Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #98

#98 "The If's in Life"
May 29, 2007
"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). " (John 10: 10 Amplified Bible)
Smack dab in the middle of the word "life" is another little word. Look "L-if-e". Do you see it? The word is "if". I'm willing to bet that smack dab in the middle of your life are a whole lot of "ifs". A whole lot of "in the event that...", "allowing that...", "on the assumption that...", or "on the condition that...". Fill in the blank with your own personal if. If I find a husband. If my wife stops drinking. If I have a child. If the child I have ever straightens out. If I land that job. If the money comes in. If I ever get well. The word "if"... putting conditions on when we will truly be happy and live the good life. The abundant life.
Well, it seems to me that in John 10:10, Jesus did not use the word "if". He said that He came to give us life, in abundance, to the full, till it overflows. No ifs, ands or buts about it. If you remember last week, we learned what that word, "life", meant. Let's review...The Greek word is "zoe". It's not just breathing. It is life, real and genuine. A life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in this world and after the resurrection when we have a more perfect body to last for ever. (The Unbound Bible/Strong's Lexicon) It is the living, breathing life of Jesus manifested in our living, breathing mortal bodies. Today, I want to focus on that "zoe" life in this world. We can have that abundant, good life in the here and now, not just in the sweet by and by.
David knew that he had to believe in this kind of life, here on earth. In Psalm 27: 13, He said this, "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." (NKJV) Then he instructs us to "wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." This was a true prescription for depression and discouragement. Not waiting for the "ifs" of life to all line up, but waiting on the Lord and His goodness in the land of the living.
Jesus knew that this kind of life was possible. He said in John chapter 10 that this abundant life is for those who come to the Father through Him. Those who believe in Him. Those that He knows personally, by name and those who follow Him because they know His voice. Those who are His sheep. If you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, this life is for you. And the "ifs" in your life don't affect this abundant life. That's because this is supernatural life...Holy Ghost powered life. Life in spite of the "ifs" that haven't lined up yet.
This life is about peace. Peace in the midst of the "ifs" of life. Jesus said that He is leaving you His peace. He is giving you His peace. Not as the world gives. (See John 14: 27) How does the world give? The world finds peace in it's circumstances. When all the "ifs" and uncertainties and troubles line up, then the world finds peace and happiness. But as I told a close family member the other day...that's just circumstantial peace. It's not the peace of Christ. When circumstances are good, you're at peace. But when they are not good, you're out of peace and often, out of control. The peace that is Christ's is steadfast and secure in the midst of all of the "ifs" of life, all of the troubles, all of the situations. It is an inner calm. Supernatural, deep-down joy in the midst of. 
This is a life where God puts His super on your natural and produces supernatural results. A great illustration that I heard is that this power is like Afro-Sheen to the African-American hair and like mousse to the white persons' hair. Afro-Sheen and mousse applied to the hair allows it do what it could never do on its' own. Well, God's supernatural power on your weakness will allow you to do supernaturally, what you could never do in yourself and in your own power. That's the abundant life, my friend!
This is a life that is more than material blessings and financial prosperity. I believe that often it includes those. But this is a life not dependant on the things that we can see and hold in our hands. It is life lived in the kingdom of God, here on earth..a life defined by righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)  
This is an infectious life. An infectious peace. When the world sees your inner joy and your peaceful nature in situations that would make most people crumble and fall apart, they want to know what you've got. They think, "Give me some of that". And then you will have the opportunity to share the Prince of Peace and the Abundant Life Giver with them. You can share about casting your care, presenting your requests to God and about the peace that truly passes all understanding. (Philippians 4: 7)
Everyone of us has a few "ifs" that we are waiting to come to pass. I have them. You have them. But how about if we wait on the Lord instead? How about if we lift our eyes toward Heaven and receive the peace and abundant life from Christ that He is holding out to us in His hands? Circumstances are just that..circumstances. They are light, momentary and temporary. They change like the wind. But Christ and what He has to give you today never changes. He is the same...yesterday, today and forevermore. His peace abides...His abundant life lasts. Through all the changes, circumstances and trials of life. Hebrews 10: 35-37 says that in light of all of this..."..do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For in just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay." We will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. That's a promise...no "ifs" about it.    
Donna Schultz                                                                             

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