Friday, December 28, 2012

The Big Give

Do you know what the big give is? It's Jesus. God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). It amazes me to think that God loves us so much that He gave . . . He gave His only Son.

What do you do when you love someone a whole lot? Since we are created in God's image, I think it is natural for us to want to give. What will you give to God for such a Great Gift?

I've thought about this a lot and I decided a long time ago to give God my life. In return He gave me a purpose and that is to love others. Every day I have to pray that He will teach me to love as He loves and that He will help me become more like Jesus. Sometimes, though, I feel like Paul in the New Testament. He said he was the worst of sinners. How could God be pleased with my gift?

You know what? He takes my sin away and makes something beautiful grow in me. I cannot describe how wonderful that makes me feel. He uses the ugly things I've done to redeem others who have traveled similar paths to mine. I am glad I can encourage others who have had the same doubts and troubles I've had.

Think About It
I hope you will respond to God's Big Give by giving back to Him. Here are some suggestions:
Love others.
Give a helping hand.
Give a smile or a hug.
Give an offering.
Don't play favorites.
Be a friend to a lonely person.
Obey your parents.

Pray About It
Father God, thank you for giving us Your Son. Help us to love as you do and show us to be more like Jesus. Amen.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas in Heaven

While we anticipate the glory of giving and receiving gifts in a few days, twenty children from Newtown, Connecticut will spend Christmas with Jesus. Last week they enjoyed the ribbons and wrappings under their Christmas tree, and as the time grew closer, they thought about what Santa might bring them. Maybe they planned to bake cookies for him and leave a few carrots for his reindeer.

Christmas this year will be more exciting than any Christmas they ever had, because they will be in the loving arms of Jesus, our Lord. But their parents and grandparents and brothers and sisters will grieve this Christmas. The lights and tinsel will not mean the same. Their hearts are broken because a man under Satan's control killed the precious children in their families. My heart is broken too. Will you pray with me?

Lord Jesus, thank you that these children are home in Heaven with you. Thank you that they will cry no more tears and have no more hurts. But, Lord God, we pray for those they left behind. Comfort them with your love. Soothe their aching hearts and give them your peace. Amen.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Where is Your Pot of Gold?

I will tell you a secret. Once upon a time many years ago, I was a scuba diver and dreamed about finding lost treasures in the sea. Sunken ships still fascinate me and deep inside I would like to put on a wet suit, mask, regulator and oxygen tank to search for my pot of gold.

During the Christmas season, it's easy for me to be distracted when I shop for presents to give to my family and friends. That's because I find a lot of things I'd like to have.

Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" Matthew 6:21.

Did you know when we get to heaven, the streets will be made of gold? The stuff we think is so valuable today will be the ground we walk on. Wow! We won't be thinking about finding our treasure because Jesus will be our treasure. Did you know you are His treasure? He risked everything for you, His very life, so you could live with Him forever.

Think About It

When I think of all Jesus did for me, I want to respond by giving back to Him, but how? 1 Peter 4:7-10 has the answer: "Let us love each other deeply. Let us offer hospitality to each other without complaint and let us use whatever  spiritual gifts we have to serve each other faithfully." 

Pray About It

Lord Jesus, I know it isn't all about me and my things. Help me to focus on You, Your love for me and how I can share your love with others. Amen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Are You Kidding Me?

Maggie says, "Are you kidding me?"
Christmas is a time to believe, a time to love and share. Many people say they don't believe in God or in Santa or Christmas. Are you kidding me? Who can hold a newborn baby or experience a miracle and not believe in a God who loves and cares about them? What kid doesn't get excited about the tinsel and ribbon under the tree?

Yesterday I helped second graders with their Christmas shopping in the school store. Several times before the children entered the room with the tables of merchandise, teachers admonished, "This is the time to shop for people in your family, not for yourself."

One by one as the kids filled their bags, I led them to a table in the lunch room where we waited for the last minute shoppers to finish. One little boy played with a toy he purchased. "Whose that for?" I asked.

"Me," he said.

"You weren't supposed to shop for yourself," I replied.

"I know." He smiled.

How many of us are guilty of buying for ourselves while we shop for Christmas? I have to confess I am as guilty as the little boy. Yet, I find more joy in wrapping gifts for others, than in satisfaction of buying things for myself.

Think About It
Jesus said, "It is more joyful to give than to receive." Although it is challenging, it is a lesson worth learning. There is a pair of fur lined shoes I'd like to have, but this year, I choose not to think about them. When I see their picture in ads, I delete them off my e-mail, and switch my thinking to others and what I can do for them.

Pray About It
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief when I am tempted to act selfishly. Help me to trust you to set priorities and make good decisions. Amen.