Tag Archives: gift

Pass it on!

exhortationI love the holiday season! I also love the chaotic insanity that comes with it when friends and family gather, my kids and grandkids traipse in and out leaving behind a trail of leaves, mud and toys… well maybe I don’t like the trail left behind, but the joy of the visit is always welcome!   It’s the season of lost senses. I love encouraging and being encouraged; bringing joy to someone if only for a fleeting moment. All of which lead me to a wonderful gift, given to every child of God, but not always used. The gift of exhortation.

The word “exhort” isn’t found in the Old Testament. Even a likeminded word like encourage is only found nine times. And most often refers to encouraging themselves or others in the service of the Lord. But “exhort” is found 33 times in the New Testament and usually in a context of encouraging the believers in service and faith in Christ. It’s first found, and not by chance I believe, at the onset of Jesus’ ministry.

Luke 3:15-18 ~ And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.

The gospel of Christ is about to hit the scene, and John is the Master of Ceremony exhorting the people on what’s about to take place. It’s a new day! That Baby in the manger is now a grown Savior. He’s set forth a new standard that religion couldn’t hang with; the standard of grace. The ultimate gift that is non-refundable, paid for on the cross at Calvary by God himself. Our human, selfish selves can’t understand why He would choose to pay that price, but it should cause us to extend a hand of grace and mercy at every opportunity and should give us the desire to exhort one another in these trying days as we wait His return.

So how does one exhort one another during this crazy season?

In Faith

It’s an indictment against our nation that the words “Merry Christmas” are considered offensive. So it’s important as Christians that we stand up for the rights given to us by Almighty God and those who have died for it on the battlefields of earth. I love wishing store clerks and businesses a “Merry or Blessed Christmas” whether or not they are allowed to reciprocate. I look forward to various church events and play that allow me to fellowship in faith. It keeps me ground in the purpose of the season. And most of all the Word of God should be given a place and time to exhort ourselves during this hectic time of year.

In Forgiveness

That word is almost as bad as a four letter word in the mouths of some Christian folk. We all want to receive it, but it’s not often we enjoy providing it. What if every wrong and hurt that came into our mind was followed by, “I forgive that,” and from there we just moved on. What joy would fill our hearts and homes and what new and wonderful works could God do with us?

In Fellowship

It doesn’t cost anything more than time (and sometimes a little gasoline) to spend time with people we love and care about, and especially people who have no one to love and care about them. But the opportunity to exhort one another during this season abounds! Makes sure that the focus of this season isn’t on the monetary as much as the moments we get to share with one another.

Exhortation is a gift we’ve all been given. Let’s pass it round this season and make everyone’s Christmas merry and bright.

3 High Mileage Lies

chick lie

When I think of Satan (and those in this field of work will just have to forgive me) I often think of him as a used car salesman. One of those in the polyester suit, with a cheap toupee, wreaking of cigar smoke and more gold on his fingers than a television preacher. They may not be the father of lies but they might be the grandchildren. (John 8:44) I hope my words painted the scoundrel image I was after, but the truth is Satan comes in whatever form he needs to in order to get your attention. 2 Corinthians 11:14  says “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

What light has he shined into your world lately? Every day I hear of someone buying into his cheap lies. He did not come to them in his tacky car salesman garb; no, he was dressed in the exact apparel that he knew would cause them to give him credence in their life. He’s so very good at deception.

Here are 3 (of the many) lies that he desires you to believe.

# 1 You are unworthy of forgiveness

It’s such an easy lie to buy because most of us don’t live like we should and we’re faced with those saints that just look so good! They walk it and talk it and you just know that if you followed them home their perfect life would continue as their family gathered around the dinner table in prayer, no one argued, children did their homework without being asked, all the beds were made and the dishes done promptly after dinner, followed by devotions at the hearth with Daddy and a kiss on the cheek good night. Turn that show off, it is not reality TV. But neither is the garbage on television that we have inundated our minds with as acceptable living. The fact is we’re all imperfect. Are their saints that live closer to the cross than you and I? Yes! But they struggle too, it’s just in private and in ways that Satan chooses for them. He likely tells them too that they are unworthy.

