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Archive for December 21st, 2019

Dear Friends,

As a family tradition, we love to give each other lots of presents during Christmas. We enjoy more the quantity versus how expensive presents are. And now that our children are grown, they want to bless us with lots of gifts too, so our Christmas tree looks beautiful full of presents!

But more importantly, there are other gifts that are not physical gifts that we each received since we were born. These are natural abilities and spiritual gifts that God gave to each of us. The Bible describes some of those gifts in Romans 12:6-8: “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”

In addition, 1 Peter 4:10 says that, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” And 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 tells us what they are, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.”

Isn’t this wonderful? I encourage you to discover your natural and spiritual gifts and use them to help others. There are also many other gifts that you can give to your loved ones that don’t cost any money. They are, the gift of:

  • Friendship: Be there for your friends.
  • Laughter: Laugh a lot with your loved ones. It is medicinal!
  • Forgiveness: Give the gift of forgiveness to someone who hurt you even if they don’t ask you for forgiveness.
  • Happiness: Enjoy and celebrate every happy moment you have with your loved ones.
  • Joy: Be joyful knowing that God’s got you regardless of the circumstances.
  • Understanding: Make the effort to truly understand someone.
  • Time: Your time is your most precious possession. Give of your time to those who matter most.
  • Listening: Listen without interrupting and be okay that sometimes you don’t have to respond.
  • Grace: Give people some grace and don’t judge them for their mistakes.
  • Peace: Provide a peaceful home to your family and a peaceful work environment to those you work with.
  • Generosity: Give of your time, money, and talents to others consistently.

But most importantly, in the Christian faith, Christmas is a time to celebrate the true gift that God gave to all of us: Jesus—and the Gospel of Salvation that tells us that Jesus died on the cross for our sins so we can go to heaven and spend eternity with Him. Here is the simple message of Salvation:

Romans 10:8-13 Salvation Is for Everyone

In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand;     it is on your lips and in your heart.”

And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

This month, if you have received the biggest gift there is—Salvation through Jesus Christ—I want to encourage you to give it forward to others! If you have not received this amazing gift yet, then I’m giving it to you right now. Today is your day to say yes!

Merry Christmas!

 

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