spiritualsnippets.com

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

The Valley of Decision

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Joel 3:14,15– “Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the Lord will arrive. The sun and moon will grow dark and the stars will no longer shine.”

 

As I read from the book of Joel this week, the words I bolded in verse 14 stood out to me. I immediately felt a burden for those who are at a place in their lives where they must decide whether or not to follow Jesus—those who stand at a crossroads and know that the decision they have put off for so long must finally be faced.

The decision about what to do with Jesus is the most important one in a person’s life.

Who to marry, what car to buy, what job to take, how to discipline children effectively, which health strategy to follow—all are important, to be sure. But once a person realizes their eternal destiny is at stake, all other decisions pale in comparison.

Remember the old adage: Ignorance is Bliss? I would rewrite it to say: Ignorance is False Bliss.

A large percentage of people worldwide live each day for themselves, ignoring the spiritual side of life. Without regard for the eternal, they cling to a false sense of well-being.

But, whether they choose to say to themselves, “There is no God,” or believe God exists, but is  distant and unconcerned with the everyday lives of human beings, or hold to any number of beliefs in-between, the truth according to scripture is that each of us need to make a choice. 

God made His choice when he sent Jesus to the cross to pay for our sins. He chose to give us His gift of eternal life.

Then, he put the ball in our court. We must either accept his gift by placing our future in the hands of Jesus, or reject it. 

For me, that was an easy choice because I knew I wasn’t capable of saving myself.

What about you? 

Are you in the valley of decision today?

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Who Will They Look Up To?

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Matthew 5:48– “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

 

Children want to be like their parents—or like big brother or big sister. Athletes look up to their heroes. Workers often look up to their bosses.

What about you? Do you live a life worth emulating? What special quality do you have that others admire?

There are several friends of mine at church who are humble, sweet of spirit, truthful, and have a quiet strength. They provide good examples for others.

They are worth emulating.

But, God tells us to emulate Him—not a preacher, a celebrity, a war hero, or a friend.

He is the standard. He wants us to be holy—for He is holy. He tells us that lives of service to others, selflessness, and humility are lives that will lead to the greatest joy. They are lives that will keep our relationship with Him the strongest.

Many are reluctant to share their faith openly, but over the years many people have shared with me that they came to Christ because they saw something in someone else and said, “That person has something and I must find out what it is. I want what they have.”

There is a simple, quiet testimony that is at work when Christians live their lives in the fullness that God offers us when we believe in Him. 

It is my prayer that others see Jesus in us—and He definitely is worth emulating!

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Snow and Wool

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Isaiah 1:18– “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

 

As a child, I was fascinated by the story of Pinocchio, a puppet whose nose grew longer and longer with each lie he told—an outward manifestation of his inward sin.

As I got older, a required reading in school was The Scarlet Letter, in which a young woman is forced to wear a large letter “A” on her chest, branding her as an adulteress. Her shame was displayed for all to see…her humiliation public.

Still later, as an adult, I saw a movie in which a Chinese man who had stolen from his employer had his smallest finger cut off, a common punishment in their culture for those convicted of theft.

Fortunately, most of us will never have to bear such outward signs representing our sins. If we did, how grotesque some of us would look!

Inside each one of us is a sinful heart. For some, the load of increasing guilt is often too much to bear. This is often the cause of rising numbers of suicides in many countries around the world.

So, how does one live with a load of sin? Is there a cleansing for the brokenhearted? Some kind of absolution?

Jesus says the heart can be made whole again. By confessing our sins to Him and repenting, we will be forgiven. It is by His perfect sacrifice on the cross that the penalty for our sins is paid.

God is our only true and righteous judge. He sees Jesus’s atoning blood, not our sin, when he looks at the hearts of those who have repented and received salvation through his son.

No, Christians will not be required to display their sins outwardly. No long noses for us.

Instead, we bear the radiance of the forgiven. Knowing that when God looks at our hearts, he sees Jesus, our Savior, who paid the price for our sins.

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