FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


Leave a comment

The Perfect Gift

Tis the season.

To be jolly, the song says, but to go shopping for gifts is what the merchants (and my junk email box) say.  Each morning I awaken to find  announcements of one more sale, 20 additional percent off, another great buy and a last opportunity for a deal not to be missed.

Tis also the season to be stressed as you search for the “perfect” gift.

The perfect gift?  You know, the one that best expresses the giver while meeting a need or desire of the receiver.

It can’t be one sided.  Both the needs of the giver and the receiver must be met for the gift to be perfect.

My Sweetie opened his Christmas present last night.  Yeah, Christmas is six days away.  This seems to happen to us every year.  Sometimes it has been because I couldn’t wait to give him the gift.  Other times it has been because of schedules, travel and just other things that came up.  This year, it was because I had a perfect gift for him.

Now let me just say, it wasn’t what many would think a romantic gift.  It wasn’t a super unique gift.  It wasn’t an extravagant gift.  It was something simple.  But it was perfect because it expressed the giver (me) – my attention to his needs, my desire to see him happy, my recognition of his practical nature…  The gift also met a desire of the receiver (my Sweetie).

The gift?  His favorite hair tonic.

When you stop laughing, keep reading.

He has used this certain hair tonic ALL of his adult life.  His dad used this hair tonic.  This tonic has become increasingly difficult to find.  A bottle that used to sell for $8 when I first met him, was up for bid on ebay.  Bidding began at $35 per bottle!  He said a bottle used to sell for a couple of dollars!

Well, I had found a couple of bottles back in July when he was just about out.  We had visited stores, scoured the Internet and contacted the manufacturer.  I even visited a little country drug store and had the clerk contact their vendor.  It seems that those two bottles (found on Amazon) were going to be the last two bottles on this earth.  And then, I decided to search ebay one more time.  I found someone who had a few bottles at a ridiculous price.  I emailed this seller.  We went back and forth.  I made an offer to buy a case if he would give me a reasonable price.  I begged, pleaded and propositioned.  And, finally, we struck a deal – for 10 bottles!

So that was the gift.  A year’s supply of his favorite hair tonic.

So why did he open the gift early – and where am I going with this story?

First, two weeks ago he told me the two bottles from July were just about empty.  He asked if I thought I could find him some more tonic.  I laughed to myself knowing that I was sitting on a case, had been since July.  Last evening he asked if I had found any tonic because he probably had a day’s worth.  I said, “No.”  He asked, “Did you forget?”  I said, “I didn’t look.”  He seemed confused by this response.  (Probably because this would be the first time I didn’t respond to a request.  Smile.)  After a few minutes of silence, he restated his plight; he was almost out.  He had turned the bottles upright to drain every drop.  He was sure I, the Internet Queen, would have found some by now.

So, I gave him the nicely wrapped Christmas present.

And when he opened it, you would have thought it was keys to a new Ford F250 (his favorite truck)!

It was the perfect gift.  It expressed my love; it met his need and desire!

Where am I going with this long story?

My gift wasn’t really PERFECT.  But there is a perfect gift given by a perfect God.

God gave His Son, Jesus, as gift to us, a sinful world.

Jesus, perfectly expresses the giver, God.  “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…”  (Hebrews 1:3, NIV)  “He is the image of the invisible God…” (Colossians 1:15 ESV)

This gift, Jesus, perfectly meets our need.  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 ESV)  “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence…”  (2 Peter 1:3 ESV)

In fact, our deepest needs can only be met through Jesus.  He is the hope that will not disappoint and the hope that is renewed every day –  “His compassions never fail. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Jesus is the perfect gift given by our perfect, loving God.

Have you unwrapped His gift?

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Walking

I walk.

I don’t run.

I’m not entirely convinced that running is that good for you.  Too many ‘things’ that wiggle, jiggle, flap and bounce.

Walking, though, is a good thing.

But walking is a funny thing, too.

I’ve been walking in a quest to be healthier.  It’s funny how I now notice other people walking.  Kinda like the red car theory – you tell people not to think about red cars and suddenly, they’re every where.  But not really; they were always there.  You just begin to notice them more.  Same thing if you buy a red car.  Suddenly it seems you see red cars at every turn.

