spiritualsnippets.com

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

Follow the Leader

Deuteronomy 13:4- “It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.”

Enjoying a morning cup of coffee on my patio under the shadow of the Superstition Mountains, a sudden movement caught my eye. 

A family of quail, complete with seven baby chicks, was making its way across our driveway!

Of all the beauty of the desert (including those majestic mountains) the one thing I enjoy most is watching those sweet baby birds, all of two inches tall, following after their parents in the early mornings and late afternoons each spring. 

Innocent and helpless, the chicks need the guidance of their parents on their first outings across the desert floor. Predators, such as coyotes, snakes, and javelina make it necessary that they follow closely behind, in order to survive in this harsh environment.

I am reminded that I need to follow my Heavenly Father’s guidance, also. How will I be able to deal effectively with feelings of loneliness when my husband is working out of town? How can I tell a friend the hard truth, in a kind and loving manner?

God’s Word gives me assurance, direction, and peace. I have nothing to fear as I navigate through my day.

He knows the way.

All I have to do is follow.

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Sweeter Than Honey

Psalm 119:103- “How sweet are Your words to my taste; Sweeter than honey to my mouth.”

Bibles can be purchased in a vast array of styles, covers, print options, sizes, and so on. In fact, many of us have several copies: thin, New Testament only, study Bibles. Some zip, others have handles, some children’s Bibles sparkle—variations abound. 

Because the Bible is so accessible, so plentiful, many of us take it for granted. 

However, there are some countries where seeing a copy of the Bible is a rarity. And whether that is because of poverty or lack of religious freedom, the Bible is revered as the precious Word of God that it truly is. If those people had an opportunity to see—even touch—a Bible, it would cause quite a stir. 

Glance in the direction of your bookshelf or bedside table and see the miracle displayed there in the form of a book inspired by the Holy Spirit. 

Now open it to Psalm 119:103. Meditate, along with the psalmist, on the words written there. In the wonder of the moment, imagine the words to be as sweet on your own tongue, as they were to him when he penned them. 

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Spread the Joy

Matthew 6:31- “Do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’”

A few years ago, we vacationed in Hawaii. We liked the slower pace, the relaxed atmosphere. We also enjoyed the island music.

One popular song which played over and over was “Don’t Worry; Be Happy.”  We couldn’t help but sing to the catchy tune with a positive message.

God’s Word reminds us that worrying about anything is useless and counter- productive. Real happiness is found, not in wishful thinking, but in obedience to the Lord.

Our focus needs to be on others—not on ourselves. 

When we help a neighbor, donate our time at a local food bank, or visit a shut-in, we forget about ourselves and leave our worries up to the Lord. When we act as the hands and feet of Jesus, we find His provision for our own needs to be more than enough.

He will be continually refilling our reserves of energy and compassion toward those whom Jesus has called us to serve. 

When we follow His example, we find that our joy (yes, not superficial happiness, but deep spiritual joy) overflows!

So, don’t worry! Be happy!

And spread the joy!

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Spiritual Stents

Acts 8:22- “Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.”  

Several years ago, my father went into the hospital for routine heart testing. 

Approximately a half-hour into the procedure, the doctor called the family into a conference room and showed us (via computer screen) Dad’s heart. He indicated areas of blockage and asked for permission to place two stents.

Watching on the screen, we saw the stents inserted and the rush of blood into the arteries that had been previously blocked. 

What a miracle to witness. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

Driving home, I thought about my how I needed a change of heart toward a close friend and an attitude adjustment toward a family member. Continuing to harbor resentment would only lead to further strain (block) those relationships.

I turned to the scriptures, asking God to show me what to do. I found guidance in His Word. Acts 8:22 said I needed to repent of my wrong attitude and ask forgiveness—first of God, and then of them.

It wasn’t easy, but I knew it was right

When I was obedient to God’s Word, a heavy weight was lifted. Today, our relationships are closer than ever!

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Calling All Sheep!

John 10:14- “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.”

Most of the kids in our neighborhood played outside from the time we got home from school until we were called for supper.

Although there would sometimes be several parents calling their own brood home at the same time, each of us knew when it was our mother’s or father’s voice shouting  “dinnertime!”  

God reminds us that He is our Good Shepherd. When He says that His sheep know His voice, he is referring to those of us who are “His”—those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

How do we distinguish His voice, from that of others?

Simple: If it is written in His Word, the Bible, then we can be certain it is truly His voice. The Bible also tells us that He will speak to us when we seek the wisdom of Christian friends, pastors and other church leaders. Many Christians tell of instances when they “hear” God’s voice in the form of an “impression” in their mind after a time of prayer, meditation, and/or fasting.

What we do when we hear His voice is important.

If I had heard my mother calling me to dinner, and had not heeded her call, I would have been pretty hungry by bedtime. In the same way, if we do not follow-up on God’s call with some kind of action on our part, we will likely find that we have missed more than a meal. We will have missed a banquet!

