Life and Abundant life; The two essentials for the Christian.

"I am mad at God!" So many people find themselves in this position even when they won't admit it. 

 Many years ago, I was working in a cabinet shop in Pensacola, Florida. Our cabinet shop was a part of a company that not only built cabinets but built houses. The company had decided to try to save money by building their own prefabricated cabinets and the shop I worked in was fairly new and was seeing new faces come in to work. One day at lunch time, there was a man who had just been hired to be the delivery driver for the cabinets and he made a pretty inflammitory statement defending pornography. Now I really don't like conflict but as a Christian I believe it is our responsibility to be the salt of the earth and so I took the opportunity to say something about the situation. I could tell that it didn't set well with the man as he "came back at me" with a statement about Christians that was the familiar "to many hypocrites in the church" saga and over a few minutes I could tell we were getting nowhere in conversation as he became more beligerent and frustrated. One of the other men in the shop was a Christian and later I told him, "I believe that guy is mad at God". The man's name was George. As time went by I became friends with George because we were put together to deliver cabinets. One day George looked at me and told me that he was an "Athiest" and said, "I will tell you my story sometime when I feel like it". He was a Vietnam vet and had a lot of stories to tell. I really began to be burdend for George and over the next several months we had more and more conversations about the Bible and God. One day George opened up to me and told me  that many years before he had been involved heavily in a church, so much so that he had become an unofficial assistant to the "pastor" of what I beleive was an Episcopalian church. The pastor had asked him to attend a meeting that he could not attend and so George went and he took his family. On the way they were in a terrible accident in which he lost some of his family including his wife and one child. George was very mad at God! 

Now no one could blame George from a human standpoint. We could understand his heartache and grief. But one thing I have found is that many Christians are mad at God for many things that are far less "traumatic" than that. I use the term Christian loosely to some degree meaning primarily, "saved person". When Jesus came there was a purpose in his coming. It wasn't to live a good life, though he did, he lived a perfect life; It wasn't to be the world's greatest teacher, though he was; His purpose was to save us from our sins. That was what the angel told Joseph when he said, "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. - Matthew 1:21" So many people have forgotten the point of Christ's coming. They are presented with Christ today many times as the "marriage counselor", the "Super Lawyer" to get them out of jail, the "bank" for all of their financial problems, and the "healer of all my diseases" including the cancer that they have just been diagnosed with. Though it is true, God has the power and authority to take care of all these matters, mankind's biggest problem is not any of these. The greatest problem that all mankind has and ever has had is the problem of our sins. Yes, relationship issues and financial problems and health issues are a major concern but they are only temporary. Sin is an eternal problem. Folks, Christ Jesus came into this world to save your soul from sin and the consequence of sin called hell but he did not say that mean't he was going to necessarily save you from jail! I say this because so many saved people today profess Christ and "if" they are saved they forgot the reason they recieved Christ and their main purpose for professing Christ now has become a platform for God to make sure that their life is their "best life". The Bible calls that the "abundant life" and when God doens't automatically give them what they beleive they are entittled to they are "mad at God". I want to give you two truths about that situation. First look at this verse. 

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. - John 10:10 

#1. You can't have "abundant life" till you have "life"! If you notice in the verse above the order of things is "life" and then "Abundant life". the first thing that you have to do to get the abundant life is to get the "eternal life". That only comes through faith in Jesus Christ being your substitute for the consequences of your sins. The Bible tells us that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) Sin causes every terrible thing there is on this earth; yes including George's accident and your "issues" as well. It's a "sin" problem we have not anything else. So Christ came to solve that problem by dying in our place and those who will repent of their sin and accept Christ's payment in their place are given eternal life through God's grace. You get it for free! No strings attatched! No works required to get saved or stay saved. God's promise is "everlasting life" for "believing"on Jesus Christ, period! But that is it. There is no promise of fixing all the other issues you have. Salvation deals with your greatest need. If you want the other issues fixed that comes with "ABUNDANT LIFE" and that is where things begin to change. 

#2 "ABUNDANT LIFE", has the prerequeset of "life", eternal life through faith in Christ. You say, "Preacher, I have trusted Christ as my Saviour. I know I am saved. But yet still I have not found that abundant life that Jesus said he gives". Well let me make an obvious statement. If you believe that Jesus gives eternal life, you must believe that he can give Abundant life, right? If he didn't lie about eternal life why would he lie about abundant life? So the problem must not be God and that only leaves one other source it can be when we don't have Abundant life, it is our fault. Abundant life is contengent on our faith that is for sure but the faith we are talking about is faith in God's word that causes us to be "doers of the word" and not hearers only. You see "life" comes from simply beleiving God's word that he will save you. But Abundant life doesn't come unless you are willing to live your life the way that God directs. Abundant life doens't mean that you don't have problems, it means you have God's grace to get you through the problems that were coming. Abundant life doesn't mean you wont have to deal with the conseqences of your sin from before and after you are saved, it just means you will have the grace and direction to endure them. 

Dear Friend if you are reading this and you are mad at God because things are not turning out the way you want them to, don't get mad at God. Keep trusting and looking for what God might do with the circumstances you are dealing with in your life to make you more like Jesus and show you more of his grace. You never see the Lord calm the storm if you never go into the storm. Keep your faith in God's word, stay faithful to Him, keep praising him even in the times of sorrow. When the storms of life come, don't jump out fo the ship, cling to the Captain! 

May the Lord bless you.

Pastor Steve

God's Plan of Salvation

Friend, we live in a day of insecurity. Many times, it's very difficult to determine what is real and what is simply another fraud or hoax. Thankfully, although we live in a day of deception, we have a source of Truth that can be trusted. Read on and discover "The Real Truth" laid out for us in God's Word.

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