What a POWERFUL day in the Lord we had yesterday. We talked about how Jesus has come to give us not only eternal life, but abundant life . . . quality of life.
John 10:10-“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” We can have life to the full because God is ALWAYS with us! (Psalm 139)
Let me remind you of some of the ways God is with us:
God is with us when we are being formed. Psalm 139
God is with us when we are broken. When Adam and Eve sinned they became broken, dislocated from God. God asked them, “Where are you?” Following their disobedience, God wanted Adam and Eve to look at their spiritual location. Quality of life begins by being connected to God through a relationship with Jesus.
God is with us when we are rejected. Hagar had been used and then kicked to the curb in Genesis 16 by Abraham and Sarah. She took off running. When God spoke to Hagar she was sitting in the desert. He asked her a key question: “Where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“Hagar, talk to me about your pain,” God was saying. “Tell me what happened. Why are you hurting?” “And after you do, tell me where you are planning to go?” She had not thought about where she was heading. She only knew what she was running away from. After a conversation with God in which she offloaded her pain to the “God who sees her,” she did as God commanded. She went home to face her pain and work through it. Physical distance doesn’t take care of emotional pain and scars because as we run away we take that baggage with us. Her ability to have a successful future depended on her willingness to confront her pain and problems.
God is with us when we are afraid. In I Kings 19 Elijah was hiding in a cave, and God asked him, “What are you doing here?” Though he had successfully defeated 850 false prophets, he was now hiding in a cave for fear of just one person.
When God asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” I think God was saying, “Why are you living life in fear?” “How did you get to such a fearful place, Elijah?” Fear is a quality of life stealer.
God told Elijah to come out of the cave and stand boldly where the presence of the Lord was going to pass by. Quality of life comes as we interact with the presence of God. Elijah did just that. God told him to go back the same way he had come just as he had Hagar. God had unfinished business for Elijah and because of fear, Elijah had left it undone. We must come to understand that quality of life, abundant life, is tied to our obedience to finish the works God gives us.
God is with us when we are suffering. In Mark 5 we read about a woman who had a bleeding condition for 12 years. A social outcast, after having gone from doctor to doctor, she was out of options and out of money. But although she was out of resources, she wasn’t out of hope! She had the faith that if she could just touch the hem of Jesus’ garment she would be healed.
And when she did, her bleeding stopped. She was free from her suffering. Jesus knew someone had gotten close enough in faith to release a miracle. Jesus asked a question she was to answer. “Who touched Me?” When you think everyone has forgotten you, when you think nobody can help you, when you have tried everything humanly possible and done all you know to do reach out for Jesus. He is there to minister healing to you when you are suffering.
Finally, God is with us when life stays hard. Paul pleaded with God to remove a “thorn in his flesh” 3 times. The response God gave him in II Cor. 12:9 was simple. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” God basically said, “I will empower you to live with the thorn and still glorify Me!”
Abundant life is a growing life.
-When we embrace that this life is a call to do the good works God has ordained for us according to our special gifts and abilities we are growing in the abundant life.
-When we confess our brokenness to God and ask for forgiveness of our sins and let God remake us and teach us to stop sinning we are growing in the abundant life.
-When we face our problems by seeking God’s perspective on our pain and let Him heal our hurts and focus us on our future we are growing in the abundant life.
-When we are afraid but we agree to come out of hiding believing that God will interact with us in a way that will restore our confidence and go in boldness to do big things in His name we are growing in the abundant life.
-When we are suffering and have reached rock bottom whether spiritually, physically, socially or financially or in all of these ways and yet still choose to believe we can touch God, and He can restore our quality of life we are growing in the abundant life.
-When the difficulties of life press into our sides and seek to steal our focus if we rest in the sufficiency of Christ and serve Him in spite of the thorn rather than whine we are growing in the abundant life.
What piece of the abundant life does God want to offer you today? Will you celebrate Jesus’ offer to give you life by responding to this message?
Matthew 25:1-13 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet
Luke 6:27-31-27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those