Tag Archive | Peace

Celebrating the Abundant Life

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 KJV)

Yes, I am celebrating the abundant life, in spite of my current health issues and fragile bank account. Unlike popular beliefs, the abundant life Jesus promised doesn’t center on health or wealth. If it did, we’d eventually lose it, simply because our bodies are temporary and feeble. And Jesus never intended for us to lose that abundant life. It begins here on earth and extends throughout eternity.

Besides if Jesus’ idea of the abundant life meant health and wealth every one of His disciples missed out. None of them enjoyed a luxurious life.The beloved John, for an example, was exiled to the island of Patmos because of his testimony. All the other disciples were executed for believing Jesus was the Messiah. Paul lived with a physical infirmity and imprisonment. How did any of their lives line up with the abundant life many Christians claim Jesus wants for us today?

While we’re at it, consider all the believers in third-world countries; does Jesus promise not apply to them? How about all the dear saints you know who have serious health issues, have their conditions disqualified them?

The real problem lies not in Jesus’ promise for an abundant life but in our interpretation of His meaning. The wealth and health doctrine stems from an earthly view of our temporal lives. We want to live this life without the struggles that come with it. Eliminating financial difficulties and declining physical conditions would certainly ease the pains of this world considerably. But is that what Jesus promised?

Luke 12:15 states something entirely different: Then he [Jesus] said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Now either Jesus contradicted Himself in these two statements, or we’ve misconstrued His meaning. I’m betting on the latter.

So if Jesus’ promise of abundant life does not refer to health and/or wealth, what was He promising?

  1. Contentment in all situations. Paul found this to be true, even from prison. He wrote: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want (Philippians 4:12).
  2. Peace that passes all understanding. Jesus gives us peace even in our most difficult situations. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  3. Joy unspeakable and full of glory. When Jesus’ peace permeates our lives, we have unspeakable joy. Nothing can disrupt that kind of joy. Now read what Peter said on the topic of joy, “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:7-9).

These are just three of the aspects of the abundant life Jesus promised. Whether you’re rich or poor, the picture of health or crippled with disease, these benefits never fade away. They grow stronger and carry the promise of eternal life.

Jesus’ reference of an abundant life was never the same as our mortal minds imagine. It was far more superior, more valuable, and more enduring. His plans and promises always are.

How about you? How are you celebrating your abundant life in Christ?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

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P is for Peace

 “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!” (2 Kings 18:31-32)

Weathering the Storm

Weathering the Storm

By the time Hezekiah became king, Israel and Judah had split in two. Both nations had turned from God and built idols and altars to false gods. While Israel fell captive to the king of Assyria for their evil deed, Hezekiah tore down the idols and altars and trusted solely in the promises of Almighty God. The king of Assyria threatened to destroy the cities of Judah yet promised peace and good will if they’d surrender to him. Hezekiah held fast to his faith in God, and God delivered Judah out of the hands of Assyria. Although Hezekiah was one of the greatest kings of Judah, he fell short of total obedience, which caused nations to rise up against him all his live. (Read Hezekiah’s story in 2 Kings 18, 19, and 20.)

Like the king of Assyria, the world promises peace and prosperity but delivers war and hardship. Only through Jesus Christ can we experience true peace, not as the world offers but peace that comforts the soul and cannot be shaken by temporal events.

How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that begins with the letter P?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Follow Me!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Follow Me!

Follow Me!

Follow me on Facebook. Those words have become commonplace in our society. When we meet someone, whether an old acquaintance or a new friend, our departing words are often follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Good Reads or a half-dozen other social media sites. Social media has gotten so big, businesses entice us to follow them by offering discounts on their products if not free merchandise.

To some Jesus’ call to “Follow Me” sounds as inviting as following a business on Facebook. He offers rest (Matthew 11:28), the light of life (John 8:12), and peace (John 14:27). Ah, yes, let’s rush over to His page and click the follow button before the offer expires. We accept the deal with great expectations of a life of ease. We treat Jesus’ call the same way we treat 99% of the people we follow on social media. Sure we read His posts … occasionally … when Bible verses pop up on Twitter … if it’s a convenient time. We even like and share Scripture on Facebook, along with those catchy little sayings that make our spirits say, “Yes and amen.”

That’s all fine and good—except when we get right down to it

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Next week:

We’ll look at breaking with the past. Please prepare by studying Ephesians 4:17-32.

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Although Christmas is almost a month past, the song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” rings in my ears. It could be because I’m unwilling to let go of my advent topics. Nevertheless, that song pricks my heart with its lyrics of peace on earth. When I hear news reports of child abuse, armed robberies, and mass murders, I want to cry out, with the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882),

And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Before writing this post, I took the time to read the story behind the poem …

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Next time we’ll examine the gift of rest. In preparation, please read and meditate on Matthew 11:28-29.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

What’s on Your Feet?

Spiritual Warfare

Part 6

Stand firm then…with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.   (Ephesians 6:14-15)

Peace BootsSince the beginning of the year, my family has been inflicted with issues of all sorts and every one of them have taken a bite out of our wallets.

Both my daughters have been diagnosed with gallstones. One daughter has had her gallbladder removed, while the other one awaits the insurance and grace periods at her new job to kick in. Their children have had bouts with intestinal flu, bronchitis, and ear infections. The younger daughter has had two flat tires that needed replaced, a water heater die, and an unexpected health care bill amounting to $700. As well as the aforementioned health issues, the older daughter had been hit hard with high fuel/heating costs and a deceased refrigerator.

A month or so ago, my mother had a pout with her heart and ended up…

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Next Week:

Prepare by reading, pondering, and pray about Ephesians 6:10-17. The more we study this passage the better prepared for battle we’ll be.

 

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks