Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More thoughts on the disciples asking the wrong question
found in Matthew 18:1.

If you've missed a few blogs, please see the past three postings.
Let's do a quick recap on the scripture:

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?'

"Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said,
'Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.'" (NKJV)

Seems strange, doesn't it?
That Jesus would tell His disciples
they had to be converted?
I mean, they'd already accepted Him
as their Savior.
Their God.
Their reason for living.
Their hope for eternity.

They'd already left everything
to follow Him.

What was He talking about?
It's tied in with what He did.
He called a little child to Him, didn't He?
And He told the disciples to become as a child.

Notice:
Jesus didn't say "Act like a kid."

To understand what Jesus meant,
we have to step inside the sandals
of the Jews around Him.
We have to see with their eyes.
And hear what Jesus said with their ears.

When Jesus said, "Become as a little child,"
what those around Him heard was:
"Give it all up!"

You see, in Jewish culture—in those days—
children had no rights.
A child was simply a piece of property.

Need more money?
Sell the kid.
Need some work to be done?
Make a kid do it.

Children were expendable.
They had no rights.
They were nothing.

What?!?
Jesus, You want me to become expendable?
No rights?

That's it!
That's the key.
Unless there's a deep
internal
conversion
of 
our
will . . .
a dying to self . . .
a surrender of the total essence 
of me . . .
Jesus says we're not getting into heaven.

Yes, the disciples had walked away from everything
to follow Him.
But they were still full of themselves.
Each of them wanted a position of greatness 
in God's Kingdom.

Jesus was saying, "It's so not about that, guys.
It's so about emptying yourselves.
Dying to your rights.
Becoming putty in My hands.
Getting yourself off the throne.
Surrendering ALL to me."

And if you're thinking, 
Yeah. That's what I want.
I'm all Yours, Jesus. 
I'll sing for You.
or
I'll dance for You.
or
I'll model for You . . .
then you're still not getting it.

You see I can't even be in the picture.
It's not:
I'll do this for You, Jesus.
And I'll do that.
Rather, it's
"Dear God,
where can I bleed
and
sweat
and 
serve
and
die
for You?
To whom can I give
who can't give back?"

That's a surrendered life.

I have no rights, Jesus.
It's no longer, "me first."
or
"I deserve."
or
"I can . . ."
It's all about YOU.

It's YES, LORD
to whatever.
wherever.
whenever.
It's YES, LORD
to anything
anytime
anywhere.

 . . . are you getting it?
This deep inner conversion
involves
death
to self
and talent
and what I want.

It's becoming converted
through dying to self
and becoming totally surrendered to
and totally saturated by
Jesus Christ.

He is Lord.

May we place ourselves
in His hands--
may we say, "Break me, Father.
Remake me in Your holy Image."

Amen.

Love,
Susie

39 comments:

  1. Wow, I have been working on catching up since I have been busy recently, and have loved hearing everyones thoughts on these issues. This post really hit home with me because I know the thing I struggle with the most is surrendering to God. So often I want to just do things how I want to do them and don't step back and ask God what He thinks about it. Plus, when things don't go how I thought they should go, it is so hard to step back and realize that God is in control. I have been working on remembering to say "Your will be done" when I find myself worried about something coming up. After all, I can't control situations, only he can. Just some thoughts on how this affected me today. Thanks for reminding us to stay strong with God, Susie!

    KK from IA

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  2. I agree with the above.
    It's a struggle for everyone and some people are willing and some people are willing to surrender all to God.
    This past week has been a challenge from God after the Message at church.
    Brio/Susie Sisses- Did you know about 10 -20 years
    ago 80% of people or approx went to church? and now it's get this -20%?
    I guess it's not really surprising the way our world is right now. In some ways it's changing for the good. I mean we can't have a perfect world but we can protect our world can't we?...

    One of my first thoughts when reading what Susie wrote is Jesus wanted his followers to become vulernable like children to show that they needed and wanted God in their lives.

    ANYWAY EVERYONE HAVE A BLESSED NIGHT! sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite!

