Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely , whatever is of good report, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, ponder on these things. - Philippians 4:8

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above - James 1:17 (NLT)

      It was almost Christmas in Pupperville and a gentle snow was falling on the ice skating pond as Louie practiced his Figure eights. Unfortunately, he wasn't paying attention to where he was going and crash, he ran right into a young lady and went sprawling to the ice. As Louie pushed himself up, he turned to apologize.

     “I'm sorry.” he said, “Are you okay?” “NO.” came a muffled reply as the young lady lay face first into a snow bank. Hearing that made Louie feel really bad. “Are you hurt?” He asked. “No,” came another muffled reply and than the young lady sat up and said “It's almost Christmas.”

     As it turned out, the young lady was Bernadette, and Louie knew her well. “It's almost Christmas?” Louie puzzled out loud, “What's Christmas got to do with anything?” “We're opening presents in two more days and I'm nor ready!” Bernadette growled. “ I got my Dad finished first, than all my friends but I don’t know what to get for my MOM!”

     “That shouldn't be hard since you're both girls.” Louie said trying to calm her down. “I didn’t think it would be either but I want to get her the perfect present.” Bernadette told Louie, “I’ve gone through every catalog in the house at least a dozen times and I’ve searched and searched on the Internet.”

     “Did you check all the stores in Pupperville?” Louie asked as he started to think of some way to help her. “Stores?” Bernadette replied in disgust, “Stores? You mean actually go out with all those other people and shop? Are you crazy?” “It's not that bad walking through the stores.” Louie tried to encourage her, “Besides, I thought girls like to shop.”

     “Well, I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I knew Harold wouldn’t be there.” Bernadette told him. “But he has a booth set up outside the mall and he's trying to sell a ton of things. He even tried to sell me a bunch of dead frogs. He said they would be the perfect present for my Mom.”

     “Where in the world would Harold have gotten that much stuff?” Louie asked. “He wouldn't say.” Bernadette told him. “Every time I asked, Harold said it was a secret. And then tried to sell me some other gross thing.” “Were people actually buying stuff from him? Louie asked. “I don't know.” Bernadette told him “But his booth was the busiest one there.”

     After a few minutes of silence, Louie told Bernadette “You could give yourself to your mom.” “I guess I have enough wrapping paper to wrap myself.” Bernadette sighed, “So, what did you get Daisy for Christmas?” “Uhm, I, Uhm.” Louie stammered, “I think I forgot. I better rush over to Harold's booth and see if I can find something?” “What!?” Bernadette exclaimed when she heard that but Louie never heard her for he was on the way.

     In Isaiah we read of vineyard, a vineyard planted by God. I will sing about the one I love, a song about my loved one’s vineyard: The one I love had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones, and planted it with the finest vines. He built a tower in the middle of it and even hewed out a winepress there. He expected it to yield good grapes, but it yielded worthless grapes.
Isaiah 5:1-2 (HCSB)

     God loves to give and when it came to the vineyard that He planted, he gave it everything it could need so as to produce the perfect grapes but what He got was worthless. God's giving doesn't always end up being for naught.

     There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, according to Your word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation. You have prepared [it] in the presence of all peoples— a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Your people Israel.
Luke 2:25-32 (HCSB)

     Although it happened 8 days later, God gave Simeon his wish. Simeon was aloud to see the Christ child and when he did, he praised God. Sometime later it was men giving gifts to God. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah: because out of you will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel.” Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure. Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.
Matthew 2:1-12 (HCSB)

     There are two types of giving in the Christmas story. There is God's giving
  • John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)
  • 1 Timothy 2:5-6 - For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (ESV)
     And than there is our giving
  • 2 Corinthians 9:7 - Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (ESV)
  • Luke 6:38 - give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Are you willing to accept God's gift of His Son.
  • Are you willing to Give yourself to God

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