The Ultimate Gift

Reading Time: 8 minutesThe Ultimate Gift

“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. (Isa 45:3).

He leads me beside still waters
He leads me beside still waters

One of the most thrilling facts I learned about the miracles of nature concerned the lowly cocklebur. Surely it is one of the most despised of all plants due to its clinging, pricking nature. Yet consider the marvel of its reproduction. Every pod of the cocklebur has two seeds inside to guarantee its survival. But during the first year only one of the seeds will begin to grow. The other seed waits till the second year to start growing in order to perpetuate two seasons of growth. But if something happens to the first seed so that it does not grow and produce, the second seed begins to grow immediately instead of waiting for the next year. Understanding the Cocklebur  What built-in wisdom of God communicates to that waiting seed that it should begin to grow when the first seed is destroyed? No evolutionist has been able to harmonize miracles like this with their theories of naturalism and chance. And if Jesus can do such wonders with the lowly Cocklebur, surely He can bring light out of the dark anytime He chooses.

“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.” (Psalms 112:4).

Nature shows us in many ways how we can see that God’s care extends to the meanest and lowest order of growing things. Are we not more precious to Him than the cockleburs? If He works miracles to safeguard a clinging, contrary cocklebur, (as we will know when we get them caught on our socks) will He not also guide the ways of those for whom He gave His life? May God open our eyes to the wonder and wisdom of His great work of creation. Tonight when you kneel to pray, remember to thank God for the landscape of beauty that always lies beyond the miserable mess of human obstruction and destruction. Thank Him for leading us beside still waters.

When I think about it; do I usually expect to find “treasures” in that darkness? When my life is dark and dreary?

In a book called Streams In The Desert, I read something about “the famous lace shops of Brussels.”

Apparently, there are certain rooms especially dedicated to the spinning of the finest and most delicate patterns. These rooms are completely darkened, except for a light from one very small window, which falls directly upon the pattern. There is only one spinner in the room, and they sit where the narrow stream of light falls upon the threads that they are weaving. “Thus,” we are told by the guide, “do we secure our choicest products. Lace is always more delicately and beautifully woven when the workers themselves are in the dark and when only their pattern is in the light.” That sounds a lot like a treasure in the dark.

Christmas is coming soon. For the “haves” it is a time of much “tinsel and glitter,” but for many of the “have nots” it can be a dark and dreadful time, filled with loneliness, or worse. “Christmas,” so called has dark reflections of class and status distinctions and stigmas, where people who need help more than just once a year, get it doled to them “generously” once a year on “Christmas.” And that’s called “helping them.” Christmas is a time of darkness for many. Maybe we could just say that “Christmas” is greatly misunderstood by most of us who “celebrate” it?

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Could it be the same or similar with us in our weaving? In our personal experience? Sometimes it is very dark. We cannot understand what we are doing. We do not see the web we are weaving. We are not able to discover any beauty, any possible good in our experience. Even most of the “encouragement” that comes to us during such times can be painful to hear. Does anyone mean what they say at Christmas? Yet if we are faithful and fail not and faint not, (Isa 40:31), we shall some day know that the most beautiful work of all our life was done in those days when it was so dark. I like the way one writer has put it:

“If you are in the deep shadows because of some strange, mysterious providence, do not be afraid. Simply go on in faith and love, never doubting. God is watching, and He will bring good and beauty out of all your pain and tears. — J. R. Miller

There is only one thing I can think of that could be called a true “treasure” in the darkness of our world today. Scripture says it best:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28, NIV)

Evidently then, God works in “everything” and not just isolated incidents, and all for our own best good. This does not mean that all which happens to us is good. As we all know, evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good. But we would do well to remember that God is not working to make us happy but to fulfill his purpose. Rom 8:28 says that all things work together for good to those who “are called according to His purpose.” Yes, Romans 8:28 may not be for everybody. It can be claimed only by those who love God and who are called by him, that is, those whom the Holy Spirit convinces to receive Christ. Such people have a new perspective, a new mind-set. (2 Cor 5:17). They trust in God, not in worldly treasures; their security is in heaven, not on earth. Their faith in God does not waver in pain and persecution because they know God is with them.

“Immanuel.” “God with us.”

Immanuel.” Hope has a name.

“Immanuel.” “God with us” is what the real Christmas story should be about. And not just on Dec 25th.

Always A Little Light

While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. (Mat 17:5)

Moses and Elijah were the two greatest prophets in the Old Testament. Moses could be said to represent the law, or the old covenant. He wrote the Pentateuch, and he predicted the coming of a great prophet (Deut 18:15-19).

