How Much Surrender is Enough?

God says we have to surrender everything, but my parent/spouse/child is not a Christian! My health is so bad I can’t even get out of bed! My son/daughter has died! My grandchild is very ill!  I lost my job and have been trying to get a new one now for 3 years! I have lost everything! All I have ever dreamed of is having a family and God won’t even give me a spouse!

These are really hard things to go through and for the record, I am not writing this study because I have it all figured out and respond perfectly when struggles come my way! Actually at this time being surrendered is my struggle and I need this study!

I have children that have chosen not to be Christians. I almost died in 1994, due to complications in surgery and have had health issues ever since, at times not able to get out of bed. Currently I am doing well. I have lost jobs and had financial struggles for years. I have lost homes, cars, and stuff. I do have a great husband, but that has not always been the case. Thank you God, I have not had to experience losing a child or grandchild! However, as this is being written I have a grandchild that is going through some major health issues.

I say all of this not to get pity or attention, but to say I know what it is like to go through things and struggle with my heart and attitude. It’s not easy! It’s never easy! Jesus even struggled with this and it’s through reading about His struggles and others that I am able to persevere, so that is what I would like to share with you today. Ultimately Jesus is the greatest example of surrender and there are many times that I go back to the cross to get through the day.

However, in this study I want to look at Job. I have recently learned that for some people Job is very depressing, so this study might not be for you. For me, Job is very challenging and inspiring. To find out why, keep reading.
Surrender means-to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.

I). Do you surrender to the power of God or act as if you are more powerful?
A). Job 1:1-5
1). Job was blameless and upright.
2). He feared God and shunned evil.
3). He made sacrifices for his children just in case they had sinned.
* I think it is safe to say that Job had a very healthy understanding of the power of God. Do you realize that this is God saying these things about Job, not Job speaking of himself? In verse 3 the Bible says that Job was the greatest man among the East. Yes, it is possible for wealthy people to be humble and fully depend on God. As you will see, if you choose to read all of Job, he understood that everything he had (he had a lot) came from God and if God choose, He could take it all away.
B). Job 1:6-12
1). Satan approaches God.
2). God ask Satan if he had considered His servant Job?
3). God gives Satan permission to test Job.
*Wow! This is so intense! Picture this, God is hanging out doing whatever He wants and some angels show up, which I am sure is the normal thing around God, but Satan shows up with them. Maybe this is a normal thing as well. It appears as if God and Satan have a conversation like you and I might have.

Translation (mine of course)-
God: So Satan what have you been up to?
Satan: Oh just going back and forth looking for someone to attack.
God: I see. Well have you considered my servant Job, he is blameless and upright?

Wait just a minute! God just said that Job was blameless and upright, so doesn’t that mean that life should go smooth and easy? Why would God purposely subject Job to heartache and trials if he was blameless and upright?
C). James 1:2-4
1). The testing of my faith produces perseverance.
2). Perseverance is necessary so that I can be made complete and lack nothing.
D). Hebrews 5:7-10
1). Jesus cried out to God with shouting and tears.
2). He was heard because of His reverent submission.
3). Jesus learned obedience through His sufferings.
4). Through this He was made perfect.
*These Scriptures are a whole study by themselves. Go for it!
In Job 1:9-11, Satan basically says to God that Job is blameless and pure because God has allowed everything to go his way. There are so many things to be said here, but keeping in mind that this study is meant to be an appetizer I will try to limit myself, so that you can go develop your own convictions.
Jesus, himself had to go through trials and suffering in order to learn how to be obedient. What? I thought He was just born obedient and perfect. This is not what my Bible says. The testing of Jesus’ faith produced in Him perseverance and that was necessary for Him to lack nothing and become perfect in order to be the ultimate sacrifice for you and me! I truly believe that if we can get this in our brains and hearts, we would look at our trials and sufferings in a different light.
On August 3, 1994 I went in for a routine hysterectomy. Twelve hours later I was having my third major surgery and a vascular surgeon was saving my life. The original doctor cut a major artery or vein in the first surgery and didn’t know it. I had to have 11-13 units of blood (I don’t remember exactly, my mom probably does). I was in ICU for two weeks. I literally could not turn myself over in bed for days. I learned to appreciate the simplest of things.
I was twenty-nine years old and had four kids from age twelve to one and half years old. It took me over a year to be able to function normally and through all of that I developed fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I remember waking up after the third surgery and the first thought in my head was; Wow! God has this much faith in me to allow Satan to attack me in this way and He believes that I will stay faithful through it. Trust me, I don’t always respond this way, but this my goal.
It is such an incredible honor to have the Creator of the universe have faith in me! Please let this sink in! I personally believe that there are many reasons that we go through trials and I do not claim to know all of them, only God does! Maybe one of them is to get us to turn to God and seek a relationship with Him. Maybe it is to test our faith. Maybe it’s to make us perfect. More great studies! Maybe it’s because God is super proud of us and knows that we can handle it and through our righteous response He helps someone else become a Christian. You see, we don’t see. God does! He has the Big Picture and we have to get to a point where we are surrendered to His power and His plan!

