spiritualsnippets.com

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

No Requirements

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Romans 5:8- “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

Please join the choir. No talent required. 

I was excited to read these words in our church bulletin. Let’s just say that if they’d hold auditions based on talent, I wouldn’t have a chance. 

Oh, I do like to sing along with the car radio, and once in awhile in the shower. I do worship in song from my seat in church.

But, up front and center? Behind a microphone? Oh, no, that would never happen.

Most choirs, I was sure, would never “accept” me. But, the call for new members for the church choir said no one would be refused.

Maybe I would go to that first practice on Wednesday night…

Even though a lot of things in life must be earned, we don’t need to be talented, perfect, or beautiful to be accepted by God. We don’t have to do a certain number of good works or fulfill specific requirements.

Membership in God’s family is “come as you are.” Even though we are sinners, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

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Identity Crisis

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Romans 8:15b-17a you received the spirit of sonship as God’s adopted children. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are His children, then we are His heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…”

 

As I picked up my online order at the Walmart counter, I was asked to show my driver’s license to verify my identity.

My husband has “Ask for ID” written on the back of his credit cards. 

Passports, birth certificates, fingerprints, passwords on various accounts—all in an effort to assure others that we are who we say we are.

Some people suffer from an identity crisis, unsure of their role in life. They say they don’t know the “real them.”

Our identity here on earth includes more than just our name, age, etc. It is also our values, our beliefs, and our personality…the roles we play in our community and our families.

But, as Christians, our identity is “who we are in Christ.” We have been adopted into God’s family. We are brothers and sisters who are heirs to all that God has, through Christ. As Co-Heirs to the Kingdom of God, we share in all the status, rights, and privileges of His beloved son, Jesus. 

We never have to worry that our identity will ever change or be challenged. Those who have faith in Christ belong to HIM.

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Comforting Others

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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 us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

 

“Mama, Mama! I’s hurted,” Randy runs to his mother’s waiting arms with tears streaming down his face.

Jenny picks him up, sets him on the counter and inspects his skinned knee. “It’s going to be all right, son. I’ll wash it off and put on a bandage. You’ll be good as new.”

Comfort.

Arlene fluffs the pillow of an elderly parent.

Tiffany paints a picture for a classmate who has the mumps.

We listen to the troubles of a  dear friend.

Comfort.

It’s part of what we humans are to offer one another in times of trouble.

Just as Jesus was aware of the needs of others and offered them consolation, He teaches us to recognize the hurt around us and comfort others with the love of Christ.

Today, God is asking me to reach out, specifically, to a friend who does not have a relationship with Him. Mourning the loss of someone close to her, she has no hope for the future. 

“Lord,” I pray, “How does one console someone who doesn’t know you?”

As I read the verses from 2 Corinthians once more, the answer comes: “…with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

 

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Rescued

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1 Corinthians 15:4- “(that) he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

 

This week, a man was rescued from an abandoned mine shaft in my home state of Arizona. He had been trapped there for three days.

No food. No water. Cold desert temperatures. Two broken legs.

Oh, I should mention that he fought off three rattlesnakes.

What joy he must have felt to hear human voices overhead and realize that he would soon be reunited with his family.

Jesus was in the grave three days. 

He didn’t need a rescue team because God the Father raised him from the dead. 

Jesus had been separated from Him for three days because of the sin he bore for us. I can only imagine his joy at being reunited with his Father.

Joy unspeakable awaits each Christian, as well. We will experience the joy of all joys when we are reunited with our Savior!

 

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Taking Time

 

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Ecclesiastes 3:1– “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

 

My husband said to me recently, “You’re always busy. Why don’t you ever take time to just sit and relax a little?”

As I visited with my mother later in the week, she gave me a poem she had cut out of the newspaper some fifty years ago, entitled, “Take Time.”

“God,” I said as I drove toward home, “are you trying to tell me something?”

So, just in case He might be speaking to you about the busyness of your own life, I will include “Mom’s” simple poem:

                           Take Time

Take time to live; it is one secret to success.

  Take time to think; it is the source of power.

Take time to play; it is the secret of youth.

                   Take time to read; it is the foundation of knowledge.

                    Take time for friendship; it is the source of happiness.

Take time to laugh; it helps to lift life’s load.

                                          Take time to dream; it hitches the soul to the stars.

                                          Take time for God; it is life’s only lasting investment. 

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Not Forgotten

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Luke 12:6- “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.”

 

I instinctively turned my shopping cart down the PET aisle. I even reached for the KITTY LITTER before I acknowledged the reality: I had made the decision to put my beloved cat down the week before. The vet had diagnosed his problem as Kidney Failure. Nothing could be done, except to ease his pain.

I cried for days.

We no longer devote laundry room space to Brinkley’s dish or litter box. But, our memories are vivid…our hearts heavy.

Pets don’t have a soul. They have no knowledge about God. They don’t know what it is like to experience His love.

Or do they?

Scripture tells us that God knows when a bird—one of His smallest creatures—falls from the nest. He cares for them!

