Tag Archives: Isaiah 43:1-2

Abundant life



We went out early to start harvesting the Nanking cherries. Loaded with tasty red berries, they will bring an abundant crop for making jelly. It will take a while to pick them all as the ones in the shade ripen more slowly than the ones in the sunlight.


Isn’t that the way it is with us? The more we are exposed to God’s light, the better we develop and mature; the more we mature, the more abundant our life becomes. Jesus says that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy but He has come to give us abundant life.


What is this abundant life? Is it one filled with the blessings of good health, riches, lots of friends, property, fame, and success? Sometimes, these do come to the faithful; we see plenty of examples of such temporary fruit bestowed upon the unfaithful too. As satirist Mark Twain observed: the rain falls on both the just and the unjust as does the sunshine. So where is the real abundant life found?


A Russian engineer discovered this one evening. Marci had been tutoring his wife, a physicist, in speaking English and we had been invited to their home. After supper we started talking about life in Russia and life in the USA. When I asked him about the church in Russia, he proudly announced that he was an atheist scientist and that he believed only in what he could see and touch. I told him how my relationship with Jesus had impacted my daily and eternal life. He responded, “There is one thing you Christians have that we atheists do not have; you have real hope.”


In a moment of light, he grasped the essence of truth without clinging to it himself. Real hope in God’s unending love and in the constant peace of His presence is the essence of abundant life.


“The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear (respect) Him and those whose hope is in His unfailing love.” Psalm 33:18 This is real hope, fortified by the awareness that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Our hope is in the God who calls us by name and who promises that he will be with us when we pass through the floods; that when we walk through the fire the flames will not destroy us. (Isaiah 43:1-2) This is the same God who promises peace that transcends all understanding and peace at ALL times. (Phil. 4:7, 2 Thess. 3:16)


This hope for the moment, day, life now and life eternal – this real hope is the center of abundant life, life lived to the full with purpose and passion. Aren’t you tired of the enemy stealing, killing, and destroying your joy and your hope? Rest in the abundant life Jesus promises today.


“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus in John 10:10

You are a delight to God



Delight in the one who delights in you.


Being a light-bearer raises the bar for all fully devoted followers of Jesus. Even during the challenge of running the race we need to maintain a perspective of who we are – from God’s point of view.


“Jesus loves me this I know” – we’ve been taught it from the beginning but do you believe it today? “For God so loved (insert your name here; also the name of someone who irritates you) that He gave his only begotten Son.” “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him – in those who hope in His steadfast love.” (Psalm 147:11) “He will rejoice over you with gladness.” (Zephaniah 3:17) “He brought me out into a broad place – he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:19) And the list goes on and on.


It’s official: God loves you and delights in you. How can that be when we have so very many shortcomings? It is because God sees us as redeemed and made holy by the forgiving grace of His Son. As John Piper relates, “He sees us becoming in practice what we (already) are positionally in Christ.” Believe it or not, God loves you dearly. Put your troubles at the feet of that truth!


Such an affirmation of our worth, our value to God could be a dangerous thing. We could (but better not) let our egos get puffed up and say, “Look who God loves.” It is a popular “me-centered gospel” preached too often today: ‘God delights in you and wants to favor you with all kinds of (materialistic) blessings.’ The truth is that God does delight in you but His favor may be evidenced by the hardships that draw you ever closer to Him.


The best choice of how to respond to God’s amazing expression of love for us is to delight in Him. “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3. We are created to delight in God and to enjoy Him more than anything else. We are made to seek His presence throughout the rough parts of life and the mundane as well as the mountaintop experiences of great joy. It is our primary purpose.


Delight in God, not just in His blessings. Delight in Him for who He is, not just what He has done. Even if nothing else is going ‘your way’, fill your day with your delight in Him who delights in us!


“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2