From The Garden Bench - Gifts
Words by David Hollows
How good are your shopping skills when buying cards or gifts? When buying a card, is your decision based on the front cover design, the words or the relevancy of the card?
Is the purchase of a gift determined by the suitability of the gift for the personality or interests of the person? Or is your purchase determined by the amount of time you have to give to searching high and low for a relevant gift or the amount of money available?
Some of us are swayed by the number of people we have to buy for; at Christmas, for example, buying for multiple grandchildren and great grandchildren can become an issue.
For others, the ‘that will do’ approach is key.
Is shopping for cards and gifts a pleasure or sheer duty? And what do you do for the person who has everything already? Vouchers or a gift to a charity can often be a way forward. The bottom line is that most of us love to give gifts as a tangible gesture of our love, care, concern for another person. And the same is for God who loves to give His children all the gifts in life that He has for us. So, let’s consider some of the gifts we receive from our God.
Photo by freestocks via Unsplash
The following is not an exhaustive list, there will be other gifts that you could suggest, please add them to the list;
Peace – Jesus said, ‘Peace I leave with you. My own peace I now give and bequeath to you’ (John chapter 14 verse 27)
Friendship – Jesus said, ‘I do not call you servants any longer, for the servant does not know what the master is doing. But I have called you my friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father’ (john chapter 15 verse 15)
Mercy – And God said, ‘for I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and will show mercy and loving-kindness on whom I will show mercy and loving-kindness’ (Exodus chapter 33 verse 19)
Wisdom – And God gave Solomon exceptionally much wisdom and understanding (1 Kings chapter 4 verse 29)
Guidance – I, the Lord, will instruct you and guide you in the way you should go (Psalm 32 verse 8)
Faith – And Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Have faith in God constantly’ (Mark chapter 11 verse 22)
Forgiveness – Jesus said to His disciples, ‘And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it go in order that your Father in heaven may also forgive you our failings and shortcomings (Mark chapter 11 verse 25)
Healing – Jesus instructed His disciples that they were to, ‘Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and drive out demons’ Matthew chapter 10 verse 8)
Wholeness – A woman who had suffered for 12 years with an illness came up behind Jesus and touched the hem of his coat. For she said to herself, ‘If I only touch His coat, I will be restored to health’ (Mark chapter 9 verses 20 and 21)
Freedom to choose - Joshua said to the tribes of Israel, ‘choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods that your fathers served on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ (Joshua chapter 24 verse 15)
Salvation – For it is by free grace that that you are saved from judgement and made partakers of Christ’s salvation through faith. (Ephesians chapter 2 verse 8)
Eternity – Jesus said, ‘The sheep that are my own hear and are listening to my voice; and I know them and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never lose it or perish throughout all the ages. (John chapter 10 verses 27 and 28)
Prayer – God said, ‘Then you will call upon me and you will come and pray to me, and I will hear you and listen to you.’ (Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 12)
The Bible – And they said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts greatly moved and burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and as He opened up and explained to us the Scriptures?’ (Luke chapter 24 verse 32)
Grace – All are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace, His unmerited favour, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus (Romans chapter 3 verse 24)
Relationship – For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will imprint my laws upon their minds, even upon their innermost thoughts and understanding, and will engrave them upon their hearts; and I will be their God and they will be My people. (Hebrews chapter 8 verse 10)
Love – See what an incredible quality of love the Father has given us that we should be named and counted the children of God (! John chapter 3 verse 1)
The Holy Spirit – But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name will teach you all things (John chapter 14 verse 26)
Jesus – For God so greatly loved the world that He gave up His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.(John chapter 3 verse 16)
God, himself – That you may really know the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge; that you may be filled through all your being unto all fullness of God becoming wholly filled and flooded with god Himself. (Ephesians chapter 3 verse 19)
In his letters to the Christians in Corinth and Galatia, Paul writes about other gifts given by God; prophecy, speaking in tongues, preaching and teaching as well as goodness, kindness, patience and joy.
God gives His gifts freely and unreservedly to His people but He will not give a gift if He thinks it will be wasted or abused.
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So, what will you do with the gifts God gives you today?
You may find the following hymns useful; Lord of creation, to you be all praise (Mission Praise 440) Great is thy faithfulness (Mission Praise 200)
You may find the following prayers helpful;
Loving and gracious God, we thank you for your many gifts to us; for the world which you have made to provide us with all that we need for life. For the gift of one another; the caring and sharing, the laughter and tears, the demands and rewards of loving. For life itself; with its opportunities, its challenges and moments of joy and peace. For all this, we thank you, God
We thank you, faithful God for the gift of yourself; your steadfast and forgiving love for us, your people. We thank you that you sent your Son to share your human life with us, to call us back to you, to die for us on the cross and to be raised again, that we might know you and have eternal life in you. For your many gifts, we thank you our God. Amen
We give thanks to you, O God, because you are our God; creator, parent, protector and friend. We give thanks to you, O God, because you have shown yourself in Jesus, your Son, our Saviour and Lord. We give thanks to you, O God, because you have given us the gift of your Holy Spirit; Comforter and Guide, Inspirer and Encourager, Your presence with us at every stage of our lives Our God of many gifts, we give you thanks and praise this day.
God bless you