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I told you earlier that my favorite Christmas present was given to me be a lady named Joan Ellis in 1982. Joan is now my mother in law. The gift that she gave me is a wedding ring. It was the set that her husband had given her on their engagement. Her husband Don died in 1978, and she graciously gave me her wedding set.

She gave it to me with the understanding that I would in turn give it to her daughter, Rebecca. It was a gift given to me to give.

She gave it to me freely, and whereas it had an intended purpose, I was free to use it as I wished. I could have sold the diamonds and melted down the platinum, and used the money from the rings on myself.

I was free to take the ring and give it to someone else other than Rebecca. It was mine; I was free to do with it as I chose.

I chose to use it for the purpose for which it was given. 19 years ago tonight, I gave this ring to Rebecca and asked her to be my wife. I have never regretted that decision. That ring offered promise. It represented a life of joy and fulfillment with my bride. What that ring promised has been fulfilled a thousand times over and in ways I could have never of dreamed of.

Like this ring, God has given us a gift for which He has a designed and intended purpose. That gift is our lives. His intent is that our lives be eternally wed to His Son, Jesus Christ. Believers in Jesus are called the Bride of Christ, and we eagerly await His return so that we may be with Him forever.

But God gives us the freedom to use our lives as we choose. Much like this ring, we can...

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