Monday, December 23, 2013
The Present of His Presence!
John 1:14 "And the Word, entering a new mode of existence, became flesh, and lived in a tent (His physical body) among us. And we gazed with attentive and careful regard and spiritual perception at His glory, a glory such as that of a uniquely-begotten Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."
--both verses from Kenneth Wuest expanded translation of the New Testament
I often get into a panic mode at Christmas as I think that possibly my gifts to others won't be "good enough," whatever that means. But during this time, most of the people I bought for probably have more than enough anyway. Gifts sent overseas to the truly needy are the most meaningful to me. I just found out that three little kids in Zimbabwe received the shoeboxes we sent them through a great program called Operation Christmas Child sponsored by Samaritan's Purse. It is a simple idea: fill a shoebox with gifts for an impoverished child in a 3rd world country. It is easy and satisfying to do.
I encourage any who read to check into it next year. You will be blessed in participating.
But back to presents, how many will be disappointed with what they receive in just a day or two? Many will, and it will be evidenced by the number of people crowding the store for returns and exchanges on December 26. All this build up for material things and the gifts may temporarily make you happy, but there is always a letdown when the holiday is over.
I can think of a much more meaningful present. This is one that will never be returned by any who receive it. What's more, it comes without cost (for us, at least.) This gift was so expensive, it cost the giver His life to pay for it. This gift will outlast any Christmas gift given by men on this earth. Have you guessed it yet? It is the gift of God in sending His Son in the form of a baby. But Christmas is not just about the baby lying in a manger. No,it is much more than that. The baby grew up and gave Himself as the costliest present ever upon this earth.
"Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!" II Corinthians 9:15
No wonder the Magi from the east brought Him the gifts they did: Gold, for they recognized He was Deity. Frankincense for the gift of worship the baby Messiah, used also in Jewish sacrifices in the years preceding. And finally myrrh was given for anointing His body, which would be beaten and bruised beyond recognition in thirty-three short years. These were truly gifts fitting for the King. (Matthew 2: 10-11)
This gift is given without regard to the merit of the one who receives it. It is not something we can ever pay back, either. It comes without strings attached for us the receiver. (Ephesians 2:8-9)Though when one recognizes the unfathomable value of this gift, it will induce the receiver to humbly give God full control of his or her's life. If we know the perfection of this gift, we can also trust the Perfect Giver to make something good out of our messed up, broken down lives.
One of the innumerable benefits I thank the Giver for today is this special promise that is made to all who takes the gift. It is the gift of His abiding presence, forever dwelling with us. If we get to know Him through His Word, the more we can abide in return with the One who gave everything to buy us back for Himself. His abiding Presence is what we need so desperately in these days of confusion, chaos and economic downturns. This is One gift that will keep on giving, from the minute it is received right into eternity.
Jesus says to His gift recipients in John 10:28-29: "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand."
See? No returns on this one!! But if that were not enough, He also promises that He will always be with us, no matter what we have to face in this life.
John 14:1-3 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
Since Jesus returned to the Father, He has been fixing magnificent palaces for His gift recipients in heaven. When the Father says the time is right, He will be coming like a thief in the night for all those who took advantage of His saving grace.
Are you in Christ today? Then no matter what you are facing: illness, financial difficulties, the loss of employment, the grief over death of a loved one, persecution, no matter what, here is what our Good Shepherd promises to all who take the gift of salvation:
Psalm 23:6 "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever."
If you have yet received Jesus the Savior, I urge you not to put it off one moment longer. For He will soon come for us, His children, and you do not want to be left behind.
Isaiah 1:18: " 'Come now, and let us reason together,' says the LORD, 'Though your sins are as scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.'" That is for anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Psalm 116:13 "I will take the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the LORD."
Receive Christ today, and I promise you there will never be a letdown or disappointment.