spiritualsnippets.com

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

Meeting Your Zacchaeus

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Luke 19: 1-4 “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him …”

 

Each time the lady in front of Billie leaned over to make a comment to her husband, Billie had to reposition herself so that she could see the speaker.

Dan was shorter than the other guys around him, so he wasn’t able to see all of the members in the band as they performed.

Billie and Dan had a similar experience to that of Zacchaeus. They couldn’t see who they wanted to see. 

In the Bible story, Zacchaeus and Jesus (whom he climbed a tree to see) end up spending time together. Zacchaeus repents of his sins and experiences forgiveness.

I don’t know what Zacchaeus expected to happen that day (scripture only says that he wanted to see who Jesus was), but our Lord knew he’d be up in that tree. He had a message for him and Zacchaeus responded.

Sometimes, the days just don’t unfold according to our plans. Sometimes God has something different in mind for us. Perhaps he wants us to listen to someone’s troubles, deliver a meal we hadn’t planned on making, give a blanket to a needy person. 

Whatever the case … whatever the circumstance … wherever He leads …

There just may be a Zacchaeus in our lives waiting for us to share the message of forgiveness and grace.

 

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Does Your Marriage Need a Renovation?

 

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Ephesians 5: 24-28; 33b “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies…and the wife must respect her husband.”

 

A morning newscast this week gave the results of a recent survey: “The key to a happy marriage is having two separate bathrooms.”

Mutual respect, honesty, and open lines of communication— things I would have thought would top the list—were not even mentioned.

What did God have to say on the subject? I turned to Ephesians. The words submit, love, and respect stood out.

When had those biblical virtues become obsolete and been replaced by things valued by “the world”?

As Christians we must not let love of worldly things keep our eyes off the things of God. We must hold fast to the truths written in the Bible. 

If we don’t, we may fall prey to falsely believing that things like a big bank account, expensive clothes, and fancy vacations are keys to not only personal satisfaction, but also happy marriages. 

And, like the survey, we might someday find ourselves in the midst of a bathroom renovation, when what we really need to do is to seek the answers in God’s Word.

 

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Are Your Feet Beautiful?

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Romans 10:15b- “As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

 

I am sure you have heard in the last few weeks about missionaries who have been captured and/or killed by the very people that they wanted to reach with the message of Jesus.

They didn’t stay in the comfort of their own homes. They didn’t enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with their friends and loved ones.

They went to a myriad countries around the world to preach the gospel—the Good News—to those who haven’t heard.

They were selfless…obedient…servants of The Most High God.

Some were tortured. Many lost their lives.

The Holy Spirit led. They followed—without regard for their own safety or well-being.

Most of us cannot imagine giving up what they have for the cause of Christ.

Hands serving…feet going…

God calls all Christians to a life of service to others. 

I see it everywhere I look: on street corners and in front of stores, Salvation Army volunteers ring their bells; church members add their gifts to the benevolent fund at church; people donate meals; others mow lawns; still others make blankets for those who are ill or those in need of winter warmth.

We aren’t all called to serve in far off countries. We only need to look around us to find ways of serving in our own communities.

Whether you choose to work in a soup kitchen or a non-profit thrift store; whether you can devote an hour or an entire day; if you are serving others in Jesus’s name, you are acting as His hands and feet here on earth.

 

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Joy In The Midst of Anguish

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I Thessalonians 5:18- “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

 

Did you read this verse and think, “How can we give thanks in the midst of disasters and death?”

Doesn’t God see the devastation caused by floods, fires, and acts of violence in our country? 

Three things stand out to me:

1. God is asking us to be thankful, not necessarily for the circumstances, but in the midst of them to retain a thankful attitude for what we do have.

2. Giving thanks is not based on our present circumstances.

In giving thanks, we are not denying our current hurts. We are, however, showing our thankfulness for our position in Christ and the joy ahead of us because we have put our faith in Jesus. Faith that his death, burial, and resurrection saves us from our sins and assures our eternal life. 

We focus on the “joy that is set before us”…that deep inner joy that abides in spite of our disappointments and struggles. 

When we lead lives of gratitude and Thanksgiving every day, it will change our whole perspective on life. By focusing on our blessings and sharing what we have with others, we understand the true meaning of thankfulness.

3. And, finally, instead of asking, “Why me?”, we should ask “What for?”  Why does all of this happen? It is ultimately to display the reality of Jesus…to bring glory to God…to accomplish his ultimate will and purpose. 

This season, let’s give thanks in the midst of pain, anguish, and loss, looking ahead to the joy we have in Christ Jesus.

 

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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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