Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Great Gift Exchange

My Personal Devotional today: The Great Gift Exchange
Tuesday 12-23-14 (Home in Modesto)  Scripture reading: John 15-18  

S.  John 17:6-11  I have told these men about you. They were in the world, but then you gave them to me. Actually, they were always yours, and you gave them to me; and they have kept your word.  Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the words you gave me; and they accepted them and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.  "My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.   And all of them, since they are mine, belong to you; and you have given them back to me, so they are my glory!  NLT

O.  The Great Gift Exchange!  God, the Father, gave a wonderful gift to His Son… a little band of struggling, faulty disciples.  In fact Jesus acknowledges that everything He has comes from His Father.  Now Jesus expressed His joy.  He finds His glory in these, His disciples.  Merry Christmas!  God the Father is the Giver.  Jesus is the receiver.  Now Jesus becomes the Giver.  He becomes the Good Shepherd Who gives His life for His sheep.  “There is no greater love than when a person gives his life for the one he loves.” (John 15:13)   Jesus said it.  Then Jesus did it.  So Jesus becomes the Greatest Lover at Calvary as He gives up His very life… a gift to you and me. 

True love… the “God kind” of love… gives.  For God so loved He gave… God is Love, (1 John 4:8 and vs 16)  It was His nature to give.  He gave the only thing that could have cost Him anything.  He could have created anything else, but He gave us His only Son.

So, where do we get the custom of exchanging gifts at Christmas?  As little children we looked forward to Christmas with great excitement.  When we awoke Christmas morning there was always a large stocking filled with small gifts hanging on our bedpost.  It was a delightful day of giving and receiving gifts.  Our parents were not wealthy.  Many of our gifts were purchased used… repaired and repainted.  Oh!  But they were wonderful!  I got a bright red wooden wagon one Christmas!  Another Christmas I got a beautiful, shining red bicycle!  

What did our parents get out of all this for themselves when we were small children?  Their only reward was the delight of seeing us jump up and down with joy as we opened our gifts and played with our toys.  And it was the joy of seeing their little ones come running into their arms yelling, “I love you, Mommy!”  “I love you, Daddy!” 

The Apostle Paul writes, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”  So here we have the story of the greatest Gift of all and the greatest Giver.  How can we ever reward Him for His generosity to us?  How about just running into the arms of the Giver and yelling, “I love you, Father God!”  How about running into the arms of the One Who is the “Gift” and yelling, “I love You, Jesus!”

And how about making this a true “gift exchange” by presenting God with the gift of our lives?  Years ago Homer W. Grimes wrote the words and music to a challenging song of dedication to God.  Back then it touched my soul and helped me to surrender my life as a gift to my Savior, Jesus.

P.  And it is my prayer again this Christmas:

What shall I give Thee, Master?
Thou Who didst die for me.
Shall I give less of what I possess
Or shall I give all to thee?

Jesus my Lord and Savior
Thou hast given all for me.
Thou didst leave Thy home above
To die on Calvary.

What shall I give Thee, Master?
Thou hast given all for me.
Not just a part, or half of my heart
Lord, I give all to Thee!
Enjoy a VeryMerry Christmas!

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