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Archive for the tag “Gift”

Gifts

red-christmas-gifts

Gift giving has been a tradition that stems back to the beginning of time.

It used to be in forms of blessings, then moved to both blessings and material goods.

When material goods take on the form of blessing, then the gifts really come alive.  I remember when my wife and I were expecting our first child.  We really had nothing.  I served as a youth pastor and my wife just left her job to become a full-time mom and we really had nothing – no crib, no dresser, not a single piece of baby furniture in the house.  My brother-in-law and his wife were self-employed and they had nothing, but decided to give anyway – unbeknownst to us.  It was for them the right thing to do.  He shared the story with us sometime around the middle of July.  He had to tell us because they were not Christians but felt God blessed them for giving.  He felt that way because his business tripled in the early spring from what he had made the entire year before.

He learned how giving can be such a blessing.

Gifts are significant messages from God.  We miss them sometimes because gifts usual come with a giver and every giver has some sort of history.  That history can mess things up or can create a sense of honour and awe.

I find it amazing that the past few days we are rediscovering prophecies of Jesus coming, hundreds of years before His arrival, and they came true.  He could not have fabricated the fulfilment of these on His own.  Zechariah mentioned that people would come from afar to bring Him gifts.  Gifts befitting a King, a High Priest.  He was told that the significance was not just in the gifts, but in the fulfillment of the prophecy.  Since God’s Word is true and He has never lied, it is our kind reminder to carefully obey the Word of God in our lives.

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Self-consciousness of integrity

Imagine yourself stepping back out of leadership for a moment.

You are now no longer leading, you have officially resigned.  There is no better time than this to look in the eyes of your followers and be absolutely aware of your integrity.

So why wait for such a moment?  Let’s see what our integrity looks like right now.

Have I ever oppressed anyone?  There are so many ways, so many methods and so many reasons to do this.  How many of us can be in right standing under this banner?

Have I ever defrauded someone?  I have been experiencing and seeing more people defrauded of their character.  You can defraud someone of their character, never mind their experience and giftedness.

Have I accumulated wealth for myself?  This is tricky.  I have seen individuals in the charitable world who are doing amazing things receive amazing amounts of personal gifts – I am talking seven digits – and they keep the gifts as personal because it was given to them personally.  How can you not see that the gift was given for the anointing they saw in your life to do ministry?  Why would you not take the gifts and give them back to the ministry that God has given to you to lead?

Have I obtained favours for my friends?  Another tricky one because it is so absolutely easy to give a supply job to a friend as opposed to a stranger.

Have I ever provided for a needy dependent out of the public purse?  Can almost spin anything these days couldn’t we?

Have I ever accepted a bribe?  Again, immediate answer may be no, but think about it.  Favours given require favours in return and if at anytime you knew you needed to go this way, but had to go that way in order to return favour to someone – that is a clear sign of a bribe taking place.  It is so hard to understand that all gifts should be declined or when received shared with everyone and to ensure the proper thanks is given publically so that no personal hold over our lives is possible.

You know as well as I that when one steps out of leadership and another fills the role we vacated, for the next six months, the new leader will be telling everyone the mistakes you had made and how much work is involved in righting the ship.  It just seems to flow that way.  I pray that I will never do that as I move from one position to another.

Lastly, I would prefer to have God examine my heart in my prayer closet.  Feel the awkwardness of my own lack of integrity, ask for forgiveness, move forward in the power of that forgiveness and know without a shadow of doubt that if everything is right between me and Him – then I am good to go.

 

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Preparing a Present

Presents are wonderful and beautiful.

There are many reasons to give a present and I would like to talk about one reason in particular – giving a present in order to pacify someone, gain their good will, or to avert someones wrath and displeasure.

Understanding of course that we have already prayed to God, committed ourself to Him, and left all with Him.

Yet I think it is proper to make use of all prudential means and methods for our ability to bless the relationships we have and I believe that  God frequently works in and by means made use of our ability to prepare and give a present to those we have lost fellowship with.

We have made God our friend by a prayer, and are prudently endeavouring to make another our friend by a present.  Even though we have prayed to God to deliver us from the hand of someone who is angry with us at the moment – our prayer does not make us presume upon God’s mercy, without the use of means.

I also understand the humble attitude such an expression is for we know that when we give a gift, the respect expressed is estimated by the quality and amount of the gift.

What am I driving at?

Let’s take my relationship with my spouse.

I really mess up – and the reasons are too numerous to mention.  Saying sorry works x amount of times.  Doing extra chores works x amount of times. Writing a letter works x amount of times.  There is one constant, undeniable expression that has worked for 27 years of marriage that has worked every time – a gift (along with a short, hand-written love note describing why you are giving a gift).

Ahhh, but the skill, creativity and timing of preparing and presenting such a gift comes only from experience.  In this one case, cost is a factor – not so much in how much I spend, but in how beautiful, unique and special the gift is with as little funds spent as possible.

I am saying that God is intimate with us and we trust Him for everything.  That doesn’t mean we sit back and say God has forgiven me and everyone else should too.  There has to be times where we take what we have in our possessions and give from them out of respect or love for the relationships we have around us.

Let’s find ways of preparing and giving gifts and see what happens to our relationships.

 

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