God’s Christmas Presents – Part 7

Jesus is God's Christmas Present to Everyone

Jesus is God’s Christmas Present to Everyone

Advanced Gifts Options 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”  Ask for MORE.  There are gifts available to us just for the asking.  Ask, seek and knock if you want any of these gifts.  It could be the best part of Christmas so far!

Treasures in Darkness  Isaiah 45:3  “And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, Who call you by your name.”  Have you ever noticed that we learn the most precious lessons during our darkest times?  Isn’t it interesting that God can give us something good and lasting out of adverse circumstances?  It can be hard to praise God during trilas.  But we we can do this, the lessons we learn, the closeness we experience with God becomes turning points in our lives.  Our test do become testimonies.  Only God can turn our dark places into treasure troves.

Forgiveness of Sins I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from al unrighteousness”  This amazing promise holds true for every sin we have every done and confess.  This gift comes at the cost of Jesus’s life.  It is no light thing.  For those who grasp it and receive it and appropriate forgiveness, it opens up a whole new way of living.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents from the beginning:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 1

Check out some of God’s other Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 6


God’s Christmas Presents – Part 6

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents:  Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents: Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

Responsibility for Our Gifts 1 Peter 4:10  “As each one has received a gift, m minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” God calls us to be good stewards of our gifts.  God’s gifts are not to be buried.  My Dad and his brother are artists.  They can draw something on the back of a napkin that explains some engineering feat.  Dad can draw animals and nature, and Uncle Don can draw people and clothing lines.  They may do it as part of a discussion over coffee.  I have given them both charcoal pencils, paints, water colors, art pads, and begged them to draw me something I could frame.  Neither one of them think their artistic gift is worthy enough of taking the time to develop it.  Every  Christmas I pull out a piece of bark from a tree in New Hampshire that my Dad wrote out a verse John 14:27 in a red pen.  In green ink, he wrote Merry Christmas, and drew a big holly plant with red berries. The Holly plant is perfectly designed and shaped for the piece of bark.  I cherish this every Christmas because of the design and the natural materials used.  It’s a unique Christmas touch that helps decorate the house. It’s not much, but drawing is a gift, and I appreciate it.  I know they will both have easels waiting for them in their houses in heaven.  Then they will have “the time.”

Gifts of Healings 1 Corinthians 12:7-9 “But he manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:  to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit.”  This gift is plural.  It’s not just one gift of healing, it’s multiple gifts of healings.  Healing miracles happen all the time.  Listen to people’s stories and you’ll hear things that amaze you.  Some churches have entire services dedicated to healing people’s stories (sometimes called testimonies) because it builds up the faith of those listening to the stories.  If you haven’t tried healing, take a class from a local Healing Rooms (www.healingrooms.com) Practice this gift in a safe place and see what happens.  It could bey our biggest gift and you don’t even know how to implement it.  Pray and see what God tells your heart.  It’s an amazing privilege to pray and then have a front row seat as God heals people.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 7

Check out some of God’s other Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 5


God’s Christmas Presents – Part 5

 

Jesus is God's Christmas Present to Everyone

Jesus is God’s Christmas Present to Everyone

In Part 5, we continue to look at gifts from God outlined in scripture.

Gifts Package Options  Jesus tells us in John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”  Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, who is our Helper.  Having the Holy Spirit come to us and take residency in us is a huge gift!  He brings with Him the fruit of the Spirit.  Galatians compares the gifts of Satan with the gifts of the Spirit.  The enemy brings, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.”  Gal 5:19-21.  Lots of people choose these gifts.  The Spirits brings love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Gal 5:22-23.  Gal 5:25 reads, “If we live I the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  There are two gift sets.  Let us choose the Holy Spirit package and develop them.  The gifts of the spirit benefit us.  As we steward the gifts and develop them, they benefit those around us giving God glory as the fruits of the Holy Spirit become evident.

As we fill up on the Holy Spirit’s fruits,  we fill to the point of flowing out.  Let us continually seek to fill to the point of becoming ministers of God’s gifts to those around us by being His hands and feet.  May we give out God’s gifts this Christmas season and throughout the year.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 6

Check out some of God’s other Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 4


God’s Christmas Presents – Part 4

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents:  Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents: Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

This is Part 4 in a series looking at Christmas gifts from God

Every Good Gift is from Above James 1:17  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”  Every good gift is from above.  Well, now I know who to thank. Our Father is the giver of every perfect gift.  Let us develop the practice of giving thanks as we partake of these good gifts.

