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Struggling as a Christian is NORMAL—We Are in a BATTLE!

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Do you ever struggle? With repeated sin issues, with desiring to change a bad habit or to follow through with your resolutions—only to fail again? What in the world is going on?

We’re at war with the enemy of God and our souls!

I think many of us believe that there shouldn’t be a struggle once we’ve decided to change or move forward in an area. If we’re growing in Christ and making progress why do we still have difficulty? BECAUSE:

  • We still have a sinful nature exerting its influence.
  • The world is still pulling on us.

                              And

  • The evil one is still trying to discourage us.

You and I need to sink this truth deep into our minds and hearts:

There will always be a struggle, a battle, in this fallen world!

Only in heaven will there be no more sin. Satan and his demons will be locked up in hell; unbelievers and their unredeemed sinful souls with them. And our sinful natures will be totally gone—no longer there to grieve the heart of our dear Savior! I can’t wait!!!

It’s natural for us to want the battle to be over. I get so tired of fighting.

“I don’t want to be in a battle! I don’t want to fight anymore!” says the little girl in me; stomping her foot.

But I don’t have a choice! Neither do you. The enemy of our souls is not giving up until he’s locked up.

Deceiving us to believe there shouldn’t be a struggle is one of his tactics.

He wants us to get discouraged; making us think we can never change—“What’s the use?” —and give up.

We need to become more aware of his conniving insidious schemes. We need to learn his tactics so we can be on guard against them. As Paul said, “…In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (2 Cor 2:11)

Satan has already lost the war. He was defeated on the cross by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Don’t let him win those one-on-one skirmishes with you. Don’t fight the devil alone either—he is too strong for you. Call in your Commander in chief, Jesus.

He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. (Ps 18:17)*

Don’t let Satan steal your joy, peace—your abundant life.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (Jn 10:10)

Fight for it with Christ’s power. Victory is assured! Don’t live from a defeated point of view! But realize that you are indeed in a battle—if you’re a Christian—like it or not.

 

Originally published July 10, 2019

THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide

*Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Why Miracle-Openmindedness Leads to the Abundant Life

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What is a miracle?

Your definition could greatly affect the way you live life! Really.

Most people, I dare say, think of miracles as only those huge divine interventions that are visible and obvious—like the parting of the Red Sea. But that’s not my definition. I see miracles as any evidence of God working—in big or “little” ways. And I’ll show you why this view is better. Not that I am better, but because this viewpoint leads to a fuller life filled with God-honoring trust.

Miracle-openmindedness is one of the keys to the abundant life!

It’s all in how you look at it!

Miracles are definitely more apparent when our backs are against the wall and there’s no way out; when fear, despair or any other enemy is about to overtake us, like the Israelites at the Red Sea. However, God is doing big and little miracles all around us. If we would only open our eyes, we would see them and excitedly exclaim exultation to our excellent, eternal God!

In my last blog, I gave you a list of questions to improve your perception of these divine interventions. I’ve also written about it before in my blog: 10 Ways to Help You RECOGNIZE God’s Handiwork.

And remember, just because you may not have recognized God’s handiwork before, doesn’t make it any less of a miracle. But wouldn’t it be a much better to live if we saw God’s involvement in our lives as miracles?!

Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced. (Ps 105:5)

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. (Job 9:10)

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. (Ps 77:11)

When we know that it is only by God’s supernatural power and grace that we are being sustained, we can keep or regain our joy and peace.

When we know God cares enough to be involved and keep His promises, we have hope. Even when life is filled with unknowns, our mighty powerful God is working on behalf of those fully devoted to Him—giving us endurance, perseverance, strength, wisdom, guidance–everything we need for life and godliness (see 2 Chr 16:9; 2 Pet 1:3). 

We can hang in there with God-given faith as well as joy, peace, and hope. 

The other exciting thing is that the more you recognize and acknowledge God’s intercession, the more the Lord opens your eyes to see more, and may even do more on your behalf! Don’t be like the people of Jesus’ hometown where…

He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. (Mat 13:58)

Open-mindedness toward God’s awesome intervention gives us life on a much higher plane—over our circumstances, not under them. A quiet trust in our Deliverer enters our hearts and secures our souls. An awe and excitement of seeing God’s handiwork colors our everyday existence. This, to me, is the abundant life.

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (Jn 10:10)*

Take hold of this, my friends. Jesus, our God and Savior, promises it. See Him for the Miracle-Worker that He is.

