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 21, 2013


     Trying to do some last minute Christmas shopping, Daisy Smith wandered through the mall. After hours of walking sh sat down for a bite to eat in the courtyard As it turned out, the table she sat at was right next to a group of girls from church and she couldn't help over hearing several them talking about the sleigh ride that had been held at the McDonald's farm.

      “Speaking of last night.” Daisy heard Tracy McDonald say, “I think I received the biggest surprise of my life.” “Hi Tracy.” Daisy said wanting to get in on the conversation, “Did I hear you say you received the biggest surprise of your life last night?” “I think we all did.” one of the other girls piped in.

      “Did it have something to do with the sleigh ride last night?” Daisy asked. “Yes and no.” Tracy answered. “So,” Daisy said, “What was the surprise then?” “Harold!” The girls all yelled out at once. “I should have known.” Daisy said shaking here head. “What did he do this time? No, Let me guess, Harold did something to the horses.”

      “No,” Tracy shook here head. “He covered the seats with super glue?” Daisy asked next. “He did that last year.” Tracy said. “Then what kind of trouble did he get into this year?” Daisy wanted to know. “Actually,” Tracy replied, “He didn’t do anything wrong.” “I can see why that would be a big surprise.” Daisy said a bit surprised her self, “Was he sick or something?”

     “I'm not sure.” Tracy said, “But I do know he wasn’t acting his normal self.” “Did he say why he was acting different?” Daisy asked. “He said it had something to doing with Christmas and giving Jesus the unperfect gift.” one of the other girls answered, it was Bernadette. “The unperfect git?” Daisy questioned, Don't you mean the perfect gift?”

     “Yeah,” Tracy went on to explain, “He said he wanted to give Jesus the perfect gift but Barney’s list didn’t have anything good on it. So, Harold decided to give the unperfect gift.” “Well,” Daisy said wanting to know, “What was the unperfect gift that he gave?” “Himself!” The girls all said in unison. “Harold gave himself.”

     “What?!” Daisy shouted out in surprise. “That's right.” Tracy said, “He decided to give himself to Jesus. And he wasn’t going to try to be good on his own anymore.” “Since when did Harold ever try to be good?” Daisy injected, “Do you think he was serious?” “I doubt it.” Stella sneered. “I sure hope so.' Tracy added, “But I wouldn't hold my breath. But then, he was well behaved last night. Makes you wonder.” “Wonder indeed.” Daisy said and then got up to do some more shopping.

     It's that time of year when we think about gifts both giving and getting. It's that time of year when we should also be thinking of the greatest gift and the greatest gift giver. James 1:17 says Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (ESV) Of all the gifts that God has given, the greatest gift He gave was His Son. John 3:16 says 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)

     Too many times this greatest of gifts is rejected and even attacked but not always. No, I'm not going to look at the Wise men and their giving of gifts but a couple of men, who like Harold, gave themselves to God.
  • The first was an Ethiopian - Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go over and join this chariot." So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. … Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?" And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. Acts 8:26-38 (ESV) He was reading scripture but couldn't understand it. Philip was sent to explain. He gave himself to God.
  • The second was A Jailer - The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here." And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Acts 16:22-33 (ESV) He put Paul and Silas in Jail but they kept singing. He tried to kill himself when he thought they had escaped. He heard good new and gave himself to God
     We are told:
  • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (ESV)
  • For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8 (ESV)
  • And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15 (ESV)
  • For he says, "In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2 (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • What kind of gifts has God given you?
  • What have you given God?

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