By Series - Presents

Presents

Friday

December 27, 2013

The ultimate present

Read

 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Think

The ultimate PRESENT is the PRESENCE of Jesus. It’s a gift that we can’t earn and one that we don’t deserve. Each of us, if given what we fully deserve, would find ourselves eternally separated from God. But God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to live perfectly, die sacrificially, and rise bodily so that we can live forever with Him.

As Christmas shifts to the rearview mirror of your mind, make sure that you don’t lose focus of what this season means. Instead, live a life that reflects God’s plan. And use each day as an opportunity to thank Him and to show others the power of the ultimate present.

Pray

Thank God for His ultimate present, which is His presence. Pray for chances each day to show others the power and potential of that gift.

Act

Write down on a piece of paper, “The ultimate PRESENT is the PRESENCE of Christ!” Post it somewhere prominent so that you continually stay focused on the meaning of Christmas!

Thursday

December 26, 2013

Getting what we don’t deserve

Read

“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...” Romans 3:23

Think

Yesterday, we opened gifts from friends and family. And most likely, we opened a gift or two from Santa. But have you ever considered the fact that Santa only gives good gifts to good little boys and girls. After all, the song says, “He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake.” But that’s a major difference between Santa and our Savior!

Santa’s gifts are based on behavior; the Savior’s gift is based on grace.

God’s standard is perfection. His holiness is something that we can never live up to. But the great news is that although good isn’t good enough, God is God enough! We don’t have to earn God’s gift of grace. We simply have to acknowledge it, and receive it. Have you received the ultimate gift?

Pray

Thank God for the gift of eternal life that He has offered to you. Ask Him to help you understand that gift more and more each day, so that you can learn to fully appreciate it. And pray for chances to help others understand it as well.

Act

Remind yourself daily that being good is not what earns you the gift that God offers. Don’t try to earn what He has done. Instead, live a life of thanks and humility for what He offers you.

Wednesday

December 25, 2013

The Christmas Story

Read

Luke 2:1-20
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Tuesday

December 24, 2013

God stepped down from heaven

Read

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Emmanuel (which means ‘God with us’).” Matthew 1:23

Think

Christmas is a time when we remember the fact that God stepped down from heaven and became a man. Jesus didn’t settle for an illusion of identification. He fully and completely understands what we deal with every day, because He has been where we are. And He is there with us in whatever we face in our lives today.

That’s another difference between Santa and our Savior. Santa’s presence is limited; the Savior’s presence is unlimited.

As you celebrate the birth of Christ, remember that He didn’t just stay in the manger. Instead, He crawled out of the crib. He became a man. He lived perfectly. He died sacrificially. He rose bodily, defeating the grave. And today, He is alive and with you in every situation you face.

Pray

Thank God for the gift of His only Son, Jesus Christ. Thank Him for His willingness to fully identify with us, so that we don’t have to live without Him.

Act

As you face a situation that you think no one understands – whether it is stress during the Christmas season, temptation that seems unbearable, or some other situation – remind yourself that “No one understands…like Jesus!”

Monday

December 23, 2013

What We Really Need

Read

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace… Ephesians 1:7

Think

When you think of Christmas, what do you think of first? For many people, this time of year is a time for gifts and presents. We tend to focus on the presents, because our culture has Santa-ized Christmas. But the reality is, there are some major differences between Santa and the Savior.

For one, Santa's presents are what we want; the Savior's presents are what we need!

Jesus offers us so much more than the temporary things we want. He sees past our temporary desires and offers us the gift of eternal forgiveness, which is our greatest need. As you think about this Christmas, make sure you are focused on what God has provided for your needs.

Pray

Thank God for providing the thing that you most needed – forgiveness. If you haven't accepted that forgiveness, you can do that today with this prayer.

Act

As you prepare the presents for Christmas morning, say a prayer of thanks each time you wrap one. Make sure to keep your focus on what God has provided for you.