Psalm 84:11 says, “For the Lord God is our light and protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who do what is right.”
Last night I sat down and picked up my Bible with the intention of reading of reading the Christmas story in Luke Chapter 2. I didn’t get very far. I actually only got to verse 7. “And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” As I read it, all I could suddenly see was God giving us His best – Jesus.
I could only imagine Jesus departing Heaven and what that must have been like for all those there who knew where He was going and why. I honestly can’t imagine what it must have felt like to His Heavenly Father to send His only begotten Son into the kind of humble conditions with which He entered the earth only to await and prepare for rejection and persecution. I could only think about how despite all that. God would not withhold giving mankind – each one of us – His very best. He held nothing back from His pure heart of love for mankind.
I was lost in that thought when it suddenly hit me in a new and fresh way. He did not stop giving me His best with Jesus. I thought about how He gave me His best in a wife – Renee, the finest woman I know on the face of the earth – the perfect mate for me. Both of us are light years from perfect but we are perfect for each other. Then I thought about my children and how He gave me His best with my children – four of the most loving kids that a man could ever ask for. They also are not perfect but they are perfect to me. Then I thought about the precious son and daughter-in-law God gave me. They both wholeheartly love God and couldn’t be better spouses for my children. Then I thought about my Pastors – Mac & Lynne Hammond. I had prayed early on in my Christian walk that God would lead me to a church with the best Pastors and leadership I could ever be under so I could learn to how to become a Pastor that made a difference and that loved God’s people. God gave me the best in answer to that prayer. I was truly feeling overwhelmed by this point. Then I thought about the congregation of people that we have in our church and the people I get to serve God along side of. I have never seen such sold out dedicated God fearing – God loving, selfless people anywhere. God had given me His best even there. I was wowed. God had not held back His best in any area of my life.
At that point God reminded me of Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” These were the words, the praise, the very song of a host of angels – the heavenly choir to mankind that God has given His best!
These words were not casual but carried profound meaning and power. The words, “Glory to God in the Highest,” are a collection of literal Greek words that exalt God in the highest expression of any collection of words in the Bible. The remainder of the words, “…and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests,” carry this literal meaning: “to all those upon this earth, peace meaning prosperity, quietness, and rest in heart, and purpose in life with pleasure and satisfaction are available at God’s entry point – faith in His Son Jesus Christ – and this available to any and all human beings on the face of this planet.” This is the literal meaning of those glorious words “…and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests,” sung by the heavenly choir of angels.
This was and is God’s best and it is available to all through the gate of faith. Again the words “…on whom His favor rests,” is an entry point. It is making the decision to have faith in God through His Son Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11:6 says it like this: “So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” Jesus did not come to condemn any human being. Condemnation and damnation is the choice that is left when Jesus is refused because God did not create any other way for mankind to be forgiven or receive His love. John 3:17 says, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. “
As I was thinking about all of this, I was overwhelmed with the fact that God has given His best to me over and over and over again. He has never stopped. As today’s Fresh Manna verse says, “For the Lord God is our light and protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who do what is right.”
To be honest, at that point I felt like the reciprocation of my love to Him has been woefully inadequate in light of the best He gives me. I thought about how we often say, “I’ve given it my best,” but how short in truth those words fall – at least from me.
Christmas reminds me continuously of God giving His best to us – even if the world does not understand that. Today I am filled with desire to make greater effort to give God more of the selfless and best love that He has shown me.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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