The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
Have you ever wondered what is to be truly full? I was in a prayer meeting on Sunday morning, and I got the overwhelming sense of God's presence. The word that kept coming to me was “Fullness”. As I meditated on that word, my mind was filled with pictures and scriptures pertaining to full.
Full of God
I don't know about you, but I want God's best for my life. I know that when am close to God, He fills me with Him; not just that goose-bumpy feeling of warm fuzzies, but a true sense of the reality of His presence. I think clearer, I have a greater sense of where I am and where I am going, and a knowledge that as the hymn says: "it is well with my soul".
The more of God I put into my life, the more He fills me.
God wants us not just to experience but to live in the Fullness of Him. The word Fullness brings to mind all sorts of pictures.
“You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Just read that promise a couple of times and be filled with the beauty of it.
This verse speaks of the promise of God; He shows us the path of life.
It speaks of God's presence bringing pleasures and fullness of joy! And it speaks of forever!
The Promise of Fullness
The Christian life can be full of hard times, heart ache, trials, and all the stuff we would rather not have in our lives, but the promise of God in John 16:33 is: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
When Jesus is in me and I am in Him, the promise of God is complete.
Full is not almost or part. In God's economy, near enough is not good enough, and almost does not qualify as complete. When the Bible talks of full it always speaks of excess. God is an extravagant God.
Jesus gave us the instructions of how to live extravagantly and in God's economy: Luke 6:38: “Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Here Jesus Himself teaches us of God's measure of economy. However what we often don't understand is the measure He speaks of. In Matthew 13:23, Jesus talks of the sowing and harvesting law. 100 , 60, 30 fold increase! God's economy of scale is extravagant; it is one of multiplication, pressed down, shaken together, full and running over! That speaks to me of being completely full.
Malachi 3:10 says: ”Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."
Again this speaks to me of God's extravagance. When we believe in Him, when we trust Him with all we have, and when we fill ourselves with Him, he pours out His blessing beyond our capacity to contain it!
Getting Full and Staying Full.
How do I get this fullness and keep it?
When I have a meal, I normally eat until I feel full. Sometimes I over- eat and then I feel over-full. But no matter how much I eat today, tomorrow I will want to eat again. I continually need to fill me up with food in the same way as I continually need to fill my car with fuel, or at least if I want to keep going places in it. The same is with God. I need to continually fill myself with God. I can't just go once and expect that that's enough.
God is a supernatural God. That is beyond natural. That is full and overflowing. God is not the God of near enough is good enough. God is the God of enough and to spare. He talks of abundance, not of a lack!
When a friend of mine purchased a car, he never washed it, maintained it or had it serviced. He would purchase a new car about every two to three years, because that is how long the old one would last. My Father in Law is almost OCD about his cars. He washes, polishes and vacuums them meticulously and often. His cars always look great, and when he goes to sell them, he inevitably gets top price for them.
We need to maintain our spiritual bodies in the same way. That means continually being filled up with God; Staying in tune with the Holy Spirit through giving ourselves to prayer, study of the word, fellowship with other like minded people and worshipping Him both privately and corporately.
Are you full yet? Do you have a hunger to be filled? Being filled is a daily requirement. When you fill yourself with God, He will fill you with Himself. Pressed down, shaken together full and running over will God pour into your bosom.
If you want the fullness of God, be Fully Filled with God!
Ephesians 3:19: (that you may) “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 5:18: "Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit."
May you be filled with all the Fullness of God!
Are you passionate?
Are you passionate about leading worship? Are you sincerely fanatic about having the Holy Spirit turn up and move in your worship service? I have written and spoken many times about the passion of Worship Leading; it is something I'm passionate about. Those of you who listen to our weekly podcast: "the worshipleaders podcast" will have heard me talk many times about the importance of preparation, prayer, a great well prepared songlist, etc. But the one ingredient that leads to great worship is Passion.
Passion is the Glue
Passion is the glue that holds everything together. In life, love, work and play, we see time and again that those who are passionate about what they do succeed well. My eldest daughter is passionate about anything to do with art, craft, or creativity. The result is she's a great cook, photographer, knitter, sewer, jewellery maker and general craft person. Her blog will testify to that. My son is a brilliant musician. We gave him drum lessons when he was younger, but then later when he wanted to take up the bass guitar, I told him he was on his own. Well, with the help of some friends, some chord charts and a whole lot of YouTube, he became a brilliant Bass guitar player. He did the same with rhythm guitar, and is currently doing a music degree at University. What makes these two so good? They are passionate about their interests, and will put serious time into getting it right. When they get it wrong, they don't simply give up and say:"well that's too hard", they keep practicing until they get it right.