No Shortage of Gifts in Community 1 Corinthians 1:4-9  “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”   Beyond being a classic example of Paul’s lengthy sentence structure, this very is about spiritual gifts in the church.  A church needs all of the gifts that God has put in people to work together in unity.  Most of the time, God followers are not designed to be islands and do God projects solo.  We are designed to work in community as the Body of Christ.  Everything has something to contribute and to share.  We grow working with one another.  So many sappy movies at Christmas time highlight the way that communities can come together when their hearts are softened at Christmas to do the Christmas play, or help someone in need. It’s the simple truth in these movies that make us cry when we see it come together.  When we seem short on a needed gift, ask God.  He has many ways of answering the prayer for help. I find the more specific we are, the more we realize it was God who heard and answered the specific prayer request.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 5

Check out some of God’s other Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 3


God’s Christmas Presents – Part 3

Jesus is God's Christmas Present to Everyone

Jesus is God’s Christmas Present to Everyone

We continue to look at gifts from God outlined in scripture.

God’s Gift of Jesus  John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

I am a “whosoever.”  Are you?  “Whosoever believes in Jesus shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  What a promise.  What an amazing condition. Believing in Jesus is no light matter.  It’s a life changing decision.  Believing in any religion is life changing and life shaping.  God gave Jesus to the world so He could reunite with us humans forever.  That makes me feel very loved.  We have the assurance that we will be with God forever.  The assurance comes as an extra gift.  We might have had earned this everlasting life with God by believing in Jesus.  This verse assures it.  Thank you God.

God Is With Us  Hebrews 13:5,6 “…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]  So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?”  This passage is rather long in the Amplified, but it is so reassuring that God is with us.  Isaiah had prophesied this thousands of years earlier when he wrote in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us.]”  Having God with us in every situation we face means we are not alone- ever.  Having God with us means we have access to divine counsel for every decision we make. Having God with us means we have His comfort for every disappointment life brings.  Having God with us means we are in relationship with the divine creator of the universe.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 4

Check out some of God’s other Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 2


God’s Christmas Presents – Part 2

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents:  Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents: Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

We continue to look at gifts from God outlined in scripture.

God’s Gifts Include Eating, Drinking and Enjoying our Work  Ecclesiastes 3:13  “…also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.”  Eating and drinking is a gift from God for every person.  It makes sense to ask for this gift for people who can not eat and drink well for various reasons.  It is designed by God as a gift.  It is also the gift of God that a man should enjoy his labor.  This also is something we can ask God to fulfill as his purpose for man.  It was given to mankind as a gift.

Every Person Gets a Gift 1 Corinthians 7:7  “But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.”  Every person has gifts from God.  Many times they are designed to be used in community.  Paul is describing that each person is unique.  This verse is a great antidote to jealousy.  Let us not waste time being jealous of someone’s talents and gift.  It is for us to discover what we have been given, and develop them so we can use them to give glory to God.  A composer needs musical instruments to make his work come alive.  A choir director needs multiple voices of a choir to bring forth sound.  Within a choir there needs to be tenors, altos, sopranos and baritones.

Stir Up the Gifts of God 2 Timothy 1:6  “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of hands.” People who seriously want to know God’s will for their lives seek out prayer. We see this in the Healing Rooms when people come to ask God’s help and direction in their job searches.  We see this in churches when people humble themselves to come forward and receive prayer at the end of service for whatever is going on in their lives.  Sometimes only after trying everything else, we see people come for prayer about their physical ailments.  God hears every one of these prayers.  He also loves it when healthy people seek prayer through the laying on of hands to stir up the gifts of God in them to fulfill the calling of God for their lives.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 3

Check out some of God’s other Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 1


God’s Christmas Presents Part 1

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents:  Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

God Gives the Best Christmas Presents: Hope, Joy, Peace, and Unconditional Love

God knows how to give the best Christmas presents.  God uses people to give us many goodies and items.  Perhaps He is most famous for giving us things we can’t buy such as hope, joy, peace and unconditional love.

The Gift of Life:  Isaiah 9:6  “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  God’s precious gift of a Messiah came in the form of a human baby.  He gives us the gift of human life every time a baby is conceived.  Scripture contains many stories of couples who could not get pregnant.  They went to God for their answers knowing that ultimately God is the giver of life. Every person on earth has a divine plan from heaven for their life.  Fulfillment often comes from living out this divine destiny.

