We All Have A Gift!

We all have a gift. This gift is from God. Those who have opened it are called Christians. Perhaps one reason some people are so offended about the greeting “Merry Christmas”, is because it is a reminder of the gift they have left unopened. There it is under the nicely decorated evergreen tree forgotten and neglected. It may even get moved later on, after New Years Day, placed in a box with all the Christmas decorations and trimmings. “Perhaps I will open it next Christmas” many will explain.

If you are struggling with what to give your fellow employee, a partner at work, a family member or even the delivery person at your doorstep, consider helping them remember the gift they have left un-opened under their tree. The gift of Christmas is for everyone no one is left out.

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish,2Peter3:9 BSB

Helping someone un-wrap the gift of Christmas is the best gift you can give. Perhaps what you share may be something like this.

“Do you know why we celebrate Christmas? It’s the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Some people have trouble with that right off the bat. You may be saying to yourself I don’t need a savior I’m fine. I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, I have a good job and a family, I love them, I provide for them and do my best not to cuss around them and behave properly. God is love and I think He will let me into heaven. What kind of God would send a good person to hell anyway?

That’s right God is love and He has given you a gift.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 WEB

Perhaps the reason you don’t un-wrap this gift is because you don’t realize how much you need it. Like a person floundering in the ocean at risk of drowning any moment you flail away and dismiss the rescue boat that has pulled up beside you. I felt the same as you once and then one day I realized what Jesus Christ did for me. His love and concern for me, and for my soul compelled Him to die an agonizing death on the cross. He did not have to, He chose to die on the cross. He said Himself

“ No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”            John 10:18 NLT

There must have been a very good reason for Him to do this. God says we are all condemned.

“all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”                   2 Thess NIV

There is no one without sin – we all fall short and we are all destined for eternity in hell.

“As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous–not even one” Romans 3:10 NLT

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our  Lord”  Romans 6:23 NLT

Everyone has broken the Ten Commandments no one has lived a perfect life, except our savior Jesus.

“but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” This is a free gift. We are not able to save ourselves. Nothing we do will save us from God’s perfect and just penalty.

We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”  Isaiah 64:6NLT

Only the grace and mercy of God can save us.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Eph 2:8 ESV

God sent His son that

“we may have life and have it more abundantly” John 10:10 KJB

That we might be spared the penalty of sin which is death and eternal separation from the God of justice, who is also the God of mercy. Jesus received our penalty for us and as a sinless offering has fulfilled the demands of justice.

“And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” Romans 3:23-25 BSB

We celebrate Jesus birth like the angels did when the shepherds heard their singing in the heavens. Jesus is our reason to celebrate. The Bible says

“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” Phil 2:10. NLT

He is uniquely qualified to be our savior, these are his qualifications:

  • He is God, Jesus is the triune God in the flesh.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  John 1:1NLV

 “ and the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 NIV

Keep watch over yourselves and the entire flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28 BSB

  • He is the fulfillment of prophecy.His birth was announced ages before he came. From the first book to the last, the Old Testament is filled with prophecy of His birth, His life, His death and Resurrection. The most recognized prophecy is from Isaiah.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 ESV

  • His birth was miraculous. He was indeed born of a virgin.

“the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).Isaiah 7:14 NLT

  • He lived a sinless life although tempted as we all are, He overcame temptation.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. Hebrews 4:15 BSB

  • He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind and raised the dead. His miracles were witnessed by many and were a testimony of who He was.

Men of Israel, listen to this message: Jesus of Nazareth was a man certified by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know.” Acts 2:22 BSB

  • He died on the cross fulfilling prophecy.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 ESV

  • He was raised from the dead, having fulfilled the demands of justice He was the first to be raised to life.

For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.”    Psalm 16:10 NLT 

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1Cor 15:20 NIV

 “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,” Hebrews 10:12 ESV

He appeared to many before returning to heaven as His friends watched him leave.

“He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve.  After that, He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep” 1Cor 15:5-7 BSB 

When Jesus had led them out as far as Bethany, He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He left them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy” Luke 24:51 BSB

  • Finally He sent the Holy Spirit to testify of the truth and to indwell all believers with the power to share His message of love, life and liberty.

 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” Luke 24:49 NLT

What is keeping you from opening this gift from God? Let me help you un-wrap it. Can I pray with you?”

“If only it was that simple you say” well sharing the truth of God’s gift gets easier as you practice and believe me I have not had enough practice. So let us as Christians pray for each other that we have the opportunities and the Holy Spirit power to follow through with helping others un-wrap Christmas. We experience such joy as we watch our loved ones open their gifts. How much more joy is experienced by the host of heaven as they watch someone un-wrap God’s loving and merciful gift to us!

“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10 ESV

 Joy and gratefulness abounds as we repent and embrace the Love of Jesus and His precious gifts.  For the gift of God is one that opens up an abundant gift of many.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”                  Gal 5:22 KJB

I am praying that this post was helpful for you, and you will un-wrap or help someone nearby un-wrap the gift of Christmas!





Bible Versions Used

BSB – Berean Study Bible

WEB – World English Bible

NLT – New Living Translation

NIV – New International Version

ESV – English Standard Version

KJB – King James Bible

Give Me One Good Reason!

