Is It a Gift? 

Have you ever been given a gift, only to have someone get angry with you, and take it back? Perhaps the gift was offered up again later, but you were required to do something the giver wanted you to do, before the giver would present it to you. Is it a gift? 

No. This is a game. 

Have you ever been given a gift, but you weren’t quite sure if the giver really meant for you to keep it, because the giver was making you jump through hoops in order to receive it? The hoops were on the giver’s terms. They were very small hoops, and only the giver would decide if you had jumped through enough of them to get your prize. Is it a gift? 

No. It is an offer, with strings attached. 

Have you ever been given a gift, which paled in comparison to gifts others were receiving at the same kind of celebration? It was blatantly obvious that your peers and siblings opened packages containing items of similar value, or items suited to their distinct personalities. However, your package contained something completely opposite; perhaps much cheaper, or an item which purposely misrepresented your character and interests. Is it a gift?

No. It is favoritism towards others, and a complete disregard for your feelings, and you, as a unique individual. 

Have you ever been given a gift, which came with the gong of a loud announcement, focusing attention on the giver? Or perhaps you received something expensive, but upon closer inspection the item was broken or fake. Maybe a higher-priced retail sticker was purposely left attached to an item which was actually bought on clearance. Is it a gift?

No. It is a dishonest ploy, often accompanied by guilt, where someone’s key motivation is to look good in front of other people.  

Have you ever been told you would be getting a gift, yet finally realized it was never going to delivered? You were told about this gift time and again, but the delivery date kept getting changed, along with the details as to what would be inside the box. Is it a gift? 

No. It is a broken promise. It is a manipulative tactic, used by the giver to control you, and to remain within your good graces. 

Have you ever been given a gift, yet resigned yourself to leaving the box on the doorstep, because you knew in your hearts of hearts, the box was empty? Is it a gift?

No. It is pretty packaging. It is worth nothing. It is better left alone. 

How disappointing! Does this mean there are no gifts under the tree for you to open, since so many gifts are not really gifts at all? Of course not! Many of us have been blessed to receive good gifts, and we also enjoy giving good gifts to family, friends, and even strangers! But some people are left lacking when it comes to gift giving time. Also, because life is imperfect, people are sometimes left unable to give good gifts, through no fault of their own. The silver lining is that God has good gifts for everyone, and His generosity goes beyond the borders of what anyone giver on earth can do! “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1: 17 New International Version). 

God’s greatest gift, is salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. God is omniscient. He blesses each one of us with both spiritual gifts and earthly provisions, according to His infinite wisdom; which is beyond our understanding. God is THE good and perfect gift giver. God does not play games or attach strings. He makes promises grounded in truth, and He keeps them. God loves us all, and doesn’t play favorites, which is why His greatest, most immeasurable gift, is available to everyone. God foretold the coming of His wondrous gift, by sending his angel, Gabriel, to announce the good news:  “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1: 21).

God’s most amazing gift didn’t come at all in fancy packaging, but it was completely filled with love! God’s regal gift arrived from Heaven in the form of a beautiful innocent baby boy. Baby King Jesus was born in a lowly, dirty stable, surrounded by the offensive smell of cattle and sheep. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’ ” ( Luke 2: 11-12).

But a gift, isn’t a gift, until it’s been accepted and received. Will you receive Jesus Christ into your heart today, ask forgiveness for your sins, and give your life over to him? This Christmas, will you share this eternal gift with others who need to know Jesus? Their very lives depend on it. Open your gift of Jesus, and thank God for the baby born to save you! “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9).


Merry Christmas, and God bless you in the name of Jesus! 

For a prayer of salvation, visit: 

How to Have a Relationship with Jesus Christ and have Eternal Life.

Congrats to the Winner of The Silver Lining 2nd Annual Christmas Giveaway!

Congratulations to Cindy R. for winning The Silver Lining 2nd Annual Christmas Giveaway! 

