The Greatest Gift I Ever Received

Description: Life is about what happens beyond the grave. Life is about knowing the God who made you and who gave you the greatest gift you will ever receive in this life.

Verse: Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Do you remember the best gift you got as a child? Was it really special to you or did you easily get enchanted for something better than that gift? Did you like it because of the tag that told you who the gift was from? Or did you like it because you weren’t expecting anything at all?

The gift I remember the most was a big plastic tank that I could ride through the house shooting ping pong balls out all over the house. I’m certain that my brothers and I didn’t have any idea the compromises and sacrifices that were made for all those years we celebrated as a family.

The five dollar bill we all got each year to buy others gifts were the best example of learning how to get something nice for my parents that didn’t look cheap or just another dumb gift. I never recalled any time where they showed remorse over any of our gifts.

They were special and I never reflected on the kid who didn’t have anything until I was much older. It makes me feel a little ashamed, because many of those kids lived close by me. I know as I got older my desire to think of others before myself became more important.

I do recall my brothers always wanting to get under the tree after our parents went to sleep, to guess what they got…me I wanted to wait so the surprise could be greater. Today when the stores our lined with Christmas thoughts immediately after Halloween, many of us maybe not intentionally forget the true meaning of the Christmas season.

I do like getting gifts, but as a father and grandpa I enjoy seeing the smiles and excitement on the little kids faces. One year I had all the grandchildren get in a circle around me as I pulled out a beautiful little box for each child. Before I tell you my gift idea, I went to the bank after payday and asked the manger if he could help me with a special Christmas gift for each of my twelve grandchildren . He was readily to help as I am certain he was hoping I was going to set up twelve accounts. I told him I needed three hundred one dollar bills — especially new ones.

He went away and came back with the three hundred one dollar bills. They were all new and he asked me, “What is your plan?” I said I had twelve grandchildren and I was going to give each child twenty five dollars. He laughed and said let me personally roll these up for you with a seal. I thanked him and promised to return after the holidays to share the pictures.

You cannot begin to imagine what each child did when they opened their own little gift box. There was shrills of excitement. I was more excited when the older ones wanted to immediately go to Wal-mart to spend their money. I laughed and said you really have $50 dollars because the items were priced 50% off. All my daughters hated me for giving that gift.

Today I think of the really best gift I ever received was the gift of salvation from a small baby that was born here in a small stable. He left his home in heaven as a the King’s son to ultimately pay the price of sin for all humanity. The small frail mother – Mary and her husband – Jospeh knew as they watched this small child that night, knowing they were raising the King of Kings that one day would be crucified for all humanity.

This was the gift that would keep on giving to all humanity till there was no more babies born. This small child was the gift from a heavenly father who loved His creation so much to give all of us the best gift ever.

I am certain we all have got gifts that we did not like, but the gift that gives us eternal life is a phenomenal gift ever. I doubt that I will ever want to take this gift back and get credit or refund. I love sharing to everyone this gift of love. Our verse reminds us of other gifts from God, but one stands out greater than any other –love. Love has the ability to do things in the worst conditions. It is the gift that is always going above and beyond.

Think about it, you who have received the gift of salvation can share this gift with many others. And it will be a gift out of your bag of gifts where there will be ample enough supply to give to as many you want to share God with in your life.

This gift is better than any other gift, and the benefits and warranties are phenomenal. Give the gift this year that will be remembered and will want others to share the true meaning of —Merry Christmas!

Prayer: Lord this season is about you — and not gifts. Thanks for blessing us to enable us to purchase and buy gifts for others. Let it reflect your love and not ours. And most importantly thanks for the gift you gave for all us a long time ago. Use us to share the gift of salvation to all those around us. Amen

This is my story

This is my story –this is my song

Description: The great composer wrote the song, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine in 1873 that amplified that this song was not just a song, but this is my story.

Verse: Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy. 1 Peter 1:8

I always love to read someone’s story. What drives them to be who and what they are. But when the composer wrote the old hymn “Blessed Assurance,” she was telling of a story of not this life here on earth, but a story of victory and a life to come. The proclamation of Jesus being hers, had a tale that all Christians have been singing this song over 100 years can still bring tears to any saints eyes.

In our verse today it amplifies of a faith and love in someone that cannot be seen — but still loved. And because of this phenomenal belief, there is a joy that cannot be compared to anything else in this world. How can such joy be explained? How can there be love when there is no one seen, but still have a love that does not compare to any other kind of love?

