spiritualsnippets.com

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

Don’t Be Afraid

Matthew 10:26- “So do not be afraid (of them), for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known.”

Did you notice there was no blog post from me last week?

That’s because my computer died. It was sudden. I’m sure it felt no pain.

But I sure did.

In Matthew, Jesus is giving directions to his disciples as they are being sent out “into the world.” But, as I prayed for my computer’s memory to be restored, the last part of the verse kept coming to mind. So I prayed that all of my data would be disclosed and made known.

After a week of repeated disappointments from those I went to for repair help and data recovery—along with much prayer, God directed me to just the right young man to tackle the problem.

As of last night, my computer is up and running.

Knowing that all perfect gifts/blessings come from the Father above, my praise is to Him for restoring my computer to good health and for providing skill and wisdom to the troubleshooter who helped me here on earth.

If I ever doubted that God cared about the little trials in our lives, I will never do so again! 

God’s love is eternal and all-encompassing.

No matter the circumstance, we need not be afraid.

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The Best Way to Start Your Day

Colossians 4:2- “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.”   

Periods of earnest prayer for the needs of family and friends seem to be a way of life for most of us. Asking for God’s intervention, healing, and guidance often take up the bulk of our prayer time.

Then, we wait for His answer and send our prayers of Thanksgiving.

However, the verse from Colossians reminds us that in addition to praying earnestly for things that concern us, we still have much to be thankful for. We need to thank God for his blessings and for meeting our needs at the same time we are praying about matters that concern us.

Beginning each day with a thankful heart will keep the rest of our day in perspective. Instead of focusing only on our needs, we can thank Him for His abiding love, His provision, and then for answered prayers. This is the perfect way to remind us to praise our Creator, Savior, and Lord.

How and when do you thank God? 

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Grandmother’s Example

Luke 6:38-Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Her gnarled fingers slipped into her coat pocket and retrieved a dollar bill. She put it into the pot beside the bell ringer. As her eyes met mine, she whispered these words, “There—but for the grace of God—go I.”

My grandmother taught me many Christian principles by example. And, as far as I know, she never lacked for anything she really needed.

She wasn’t rich, monetarily. That wasn’t her motivation for giving (as some nowadays interpret the verse in Luke). No, she gave because Christ asked her to—and in doing so, He reminded her that He was supplying her needs. In turn, He used her—and others like her—to meet the needs of the poor. 

Because of her giving, she was blessed in other ways. A happy, healthy family. A faithful, God-fearing husband. Fellowship with a community of believers.

Especially in this Christmas season, I am reminded both of her words—and His. For it is by His grace that God blesses us with the same measure we use to help meet the needs of others.

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Oh, Joyous Fall!

Acts 14:17- “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.

Fall is my favorite season. 

The smell of autumn leaves, bonfires, s’mores, warm cider, pumpkins and spices…

The other seasons each have their own distinctive scents, special foods, and ways of celebration, too. 

God cares for us intimately, giving us each new day as a gift from Him. And, as the Great Provider, He gives us rain, crops, foods to sustain us.

But, read today’s verse, again. He also gives us these things in order to fill our hearts with joy.

God cares about us in the midst of life’s storms and, in the fullness of time, brings us back to the mountaintops where He showers us with blessings and indescribable joy.

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Now Is The Time for Praise

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2 Samuel 22:1-3 “David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.” 

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,

    my shield and the horn of my salvation.

He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—

    from violent people you save me.”

 

Did you ever wake up praising God?

Wow. What a feeling!!!

You’re on top of the world.

Maybe you’ve just received good news. Perhaps an answer to prayer. Or, you’ve been blessed in an unexplainable way and you look at a friend and say, “It has to be a God thing.”

I usually begin by shouting to the heavens, “Thank you, Lord.” This is followed by a more serious prayer and a chorus or two.

Praise isn’t just for today—or for us. A lot of people in the Bible had reason to give God a “shout-out,” too. 

Many Christians love to read the Psalms because of King David’s beautiful words. He sang 2 Samuel, as he did a great many of his Psalms. He also played stringed instruments. David knew how to express his love and gratitude.

Some of David’s psalms were written in the midst of battles—or as a result of deliverance from the hands of his enemies. He knew when—and how—to praise God. 

I recall, as a child, singing this chorus: “Do you know what time it is? Time to praise the Lord … anytime’s the right time to praise the Lord.”

Whether in the midst of disappointment or a spiritual battle, after you receive a blessing or an answer to a prayer, NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME TO PRAISE THE LORD.

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A Commandment With A Huge Blessing

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Deuteronomy 5:16– “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

 

I sighed as I waited for Dad to put in his hearing aids and Mom to retrieve her purse. Looking up at the clock, I realized we would likely be late for their doctor’s appointments. I asked my sister get our parents up to the front of their care center while I pulled the car around the building so we could load them—and Mom’s wheelchair— inside with easy access.

If you assist with the care of aging parents, you know very well the time and patience—not to mention commitment—it takes to keep going back day after day.  

It also takes a lot of love. And, for most of us, it is because of love that we persevere.

The Bible tells us to honor our father and mother. Growing up, honoring may have meant showing respect and obedience. Later on, it might have meant remembering to visit, observing holidays, birthdays, etc.

