DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT WEDNESDAY - THE MOST LAVISH GIFT.
A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver. - Thomas A` Kempis.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9.
During the building of the Golden Gate Bridge over San Francisco Bay, construction fell badly behind schedule because several workers had accidentally fallen from the scaffolding to their deaths. Engineers and administrators could find no solution to the costly delays.
Finally, someone suggested a gigantic net be hung under the bridge to catch any who fell. Finally in spite of the enormous cost, the engineers opted for the net. After it was installed, progress was hardly interrupted. A worker or two fell into the net but were saved. Ultimately, all the time lost to fear was regained by replacing fear with faith in the net.
As we paid nothing for God's eternal love and nothing for the Son of His love, and nothing for His Spirit and our grace and faith, and nothing for our eternal rest. What an astonishing thought it will be to think of the unmeasurable difference between our deservings and our receivings. O, how free was all this love, and how free is this enjoyed glory. So then let "Deserved" be written on the floor of hell but on the door of heaven and life. - Richard Baxter, The Free Gift.
Don't you just love gifts! When they're truly given, with no strings attached, all we have to do is receive them. The greatest gift we've ever received has nothing to do with our efforts; it is a gift from God. We didn't earn it, we didn’t deserve it, and we didn’t purchase it, because God gave it through his sacrificial gift, so our salvation would not be our boast, but his kindness.
One of the problems at Christmas time is unwanted gifts. Some people receive unwanted gifts from family, friends, workmates, and even strangers. It is presumed, that the gifts that the giver has given, has paid no particular thought to what the receiver would like, but it is simply a gift. And when the shops are open after Christmas Day, they rush to exchange the gift for something they like, or to cash it in.
An American Express survey about Christmas gifts found that the fruitcake was chosen most often (31%) from a list of "worst" holiday gifts. It even finished ahead of "no gift at all." When asked how to dispose of a bad gift, 30% would hide it in the closet, 21% would return it, and 19% would give it away. This suggests that the Christmas fruitcake might get recycled as a gift for the host of New Year's party. – Resource.
I find this very sad, and very selfish. We all have different tastes, and so when we purchase a gift for someone else, it is with the thought that they will like it. There may be people who buy a gift, who are not concerned what the person thinks or likes, but personally, I have never met anyone like that. A gift is a gift, and it should be treated as such.
That is why the Gift from God, our salvation, is so very important, and it should never be treated lightly. Our Heavenly Father in His wisdom, thought long and hard about the gift that He could give to a world, where some would despise it and reject it. He gave us the sacrificial gift of His only begotten Son...
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. - John 3:16-18.
"Our method of proclaiming salvation is this: to point out to every heart the loving Lamb, who died for us, and although He was the Son of God, offered Himself for our sins ... by the preaching of His blood, and of His love unto death, even the death of the cross, never, either in discourse or in argument, to digress even for a quarter of an hour from the loving Lamb: to name no virtue except in Him, and from Him and on His account,-to preach no commandment except faith in Him; no other justification but that He atoned for us; no other sanctification but the privilege to sin no more; no other happiness but to be near Him, to think of Him and do His pleasure; no other self denial but to be deprived of Him and His blessings; no other calamity but to displease Him; no other life but in Him." - Count Zinzendorf.
My dear friends, I urge you to prayerfully consider, offering the Gift of God, to your family, friends, workmates, and even strangers. What a joy it will be when one sinner repents, for the whole of heaven rejoices. Why not cause a party in heaven this Christmas time?
Loving Father, I can never thank you enough for sending Jesus and paying the debt for my sin. May I never presume on your grace or take the cost of your gift lightly. At the same time, Father, I want to live confidently, knowing that my salvation is not dependent on my mistakes but upon your grace. Because of such a lavish gift, I pledge to live for you in a way that reflects the joy I have at receiving such an awesome gift, and I ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to share this gift to an undeserving world. In the wonderful Name of Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, I pray. Amen.