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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Don’t Be Turned Away at the Gate

 

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Luke 13:28– “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.”

 

An avid watcher of daily newscasts, I saw heart-wrenching photos of immigrants this week reaching the United States borders, only to be turned away. The dream of living in America, it seems, is not going to be a reality for some of them.

There will be many who are turned away at Heaven’s gates, also. It will be a great disappointment for many.

As a Christian, my heart breaks for those who will not spend eternity in Heaven. I feel a great urgency to share the gospel whenever and wherever I can.

There is a familiar Christian song that asks God to break our hearts with what breaks His—and I cannot think of anything that breaks His heart more than knowing that He will have to refuse anyone the blessing of an eternity with Him.

Christians, with our changing culture, more than ever we need to take the commission seriously.

If you are reading this and aren’t a believer, please heed the warnings in the Bible and from your Christian friends. I urge you to make it your mission over the next six months to learn what the Bible has to say about God’s love for you, forgiveness of sins, and His gift of eternal life.

Don’t be turned away at The Gate!

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The Perfect Choice

 

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Matthew 1:20- “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”

 

Jesus took on the form of a man and came to earth. 

There are many instances of him praying to his Heavenly Father in scripture. But what about Joseph and the role he played as the earthly father to Jesus?

God chose him because he exemplified all of the good qualities that the Bible tells us are important to Him—things like gentleness of spirit, encouraging, humble, of godly character, honesty, truthfulness, patience, compassionate, loving, just/fair, and wise. 

He was a hard-working carpenter. Even though he didn’t make a lot of money, he was a good provider for his family. He was a man of prayer.

God chose Mary as a mother for His only begotten son, Joseph as a husband for Mary and father for Jesus. Knowing the heart of every man, God chose the perfect one.

I believe he chooses the perfect earthly father for each of us because he knows the kind of man each of us will need to nurture us and help us grow.

You may not realize it, now. You may even think I’m crazy. “If you only knew my dad,” you shout. “He’s far from perfect.”

You are right. I don’t know your earthly father. But, I know our Heavenly Father. And, I also know that we sometimes do not see the truth of things until many years later. 

I heard a story about a guy who had a harsh father who emotionally and physically abused him as he grew up. Yet, the circumstances of his life after he left home were hard and the strong character he had developed as he struggled with his mother to make ends meet, gave him the exact skills he needed to keep him alive during the next twenty years. It was later, as a missionary, that his story  was instrumental in bringing countless souls to Christ.

Today, I’m thankful for Joseph. God’s man on earth, who—with God’s help—protected and guided Jesus to manhood. 

 

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Reaching the Goal

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Philippians 3: 13-15. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

 

I had finally achieved my goal weight.

I rewarded myself with a decadent hot fudge sundae.

Just kidding.

I took all of my bigger-sized clothes out of the closet, bagged them up, and put them on a shelf in the garage—just in case I ever back-slid…

Have you ever done that—failed to put the past completely behind you—and focus, instead, on what is ahead?

I know someone who gave up pornography, boxed up his magazines and put them in the tool shed.

See, he hadn’t completely given up the thought of them. They were still in the back of his house, enticing him. His focus was off. His resolve to lead a new, clean lifestyle was hampered by the temptation of the sinful behavior he had once practiced.

I kept the larger clothes at my fingertips. It made it easier for me to consider giving in to cheesecake and brownies, knowing I could always pull out my larger jeans.

The Bible verse in Philippians is one of my favorites. In it, Paul encourages us to keep our eyes on the prize and not look back.

Whether you are struggling to control a sinful behavior or simply wanting a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God, follow Paul’s example.

Keep your eyes on the prize and don’t look back.

Don’t keep things that tempt you within reach or consider them in your thinking.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will keep you strong.

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The Wedding

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Hosea 2:19– “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.”

 

Were you among the thousands of people who watched the Royal Wedding?

People celebrated the historic event all over the world. 

The joining of two people into the special relationship called marriage brings happiness and wholeness. 