But as they have grown older, our parents may need “honoring” of a different sort. It may require running errands, assistance with household chores, helping with bills, and even physical care.  

I am fortunate to have a brother and two sisters to help do all that is necessary for our aging parents. In their nineties, this requires a lot of time—even if it only means sitting down with them to look—over and over again—at old family photos or listen to stories of times-gone-by.

If you are in similar circumstances, I want to encourage you from God’s Word, today. 

Even though you may grow weary, you will be blessed beyond measure. You still have your loved one(s) with you. You can still do things together that create beautiful memories you will treasure when they are no longer physically here.

As you follow God’s commandment to honor your parents, you will be a blessing to them, and you will be blessed by God for your obedience, in return. 

As your own children observe your actions toward your mother and father, they learn a powerful lesson from God’s Word. They will be there for you, when the time comes.

I pray that The Holy Spirit will guide you, give you patience, and bless you with peace and wonderful memories.

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In All Circumstances

 

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1 Thessalonians 5:18- Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Look close.

Just what does this verse say God’s will is for us?

His will is that we give thanks in the midst of life’s circumstances.

Give thanks that we are saved by His grace.

Give thanks that He loves us and we will be in heaven with Him one day.

Give thanks for our many blessings.

When we face difficult circumstances, we may not feel thankful, but He knows our future and He knows where today and its circumstances will take us.

God wants us to be able to rejoice in His grace—even when we aren’t feeling well.

He wants us to pray for others, even when we have needs, ourselves.

He wants us to be thankful for our many blessings.

God knows what is best for us because He alone knows the future.

In the midst of it all, He is with us. He will not leave us or forsake us.

He will see us through.

And, because of all of that, we can be thankful in all circumstances.

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THE SWEATER

Matthew 25:43-45 “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

 

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I scrambled around for an hour or so, decorating the room for the church Christmas Dinner.

I had turned the temperature down low, anticipating that the room would become warmer once it was filled with people. When all the tasks were accomplished, I sat down to rest. After a few minutes, I shuddered, running my hands over the goose bumps on my arms.

I headed to my car to get my sweater only to find that I had forgotten to bring it.

Back inside, I hugging myself to keep warm, a lady I barely knew offered to let me wear her sweater.

Even though I protested, she insisted that I take it. I thanked her and took my seat.

Why would I remember a little incident like that?

I guess because a near stranger had given up something for me.

The Bible tells us that even small kindnesses, done in the name of Jesus, are noticed by Him.

Giving a bottle of water to a man on the street, holding the door open for an elderly lady, helping a young mother wipe up a spill on the floor of a fast food restaurant.

When we seek to show God’s love to others, we can be a blessing in someone’s life.

We can warm their hearts by being the hands and feet of Jesus.

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Blessings in Imperfections

 

Exodus 4:11– “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?”

 

 

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One of my early assignments was teaching severe and profound disabled children.

People used to ask me how I did it. All I can say is that those kids blessed me in ways that no average students ever could.

 

If you’re the parent of, know, or teach this type of child, you know what I mean.

Even so, have you ever asked yourself if God sometimes creates people to be less than perfect, physically or mentally?

Or, perhaps, permits disabilities, and imperfections?

And what about life’s tragedies? Does God have a hand in those?

Difficult questions. Difficult answers.

Let’s start with what we know:

*Psalm 139 tells us that God is personally—and intentionally—involved in the creation of each and every person in utero.

*Proverbs 13:33 says He is even behind what we may view as random acts of creation, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

*In Exodus 4:11, He says that He is sovereign in creating people with disabilities.

*And let’s not forget the story in John, chapter 9. In it, Jesus talks about a man’s blindness as having a divine purpose, “…so that the work of God would be displayed in his life.”

This side of Heaven, we will never fully understand the ways of God. For now, however, we must exercise faith and trust because of the things we are sure of, like His unfailing love for us and His attributes of goodness, mercy, and grace.

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Baskets Full of Memories and Miracles

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Matthew 14:20– “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.”

 

 

I have some pretty significant memories of baskets over the years: brightly-colored Easter baskets, a woven bicycle basket with a metal “bell,” the pauper’s basket on a small table at the church door.

We recently moved Mom and Dad into an assisted living facility. As we readied their longtime house for sale, we came across a basket that I had made at vacation Bible School as a young child. (photo above)

Just seeing it brought back fond memories of those long-ago days of learning Bible stories at church.

You might be surprised at how many of them involved baskets:

Moses hidden inside a specially-prepared basket in the river by his mother and then found and protected by Pharaoh’s daughter.

Saul, let down next to a wall in a basket by the disciples and saved from a throng seeking to kill him.

The basket of consecrations, the interpretation by Joseph of the chief baker’s dream, the basket of unleavened bread…

And among these is the familiar story of a small boy who shared his lunch of bread and fish, providing enough for a crowd of 5,000—with 12 baskets of food left over!

Baskets offering protection.

Baskets used to transport.

Baskets with which to gather and store.

This is the time of year when we are asked to fill baskets with food and clothing for those less fortunate. And when we do, may God bless them, as he did the boy’s lunch, and multiply our simple gifts to bless others—to overflowing!

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