As always, my family prayed for God to pick the winner, and we are so happy to share some Christmas joy with Cindy R.!

Thank you to all who entered. I appreciate your support and encouragement as I follow the ministry path God has laid before me! 

Merry Christmas, and may God bless you all in Jesus’ name!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

James 1: 17 New International Version

Christmas Shenandoah Sky

Cloud: 
A busy day filled with appointments and lots and lots of driving back and forth.

Silver Lining: 
God filled it up with little bits of joy and surprises, and perfect answers to prayers, and time alone to listen to God’s Word. Then, while finally arriving home, He painted me a breathtaking Merry Christmas scarlet sky! Afterwards, He topped it off with a delicious dinner date with my favorite teenaged twin boys; then some fun Christmas shopping with them for presents afterwards, which lasted till midnight!

“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth– the LORD God Almighty is his name.”

(Amos 4:13 New International Version)

Oh what a gift to come home to Christmas on country roads among majestic Blue Ridge Mountains!

The Silver Lining 2nd Annual Christmas Giveaway!

JESUS is the REASON for the SEASON!

Drawing on Christmas Eve Day at 12:00 p.m.!

My giveaway is to thank my readers, and to encourage them to share The Silver Lining blog. My desire is to spread hope in the form of godly encouragement, so others can find love, truth, healing, freedom, and joy in Jesus Christ. I want others to receive the free gift of salvation which Jesus has to offer to everyone! If you want to know how you can have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and make sure you have the gift of eternal life, click here:

The ultimate and only important gift you can ever receive-Jesus Christ!

To enter: Leave a comment letting us know your favorite Christmas family tradition.

To qualify: You must be a subscriber to The Silver Lining.

or…

You must be a member of The Silver Lining on Facebook.

Please share this post with your friends, so they can enter too, but most of all, so they can hear the good news about Jesus Christ! 

What’s inside?

Over $75 worth of Christmas Joy!

Celebrations by MIKASA crystal gift tray, snow bird shelf sitter, Adult Christmas coloring book, C.R.Gibson writing journal, candy cane pen, Les Pearls PIstachio chocolates, giant TOBLERONE, white chocolate peppermint bark candle, Christmas tree ornament, fabric layered basket, blinking Christmas lights, wooden cross necklace, True Soapbox soaps; Peppermint and Gold Frankincense & Myrrh. 

God bless you!  Merry Christmas! 

************************************

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Distracted, Rejected, NOT Dejected! 10 Truths

I learned a tough lesson this week, but God proved Himself ever Faithful! There are “Christian” ministries out there with people who claim to know and love Jesus, but when faced with Truth, people who have been wandering off of God’s path, will stubbornly dig in their heels, and refuse to budge. They refuse to invite Jesus into the middle of a controversy, and insist on being in charge. Unwillingness to follow Jesus, makes a familiar, well-beaten worldly path look easier, when God’s Word tells us the path to Him is narrow and difficult to find. ” ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:13-14 New International Version).

Truth: Only when Jesus is invited into the middle of our relationships, ministries, and lives; will we be able to reap the benefits of his compassionate grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Sometimes there is a biblically based need for placing boundaries in order to protect our safety or well-being. Other times, we may try to mend a situation several times, without success, which results in the inability to reconcile. In these cases, we forgive in Christ, and move on. But, when Christians turn their backs on genuine brothers and sisters in Christ, who come bringing truthful messages meant to save people, help them grow, and steer them onto the right path; it is the same as turning their backs on Jesus and his message. People living in lies tend to become uncomfortably stubborn; clapping their hands over their ears, shouting at the top of their lungs at the same time; doing anything to shut out the truth. Refusing to listen to a messenger sent by God to help people avoid heartache, danger, and deceit; is the same as refusing to listen to Jesus. It is to reject God’s own Son. ” ‘Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me’ ” (Luke 10:16). 

People like this may indeed be saved, and headed towards Heaven, but they aren’t walking the straight and narrow path that Jesus walks. They step off a little to the left, so they can allow in a small lie here, or a small lie there. They stumble to the right, so they can promote their religion or cause in the name of Jesus, yet he can barely be found among it, if at all. They might even fall completely off the precious path, because they’ve been blinded by pride. If they don’t make their way back, they stand as hypocrites do, preaching to people to walk the path, as their own feet walk in a different direction, all while leading others to destruction. For God’s Word says: “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” (Prov. 4: 26-27 New International Version).

I’ve been here before. Why God, has it happened again? Why, when I believed myself to be among sisters in Christ, did I become deceived? Were there red flags?

“Why yes, yes there were,” said God. I humbly realized He wouldn’t have allowed me to be in a situation, without giving me warnings. So I asked my God to show me the good that could come of this situation. I asked Him why I had allowed myself to become distracted again, by what I had perceived to be a “good Christian cause.” He gave me these words I’ve penned, and He revealed several truths; some of which were revealed through my family members:  

Truth: “You need to spend your time wisely; it is part of learning to be compassionate to yourself. 

Truth: “Not every work with God’s name on it, is really God’s work, though some of My truth may be there. I can work My glory through anything, but that doesn’t mean I want you there.” 

 But I thought I knew this! I don’t usually jump to get involved.

“No, my child, you did not yet quite understand. For you rushed in, and you didn’t listen to the still small voice; your own voice, that told you something was wrong. You didn’t listen to your still small voice telling you, that you’d decided on doing only certain things assigned by Me, but then you took on something else. You consulted me, but were impatient in waiting for my reply. You also didn’t remove yourself from the situation earlier, as I waved red warning flags before you. You forgot to check in with me, until push came to shove. You didn’t get out when you realized you were behind in the ministry I gifted you with; the path which I’ve assigned you to walk. You got distracted. Yet, even though you waited until the last minute, I’m not only going to help you, I’m going to make a brand new and better thing from it all!” 

God was right…as always! I hadn’t yet learned this. 

Truth: God wants me to only do just what He asks me to do.

Truth: God believes in me, and loves me, and has given me my very own ministry! 

Truth: If I help somebody else with their mission, and it even slightly deviates from the path of my own mission (where Jesus shines first and foremost ALL the time) then God doesn’t want me in that other place!

Truth: Getting involved in a ministry which does not fully align with God’s truths He has revealed to me; may distract, delay or even bring my own ministry to a halt. 

Truth: It doesn’t matter if anyone stands with me as I go forward; it only matters that God is standing beside me. 

Truth: God gives me the people I need most to support and encourage me along the way; no more, and no less. And I am never, ever alone. “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us” (Rom. 8:31)?

I’d been distracted and rejected, but not dejected. The experience of having been treated badly was nothing when compared to the relief of knowing you are headed back onto the exact path God has laid out just for YOU; that place where you find peace and joy and comfort in knowing you’re using your gifts in just the right way God intended!

Truth: The silver lining is seen by those walking the path of Truth, because in walking true, the lies are easily trampled under our feet! For Jesus says, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19). When you walk the steep and narrow path, you’re not afraid of the sharp incline that lies ahead, because God will lend you His own strong hand, and He will pull you up to the mountain top! As you stand there hand in hand with Jesus, he will look down at you proudly, and smile. I can’t wait to look up into his shining face, and nod, saying, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim.4:10).

Prayer: God please forgive me for when I stumble off of the path you created just for me. Help me to follow Jesus and not get distracted. Jesus, I love you! Hold my hand; I don’t want to let go of you! 

“I have decided to follow Jesus…

No turning back, no turning back…

Though I may wander, I still will follow…

No turning back, no turning back…

The world behind me, the cross before me…

No turning back, no turning back…

Though none go with me, still I will follow…

No turning back, no turning back.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?”

Lyrics attr. S. Sundar Singh

Hindustani Melody

Public Domain