You may differ in your definition of a miracle, but God was, is, and still continues to work in the lives of  people. He’s either wooing them into a saving relationship with Him, restoring them into right fellowship with Him, or bringing them closer to Him. God always has eternity in mind.

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. (Jn 21:25)

 

Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

 

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

*New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Many Packages But Only ONE is Truly Full!

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Come Christmas morning there will be many packages under most of our trees—of many shapes and sizes; some elaborate, some simple. I would imagine many of us (well, at least kids) would pick the biggest and prettiest box.

We humans have a tendency to be misled and enticed by external appearances. We inherited that from Eve who was beguiled by Satan with the eye-appealing forbidden fruit.

The world is like that, wrapped up in its fancy glittery boxes.

glittery Christmas box

It offers us success, wealth, fame, and fulfillment. But instead of satisfaction, there is disappointment and emptiness. It robs us of good relationships, hope, true significance, and love (Jn 10:10). Instead of giving us fulfillment, it takes our soul. 

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? (Mat 16:26)*

But most of us know there is a God, so we look for a package that contains the type of God we want.

Like this gold wrapped one that says…

Christmas gift wrapped with gold

Just believe in Jesus. He’ll give you everything you want. Name it and claim it!

OR

The one all wrapped up in love, peace, and no judgment.

Christmas gift hearts

Where we can do whatever we want, then confess it. After all, He is a God of love and mercy!

We might settle for a package of who we think God is.

A box of do’s and don’ts and where our good deeds outweigh our bad ones so we can get into heaven.

package - legalism

OR

We select some other package, ornamented with false concepts of the real God.

package, ornamented with false concepts of the real God

However, all of these packages are empty of the true abundant life—both now and forever.

But, glory alleluia, there’s one more package left!

Christmas package - Jesus, abundant life

This one is plain and stained with blood, but if you look inside, you’ll surprisingly find:

  • Clean slate—forgiveness for all your sins
  • Robe of righteousness (Is 61:10)
  • God’s complete love letter (the Bible)
  • Watch—without numbers that runs forever to remind you of a timeless eternity with your Maker
  • Basket with lots of the Bread of Life (Jn 6:35) and the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23)
  • Keys to abundant life (Jn 10:10)
  • Clothing and a playhouse—as reminders that all of your basic needs will be met
  • Flashlight—for lighting your next step (which you turn on by reading God’s Word)
  • Rock—security in Christ
  • Bed—peaceful sleep and rest for your soul
  • Candy cane whose red stripes remind you of the blood spilt so that you could have sweet fellowship with Christ
  • Big bag of Hershey kisses as tokens of God’s love
  • Water bottle with an endless supply of truly satiating Living Water
  • Dynamite—His divine power to live God’s Way
  • Certificate to be cashed in for crowns in heaven if we have lived God’s way, which we can then turn around and throw at His feet
  • Gold chest containing many more treasures awaiting discovery

Jesus, God Himself, became a man on Christmas morning. He came with no frills, no glitter, no fanfare.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. (Is 53:2)

With Him, through His perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection Jesus brought the most beautiful gift of all—Himself for all eternity.

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. (Jn 3:16)

Which package will you choose?

Check out these other links to help you pick out the RIGHT package filled with the RIGHT stuff ONE.

I Came to Give You Life More ABUNDANTLY

The Abundant Life: MEANING, Reaping, and Keeping-Part 1

How to Live an Abundant Life God’s Way

The Abundant Life: Scriptures to Help You Live It!

Keys to the Abundant Life: Resources

 

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

*Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

The Abundant Life: Meaning, Reaping, and KEEPING-Part 3

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Can we lose the abundant life?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

Last time we saw that having the abundant life was a byproduct of being and remaining in a right relationship with God. Therefore, anything that hinders that relationship will affect our reaping and enjoyment of it. And the biggest thing that does that—is unconfessed sin and lack of repentance.

Notice—I DID NOT say if you sin. We still sin after we are saved because our sinful nature is still present. Just read about the internal warfare that was going on inside the Apostle Paul in Romans 7.  God knows you cannot live perfectly. What He wants is for you to confess and turn away from sin when He points it out to you.

Those guilty feelings, when the Holy Spirit convicts you, are His way of showing you there’s been a breech in the relationship. God wants you to agree with Him by confessing, then repenting, and  thereby restoring that broken fellowship with Him. 

Nonetheless, you can never lose your eternal life! Once a child of God, always a child of His (Jn 10:28-29, Eph 4:30). But you can lose that relational intimacy with the One who is the source of all good things.

