Christmas is a time of giving gifts. The word gift is defined as: “a thing given willingly to someone without payment. “ God is the original gift giver.
To begin with, we are given the gift of life. There is also the precious gift to a parent of a child. Likewise, there is a precious gift to a child of a parent. There are gifts known as husband, wife, brother, sister, and friend.
Throughout our lives, we are blessed with many gifts. There are gifts of health, a happy home, companionship, fresh air, beautiful scenery, sunshine and pure water.
There are also material gifts, things we call presents. These can even be in the form of a service of some type.
Then there are the gifts of the spirit: Compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, kindness, loyalty, integrity, charity.
Of all the different gifts there are, the most precious gifts ever known, are God’s mercy, salvation, and His great love for us. The birth of Christ Jesus is the gift given to us, so that we may have everlasting life with our Creator.
In the busy hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, while we are scrambling through the shopping malls, or searching online, trying desperately to fulfill our goals of gifts to give, let us not forget to be thankful for the gift given us that night long ago; the gift of a precious newborn baby boy, lying in a manger; the child that came to die for our sins, paying the debt we owe. Let us not forget to wish our Savior a “Happy Birthday”, since it is His birthday we are celebrating.
The simplest of gifts, a “thank you” and a “Happy Birthday” doesn’t seem like much. But when it’s wrapped in our hearts and given with joy, it’s a gift that Jesus loves.
As a gift to all of my readers, I’m sharing this video of Cloverton’s beautiful Christmas version of “Hallelujah”. I hope you enjoy it, and God bless! – Amber
Do You Really Believe in that Jesus Stuff?
A while back when driving home from church one Sunday, I overheard a conversation going on in the backseat of our van. It was between my son Christian and a couple of his friends that had been occasionally attending church with us. Their discussion had started off with statements about what had been studied that particular day in Sunday school class and I wasn’t really paying attention to what was being said at first.
For some unknown reason, my ears suddenly tuned in to their conversation just as one of the boys asked my son, “Do you really believe in that Jesus stuff?” As I heard the words coming out of Christian’s mouth, I felt the tears beginning to well up in my eyes. He answered, “Of course I do, I’ve seen Him. I sat on His lap when I died and went to heaven”.
For a moment I thought I might have to pull over as the tears began to flow. Christian seemed to take it all in stride, as if it was nothing out of the ordinary. But his friends were rather quiet for a few seconds. Then one of the boys asked, “Well what was it like, being in heaven”? Christian replied, “You know, it was the most beautiful place and there was lots of angels singing, and it was really bright. And it just felt so peaceful and good there. I didn’t want to ever leave”.
Again there was a brief silence, and then their conversation changed to the plans of activities for the afternoon. Once again I was reminded of how Christian’s perception of the world is so very different than mine. Not so long ago it was almost unperceivable to Christian that there are people in the world that do not believe in Jesus. For a while after his accident, he didn’t understand why people were so shocked when he told them that he had died and gone to heaven. To him, it seemed so acceptable and natural, because he had never had any doubt in his faith. His belief in the realness of Jesus was just as sure as knowing that day follows night, and he just couldn’t figure out why everyone else didn’t know that too.
Recently, after beginning to see and hear more about so many people that do not believe in Jesus, Christian seemed to be in a somber mood one evening. He asked me, “Mom, do you believe Jesus is real”? I was a little surprised by the question, but I answered, “Yes, I know He’s real”. He replied, “But you’ve never seen Him, so how do you know He’s real”? I said, “Because I can feel Him in my heart”. He thought about that for a moment and then asked, “Why can’t everyone feel Him in their heart and believe in Him”?
I thought back to the time before I believed and I asked myself the question, “Why didn’t I believe in Him then”? I knew about Him then, but I didn’t know Him in the personal way I do now. I remembered the painful and empty hole in my heart, a hole that had been there for almost as long as I could remember. How that hole had grown larger and more painful over the years, until it was consuming me. Even though I had read a lot of things in the bible and I knew about Jesus and what He did, I had never chosen on purpose to believe in Him. I had never invited Him into my heart. Then I remembered the night I did choose Him, and how that hole inside of me was filled with a love that I can’t explain. I can say that it is a joy like I’ve never known before, and I never want to lose it! It would be like losing the blood flowing through my veins and I would die without it.
I tried to answer Christian’s question, but it was not something that I could fully explain. I told him that a person has to choose to believe that Jesus is real and they have to open their heart to let His Spirit in. He won’t force His way in, He gives us the freedom to choose.
The question of why anyone would not choose to believe came up, and that question was easy enough to answer, but harder to explain. The answer is in the sinful nature of the heart of man. Because of that sinful nature, the heart and mind become confused and overwhelmed. The truth that can set us free (believing in Jesus) becomes hidden behind a wall of doubt and chaos. Satan keeps us in the darkness by deceiving us, trying to keep our minds focused on anything but the truth.
“Why do you misunderstand what I say? It is because you are unable to hear what I am saying. [You cannot bear to listen to My message; your ears are shut to My teaching.] You are of your father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me [do not trust Me, do not rely on Me, or adhere to Me].” John 8:43-45 AMP
As I was explaining this to Christian, I noticed the tears beginning to form in his eyes. He said, “I just wish everyone could see Jesus like I did and they would know He is real. Then they would love Him and want Him in their hearts too”. I told him that is why we tell others about Jesus’ love for us and the gift He has given us, and how He wants to give that same gift to them. We show His Spirit in us by the way we live our own life. But we cannot make anyone believe, that is a choice they must make for themselves.
I am so very thankful for Christian’s faith, and his desire to see all souls be saved. He has inspired my own faith and touched many hearts in more ways than he will ever know. I pray that fire in his heart never goes out, that the truth of Jesus continues to spread, and that hearts will be opened to receive Him. May God bless us with His Holy Spirit, creating in us a desire for revival and a passion for sharing Him with everyone around us. Amen.
Here is this week’s #TBSU List. I hope you’ll take some time to check out their sites. If you see something you like, please share. Have a great weekend, and God bless!
I have a prayer request this morning.
I’ve seen and felt the power of prayer, I know that God hears and answers. So I’m asking for as many as would join me, to pray for my son Daniel. He’s not the type that would ask on his own, so I’m asking for him. He’s having heart surgery in a few days. I’m praying for his soul first, and then his heart.
I thank you all in advance for joining me in this. If you could pass it along to others, I would appreciate it greatly.
God bless, Amber
“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalms 18:2)
When I live my life in the presence of God, there is no need to fear anything. He is my protector, the One I can trust in every situation. – Amber