The joy is in the story, the story may not be complete, but somehow the person is able to look beyond anything that can be explained, and sense something that only is in the depths of every Christian’s heart — an assurance that no one can remove, no one can steal, and no one can buy. It’s all mine!

The assurance that is available to anyone, is the invitation to being a member of the family of God, then you will know the composer’s story and why she felt the way she did. I will make many mistakes in my walk with Jesus every day. But I know I can ask Him with assurance to forgive me when I fail or fall in this life, knowing that He still loves me — and I can praise Him for assuring me that my story has a great ending — with Him.

Prayer: Lord, thanks for the assurance that I can be forgiven, and have a place with you someday. Thanks for this assurance as it is a hope of the greatest value in this life. Lord help me to sing my story to others — sharing the love and assurance as you give me everyday. Amen

I Am Not Perfect

Description: It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press towards perfection in grace and holiness. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father.

Verse: Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48

Today I played golf with my father as I usually do when the weather is comfortable enough to play without layering up with a lot of clothes. It does make it very difficult to have a good swing when you are not restricted. My dad is almost 80 years old, and it is blessing for him and I to play every available day that we can play.

I wish I could play par golf and impress my dad, as I am almost 20 years younger than him, and he still can beat me with out trying very hard. But he always encourages me and coaches me the game just as he did when I was 15 years old. How he keeps his patience in alignment with all my mistakes. But every time I hit the shot correct I was always look back at him and say, “Dad what did I do wrong?” He only smiles and gives me the thumbs up.

In my spiritual life I have another father who is in the coaching business, who no matter how many times I make a mistake, is forgiving me and helping me get back on my feet again. Many times I tend to get mad at myself and allow shame and guilt to take over completely, versus just asking my heavenly Father for help with the mess I made in my life that day.

The old saying, “No One is Perfect!” I am certain most of us use this when we are wanting everyone to leave us alone, when in reality we should admit we made a mistake and will make sure the same situation never happens again. As Christians we are the light of the world that is hidden in darkness. And the last thing I need to be doing is making excuses for my mistakes.

Today what are you striving for in life? I know that I am not perfect, but I don’t want to be seen as someone that is not striving to be a better person. To me the person who is on target, admits they make mistakes from time to time — but hopefully not the same mistake. I can only get closer to being like my heavenly father when I am earnest about my ambitions in life.

Today I hit the golf ball off of number 9 tee, clearing the creek, and almost on the green. The whole was registered to be 320 feet to the hole, and my second shot was only 30 feet from the hole. This was the longest drive for me for this year, but I had to remind myself out on the golf course with my father was more important than hitting the ball almost to the hole.

I quickly thanked God for allowing me the time to play with my dad today, and seeing what was more important in life. I am certain I probably will never be a par golfer, but I want to live a better than par life for God.

Prayer: God thanks for allowing me to understand that I need to strive to be more like you because others like myself may have the wrong priorities in our life. Help me to work on my short comings that will make me more like you, and look to you as their role model, as I do everyday. Amen

Jesus is in the rescuing business

Description: Faced with all the common difficulties we face in life daily, we have assurance with God’s help we can do anything.

Verse: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

I confess that I’m one of the millions of Christians who regularly recites Philippians 4:13. How can you not love this uplifting, soul-stirring, take-on-the-world promise?

I can do all things, the word says all, or clearly stated anything, everything!

But there’s actually more encouragement in this verse than you might think at first. You see, Paul wrote these words while facing some of the worst trials of his life. Despite the threat of pain and death, he realized that God gives us strength in ways that go beyond the good times and the everything-is-okay moments. The strength of Christ reaches right down into our turmoil and pain.

Through the trials and tribulations of life, we think of victory, we often envision champions with trophies or medals. We think of spotlights and TV coverage and fame. We think of parades and celebrations. But true victory often happens far away from the crowd. In Christ, we will certainly see joyful times, just as anyone does. But what truly sets us apart as followers of Jesus is that we can find victory in the most difficult trials. James knew that type of struggle very well, and yet he could honestly say:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2–4)

The verse before asks us if we are content with the life we live? Are we only content when things are great in our life? And are we bitter when things are not going so well? After all, this world tells us that we “deserve to be happy,” and it’s easy to buy into that mindset. But in Christ, we move our eyes off the things we don’t have, the frustrations that surround us, and we put them where they need to be. Paul’s words from prison show this spiritual truth in action:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12)

Somedays can make us feel totally hopeless. After all, our hope isn’t in what we have or don’t have here on earth. Our hope is in Christ:“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” (1 Timothy 6:6–7) Jesus gives us the strength to see beyond our present circumstances and to trust in Him to provide everything we truly need.

