Surrendering your rights to God {and some promises}

Yesterday was my first day back to teaching 4-5 year old Sunday School after Baby was born. It was good to be back. The lesson was on Jacob's dream where God promised to take care of him and his descendents. {You know, Jacob's ladder.} I'll post my review of the lesson later, but today I wanted to talk a little bit about God's promises, which is what I focused the lesson on. As a mom of little ones, I try to take care not to use the word promise too much. I have learned that sometimes when I say "we will go to the park after nap," it just doesn't work out. If I were to use the word, promise with my statement "I promise I will take you to the park after nap." And then it didn't work out, they would get an inaccurate view of what a promise is, or at least come to discover that mommy doesn't keep her promises. The fact is, we cannot stay true to everything we say all the time, but God can. When God makes a promise it is as if that promise is already a reality in our lives. God made us numerous promises in the Bible, some of which I brought the to kids attention yesterday, and were jewels for me too. Isaiah 43:5 I am with you

John 3:16 Whoever belives in Jesus will not perish but have eternal life

1 Chronicles 16:34 God is good and His love lasts forever

Psalm 1 If you love God and do good, He will bless you

Hebrews 13:5 God will never leave you or abandon you

Just to name a few.

How do these promises relate to everyday living? What should our response be? Two things come to mind, trust and gratitude. It doesn't matter what happens to us day to day in this world when we are relying on God's staggering promises. Take away everything, I still have Christ and that is more than enough.  In fact, we have Christ, plus countless other blessings that we so easily overlook in the face of hardship and trials. God showers His grace on us without restraint, and adds blessing upon blessing. It is remarkable, His love for us.

It is tempting to feel entitled to the blessing and rights that have been a blessing in our lives, the things we have grown accustomed to enjoying. These blessings have become so engrained in our lives that the thought of living without them hardly seems like living at all, but that is idolatry and distrust in God. God has given us everything we need, plus some. No matter what the government strips away, they cannot strip Christ from us, and so there is joy, and faith, and peace in all circumstances.

I have been going through the book Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss with some ladies from my church. Today I read the following document first written by Russel Kelfer. He suggested making this a pledge, signing your name to the bottom, and committing to surrender when the temptation to entitlement arrises. If you see distrust in God's promises, if you are lacking joy and gratitude, perhaps you will join me in making this pledge.

Having been born into the kingdom of God. I do hereby acknowledge that God's purchase of my life included all the rights and control of that life for all eternity.

I do further acknowledge that He has not guaranteed me to be free from pain or to have excess prosperity. He has not guaranteed me perfect health. He has not guaranteed me perfect parents. He has not guaranteed me prefect children. He has not guaranteed me that absence of pressures, trials, misunderstandings, or persecution.

What He has promised me is eternal life. What He has promised me is abundant life. What He has promised me is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, meekness, and self-control. He has given me all of Himself in exchange for the rights to my life.

Therefore I acknowledge this day the relinquishment of all my rights and expectations, and humbly ask Him by His grace to replace these with a grateful spirit, for whatever in His wisdom He deems to allow for my life.

Modified from Russel Kelfer, "A Grateful Spirit: Part 2, " (176-b), 14, available at http://dtm.org/LessonOnLine.

Signed,

Elizabeth Ann