Last Saturday I was asked to give a short talk to a group of women at our church. We made Christmas cards, had some tea, and listened to a few thoughts from yours truly. Since I had no time to post to my blog, I thought you may enjoy these few thoughts before I carry on with the story there. Since we were making Christmas cards, my thoughts were drawn to ways that God “greets” us...
Good afternoon, Ladies. It is a pleasure for me to speak to you for a few minutes about our incredible God and His very distinctive “greeting” to us.
Sending Christmas greetings to friends and family is a long standing tradition. The words are simple: “Merry Christmas,” “I remember you,” “You mean a lot to me,” “I have so many fond memories of the time we spent together,” “God bless you,” and yet these simple words communicate our heart to people.
It seems to me that God does something very similar for us in His word. He communicates His heart toward us and draws our minds back to remember Him, to remember circumstances He walked through with us, and to remember that we mean more than we’ll ever know to Him.
In reading a Bible, we have the opportunity every day to receive a personal greeting from Almighty God. And the message is very consistent: He’s calling out to us, He’s waiting for us to give ourselves completely to Him, He’s loving us.
I first began to read God’s word as a teenager. I understood that God’s design for life was good, filled with purpose, hope and peace. Jesus said:
- I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. [John 10:10]
- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. [John 3:16]
It was clear that God wanted life for us – so much that Jesus was sent to get it for us. I could also see clearly that I was separated from God by the wrong things I had done. I was experiencing the emptiness and lack of purpose that are common when the Author of Life is pushed aside in life. I could see the truth of God’s word when He said:
- for all have sinned [have no share in; missed the mark] and fall short of the glory of God, [Romans 3:23]
I believed when God said that
- the wages of sin is death, because it felt like I was empty and dying on the inside, but the really good news was the rest of that verse which says, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 6:23]
I wanted to receive that gift of life, so I accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross on my behalf; I believed He died there to pay an unspeakable price for my sin, and I asked Him to take my sins away. I couldn’t make myself right with God – but thank God, He provided everything I and anyone else would ever need to restore relationship with Him and set things right in life. All that He’s done is laid out so clearly in His word. He says:
… to all who received [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, [God] gave the right to become children of God. [John 1:12] And
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. [Ephesians 2:8,9]
I tell you the truth; whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. [John 5:24]
- That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. [Romans 10:9,10]
If you’re not sure what God thinks of you, hear what He wrote you in Romans when He says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” I think this is a love beyond what we are able to comprehend; I’ve been His child now for 30 years, and I still don’t really understand it. I’m thankful for it; it has completely changed life for me – but I can’t say I understand it.
So while you’re thinking of gifts this Christmas season, if you have never accepted God’s gift of salvation, then you should absolutely do that today. If you have questions there are many of us here who can talk to you and explain something for you. But truly, to invite the Author of Life to be the Lord of your life is to begin living in a way that you’ve perhaps only imagined before. It is possible God’s Christmas greeting to you could go something like this,
“I want to bless you at Christmas and always! ‘May all your dreams come true’ is too small a wish for you. I would love to surpass your dreams – "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." Let me bless you with my peace which transcends all understanding, with my hope – a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and my unfailing love – a love more certain than the mountains; a love unable to fail! Signed - Almighty God; Your Creator; the Author of Life; Your Redeemer, who has compassion on you.”
In closing, I would like to say that in the last 15 months, I have discovered more life and more freedom than I knew could be experienced by simply taking God at His word, and submitting to His authority, His Lordship in my life. I have made the most incredible discovery. I laugh and shake my head every time I say it because, who knew? Who knew that something so simple, so basic, could have such an impact on absolutely everything? The discovery is that I am loved; I am loved by the King, and let me tell you, that has changed absolutely everything for me – my marriage, my relationship with my kids, the way I wake up in the morning, the way I do housework – everything is different; everything is better. It’s as if I have finally begun to experience – and I mean to really live – what Jesus was talking about when He said He came to bring abundant life and living water and freedom to the captives.
- It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. [Galatians 5:1]
If you are captive or imprisoned or broken-hearted, then there is Good News!! Jesus came to bind up the broken-hearted to proclaim freedom to the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners – now there’s a greeting from Him you don’t want to miss!!
You are loved.
You are loved by the King!
If you can hear that and believe that, I know from experience it will change everything for you.
Ladies, please hear God’s greetings to you this Christmas, greetings He’s been calling out to you for all of your life.
You are loved.
He is Almighty God.
He is completely trustworthy, and all powerful. The things in life that are much too big for you are not too much for Him. He is a Master at bringing beauty out of ashes.
He is God and there is no other.
Submit to His authority, and you will experience freedom in life like you’ve never imagined before.
I pray you’ll hear His greetings to you, that you’ll know His blessing and His love like never before this Christmas.
God bless you!