I have discovered that if I do the 9 things below I am able to continually experience the abundant life.

1. Confess immediately when the Holy Spirit makes you aware of your sin.

2. Repent—which is way more than just saying you’re sorry. It’s a godly sorrow and a determination to change. This typically (if not always) involves changing your thinking (Rom 12:2). And you need the Lord’s help for that! 

3. Stay dependent upon God by recognizing your continual need of Him.

4. Stay humble before your Sovereign King by continually yielding to His way. I have found that submission is a beautiful word.

5. Understand that you do not have the right to be happy. Life is not about you, but about bringing glory to our rightful King. That’s pride and self-centeredness which most definitely will keep you from experiencing the abundant life—God resists the proud (Jas 4:6). Instead, consider it an absolute privilege to be able to even come into His presence. Because it is!

6. Keep an eternal perspective during trials. Focus on the fact that the Lord is working out all things for good to those who love Him (Rom 8:28). Otherwise, you will become discouraged, disillusioned, and despairing—not the way any of us want to live (including the Lord)! You will be rewarded for your faithfulness.

7. Become a giver. Did you know that a plant’s fruit is not for solely for itself? Just as a tree bears fruit for others to eat and enjoy as well as to reproduce, we also do not bear fruit only for ourselves. I had that backwards for many years. Gratefully, the Lord showed me the error of my thinking. The principle of sowing and reaping applies big time with living a full—and fruitful life.

8. Arm yourself against Satan. Read God’s Word so you can know how to combat His lies with God’s powerful truths.

Satan cannot destroy us, but he can certainly rob us of our joy, peace and the rest of living life to its fullest.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (Jn 10:10)*

9. Remember that relationships are two-sided and good ones are those in which both parties mutually enjoy one another. So why not consider bringing joy to God’s heart? You might be pleasantly surprised how God will bless your socks off then!

And find out what pleases the Lord. (Eph 5:10)

So until next time my friends, ask God to help you apply these 9 principles and I promise you abundant living!

The verses on these pages will get you started in #8:

Scriptures on Managing Emotions

The Abundant Life: Scriptures to Help You Live It!

 

*English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

The Abundant Life: MEANING, Reaping, and Keeping-Part 1

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Last week we dug a little deeper into the meaning of Jesus’ promise: I came to give you life more abundantly I hope you did a little of your own study or at least meditating on John 10:10 and its context.

If we want this full life, we need to know Jesus’ meaning of the abundant life. Our perception is often different from God’s.

This is what I used to think the abundant life meant:

  • No more pain, sorrow, suffering; perfect health.
  • Getting all I desired.
  • Always feeling joy and peace
  • No one would sin against me
  • No more relational problems; peace in my home, work, church, and with extended family members
  • The evil in this world wouldn’t touch me

This is what I now believe living the abundant life means:

  • Having true joy even in the midst of suffering
  • Enjoying sweet fellowship in an ever-increasing manner with my Savior
  • Knowing that I am pleasing God and in right standing with Him
  • Knowing that I am fully forgiven of all my sins and being able to forgive others
  • An ever-increasing sense of God’s presence and all of who He is
  • Experiencing the power of God in and through my life  
  • Seeing answered prayers (mine and others)
  • Being able to recognize God’s handiwork and intervention
  • Enjoying all that life has to offer without it interfering with my relationship with God (i.e. that nothing would come before my Lord)
  • Being able to say no to temptation
  • Freedom from the bondage of my emotions, especially worthlessness, fear, and inadequacy
  • Knowing that all my needs are met—especially that I am loved and cherished
  • Having my soul at peace and rest no matter the circumstances; knowing God’s got this under control
  • Being able to relax and not get so stressed out when I have so much to do
  • The ability to face problems, instead of avoiding them; responding in a godly way to all of life’s circumstances
  • Knowing justice will be done
  • Having wisdom and discernment to make right decisions
  • Knowing that God is protecting me from Satan, others, and myself
  • Knowing that my life is significant; that I have a purpose and making an eternal impact for God’s kingdom
  • Having a sense of belonging to God and to His family
  • Having a hope that is an anchor for my soul, firm and secure
  • Living life with excitement and great anticipation of what God will do next
  • Knowing there will be great rewards ahead; that all the effort and cost will be worth it
  • A sense of well-being, completeness and wholeness.

I know—it’s a long list (and I even shortened it significantly!), but I think it is good to get specific and not just think in vague generalities.

