581: Gog and Magog and Israel, Gaza, and Hamas

581: Gog and Magog and Israel, Gaza, and Hamas

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A Look at Our Current Situation

There is so much bloodshed and brutality taking place between Israel and Hamas, that many have been looking for comparisons between what’s happening today and the Gog and Magog invasion of Israel found in Ezekiel 38 and 39.  And the similarities are striking.

Ezekiel foretells an end-times invasion of Israel led by Gog, ruler of Magog, along with Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, and other nations.  It also reveals that God providentially brings this vast alliance down to invade Israel, only to judge them harshly.  And I mean, really harshly.  Sodom and Gomorrah harshly.

Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.  I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.  Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops— many people are with you” (Ezekiel 38:1-6).

And when you identify the people groups involved with their related nations today, it’s like a primer on the beginning of World War 3.

•   Gog – Leader (Demonic)
•   Land of Magog (Scythians) – Central Asia, the countries that made up the former Soviet Union (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan)
•   The Prince of Rosh – Russia
•   Meshech and Tubal – Modern Turkey
•   Persia – Iran
•   Ethiopia (Cush) – Modern Sudan, nations south of Egypt
•   Libya (Put or Phut) – Modern Libya, possibly as far as Algeria and Tunisia, those west of Egypt
•   Gomer (Cimmerians) – Central Turkey
•   House of Togarmah – Modern Turkey, North of Israel

Arab Nations Against God’s People

Let’s look at Ezekiel 38:1-6 again, only with the current nations included.

Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog (Central Asia, the countries that made up the former Soviet Union), the prince of Rosh (Russia), Meshech, and Tubal (modern Turkey) and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.  I (God’s actions) will turn you (Gog from Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal) around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out (again, God’s actions), with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.  Persia (Iran), Ethiopia (modern Sudan), and Libya (modern Libya, including Algeria and Tunisia) are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer (central Turkey) and all its troops; the house of Togarmah (modern Turkey, north of Israel) from the far north and all its troops— many people are with you” (Ezekiel 38:1-6).

Can you see the chess pieces being sovereignly moved into place for this prophecy to be fulfilled before our very eyes?  I sure can.  So join us as we look deeper into the Gog and Magog conflict, which is a key indicator the end is near.

And keep looking up, for our redemption draws near (Luke 21:28).

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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After Ohio – Abortion is the Sacrament of Trashworld

After Ohio – Abortion is the Sacrament of Trashworld

The Handwriting on the Wall

As you know, on Tuesday, the state of Ohio, which Trump won in 2020, voted to enshrine abortion in their constitution.  The text of the amendment states:

“Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on (1) contraception; (2) fertility treatment; (3) continuing one’s own pregnancy; (4) miscarriage care; and (5) abortion.”

And again, we’re not talking about California or New York, but Ohio, that Trump will probably win again in 2024.  How is that possible?  And how can we move forward as a nation, and as His church, seeing the tide shift so suddenly?

I don’t have the answer, but I do like what Andrew Isker has to say (he wrote the Boniface Option).  I have posted below his assessment of where we are and how to move forward and, as usual, he doesn’t mince words.

I hope you will be encouraged and enlightened to what he has to say and how we, and God’s children, salt and light in a decaying world, need to respond.

Abortion is the Sacrament of Trashworld

By Andew Isker

This week the State of Ohio voted by a nearly ten-point margin to enshrine abortion as a constitutional right. Ohio is not a far-left blue state like California or New York, it is a conservative red state that Donald Trump won by almost the same margin in 2020. The results of this ballot amendment have shocked many in the pro-life movement.

It should not.

For decades Pro-Life, Inc. and most of conservative evangelicalism has pushed this single issue in isolation from all the rest of modern American life. They have operated as though everything else in American life can remain the same so long as we stop murdering babies. This has always been nonsense.

All of our modern way of life is structured around the murder of tiny children. Consumerist, managerial, liberal society requires all of humanity to be deracinated, stripped of particular, historic ways of life, and every single person reduced to bare individuals. The order that God created for humanity, to have marriage, family, and children, the very necessities for a civilization to function and perpetuate itself is now a consumer lifestyle choice, among a myriad of others. There is no marriage as nearly all of human existence has known it. Now it is merely a legal compact for two adults to live and share property together, to be dissolved whenever there is no longer mutual consent.