So what’s the answer? You need to take a bath every day. It’s good hygiene for the body, but its much better for the soul.

Hebrews 10:22

 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

All that dirt Satan heaped upon you today will wash away with the blood of Jesus, and through His cleansing you are worthy.

#2 You are unheard

Usually that feeling too comes from the feeling of unworthiness. We revert back to childhood in that if we were good we were rewarded, and if we were bad we were punished. So… if I’ve messed up today, God assuredly knows it and will not answer my plea for help. Praise God He is not like us!

1 John 5:14 says this: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

Perhaps we think our prayers are unheard because they were not answered as we desired. But our desires may or may not be what’s best, they usually aren’t because they’re created from our earthly viewpoint. We can have confidence, glory to God, in His will. God wants to hear your desires just as we want to hear the hopes and dreams of our children. But when your child at age five comes to you and says, “I want to be a teenage mutant ninja turtle when I grow up,” you don’t start looking for toxic waste to dip your child into. That’s not healthy. And God, Who from eternity’s standpoint we look like five year olds, hears our prayers they’re likely just as silly… and toxic! And just because our imperfect children get into trouble and let us down we still do not grow tired of listening to their petitions, and God never grows weary of listening to ours. But He too wants to be heard. You have to stay in His word to keep your confidence up.

# 3 You are untalented

This is my personal fave! I listen to Satan tell me that lie every day. And even if he comes to me in that cheap suit, wreaking of cigar, I buy it again. Satan doesn’t have any new lies, that’s why he reminds me of a used car salesman. He just keeps selling me the same lie over and over again. It certainly has high mileage!

What could God possibly do with me, my mediocre abilities and broken life?  I’m always shocked at the answer… anything He wants to. But first I have to put my hand into His and say, “Lead on Lord.” I’ve seen so many dreams and desires  come to fruition;  sometimes in the same mediocracy I gave it to God in and other times it was far beyond what my mind could have imagined. Experiencing God’s goodness first hand gives me the ability to boldly say “God can use anyone.” It’s not up for debate. There is a talent within you, and you know it. I don’t believe it when people say “I have no talent.” Usually I can already see what it is. But even if I can’t, it’s still there because God gave every one of us purpose. And that purpose is a talent within that only you can do.

Isaiah 46:9-11

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

God said to remember… He has purposed it, and He will do it. Don’t let someone else do your job, put your hand in His and say, “Lead on Lord!”

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

This Morning’s Gift

DAYChristmas is almost always a bitter sweet time. It’s a time of reminiscing that evokes either fondness or failures from the recesses of your mind. Although I try, I cannot live in my Ozzie and Harriett world and pretend that all is well all the time. I must concede to the fact that life is very real, and not always very fun. But the one thing that cannot be taken from me and puts joy in my soul in the hardest of times is the Christmas verse.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

It’s why Jesus came as a Baby and died as a Lamb. The final sacrifice for us all. It’s the gift that I receive every morning when I awake and realize that God gave me the gift of another day. Who but God can do that?  Santa may have left you a gift worth thousands beneath your tree today, but he cannot give you the gift of another day. Somebody may have handmade you the sweetest gift, but it cannot compare with the gift of a new day that God gave you. That’s where I’m at this Christmas morning; standing in awe that God saw fit to do it again. Now… what am I going to do with it?

I have family all around me that are going through some very rough times. I have to ask myself, “What can I do with this day to help them through?” I can share the last part of that Christmas verse… the gift that never ends. Everlasting life. Regardless of how many days we’re given down here, the fact of the matter is if we know Jesus we will never run out of days. That’s what He did when He wrote that Christmas verse in the scriptures; He gave us one more day. And when that one is through, we’ll have one more day.  And when life ends down here, we’ll have one more day.

