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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday's Word

The Gift, or the Giver?

James 1:2-5, 12, 16-17

Key verse:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow...."

But what if the blessings don't flow?

A month ago, I was prayed for in a healing prayer service. No big hoopla, just kneeling quietly in church while hushed voices of friends and pastors prayed for me. For two days after that, I had no Parkinson's symptoms! Zero! Nada! Not even the stupid little ones! I know some might say it was psychosomatic, but I had a Parkinson's-related skin condition totally vanish in about 6 hours! My neurologist cut my meds by 2/3!

Over the past few weeks, though, my symptoms have gradually returned. It's like being diagnosed all over again. I've wept and prayed. I've asked God, "Why?" The only answer I've had is a quiet question that repeats in my heart: "Which do you desire more...the gift or the Giver?" So I started looking at desiring the Giver, more than the gifts He gives. And I found that there are gifts He promises to give us—no matter what—if we choose Him!

In Luke 11:11-13, He promises the Holy Spirit.

"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

In Ephesians 1:3, 6-10, the things promised are:
  • glorious grace
  • redemption
  • forgiveness
  • riches of grace
  • wisdom
  • understanding
  • knowledge of the mystery of His will
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. . . to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

And according to James 1:2-5, 12, 16-17, we are promised:
  • perseverance
  • maturity
  • completion
  • wisdom
  • a crown of life
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. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Ev'ry blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise,
And when the darkness closes in, Lord,
Still I will say,
"Blessed be the name of the Lord,
"'Blessed be Your name!"

I choose the Giver.
Habakkuk 3:2, 17-19
LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD.
Renew them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.


Trace'in the Grace said...

Thanks for these little tears in my eyes. I choose the Giver, too.

Robin said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing what you're learning, and helping me to grow too.

jenny mealy said...

Wow-what a blessing your lessons are to me. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for your example. I choose the Giver!