The Perfect Gift

By Caryn Mora, GFC Van Dyke 

During the Christmas season we often focus on the giving of gifts. Sometimes we pick up a quick gift card, knowing exactly which restaurant or store will bring a smile to our loved ones faces. Other times we browse stores (or web pages) for hours, agonizing over what to buy.

 For us gift seekers, there is good news! God has already provided the perfect gift. (Luke 2:10-11) He came to earth as a tiny baby. He had one solitary purpose. He was to be the sacrifice for our sins. His willingness to become a man, lead a perfect life and die for us opened the door to so many perfect gifts. He gave us salvation, forgiveness, peace, joy, love and hope.

This Christmas, won’t you consider passing on a few of these one-size-fits-all perfect gifts? Will you open your heart to forgive someone who has wronged you? It is truly more blessed to give this gift than to receive. Will you give the gift of peace this year? Perhaps you could decide to put away that grudge that you’ve been holding on to for far too long. What about spreading love and joy to those around you who are less fortunate? Would you take a moment to instill hope in someone’s heart by praying with them or sharing the Word of God?

 The greatest gift we could give is to give back to Jesus, the one who started the gift giving. We could accept His free gift of salvation and choose to follow His path for our lives. What are you waiting for? Go out and give the perfect gift this season.

 2 Corinthians 9:15 – “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

What I Don’t Deserve

By Amy Hafner, GFC South Tampa

Last week, I loaded up the car and headed across town to my eldest son, Blake’s baseball practice. I look forward to these practices because I get to see some of my favorite moms, my two younger boys get to see some friends, and we all get to be outside.

It took about thirty minutes to complete the drive, so I made a phone call, one that I had been putting off making for I knew it would be a tough one. The call went ok, but when I arrived at the field, it was empty. I texted my husband, and he informed me that they were playing at the other field—the one back my
way, the one pretty close to my house. I was annoyed; between the call and the miscommunication, I could feel my muscles tighten, and my hands clench the steering wheel. I didn’t know exactly where I
was going, so I pulled over to enter the new address into my GPS. My middle son, Trip, then quietly said, “Mom, can we go now.”

I turned around and not so quietly said, “Can you give me like one second….geez?” To which I heard the
Holy Spirit immediately say, “Amy?” Ugh… I sat there for a second, a second that seemed like an eternity, asked for forgiveness, and then turned around to Trip and said, “Trip, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that.” To which my youngest son, Knox (he’s five), replied, “Mom, that’s ok, I still love you, you’re the best mommy.”

And just like that, the Holy Spirit flooded out of my mouth, “That’s Grace.” To which I said, “Knox, do you know what you just did? You just gave me grace, do you know what that is? You gave me something I didn’t deserve, but you did it anyway, and I’m so grateful, Thank you.”

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for saving that moment. Do you know what I sometimes do? I focus on the war, the worry, the decay, the anger, the selfishness, the hate, the judgment. But God says, focus on the peace, the trust, the restoration, the gratitude, the sacrifice, the love, and the grace that you see around you every day.

If you have the vision to see, you will see the beautiful glimpses of God working
in the middle of all this mess. Right here, right now, through love and grace.
Breathe it in. Sit in it for just a second.

That’s what happened approximately two thousand and twenty years ago. Grace came to Earth in the form of a man and forgave us all, and now He can work through all of us, especially a
five-year-old.

“We believe that we are all saved the same
way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”” Acts 15:11 NLT