spiritualsnippets.com

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

Finding Strength in Promises

 

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Romans 4:20– “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God.”

 

 

I live in the desert southwest. One of my favorite plants is the Ocotillo cactus. But, they can be very finicky. If the soil or sunlight is not to their liking, they simply won’t grow.

We have planted several in the past and while our neighbors boast leafy ones with bright red flowers, we have never had one to leaf out. Ours look like dry… gray… dead.

We decided to try again. We planted one  prominently out front.

We followed the directions from the nursery salesman and waited.

I even prayed over the five-foot “sticks” and we continued our vigil.

As I passed by our living room window last week, I stopped dead in my tracks. Could it be a tiny red bud at the top of one of the arms? I rushed outside to get a better look.

Yes. There it was!

And, then this morning… behold, a second.

Now, Ocotillos leaf out, first, and then flower. But, not ours. We now have two flowers atop our non-leafy plant, which I call our “flowers of promise—our assurance of a healthy plant that will someday leaf out!

The Bible is full of God’s promises for those who love Him. In fact, my research shows that there are 7,487 promises that God has made to humans. Among them are: wisdom to Solomon; a son for Sarah and Abraham, eternal life for those who believe; the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for believers; and thousands more have been given and thousands already fulfilled!

The verse above refers to Abraham. I like it because it says he didn’t waiver through unbelief. He was strengthened when he received God’s promise.

The Bible is full of promises for us who love HIM. So, when we are discouraged or feel like giving up, we can turn to the scriptures and be refreshed by claiming His promises for ourselves and our situations.

Don’t waiver. Be strengthened!

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“Behold, Your Mother!”

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John 19: 26,27- When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

 

It’s hard for me to believe that I have grown up to give birth to my own children, and they in turn, are parents. It seems not so long ago that I was a little girl, myself, with a loving mother to care for me. 

My mother took her role seriously. I always felt loved and safe.

For the last few years, our roles have been reversed. My parents have aged. My siblings and myself are now caring for them (along with a wonderful staff in their Memory Care unit.)

If you are in your mid-fifties or older, like I am, chances are you are taking care of your aging mother, too. 

Providing care for His mother was of utmost importance to Jesus. As He was dying on the cross, he made sure that John would take on this responsibility in His absence. 

No matter how little—or how much—was involved in John’s new role as Mary’s caregiver, He pledged to do whatever was necessary.

You may not be at that place in your life, yet. But, as our medical care improves, the reality of providing care for our aging parents is becoming more and more of a reality.

The Bible tells us to Honor our Father and our Mother. This goes beyond merely providing physical care. It means giving them love and respect… making them feel special and needed at a time in their lives when they may feel useless and no longer able to enjoy the activities that they did when they were younger.

A card… flowers… a special meal… a family gathering. 

Following Christ’s example is yet another case of showing His love to others—those who cared for us as helpless babes and who we now provide for as His love comes full circle.

 

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On Purpose, With a Purpose

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Psalm 57:2- “I cry out to God most high, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.”

 

A magazine article reported that depression is on the rise worldwide. One of the main causes is that people don’t see that they have any real purpose.

They feel that they should have a purpose. They just haven’t discovered what it is.

They fail to adequately answer the age-old question, “Why did God put me on this earth?” And, that often results in them living lives in which they don’t believe that they matter…that if they were not here, it really wouldn’t make a difference to anyone…

The psalmist relates to those feelings, and in desperation, he cries out to God for the answer, for it is He that created each of us on purpose, with a purpose.

Don’t doubt that you matter to God. Don’t doubt that He created you to make a difference in this world. Don’t ignore His direction… his leading.

It may not take you down the path you expected.

It may not nudge you in a way that is the most comfortable.

But, He will lead you, if you are sincere in your request… if you are patient… if you trust in His Word.

 

 

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Who Is Your First Love?

 

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Matthew 22:37, 38-Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”

 

God’s Word says that He is to be our first love.

We hear it from the pulpit, Christian radio, conferences, missionaries. 

We hear it in Sunday school and from our parents.

I saw this somewhere on the internet awhile back. (It didn’t give credit to anyone, so I apologize that I cannot do so, here, either). It is a great way to remember this principle:

F – finances

I  – Interests

R – relationships

S – schedule

T – troubles

We are to give Him the pre-eminence above all others. 

First in our thoughts and hearts.

We are to elevate Him in our lives to the highest place…Make Him first in our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

“And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18

 

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The Cross Was No Accident

Night view of Antigua, Guatemala from "Cerro de la Cruz"

John 3:16- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

 

The Cross.

For Christians, the symbol of hope.

The death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation through the forgiveness of sins for all who believe.

The cross was no accident. 

His great love motivated the Creator to sacrifice His Son.

We have painted them, gold-plated them, encrusted them with jewels, decorated our walls with them, worn them around our necks…

What is it that draws our hearts to the cross?

The Bible says that we love Him because He first loved us.