II). The attitude in which we should surrender.
A). Job 1:13-22
1). Job loses everything.
2). Job has a righteous response.
*Before we even get to chapter 2, Job loses his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, sons, and daughters. What does Job do? Feel sorry for himself and have a pity party, no he falls to the ground and worships God……. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21 NIV) What would your response have been? I think I am safe in saying that this would not have been my initial response. Even the thought of these types of things happening to me do not bring about that kind of response, much less actually going through it all.
One of the most convicting Scriptures ever, verse 22; In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:22 NIV) My natural response, anger that God would allow this to happen to me! Having said that, as I described above, I have had a couple of victories where my heart has responded righteously. God deserves a righteous response every time, all of the time no matter what the trial is! I have to fight for this and I am calling you to fight with me.
B). Luke 23:34
1). Jesus is being crucified.
2). He asks God to forgive them.
*Another verse that is a very challenging scripture. (There are a lot of them) Jesus has been beaten beyond recognition and now hung on a cross to die. His response, God please forgive them. Okay think about this for a few minutes. Here you are, you have been beaten more than you can even imagine, spit on, made fun of, mocked, and now you’re being murdered by being hung on a cross. You look at the people that are killing you and you say, God please forgive them for they don’t understand what they’re doing. I have heard of disciples actually doing this while being raped or attacked. If you are one of those people, you rock and you call me higher!
For those of us who have made Jesus Lord of our life, this is the standard! No excuses, no watering it down, no ifs, ands, or buts about it! We were called to follow Jesus in everything! Please don’t misunderstand this; I am extremely challenged right now. I am not even close to arriving. I feel like I have fallen so far from having this mindset and attitude during my current trials. So in all honesty, I am writing this study for me and simply sharing it with you.
C). Job 2:1-8
1). Satan has another conversation about Job with God.
2). God gives Satan permission to cause physical pain to Job as long as he spares his life.
3). Satan afflicts Job with painful sores all over his entire body.
*This is really hard teaching and it’s not mine, it’s God’s. It is very hard to accept and understand! I think one of the first things that we have to accept is that, we will never fully understand, because we are not God! Remember He sees the Big Picture! His goal is to have a relationship with us and to spend eternity with us!
D). Job 2:9-10
1). Job’s wife offers no support.
2). Job’s wife tempts him to curse God.
3). Job responds righteously.
* Are emotions leading you or is God? It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, we all have different levels of emotions and some of us tend to be led by them more than others. However, it doesn’t matter because allowing our emotions to lead us the wrong way even one time, does not glorify God.
Here are two examples of what I am talking about. Remember Job’s wife had just lost everything as well. The children that she had given birth to were all dead, not to mention all of their possessions and wealth were taken away. Then her husband is struck with boils all over his body. It is so painful that he is scraping his skin with rocks and she is watching this. She wants it all to stop and responds through her emotions. His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9 NIV) I believe that she understands God’s power, because she knows that God could stop it. What she is lacking is trust in God that He knows what He is doing and total surrender to God’s plan. She doesn’t have a clear picture of who God is.
Then we have Job’s response; He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:10 NIV) Enough said!

III). How do I surrender?
A). Job 38-41
1). God speaks!
*Please! Please! Take a few minutes and read these chapters and then read them again! This is our Father!
B). Romans 8:1-39
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39 NLT)
*I cannot even begin to put into words what I am thinking and feeling right now and do God justice! God is absolutely amazing! If you read the chapters in Job where God is speaking and do not feel total awe and amazement toward God you might need to check your pulse to see if you are alive or go read them a third time and then a fourth and fifth time. Then read Romans 8 that talks about how much God loves you!
The Creator of the universe loves you so much that He has not held anything back in an effort to show you how much! Do you realize that the world could have been black and white with no colors or beauty? We would not have known any difference, but our daddy wants to please us and give us amazing things to see. He wants us to feel and know how much He loves us everyday! Have you ever stopped to count how many shades of green there are? How many different species of animals? Thought about the fact that the ocean is like a whole other world under the water? He created the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, Niagara Falls, and on and on the list goes! God is so powerful that even the Leviathan answers to Him, whatever that is.
I hope you get my weak attempt to paint a picture here. Your Creator not only created you and everything around you, but loves you so much that He held nothing back!
How big is your god? Mine………Can handle anything!

