The relationship of Christmas with gift-giving may be bemoaned by many, but the connection is a biblical one. I am not referring to the crazed run through the mall in late December or the White Elephant gift exchange at the office party, but the concept of generously and freely giving gifts because God gave us his Son to redeem us; this is the association that cannot and should not be avoided. The Bible says that our love for each other, and thus our love for God can be measured, at least in part, by our generosity and the willingness with which we give tangible gifts to one another (see 1 John 3:16-17).
Being the targets of God's love necessarily implants a desire to be the kind of person who meets the needs of others. Knowing what it is to be loved by God is an experience that the Bible says should drive us to give as freely as we have received. A redeemed heart will find increasing satisfaction in reaching out, even at great personal cost, to enrich and enhance the lives of others through the giving of time, talent and resources. So while the world may be giving gifts for all the wrong reasons (and complaining about it a good part of the time) we can piggy-back on this "gift-giving season" and give to help, benefit and encourage as a reflection of Christ and for the glory of God.
-- Pastor Mike
The Christmas season is in full swing, and before we know it, 2015 will be upon us. For some, this flip of the calendar goes by without much thought. Others make big commitments for personal change, only to abandon them a few weeks down the road. Whatever your goals for the New Year, it’s wise for followers of Jesus to use this natural transition in the calendar to remember our God-given calling. Why are we here? What is our purpose? Those are big questions, and knowing the answer will set us up for success, no matter what the future holds.
Beyond any other goal, make 2015 a year where you grow to know Christ better. In the coming weeks, think about specific ways you can accomplish this goal. How will you be intentional about running hard after your calling in the coming year? When you give a gift of any amount we would like to send you a book by John MacArthur called A Year of Prayer: Approaching God with an Open Heart Week After Week. This book provides an excellent opportunity to grow in your relationship with God in 2015! It provides a prayer for each week that is thoughtfully and scripturally crafted to express adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and petitions to our Heavenly Father.
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