Thursday, March 10, 2016

Life Abundantly

      I don't want to get to the end of my life and wish I had done this, or wish I had done that. Life is a gift. A gift from God to glorify Him and be in relationship with Him. I want to live the life that He has given me to the fullest. Why do we walk around as if we can't have an abundant life because we are Christians? Because we are His our lives should be full of abundant living. I am not talking about the "Name it, Claim it, Blab it, Grab it" kind of life, but the fulfilled life in Jesus Christ that has been given to each one of us. We only get one shot at this life so why do so many of us walk around like we are dying instead of walking around like we are living? I am not talking about going out and sinning it up either. I am talking about making time to do those things you have always wanted to do. Like go rock climbing in the mountains, go white water rafting, go
Picture I took on my hike at Linville Falls,NC
skydiving. Go and have an adventure, or just make time for the loved ones in your life.
       Last summer I realized that much of my life was passing me by. My kids had grown up way to fast and I felt like I had missed out on so many opportunities to make memories with them. I will never forget the day that I stood on top of a mountain that I had just hiked up and looked out over all of God's glorious creation. I saw His beauty, His hands in the creation of everything that was before me and for the first time in a very long time I opened my eyes to see life. I saw how precious it was, how fleeting it was and how much of a gift it was. Yet here I was, standing with this gift and I wasn't even unwrapping it.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I come that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10 ESV
       That day on top of that mountain I realized that I had let the issues of life steal away and kill much of my life and the life that I had with my children. I had let the overload of trying to have a career, trying to be a good mother, a good wife, and a faithful servant take me away from actually enjoying the time that I had been given with them. I started to regret that I had not done more. That day I made a decision to not let anything or anyone steal this precious gift of life away from me ever again. I made a decision that day to start living the way God created me to live- abundantly.
      So what does this abundant life look like? The word Jesus used to describe the kind of life He wants us to have means to have an active and vigorously devoted life before God. It means to be blessed and to live blessed in this world for the time we have upon it.  Active, not just sitting around week after week, keeping the same routine, doing the same things, but an active and vigorous life full of activity. The word abundant means to have a more than sufficient life, a life that is exceedingly and abundantly more than you could ever imagine. Reminds me of what Paul wrote to us in Ephesians 3:20, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we ask or think…"
       Too many times I have let what other people think, what other people might think and what other people say or might say hold me back. I have let their opinions of how I should live my Christian life dictate the way I actually live it. I am not encouraging you to go out and sin against the Lord or to go against His word, but I do think that too many times our fellow brothers and sisters look down on us or have a lesser than holy opinion of us when we do something that they would never have the courage to do themselves. But that's just it. It takes courage to live this Christian life by faith. Without courage, are we really living?
One of the falls at Linville Falls, NC
       Whenever I start to think about what people might say I am always reminded of Noah. He built a boat in preparation for a flood when not one drop of rain had ever fallen from the sky. People must have thought he had lost his mind. David had the courage to stand up to a giant with only a sling shot and a rock when an entire army told him not to go. All throughout the Bible we have men and women who walked with courage towards a promise that everyone thought was crazy or impossible. Salvation and the idea of it seems crazy to most, but yet God did the impossible and through Jesus Christ has given us the gift of life. So what is stopping us from living it?
      That day on top of the mountain, looking out over all that God had created made me realize that life is right here in front of me. The dreams, the hopes, the promises that God has given me are true, sure and in Him yes and Amen. There is nothing in this life that God does not desire to give us in abundance. There will be trials, struggles and there will be sorrow. But there is also much joy to be had, and so much passion to experience if we would just open the gift we have been given. What good does a gift do if you never unwrap it? What enjoyment can you get from life if you don't have the courage to live it?

      Take a walk in the woods. Go for a bike ride. Shut the TV off and sit out on the front porch, pour yourself a glass of sweet tea and enjoy the day with the one you love. Unwrap the gift of life you have been given, don't look back on your life and regret what you did not do, but let's look back on our lives and praise God for the opportunity He gave us to do them! Amen?