spiritualsnippets.com

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

Turn Pain Into Joy

Psalm 94:19- “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

My family was able to see my parents (residing in Memory Care) for the second time this month. It has been a great experience to spend time with them after being locked down for so long.

At the end of our visit Dad, with tears in his eyes, said, “We’ve been so lonely. You don’t know what these two visits have meant to us. You’ve turned our pain into joy.”

On the drive home, I thought about the millions of people worldwide who are in pain—physical, emotional, and/or spiritual.

Being isolated from family and friends is overwhelming. Even a visit from a stranger who is willing to listen, can turn their heartache into a day filled with joy. And, if you are a Christian, reading from the Bible and praying with them can help them reconnect with God.

Volunteers are needed in our communities now more than ever. Even if you do not personally know someone in a nursing home, please think about asking one near you if you can make a visit to someone who may not have family nearby.

A smile—YOUR smile—might be just what someone needs today to turn their pain into joy.

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Are YOU That Someone?

Psalm 139: 8-10- “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

News broadcasts report that loneliness and depression in the pandemic have resulted in a staggering number of suicides.

Isolated. Cut off from friends, relatives, and colleagues.

Most of these people didn’t know the love of Jesus. Weren’t able to rely on His unfailing love.

If they had only known Him as their guide, comforter, and protector.

But God reminds us that they will only know if someone is willing to tell them. 

Are YOU that someone?

Will you step out in faith and share God’s Word with a hurting world?  

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Come Back Home

Luke 15:13b- “…the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living…(and) 17a- When he came to his senses, he said… 18b-Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” 

We recently “rescued” a two-year-old dog that is incredibly sweet, loving, and (all-important) housebroken. However, he is very stubborn and this unfortunate trait is getting him in a bit of trouble.

He pulls on the leash instead of trotting obediently at my side. He refuses to come when we call his name. In short, he wants his own way.

When will he realize a bag of treats are ready and waiting for obedient doggies?

Which brings me to the story of the prodigal son who stubbornly wanted his share of his father’s inheritance. When he got it, he squandered it.

But, the story has a happy ending because he finally comes to his senses and returns home to apologize and beg forgiveness.

Have you reached a place in your life where you found what you were looking for couldn’t be found in “the world”? You realize that temporary pleasures are not deep and satisfying? 

If so, please put your faith in God.

Come back home and experience His best for you. 

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Hands, Heart, and Soul

Psalm 134:2- “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.”

Were you were brought up in a conservative Christian home like I was?

Did you attend a conservative church like I did?

Then, for a moment, would you consider breaking out of your comfort zone?

What’s holding you back from worshipping God with your whole heart, soul and hands?

I took the challenge several years ago. I can only attest to my own experience. It was profound and continues to be to this day.

For me it wasn’t electrifying in a physical sense, but for the first time I felt a unique connection—a drawing of spirit to Spirit.

Some who have spent an extended period of time in prayer or meditation, or those who have fasted have told of similar experiences to mine—a “peaceful exhilaration” (my term).

And, more than that, I experience a bonding… a linking together with the one true God. He doesn’t just soak up my praise. He joins with me as we experience together his goodness, holiness, and majesty.

Your experience will perhaps be uniquely yours, but I encourage you to give your whole being over to the praise of our Creator, Savior, and Lord. 

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Exemplifying Faith During the Pandemic

Philippians 2:4- “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Christians, here are some principles to keep you grounded in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic:

Do Not Live In Fear.

God promises to be with us. He will strengthen us and uphold us with “His righteous right hand.”

Be Compassionate.

Show the love of Jesus to those who are hurting.

Donate.

Be generous and give to families in need, your neighbors, and your church family. 

The apostle John said, “if anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”

Be The Hands and Feet of Jesus.

The greatest testimony of Christ’s love is for Christians to love the world the way Christ does.

Take Comfort in the Company of Fellow Believers.

Even if we cannot be with fellow believers, we can pray for them, call them, email them, send them a card. 

Pray.

For the sick.

For provision.

For wisdom for those in authority and unity with other believers. 

Trust in the Lord.

We serve a God who is bigger and stronger than any sickness, darkness, or weapon of the enemy. Our God is our healer and provider.

Trust in the Lord and shine the light and love of Jesus Christ in a fearful and shaken world.

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He’s Got This

2 Corinthians 4:16-18- “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

We are living in times of unrest, frustration, and discontent.

It is all too easy for us to look around and see the consequences of evil as they play out before our eyes each day on television and in our streets.

However, God comforts us by reminding us not to lose heart… not to be disillusioned because “he’s got this.”  

On the eternal timeline, our present troubles are only a blip on the screen. One day we will see how all of human history fit together according to His plan.

Remember: “…our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

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The Enemy Within

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous …”

My book, Simon Says, tells the story of a boy who is taunted by bullies—enemies on the outside.

A 1994 movie, The Enemy Within, is about a military officer who uncovers a sinister plot perpetrated by his own superior officer.

Enemies within and without.

Political unrest and the worldwide pandemic have left people skeptical, frustrated, and anxious.

But the Bible tells us not to worry. 

Worry is the enemy within. 

And, when taken to the extreme, worry becomes hate.

Christians, if ever there was a time for us to pray for our enemies, it has to be now. 

Only when we let the spirit of forgiveness rule in our hearts can we truly heal.

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Abandoned or Adopted?

Ephesians 1:5- “He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—”

Alyce was adopted as a fifteen-year-old. Being terribly lonely for most of her “growing-up” years, she knew (for the first time) what it felt like to be valued and loved… “complete.”

It didn’t take long for new purpose and belonging to replace the old feelings of abandonment. 

As Christians, the Bible tells us we have been adopted as sons. We enjoy the full rights and even the inheritance of sons, just as Jesus (the “firstborn of many brothers”).

We can experience, daily, the love and completeness only He can offer. And, we can look forward to spending eternity in Heaven—that place where we belong.

    (Other passages:  2 Corinthians 6:18; Romans 8:14,15.)

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Love Across the Miles

Revelation 3:20- Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

Rob and Amber had been inseparable all summer.

Then, in the fall, Rob left for college.

At first, he called her every night.

Then one day he realized it had been a week since he’d phoned.

He chided himself. 

If he wanted to rekindle his relationship with Amber, he needed to stay in touch. If he loved her, as he had said, it would be up to him to make sure to let her know it.

He reached for a card in a local drug store. Love Across the Miles.

Just like Amber, God tells us that He is always there. Waiting.

If we want a relationship with Him, we have only to come to Him.

He remains the same, never changing in His desire to be our God… our friend… our refuge… 

He wants to be our first love…

Across the Miles.

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True Adoration

Luke 2:20- The shepherds “returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”

*Part 2, from last week’s “Behold!”

Come, let us adore our Christ.

What is meant by the term adore?

Worshipping Him (and the truth of who He is) and rejoicing in Him with great joy.

Exceeding great joy is at the heart of true adoration.

LOVE, HONOR, ESTEEM, WORSHIP, ADMIRE, GLORIFY, PRAISE, REVERE, RESPECT DEEPLY.

With Genuine Faith in Who Jesus Really Is: 

The Child born king of the Jews.

God’s Son, our Savior, who reigns on His throne at the right hand of The Father.

Let’s adore Him with every thought we have, every goal we set, each decision we make, the words we speak and the actions we take.

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