Posts Tagged ‘gift’

170317Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth. There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree. If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:1-12, NRSV)

Why did God give the people His laws?

As a burden to over come?

Rules to win His love?

Remember that God gave the Laws to the people after He said they were His chosen poeple. The Law is not a way to win God’s favor. It is a guide to help us live as His chosen people.

The Law and the way He guides us is a gift to help us live the life He has prepared for us, not to hold us back or to give us something to overcome.

Live in the life He gave you as freedom not as burden.

170315What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. (Romans 4:1-5, 13-17, NRSV)

Why did Abraham get what God gave him?

Did he earn it?

Did he work for it?

Or was it a gift?

The scripture tells us what Paul quotes to the Romans above, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” God told Abram what He was going to do and Abram believed Him, and because of that Abraham was gifted and blessed by God.

It was not Abraham’s doing it was all God.

We can not earn God’s love, it is a gift freely given. Embrace it and live into it. Working out His love into the world.

170119Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God. (1 Peter 1:13-21, NRSV)

We were not purchased with perishable things, like gold or silver, but with the precious blood of the sacrificial lamb, Jesus Christ our Lord.

So live a life worthy of the price paid for you. Set your minds not on things of the past, or of a sinful nature, but follow the example set for us by Jesus.

Live as a holy being, set apart by the lamb, to be a light to the nations.

Live your life through Him, who gave Himself for you.

160628O LORD, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
(Psalm 8, NRSV)

think about it for a moment…

God, the creator of the cosmos, made everything around us. All of the things on earth, earth, and all the microscopic things. God also created all of the stars in the heavens, and all of the wonders of space. All of the things we know exist and all the things we have yet to discover.

And with all of those things, God still cares for you.

And made you a little lower than God. We have been given dominion over the earth and all that is on it/in it. We get to be in relations with the creator of everything.

That my friends is a powerful, wonderful gift!

160626Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:31-36, NRSV)

The Jews are correct they are descendants of Abraham and included in the covenant people of God, but all of them were slaves to the Egyptians. Now maybe not them, but their ancestors were, so the people of Israel were slaves.

But maybe they are doing what we all need to do.

Have you ever said, “God can’t forgive the things I’ve done.” Or “God couldn’t love me because of where I’ve been.”

We hang onto the past and allow it to wreck our present.

The past is behind us, and can not be changed, the future is in front of us and has yet to be written.

But here today, Christ has freed you and given you a life to live that proclaims His love to the world.

Are you going to look back, or live in Jesus?

Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money! You have no part or share in this, for your heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and the chains of wickedness.” Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may happen to me.” Now after Peter and John had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, proclaiming the good news to many villages of the Samaritans. (Acts 8:14-25, NRSV)

Let me give you silver for the ability to lay on hands and give the Holy Spirit!

Can you buy the gift of God? Baptism gives you a name from God, but not the Spirit and here we see the Spirit comes through the laying on of hands.

This is why in our baptism service, after the baptism, the baptized is marked with the cross of Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit forever. Because John tells us that you must be born of water and of Spirit.

But this is not a gift you can buy or force. The Spirit moves as it will, and we do not control it.

So accept the gift, but don’t try to force it. Let the Spirit be in control.

 

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (John 14:15-27, NRSV)

I do not give as the world gives…

I admit when I read this passage, this time, I thought of the term Indian giver. So then I did a little research on the term Indian giver. Merriam-Webster defines Indian giver as: “a person who gives something to another and then takes it back or expects an equivalent in return.” They also say that the term is sometimes offensive. Here are a couple other links for some reading on the term, one from NPR and one from Wikipedia.

But how else does the world give? I learned in classes in school about systems of society set up on the you give me a gift, and I then have to give you something just as nice if not nicer. When we talk about grace being a gift, what do we have to give God for that kind of gift?

But God does not give as the world does. He is not going to come back later and take the gift away, nor does He expect anything in response to the gift He has given. Be that the gift of grace, or the gift of the Holy Spirit.

So accept the gift of the Spirit living in you and leading you through life, and proclaim Jesus to the world. So that all may see His good works and give glory to our Father in Heaven!