spiritualsnippets.com

Seeing life's events in the light of God's Word.

365 Days A Year

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Psalm 22:27-“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You.”

 

J.J. holds his mother’s hand as she leads him out of the candle lit sanctuary. “I liked the baby Jesus, and the angels. The sheep were funny,” he said excitedly. “Can we come again next week?”

“This is Christmas, honey. It’s special for this holiday. We can come, again, next year, if you’d like.”

Across town, Sarah and her family take the ornaments off the tree, pack them away and place them back into the attic. “The tree was so pretty. When can we decorate again?”

“Next Christmas.”

Yes, Christmas is over. Everything goes back in its box…put away until

Next year.

And, along with the songs, the lights, and the ornaments, much too often, is the Lord Jesus.

Placed back in the manger.

Back on the shelf in the attic.

Until next year.

Unfortunately, there are many are willing to worship the babe in the manger at Christmas, but don’t recognize that it was He who grew up to the be Savior of the world…their Savior.

Are you someone who finds it’s acceptable to worship the occupant of the manger, but that’s where it ends with you? Is it somehow frightening to worship the Savior of The Cross?

To do this would mean that you somehow bear some responsibility to give Him his rightful place in your life all year long, wouldn’t it?  It would require a commitment…a change of course.

No longer would Christmas be just a ritual or an event.

It would become a life of worship and service in which your heart would be turned toward Him every day.

A heart living out the promise of Christmas 365 days a year.

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No Tree This Year

Galatians 4:4- “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”

 

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For several reasons, we decided not to put up a Christmas Tree this year.

Instead, the focal point in our living room is a lovely pottery Nativity which was painted by my sister-in-law more than three decades ago. We have displayed it for many, many Christmases.

The cow no longer has one of his horns. The saddle on one of the camels, one ear of the donkey, and the face of the shepherd boy have been chipped over the years.

The nativity may not look quite as beautiful as it once did, but I am enjoying it more than ever before.

I guess it was only natural to spend so much time and effort on our trees in the past. After all, it takes hours to place the lights and ornaments on it just so. Then there’s arrangement of the tree skirt and the placement of the packages underneath…

But, as I said, this year our focus is on the Nativity: Mary, Joseph, the babe in the manger, the Wise Men and the Shepherds, the livestock, and the Angel which appears to be hovering overhead.

God planned the redemption of humankind and, at just the right time, he sent his son, Jesus, into the world. God in the flesh, born in a stable and lying in a manger.

The story gets more beautiful with time. Nothing chipped, cracked, or missing.

The birth of our Lord in the fulness of time.

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What If Jesus Were Born Today?

 

6439494977_17f82094aeLuke 2:10-14~ “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

 

A brilliant star guided the Wise Men and Shepherds to the actual place where baby Jesus rested. Angels filled the night sky, their songs of praise directed to God.

Without the technology we have in the world today, news of the miraculous birth was a good deal slower than what we are used to.

So, what might it be like if Jesus were born today?

First of all, he would probably be born in a hospital, with Mary being released to go home the following day. Soft blankets, a mobile over the crib, and an economy box of disposable diapers would be necessities.

Mary would sit in a rocking chair next to the changing table and rock Jesus to sleep while Joseph stands in the doorway contemplating just how much their lives had changed in the last twenty-four hours. He’d wonder just how he was going to maintain their privacy when the news got out about the birth of God’s son.

Later, hearing a noise outside, Joseph would flinch when he looked out the window to see a crowd already gathering. The offers for the first photo would start pouring in, somewhere around six digits. Maybe more.

Mary would ask for some supplies from the grocery store, and Joseph would come up with an ingenious plan to escape the horde of reporters, retrieve the needed items, and sneak back into their apartment undetected.

The weeks and years to follow would be spent dodging the paparazzi.

Yes, the news would travel fast via texts, tweets, instagrams, Facebook stories, reports on the Evening News—even U-Tube Videos on his first birthday.

We can use our imaginations to suppose what his life might be like from that point on. Speaking engagements…guest appearances on late night television…maybe even a miniseries…

But, the point is this. Would we have believed that the son of God had been born on earth—that he had come to save people from their sins—any more than the Jewish aristocracy of their day believed it? After all, the Messiah they were looking for was a warrior—a conquerer—not a lowly peasant boy. So, would we believe that an ordinary-looking boy from a lower-middle class family could possibly be God’s son or would we attempt to explain it away as another instance of “Fake News?”

What would it take for us to believe? The recorded words that would turn out to be the best-selling book of all time? A documentary, perhaps?

Maybe footage from a surveillance camera showing Jesus talking to God? Or a Dateline exclusive interview in which Jesus describes what his life was like in Heaven and why he was willing to become human and die on a cross so that we might be reconciled to God?

Would his picture be displayed in our churches? Would he be invited to preach sermons there?

It’s interesting to speculate, isn’t it?

I am sure of only one thing: if he were to be born today, the result would be the same. There would be those who would reject Him; those who would embrace Him.

The truth, however, would still be the truth: He came to do the work The Father sent him to do.

He’d still be the Messiah…Immanuel, God with us.

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Magnification

1431384410_db38f8a58fLuke 1: 46, 47– “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”

 

When we were kids, I remember the boys in our neighborhood being fascinated with magnifying glasses.

They attempted to use them to start fires, using bits of paper and dry grass. It was difficult to get the sun’s rays to hit just right, but once in awhile they were able to produce a spark.

They also observed small objects such as ants and studied the intricate pattern of the flesh on their arms.

The process is called magnification.

Those of us who wear glasses are familiar with the fact that lenses make  letters appear larger so that we can see them more easily.

When we magnify something, it doesn’t get bigger. However, the object that we are magnifying becomes clearer.

So, like Mary, when we “Magnify the Lord” we become the lens to help others to see details about God’s character, goodness, grace and mercy more clearly.

We also magnify Him for us.

By increasing our focus on Him, we make Him greater in our thoughts and affections.

We exalt Him above all else.

King of Kings. Lord of Lords.

 

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Baskets Full of Memories and Miracles

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Matthew 14:20– “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.”

 

 

I have some pretty significant memories of baskets over the years: brightly-colored Easter baskets, a woven bicycle basket with a metal “bell,” the pauper’s basket on a small table at the church door.

We recently moved Mom and Dad into an assisted living facility. As we readied their longtime house for sale, we came across a basket that I had made at vacation Bible School as a young child. (photo above)

Just seeing it brought back fond memories of those long-ago days of learning Bible stories at church.

You might be surprised at how many of them involved baskets:

Moses hidden inside a specially-prepared basket in the river by his mother and then found and protected by Pharaoh’s daughter.

Saul, let down next to a wall in a basket by the disciples and saved from a throng seeking to kill him.

The basket of consecrations, the interpretation by Joseph of the chief baker’s dream, the basket of unleavened bread…

And among these is the familiar story of a small boy who shared his lunch of bread and fish, providing enough for a crowd of 5,000—with 12 baskets of food left over!

Baskets offering protection.

Baskets used to transport.

Baskets with which to gather and store.

This is the time of year when we are asked to fill baskets with food and clothing for those less fortunate. And when we do, may God bless them, as he did the boy’s lunch, and multiply our simple gifts to bless others—to overflowing!

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