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“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”. John 10:10

” As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share”. 1 Timothy 6:17-18

This season of my life seems empty. I feel like I’m grasping for fullness, purpose and joy. Social Security sends mailings reminding me of my age and retirement. The children are grown, married, moved away and have children of their own. The squeeze of being in the sandwich generation pressures my schedule. Maybe you sense emptiness too, from a seemingly purposeless job, or struggling in a hopeless feeling relationship. What do you pursue to make you feel content and satisfied?

The apostle Paul was full of passion and purpose for his life until Jesus blinded him on the road to Damascus and changed his course. Paul prided himself in being a prestigious Pharisee, and a renowned Roman citizen from the affluent, intellectual and influential city of Taursus. When Jesus confronted him with God’s love, Paul counted his impressive resume as rubbish for the precious privilege of knowing the Father’s forgiveness (Philippians 3:8-11). He spent the rest of his life spreading the good news of God’s love at costly sacrifice and in great suffering (2 Corinthians 11:25-28). The result was Christ shared, believers baptized, churches being established in every corner of the then known world. Paul said, “For me to live is Christ …” (Philippians 1:21). Reading Paul’s many letters we can be easily convinced his life was truly full (Philippians 4:11-13). Take a look at your texts, social media accounts, calendar and checkbook. What takes priority and what do you look to for contentment and fulfillment?

Today’s media pounds us relentlessly with living the “abundant” and leisure filled life. Paul left all his worldly accomplishments and trusted wholly in Jesus. Thirty- seven years ago the cover of our wedding program had on it this verse from Proverbs 3:5-6. Then as now I know only Christ can truly fill my heart. Even as wonderful as marriage, family, church and job have been, they are not the true source of abundant life. It is Christ in them. Life is an unknown journey risked one day at a time with Jesus by our side. Abundant life is relishing in the personal relationship with the Father God as his child and having a grateful attitude for his gracious gifts and loving care. It is living with Christ in me to do his good pleasure. It is being filled with the Holy Spirit and led by him. Learning to trust in the Lord and not leaning on my own understanding of the world is a lifelong pursuit. It is a joy to have God show me where He is at work in my life and others. It gives me purpose to be a part of what He is doing and his plan for all people. I feel truly full anticipating heaven, being face to face with Jesus in glory, and worshipping at the foot of his throne.   This life now is a taste of the abundant life we will someday experience in heaven. Paul gloried in his relationship with Jesus, today let us together begin to do the same.

2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit”.

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By Donna Burns  

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