The Lost Gift

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Christmas cards had been mailed. Home-made cookies were delivered to the neighbors. The final grocery shopping trip for holiday meals had been completed. The only task left to do was wrapping Christmas gifts. My husband and I gathered gifts from their hiding places. As we wrapped, we anticipated the surprises to be unwrapped.

That’s when I remembered the gift. Where was it? It was not in the pile to be wrapped. We searched high and low. I mentally retraced my steps from the night we bought it for clues to where the gift may have ended up in our house. I pulled stuff out of closets, thinking it had slipped down into the darkest recesses. The gift was not to be found. The gift was not given. The gift was never unwrapped in joyful appreciation. It remains the lost gift.

It is not the first gift I have lost. I can reflect back on my life and remember other lost gifts. The gift of time comes to mind. I had an older friend, Barb, who lived out-of-state. We visited once a year in the summer and caught up in person. I tried to make it a habit to call in-between visits. However, life was busy and there was always something else to do. One day, I received the phone call that she had suddenly passed away. I lost the gift of time to chitchat with my dear friend Barb. Take the time to tell loved ones that you love them.

Another lost gift is the gift of opportunity. There have been opportunities I turned down at the time. My life was full. Why would I want or need another role or responsibility to squeeze into my life? Those opportunities are now long gone. The only aspect remaining are my regrets for not realizing the golden opportunities given in that season of life. Seize the opportunities that God provides as they may only come around once.

The gift of salvation was lost on me for many years until my early thirties. Life was good. Life was orderly. The gift was in plain sight as I owned a Bible and sporadically attended church. I didn’t know I was missing the best gift of all: the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ who gives peace for today and hope for tomorrow.

God’s gift of love is wrapped up in Jesus Christ with our names on the tag. Have you taken hold of your gift of salvation? Salvation comes with a guarantee for eternity and promises kept to never disappoint or put us to shame. Unwrap God’s gift of salvation. Enjoy the blessings. Share with others today. The gift of salvation is already yours!

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Luke 11:9

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

2 Corinthians 6:2

For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

 

 

 

Joy is Coming!

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The Nativity

This nativity continues to be my favorite Christmas gift. My sister gave it to me years ago when our boys were still little. Every year, I find a place of prominence in our house for the scene of our Lord’s birth. Joy is coming and His name is Jesus!

I love the faces and am particularly drawn to Mary’s sweet expression. Perhaps, it is because I am a mother too. We have our dreams, wishes, and even expectations for the little ones we hold dear in our arms and hearts. I wonder if she could have imagined the extent of the joys and sorrows in being the mother of the Son of God. Scripture tells us that she pondered and treasured these things. (Luke 2:19: But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.)

May we ponder and treasure the birth of the Christ Child that still rocks the world today with His truth. May we cling to the salvation that came through God’s Son, a babe born in a manger. May we rejoice in our hearts that the baby boy grew up to be our Lord and Savior who willingly died for us.

Christmas is our piece of assurance that Jesus Christ is our assurance of peace. Joy is here!

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

It Leaks Just a Little

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One of the perks of being empty-nesters is that my husband and I each get our own bathroom. My husband’s shower stall leaked just a little. He caulked the outside of the shower stall and the corners inside the shower stall. It still leaked. He disassembled the door and the side panel to clean out every joint before reassembling and re-caulking. He caulked the interface between the drain and the bottom of the shower stall. It still leaked. With hope for a fix waning and a magnifying glass in hand, my husband inspected the joints between the individual tiles lining the shower stall. Lots of tiles and lots of joints to inspect. My husband finally found the source of the leak. Even a tiny hole was too big and resulted in grief.

I see the analogies in faith. Even a little sin is too much in God’s eyes. We can try to work out salvation on our own, but we can’t stop the leaks of sin into our lives. We have too many holes, many of which are insidious. We need real help for a permanent fix. Thank goodness God is just a call, er… a prayer away. On the cross, Jesus Christ traded his holiness for our unholiness. By putting our faith in Jesus, even just a little faith, we can recognize the sin in our lives and realize the only solution that works. Salvation is free of charge and guaranteed for eternal life by God. For the workmanship was done by God’s best and the cost was bore by his one and only Son.

 

1 Peter 3:18

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,

Luke 17:6

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”

Gee, Thanks for Letting Me Know

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Our car is being recalled. From the letter we received in the mail, here is the problem in a nutshell: “Your vehicle has a condition in which the transmission shift cable may fracture at any time. When the fracture occurs, the driver may not be able to select a different gear, remove the key from the ignition or place the transmission in park.” The word crash is mentioned twice in the notice. After giving us the bad news, we are presented with even worst news in capital letters, “PARTS ARE NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE.” Gee, thanks for letting me know about something I can’t do anything about. This is so like the world: problems galore and no real solutions readily available. Contrast this with God’s ways. God informs us that we have a sin defect which puts us in imminent danger. That’s the bad news clearly stated in Scripture. However, the bad news is always followed up with the good news so that we can have peace today. Jesus took our sin problem on as his own. He dealt with the sins of the world once and for all by his perfect sacrifice on the cross. Jesus rose from the dead to show us our future filled with hope. With God, the problem is identified. With God, the solution has already been implemented. With God, the outcome is guaranteed: we are highly favored by God and can look forward to our forever home of heaven. Thank you Lord Jesus for letting me know about all the wonderful things you have done to keep me safe.

 

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Zechariah 9:12

Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

 

 

Your English Teacher was Right!

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Choice of words matter. For one little word can change the meaning of an entire sentence. Your English teacher was right!

It was an unexpected question, directed at me and the person I was with. “Do you know Jesus?” I didn’t have to think about my answer. I have no doubt about who Jesus is to me. He is my LORD and Savior. So my answer was “Yes, I know Jesus.”

The other person hesitated a moment and carefully responded, “I know of Jesus.” That one extra word, “Of,” makes all the difference. Most people in the U.S. have heard of Jesus. But do you really know him? Do you have a genuine relationship with Jesus? Are you confident of your standing in heaven? Do you know peace that transcends all understanding and every crisis? Are you excited about your future?

It is possible. It begins by saying “Yes” to Jesus, followed by the commitment to get to know Jesus better. “I know Jesus” is so much better than simply, “I know of Jesus.”

 

Zechariah 14:9

The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.

 

John 16:31

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.