A Gift From God 14

Happy Valentine’s Day 2015!  Today is the day that world celebrates love, lust and sex.  Yes, I said it.  Look around you and you can see it everywhere.  There is tremendous hubub about the new movie “50 Shades of Grey”.  If you want my opinion; Christians have no business watching the movie, reading the book or any other thing related to it.  Rant over.

As we think about Valentine’s Day we think about love.  For you and I love is vastly different from the world’s view of love.  They see it more as lust.  There are different words in the original languages of the Bible that are translated love.  No, I am not going to get into all of that.  A study like that would be another series.  Maybe another time.

Someone said that as Adam named the animals he noticed there was no mate for him.  God brought Eve to him and when he saw her he said, ‘Woe man!”  Supposedly, this is where she received the name of woman.  Not really.

God brought a perfect mate to Adam and gave her to him.  They enjoyed perfect love.  They enjoyed a perfect relationship to and with their God.  Then sin entered.  As a result of sin we have this curse that passes down to all generations from Adam to you and I.  Because of this curse we now have many consequences.  Just like sex outside of marriage often brings consequences that are not to be desired.

Yet, we are to love.  In Ephesians chapter 5 Paul gives us wise counsel for Valentine’s Day and even beyond.  This counsel will bring marital bliss for the ages if we will submit to it.

First of all he tells the ladies to be submissive.  Look at Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”  Because men and women are wired differently we have different needs.  We have the same basic needs; but, past that they become different.  Why did Paul instruct wives to “submit” to their own husbands?  Men have needs that are met by a wife in submission to him.  To men it is black and white.  We don’t talk about it, we fix it.  The deepest need of the man is admiration.

Now; men, Paul addresses us.  Notice what we are told in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”  He tells us to “love your wives,”.  Notice he did not say love somebody else’s wife.  A woman needs love and romance.  They are wired that way.  They are wired differently than a man.   The deepest need of a woman is romance.  We would do well to learn this valuable truth.  It might save a lot of time in the dog house.

So, once we learn our differences and begin to appreciate them we can begin to be fulfilled by the gift God has given to us in our spouse.

So, how are you doing?

A Gift From God 13

The other day I watched a friend’s child after school.  When it was time to go she went straight to our son and hugged him goodbye.  It was very sweet.  Mom asked her where my hug was.  So, I got one too.

Sometimes there is just power in a hug.  I wonder why.  I don’t know for sure.  I wonder if it could be the closeness?  Maybe someone taking the time to embrace you?  Maybe it shows compassion?  I really don’t know.

One thing I do know is that Jesus showed His love toward some children by putting His arms around them.  Look at Mark 10:16, “And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”

When life is caving in on you I would imagine that you would like to have Jesus put His arms around you in a personal display of love.  Well, sometimes He does.  I know that I have felt Him in the past.  Maybe you have too.  I hope so.

When you hurt it is a great gift to receive a hug from someone.  You have never been hugged like Jesus unless He has hugged you.  It is a small; but, much needed gift from God.

So, how are you doing?

A Gift From God 12

Last night I was watching the news; as depressing as that is.  I saw a story that caught my attention.  It was a story about infertility.  It caught my attention because a Pastor I know from another state is going to be a father.  His wife is 51 years old and he is 65 years old.  Yes, when their child turns 18 he will be a whopping 83 years old.  Well…

I thought about how this child; just like all other children, is a gift from God.  This Pastor even referred to himself in the context of Abraham and Sarah.  Thankfully he is in good spirits about it.

I thought about “A Gift From God” and this pastoral family now expecting.  Some in our world would see this as a set back or an interruption to their life.  Not this family.  They are taking it in stride like they should.  They see it as God sees the child.  A gift.

I thought about the promise God made to Abraham.  Look at Genesis 17:5, “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”  That is a promise from God.  “a father to many nations have I made thee.”  This is a fact.  Now, we can look back and see God bring this to pass.  Abraham submitted to God’s plan for the most part until he and Sarah stepped out of God’s plan and then Ishmael was born.  For the most part Abraham’s response was of faith and God blessed him with a tremendous gift.

Sarah’s response was a little different.  Look at Genesis 18:12, “Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”  No, I am not sharing this to knock or beat up on Sarah.  I am simply point out the difference in their responses to the promises of God and His gift to them.

So how do you respond to the gift of God?  We need to respond in faith and thanksgiving.  I thank God for the gifts He has given to me and my family.  Yes, even those gifts we did not really think we wanted or needed.

So, how are you doing?

A Gift From God 11

The other day I received a text from my cousin.  He is having his house remodeled and needed to get some things moved.  He knows that I take things to the mission each month as people give them to me.