I don’t know what’s going on in Heaven today, but I know that those for whom I love, who have gone on before me and knew my Lord and Savior, are enjoying Christmas day. One more day. Only theirs is without heartache, sorrow or pain. No family squabbles and no regrets! Oh glory what a Christmas morning.

What are you going to do with the gift you were given this morning?

A Strange Place to Find a Gift

black gift

I was looking for a specific verse this morning on gifts, and through my word search I glanced across a gift in the book of Revelation. My first thought was “That’s a strange place to find a gift!” And so my curiosity got me and I had to follow it through. It was not the kind of Christmas message I had planned on receiving this morning, it would more than likely fit into the Halloween season. I like the gift stories with happy endings; no happy ending here.

Revelation 11

And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

11 And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

Wow! Did you catch that? Here we are in the latter days of the world, the end times, and the two prophets which God had warned them would come have been murdered. A prideful, arrogant world leaves their bodies lying in the street and celebrates around them; SENDING EACH OTHER GIFTS! Oh my goodness… how wicked does this world get that we go from celebrating life, to celebrating death?

Not so long ago, in the year of my salvation, 1996; I would read the book of Revelation and it would read like a sci-fi flick. I could barely imagine the reality of it. Now it reads like yesterday’s news. Truth? So how is this a Christmas message? Thanks to the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ our Lord, I’ll have no part of this story. This is one gift that you should make sure that you, your family or friends have no part of. Their celebration only lasts a few days until God breaths the life back in those two prophets, then I figure the arrogance and prideful attitudes were drained from their day like the color from their face when they realized “their back!”

I know that’s not a very Merry Christmas message, but it’s one I want to take to heart as I celebrate the Holidays. I want to remember not only what I’ve been given, but what’s been taken away. God is so good…I am so not. I deserve the worst, yet He has afforded me the best. Merry Christmas Child of God!!!!! Thank Him and Praise Him this wonderful, blessed season of gift giving and receiving.

Did You Find What You Were Looking For?

Perfect gift

Yesterday was a spendthrift’s paradise and a penny pincher’s nightmare. Merchandise flew off the shelves and cars were packed to the brim with Christmas gifts, goodies and bargains… or so I’ve been told. I wasn’t a part of the mayhem and bedlam this year; my shopping was done from the couch with a click and cha-ching, I figured that was a lot easier on my feet and my wallet. But it still didn’t eliminate the issue of finding the perfect gift for the folks I love, it’s tough! I do however know the perfect gift giver!!!

The Perfect Gift

James 1:17 says “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

The gifts that God has given each one of us are good, perfect and beyond a shadow of a doubt, just what we need. They’re nonrefundable and un-exchangeable. So why is it they’re not being used? I ask myself that question almost every day. Every Christmas we usually get at least one gift that has us scratching our head and asking “What were they thinking when they bought that?” We’re as hard to buy for as those we’re buying for. But not so with God, He has us pegged from birth, it is we to try to change the game.

The Perfect Gift Perfected

As a child I loved to write, speak and sing. The world inside my mind was always a stage. But over the years I convinced myself I wasn’t good enough at any one of them and pushed those ideas into the recesses of my mind. And upon the occasion that I’d unclutter it, they’d resurface for a while only to be returned to a corner for fear of inadequacy. But praise God for scripture such as that in Psalm 138:8 which says “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.”

God is merciful and patient with me. Praise His holy name for that. Even though I forsook the gift, God never allowed me to forsake the notion and eventually He won me over. I struggle daily with feelings of inadequacy and self-esteem issues, usually masked with comic relief. God said He would perfect that which concerns me, not me.

The Perfect Gift Accepted

Romans 12:2

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Finding that perfect will of God is about as easy as finding the perfect gift for someone because the world is always vying for our attention. It’s not easy, but it’s worthy. Because within that perfect will we’ll find:

Peace

Isaiah 26:3

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

 Love

John 17:23

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

 Contentment

James 1:4

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Are those not the perfect gifts!