The Promise of Abundant Life

The Promise of Abundant Life

Daily Reading: (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.”

There are seasons we all go through where it doesn’t feel like a time of abundance. It feels lean, and the Apostle Paul even acknowledges lean times when he writes from prison the following: “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” (Philippians 4:12). What this tells us is the abundant life, using the example of Paul’s life, the abundant life is not a life that is never in need. The abundant life is a life that when one has needs, receives all that is theirs in Christ (Philippians 4:11b-12).

So what exactly is the abundant life that I have in Christ and what does that look like lived out in the life of a believer? Those are the questions we should seek an answer to. When you go back to the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, we are given a clear picture of Satan’s motive. Satan used to be an angel in heaven (Isaiah 14:12-15), the one who led a rebellion against God and Scripture tells us that he took one-third of the angels with him (Revelation 12:4). Jesus says his purpose is to try and steal, kill, and destroy from mankind. He thought he was victorious as Adam and Eve sinned, but God had a plan. God would send His only Son, whose purpose is to give us who were dead in our sins, life.  he gave us a new life, His life, life to the full.

We have the abundant life in Christ, however, our enemy is still out there trying to steal from us what is ours. 1 Peter 5:8 says:“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). His motive has not changed.

Isn’t it interesting the devil has to seek out those whom he may devour? This means that he can’t devour everyone. You can be at a place where the devil will be unable to devour you. The secret is found in the preceding verse, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The secret is to be carefree and not be bogged down by anxieties and worries! Your greatest responsibility is to rejoice in the Lord always. We are not to not worry about past failures, present circumstances, or even future challenges. Release every oppressive thought, worry, and care to Jesus.

Did you also notice that 1 Peter 5:8 says the devil roams about like, or as, “a roaring lion”? In Proverbs 19:12, it says, “The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion (Proverbs 19:12). The devil is an imposter who goes about as a roaring lion because he is imitating the King of kings, the real lion of Judah, Jesus Christ. He wants people to think that our King is full of wrath, anger, and rage against us. He comes at us roaring with the voice of condemnation, accusation, and shame and he does it to try and rob from you the truth of who God is and what His disposition toward you is. When you run away from God, you are running straight into the devil’s snare and that is where he can devour you.

“The thief (speaking of Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

“May have” is the Greek word (echo) it means tht we might have and hold, it means you and I possess life (zōē): real and genuine life, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed.

What do you believe about your life? What do you believe about yourself? Do you believe that you are blessed, that you are abundantly blessed? You see the enemy is scared that you might actually believe and live as if your life is a blessed one. The enemy is afraid that you would live knowing that the things you put your hands to, the endeavors you set out for in this life will prosper. The people you encounter will be better as a result of knowing you.

You have and hold the blessed life and you have it to full (perissos): over and above, more than is necessary, superadded

David who found the Lord as His shepherd, the one who watched over him and protects him and loves him said in Psalm 23:5- “my cup runneth over.” “My cup runneth over” means “I have more than enough for my needs”.In desert cultures in the Middle East in times of antiquity, a person is required by laws of hospitality to provide a drink to strangers. The amount that was provided was indicative of how welcomed the guest was, and to pour a full glass or a glass that “ran over” would be reserved only for the most welcomed guest. This is what we have in Christ, super-abounding grace. Our cups overflow. We are the most welcomed guests in God’s presence because He has adopted us as His children. Our life cup runneth over, we are blessed- super-abundantly blessed.

The Promise of Union Life

The Promise of Union Life With Jesus

Daily Reading: (2 Timothy 2:13):

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

What this is saying right off the bat is that even if we sin or when we sin, Christ isn’t going to disown you, how could He? Because Christ lives in us, He is always with us and He cannot disown Himself. This verse is indirectly speaking of union life with Christ. Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:5, asks the Corinthian believers a question: “Or do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?” Maybe a better starting point is to realize Christ lives in you. He is always with you, He will never leave you or forsake you and since He remains faithful, even when we mess up, Christ will never disown you for He cannot disown Himself.

