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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ridge Run Road farm near Mount Joy, PA
This classic Lancaster County farm is on Ridge Run Road near Mount Joy.

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"The Grace Gift"

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

Lexus adThis Christmas season, as usual, we were besieged by advertisements regarding gift ideas. Marketers know a jingle or slogan is helpful in selling their product and this Christmas advertising season featured a car company with the slogan, "A December To Remember" along with a catchy jingle encouraging us to surprise a loved one with new luxury car for Christmas. The announcer states, "Let's be honest, no one ever wished for a smaller holiday gift."

Well, I don't suppose very many of our readers received a new Lexus for Christmas and truth be told it would certainly be a gift to remember and a costly gift at least to someone!

We are also besieged with "free offers" though we intuitively know (at least most do) that there's almost always a catch. Various offers appeal to our desire to “get something for nothing” (which is alluring to our greed nature).

Today we would like to consider a longstanding free offer that is genuine, still valid and available to all. And in fact it is something we receive for nothing, though it comes at a tremendous cost from our Benefactor who gave His all on our behalf.

The daily Scripture text was one of the very first verses I committed to memory over 30 years ago. (It is part of the "Romans Road", a description of the plan of salvation using selected texts from the Book of Romans.)

Today I want to focus on the words, "free gift". This translates the single Greek word "charisma", which is itself derived from "charis." Charis is that wonderful word normally translated "grace" in our Bibles. Of course many will recall the simple, yet descriptive definition of grace as, "unmerited favor." It would also be accurate to translate this as "grace gift” and should be our greatest focus this Christmas season and at all times. No other gift even comes close!

Today amidst the pile of gifts, inexpensive or costly, meaningful or meaningless, this one stands out. There are no catches and the offer stands ready at this very moment. There are no waiting lines or no limited supply. It is available to all ages, "to every nation and tribe and tongue and people" (Revelation 14:6). Millions now living and millions more now with the Lord can testify to its veracity and lasting value (for those who like to read reviews on products).

River of lifeNear the very end of the Book of Revelation we read, "Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life" (Revelation 22:17).

What's your response to the free gift of salvation? We urge you to receive it today and rejoice that you have been chosen by God to receive this grace gift of eternal life through salvation in Jesus Christ!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, it’s a fact that the vast majority want something for nothing. If they get their wish it might bring temporary pleasure, but it cannot satisfy the soul’s longing and the item will have a perishable shelf life. When Jesus gave His all as a sacrifice for our sins You made available to us the free gift of salvation that is for all eternity. We cannot pay for our forgiveness nor can we repay Jesus for His sacrifice for our sins. We can’t save up for our real estate in heaven, nor do we hire a designer, for Jesus is there now providing and preparing a home for us.  All we give in return is a heart surrendered to His plan for our lives here on earth that will be more fully experienced in the great beyond. May our hearts be set on things above where Christ is seated at Your right hand, rather than things on the earth. In the Name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

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Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Lord I Offer My Life To You"  Video  

For the tech minded: Nigel Lee is a friend of ours who lives in the Boston area. In fact he and his wife were the very first recipients of a daily encouragement in 1996! Nigel is a scientist and wrote an interesting article in a Boston publication. Nigel has also written articles drawing a spiritual connection such as this one he wrote for daily encouragement years ago.

Example of a Lexus "December to Remember" ad  Video

John Deere santa near Maytown, PA
Last week we shared a photo of Santa in a New Holland front loader. Around here it's not unusual to see a tractor in the front yard.  We passed this one all decorated including Santa on a John Deere tractor!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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