Links Daily Devotional

Jelly of the Month Club

“At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything… you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” (John 16:23-24, NLT)

“Now that’s the gift that keeps on giving all year ’round, Clark.”

In the classic holiday movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswold is expecting his annual Christmas bonus to install a pool for his family; instead, his company decides to make cutbacks and all he receives via currier on Christmas Eve is a membership to the Jelly of the Month Club for the upcoming year. His half-witted Cousin Eddie responds with the oft-quoted line above. Needless to say, gifts often aren’t what we are looking for.

Jesus came and made a new promise to man to give us an indwelling, habitational relationship with God via the Holy Spirit.This hit home with me last week at the PNC Father/Son Challenge. I once again had the opportunity to play in the nationally televised professional golf tournament with my father. It is always something I greatly anticipate and go into with high expectations. After having a great week of practice, the pro-am, and other festivities leading up to the tournament, my father and I went out the first round and played terribly, finishing the round in 19th place out of 20 teams. As disappointed as I was with our play, the next day offered one of the greatest privileges of my life as we were paired with Jack Nicklaus and his son. An incredible disappointment quickly turned into a tremendous blessing as I got to play a competitive round of golf with arguably the greatest golfer of all time. Now that’s the gift that keeps on giving!

As memorable as it was to play with Mr. Nicklaus, my heart left Orlando last week filled because of all the opportunities God gave me to give Jesus away to others by sharing with them the fruit of his Spirit. Allow me to explain.

The Christmas story can be summed up in one word, Immanuel, which means “God is with us.” We should celebrate the birth of Jesus every Christmas because of the gift he is not just for our eternal outcome, but because of what he is for us now: the habitational presence of God in our lives. That is real peace and joy (as well as love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control). In the Old Testament, God only had a visitational relationship with man because hearts had not yet been purified by the eternal, atoning sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. As prophesied and testified by many authors of the Bible, Jesus came and made a new promise to man to give us an indwelling, habitational relationship with God via the Holy Spirit.

What an amazing gift! The purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit was so that we would have an internal advocate to help us live our lives as imitators of Jesus in order that we complete his mission of filling the entire world with his presence. He wants us to hear what he says and see what he sees so that we may do what he would have us do. He no longer sees us as sinners; he took care of that at the cross. Therefore, he sees us as his co-heirs and partners in work living in his Kingdom here on earth. This was the central theme of Jesus’ ministry.

Have you ever truly received the gift of Jesus that keeps on giving all year ’round—a gift intended to be multiplied through you and flowing out of you? Jesus said in John 14:12, “Anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” He now sits at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25), giving us, through the Holy Spirit, everything we need to fill the earth with the presence of God. I hope you’ll receive him warmly and give him graciously this Christmas and all 2017.

Josh Nelson
December 19, 2016
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