The book of 2 Timothy has a lot of great verses in it. There is a website called topverses.com that has ranked verses by how popular they are. 2 Timothy 3:16 ranks 9th on the list, 2 Timothy 2:15 ranks 45th. Already two verses in the top 50 in the book of 2 Timothy alone. One of my favorites, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” checks in at number 429. There are many verses in 2 Timothy that are ranked as some of people’s most favorite verses. Where does our 2 Timothy 2:13 verse rank on people’s all-time favorite Scripture verse list? 2 Timothy 2:13 is the 16,811 most popular verse. What that tells me is people don’t understand what is being said here. If we knew what this verse meant it might become your favorite verse from 2 Timothy. There is a verse, 2 Timothy 4:12 that says: “I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.” That’s all it said and that is ranked 9,552. It ranked over 7,000 spots ahead of our verse. People don’t like the verse I quoted because it is attached to a portion that absolutely frightens people because they have been misled in what is being said. Today, that all changes.

I believe one reason why 2 Timothy 2:13 is often overlooked is because it completely dismantles a works-based system of my own faithfulness. The spotlight is entirely where it should be and that is on Jesus Christ and His accomplished work for us that whatever the promise God has made, Promises of God series part 2, He is faithful to deliver on it through Jesus.

In the Gospel in Twenty Questions Paul Ellis breaks down our 2 Timothy 2:13 verse and he does it masterfully as he connects it to the entire statement.

Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:11–13).

The “if we endure” is satisfied with the faithful one (Jesus). Jesus who did endure, lives in us and will cause us to endure and reign now.”

Why is this verse the 16,811 most popular verse? Because people don’t understand it? This new life we have in Christ is a new kind of life characterized by supernatural endurance and reigning in all things (2 Timothy 2:11-13).

“If we disown him, he will also disown us.” Paul is not talking about Christians at all, but those who reject Christ and will one day reap the consequences of their choice (2 Timothy 2:12). There’s no grace for the faithless because the faithless will not receive it.

Do you see? There are two camps in the world. There are individuals who confess Christ as Lord and those who deny Him.

If you have denied him, you may yet confess him. This provides hope for the lost and unsaved people.

If you have confessed him, you cannot deny him. This simply means we who have died with Christ cannot un-die. We who have been born again cannot be unborn. If you were to deny him, as Peter did three times, Jesus won’t disown you, for He cannot disown himself. If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (2 Timothy 2:13) “Keep reminding them of these things…” (2 Timothy 2:14a)

To recap, Paul says if we die with Christ, we will live, endure, and reign with him. Each follows the other and this is a trustworthy saying.Thank you, Paul Ellis, for the amazing clarity you have brought to this passage of Scripture, making it one of my favorites and hopefully one of yours as well.

Worry and Trust

Worry and Trust

Daily Reading: (Psalm 112:7-8 Matthew 6:33-34):

“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.”

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

“They will have no fear of bad news.” That is next level living. To be at such a place, that whenever bad news might come, our reaction can be to choose to not fear anything. This is the way I want to live my life and we will see the way this is done is by making a choice to seek something that will bring us to trust.  

When you look at this verse through the eyes of the original audience you gain even more insight. The Hebrew word for evil or bad used in Psalm 112:7 is ‘ra and it just so happens to be the same name as the Egyptian god of the sun.

The Israelites won’t fear (‘ra) their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:7). This is a reminder to God’s people, that the enemy they used to fear had already been defeated. The sun god was drown in the Red Sea along with his worshippers. Just as God led His people into the Promised Land through Joshua and Caleb, God has led you into the Promised Land through Christ so chose to put your trust in Him today despite whatever evil bad news comes against you, because your enemies have already been defeated in Jesus’ name.

Their hearts are established fixed on and stable in the Lord and as a result of their secure hearts, they will have no fear. In the end they will look in triumph on their foes. When you fix your eyes on Jesus you see the marvelous love God has for you, you will have no fear, as the Holy Spirit testifies to the fact that we are more than conquerors in Jesus and we will see victory on the horizon because Jesus is our champion.

The Psalmist uses the defeated, drowned evil bad (‘Ra) out in their lives as a way to remember God’s protection, God’s care, and God’s leading them to victory. This is done to instill confident steadfast hearts whose trust is in the Lord.

