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Posts Tagged ‘Abundant Living’

 

Which would you say is the most common human weakness?

A. Living unaware?

B. Greed?

C. Pride?

D. Selfishness?

According to pastor and author, Lou Guntzelman, the answer is A.*

Even twenty years ago when Guntzelman wrote his book, he saw many people living superficially, busily, and distractedly –moving too fast and focusing too much on insignificant matters.

 

 

Maybe those descriptors don’t apply to you. But I have been guilty on all counts.

And those of us who tend to fly through our days are at great risk of missing life.

We don’t see the unique qualities of the people around us.

 

 

We don’t hear the laughter of our children.

 

 

We don’t even think to take in deep gulps of rain-scented air, just for the pleasure of breathing.

 

 

We don’t taste and see God’s goodness in the world.

 

(Blackwater Falls, WV)

 

We don’t sense His presence.

 

 

But!

 

When we learn to engage the mind and especially the spirit in the moment at hand, we discover the splendor of God’s glory tucked into surprising places–right in front of us.

 

 

“The moment one gives close attention to anything,

even a blade of grass,

it becomes a mysterious, awesome,

indescribably magnificent world in itself.”

–Henry Miller

 

The obvious question is: how do we reprogram ourselves to live more aware?

 

Perhaps the first step is to condition our minds through quiet reflection.

 

In a place of solitude, we avail ourselves of his presence and redirect our attention from the day’s cares to God’s truth.

 

 

Sometimes that might include:

  • Studying and contemplating scripture, open to a change of heart or a change of direction.
  • Naming God’s attributes and celebrating how he’s demonstrated those attributes in our lives.
  • Keeping a gratitude journal, to help us tune in to the positive.  (It’s a transformative habit!)
  • Reading books by thought-provoking Christian authors, then mentally processing their tenets, and seeking ways of application to life when appropriate.

 

 

The state of our minds affects our perception of everything.

 

Second, we condition our focus.

 

We determine to:

 

(Backyard beauties at our house,

on display the end of April)

 

  • Appreciate more fully the natural wonders around us—even in the backyard, on the way to work, while running errands.
  • Honor each person we meet with eye contact, smiles, and a kind word.
  • Sift out the immaterial and apply ourselves to the important.
  • Refuse pointless worry and find priceless treasure in scriptural reassurance and God’s inimitable peace.
  • Pursue wholeness—the state of being perfectly well in body, soul (mind, will, and emotions) and spirit.  That happens as we submit more and more to God’s perfect ways (Psalm 119:1-2).

 

 

And what will be the result?

Each day there will be the anticipation of discovery and delight, joyful praise and expectant hope. We’ll find ourselves speaking to God more and more often, and hearing his whispers in our hearts. We’ll experience greater satisfaction in life as we train our focus on him and savor his endless blessings.

 

 

Bottom line: We will live on the threshold of heaven.

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

 

Oh, this is where I want to live, Father—on the precipice of your glory. Though responsibilities must be taken care of, I can still take note and inwardly digest all the beauty, blessings, discoveries, and lessons that you bring to my attention. Help me to live aware!

 

*Lou Guntzelman, So Heart and Mind Can Fill, St. Mary’s Press, 1998.

 

Art & photo credits:  http://www.publicdomainpictures.net; http://www.commons.wikimedia.org; wwwpxhere.com; http://www.pixabay.com (2); http://www.commons.wikimedia.org; http://www.pxhere.com (2); http://www.pixabay.com; http://www.pixnio.com; Nancy Ruegg; http://www.quotefancy.com; Nancy Ruegg; http://www.pxhere.com.

 

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In three short days 2017 will melt into memories, and we’ll greet a new year with all its potential for grand possibilities.

These last few days of December offer a time of optimism and expectancy within our spirits. We wonder if 2018 will be the year for:

  • The fulfillment of a long-held dream,
  • The answer to a frequent, heart-felt prayer, or
  • The accomplishment of a hard-won goal.

It’s also a time when our hearts become reflective:

 

 

  • What might God have in store for me in 2018?
  • What would he desire me to do over the next twelve months?
  • How would he have me grow in character and maturity?

And so I pray.  (Perhaps you’d like to join me?)

Thank you, Father, for the demarcation between one year and the next, giving us pause to evaluate and encouraging us to:

  • Refocus our attention on priorities,
  • Recalibrate those attitudes that hold us back, and
  • Renew our resolve to live your way for your purpose (and experience your effervescent joy in the process).

 

 

To that end:

  • I pray for strength to accomplish what you have ordained for me.

Make clear your plan, Lord, and then help me tackle that plan boldly, mindful that you rarely give strength beforehand; most often you grant strength as we journey.

Remind me also: “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). That sense of inadequacy in my spirit is actually a positive force. It compels me to rely on you more consistently.

 

 

  • I pray for wisdom to choose those areas where you want me to spend my time, energy, and resources.

Remind me my days on Planet Earth are growing short (Psalm 90:12). I need to remain focused.

 

 

Thank you, O God, for the delightful promise that the pursuit of wisdom results in joyful satisfaction in life. “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding (Proverbs 3:13). May I be diligent to seek wisdom from your Word and then make choices based on that wisdom.

