Monday, March 20, 2017
Welcome to my Monday Blog, Everyone!
Today is very special for me because I’m beginning my four-part Easter Blog series. Each Monday before Easter, I’ll be sharing the Life of Jesus, beginning today, with His incredible birth and ending on the Monday before Easter Sunday.
You know, some days I’ll be thinking of Jesus and what He means to me. I love Him so much and I become consumed with questions like, how can anyone not want to know Jesus if they have the opportunity? This may sound naïve, however, if you’re a Christian, you know what I mean—if you are not a Christian, I invite you to learn more about Him—He truly is some kind of wonderful!!
Recently I saw the movie The Shack. It was both so incredibly heart-wrenching and heart-breaking, that I cried throughout most of it. I had read the book a few years ago and I thought if the movie is half as good as the book…well, I must see it! I bring this movie up simply because Easter is a perfect time to learn about Jesus and why He had to die on the cross—forgiveness, for us! What was also obvious though, is that when we finally rose from our seats to leave the theater, we realized the rest of the folks in this packed house were still in their seats as well…in total silence. We were all instant-replaying the depth and meaning of the story we had just witnessed on the big screen. This movie is all about the forgiveness I spoke of earlier.
Now, if you know anything at all about me or life’s messages in my book, “That Melvin Bray”, you know that I believe the greatest gift God can give is Life itself. Let us not forget though, the price Jesus had to pay in order for our lives to be saved —He gave His life for us and we must never forget the unthinkable sacrifice He made for us.
I believe the second greatest gift is the ability to forgive—just as Jesus forgave us on the cross. With His own perfect Life, He had no sins but He gave His Life in death, for us, so that our sins would be forgiven, and that we may spend eternity with our heavenly Father. But, remember, our Life after death would not be possible had Jesus not forgiven us by dying for us.
The greatest gift of all—Jesus.
The second greatest gift—Forgiveness.
I confess that as I live and love my precious gift of Life my beloved Jesus gave me, along the way, I’ve had difficulty with a handful of individuals who simply had to be forgiven—by me. I’m not saying this is the easiest thing I’ve ever done, on the contrary; however, when I draw the parallel and envision Jesus dying on the cross —for my sins, I feel so unworthy of His undying love and I’m so ashamed. If you have someone you need to forgive…don’t waste anymore time on why you shouldn’t…this is actually a selfish act on our part, isn’t it? We only hurt ourselves…forgive them and move on. Let it go for your own good sake, Jesus will deal with the offenders…it is our job to forgive and make Jesus smile. Please.
“Still the message of Christmas is not the gifts that we give to each other. Rather, it is a reminder of the gift that God has given to each of us. So I want to point out four things about it:
God’s gift to us, however, was a complete surprise. It was not expected and as you examine it more carefully, you realize how truly great a gift it was.
Second, God’s gift came to us in the humblest of wrappings: What would you think if you saw a gift under your Christmas tree that was wrapped in newspaper and tied up with a string? At first, you would probably assume that a guy wrapped it. But think about God’s gift to us. Jesus was not born in a palace of gold; He was born in a stable. He was clothed with rags. He was laid in a feeding trough. Yet these things do not, in any way, diminish the story of Christ’s birth. If anything, they help us realize the great sacrifice God made for us. God’s gift to humanity, the ultimate gift of eternal life through His son, Jesus Christ, came to us in the simplest and humblest of wrappings.
Third, we don’t deserve this gift. At Christmas, we give gifts to those whom we care about , who have been kind to us over the past year, or who have given us a gift first. We don’t give gifts to the person who has been slandering our name or to an angry neighbor who never has a kind word to say. Yet God gave us His gift when we were His enemies. He didn’t give this gift to us because we deserved it. In fact, it was just the opposite. The Bible tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NKJV).
Fourth, the gift tells us something about the giver. When you want to give someone a gift, you start thinking about it ahead of time. Hopefully, you try to find what that person wants or needs. When God decided to give us the gift of eternal life, it wasn’t something that He just thought of on the fly. Long before there was a town called Bethlehem, a garden called Eden, and a planet called Earth, a decision was made in eternity that God would send forth His son, born to a woman, made under the law, to redeem those that are under the law. The Bible says that He was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). Make no mistake about it: this gift that God has given to us was the most sacrificial thing He possibly could have offered.
So Christmas isn’t about all the gifts placed under the tree. All of those things will be gone one day. All that will be left after this life, is the human soul, and that will live forever. While here on Earth, we will put so much stock in all the stuff we have, but this is all going to pass away. Life is about what happens beyond the grave. Life is about knowing the God who made you and who gave you the greatest gift you will ever receive.”
Please join me back here next week for Part II of my Easter Series – “Growing Up Jesus”. Between now and then though, I sure hope you’ll make it to the movie show to see “The Shack”…it’s just AWESOME and talk about forgiveness—Just go see this movie. Seriously!
This week, my prayer is that we will all stop and take the time to pray and think about God’s Grace and Holy Gift which He bestowed upon each and every one of us, through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ — The Greatest Gift of All. Amen.
God is Good! God is Great!! Always!!!
I love you,
Note: Thank You, to Greg Laurie for his enlightening interpretation of the Greatest Gift of All.
“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverb 3:3)