Abortion allows women to be unshackled from their telos, their divinely-ordained, unique purpose— to bear and rear children. Now, they can be bare economic units consuming whatever they produce, and free to pursue whatever way of life they desire, even to become “men.” The basis of our entire society is the freedom to become whatever you want, created realities be damned. You don’t want to be uniquely bestowed with the power to bring new human life into the world? Then we can kill that life whenever it is created in your body.

Abortion is the sacrament of this total freedom and atomized individualism. It is the barbaric ritual-killing, blood must be shed so you can be free to enjoy brunch and swiping right. The entirety of American society, and especially what the American views as its highest good, requires abortion be held sacrosanct.

The mainstream evangelical Christian, the bulwark that gives the Pro-Life movement its energy and foot soldiers does not view American society this way at all. It believes that the consumerist, liberal paradise is just fine, so long as we don’t chop up babies. They believe we can still have our feminism, our “strong, independent women,” and a country that is reduced to an economic zone, so long as abortion is banned.

The end of Roe v. Wade has revealed what folly this is. The rot within American society is deep. Much, much deeper than most are willing to understand. You could see this even as early as 2015, when Donald Trump was asked about criminalizing abortion and punishing women who sought to murder their children. Every major figure within Pro-Life, Inc. raced to condemn Trump as quickly as possible. Their entire strategy was built around the comical fantasy that women who seek to have their child dismembered in the womb were victims who had no idea what they were doing.

They embraced the feminist frame, blaming all abortion squarely upon men. Whatever they did, they would not confront feminism or the underlying economic and social conditions that require the industrial-scale slaughter of babies. No, they dare not touch these things, because they are the idols that we tolerate within the church. We have bought the lie that women and men are exactly the same except for a few bits of hardware. We are terrified of saying that most women should be wives and mothers and not pursue careers. That would limit freedom, and well, we cannot have that.

But until Christians are willing to confront the revolutionary restructuring of human society over the last hundred years, industrialized infanticide is here to stay. You can put up as many billboards of beautiful smiling infants that say “choose life” as you want, but the social, economic, and spiritual forces that drive the slaughter of millions of babies are not going to go away. Only when feminism and radical individualism are seen as satanic ideologies will we ever gain any ground.

But our current way of life, which I have called “trashworld” in The Boniface Option, is both doomed for destruction and must be destroyed. No civilization can exist like this forever. Not in the temporal sense nor the spiritual. God has created a world with order, just as He created a world with gravity. Nearly all of mankind throughout history could not live the way we do, even if they wanted to, because they lacked the hyper-efficient global economy that produces the unfathomable wealth and standard of living we currently enjoy. This affluence— which we foolishly believe is the baseline for human existence— is what allows us to indulge in civilization-destroying monstrosity. The natural order still exists. Gravity still exists. And the wealth we enjoy allows us to stand over the edge of the cliff like Wile E. Coyote, suspended in mid-air safe so long as we do not look down.

Looking down, however, is inevitable.

And a society like ours will not continue on forever. There will be judgment.

The question is whether the beginning of the unraveling of a great civilization like ours will provoke repentance, first in evangelical pulpits and churches, and then throughout the nation, or if God will allow what we deserve to befall us.

Our hope should be in the grace of God, that He will move powerfully to fundamentally transform our entire way of life. It should not be in “one, weird legislative trick” to keep Trashworld going but just without baby murder. The ax must go to the root and not glance about the edges. If the revolutionary change to our way of life that has occurred in the last hundred years is to be turned back, it must be by an equally powerful counter-revolution, a counter-revolution led by the people of God.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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571: The Fifth Step – Surrendering to God’s Sovereignty

571: The Fifth Step – Surrendering to God’s Sovereignty

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He is God, and We Are Not

By nature, we are control freaks.  We pray for divine healing, but only after our physician shakes his head and says, “Well, there’s nothing left to do but pray,” and our medical insurance runs out.  We claim Matthew 6:33, where Jesus promises to meet all our needs, but again, only after we max out our credit cards and can’t make the minimum payments.  In other words, we try to fix everything our way, in our own strength, and ask no one for advice or help.  It’s only when we come up short that we pray and ask the Lord to bless our efforts (emphasis on our) or get us out of the jam we seem to have stumbled into again.  This is not a life of surrender.  Nor does it acknowledge the sovereignty of God.  The fifth step in surrendering your life to the Lord demands trusting completely in His goodness, grace, mercy, and especially— His sovereignty.  Remember, He is God (and all that entails), and we are not.  And the sooner we learn this truth, the closer we are to fully surrendering, and trusting Him.

