Monday, December 13, 2010

Reflections for December 13, 2010

The Gift Of Joy

There is a growing trend toward giving gift cards for Christmas presents, because it eliminates long hours of shopping and allows the recipient to purchase a gift he/she really wants. On more than one occasion, I have placed the card in my wallet and forgot about it. When I would finally find it, I would discover the expiration date had past, causing me to miss a wonderful opportunity of a free gift.

Long ago, Jesus came and gave us the ultimate Christmas present. He gave us the gift of Himself and promised those who would follow Him a life filled with joy. For believers, this gift is all ready theirs. They need only to open it and to appropriate it in their lives. For those who do not believe, it is available by simply opening your heart and receiving it by faith.

It is important that we do not confuse joy with happiness. Happiness is determined by circumstances. It comes and goes as circumstances change. The joy that Christ gives is internal. It is not built upon circumstances, but it is built upon a humble acceptance of Christ’s love and a willing obedience to His word. It is only when we abide in Him daily that we can experience His joy.

A believer who is filled with the joy of Christ is like popcorn. Ordinary corn placed in a skillet and heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit simply dries up and gets hard. Popcorn reacts totally different. When it is heated to 400 degrees, it expands and breaks open, allowing the pure white pulp to burst forth into a delicious edible treat that is many times the size of the kernel. The parallel to life is clear. When the heat of life’s trials comes, many people shrivel up and become embittered. For those who humble themselves and walk with Christ, adversity becomes a catalyst for them to enlarge and burst forth with blessings for those around them.

Christian joyt is the internal excitement that allowed Paul and Silas to pray and sing praise unto their God from their prison cell. It is the joy that prompted the German Christian martyr, Herman Lange, to write these words to his parents just prior to his execution by the Nazis in W.W.II, “I am, first, in a joyous mood, and second, filled with great anticipation. In Christ I have put my faith, and precisely today I have faith in Him more firmly than ever. Look where you will, everywhere you will find jubilation over the grace that makes us children of God. What can befall a child of God? Of what should I be afraid? On the contrary, I rejoice.”

If you are a believer reading this article, and you do not have the joy of Christ at this time, don’t let Christmas pass you by without renewing this wonderful gift that Christ gives to all who are willing to follow Him. Renew your commitment to Him and begin the New Year believing that He will help you overcome whatever your obstacles may be.

If you are a seeker, don’t let this Christmas season pass you by without at least considering the possibility of receiving this wonderful gift that Christ wishes to give to you.

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