Tag Archives: God’s love

Gifts

Love the giver more than the gift. ~Brigham Young

During Christmas one year the adults sat in a circle opening family gifts. As I flipped the lid off of a box, I started to cry. Inside was an oddly shaped piece of wood.

“What is it?” my brother-in-law asked, looking around the room for an explanation.

Tears streamed down my face as I crossed the room to kiss my father-in-law. “It’s the ears to the donkey Pap made for me years ago. The original ears broke last summer.”

My husband’s parents had been down to visit and noticed the broken wooden planter on our porch. My father-in-law remembered when he got back home and made the ears to set atop the old donkey. I was touched.

Gifts are not my ‘love language.’ I enjoy a nice gift, but a gift that takes time and effort, that gift I will cherish.

Philip entered a foreign land to tell people about a gift that was given to each of them. All they had to do was accept it.

But Simon wanted to purchase the gift. He wanted to have control of the gift: pick it out, wrap it the way he liked, and give it to whom he chose.

Philip refused to give the gift to Simon because of his ulterior motives.

The gift Philip and God offered was the gift of the Holy Spirit. But don’t we sometimes act like Simon with our gifts as well?

We want to be able to understand scripture so we can crack someone over the skull with it. Or we want to pray like the apostles so we can have whatever we ask for- health, wealth, and fame. Maybe we want the gift of patience so we can avoid confronting people, or the gift of spiritual sight so we don’t need faith, or the gift of joy so we don’t have to deal with that grumpy neighbor.

The best gift-givers know what a person needs and in the end what he will desire. Like a cut-out of donkey ears that brought me to tears, so just the right gift can move you toward true gratitude and appreciation of not just the gift, but also the Giver.

What gift do you need to kiss the Father for today?


“You give your mouth free rein for evil,
    and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your brother;
    you slander your own mother’s son.
These things you have done, and I have been silent;
    you thought that I was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

“Mark this, then, you who forget God,
    lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
    to one who orders his way rightly
    I will show the salvation of God!” Psalm 50:19-23 ESV

What’s In a Name?

A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble. ~Charles Spurgeon

It’s been nearly thirty years, but the memory is vivid.

I sat at the round Formica kitchen table. Pap on my left, Matt across from me. The tv attached to the wall was silent while we ate lunch.

“Why do they call you Abe?” I asked. “Your name is Howard. How do you get Abe out of that?”

Matt’s grandfather peered at me through large brown glasses. Wisps of white hair floated above a mostly bare scalp. He set down his sandwich and frowned.

“Because I have a big nose.”

I laughed.

I hate that I laughed.

It was obvious I had hurt his feelings.

Never in a million years would I have hurt that precious man of God. He was kindness and love wrapped up in gentle quietness.

He was an old man, but my laughter brought back the pain of a child.

Names define us.

Americans spend months choosing just the right name for our children. Some cultures don’t name the child for weeks or months after it is born. The child must deserve the name it is given.

My own name means “Harvester of the Moon.” My Chinese friend chose to call me “Autumn Song.” My father called me “Heifer Foot.”

Which one would you choose?

Do you wear the name tag “Loser?” What about “Rejected,” “Unacceptable,” “Disgusting?”

Do childhood nicknames stab your heart?

Do overheard whispers ring in your ears? Fat. Lazy. Stupid. Worthless.

Do you introduce yourself but think, What a liar.

What if you instead heard “Loved,” “Forgiven,” “Longed For,” “Special,” “Beautiful.” These are the names God the Father has given you.

Will you come running when he calls your name?


The nations shall see your righteousness,
    and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
    that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
    and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
    and your land shall be married. Isaiah 62:2-4 ESV

A Mother’s Love

I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. ~Abraham Lincoln

I used to help with a group that packed weekend food bags for needy school children. We filled backpacks with easy to open, child-friendly foods. Fruit cups, granola bars, and little boxes of cereal were favorites. The bags were sent home over the weekend when the children might not get to eat.

One backpack was replaced with a nondescript, plastic shopping bag. The child asked us to not send the food in the backpack anymore. His mother knew what was in it and would eat the food herself.

I was stunned.

Mothers are supposed to take care of their children, give them the last bite, look after their needs, put them first.

2 Kings 4 tells the story of two good mothers.

The first is a citizen of Israel, a poor widow whose husband had been a prophet with Elisha. After her husband’s death she had debts to pay and she and her two sons were left without anything- no food, no money, no nothing.

She called on Elisha to help her. He told her to collect jars and containers from her friends and neighbors then fill them with the little bit of olive oil she did have. She filled all of the containers and then sold the oil to pay off the debts. She even had enough left over to support herself and her sons.

The second story is about a rich foreigner. Elisha passed through her country on his travels and she noticed him. She asked her husband to build him a room over their house. In return, Elisha asked God to send her a son, but sadly when the boy was young he died suddenly.

The woman placed the boy in the guest room and hurried off to find Elisha. He traveled back to her house and raised him from the dead.

One woman was a citizen, the other a foreigner. One woman was single, the other married. One woman was poor, the other rich. But both women wanted to save their children. That’s what made them good mothers.

Are your children starving? Are their spirits underfed and malnourished? Perhaps your children are even dying from some unknown physical or spiritual malady that has you worried and afraid.

Your race, economic level, and marital status do not make you a bad mother. The trials your children are suffering do not make you a bad mother. No matter what your friends or your own mind might tell you.

Take to heart the example of the women in 2 Kings. These good mothers went to God for advice, for comfort, for help. They went begging, crying, running, gasping for help.

They were not denied.

Neither will God deny you.


But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:21-24 ESV