"If our greatest need had been information,
God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology,
God would have sent us a scientist.
If our great need had been money,
God would have sent us an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure,
God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness,
So God sent us a Savior."
A paraphrase of John 3:16 is full of promises:
For God - the greatest lover
So loved - the greatest degree
The world - the greatest number
That He gave - the greatest act
His Only Begotten Son - the greatest gift
That whosoever - the greatest promise
Believeth - the greatest simplicity
In Him - the greatest attraction
Should not perish - the greatest difference
But have - the greatest assurance
Everlasting Life - the greatest life
The trouble is....The Begotten Son has become The Forgotten Son to many people.
There are gifts that last for a day....or month....or years....
but we know that THIS is a gift that lasts forever!
Sr. Tour Pro golfer Chi Chi Rodriques said, "Getters eat well...givers sleep well."
Have you slept well lately?
Jesus promised in Luke 6:38:
"Give and it shall be given to you....good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over. For with the same measure you give, it shall be measured to you."
I believe the Golden Rule also fits in here (Matt. 7:12)
I'm reminded of the Old Testament practice by Jacob and others who set up camps for extended times and dug wells for water.
We read in John 4 where Jesus met the needy woman at Jacob's well in Samaria.
That well was a gift that kept on giving.
Jesus tells us in John 7: 37-39: "If anyone thirsts, come unto me and drink and those who believe in me, streams of water shall flow from within (meaning the Holy Spirit)."
We may not be able to hold much, but we can overflow a lot!
This leads me to His Greatest Gift to us (next to salvation) and that is The Holy Spirit.
This is a GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING (John 16:13-16)
Later, we read in Galatians 5:22-23:
"The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control."
These are wonderful gifts that KEEP ON GIVING....
and this fruit will not sour or become rotten!
How is the fruit that comes from the 'fruit tree of your life?"
The Father gives us His Spirit to make us more like His Son.
God is The Potter and we are the clay.
If YOU are willing, He is more than willing!
Often during special occasions, families will say 'Let's make some memories".
They take pictures to document those memories.
This is good because many times our memory may 'wane'...
so we need those reminders.
The gift of memory is precious and KEEPS ON GIVING.
At age 4, a stick-horse....
At age 12, a bicycle.....
At age 16, a watch.....
But the best gift from my parents was their love.
Later on Nov. 2, 1951, I met another one of God's gifts to me.....La Moyne!
Speaking of families, our 'memory banks' are full of church-family memories!!!
Every church we pastored blessed us....
(Texas, Wyoming, Korea, California, Oklahoma and Hawaii).
Just this week, our children were talking about the great memories they have of special times in each church....
like the church fellowships, camps, church league ball games and the many times that members brought food to our home.
In Hawaii, the word for family is 'Ohana'.
How we praise God for the many 'Church-Ohana experiences' we've had during our lifetime.
We hope that you too are enjoying those 'Ohana' times that will give you many precious memories!
When Robert Louis Stevenson was a child in England, the lamplighters would come at dusk lighting the lamps along the streets. He would go to his mother saying,
"Here comes the man punching holes in the darkness."
That is what Jesus wants to do in our lives...no matter what we're going through!
This week I read about Robert Louis Stevenson in his later years going through a difficult time of suffering.
The pain he was experiencing was etched in his face and medicine bottles lined the windowsill of his bedroom.
His wife came into the bedroom and a smile broke out on his face.
She said, "You're having pain aren't you?"
As he looked toward the sunrise, he replied...
"I will not let his row of medicine bottles become the circumference of my horizon!"
The gift of God's grace and faith that Stevenson experienced as a child continued to KEEP ON GIVING all of his life.
A successful man was asked as he was dying, "To what do you owe your success?"
He replied, "I had a friend."
Long term friendships are great....
but no one can compare with the Friend we have in Jesus!
George Beverly Shea was asked to sing President Eisenhower's favorite hymn at a Prayer Breakfast in Feb. 1954.
I'd like to share the words to that great song.
What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.
2. Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
3. Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.
Words: Joseph M. Scriven, 1820-1886
Music: Charles C. Converse, 1832-1918
Jesus is God's Greatest Gift and His Gift KEEPS ON GIVING!
As we approach this New Year, please give this GIFT to others!
What a wonderful article Travis. There are four Scriptures that I never forget. 1 John 4:13--by this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. (14)And we have seen (in the word) and testify that the Father has went THE SON as SAVIOR OF THE WORLD. 2 Ps.2:7--I will declare the decree: the Lord has said to Me, YOU ARE MY SON, today I have BEGOTTEN YOU. (8) Ask of Me and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance and the ends of the earth for Your possession. This is my hope and this is my prayer, for God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved, I believe that the true meaning of John 3:16, and 17 have been forgotten by many just like you said. These are things that just keep on giving! May God just bless you and La Moyne richly. I love you both, your friend, Sharon