The kingdom of God was not something outside of you flowing in—“the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking”, but something inside you flowing out—“righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”. So to seek first God’s kingdom means to make it a priority every day to have your inner being flowing with righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

The kingdom is the king’s reign which is about these three things: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

It is all about righteousness, peace, and joy. It should be noted that 2/3rds of the king’s reign is an emotional state. When you are in the king’s reign you have the two primary emotions of His domain which are peace and joy.  Righteousness is a sheer gift. Righteousness in God’s kingdom cannot be earned, it can only be received. We put our faith in Jesus and we are given His righteousness. Our sins are placed on His account and His righteousness is then deposited into our account. We are not only forgiven of our sins. We are viewed by God as being perfect. The Bible says this is what the King’s reign is all about. The king’s reign is all about making people as righteous as the King (Romans 14:17). As we are mindful of the righteousness King Jesus has given us, we are led to the Kingdom emotions of joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.

Many Christians live their lives consumed with what they do (secondary) to who you are (primary) which can’t change as it is anchored to Jesus and His finished work. This is something the devil can never take from you. He can only convince you to focus on what would be anything but the kingdom to get you to worry. So, trust in Jesus and His perfect and complete work that has made you righteous. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about tomorrow, you won’t have to fear bad news, because you sought the kingdom and it has ushered in peace and joy, a steadfast heart because your trust is in the Lord.

Confusion and Understanding/Rest

Daily Reading: (1 Corinthians 14:33, Philippians 4:7):

“For God is not the author ofconfusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Don’t worry about a thing is the song lyrics that should be playing over our lives today. God’s desire for our lives is that we don’t dwell in the land of worry. Paul doesn’t stop with just a nice phrase, he’ll tell us how he has found it possible to be sitting on death row, worry-free. Part of the answer comes in verse five. “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” It is easy to forget during difficult and confusing times just how near God is (Philippians 4:5). If God feels far away and we forget He is with us in the trouble that will open the door for us to become troubled. But He is with us, and we can communicate with Him, and pray at any time. You are never alone in your trouble.

Don’t worry (merimnaō)don’t even take thought of it to the point of allowing it to trouble you. Worry will enter your mind, the key is when it does, to not allow your mind to stay there on that thought. If you do, it will eventually and very quickly trouble you.

Paul is telling us not to let your worry take you to the place where you think about it enough to trouble you and then he takes out his prescription pad and prescribes us the cure to relieve the horrible symptoms of worry.

“But in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). Paul actually borrowed this from David:

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4 NLT).

The way that we eliminate worry is to bring those things that would worry us to God in prayer and the result is you will receive the peace of God. What a great exchange, worry for peace. When we have worry, pray and set your eyes on Jesus and let the Holy Spirit fill your hearts with the peace of God and His peace will set a guard over your heart and mind against worry from coming back in (Philippians 4:6-7).

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Paul drops this nugget, which we will extrapolate beyond just a chaotic worship service into the chaos of life. God is not a God of disorder or confusion but of (eirene) quietness, rest, tranquility (1 Corinthians 14:33). When things come on our lives that are disorienting and confusing, we can receive from God; rest, quietness in our soul, and tranquility.

More Than Conquerors

More than Conquerors

Daily Reading: (Romans 8:37): “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Cyrus the Great, and even Hitler what did all these men all have in common. They were all conquerors. When we hear the word conqueror we might think of ones of these individuals, but the chances are we might not think of ourselves in that way. You are not just a conqueror, but more than a conqueror. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Since we know our battle is a spiritual one (Ephesians 6:12) it is significant to know that we are more than conquerors in the spiritual realm.

More than a conqueror- (hypernikaō)- to gain a surpassing victory.

What are the things that we are more than conquerors against? Paul list what we are more than conquerors against (in verse 35) and verses (38 and 39) and if you read the chapter in its entirety you would see a header that identifies the fact that Paul is talking about us living our life in the Spirit. Victory in the spiritual, (the battle in our mind), will manifest itself into the physical realm.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.” Do you believe the battle you are going through is for your good? If you see yourself as more than a conqueror in Christ you will. 

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” God > Everything Else  (Against Us) [Romans 8:31]. I recently taught my daughter Ava how to play the card game of War. I was dominating her early on and she was getting frustrated, but I hadn’t seen an Ace come up yet. I told her don’t lose heart because I have all your two’s, three’s, and four’s. I said it’s not the number of cards you have, it’s really about who holds the ace’s. And then she began to dominate me even though I had more cards because she held all four aces. If God is for us (the Ace), it doesn’t matter how the cards fall in the moment- who could be against us? The victory is ours in Jesus. As a child of God, you have an inheritance. Knowing the victory we have in Christ is crucial as we move forward, led by the Spirit as more than conquerors.