a christmas testimony, 2014

To give means to freely transfer the possession of something to someone. God gave. John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world, loved us, so much that He gave Himself so that we could have eternal life; so that we could have Him if we choose to believe in and follow Him.

That’s one of the key messages of the gospel: God showered upon us His unconditional love, great mercy, and generous grace. Christmas is about giving all of that and so much more.

Jesus said that it is “better to give than to receive” (reference Acts 20:35).

God gave.

You gave and continue to give.

My family and I have spent quite a bit of time reflecting over the last year and our time here at Living Rock. I recall a message from July about being tested. We have been in so many ways. We’ve seen God’s hand at work in all of this and can still say that although we don’t understand what He’s doing, we trust that He is ultimately good. He gave us that message about being tested, preparing us for what was to come. We count this trial as pure joy because this testing is building perseverance in our faith and depth in our relationships with one another.

In October, through the “Jesus Is…” series, we talked of God’s provision and He has so graciously provided in every way imaginable and continues to provide. God knows our needs and He’s met them before we were even aware of them. He has given us so much. He brought us to Living Rock, knowing we would need support from the body of Christ in our darkest hour. Prior to calling Ashley home, He sent our hired hands who have been there through thick and thin and continue to do the work required to get us all through the day. He provided the foundation we continue to build our faith upon. He gave us you; our community and our home.

Paul talks about giving thanks in all circumstances in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. We are so incredibly grateful – grateful for the time we had with Ashley; grateful for the gift of His Son, Jesus; grateful for the gift of eternal life by faith; grateful for the body; grateful for you. Because of you – your ongoing support, unconditional love and grace – we’ve come to a deeper understanding of what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. Thank you for being the love of God in our lives. Mere words cannot express the depth of gratitude we feel and that is the message God has given us this Christmas. All the glory goes back to Him.

As this Christmas season is upon us, we ask that you continue to pray for us as we continue to heal and also pray for forgiveness as God has forgiven us, but not to forget where we have been or where we are at as we move forward.