    Love, A Brio/Susie Sis

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  3. @life 2000" a youth revival"...
    about 9yr's ago susie had a Casket with a mirror inside for all of us to see,
    to die & surrender ourself to God-
    dying out to self.
    when you look inside the casket & see the image of yourself it means surrendering your entire life- *bones,flesh,blood,sweat & tears.
    Transforming your all into God's hands,
    using his Great power to work in you :o)
    Like a Hunk of Clay, it is nothing until we place it in the Potters hands.

    Its not alright its not ok- I Gave it up
    to make it right for his Light to shine through the night.

    "He is My Light, he is My Night, He is the Light, The son shines bright *He is Alright!"
    -Magilicutty

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  4. Wow, that is really deep. Right away I thought, I want to my self to die, so I can become completely saturated by Christ. But then I thought, what about all my dreams? What if they aren't what God wants? What then? I right away thought of myself. It was all about me. But I want it to be all about Him. I just have to let go of myself. It almost seems impossible, but I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So, I have to sacrifice myself and let Christ strengthen me. Dear God, let me become putty in your hands. Mold me into someone willing to sweat, bleed, and serve for you.
    Sisses, we need to pray for each other, for strength. Pray for me so that I can surrender my life completely to God.
    -Marisa a Susie Sis

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  5. I went to a youth retreat in Missouri a couple of weekends ago and there was an amazing drama team called One Time Blind there that did skits about this same issue. One of the skits showed how a girl wanted to give her life over to Jesus so he was making all the decisions. She kept shoving him off the chair because she kept thinking of what she wanted and not what God would want her to do. In another skit it showed how sometimes we keep God "in a box" when we want to make our own decisions, sometimes not good ones, and we only let God out of the box at certain times in our lifes. We can't shove God out of our lifes and only welcome him in on certain moments of our lifes. It asked the question, "Can you live without God?" They answered yes, because they would shove him out of their lives at certain moments. Then she went on to ask "Can you die without God?" They answered no. She told them that if they couldn't die without God, they certainly couldn't live without him being the center of their lives.

    When I read this post I thought of the drama team and thought I would share this with you guys because it really touched me and I learned I lot through watching them.

    -VT

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  6. Wow.....that's deep!
    Susie, that hit the spot. That also helps with my interactions with my siblings. I feel like every thing time I get in disputes with my siblings we're both trying to get what's best for ourselves. Next time a fight comes up, I'll remember that we need to lay our lifes down and let Him mold and shape us into what He wants me to be.

    *Michelle*

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  7. As I think most of us do, I struggle with surrendering myself to God. Recently I had a decision to make and I asked advice from several godly friends and they all said the same thing giving me biblical reasons why. It came to the point where I knew what was right and what God wanted me to do but I still wasn't doing it. It took me six months to be able to be able to surrender myself to God. Now I have another very important decision to make, but this one I have to make between just me and God. Please pray that I will be able to surrender to His will in this important decision.

    I liked what someone said about we have put God in a box. Our youth group has been talking some about this. About a month ago we took a mission trip to inner city Philadelphia. We all packed up our bags and put God in a box and thought well I guess we should bring Him too. Well on the trip, God bust open the little boxes we had stuffed Him into and showed us in amazing ways that He is more powerful than our minds can comprehend! I think it would be pretty cool if we could all surrender our selves to such an amazing God. I think if we did some pretty awesome things could start happening in our lives and in the lives of those around us!

    I know I'm quite new to this blog but I've read some of the past posts and I feel like I know you all already! I'm praying for you girls!

    ~Rachel

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  8. Girls, I can't tell you how MUCH I'm enjoying reading your responses to this. God is working inside of you, and that's exciting! Thanks for sharing your growth, your thoughts, yourselves with me!

