Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all He created. James 1:17-18
Halloween was a big deal when I was a child. I grew up in a small neighborhood of about 80 homes. We knew everyone. It was safe enough that our parents let us join up with our friends and trick or treat. I always wanted to be Casper the Friendly Ghost, all decked out in a cheap thin nylon costume and of course, the cheap plastic mask THAT LOOKED LIKE CASPER! Back then they came in a box with a cellophane window, teasing and luring all of us kids saying “harass your parents until they buy me”. We could not afford store-bought costumes so no amount of harassment was going to work, though I gave it my best! One year my mom cut up an old white sheet and painted a smile on it. Now the ghost had a smile. “There, now you are a friendly ghost”.
Our older siblings only wanted candy and they were not picky about how they got it. They would get water balloons and wait in the bushes or an overhanging tree for their unsuspecting victims to walk by. Then they would throw the watery missiles into our homemade paper sacks. The sacks would give way and they would gather the candy and run. Eventually, we got smart and folded our bags closed.
It was pretty much as you see in the movies. Lots of picture taking, parents commenting on how cute you were when you went to their doors, and the “danger” of dodging your older siblings to protect you loot. One of the things that I will always remember was the appreciation for the candy. We all said, “thank you” because it was just the way things were done.
James 1 says that every perfect gift is from our Father above who does not change like shifting shadows. God does not say one thing and does another. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His gifts are perfect. The most amazing gift is stated right there in verse 18, we have a new birth. The new birth comes through the Word. And the reason is so we can be the first fruits of all that He has created. The term “first fruits” implies that there is going to be more fruit to follow.
A lot of us treat God like we are Trick or Treating. We kind of knock at His door when we want something, and then we don’t come back around unless we want something else. If He does not give us what we want, when we want it, then we lose faith or hope in Him. We sometimes fail to remember that He is the God of perfect gifts. He knows what we need and when we need it. We forget that He is changeless. He is dependable. God desires for our communion and not just when we are in need. We were saved from our sins, not just as “fire insurance”, but so that the blood of Christ would cleanse us of our sins so that we could have a right and pure relationship with The Father. We were also saved so that we could be that “first fruit.”
We are to replant the seeds of salvation into the lives of other people.
That is why we do the things that we do at Eastern Hills. Our pastor keeps telling us “GOD and PEOPLE” and that is what it is all about.
We need to change the way we think about a lot of things. We need to take God seriously at His word. He is the God who gives good and perfect gifts, but He is also the God who said that He demands us to walk in His Truth. One of the best tests is in Philippians 4:8-9 “ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I am praying that this fall season, with all of its holidays and celebrations, will lead us all back to a closer walk with Him.