Cheri's Blog

How to Relinquish and Trust

how to relinquish and trust

How to Relinquish and Trust

There’s been a lot of tension around here. It begins every morning before breakfast, as my daughter, Taylor, and I exit the house. Our task sounds simple enough: walk the dogs. The problems begin as soon as we leave the driveway. Every. Single. Day. Max wants to meander slowly, stopping often to take in all the neighborhood sites and smells, making note of each crow, all squirrels, every cat’s perch, and the latest announcement of dominance on tree trunks and fire hydrants by the other pets trodding the same daily neighborhood trek. His sister, Lola, on the other hand, has her nose to the ground but at lightning speed, like a Hoover vacuum that’s been shocked with a supernatural electric surge. She pulls on her leash with herculean power to hijack the leader’s authority in order to plow through the neighborhood, preferably down the middle of the street.

Neither approach is working for us. Walking either dog leaves us a sweaty mess by the end of the trail. When you think about it, learning to walk is so more than just the walking, but about relinquishing control and learning to trust the master.

I thought about this tension today as we finished because that same kind of tension is inside the house, as well. You might be experiencing something like it.

Should we go to school in the fall? Or should we take the on-line option and stay at home?

What about the mask? Should we wear them? Or does it infringe upon our rights?

Should I keep my business open and hope we get through this difficult time or look at other options?

Can I allow my child to spend the night at the friend’s house? Visit the parent? Keep the appointments? Go to the mall? Eat in the restaurant?

There is tension in these issues that can be seen, felt, and heard. But this kind of stress does not even begin to compare with that of what Jesus endured on our behalf, and wrestled through unto victory. He exactly models how to navigate our strains of today. No. He didn’t have to wear a mask. His was a crown of thorns unto death. And it was for you. And for me. To show us a way through.

From Life Principles for Living Out the Greatest Commandment

I first saw The Passion of Christ, produced by Mel Gibson, on Easter in a small West Texas theater. The most memorable and moving scene came as Jesus was in His horrifying state: beaten until unrecognizable, exhausted, and about to endure the sin of all humanity and the turning away of His Father. The cross is lying on the ground. Jesus crawls of His own free will upon that cursed structure and stretches out His arms for them to kill Him.

No other visual compares with this one as I think of John 10:17-18, where Jesus says:

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (NIV)

I wonder if these words and the actions of Jesus that followed them influenced Paul’s concept of a living sacrifice:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1, NIV)

Have you ever considered what part of us controls whether we heave ourselves upon that altar in the first place? And which part pulls us off? I don’t have a definitive answer, but I know myself and my girlfriends. What controls my decision to heave or hold is the same part of me that chooses cheese balls over apple slices. It’s the same part of me that replays the tape of hateful scenarios of what I should have said to that awful woman instead of practicing pure thinking, thankfulness, or anything praiseworthy.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, (Romans 12:2a, NIV)

Just as we operate the renewing function with our thoughts, we decide in our own minds to what degree, when, and how we offer ourselves as living sacrifices before the Lord. I have the power, using nothing but my mental faculties, to lay my life down on that imaginary altar and to pick it back up again. And so do you.

If we look closely at this relationship between the concept of laying our lives down and taking them up again, it looks a lot like relinquishing and trusting. This is a relationship wrought with tension. We can envision this relationship in the lives of biblical examples:

  • King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:17-37) when threatened by Assyria
  • Daniel (Daniel 6:1-9) when thrown into the lion’s den
  • Jesus (Mark 14:35-36) just before his arrest, while praying in the garden

In fact, we will almost be able to feel the tension, because we all know what it’s like to struggle with everything in us to resist doing what we want, in the hope of experiencing a superior outcome. How we handle this tension in our daily walk will determine the degree to which we leave our lives on that imaginary altar.

This ability is mental prowess—a kind of silent strength blazing forward in a victorious moment of relinquishment—with the only assurance being “I don’t know what is going to happen, but I trust You with my very life.”

Jesus repeated his relinquishment of self and placement of trust at least three times that night in the garden (Mark 14:32, 39). How much more important for us to pray for the mental strength to fling ourselves upon that spiritual altar, not knowing how it’s going to turn out—to say “I trust You” and repeat this process at many times as it takes or until our dying breaths are silenced and He ushers us into His presence!

