Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2017 Devotional Words #16 & 17: GOOD GIFTS

It was our last day at Ricks Institute in Liberia. We were finishing up an amazing three days of a Pastors (& wives) Conference. Each of the members of our mission team were called up front of the auditorium. What happened next blessed my heart in a special way... its was icing on the mission cake of an amazing trip to Liberia.

I and the other men were given colorful Liberian shirts while the ladies received beautiful dresses. This was such a great gift that I definitely wasn't expecting. 

Everyone loves a good gift. I especially love the ones that catch you off guard - the gift that's totally unexpected. Can I remind you today that our Heavenly Father is the perfect representation of "goodness" and He certainly loves to give good gifts! James 1:17 declares, "every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of the Heavenly lights."

The two things I want to briefly share about today are: SALVATION and the HOLY SPIRIT. These two gifts go together - you don't have one without the other. Each of these are perhaps the greatest gifts we receive as children of God... for those who have put their hope and trust in the finished "Easter" work of Jesus. 

Mark 10:45 states that "the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many." Jesus shed His blood dying on the cross to purchase our salvation - our redemption and forgiveness of our sin. John 3:17 (after the famous "For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son...."), proclaims "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." He died in our place taking on our punishment for sin. Our salvation means new and abundant life here and now and also one day in heaven. 

* When you get discouraged, remember God's precious gift of salvation. His life for yours. What a gift!

God didn't just offer the gift (Romans 6:23) of eternal life to us, He also gave us the Holy Spirit to empower us in this life journey. By placing our faith in Jesus Christ, we are "sealed with the promised  Holy Spirit" (Ephesians 1:13-14) as a guarantee of our inheritance as children of God. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the "counselor" or "helper" who would convict the world of "sin and righteousness and judgment." The Holy Spirit guide us in all truth and bears its fruit in our lives - fruit of Jesus' righteousness at work in us and on display out from us. 

* When it seems as if the pressures of this life are waging war with your heart and soul, remember that you have the Holy Spirit inside of you. What a gift!

Take time today to thank God for His good and perfect gifts of salvation and the Holy Spirit. Praise God for His wonderful provisions and generosity.

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