This time the things had to me removed because the men doing the work inside the house needed to start demolition in the room.  So, I was hurried along on my picking up and deliver this time.

When I arrived the mission I was greeted by a man twice my size and we began to shake hands he pulled me to him and said, “Give me a hug my brother!”  I could have cried.  God knows when to send these men into my life.  I needed that hug like another breath of fresh air.

The men were so excited to get three televisions, a nice pair of tennis shoes, 2 DVD player/VCR combinations and a big chair.  These items will be put into hoses that families will transition into from the family shelter before going back into the world.  The men were like kids unloading the pick up truck.  I forgot to mention that my cousin loaded the truck for me too.  It is his truck that I drove over there.

You see, God used my cousin to be a real blessing to people that need blessings.  These blessings are a gift from God.  They will probably never see the man that sent these things over to them; but, they will be forever impacted by his acts of kindness.  Let’s take a look at James 1:17, “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.”  God can use anyone that is willing to be “A Gift From God” if you will just allow Him.

So, how are you doing?

A Gift From God 9

Last night my wife and I sat and watched “Love Worth Finding” on television.  This is the television ministry of Dr. Adrian Rogers.  He is a wonderful preacher and Bible teacher.  He said that in order for a marriage to work you need two things.  They are foundation and flexibility.

He was telling about the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco, CA.  He shared that what holds up the entire bridge are two pillars.  Those two pillars are built on bedrock.  In other words they dug down deep until they found solid ground to build these two pillars on.

Friend, what is your marriage built upon?  If it is going to be successful in this dark day we live in your marriage (and mine) must be build upon solid bedrock.  The only place you can find solid bedrock for marriage or anything else this day and age is in Jesus Christ.  In the Scriptures He is called “the Rock”.

As a Pastor I have performed weddings.  Before I will commit to do a wedding the parties wanting to get married must agree to and complete a few weeks of counseling.  Why am I so strict?  Because I understand that the world’s system is seeking to destroy the family and I want anyone I perform marriages for to at least have what they need to form a strong foundation upon which to build a marriage.  If you and i are like the wise man Jesus spoke about in the New Testament we will build upon a rock.  Not just any rock; but, upon The Rock, Jesus Christ.

This bridge works because it has flexibility.  The bridge is built to have twenty feet (20′) of sway in each direction side to side.  Concrete and steel will sway back and forth, up and down because it is build to be flexible.  It is the same in our marriages.  We must be flexible.  Men and women are different in many ways.  This is a gift from God.  Think how boring life would be if we were all the same.

Once we understand how each person is wired (men and women) we can begin to understand them completely and it will make our marriages and relationships much better.  Look at I Peter 3:7, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

What we need to do is follow the plan God has for marriage and we can enjoy fulfilling marriages that will last a lifetime.  That is a gift from God.

So, how are you doing?

A Gift From God 8

The southern gospel group The Isaacs sing a song titled “Heroes”.   You can watch the video here.  It is a powerful song about being a parent.  It starts out by calling parents of special needs children “Heroes”.  As I shared the other day the life of raising a child with special needs is not easy.  I don’t see us as heroes.  I see us as a family that made a vow to God and we are doing everything we possibly can to keep that vow.  That is serious business with God for sure.

There was a story on the news just a few days ago about a couple that had a child with Downs Syndrome.  The mother left.  So, this father has decided that he will take the child and raise it himself.  My hat is off to this man.  He is a hero.  Maybe, he is not a Bible kind of hero; but, he is to be applauded for his courage and his commitment to care for his child no matter.

What would motivate people to do what we do each day?  There are many reasons; but, I would like to think that you could find the answer in the first phrase of II Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:”.  That is what we have been talking about this month.  Love.  Not just some “feeling”.  Take some medicine and that will pass.  What I am talking about is a love that binds us, commits us to someone or something.  That is real Christlike love.  The Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance tells us that “constraineth” means “to hold together, i.e. to compress (the ears, with a crowd or siege) or arrest (a prisoner); figuratively, to compel, perplex, afflict, preoccupy”.  You see that is a very powerful commitment.

Do you love the LORD so much that you have been arrested and made a prisoner of His?  What has He compelled you to do?  You see, as we look at “A Gift From God” it just might be that you are God’s gift to someone.  Even more important is the fact that they might be counting on you not even knowing that you are God’s answer to their prayer.  You might be “A Gift From God”.  That is humbling.

So, how are you doing?

