Apples of Gold

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Life more abundant

'I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.'

John 10:10

I spent much of yesterday with a heart full of mixed emotions. These last few days have seen many sudden and tragic deaths in our small community. There were people we knew but were not related to, and relations we never really knew. There were friends who had passed on words of wisdom to us in days gone by and there were young lives taken when they just seemed to be starting.

The gulls were squawking outside as I prayed this morning. The grey skies reflected the state of my own soul and the way I was feeling. My heart was heavy, burdened that I would know the safety of my own children’s souls! There was an urgency in my petitions for them today.

Once more I have been reminded that life is short and unpredictable. We put tragedy and death far from our thoughts when we hear about them. It happens to others, but surely it will not happen to us?

Oh! My folly!!

Lord, save our souls!

This morning I have hope within my breast. I am able to pray. I have a prayer that I want my Lord to answer. Jesus Christ is my Lord and my God. He has come that I might have life and have it more abundantly.

His Word today was sweet to my soul. Already I feel refreshed and challenged. I gave a little time for Him and my soul wants more. Now I have an appetite to be in His company all the day long. I want to know this life more abundant! But I have to confess in shame that my soul is not always so with God!

Life seems to be getting more and more hectic. There hardly seems time to draw breath - never mind spend a little time with God or family. It seems as though employers are becoming more and more demanding and we are more and more accountable for our time and our productivity.

Many fine Christians labour diligently throughout each day, come home and rush  their supper, then head either for a meeting or perhaps they may go visiting. Often it is very late before they return home and this cycle continues day after day.

I have to ask myself if my daily life is built around my Lord - or do I simply try my best to fit Him in whenever I can? It is so easy to rush through a Bible reading in the morning, say a quick, often meaningless and faithless prayer, then head off to work. Many folk live for a 'lucky' break, where their fortunes may suddenly change.

Perhaps a lottery win? (No!! -  Do not get me started on that one!) It may be an  insurance policy coming to fruition, and all of a sudden life seems so much better. Holidays are planned, perhaps a new car is bought and there is money in the pocket to spend. This is life!

Is it?

This world has a variety of ways to deceive us and distract us from the One thing needful. It promises us so much yet fails so often to deliver. So many things seem to be just out of our reach. But if we cannot have them then we become miserable. We murmur against God.

Life is just plain miserable!

Life is not fair!

We keep looking for a more abundant life, but we never seem to find it. The fault always lies with someone else and not with ourselves. Pride will not accept that we are capable of taking and making wrong decisions which end in misery.

We may have taken one drink or drug too many. The high we experienced was great for a little while, but it soon faded. We delighted in an illicit affair which fed our vanity and ego for a little time. But Oh! What damage!

How we would love to turn the clock back and steer ourselves clear of such situations. That however is not an option! God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, that he shall reap.

Instead of returning to our first love immediately, repenting of our sin, and accepting God's way of forgiveness, we complicate matters even further by trying to win back God's favour by our own good works! We may pray and read, pray and read day after day. But this is not God's way! This is like trying to climb a mountain with two broken legs! Instead of finding peace, we find that we are even more miserable than before!

Broken lives can be repaired!

The Good Shepherd has given His life for the sheep.

Some folks lives are so simple. They are in such a routine that they find themselves in a spiritual rut or vacuum. Life is lived by sight, and there is no time or room - or even need - for faith! There just isn't the time, will or energy to sit down with Jesus.

We all look for happiness and a measure of contentment in our lives, but the only person denying us these pleasures is ourselves.

The Lord has told us in His Word that He has come that we might have life and that we may have it more abundantly. To know this more abundant life we must endeavour to REST in His finished work.

In fact, the more time we spend alone with Jesus the more we will get done in a day.

It is a love affair. The more we get to know our Beloved the more time we will want to spend with Him. No one else can give to us what He has promised in His Word. Love, joy, peace!

Am I aware of these three gifts in my life today?  They are all freely available. They have been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus. Will God withhold any good thing from those who love Him?

As sheep we need not fear for anything. Our Good Shepherd is watching over us. He calls His own sheep by name and He leads us forth. Our duty is to follow Him. As sheep we hear His voice and we know it. This Good Shepherd laid down His life for us. His blood cleanses us from all our sin and by His stripes we are healed.

REST in Jesus.

Make time today to listen to what the Good Shepherd is saying to you. He IS speaking to YOU and to me! Do I have the ears to hear?

My prayer for you today is that you, your family and all connected with you may know life more abundant and also, the blessing God commands – ‘Life that shall never end.’

Author : Iain Mackenzie   Edited by : Pastor Al Moak