Summary: The Word of God is a gift catalog and contains a list of priceless items that every person should avail themselves of.
A CHRISTMAS CATALOG
MOST HOMES HAVE AT LEAST ONE CATALOG, if not more. They come regularly. They come often. They come without request. But when the advent season arrives, they descend upon us in droves. Every trip to the mailbox ends with an armload of these slick winter catalogs. They are artfully done and can entice the most careful shopper to indulge. We can live without most of the things that are presented, but there is a catalog that should be in every home and heart. It’s a catalog of blessings, called the Holy Bible. Consider what it offers---free for the taking!
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (II Cor.9:8).
This gift of grace is just what we need to make a truly merry Christmas. And best of all, it will last the whole year through. The supply is abundant. One size fits all. There is no price tag on this item, because it is freely given.
When Billy Graham was driving through a small southern town, he was stopped by a policeman and charged with speeding. Graham admitted his quilt, but was told by the officer that he would have to appear in court. The judge asked, "Guilty, or not guilty?" When Graham pleaded guilty, the judge replied, "That’ll be ten dollars -- a dollar for every mile you went over the limit." Suddenly the judge recognized the famous minister. "You have violated the law," he said. "The fine must be paid--but I am going to pay it for you." He took a ten dollar bill from his own wallet, attached it to the ticket, and then took Graham out and bought him a steak dinner! "That," said Billy Graham, "is how God treats repentant sinners!"
“But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet” (I Thess.5:8).
Take advantage of God’s fresh supply of hope. Even if you received some last year, your storehouse may be wearing thin. There’s plenty to go around. This item is very durable; you’ll need to avail yourself of it often.
At age 30 she was ready to give up. She wrote in her diary, "My God, what will become of me? I have no desire but to die." But the dark clouds of despair gave way to the light, and in time she discovered a new purpose for living. When she died at age 90, she had left her mark on history. Some believe that she and those who introduced antiseptics and chloroform to medicine did more than anyone to relieve human suffering in the 19th century. Her name was Florence Nightingale, founder of the nursing profession.
Job went so far as to wish he had never been born (3:1-3). But thank God, he didn’t end his life. Just as Florence Nightingale came out of her depression and found ways to help others, so too Job lived through his grief, and his experience has become a source of endless comfort to suffering souls.
Maybe you’re at the point of not wanting to go on. Being God’s child intensifies your desperation, for you wonder how a believer could feel so alone and forsaken. Don’t give up. Coming to the end of yourself emotionally could be the most painful experience you’ve ever encountered. But take courage. Cling to the Lord in faith and start all over. God can use this kind of "beginning from the end." — Mart De Haan. In Christ, the hopeless find hope (Daily Bread, July 12, 2005).
3. GOOD WILL
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
Good will—this is just the thing for those long winter evenings and short tempers. Your family, friends, and neighbors will be glad to have you share this item with them. In fact, it is really useless unless it is given away.
While still a young man, a certain Christian formed the habit of praying beside his bed before he went to sleep. Later, when he joined the army, he kept up this practice, though he became an object of mockery and ridicule in the barracks. One night, as he knelt to pray after a long, weary march, one of his tormentors took off his muddy boots and threw them at him one at a time, hitting him on each side of his head. The Christian said nothing, took the persecutor’s boots, put them beside his bed, and continued to pray. The next morning, when the other soldier woke up, he found his polished and shined boots sitting beside his own bed. It so affected him that he asked for forgiveness and after a time became a Christian. Oh, the mighty power of kindness!