Monday, March 29, 2010

amazing love...abundant life

"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us."  I John 4:11-19

In my opinion, nothing lives out love more boldly than Easter.  God's one and only Son loving us enough to die on the cross to take the punishment for our sins, only to rise again on the 3rd day and overcome death and the grave so that we can live with Him eternally. That's the greatest love story ever!   
His love is perfect.  His love never fails.  His love is complete.
1 John 4:15-16 speak volumes to me...when I accepted Jesus as my Savior, God came to live within me so that I can know and rely on His love.  The moments in life when things just do not make sense...when there's hurt...when asked to relinquish hopes and dreams...there is a promise of perfect love on which I can depend.  Victorious living happens in spite of circumstances because I know His amazing love for me. 
Every Christian knows, though, that it's not easy.  John 10:10 warns us, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy".  In everything God allows, Satan will try to interfere.  This shouldn't surprise us for it's his nature to do so.  Remember, however, we have a promise of a love that we can rely on when Satan is doing what he can to sway our hearts away from God and His plan for our lives.  
More great news is found in the second half of John 10:10, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."  Jesus came not just to give us life, but an abundant life!  I do not believe this is a promise of materialistic prosperity, but rather of a life that is full of God's love, joy and peace no matter what we're going through on this earth.  I was talking with a friend just the other day and in the sound of her words and by the joy on her face, it was evident she was living an abundant life.  Was she doing anything out of the ordinary?  No, not really.  But in the everyday things that come about, she is looking for ways to share the Gospel, showing Christ's love to others, and finding peace in making decisions for the future realizing things don't always turn out the way she thought they would.  Abundant living is a result of living life as one on a journey to a better life that awaits us.  Yes, we are to be good stewards of the time we have on this earth and to do our best at the tasks appointed to us here, but they are not to become what we live for.  Colossians 3:2-4 says it best..."Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." 
This month, my journey has brought me to a greater understanding of who God is and who I am in Him.  Authenticity requires much testing, but God's love is there for me to rely on to see me through the long days.  Sometimes, I fail...but I serve a God who never does.  My prayer is that when others hear and see me they see a gal living in the abundance God offers to all of His children.  Looking for more out of this life?  You will find more than you can ask for or even imagine in a life that is hidden in Christ. 

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