Friday, December 21, 2012

God's Gifts

God’s Gifts
James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Where did the tradition of giving begin? It began at Creation with God! The gifts we give are imperfect, often with wrong motivation, always defective, and temporary. Good and perfect gifts only come from God, from the Father of Lights. The universe itself, as it came from God’s creative hand was good and perfect. God Himself pronounced it very good. God began with a good and perfect creation and He has maintained that standard. 

The custom of giving gifts is a worldwide practice. It finds its greatest expression at Christmas time, when the wise men in Matthew 2 and the joyful tidings of the angels in Luke 2 echo in millions of families around the world. People share the joy of giving at this time even if the “Reason for the season” is not known in that family.

Giving is a strong theme in scripture. The words “give”, “giving”, “gift”, and like words appear at least 2100 times. The very first appearance is in connection with light. God gave lights in the heavens to shine on the earth. He created the lights, He is the Father of Lights. He gave us light to enjoy His wondrous creation. When Christ was born the shepherds saw the glory shining (Luke 2:9), the wise men saw His star (Matthew 2:2), and John testified the True Light had come (John 1:9). Today the remembering of Christ’s birth is marked by an abundance of lights. Even the Jew’s festival of Hanukkah is called by them the “festival of lights.”

There are other specific gifts mentioned in Scripture. The phrase “gift of God” occurs eight times and the plural phrase “gifts of God” occurs once”.

Six New Testament Gifts of God

The Gift of Christ Shown to the Woman at the Well
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water” John 4:10.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit
“And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money” Acts 8:18-20.

The Gift of Eternal Life Through Christ Jesus
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23.

The Gift of Individual Abilities Given to Man
“For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper of God, one after this manner, and another after that” 1 Corinthians 7:7. Both singleness and marriage are God’s gracious gifts.

The Gift of  Salvation
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8.

The Gift of Confidence in Love
“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:6-7. The threat of Roman persecution was escalating under the leadership of Nero during this time. Our God has already given to believers all the spiritual resources they need for every trial. If man is fearful, it does not come from God. 

All of God’s gifts are good, perfect, and eternal! The plural phrase “gifts of God” stresses this wonderful truth in Romans 11:29 which says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance “or irrevocable. These six gifts will be ours to treasure for all of eternity. The last time giving is mentioned in the Bible is in Revelation 22:12 when Christ gives rewards to His faithful servants. He is the Great Giver at the beginning of time, at the end of time, and for all of eternity.

Thought: This Christmas as we share our gifts and enjoy the beautiful lights, let us remember the Father of Lights, the Great Giver of all good and perfect gifts. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16. After contemplating this great gift and the love that determined it, the only response we can have is one of praise and wonder for our Great Giver! “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15. Throughout this Christmas season think about all of the many gifts of God mentioned in His Word and those He has personally given to you. Make a list of them and praise Him for them!

*Prepared by my daughter-in-law, Jessica Moffitt. I asked Jessica if I could use this lesson for Dianna’s Diary and of course, she said, “Yes!” Thank you, Jessica, for sharing with us the fathomless giving of His matchless grace. 

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