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Abundant Life - February 2017

“Every man dies, not every man really lives.”  -Braveheart

 

The death rate in the world has been steady for all time.  It has been hovering right at 100%.  Everyone will die.  Even if you are healthy, active, in shape, body-conscious, one day your body will stop working.

 

Wake up, eat three meals and a few snacks, go to work, clean yourself and your home and car, watch a show, read a book, go to bed, do it again.

 

Is that living or just surviving?

 

A depressed Roman soldier once came to Julius Caesar and asked for permission to commit suicide.  He looked wretched and dispirited.  Caesar looked at him. "Man," he said, "were you ever really alive?"

 

At the beginning of each new year, many people choose to make resolutions to make themselves healthy and fit.  These are great goals.  Some would argue these goals would help one live a fuller life; however, there is no guarantee for a fuller or longer life.

 

In the Bible Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

 

What does it mean to have “life to the full”?

 

This is a life not only in the present state of things but also an eternal life and an abundance and fullness of grace, joy, glory, and peace.  In this life there is freedom because Christ has already paid for us to have a full and abundant life.

 

When we try to live our own lives, life is a dull, dispirited thing.  When we walk with Jesus, there comes a new vitality, a superabundance of life.  It is only when we live with Christ that life becomes really worth living and we begin to live in the real sense of the word.

 

John 10:10 promises a spiritual dimension to life, not physical abundance.  It is not something we can increase through our own efforts or something we can improve.  So, what can we do to guarantee a fullness of life?

 

Prior to the mention of the abundant and full life in the passage from John 10:10, Jesus is talking about a shepherd and his sheep.  The sheep recognize their shepherd and know his voice.  It is because of the consistent, daily interaction that the sheep could recognize the voice of their shepherd.  There was a relationship that began at some point and then continued consistently and daily over a long period of time. 

 

Our best effort therefore can only be a purposeful and intentional relationship with our Shepherd.  We need to walk with Him daily so that we can recognize His voice and follow Him.  As you walk with Him daily, here are a few practical ways to live life to the fullest and enhance your relationship with your Shepherd:

 

  • stop to smell the roses and thank the Creator for making them
  • spend more time with family and friends
  • take a moment to look around you and appreciate the things you have
  • serve a person in need
  • honor a special person in your life
  • make a special effort to capture and preserve memories
  • journal your thoughts, dreams, and prayers
  • meditate on quotes or scriptures that encourage, equip, and inspire
  • read the Bible daily
  • be still and listen to what God wants to say to you
  • talk to God every day through prayer and song

 

Inheritance of Hope seeks to inspire hope in families facing death, but we also recognize that we are all facing death.  The greatest hope that we can share is the eternal hope that comes through Jesus Christ, who says, “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  That is a wonderfully full life… in fact, it is a life that will not end.  That’s a hope to celebrate.

 

Jill Thompson didn’t give much thought to intentional living until her best friend, Kristen Milligan, was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer at age 30.  She had a front row seat as Kristen planned and prepared for her death and was inspired to be as intentional with each day.  Kristen rarely missed a single moment to speak truth to her children and to teach, inspire, and encourage others.  Because of her intentionality, her life and legacy are still greatly impacting others even 4 years after her death.  Jill lives in Florida with her husband and four children and tries to make the most of each and every day, living intentionally as a wife and mom.

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