Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the gift of life to a lost and dying world. We also celebrate the season by the giving of gifts to those we love. Few realize that the first gifts were given, not to celebrate a pagan festival but, as a loving gift from a loving Father to His precious children. The first gifts were given in the garden when our heavenly Father set before Adam and Eve two very special gifts. The first gift contained love and no purer gift was ever given. But for the first gift to remain pure and undefiled a second gift was needed, the gift of free-will. Love is the greatest gift that God could give mankind but it must be given freely without strings attached or it becomes nothing more than manipulation for personal gain. It is the second gift that has the power to keep love pure. Free-will stops us from becoming nothing more than robots programmed to respond in a preset manner. What kind of love takes away your freedom of choice?
I have found there are times where I find myself professing my undying love and devotion to Christ. I do this with such a fervency and passion and yet I find myself having trouble following it up with the simplest act. It reminded me of a young man, who was desperately in love with a young lady, he wrote her that he would be willing to endure the coldest weather, cross the burning sands of the desert, climb the highest mountains, or swim across a raging river, just to be in her presence.” Then he closed his letter by saying, “And I will see you Wednesday night if it does not rain!” I know that there are many of us who can identify with this young man. We express our love for Jesus on a Sunday, at special meetings or during times of prayer but do we take the time to reach out to the lost and dying?
Special Today—Migraine Headaches
This past weekend Lois and I were in Philly at our Thanksgiving Outreach. As Lois was praying for a lady I was asked to pray for another woman. I asked her if there was anything Jesus could do for her and holding her head she moaned and said her head hurt so bad. She had a really bad migraine headache and all she could do was hold her head in her hands and moan as she responded to my questions. I told her that she was very fortunate, “Because today Jesus is having a special on migraine headaches.” I gently touched her forehead and began praying that the peace of God would flood her head and I came against any spirits of affliction, binding them in the name of Jesus, canceling their assignment and commanding them to leave in the name of Jesus. As I did this she began to rock back and forth almost falling over as the peace of God began to flood into her. Her moans changed from moans of pain to sighs of joy and then she opened her eyes wide and with astonishment said, “It is gone! My headache is gone!” She left to pick up her groceries in a much better condition than when she had come in just a few minutes earlier.
Why Did You Not Tell Me About The Gifts?
Salvation is the greatest gift that a Christian can offer to another. However, I have run into Christians who have difficulty when attempting to describe the Christian life to the unsaved. It reminded me of a story that I read of a child who being blind from birth was finally able to have a surgical operation that would result in her sight being restored. The eye surgeon was able to skillfully repair that which had prevented the light from passing through to the retina, and once repaired her eyes were bandaged for a period of time until the wounded parts were healed and able to withstand the light. Finally the hour arrived when the bandages, which had been removed from time to time as required by the surgeon, were to be taken off for good. It was a moment of supreme interest and the room was filled with all her friends who were more than a little anxious to share in her event. No one was more excited than the little girl who had never seen anything but darkness all the days of her life. When the last bandage was removed the physician told her to open her eyes slowly so as to get used to the light and slowly at first until she became used to the light was she able to fully look out upon the beauty that was around her. Realizing, indeed as no words could ever adequately explain, she saw colors and shapes and the faces of those around her and she cried out with delight, “Oh, Father, Mother, why did you not tell me how beautiful everything is!
Her parents full of joy burst into tears and replied, “We tried to tell you, but our words were so inadequate in explaining such joy. And so it is at times with Christians when attempting to tell a person about Jesus and the transformational power that is within the gift itself. 1 Peter 1:8 (KJV), “Rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Along with Philippians 4:7, (NIV) “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Many find it difficult to express what transpires when the Holy Spirit opens the heart, mind and eyes of those born blind taking them from darkness into the light where they can experience the fullness of love that can only come from our Father.
The Best Gift You Can Give
The reality of the above story was made even more real this past Saturday while we were at the River of Life Church in Philly to hand out groceries, turkeys and most importantly to pray for those who had come. As the door opened we watched as the first woman paused to listen to the instructions on how to pick up her groceries and turkey. The man at the door was motioning in our direction, letting the woman know that if she wanted prayer we would pray for her. As she came over we saw she was in her late fifties, had no teeth and her clothes were stained and hung on her thin frame. There also was an odor that wasn’t pleasant when you got close to her. We asked her, “What would you like Jesus to do for you today?” and I ( Lois ) took her hand and felt His compassion for her situation. As she began to reply I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to ask her if she knew Jesus as her personal Savior. She said, “No she didn’t know Him.” so I asked her if she would like to. She looked right into my eyes and said without hesitation, “Yes, yes I would!” She gladly repeated the prayers I said and asked Jesus to forgive her of her sins and invited Jesus to come in and take over her life. I then talked to her about growing and being changed by Him and to come back to the church where Pastors John and Gayle would gladly help and love her as Jesus loves her so much.
This took me back and reminded of the “real as life” dream I had before we left Montana over 18 years ago, that I would be ministering to the poor and saw the faces of older women with no teeth that He would send me to. I remember waking from that dream weeping and saying “Yes Lord! I will go!” These are just a few of the stories from the outreach and we are always amazed and humbled to be used as His vessel to bring salvation, healing and freedom to the broken ones. They humble me as they openly express their needs and without argument they admit they are lacking and in need of God. Praise God that He came for all people! The true Christmas story is that God created all people, loves all nations and came with the ultimate gift of Himself making a way back to our Father who waits with open arms, longing for us all to come home. “And the Spirit and the Bride say Come.” (Rev. 22:17) Do not wait another moment! That is the urgency we sense in our Spirits even now, come now and do not wait! Whether rich or poor, He comes offering the greatest gift of all!