THE HOLY BIBLE ~ NLT and CEV ~ 2 Corinthians 5 ~ 11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. (NLT)
17 Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. 18 God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others. (CEV)
20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (NLT)
THOUGHTS: I want to share a gift with you on this day that is noted for gift-giving – Christmas! The gift is the wonderful Word of God! Notice in vs 11 above, where Paul said that he and his team were working hard to persuade the Corinthians about the ‘gift’ of Jesus – the One who reconciles us with God, and Paul and his team were doing this because of their fearful responsibility to God. Oops, we have a ‘responsibility’ as Christians? I believe most of us consider the ‘gift’ of Jesus as a blessing, perhaps as a privilege, or perhaps a calling from God, but I bet we rarely think about the ‘gift’ of Jesus as a responsibility. Let me explain where I believe God took me on this, to help me understand. Let’s assume for a moment that a crowd of your friends were in a large hotel room for a meeting or celebration of some sort, and you saw where a fire had started at the other end of the hotel. Would it be your privilege to know that information, or would you feel an urgent responsibility to run and tell your friends that they must leave their celebration and get far away from that hotel which may soon burn to the ground? May I suggest that our responsibility to God is very similar, for we see friends walking in the danger of eternal death every day, while we keep bottled up inside the ‘GIFT’ of Jesus Christ, that God sent to this world on that very first day – whose anniversary we celebrate as ‘Christmas’. However, this highlights how way too often we miss our God-given responsibility of sharing that reconciliation, that joy, that hope and that peace with our family and friends, who could very easily be walking into the fires of Hell, because of their lack of knowledge, lack of convincing by us, or just plain lack of concern for themselves, because they are too busy enjoying the ‘fun’ things of life. Not a fun thing for you to consider on the biggest day of gift-giving, but may I remind you that this is the greatest ‘gift’ that we have ever been given, and it is so important that we share this with others around the tree with us today! For this will give family and friends the kind of ‘gift’ mentioned in vs 17 & 18 – a new take on life; forgetting the ugliness of the past, and discovering the gift of newness in Christ so that our conscience will be clear between us and God – a brand new lease on life! For those of us who have the ‘gift’ already, remember that this is quite different to any other ‘gift’ we will receive under the tree – it is one given to us so that we might share it with others and convince them to accept the ‘Gift’ personally. We become ‘Gift’ demonstrators and imitators, not ‘Gift’ users or destroyers, because we become ambassadors for Jesus Christ – the ‘GIFT’ send to us by His Father. The ‘Gift’ that started this whole Christmas celebration. So if you are feeling down and out about the financial burdens of gift-giving this Christmas, please consider accepting the greatest ‘Gift’ ever given. What will it cost you? The total surrender of all your sins, your regrets, your past for which you may not be very proud. The ‘Gift’ of which I am referring, was totally paid for in blood, by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He paid in full, so that through His ultimate ‘Gift’ we might live with the assurance of eternal life with Him one day! Wow, what a ‘Gift’, and this can be ours today! And can by yours today also dear friend!
PRAYER: Thank you precious Father for the ‘Gift’ of Your Son that You sent as a baby in Bethlehem. An occasion that we celebrate as ‘Christmas’. As we celebrate that significant occasion today, may we reflect on the reason for the gift, the joy of the gift, the everlasting value of the gift, and the ultimate cost of that ‘Gift’ in order that His purpose would be fulfilled. Thank You for the ‘Gift’ in the manger at Bethlehem, and thank You for the ultimate cost of that ‘Gift’ so that we might one day see You in glory! Make Yourself very present today as we open our presents, and may we receive You as quickly as we receive our presents from under the tree today. Thank You Lord Jesus for touching us in such a way that we enjoy a worldwide celebration of Your birth each year – today! May we truly understand the significance of that gift, is my humble prayer that I offer up to You in total thanksgiving and praise, AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!