spiritualsnippets.com

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

Perfection, Holiness, or Both?

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Matthew 5:48- “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

I recently wrote a blog for authors about how similar words—even synonyms—have slight differences in meaning.

After I finished writing, I thought about the words holy and perfect, which have long been linked together in my mind. God instructs us to be perfect, but since he knows that we are human and can never be perfect, I figure He must not consider these words to be synonymous.

I looked up holy in the dictionary: dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred morally and spiritually excellent.

Next, perfect: having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be; free from any flaw or defect in condition or quality; faultless; precisely accurate; exact.

I focused on the words “good as it is possible to be,” remembering that the Bible tells us that our own righteousness is like “filthy rags” in comparison to His righteousness AND that He promises to present believers faultless before the throne of God.

So, I determined that any perfection we might attain is due to the workings of the Holy Spirit within us. Not what we can do on our own. 

I looked again at the definition of holy, realizing that we must dedicate ourselves to God and His purpose. It is the Holy Spirit who will do the work in making us perfect. (In God’s sight, of course! Remember, when He looks at us, He sees His perfect Son, our savior, Jesus Christ.)

So, there it is. I can only be holy—I can only be perfect—if I am willing to be changed for His purposes by the Holy Spirit.

 

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He Has Your Back

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                            I Peter 5:7– “Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you.”

 

Do you find yourself worrying about things?

Are there times you are fearful? Anxious?

Would it surprise you if I told you that worry and fear aren’t from God?

God really does want us to live a life in which we trust that He is in control and will take care of us.

I Peter 5:7 tells us that God has “got our back.”

He supplies our needs as we trust Him day-by-day. 

This week, I experienced an instance of this happening in my own life as my siblings and I faced a medical crisis with my father. 

In the moments following an accident, he brought us together to comfort and counsel with each other. We drew strength from God—and each other. And, behind the scenes was a network of prayer partners from my church and neighborhood.

How grateful I am for each one of these individuals who were supplied by God to be His hands and His feet here on earth as my father’s life was in crisis. 

Whether it is a financial, emotional, or spiritual need you have, remember God wants you to reach out for Him. 

Because He cares for you!

 

 

 

 

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Is There Such a Thing as Absolute Truth?

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Judges 21:25- “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

 

On a newscast I saw recently, it was reported that 91% of American teenagers in America don’t believe in absolute truth.

They believe that truth is relative. They think that what is true for one person may not necessarily be true for someone else.

The article said this is what kids are being taught in school these days. It begins with classroom discussions of tolerance of others’ thoughts, beliefs, sexual orientation, and so on. 

Over time, this is carried to the extreme. No one is wrong. Everyone is right.

However, there are a lot of absolutes in our world. God gives many examples in the Old Testament of what happens when people do what is right in their own eyes, rather than following God’s commands. 

There are consequences to doing what we want when our ways go against God’s laws. 

One reason God’s Word was given to us was so that we would learn how God expects us to live… and see the results of disobedience. 

The Israelites fell away from worshipping God and into the worship of idols. When they did, God delivered them into the hands of foreign oppressors. When they cried out to God, he raised up judges who saved them from their enemies. But, after the judges died, the people went back to their old ways. 

When they served God, they prospered, but when they served idols they suffered. 

When they did what they felt was right in their own eyes, they suffered oppression from others and judgment from God.

God is clearly telling us that His Truth is Absolute. He expects us to do what is right in His eyes—not ours. 

 

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You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

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Deuteronomy 31:6- “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

Lunch time and recess are viewed by most students as the best part of their school day. However, do you remember how lonely those times were when your best friend was ill?

There’s probably no worse feeling in all the world than being all alone. But, the reality is that in life

Friends argue and go their separate ways.

Relatives have a “falling out.”

Couples divorce.

Father’s leave their families.

Soldiers desert their platoons.

Even in the midst of one of those circumstances, God promises that you’ll never be completely alone if you acknowledge Christ as Savior and put your trust in Him.

He’ll never leave you or forsake you.

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Manna From Heaven

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Deuteronomy 8:3- “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

 

As a child, I remember Sunday afternoons with Dad. Working long hours during the week, he was always sure to spend Sundays with us as a family. After church, we would eat lunch. That was followed by a drive in the family car, then a few hours at the park or swimming, Goofy golf, etc.

Dad did his best to maintain a relationship with his four children, although (as I recall) there wasn’t much time spent with us, individually.

Looking back on those days, I admire Dad’s commitment to family, even though I would like to have known him on a more personal level.

Maybe that is why daily communication with God is so important to me. Through prayer and Bible reading I can know my heavenly father—as He knows me. He provides for my needs, first, and then showers me with the blessing of a deepening relationship with Him.

God supplied the Israelites with manna (bread from heaven) daily. For what purpose? To teach them that spiritual food is more important than physical food. We need to feast on God’s Word (our daily bread).

If we only eat physical food once a week, we will perish. In the same way, if we eat from God’s Word only once a week, we cannot enjoy a full and abiding sense of his presence—a deep relationship with Him.

