God’s Gift

There have been many times I have heard someone (including myself) say that grandchildren are God’s rewards for not killing your children.  I hope I can break myself of this.  It is meant to be funny.  As I ponder this thought it is very sad.

People today have no idea how to be parents.  We have lost babies by the millions to abortion.  This murderous atrocity must stop!  What are we telling children by this?  We are saying that they have no value, no worth.  Do you know what it is like to grow up being told you are worthless?  I do.  It is tragic!

Children are a gift from God.  Look at Psalm 127:3, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”  The word “heritage” means inherited.  These children belong to our Heavenly Father and then He allows us to have them for a short time.  Some longer than others; but, it is a short time.

Too many people today have the mistaken idea that children are a punishment for pro creating.  This could not be farther from the truth.  If you don’t believe me I can connect you with couples that cannot have children.  They will tell you a vastly different story.

Our children are a hand-picked gift from God.  That is very, very special.  Your child was hand-picked by God for you and you for them.  That is pretty amazing.

Now, it is up to you and I to be the parents that God has called us to be.  This is very easily said and not so easily done I know.  With God’s grace, peace and mercy we can do it.  Oh yes, add the Bible to that list because It is our instruction manual.

So, how are you doing?

The 7-Ups of Encouraging Yourself In The LORD 1

My wife shared with me some articles cut out of a bulletin that had been given to her by a family member.  I am going to share one of those articles with you over the next few days.  These were originally printed in the bulletin of the First Christian Church of Elizabethton, TN on March 6, 2001.

The first step to Encouraging Yourself In The LORD is to Wake Up!  Far too many Christians are asleep at the wheel so to speak.  We are just drifting along.  If nobody ruffles our feathers then we will continue to tip toe through the tulips to a quiet death.  This is not how God intended it to be.

Look at Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  The day we have is a gift from God.  As I was thinking about this it dawned on me.  God has given us this day not to waste it.  He has given us this day to use for His glory.

What have you done today to bring honor and glory to God?  When we are going around looking like we were baptized in dill pickle juice and lost our best friend we are not honoring God.  It is just the opposite, really.

We need to receive encouragement just from the very act of waking up each day.  Every day is a gift from God.  It is up to you and I how we use this great gift.

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?

The Gift

Yesterday I had the privilege of preaching at our home Church.  Our Pastor is on vacation and I filled in for him.  I have been listening to a song by the McRaes titled “He Knows My Name”.  It is an outstanding song.  I am sure you will hear more about the song here in the near future.

Yesterday, my message title was, “He Knows My Name”.  My wife knows how much I love the song by the McRaes.  She took the time Saturday evening to sit at her piano with the words to this song and her cell phone.  As she sat there she figured out how to play this song.  Just before I preach I love for her to sing.  She has not been feeling well so I knew whatever she was going to sing would be low.

She sang, “He Knows My Name” and it was in a low enough key that I could sing it.  Yes, the tears rolled.  Tears of joy and thanksgiving for her gift of taking the time to figure out this song so that she and I could sing it.  It added so much to the service.  Everyone enjoyed it, especially me.

As I sat there listening to this beautiful song and my wife singing it beautifully, my mind went to the Scriptures.  Look at John 12:3, “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.”  That is it.  My wife’s song to me was just the same as Mary taking that costly ointment and anointing Jesus’ feet.  What an offering to the LORD and to me.  Thank you Tara!  I love you!

So, how are you doing?

Christmas 28

Well, by now we have probably exchanged the gifts we received that did not fit, were the wrong color or we just did not like.  This year I was blessed that nothing I received had to be taken back.  I have alterations to be made on two new suits that I received.  I am excited about getting two new suits!  We enjoyed an fantastic CHRISTmas again this year.

It was not the gifts, the food or even the family that made this CHRISTmas so great.  The greatness of CHRISTmas is found in Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”  Here we find that we can take back the sin that burdens us.  We can exchange them for the forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

So many things in the account of Jesus’ birth tell of why He came.  The swaddling clothes were grave clothes that were wrapped around him one strip at a time.  The gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Gold was a fitting gift for a King, frankincense was used in the temple sacrifices and was fitting for a Priest and the myrrh is a burial spice and speaks of His being a Prophet.