    Love,
    Susie Shellenberger

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  9. Thank you Susie, that's really what I needed this morning! I love the way your words make me think, and push me to the next level. In an issue of Brio awile back, it fetured the same life revival that Magilicutty mentioned above. There were pictures of the casket with the mirror inside, and it really hit home for me. I wrote the following onto a poster, which is now on my closet door:

    If we're going to live for Christ, we have to die in ourselves...

    our DREAMS
    our HOPES
    our FUTURES
    our WILLS

    It's a concept that we can not find in the world around us! I heard an illistration in my church a couple weeks ago: God can guide our "steering wheel" in life to lead us down different paths. But, just like a car, it wont work too well unless we are moving forward. God has such beautiful things planned for us, and when He has seen us begin to leave the world behind, step out in faith, and forget about what WE want for life, great things will start to happen! Jump... no matter how scarey the cliff looks. Jump... even if everyone else is screaming something else in your ear. Jump... and He will be there to catch you!

    Jerica :)

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  10. I'm really confused though.
    Does this mean I shouldn't have any hopes and dreams?

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  11. No, it means you should just trust God with them.

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  12. I really like what you said about the jumping Jerica that's a cool way to put it. I recently have had some disicions to make myself and haven't really been depending on God to show me the way on Sunday I asked a bunch of my girlfriends if I was doing the right thing and they all said yes but my parents said otherwise. I then had to decide whether i would listen to my friends or my parents. I prayed about it and asked God what he thought I should do and I felt Him telling me to wait on Him. When He tells me to change I'll do it in a heartbeat. Pray for me that I won't miss His leading in this situation.

    God Bless,
    Nataleigh

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  13. Susie - Thank you for sharing on this. This is something I often forget about. I need to learn to surrender & and ask God to break me every day. I want to be an instrument that God can use to display his dreams & glory to the world. Jesus, more of you & less of me! :)

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  14. Yeah, this is AWSOME. I serve at an assisted living in my town, and for a long time, I would do it to glorify my self, through all of this, I have learned that I need to let that go and do it to glorify Jesus! I need to give up a lot of other things, too. It is amazing, Susie, how much your words have changed my life, and yet all you do is spreak your wisdom.

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  15. Yeah,
    If you trust God with ALL your hopes and dreams He will take carevof them and will guide you and your steps.

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  16. Nataleigh, I will keep you in my prayers! "Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him!" Psalm 37:7

    R -recharge
    E -evaluate
    S -stillness
    T -time with God

    Jerica

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  17. Jerica, I like what you said about resting in God. I have never thought about it like that before, and that is so true!

    KK from IA

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  18. I thought to get to heaven you only had to believe & ask for forgiveness & choose to follow Jesus. Like I don't understand why this article is saying that Jesus telling the 12 that they might not make it to Heaven becuase they are getting full of themselves. We are just human & we may have some ego issues..but when that happens Jesus will make it known to us that we aren't up to par & we can just work it out w/ Him... I suppose I just have a different view on this verse than Susie. My take is that he is saying "Don't worry about if you are going to be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven...that is up to me & my Father...right now just chill & focus on following me to the very best of your ability to honor Me whilst your on earth."
    Please give me your input Gals! :)
    -Rachel Susan-

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  19. I have to also agree with you Rachel Susan. While I think the point of trying to remember to humble ourselves is correct, I don't believe that God would not allow someone to get to heaven over it. God is loving and forgives us even if we have a big head sometimes. I believe that he understands that we are human and obviously may mess up. Anyway, just some thoughts that came after reading your answer, Rachel.

    I want everyone's imput too! And I am not trying to say that Susie's viewpoint is wrong. I am just not sure that I agree with the whole thing mpw tjat Rachel pointed that out to me.

    KK from IA

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  20. Haha, ok, I know that last sentence looks weird. I typed and pushed the wrong buttons. I was trying to say "now that" and it came out as "mpw tjat". Lol.

    KK from IA

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  21. Hi Susie! (And hi KK!)

    The thing I think I've been struggling with most is my plans for my life. Did you catch that? MY plans. MY dreams. MY everything. I've basically got my life totally mapped out how I want it to be -- I'm going to have tons of animals, be a dolphin trainer, write a few books, maybe act, marry my Prince Charming, and have 2-4 kids.
    I've been reminded a lot lately about what you summed up in your post. MY plans don't always line up with God's plans for me. It's a really hard thing to let go of -- I mean, your future? It's your life! It's everything you're going to become! And I'm supposed to surrender it to Jesus? To let someone else take control?
    I say I want Jesus to be Lord of my life, and yet I hold back. Why? I know the facts -- for me to truly live, I have to give my future to Jesus. But I'm still holding onto things, certain areas of my life that I don't want to give up. I think it's a big issue for a lot of people, but I'm determined to get through this. I'm closer to God than I've ever been, but there are still parts of me that I'm keeping for ME...and I need to give them up. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Susie!

