Let’s Remember to Celebrate This Christmas Gift All Year Long

Babies are One of the Biggest Little Gifts There Are

“A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and authority will be on his shoulders. He will be named, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 CEB version.

This sounds like a lot of gifts in a little baby doesn’t it.

Anyone who has held a newborn has experienced the wonder of this new little human. I remember when my first son was born. When I held his head in the palm of my hand, his feet came to the inside of my elbow. It was mind blowing how God had given me this present.

We have seen how language is always changing. A medical example of this is that in some places now babies are called “obstetric products”. I’m sorry, but I don’t think this is going to work for me. I don’t think a baby is something that has been manufactured or refined by a doctor’s office.

Babies are little human miracles. They are gifts from God. Babies are amazing.

This is especially true for the baby born in the manger of Bethlehem.

Christmas has come and gone for another year. It’s easy to get caught up in the season and then we move on to the next big thing once all the presents have been unwrapped. After all, there’s a life to live and we’ve got to get back to it.

Just like any Christmas gift, if we don’t use it, it’s no good to us.

The Baby Jesus is the same. If we don’t use Him, He is no good to us.

In times when we are down or sad, a child’s hug can make us feel better. It helps us to put things in the proper perspective.

When Winston Churchill came to America asking for help with the war, it was Christmas time. He was extremely busy meeting with people. He was staying in the White House and, at the same time, the daughter of one of the President’s advisors was staying there.

It was Christmas and after Winston had gone to his room, he was missing his family. He asked the staff if they could bring the little girl to his room. They did; he gave her a hug and sent her back. It was the closest thing he had to his own granddaughter.

A child’s hug can work miracles.

God sent His Son to earth as a baby. This baby is the biggest Christmas gift we’ll ever get. But it won’t be any good to us if we don’t unwrap it and use it.

There is a Charlie Brown story where he breaks his piggy bank to find he has $9.11 to do his Christmas shopping. Lucy tells him that it’s not enough. He says he will spend it all. She told him they wouldn’t be very expensive gifts. Charlie replied, “They are if they cost you everything you have”.

This is what God did for us.

Remember the gift God has given us and its cost.

The true value of gifts is not about how many dollars it costs. It’s about the joy that comes from using it.

Why is it That We Don’t Think What We Have to Offer is Worth Anything?

Even The Smallest of Things Can Make the Biggest Difference

Feeling that we have nothing to offer is the perspective of most people. God has given each of us a purpose to fulfill and when we don’t…we’re letting Him down.

We have this mindset that if we aren’t doing some huge earth-shattering thing that it isn’t important. This is s a lie.

This self-defeating perspective is something that Satan uses to keep us from fulfilling our God given mission.

The importance of small actions used for the right reason is made clear in Mark 12:38-44. Here Jesus explains this to His disciples when they watch the poor widow give everything she has to God, while the rich leaders, teachers and lawyers make a big spectacle by giving only a small portion of what they have to God. Their focus was on the wrong place.

This is about priority…not quantity.

In Matthew 6:19-24, we’re told that we cannot serve two masters. Where our focus is, that’s what is the most important to us. A priority is only one thing…not multiple things. It’s up to us to decide what that one, most important thing is going to be to us.

If we are faithful in our giving…God will use it to do amazing things.

Oseola McCarty was born in March of 1908 and moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi as a child. When she was in the sixth grade, her aunt (who had no children of her own) was hospitalized and later needed homecare, so McCarty quit school, never to return. She later became a washerwoman, like her grandmother, a trade that she continued until arthritis forced her to quit in 1994.

McCarty’s grandmother died in 1944, followed by her mother in 1964 and her aunt in 1967. McCarty never married or had children.

What she earned from washing clothes for others was not much, but she was faithful with it. Her focus was on the right thing.

Even before dropping out of school, McCarty was taught by her mother to save money. Over the years she opened several savings accounts at various area banks, eventually she appointed a trustee of her trust and executor of her estate.