The Bible tells us that Christians (the church of believers) are the Bride of Christ. It speaks of the marriage supper of the Lamb (Jesus) as joyous celebration in Heaven.

This is a complex and sometimes hard concept to understand—and I am not going to attempt to do that here.

My purpose is to say that Jesus desires a special relationship with us.

He cherishes us as a groom does his bride. 

He loves us and wants to spend time with us so that our relationship with Him will grow and flourish. He wants good and perfect things for each of us.

He looks forward to the “wedding” and the “supper” with great anticipation. He is preparing a place for us in Heaven far greater than the one in which the British Royals will reside.

Will you answer, “Yes!”? 

 

 

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A Tribute To My Father

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Dad wasn’t an officer. He was a lowly Navy seaman.

He didn’t earn a purple heart or any special commendations.

He was a young, nineteen year old kid that loved his country. He was proud to serve…proud of his fellow servicemen.

Dad didn’t do anything memorable, but he gave 100% every single day.

He still has a picture of his ship, the USS Stickle, hanging in his home. If asked about it, he enthusiastically relates story after story.

His parents had been proud of him. My mother was proud of him.

So am I. 

This gentle man went on to give 100% to his job at Allied Signal.

He also gave 100% to his family.

He’s slowing down, now. He and Mom live in Assisted Living. 

We all have a lot of great memories because men like my Dad gave their all.

100%

Christ was—and still is—his example.

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Happily Ever After

 

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Romans 6:23- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Although I always enjoy the process of beginning to write a new book, there is nothing more satisfying than the moment I type, “THE END.”

After months of writing, weeks of editing, cover selection, formatting—everything that is involved in producing a book—when it all finally comes together, it is a joy—and a relief!

Actually, we don’t type the words “THE END” anymore, but I remember the “olden” days when books and movies did bear those very words.

I also remember a variation in which the words “HAPPILY EVER AFTER” were just as prevalent—especially in children’s books.

I even recall Porky Pig stuttering at the end of his cartoons, “THAT’S ALL, FOLKS!”

But, in the real world, there is no “END.”

Many people think that death is the final goodbye. However, the Bible teaches that humans beings have eternal souls. It even says that it is totally up to each of us where we would like to spend eternity.

Putting our faith in Jesus Christ as our savior assures us that we can spend eternity in heaven, rather than hell. According to God’s Holy Word, those are our only two options.

If you have made the choice for Jesus, then I rejoice with you!

If not, I urge you to get a Bible and open to the book of John. Begin reading there. 

You will no doubt have questions, so please seek out a Christian friend or pastor. They will be able to lead you to faith in Christ. 

Recognizing that we are all sinners, each of us need to put our faith in Jesus Christ for forgiveness. His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead gives us the assurance of an eternity in heaven with Him and other believers.

Your final breath here on earth—will be swallowed up in victory!

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More Priceless Than Rubies

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Proverbs 31:10– “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is above rubies.”

Rubies are exceptionally durable, second only to diamonds in hardness. They are one of the few gems whose color reaches vivid saturation levels.

Rubies come in all varieties of red, from pinkish, purplish, orangey, brownish, to dark red. The color can often help identify the stone’s geographic origin. Stones from Myanmar generally command the highest prices, followed by those from Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Fine quality rubies are some of the most expensive gems, with record prices over $100,000 per caret.

I’m not sure what the average woman weighs, if we convert pounds to carets, but God says a virtuous woman is worth more than that. 

I count myself fortunate to have had a truly virtuous mother. I hope you, also, have experienced the joy of growing up in a Christian home, raised by a mother who always put God and her family above herself. 

I think back to many instances of total unselfishness on her part. Her moral standards were impeccable and her motives beyond reproach.  

My mother is a jewel and our family is fortunate to still have her with us.

As we honor our mothers this Mother’s Day, let’s be mindful of just how precious a mother of noble character can be. Her value to her family is beyond measure.

More priceless than rubies.

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