Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Survey of Encouragement:

From the sermon  that I was able to do 2 weeks ago, I've had several people email me asking for the list of verses that I used.  I thought this would be a good place to include those and invite you to take a look.

The following are verses of encouragement, straight from the Word to lift us up - don't just read them, truly listen to the words!

Joshua 1:9:  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Psalm 34:18:  The LORD is close to the brokenhearted 
   and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 91:1 (911!):  Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty

Proverbs 3:5-6:  Trust in the LORD with all your heart 
   and lean not on your own understanding; 
6 in all your ways submit to him, 
   and he will make your paths straight.

Isaiah 40:31:  but those who hope in the LORD 
   will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
   they will run and not grow weary, 
   they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 43:19:  See, I am doing a new thing! 
   Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the wilderness 
   and streams in the wasteland.

Jeremiah 29:11:  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Matthew 6:34:  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

John 16:33:  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Philippians 4:6:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Now listen to and focus on the commands God gives us regarding our role in All times (I would dare say especially the bad or trying times!)

Matthew 5:16:  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

 - Let your light shine when things are going great and everyone would be happy anyway?  No!  We are called to let our Light shine, the light of hope within us, at all times, especially the bad, so that others will see us as having something they need - we are called to let our light shine when others wouldn't. -

John 14:13:  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son

- let us be mindful of Why we are asking for what we desire.  Why is it we want this changed, or that removed, or this other thing added?  Let it be so that the outcome, the change, the process, the story may glorify God to others

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:  Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Rejoice when?  
Pray only when things are great or only when we need something?  
Give thanks when we really Want to?  
And, most importantly, why?  
Because it is God's will for us in Christ Jesus - in the reality that our life wasn't worth anything and yet God still sent His Son Christ, who then willingly died for us and our sins.  What a thing to know!  In knowing that, God deeply desires our happiness, our true happiness.  If we know that; if we know that Christ died blameless on the cross to cover our debts, how can we live with that knowledge of what has been done and the knowledge of what that means for our future (remember - we know how this all ends!), how can we Not rejoice always, continually commune with God, and give thanks no matter what trivial (in comparison - look at the big picture He's showing us in this verse: "through Christ Jesus") circumstances are temporarily present!?

Friday, January 21, 2011


Welcome to the Abundant Life blog!

GOD: all knowing, all feeling, no beginning, no end, boundless love, giver of strength, creator of life, Holy in essence, everlasting father, prince of peace, the great provider and the one who sent Jesus Christ, the son, to die on the cross to save us even when we mocked, scorned, and hated Him....

for what?

So that we could be miserable?  That we could drudge through this life feeling as if because we are Christians we have some sacred calling to be 'blah' all the time?  NO!  God created us, formed us, loved us, saved us so we would not just merely live, but that we would enjoy life to the fullest!  That we would have Abundant Life!

God calls us to this, He wants us to be filled with joy!  Others around us should know we are Christians not because we wear a cross around our neck or because we slap a Jesus fish bumper sticker on the back of our hybrids, rather they should know us as Christians by our uncontrollable joy in all circumstances!

Now, this is not to say this life will always produce circumstances that encourage joy, nor does this imply that because we are Christians we will have it easier - Certainly not the case!  But what it means is that we have JOY.  Not fleeting joy, not joy that comes from present circumstances, not joy that's propped up on something or someone who will fall, eternal joy, joy with no end, joy that can not be squashed because our joy doesn't come from our surroundings, it comes from our PROMISED future - our promise from the Shepherd that He came and laid down His life for His sheep that they would have Abundant Life!

As I said Sunday, this life is hard.  Bad things happen, sorrow comes, but we have the Hope of tomorrow, we have the joy of a promised future, we Know how the story ends.  So live your life with that joy, let it be seen - it's infectious!