How full is your life? Let me put it another way, how abundant is your life? The questions sound different, don’t they? Many of us have lives that are full, but not as many have lives that feel abundant.
In John 10:10, Jesus is recorded as saying “… I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Other translations say, “Have it abundantly.” The point is that Jesus came into the world to free us from all that binds us, and to release abundant spiritual life in our souls and in our midst. We are tempted to think that the life Christ has for us is smaller than the lives we are trying to carve out for ourselves, but actually the opposite is true. He who created you wants to give you the best and fullest life your frame can handle.
In a related way, Paul exhorts us to be “Filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) The full and abundant life that Jesus provides is realized through the filling of...
There is a plague in our land. It is robbing and stealing life from people of all ages. It used to affect only a certain portion of the population, but it has spread to all kinds of people in our country. It is a communicable disease that causes death. It often starts in an undetected way, but usually progresses to destroy spiritual, emotional, relational and physical health.
Because this disease is curable, people often miss its deadliness … until it has ravaged lives. Its innocuous shortened street name is “Busyness,” but its clinical name is “Insidious Busyness.” It is insidious because it often undetected and develops gradually. Its initial symptoms can mask its real effects, even enticing its victims to drink deeper of its intoxicating ingredients. When properly diagnosed, however, it is easy to recognize, and its damaging effects become plain and clear.
This disease is so rampant and so entwined in the values of our culture, many...
Have you “fallen” in love with anyone – I mean really in love? When that thing comes on you, your life changes. Everything else – even important things – seems to wane. Life in many ways gets put on the back burner, and you become practically obsessed. When your mind wanders from your tasks, it generally goes toward the person of your great affection. And, you find yourself willing to pay great prices to be with that person. You are willing to drive/travel long distances and go without much sleep to be with him/her. Almost nothing can hold you back.
This love-behavior is true of our relationship with God, too. "This is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome." (1John 5:3) We ultimately express our love to God through our obedience to Him. Love and lordship are one and the same in relationship with Christ. To love Him is to recognize and relate according to who He actually is, the Lord. We grow through obedience and we...
I used to have a poster on the wall of my office that was captioned, “Dead Sea Fishing Club.” If you are familiar with the Dead Sea, you know this is a crazy statement. The Dead Sea has no fish in it. If is the saltiest lake in the world, saturated with minerals and full of all kinds of chloride and bromide. My poster, however, was a kind of faith statement based upon a vision that the prophet Ezekiel had. (Ezekiel 47:1-12)
In Ezekiel’s visionary encounter with an angel, he saw and experienced a river that flows from the temple in Jerusalem for 21 miles and into the Dead Sea, bringing life and healing with wherever it goes. The river even brings life to the Dead Sea. All kinds of fish appear and are sustained, in the Dead Sea, by the river coming from the temple.
This river of life is symbolic of the life and power of the Holy Spirit moving in and through believers in Jesus Christ. Ezekiel 47:9 reads, “… where the river flows everything will...
It seems there is new and ongoing upheaval and violence across many areas of the world. There are unsettled feelings and anxieties almost everywhere. How should we live in such times?
Let’s remember some key truths from Scripture:
How alive are you?
How abundant is your life experience in God?
The New Testament starts with the book of Matthew, but the first Gospel written was most likely the book of Mark. It reads, “The beginning of the Good News about Jesus …” It then starts with the ministry of the John the Baptist – the one who Isaiah prophesied would prepare people to receive Jesus, the Messiah.
John called everyone to repentance – to turn from their sinfulness – their self-referenced, self-promoting, self-protecting and self-justifying lives. John the Baptist proclaimed a new spiritual season in the Messiah that had two powerful stages:
1. Turn from sin and receive fresh forgiveness from God.
Baptism (emersion) in water would be the sign of this spiritually cleansing reality.
2. Look for and be alert to the Promised One – Jesus, the Son of God.
Baptism (emersion) in the Holy Spirit will be the reality of this new life.
As we consider...
How alive are you?
How abundant is your life experience in God?
The New Testament starts with the book of Matthew, but the first Gospel written was most likely the book of Mark. It reads, “The beginning of the Good News about Jesus …” It then starts with the ministry of John the Baptist – the one who Isaiah prophesied would prepare people to receive Jesus, the Messiah. John called everyone to repentance – to turn from their sinfulness – their self-referenced, self-promoting, self-protecting and self-justifying lives.
John the Baptist proclaimed a new spiritual season in the Messiah that had two powerful stages:
As we consider the Advent...
We are bombarded with input all day every day. Our minds can feel saturated, bloated and unable to absorb much more. However, it is critical that we remember that not all words are equal in value. Different messages carry varying levels of importance, and we must stay alert to weigh them well. If we aren’t paying attention we may miss some key communications, or we may give too much time or effort to things that don’t deserve it.
The apostle Paul commended the believers in Thessalonica for rightly receiving the Word of God when it was shared with them. He said they received it “Not as human words, but as it actually is, the Word of God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) And, he described that the message came not just “With words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
It’s important that we make intentional time to read and ingest the Bible. It is not like any other writing in all history...
One of the great challenges of our day is that hardly any of us are very good at stilling ourselves before the Lord. The good news is that we can all learn to do so.
There is, however, an additional problem that might surface as we learn to be still. As we behold God’s goodness, experience measures of healing in our souls, and get in touch with our true selves, we have the potential to get stuck.
Sometimes, we can so enjoy our time with the Lord that we become passive in our faith.
When we learn to receive, rather than strive, we might (unintentionally) forget the value of purposefully pursuing the Lord, and the importance of obeying His direction.
No one means to become too passive or disobedient, but it can happen if we over-prize our experience of Him, rather than our growing relationship with Him.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
The verse goes on to say, “I wil be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in...
What do people mean when they say they “hear God’s voice?” Can everyone hear God? Do people have the same capacity and/or ability to hear the Lord? Does the Lord “speak” more often or more clearly in some places and at some times than others?
The book of 1 Samuel notes, “In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.” (1 Sam. 3:1). Apparently, there are different dispensations regarding the frequency and clarity of God's communication. Approximately 3,100 years ago the people of God were not experiencing much of the revelation of God. Then Samuel was born, and God started communicating boldly through the prophets.
In the New Testament, the book of Hebrews begins, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through...