Tag Archives: gifts

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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conversations, conduct and communion

1 Corinthians 10-14, Paul gets to a very important part of his “admonition letter” to the Corinthian church. Being carnal as they were, they had distorted much of the “communal practices.”  Paul addresses their conduct with each other, inside and out of the congregation. Since the Corinthians were so bent on “Giftedness” they developed an attitude of superiority of gifts between each other. The normal path for most Christian importance is the “squeaky wheel gets the grease” or as in this case the loudest voice gets the most notice. Paul uses the example of rebellion in the life of Israel as a nation to remind the church not to fall into the trap of thinking that they were more important than the God the served. The church displayed arrogance and stubbornness towards righteousness and holiness. Churches today are more about the individualism of the Gospel instead of the Corporate Church mission. Many times the topic of the Lord’s Supper is thought of only in chapter 11, but Paul speaks to the ordinance in Chapter 10 – of how the Church in a communal way celebrated together the Eucharist. As Paul indicated that there were division and cliques in the church, it became evident in how they looked at spiritual gifts and rated the public gifts as superior, while other more private gifts were looked upon as inferior. The church also took a stance on people of wealth and prominence over the poor and lower class. Churches today do the same thing, giving precedence to the prestigious according to man than the godliness of the lowly. Churches want the money and the prominence over those that are seen as the undesirables. This prejudice shows up in how the observed the “agape or love feast”  – those of stature were having a “questionable” banquet before the Lord’s Supper with a predetermined guest list. After a riotous type of meal, they church would come together, some being drunk from the previous feast, now tried to appear holy by affiliating with others in the church. Paul exposes the nature of the Lord’s Supper as mockery and hypocrisy because only at the Lord’s Supper table did some members have any association with those seen as inferior.

The conduct of the church was deplorable allowing open sin and idolatry to govern the day. The women of the church must have been very vocal, to the point of disruption, for Paul tells them to “shut up” and talk to your husbands at home. The issue of tongues and gifts of the Spirit are topics that dominate these chapters. There is even today question about whether the Spirit Gifts are cessation [current for today or only for the time of the Apostles]  or not. The question of tongues today finds great controversy or whether Paul is talking about languages or ecstatic utterance. I understand that Paul is talking about both. In public though Paul lays down specific guidelines for the display of “Tongues.” the tongues gift had developed into a “spiritual elitism” among those that exercised the gift. Paul however, brings back the argument that tongues are for the edification of the Church and the Lord. If a unsaved person is in the midst, they would be overcome by confusion at the erratic display of tongues. Paul talks of this issue both in Chapter 12 and 14. It is interesting that he bridges the topic with the “love chapter” – I show you a better way. In chapter 12, Paul addresses the priority of the “body” to function. It isn’t those parts that are always on display publicly that are most important, but the hidden parts [behind the scenes] doing the work. Something that is paramount for believers, the Holy Spirit is the gift giver, men should not seek gifts, but accept the position that  the Spirit has placed us in the body. Christian conduct is not a “holiness ladder” to climb. In other words, people don’t necessarily go from new christian to teacher to deacon to preacher. God has His ministry for each of us.

The correction in Lord Supper observance, ties directly into the “gifts” controversy. The point Paul states in Chapter 14 – for times he says “for edification” [3, 4, 12, and 26]. In America I think we have fallen into the “spiritual individualism” syndrome as well. We adopt a philosophy that we are the most important thing – our individual needs out weigh the needs of the congregation. This is so wrong. Jesus died for the Church – we must find our roots back to the original intent of the Church.  The Church as the Bride of Christ, must show itself to be chaste, pure, without spot or blemish before the world and the Father. John 13:34-35 is repeated, by this all men will know that you are my disciples – in the love that you have one for another. The Corinthian church had forgotten that they were the church with a mission, the church with its various and different parts was and is the organism that Jesus will use to bring the lost to salvation and glory to the Father.  This is a message every church needs to practice today. We can’t be prejudice to others, especially in the Church. We are His Church, He is the designer, our willingness to accept people unlike us will be the testimony in the community – people all people need to know that the Church is a “safe place” where they can cast their burdens and baggage down, without ridicule or judgment.

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