Jesus came to give us an abundant life – Part #2


So… in my previous post (Jesus came to give us an abundant life – Part #1) I lamented my abandoned state – and let me explain that I have been a Christian since I was a teen or even earlier. I don’t ever remember NOT being a believer and follower of God.

Yet I remained under the ban until I received His full pardon for my sins and generational sin. Only at that time did I actually (in a practical way that affected my life and caused my to enter into the promised blessings) only then did I emerge from under the various bans and reap the promises.

Why only then? Because it happens by faith in Jesus. How? By believing that He actually IS “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” just as the bible says He is. (If you don’t believe that, then it doesn’t happen for you.)

Let me tell you a bit of how it happened for me…

The moment it began to sink in

I remember sitting in my lounge room. The churches were teaching that being a Christian should be all great and wonderful, but my life wasn’t. That was a huge source of confusion. Why? Was there something wrong with me? Was I “bad”? Didn’t God love me?

FWIW, when I have questions like this, I simply take them to Him. “What’s going on here Lord? What’s the truth?” And then I wait… and the answer comes in a few days.

So that day, I went to the post office and bought a big white sheet of paper and some texters (koki’s) and I drew a cross on the right hand side of the big white page and then drew an arrow towards the cross from the left hand side of the page.

On the left of the cross I wrote all the things that the bible says that Jesus had done for me, I wrote that I was dead to sin and all the other great verses from Ephesians and Colossians and Romans and really… the whole of the NT and LOTS of the things that the prophets in the OT said He would do.

But God literally made me turn the page over. Beyond the cross. Huh? But there’s nothing there, the page is blank. Yeah. Exactly. hehehe.

United in His life

He was happy that I’d decided to be united in Christ’s death, but He now wanted me to be united in Christ’s LIFE. Life. Abundant life.

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

I felt challenged to fill that page with bible verses of life. I couldn’t think of one single thing to put on the other side of the large white piece of paper.

All my experiences had been negative up to that point. The”life” side of the piece of paper remained empty for a while, as I had to learn a new way of thinking and behaving. Learn about who I am.

Of course some parts of the church were trumpeting that if I just tithed, then I’d be opening a window of blessing… yadda yadda. Money money money… you need more money. Ugh.

No… God was directing me to something more personal, something more profound. Living abundantly referred to peace, love, joy… things I had not known deeply in my life. The fruit of the Spirit. The joy of doing the will of my Father in heaven.

See? I know some of them now. I am living some of them. Lots more to go though… heheheh.

Broken in small pieces

But back then I had not come to expect to have these things in my life. I had given up on inside of myself. I no longer even hoped for these things. Many of the curses of Deut 28 were active in my life. I used to go to the coast to “seek God” for 4-5 days. In one year I went there 11 times. I was desperate. Things could not go on as they were.

I was lamenting the state of my life… and I heard this verse:

And he shall break it as a potter’s vessel is broken, breaking it in pieces without sparing so that there cannot be found among its pieces one large enough to carry coals of fire from the hearth or to dip water out of the cistern. – Is 30:14

I was a shattered man at that time. My friends can confirm this.

Many years ago I had given my heart to someone and had been rejected almost immediately… that cause untold pain and I tried to forgive and forget and stay… but it just spelled more and more rejection and fed right into my experience of life up to that point.

Inside myself I wanted to believe that people are good and that there is a good God… but my own experiences, sexual abuse, a lonely and damaged home environment and then a disastrous marriage… it all told me that life was like living in sodom and gomorrah… and that we were born bad and deserved bad things… and God was angry with us. Very angry. The preachers were right… or so I thought.

I was wrong. So were the preachers. :D

I had given up on the inside of myself. And I know that there are people reading this who feel the same way. I am writing this for you. May He bring you through and BLESS YOU! If I came through and am now abundantly living with Him, you can come through too, with Him.

A new beginning

So I began to understand that going to the cross was not the end, it was merely a beginning.