God created all things according to His purpose. So, I want to believe that, whether in Heaven or on the New Earth, we will once again experience the unconditional love of our pets.  

Just as I cannot envision a world without colors, fragrances, stars, and music, I believe God will allow us to continue to enjoy the companionship of animals for all eternity.

  

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The Shade at My Right Hand

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                                      Psalm 121: 5-8 – “The Lord watches over you—

                                  the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

                                     the sun will not harm you by day,

                                nor the moon by night.

                                    The Lord will keep you from all harm—

                                he will watch over your life;

                                    the Lord will watch over your coming and going

                                both now and forevermore.”

 

I have had a lot of trouble, recently, with my eyes. Out of necessity, I purchased a pair of expensive sunglasses that were invented especially for surfers. They block out glare when sunlight hits waves.

The sunglasses do help me, but I find I still need to stay indoors as much as possible, or at least out of direct sunlight.

So, when I came upon a two-mile stretch of roadwork-related delays last week, I found myself looking for a way out of the traffic jam. However, I was hemmed in by barricades on one side and fellow travelers in front of me, in back of me, and in the lane to my right. With my eyes burning from the glare and tears flowing down my cheeks, I prayed to God for something—anything—that would offer relief. 

When the traffic light turned red, the flow of vehicles came to a halt. As I stopped my car, I found it was shaded by the only tree on that block! 

The light turned green and I was able to make it into the next block before the traffic light ahead turned red. Again, my car was shaded by a tree growing in the median!

As I thanked God for the second tree, I was reminded of Psalm 121. The Lord was surely watching over me. 

He was—and is—the shade at my right hand!

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A Life Prolonged

 

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Deuteronomy 5:33– “You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days (in the land which you shall possess.”)

My mother recently celebrated her 91st birthday at a family dinner. As we were eating dessert, I asked her a question that I often hear asked on the morning news show when they interview a person celebrating a milestone birthday.

I said, “Mom, I’ve heard people say that they owe their long life to such things as drinking a beer a day, eating a raw egg, walking a mile…and so on. Why do you think you have lived such a long life?”

“Well, I try to live each day for the Lord. I don’t know for sure, but maybe that’s why.”

Over her many years, Mom has chosen actions that are pleasing to God. Whether this has resulted in God granting her a long life, I do not know, but there are instances in the Bible where that seems to be so.

Such is the case in Deuteronomy. God gives Moses a message to pass on to the Children of Israel.

He said that a life lived well—following His commands—would result in a prolonged life!

Still…

I researched meanings for “prolonged.” Surprisingly, the word doesn’t only mean “to make longer.” It can also mean “to make larger…fuller.

Perhaps that is what God was telling Moses. If so, that is His message for us, today.

We may not live longer, but if we live each day for the Lord, our life will be richer and fuller.  

 

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What Should We Do?

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2 Timothy 3:16- “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

 

Magazine, books—even television shows—give consumers a lot of free advice nowadays.

Consider these titles:

Eat This, Not That!

Wear This, Not That!

Do This, Not That!

Say This, Not That!

Whether it is advice on eating healthy or using correct grammar, you may find that you agree, or disagree, with the author or television host by determining the outcome yourself. In other words, you look in the mirror to see if, indeed, horizontal stripes make you look overweight, or if eating a certain fruit makes your hair shine, and so on.

But, what about actions that are more serious? For example, those of a moral or spiritual nature? How is one to determine if advice given in a magazine—even a Christian magazine—is “right?”

The BIBLE declares that it is the standard Christians should use. If the advice we get  from our contemporaries aligns with scripture, we can be confidant in following it.

If not, we must defer to that which is wise and most excellent—the Truth in God’s Word.

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The “Christian Game”

 

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John 14:6- “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

When I visit my parents at their assisted living apartment, they often suggest playing “the game.” (Actually, there are two games they like and we alternate playing them.) It’s a great ending to what sometimes is a stressful day filled with personal care, doctor visits, and organizational issues.

Playing games is fun. People connect, laugh, and relate to each other in an atmosphere that is usually non-threatening.

But, there is a game—a very serious one—that people sometimes play. It is very misleading to others, but can also be just as deceptive to the player, himself.

It’s the “Christian” game.

Let’s say a guy (we’ll call him Sam) accepts someone’s invitation to church. He’s comfortable there. He gets to know people. He joins in activities, sings the songs, listens to the sermons.

He looks—and acts—the part of a Christian.

He tells himself that he is a Christian because he does all these “Christian” things. And, others may see him as a Christian, too, not realizing that he has not yet made the most important decision of his life. 

In order for Sam to become a Christian, he needs to recognize that Jesus died on the cross for his sins, repent and place his faith in Him. He must depend upon Jesus--not himself–for his salvation, realizing that He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

Sam now desires to worship God and serve others because he in relationship with his Heavenly Father. Sam feels different inside because he is different. He is a child of God and his actions are now a result of this new life in Christ.

“Behold, all things have become new.”

The Christian “Game” is a thing of the past.

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