Surrendering our lives fully to God requires trusting in His sovereignty— meaning He is in complete control and His plans are always best.  But what does it really mean to trust God’s sovereignty?  And why is absolute submission to His supreme plan vital for fully yielding our lives to Him?  Let’s explore the meaning of God’s sovereignty, some biblical examples of surrender, and the reasons why relinquishing control to His authority brings peace and purpose to our lives.

Defining God’s Sovereignty

Trusting in God’s sovereignty means believing He reigns supreme over everything, including you and your circumstances.  He has divine plans and purposes far beyond our human comprehension (Isa. 55:8-9).  It’s acknowledging that nothing happens without His permission, and He can, and will, use any circumstance, good or bad, to grow us in maturity and glorify Himself.

Surrendering to His sovereignty requires faith that God’s way is perfect, even when life feels random or senseless or anything but perfect.  We must believe He cherishes us unconditionally and understands precisely what we need in every situation, even if what He knows we need is not what we have been praying for.  We must be fully convinced that God is not only “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20), but that He is also willing, as a loving Father who adores His children.  And when He moves in His sovereign manner, we must know and rest in the truth that His perspective surpasses our limited human insight, and He knows best— even when we can’t see it or doubt His goodness.

Some Biblical Examples of Surrender

The Scriptures are full of examples of those who faced trials greater than ours, and trusted in God’s sovereignty.  Job suffered excruciating losses— his family, fortune, reputation, and health, yet declared in worship, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).  Even during unimaginable grief and agony, Job trusted God’s good purposes rather than questioning His supreme authority, even when he didn’t understand what God was doing.

Abraham is another well-known example.  God instructed him to do the unthinkable, to sacrifice his promised son Isaac— Abraham’s only hope and future (Gen. 22).  Though undoubtedly grieved and confused, Abraham obeyed God’s command by trusting the Lord had a purpose he could not yet grasp.  And God, in His sovereignty, honored Abraham’s faith by providing another sacrifice instead of Isaac and blessing him beyond measure.

Even Jesus surrendered to His Father’s sovereign will.  When facing the horrific pain of crucifixion, He prayed His will would be aligned with His Father’s sovereign purpose, “Not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).  Though understandably dreading the torture of a Roman scourge and crucifixion, Jesus submitted to His Father’s higher plan for His sacrifice that led to our redemption.  And I am sure glad He did.

Why Trusting God’s Sovereignty Matters

There are several key reasons why yielding full control of our lives to God requires trusting in His perfect sovereignty:

One, it allows God to direct our paths (which is a really good thing).  Tightly clutching onto control of our lives restricts how God is able to work in us and guide our steps.  If He guides, but we refuse to follow, then we suffer.  But surrendering to His sovereignty gives Him the freedom to lead and direct us daily according to His will, knowing we trust His plan and will do according to His desires.  As Proverbs 3:5-6 promises, “(if we) Trust in the Lord with all our heart, and (if we) lean not on our own understanding; (if we) in all your ways acknowledge Him, and (then) He shall direct your paths.”  And isn’t that what we truly desire, for God to direct our paths?

For example, frantically clinging tightly to our career plans or relationship goals that aren’t aligned with God’s wise direction severely limits how He can lead us down better paths.  But surrendering our agendas creates space for Him to open unexpected doors we never could have imagined, like being called into ministry or marrying a supportive spouse of His choosing who complements us perfectly, far better than what we could imagine.

Two, it brings perfect peace amid chaotic uncertainty.  When turmoil, trials, or suffering strike our lives, and they will, clinging to God’s supreme authority over all things provides comfort, stability, and hope.  As Psalm 9:10 promises, “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

When life turns dark, and we lose jobs or loved ones and experience grief and pain, fixing our eyes on the certainty of God’s sovereignty reminds us that He will carry us through even the raging storms of life.  We can find security, refuge, and hope in His promise never to abandon us (Heb. 13:5), as He sustains us through life’s darkest valleys.  And the peace He gives during these times of turmoil is beyond human description or understanding (Phil. 4:7).