As I sat there, God was saying to me (yet again) through the bible, that he who is dead is freed from sin and we enter into Jesus Christs death through baptism… BUT now I was to able to enter into His life… enter into His promises (and they are all yes an amen).

It was hard to swallow because He was promising what I had hoped for… for so long… but never received! I reasonably thought… it had never happened before, why would it happen now… after all this time?

The biblical verses for those statements above are:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. – Rom 6:4

and 2 verses later it continues…

For one who has died (… in baptism…) has been set free from sin.

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. – Rom 6:7-11

Bam! Right between the eyes huh?

Faith in Christ, expressed as baptism, sets you free

If you believe the bible is God’s words, then you have to face this truth… that baptism entirely sets you free from death and sin in this world… if you believe. If you believe. It doesn’t work for those who don’t believe.

The AMP puts it well:

Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus. – Rom 6:11

It took 1.5 years for Him to get me to believe that this is true. That I could be separated from my past experiences, that He had new and good things for me.

But I finally began to see that this truth is plastered in every writing of Paul’s; and Jesus said we must be born again of the Spirit (not literally of flesh). Paul’s “death” was a death to sin. A death that is not literal, but spiritual. A spiritual rebirth. A new man to replace the old man.

When I saw this… I grabbed it and I will never let go. I was so desperate that I would have accepted anything that God would have offered me… but as it turns out, He offered me life! And life abundantly.

The before-and-after theological picture looks like this:

before_after_cross2.JPG

Why abundantly?

Ooooo… this is my favorite part of the story. Why is it life abundantly? Well… because it annoys everyone around us. Yes, you read that correctly! hehehe.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. – Ps 23:5

Why prepare a table of good food and nourishment in the PRESENCE of our enemies? Because it might cause them to re-consider. Maybe they will get jealous and turn to God for their own nourishment. I hope and pray that the peace I have will make others hunger for God. The joy, the peace, the love… I hope it makes people re-consider their life choices.

This is precisely what God intended for His Israelite nation, He said He wanted to make of them a “peculiar” nation and make the nations around them “jealous”, so they would want Him.

Now He’s doing that through us, His children. He wants to do it through you!

The good stuff

Sure… I struggled for a long long time as God turned His face away from me, but now (as I wrote previously) He has promised never to do that to me again and He’s bringing me into LIFE… abundant LIFE. It’s true, it’s actually happening, I am experiencing greater amounts of peace and joy and all that good stuff.

What good stuff? The fruit! The fruit of the Spirit is:

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence).

Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. – Gal 5:22-23

Hallelujah!

Faith is the key

I can tell you something. As I discovered this truth, my actual life has become a before-and-after.

Jesus has truly made a way out and we can enter into it – through faith. And as God once said to me: “faith is what you agree is true”.

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14 responses to “Jesus came to give us an abundant life – Part #2

  1. Mark,

    I still don’t quite understand what it means to be broken to pieces and hown god restores. i went through a very tough time with some jobs a few years ago and ended up going through about 3 jobs in a few months. i lost my last job. at the time i had people praying for me and they all came back with the same passage independently, the Parable of the Tenats and especially the bit about being broken to pieces. My dreams were shattered – I have recovered a lot since and am in a good job now but still don’t quite understand the relavance of this passage for my life. How does God restore the broken pieces? what does this mean for me. It doesn’t make that much sense to me.

  2. Hi,

    This was an amazing read. I was broken to pieces by something that happened in my career a couple of years go. Your story made a lot of sense to me. Thanks agsin for posting this.

