Encouragement for Today - Dec. 9, 2010

 December 9, 2010
The Gift Giver
By Rachel Olsen 

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38 (NIV)

On Christmas morning I'll watch with joyful anticipation as my family opens the gifts that I've given them. I can't wait to see their faces light up with surprised pleasure and gratefulness. In moments like these I understand why Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35, NIV).

A few years ago my daughter reached the age where she could find the hidden stash of unwrapped presents if she really tried. So I warned her that if she peeked, and I found out about it, I would return those presents to the store and she would not receive them.

Sounds a bit harsh I know, but I really wanted her to learn some important lessons: to exercise self-control and delayed gratification, and to respect the act of giving by not robbing me of the pleasure of seeing her open her presents for the first time. I wanted her to see that giving and receiving are irreversibly linked, and good for both parties involved.

It's essential for God's children to respect the act of giving as well as receiving - He calls us to live a life of both. I also believe it can help us better understand God's core nature and our relationship with Him. God is a gift-giver! And He always knows the exact perfect gift to give. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17, NIV).

Let's unwrap today some of the awesome gifts He has given us …

He's given us physical life: "The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Genesis 2:7 (NIV)

And eternal life: ""For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NIV)

He's given us family: "God sets the lonely in families …" Psalm 68:6 (NIV)

He's given us wisdom: "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James 1:5 (NIV)

He's given us peace: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you." John 14:27 (NIV)

He's given us joy: "You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit." 1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NIV)

He's given us rest: "Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.'" Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

He's given us a personal counselor: "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you." John 14:16 (NIV)

He's given us an inheritance: "…you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward." Colossians 3:24 (NIV)

And He's given us freedom: "God alone made it possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Christ to be wisdom itself. He is the one who made us acceptable to God. He made us pure and holy, and he gave himself to purchase our freedom." 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NIV)

In return for all these glorious gifts, God simply wants us to receive and respond with thankfulness and a heart that is ready to emulate His gracious nature. I can't think of a better time than now to respond with gratefulness and enjoy the act of giving and receiving - Merry Christmas!

Dear Lord, thank You for Your graciousness towards me. I praise Your generosity! Help me to receive all you have for me in the coming year. And help me to value giving as much as I value receiving, in Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Do you know The Gift Giver?

If you enjoyed this devotion, you'll love Rachel's new book It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know - we think it makes a great gift for girlfriends!

Visit Rachel's blog today, where she is doing a giveaway, and tell her what gift of God you most want or need this holiday season.

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you support the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost, like this one. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Application Steps:
Curl up in front of the fire, kick back in front of the Christmas tree, or just steal away to a private spot for a few minutes today and connect heart-to-heart with The Gift Giver.

What gifts had God bestowed upon you this year? Thank Him!

What gifts do you need or desire from The Gift Giver? Ask Him!

Power Verses:
Re-read the thirteen verses contained above, letting them settle into your heart. 

© 2010 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.

 Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Originally published Thursday, 09 December 2010.