10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.— John 10:10 NKJV
When we hear the term abundant, our minds quickly turn to material possessions, position, and money. Those things have little to do with abundant living in the Biblical sense. The list of millionaires, actors, and other famous people that have committed suicide in the prime of their lives proves this to be true. Perhaps, we need to rethink what brings true joy in this present time and in the future. It needs to be someone or something that is steadfast, true and unchangeable. It must be someone or something we can have with us all the time. It must be someone or something that we have instant access to whether we are having a “good” day or a “bad” day. It must be someone or something that is affordable whether we are rich or poor. God knows that we need money, food and things to make the journey but He also knows that dependence on those things will not bring us joy or peace. We need friends but they can’t be with us every second of every day. What we really, really need is to learn to access the shalom kind of peace that Jesus bought for us at Calvary. If we can’t trust Him for our daily bread, how can we trust Him with our souls for eternity? Abundant living is an attitude of the heart. You can’t buy it with all the money in the world, a friend can’t give it to you, a doctor might prescribe it but the pharmacy can’t fulfill the prescription. It only comes when we learn the lesson that Paul learned, “not that I was ever in need”.
11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.— Phil. 4:11-13 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! — Habakkuk 3:17,18 NLT
Happiness and pleasure are worldly things and are dependent on our external circumstances. They are fleeting and temporary. But joy, true joy, comes from the Holy Spirit that abides in us. It is dependent on our internal attitudes. It is eternal and no one, not even satan can steal our joy. If we lose it, it is because we give it away. It is our strength that gets us through every day. There are times when we may not be happy and our circumstances may not be pleasant, but how we respond to those times determines where we are on our journey with Jesus. When these times come, do we blame God and sulk like spoiled children or do we respond like Habakkuk and rejoice in the Lord”? When we don’t feel like praying, that is the time we need to pray the fervent, effectual prayers. When we don’t feel like shouting with joy, that is the time when we need to clap our hands and shout with a voice of triumph. Our joy is not based on feelings or circumstances but upon the sure knowledge that “God is our salvation and He has become our strength”. All day, every day, all our life long.
Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! — Psalm 47:1
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.—1 Cor. 6:7-11 NIV
If we are unable to forgive our brothers and sisters for these things, we are no further along than we were when we were living a sinful lifestyle. What, then, shall we say to those who have not yet accepted Christ? If we continue in our old lifestyle, we might want to question whether we actually repented of our sins or just had an emotional experience at the altar? True repentance does not leave the heart and mind empty, it fills us with the Holy Spirit so that satan cannot come back and take up residence in our lives. Oh, he will send one of his demons by to checkup on us, but it is up to us to make sure he doesn’t get a room and stay. That is what we used to be and do. But now, we are forgiven and washed in the blood. We have been cleansed “just as if” we had never sinned and we are being sanctified daily. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.–1 Thess. 5:23,24 NIV
44 By this time it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 45 The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. 46 Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.–Luke 23:44-46 (NLT)
Can you imagine what all those people were thinking at this time? Both the light from the sun and from the Son were gone. There was total, complete darkness for a space of 3 hours. The veil (curtain) in the temple was torn from top to bottom. Then Jesus spoke with words from Psalm 31. If we read that quote in context, we find that it points backward to David’s suffering and deliverance and forward to the Resurrection. What a miserable place the world must have been while Jesus was in the grave. Now, we fast forward to Sunday morning. “Then came the morning” and the tomb was empty!. Victory for Jesus and for all of us who believe in Him. Hallelujah, what a Savior! Rejoice! and again, I say rejoice! We must go tell somebody the Good News! Christ is Risen!
Colossians 2:6-10 (NLT) 6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. 8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. 9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
With some much information available today, it is almost impossible to get through a day without hearing a lot of high-sounding nonsense. As I go about my duties and errands each day, I see billboards, listen to talk radio and watch the opinion shows on TV, I am amazed at the amount of nonsense that is sent out everyday. I sometimes wonder if the producers of these things think everyone in this country is of low intelligence. Empty philosophies and words abound everywhere. How does one keep him/herself from being overly influenced by this worldly chatter?
Those of us that have accepted Jesus Christ must understand that there is a spiritual battle being waged 24/7. It is just as real as any military operation and it has consequences that last for an eternity. The mind is the battlefield and that is where we win or lose each battle. We must keep our spiritual eyes and ears focused on Jesus. We must put on the full armor of God each morning before we hear the first human voice speak. God is the Commander of the Heavenly armies and we are a part of that army. Before you leave home each day, check in with the Commander and see where He needs you to be today. He is looking for warriors to stand in the gap for families, neighbors, and our country. Christ is the ruler and authority over the whole universe. Be committed to Jesus and be so convinced that nothing can change your mind. If we suffer with Him here, we will reign with Him there. Show the world Jesus by helping and loving those around you today.
Psalm 63:1-4 (God’s Word Translation)
O God, you are my God.
At dawn I search for you.
My soul thirsts for you.
My body longs for you
in a dry, parched land where there is no water.
2 So I look for you in the holy place
to see your power and your glory.
3 My lips will praise you
because your mercy is better than life itself.
4 So I will thank you as long as I live.
I will lift up my hands to pray in your name.
We all have had those days when it seemed that nothing we did would satisfy us. All day long, we wanted something. Food and drink did not satisfy us. All of our activity left us empty and drained. Kind words from family, friends and co-workers just didn’t hit the spot. All day, it was just that feeling that something is missing. As the Psalmist said, “O, my soul, why are you disquieted within me?” All of the usual forms of recreation and relaxation just left us feeling less satisfied.
Then we hear that small, still voice saying, “Come unto me”. Drink from the well that never runs dry. Wade into the fountain that flows from the throne of God and be satisfied. Focus on the throne and as you focus on Jesus, your mind starts to settle peacefully and you can feel all your tensions disappear as Jesus holds you and you are filled with His peace.
Spend time with Jesus and meditate on His Word. Your Spirit desires it more than anything this world can offer.