Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

We’ve attended Christmas Eve services, eaten together, read the Christmas story, and sung and listened to songs.  Gifts have been exchanged, opened, and played with, and the wrappings have been cleaned up and recycled.  The anticipation and waiting have not disappointed.  Grandkids have played with and enjoyed toys and some are already becoming favorites.  It has been a blessing for family to be together during these days.

 Daniel (11 months), Mary (3)

 Sawyer (8 months), David (5), Ryen (2)

We searched for just the right gift for each person on our list.  The gifts from this year will be played with, used, and enjoyed for a time.  Some will last and be shared with younger siblings and perhaps later with their own children.  Others may be given away after a season.  Still others will break and be discarded. 

The Bible tells us of the best gift ever given, when God sent Jesus to the earth as a baby.  
C. S. Lewis stated, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.”  That is a gift worth sharing with everyone all year long.  God’s gift of salvation, love, hope, peace, and so much more, keeps on giving and lasts for eternity.  Like the gifts under the tree, God’s gift must be accepted as our own before it belongs to us.  What wonderful gifts God gives to His children!

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.
John 3:16

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!  For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
Romans 5:15, 17

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Peace on Earth

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.
Isaiah 9:6

People of our world are in great need of peace.  The events of these past few days, weeks, and months have been vivid reminders of how much we lack peace in our world and yet desperately desire it.  Thousands of years ago, Isaiah prophesied that a child would be born who would be our Prince of Peace.  We all need to know that Jesus, the Prince of Peace has come, wants to have a relationship with us, and make a difference in our lives.  As believers and followers of Christ, our responsibility is to take every opportunity to share God’s Good News with others so that they too can personally know Him.  Only then can there be true peace in our world. 

At the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center, as well as other times during this Christmas Season, the song “Let There be Peace on Earth” has been sung.  It is a song I remember singing in youth choir at church.  As children of God, we too are called to be peacemakers in our world.

“Let There be Peace on Earth”
Sy Miller and Jill Jackson

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God s our father
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me. 

During this Christmas Season and New Year, may God’s peace and favor rest upon you.  And may you share that peace with others. 

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:13-14

As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Romans 10:11-15 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Matthew 5:9

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Romans 14:19

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:3

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 5:23

They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.
I Peter 3:11