  • I pray for courage to speak of you everywhere, anytime.

As I pick up the phone or head out the door, may I affirm you are with me (Joshua 1:9). You will spread the knowledge of Christ through me, like a sweet perfume (2 Corinthians 2:14)—if I am a willing participant.

 

 

With Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001), I do not pray for my fears of rejection or conflict to be removed; I ask for courage equal to my fears.

  • I pray for faith to relish the adventure of a God-honoring life.

Keep me mindful of your promises, Father, that create a rock-solid foundation for my faith, including: 1) You are always working to accomplish your plan (John 5:17). 2) You are always working in me to mold my character into Christ-likeness (Philippians 1:6). 3) Your incomparably great power is always available for us who believe (Ephesians 1:19).

 

 

And if I proceed into each day with a simple reliance upon your power, with a single eye to your glory, it is certain you will be with me…And if you are with me, then I must succeed (Charles Spurgeon). Thank you for such emboldening words!

  • Last, I pray for passion to experience even more of your abundant life.

I want to participate with you in what you are doing around me, Lord—in my family, church, neighborhood, community, even in the lives of those I meet in the blogosphere.

I want to live with spiritual intensity, acutely aware of your presence around me and your power within me.

I want to experience the abundant life you offer in John 10:10 until even simple moments sing with significance because they reveal your glory.

 

 

O God, as you fulfill these desires and increase these qualities in me–strength, wisdom, courage, faith, and passion–what a year 2018 promises to be!

 

(Art & photo credits:  http://www.maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com; http://www.pixabay.com (2); http://www.dailyverses.net (2); http://www.wallpaper4god.com; http://www.slideshare.net; http://www.wallpaper4god.com.)

 

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freedoms

“Jesus hasn’t brought us into the family of God just to make our dreams come true.

Our dreams are always too small.

We are here to fulfill God’s dream:

That we will bring Him glory through a remarkably abundant life.

That’s how we find our greatest personal fulfillment, now and for eternity.”

–Bruce Wilkinson

(Secrets of the Vine, Multnomah, 2001)

 

No wonder some folks have been dissatisfied. They thought the abundant life Jesus spoke of in John 10:10 meant an abundance of enjoyment – free from problems and pain, and a life of plenty – free from want.

God just wasn’t big enough, not big-hearted enough, to make it happen – or so they thought.

Turns out their dreams of personal satisfaction or success are not too big for God to fulfill. They’re too small. He has grander plans for each one of us.

In fact, God has one over-arching vision statement that applies to all his children. Paul explained it like this:

“We who had already fixed our hope on the Messiah might live for his praise and glory” (Ephesians 1:12, ISV).

God wants us to live for the praise and glory of himself. That’s God’s bottom line.

Now someone is going to say, “That sounds rather self-serving to me!”

Truth is, when God created us, he put a craving for himself within us. To know him and be known by him, to experience him is a God-given pleasure that nothing else can satisfy. That’s the gateway to the abundant life–the God-enhanced life.

“OK,” someone else may say. “But spending all day praising God and giving him credit for everything isn’t my idea of abundant living. Where’s the satisfaction, the adventure, the fun in that?”

I’d ask, “Have you tried it?”

Gratitude would be a good place to begin. Gratitude for what God has already done satiates the soul. We start to realize how much we already have.

Gratitude becomes an adventure. How many things can I identify today for which I’m grateful?

Gratitude becomes fun because it fills the heart with joy, which naturally leads to praising him and giving him the credit for everything positive.

His blessings do provide an abundant life:

  • Eternity in heaven (John 14:2-3)
  • Access to God at any time, through prayer (Hebrews 14:6)
  • His loving care through life’s ups and downs (1 Peter 5:7)
  • Wisdom to determine right action from wrong (James 1:5)
  • Joy that is independent of circumstances and defies logic (Psalm 16:11)
  • Freedom from worry and fear (John 14:27)

Of course, that’s only the beginning of a long list.  Each one is a wondrous and precious gift. Our Heavenly Father most certainly deserves continual praise for all he has done.

In addition to gratitude, each of us–no matter who we are, where we live, or what we do–can display the excellencies of our God – his loving kindness, grace, mercy, wisdom and more – to those around us.  Each of us can be obedient to his Word, helpful and generous to others.

And all the while we are giving God the glory–the credit–for who we are becoming and for what we’re able to do. We’re expressing gratitude for all his benefits and praise for all his attributes, which he pours into our lives.

This is how we fulfill God’s dream and, as a natural, God-engineered consequence, we also find great personal fulfillment.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Heavenly Father, I do not want my attention side-tracked by small dreams. I want to fulfill your grand dream for me: that I might bring you glory through an abundant life of enthusiastic worship and service. You are majestic, holy, all-powerful, completely trustworthy, good and loving to your people. You are more than worthy of every word of praise and every kind deed accomplished in your name—period. But you grant us deep, satisfying, personal fulfillment as we bring you glory. We stand in awe of your magnificence and grace!

 

(Photo credit: http://www.fromhispresence.com.)

 

 

 

 

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