What kinds of things keep you and me from flinging ourselves upon the spiritual altar in the first place? Maybe, like me, you have practiced the fling many times before, but you keep pulling yourself off. Why? What is driving you to pull off? What should you do to get back on? Maybe you have learned a thing or two about staying on that altar. How could you encourage the rest of us?

Challenge

Today, begin to turn yourself and every situation over to Him. Determine to make relinquishing your habit until you no longer pick yourself back off that alter in complete trust of the God who loves you first.

Adapted from Principles for Living Out the Greatest Commandment, by Cheri Strange, AMG Publishing.

Thanks for being here. I always enjoy meeting you here. Today I wanted to give you a taste of the Bible study, which is available at your favorite book retailers.

You can find more from Life Principles on this website here:Life Principles for Living out the Greatest Commandment

If you would like to sample more from this study, you can read more here or on the Bible app, YouVersion. This reading plan also provides video clips from Cheri’s series which accompanies this 8-week study. You can view all of these here.

As always, it’s a joy and pleasure to do life with you, even in the crazy.

For His Glory,

How Do I Read the Bible Part 2

How Do I Read the Bible: Part 2

Podcast #30

Have you ever tried to really focus and get serious about reading the Bible on a regular basis but life seems to happen, interrupting your good intentions? Or maybe you are interested in reading it for yourself and don’t know what to do. How Do I Read the Bible, Part 2 fits within a new series by Cheri Strange that helps us tackle the question, “How Do I Do That?” when it comes to basic spiritual disciplines, practices, and at a foundation level.

This episode is part of a new series, How Do I Do That? that hopes to meet you in the most basic Christian disciplines. You can now find How Do I Read the Bible, and other episodes of the She Yearns Podcast from iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, or SoundCloud. Just click on the links below! As always, you can scroll down and listen right here!

Listen to Stitcher

 

Allow me to invite you to become a subscriber to the She Yearns Podcast by going to any of the providers and signing up for the RSS feed to have it automatically updated to your device! It’s basically ONE CLICK! And it doesn’t use any extra memory and really makes like easier.

If you enjoyed this episode or found it helpful, please leave a comment or review in your hosting provider service. I also love it when you post below! It really helps the ministry. We cannot do it without you! The only way the Word goes out further is with your help. Please share it as you feel the leading.

Thank you for listening.

Cheri

You can find the first episode in this series, How to Read Your Bible Part 1, Here.

Day 9: Dream Big Expectant Dreams

Day 9 Banner

Bible Readings for Day 9: Dream Big Expectant Dreams–Genesis 18:14; Amos 7:14-15; Matthew 14:15-16; Mark 9:22-23; Ephesians 2:10.

Along this journey of seeking what it looks like to love God with my entire mind, there is one lesson I need continuously drilled into my hard head. As you read through the lesson today, please know that both the subject and the pointed presentation are directed at myself before anyone else. I need it this way. I wonder if you need it this way too.

Stop thinking so small! Stop talking yourself out of believing that God can accomplish the miraculous using your life. Take back the promises and methods of God you have rejected because you thought they couldn’t possibly be meant for you. Take them back by letting go!

God does not call us to small thinking. Small thinking results from a lack of exposure to the Word and a lack of ownership of the Word. Today, let the Word of God speak possibility and limitlessness over you. Maybe you have never given God the opportunity to dream with your life. Maybe you are afraid to take that next step for fear you will be disappointed. Maybe you feel insignificant, convinced small is just your size. Leave it behind. Small thinking limits who we become and what we are able to accomplish in the Lord.

The enemy knows this. He is constantly filling our minds with thoughts and ideas contrary to the Word, and even though they are opposed to the Word of God, these thoughts can make sense to me. They confine possibilities to what I can see. They confirm my own beliefs about my weaknesses. They keep me from loving the Lord with all my mind and restrain me from taking that next step of faith.

Sweet friend, it’s time for you and me to let go of small thinking. God calls His people to tasks and opportunities greater than we can imagine. Ponder the possible ramifications found in your reading today on your own life.

There is work to be done. Someone with just your personality, with your gifting, in your situation is exactly who God needs to accomplish His will (Ephesians 2:10). Anything He asks you to do is important, purposeful, and significant.

Cheri

Dream Big Expectant Dreams from Cheri Strange on Vimeo.

