Kenyan Reflections (Part 3)- Life Abundant

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“Let MY thoughts burst freely upon your consciousness, stimulating abundant life….”

1 Peter 1:2-9 “…who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood: grace and peace be yours in abundance. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ through the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, through now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-maybe be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

2 Peter 1:1-4 ” To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Luke 12:31 & 34 ” But seek His kingdom and these things will be added unto you….For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

John 12:8a “You will always have the poor among you…”

Abundant: more than adequate; oversufficient; richly supplied; plentiful; abounding; overflowing

Life Abundant….something I thought I had. I have more than enough, I am richly blessed, I am to the point of overflowing. My stomach is full, my closet has more shoes than I have feet, and I have pretty much everything I desire. But when I walked through the slums of Nairobi, I realized I had it all wrong. I had confused life with stuff, which so many of us easily do.

So what is an abundant life? To me, an abundant life is one not controlled by the material world. Where joy and hope are not circumstantial. Where peace rules over worry. Where love is a rushing ardent overflow. Where faith is strong even in the most advert circumstance. Where knowledge and wisdom are highly valued and fervently sought after. Where giving comes naturally, laughing is heard, and singing and dancing are normal day-to-day occurences.

How in the world do you have that kind of life abundant? 2 Peter 1:2 “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Life comes from knowing Jesus, from seeking Him, thirsting for Him. I was always confused by the passage Psalm 37:4  stating “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” But really, it makes sense. When you find your delight in Jesus, when you find your satisfaction in Him, when you fervently thirst and hunger for more of Him, your desires change from sinful and flesh pleasing, to desires that are God honoring. The more you learn about Jesus, the more you passionately pursue Him, the harder it is to lust after the things of this world. The more you allow yourself to grow in your faith, the more your desires are going to be after God’s heart. The knowledge of the Lord will put things back in perspective, completely rearrange your priorities, and will give you a sense of fulfillment and contentment that will make you wonder why you waited so long.

I walked through the slums of Nairobi, I held babies who have no parents, I danced and sang with children who didn’t know where their next meal was going to come from, I talked with mothers who didn’t know where their husband was or if he was ever coming back. I’ve seen abject poverty around these people, but saw in them an abundance of life, hope and joy.

I’ve walked through the isles of my local grocery store, I’ve sat in the local coffee shop people watching, I’ve been to the mall, the ice skating rink, the best ice cream stop in town. I’ve been to my home church. I meet different people everyday. I see people with an overflow of physical belongings but destitute hearts.

John 12:8a “The poor will always be among you…” I truly believe that Jesus was not just talking about those who live in physical poverty. I believe He was also talking about those who are poor in spirit. You don’t have to travel halfway across the world to find poverty. It’s up to you if you will let yourself see the poor all around you. It’s much easier for me to ignore the poor in heart than those in physical poverty. I think because the heart that is destitute is easy to hide. We have gotten good at masking the void that we are desperately trying to fill. I challenge you and myself to seek out people who are hiding their empty heart behind all the stuff they have. And give them the knowledge of how to have the life abundant they so desperately desire.

There’s a reason Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”

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