Daily Blessings  Psalm 68:19  “Blessed by the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation.”  Daily loaded with blessings.  What a great gift.  Just living in America comes with a lot of blessings.  Most people have running water, bathrooms in the house, water heaters that provide warm showers every day.

Gifts Offer Introductions Proverbs 18:16  “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.”  As we offer gifts to others, it does soften a heart to hear. It does offer opportunities to come before men and women of importance and state our causes. A giving heart produces a life full of opportunities.  I’m also reminded of 1 Peter 3:15 which suggests we be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and respect.  “If someone asks about our hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.”  NLT.

See more on God’s Christmas Presents:  God’s Christmas Presents Part 2

 


Prayer for a Child’s Eye

Remember that God has commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.”

Remember that God has commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.”

I pay attention to verses that talk about physical conditions because they can have some very real and literal interpretations. I came across this verse recently as part of reading all of Psalm 6.Verse 7 says,  ”My eye wastes away because of grief;  It grows old because of all my enemies.”

I remembered that a woman had brought in her young son to have his eye prayed for during the one of our Healing Rooms sessions. He had come in with a diagnosis in one of his eyes for “Lazy Eye.”  The team was happy to pray for him.

In the discussion, the mom shared that she and her husband were in the process of a divorce.  This causes grief in any young child.  She had also mentioned that her son had been prophesied over as having some special discernment giftings.  A mother hears these things often before observing them in the natural.  If the prophet was accurate, it stands to reason that the gift itself comes with certain spiritual enemies.  Both these things were referenced in this scripture verse.

During the actual appointment, the team saw other pictures and referenced other verses, which seemed to be a comfort.  The boy said his eye was seeing more clearly after receiving prayer. The mother was surprised at how comfortable he felt in the Healing Rooms.  He had stayed to finish up a drawing he had started.

Meanwhile, I made a note to pray for the health of the kids of people I know going through a divorce.  Asking God to bless children with health and energy is good thing.

 


Prayers for the Parched: Glad It’s True

Because of the Work of Christ, our Hope of Eternal Life is in Him

Because of the Work of Christ, our Hope of Eternal Life is in Him

Luke 4:17-21  “The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him.  Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:  “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.  The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today the scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

In the middle of a Christmas party on December 8, 2001, Sue Dumont went to be with the Lord for eternity.  She was 38.  For many of us who witnessed this, it was dramatic.  We were left grappling with our questions and trying to come to peace with what happened.  My friend Sandra realized she may never know why it happened.  But she knows our friend Sue is with God now. And this truth gave her peace.  Not everything can be explained.  It just is.

 

When I was a little kid, if Dad said it was okay, then it was.   And just being in the love of our family made it so.  Sandra prayed this prayer in her car driving home from a Christmas service one night shortly after Sue’s death.  It’s used with her permission.

 

Daddy,

There are a lot of things I do not understand

There are a lot of other things I am simply glad are true

I do not understand how it is that you came here as a person, so we could touch you

But I am really glad it’s true

I do not understand how it is that you came here as a person, so we could touch you

But I am really glad it is true

I do not understand why it is that you love me

But I am really glad it is true

I do not understand all what you are doing in my life

But I am really glad it’s true that you are working

I do not understand that you died, and you rose, for love

But I am just really glad that it’s true

Good night, Daddy

I love you, and Merry Christmas


Looking for the Living Hope

A Living Hope Lets the hopeless find hope, the broken be healed, and the oppressed go free, again and again

A Living Hope Lets the hopeless find hope, the broken be healed, and the oppressed go free, again and again

For so many, the holidays seem full of hope and joy at seeing family members.  I have spent enough Christmases without family to not have the hope that comes from being with familiar family members.  In those years, being part of the family of God offered me the hope of a larger family that has many surprise members.

Paul writes about a living hope in 1 Peter 1:3,  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who…has begotten us again to a living hope.”  Jack Hayford comments, “It is the song of the gospel and the message of the Kingdom of God:  ‘Let the hopeless find hope, let the broken be healed, let the oppressed go free!’”  This piece is tucked in his devotional quoting his book, A New Time and Place every year at the beginning of the Christmas season.

Hayford continues, “It is not a matter of fortune or luck.  It is a matter of love.  It is the way of the King.  He reverses situation. He turns impossibilities on their heads.  He transforms darkness into dazzling light and plants living hope in the lives of all who come to Him.”