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South Fellowship Church

Three Gifts of God

Three Gifts of God

by Les Walters

Advent is a time to reflect upon the gifts and blessings God has given us. Just as the 3 Wise Men, which were kings from the East, presented 3 physical gifts to Jesus upon His physical birth, so does God through Jesus Christ give us 3 spiritual gifts upon our spiritual birth.

Upon our receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God presents to us 3 spiritual gifts. These are

The Gift of Eternal Life
The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life. (Rom 6:23)

 The Gift of Grace
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Rom 3:23-24)

 The Gift of Righteousness
For if, because of one man’s trespass death reigned through that one man, much more who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. (Rom 5:17)

All Christians know that when they acknowledge their sin and receive Jesus as their Savior, then they have the gift of eternal life. After all, John 3:16 must be the most-often quoted scripture in all the Bible. (For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.) Most Christians know that the grace of God is undeserved.  But few Christians are even aware of this third gift – the Gift of Righteousness. Unaware that…once where sin reigned resulting in death, now grace reigns resulting in righteousness.

…so that, as sin reigned in death, Grace also might reign through Righteousness leading to Eternal Life through JESUS CHRIST our LORD. (Rom 5:21 with boldness & capitalization added)

Within this one verse, each of the three gifts of God is mentioned (eternal life, grace and righteousness) as well as the NAME that is above all names (Jesus Christ) as well as our fallen state from which we are being saved (sin). WOW… What a verse from the Word of God. John 3:16 watch out … we got a new verse in town!

When a person receives these gifts by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and by accepting Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for his or her sins, that person begins to know the depth of God’s love. This knowledge and these experiences of God’s love continues to grow within him or her with each and every blessing. (Praise and Honor and Glory be to God!) During Advent, we reflect upon these occurrences in our lives. However, that same person who reflects upon the immensity of God’s love, may or may not know and probably does not feel righteousness. In fact, many may feel unclean and unworthy. But the good news of the Gospel is that God sees him or her as Pure and Righteous. God has given you the Righteous One and He therefore sees you as righteous, just as Jesus is righteous.

AS a Christian, you can not become and you can not earn any greater degree of righteousness than that gift of perfect righteousness that you already received when you first believed. This may be hard for many to fathom. Jesus knew that this would be difficult for us to grasp. In fact, one of the reasons the Holy Spirit has come to replace the physical presence of Jesus is to remind (should I say “convict”) believers of our Righteousness. Jesus said,

“And when he comes, he will convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment … Concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you will see me no longer.” (John 16:8 & 10)

Jesus knew we would not understand nor may we accept/receive the truth concerning this Gift of Righteousness without the Help of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, this author believes that during this Advent Season, just as Mary pondered the birth of her child, Jesus Christ our Lord, and the gifts and blessings that He brings and that is to come, we would be wise, as the Wise Men were, to also ponder the meaning of these three gifts that were given freely to us from the King of kings and Lord of lords and God Almighty, Himself!

So Let’s Celebrate the Greatest Gift of All Time by Openly Receiving Him and Proclaiming Him

TO: All the World

FROM: Jesus Christ our Lord and the Father

  • The Gift of Eternal Life
  • The Gift of the Abundance of Grace
  • The Gift of Righteousness

God Bless You, One and All

Les Walters

Verse 1

The world was broken and shattered
By its sin all around
Every king before had failed them
Every effort left them bound

Verse 2

Voices in the desert pointing
To a future perfect king
unto us a son is given
he will soon come to reign.

Chorus

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
You are king you are kingVerse 3

Every soul on earth is longing
for a king to come and reign
We your church declare its Jesus
To our king, let us Sing

Chorus

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
You are king you are king

Bridge 2x

We crown you king
You are king
Come and Reign
Let Heaven Sing

Watch the Sermon that Accompanies this Devotional
Three Gifts of God2020-09-14T10:37:24-06:00

Love, Joy, Peace

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Love, Joy, Peace!