    - Melissa R.

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  22. Hey Rachel Susan,
    I think maybe Jesus was trying to tell them that they needed to humble
    themselves and not really rebuking them.
    Maybe not.
    Just a thought.

    *Michelle*

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  23. @ 4yrs old, people ask you what do you want to do when you grow up?
    My answer- whatever God wants me to be!
    it sounds like a cheap answer.
    I Really Meant it with my whole Heart.
    I Haven't heard of anyone following the 4yr old dream.
    Its about God's Dream
    It's not about what you want.
    It's about What God has planned, all that he wants, Only His plan,Listen to his Voice in your Heart.
    Even though Saying No to his will sounds easy,its the challenge of his will we need to take on-"my little example"- Gautemala.
    uhh no-way , just isn't for me .
    God said yes you shall apply,ugh me?,hmm noway
    *God what are you Thinking ?
    i'm no missionary. I could use the money for drivers training & car.
    read a few things susie wrote-"Listening to Gods Voice"-"Saying Yes Lord"
    So i Gave God My stubbern will,that was it.
    *I Surrender All-All to Jesus I surrender.
    the true story susie spoke @ camp.
    A Family who was burried alive
    for Trust & Worship in God.
    while dirt was covering them singing.
    I Surrender All-all to Jesus I surrender.
    They Surrendered A entire future.

    The Answer YES that Changes my Life .
    Its all Good because...
    My Will my Love & best of the best
    My All in Gods hands Now.

    ~Proud To be His,
    neruaL :o)

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  24. @Rachel: Yeah, I believe that God forgives everything. I believe you have to be saved to go to heaven, but I don't think He would keep us out of heaven for thinking too highly of ourselves. As Christians, we'll probably feel bad about doing wrong, but we still sin. We just have to ask for forgiveness.

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  25. Wow! That was such an amazing and inspiring post that has really touched me. Being a junior in high school, making decisions about college and the future are really coming into play. I'm fairly new to this blog but everything I have read so far really reaches out to me-thank you Susie and everyone else. :) Please pray for me as I grow in my walk with HIM! I am continually learning to give everything over to him every day-not jus when I feel like it. I like how someone said "It's what GOD wants me to be." in response to the "what do you want to be when you grow up." question. These comments have really helped me-thank you!
    ~Danielle

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  26. Wow, Susie--good post. It really hit home for me, since I've been recently struggling with selfishness and surrendering to God. It's hard to make yourself feel like dirt...like you don't deserve anything in this life; because we don't. Thanks for the encouraging and penetrating post.

    ~Emily Sue

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  27. so i tryed to catch a mouse @ my parents house.
    it got in through the Dishwasher hose's-
    "No they're not in the slums."
    I put peanut butter & a reese's cup on the trap, the mouse is smart enough to move the reese's cup onto the trap so the mouse got away.
    Sometimes we are like that with God,He Puts everything infront of us,and we just shove it away and think nothing of it.
    So I caught my fingers,& a
    reese's cup. See everything else Can Trap us and we avoid What God is giving to us.
    -magilicutty

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  28. That's a GREAT comment Magilicutty!
    I love it!

    *Michelle*

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  29. Rachel and KK:
    I dont think that we should worry if we'll make it to Heaven or not..However, THAT is what caused me to accept Christ. I was reading about Judgement Day in Revalation, and what I read kinda freaked me out! I did NOT wanna be separated from God forever!! I worried about this for a while: "Am I going to Heaven?" And that, my friends, is how I felt God call me toward Him. I could almost hear Him say: "My dear child...If you accept me into your heart and life, and believe, you will never have to worry about this again." That was in the 7th/8th grade. I was baptized on April 26, 2009.

