spiritualsnippets.com

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

The Double Whammy

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James 4:17- “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

 

If you had it to do all over again, what would you do over again?

Or, what would you not want to do over again?

Lies? Unkind thoughts? Cheating?

What about things you didn’t do? Things you wished you had…

Regrets.

James 4:17 reminds us that it is not only the wrong things we do that are sins, but also the good things we know we should do, but don’t.

Although I have committed my share of overt sins, it is those acts of kindness or promptings by The Holy Spirit to help others that I haven’t acted on that sadden me most.

Oh, sure, I have my reasons for not heeding the prompting of the Holy Spirit. For instance, I might reason that I didn’t give money to a homeless man on the street corner because he looked like he might just use it on drugs. Or, I didn’t fill a bag of clothing for the Veterans because what I had to give wasn’t appropriate for the season.

But, The Holy Spirit tells me that my responsibility is to be obedient. His reasons for nudging me might be to meet someone else’s physical or financial need. Or it could be that his request is about me exercising my faith, believing that he knows what he is doing.

It is my job to simply be an instrument to make that happen—

The Hands and Feet of Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are You Here, Again?

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Ephesians 1:13- “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”

 

Think back to the moment in time when you accepted Jesus as your Savior.

I can still feel the exhilaration, the freedom, the joy.

It was an indescribable feeling. Nothing else has ever compared to it.

But, I kept going back.

That’s right. I needed the assurance that this was real—that God wasn’t going to change his mind…that I really was saved.

So, each week, when our pastor gave the invitation, I would walk to the front of the church and meet him at the altar. I saw the quizzical look on his face. He smiled with understanding.

Finally, he called me into his office for a conversation about salvation and explained why I could be assured of it…why I could be confident that I was, indeed, “really saved.”

Yes, salvation IS wonderful. It IS the best news ever. It IS amazing.

But, we don’t need to get saved, again, week after week. We don’t need to constantly pursue that initial feeling we had when the weight of sin was lifted from our shoulders.

We can rest in the assurance that faith in Christ brings.

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No More Fear

 

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2 Corinthians 5:1-“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

 

3:00. Time to walk the dog.

We do fine on the first lap around the neighborhood. We meet and greet several others, then go on our way.

It’s not long until Baxter slows down.

When he falls behind, I give a tug on his leash.

The other neighborhood dogs run circles around us, walking proudly out in front of their owners. Baxter is quite a few steps behind me, now. I’m coaxing him along—leading him down the block.

Once home, he curls up on the sofa for his third nap of the day.

Yes, at seventeen, our faithful friend is feeling his age.

Every living thing ages, including pets and humans. We slow down. Sleep more. Eat and socialize less.

We tend to like staying home in familiar surroundings, often in our P.J.’s and slippers.

One day, realize we’re ready. Ready to go home.

We embrace the next phase: joining our Lord and our loved ones in heaven.

We claim the Biblical truth: to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. We don’t fear death because we have the assurance of many scriptures, like the one above.

We claim victory over death because Jesus conquered its hold on us when he defeated Satan at the cross. Our acceptance of eternal life through Christ erases our fear of death and we rejoice as we arrive at our heavenly home.

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Jesus, the Rock of Our Salvation

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Matthew 16:13-18   

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.”

 

In my last blog, I became a victim of what can happen when one takes a verse out of context.

Yes, I usually do use just one verse in each of my weekly Snippets. However, that is not always a good idea, especially if one does not carefully read the verses preceding the highlighted verse.

That is precisely what happened when I chose Matthew 16:18. I made a common mistake in thinking that the verse referred to Peter as the rock, when, in fact, it does not.

So, I want to attempt to correct my error by studying verses 13-18 in Matthew this week.

In verse 13, Jesus is asking his disciples if they really know who he is. Verses 14 and 15 record their replies. Then, in verse 16, we see that Peter understands that Jesus is the Son of God. And, in verse 17, Jesus says that God the Father had opened Peter’s eyes to who Jesus really was. (Jesus had never before explicitly taught the disciples the “fulness of his identity.”)

So, we see in verse 18, that Jesus is referring to himself–that he is the rock–the foundation of our faith—and not Peter.

I hope I have adequately explained these important verses. I stand corrected by God’s Word.

 

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UNMOVABLE

 

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Matthew 16:18– “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

So, what does it mean to be a “rock”?

We’ve heard the term “rock hard” as pertaining to muscles.

We’ve heard it when talking about someone having steady nerves.

It also means to have resolve and be unmovable.

When Jesus called Peter the “rock,” He gave us a visual picture of the very foundation of a building.

Jesus was beginning to build his church. Not a physical building, but a company of believers. Peter, the “rock” was there to support the others as they spread the “GOOD NEWS.”

Just as Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith, we need to be prepared to support fellow believers in their daily Christian walk.

Whatever the future brings, His strength will uphold us and together we will be unmovable.

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A Glimpse of Heaven

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1 Corinthians 2:9-  “…What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

 

 

Mom’s eyes were filled with tears when she recounted last’s night’s dream.

“I didn’t want to come back,” she sobbed.

“What do you mean? Come back from where?” I held her hand and brushed the soft gray hair away from her face.

“From Heaven. It was so beautiful. I just wanted to stay there forever.”

I slid my chair closer. “What was it like?”