Diane Bultena

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Christmas… a time for love, joy and peace. A time to focus on the wonderful gift we received 2,000 years ago when Christ was born. Now a question for you. Are you sensing this peace and joy, or are the parties, buying, wrapping, baking and other “busy”ness keeping you from it? Are we experiencing all that Jesus came to bring in our lives on a daily basis today?

This year, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us make a special effort to focus on the love, joy and peace. How does Christ’s coming impact our experience of love, joy and peace?

First of all, it’s for our benefit, and it will bring glory, honor and praise to our heavenly Father. Jesus says in John 14:6 that no man comes to the Father but by him. As we think upon the act of grace and mercy Jesus portrayed being born as a baby and growing up to be judged, ridiculed, disrespected, mocked and despised, how can we help but be grateful and in awe! In Proverbs 4:6, God says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” I say we try and practice that this Advent!

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Love, Joy, Peace2014-12-11T00:00:00-07:00

Family Drama

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Family Drama

by Dan Elliott

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]We’re getting ready for our annual red-eye Christmas flight followed by the whirl-wind family week that’ll put about 700 miles on some unsuspecting rental car! Usually I can’t wait to see everybody. This year…well, let’s just say there will probably be a healthy dose of family drama. It might be TMI if I go into too many details. In fact, it’d be TMI if I go into any details.   Just take my word for it.

Ahhh… the joys of Christmas.

This all got me thinking about the family drama that Jesus stepped into. Not that we have a ton of details. For starters can you imagine what it was like when Mary had to tell her mom and dad that she was “with child”? I’m sure you’ve tackled that one just like I have. “What did you just say? Who did this? Come again?”

Then there’s poor Joseph who sees his young bride sometime after three months into her pregnancy (Lk 1:56). The Bible does tell us he chose to do the merciful thing – rather than “disgrace her publicly, he decided to break the engagement quietly” (Mt 1:19). What a disappointing dilemma he was in. That is until an angel comes in a dream and straightens things out. Then he’s simply faced with a challenging dilemma…that he accepts – he takes his young pregnant fiancée as his bride. Now he joins her to face the outcast stares she’s been dealing with. And what about Mary’s mom and dad now? We can only imagine how they’re handling all this as the time for the birth gets closer.

“Let earth receive her King”… What about the struggles a family had to go through receiving one of their own as a King? Jesus’ coming to this world was a challenge for those closest to him. Like Simeon said to Mary – “and a sword will pierce your own soul, too.” (Lk 2:35) These parents had to uproot their lives and run to Egypt to protect their young son (Mt 2:14). Later, I wonder if they were frustrated when they feared they lost him somewhere in all the Passover crowds…only to find him three days later talking with a group of teachers (Lk 2:45)!

Years later, Mary and her other sons came to see Jesus. They were concerned that he might have too little margin in his life. (That’s a nice way of saying: “He’s out of his mind!” Mk 3:21) There were too many folks crowded around him for them to get close. What were his words when he got the message that his family was there? …”Who are my mother and my brothers?” (Mk 3:33) How do you receive that word as a sibling? Close to the end of his ministry, Jesus secretly went to a major Jerusalem feast. As that was unfolding, we’re told the hard truth: “for his own brothers did not believe him” (Jn 7:5, 10).   At the cross, none of them showed up to mourn with their mom…or their step-brother.

Even with the advent of the King of Kings into our world, there was family drama. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my family has some drama, too. What gives me some hope with my drama is that Jesus’ family story didn’t end at the cross. In fact, take a look at what happened fifty days later. There’s a crowd of people waiting in an upstairs room. “They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.” (Acts 1:14). A number of years after that, the Apostle Paul recounts the two people he visited on his first return visit to Jerusalem after his conversion. Peter was one of them. And the other…? In Paul’s own words: “The only other apostle I met at that time was James, the Lord’s brother.” (Gal 1:19)

If there was hope for Jesus’ family, I certainly know there’s hope for mine. I know there’s hope for yours, too. Ahhh….the joys of Advent.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”20px” size=”custom”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Family Drama2014-12-10T00:00:00-07:00

The Best Gift Ever

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The best gift ever!