Three, it puts us in a position to receive from God.  Surrendering to God’s sovereignty humbles us and reminds us of our utter dependence on Him rather than ourselves.  Submitting to His supreme plan positions us to come before Him with open hands, ready to accept His purpose and direction for our lives with joy and thankfulness.  As 1 Peter 5:6 encourages, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.”

For example, admitting our human limitations and praying sincerely, “Not my will, but Yours,” prepares our hearts to receive His amazing guidance, provision, and blessings that exceed our wildest expectations.  And maintaining a teachable, humble spirit makes room for God to shape us into the image of His Son, which is one of the reasons for our redemption (Rom. 8:29).

Finally, It deepens our intimacy with Christ (which is the goal of the Higher Christian Life).  As we loosen our tight grip on trying to control our lives, we create space for Jesus to fill us with His presence and power.  Our connection and intimacy with Him soar to new heights as we learn to surrender every area of our lives fully to His Lordship.  Our purpose in life becomes to fulfill the mandate of John the Baptist, who said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

The more we turn away from stubborn self-reliance and give God complete authority over our lives, the more we experience His supernatural peace and joy.  Our love and devotion for Christ grow exponentially as we witness Him faithfully provide for our needs, day in and day out, when we submit our motives, purposes, and desires to His greater plans.  This is a picture of the life surrendered into the hands of our sovereign God.

What’s Next?

Fully trusting in God’s complete sovereignty over every aspect of our lives liberates us from trying to play God by making all the decisions and calling all the shots ourselves, which we are not very good at.  Surrendering to the wonder and mystery of His higher ways permits His loving purposes to unfold and bloom in, and through, us in ways unimaginable.  And living a life fully surrendered to God brings incredible freedom, peace, and purpose.

Although it’s difficult for human nature to relinquish control over anything, doing so allows the Lord to fully use us for His glory.  As you reflect on this fifth of seven steps to surrender your life to Him, may your heart be compelled to abandon yourself completely to Christ.  He loves you abundantly, beyond measure, and desires an intimate relationship with you.  So take courage and boldly release every area of your life into His hands— your dreams, fears, relationships, doubts, failures, and future.  After all, He is God, and we are but dust and ashes.  And He knows what is best for His creation.  So rest confidently in His infinite wisdom, love, and power at work on your behalf.  Be bold and have faith to declare, “Your will be done,” as you walk in a life surrendered to Him.

And don’t wait another minute.  Surrender today to the One who knows all and is all-powerful.  You’ll be amazed at what happens when you do.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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570: The Fourth Step – Presenting Yourself as a Sacrifice

570: The Fourth Step – Presenting Yourself as a Sacrifice

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First Step Three, Then Step Four

Of the seven steps to living a fully surrendered life to God, perhaps none is more vital than the fourth— offering ourselves, specifically our bodies, as a living sacrifice to Him.  But this can only be accomplished after we have done the hard work of denying ourselves and dying to self, which was the point of the third step (Matt. 16:24).  Death and denial must take place before we present our bodies (flesh) to Him as an act of worship and sacrifice.  You will ultimately fail, horrendously, if you try to reverse the order.  We must have died to ourselves first in order to present ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice.  Otherwise, we’re dealing with a two-headed monster.  And it ain’t pretty.  Presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice means taking our body, our flesh, with all its desires and ambitions, and laying it down before God as an act of worship and submission to His Lordship.  And this, as they say, is where the men are separated from the boys.  It is not for the faint of heart.

To be more exact on what step four entails, Romans 12:1-2 reveals what we are to do to submit to Him and what He does for us in response to our submission.  What we give is all we are— and what we receive is all He is.  Pretty good exchange if you ask me.  We give Him rocks, and He gives us diamonds.  Not too shabby.  So read the passage slowly and take note of each word and promise.

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

Let’s look at this passage a little closer.

I beseech (urge, beg) you therefore, brethren, (on what basis) by the mercies of God, that you (our responsibility) present your bodies a (what) living sacrifice, (seen by God as) holy, acceptable to God, (and why should we do this) which is your reasonable service (based on the mercies of God).  And (implied, you) do not be conformed to this world, but (implied, you) be transformed by the renewing of your mind, (for what benefit) that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The essence of the surrendered life is knowing, for certain, the perfect will of God.  And this is the promise given to those who offer their bodies (flesh) to Him, unreservedly.