The true meaning of CHRISTmas is not the gifts, the trees or even the lights.  It is about Jesus humbling Himself to come to us so that we can be saved.  Let me ask you a question.  Have you ever repented (turned) from your sin and asked Jesus to save you?  If you have not I beg you to do just that today before it is eternally too late.

So, how are you doing?

Christmas 25

Merry Christmas!  The day is finally here.  The children should be playing with the boxes that their toys came in and parents should be sitting down for a quick nap before the rest of the family arrives.  Oh, what fun!

I find myself being “left out of the loop” so to speak many times.  It is due to lack of good hearing most of the time.  We have seen the angel and then a host of angels appear to a group of shepherds.  They brought a message of hope, peace and joy.  This message and everything that surrounded it motivated these shepherds to do something.  Look at Luke 2:15, “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”

The shepherds said, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem,”.  Notice they did not delay as far as we are told in the Scriptures.  They left the care of their flock to under shepherds and they went investigate what they had been told.  There are many things that motivate.  Fear is one of the greatest motivators.

Love is another great motivator. Love is the motivator for Christmas.  We are told by the Apostle John that God so loved.  Christ coming to earth was motivated by His love for us.  He sacrificed for us.

As you celebrate today and give gifts think about your motivation.  Have you given to get gifts or have you given because of the ultimate Gift from God.  The Gift of His Son, Jesus.  There is no gift under the tree that will even compare to the Gift given that hung on a tree to pay for our sin and to set us free.  That is the Christmas story.  Jesus gave Himself to us, for us so that we might have eternal life.  Have you trusted Him for salvation.  I pray that you do today before it is eternally too late.  That is the greatest gift of all.

So, how are you doing?

Christmas 21

I remember when I was growing up I saw what I was to get for my birthday one time in the trunk of my mom’s car.  The circumstances were such that I did not remember it and it was a great surprise.  It was a BB gun.  I loved it.  I took it “hunting” around my aunt and uncle’s farm countless times.  I got in deep trouble with my BB gun countless times too.

That was a gift that I have remembered for well over thirty years.  It had an impact on me.  As I was thinking about Christmas I was remembering so many wonderful things from years past.  I remember getting the toy rescue truck and ambulance that were from the television show “Emergency!”  My dad nearly wore them out before I had the chance to play with them.  Such was life back then.  They were still great gifts.

We are approaching the day we celebrate Christmas.  The word Christmas is Latin and it means Christ the more.  There you go!  That is what we need this year and every year.  We need more Christ!  We can have just that.  Look at Luke 2:11, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  This is one of the most quoted verses of Scripture at this time of year.  It is true!

Jesus Christ is the Greatest Gift ever given.  All you and I have to do is receive Him by faith and we can have our sin forgiven and we receive an eternal home in Heaven.  There is a whole host of others gifts that He gives too.  Will you receive the free gift of salvation today.  I pray that you do.

So, how are you doing?

Thanksgiving 25

The other evening I had the pleasure of preaching at the mission again this month.  I love it so much.  My wife bakes two pans of brownies and puts frosting on them.  She also bakes three different kinds of cookies, a couple dozen each.  This is a labor of love for our family.  We love these men and it is our pleasure to bake these snacks and share them with the men.  They appreciate it so much.

I was moved nearly to tears as I told one of the men that the 600 count package of napkins would be left for them to use.  He responded, “Praise the LORD!  Thank you.”  It was a package of napkins.  To you and I this is a simple thing that we take for granted; but, to this man it was a luxury.  It was such a small thing to us; but, to him it meant that someone cared enough to share what they had with them.  It humbled me for sure.

This man’s response to a package of napkins brought to my mind I Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  I have come to learn that I have no idea what life is like for these people.  One thing I believe is that if Jesus were here today walking on earth as He did in His day that He would have gone to the men, women, boys and girls at the mission.  He ministered to the down and out more than the up and up crowd.  After tonight, I am thankful for napkins.

So, how are you doing?