spiritualsnippets.com

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

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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Giving Our Best

 

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Proverbs 3:9-10  “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and  your vats will brim over with new wine.”

Thinking back over the years to when I taught elementary school, I recall the long hours spent in preparation for my classes before and after school, as well as at home. I’d come home dog-tired, grab a bite to eat, and rush off to night classes.

Life was a vicious cycle.

It wasn’t God, nor my family, but my job that got the best part of me.

At the time I reasoned that was just the way it had to be, but now I am embarrassed to say that my priorities just weren’t right.

The Bible speaks about the “first fruits” of what a person earns as being what they should give to the Lord. You may be more familiar with the term “tithing”—giving God the first ten percent of our income.

But, for a moment, let’s consider the concept of “first fruits” in a different way—giving God the first thoughts in our day, the most of our energy instead of the dregs at the bottom of our reservoir.

Instead of giving our Lord the leftovers, humbly offering Him the best of us.

The words to a song we used to sing as kids says is best. “My cup is full and running over,” reminds me that the joy He brings us as we seek Him first—as we spend time with Him first—leads not to a lack later on, but rather to an overabundance—in other areas in our lives.

A rich, full life is one that gives to Him that first breath, that first song in the morning, and then looks quickly for an umbrella because

there’s going to be a downpour of blessings in a life that gives Him our best.

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No Sour Grapes

Habakkuk 3:17,18-    Though the fig tree does not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,             4734900182_b15ffd1ce0

though there are no sheep in the pen

and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will be joyful in God my Savior.

 

 

We recently moved into a new home. Due to time constraints on all sides, we moved in before our renovations had been completed.

Nearly three weeks later, we still have no master bath or kitchen.

I fell off a ladder; our dining room light crashed in the middle of the night; a hammer fell off the top of a ladder when my husband was moving it, hitting him in the head. And so the saga, began…

Some days I am stressed out and ask God, “Why?” and other days I remember that He has blessed us with a beautiful desert home that is tranquil and serene—or will be!!

This verse from Habakkuk has encouraged me, in the past, when financial times were hard. Now, it speaks to the difficulties of our move. (Who says the Bible isn’t applicable to modern day circumstances?)

So, though I have no master bathtub or shower, though the kitchen granite doesn’t match at the seam lines and needs to be redone, though our king size bed didn’t fit in the new bedroom and we’ve slept on a mattress on the floor for several weeks, though the plumber suspended his work in the bathroom to go on vacation, and the tile guy is in the hospital with kidney stones, though I am washing dishes in the bathroom sink and have no stove or water in the kitchen, I will rejoice in God my Savior who protects us and blesses us with many good restaurants nearby, kind friends to help, and the promise of a vacation for ourselves some time this summer…

 

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Frustration or Blessing?

Matthew 22:17-21

17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius.20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

 

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Taxes.

Hard to believe it is almost time to file.

After an appointment with our accountant, we learned that we owe—again.

How can that be?

Every year?

Seriously?

My husband relates that his coworkers get refunds…repeatedly… tax season after tax season.

Do they know something we don’t?

“Make quarterly payments,” our accountant replies.

It’s not like we don’t have mortgage and charitable deductions.

It’s not like we rely on our own expertise in filing.

Even in Jesus’s time, questions regarding taxes were front and foremost.

This year, instead of shaking our heads in disbelief or giving into the frustrations associated with taxes, we have chosen to count our blessings and be thankful for the abundance with which God has blessed us…

April 15…

A day to count our blessings.

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Giving Thanks for Future Blessings

Romans 8:28- “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Occasionally, I find myself missing my days of teaching elementary school. This is especially true around Thanksgiving.

Each year, my little kindergarteners would choose to be Indians or Pilgrims, making Pilgrim hats or headbands with colorful feathers. They would use brown paper grocery bags to make Indian vests or black and white butcher paper for Pilgrim attire.

Mothers would come to school and help us prepare stew, cornbread, apple cider, and spice cake and/or cookies for our customary “feast.”

The faces of those little ones were so precious as each child stood and told the class what they were thankful for… their families…their homes.

I know several families who are currently suffering from health issues. I know one going through a divorce. I know one dealing with broken relationships with siblings; another saddened by the estrangement of adult children.

It’s easy to be thankful for blessings like wealth, wisdom, newborn babies, and good health. It’s quite another to be thankful for the trials in this life, isn’t it?

But, many of us know that it’s in the hard times that we learn to trust God…that our relationship with Him deepens as we depend on Him for the strength to get us through.

It’s possible, that years after a hurtful event, we are able to see the good result(s) God brings about because of our dire circumstances. In fact, there are times when we can look back on what we once viewed as tragedies and see that they were actually future blessings—in disguise.

Which brings me to this point: If we, as Christians, believe the truth of Romans 8:28, shouldn’t we be able to trust God now?

Even if we never see the future?

Even if He never answers our question, “Why?”

Because that is really what faith is, isn’t it?

According to Hebrews 11:1, “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

We may not be able to see what God is going to do with a tragic circumstance, now, but we can have faith that those “things not seen” will someday come to pass.

Thanking God for the blessings in our lives, today, and for those in the future,

Brenda

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