spiritualsnippets.com

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

Gift or Giver?

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Psalm 109:30- “With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord; in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.”

 

In this season, if you are anything like me, you are spending quite a bit of time focusing on the gifts you would like to give special people in your life.

I ask myself, what would they like? What would make them smile? What would let them know they are special to me?

Then, there is the wrapping…the sparkle…the glitz… (This is my favorite part.) Again, it just adds to the “specialness” of the whole gift-giving process.

Each year, when I feel I am getting too “caught up” in the whole process, I turn to my Bible and read the Christmas Story, reminding myself that I must not worship the gifts.

You and I were made with a purpose…

We were made by God to worship HIM.

We were made to worship the Giver.

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Of Great Worth

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I Peter 3: 3,4– “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

 

Thinking ahead to Christmas, holiday get-togethers, luncheons and so on, I took a survey of my closet to see what I might need to buy to wear… or at least to add in the way of a sweater or new shoes to an existing outfit. 

The prospects seemed dismal as I settled into my reading chair and picked up my Bible.

Then, I read the verse from first Peter. Inner beauty, not a glittery new sweater, was what it said that pleases God. And, in the noise and hustle involved in holiday celebrations, He asked me to instead focus on developing a gentle, quiet spirit. 

I may not be sporting new clothes this holiday season, but you will find me wearing a big smile… because I will be concentrating on what is important to God.

It is my gift to Him this Christmas Season.

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365 Days A Year

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Psalm 22:27-“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You.”

 

J.J. holds his mother’s hand as she leads him out of the candle lit sanctuary. “I liked the baby Jesus, and the angels. The sheep were funny,” he said excitedly. “Can we come again next week?”

“This is Christmas, honey. It’s special for this holiday. We can come, again, next year, if you’d like.”

Across town, Sarah and her family take the ornaments off the tree, pack them away and place them back into the attic. “The tree was so pretty. When can we decorate again?”

“Next Christmas.”

Yes, Christmas is over. Everything goes back in its box…put away until

Next year.

And, along with the songs, the lights, and the ornaments, much too often, is the Lord Jesus.

Placed back in the manger.

Back on the shelf in the attic.

Until next year.

Unfortunately, there are many are willing to worship the babe in the manger at Christmas, but don’t recognize that it was He who grew up to the be Savior of the world…their Savior.

Are you someone who finds it’s acceptable to worship the occupant of the manger, but that’s where it ends with you? Is it somehow frightening to worship the Savior of The Cross?

To do this would mean that you somehow bear some responsibility to give Him his rightful place in your life all year long, wouldn’t it?  It would require a commitment…a change of course.

No longer would Christmas be just a ritual or an event.

It would become a life of worship and service in which your heart would be turned toward Him every day.

A heart living out the promise of Christmas 365 days a year.

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Join The Army

Genesis 21:22– And it came to pass at that time that Abimelech and Phichol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, “God is with you in all that you do.”

 

Bells ringing. Red kettles.

It’s that time of year, isn’t it?

Salvation Army volunteers—outside stores and malls. Rain or shine. Warm or cold.

Whether ignored or embraced, there they are. Faithful to their cause.

I knew little more than the fact that they are a Christian-based organization.

This year, I was determined to find out more.

Here is just a fraction of what I discovered:

  • Founded by William Booth in 1852 in England.
  • Began as a ministry to win the lost multitudes to Christ.
  • Booth started by preaching in the streets of London to the poor, homeless, and hungry.
  • In 1865, he began tent meetings to preach the message of hope and salvation.
  • In 1879, Lt. Eliza Shirley held the first meeting of the Salvation Army in America.
  • Today, the Salvation Army is active in virtually every corner of the world.
  • Most centers hold weekly worship services.
  • Areas of ministry include: prison ministries, adult rehab, veterans services, elderly, combatting human trafficking, and missing persons via international social service.

I had no idea they did all of this, as well as offering residential housing and work opportunities to various individuals and groups.

They are literally an army of individuals whose main goal is GIVING SPIRITUAL DIRECTION TOWARD A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AS PROVIDED BY JESUS CHRIST.

I remember, as a child, singing a song in Sunday School about being in the “Lord’s Army”. (I may never ride in the infantry, shoot in the cavalry, shoot the artillery,  but I’m in the Lord’s Army.) These words were followed with a salute.

It wasn’t until years later, when guys I knew were drafted into the U.S. Army, that the concept of God’s Army started coming into focus for me.

Now, more than ever, a vast army of God’s people needs to rise up in prayer and step out in faith. We need to join with other Christians around the world in serving those less fortunate and in proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel to a hurting world.

Fear and unrest dominate newscasts. Violence abounds.

Time is short.

We may not ring a bell.

We may not stand outside the mall beside a donation kettle.

But, we can pray, donate, serve, share the message of hope.

Because, when we do, like Abraham,

God will be with us.

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