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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Packing up for a summer family road trip.
Although actually we are not taking this vehicle!
"A Full Life"
Note: Due to travel a podcast was not prepared for this message.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10).
Today our family heads out for our annual trip to the heartland. Although we moved to the Northeast shortly after our marriage we are both from the Midwest and have many relatives in that region of the country. My Mom's side has an annual reunion and this year it's in Wisconsin.
We enjoy travel and will make the most of seeing interesting things and meeting friends along the way. The ability to travel is a blessing that we don't take for granted. We're reminded of that when we hear from our Daily Encouragement readers who are homebound. They let us know how much they like to "travel with us" when we take our road trip. It's as though they're getting a scenic tour right from their living quarters.
As children we didn't make many long trips. In fact Brooksyne never traveled beyond her native Oklahoma and the adjoining states until we married. I did make two long childhood trips to the east and west coasts but generally vacation meant going to see relatives in the Midwest and staying with them. At that time we only used a hotel if we didn't have relatives within 500 miles! Now many children travel far more extensively than we do with the greater availability and affordability of air travel.
There are many ways we have a full life. The ability to travel is one along with family, health, our provision and then some. As the old song states "Count Your Blessings, Name Them One By One... And It Will Surprise You What The Lord Has Done." But of course depending on a number of factors such as where we live, our means, and our health, these sources of a full life vary. Some are unable to travel, have little of this world's goods, and may even have poor health. The greater sense of having a full life are our spiritual blessings and this is something we can all share equally.
Yet there are also many false notions of what constitutes a full life, those that essentially seek to replace the spiritual blessings.
When I was pastoring a church in New England I received an interesting "wrong number" prior to our midweek church service one evening. Usually when a church gets a call prior to a service it's someone needing directions, asking the time of service, or a worker is delayed. I took the call hoping it was a visitor needing directions. I answered the phone by using the church name. The phone was silent for a moment and then a lady asked, "Is this Eagan's Package Store?" (A "Package Store" in Massachusetts is a liquor store.)
I said "No, we are a church and the package we have to offer is quite the opposite of a package store." We clarified the number she dialed which was off by one digit, and she said she thought it was interesting what I said about being the opposite. I gave her a brief witness, hopefully giving her something to think about. I ended the conversation by pointing out all the heartache I had seen the abuse of alcohol wreak. I don't know whether she ever called Eagan's or not! And I don't know if she ever visited our church.
The world's offerings are broad and varied, but all lead down the same disastrous path. The work of the "thief" continues today. We don't have to look far to see the horrible destruction do we? The enemy's thievery, killing, and destruction are ruining lives everyday.
The massive alcohol industry is but one example. Those of us who enjoy sports on TV are inundated with commercials promoting drinking. The booze industry, with a huge advertising budget has some of the "best" commercials on TV. The glitzy ads proclaim with beautiful young models that "this is the life", but we who know the full truth realize this is a lie.
Truth in advertising should require a scene from a deadly DWI traffic accident, abused spouses and children, homicides, shattered families and early deaths are but a few of the consequences of alcoholism. The thief takes all, bankrupting us of that which God is willing to give in abundance – His love, guidance, forgiveness and friendship. The striking contrast to the thief's objective which is to take life is seen in the person of Jesus who gives life, even His own life on our behalf. He told his listeners, "I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" (10:11).
Jesus continues to actively work in all who will receive His offering of a full life. He said "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." The Greek word translated "to the full" ("abundantly" in the KJV) conveys the sense "superabundant" (in quantity), or "superior" (in quality).
Don't settle for the paltry, destructive substitutes from the thief. Are you living for Jesus Christ today? He alone offers a truly full life and that offer continues to be freely extended to all who call upon the name of the Lord to be saved.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, thank You for Jesus who came that we might have life and have it in abundance. We thank you so much for a full life. We're grateful for Your grace that teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. We're thankful that Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own. We realize that the one who sows to please the sinful nature from that nature reaps destruction, but we choose to sow to please the spiritual nature and from that nature reap eternal life. Keep us faithful in doing so. Amen.
Last Saturday afternoon we attended a car show in Mount Joy, something Ester and I especially enjoy. In fact the photo of the old station wagon in our lead photo was taken at the show.
The Mount Joy car show is a pretty big deal in our small community with 250 cars and trucks exhibited.
Can you imagine hearing the siren and seeing this police car pull up behind you?
We thought this ambulance looked ancient, something from the movie classics. Actually it is a 1973 model, the year we graduated from high school!
We saw lots of friends, including John Weidmen whom I met over 10 years ago in a service club. John is a retired Pioneer seed salesman. How I remember these Pioneer seed signs beside corn fields growing up.
We saw many interesting cars and trucks.
Others in the rough!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"John 10:10" Video Today's verse set to music in The Scripture memory series
"My Jesus I Love Thee" Video Paul Baloche
Note: During our trip we are going to try to maintain a regular daily encouragement schedule but of course this may not be possible for a variety of reasons both technical, such as internet connectivity and personal such as being too busy or wanting to get an early start. We also may be unable to prepare an audio podcast version.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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