I’m not saying that you are going to miss the Marriage Supper of The Lamb. I am referring to missing out on the daily relationship with God and His blessings for those who respond to Him out of obedience.

Set aside time for daily prayer and get back into The Word. 

Become familiar, again, with the voice of The Good Shepherd.

**Revised from an earlier blog post.

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Looking Beyond

Hebrews 12:2– “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endurethe cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Both of my children had recurring cases of planter’s warts when they were youngsters. Each time, they begged me not to make them go to the doctor, knowing the removal from the soles of their feet would be very painful.

I explained that the procedure would bring about the desired result. Once healed, their feet would no longer be tender to walk on. 

A few days later, they’d be playing outside again. The memory of the surgical procedure was already a thing of the past.

Have you ever put off a medical appointment because you thought the treatment would have been too painful, avoided having a conversation you felt might threaten a friendship or delayed making a decision that was just too difficult?

Jesus identified with those feelings. He faced a painful death on the cross. However, he looked ahead to the salvation of mankind and endured the anguish.

It was the only way to get the desired result.

There are times in life when the pain of the present must be endured in light of the promise of better days, better health, better circumstances to come in the future. 

But we don’t have to go it alone. Jesus will be beside us all the way—guiding, encouraging, healing.

He was here. He knows what it is like to be human. He also knows what it is like to be God. 

He doesn’t just hold our hands. He holds us in his hands.

He gives us the promise of a wonderful future because he was willing to look beyond his present circumstances and ahead to that glorious day when he will welcome his children into his kingdom—where he will sit at the right hand of God, to the glory of The Father!

***Reprinted from an earlier blog post.

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Bringing Things Into Focus

2 Corinthians 5:7- “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

My vision became progressively worse until my world took on a hazy glow.

I consulted my ophthalmologist. Cataract surgery was in order.

I actually looked forward to it. The thought of a brighter world—maybe even a world free of the glasses I had worn since sixth grade—was very appealing.

Within a few minutes of surgery, I was released from my foggy world. 

I think about times when I fail to see clearly the actions I should take and the decisions I should make. When I wrestle with the “why’s” and “how’s.”

Those are the times I go to God’s Word. I need His healing for my “spiritual eyes” bringing purpose and direction—a clear focus on what is important.,

One day, God will reveal all things to us. But for now, it is His Word that encourages and gives us insight. We can come before God with confidence, knowing that what we ask for aligns with His will as outlined in scripture.

Are you having trouble seeing the path ahead? Do you need someone to lead the way?

Surrender your own will to His and just follow. 

Walk by faith, not by sight.

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Spiritual Direction

Psalm 23:1-3  “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.”

My husband loves to drive. 

I’d rather look at the scenery, read a good book, or recline my seat and take a little nap. 

Now and again, he’ll ask me to get the map out of his satchel and look for a certain road, landmark, or whatever. Often, he pulls over to the side of the road and interprets it for himself.

If we should happen to get lost (now really lost, you understand) and I suggest that we ask someone for directions, he gives me “the look.”

Why is it men are so against asking for directions? Think about how many hours could be saved and how many wrong turns could be avoided!

As Christians, we have an infallible source at our fingertips! God, who has always been in existence, knows the past, present, and future. With His Word as our “map” and His Holy Spirit as our Guide, we never have to face an uncertain future.

If we take a wrong turn, we can get back on the right path by heeding what scripture reveals to us as truth.

Confident and encouraged, with His help, we find our way.

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Start All Over

Have you ever wished you could start all over? Erase something you said to someone in anger? Go back to a point in time when you made a hasty choice resulting in an unplanned pregnancy? Wished you hadn’t told your parent a lie to avoid punishment? 

Have you wanted an opportunity to do it all over again— make a better choice the next time around? 

Even though God knows everything you have done, He is willing to forgive. To wipe your slate clean.

He sent Jesus, his perfect son, to the cross to pay the price for our sins. Without the shedding of His perfect blood, the relationship with us which God desires would not be possible.  

And freedom from the sins in our past would not be a reality.

By acknowledging His gift today, you can begin a relationship with Him that will continue throughout eternity.

Because He loves you UNCONDITIONALLY.

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Promises Made Good

Numbers 23:19- “God is not a man, that he should lie, Neither the son of man, that he should repent: Hath he said, and will he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and will he not make it good?”

“But you promised!” My daughter cried—and even stamped her tiny foot—as she yelled the words. Tears ran down her cheeks. Four years old and she already knew the meaning –and the heartbreak—of promises not kept!

Earlier in the week, she had asked me if she could have a friend over to swim on Saturday. I said that she could, not knowing that she’d come down with a terrible cold by Friday.

We cancelled her plans. And, even though done with good reason, to a small child it became a “broken” promise.

She lay in bed all day, Saturday, coughing and sneezing, with a sore throat and a fever. She slept with the new bright orange and yellow beach towel I had bought her as a reminder of my new promise to ask her friend over, again, for a swim when she felt better.

Sometimes we may not be able to keep our promises. However, scripture reminds us that God’s promises are true. We can count on them with 100% certainty.

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