Category Archives: Misc posts

Gift Giving

Christmas is the season for gifts. Our Great God gave us the greatest and most precious gift in His Son! You may think that it is a bit eagerly to be talking about gifts and Christmas, however, Christmas always comes on December 25th of every year. I also know that many people procrastinate about doing their Christmas shopping. There are many excuses for delaying the gift buying and shopping for loved ones. The crowds are always brutal. This is especially true if the gift you want is the same gift everybody else wants and the gift is in limited supply. Remember the movie “Jingle All The Way? I have heard of crazy stories of gifts that were bought at the last minute, literally at the last minute on the way home from work on Christmas Eve. A friend of mine waited so late to get a gift for his wife [which was the only gift he had to shop for] and stopped by a convenience store and brought her an Ironing Board cover! Can you say Doghouse!

Now, I have been known to blow it as well on the gift purchasing department. I won’t bore you with the details of how many gifts were returned because on the spur of the moment I bought something I thought was wonderful! Let’s us think about this gift giving and buying exercise for a bit. When you and I buy gifts, we probably should have the person or receiver in mind when we purchase the gift. I think sometimes we think of what we would like to have and then buy that gift for the person instead.

When we reflect on our gift buying and compare it to Our Father in Heaven, we really fail in comparison. God “bought” the greatest gift for us in His Son. No amount of money could purchase this Gift of Jesus. When we buy gifts, we most always think of the price. The Father Gave All in Jesus! Instead of buying a gift that we would want or like to have; God bought us the Gift we NEEDED most. All of us are bankrupt and without life itself if we don’t have Jesus, for He is the GIVER of LIFE and LIGHT.

Sometimes we give gifts based on how good or bad someone has been through the year. Lump of Coal and the “Good and Naughty List” ring any bells! We deserved nothing, but God gave us everything. The giving of the gift was based on the Character of God, not on our behavior performance.

Our Heavenly Father was/is not a procrastinator. He had planned from the foundation of the world this plan of giving the GIFT of REDEMPTION. Galatians 4:4 – in the fullness of time, God sent forth Jesus. So, this gift of Jesus was no last-minute decision. Jesus came into the world He created to be the gift of Salvation to all who would believe. Jesus was wrapped up and placed in a manger on the original Christmas day.

We play a game at Christmas call “White Elephant Exchange.” Sometimes the gifts are just something we no longer wanted and chose to dump it on someone else. God brought a Gift to Exchange with us. If we would receive His gift by faith and trust in Jesus for salvation, then there were other gifts coming. Look up Ephesians 4:7-11. God our Heavenly Father has US in mind completely when He sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world.

Now this gift from God – Jesus, is available for all people and all nations. You do not have to wait until December 25th to “OPEN” the gift! Your Name is on this wonderful gift – open you heart and receive the GREATEST GIFT IN THE WORLD FROM THE GREATEST GIFT GIVER EVER!

Do not wait, Christmas comes every year at the same time, yet people will delay or ignore the time is getting so close. Jesus will one day come for His people. Some are ready, some are waiting, and some will never accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Imagine if you will what it would be like if you bought the most expensive gift, then the person you bought it for rejected it?

DO NOT DELAY – Christ is coming, He is closer than you think!

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What a Difference three Days makes

It seems everywhere I turn with respect of churches; the focus is getting to Easter Sunday. There are a multitude of events centered on the Resurrection Sunday of Jesus, and rightly so. I remember as a boy Easter was a big deal. My mom always went all out for Christmas and Easter. I can still smell the lilacs in bloom and there still being just a hint of coolness in the air. As a family we colored eggs, a lot of eggs and all of us got new clothes. Well maybe I should qualify that last statement. I got new clothes; my sisters got hand-made clothes made by my mother. We all dressed up to go to church; we put in the extra effort to look our Easter Sunday best. It would be many years before I really understood the significance of Easter Sunday.

I have learned a very valuable lesson surrounding Easter, but especially Good Friday. I have learned that if I make a decision based on Friday and the terrible crucifixion of Jesus, I will make a bad decision based primarily on emotion. But if I will wait until Sunday [three days] then I will have been able to deal with emotions and anxiety and make a quite different decision based on faith. I am sure many believers that Good Friday were overwhelmed with terror and sorrow when they reflected on all that happened to Jesus in a matter of a week.

Resurrection Sunday makes all the difference in our lives and the world for that matter. Today we find that there is a movement to “Cancel Culture.” There has been a great unsettledness in our world, we could say that the world has been turned upside down. It is hard to find “NORMAL” in our society and in the churches. It seems that everything that was foundational has been challenged and/or censored.

We all have been living in an atmosphere of global upheaval. The pandemic is one thing, the struggles of everyday life seem to mount, and people are weary of all the chaos. If we think about our current situation, it was probably much like what the New Testament disciples felt as they saw their HOPEFUL MESSIAH – Jesus battered, beaten and bloody as he carried His cross to Golgotha’s Hill. They watched in horror as they saw the taunting and torture happen to him. I am sure those that watched that day prayed for it all to end. Finally, Jesus has died; his last breath exhaled from His body. Hope was lost, a future glory gone, and the disciples defeated. NOW WHAT?

We know the rest of the story how Jesus’ body was taken down at the request of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. His body hastily buried, and the tomb closed. Dejected and depressed the disciples went behind closed doors in fear of what might happen next. Saturday must have been an agonizing day. Just when we might think all is lost and our world shattered, God writes a NEW DAY.

Sunday, oh what a glorious day! Sunday the Lord’s Day, a day that demands that we praise and sing and jump for joy! Sunday the soldiers all laid dead, the stone is move out of the way and The Savior lives! The disciples would go on to live out their lives in the POWER of the Holy Spirit and the fact of the Resurrected Lord.

I like the REST OF THE STORY kind of stories. Just when we think it is all lost, Jesus shows us that it is just beginning. Now I must admit, it is tough to get from a Friday Fear to a Sunday Savior; without FAITH it would be impossible.

I read an article this week that asked the question, “What if Christianity is canceled?[i] What? how could that ever happen? There have been many dark times in history where being a believer was met with persecution.  The bible tells us that “in the world you will have tribulation, fear not for I have overcome the world. It could be that believers in America will soon live out their faith in persecution, like many of our brothers and sisters around the world do now. If this is so, we will be living in difficult days – but we must have confident courage that while the world’s chaos may deny and dismantle our public worship, Jesus will have the final say. So, let us rejoice in hope of the resurrection and the future return of our Savior. Let us hold steadfast to our faith in Jesus Christ as those dear saints that have gone before remained faithful.

Greater is He that is in you, then he who is in the world!


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