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Regifting Christmas

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Are you a “regifter?” According to Wikipedia, regifting is when “goods that have been received as a gift are offered to others, unbeknown to them that it was originally a gift to the person offering it.” The Seinfeld episode made the term popular, but I think we all know that regifting is a practice that dates back to the beginning of human history!

Why do people regift? I think it boils down to two reasons. First, you get a gift that you don’t like, or, you get a gift that you don’t need. If either one or both of those scenarios is in play, you have a candidate for recycling. We usually keep the best gifts for ourselves. But what if the best gift of all is meant to be passed on?

John 3:16 is the essence of the gospel of God. You may not think of John 3:16 as a verse that is fitting for Advent, but if you think about it, you’ll see that the verse describes the best gift ever! God has given his Son to us and for us. God’s intention is that we pass the gift along.

Categories : Advent, Christmas, John 3:16
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“(God) comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)

God is the source of all comfort and he comforts us when we face crushing pressure. But God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable. He comforts us so that we will become comforters.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection he spoke words of assurance to them. The Bible then tells us that Jesus showed them his scars. He comforted the disciples with his presence, and gave them an indellible reminder of his suffering. Though the image of Jesus’ scars is not referred to again in the New Testament story, one has to believe that with every blow of suffering the disciples experienced that the image of those scars comforted and encouraged them.


God’s Self-Revelation

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by Brent Clark

If you ask 10 different people, “Who is God?” you would probably get 10 different answers. Everyone develops an understanding of God based on their life experiences. Some see God as the great, cosmic Santa Claus, there to grant their every wish and desire. Others see God as a harsh judge waiting to pounce on them and punish them at their first mistake. Of all the views people hold of God, how do we know which view of God is right? How do we know God? The reality is that God has taken steps to reveal himself to his creation. He has done this in several ways.

One way God reveals Himself is through his creation, or through Natural Revelation. Romans 1 tells us that God has revealed himself through his creation. Natural Revelation is a general revelation because it is made available to everyone, everywhere at all times. Through his creation, God has revealed himself to the world by manifesting some of his divine qualities in his creation. God has left his mark on the world. Psalm 19 is a great example of this:

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth and their words to all the world. (Psalm 19:1-4 NLT)

It is important to note that even though it is through Natural Revelation that God has revealed himself, natural revelation is limited in the amount of information it reveals about God. Natural revelation by itself is enough to show the world there is a God, but not enough to save the world.

God goes the additional step of revealing himself in special ways also, known as Special Revelation. One of these ways is through the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16 states that the Bible is God self-revelation through the written word. This passage states that, “all Scripture is inspired by God…” The word inspired means God-breathed. The Scripture originated in the mind of God and was communicated by the mouth of God though the breath of God. It is God’s Word because he spoke it. The Bible reveals to us what God is like and his plan for us.

God also revealed himself to us through his Son, Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus is the consummate revelation of God. Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us that Jesus Christ is the perfect revelation of God. Jesus’ revelation to us is complete in every detail. The revelation of God through Christ is not just a better revelation, it is the ultimate revelation. Jesus Christ perfectly shows all that is knowable about God. If we cannot learn about God from the Son, then there is no amount of additional revelation God could do to convince us.

The Hebrews passage says that Christ “radiates God’s own glory.” This tells us he is not like God; he is the very essence of God. Just as one cannot separate the sun’s light from the sun itself, no one can separate the nature of Christ from that of God. The passage also says that Christ “expresses the very character of God.” The word “expresses” gives the picture of a die or engraving. Just as a coin reflects the exact image of the die, so Jesus reproduces the precise character of the Father. Jesus affirmed this himself when he told Philip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!” (John 14:8 NLT)

So what does this mean? It tells us that God has taken the first steps to reveal himself to man. He wants to be known. It’s undeniable that if he didn’t want to be known, we wouldn’t know him! God has revealed himself to us because of his great love for us. John 3:16 testifies to his love for his creation. God promises eternal life for those that believe in his Son. Eternal life isn’t just a great thing for when we die. Eternal life begins the moment we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. Eternal life is to know God and to be in a relationship with and experience the blessings which flow from that relationship both now and in the age to come.

God has already taken the steps to reveal himself to us, how will you respond to him?

Categories : Brent Clark, God
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