    Mark

  3. Tonight I heard that verse “prepares a table in the presence of our enemies” for the first time. It hit me where I lived. Maybe if I explain, then you will have another perspective on the power of the verse:
    In a nutshell, there is a person in my life who not only dislikes me strongly, but has gotten involved in a personal place my life to seperate me from the man I care about. He has the power to do this. Months later, I try to contact the man I care about and I hear from my “enemy” who tells me to stop trying to contact him. I felt anguished, angry, and most of all, embarassed. I didn’t want this guy to see me at such a weak, WEAK place in my life (desperate to hear from “my man”) and then completely rip it out from under me. I was so embarassed and upset that I dreaded running into him or their other friends. I imagined, what alibi I could use if I DID happen to run into them? I told myself, “hopefully if I do run into him, I’ll be looking very well, and be with a group of friends who will give me confidence,” etc. That’s what I always do when I’m this broken and exposed. I could do nothing but stress and worry about the situation. I can’t describe the degrading humility of it all. We’d all known that I cared for this man, but we never addressed it. It was too complicated.
    Then I heard this verse tonight. It set me free. I don’t really need to explain, do I? Just while I’m in the midst of feeling all of this degredation and humiliation, I hear this verse.

    Hi Schyler. No, no need to explain. We’ve all been there. Just move on, take your stuff, set up a new life that is better than the one before. Go forward. God wants you to live and enjoy your life. Ask Him for a plan for your life. Ask Him to help you live strongly. And above all, enjoy yourself. Love God. Love others. Use your gifts to His glory. Don’t look back. God bless! Mark.

  4. Hello Mark,

    Peace be to you and all His people amen. glad you found HIs life, and that He is manifesting this in your life, also like the reality with which u share, for this is how we share as well, our witness of Him.

    Our Witness

    Firstly Mark, know what u r on about. Our life was a mess, we were the abused and mistreated of the earth, my son and I. Rejected by virtually all, but truth is He made it so. This was a hard truth to get through and process as well as live. In order to give us the life He has for us, we had to die to our old life, it had to go. My son and I have only known what it is like to live in a battle field and have the enemy continually steal the good that the Lord has for us. We ended up joining in the Lord in His battle, until we came to the end, where the Lord cast satan down to the ground in our life, that we then could say now this battle belongs to u Oh Lord to finish off, and our battling days are over. Now it is the removing of self in the midst of our soul and lives. We also get to be in His peace, Praise Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

    Psalm 23 is a beautiful psalm along with John 10 of what He is doing now, a fulfilling of Ezekiel 34 and a restoring of His people’s soul, the fulfilling of HIs promise of eternal life and manifesting this deep in our flesh and lives, He is making good on His promise and also His covenant of grace… John 3:16. That we sit down at His table, in front of all our enemy’s is to join the Lord in His feast He prepares for us. That He brings forth jealousy for others where they see what we have so they also want that for their life is true. But only one part. To sit at the Lord’s table in the midst of our enemy’s is also to sit at His table of honour, the honour He fulfills in the philadelphia church that we get because He overcomes in us, and we come into His overcoming victory, that He serves in us, because we have served in Him and we are deep in His love. The food He feeds to us is His life, that we can feast upon it and feast upon HIs life abundantly, all the other sucky stuff that gets in the way, is gone, because He did this. He also tells people He loves us, and He truly does, because He also cares for our souls, which is our lives. (Soul means life).

    My son and I found our way into Heavenly Christianity, but those around us including mainstream earthly christianity find it difficult dealing with the spiritual let alone the heavenly. The cross is beautiful, but when we come to the cross and have its work in our life, fulfilled by Him, there is a next part. The next part is His throne of Life, His throne in heaven and His throne coming in the midst of us, right where it needs to be, Grace is HIs life as well as His mercy etc… and it does come through faith, and belief is part of the life giving water of our Lord, His life giving word, that He not only manifests in our flesh, but also flows it from His throne, and it indeed is a wellspring, a fountain of His life in our midst alongside of His tree of Life, His tree of righteousness.

    My son and I have come to this part, all through our going from the earthly to the heavenly, and being set free from the earthly, the enemy has tried to steal this away. It was so bad at one stage, when our house burnt down and we virtually lost everything and our house sitting in ruins and living like the down trodden and experiencing people look the other way to our distress and anguish. For two years our house lay in ruins, we had no insurance and so our house lies in the rubble. This is awful to live, because everytime we started to clean, we would be laid up and could not do it. And this experienced cause untold anguish, affliction, and seeing the hipocrasy in the churches and ministeries, and this is like the good samaritan parable to us fulfilled in our life, the suffering sitting in the midst while others cross the road to avoid the suffering. We also realised that we not only shared in His pain and suffering we also share in the pain and suffering of His people not just in Christianity, but also in Israel, Zion. Now it is time for our heavenly good to come and He brings His good samaritan.