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Elijah could be said to represent the prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah (Mal 4:5-6).

Moses’ and Elijah’s presence with Jesus confirmed Jesus’ Messianic mission: to fulfill God’s law and the words of God’s prophets. “Fulfill meaning to demonstrate how it is done. Just as God’s voice in the cloud over Mount Sinai gave authority to his law (Exodus 19:9), God’s voice at the Transfiguration gave authority to Jesus’ words.

We too may know the comfort, authority, and guidance of God’s Word today:

Understanding your word brings light to the minds of ordinary people. (Psalms 119:130, CEV)

The Light in all of our clouds is Jesus; and His Word. Thats why the gospel is simply wonderful, and wonderfully simple. It is the entrance (lit, opening), i.e., the unfolding or unveiling, of the words of God that give light to the darkened soul. That which the human mind cannot comprehend by itself is comprehended through the aid of the Spirit of God:

What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts. (Heb 4:12, CEV)

PTL we don’t have to let any other human tell us whats in our heart, or our motives. We don’t have to defend ourselves. That is what God;s Word is for. Its just between you and Jesus. The Bible tells us: “…Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, CEV). Hope in Jesus and be FREE today. KNOW that there is God above; and that he will never forsake you. Ever. (Heb 13:5). Today, through His “precious promises,” (2 Pet 1:4) we may live in The Light of His Clouds! (Mark 13:26).

God made great and marvellous promises, so that his nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world. (2 Pet 1:4, CEV)

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 4:6).

As God commanded the light to shine in the darkness at creation (Gen 1:3), so he “turns on” the light in peoples’ hearts, (“let there be light”) so they can see who Jesus Christ is. “Out of darkness” meaning Paul here draws a beautiful analogy of our new creation in Christ to His primeval creation of the world. Both the world and us were initially born in darkness—we in spiritual darkness, through innate sin, and the world in physical darkness (Gen 1:2).

Then, as God called for physical light to “divide” the darkness (Gen 1:3-5), so He has divided the darkness in our hearts, by the spiritual illumination of Him who is “the light of the world” (John 8:12).

Yet, just as there continues to be a “conflict” between day and night, as it were, so there continues a battle in our souls between the old darkness and the new light. In the age to come, however, “there shall be no night there” (Rev 21:25), and thenceforth we always “shall walk in the light of it” (Rev 21:24), having been made “like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). The Bible calls this “Christ in you; THE hope in glory.” (Col 1:27). I remember one sad Christmas that I spent in the hospital. I had burns to about 50% of my body, in varying degrees. I actually ended up spending almost a year in the maternity room of the small town hospital where I sustained my injuries. The maternity services for that hospital were victims of cut backs, and it was the only room in that small town hospital where they could maintain the strict isolation needed in order to prevent me from getting life-threatening infections.

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It was a long year, and part of that was Christmas. I remember it well. The pain medications magnified everything for me, especially the fear. I was in that bed crying one night and when my favourite nurse came in to check up on me, I told her I was afraid, and didn’t want to die. She gently grasped my hand, and said quietly, “David, I am going to stay here with you now, until you are not afraid.” Just that simple little action was all it took. At the time; I had no idea she was a Christian, but I did make a note to myself that said “I don’t know what she has got, but whatever it is, I want that.” After I recovered a bit from my burns, I started recognizing whatever that nurse had in other people. I later learned that they had Jesus in them. (2 Cor 4:6). And that is why I became a Christian.

This Christmas, of course will involve gift-giving or receiving by most; but how many of us are willing to give the greatest gift of all? Will you give someone of yourself, will you give someone the gift of your time? Your presence. Just be there for someone? Perhaps, you will be able to “be there” for someone, something like that nurse was for me? Would they too see Jesus in you?

Would you give someone the “treasure in their darkness” (Isa 45:3) as the Ultimate Gift this year? (John 3:16).

This Christmas, may it be said that someone we know has received The Ultimate Gift.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. (Isa 9:2, Isa 42:16)

Seeing Jesus is the great Hope of Christmas. (Mat 1:23). But not just at Christmas. Seeing Jesus in every day, in every circumstance. As the apostle Paul once put it:

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2).

What are your thoughts?

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“If I say, “My foot is slipping,” Your faithful love will support me, LORD. When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” — Psalm 94:18-19 Listen to chapter . Powered by BibleGateway.com.
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