Andrea Jones

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]It seems to me no matter what your past, Jesus is for you. Silver hair and wrinkles or tattoos and metal piercings. Single or married, widow or child. This Jesus is for you. His birth was both wild and sweet. He brings freedom and all striving ceases. Finally you can rest! Breathe deeply and listen to his whispers and songs over you. No more religion. Just relationship. Works don’t count, position doesn’t matter and everything you think you have to sweat over is declared a pile of dirty rags.

It’s almost too easy. One could easily miss it. Religion demands your effort to do what’s right, the gospel declares what Christ has already done. Religion tells you to obey to receive God’s love and the gospel whispers “I love you” so we’re honored to obey him.

It’s all about Jesus. You’ll never be enough. But Jesus is enough. Stop the madness and embrace his righteousness. If someone tells you Jesus + theology, or Jesus +doctrine it isn’t the gospel. Religion is about us. The gospel is about Jesus. Choose Jesus. Trust, go big and believe in his power, love, grace and goodness. Jesus is for you… and it’s the best gift you’ll ever receive![/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”20px” size=”custom”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Best Gift Ever2014-12-09T00:00:00-07:00

I Love Christmas

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I Love Christmas

by Eva Maxwell

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]I love Christmas! It truly is a season of opportunity for joy! I love the decorations, the music, the food, the parties, the movies—I just love it all! We spend weeks preparing for the holiday at our house. Between buying gifts for all the kids, getting food prepared ahead of time where I can, getting out our holiday recipe’s and doing all the things that make this a “busy” time of year, preparations are in full swing before Thanksgiving. This year is the year for the kids to come home so I’m really busy making preparations for a huge influx of people.

It is apparent that for earth to receive her King, preparations have to be made. Actually, the very next line says it quite well: “Let every heart, prepare Him room.” So I take that to heart! And my “nature” gets busy, busy, busy preparing!

But wait! What does His room look like? Am I preparing room in my heart to receive my King?

It’s alright to prepare for the celebration. “And Heaven and nature sing…” It’s natural. While all heaven and God’s creation worship Him, I think it’s a good thing to examine my own “nature.” It’s supposed to be like His. However, when my preparations for the natural drown out the heavenly, I need to step back and regroup my thoughts and efforts. As I examine my “nature” in preparation for the celebration, I must remember that it’s not about me at all! But about a God who would love the world so much that He would come to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, live among us and willingly go to the cross to give us all an opportunity to “receive” Him and take on His nature. This kind of thinking puts a whole new light on what I am to be, my attitude and my priorities.

“Let earth receive her King!” Let’s personalize that carol and bring it down to my level.

“Let ME receive my King, Jesus. Let my heart prepare Him room… And heaven and my nature sing (in perfect harmony)!”

When the celebration preparations are made inside and out and my nature is in line with His, now that’s joy!

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I Love Christmas2014-12-08T00:00:00-07:00

Advent Art 1

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Let Earth Receive Her King

by Shari Malott

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Advent Art 12014-12-07T00:00:00-07:00

Extra Special Baby Announcement

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That Extra Special Baby Announcement

by Don Owsley

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From Luke 2:4-20.

What a rich story. Actually, it is a baby announcement and obviously unlike any other. It is a supernatural one that announces the birth of a king and what he brings with him.  Notice four awesome things in this special report:

First, it is from the extraterrestrial.

            God sends out-of-this-world beings to deliver the birth announcement. Why? Because this king is from out of this world.  He is God.  At the same time, King Jesus is from this world. He is human. Even more, this special Being brings with him an out-of-this-world kingdom. It is from a different dimension called heaven that he brings with him to earth.

Second, it is by the extra ordinary.

            The shepherds were going about their business during the night shift. That was a time when shepherds were on high alert. Lions, thieves and wolves loved taking advantage of the dark to steal away as many sheep as possible. It’s dark. Very dark. The only light they had came from fire, the moon, flickering stars, and perhaps the light of the distant village.

