fbpx

Many Packages But Only ONE is Truly Full!

Free Download

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 1

Free Download

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

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!

Learning to be Content Part 7: The Last 4 of 7 Keys in How

Free Download

Oh, how I pray these tips have helped you become more content!

So far in our learning how to be content we’ve covered:

1. Putting God first

2. Getting the right outlook by

  • developing an eternal perspective.
  • developing a delayed gratification mindset.
  • decreasing our expectations of self and others, while increasing our expectations of God.
  • not comparing ourselves with others.

3. Serving others

Now as promised last time let’s focus on you.

4. Identify Your Specific Areas of Dissatisfaction

Since we are all different it should be obvious the reason for your discontentedness will be unique to you. I’ve provided a worksheet (see below on how to get it) to help you discover where and why you are unhappy.

You need to:

  • Look at your situation to find your root cause so that you can dispel your wrong thinking.
  • Get practical solutions for your issue; to change what you can and accept what you can’t.
  • Do your own Bible study on this topic; get your own verses in which God will speak. Find your key truths. Sometimes it’s just 1 simple truth that will unlock a door to a totally new way of looking at things. 
  • Have your own experiences with the Lord during your soul-searching. Those experiences are yours —not mine, not your mate’s, not Paul’s. This will make all the difference in the world in helping you learn to be content whatever the circumstances—even yours.

Then…

  •  You will have your own testimony about God’s faithfulness to proclaim to the world!

5. Don’t Rely on Feelings/Choose to Act in Faith

When you begin to feel dissatisfied, choose not to complain. Choose to believe God’s Word and act in faith (2 Cor 5:7).

When those feelings of discontentedness arise, nip it in the bud right away. Try not to let it go full blown. It’s hard to leave a pity party in full swing. Ask God to help you here. He will!

6. Commit to Apply

The reason why so many of us fail is that we simply don’t do this step. I have learned how to be content in increasing measure. However, as the Lord brings new situations into my life, I still have to choose to apply these truths to remain contented.

All the knowledge in the world is useless unless used specifically where we live.

If you want to learn how to swim, you can watch all the videos you want, attend all swim classes with eagerness and great intentions, but until you get in the water and start using that information progressively on a practical level, you will NEVER learn how to swim!

Yes, it takes time and effort. But it’ll be worth it—you’ll see! The Holy Spirit will keep His end of the commitment of leading you into all truth including that of true satisfaction in Christ. Will you keep your end of the commitment? (Mat 7:24-27)

7. Remember We’re Not Fully Redeemed Here

There’s still something missing because we have not yet experienced all that God has for us. In heaven, that ache will go away. There will be total fulfillment and joy.

Only then will we finally feel the completeness that we were created to enjoy.*

~~~~~

This series has really only touched the surface. The core message of this Ministry revolves around finding true contentment in and through the One and Only. Therefore, expect related blogs in the future.

Please let me know which areas you’d like further discussion. I want to produce meaningful content for you.

And don’t forget to get your free worksheet here.

 

 

*David Jeremiah. Turning Point Radio. WAVA. Arlington. 10 Feb. 2010.

 

Learning to be Content Part 5: The Biggest Key in How

Free Download

Learning—that’s the operative word here. We’re not born content. I just love the way the Lord tells us not only what to do but how to do it! He gives us the knowledge in His Word and then empowers us to carry it out as we do our part.

In these next 3 blogs, I will discuss the practical side of being content. We’ve touched on many of the key truths already, but having an itemized list is always helpful. Here’s the most important key:

Seek God First/Obey The Greatest Commandment

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mat 6:33)

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mk 12:30)

God has to be first! Otherwise, we are worshipping other gods—the god of money, self-actualization, accomplishment…. A contented life is available, but having it is conditional upon our obedience to God.

“So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul—then I will send rain on your land in its season…. You will eat and be satisfied.” (Deut 11:13-15)

May I tell you, surrendering to God isn’t a killjoy! His commands are not burdensome (1Jn 5:3). When you know the real God—His true character—He is a delight to obey. Ten times in Psalm 119 alone, the author speaks of the joy in obeying God.

I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. (v 14)*

I’m not denying that sometimes it is difficult. However, if you focus on the goodness and love of God it will be easier to obey.

“It is easy to obey God when the heart is right,” says Barnes.

“The Christian, whose will is united with the will of God, will not find obedience to that will a task.” (Pulpit Commentary)

If we find God’s commands onerous it’s simply because we have not surrendered. Our wills are not in line with God’s will. There’s a war. The more we surrender our fleshly desires the more we will want, even love, to obey His commands, and…

The more we will see obedience to our wonderful God as the best way to live!

I have discovered that the more important God becomes to me, and the less important I become, the more content I am.  As John the Baptist said, “He must become greater; I must become less” (Jn 3:30).

As you pursue living in submission, of putting God first in all things, He will communicate to you that He is pleased. That feeling of knowing you have put a smile on your Redeemer’s face is worth it all!

Make the effort to obey. You won’t regret it—guaranteed!

~~~~~

I promise not to be as long-winded in describing the rest of “The How” principles, but we have to put first things first. If you work toward this one, the rest will fall into place. He promises!

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Mat 5:6)

*See also Ps 119:16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 92, 143, 174.

Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Learning to be Content Part 3: Satisfying Unmet Needs and Desires

Free Download

Needs. Desires. We all have them, and they are as varied as we are.  Some of these longings are legitimate, some are not. We each were created with the core needs of love, acceptance, significance, security, companionship, and hope. However, some of our needs are really just wants. And some of our desires don’t align with God’s.

I have a confession to make.

Although discontentment often arises when my needs aren’t met, I think my greatest times of dissatisfaction occur when…

I don’t have what I want or I have what I don’t want.

It’s not wrong to want something unless it is outright sin. It’s not wrong to want our pain to stop. However, God wants to satisfy, not gratify.

“Many of us are looking for an escape from our situation—that’s gratification, momentary relief—but God wants to satisfy us.” ~Tony Evans

God’s not asking us to always like our circumstances. The Apostle Paul certainly didn’t like being imprisoned, flogged…! But he aligned his desires with God’s and trusted Him for his needs.

Delight yourself in the LORD and [then] he will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps 37:4)

…Who satisfies your desires with good things. (Ps 103:5)

The world was not designed to fulfill these God-given longings, only God can. God may use circumstances and others to meet them, but He is the Orchestrator. If we look to the world, we will be disappointed—guaranteed.

Consider this diagram:

Solid lines indicate strong interaction/reliance; dashed lines indicate weak ones.

The person in figure #1 relies on people and things, rather than the Lord, to meet her needs and wants. Not only will her needs be incompletely and/or inconsistently met, she will have less ability to fulfill the needs of others. The result? Insecurity, discontentment; God is not pleased.

But if we look to our Provider for satisfaction (figure #2), we will feel secure. He alone is able to always come through. The stronger our bond and dependence upon God:

  • The greater our contentment.
  • The less we’ll rely on things or others to fill those holes.
  • The greater will be our ability to fulfill the needs of others.

With God as our anchor rather than people, things, or circumstances (which are always changing), we will be steady.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…. (Heb 6:19)

Our soul can be at rest; not desperately chasing to become complete without God.

God promises to meet all our needs (2 Pet 1:3-4).

We need to come to the place where we truly believe that.

Typically, that belief comes from experiencing hardship. Think about it. How can you know God will meet your need unless you are in need?

We also need to come to the place where we believe that God is all we need.

When I lost my husband to cancer a huge hole was left in my soul. As I looked back a year later I discovered Jesus was enough, really more than enough. I was not only able to survive but thrive.

Let Jesus prove that He will indeed fill you with whatever you need—and that it’ll be more than enough. Then you’ll be able to live by faith—contentedly.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. (Ps 63:5)

~~~~~

Learning to be Content Part 4 is continued on 12/12/18

Adapted from: From the Vertical to the Horizontal, (He’s So Worth It Ministries, 2014), 15-16.

 

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

 

Learning to be Content Part 2: Getting the RIGHT Perspective

Free Download

What is your definition of contentment?

If you think it means NO challenges, pain, or stress, then you will never live a contented life on earth! Jesus said we would have tribulation in this world (Jn 16:33).

Yet God wants us to be content, and even commands us to be (Heb 13:5). So we need to figure out what God means by being content and how the Apostle Paul could say:

…For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Phil 4:11-13)

Paul wasn’t born contented. He had to go through many hardships before he penned those famous words. They were written about 30 years after his conversion. Within that time, he had many experiences through which the Lord could teach him (see 2 Cor 11:23-28). Here’s one example:

…We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God…. (2 Cor 1:8-10)

Paul’s mind had to be transformed into right thinking. He had to get God’s perspective on life. He was just a human like you and I. So there’s hope for us—if we’re willing to learn and apply!

Let’s see if we can discover the true meaning of contentment.

~Contentment is…

Happy enough with what one has or is; freedom from dissatisfaction, anxiety, or agitation. ~Webster

The ability to cope with the circumstances of life; an inner peace and sense of quietness and rest that is undisturbed by outward circumstances. ~ Charles Stanley

~Contentment doesn’t mean we are not to strive to be and do better.

Contentment is not a passive acceptance of the status quo, but the positive assurance that God has supplied one’s needs and the consequent release from unnecessary desires. ~Chip Ingram

There is a healthy tension between being satisfied and reaching for more. For instance, we should never be content with where we are in our relationship with God; there’s always room for growth with our infinite Lord!

~Contentment is not the goal, but a byproduct of godly living!

We are to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness (1 Tim 6:11).

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mat 6:33)

The two greatest commandments are to love God with all of our being and to love others. Everything else hinges on these two mandates.

Therefore, contentment is a result of being and remaining in a right relationship with God. This is the biggest missing truth in the lives of most people!*

~Contentment is found in Christ, not in our circumstances; not in the absence of pain, but in the presence of Christ.

We need to meditate upon this truth and let it seep deep into the core of our being. This right perspective will then affect every aspect of our life, including emotions. We will get to the place where we actually feel satisfied—at least some of the time here on earth!

Until next time, my friends, deeply ponder that contentment is in the person of Christ Himself.

 

*Get my FREE and updated 7 Secrets to the Abundant Life for a better understanding.

 

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

Free E-book

Sign up for the weekly blog and Get your

FREE 7 Secrets to the Abundant Life E-book

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.