Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

The Gift of Today December 19, 2012

Filed under: Holidays — Janie Kellogg @ 1:52 pm
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While I will never understand why it takes the difficult to make us appreciate the important, it is true nonetheless. Whether it comes as a heart-jolting diagnosis delivered only days before Christmas, or the pain-staking battle with a disease that refuses to lose, or a shortage of small caskets for five-year-old bodies in Newtown, Connecticut that leaves us stunned by a world gone amiss, we are sharply awakened from our indifference. Such grievous events stop us dead in our tracks, cause us to take notice and make new commitments to value what we have.

 

After one such event in my own life, I learned the priceless value of a day. I began to view every twenty-four-hour rebirth of life as a gift from God Himself. In fact, each day-gift comes graciously wrapped in the splendor of a sunrise, the grandeur of a sunset, and everything in between is ours. As we unwrap the gift, we find that carefully tucked inside each day is the inherent opportunity to grow, to share the joys of life with another, to bear the pain of the suffering, to reach out to the less fortunate, to meet a challenge, to make a new discovery, or perhaps to reach for greatness. What we do with it is up to us. It is our choice. We can live it to its fullest and make a difference in our world, or we can simply allow it to pass through our hands.

 

We’ve all heard the popular slogan, “What Would Jesus Do?” Jesus knew He had a divine purpose for His appointed time on earth and used every second of it to accomplish that purpose. He often spoke of time being short and much work to be done before His departure. How fitting for the day in which we live. While our purpose may not seem as divine as that of Jesus, there is also much work to do before our departure. There are multitudes of lost souls to reach with the Gospel, untold pain and suffering to relieve, and the overwhelming issues of a complex and terrorized world to address. How valuable is each day that we are given the opportunity to do something about it.

 

God is such a good Gift-Giver. Unlike us human beings, who search out the bargains to be had or a generic just-as-good-as-the-original brand, the Master Creator custom-designs and handcrafts each day especially for us. We can be assured that this day will perfectly fit our lives. Let us be careful not to insult the Giver by hurriedly passing over His gift to open another. Cherish this one. Make this one of those days of which it shall be said, “Those were the days!” Let us make memories today that we will hold dear for eternity.

 

A gift can never be fully ours until we accept it, unwrap it, and experience it. Today is God’s gift to you. Receive it as such. Oh, in keeping with the rules of gift-giving, we must remember to recognize the generosity of the Giver; open the gift in His Presence so as to bring joy to the One giving; unwrap it with anticipation and excitement; and never, but never, forget to say “Thank You.” While it may not be just what we wanted or even what we asked for, we should treasure its value because of Who gave it to us. ~Janie Kellogg

 

The Most Expensive Gift December 12, 2012

Filed under: Holidays — Janie Kellogg @ 1:08 pm
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‘Tis the season to be shopping! Relentlessly, we shop ‘til we drop. While enduring crowded malls and long lines, we are sustained by the thrill of getting our hands on the perfect gift for those we love. We search with diligence until at last we find it. Almost in unbelief, we pick it up and carefully examine it for any slight imperfection. Finally, we check the price tag to determine if its value is worth the cost. To our disappointment, it is simply too expensive and more than we are willing to pay. We place it back on the shelf and walk away. Perhaps we can find a more affordable, less costly gift.

 

But that was not the case on that first Christmas morning two thousand years ago when God gave the most expensive gift of all—the gift of His Son. The cost would stretch from the starlit hill of Bethlehem to the darkened hill of Calvary. It would be wrapped in swaddling clothes woven with pain and stained in blood. A ribbon of mercy would adorn this priceless gift of love. Oh yes, God knew in advance the cost of His gift. The cruel cross was in full view as God pondered His decision. The price tag would be high—the cost enormous.

 

It has been said that a friend would perhaps die for a friend, and many would die for their own child, but only the Son of God would die for a sinner such as I. You see, my life was laced with self-righteousness from feeble attempts at being good; my will bent on having my own way; my attitude in need of adjustment; my pride out of control; my body imperfect; and my destiny one of destruction. Yet God chose to pay an extravagant price to rescue me.

 

Only when we comprehend the tremendous cost of God’s gift will we have gratitude equal to its worthiness. Only when we recognize our pitiful state had the gift not been given will we grasp its significance. Only when we acknowledge the pain it brought to the heart of God will we understand its high value. And it is only when we accept the generosity of God will we adore the Gift and worship the Giver.

 

There has always been just one true message of Christmas even though it is often camouflaged among cheerful holiday ado. As we observe this Christmas, it is only fitting that we celebrate the most expensive gift ever given, the gift of Jesus. ~Janie Kellogg