December 1st, 2017

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
 
Christmas is a time of giving gifts as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. God gave us a gift of His Son Jesus in the flesh. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God gave us His Son so He could give us eternal life. The Bible tells us that eternal life is a free gift from God. There is something interesting about this gift, not only is it not earned it is also not automatic. We need to receive it and share it with others.
 
This brings to memory a few years ago. I met a lady in her seventies. She knew I was traveling to West Africa. She asked if I could do something for her. She went on to say that she was unable to travel long distances, so would I do her a favor. She gave me money and asked if I could give it to someone in Africa who I felt was in need of some help. I gladly accepted and said I will do so.
 
One evening I took a stroll and came across a family who was living under a tree. I sat with them and found out that they had lived under this tree for years and it was their home. I asked them what do you do when it rains? They said we have a tarp and we spread it across the branches and sit under it. When the rain passes they go back to their meager living. So I gave them a portion of the gift given to me by the lady. They were so amazed. I explained to them the gift was not from me but from a lady who made sure it was a gift I carried to give to them.
 
At my next stop there was a family of three who were living next to an abandoned building. Again I explained to them the gift was from someone other than me. I just passed the gift to them. I had the joy of distributing to four families who were surprised and tearfully rejoiced for the free gifts.
 
This reminds me of the gift God gave us through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus trusts me to take the gift and give it away to the people who are desperate, needy, heart broken and to those who do not know there is a God who provides peace, joy, love and eternal life.
 
In the above story God used me as an instrument and extension of Him. The joy and pleasure was all mine.
 
This Christmas season let us ponder what are we giving to the needy and desperate. God would love to see us be the instruments to bring others to the living and loving knowledge of Jesus’ sacrifice.
 
God was willing to squeeze His awesome greatness into human flesh–Baby Jesus– so we would enjoy all we have.
 
Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
 
Hope you will have a wonderful Christmas season. Merry Christmas from the Samuel Family.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Shaker