            Pop! An extraordinary thing happened when this alien suddenly appeared out of nowhere. He not only popped in but he was glowing in the dark! Glowing brilliant mega lumens of God’s radiant beauty.  No modern delivery system could ever top this one.

            While the shepherds were adjusting their eyes and calming their hearts a whole army of lustrous aliens pop in and cry out in unison, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace among hose with whom he is pleased!”   How extraordinary!

            Christmas is about an extraordinary Being bringing an extraordinary new world in an extraordinary way that spotlights the radiant beauty of our awesome God.

Third, it is to the extra-lowly.

            The announcement did not go to the highest civic officials, the elite, religiously upright and the rich in the normal way. In that day, it was common knowledge that only such people enter God’s kingdom. In a humiliating way, God sent his angels to deliver the most important message to a bunch of lowly and poor, migrant field workers! The high and mighty God rebuffs the world’s high and mighty and delivers the great news to the lowly and weak.

            Christmas is about the highest God who became lowly to bring his kingdom to the lowly that he would raise up them up to God’s highest place.

 

Finally, it is about the extra special!

            Unlike our baby announcements, this is about the arrival of someone extra special.  Jesus fulfills the prophecy that Israel’s rescuing king will be of the line of their greatest king, David, from his city, to sit on the greatest throne. He will be the Messiah, a shepherd-king to lead his people in God’s kingdom. This infant will also be the only Savior of the world. The extra-special Christmas message is about King Jesus who left his crown to bear our cross so that through the Cross we would wear his crown.

This is the Greatest. Birth. Announcement. Ever!  Have you received it?  Have you also received this King?

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Extra Special Baby Announcement2014-12-06T00:00:00-07:00

Thorns: the Ground & a Crown

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Thorns: The Ground and a Crown

by Rudy Gaytan

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]”No more let sin and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground”

We are in the season of Advent, but it often feels like I am again in a state of panic to get so much done. My role as a Husband and Father is pushed to the max as I also become turkey butcher, pumpkin bread baker, and candle-jar maker. Seriously, I like to mix wax and pour candles to give as gifts to my immediate family. Anyway, I digress.

We ponder the Joy brought to the world in the form of our Savior, but is He in the forefront of my mind as I untangle the Christmas lights? We know about the Star of Bethlehem, but is He the reason we purchase the tree for the living room? The virgin birth was a miracle, but should we buy the glowing Mary, the colorful Mary, or the plaster Mary for the scene symbolizing His birth?

I am not suggesting these things, along with many others, are not important. What I am suggesting is we have to make sure we do not allow these events to take our eyes off of the Savior. Amid these distractions, it is so easy to forget the reason for the season and have these events “choke out” the wonder and beauty of the birth of our Lord. In Luke 8 and Matthew 13, Christ is teaching, among other things, the parable of the seeds and the sower.

In Luke 8:14, He directly mentions how the seed, the Word of God, is “crowded out and nothing comes of it as [the hearers go] about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun” (the Message Translation). Here, Christ teaches that the thorns directly refer to worrying about a future we cannot control, being consumed with making more money, and chasing after what feels good at the moment. As always, preparing for the future, having some fun and providing for your family are not the issue. The real issue is when these things are taken to the extreme, and our lives become consumed with activities which serve to do one thing: take our attention away from our savior. It is when these activities choke out our time, resources, and energy that we must take a moment to step back and reflect on the true purpose of the Christmas holidays.

In Genesis 3:18, part of the original curse put upon humanity for original sin is for the ground to be cursed, and have it spring forth thorns. Even our Savior had to literally experience the discomfort of thorns while he was upon the cross, in the form of a humiliating crown. But what is it about the symbolism of a crown of thorns? What is it about the mockery and pain of sin, twisting and warping the true meaning of a crown fit for the King of Kings?