I certainly have not attained all that Jesus promised, but I am in an ever-increasing manner—provided I strive to live God’s way. Next time I will discuss how to attain it.

In a nutshell the abundant life meaning is:

  • Joy despite suffering, pain, and sorrow
  • Peace in the middle of turmoil
  • Love in the midst of hate
  • Forgiveness despite wrongdoing
  • Security in the face of the unknown.
  • Confidence in the face of inadequacy.
  • Quietness of heart in the busyness of life.
  • Living on a higher plane—above our circumstances, not under them
  • Being content despite apparent lack
  • Oneness with God.

It’s having a sense of wellbeing and wholeness; knowing all our needs, spiritual and physical, are being or will be met—no matter the circumstances.

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.(1 Tim 1:14)

Until next time, my friends, meditate on these wonderful truths and start right now to experience His abundance. Click here for more abundant life Scriptures in the event that I have awakened your appetite!

 

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Young boy: Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I Came to Give You Life More ABUNDANTLY

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The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (Jn 10:10)

What did Jesus mean when He gave us this beautiful promise? And how in the world can I attain it? Is it for everyone—even me? Let’s see if we can study it together.

Whenever I am trying to understand the meaning of a verse, I do these things:

1. Read the verse again and its context

2. Read it in different Bible versions

3. Look up the word(s) in the original language

4. Read commentaries

5. Think about it prayerfully before and during doing all these things

Let’s go through each one of these briefly as we try to discover:

The meaning of “I came to give you life more ABUNDANTLY.”

The context

Jesus spoke these words right after he healed the man who was born blind. The Pharisees were giving Him a lot of flak and Jesus responds with that infamous metaphor of the Good Shepherd. (see Jn 9:1 to Jn 10:21)

Versions (of ending phrase)

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (Niv)

My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. (TLB)

My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (NLT)

I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. (AMP)

I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. (MSG)

I came to bring them life, and far more life than before. (PHILLIPS)

I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness. (GNT)

Original language (Greek)

The idea portrayed here is: beyond what is anticipated, exceeding expectation, going past the expected limit, over and above, more than is necessary, super-added

Commentators

Barnes: “Literally, that they may have abundance, or that which abounds. The word denotes that which is not absolutely essential to life, but which is superadded to make life happy. They shall not merely have life – simple, bare existence – but they shall have all those superadded things which are needful to make that life eminently blessed and happy.”

The eternal life Jesus gives is not just how long we live, but the quality of that life, and it begins the moment you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Our God is an above and beyond, exceeding our expectations (Eph 3:20), extremely generous Giver. He loves to shower His blessings on His obedient children. Our doting but wise heavenly Daddy knows how to give good gifts that satisfy our inner most being (Ps 103:5).