The reward of Passion
Part of my profession is as a furniture designer. There is a lot that goes into getting the final design right. It has to be practical, useful, workable, and safe. When I design a chair, it needs to be comfortable, it has to tick all the boxes that require it to be a saleable item. A single design can take over 12 months to come together to finally reach production. And the cost is often many hundreds of thousands of dollars. But when I get it right, many people benefit from the design. I am passionate about good furniture design, and the result is people buy my product. The light globe you switch on when it gets dark is the result of someone's passion to create light without the use of a naked flame. It was not an instant success, but many failures went into getting it right. The car you drive is the result of decades of passion poured into getting a better, more comfortable, more efficient mode of transport.
Great Passion equals Great Worship.
Great music is the result of Passion. Great preaching, the result of Passion; great worship-leading, the result of Passion. Today you can overcome mediocrity by firing up your passion. Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Jude 20 Says: Beloved, Build yourself up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.
There are many scriptures exhorting us to draw near to Him (James 4:8). When we allow God to envelop us with His presence daily, when we draw near to Him, when we study His Word, and spend time getting to know not just about Him, but also to know Him, our passion will rise. And when you are passionate about God, and about great Worship, you will have great Worship. Luke 10:37b: Go and do likewise!
Everywhere we go we are bombarded with "stuff"! Especially "stuff" that others want us to be aware of. Whether we want to be made aware of it or not has no bearing on anything. Sometimes I feel as if I should be walking around with my eyes shut! Some of the "stuff" I am confronted with is trying to pull me in directions I don't want to go. It is telling me to do things I don't want to do, and attempting to influence my thinking in areas that go against my upbringing and what I know to be right. Everywhere I go, fiction is being sold as truth, stories are told only from one point of view, and often these stories are slanted to suit the teller's desired aim.
Remember the movie "The Da Vinci Code"? A totally fictitious movie based on a novel (fiction made up) by author Dan Brown in which a murder mystery ends in a search for the Holy Grail. In this movie / book, Brown refers regularly to Biblical characters, and writes those characters into places and situations of his own imagining, that have no bearing on historical truth whatsoever. To this day people will totally discredit the Bible after having seen this movie. They see it more as a historically accurate Documentary Drama than the fictitious story it was written as.
Why do we do that? Why do we so often take a story of fiction and presume it as truth? Is it that we have a need to believe in the unbelievable? Is it that it is written in such a way that in our minds this is conceivable, therefore it must be true? Or is it simply that because it is written about a historical character it must be true, whether history confirms it or not.
As a Christian, that would lead me to ask: then why is it so hard to believe the Bible, which has amazing and fantastic stories which are historically true and accurate accounts of God's chosen people and their journey to the ultimate promise of God?
One of my teachers in high school used to talk about the GIGO affect; Garbage In, Garbage Out. What we take in, we put out. The Bible puts it this way: "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" Prov 23:7. I also like what Jesus says in Luke 6:43-45: “ For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." What goes in, sooner or later has to come out. And this applies not only to the food we eat, but to everything we take into our bodies. What we see, what we listen to, what we read, what we imagine and dwell upon. When we take something in (digest it, whether physical or through sight, sound and thought), sooner or later it will affect and become part of who and what we are.
Years ago as a teenager, I was listening to some fairly heavy metal rock music. The music and lyrics were anything but honouring to God. As I lay there on my bed, letting the music feed my soul as it were, I began to get a heaviness on me. I had never experienced it before and have never experienced it since. It was like a huge heavy weight had descended on my body and it felt like it literally trying to push me through the mattress. It became difficult for me to even breathe. This was such an oppressive force, it really frightened me. With all the strength I could muster I started to call on the name of Jesus. Not much came out of my mouth at first, but as I kept calling out His name, each time the words came out easier and I felt lighter and soon the oppression left me all together. I destroyed the tape, and never listened to that music again.
What am I saying? Be careful of what you allow yourself to take in. The things I watch on TV or the Internet. The magazines and books I read. The music I listen to. The games I play. The conversations I sometimes am a part of. All these have an effect and are Part of the makeup of who I am and what I become. The jails are full of people who ended up there because of the influence that some form of media had on them.
In the Hebrew, the word Meditate has several meanings /uses: to ponder: — imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar, speak, study, talk, utter; to moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, meditate, devise, plot. When we dwell on something for a time or repeatedly think about it, when we constantly bring it to mind, we are meditating. Last week I had something happen to me that was grossly unfair. For days all I could think about was this circumstance and how it was affecting me. The more thought I gave it, the worse it became in my own head! Why? Because it was my meditation. Instead of taking it to God, and focusing on the Holy Solution Provider, I was becoming obsessed with the unfairness of the situation. It made me angry, it made me upset, it completely consumed my thinking.
What we Dwell on
Whether we think so or not, when you look at the meanings of the term, we meditate all the time. We need to re-train our thinking to honour God, and to benefit our own bodies. A negative meditation will have a negative effect on our whole being. (I'm sure as you read this you can think of people who constantly seem to be depressed or in the doldrums). In the same way when we allow ourselves to meditate on the good stuff, (the God-stuff) it completely changes our whole being. The great thing is that when we meditate on the Answer, the answer is not far away! Look at these scriptures: This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
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