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Well, the holidays are over, the decorations are put away (thanks to my kids, Kaleb and Kassie!), and all of my gifts are being put to use.  As I was recently preparing to speak to the ladies at Calvary Baptist Church in Portsmouth, Ohio where Pastor and Mrs. Ryan Brown are serving faithfully, the Lord led me to concentrate on our gifts.  I am not talking about the ones that were under the tree, or even our spiritual gifts given to us by the Lord to serve Him more effectively! The gifts I am talking about are the ones the Lord has so graciously surrounded us with in our everyday lives, but we so often miss or minimize.

One such gift would be our MATE.  So many times in the busyness of our days, we forget the WORK (yes, I said WORK) that is involved in maintaining the gift of our relationship to our spouse.  Most marriages are put on autopilot soon after the “I Do’s” are said at the altar, and a life of missing what a great gift we have is so many times started.  I highly recommend the book The Ministry of Marriage by Dr. Jim Binney to help you get started on appreciating the gift of your mate!

Another gift we might be overlooking is our CHILDREN.  Children today have been devalued so much that we call them “fetuses” in their mother’s womb, and they are now seen as a “choice” to be able to kill and be taken out as if they were common ordinary trash.  May God help us to see our children as God sees them!  In the Bible, children are referred to as a REWARD and as an HERITAGE FROM THE LORD. They aren’t a nuisance or something that is a bother to us. We really need to see the importance that God sees in our children, and take our roles in raising them with great seriousness and responsibility!

Another gift we have is our HOME.  Homes come in many different shapes and sizes.  They may be worth great value or may be very modest in the real estate market.  The value that is more important is what we make of our homes for the Lord.  Is He welcome there?  Do we use our homes to make wonderful memories with our family?  Eat family dinner together?  Game nights full of fun and laughter?  Entertaining friends and family and ministering to them physically and spiritually?  Our homes should be seen as more than a building we live in, but as a place of hospitality and ministry to our family and others.  No matter how grand or how lowly, our home is a gift!

Another gift is our TIME. We could just park right here for a while and talk a lot about this, but maybe we can save some for another day!  For today though, we want to look at our time as a gift to others. I believe one of the devil’s most effective tools in his toolbox is that he keeps us all so busy filling our lives full of activities, that we no longer have time to minister to others and give of our time.  May we look around and see how we can serve someone else today and maybe think less about serving ourselves!

The last and most important gift we have and maybe take for granted is our SALVATION. God sent His only Son to die on the cross that we might have salvation and live with Him eternally in Heaven.  Sometimes in the busyness of life we put living for Him way down on our list of priorities!  Church attendance has become a decision made by if nothing better/more important to us comes up. We don’t spend time in prayer.  Bible reading – we are too busy for it, although much time is given for the internet, tv, and other books.  Oh, that we might not only enjoy our Christian walk, but might we be sharing the Good News of Christ with others also!

I challenge you today to look around at your gifts!  Open them each day and enjoy and appreciate them!!!

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