For now, that should be enough meat for you to chew on about what Jesus meant. I hope you will.

~~~~~

I know that this has been an atypical blog. However, my desire is to help you delve deeper into the treasures of the Scriptures for yourself. So many of us are guilty of letting others do all the work. We are spooned fed Christians, becoming lazy and fat; resulting in the inability to effectively apply liberating truths in the daily ordinary.

I hope to change that by encouraging you to put out some of the effort yourself.

Yes, please continue to listen to great messages and read blogs like mine, but don’t stop there! I promise you that the gems you dig up for yourself will be well worth it! The Holy Spirit is more than capable of guiding anyone—not just biblical scholars—into all truth (Jn 16:12). All you need is an open teachable heart and a little work.

Until next time my friends, go chew on these delicious truths where I’ll explain further what I believe Jesus meant when He said, “I came to give you life more abundantly.” Trust me—it gets juicier!

 

New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Living Bible (TLB) The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS) The New Testament in Modern English by J.B Phillips copyright © 1960, 1972 J. B. Phillips. Administered by The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. Used by Permission.

Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

 

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Increased Capacity: The Wonderful Cycle of Knowing God

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You’re sitting there, overwhelmed with the presence of God. You’re singing praises, utterly grateful for God’s love and the saving of your soul. “How can it ever get better than this?!” You feel so complete, contented, and loved.

Then something else happens. God comes through once again in a miraculous way, answers an impossible prayer, or meets a need in a profound personal way. I call them “God Touches” where you experience a “tangible” moment with your Maker.

And those feelings of “How can it get any better than this!?” return.

How is this possible? After all, God said, “I, the LORD do not change” (Mal 3:6).

I have 3 ideas for you to ponder.

1. God doesn’t change, but we do.

God doesn’t get better, but our perception of God does—provided we get our knowledge of Him from His Word. Our view of God becomes clearer as we peer intently into God’s beautiful revelation of Himself. God wants to be known in increasing measure. As we grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s truths and apply them, we will experience more and more of Him—and all that He embodies. Since God is good, and everything about Him is good we will naturally experience greater, sweeter, and “gooder” times with our Savior.

2. Our capacity to enjoy and know God increases.

Unlike our bodies, our new nature is not finite. As our new nature grows, there is more “room” for God in our hearts. There is a greater capability to understand the God of the universe.

And just in case you don’t know—you feed your new nature by eating (taking in) and digesting (processing, applying and obeying) God’s wholesome Word. Nurture that new divine nature within you; starve the old nature, and watch your intimacy with an infinite God flourish.

3. Irony

The other cool thing about all this is that although we are completely satisfied during these times of sweet communion with God, there’s still a hunger for more. This compels us to go back again and again; to seek Him in newer ways, newer understandings, and newer commissions. (Jer 29:13-14).

What should our response be to all this?

Utter gratitude, humility, and worship.

What a privilege it is to be able to commune with such a holy awesome God!

Pass it on.

We are not to hoard all His wonderful love and revelation. We are to share His love more and more with others.

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else…. (1 Thess 3:12)

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight…. (Phil 1:9)

Shout it out from the rooftops! “Behold your God! Let me tell you about my beautiful Savior who wants to be your God and Savior as well!”

As you expand your knowledge and understanding of God and His ways and obey Him, your capacity for love and intimacy with Him will grow—guaranteed!

What else would we expect from an infinite God who abounds in love? Still, I’m amazed every time it happens, and the wonderful cycle continues.

 

All Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Are You Struggling as a Christian? Satan’s Tactic Revealed

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Do you ever struggle? With repeated sin issues, with desiring to change a bad habit or to follow through with your resolutions—only to fail again? What in the world is going on?

We’re at war with the enemy of God and our souls!

I think many of us believe that there shouldn’t be a struggle once we’ve decided to change or move forward in an area. If we’re growing in Christ and making progress why do we still have difficulty? BECAUSE:

  • We still have a sinful nature exerting its influence.
  • The world is still pulling on us.

                              And

  • The evil one is still trying to discourage us.

You and I need to sink this truth deep into our minds and hearts:

There will always be a struggle, a battle, in this fallen world!

Only in heaven will there be no more sin. Satan and his demons will be locked up in hell; unbelievers and their unredeemed sinful souls with them. And our sinful natures will be totally gone—no longer there to grieve the heart of our dear Savior! I can’t wait!!!

It’s natural for us to want the battle to be over. I get so tired of fighting.

“I don’t want to be in a battle! I don’t want to fight anymore!” says the little girl in me; stomping her foot.

But I don’t have a choice! Neither do you. The enemy of our souls is not giving up until he’s locked up.

Deceiving us to believe there shouldn’t be a struggle is one of his tactics.

He wants us to get discouraged; making us think we can never change—“What’s the use?” —and give up.

We need to become more aware of his conniving insidious schemes. We need to learn his tactics so we can be on guard against them. As Paul said, “…In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (2 Cor 2:11)

Satan has already lost the war. He was defeated on the cross by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Don’t let him win those one-on-one skirmishes with you. Don’t fight the devil alone either—he is too strong for you. Call in your Commander in chief, Jesus.

He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. (Ps 18:17)*

Don’t let Satan steal your joy, peace—your abundant life.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (Jn 10:10)

Fight for it with Christ’s power. Victory is assured! Don’t live from a defeated point of view! But realize that you are indeed in a battle—if you’re a Christian—like it or not.

 

THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide

*Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Complete in THIS Present Moment

 

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For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. (Col 2:9-10)*

We are complete in Christ!

I love this concept, for I used to always think I was inadequate in everything. 2 Peter 1:3-4 are verses to which I continually return:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature….**

I’m a go-getter and I want to reach my full potential for God, even though I know it can’t be 100% due to my imperfection.

Anyway, I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around this truth of having the fullness of Christ dwelling in little old me. I think part of my problem was thinking in terms of the end of my earthly life, not the here and now. Since I have everything I need to fulfill all the works God has planned for me—even right now—I need not be concerned with the future.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying we should never think about or plan for the future. We should, but there’s a time and place for that. I often get bogged down with all those details and distracted by them. I believe the Lord is telling me to focus on the present moment and to do my best in this very moment. All those other issues can be attended to at the proper time as He leads. Plus as we saw last week, He’s a much better Plate-spinner than I am. He won’t break any of those dishes.

Accomplishing all the works which my Lord has planned for me (Eph 2:10) is made up of millions of individual seconds—31,557,600 seconds/year to be exact. If I keep this in mind, I’ll be able to strive to give my all to what’s important in any given moment:

  • In this task (for me that’s writing this blog)
  • When dealing with a troubled loved one.
  • While packing for my move.
  • In just being still during my devotional time with my awesome Savior!

I can just relax (=be at peace) about those future moments and not get so hyper (alias worry). I know I’ve written numerous times about this topic—like just last week. But I need these truths repeated and illustrated in different ways so I can more clearly understand it; so I can live as if it were actually true—because it is. Perhaps you need it too.

For greater clarity, we need a brief language lesson on peace and anxiety.

Both the Greek and Hebrew words used for peace convey the idea of wholeness, completeness, or tranquility in the soul that is unaffected by the outward circumstances or pressures. 1The Greek word for anxiety, the lack of peace, literally means to “be divided or distracted.”2

What’s all this mean? It means…

You can have an undivided mind and heart in any given situation—if you’re bound and yielded to the Prince of peace.

When you’re relaxed, you can focus better, be more efficient, learn quicker, and experience life more fully.

So until next time, my friends—which I won’t think about right now—be present in your current moment and experience your Lord, loved ones, and life more completely.

 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

1http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit of the Holy Spirit,19, Oct. 2013.

2http://biblesuite.com/greek/3309.htm

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

**THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide

Learning to be Content: A Personal Example

It was December 5, 2005. A home remedy* for cleaning rugs nearly killed me! Although my life was spared, my nasal passages were not. I tried to remedy the injury myself, but only worsened it! (I hadn’t learned my lesson yet about home remedies.) Now my taste and smell were greatly distorted.

This problem was ever before me. I couldn’t get away from it! One has to eat you know. Being Italian, I love food. With no exaggeration, there were less than 5 things that I could partly enjoy. Just the smell of onions and garlic repulsed me. No Italian or Chinese cuisine for me!

I was so unhappy and discontented. I prayed about it, but couldn’t get the victory; couldn’t get peace. I was desperate and knew I needed drastic intervention from God. As I implored God for help, He led me to do an in-depth Bible study on satisfaction in Christ alone. Prior to that, I had only done a very small scale study on contentment which proved insufficient for my current situation. For months I dug into the Bible for answers. Oh, what treasures I found!

I also specifically asked God for practical tips in dealing with my issue. Then I took action. For example, I wrote down the foods and recipes I could tolerate. I then experimented with modifying some of my recipes and trying new ones. Additionally, I explored medical assistance by going to various specialists.

During this time, I had a wonderful husband who was dealing with cancer. He was already going through so much! I didn’t want to add to his hardship with griping. Plus, complaining didn’t help me or please God. So when the ever-present distorted smell and taste got to me, I emphatically repeated God’s truths to my soul.

My Savior saved me from constantly sinning in my state of dissatisfaction. Eventually, He transformed my mind and heart as I did my part. I became increasingly less discontented with my situation. I made the best of it. I gained information so I could change what I could, and accept what I couldn’t—all with the divine help of God.

Many wonderful things have resulted from this long 12+ year trial:

~First, my priorities are more in line with God’s. He has become more important to me than anything, including food. I’ve learned how to better submit to Him and put Him first in everything.

~Jesus also taught me that He is indeed enough! A truth I needed to grasp if I was going to, not only survive, but thrive as a widow which occurred about 3 years later.

~On top of that, this hardship has provided many opportunities to glorify God; to tell others how the Lord has helped me and continues to help me not complain, but accept whatever He allows. Now I have a blog series on this topic, a website based on the abundant life in general, and a freebie to help you. Interesting, huh? Romans 8:28-29 in action!

By the way, my taste and smell issue is much better! I am very grateful for the improvement. However, I am not expecting to fully regain my senses here on earth. I only know that at the wedding feast of the Lamb in heaven (Rev 19:9) it will be a glorious feast for me and all others who have had to deal with eating limitations!

Until then, I will find my satisfaction in Christ alone!

Don’t forget to grab your free worksheet to determine how to achieve victory in your circumstances. Oh, and beware of home remedies!

 

*NEVER mix ammonia with dishwasher detergent or anything that contains bleach!

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