For Christians, the thorns of sin are things only our Savior can redeem us from. For Christians, Advent is a season to rejoice at the birth of our King. How joyful is our world, now that the Lord really has come.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”20px” size=”custom”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Thorns: the Ground & a Crown2014-12-05T00:00:00-07:00

Anticipation

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Anticipation

by Sharon Leddick

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]My seven year-old grandson, Emerson, is the ultimate Lego fanatic, he has been since he was three. He can follow elaborate directions on how to build a Coast Guard cutter or create his own designs, which he affectionately describes as, “Out of my mind.” Last year his parents gave him a Lego Advent calendar wherein each day a tiny flap in the cardboard calendar is popped open to reveal a Christmas themed item. I watched him as his tiny, nimble fingers cautiously ripped along the perforated line. Each day revealed a new item to complete the Christmas scene; a cute character in winter clothing, tiny boxes with even tinier bows, a sleigh and a Christmas tree each added to the bigger scene which would be completed on Christmas day. Every morning a new surprise awaited him and he could barely contain his excitement.

As Emerson worked on opening the flap without tearing outside the line, his mom informed me he woke up at 4:30 that morning hoping to talk her into letting him pry open that day’s box. I found myself envying his eager enthusiasm and I wanted so much to have that level of joy and excitement.

Witnessing Emerson’s excitement over this calendar and its daily surprise, brought an new awareness to my thoughts of Advent and the anticipation of Christmas. This is what Advent is all about, preparing oneself with excitement and joy towards the gift each morning holds. It might be something small like a beautiful sunrise or a smile from a stranger or something bigger like a visit from a distant relative or a meal with a friend.

Make your prayer this day to be one of allowing joy to fill your heart with a childlike excitement, to receive your king with unbridled anticipation.

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Anticipation2014-12-04T00:00:00-07:00

Preparing a Room for a King

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Preparing a Room for a King

by Carolyn Schmitt

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I was singing “Joy to the World” to myself recently; when I came to the line, “Let every heart prepare him room”, I started wondering about what might be involved in welcoming and housing royalty. I Googled “entertaining royalty” and found a website called “edwardianpromenade.com” that gave interesting information in an article about life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, specifically the entertaining of royalty by favored nobility. The information came from a book by Evangeline Holland called,” Pocket Guide to Edwardian England”.

Briefly, many of the houses most frequented by the then Prince and Princes of Wales had a separate, self-contained suite of apartments solely for the accommodation of the royal couple when they visited, which occur once or twice a year. Depending on who and when a royal visiter was coming, the whole house might be redecorated to honor them.

The guest lists were carefully monitored to insure that only those the royals would want were included. Even then the couple would not appear until late in the day and spent little time with the other guests. Much of the entertainment of royals was involved with hunting, shooting and racing. The article mentioned that, although accurate statistics could not be obtained, it was estimated that, given the then exchange rate, the cost to English society for entertaining royalty was in the multimillion dollar category.

What a contrast to the birth of this child, Immanuel, God with Us, who is Christ, the King.

While in truth the whole of human history was preparation for the advent of the birth of Christ, the immediate events, including visits from the angel Gabriel to Zechariah and Mary, Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Mary’s trip to visit Elizabeth and the angel’s visit to Matthew, though momentous and miraculous, were private, personal and quiet. Only the decree from Caesar Agustus that involved the whole country was an outside arrangement affecting the place of Jesus birth.

What about the hearts of Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph

  • Zechariah, now old, had accepted his childlessness. Though he knew well the history of Abraham and Sarah, he was skeptical about the possibility of such a miracle for him and Elizabeth. He required a sign.
  • Elizabeth’s heart was eased and grateful. She was prepared to recognize and bless Mary for believing what the Lord said to her.
  • Mary was troubled, asked an honest question because nothing like such a miracle had ever happened before, but she was available to be the Lord’s servant.
  • Joseph struggled with his feelings, but was willing to accept the angel’s message and take on the responsibility to love and protect his wife and the coming child.

Preparing a Room for a King

Most of us have heard the story many times. This Christmas, are our hearts preparing to experience it afresh and respond to the birth of our King with wonder and gratitude and joy that overflows in blessing to all we meet?

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Preparing a Room for a King2014-12-03T00:00:00-07:00
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