ESTHER’S WARRIORS MINISTRY
Happy Father’s Day! I pray this finds you with a day full of thanksgiving for the father or father figure in your life. If you are blessed to still have this man in your life, let him know how much he means to you. For all you dads, may God continue to lead you as you lead your family.
This week through a conversation with a friend about what constitutes abundant life, I have pondered much and gained some insight I would like to share with you. Jesus promised in John 10:10b, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Many of us hang on to this Scripture as we struggle to understand why our life does not look so abundant in our natural eyes. This verse in context is about Jesus being the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep. His sheep (us if we truly follow Him) know His voice and are not deceived by the thief who would steal, kill or destroy what is rightfully ours from Him.
This thief can take many forms to include a legalistic approach to God. If we put God in a box it will always be a very small box defined by our limited awareness. He is God and in so being He is able to do far more than we could ever imagine. Our limitations and our natural idea about what abundance looks like keeps us so confined in our life that we operate from a place of fear. We hold a limited belief that what we see as abundance will never materialize exactly as we believe. In so doing, we leave little room for God to unfold His plan in His time and in His perfect way for us.
Keys to Abundant Life
The fullness of abundant life is the complete heart awareness (and yes, it is always a heart issue) that the Good Shepherd gave His life for us. He gave His life for us. Let that sink in not just be words we recite. That is the key to abundant life. It is first in the spirit. To know abundant life and really live it we have to first know that He gave His life for us and in turn we must give over our life (our desires, our ideas of what our life should look like) to Him and His Kingdom. Easy to say we have turned our life over, quite another thing to live out.
Once we release what we hold so tight, we make a way for Him to move. Can He move without us doing this? Sure. However, to be Kingdom followers we must renew our minds to really focus on Him first, not on what we want. If we continue to operate with the same mindsets we have held for a lifetime we will miss what is right in front of us. Our perceptions will be skewed away from Kingdom reality.
Second, we must be open to heart circumcision that will cut away all that is not from Him. If we continue to hold heart issues that are negative we miss opportunities to move forward. We stay stuck in destructive patterns that become a circuitous route to nowhere. Letting go can be painful. Even if something is unhealthy for us, it is a known quantity. The unknown can be
daunting even if it is much better in the end.
Third, Jesus tells us, “…for assuredly, I say to you, if …you will
say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move…” (Matthew 17:20) The first mountain to move is in your heart. The first move is to fully accept that He died for you and your life is His if you choose to make that decision and live it out. This moves way beyond head knowledge (mental assent) to the very depths of who we are created to be in Him. “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) Jesus tells us clearly that first we must seek the Kingdom, not our desire or idea of what is ‘abundant’ for us. When we put His Kingdom first all else comes to us in His time, in His way, in His perfect plan for us.
The Master’s Plan
I am most thankful for the chance to look at what abundant life means to a true follower of Jesus Christ. Life is abundant simply because we are His. When we put His Kingdom first in our heart then Kingdom is first in every aspect of our life. With Kingdom first we open the way for Him to move exponentially in our life. I pray that each of us will be better equipped to put Kingdom first in all we think and do in our lives. As we manifest Kingdom He will add unto us.
I have learned that the life we envision is rarely the life that unfolds. In its own unique way the actual fabric of our life is a much richer tapestry than we could have ever imagined. Through all the twists and turns the outcome frequently matches the dream in essence though not in the detail we originally planned. It is possible when we accept that sometimes life comes in a packaging unlike what we would design it is just right for us nonetheless. His plan is always best for us. He died a horrific death so we could be free…how could His plan be anything but His best? Release your grip and let Him take over.
‘Pray the States’
Join us this week as we ‘pray the states’ toward the 2012 Presidential election. We are praying for each state in the order of admission to the Union. Please cover Maine admitted to the Union March 15, 1820, in prayer. Pray for wisdom and discernment for the political leaders, pastors and church leaders, the people residing in Maine and for all in our Nation. Each state is important in forming our United States of America. We commit to pray for a different state each week so we not only provide prayer cover but also to make us aware that our country is bigger than the space we personally occupy in it. These are our United States. Let us pray that we will arise united ‘for such a time as this!’
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A Prayer Request and
Thank you for your continued faithfulness to pray. Please keep our servicemen and women and their families in prayer for salvation and safety. They are our frontline on the battlefield, let us be their frontline in the spirit. Also, let us cover all who have come home wounded that they and their families will receive the kindness, help and support they need to go forward in their lives. God bless all our military personnel and their families.
May God richly bless you this week and may God richly bless the United States of America and keep her safe. Amen and amen!