The Gifts that Keeps on Giving

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

EL pen Logo with heartWelcome to our Coffee Hour and thanks so much for taking time out of your day to join me for a little break from it all, especially this time of year. I’m sure you’ve done all or most of your shopping, but it’s never too late to talk about some gifts that money can’t buy, the kind of gifts that keep on giving. Grab your coffee and come on in. Oh, and plan on staying a little longer today for some extra shopping! 🙂

When you make a list to determine who you’re going to buy something for, do you ever wonder, “What in the world can I buy this person who has everything?” Or, “What kind of gift can I give this person to show them just how much they meant to me?” Oh, yes, these questions haunt many of us … and send us out scurrying to find the perfect gift. But what if I told you your shopping’s done; you already have the gifts … and you didn’t even have to buy them! It’s not that they’re free; there is a cost, sort of. I mean they’ve already been paid for, but there is a cost of self involved. This may be a long shopping spree, so get comfy!

Let’s get to the first gift and before we do, imagine the biggest box you’ve ever seen, wrapped so perfectly with the most beautiful ornate bow you’ve ever seen. Not a corner’s torn and you can’t even tell where it was taped! It’s breathtaking … the gift of all gifts … the gift of:

Love –Now let me clarify about what type of love I’m not talking about: “Phileo” love is distinguished from Agape love by this: it more nearly represents tender affection and is conditional. Conditional implies self-will, that is, self-pleasing which is the negation of love to God, for God and with God. Nor is it the love that translates to “ahab/ahabah” in the Old Testament which is a strong emotional attachment to and a desire either to possess or to be in the presence of the object; i.e., familial, romantic or friendship. Nope, the kind of love I’m suggesting that we have access to, and must receive before we gift it, is the Agape love. The Greek Concordance describes it this way: “Christian love which expresses itself first of all in implicit obedience to His commandments. As a verb, this love is Agapao which means: to express the essential nature of God. This type of love is known only from the actions it prompts.”

Ooh, I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking this is saying that true love talks! See, this kind of love, aka Christian love, is not an impulse from feelings. In other words, it’s so much more than a feeling. It’s not that pitter-patter in your heart that makes you do crazy things, including lose yourself unhealthily. See, there is a reason they call it “falling” in giftgivinglove! 🙂

As a matter of fact, agape love goes against the grain by not limiting the giving of it to those whom we receive love from; but is given even to those we know don’t love us! See, His love in us seeks the welfare of all. Love seeks opportunity to do good, even to those who we feel don’t deserve it.

When we talk about the “spiritual gifts,” I think it’s interesting that they begin with His love. Could it be that without it, we can’t possibly receive or give all the other gifts? Have you received the most unconditional, amazing gift of love, our Father’s sacrifice into your heart? Do you have any idea how much He loves you? Have you even tried to explore that? His love is what sets you free, opening up the doors of whatever holds you captive. That’s a promise in His word! There’s nothing you can do or undo to be worthy of His love for you; it’s already done. He loves you right where you are at in life. Before you can give out His love, you must begin to receive it so you can possess it.

The first example of giving this type of love that comes to mind is in marriage. The number of troubled marriages is staggering, especially within the church. Maybe you find yourself in waves of pain, sorrow and dissatisfaction that are threatening to overtake you and pull you out of your covenant. Why not ask Him to help you give this gift of Agape love for him/her because you certainly cannot love them in your own strength.

What about that child who is doing things that make your heart break? The only way to love him/her the way He loves us despite us is to receive His love.

Or is there a friend who you’ve stopped talking with because of a disagreement? Is it time to seek that opportunity to do something good for them, just because?

Let’s continue our shopping spree, at least for one more gift, the gift of Joy. This one won’t take as much shopping time. 🙂

The Greek Concordance translates joy as “chara” and as a noun it means: gladness, delight. Joy in trials (not for, but in) is a strong signifier of cooperation with the Lord. Joy is within and is not based on circumstances; therefore different from happiness, which is contingent upon circumstances. But joy is also a verb! It means: to rejoice, to be glad.

Did you know that it’s actually possible to be joyful in times of trouble? Notice I said “in” and not “for”? Little preposition; big difference! Before you can give joy, you must possess it. [1st Thessalonians 5:18]

The only way to experience true joy is through acceptance of the Giver of the gift of joy. Do you believe that He wants you to have joy, to be free from whatever bondage holds you back from your promised land?

How do you receive the gift of joy? Just show up! Keep showing up! Read His love letters to you, for you. Talk to Him, with Him; sing to Him. This is what breaks you free from the chains of fear, sadness, depression, addictive behaviors, and any other forms of bondage.  He will exchange all that for joy!

When you receive a gift, you must extend your hands, right?  What are you holding on to that you need to let go of in order to have that joy?

How can we give joy? I can hear you saying: “Didn’t you say it is something that comes from within?”  Yes, but … Joy is contagious. It moves from the inside out. Because it comes from Him within us, it is not loud and haughty, but subtle, quiet, sweet. Joy rejoices with others when they win, succeed, prosper, and is not envious. Joy within us lifts a friend up in times of trouble. Joy can lighten a heavy-heart. Who do you know that is heavy-hearted, depressed? Joy is the light that chases the dark away.

Go ahead, make a new list and decide today who gets the gift of Agape Love and Joy!


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