Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What to Give the Person Who Has Everything

"And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.  And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh." Matthew 2:11

Hustle and bustle.  Retailing and wrapping.  Running and racing to find the perfect Christmas gift for everyone on our lists.

To show our love and affection, we wrap up treasures in brightly adorned packages.  We spend money and time and gas and energy to give to those we love.

What about Jesus? 

Please don't click away!  This isn't a message about how we should scrap all the fluff about Christmas.  It isn't a message to guilt you into taking down your favorite Santa figurine.  I adore Christmas and all that goes with it.  I love giving gifts and the traditions we hold dear.

The question I am asking is simple.  What will you bring to the King? What is your gift to Jesus? 

What do you give the Person who has everything? 

It's simple really.  You give Him back the gift He has given you.  You give Him your treasure.  

The wise men worshiped the Son of God and "opened their treasures".

What is your treasure? 

Worship isn't just a song sung on Sunday.  Worship is a lifestyle of giving to the Lord.  Giving our praise.  Giving our work.  Giving our gifts.  Giving our treasures.

There have been times I have felt guilty spending time writing thinking I could be spending it reading my Bible or worshiping in some way.  However, what I have realized is writing is worship.  Writing is giving the gift the Lord gave me back to Him.  It is giving Him my treasure.

Your gift may not be writing.  Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Singing.  Selling.  Sewing. Styling.

But, it doesn't have to start with an "S". {Smile}

Building. Drumming. Decorating. Cleaning. Organizing. Washing. Teaching. Nursing. Painting.  

Whatever you do, whatever your gift is, it is worship unto the Lord.  The Lord has placed gifts and talents and abilities in each of you.  If you don't know your gift, it is there under the tree waiting for you to unwrap.

This Christmas and new year, it is time for you to open your treasures and present your gifts to Him in worship.  It is time.  He is waiting.  It is all He wants for Christmas from you.

Where your treasure is, there your heart is also (Matt 6:21).  When you give Him your treasure, you are giving Him your heart.  There is no greater gift for our King than our hearts.

Come. Kneel. Bring Him your gift. Worship. 

Father, I love you.  I honor You.  I come before Your throne of grace and bow down.  I lay my treasures at Your feet.  I come to worship you with my gifts.  I pray You would use these gifts for Your glory and that You would be glorified through them.  Lord, I give You my heart.  May it be ever pleasing to You.  In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

Merry Christmas!!  

May Your Days Be Merry And Bright!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Morning

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in haven give good things to those who ask Him,"  Matt 7:11

Scribbles on paper.  The sacred "Christmas list" made out every year by little ones far and wide. Children's hearts' desires written in crayon or pencil filled with the the led of hope.

My kids excitedly handed me their list.  My hands received the paper with almost as much enthusiasm.  My heart longs to give my kids their hearts desires (if I can).

The way a parent wants to awaken to glowing faces on Christmas morning is perhaps only a glimpse of how the Lord longs to bless His own children.

Children, bright eyed and full of wonder await Christmas.  It takes little faith for most children to believe presents will be under the light adorned tree.

What if we awaited God's gifts like a child on Christmas morning?  What if we believed there were good things wrapped up for us waiting for the right timely moment?  What if we believed as a child?

God is good.  He has treasures wrapped up for us just waiting for the right time for us to open His gifts.

Sometimes we cannot see the goodness He has stored up because it is hidden.  He has hid His presents until our Christmas morning comes.  Like a child, we want it right away and we want to know what is in the package.  However, we must be patient and wait until our Christmas.

When I was a child, I would try to tear a corner off the presents or look under the paper where it was taped to peek inside.  However, that thrill only lasts a moment and then disappointment sets in because the surprise is spoiled.  Plus, even though I knew what is in the package, I still had to wait to open the gift.  Knowing my gift only dampened the waiting process.

God has good gifts for all of us, but He likes to keep them a surprise.  He may give us a peek here and there, but we can't see all that is under the paper until opening time.

God's heart is to instill hope and anticipation as He prepares our hearts to receive.

Hope in itself is a gift.  And Hope that is seen is not hope.  

As a child on Christmas morning, we can be certain that His gifts will come.  We can believe that if it is best for us, He will answer every request on our "list".

Christmas morning isn't just for kids.  It is for all God's children.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Some Like it Hot (I Like it Cold)

I was eighteen and the year was 1992.   After begging my parents for weeks to agree to let me go on a senior trip with my friends to Great America in Chicago, IL, they finally conceded.

Four eighteen year old girls in stone washed jeans and big hair packed in my friend's champagne Chevy Cavalier.  Four friends with a hunger for freedom and independence.  Four friends celebrating graduation and a journey into the next adventure of their lives.

The trip was fun, but also eye opening.  During my younger years, and even into adulthood, people pleasing defined me.  Sadly, my incessant need to please people and gain approval from others left little room to be...well,...me.  Who I was evaded me.  I had no idea.  I might have known my favorite color, but if I thought you would disagree with me on it, I would have seconded guessed even that trivial of a detail.

Sad.  I know.

This trip at eighteen years of age revealed I had no idea what I liked or who I was.  My friends were all confident in their likes and dislikes and it didn't seem to matter to them if my opinion differed.  They were confident in who they were.  I wasn't.

Sadly, this lack of confidence continued into adulthood.  I am not as much of a people pleaser now. However, from time to time, it tries to come back much like those stone wash jeans.

Last week, I believe God used pumpkin pie to give me an example of how so often we are trying to be someone else or convince others to be like us.  

I like cold pumpkin pie.  Don't ask me why.  I just do.  I had tried it warm and decided cold was the way to go.  Someone was trying to convince me that hot pumpkin pie was better than cold.  This person seemed determined to win me over to their pie point of view.

Finally I replied, "I like it cold.  You like it hot.  It is ok.  Neither is right or wrong.  You can like it hot and I can like it cold.  It is ok. "

It doesn't matter.  What I like and what you like are irrelevant.  One isn't right and the other wrong.  It is just a matter of opinion.

Don't misunderstand, I am not referring to absolute truths.  Jesus is the only way, truth and life and no man to come to the Father except through Him.  That is not an opinion, it is a Truth.

I am only referring to opinions.  It doesn't matter if you like Chevy Cavaliers and I'd rather drive a Toyota.  It doesn't matter if I like blue and you prefer pink.  It doesn't matter if you like Pepsi and I like Coke.

This may seem elementary to you, but to thousands, this one revelation will be life freeing.

Let me put it in a more important context:

It doesn't matter if your friend homeschools and you feel strongly about having your kids in a public school.   It doesn't matter if you feel called to be a stay at home mom and your sister is a working mom and loves her career.  It doesn't matter if you feel led to go to college and your brother wants to own his own business.  It simply doesn't matter!

All of the above examples are opinions.  They are neither right nor wrong.

We can learn to accept and love each other regardless of our opinions.  We can quit trying to convince people to change into something they were never meant to be in the first place.  When we finally accept people for who they are, the happier everyone will be and the better relationships we will have with our friends and family.

Everyone has to walk out this journey called life on their own.  Everyone must go the direction they are led.

God is our final authority and as long as we are walking with Him on our journey, we can have confidence that we are on the right path regardless of our favorite color or preferred pie temperature.

Everyone's journey will look different.  Just because one looks different from yours, does not make it wrong.  It's just different.

My prayer for myself and all of us is that we will stop judging other people's decisions and stop trying to be something we aren't just to gain another person's approval.

I like it cold and if you like it hot, that is just fine.

Relevant Scriptures:

"For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God."  1 John 3:20

"For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But, the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy."  James 3:16-17

"But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts."  1 Thess 2:4