A Gift From God 6

I was thinking about the idea of gift giving and I remembered something.  When my wife played the piano for our Church and I led the music and choir I received a precious gift.  On dear little older lady in the Church came to me one Sunday before Christmas and handed me a card and a gift that had been wrapped.  I took it and joyfully told her thank you.

In the card was three one dollar bills.  The wrapped gift was a box of chocolate covered cherries.  That was a precious gift to me for sure!  This dear lady had given all she could.  I have not forgotten that gift.  Here is the thing.  I despise chocolate covered cherries.  I think I stooped so low as to re-gift them to someone that I know likes them.  I felt bad; but, I did not want them to just go to waste.  Instead they went to waist on someone else.

I travel the path of memory lane because it reminds me of James 1:17, “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.”  That sweet lady gave those gifts to me and I counted them as a gift from God.    I know that our LORD was well pleased with His darling daughter that day.  It moved me to tears at her kindness toward me and my dear wife.  I can honestly say I have never received a dollar fifty (three dollars split between us); but, to me that was just as priceless as a million dollars for Christmas.

God has given His son Jesus to be our substitute and pay for our sin.  Yet, millions refuse this free gift of salvation.  One day they will regret this.  Will you trust Him today.  We are not promised another breath, let alone another day.  Trust Jesus today.

So, how are you doing?

A Gift From God 5

I have to be honest and admit when my wife dropped the bomb on me that she was pregnant that I was not excited nor did I respond properly.  For this I am sorry, now.  I had no idea what was to come and I don’t know if it was fear or selfishness that stole my joy at that moment in life.  I cannot say.  It has been too long now for my feeble mind to dredge that back up.

Since those early days I have come to many realizations.  One of those realizations is the truth found in  Psalm 127:3, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”  If children are a reward then grandchildren must be a bounty from not killing your children.  I am just kidding!

It is sad in our nation that children are viewed as something that keeps you back or holds you down.  We have murdered generations of human beings at the hands of abortion doctors.  This should make us weep in sorrow.  It should anger us to the point of doing what we can to stop such atrocities.  Yet, we sit by idle and let it go on.

God tells us in His Word that every single one of those children is a gift from Him.  Those children were hand picked by God for those parents.  They chose to toss that chosen life away like yesterday’s garbage.

Being the parent of a child with special needs is no easy task.  It has taught us a lifetime of lessons that we could not even begin to write down.  What a realization when I looked to the Bible and found that our son’s name Jonathan means Jehovah-given.  This is a game changer for sure.  Let’s face it.  Every child should be named Jonathan because they are all Jehovah-given.

So, how are you doing?

A Gift From God 3

I am sure that while people watched the Super Bowl the other evening there was at least one banner containing John 3:16.  There usually is at major sporting events.  I am thankful for someone who would do this.  They are doing what they can to get the message out.

I cannot think of any greater gift that God the Father could have given to fallen man.  We have a problem.  It is a sin problem.  No matter how good we think we are.  No matter how intellectual we think we are.  No matter what, we cannot ensure that we will spend eternity based upon any thing we can do ourselves.

The words of John 3:16 are some of the most quoted words of all Scripture.  They rank up there with Psalm 23 and “judge not that you be not judged”.

Look at 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.”  You want to talk about “A Gift From God”.  There it is.  There is the greatest Gift ever given in all of time and eternity.  Jesus humbled Himself and became a man; in flesh, and lived so that you and I can live for eternity with Him.  All we must do is be sorry for our sin and ask Him for forgiveness.  It is so simple that people cannot “get it”.  If you trust Him today then Heaven will be your eternal home.

So, how are you doing?

 

A Gift From God 2

Who does not like to receive gifts?  If you don’t let me know and you can forward all of your gifts to our house.  At Christmas my toys were always practically worn out by the time I got to play with them.  My father would play and play with them.  Such is life, I guess.

I like to give gifts.  It is fun to see people’s reactions to their gifts.  Why is it that people seem to reject the gift of God?  Actually, there is more than just one Gift from God.  Most people associate the Gift of God to be Jesus Christ.  This is true.

You and I have a problem.  Nobody wants to hear about problems.  Here is the thing.  If we bring up the problem then we can formulate a plan to solve the problem

Man’s biggest problem is sin.  The great thing is that God formulated a plan before the foundation of the world.  Look at  Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The problem is sin.  The plan is that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price of our sin.  He did this for every man, woman, boy and girl that every was, is or ever will be born.  He is the Plan to pay the debt we owe.

All you and I must do is realize that we are a sinner and we need a Saviour.  Then we can put our faith and trust in Him and be saved.  That is the greatest gift God has ever given.

So, how are you doing?