"Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"

Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 KJV

A nice phrase --- a giving heart! What image does it bring to mind? A heart? A pair of outstretched hands? The images overlapping each other or superimposed? Perhaps an image of a dear friend surfaces... who has given to you over and over. The question brought to my mind was: Where would we be if God had not had a giving heart? We would be doomed, gnashing our teeth, in the hell created for the fallen angels!  We would not be preparing our hearts, homes, and church. We would not be enjoying and savoring God's Holy Word in the Bible and in joyous song and worship! We would not be celebrating the birth of our dear Savior, nor be in great anticipation of His second coming!  

God's giving heart also causes me to dwell on all the many blessings which He has showered upon us, His children who bear Christ's name --- Christians! The very first blessing after sin came into the world was Hope --- in the name of Jesus --- that wonderful promise to all in the nations. With Jesus, God's only Son, came His  unselfish, perfect Love that through Jesus' suffering and death we would receive even more of our Lord's wonderful blessings --- forgiveness, sonship and eternal life. And along with those, He supplies us with the gift of the Holy Spirit to give us faith, a faith in Him so we may enjoy the wonders of new life in Jesus, the worshipping and praising of Him, and the ability to talk with Him --- prayer!

He blesses us with His Holy Word, words that instruct, comfort, and cheer us!  He gives us accounts in His Word of people who are great examples for us --- Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (whom God renamed 'Israel'), Moses, King David, the prophets, Mary (the mother of baby Jesus), the many apostles, and of course, Jesus, the greatest example of them all!  

His giving heart keeps on giving!  He showers us with numerous blessings---angels to watch over us and keep us safe, parents who love or have loved us by teaching us God's Word, children and loved ones who take care of us if we are not able, pastors and teachers to proclaim the pure Word of God to us, congregations of like-minded believers in which to worship, fellow lay people with whom to work, Gospel-centered desires to serve Him and only Him, seminaries and other schools of instruction which center their instruction on the truths of God's Word, young people to attend them with fervent hearts to serve the Lord, and missionaries to go fearlessly and tirelessly out into the world to tell God's wonderful news of salvation!

Every day He just keeps giving and blessing us in numerous ways --- shelter, food, warmth, clothes, transportation, communication access, work, family, and friends.  Yet, the greatest gift is Jesus Himself. This Advent we prepare our hearts for our celebration of His coming on Christmas Day, and we want to be watchful always for His second coming as well! So this day and every day ask the Heavenly Father to refocus your attention on your Savior, and you will have a giving heart like his, full of the fruits of the Spirit. Then you will give to others loving kindnesses and words, you will share what you have, and you will share your joys in Jesus with others. Pray for Him to keep you focused on Jesus and to open your eyes to these service opportunities in him!   Then, praise and thank Him with your ALL to the glory of God.

Prayer:  Thank you, my Heavenly Father, for your giving heart, so full of your great love for me, your child, through the gift of your dear Son, Jesus.  Grant me a giving heart to ever serve you joyfully!  Amen.

Priscilla Covey
Mid-America Circuit