Well, finally, I am posting my talk that I gave the evening of the most recent Door of Hope Ladies’ Gathering, as some of you have requested….sorry it has taken me so long! I will try and abbreviate, so it is not too terribly long (i.e. leaving out some of my rabbit trails and stories :) )
As many of you know, I always have to give a disclaimer before I give any kind of little talk. I have no idea why the Lord chose me to be in this role - I’ve only been saved for 10 years and in order have this honor of sitting up here sharing with you, I feel that I should have training, more biblical knowledge, or at least a mentor for goodness sake! But with that said, He did choose me…I always remind myself that He chooses the foolish things to confound the wise. :)
Maybe the reason I am up here is that He knows that I know that I have absolutely nothing to offer outside of His power and strength - I look to Him to illuminate the words He’s given me to share today. But one thing I do know is that I love Jesus - He is so real. He has transformed my life, given me a new heart and continues to give me more of Himself every hour of every day, as long as I am abiding in Him. He is my Heavenly Guide.
I share these words of Paul from 1 Corinthians: ”When I came to you brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed the testimony to you about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and with much trembling. My message and my teaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
So, Abundant Living. I chose this topic because it’s been on my heart heavily for the last year and in fact, a number of you have asked me what I think Abundant Living really means. Well, after studying, pondering the truths that I have experienced and seeking the Lord on behalf of everyone one of you ladies in this room, He gave me 3 absolutes for living an Abundant Life.
- Abiding in the Vine
- Living Sacrificially
- Living a Life Controlled by the Spirit
It’s almost a circular pattern:
- Abiding in the vine: Remaining in Jesus
- Living Sacrificially: Service for Jesus
- Living a life controlled by the Spirit: Being controlled by Jesus
And living a life controlled by Jesus loops us back around to remaining in Jesus.
Which means that Abundant Living is a PROCESS. The more we have of Him, the more we want to serve him and turn every area of our life over to Him - which leads to more of a desire to live a holy life controlled by His Spirit, which ALL leads to spiritual abundance.
The more abundantly we love and serve Him, the more abundantly we live.
God’s will for our life is to be sanctified, set apart, pure and holy.
I’ll just share a bit with you on each of these three absolutes:
ABIDING IN THE VINE
“Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4
I have often said the the Lord calls us as godly women to be liberated, radiant, active and intent - the only way we can experience this FULL LIFE in the Spirit is to abide in the vine, Jesus Christ.
I love to think of the Father as our Heavenly Gardener. What a picture - He sows, He nurtures, He prunes. He cares for us to that we may become more fruitful as we abide in Him.
I read this in a devotional recently: ”Does the branch continually ask the vine to supply it with sap, to show it what direction to grow? No. That comes naturally from the very union with the vine.”
So, ladies, remain in Him!
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4
“Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1
Ladies, we are called to be broken bread and poured out wine!
I see many, and often fall victim to myself, stuffing our hearts and minds with things of Jesus - church, community group, bible studies, devotions, etc. and not doing ANYTHING with it! Are we serving others? Are we ministering to unbelievers? Are we part of a ministry within out church, serving our church family? Are we SELFLESS with our faith?
Girls, Jesus wants us to get our hands dirty! He is filling us up so that we can do something with it! We are called to “be spent” for others. Never forget that.
LIVING A LIFE CONTROLLED BY THE SPIRIT
I really like the New Living Translation of Galatians 5:25:
“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”
This is when we need to remember that Holy Living = Abundant Living
A life controlled by the Spirit is a life that produces the fruit of the Spirit:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
It is also a life that is lived within the boundaries that God has placed on it - through His provision, direction and His word. When we are living disobediently, we are playing on the fringes of those boundaries or borders that He has defined for us. He calls us to be holy, blameless and pure. When we are going outside of His will in how we spend our money, what we are filling our minds with, who we are spending our time with, how much time we are (or are not) devoting to Him, we begin to lack peace and begin to feel discontent and restless and it quickly becomes evident in our spirits that we are NOT living a life controlled by THE Spirit. When we live a life controlled by Jesus and we live within His parameters, we can move about freely in freedom, peace, abundance and liberation.
So, in closing, I am praying that you see that we are free to live abundantly, it’s actually a CHOICE and a PROCESS that we must greatly participate in!
The other point I saved for last and I am sure many of you are wondering why I have not mentioned it earlier:
Abundant Living does not always include physical or material blessing - we as lovers of Jesus may NEVER experience material or physical wealth. We may love and adore our Most High King and still spend a life filled with sickness or pain. It is our ‘spiritual abundance’ that concerns the Lord! He tells us to not store up for ourselves treasures on earth (Matthew 6:19) - the Lord is not concerned with ‘stuff’ - He is concerned with us having more of Him. He may allow pain or illness to come into our life - but He tells us that He is with us in our suffering. He calls us to give our burdens to Him!
Yet, He does often choose to bless us with exactly what we need - He is our Heavenly Father…pouring out blessing is His natural reaction when watching His dearly beloved live lives that glorify Him.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Cor. 2:9
We must remember that He is our Provider, our Giver of all good gifts.
Lastly, I leave you with this closing encouragement:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all of these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:12-17
Love you all!