Abundant Life Here and Now

Today is Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Day 21,971.

Five days until Mother’s Day!

It’s the birthday of Harry S Truman (1884-1972), who said, “You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.” BrainyQuote

The word for today is infomania, a noun which means, “an obsessive need to constantly check emails, social media websites, online news, etc.” It also refers to “the effects of this obsession, especially a decline in the ability to concentrate.” I fear I am afflicted with infomania.

We did not go to the Y last night. I think we decided before we left, yesterday morning. We were both tired from the various events of the previous week, C from her trip and lack of sleep Friday night, and me from being up late for the baseball game Saturday night. We both feel much better this morning, after a good night’s rest.

The Red Sox had the day off, yesterday, in preparation for a series in New York with the Yankees, which begins tonight. This has potential for being a brutal series. Fortunately for the Sox, the Yankees were also off, yesterday, so nothing changed in the standings. The Sox still have a one game lead over the Yankees in the AL East and in the over all MLB standings. That will change tonight, one way or another.

The Rangers managed to beat the Tigers, last night, after a back and forth game that finally ended 7-6. The Rangers are 14-23, 8.5 games behind the Astros and five games behind the A’s who are in fourth place. They play Detroit again, tonight.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said: “I have granted help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. 
I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, 
so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him. 
The enemy shall not outwit him; the wicked shall not humble him. 
I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him. 
My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. 
I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. 
He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ 
And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. 
My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him. 
I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens.

Psalm 89:19-29

Every day, I get an email from biblegateway.com with a C.S. Lewis excerpt. I thought today’s excerpt, from Mere Christianity, was a good one. “I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Everyone there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes. But this is near the stage where the road passes over the rim of our world. No one’s eyes can see very far beyond that: lots of people’s eyes can see further than mine.”

I believe this is true. If we are truly focused on the one who gives us all things, we are not knowingly thinking about doing good things. I like the reference to the mirror. We should be filled with “goodness” as a mirror is filled with light. “They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source.” I love that. I want to spend more time looking at Jesus than I do thinking about doing good things.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10

This verse is at the top of today’s Daily Guideposts reading. However, I’m going in a totally different direction with it. When Jesus said these words, he was, I believe, referring to the quality of life that we can have now. This will, I believe, be made more clear by other passages that will be shared shortly.

Abundant life is not something that we have to wait for until we die. I used to believe that. I used to believe that the kingdom of God (or heaven) was something that I would not know fully until I have “passed on” from this life. I no longer believe this. I believe that it is something into which we can enter now. Jesus came to earth and began declaring that the kingdom of heaven was here. He urged people to pay attention to it, to seek it. This was the “gospel.” Over and over, he mentions the “gospel,” or “good news” of the “kingdom of God.”

Abundant life does not mean that we can get everything we want. People who teach this are deceiving multitudes. But that makes sense, because we, as humans, are greedy. It’s easy to believe that God wants me to have that new house or that new car or that raise or that lottery. But all of these things are material and temporary. In Matthew 6, Jesus makes it clear.

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:31-34

Earlier, Jesus said, in verse 25, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Seek his kingdom, along with its righteousness, and God will provide everything you need.

This is abundant life. This is life that we enter into as soon as we begin walking with Jesus. Believe in his words; believe the things he did and said. Truly believe. This is the hard part. It’s easy to believe in Jesus. It is much more difficult to believe Jesus. And, yes, there is a huge difference.

After all these years, I’m still struggling to believe him. But he is drawing me closer.

Father, thank you for the promise of abundant life! Thank you for Jesus, and the invitation to walk with him. Thank you for your kingdom, in which I am walking now, not later. I believe; help my unbelief!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 
Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 
There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 
Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, 
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 
Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. 
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. 
  More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 
  Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 
  Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19

Grace and peace, friends.