That They May Have Life to the Fullest
John chapter 10 verse 10, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and
destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the
fullest.” Wow; what a powerful statement. In the previous chapters, I
talked a lot about wrong thinking, being distracted from God, reaping
what you sow, and how those seeds, or small problems, become large sins.
Now, I would like to talk a little about how God can reward those who
are obedient about living life to the fullest through God’s grace. In
2002, I went through my first divorce because the ‘I’, was still in
the way, and I was unfaithful to my wife, and what God holds sacred, my
I had been clean since 1991. By 1993, my first child was born, and I was
married at twenty-one years of age. My addiction came to a halt, when I
was arrested at 18, and spent time in the county jail.
There I discovered the Bible again, and promised God I would stay off of
drugs, if he kept me out of jail; that promise lasted 12 years.
I opened another door for Satan, to rob, kill, and destroy by not
honoring my wedding vows.
Matthew chapter 5 verse 33 says, “do not break your oath, but keep the
oaths you have made to the Lord.” Malachi chapter 2 verse 16, “I
hate divorce!” says the Lord God.
Enter the deceiver, I turned to drinking, and drugs again during my
divorce, in part, because my children were gone, and because she was
cheating on me, as well. Reaping what I sowed. She took custody of my 2
kids, and exposed the fact, that I was married to my mistress.
I did not want to stay in my home because without the kids, it was
empty. Once my divorce was final, I wormed my way back into my
girlfriend’s life. She never knew I was married. A year of lies were
told to hide it. I sold my house for 5 thousand, over what I owed, so I
wouldn’t have to split any equity. I spent the money on drugs and
I ended up stealing from my girlfriend, when that money was gone, and I
was kicked to the curb. It was the second time I had broken her heart. I
ended up homeless for the first time on the streets of Jacksonville
Florida, right next to city street mission, a big church that shelters,
and feeds the homeless in downtown Jacksonville.
I was with a friend, who was driving a stolen truck, when we were
planning on leaving Florida, for North Carolina. We pulled off the
interstate to try to find some crack, it was late at night, and we were
I ended up spending 2 weeks at city street mission, and was clean the
whole time. Divine appointment! It gave me the chance to hear the Gospel
again. I prayed for God to come in my life, and help me. Keep in mind,
how many times, God helped the people of Israel once they repented.
After accepting Christ as my savior, I called my mom, who by this time,
was sober for 3 or 4 years herself. She agreed to let me stay with her a
while, until i got back on my feet.
Drugs, and alcohol, along with Satan empowered by my wrong thinking, had
stolen every hope, killed every dream, and robbed every chance I ever
had. Until I repented. I turned away from doing wrong things, and relied
on Christ to restore it all. At that moment, I was granted eternal life,
and once Christ gave me a new heart, I was eligible to have a more
A life greater than I ever had before. Psalm 1, “Blessed, is the man
who does not walk in the counsel, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit
in the seat of mockers, but his delight is in the Law of the Lord. He is
like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in
season, and who’s leaves do not brown; whatever he does prospers.”
Once I started trusting in Jesus, and started doing the things which the
Holy Bible instructed, my life began to prosper. Look at how the
scripture, John chapter 10 verse 10, came to life, in my life. I do not
want to tell about the love of money because you cannot serve 2 masters.
I do want to boldly say, God knows your every need, including your need
He knows exactly how much you can handle, and when to give it to you. It
is up to you, to help those less fortunate, once God gives you the
ability. The more I gave within my means, the more God increased my
means in which to give. Judge for yourself. Upon arriving back in Palm
Beach county, I started attending a church, two houses down from my
mom’s apartment. My mom had moved to 19th, and A street. I had never
been there before, and was unaware of the church. “Divine
Twice I needed help; twice I ended up next to a church. I started
attending services twice a week, and praying for God to restore the
relationship with the woman I had just lost. I read scriptures every
day, and worked on my bad habits, rather the Spirit of Christ, God’s
Holy Spirit worked on them. I submitted to the thought of change, and
went back into the car business selling Toyotas. I was hired regardless
of my prior criminal record. I was nearing the end of 2002. It was my
tenth year in the car business, but it never really bared any fruit
until I had Christ in my life.
With the four months of accepting Christ in my life, God had provided a
job, and then career. During my fourth month at Toyota, another salesman
told me about a Chevy dealership, who was looking for a floor manager. A
closer, someone to go in for other salesmen, and get their customer to
I went, and interviewed for the job, and was hired on the spot. I
committed to it, and did not have the means to get there. I was thirty
years old, and living on my mom’s couch, and the Chevy store was fifty
minutes North of where my mother lived, and I did not own a car. I also
did not think that my current employer would allow me to keep my job, or
their car, or demo, as it was called, once they knew I had interviewed
for another job.
I prayed because I wanted the chance to build a resume. Proverbs chapter
22 verse 1, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be
esteemed is better than silver, or gold.” I spoke with my managers at
Toyota, and explained that I need to buy a car because I was being given
the opportunity for management. I really wanted the experience, so I
could start working my way up the corporate ladder of success.
Their response was that they would hire me themselves as a manager, if
the position was open, and they thought I would be an excellent choice
for the job. They did an inventory search, and discovered that they did
not have anything in my price range. My manager, who was also the
owner’s son, suggested I keep their demo, and try to buy a cheap car
on my new job, and to please return their car, with gas, and a fresh
wash once I bought a car.
Remember what God promised earlier, about being fruitful, and having a
more abundant life, well he was just getting started. In less than a
year, God restored my relationship with my girlfriend, who gave her life
to Christ as well, and took part in believer’s baptism by water. I
went, also, from being homeless, to being given a position of authority,
and good name, or title, of manager; not having a car, to buying one,
and being permitted to drive my new bosses 2004 black Corvette
As fast as we could pray, blessings were being poured out in our lives.
By the time 2004 rolled around, we were able to buy a new, four
bedrooms, three and one-half bathrooms, house, in Port St. Lucie
Florida, with his, and her showers, jacuzzi tub, wet bar, and a two-car
garage. God was just getting warmed up.
My new wife, and I lived our lives, according to scripture, and gave a
tenth to the church, regardless of what other bills may have been due.
Malachi chapter 3 verse 10, “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 flood gates
of heaven, and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room
enough for it.”
(Note) If you want to see similar works in your life, you must return to
God, and do not turn away from his word. We went on to invest thirty
thousand dollars to buy three lots in Ocala Florida. In 90 days, they
were worth 90 thousand. I was now in possession of, just over, four
hundred thousand dollars, in Florida real estate, of which we only
carried mortgage on the house of $270,000. God had placed us in an
equity situation, of $170,000, in addition to $75,000 worth of cars in
the driveway, and $50,000 in the bank.
Remember the tree planted near streams of water, and God’s promise
that whatever he does will prosper. The more I read, the more I tithe,
the more I obeyed, the more promises I discovered, the more Christ
blessed me. I went from sleeping on cardboard, to being worth close to
three quarters of a million dollars in cash, property, and assets.
My wife, when she returned to God, went from having three thousand
dollars in the bank, being maxed out on all her credit cards, and living
check to check, to having a hundred and sixty thousand in equity, a zero
balance on thirty thousand in credit cards; no longer being upside- down
in an auto loan, and being left one hundred and ten thousand in a will
from someone who was just a friend. Life to the fullest? You be the
Excerpted from "16 Minutes: The Recovery Edition" by Lester E Schwalm. Copyright © 2018 by Lester E Schwalm. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.