Re-Gifting

Re-Gifting…no matter how you feel about it, most of us have done it. I know I certainly have. I am a minimalist and have received many gifts over the years that I wouldn’t use. Most were really nice and I knew people who would love to have them. Passing them on seemed like the perfect opportunity to put those presents to good use. Several years ago, I began a little “store” in one of my closets. I would put those gifts and other great buys I found during the year there. When I needed a gift, I would go into my store and find the perfect gift to give.

During this Christmas Season, it seems like another opportunity to re-gift some of those nice things that I have been given during the year. When I look in my “store” I am only finding intangibles to give this year. Hm-m-m, what should I do?

The first gift I see when I look into my store is “Forgiveness.” I have received Forgiveness from others during the year and it seems only right to give that to those needing it. The second gift I see is “Acceptance.” So many people have Accepted me the way I am and surely I can be gracious enough to pass that along can’t I? As I look deeper into my “store,” I find gifts that the Lord has given me that I know He would like me to give to others. He would like me to share His kindness with others, and for sure, His compassion. He would also like me to share His Story. The Story about how He sent His Son to this earth to die for our sins and give those who believe in Him eternal life.

Re-Gifting….how do you feel about it? Does it have a place in your gift giving this season? Perhaps you are not into re-gifting tangible items but what about the intangibles? Some of them can be absolutely priceless!

Just Answer the Call!

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Have you ever been in the supermarket and someone gets a call on their cellphone and won’t answer it? The phone just keeps ringing and ringing and we all want to say, “Just answer the call!”

It’s that same way with people who are running from God. They try this, that and the other thing and nothing quite works out for them. Nothing seems to satisfy their deepest needs. They might try drugs, alcohol, sex, work, material things, and relationships but nothing gives them the peace they are looking for. Those of us closest to them want to say, “Just answer the call!”

Why? Because we remember what it was like for us before we found the Lord. We were no different and certainly no better. Do you wonder if God is trying to call you? Or do you know for sure that it is Him, and that is why you won’t answer the call? You know, we are not guaranteed that He will keep trying forever.

Are you one of those that thinks that God has quit calling you? Have you ever checked your messages from Him? Check them. You will hear several: “Call me, I am waiting to talk to you,” I sent my Son to die for you,” and the best one, “I love you, in spite of who you are and what you have done.”

Do you wonder if He will answer if you call Him back? Will He be too busy talking to someone else? Let’s see what He has to say about it…”For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” Romans 10:13. His words, not mine.

What if you answered the call before, but you have turned away? Will He reject you? Can He still use you after all you’ve done? When we turn back to Him, we find that “the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable,” Romans 11:29.

You know, if might just be time to answer that call. Can you hear your phone ringing? I can…

Torn Between Two Countries

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I was born the child of parents from two different countries. My father met my mother while he was overseas in the service. She was Italian and her family lived in Milan. They were married and returned to the States to live. From the time I was little, I would hear stories about Italy and have letters read to me from my Italian family. I would look at the pictures they sent and long to meet them. 

Growing up, I never quite felt at home in the States. There seemed to be a part of me that was longing for another country, another family, another culture. When I got older my father decided I should go to Italy and get to know my Italian family.

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I began learning the language, made arrangements to go to school over there and flew to Milan. I met my family and spent several months with them. It was an experience I will never forget. They showered me with love and took me around to different cities and taught me about the history and culture of the country. Even though I loved my new family, the people and that country, there was a part of me that still didn’t quite fit in there completely. 

Eventually, I moved back to the States and married. I still kept in touch with my family in Italy and my heart was always torn between the two countries. I had people I loved in two different places and for better or worse I was now part of two different cultures. Since that time, I have never completely fit in the country I am living in because there are always people I love and want to be near living elsewhere.

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During this time I became a Christian so I began learning about another culture. I read the Bible and began to experience an entirely different kind of  life. I heard about a place where there was no violence, murder, or crime of any kind. I learned of a place where peace reigned because God reigned there. Again, my heart became divided. There were people I loved here on Earth, but I longed to be with my Heavenly Father in Heaven. There was a better place to live and more and more my heart longed to be there.

So again, I am torn between two countries, two cultures, two peoples, two places. There are people I love here on Earth but I hate the crime, division and the lack of love people have for one another. I long for that place where people will treat each other kindly and where love will reign supreme. 

I know that I am not alone. Most people sense that there is something not right here on the earth. We look around and know instinctively that there is not supposed to be hunger, thirst, disease, war, poverty, greed and all the other kinds of evil there is here. We were made for something different and we all have a deep longing for a better place, a better life. 

What about you? Are you torn between two countries also? Do you long for a better life and a better place? It’s available to you, all you have to do is ask for it.

“Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when you come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 42 – 43.