Back to this walking thing.  Some people are what we call pigeon-toed.  (The correct term is in-toeing.)  Others are slew-footed (a terrible term we used as children,  but the correct term is out-toeing.)  Still others walk with limps, skips and hops.  My neighbor takes three steps, stops, stands and takes three more.  He moves very slowly, but I applaud his continuous effort.

As Christians we are called to walk, not to run.   As a matter of fact, we read in Ecclesiastes 9:11 that the race is not to the swift.  But we read also in Colossians 1:10 that we are to walk worthy of the Lord.

That latter Scripture is one that I’ve been pondering.

What does that look like – walking worthy?  The Scripture continues and says we not only are to walk worthy, but to please Him in all respects.  It is that simple three letter word “all” that gave me the most insight.  First, let’s get it clear that we can never earn God’s love and this Scripture is not about us trying to walk in a way that earns us anything or in a way that proves that we are worth or deserving of anything.  It also does not mean that we walk so that God becomes obligated to acknowledge us or that God is somehow enriched because of us – in the same way that a skilled surgeon is “worth” a lot to a hospital or a knowledgeable leader is “worth” a lot to a school.

Remember that the Scripture not only said to walk worthy of the Lord but to walk to please Him in all respects.  Hebrews 11:6 teaches us that without faith it is impossible to please Him. Consider these Scriptures together, and walking worthy means to walk – act, behave, exist in a way that shows how worthy and gracious our God is.  Walking worthy means walking by faith.

Let’s go a little further.

Walking is, for most of us, an everyday act.  Whether walking to work, walking in our yard or walking around our house.  And because it is such a common act, I believe Colossians is telling us that in all our acts, all our doing, all our being, all our thinking, all our speaking, all our choosing…, we are to exhibit our faith in God.  This is walking worthy to please in all respects.

If you are not careful, you can struggle with Scriptures such as Colossians 1:10, so let’s talk about what walking worthy does not mean.  It doesn’t mean walking perfectly.  As we walk worthy, in faith we walk in step with the Lord and in the shadow of His grace remembering that He alone is worthy.

The walking that I’ve been doing to better my health is not for the faint of heart.  My friend and I walk miles – one, two, three.  We’ve not made a continuous four mile walk yet, though I know that some days we have walked that and more in totality of steps.  We’ve walked in the hot summer heat and humidity.  We’ve walked in the rain.  We’ve walked mornings and evenings.  It’s not always fun, but it is for our good.

Walking worthy is not for the faint of heart but it, too, is for our good.  The really good news is that we do not walk alone.  God has sent His Holy Spirit to be our Helper and to walk along side us (John 14:26).  The same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave enables us and equips us to walk worthy of His call.

Finally, understand that just as our human gaits are different – remember in-toeing, out-toeing – so our Christian walks may appear different.  Do not compare your walk to another’s.  Colossians 2:6 says, “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk with Him.”  I believe that Scripture tells us two things:  (1)  “As you have received” meaning, “Now that you have received,” you are to walk with the Lord, but also (2) “As you have received” meaning “The unique gift He has given you guides you” as you walk with the Lord.  The latter I read much as I read Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:4 that we, as Christians, are given different gifts.  We are given different walks, but all are walks of faith and all are to walk pleasing to the Lord.

How’s your walk?

THIS WEEK reflect on your personal walk.  Are you walking worthy?  Just as you need to prepare for a physical walk (proper shoes, right outfit, water…), you must prepare to walk worthy to please the Lord in all respects.  The first preparation is a surrendered heart and relationship with Jesus Christ.  If you do not know Christ as your personal Savior, visit the Salvation page (tab at the top of this page).  Pray to receive Christ as ruler of your Life, and He will send His Holy Spirit to walk along side you.

If you are saved, reflect to determine if anything is hindering your walk.  We choose walking paths that are smooth and obstacle free.  Nothing like a twisted ankle because you stepped on an uneven surface, rock or twig.  There an be obstacles in our spiritual walks, too, and sometimes we place them; sometimes we embrace them – addiction to television, busyness, overextending ourselves, video games…  Identify and address your obstacles.

Lastly, reflect on the uniqueness of your walk.  Are you trying to walk in someone else’s shoes?  Trying to be like your pastor?  Trying to be like a television evangelist?  Trying to be like someone you have deemed great?  Walk the way and in the way that God’s Holy Spirit calls and leads you.  If you are not sure of or do not understand your walk, pray and ask God to reveal His will for you.