It always starts out the same way. I start feeling anxious, uncomfortable, discontent – any negative emotion you can think of. I usually try to fix it by getting a new hobby or fixing my attention on something to numb the ache. All that this manages to accomplish is to further frustrate me and make me realize how much I need life. LIFE.
When I sit down and start writing the words that I feel, I always come to the same conclusion. Time with You. This is what my soul longs for. This is why I experience frustration and anxiety and fear and loneliness. I long for you as a deer pants for water. My soul needs to reach out to You and be touched by Your life-giving Spirit.
“AS THE hart pants and longs for the water brooks, so I pant and long for You, O God. My inner self thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?” Ps 42:1-2
You are life-giving and real. You don’t exist far away, You are close to me this very second. You are intimately acquainted with my life and You know my thoughts afar off. I will never find delight in anything other than You. You are the essence of joy – you are the perfect solution to my heart’s cry. You bring peace and you wrap me in the softness of your love. I feel at peace in You. I find myself in You. The anxious thoughts in me goes quiet at the sight of your beauty. Your presence is the only encounter I need.
I love you with all my heart. Thank you for saving me and choosing to be with me, mistakes and all. You are wonderful and good.
I used to think sickness came from God. Whenever I got a cold, or some kind of sickness, I would wonder what I did wrong to deserve it. There are many twisted theories on the origin of sickness – and most of them lead you into self condemnation. You might believe if you are not holy enough, you are punished – and sickness is one of the ways God punishes people. This is such a load of rubbish! The Bible clearly explains where sickness comes from – and we should never associate it with God.
“Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned.” Rom 5:12
This verse clearly states that the origin of sickness (death) is sin. Adam put all of mankind under a curse through his disobedience, and no one was able to escape the dreaded spread of sickness (death). Luckily God had a plan – Jesus turned the whole scenario around. Through the complete sacrifice of His Son, God brought life back to mankind. We are not under the curse anymore!
“Well then, as one man’s trespass [one man’s false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man’s act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men.” Rom 5:18
To sum up – the origin of sickness is not God, but sin. The good news is we have been redeemed from this curse through one Man’s act of righteousness, which leads to life (the opposite of sickness and death) for all men. Also read God’s Gift to us (Part 2).
I want to continue the story about the Door and the Shepherd in this post. We’ve been busy in John 10, and today I want to look at verse 10 specifically.
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10
In this verse Jesus clearly sets himself apart from stealing, killing and destroying. This is such an important part of His character that we need to grasp and solidify in our hearts. We must know the heart of God towards His flock. Jesus also refers to Himself as the good shepherd in the next verse (John 10:11). There are a few more verses in the Bible regarding God’s flock and His heart towards them:
“The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.” Ps 23:1-2
“I will feed them with good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie down in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.” Ezekiel 34:14
“And I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing, and I will cause the showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing [of good insured by Gods favor].” Ezekiel 34:26
As God’s sheep we can expect life in abundance – so much life that it overflows! We can expect provision, rest and peace in God. We can expect goodness and showers of blessings and favor. I don’t see any reflection of a bad shepherd in the verses above – just amazing kindness and goodness.
I want to cringe when people make the Christian life out to be one of sorrows, seriousness and hardships. These people lay a burden on you, making you feel guilty if you are enjoying your walk with God. This perception goes against my experience of God’s heart towards us. I believe He wants us to be happy in His presence, to look forward to every moment spent with Him.
There are quite a few verses to confirm this:
“…in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
“…I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10
“…For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Mat 11:30
“Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). ” Rom 5:1
So … don’t let anyone make you feel less worthy if you are loving life and enjoying a relationship with God. There is such great joy and contentment in knowing someone loves to be in your presence – why would it be any different for God? He is happiest when we are in His presence, loving Him. In Luke 10:40 He commended Mary, saying she has chosen the good portion – a life of knowing Him instead of just serving Him.
The benefits of Christ living inside us the moment we are born again are truly boundless, fathomless, incalculable, and exhaustless (Eph 3:8). It seems as if there is no end to this discovery – what an incredible gift it is! A quick recap:
- Jesus is the Word, so we now contain the truth inside us
- God’s presence inside us causes blessing to be around us
- God’s presence (the secret place) protects us and keeps us safe
God is the source, the author and the creator of all life. He IS life. That means this powerful, situation-changing Life now exists inside us. It is this Life that will change hopeless situations into enriching situations full of possibilities. It is this Life that will breathe new life into dry bones. It is this Life that will heal sickness and take away depression. Any ‘dead’ situation will change because of the life which now exists inside of us.
“And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, presihable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.” Rom 8:11
“And he who believes in (has faith in, clings to, relies on) the Son has (now posesses) eternal life.” John 3:36