Tag Archives: Christmas

Throwback Thursday: The Gift

THE GIFT

 

And she brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths,

And laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7 (NKJV)

 

As we wrap our gifts this Christmas, focus on the gift that Mary wrapped in swaddling cloths, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the true gift of salvation to all who repent (Acts 2:38). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23). This gift of eternal life is more precious than anything we can wrap in shiny silver or gold paper. It is the gift that rescues us from eternal damnation. While Jesus Christ spoke to the woman at the well, He said, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10).

Even the faith we place in Christ and the grace by which God saves us are gifts. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8).

Salvation is so much more than eternal life in heaven. A Christian is never alone. God is always there providing for us, protecting us, and purifying us. He hears our prayers and calms our fears. His love for us is without measure.

Christmas is a very busy time. Make time for Christ this Christmas season. There was no room for Him at the inn when He was born, but Christ must be a priority in the life of a Christian. Praise Him and meditate on the excellent gift that He has given you.

Heavenly Father,

We thank You for the gift of salvation, the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. We praise Your holy name! Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read these verses and notice what each one says about the “gift of God”: Acts 8:20,

Rom. 5:15-18, James 1:17.

 HIKING THE TRAIL

As you find yourself in conversations about gifts, even at the check-out, tell people about the gift of God – Jesus.

 Copyright 2012 Carolyn Dale Newell.

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Throwback Thursday: Silencing Doubt

 

SILENCING DOUBT

By Carolyn Dale Newell

But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”

Luke 1:20 NKJV

Do you ever find it difficult to believe God will fulfill His promises? Do you struggle to trust Him to provide when the bank account is empty? Have you stopped believing He will heal?

You are not alone. Even Zacharias, a devout priest, could not believe the words of Gabriel concerning the promised birth of John the Baptist.

Zacharias and Elizabeth had longed for a child. They are the New Testament Abraham and Sarah.

Gabriel appeared before Zacharias as he performed his priestly duties in the temple. He told Zacharias his prayers would be answered with the birth of a son, but not just any child. He was the forerunner for the Messiah.

Zacharias wanted proof. He doubted Gabriel’s news. They were old, and Elizabeth was well past her childbearing years. The angel reminded the priest he was Gabriel, the archangel. He had been sent by God to bring these glad tidings, but Zacharias responded in unbelief. Gabriel informed Zacharias he would be mute because of his disbelief. Doubt was silenced, not likely what Zacharias had in mind as proof.

Mary received a visit from the same angel. She responded in faith, not in doubt. Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to the Son of God. Such astonishing news, but she believed and rejoiced.

Both Zacharias and Mary were fearful at the sight of an angel. Gabriel encouraged both of them not to fear.

Mary’s question was one of curiosity. How could she give birth as a virgin?

A wise old priest failed to trust the promise from God, but a young teenage girl’s faith encompassed much more.

Gabriel revealed Elizabeth’s news to Mary, because they were kin. Mary journeyed to the house of Elizabeth and Zacharias. Imagine the dinner table talk between faithful Mary and Elizabeth. Two women, in the same family, were selected by God to give birth to special little boys.

Zacharias’ speech did not return until after the child was born, and it was time to name him. Obviously, Zacharias had communicated Gabriel’s message to his wife, because she knew to name the baby John.

Without a doubt, doubt dies hard. Like poison ivy, it continues to come back. We are children of God residing in bodies of flesh. Bodies prone to disease. Bodies prone to injury. Bodies prone to sin, and bodies prone to doubt.

In a promise-breaking world, doubt comes naturally, yet, God has never broken a promise. His timing may not match ours, but God always breaks through. Silence doubt before doubt silences you.

Doubt mutes our testimonies. It is an affront to God, our heavenly Father. The inability to believe hinders us from encouraging others. Stand firm on the truth in Luke 1:37: “For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Luke 1:5-45.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Shun every thought of doubt as soon as it enters your mind. Avoid people who cannot believe, and surround yourself with those who believe all things are possible with God.

Copyright 2017 Carolyn Dale Newell.