spiritualsnippets.com

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

Compassion vs. Complacency

Mark 8:2-9- “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘My heart is moved with pity for the crowd…’ He took seven loaves and a few small fish, blessed them and distributed them. About 4,000 people ate their full.”

Samuel F. Pugh wrote the following Thanksgiving Prayer. I am challenging myself to read it often. To keep me humble. To help me focus on what is important to God.

I am sure you have read it before. Maybe it deserves another reading during this season of giving.

Oh, God, when I have food, help me to remember the hungry; When I have work, help me to remember the jobless; When I have a warm home, help me to remember the homeless; When I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer; And remembering, help me to destroy my complacency and bestir my compassion. Make me concerned enough to help, by word and deed, those who cry out for what we take for granted.

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Additions to “Thankful” List

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

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. As a child, do you remember your classroom teacher or Sunday school teacher asking you what you were thankful for?

I always answered, “Mom and Dad.”

My parents are 94 and 95 years old. If you asked me the same question today, I would answer the same—but with an addition.

Mom and Dad just tested positive for Covid-19. They live in an assisted living facility where all of a sudden others are testing positive, too. Some have symptoms. Some do not. But, none of them will be able to be with their families/friends on Thanksgiving Day again this year.

I continue to thank God for them and for those who faithfully care for them when I cannot. To put the health and safety of others before oneself is acting from a Biblical perspective.

This ties in with “It is more blessed to give than to receive” of Acts 20:25. It may go against our human instinct to put others first, but it truly means walking according to Jesus’s command to be his hands and feet here on earth.

Of course, it is the Lord Jesus who should get our ultimate praise for the salvation He brought to each of us. As Christians, we are also thankful for his peace, his healing, and his provision.

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The Eternals

John 3:16- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

I watched the television previews for a new series this week. Called The Eternals, it is about a fictional group of super-powered beings whose job it is to preserve and safeguard the planet. The basic premise is that they have—and will—live forever. (At least that is what I conclude from the trailer.)

Humans have always been fascinated with the prospect of living forever. We’ve all heard about billionaires that die and have their bodies preserved for awakening at a predetermined time in the future.

Death, however, is seldom longed for—except, perhaps by those who are in intense physical pain, those emotionally disturbed, or the elderly.

But did you know that you can have the assurance of eternal life?

The Bible includes many verses referring to the promise of eternal life, given to believers by Jesus Christ. He is not a fictional character, like The Eternals. He is God’s Son who gave his life–shed his blood–to pay the penalty for our sin.

The gift of Eternal life is available to all who put their faith in him.

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Warning Signs

I Corinthians 10:11 – “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.”

Ready to change lanes on the freeway last week, my car’s warning system notified me that there was a vehicle in my blind spot. 

This allowed me to avoid what would have been a horrific accident.

There are a lot of early warning devices nowadays and although some may be irritating (like the one on the thermostat of our home’s heating/cooling system) they are meant to help consumers avoid catastrophes.

There are many warnings in the Bible, too.

The Apostle Paul’s name always comes to mind when I think about those who were sent to warn others. I would like to tell you his words were always heeded, but that was not the case. 

Some of the saddest and most tragic stories in the scriptures are those about men and women who failed to heed God’s warnings—and the consequences they experienced.

Thank God for His Word and for those, like Paul, who were obedient to His commands. It is their stories that make us aware of the results of certain actions/decisions.

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Time for a Change

Isaiah 57:15- “For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’.

The day before her haircut appointment, Jana studied herself in the mirror.

She’d worn the same hairstyle for the past decade. Time for a change.

But that would only be an external change.

She also longed for an internal change.

For years, she’d been struggling with a critical spirit toward a certain individual.

She prayed to the Holy Spirit to change her attitude toward her friend, to grant her a forgiving spirit where she was concerned. 

Because, just like only her hair stylist could change her hairstyle, she knew only the Holy Spirit could change her heart.

It might not be pleasant. She knew from past experience that it might even be painful. But she longed for the joy was that was missing from their relationship.

Over the next few months, Jana continued to pray. Slowly things began to change and the joy in their friendship returned.

Do you need to make some kind of internal change? The Holy Spirit longs to revive your spirit and give you joy, too! 

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He Loved You FIRST

1 John 4:19- “We love because he first loved us.”

My niece recently found one of her animals dead on their property. She mourned its passing as one might a human being. (All of you animal lovers know what I’m talking about.)

My sister told me that my niece’s animals love her. They all come to the fence when they hear her voice. Not just for food, as you might imagine, but for attention—a scratch behind the ears, a gentle hug, encouraging words.

She showed love to them, first. Then, they responded to her in kind.

The Bible tells us that Christians respond to the selfless love of Jesus. He loved us, first, as we are told in Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”                                  

We are his people, the sheep of HIS pasture.

