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Get Back On the Road to Abundant Life

Posted on December 5, 2017 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

“Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10:7, 9-10

When was the last time you looked at your high school annual to read the things friends and teachers had to say about you? What did they see in you? What was the road they expected you to travel?

Youth is the time of life when we’re most likely surrounded by people who are looking for the potential in us. It’s also a time when we’re inclined to dream about future possibilities.

As we grow older, we become cynical. Our support system of encouragers diminishes; fewer people around to cheer us on toward our goals. Negativity and difficult circumstances steal our dreams. Ultimately, we settle for “just getting by,” which diverts us to a road of disappointment.

In today’s focus text, Jesus tells us about “the thief” who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Satan’s objective is to keep you from salvation and the abundant life Christ gives.

Some days you feel as if the world is against you because it is.  There is a force in this world working to hold you back, to steal your potential, to divert you from the fullness of life that God has prepared for you.

This “thief” will deceive and divert. That means that this world will offer you alternative choices that can throw you off course. One day you wake up and realize you are shipwrecked and headed nowhere.

Here’s the good news. God has not given up on you. No matter where you are in life, He offers a way to a full, rich, meaningful, rewarding life. He has filled you with great potential, and He wants you to attain it.

This abundant life that Jesus offers begins by accepting His invitation to enter through the gate. “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”

Saved from what? Saved from this deceitful world that is destroying your life. Delivered from the hold of the Deceiver. And saved from eternal torment and the finality of death. (1 Corinthians 15:55)

Those I’ve seen enter through the gate to receive Christ expressed incredible relief. The weight of the world was lifted from their shoulders.

For all who follow Him, Jesus promises, they “…will come in and go out, and find pasture.”  A life headed nowhere suddenly has hope, meaning, and a magnificent future.

New life in Christ comes with a heavenly guarantee. “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” Fullness of life for now and forever.

Possibly you entered the gate a long time ago, but you have lost sight of the abundant life God has promised. Even Christians make bad choices and are thrown off course by painful circumstances. Determine today to get your life right before God. Get back into His word and apply His principles for living. Take the seeds of abundance He has planted in you and nurture them to their fullest. Let Him rekindle old dreams and show you new ones. If you’ve taken a wrong turn, get back on the road to abundant life.

For more on this topic, check out this article: Redeemed from the Empty Way of Life

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats

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The Danger of Abundant Living

Posted on October 13, 2017 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Revelation 3:17

With the approach of holidays it always happens. Our sons ask us what we want? Janet’s response is always the same. “I don’t need a thing.” I take a similar approach to the question. “Get me a shirt or socks, something cheap.”

What we really mean is we don’t want our sons spending their hard earned money on us. The Lord has abundantly supplied all our needs. Philippians 4:19 comes to mind. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

He is our supplier both now and forever. If you have Jesus, you have all you need.

Sadly, people who lack a saving relationship with Jesus are needy. No matter the size of their bank account, investment portfolio, or estate, if they don’t have the Lord, they remain “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”

You recall Jesus’ words to the rich young ruler: “…it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:25) Jesus didn’t say it was impossible for the rich to be saved. In fact, He added, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)

To be saved, you must be needy. Even rich people can experience the kind of poverty that opens the heart to God’s free gift of eternal life. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

One of the greatest components of love is need. All of us long to be needed by someone. For that to happen, we must be needy.

God supplies our greatest need as an act of divine love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) The Heavenly Father offers a life insurance policy for the soul.

But beware! Once that need is met, we risk becoming apathetic, ungrateful, and taking the love of God for granted.

In context, Revelation 3:17 is aimed at the members of the Church at Laodicea. Laodicea was known for its wealth. It comprised bankers, a medical school, and  a thriving textile industry. Local citizens had joined the church, but there was no evidence of faith in Christ.

In the two preceding verses, Jesus said:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15-16

Why do people who aren’t really saved go to church? Who are they? Can they be distinguished from the redeemed? Only God can know what’s really in someone’s heart. Only He can answer those questions.

The Lord’s somber warning in Revelation 3 is cause for self-examination. “I know your deeds…”  What does Jesus see when He looks at you?

We are creatures of habit. Some of us have always gone to church. It’s as much a part of the weekly routine as going to work or sitting in a favorite chair while watching a favorite TV program. When things become routine, they lose their meaning. What once seemed monumentally important becomes lukewarm.

I’ve never been a fan of Zombie movies or TV shows. But my brief exposure to this popular programming reminds me of the way some of us approach church attendance and our relationship to God. Mindless. Lifeless.

Jesus concludes His instruction to the church at Laodicea with this admonition:

“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” Revelation 3:18

Pray for the Lord to reveal the truth about you and to open your eyes “so you can see” the reality of your relationship to Him. Now that he’s supplied you with abundant life, don’t take His all-sufficient supply for granted.

For more on this topic, check out this article: Redeemed from the Empty Way of Life

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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