“Oh. I-I-I don’t know how to explain it.” She paused, a faraway look in her eyes. “It was all laid out before me. It went on forever. And, all the colors. I’ve never seen colors like that before. The jewels—they sparkled like… Oh, it was so wonderful. I want to go back.”

I thanked God for the little glimpse of Heaven given to my dear mother who is now experiencing the last stages of Alzheimer’s—and for the reassurance given to me as she spoke those words just a few days ago.

Not that we necessarily want this life to end, but most Christians would say that they, too, look forward to Heaven.

Streets of gold, colors beyond description…

Although we may imagine what it will be like, our human brains cannot even conceive of its magnificence.

Jesus will be there and I cannot even begin to understand what it will be like to be in His presence, to sit at His table, and talk with Him face to face.

For now, though, I’ll just have to be content to dream along with Mom.

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When God Brings You To It

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I Kings 17:2-4  “Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah:  “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”

 

I was talking with a friend about a move to another state that she believes God is calling her to make. She will be living in a community of people who, for the most part, do not speak English.

When I remarked that a move there could be a problem since she does not know how to speak any foreign languages, she quoted a familiar saying. “When God brings you to it, He will see you through it.”

She is right. God will take care of us when we follow His leading. I love this verse from I Kings because it gives such a beautiful picture of birds, sent by God, to feed Elijah as he sits by a crystal babbling brook. I imagine the peace he feels as God’s promise comes to pass.

We all have heard of people whose needs—financial and otherwise—have been more than adequately supplied by God. They may have not been fed by a raven, but perhaps God urged a friend to supply a meal, cut someone’s lawn when they were recuperating from surgery, or write a check to cover an electric bill.

Maybe you, yourself, have given money to a homeless person or missionary at God’s leading, then experienced the joy of an unexpected check in the mail for the exact amount you need to pay your mortgage payment!

Whatever the call God makes on your life, it is such a blessing to be used to fulfill His purposes.

His Word tells us that He will supply all of our needs according to His riches in Glory.

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Turning Darkness Into Light

Psalm 18:28- “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”

 

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Tomorrow many of us will be witness to a solar eclipse.

This hasn’t happened since 1979, so it is a big deal. People from other countries are even traveling to the United States to be part of it all.

The total eclipse will last for as long as a couple of minutes in several places.

Total darkness.

Devoid of light.

We know it will just be a short time before the light will again be restored and we will go on about our daily routine.

Many times, the Bible uses the term darkness to refer to times in our lives that are filled with sadness.

In movies, gloomy skies are often a sign of impending doom. The villain in stories is often portrayed as sinister by describing his dark eyes.

Troubled individuals often describe their lives as “dark.”

But, the psalmist in the verse above says that Jesus is able to turn sadness in to joy and bring light into the darkest of lives. He is able to bring hope where there was none.

His word says that Jesus is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.

As you watch the eclipse, there will be a heart throbbing moment when the light once more begins to appear. It will get greater and greater until the sun—the light of day—will once more rule the heavens.

The Son of God, who spoke the divisions of darkness and light into their very existence and “called the darkness night and the light day” wants to rule in our hearts. He wants preeminence in our thoughts and lives.

Pure, blameless, perfect…light.

Jesus—The Light of the World.

 

 

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The Healing

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Luke 4:5-7   “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

 

I read a horrific story about a young man who was desperate to save his dying child. He had spent all of his money, borrowed from his mortgage, and sold all of his belongings in order to pay for the boy’s medical treatments.

Now, at the end of his resources and without another hope, he had an idea. He would bargain with Satan. He would offer to give his own soul to the devil if only his son’s life would be spared.

One day, he told his plan to an older man in the hospital waiting room. That man was able to share the scripture from Luke with the distraught father. He told him that in Jesus there is life. That all things were given to Him by God. That all authority is His, to the glory of the Father.

He convinced the young man that although Satan often tempted people with money, position, or power, the very idea that Satan had any authority to give these things was all lies. The older man persuaded the young father to put the life of his boy in the hands of the great healer—the author of life.

Just as Jesus wasn’t fooled by Satan’s offer of power and authority as they stood atop a mountain in Jerusalem, neither was the young father in this story.

Sadly, the little boy in this story did die. However, the young father’s faith was not shaken because he understood that his child was now with Jesus and that he would see him again one day.

He realized that it was he, himself, that had experienced healing—the healing of his own soul.

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Jesus, Others, and You

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Romans 12:10- “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

 

A young man, appearing to be in his early twenties, sat on a wooden crate on a street corner in Bellingham. He strummed his guitar and crooned a song about love. The point of the song was that one could not completely love another, unless he first learned to love himself.

A handful of young people clapped to the beat, nodding to each other in agreement.

I’d heard the song before. In fact, there have been quite a number written which echo that same theme. I shook my head as I continued to walk down the street.

When I was a child, I learned the song, “J.O.Y.” in Sunday School. It’s a simple song with an enduring message: true joy can only be found when we live by the biblical principal of putting Jesus, first. That is followed by loving others; and finally by putting ourselves last.

In the world we live in today, this world of I Phones and I Pads—this life filled with television commercials enticing us to buy whatever looks good to our eyes—it’s hard for us to comprehend that true joy and peace are only achieved by acting in a way which is contrary to our love of self.

But, that’s just what Jesus asks us to do. Because, like the song says, putting Him first in our lives, followed by love for others is the way to a “peace that passes understanding.”

Jesus, Others,—and You.

 

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