10 December 2010

Gifts You Can Give During the Entire Year

Of course, it is the time of giving. It is Christmas time! People love to give gifts at this season of the year to their loved ones and friends. There is nothing wrong with giving gifts anytime of the year. The spirit of kindness, thoughtfulness and cheerfulness are certainly welcomed during this festive period of the year. It would be wonderful if such expressions were to be found among people the rest of the year. Some gifts that are being given during the Christmas season are very expensive and the number of gifts is too plentiful at times. There are numerous families who get into financial difficulties simply because they go into debt in buying gifts for their family and others. However, there are several gifts that are free that can be and should be given at all times of the year. Here are special gifts you can give to your loved ones, your brothers and sisters in Christ and your friends and neighbors.

THE GIFT OF PRAISE ~ Mark Twain said he could live for two months on one compliment. Critics destroy while encouragers build us up. We need to make it a point to express sincere compliments when we can. The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth these words: “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you” (1 Corinthians 11:2).
THE GIFT OF UNDERSTANDING ~ We all desire to be understood and we should have the same desire to be understanding of others, especially during the times of difficulties, trials and failures. Solomon requested of God that He give him “an understanding heart” (1 Kings 3:9, 12).

THE GIFT OF KINDNESS ~ You can’t help but notice how kind people are to one another during this season of the year. Someone opens a door for a complete stranger. You speak to people you do not even know. Christians need to be kind toward others all the time. One of the true characteristics of a child of God is “brotherly kindness” (2 Peter 1:7). Paul exhorts us to “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10). In Ephesians 4:32, he writes, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Please notice the word “kind” in this verse. If you remove the “d” from the word “kind” you have ‘kin”. You see, we are all “children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26); therefore, we are ‘kin’ and we should be “kind to one another”.
THE GIFT OF YOUR PERSONAL PRESENCE ~ There is no substitute for a visit to see someone in the hospital, the nursing home or persons confined to their own homes. Of course wisdom must be used in deciding whether or not a visit is wise in certain situations. But, “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble…” (James 1:27). On the judgment day, the faithful who will be saved eternally will be Christians who gave and visited (Matthew 25:34-40).

THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE ~ Someone has written that “Gratitude is the mother virtue of all virtues.” The apostle Paul encourages us that “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). In Romans chapter 1, Paul describes the unbelieving Gentle world as being sinful and idolatrous in their corrupt manner of life. One of the specific sins he mentioned was that they “did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful” (vs.21). In Luke 17:11-19 we read of Jesus healing the ten lepers. When they were instructed to show themselves to the priests, only one of the ten lepers returned and with a “loud voice glorified God, and he fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And He was a Samaritan”. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?” Probably the percentage is about the same today; only 1 out of 10 will pause and give God the thanks for all the blessings of life which He gives to us from His bountiful hand of grace.
THE GIFT OF OUR PRAYERS ~ Christians are taught in the Scriptures to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The writer James instructs us to “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (KJV). A hymn that we have sung in our worship assemblies over the years is “For You I Am Praying” and we should practice what we sing!

THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS ~ In the prayer Jesus gave to the disciples as a pattern for their prayers He mentioned that we should forgive those who sin against us. The only comment the Lord made following the prayer can be found in these words: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:9-15). Jesus never asked His disciples to do anything but that he was willing to do in His life. When He was on Calvary’s cross one of the seven sayings he uttered was “Father, forgive them, for they do know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). We learn in the teachings of Jesus Christ that we are to forgive our brother as often as he is penitent of his sins (See Matthew 18:21, 22). I read the true story about a teenager who was killed in automobile wreck when a drunken driver hit his car. The dead teenager’s parents, filled with sorrow in the loss of their precious son later visited the person who was responsible for the accident and became his friends. In time they taught him about Jesus Christ and he was immersed into Christ for the remission of his sins. They forgave him as our Heavenly Father forgives us (Ephesians 4:32).

THE GIFT OF A CHRISTIAN EXAMPLE ~ Jesus taught that we are to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16). The apostle Paul instructs us to be “blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians2:15). We may be the only ‘Bible’ that our neighbors and friends may see. “I’d rather see a sermon than to hear one any day…” is the consensus of millions of our fellowmen.
THE GIFT OF LOVE ~ This is the greatest gift ever given and it was given by God the Father when He gave His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins (John 3:16). Jesus taught His disciples to love one another: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34, 35). “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friend” (John 15:13) “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Our love for everyone should be manifested in our desire that all people come to believe in and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Our giving should not be limited to special occasions but we should give these gifts throughout the year. Furthermore, if we have not done so, we need to give our lives to Jesus Christ because He gave His life for us that through the shedding of His precious blood we could have the remission of our sins (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7). The apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost told the believers to “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (ASV, Acts 2:36-38). Have you given your life to Christ?

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