodemus about this exchanged life in John Chapter 3. If you’ve not experienced this yet, read there and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal this to you. Jesus took the sins of the world upon Himself so that we could have relationship with God.

Back to the broken pieces; Have you had a major experience of breaking occur in your life? Some of us have had it happen several times, and in various ways. How have you responded? Are you able to see the purpose of God in it or are you angry with Him, still not understanding His love to you.

I have a book by Dwight Carlson, M.D. called, Overcoming Hurts and Anger. In it, he36957944_1841004916207962_5238200431267545088_n describes the destructive results of unresolved anger in a person. He mentions so many effects, that it makes you want to really examine your heart to be sure you are totally free of any hidden anger. He explains that sometimes people have become so good at denying or suppressing anger they don’t even realize it’s there until the lid blows! It was April of 2014 that my lid blew. A series of events led up to it and wow! it was devastating. It was the beginning of my road to getting help to change some proud, and self-protective patterns in my life.

I spent several months alone, living with various friends who were willing to help me through this awful season of change, grief and loss. At one point I was living at a couple’s summer place, an RV near Lake Champlain. What for some would have been a wonderful summer retreat, was for me a time of deep soul searching. So painful, I despaired of life. I remember the dark, oppressive, thoughts that I battled there day-after-day. I was alone, and determined to allow God to remake me through this devastating time; I was hungry.

This event revealed the very broken person I had become. It took a lot of work and restructuring, lots of love and care by friends and counselors, to remake me into daisy-1403041__480someone who could really receive God’s love and begin to love the way He does. So now, after much surrender and remaking, I can look back and say, “Thank you Lord, for everything.” All the pain, rejection, sorrow and heartache was worth it. He took a vessel that was completely broken and continued to make me into someone that He can now use fully for His purposes.

Be encouraged that no matter what is happening in your life right now, God is at work. You may feel very alone, but if you will turn to Him, receive counsel and care, you will find a path leading to freedom and hope. My life now abounds in hope as Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”pexels-photo-712413.jpg

Perhaps you have tried to read His Word and nothing makes sense. You may need to humble yourself and allow someone to help you. Become vulnerable and see how beautifully God meets you there. He will take your broken pieces and put them together in a way that you never imagined He could. But you must acknowledge that you are broken before He can put you back together again.

Photo Credit: Pixabay, Pexels

Finish Well

Fear is what kept me from jumping out of the airplane that day. They call it free-fall — jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, pulling the rip cord at the right time, relaxing and falling, rather floating, to the ground. There were several candidates signing up for the early morning class and afternoon jump. My friend asked me once more, “Are you sure you don’t want to do it?”  I was sure. “No, thanks, it’s kind of you to offer but it’s not for me,” I said.

When we are in free-fall with God, we step out in faith based upon God’s Word, and simply trust our Heavenly Father – daily, hourly, minute-by-minute sometimes, knowing that He will carry us in His everlasting arms. Picture the God of Heaven and Earth, our Father who created everything, with His Hands underneath, often just a few feet below ready to keep us from destruction. It’s like the new toddler going around the room with coaxing parents wanting the child to launch out on a few stepspeople-2603224__480.jpg without assistance; and they are there to catch them when they wobble. God knows when we need to wobble, and be reminded that He is there.

Fear

Fear kept me from jumping; learning to trust is a process. Fear is often normal and a natural part of stepping into a new area we are looking to explore. God gave us the ability to fear those things we should, but He also desires for us to trust Him in the areas He says we should.

The Word of God calls us “little children”[1] for a reason. This faith walk requires a transfer from what we have known and trusted in for most of our lives, to adjust to the new walk that requires trusting in Him alone at times. That’s big and takes time to retrain our minds and hearts to this; but as we practice trusting, we learn that He is faithful to us.

In order to be relieved of the fear of the unknown, to free-fall into His arms, we must rely upon His Word to teach us who He is.

Faith

The Bible says that faith comes to us through hearing/reading the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). We cannot see the future, but we can trust our Heavenly Father to hold us. When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you too become His precious child. Can you believe this? He is aware of all that has happened in your life and He wants you to know that He will never harm you. You can free-fall into His arms and He gives us the Holy Spirit to live within us, assuring us of His constant care.

Allow God’s Word to give you guidance into His absolute care. Discover that He is different from all others. No one can possibly love you as He does.

parachutist-2183279__480The Finish line:

With free-fall, there’s a sense in which once adapted to the parachute, air pressure, and the ability to control the descent, the journey down becomes so enjoyable that many do it again. If the jump is done under duress, in fear, there will be no desire to repeat this experience. But for those who trust and follow the guidelines, stepping out of the plane actually becomes a joy; the thrill of the ride back down to earth — it captivates some.

With God, our Good Father, we can learn to embrace free-falling into His arms and become strengthened through it. It is the practice of placing our faith in Him to bring us to safety. Will you step out and believe that He wants to expand your abilities to trust Him? Free-falling while He holds you can become a way of life that brings Him joy as a Father, and gives you delight knowing He cares for you.

One day we will land safely home at our final destination, Heaven, and realize the journey was short after all. So, practice obedience, trust Him and free-fall — and enjoy the abundant life that God desires to lead you in[2]. Go for it!

[1] My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. IJohn 3:18 (NKJV)

[2] The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (KJV)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Freedom from Habitual Sin

Addiction is rampant in our society. In biblical terms, we would describe this as bondage to an idol in the heart.  Something that has been given a place and taken hold in the person’s life to where they feel helpless to become free.  Some thing or person has been chosen over God to fill the void or remove some hidden pain in their soul. The good news is that through Jesus Christ there is freedom from destructive habits. It involves work and dedication to the process, but freedom is guaranteed to the ones who will humble themselves, repent with godly sorrow, and hate the sin that binds them. This involves loving the Savior who died to set us free from the bondage of sin, in whatever form it takes.

Sexual Idolatry is a major problem today. Unlike drug or alcohol addiction, this habitual sin can be masked for a period of time while secretly doing it’s work of changing one’s brain. Usually, by the time it is discovered, great harm has come to the individual, marriage, and family. The destructive consequences will follow, but there is hope.

With the growth of the internet, the porn epidemic has become a tsunami ravaging our world.  Pornography + Masturbation = Tragedy. Sexual abuse, pedophilia, sodomy, bestiality, human trafficking, and all sexual lust brings Satan delight in his mission to steal, kill and destroy God’s creation (John 10:10). Because of our Father’s great love toward us, He desires to redeem each one. His desire involves abundant life that comes from a right relationship with Him through repentance and correction steps to restore wholeness within.

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II Cor. 7:11 indicators of Godly Sorrow:

  1. Eagerness and earnest care to explain what you did, even though you may not understand why.
  2. To clear yourself of the wrongdoing and follow-up with proper actions.
  3. To hate the sin that you were involved in.
  4. To have alarm and fear about the seriousness of sin.
  5. yearning and desire to live for God instead of your own pleasure.
  6. Zeal to make things right. To correct all injustice.
  7. readiness to embrace the consequences and make corrections.

Understanding the physiological changes that result from habitual porn hits to the brain is cricial in gaining freedom. This will give hope and practical help to those who’ve struggled for years to be released from the bondage of porn use. Please see my Resources page for insights and wisdom.

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Photo Credit: Pixabay