It's July! By now families are in the swing of summer, hustling vacations, cookouts, gardening, play time. We have opportunity to do all the outdoor things we contemplated through those freezing days a few months ago.
God has provided a rhythm of seasons which orders life. The change of weather and nature are obvious means of how physical life changes with ebbs and flows.
But the richest rhythm of seasons from God is found in our spiritual relationship with Him.
Jesus came to give us an eternal life, which is an endless life. In John 10:10, the idea of God's abundant life is placed in contrast to what the thief offers. God gives our lives more than we could ever imagine.
The abundant life is there for us regardless of our circumstances. We can trust Jesus to help us, and to bring joy and peace even while we are dealing with awful situations.
How can that happen? Well, I've seen peace come when a friend enters a hospital room, and wants to pray together. There is joy in the hope of God's Word, when a passage gets whispered in a shaking hug.
I think part of the abundant life is the spiritual understanding that Jesus was not confined in a human box of a body. As believers, we are not confined to our bodies either. Faith looks at our Lord not only as a man, and, but also beyond our human perspective.
The abundant life includes times like this: I wasn't planning on coming, but something just told me to see you today. And that friend was just who you needed. Can you believe we both came to the mall at the same time? Would you like to grab a coffee and talk?? This is the abundant life.
The abundant blessings through Christ's lordship will never run out.
We experience abundant life by deepening our relationship and fellowship with the Father. We fellowship with Him when we confess our sins before Him, and spend time in Bible study and prayer.
God uses those tools to reveal more of Him to us. As we know more of God, His desires become our desires, and we can obey Him.
This obedience pleases God, and we grow spiritually to take hold of His abundant life.
In Psalm 37:4-5, David calls us to take delight in the Lord and to commit everything we have and do to him. To commit means entrusting everything our lives, families, jobs, possessions to his control and guidance. With that, we believe that He can care for us better than we can ourselves.
Then we should be willing to wait patiently (37:7) for him to work out what is best for us. This is where other believers can help out in times of need.
Often that help comes simply: in an understanding look and smile, an unexpected card in the mail, or in the brief touch on the arm in passing a friend at the grocery.
To take hold of God's abundant life, Jesus told us, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him? (John 14:23).
And, the Holy Spirit is the very presence of God within us and all believers, helping us live as God wants and building Christ's church on earth. By faith we can live in the Spirit's power each day. See John 14:15-17.
Because He is risen, Jesus no longer submits to many of the physical limitations of his humanity. As we live and learn in the risen Christ, we have new opportunities in every season of the year to witness, and offer to others, this abundant life in spiritual faith. Thanks be to God for our risen Lord.
Bonnie Donnelly is a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Marietta. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Christy Hudson at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer's convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.