It has been almost 6 months since I’ve posted something on the website, and I can say it has been, as usual, an absolutely jam-packed time of blessing from God. I love the scripture in Psalm 68:19 that speaks of our God “daily” loading us with His benefits. When you couple that with John 10:10, where Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and life more abundantly”, it’s clear God’s intent for our daily lives. I guess I’m just a bit stumped as to why anyone would consider rejecting these basic tenants of the Christian faith: daily blessings, and a promised abundant life!! I think perhaps there are a number of obvious reasons; still, I’m perplexed at this, when I see God’s goodness so clear in my own life, and in the lives of so many in my Christian friends and family. Here are some thoughts:
Most people would say, “Look at all the Christians who aren’t experiencing a good life, what about them?”
My response to this is, of course we all experience difficulty, and for some, profound difficulty. The Bible is full of stories that give us examples of people who have experienced big challenges, and have walked through these circumstances with God to see Him turn the situation for great blessing. That some suggest Christians who speak of “abundant life” are just a bunch of silly “happy clappy” people is to be uninformed. In fact, the message of Christianity’s Gospel (Good News) was birthed in the horrific execution of Jesus, which certainly put His early followers in a quandary…..what?!….abundant life, and you’re getting crucified!? Of course now in hind sight, the Christian faith’s highest moment of victory came from this cruel moment of intense pain and torture, that ended in resurrection and a changed world, FOR GOOD!
2) It is often suggested that Christians somehow think that sorrow should be ignored, and as such they are both unrealistic in their view of life, as well as being cruel to those who are experiencing sorrow or difficulty.
To the contrary, for two thousand years the Christian faith has experienced periodic times of horrific difficulty and persecution, and as a result they have championed one of the most vital of human traits, that of compassion. Those who have walked through life’s difficulties tend to be the most compassionate toward others experiencing similar circumstances. What a gift Jesus gave to His Church when He challenged them to be a people of tenderness toward those who do not have, to touch those who are untouchable, and to be a friend to the prisoner and fatherless. It is the Church, followers of Jesus, who delight in taking the broken circumstances in others’ lives, and turning them to moments of great hope and restoration.
Truly, God has given to the world His greatest gift, in the sacrifice of His only Son, and from that gift has come the greatest message man has ever heard, to turn our mourning into dancing, our sorrows into joy, our daily difficulties and times of profound loss into stories of His healing, restoration, comfort, blessing. God has promised to turn every challenging event in our lives into abundant benefits! From experiencing thievery, sickness and even death, to restoration, health, and in the end abundant, eternal life! What a God! BLESSED BE THE LORD WHO DAILY LOADS US WITH HIS BENEFITS!!!!
3) Finally, and probably most profoundly, the basis of fallen human nature is found in this simple phrase…..”it’s all about my choices”.
Clearly the scenario in Eden was perfect, blessed and well……“HAPPY”, until of course a lying seducer convinced Adam and Eve that they could do better if they would only “do” something aside from what God had already done, completed, and given clear instructions for how to live in the abundant life. To the contrary, “If you do this, then you will get this”, the ”me-centered” garden that said ‘your choices will make you like God’, was the decision that Adam and Eve made.
Unfortunately, many teachers in the Christian world today make the Christian life all about what you do, and what choices you make, instead of being Christ-centered around the choices that God already made on our behalf. The Good News says, exchange your sorrow for My joy, your failures for My success, your wrong life choices for My perfect ones, and base your life’s paradigm on Jesus, NOT ON YOU!! No wonder people often love to wallow in sorrow and sadness! Their thinking in life is centered around their decisions, and the resulting outcomes. As Christians, our thinking should center around His perfect Gospel, His perfect Sacrifice, His perfect choices, as they are now the foundation for all we do and experience. As a worship leader it gives me great pleasure to say…..IT'S NOT ABOUT OUR CHOICES, IT’S ABOUT PUTTING OUR FAITH IN HIS CHOICES……SO GET HAPPY AND ENJOY ALL HIS BENEFITS.
P.S. My Pastor has suggested to Kathy and I that should have named one of our sons “Benny”……..hmmmmmmm