    May God bless the rest of your night, and your lives.

    Kay

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  30. Kay again! Susie...I think I speak for the rest of the gals when I say: "You are so amazing! God has truly given you a gift of reaching teen girls!! Thanks for all you do. You are greatly appreciated. May God bless the remainder of your evening."

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  31. Susie: I recently read your book, Anybody Got a Clue About Guys? . It was pretty good! I had but one problem...A whole bunch of girls were writing in that were, like, 12 saying they were having problems with boyfriends and dating, etc. I have a problem with that! I dont even think girls should be dating when they're 16. Another thing that bothered me is that you didnt adress this issue. Girls this age are not ready to be dating....Too much heartbreak, and other emotional stuff. Again, this is just my personal opinion.

    ~K

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  32. Hey Susie-

    I'm glad that you're bringing up this issue, because like a lot of other girls this is something I struggle with it a lot. But one thing that really gets me is "How do I know what God wants from me if I don't hear Him and get His message?

    I know you'll probably say, "I have some articles on the mag that you should read, they're really helpful." But that's the problem. I've read the articles and I'm trying to listen, but everytime I try I get a thought in my head and I say "Hmm, is that what God is trying to tell me, or is that just from me and I'm not focusing on Him?" I just get so frustrated about it!! Then when I go to camp and hear from all sorts of missionaries and speakers who say, "I just listened to God, and this is where He led me and all you have to do is listen and He will guide your life." I get even more frustrated and confused about it because I don't know what His voice sounds like!!!

    As for giving myself fully to Him, I want that more than anything. I'm just scared to do it because then I feel like I should just sit here and pray and not do anything with my life because God will take care of it. Or not make a decision because how do I know that that's what God wants me to do? Oh, I just don't know.

    I guess I could go on about it more, but I think you get my point.

    And thank you so much for all that you do for us. If I had a cell phone or even service where I live, I would TOTALLY recieve texts from you, but I don't, so yeah.

    Thanks,

    Alana D.

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  33. Susie,
    On your site there's a poll about receiving susie announcments via text messaging and I was just wondering if you were actually were gonna start that. If you do I would definatly sign up! Please do start that, I think it would help a lot of girls I they could get your encouragment pretty much anywhere.

    *michelle*

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  34. I can really relate to you, Alana D. That's exactly how I feel right now. I definitely want to be commited, but I'm sitll so confused.

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  35. Whoa... that was a good blog. . .and reading all the comments makes me think! I really just need to give EVERYTHING to God and let him control my life and do what HE want to do not what I want to do. I have thought about that a lot lately. Am I doing what God wants me to? I am tuning in to his voice but I am not listening. It's time for me to start listening and give all my future plans and life to God. Thanks susie for being so encouraging and thanks everyone on here for having some great advice and opinions!!! :D
    love all of you in the sisterhood!
    abby

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  36. ONe more thing. . .prayer would be appreciated that I finish school this week. If I don't finish this week I have to redo all of 9th grade and I REALLY don't want to be doing that!
    Thanks guys,
    abby

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  37. Alana D,

    I do believe that to a certain extent, it is part of our responsibility to plan for our future.. it is not about sitting and only just praying and doing nothing.. however, as with all our plans, commiting them to God would mean letting God change them if necessary.. we plan.. God decides.. sometimes through circumstances, godly advice.. i may add through the holy spirits convicting us.. but as you say it is hard to hear god at times.. and i do agree to that..

    Rick Warren wroted in the Purpose Driven Life that God can have a few plans for our lifes..meaning..for example, if we become a doctor, he can use us.. if we become a missionay, he too can use us..

    in certain cases of course God may have SPECIFIC plans for our life..

    Giving yourself back to God does mean doing the hard right thing not the easy wrong thing.. in other words, choosing to live by his standards..and that does require loads of courage..like Daniel walking into the lions den.


    i think that in the end of the day, whatever you do, it has to be parallel to bible guidelines...and of course, being open to God changing our plans..

    just my mere opinion.. =)

    -HL-

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