Last night I finished up my Christmas shopping. That's right December 23rd at about 8:30pm. Actually that is about 13 or 14 hours earlier than I finished my Christmas shopping last year so I'm getting better. But out looking around last night I found myself thinking about gifts and the tradition of giving gifts at Christmas. You know, you hear it all started by some guy named St. Nick who took some toys down to an orphanage or by the wise men who brought gifts to baby Jesus. But I'm convinced that the reason gift giving began is because we received the greatest gift ever imaginable that first Christmas.
We got Jesus. We got rescue.
His life was a demonstration of how to walk with God. He was loving, fierce, compassionate, devoted to his Father, passionate about his mission. He was the greatest man to ever walk the earth. He came to heal, to restore, to encourage, to bless and to fight for our freedom!
His death on the cross and ressurection 3 days later paid the price for our sin and paved the way for us to be saved. Romans 6:11 says we are now dead to sin and alive in Christ.
By his ascension into heaven we were given the Holy Spirit as our counsel. We were given authority over satan and we are now seated with Christ. (Eph 2:6, Eph 1:20-22)
Indeed, we were given the greatest gift ever conceived. Have you accepted it?
I know that for most of us who enjoy spending time in the outdoors we don't really need to question whether or not God exists. I think most of us deep down have that understanding. The sunrise and sunsets, the moon phases, the tides, the wind and thunderstorms. The beauty and ruggedness of the mountains, the changing seasons.......The life cycle of a salmon, hatched in a tiny creek high in the mountains of Idaho. How does this creature make its way out to the ocean, spend its life 50-60 miles off the shore of Alaska and then find its way back to the very same creek high in the mountains of Idaho 4 years later? There is a design, and that design points to The Designer. We know that down deep if we are honest with ourselves.
And if we are honest with ouselves we will also know that we have a deep longing for life as it should be. As it was meant to be. We were created for more than this life. God has put eternity in our hearts. (Eccl 3:11) Nothing that we grasp for will fill that void short of a relationship with God and the promise that it is all coming.....soon. And it is unfathonable. (I'll talk more about heaven next time.)
We need to accept the gift.
I don't need to tell you that there is an ending. For all of us. Have you faced this? Even if we do manage to find a little of heaven on earth, if we are some of the few find love and happiness and moments of fulfillment.... I hope you do experience that, but you cannot hang on to it. Your health will not last forever. You will get old and frail. Your friends and loved ones will slip from your grasp one by one. Your work will never be finished and just like everyone who has gone before you, you will die.
Then what? Is that the end? Isn't that hopeless! "Life is a tale, told by and idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing". It is tragic how many people satan has led to believe that.
So do you want to accept the greatest gift ever given?
It's not difficult to do and there is no magic to it. God is real and He hears the cries of an honest heart. So pray something like this:
Dear God, I know you are real and I know I need you. There is an emptiness inside of me that I need you to come and fill. Please forgive me for the ways that I've tried to fill the void with other things. I know now that I need you and you a lone. I admit that I am a sinner and that I am in need of your forgiveness. Please send your Holy Spirit to counsel me and to lead me into a deeper relationship with you. I don't really know all that I am suppossed to do but I do know that I need to turn my life over to you and let you lead me. And so I accept your free gift of salvation and I claim that you are now king of my life.
Thank you Father. Amen.
If you said this prayer or your version of it. Congratulations! Eternal life begins today and let me welcome you to the family! All of heaven is throwing a party in your honor right now. You are saved, your future is secure! But you will want to keep moving forward in your new life in Christ. Satan will come for you now and try to get you to believe all of kinds of lies to keep you from becoming fully alive and to prevent you from becoming big time trouble for him. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org We would like to get you access to some more information, be praying for you and try and suppoprt you in anyway we can as you begin an exciting new life in Christ!
Likewise, if you read this and you have more questions, contact us. We would love to be a resource and explain things in greater detail. Don't hesitate, please!