Friday, December 14, 2012

The Greatest Gifts


The greatest gifts don’t have a price tag. But they are extremely valuable.
In the past, I would rush around at Christmas and buy gifts for everyone. Who knows what happened to most of them. A toy that may have been played with for a season or a sweater worn a few times. This year I don’t feel that pressure. I will buy some presents for family members, children who I know need clothes and toys, a token of appreciation for my children’s teachers.

The real value of a gift is the love that it symbolizes and the thought behind it. I love giving people in my life things that I know they will enjoy, that they desire or that will make them feel better. But the most valuable gifts I can give do not cost money. They cost my time, effort and my heart.
This Christmas and for the rest of my life I am determined to give those most valuable gifts. Those gifts that don’t fade or tarnish but live forever in the memory and the heart. They are priceless.

My top gift list:
Unconditional Love: The Agape love of God is the greatest love of all. It is not deserved. It is given freely just because. It is unconditional and sacrificial. Everyone wants to be loved. That is one of our greatest desires. It is God’s greatest gift (For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son). And it is the greatest gift we can give each other.

Forgiveness: Who hasn’t messed up or hurt someone? We all have. And we all want forgiveness. Again, like Agape love, we don’t deserve it. It is truly a gift. But what I have found is that when someone has wronged you, forgiveness is the gift you give that is really a blessing to you. Un-forgiveness can turn to bitterness and as the saying goes it’s like you drinking poison and expecting the person who has trespassed against you to die. The gift of forgiveness not only sets someone else free, it sets you free.

Prayer: Praying for others is a great gift. Whether they know it or not, petitioning the all powerful God on behalf of another is the best thing you can do for them because God loves them, knows what they need, wants the best for them and has the ability to work in their lives and do all things.  

Respect: We all want to be seen, heard and valued. Showing respect shows that you value.

Time: That goes with being seen, heard and valued. When you spend your time with someone, you show that you care.

A Listening Ear: Related to respect and time. Sometimes people don’t want an answer, they just want you to listen to how they feel, what’s in their heart, their dreams, disappointments and ideas. When you listen, really listen, you’re saying you are valuable.

Boundaries and Expectations: May seem counterintuitive, but I believe one of the greatest gifts that we can give our children are boundaries and expectations. Boundaries keep them safe and teach them discipline. Expectations help them soar. With adults the same can apply. An adult with no boundaries or discipline is out of control and probably not fulfilling their potential. In a relationship when we allow people to do whatever they feel with no consequences, it’s not good for them or us. Expect the best of people and expect great things of them.

Encouragement: Who doesn’t need it? We all do. A kind word. A compliment.  “I believe in you.” It can do wonders and lift spirits and give people fuel and fire. It can be a lifesaver and a lifechanger.

What’s on your list of priceless gifts?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Me Too


For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

Have you ever said to God, “I’m only human?”
Have you ever said, I know you told me to do this or that. But that’s just too much to ask. I’m only human.

I’m in pain. That’s unreasonable and impossible. You can’t expect me to respond in this way or that. I look like a fool. People will think I’m stupid. They don’t deserve it. I’m hurt. I’m in pain.

And then has God ever spoke back to you and said, “Me too.”
Have you ever felt alone?

Jesus says, “Me too.”
Lied on? Called names?

Misunderstood?
Embarrassed?

Humiliated?
Betrayed?

Jesus says, “Me too.”
Rejected?

Jesus says, “Me too.”
Betrayed and rejected by those closest to you--family and your inner circle of friends? Left to stand alone?

“Me too.”
But Jesus, I’m only human.

Jesus says, “Me too. But I’m also God. I know you’re human. That’s why I died for you. But not only did I die. But I rose again. And right now, I’m with the Father, making intercession for you. I see you. I am with you. I love you. I will never leave you or forsake you.

“I know about pain. I went through the cross. I did it because I loved you, even when you weren’t loving me. While you were yet in sin, I died for you so that you could know me and be with me eternally.  The cross wasn’t fun. It was excruciatingly painful. But I went through it. The pain has a purpose and on the other side of the pain is resurrection power and transformation.”
Then Jesus whispers to you, “You’ll get through this. I was human.”  He stretches out his nail scarred hands and shows you his wounds. “I know how you feel. Really. “

Power scriptures:

“But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:5

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. “ Galatians 6:9

 

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