Election season is past, but campaign promises are still ringing in the air. For some, this means great relief and hope for the future. Others are more skeptical, realizing that not all promises, though sincere, are able to be kept. Their fulfillment will only come through negotiation, compromise, committees, finance availability and congressional action. One person may not have the power to keep those promises.
The Supreme Gift of Christmas, God’s Son, came with a promise: “...That whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
That’s a big promise! It is huge in its scope: Whosoever. It is even grander in its substance: Eternal life.
Eternal life embraces all that the human heart searches and hopes for. It is fullness and fulfillment in this present life, and unending joy and blessing in the life to come. It is life without a period or a question mark. It is the inner certainty of God’s favor beyond anything we can imagine. It is love without limits of time or space.
Can God produce all that He has promised in Christ Jesus?
Yes! His gift of eternal life is not subject to committees, votes, finances or the approval of man. It is His alone to give. And ours to receive.
I will rejoice in the God who has the power to keep His promises.
It’s annoying. Often disrespectful. Dismissive. What is it?
The flippant response, “Whatever.” It’s the non-answer, intended to discourage any further discussion. It’s a refusal to dig into the issue at hand. It’s a put-off and a put-down. An expression of disgust and unconcern.
A similar term is used in John 3:16, but it’s worlds apart in its meaning. When God says “whosoever,” it is inclusive, welcoming, and represents a universal appeal to all who are hungry for truth. The “whatever” that follows is huge. Whoever believes in God’s son “shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
“Whosoever” appears to be a general invitation. But it becomes personal when you realize that it means YOU! God’s door is open to anyone and everyone. The only requirement is faith in His Son. “Whosoever” can claim all the blessings and benefits of belonging to God’s family. Now. And eternally. Those who shrug off the invitation with a “whatever,” are the real losers.
God’s call to “Whosoever” shows the tremendous reach of His love. It knows no social, religious or national boundaries. “Whosoever” could be anyone. That is the impetus for sharing the Christian message.
Think of the people in your world. The “Whosoevers” who need God’s love. There is no greater Gift.
I will ask God to lead me to a “Whosoever” who needs Him this week.
One of the values of modern shipping is the ability to track the path of your order online. You can see when it departed and the stops along the way. You can also see when it was actually delivered to your doorstep.
This process is of special interest if the item on the way is a gift someone else ordered for you.
Have you ever stopped to track the path of gifts God has sent your way? His means of provision? The people He has used enroute?
At Cedar Road Assembly of God, we enjoy the ministry of Brenda Lampman, our worship leader. She is a gift to the church. But how did it happen?
Far away, in Springfield, Missouri, an editor sent assignments to her mother, who in turn used earnings from writing to pay for music lessons, which in turn led to college scholarships….
We all have stories that reveal the path and people God has used to bring His blessings into our lives. So it was with the giving of His Son. From heaven to earth through a virgin. A stop in a manger. A bloody path to the cross. A return from the tomb. Then, a knock on the door of each heart. Delivery completed. The Gift has arrived.
I will stop this week and track the path God has used to bring me His love. Then I will seek to be part of the path to deliver God’s salvation to others.
The word “so” has five different uses in the English language. One use is as intensifier. An intensifier describes how strong or weak an action is. We find this little word in John 3:16: “God SO loved the world…”
What we see here is intense love. God didn’t just have a warm feeling toward the world He created. His love is intense beyond description. It’s the love that prompts action. It has the power to create new destinies and to change the course of history. It’s the love that protects and defends.
Intense love does not count the cost of its decisions. It is based on relationship and commitment. It’s a love that will not stand by and see hope denied. It will run to the rescue — much like a mother who sees her child in danger.
Intense love emanates from the very nature of God. It is the essence of who He is. Intense love burns like a fire — and comforts like a gentle rain. Intense love keeps reaching out, defying rejection. Intense love doesn’t know when or how to stop.
“God SO loved...that He gave…” Intense love emptied heaven in order to fill human hearts with a priceless gift: God’s own Son.
I will allow God to express His intense love through me to the people I encounter this week.
Sewing, almost a lost art, has its challenges. When the seams aren’t straight, or the size isn’t right, what do you do? You take it apart and start over. Removing a tight stitch is a tedious job, but if you want the right results, you stick with it.
When God created the world, He didn’t “sew it up” in a day. It took six days to complete the perfect environment for man and to place him in it. Was God pleased with the results? You bet! He called it good and very good.
Sad to say, the human inhabitant veered from the pattern God had ordained. The perfect work was marred by disobedience. Here we see the infinite patience of the creator God. Did He abandon His project? Did He destroy the world in disgust? No. He simply worked with the broken pieces to create a new design.
“God so loved the world…”
Advent is a time to remember the depth of God’s love for this fallen planet. When Adam failed, God sent a second Adam who would not fail. He followed God’s pattern in every detail. Love came wrapped in swaddling clothes, that we might wear a robe of righteousness.
I will seek to take the message of God’s love and redemption to my part of the world.