Why is this So Important… and Seem So Extreme?

Why is this so important?  Because our flesh is the source of so much pride, sin, and selfishness.  And therefore, our flesh has to die (see step three).  Our natural instincts are to gratify our own wants and needs first, before anything else, including God.  We are born self-centered creatures, seeking our own advancement and comfort above all else.  But God calls us to live differently, to put others before ourselves and seek His kingdom first (Matt. 6:33).  And this requires denying the flesh and crucifying it along with its passions and desires (Gal. 5:24).  In a word, we must die to self so that we can live fully to God.

And what do we do once we have denied and died to ourselves?  We offer ourselves, our bodies (flesh), the seat of our lust and sins, to the Lord as a living sacrifice and act of surrender.  But this surrender is more than just a mental acknowledgment or verbal profession.  It requires action.  So we demonstrate surrender by taking our body and making it a “living sacrifice”— by placing it on the altar before God to say, “I am no longer my own, but Yours to command and do with what You wish.”  Or, in the words of Jesus, “Not my will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).

Submit Each Member of Your Body to Him

This means consciously taking the members of your body— your eyes, ears, mouth, hands, and feet— and presenting them to God for His purposes instead of your own:

Eyes – Our eyes reveal much about what captures our attention and focus.  Are we looking at things that could lead us into lust, impurity, and sinful desire?  Or are we keeping our eyes fixed on the glory of God’s creation and His Word?  For instance, we can actively look away from provocative images online that could awaken wrong passions.  Instead, we can choose to focus our eyes on Scripture to meditate on God’s truth and see the hurting people around us who need Christ’s love.  Keeping our eyes on the Lord, and His purposes, helps us live surrendered lives.

Ears – What we tune our ears to also impacts our walk with God.  Are we quick to listen to edifying truth that builds us up spiritually?  Or do we give our ears freely to gossip, slander, and other vain talk that tears us and others down?  For example, we can get in the habit of listening to uplifting sermons or podcasts that teach Biblical truths rather than media hosts who angrily attack and slander others.  What we listen to is a choice each of us makes daily.  And as we submit our ears to wholesome speech and the inner voice of the Holy Spirit, we grow in living out the surrendered life in Him.

Mouth – Our mouth reveals the state of our heart, for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34).  Do our words bless others and build them up in Christ?  Or is our speech filled with words that drag people down?  We demonstrate surrender when we let no unwholesome talk come out of our mouth, but only what is helpful and aimed at God’s purposes (Eph. 4:29).  For instance, by God’s grace, we can speak words of love and encouragement to our spouse even when we feel irritable inside.  We can refuse to pass along juicy rumors that tickle our ears yet tear others down.  Our mouth becomes an instrument of worship when we praise God through song and prayer.  So, keeping a careful watch over what comes out of our mouths is a key aspect of living out a surrendered life.

Hands – Our hands can either be used for righteous purposes or defiled by sin.  It’s our choice to make.  Are we using our hands primarily to serve others and care for those in need?  Or are we defiling them through violence, immorality, greed, selfishness, and other wicked uses?  For example, we can use our hands to rock a crying baby at church to help relieve a tired mom.  Or God may call us to lay hands on the sick and pray for their healing and comfort.  The selfless use of our hands reveals a surrendered life, as we lift up the weary rather than promoting ourselves.

Feet – Where we go with our feet also speaks much about our walk with God.  Are we careful to avoid places and environments that could compromise our testimony or pull us into sin?  Do we allow the Lord to direct our steps to unexpected places and people who need His touch?  For instance, we demonstrate surrender by walking away when friends pressure us to do or say or participate in something we know is not of God.  Or God may lead our feet to go visit someone lonely and forgotten rather than just sticking to our normal routine.   We can choose to avoid settings like bars and casinos where temptation thrives.   As we kneel humbly before God and follow where He leads, our feet walk out true Christlike surrender.

In addition to our body, we must also sacrifice our mind.  This means bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).  We must submit our intellect, opinions, reasoning, and logic to God’s truth found only in Scripture.  And when we align our thinking to His ways and wisdom by having the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), we will cease rationalizing and justifying our sin and move on from spiritual lukewarmness (Rev. 3:16).