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Mount Up!

Isaiah 40:31– “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Admit it.

You find it difficult to wait patiently for answers to your prayers.

Me, too.

When I questioned why God often made me wait for so long, my pastor said it was so I would learn patience.

I accepted that, knowing I certainly did need to work on patience in many areas of my life.

However, I recently discovered another purpose to waiting.

The verse in Isaiah reveals that those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.

We are all aware of the mighty eagle…its powerful wings.

So, next time you are waiting, draw on the strength of God’s Word. You’ll not only receive your answer, but the strength to deal with anything that comes your way.

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Realigning Our Priorities

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Hebrews 13:5- “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”

 

Callie’s husband, Marc, was recently given a promotion.  Along with it came a sizable increase in salary. So much so that they could afford to move out of the lower-middle class neighborhood and into an exclusive Country Club home on the golf course.

This was a dream come true for the middle-aged couple that had struggled to make ends meet for such a long time.

It wasn’t long before they were settled in their new luxury home. Callie loved the beautiful new furniture and the couple enjoyed relaxing by their lagoon-style pool and entertaining new neighborhood friends.

One day, Marc came home to find Callie crying and distraught. “I thought I would be happy. But, I’ve been lying to myself, to you, and to God. I feel so ashamed. I’d read scripture enough times to know better, but somehow I thought we were the exception. We had all we needed before, but I kept wanting more and more.”

Marc nodded. “I feel the same way. This life is so superficial. I haven’t experienced one day of true joy since we moved here. Let’s pray for God’s forgiveness and then His direction in what to do.”

The story of Callie and Marc is all too common. Just as parents often must let their children learn things “the hard way,” God often teaches us in similar manner.

And, like our children, when we learn the hard lessons of life for ourselves, we are often capable of encouraging others when we see them making comparable choices, rather than relying on God’s promises.

When Callie and Marc’s priorities were realigned with God’s purposes, they starting a non-profit with their increased income.

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Suit Up!

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Ephesians 6:10-13 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

 

Wanda Sue Maxey said: “There isn’t a mask big enough to protect us from everything going on in the world today. We need to suit up with the whole armor of God.”

Of course, we should follow the mask and social distancing mandates. But God has given us all we need to withstand the assaults of satan.

Why live in fear that we will touch something or be around someone who will put us in harm’s way?

God has called us to be bold, speak in truth and share His Word.

He has given us- 

THE BELT OF TRUTH: The truth about who we are in Christ. Jesus is the Truth that sets us free. We must let God’s Word guide our prayers. Memorize verses so we can recall them quickly when we need their encouragement and direction.

THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS:  Christ’s righteousness protects our hearts. Scriptural truths help us to walk in the Lord’s will. We should ask someone we trust to pray for us when we struggle with obedience.  

THE GOSPEL OF PEACE:  The gospel is the Good News, the forgiveness of sins and access to God through faith in Christ. Satan wants us to worry, but oneness with the Lord produces peace. It keeps our feet anchored and standing firm.

THE SHIELD OF FAITH: Roman soldiers dipped their shields covered with animal hide. into water so when fiery darts hit them, the wet hide would extinguish the darts. A Christian’s shield of faith needs to be regularly dipped in the water of God’s Word. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” We must set our faith on God’s character, not on circumstances.

THE HELMET OF SALVATION: Salvation comes the moment we place our trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection as the payment for our sin. But salvation is also worked out through a lengthy process of sanctification when we allow Him to work in every part of our thoughts. The enemy fights for strongholds in our minds. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT:  “When we are tempted, the most effective weapon that God has given believers is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. When the devil tempts us, we need to respond with the Truth of God’s Word. 

Let’s put on the Whole Armor of God and walk in the fullness of His Grace.

 

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A Thought for Today

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Ephesians 2: 4,5- “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

 

My sixth grade teacher wrote a “Thought for the Day” on the chalkboard every morning. I loved reading them and started a notebook of “sayings/quotes.”

It became a habit of mine to copy them down each day, so no small wonder that I have continued to do that as I see things in print. I always write down the source of the quote, knowing I might need to give credit to someone for their thoughts one day.

However, next to the one I’d like to share with you, I wrote only Sam. To my embarrassment, there is no last name. (So, Sam, whoever you are. My apologies. And, my thanks for these thoughts).

Sam told a story about a man who had achieved acclaim in a certain area. He was asked to give a speech to his colleagues. 

A friend remarked that the turnout that evening had been overwhelming because this man was special to so many people.

“No,” the man answered. “It’s not because I am special that they are here. It’s because they are special that I am here.” 

I drew the parallel right away. 

Long before anyone reading this blog was born, Almighty God, in the person of Jesus, came to earth to save each of us (by the shedding of His blood) from the consequences of our sin and offer us eternal life.

Why?

He came because we are special to Him.

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