Girlfriends in God - December 21, 2016

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December 21, 2016
Giving the Perfect Christmas Gifts
Part 2
Mary Southerland


Today’s Truth
If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you (Luke 6:38, NLT).


Friend to Friend
Have you discovered the truth that we simply cannot “out-give” God? The more we give, the more we receive. And that truth does not just apply to financial giving. It is really all about the attitude behind the gift. Do you remember the Christmas gifts you received last year? How about the Christmas gifts you gave? What about the gift you gave Jesus? Yesterday we talked about several meaningful gifts you can give. Here are a few more for you to consider.


A gift of care Galatians 6:2 (RSV) “Bear one another’s burdens.”
Christmas is a time of empty hopes and fierce loneliness for many people. In fact, the holidays can be nothing more than a season riddled with pain. Every loss is magnified. Every wound is deepened. Pray that the Father will give you His eyes to see the broken lambs, crying out for help. This year, do something for someone who is hurting:


Invite them over for a meal.
Listen to them.
Meet one need in their life.
Include them in your celebration.
Take them shopping with you.

Christmas is always hard for me because it is a time when I especially miss my mother who died many years ago. I don’t openly broadcast that fact, but one Christmas a precious older lady at our church somehow sensed that I was struggling and decided to meet a need in my life. Cards filled my mailbox. Every time I saw her, Miss Marion would hug me and tell me how much she loved me. She invited our children over to bake Christmas cookies and in doing so, became their adopted grandmother. Miss Marion died years ago, but her loving care and investment in my life lives on.


A secret gift Matthew 6:3-4 (TLB) “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”


Give a secret gift to someone you know - with no hidden motive and no apparent benefit to you. Dan and I had been married for three years when we first discovered the joy that a “secret gift” can bring. Dan was in seminary, I was teaching elementary school, and we were both serving at a local church. It seemed as if we were always running, always tired and always broke. At one point, the financial picture was especially bleak. We had 10 days of life to go before the next payday and not a cent to our name. We told no one but God -- and waited. One Sunday night, we pulled up to the mobile home where we were living and started in the front door. There on the top step was a small but heavy package wrapped in brown paper. It was a brick. Taped to each side of the brick was a hundred dollar bill. God had provided for our needs through a truly generous heart, someone who had chosen to give a secret gift. To this day, we still have no idea who “bricked” us, but we often think of them and ask God to bless their gift of encouragement.


A gift of teaching Romans 12:7 (NLT) “If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well.”


What skill, ability or talent has God given you? Each one is from His hand and meant to be given away in service to others. Is there a young believer in your life you can mentor? What better time to share your gifts and abilities than at Christmas? You may be able to sew or play the piano, cook gourmet meals, or beautifully decorate your home. Each talent and ability is a potential gift. In high school, my choral director gave me a free voice lesson each week. Consequently, I attended college on an academic and music scholarship because one woman chose to share her gift of teaching with me.


Get creative! Give a gift from the heart this year. May this be a Christmas filled with the joy of the Lord as you celebrate His birth and life.


Let’s Pray
Father, You have given me so much. Thank You for the blessings in my life. Thank You for meeting my every need. Please help me give with a joyful heart. I want You to be pleased and honored by the gifts I give this Christmas.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.


Now It’s Your Turn
Grab your Christmas list and set aside some time to pray for each person on that list this week. Do you need to rethink some of the gifts you are giving this year? It is not too late! Ask God how you can best honor His birth by the gifts you give to others.


More from the Girlfriends
"I am flat broke and Christmas is just around the corner!" Do those words sound familiar? Don't let gift giving become a chore instead of a joy. In this message, Giving the Perfect Gift, you will discover how to give ten wonderful gifts without spending a penny!


Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.


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