Living as a surrendered sacrifice also means sacrificing our rights— what we feel entitled to or think we deserve.  We must release our rights to God.  This may mean sacrificing sleep to pray for someone, or sacrificing our plans to serve a need, or sacrificing our ambitions that may conflict with God’s will.  The key to surrender is selfless sacrifice— the sacrifice of ourselves to Him and those He places in our path.

Most importantly, living a surrendered life means sacrificing our will and fully submitting to God’s will in all things.  Just as Jesus said, “Not my will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42), we likewise must surrender our will to the Father’s purposes.  It means to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him as an act of worship, yielding everything to Him.

The Key is Consistency

The key is consistency— doing this daily as part of your time with God.  It is not a one-time event that lasts forever.  Start each morning by presenting yourself as a living sacrifice, saying: “Lord, my body and mind belong to You and not myself today.  Have Your way in me and lead me to walk and work for Your Kingdom this day.”  This keeps us surrendered to Him, moment by moment.

When done daily and consistently, this act of surrender will have a profound impact on your life.  It will lead you to freedom from sin, the power to resist temptation, the grace to endure trials, and a renewed purpose to live all out for Christ.  In essence, it allows you to experience the Higher Christian Life or the abundant life Jesus promised.

So what does this look like in real life?  Here are some examples:

•   A husband sacrifices his pride and humbly asks for forgiveness from his wife even when he thinks she may be overreacting.
•    A wife defers a purchase she wants to give the money to someone in need.
•    A teenager skips a party to visit an elderly neighbor who is lonely.
•    An executive passes up a promotion that would require unethical choices or extended travel away from his family.
•    A middle manager speaks up for an oppressed coworker rather than remaining silent, even if it reflects negatively on him with his superiors.
•    A parent lovingly disciplines a child rather than ignoring misbehavior.
•    A church member serves in the nursery to free up young parents, preferring others over themselves.
•    A retiree uses their time to volunteer and tutor underprivileged kids in the community.

In all things, we can pause and ask: “How can I present myself as a living sacrifice in this situation?  What does God want from me right now?”  Then respond in obedience and watch how lives, including your own, are transformed by your surrender.


Surrendering our entire self— body, mind, and will— runs countercultural in our world today.  We are constantly bombarded with messages telling us life is all about gratifying our desires, fulfilling our dreams, and asserting our rights.  But as followers of Jesus, we are called to a radical, revolutionary lifestyle of surrender and sacrifice.

It’s not easy to lay down our agendas and give up control to God.  But when we take this step of faith and make ourselves a living sacrifice, incredible things begin to happen.  We find freedom from sin’s grip.  Anxiety loosens its hold as we trust the One who holds our future.  The purpose in our life is renewed as we align it with eternal Kingdom priorities rather than running after temporary earthly goals.

And most of all, immense joy comes from following a God who is good, loving, and infinitely wise.  Surrender unlocks meaning, blessing, and spiritual power beyond what we could imagine.  The Christian life ceases to be dreary and dutiful when we experience the abundant new life Christ provides to those fully devoted to Him.  In other words, our spiritual life becomes something we always hoped it would become, but just didn’t know how to make it happen.

As we continue on this journey of surrender through these seven life-changing steps, may the promise of God’s faithfulness give us the courage to lay ourselves upon His altar each day.  The sacrifice costs us much, but what awaits on the other side is so much greater.  By His mercies, let us offer ourselves fully to God and have our lives transformed by Him.

So what are you waiting for?  Offer yourselves to Him today.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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569: The Third Step – Dying to Self to Gain Him

569: The Third Step – Dying to Self to Gain Him

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“Lord” Jesus Christ also means “Owner” Jesus Christ

Surrendering your life fully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is no small or simple matter. But I’m sure you are painfully aware of that by now. It requires making the conscious choice each day to deny our natural desires and humbly submit to His leadership and control. And that’s where it begins to chafe. We love the Lord Jesus— but we probably love the “Jesus” part more than we love the “Lord” part. But as Jesus commanded, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself (ouch), and take up his cross daily (double ouch), and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). He sets the requirements for discipleship, not us. And as with just about everything in the Christian life, it’s all or nothing— life or death, hot or cold, light or darkness, narrow gate or wide road, walk by the Spirit or the flesh, good fruit or bad fruit, you get the idea. He says to follow Him, we must first deny ourselves and then die to ourselves. This is what baptism symbolizes. Dying to self, being buried with Christ, and then being raised into the new life in Him. Ok, we got that. But what does it really look like in practical terms to “die to self” daily?

