Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Empty Box

A Hurting Word...

The time and place: Christmas Eve at Central Assembly of God, Springfield, Missouri. The sermon: "God's Gifts at Christmas," an illustrated sermon with lovely decorated boxes alongside the pulpit. The story behind the sermon: Hilarious! Pastor related how a generous department store's Customer Service Department came to his rescue to provide and decorate the needed boxes for his sermon. Delighted, he borrowed a truck (the boxes were BIG!), and as he drove up our busy main thoroughfare, two boxes fell off the truck. He retrieved one easily; the other meant a turn-around, a stop in a parking lot. As he walked toward the box, he discovered someone had gotten there first. "Go find your own present!" a grouchy man shouted as he walked away--with the EMPTY BOX. Needless to say, the greedy thief has, by now, been quite surprised and disappointed--a sad commentary on HIS Christmas spirit, but it sure makes a good story!

Christmas is over, presents unwrapped, and a lot of empty boxes are scattered everywhere. So what's IN an empty box? NOTHING! Or...is it really empty? Are the ghosts of Christmasses past and life in the present filling the empty boxes until they burst with frustration and pain? What do we do with the empty boxes hidden deep within our lives? Come to the well--"Heaven's Customer Service" is waiting to help us--but you must bring the empty boxes with you, all of them!

A Helping Word...or Two!

Empty the Box of a Bitter Spirit!

Christmas is over--you've smiled and been gracious as you've opened loved one's gifts. But deep inside there's an emptiness and discontent you can't quite put a finger on. God can--He knows that the empty box isn't really empty--it's full of a long-held bitterness and unforgiveness, and it's eating you alive. There'll be no peace until you bring the empty box to the foot of the Cross. You must "let go" those invisible contents that nobody REALLY knows but you and God. And when you do, He'll fill the box full of His love and forgiveness. He'll fill it to overflowing, and its contents will spill out to the very ones who have hurt you so. Why? Because it's HIS love--it's awesome and it's available for you--IF you'll give Him the empty box!

Empty the Box of a Broken Heart!

Christmas is over--you've covered well the hurts of your life; you've laughed and joined in the fun. But deep within there's a painful emptiness you feel. God feels it too. He died of a broken heart--and He understands yours. That forsaken, rejected feeling fills the empty box, and it's hurting--bad! AND it will continue to hurt until you bring the empty box to the foot of the Cross. You must "let go" the broken relationships, the bruises and heart pains that have hurt and scarred you deeply inside where no one, but you and God can see. Let it go--cry it out at the foot of the Cross. He loves you, and He'll fill you with His supernatural love and peace. He cares; He knows the pain, and He wants to free you. His love is awesome and it's available for you--IF you'll give Him the empty box!

Empty the Box of a Burdened Soul!

Christmas is over--the boxes emptied of ties and trinkets; socks and scents. What about the empty box INSIDE? It LOOKS empty; it FEELS heavy! No one knows the heavy burden you carry deep within--it's sealed in that empty box, invisible to the world, but known to you and to your Lord. Bear the heavy empty boxes no more. Bring them, filled with all your sins, your sadness, your sorrow, to the foot of the Cross. Lay down the burdens--give that empty, heavy box to the Lord, and let Him fill it with his forgiveness, His grace, His comfort and His love. His love is awesome and it's available for you--IF you'll give Him the empty box!

Empty boxes. Symbols of the invisible pains we bear, the emptiness we feel. Bitterness, brokenness, burdens--hidden deep within heavy hearts. Oh, we look fine on the outside, dressed in our Christmas reds-and-greens, munching the goodies at the Christmas dessert table--our tummies are full, but our hearts are empty--hurting and heavy, barren of God's love. THAT'S why HE came--to fill us with His goodness and mercy. So if YOU are carrying around an empty box, and it's KILLING you, take it on ONE more journey--to the foot of the Cross. Empty its invisible contents of disappointment, despair, desolation--whatever it is--and let your Lord fill it with HIMSELF! He's in the business of filling boxes--and hearts--and lives--with His overflowing love, joy and peace. He'll even decorate your box --with HIS radiant joy--so all can see a Christ-filled person, overflowing with the love of God. Let Him do it for you today!

...and that's just a thought or two--from my heart to yours!

His Healing Words

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend, with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be FILLED with ALL the FULLNESS of God (Ephesians 3:17-19 KJV)."

"Lord, here's the empty boxes of my life, filled with all the invisible "stuff" of life that hurts and disappoints and brings heaviness--and emptiness. I let it all go, I leave it at the foot of Your Cross, and I receive the fullness of Your love and life, which is mine because of You! In Jesus' Name. Amen."

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