1 John 5:11-12 (NIV)

11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

2 Corinthians 9:15(NIV)

15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

DEVOTION – Heidi Gaul (Oregon)

I opened the present slowly.  This gift, one of many I had received from a close friend over the years, would be as thoughtful and extravagant as the others.  She knows me well.  She is quite aware of all my failings and strengths, and she loves me in spite of them.  For a moment, I hesitated.  Knowing I could never give her anything as expensive in return, I considered handling the gift back to her.  But as I searched her face, filled with the expectancy of my joy, I couldn’t deny her pleasure.  The gift would benefit both of us.

For many years, I have chosen to reject the lavish gift of forgiveness that God gave me through the blood of Jesus.  I considered it a debt I must try to repay.  The guilt was unbearable, the weight on my self-esteem heavy.  But on that day, sitting with my friend, I understood.  I had caught a glimpse of Jesus in her eyes.  The gift of his magnificent sacrifice and his offer of eternal life gives him pleasure, despite my unworthiness.  The fact that I can never repay him in irrelevant.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  All we need to do is to say, “Thank you.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: We are blessed when we open God’s gifts.

PRAYER: Every day, dear God, you present us with new gifts.  Bless us with eyes to see and accept them graciously.  Amen.