Archive for The Abundant Life
Jeremiah 18:1-6: “This is the message that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Jeremiah, go down to the potter’s house. I will give you my message there.’ So I went down to the potter’s house and saw him working with clay at the wheel. He was making a pot from clay. But there was something wrong with the pot. So the potter used that clay to make another pot. With his hands he shaped the pot the way he wanted it to be. Then this message from the Lord came to me: ‘Family of Israel, you know that I can do the same thing with you. You are like the clay in the potter’s hands, and I am the potter.”
It doesn’t take us long to realize that we have imperfections. Others see them. God knows them. The amazing thing is that the Lord is not looking for perfection. He selects those who are imperfect and carefully places us on His potter’s wheel. With a vision in His mind and precision in His hands, He begins. He shapes us into the disciples that magnify His perfect qualities. Read More→
One of the most successful and entertaining television shows produced by NBC is “The Voice.” It is a competition that highlights the singing talent of a variety of musicians. After weeks of performance, the audience crowns one individual with the title of “The Voice.”
Throughout our lives there are voices that impress us and some convince us. Some voices are so commanding they cause us to take immediate action. I remember hearing my mother’s voice from two blocks away. Her voice said “Run home now.”
There are many voices that compete for our attention and devotion. The voice of fame, the voice of fortune, and the voice of approval from others are convincing. They are like the voices of the sirens whose song offered false promises to Odysseus. Heeding these voices of the world, the flesh, and the devil is unwise. They lead listeners down the path of seduction and destruction. Read More→
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this life is full of pain and heartache. We all have suffered physically or emotionally to some degree. My latest bout with pain (sciatica) has placed limitations on me that I do not enjoy. The pain itself is difficult, but the pain of the limitations can also be frustrating. However, I have learned again that pain is my friend.
James said, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Paul completes this thought, “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5). Read More→
I had another Wow experience last night. Strangely, it happened in the emergency room. Because her husband was at a military training event, our daughter, who is pregnant and seven weeks from delivery, was visiting. I was leading our LifeGroup upstairs and after a sweet prayer time came a call of distress. She had called her doctor because of some problems, and her doctor instructed her to go the emergency room to rule out pre-eclampsia. I asked one of the men to lead the Bible study, my wife stayed with our granddaughter, and I rushed my concerned daughter to the ER.
You know the drill, right? The LifeGroup prayed for us, my wife prayed, and I prayed. And I experienced several “WOWs” throughout the two-hour ordeal. My first WOW came because I didn’t get pulled over as I drove. I never (rarely) speed, but I admit the car wanted to go faster this time. The second Wow was that when we arrived, the ER was full of people. I prayed for all of them, but also prayed that we would get in soon. The third Wow came soon after. The nurses got her in right away with no wait. In fact, a nurse came with a wheel chair before she was finished checking in. They moved her to the front of the line-Wow. Thank you Lord! Read More→
Are you cultivating the gratitude attitude? This could be one of your greatest adventures. I have found that a thankful spirit changes how others see me. When I say thank you, leave a thank you note or gift, others seem to brighten their day, and suddenly , they appreciate me too. This lifts the spirits of those around me. When I appreciate others, I feel more appreciated. It’s like a miracle. It’s true – people do not like to live with or work with a grumpy person. A positive, grateful attitude always prevails and is contagious. This does not mean that there are not sad times. Be real, but others will notice when you are grateful and will follow your lead.
I have found that a thankful spirit changes how I see myself. My own mind and spirit changes when gratitude lives in my mind and flows through my lips. All of my thoughts seem to be more positive, and I enjoy life. It is more abundant. Instead of complaining, I find the good in others and the silver lining in every situation. The cup really is half full or fuller. Read More→
One of the obvious aspects of the way Jesus worked with His disciples was to teach them and to train them. However, He also held them to a high standard of accountability. He required them to give an account (report) what they had done with the resources He gave them. Perhaps it is true that a life without accountability is of no account.
Thomas Paine said, “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not be trusted by anybody.” It is true that accountability puts pressure on you. However, as Winston Churchill said, “You can measure a man’s character by the choices he makes under pressure.” The Bible has a lot to say about accountability. Consider these:
“As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another” Prov. 27:17
“So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” Rom. 14:12
“Confess your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16
The question I pose to you is “are you accountable to someone?” Here are some reasons people do not have anyone holding them accountable:
-No need: “I have this thing/ministry/business/life figured out.” This is pride.
-No time: “ I am too busy to have someone ask me the hard questions.” This is poor management.
-No urgency: “I see value in accountability and I will get around to it eventually.” This is poor vision.
-No trust: “I don’t have anyone that I can trust with the details of my life.” This is a poor destiny. Read More→
Being persistent in prayer is one of the disciplines of the abundant life in Christ.
During the last month, I have observed one of the most amazing examples of persistence. In our home, we have a covered front porch with an arch trim over the door. Swallows built a nest there. No matter how many times I have removed the nest and no matter the measures to prevent them from building there, they keep coming back. I noticed they were trying to start again this morning. [ I will be more persistent than swallows :-) ] Read More→
Let me ask you a question. Would you rather drink from a stagnant pool or a fresh spring? I know that is a silly question. The difference between them is that one keeps all it can, and the other gives all it can. The sound of a bubbling brook is one of joy and life. The key to living the abundant life is to serve others.
We are to serve all the time, but there are also special seasons of service, and synergy that comes from serving with other Christ-followers. Every June, our church has an emphasis on serving our community and we call it “Project Go.”
Why do we do this?
I can’t sleep. I am worried sick. This is driving me crazy. Have you said or thought any of these phrases lately? You are craving peace, but can’t seem to work your way out of the worry prison.
When people worry, they are anxious about things that may take place in the future, and they may or may not have control over the circumstances. And let’s be honest: there is no amount of human effort that can generate peace that you crave.
Thankfully the Lord, who is the Prince of Peace offers peace to His children that the world cannot and never will experience. This peace comes from two complimentary paths. The first way to get peace is to be Spirit-filled. When we are filled by the Holy Spirit, He produces “fruit” in our lives. One aspect of this fruit is peace (Galatians 5:22). The Word of God commands us to be Spirit-filled, which means to let Him be in control of our lives (not alcohol Ephesians 5:18). So begin each day with, “Lord, I surrender my life to you today. I choose to let the Holy Spirit take control of my body, soul, and spirit and I submit my will to the Spirit, so I can please you.” Read More→
Have you noticed that there is a lot of pain and suffering everywhere we turn? There is death, divorce, illness, disease, messed up relationships, and disappointments and loss of all kinds. Sin has had and continues to have a horrible impact on our world and our lives. These hardships can break our hearts and crush our spirits.
Maybe you are experiencing a broken heart or a crushed spirit because of a loss, a relationship gone bad, a false accusation, or consequences of your own actions. I want you to remind you, that if you are a Christian, God is close to you.
Psalm 34:18 says: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” There are two promises here. The first is that He is close to the brokenhearted. When our hearts are broken, we need the closeness of our closest friends because they understand without judging. God is close, and even though others will abandon us, He will never leave us or forsake us. The second promise is that He will save you. If your spirit is crushed by circumstances or someone else, it won’ t last forever because He delivers us from having a crushed spirit. Time does not heal, but over time God heals. When we call out to Him, He will deliver us from a crushed spirit and give us joy again. “Weeping may last for a night but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5) Read More→