Monday, February 11, 2008

Bowie Curry: Living Sacrifice!

This is a great article by Bowie Curry, founder of PrayerNet of Fredericksburg. He is an amazing intercessor whose heart burns brightly for the Lord Jesus Christ. His life has been an example to me of a man after God's own heart.

When God says, "Dance"!

We had been worshipping as a congregation for about 25 minutes when our pastor went to the pulpit and said, "I sense that the Lord wants us to sing this chorus again and as we do so to dance before Him." When the pastor, whom I know to be a man of God, directs the congregation during worship in a certain way, I do it. If he says, "dance", I dance! If he says, "kneel", I kneel. If he said to stand on my head and hum "Amazing Grace", I would at least attempt to do it. As we began to sing, I noticed that almost no one was dancing.
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall
inherit the earth.

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

When God Comes Down!

My thoughts went back 30 years. I was interning in a prayer retreat center in upper state New York. We were in the third day of a pastor's retreat and the meetings had been generally dry and uneventful. The staff was concerned because we knew that many had come from great distances and some with great personal needs. We had prayed for days leading up to this retreat that each one of these pastors and missionaries would have a significant encounter with the Lord but after 2 days, the heavens seemed like brass.

Finally, after about an hour of restless waiting on the Lord, the director of the camp stood up and said that he felt like someone had a word from the Lord and they were resisting the prompting of the Holy Spirit. He sat down and after an awkward silence, one of the teens that served in the kitchen washing pots, stood up, literally trembling, and said, "For two days the Lord has been saying to my heart that we need to stand up and shout but I kept saying, These are all pastors and missionaries; whom am I to make such a suggestion? Well, I'm just going to be obedient. The Lord wants us to stand up and shout!"

What happened next was one of the most extraordinary encounters with the Living God that I have ever experienced in my life. I looked over at the director who didn't seem quite convinced. Finally, he said, "Let's all stand to our feet and shout!" Every one of the 150 present immediately stood to their feet and began to shout. Suddenly, it was as if a lightning bolt split the heavens and the Presence of God filled the room in power. For over an hour wave after wave of glorious praise swept through the lodge. As the worship continued, people began to pray for one another. After about three hours a holy stillness settled over the room and for the next hour or so we sat in enraptured silence not daring to move.

God Blesses Obedience!

I know at least 3 people who were healed from serious illnesses that afternoon. One woman was instantly healed of terminal cancer. Another, who had been battling depression for years was filled with joy. One missionary couple experiencing severe marital problems were completely reconciled. Many testified of receiving a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit and a restoration to Christ as their first love.

One Dared to Obey

I often wonder what we all would have missed if that pot boy had not finally obeyed the prompting of God's Spirit. I was thinking that Sunday morning, "What blessings have we forfeited because of our disobedience to the leading of the Lord?" The lesson I learned at that retreat is when the Lord says, "Dance", I dance!

The Altar of God's Love

What does all this have to do with meekness? We have established that meekness is God's power under God's control. The primary issue in the incident above of course is not dancing but obedience.

True worship is not mindlessly fulfilling some religious ritual once a week but rather a life a lifestyle of communion and encounter with a living God, hearing His voice and responding in odeience. It is the continuous offering of our entire being upon the altar of the One who offered Himself for us without reservation as an atoning sacrifice for our sins on the Cross. It is a response from the heart to what the Living God initiates.

Scriptures tell us that the Church is the "Body of Christ". It was through the wholly surrendered human body of Jesus that The Father brought healing and redemption to this world. It is through the Body of Christ that God will supernaturally complete the process of redemption. What blessing has come to this world because Christ entirely offered His Body as a living sacrifice to accomplish the will of the One who sent Him.

How God longs to find similar hearts today that in the same spirit of love and devotion to the Father will present their body as a living sacrifice and say with the Savior, "I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." God could display His mighty acts of power through Jesus because His humanity was completely surrendered to the Father's will. God will release His power through His Church only when that power is under His control. Since that power operates through our humanity, the first step in that is to offer our body to Him in unconditional surrender as a living sacrifice.

Let The Dance Begin!

Among that group of pastors and missionaries at that retreat God found surrendered hearts listening for the voice of the Shepherd ready to respond in wholehearted obedience to the leading of the Spirit. God said, "Shout!" they shouted. The heavens were opened and the glory of God descended in power in their midst! Meekness! God's power under God's control! Let the dance begin!

Prayer Power

Heavenly Father, I present to you this day, my body as a living sacrifice as my reasonable service of worship. Forgive me, when through doubt, pride, or fear of what others might think, I have resisted the prompting of Your Holy Spirit. I thank You for Jesus who willingly offered His Body as a sacrifice for my sin on the Cross and now, out of gratitude for that eternal sacrifice, I offer my body as a living sacrifice on the altar of Your love. This day, by the grace of God, when You say, "Dance!" I will dance! When you say, "Do this random act of kindness." Because I love You, because Your law is in my heart, I will obey. Lord, this day, let your power be wholly under Your control as Your love and grace flow from my heart to those around me. I ask these things in Jesus' Name! Amen!

May God Unite us in Prayer And Unity!

Bowie and Barbara Curry
PrayerNet of Fredericksburg

"If these devotionals have been an encouragement to you, please feel free to forward them. Our hope is that the Lord will use these to expand our network of prayer and to help us discover other like-minded souls. Also, be sure to visit our upgraded website and to let your friends know about it."

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