With the assistance of a local attorney, for whom she had done laundry, and the bank’s trust officer, McCarty set out the future distribution of her estate. She set aside 10% for her church, 10% each for three relatives, and 60% for Southern Miss. University.

She stipulated that the funds should be used for students, preferably those of African American descent, who could not otherwise attend due to financial hardship. When news of McCarty’s plan was made public, local leaders immediately funded an endowment in her honor. The amount was estimated at $150,000.00, a surprising amount given her low paying occupation.

This small thing that Oseola did…made a huge difference in other’s lives.

God can make big things out of little one…if we’ll just give them to Him.

We all have talents and gifts. Give them to God and prepared to be amazed at what He does with them.

Big things are built out of small pieces.


We All Have Different Strengths, Find Yours and Use Them for Good

Where Is Real Strength Rooted?

Everyone of us is unique. Our abilities and talents are also different. The problem is, too many people don’t use their gifts…or even bother to figure them out. This makes for a very mediocre world.

There is so much more available to us if we will just find and use our strengths!

Like the wind and the oak tree, strengths come in a variety of styles. The wind blows and carries on doing damage and causing havoc. While the mighty oak tree stands there swaying in the wind and weathering the storm with its roots firmly planted.

The Oak Tree

by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew

Having deep roots will make weathering storms more likely.

Navy SEALs are trained to swim miles under water in complete darkness, unable to see anything. Then they swim to the lowest, darkest part of the enemy’s ship to attach the explosives and then swim back to where they started. All of this is done in the dark. Their training prepares them for these types of missions.

We need to get trained and be prepared. It is likely that we will encounter dark times as we work to carry out our mission.

If we are prepared…we will be at our very best in our darkest moments.

Regular communication with God is the best way to get trained and prepared for whatever life throws at you.

In John 17:6-19 Jesus asks for strength to endure, not that problems be taken away. One prayer that God always answers is strength to endure. We just have to ask.

Plant your roots in God’s Word so that you can weather the storms of life and use your strengths wisely.

Learn from the Past – Look to the Future – Live in the Present

Be Persistent in Pushing Toward the Goal

We all have specific gifts and talents that were given to us by God. These skills allow us to accomplish the results that God wants for us and from us. We can choose what we do with these God given abilities. We can use them for good or bad.

In Philippians 3:4-14, Paul refers to where he came from and looking forward to the goal that he has not yet reached. He learned from his mistakes and is focused on his future. It’s good to have a plan, but it does no good if you don’t do something today to move you in that direction.

No matter where you are it’s not where you were meant to be.

If we are still alive, we have control over our actions. In everything we have a choice. We can choose where we want to go and what we want to do. The important thing is to discuss these decisions with God first. Things go much better when we align our plans with His.

Matthew tells us not worry, but to seek what God wants for us and for His kingdom and all our needs will be met. Tomorrow has enough trouble of it’s own…be fully committed to the present.

Life is a journey full of obstacles, but God has given you what you need for them…it’s up to you to use them.

Offer a Drink of Water to Someone Who Needs it

Share Your Unique Talents with Others

Too often we feel small and insignificant. Like, the thing we do isn’t really that important. Why would anybody need what I have to offer?

When someone’s thirsty and you give them a drink of water…it’s a big deal.

We all have been given unique gifts that we are expected to use. Others need these things that we have.

Imagine your car breaking down in 100-degree heat. After trying to figure out what’s wrong you give up and start walking to the house you pasted a couple of miles back. You have no water and the sun is beating down. You finally reach the house and knock on the door. When the door opens the cool air of the air conditioning wafts out and feels great. The person at the door is holding a glass of ice water. As you stand there, they step out on the porch, closing the door and dumping the water on the ground.

This is what we are doing when we keep our gifts to ourselves and don’t share them.

God has given us these talents. No matter how insignificant we think they are, when we keep them to ourselves, we are wasting them. We are keeping a drink from someone who is thirsty.

