For some time I have been sensing that I need to write down some of my thoughts and reflections. Some of you suggested that I make them available. So, through the encouragement and assistance of friends and family here I am. I plan to post something every two weeks.
My goal is to put on paper some of the truths that the Lord has impressed on me. I will gladly receive your feedback — positive and negative, because in that way you can help me to continue to grow.
I have a friend, Bill. A few years ago we were involved in ministry together. Bill is an avid fisherman. One day Bill said to me, “Norm, if you ever see me begin to have memory laps, or find me rambling on rather than teaching people, or, if you hear me begin to spout some heresy, then lay your hand on my shoulder and say, ‘Bill, it’s time to go fishing!’” So, if you read my “Notes,” and find them useless, send me a note saying, “Norm, it’s time to quit and go fishing!”
Here’s my first entry.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
For many years I have thought a lot about what it means to have a healthy view of my heavenly Father. One incident that triggered this journey was something that I read by a pastor.
He raised this question, “What comes into you mind when you think of God?” Then he said something like this, “If I could see what comes into your mind, I could predict what your spiritual future will be like.” I thought, “Wow! That’s an insight that I need to meditate on for a while.” And many years later I’m still being stretched by the thought.
I know now that my view of our Lord was very immature which made my relationship with him immature. So, one aspect of my journey over the years it to look carefully in the Word of God to discern what the true nature of this vital relationship is. So, I keep absorbing the truths about this most important Person. The fruit of that journey has been refreshing, challenging and fulfilling.
One way that I view this is by going out in the country on a dark, cloudless night and gazing into the heavens. When I do, I am filled with awe at what I see. It’s a sight beyond my comprehension, and I’m only seeing a fraction of what’s there. In like manner my grasp of my eternal Father and all he is is a lifetime journey. At 86 years of age, I well aware of how much I still have to learn.
We once had a young lady from Japan viewing the heavens with us and she said, “We don’t have stars in Japan.” She had grown up in Tokyo and the crowded buildings and the night lights had blotted out the magnificent heavens that were above her. It made me think of all the things that distract me from seeing clearly.
One thing that has impressed me in my journey of faith is Father’s overwhelming abundance and generosity towards me.
It’s a fact that our Lord has everything he desires, and that he has it in super abundance? He never runs out of anything. He has unlimited power to do anything he wants to. His power is also extended over all created things in heaven and earth. He is never afraid of anything. He never fears Satan or any of his demon powers. God has power to spare.
Or, I think of his abundant love. I have a difficult time getting my arms around what the Bible teaches about his kindness, compassion and love. The apostle John wrote, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (I John 3:1 NIV). Love is a popular theme in today’s culture, but most of it only misleads us about the true nature of self-less love we find in our God.
Or, consider his indescribable wisdom. God not only knows everything, but he has wisdom that shapes all his actions. The Psalmist wrote, “How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep (Psa. 92:5). Too often I question his actions, failing to recognize that I am looking at life and his actions through our myopic eyes. That’s why Isaiah writes, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” (Isa. 55:8). It seems to me that our whole world is running amok with ideas and action that are disconnected from wisdom. So, I’m trying to look at the Word of God to gleam his perspective on life.
Let me raise questions for you: How big is your God? How much of his abundance does he share with you? Can you honestly say that you are living an abundant life?
The apostle Paul stated something at the beginning of his epistle to the Ephesians that has been both a challenge and encouragement to me. He said, “Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Eph. 1:3 NIV). Notice two things. First, the verb is in the past tense. Every spiritual blessing has already been given. Second, he has already given us every spiritual blessing.
If you’re like me you might be asking yourself, “What blessing(s) am I missing? What’s already been given to me that I’ve failed to experience?
In later “Notes” I want to explore more fully some of the ways that our loving Father has lavished abundance on us. For now, let me suggest four things worthy of our consideration.
1. The size of my God determines the size of my abundance.
2. Experiencing the abundance of God is experiencing God. He is not separate from his
3. Experiencing the abundance of God occurs as I dwell daily with Christ
4. I need to change my focus from external abundance to internal abundance.