I think we are drawn to the cross because it is there that He showed us the extent of His pure, unconditional, unending, indescribable love.

No, the cross of Christ wasn’t lovely. It was “rugged” as the old hymn describes it. Built with rough, splintered wood that was held together by crude nails.

Christ was nailed to it and died the death of a common criminal. How unbelievable He would do this for you and for me.

Yet, Jesus welcomed the cross. He had planned this moment from the beginning. It had all come down to this.

But the cross was no more the end for Jesus than it is for us. 

Coming to the cross with Thanksgiving for the love that put Him there, rejoicing at the open tomb announcing His resurrection, leaving our sin there and following Christ.

That’s just the beginning. 

Let’s celebrate it today. 

He is worthy of all praise. Crown Him with many crowns. Lord of Lords. King of Kings.

The precious  Lamb of God. 

 

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In The Midst of Devastating Loss

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2 Corinthians 1:3-4  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts using all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 

It happened at a fourth of July barbecue. 

Gerald was holding his daughter while he visited with Tom. As he got engrossed in their conversation, he didn’t notice when little Tina wriggled from the safety of his arms.

Minutes later, she was face down in the swimming pool.

Gerald loved his daughter. He had been entrusted with the the child’s safety, but he had failed to keep her from harm.

Why did God allow this to happen?

This is one of those questions that both Christians and non-christians ask in the midst of devastating loss.

There is no easy answer. 

After all, we reason, what good could possibly come from the death of a youngster—a little one with all of life ahead of them?

While saying, “God took her home” or “It’s all in God’s timing,” may be true, family and friends still have to deal with untimely loss—and, often—anger toward God.

God understands our feelings. He wants us to voice them to Him. He has also provided in His Word, encouragement for us when we experience the worst of times.

Gerald found many verses in the Bible that comforted him and his wife during the days following Tina’s death, but the verse I share with you, today, is one that he read many months later when he was called on to comfort a co-worker that lost a child in a car accident.

When he read this verse, Gerald realized that because of his loss and the comfort God gave him, he was then able to comfort a friend and, eventually, lead the friend to Christ!

We may not know, specifically, why tragedies happen at the time they occur, but as children of God, we can demonstrate His comfort and enduring love for others.

 

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The Perfect Name

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A recent survey reveals that a high percentage of people regret what they named their child.

I can see why, can’t you?

Naming children after fruit, old movie titles, or using inventive spellings…

God’s son, Jesus, was given the name above all other names. A name at which one day every knee shall bow.

God won’t regret the name He chose because it is

The perfect name

For God’s perfect son.

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Have You Heard God’s Audible Voice?

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Ezekiel 43:2- “I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.” 

 

From time to time, I read stories in Guideposts or Chicken Soup for the Soul. One such story I found intriguing was about a man stranded on a mountain road. 

No gas, no food, no water.

As he prayed, an audible voice gave him directions and he was able to return home, safely.

Some Christians have heard God’s audible voice, although this is rare.

More commonly, He speaks to believers through impressions and/or through his Word, the Bible.

Direction… encouragement… solace… knowledge.

It’s all there at your fingertips. 

Whatever your need… whatever your circumstance… let God speak to you through His Word. 

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Lighten the Load

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James 5:16- “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

 

Ginger met Stacy at a monthly church gathering. They really hit it off. It seemed they had so much in common. But, Ginger was hesitant to pursue a friendship with her. After all, good friends would end up sharing things about their lives—and there was too much Ginger was unwilling to share. She was sure that Stacy wouldn’t want to be friends with her when she heard about the life Ginger led before becoming a Christian.

If you’ve ever felt like that, you’re not alone.

But, James tells us that when we have struggles or are facing difficulties, we need to ask our Christian friends to pray for us. It is then that we can benefit from their wise counsel, too.

Friends help remind us of specific scriptures and are committed to pray for us until the answer comes. 

When the burden seems almost too much to bear, we can lighten the load if we share our needs—including our weaknesses and wrong choices—with caring Christian friends.

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Listening–Not Scheduling

 

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Job 36: 3-5 “Be assured that my words are not false; one who has perfect knowledge is with you.

 

“How is the diet going?” I asked my friend when we met for coffee.

“It’s easier than I expected. That T.V. doctor was right. If I just eat small portions when I am hungry, I can keep my weight under control.”

“So, no more breakfast at seven, lunch at twelve, and dinner at six?” I queried.

She smiled with a healthy glow. “No. My stomach let’s me know when to eat.”

Wow, I thought, as I drove home. I had been praying that God would give me a renewed hunger for His Word. Perhaps if I listened closely, He would guide me to the perfect scripture for each circumstance throughout the day…I wouldn’t give up my morning quiet time, but I would be more mindful of God’s leading at every opportunity all day long.

If you are yearning for a closer walk with Him, perhaps becoming a “grazer” is just what you need, too. Talking—and listening—to God all day can become a healthy habit…and draw us closer to Him.

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