Tuesday's Tip to bENCOURAGEd...
St. Nicklaus filled stockings with valuable treasures to the delight of others. Tales of his generosity are legendary as well as his love for Jesus. Those stories tell us that many families placed stockings outside their windows in hopes of receiving valuable gifts that would help them break free from the bondage of poverty. Tomorrow, during Christmas, people around the world will mimic this practice as they stuff stockings filled with tiny treasures to the delight of their loved ones. On Christmas morning the tradition of countless hearts being touched by the emptying of over sized socks will yet again be repeated, but what if, this year we chose to fill a stocking first.
What if instead of hanging our stockings expecting presents to our delight we were able to fill someone's stocking with a priceless treasure?
Imagine walking into a massive room filled with the light of a giant fireplace that casts no shadows. There above the glow is a beautiful mantel adorned with the biggest pieces of gold and surrounded by gems that far exceed any price tag known to man. Among the shimmer of jewels hangs a huge, but simple handwoven stocking like none you have ever seen before. It is interesting, yet not fancy. You begin to notice no lacy or expensive accents added, just a deep red cloth with sturdy stitching. As you approach, you realize the magnitude of giving it would take to fill such a thing. And then, there in the warmest, most coziest of places you have ever experienced, for the first time you feel your heart become complete. You realize the peace that you feel is because you know exactly what to put in that stocking. You know why that stocking was nailed to that place safely above that fire. You begin to walk towards it not in fear that you are not worthy to be apart of something so big, but in faith that it is big enough for you.
Now standing directly in front of it you see for the first time a name written on the pure white portion on its cuff. "Your Father God". Amazed - your eyes pan down into the scarlet fabric section of the stocking. You notice a multitude of names embroidered. As your eyes scan the ever going list you see an empty space and notice....just enough room there for your name too.
God is so in love with us that He gave His most precious gift Jesus to us. On the first Christmas God wrapped His gift in swaddling clothes in the most unlikely of places. Later, He presented His gift to us hung on some wood draped in the color red. We may not know why He did such a sacrificial act or how the blood of His only Son could cover all of our sins, but all we must do is believe, confess, and declare that He did this for us.
Some would turn away in shame of seeing their own name hanging on such an elaborate hearth. Others might be intrigued but take one look at the fire below the hanging fabric and lack the trust to crawl into what seems to be an illogical trapping. But there will be some who know just what to do and jump into a Savior's covering even while trembling surrendering to the lightness of being suspended yet secure. For when the Father arrives He will know which gifts are His, because they will be the one's covered by His stocking. It is is not that He doesn't care about those who turned away. Of course He cares, He put a place for each one of their names on the stocking. He is a gentleman and He will only take the presents that belong to Him. Those treasures that are found within His property.
St. Nicklaus knew the power of giving, because his heart had received the greatest gift of all. On this Christmas I ask you, have you received that gift? Have you become more than just a person trying to work for something or have you given into becoming "a work in progress"? It is the thought that counts, but is it? We can think about giving someone we love something very special, (not even expensive, simply a nice gift from the heart), but when it comes right down to it if we do not take action then it remains just a thought.
In our everyday life we know that thoughts without action lead to empty promises and regrets.
The most delightful present that we could give this or any time of year is our lives, to our Heavenly Father. The great thing about giving ourselves to Him is that we do not have to come all wrapped in a nice neat package. We can come just as we are. We are just what He has always had in mind as the perfect gift.
If you have never given your life to Jesus or if you do not know after you die where you would go; as a gift forever in the arms of a loving Father, it is not too late to give the best gift of all...YOU!
Simply pray this prayer out loud, reference (Romans 10:9-10):
"Father God, I have sinned and come short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23). But I believe in my heart that you love me and sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for me, (Romans 5:8). And I accept Jesus, your gift to me, as my Savior, (Romans 8:23). I turn from sin and Satan and choose to give my life to you."
If you prayed this prayer declare that Jesus is your Lord out loud to someone and then find a Bible based church to grow in your relationship with Jesus! There is nothing more encouraging than knowing that you are God's gift and to receive His Son as a gift to you. bENCOURAGEd to share this message with others this Christmas and ALL year long!
One way that you can share the love of God is through this fun Christmas Letter Challenge...
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Let us bENCOURAGEd - be Inspired, be Productive, be Fulfilled this Christmas as we do something “Creatively Specific” together! I am so excited to share this with you!