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Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verse is John 10:10, where Jesus says,   

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


If everything is going according to plan at the moment, our country should be opening back up and trying to get back to normal. For over a month, many people have been living in fear of getting sick and even worse, living in fear of making someone they love, sick. Today, we’re all trying to get back to “living life,” trying to live life “abundantly.” I don’t think there has ever been a time when so many people are chiming in, trying to tell you and me exactly how and why we should do that. “Social distance?” Or “give people a hug.” “Get back to work?” Or “Pray that social isolation can last a little longer?” “Where a mask, don’t wear a mask?” “Look to government every day?” Or, “Look to God and to each other” moving forward. Everyone seems to have an opinion, right? Well, in our lesson today, Jesus has a very clear perspective on “living life to its fullest” type questions. In the middle of chaos or in abundance, Jesus says, “I have come that they (that’s all of us) may have life,” full, lasting life.

Wow, what an incredible statement. You can have your health, you can have incredible wealth, you can have the cumulative wisdom of the world today, with access to the most sophisticated technologies, but if you don’t have Christ, you are missing out on life. Said another way. If Jesus Christ is your Savior, in Him, there is for you abundant, eternal life in the middle of struggle, chaos, pandemics, war, suffering, even pain. He is the only source for eternal, abundant life. Everything else, everyone else will leave us wanting in the end if we put our ultimate trust there.

Jesus even warns us to that effect. He’s telling us not to try to go it alone (as if we can) and not to look to anything in this world besides Him for the kind of life that lasts. Jesus has to remind us of that again and again because we are so over-confident in ourselves. If this COVID-19 has taught us anything, it has taught again and again how fragile this sinful life is, how broken things are. There are “thieves” all over the place in this world seeking to steal from us what only God can give. “Satan, the world, and even our sinful flesh” are trying to constantly convince us that the source of enduring life is anything other than Jesus. Don’t let that happen for you. Don’t let anything or anyone steal your heart and your soul away from the living God. Don’t let anyone steal the abundant life that Jesus wants you to have in Him.

Many of us today are really worried about protecting our physical health and protecting our material wealth too. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, if those things matter, care even more for your spiritual and emotional health which is meant to be rooted in the person and work of “God in the flesh,” Jesus Christ, who lived, died, and rose again so that you can have abundant, eternal life IN HIM! Don’t guard the other stuff and leave the doors of our soul unlocked, or worse, wide open for the thieves in this world.

Jesus talks straight today. He says that IN THE FACE OF DEATH (and yes, in the face of this pandemic, and economic crisis), there is a way, truth, and life through repentance and faith in Him for you amidst it all. It’s not a bargain, it’s not sleight of hand. Jesus earned the right to say this to you and me when He died our death to give us His life. Don’t let anyone tell you that there is anything in heaven and earth greater than this offer of Life and salvation In HIM…. Thieves, robbers, OR Jesus Christ, when it comes to abundance, eternal security, and power to live life now and forever, there’s only one source. In the midst of everything today, put your trust in Him, ALONE.

PRAYER – Dear Lord Jesus, give me the courage that comes from faith in you to see that even having everything this world can provide, that’s nothing compared to having abundant life that comes from knowing and trusting in you alone. AMEN

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