Our greatest victory, however, isn’t really ours at all. We can face any situation and be content no matter what happens because of one important fact:“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)

To enjoy this victory has no price tag for us, other than our surrendering to our priorities and making God #1 in our lives. Jesus died in our place and came back to life as a true Conqueror, and all He accomplished gets credited to our account. We didn’t earn a single bit of it, but we’re guaranteed so much. Peace: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) You see that makes this a free gift from God, because He loves you.

Sixteen years ago, I surrendered the life I was living. I knew that when I confessed my sins, I would loose some worldly things, but would gain more eternally. I recently wrote my first book “Rescued.” It bears the story of my life to reveal to others that anyone can be bound up and need rescued. Today there are many that are traveling aimlessly each day, but no one will help them, or possibly they are afraid of what the world will say about them. Jesus’s  primary purpose was to come to this world to offer life back to all of us in a better way.

The choice is ours–I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me, and I can make better choices for tomorrow . Possibly you, like I was needing help. Well you have come to the right place. Jesus will come to your rescue by simply asking Him to come into your heart. I also encourage you to get a copy of my book and get back to me with your testimony.

Prayer: Jesus you made it possible for all of us to be free from sin, and live everyday in a better way. I know that I cannot do it completely on my own, and that you make everyday worth the living. Lord please help all that you bring to this story read the miracle of how you rescued me and that you can rescue them too. Amen

Outskirts Press, Inc. has published Rescued: Getting Help Before You Go All The Way Under by David Michael Ellington, which is the author’s most recent book to date. It is available worldwide on book retailer websites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble for a suggested retail price of $11.95. For additional information you can go to author’s webpage at http://www.outskirtspress.com/rescued

I Love Him

Description: You were always on my mind, was a song that described a love that would never die, never leave and always be there.

Verse: 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. Romans 8:28

Willie Nelson sang the song, “You were always on my mind.” How often are we pulled with our emotions that reveal a different story than what we believed about someone? Why is it that they say the marriages will last only fifty percent of the time? Why is it that more people remarry looking for love multiple times, but seemingly the same results occur–this person was not for me.

It seems we are overwhelmed today with social media connections that want to persuade us that they can find the perfect mate for us–but what if our perfect mate never signs up for the site? How can they guarantee I will find my sole mate if he or she never signs up?

What about the way mom and dad found each other? And I love the story how grandma met my papaw, I still get emotional and I never have quit laughing when I remember watching them show their emotions to us grandkids. I hear today there is many kids see the opposite of love in their child rearing days, and it makes sense I guess, you give what you get in life based on your experiences.

This brings me to our verse today, about expecting not only a perfect love without flaws but also other provisions that will promise you good in life, by just loving Him. When I first experienced God, I was a teenager, and I believe my relationship was based on not going to hell, and wanting to live a good life before God. When I chose my first mate, I thought it would be forever, but our eyes and passion were on ourselves and not each other.

If my love would have been focused on God, I am certain that I would have not hurried into a relationship that ended sooner than I would have thought. We can only assume that a promise to love forever is for real. I am glad God’s feelings for me never have to be questioned. And I should be talking with Him daily so I know how much he cares for me. When I do this today, never has there been a time, when I never heard Him say to me, “Son I love you.”

Today your life may be filled with sorrow because of broken promises, or a relationship that is shaky, one thing for sure is, He loves you more than you will ever know. Take a second today to quiet everything around you, and ask God to show you how much He loves you. Wait in that moment so you will fill a genuine love, perhaps something you have not felt for sometime. God wants to let you know that He loves you and has good plans for your life.

I hope this moment will be the start of greater moments for you. Ask God to bring people into your life that will be encouraging and people you can trust. God does have good plans for your life, and allow Him to be the best thing that ever happened to you today. People’s feeling can never be certain today, but God’s feelings for you will always be the same, and He always has you on His mind.

Prayer: Lord I am certain I have questioned your love for me, not because something you did, but for the messed up life I was responsible. I am sorry I take your love for granted and never seem to be appreciative that you always have the best outlook for my life. Forgive me for carelessly treating you like the world has treated me. I can always look back and see where you had my back when others left me. Help me to love the way you do, that will show others the kind of love that has meaning in this life. Amen

I Need To Shine My Light

Description: Today there is possibly millions or even billions of people who have not seen the light directing them to Christ.