    He sings arise Oh Zion, Your King has come and He is singing songs of Victory into us and rejoicing and joy, and He wakes us up with these. And this morning He spoke one word to me, Live and now I feel like living for Him. He gives to us a life and gives to us His life more abundantly, because we have the abundant life He promised us come manifest in our flesh, the life Is Jesus, our heavenly word of Life, come to us and fulfilling us, we are reaping HIs harvest and we are rejoicing. This is not the only time He has spoken to us, to remind us that He gave His life so He could give us His life, and we truly appreciate beyond words what He has done for us and has fulfilled in our lives.

    We also get to be in His greener pastures, and the rest in Christ and Him restoring our soul into His soul, and His soul restored into us, Christ fulfilled. WE also get to rebuild our house this year and looking forward to the rubble being taken away, what we live is also prophetic. It has been an almost a four year journey, from not being right to being right in Him, but what an amazing journey along with the difficult at that.

    He is the alpha and omega and beginning and end and we love this, because He brings forth our new and our part in His heavenly city. Behold He makes all things new, and we get to talk about the great of Him now.

    Peace be with u all, love that word

    LIVE

    forestvoice7
    It is no longer I that live, but that Christ lives in me, and we come rejoicing bringing in His sheaves…

    Hi forestvoice7. Thank you for sharing your testimony. May God bless you abundantly. – Mark.

  5. Hi Bill

    Your words of encouragement really feed me. I’ll go onsharing my “stuff” and encourage people to come through into Him and what He has for us.

    I am sorry you went through bad times, but I can “see” that He used those times to shape you into a gem, a diamond. Hard… no, strong actually, but glistening and refracting His glory on the outside.

    Thank you Bill. When I visit your blog, I am so so glad that people are encouraging you too!

    Bless you,
    Mark.

  6. Hi John

    I’d really like to know a bit more about what God has shown you about Isaiah 30:14 I think it may help me too. If you want to share it, that is.

    My brother, I’d be only too pleased to share anything I have learned with you, if it will help you. If your “stuff” is too personal, just email me and we can chat. I looooove being used, it makes all the junk I went through useful you see? What the enemy intended for bad, now gets used for good.

    Praise God with me!
    Mark.

  7. My dear friend Mark,

    How can I write those four words? I’ve never met you, but I know you. I don’t believe that I’ve ever even been on the same continent with you, but I have walked with you through many similar life-experiences. We will not be in the same worship gathering this Lord’s Day, but your thoughts will permeate every word I speak.

    These things, plus many more that I could write about, are the reason why I can say, “Thank you, my dear friend Mark, for sharing your life and these excellent thoughts with us here. I’ve read and re-read them and will read them again and again, because they speak right to the heart of that which challenges many people of faith. It is my sense that we will be preaching a good sermon this Sunday.

    Grace and peace to you,
    -bill

  8. I like your explanation of the “table in the presence of my enemies,” Mark. My thought was that God prepares the dinner in the presence of our enemies as a symbol of His power. Kind of like “See, my kids are eating dinner right in front of you and you can’t touch them.” But I realize that is a selfish-get even thought. I like yours much better. Man, I love what you’ve learned. I have so much I’d like to share with you about my life that maybe you could help me with. But, that’s later on, I guess. Thanks muchly for this great stuff!

  9. Mark,
    Man, I have to tell you this. Isaiah 30:14-I have read it a thousand times, and it meant no more than those words until I read your post. At that moment, God spoke to me through your post about this verse and His will in my life. Now, I need to learn what the rest of this post means to me. Just had to thank you for posting this for me. I gotta soak it up now. Bye, brother for now-will comment more later after He’d done talking to me. Cool?

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