Saturday, December 17th

Advent Devotional #21 written by Pastor Shawn Thornton




To read today:  James 1:17-18


Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17



Most, if not all, of us, have a favorite childhood memory of a gift we received on Christmas. What’s yours? Was it something you had begged for months to get? How did you feel when you tore open the wrapping paper and saw what it was? Do you remember that feeling—that sense of excitement and awe—of being completely overwhelmed?

The best memory we have of a gift we received as a child pales in comparison to the gift God gave to us over 2,000 years ago. He gave us the gift of His only Son. That was by far the greatest gift we’ve ever been given, but God didn’t stop there. He continues to give us other good gifts. James reminds us that every good gift we receive in this life comes directly from God above (James 1:17).

If you live in a home, it’s a gift from God. Do you have good health? That’s a gift from God. Do you have a job or a house? All gifts from God. Do you have a spouse, children, grandchildren, a brother, a sister, etc.? All of these are gifts from God. So often, we forget these everyday blessings. Because they’re just a part of our everyday lives, we can easily fail to see that they are all gifts from our Heavenly Father. When we start looking at everything in our lives and recognizing all of it as a gift from God, we will begin to see how truly good our Father in heaven is to us.

Seeing everything in your life as a gift from God leads to gratitude. When you live a life of gratitude, you feel happier – more satisfied. If you want to lead a more contented, happier life, one of the best things you can do is to spend a few minutes every morning practicing gratitude. Take out a journal or a piece of paper and simply write down three things you are grateful for. If you can get into the habit of doing this every day, you will be amazed at the difference in your life and your outlook.

Do all your problems suddenly go away? No, but you learn to not only see the problems; you begin to see the good as well. Often, the “good” will overshadow the bad, but not always. Truly, we are so blessed; it’s just that sometimes we do not see it because of all the problems and frustrations of living in a broken, groaning world.

Even the challenges we face ultimately can only come into our lives through the filter of our Heavenly Father. Romans 8:28-29 teaches us that all things (the good, the bad, and the ugly) come into our lives for our good. That good, according to Romans 8:29, shapes us and molds us into the image of Christ. Anything our “Father-Filter” allows into our lives will be used by Him to transform us and make us like Jesus.

This holiday season, choose to see the good. Look for the blessings and thank God for the gifts He’s given you. Also, stop to thank Him that everything in your life has been filtered through His sovereignty, wisdom, and compassion. Thank Him for the gift of Jesus and the opportunity to become more like Him.

Today: Take time today to write down 10-15 gifts that God has given you and thank Him for them. Thank Him that everything that comes into your life has been filtered by Him.






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