In last week’s post I wrote about how important even the smallest things are to God. Too often, we take small things for granted. We see things from a worldly perspective rather than from God’s. In 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 we are given the example of how a human body is made up of many parts and the same is true for the way we all are designed to work together.

Every small kind thing we do for others is God working through us.

We are valued by God. When we accept and experience this value, it causes us to flourish. These abilities should be shared because this is what we’ve been called to do. It’s what we’re here for. In Matthew 10:42 we are told to give a cup of cold water to these little ones.

Share your cold water with anyone who needs some.

Salt Makes Things Better and Light Shows the Way

We’re All Called to be Saltshakers and Flashlights

We’ve been put here to fulfill a purpose that is specific to us. Some figure out what that purpose is quicker than others. Often people aren’t even aware they have a specific purpose that is exclusive to them and them alone.

Everyone of us is different and the same.

There are different kinds of salt. All of which make things better, whether it’s flavoring food, melting ice, cleaning stains, soothing insect bites or stopping a grease fire. The salt is different and the same. The important thing to remember is that, regardless of its purpose, there is nothing gained if it’s not used. We all have skills and talents that when used make things better.

We all have different skills and talents, but we won’t make things better if we don’t use them. We’re like the salt.

Just like the salt, there are different forms of light. There is electric light, candles, lanterns and flashlights to name a few. All of them allow us to see in the dark. It’s amazing how much light a single candle puts out. The light is different and the same. Light doesn’t do anyone any good if it’s kept hidden. No matter how small, we all have a light that needs to be used to help light the way.

We need to let our light shine and help others to see to find their way through the dark. We’re like the light.

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth and the light to the world. If we don’t use our salt (skills and talents) it will become good for nothing. If we don’t shine our light it leaves both us and those around us lost in the dark.

No matter what our unique purpose is, we make things better and brighter when we share.

Go out and spread some salt and shine your light.

The Worst Thing We Can Do Is Nothing

We Are Living in The Grace Period

According to Wikipedia, a grace period is a period where a penalty or other action is waived after a deadline or an obligation has passed. This can apply to the starting of a new job, paying a bill, a rental agreement or the meeting of a legal requirement. All of us have experienced the benefits of a grace period.

In Luke 13:6-9 Jesus tells a story about a man who planted a fig tree. After three years the tree had not produced any fruit. The man told his gardener to cut it down. The gardener asked the owner to give the tree one more year. He would work the soil around tree and fertilize it. Then if in another year it still isn’t producing any fruit it will be cut down. This was the tree’s grace period.

Many of us go through life, just like this fig tree, doing nothing and wasting our talents. Too many times we don’t believe that we have what it takes. We think that for something to be valuable, it has to be fabulous and incredible. This isn’t the case. If we all would do the little things that we have the chance to do, the accumulated result will be amazing.

We need to do what we can, where we can, whenever we can.

Too often we hide our gifts afraid that we might make a mistake. Jesus shows us how wrong it is to waste our talents in the story of the three servants, Matthew 25:14-30. In this scripture a wealthy man gives three servants varying amounts of gold (some versions refer to this as talents) to care for and use while he is gone. When he returns two of the three have used their gold (talents) wisely. They are rewarded for this. The third hid his, so the wealthy man took it away and threw the man out into the street. There is a price for not using the gifts we have been given.

Every day is full of opportunities to use our gifts to help others by:

  • Providing a service or product through our vocation
  • Listening to others
  • Getting involved in ministries
  • Treating people with respect
  • Loving our family and friends
  • Smiling at someone
  • Teaching and leading
  • Saying a kind word
  • Donating goods, services and money
  • Opening a door
  • Saying thank you
  • Saying you’re welcome

God has given each of us a purpose. He expects us to use the talents we have been given to fulfill this purpose. As long as we are alive, we should work to accomplish His plans. Each of us is living in the grace period.

Choosing to do nothing with our gifts is the worst thing we can do.