Human fathers are limited in time and space, but in that God is omnipresent, our Heavenly Father is able to spend time with us, individually—each and every day. 

 

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Nature Obeys His Voice

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Luke 8:25– “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

 

The gulf coast is bracing for yet another hurricane.

Disturbances such as tornadoes, tsunamis, and tropical depressions are in weather reports every day.

Heavy rainfall, hailstorms, blizzards—each are experienced somewhere in our world every hour.

Meteorologists track them.

Newscasters report them.

Citizens try to prepare for them.

But, none of us can change the weather.

That’s why the stories of Jesus calming the storms in the Bible are so miraculous. All of nature, including catastrophic occurrences, recognize and obey, His voice.

Just as the disciples cried out to Jesus for help when they were on tempest-driven waves, we can ask Him to calm the physical seas and/or the “storms” in our lives. 

The verse in Luke reminds us that if we have faith, we can take concerns of every kind to Him in prayer and trust Him to answer in accordance with His sovereign will.

 

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God’s Billboards

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Psalm 19: 1-4. ““The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

 

I don’t think there are as many billboards along roadways as there were years ago.

And, people tell me that with so much information coming at them all of the time, they simply tune out the occasional one they do see.

Computers, television, cell phones, iPads, tablets—even our watches keep us connected nowadays with new products and ideas.

Despite all of these changes in our lives, God is still into the visual—sunrises and sunsets, rainbows after storms, stars in the night sky…

God is spirit and so is invisible to our human eyes, so he often makes us aware of His presence and great love for us in ways we can understand and appreciate. These little gifts from God are interspersed throughout our days as gentle reminders that He is with us.

But, as wonderful as these all are, we cannot deeply know Him without prayer and the truths we read in scripture. He doesn’t just want us to be aware that He exists. He wants us to really know Him because He knows us and—even with all of our flaws—He wants a relationship with us. 

All of creation testifies to His presence.

God’s “billboards” are everywhere. 

We will see them if we routinely take our eyes off our computer screens and, instead, spend time with God.

 

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Pray for Our Country

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Proverbs 29:2- “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked rule, the people mourn.”

 

As more and more newscasts are filled with biographical information about candidates and their stands on the issues concerning citizens of our great country, need we even ask if God cares about politics?

There is a lot of talk in the Bible about Kings. There are details regarding lineage, how they came to be Kings, their performance, and so on. Scripture tells us some did what pleased God. Some did “evil in the sight of the Lord.”

As we read, we learn how certain actions led to peace, while others started wars. We learn the difference in how Godly leadership and unholy leadership affected the lives of ordinary people.

Leaders who are humble and submissive to God can bring great blessings upon citizens. If we want our nation to truly have peace and prosperity, we must seek leadership that follows Christian principles.

I cannot imagine God devoting so much of the Old Testament to this subject if it wasn’t important to Him. I think God cares immensely about leaders around the world.

It’s not that long until Americans will again exercise their right to vote. In the days and nights leading up to casting our ballots, we need to pray as never before that God will guide us and that HIS choices for all of the offices will be elected. And, afterward? We need to continue to pray that their decisions and actions will be wise and honorable.

We cannot let up. 

Our prayers are important because our leadership matters… because God will act on behalf of His people if we earnestly seek His will in every circumstance.

Complacency or defeatist attitudes have no place in the lives of Christians. (Remember God’s warning to the church of Laodicea in Revelation that He would rather they would be hot or cold than to be lukewarm? That if they didn’t change, He would spew them out of his mouth?) 

May our pillows be hard and our beds uncomfortable from this day forward if we go to bed without praying for our country. 

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No Password Necessary

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I was so frustrated last week.  

I had my bottled water on the desk, a comfortable pillow at my back, and good intentions of spending time writing Chapter 7 of my next book.

I sat down at the computer and typed in my password.

Multiple times.

What was going on? 

I’ve had the same password for years. I could type it in my sleep!!

I envisioned being on the phone with tech-support for hours… having to create a new password… 

About to try for one last time before the computer locked me out, I noticed that the Caps Lock key was lit. 

In one swift movement, I clicked it off.

I was in business!

Believers will never find themselves in that predicament when wanting to connect with God in prayer.

We have access to the Father 24/7 and we don’t need a password!

 

 

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The Father of Compassion

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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 have received from God.”

 

The word father refers to the male person who is the source of life for his offspring. But, the term father is so much more than simply referring to procreation, the physical act.

It is a man who gives care and protection to his offspring.

Someone who begins or originates an idea or work is also referred to as a father. For, instance, we say that George Washington is the Father of our country… that James Madison is the Father of the constitution… the term founding fathers credits certain men for their work in establishing our government…

Christians pray to God, our Heavenly Father.

The verse in second Corinthians tells us that God is the Father of Compassion. 

Because God IS love, compassion for us and our sufferings naturally flows from Him.

Through prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can tap into that source of love and compassion and use it to comfort others.

God is the originator. 

The source.

Our compassionate Heavenly Father.

 

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