Disclaimers;
*I am not a Bible scholar. Actually I do not claim to be much of a scholar of anything. The only degree I have is from the school of hard knocks!
*This is in no way an exhaustive study on surrender or on the book of Job, it is meant to only be an appetizer.

*The purpose of this study is to challenge us to get into the Word and deepen our convictions about being surrendered. If only one of you does this, mission accomplished.

May we always give glory to God for everything!
Dawna Cantway

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Does God ever Break His Promises?

NO! From the beginning of time, God has never broken a promise! However, this is not what we are used to in our human world, because people break promises all the time. We start learning this at a very early age, because parents unintentionally do it a lot.

Example;

Johnny, “Mommy, can we please go to the park?”

Mom,” Maybe.”

Johnny, “Mommy, can we please go to the park?”

Mom,” We’ll see.”

Johnny, “Mommy, can we please go to the park?”

Mom, “I said we’ll try!”

Johnny, “Mommy, can we please, please, please go to the park?”

Moms, “Yes, just stop asking!”

Johnny, “Promise?”

Mom, “Yes, Johnny, I promise. Now go find something to do.”

Time to go the park and Johnny is all ready with ball and glove in hand. Shoes on the wrong feet and a smile from ear to ear.

Johnny, “Let’s go mommy.”

Mommy, “Oh Johnny, I am so sorry; mommy forgot that Susan was coming over tonight. We will have to go to the park on another day.”

And the pattern begins! By the time we are adults we have learned the art of making and breaking promises. As well as, we have learned that we can’t trust a promise, because they get broken. Then before we know it words are just words and our wedding vows don’t really mean anything. We are promising to be faithful and to love through the worst and best of life, but when it gets really hard we often forget those promises and bail. What about our promise at baptism to make Jesus Lord of our life, our entire life? Did we really think that one through or just make an emotional decision? Is this really a big deal? After all everybody makes promises and then breaks them. It’s just the way of the world, right?

I believe that because of how flippant we are with making and breaking promises, it really hurts us in our ability to believe God’s promises. Being able to believe God’s promises effects our faith tremendously and without faith it is impossible to please God! (Hebrews 11:6)

I.) God’s got it!

A). Matthew 6:25-30

1). God takes care of the birds of the air.

2). He created each flower that we see and don’t see.

3). God knows exactly what are needs are.

4). He will provide for us.

*Take a moment and let this absorb. Our Father, the Creator of the universe takes care of the birds and all creatures. He even decides what color a wild flower will be! If He is that detailed with the non-human things of this world, don’t you think He is involved in the details of our life as well?

B). Psalm 37:1-40

1). Vs 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

a). God will give you the desires of your heart.

2). Vs 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

a). God is the best defense attorney we could ever ask for.

3). Vs 24……though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

4). Vs 28 For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.

a). God is always faithful and will never forsake you.

5). Vs 39-40 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

a). God is your fortress.

*I also think it is important here to throw this thought out there;

Because God is the perfect parent, He always knows best! So let’s say that you are giving Him your all and not getting the desires of your heart, why not? There were things that my kids desired and as a mom, I always wanted to please them and make them happy, but not everything they desired was good for them. If God doesn’t give us something that we desire, we need to trust that He knows best and sees the big picture!

C). Acts 36-40

1). Vs 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

a). God promises salvation for the first century Christians, for us, our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and on and on and on as many generations are to come!

II). Is anything required of us to receive God’s promises?

*One of my goals in doing this study is to help us see that most of God’s promises come with an expectation from us in order to receive His promise. I see to many people that only focus on the promise and leave out the expectation. Again God is a perfect parent and even in our imperfection we teach our kids that with gifts come responsibilities or expectations. So why do we change the standard when it comes to God parenting us and have an attitude as if God owes us? Do you enjoy being around a child that has been given everything with no expectations from them? You know exactly what I am talking about, the ungrateful spoiled brat that has no sense of gratitude whatsoever. No one enjoys being around someone like that! Well guess what? Neither does God.

