Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Fresh Manna© by Pastor Tim Burt
"Overwhelmed by God's Love at Christmas"
Romans 1:5 (LB) "And now, through Christ, all the kindness of God has been poured out upon us undeserving sinners, and now He is sending us out around the world to tell all people everywhere the great things God has done for them, so that they too will believe and obey Him.
It happened to me twice in two days. I became literally overwhelmed with what I think is the heart of the Christmas spirit. The first time was in church on Christmas Eve. It was toward the end of the service. We had just taken communion and were now standing and singing. Each person had a lit votive candle they were holding up. The lights in the church had come down except for the lights that decorated the sanctuary and the votive candles. We were all singing Silent Night. The presence of God was strong and it was such a beautiful moment. In my heart I could hear those words the multitudes of angels spoke to the shepherds in perfect harmony, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:14) At that moment, a feeling of "good will” – this overwhelming love for everyone around me welled up within my heart. It was an experience – that’s all I can say in trying to describe it. It was like something God dropped in my heart that was greater than words could describe.
In a moment's time, I could see God's goodness touching every area of my life. I was such a mess when I first opened my heart to God at the age of 24. "How could God love me - I have failed Him so badly - I have failed living for Him so badly - How could God love me?" It was good people that knew God that took the chance of telling and convincing me of this truth till my heart was open enough to see it and know this love for myself.
The angels were saying together in harmony, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" We imagine them singing to the shepherds that night and maybe they were. The scriptures say the angels were saying it. They wanted all mankind to know - God has peace and goodwill toward us. He hates what the devil has done to this earth and to mankind but because He's given man the ability to choose his course and life, God can only tell us of His love and good will. He has been in a variety of ways throughout time. It’s up to us as to whether we will believe it. I could feel it in church that night.
The next day, Christmas day, Renee's family came over. The house was decorated and looked beautiful. The food was cooking in the kitchen. Christmas was in the air. The doorbell rang and her parents entered. As I was helping them come in and take their coats off, suddenly, just like it did the night before at church, it hit me again - that feeling of the Christmas spirit. It again was this overwhelming feeling of thanks – thanks to God for my family, thanks that I had a wonderful extended family, and thanks they I had a home they could come to, to celebrate this occasion with. For a flash, I was covered with thoughts of the mercy of God. As they were entering into my home, in an instant I thought "Lord, if it wasn't for you, I'd be dead. I wouldn't have a life, a family, a home. Christmas would have still been a holiday that never measured up - that empty feeling I felt all my childhood. I would have killed myself on drugs or alcohol or something stupid. Instead here I am in your love surrounded by your goodness and all this love.” It was momentary, it was powerful, and it was almost overwhelming, but it was so real.
We went up into the kitchen and the first words out of Renee's mom's mouth were, "where would we be without Jesus." She then quoted Psa 27:13 "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living." I looked at her astonished and laughed and shared with her those same thoughts I had just had as they were entering the house. We stayed in the kitchen for some time eating Christmas treats while praising God for His goodness in our lives.
That brings me today's Fresh Manna verse. It describes this Christmas for me. "And now, through Christ, all the kindness of God has been poured out upon us undeserving sinners, and now He is sending us out around the world to tell all people everywhere the great things God has done for them, so that they too will believe and obey Him.” I can't not talk about the goodness of God. God's goodness is so powerful to those who believe. He hasn't wanted us to hoard it up for ourselves. He’s wanted us to give it away - to share it. Even when people think that we are trying to condemn them or shove something down their throats.
To me the best packaging of this good news is sharing God's desire for peace - peace between Him and mankind - His good will toward them! His goodness has transformed my life and yours. I can’t not tell others about it!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2007 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.