Dying to self goes much deeper than just giving up a few activities we enjoy or taking on extra chores around the house. It requires renouncing the deep-seated notion that our lives still belong to us and embracing the Biblical reality that we now belong entirely to Christ (Gal. 2:20). When He died on the cross for our sins, He purchased us with His blood (1 Cor. 6:19-20). And purchase speaks of ownership— which means our lives are no longer our own. Dying to self means joyfully relinquishing all rights we think we have to our lives to the One who sacrificed everything to save us. It means enthroning Him as the rightful Lord and Owner over every area of our lives.

What Does Denying and Dying to Self Look Like

Concretely, this dying to self plays out through both the small and large choices we make each and every day. It may mean choosing to leave your lucrative career that provides comfort and prestige to pursue full-time ministry at a fraction of your former salary. Or regularly apologizing to your spouse in humility when conflict arises, even when you don’t think you were in the wrong, in order to restore peace and unity in the relationship by putting your spouse first.

Dying to self often requires passing on purchasing something nice we can afford and believe we deserve in order to generously meet an urgent need in someone else’s life. It could mean taking time away from a beloved hobby or habit that is absorbing too much of our time and attention at the expense of God’s priorities or sacrificing the time we spend with our children. Each new situation presents an opportunity to once again surrender our will and way to Christ’s desires and plans for us. We simply must be open and willing to put Him first, and everything about us less than first.

To walk in a life of continual self-denial and dying to self, we must abandon the notion that we know what’s best for our lives, almost on a daily basis, and embrace the fact that God’s purposes and priorities are better and higher than ours (Isa. 55:8-9). It requires admitting we don’t have all the answers and desperately need the guidance of the Holy Spirit each step of the way. As Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). The old rebellious, stubborn, selfish nature must die so that the resurrected life of Christ can reign fully in us, transforming us into His image (Rom.8:29).

Of course, practically living out this surrendered, crucified life will look different for each of us. It may mean humbly serving others in lowly ways when we’d rather kick back and relax or be the one being served. It may mean we have to bite our tongue instead of firing off a heated text message or email we can never take back. We may have to learn how to receive life-giving correction from others without reacting in a defensive manner or making excuses. Or, saying “yes” to something that stretches our faith when we would rather stay home where it is safe, warm, and secure. Each new situation requires a fresh dying to our fleshly reactions so that we can respond as Jesus would. This is the substance of self-denial and dying to self. And these are the two prerequisites for following Jesus (Matt. 16:24). Read them yourselves.

While often difficult and uncomfortable, dying to self daily is the only pathway to experiencing the full and abundant life Jesus promises (John 10:10). It is the key to the Higher Christian life we have talked about. As we surrender control of our lives to Christ’s capable hands, we are set free from the grip of sin, filled with supernatural joy, and experience deep intimacy with Jesus as maybe never before. Remember, Jesus said it was to those who willingly lose their lives for His sake that will find true life (Matt. 16:25). And isn’t true life what we are all longing for?

Dying to Self is the Only Way to Live the Abundant Life He Promised

Dying to our natural selves is admittedly not easy or painless. In fact, it may be the hardest thing you have ever tried to do. But the rewards are eternal and far outweigh any temporary suffering it involves. As we yield ourselves fully to Christ each day, we gain an imperishable inheritance in heaven (1 Peter 1:3-4) that cannot be diminished. The trials that come from daily surrender to Jesus produce everlasting glory that is beyond comparison (2 Cor. 4:17).

So let’s take up our cross today and every day, whatever that looks like for us in our specific circumstances, and push forward towards the life of total surrender. Say “no” to self-will and “yes” to the new resurrection life Christ purchased for us. Because walking the crucified life with Jesus is the only path to experiencing lasting joy, freedom, and purpose. And it is a vital step in surrendering your life totally to the Lord.

So begin that process today. Say “no” to you and “yes” to Him.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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