Bradley Bowen, the author of “Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus “, states that he doubts he could ever be persuaded by New Testament evidence that Christ was seen alive after his crucifixion.Theologian and Cold Case Investigator J. Warner Wallace points out that

“While many skeptics argue only non-biblical sources can be trusted for the information we have about Jesus, the ancient Christian record about Jesus is the most reliable.”

If New Testament accounts are not proof enough of the resurrection it is un-likely that extra-biblical evidence would convince Mr.Bowen. However,  testimony from non-biblical sources does help affirm the reliability of scripture. The earliest of the non-biblical accounts of Jesus would be from the writings of Josephus. The following is from his writing in 93-94 A.D. called “Antiquities” this segment is called the “Testimonium Flavianum”.

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; ……He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold”

I’m certain that Mr. Bowen is among the skeptics that would discount this evidence by claiming this segment was added to the document. It is probable but unlikely that this was a later insertion for it is found in every known copy of “Antiquities”. Notably, this is the only one of Josephus writings of biblical relevance that is in dispute.

Bowen then asserts that he has no proof that Christ was dead when He was placed in the tomb. Choosing to ignore testimony from scripture he must rely on the extra-biblical testimony. Josephus and writings from Thaylus 52 A.D.and Tacitus 56-120 A.D. and Pliny the Younger and others testify to the historical accuracy of the Gospel in their description of Jesus, His life, death and resurrection. But if Bowen is looking for a local non-biased coroners report, there are none.

Mr. Bowens conclusion that God did not raise Jesus from the dead is false, because he relies upon one of these three statements being false.

“JNR3. At least one of the following beliefs is false: (a) Moses was a prophet of God, (b) the Old Testament was inspired by God, or (c) Jehovah is God “ – Bradley Bowen

The author fails to prove any of the above false and bases his conclusive statement on these words.

“I am confident that JNR3 is true”.

If the non-biblical sources referred to above are sufficient to prove the reliability of scripture, then it would be logical to conclude that Jesus is who He claims to be. If Jesus is God as He claims and God does not lie, then the words of the Old Testament and the prophets such as Moses whom Jesus refers to and quotes from are true.

Without presenting any evidence at all Bowen merely concludes he is confident these statements are false. He ignores the testimony of Jesus, the fulfillment of prophecy, and the testimony of the Apostles, who died as martyrs for their belief in the resurrection.

Not only does he refuse to acknowledge the validity of the claims of the New Testament writers, several of which write within 30 years of Jesus’ death and resurrection, he ignores the extra-biblical testimonies of the same as well. Mr. Bowen will not be persuaded by reason for he has no reason to be persuaded.

Bradley Bowen -“Argument Against The Resurrection of Jesus”

J. W. Wallace – “What Does Christianity Say About the Nature of Jesus”

J. W. Wallace – “Why the Ancient Christian Record About Jesus Is the Most Reliable”


The Ultimate Victory


I have confronted death from many perspectives. As a five year old, I experienced the loss of my mother to rheumatic fever. The little I remember of this early life event remains veiled behind tears and grief. My loving father and family helped me through this tragedy. It was an experience that formed my character and planted the reality in my heart and mind that death was a final event.

In school, I learned about God, who loved the world so much that He sent His son to die on a cross to give us all victory over death. I learned of a place called Heaven. I knew this was my only hope of ever seeing my mother again and I embraced it. I had little understanding of the mechanics of God’s solution and the reasons for death in the first place, but I felt it was worth the effort to try to understand.

My Uncle Roland passed away when I was around ten years old. I remember my dad’s brother as a gentle and loving, humorous, balding man who smoked cigars. I loved him as much as any in my family and found myself grieving once more. My family’s basic response to the many questions I had concerning his death was that “Uncle Roland is in heaven with your Mother”.

Later in my teens I watched Dad grow sick from heart failure. He was taken out of our house in a stretcher one day and on his way out he looked over and gave me a wink. I was devastated, this was my Father, the man I had always wanted to be like. He never failed to provide love and comfort and laughter for all of us. I knew it was the last time I would ever see him alive. He died that day, in the hospital.

Shortly after I was married I received news that my younger brother had been diagnosed with Lymphoma. For the year after we prayed that somehow he would be cured. He was 27 when he died. More than ever I was angry at death. Even knowing that somehow my faith in God was real and that there would be a reunion in heaven, I was angry. Life for me had become a waiting line for the inevitable burial in the ground.

My wife’s mother, our children’s Nana, became ill a few years later and died in the hospital. My wife and I comforted each other and realized that we would have to explain to our five growing children the reality of death.

We were so proud of our children, studying and preparing for college, following the footsteps of our oldest son. The Friday morning after Christmas, my wife received a call from the hospital.  Ray, our 23 year old son had been in an accident during the early morning commute into town. An ambulance on route to a house call drove through a red light at 35 mph and hit the driver’s side of his car. At the hospital we both looked at our lifeless first born and fell speechless into the arms of God.

Today our hope, our faith, our life is in Christ Jesus, because there is no other way that death is defeated. Our victory is to see the enemy of all mankind destroyed and the life reunion in Heaven.

This inscription is on Ray’s memorial stone. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25