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Monday, 05 December 2016 07:11

The Wonderful Gift of God and His Presence

Written by  Tom Gaylord
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Jesus told his disciples, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.”

John 14:27 (NLT)

 

 

As we approach Christmas and the end of 2016, I look back and realize it’s been a busy and exciting year for my wife, Dawn, and me.  We moved from Prattville in February, where we lived for almost 18 years, to Wetumpka. I had been serving there as a pastor for Centerpoint Fellowship Church for the past couple of years.  It was a move we knew God was prompting us to make, yet we still felt stress, fear, and anxiety.  There were details we knew we would have to trust God to work out, like finding a house in the right location at the right price, preparing the house in Prattville and listing it to sell, finding a buyer, getting moved, and finally making the new house into a home. 

 

In September, I returned to graduate school to pursue a pastoral counseling degree while still juggling the duties of being a pastor and a police chaplain in Wetumpka. Of course, we also had all the normal things that couples our age deal with in a typical year—minor illnesses, caring for aging parents, visiting and helping our grown children, dealing with family dynamics, and tackling work-related challenges. I mention these things not to highlight what we’ve been through, but to boast about God and the wonderful gift of His presence. It was our faith in God’s love that gave us the confidence to obey Him, and it was His presence that allowed us to overcome our fears and anxiety and replace them with peace and joy.

 

Romans 5:15-21 states that Jesus is God’s gift to mankind, and those who accept Him are made blameless. Why would God humble Himself and come to earth as a human? Why would Jesus sacrifice Himself on a cross? Because God loves all of us!

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV). 

 

Jesus came to this world to seek and save lost sinners. Dawn and I celebrate Christmas every December because we understand we are sinners saved by grace whom God loves, and by surrendering our lives to Him we have received God’s greatest gift… eternal life in Christ.

 

But that’s not all! Those who surrender and accept God’s gift of salvation also receive the gift of His presence through the Holy Spirit that guides, comforts, and protects us. 

 

“How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection...You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues” (Psalm 31:19-20, NLT).

 

Dawn and I learned through our experiences this year that taking risks can be exciting and freeing when we know we are in God’s will and secure in His love. Our confidence comes from knowing we belong to Christ, that His presence is a shelter in difficult times, and that He is a good God with good plans for us. That shelter of His presence can’t be taken from us—or damaged—or broken into.  It is protected by Christ Himself.  It is secure! We have it because the gift of the Holy Spirit is alive in us.

 

So, remember this:  God loves you and wants you to experience the gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ and the gift of His presence through the Holy Spirit. When we surrender to God and embrace His presence, we have all we need to face any fear or challenge.

 

Tom Gaylord is the Pastor at Centerpoint Fellowship’s site in Wetumpka which opened in 2014.  Tom and his wife, Dawn, live in Wetumpka and have three grown boys and a daughter in-law.  Tom is also a volunteer chaplain with the River Region Chaplain Service and serves the men and women of the Wetumpka Police Department.

Worship at the Wetumpka Centerpoint Fellowship site is held at 9:35am every Sunday at their worship center located at 4876 U.S. Hwy 231 in Wetumpka. Visit www.centeringlives.com.

 

Last modified on Monday, 05 December 2016 07:23
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