I have had many people argue this point by saying that God expects nothing from us. That He just gives because He loves us so much and that is how He is. Yes, God loves us more than we will ever be able to truly comprehend and yes, He gives because that is who He is. However, I disagree that He has no expectations from us. I realize that I am taking a huge risk here in that some of you reading this might get very upset with me. I plead with you to keep an open mind and continue to read this study and especially spend time studying the scriptures.

A). Matthew 6:25-34

*As we looked earlier, God promises to take care of our daily needs. What are the expectations from God, for us?

1). Vs 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

a). Seek first His Kingdom!

b). Seek first His righteousness!

* Another translation, Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33 NLT) and one more, “But put God’s kingdom first. Do what he wants you to do. Then all of those things will also be given to you. (Matthew 6:33 NIRV) Okay please correct me if I am wrong, but in every one of these versions God is telling us to seek or go after his kingdom and his righteousness (what is pleasing to him) and then He will meet our daily means.

Many times throughout my kids childhood they would want to go do something special and I would layout my expectations that needed to happen first. Such as, we will go to the park as soon as all of your rooms are clean. If they chose not to clean their room, then we did not go to the park. Yes, you may get your driving permit as long as your grades are kept up. Yes, you can get your drivers license as long as your conduct shows me that you will be responsible and that when you tell me you will be somewhere, that is where you will be.

B).Psalm 37:1-40

1). Vs 3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

2). Vs 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

3). Vs 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:

4). Vs 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

5). Vs 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

6). Vs 27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.

7). Vs 34 Hope in the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.

8). Vs 40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

*Trust, do good, delight in God, commit your way to God, be still, be patient, trust, refrain from anger, turn from wrath, do not fret, turn from evil, do good, hope in God, and keep His ways! Does this describe you? Would others describe you this way? Take some time and look up the definitions of this list above. Really dig into what it means to God to turn away from evil. It’s a lot more than just not committing murder.

C). Acts 36-40

* This is the beginning of God’s church. Read all of chapter 1 & 2 to get the whole picture. Peter just got through sharing about Jesus with these people and their response was, “Please tell us what to do!”

1). Vs 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

* Yes, I believe whole heartedly that salvation is a gift from God and there is nothing anyone can do to earn it! Let’s not confuse works with obedience. Works is what I do to earn a paycheck. Obedience is abiding by the expectations.

God says to repent. The Greek word is Metanoia, which literally means to change one’s mind! This takes action on my part. What do I need to change my mind from? Well I have to study and pray to find out what God expects me to change my mind about and then do it.

Then God says to get baptized. The Greek word for baptize is Baptizo, which means to immerse. Read all the different conversions in the book of Acts. I want to go record saying, that it also takes faith to receive salvation and it is ultimately through our faith at the time of baptism that we are saved, Colossians 2:12

God also expects us to count the cost prior to making a lifelong commitment to Him, Luke 14:25-35. He is not looking for a flippant, emotional response from us! There is so much to be said on this subject, but in keeping with my commitment to you, this is only meant to be an appetizer.

I pray that you will dig in and develop your own convictions!

Father God, Thank you for always having time for us and for loving us in such an amazing detailed way. Thank you for never breaking your promises to us! Thank you for being the perfect parent to each of us and for treating us with love, patience and grace. Thank you for being a’ Just’ God and for never changing your standard. Thank you for giving us, you’re written words in book form for us to have at our fingertips. In John 12:48, you tell us that it is your very Word, the Bible that will be our judge. This shows me that you want a relationship with all of us, because you made it so easy for us to know how to live our lives, so we can please you and fulfill your expectations for us and ultimately spend eternity with you! Father, please help our hearts to be soft and moldable. Please help us to seek out your words and not settle for what others have taught us. Help us to be humble, willing to have a change of mind and actions. Help us to not hold you to our standards, but instead hold ourselves to your standard! In Jesus precious name I pray, amen!

Other Scriptures to study.

Look at what the promise is and then look at what is required of you. Matthew 7:7-12; Jeremiah 29:8-11; Psalm 50:14-15; James 4:7; Psalm 103:13-18; John 14:12-21 Take these scriptures and read the whole chapter or even the whole book and ask yourself; What is the promise? What is the expectation?

Disclaimers; *I am not a Bible scholar. Actually, I do not claim to be much of a scholar of anything. The only degree I have is from the school of hard knocks!

*This is in no way an exhaustive study on God’s promises, it is meant to only be an appetizer. *The purpose of this study is to challenge us to get into the Word and deepen our convictions on what God does promise us and what does God expect from us. If only one of you does this, mission accomplished.

May we always give glory to God for everything!

Dawna Cantway