Friday, December 11, 2009

FULL AND EMPTY -- Devotional for December 10, from "Good Seeds"

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come, for men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness while denying its power, always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth. (II Timothy 3:1-7)

We invited the couple next door to come over to our house sometime to play table games. The wife was thrilled and tried to say yes, but was stopped by her husband when he explained why he didn’t play games. Regarding the reasons a person may give for not doing something, it is surprising how logical they sound to him – and how ridiculous they sound to others! He thinks his wall of defense is solid, with no idea others see right through it as if a transparent window. By the way, due to his wife’s cajoling, the husband eventually agreed to come. We said, “Great, how about tonight?” More excuses. It’s no big deal if someone doesn’t want to play table games, but what if the invitation were of a more serious, soul-changing nature? With the intention of sharing Christ with a friend, we invite him to come to church with us, maybe to the special Christmas program, or just a regular worship service. What do we usually hear? “Thank you, and yes, maybe sometime I’ll come, but I can’t right now, for you see…” and now, here come the excuses: “Work has really worn me out lately and I need my Sundays for rest;” or, “I think I’m coming down with something; it wouldn’t be very “Christian” of me to spread my germs!” Or this most common excuse of all: “My life is already so full, I don’t think there’s room to fit in one more thing – even a good thing like this.” And so, folks with lives FULL to the brim with the cares and pleasures of everyday life, remain EMPTY of the cures and treasure of eternal life! Corrupt loves and powerless beliefs fill the soul space where only Christ can fit and occupy and satisfy. December is no doubt the most FULL month of the year. But, although the calendar is so FULL of days marked for special events, it reminds us of some EMPTY things: The manger, where a special Baby lay on that first Christmas, is EMPTY. The tomb, where they buried Him after He died on the cross for our sins: EMPTY! Then He returned to His Father, and once again heaven was FULL of His presence. But the hearts of all who do not yet know the Savior remain EMPTY. Oh, they are FULL to overflowing with the good things of life – just as that Bethlehem Inn was FULL – but none of it satisfies that EMPTY space reserved just for Jesus. May our hearts be FULL of joy, at this Christmas time and always, because of Jesus, because we know Him as the Filler of every emptiness, the Satisfier of every longing – the Savior of our soul.

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