Abundant life indeed

Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live; and I will observe Your word [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it]. (Psalm 119:17)

Something that is determined to be bountiful - don't we all want this in our lives? We want to receive liberally those things that are given generously and abundantly. We all appreciate having an ample supply of the things we need and desire in life. When I look at my bank account, I hope to see "ample" supply for every purchase I need to make - don't you? When I examine the contents of the pantry, I want to see an abundance of the "good stuff" which seems to satisfy both my cravings and my hunger. When I am down in the dumps, I call upon God's generous grace because I know it will be what pulls me to my feet again. When God "deals" with me, I want him to do it with liberal grace, generous love, and abundant power. How about you? It would be wrong to expect God to deal with us in grace just so we can continue to live in our own way. God wants our ways to align with his. It is interesting to me to see our psalmist asking God to "deal" with him "bountifully". He doesn't want God's second-best, or a meager supply of God's grace, love, or power. He wants it all and he wants it in abundance! All I can say is we ALL probably want God to "deal" with us in this exact same manner - but most of the time we don't even ask for God's "bounty", do we? Why do you think this is? It might be because we don't think our "great big God" would hear such a prayer, or maybe it is that we don't feel "worthy" of asking for God's bounty because we don't see our extreme worth in his eyes. The truth is God loves to hear us ask for his bounty - especially when it comes to "dealing" with us.

When action needs to be taken in our lives, God's bounty is at our disposal, we just don't think to ask for it. I want to challenge us today to begin to pray for God to "deal" bountifully with us. It is a step of faith for some of us, but if we actually begin to ask for God to deal with our lives out of his bounty, I wonder what the outcome might be? Do you know what it means to "deal with"? It means to handle competently or successfully. Simply ask God to handle what we are not so good at handling ourself. Maybe this is the crux of the prayer - coming to the place where we admit God can do a much better job than we could ever do! Be purposeful in praying this prayer. It is one thing to be breathing in and out, but enjoying every breath because it is orchestrated by one who competently and purposefully arranges each step is quite another thing. In asking God to deal with our lives out of his abundance, we are saying our part in the process will be our ability to observe (obey) the truth contained in God's Word. We are really saying, "God, I haven't done a great job with things on my own. I keep getting things messed up. I speak when I should be silent. I jump when I should stand still. I need you to show me how to conduct myself here and now. I know the way to change is contained in your Word. I don't always get what is contained in its pages, but I know if I ask you, it will be opened to me. In turn, I will be able to actually hear it in the recesses of my heart - the place of my greatest struggles. When my heart becomes affected by your Word, I know my actions will be changed. So, deal with me out of your abundance, in a generous manner, and with all liberality, God."

I am not trying to rewrite scripture here, but I think if you read Psalm 119 and take this one verse in context, you will see I am not far off in this interpretation. Be determined to live right - to make right choices, to see right actions produced. We first hear - we are informed - given the steps. Then we begin to receive - it becomes more than just instruction - it becomes that which will sustain us each step we take. As we begin to step out in what God provides, we begin to sense something of his presence which surrounds us - his love in action. In the end, we realize we have received abundant grace - the basis of change in our lives - the foundation of the steps we take toward obedience each day. As we walk this earth, we will struggle with things way beyond our ability to deal with in a competent manner. We may try, but we will ultimately fall short of "dealing with" these things as God would have us. So, wouldn't it make sense to begin to ask God to deal with us bountifully - not just to point us in the direction we should go, but to prepare all we need to get us to the place of obedient surrender. Just askin!

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