“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Life to the Full
From: Our Daily Bread
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
When I stopped by to visit my sister’s family, my nephews eagerly showed me their new chore system, a set of Choropoly boards. Each colorful electronic board keeps track of their chores. A job well done means the kids can hit a green button, which adds points to their “spending” account. A misdeed like leaving the back door open results in a fine being deducted from the total. Since a high-points total leads to exciting rewards such as computer time—and misdeeds deduct from that total—my nephews are now unusually motivated to do their work and to keep the door closed!
The ingenious system had me joking that I wished I had such an exciting motivational tool! But of course God has given us motivation. Rather than simply commanding obedience, Jesus has promised that a life of following Him, while costly, is also a life of abundance, “life . . . to the full” (John 10:10). Experiencing life in His kingdom is worth “one hundred times” the cost—now and eternally (Mark 10:29–30).
We can rejoice in the fact that we serve a generous God, One who does not reward and punish as we deserve. He generously accepts our weakest efforts—even welcoming and rewarding latecomers to His kingdom as generously as old-timers (see Matt. 20:1–16). In light of this reality, let us joyfully serve Him today.
Lord, help us to remember there is great meaning in following You and that it is all so worth it.
Following Jesus is the way to a rich and satisfying life.
In his book Hitler’s Cross, Pastor Erwin Lutzer shares these heart-wrenching words from a man who lived in Germany during the Nazi Holocaust: “We heard stories of what was happening to the Jews, but we tried to distance ourselves from it, because, what could anyone do to stop it? A railroad track ran behind our small church and each Sunday morning we could hear the whistle in the distance and then the wheels coming over the tracks. . . . We knew the time the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more.”
This Christian man and other members of his church felt helpless to overcome the widespread evil occurring at the hands of the Nazis. They knew they ought to act, but did nothing (see Romans 12:21).
Reflecting on this story, and on my own life, reminded me of James 4:17, “It is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” And if we don’t know what to do, then we can seek God’s guidance through prayer, through Scripture, and from trusted believers in Jesus (Proverbs 15:22; 2 Timothy 3:16; James 1:5). Once we know what we ought to do, we should then act. As James wrote, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?” (James 2:14).
Often I struggle with wondering if my efforts make any difference. No matter—I must do what I know I ought by faith (James 2:18). I can’t let evil, fear, or worry over the effectiveness of my actions keep me from doing what I know is right. Even if I can’t save the world, I can do something by God’s guidance and power.
Sippy Cup Lessons
From: CBN, and author Sherrie Brouhard
Red, green, yellow, and blue were the colors of our first set of Tupperware bell tumblers with the white sipper seal tops. When my two older sons were toddlers, I always gave the oldest boy, Nathanael, the green cup, and his little brother, Nicholas, the yellow one. When their baby brother, Jonathan, was old enough to drink out of a cup, I let him alternate between the blue and red ones.
To this day, even though they are both in college, Nathanael’s favorite color is green and Nicholas’ is yellow. For years, Jonathan did not have a specific favorite color. I wonder if it was because he didn’t always use the same colored cup. However, he has since decided green is his favorite.
These brightly colored cups have been with us for many years. In a day’s time they might travel from the breakfast table, to the occasional lunchtime picnic in the backyard, and back to the dinner table for dinner. Of course, they were always topped with those wonderful sipper seals that often saved the floor from a milk bath.
The sipper seals have been gone for years, no longer needed. Those children who may have spilled their juice or milk have grown up. Yet the cups are still around. They are great for mixing up fruit and yogurt or filling with granola for a quick snack. Every now and then, as I notice one of these cups, I recall my baby sitting in a highchair, little hands holding one and lifting it up for a sip. Those cups have been with us for 20 years or so, and the little children who drank from them are grown.
A lasting color identification began with those cups. When we drove through the teller window at the bank, each child chose the same color lollipop as their favorite Tupperware cup. It prevented a lot of problems. When school began, and the pack of new pencils was opened, we always knew who got which pencils. They were equally divided, automatically personalized, and easily identified. After all, they were the same colors as the cups.
I don’t usually reach for one of those little cups, unless for water to swallow my vitamins. A cup is a small thing, yet it can be filled many times to nourish and quench thirst. Those cups provided much of that for my children over the years. Now they provide a quick memory; a flashback to three little boys around our table.
I am reminded that each of us, no matter what age, needs spiritual nourishment, so we can grow in our relationship with the Lord. We never outgrow that. We need to drink from the Living Water.
Jesus answered and said until her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. John 4:10 KJV
Our times with God need to be not just a memory of something we recall in our past, but a daily occurrence. As we spend time with Him regularly, it will affect our character and growth in relationship with our Lord. He needs to be the One we drink from and from Whom we receive nourishment. He needs to be what we desire more than anything or anyone. He must be favored above all.
Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. Psalm 73:25 KJV