Verse:Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12

I wanted to reveal something today in today’s blog that most of us may overlook. We find in Matthew (5:13-16), that Jesus wanted to get away from the crowd where the Sermon on the Mount was performed. This conversation was not to a crowd but to his chosen disciples that day. Let’s look at what Matthew said on that day;

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. As Christians we have purpose on this earth not just to work and produce, but as well to be salt and light to everyone around us. Salt has a purpose and is defined, like in a meal, if the salt doesn’t do what it is intended to do, then the meal will be not fit for anyone, and all the effort will be lost.

When we show our family, neighbors, co-workers that Jesus is the best thing in our lives, we show the flavor of God. We also have the ability to show when we fail in our relationships, or our conduct before the world, that we don’t have Christ in our life and our testimony is not useful.

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. When we testify of our new relationship with God, the world will carefully watch everything you do. But we don’t have nothing to fear, because we just allow God’s love to transform us and show the world the new you. If the world does not see the change, we will portray what the world believes about God, and what we did also before we accepted the gift of salvation.

If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. This means get out there and share the story about Jesus. Show them in your new life that there is value to following Christ. Christ has locations for us to show anyone that they do not need to walk in darkness. When we get saved we tend to do a couple things;

1. Be afraid to share our story about Jesus, because we feel we’re not good enough or ready to share the story. STOP, go back to God and ask Him to tell you the words. Let Him point you in the direction that He wants you to start first. It could be someone as close to you as a family member or neighbor. Who knows God may be working, and they just need only a little nudge.

2. Then there is the ones that are ready to start preaching everywhere. You have to love this enthusiasm when God delivers someone from addition or a horrible past. The truth is they are so grateful that God loved them enough to forgive them, save them, deliver them from a horrible situation, and they want to tell everyone in the world about this man named Jesus.

Whatever your situation is today a new Christian, Transformed Christian or a Christian for many years, we all have the same task to shine the light of Christ into this world of darkness. Be useful to others, encourage others, pray for other, serve others, and love one another. Time is wasting and Jesus is coming soon, and there is a lot of work still left to do. Make certain your batteries are charged by the Holy Spirit and beaming everywhere you go. If you need some recharging, ask God to forgive you and turn on His light in your life for the world to see.Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Prayer: Lord thank you for changing my life from the old life I use to live. Help me show your light in every direction of my life that others will see you. Holy Spirit please give me the words and directions to bring others out of darkness through my life. Jesus please help me stay in tune with everything you desire me to do so I will be the salt and light for your purposes. Amen

Tell Me The Story….of Jesus

Description : Every believer has a testimony that shares how Jesus blessed them, healed them, and delivered them.

Verse: For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.  1 Timothy 2:5-6

Early in my life as a boy, I always remember how people stood up and cried, shouted and thanked God for what He had done in their life that week. They were great stories and the pastor never rushed anyone so he could preach his sermon.

Today we seldom hear what God is doing in their lives, unless you hear it before the services begin. I am not much for social media but it seems to be a great avenue to share what Jesus has done in other lives. I am blessed to hear the anointed healing and how God remains the same no matter how long we have served Him in this earthly life.

I was listening to a preacher on the radio one day as I was cutting the grass, and the challenge was, “Have you shared your story about Jesus?” Think about it, ‘When was the last time you shared your love story about Jesus?’ If it has been awhile, why? Can you remember the last thing where he has blessed you, possibly healed a friend or loved one? Possibly it was something you read in the bible, and God shared something special to you.

I love the old song, ‘Tell Me The Story of Jesus,’ Fanny Crosby wrote in 1880.

Tell me the story of Jesus,
write on my heart every word;
tell me the story most precious,
sweetest that ever was heard.

It is important that we share our love story of Jesus as much as possible, so that no one will miss the opportunity to be with us and Jesus in heaven. I will close with another old hymn ‘Jesus is the sweetest name I know.’ Lela Long (1925)

Jesus is the sweetest name I know
And he’s just the same as his holy name
And that’s the reason why I love Him so
Jesus is the sweetest name I know

Prayer: Lord help me share my love story about us. I want the world to know what you have done for me, and you are willing to do for them. Please grant me opportunities to share Jesus with others. Amen