March 23, 2021 – “Life More Abundantly!”

      I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10b.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.Psalm 23:1-3.

David was King of Judea and commanded troops and owned many possessions. Yet he was concerned about following paths of righteousness and restoring his soul.

Who is Jesus? Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. In this day when we value truth above all and cling to life, this verse shows us the way.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2. What is the fruit Jesus is talking about it?  The most precious fruit for our lives is the Fruit of the Spirit that our Father provides for us when we believe in Jesus, God’s Son, the True Vine.

The Fruit of this world is not climbing the ladder of worldly success, but the Lord’s Prayer begins with our Father in heaven… “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:9-15.

It begins with the Kingdom of God and ends with us forgiving others. This means obeying the two commandments Jesus gave us. And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37- 40.

How deep the Father’s love for us? How vast beyond all measure?
That He should give His only Son, To make a wretch His treasure.

       Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.
        But this, I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom.

(Stuart Townend)

It is how we love God and love others makes all the difference in our lives. Is it any wonder the Golden Rule has Golden in its name? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2. The world tries to sway our thinking away from God. It is what we think about and is dear to our hearts in the way we treat others and how we trust in the goodness of God that tells our life-story.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3.

What does living daily in the love of Jesus look like in daily life? I often use these qualities of the Fruit of the Spirit as a self-evaluation of growing in Him.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:22-25.

Provoking and envying are dividers, and the love of Jesus brings us together in joy and peace. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:7-9.

Our lives on this earth are short, and the closer we abide and stay connected to Jesus Christ through His teachings and the Word of God, the more we grow to love Him. It becomes our deep desire to please Him by obeying His Commandments.

 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Colossians 3:23-24. NIV.

          I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me trustworthy, appointing me to His service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.  I Timothy 1:12-17. NIV.