Ephesians 2.10 printable

Click here to download this FREE printable!

*Click here to start the reading plan on YouVersion*

Day 3: He Woos Us

Day 3 He Woos Us

 Bible Readings for Day 3: He Woos Us – Deut. 7:6-9; 29:12-15; John 6:44

My husband loves a home-cooked meal, like chicken potpie and my Ultimate Chocolate Cake, or roast and potatoes with carrot cake made from scratch. I don’t understand it, but when I make a scrumptious dinner, the man feels loved, so I cook often. Cooking is not a chore because I love him and I know it communicates my devotion to him.

I, on the other hand, enjoy drinking a Coke, especially when I’m writing—and Chad knows this. My hunk of a man strolls casually into my office with my favorite: a large half Diet Coke, half regular Coke—perfectly blended. (He has practiced it.) This surprise gift never gets old. He captures my heart all over again. Every time.

More than that you learn do’s and don’ts for loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, I pray He will woo you closer to himself. As you spend time together, let Him speak love into your life in ways that are precious to you. Time and time again, the Lord will surprise me with words and tokens of love, similar to the exchanges I just described between Chad and me.

I was looking through a set of old sermons written by my favorite preacher, Charles Spurgeon, when a title—“He Loved Us First”—caught my attention because it was based on 1 John 4:19. When I turned to that sermon, guess what I discovered? Spurgeon preached it in 1883 on my birth date! I was moved to tears. I know that’s quirky. You might not care anything about old books and has-been preachers. But this was on my birth date, by my favorite preacher, exactly the perfect sermon. In essence, this was God’s way of bringing me a Coke. Not only does He totally dig me and all my weirdness, I think He was so delighted that I was seeking more understanding of His love that He gave me something meaningful that communicated specifically to me.

He woos us to himself; and grants us a supernatural capacity to love Him in return.

If you are thinking, I want that, keep reading. The King has been waiting for you.

If you are thinking, That is exactly what I have, keep reading. The King has something special waiting for you.

If you are thinking, I had that once, but I don’t anymore, keep reading. The King has been expectantly awaiting your return.

Cheri

Day 3 – He Woos Us from Cheri Strange on Vimeo.

Deut. 7-9 downloadable

Click here to download this FREE printable.

*Click here to start the reading plan on YouVersion*

Day 2: Love Brings Hope

 Day 2

Bible Readings for Day 2: Love Brings Hope – Deut. 4:4-9; 6:4-6; Mark 12:28-30; 2 Chron. 16:9

Like many of you, I have read these words that make up the Greatest Commandment many times. I know loving God is supposed to be the most important priority of my life. The instruction to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength has been drilled into me since I was a preacher’s kid (literally living on the church property). But this seemingly straightforward admonition always seemed too hard and out of reach for someone like me. That kind of relationship was for someone else—like Billy Graham, selfless missionaries, or gifted pastors. Surely it would be enough for me to demonstrate my love by being a good Christian girl, trying to do all the right things a preacher’s kid should do, and having a spotty relationship with Him like most other regular people.

The problem with my logic is that it doesn’t line up with the words of Jesus. According to Him, this is the big one of the top ten rules. NOT loving Him with all is breaking a commandment. Not loving Him wholeheartedly is a sin. Somehow I had categorized His words as a suggestion for the supergodly. Lacking that level of godliness left me off the hook, safe in my tiny world of halfhearted mediocrity. Of course, I was wrong. Offering God anything less than my all is equivalent to murder, adultery, stealing, and idolatry.

Do you find that reality as unnerving as I did? I thought wholehearted pursuit was optional. Suddenly confronted with the truth, I did not know what to do, but I began to ask Him. Really, I begged Him, “Lord, show me the difference between loving You with everything I am and settling for halfhearted mediocrity.”

What you have in these pages is my attempt to pass along what this halfhearted, small-thinking Jesus girl is learning. Think about the other two verses in your reading today: Deuteronomy 4:29 and 2 Chronicles 16:9. These two verses set in motion my own journey toward wholehearted pursuit. How do they encourage you?

Cheri

Love Brings Hope from Cheri Strange on Vimeo.

Mark 12-28-30 downloadable

Click here for a Free downloadable print

*Click here to start the reading plan on YouVersion*