Lately, it seems that I cannot dismiss from my mind what has become, in the last several years, my favourite verse from the Bible. The words dictated to the prophet Isaiah by Jesus gain more meaning with each passing day. This morning that quotation caused me to stop and think about what was the best gift I ever received in this mortal life. I have received many memorable and beautiful gifts. The one that stands out in my mind involves a gift of absolutely no material value.
I was four or five years old. The weather was dark and the rain beat against the windows. I was forced to remain in the house rather than set up my collection of dinky toy cars and trucks in the sand plot by the back door. Although, I have no memory of my mood, I must have been unhappy and pouting about a circumstance that only God could change. My mother surprised me with a homemade set of road signs. They were constructed carefully of empty thread spools, toothpicks and small pieces of paper. Each sign was a replica of actual street signs in use around our home in the fifties. A few months later, I became the proud owner of a metal set of miniature street signs. Those expensive metal signs were never as valuable to me as the hastily, but lovingly and painstakingly, constructed signs given to me by my mother. The reason for that is obvious. Material gifts do not compare in any way to the gifts given out of time, effort and love. That being said, there is no gift that can compare with what our God has in store for us.
In Isaiah 61:3 we read the words that were actually spoken by Jesus and recorded for us by Isaiah seven hundred and fifty years before the birth of Christ. Jesus is speaking of His second coming seven centuries before His first visit to this earth. The words are directed to those who mourn in
3 … To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."
We receive none of these gifts through our own effort. We collect these completely undeserved gifts simply by accepting them through our faith in Jesus Christ.
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