spiritualsnippets.com

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

His Purpose for YOU

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Esther 4:14- “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.”

 

If you are like me, the time has come to set goals for the New Year. I like to think of it as getting myself on course.

I begin by reading Esther 4:14. Then, I read the Tale of Three Trees. Like many outstanding works, its original author is unknown, but Angela Hunt retold this beautiful folktale and published it in 1957.

To recap, three trees grew on a mountainside. Each dreamed of what it would be when it grew up. The first tree dreamed of being used to build a beautiful treasure chest; the second wanted to be used to build the strongest sailing ship in the world; the third’s aspirations were to remain on the mountain where he would grow to be the tallest tree in the world so that when people looked up at him, they would raise their eyes to heaven, and think of God.

Years later, the trees had grown to maturity. They were cut down. Each was disappointed. The first was made into a plain box for animal feed; the second was crafted into a simple fishing boat, and the third was cut into strong beams.

But, that’s not the end of the story… because God fulfilled His purpose for each of them. 

The first box was used as a manger for Baby Jesus; the second became a fishing boat for Jesus and his disciples; and the third was used to build the cross and every time people saw it, they thought of God.

Each tree became so much more than he could ever have dreamed—because in the hands of God they fulfilled His purpose.

As we stand on the brink of 2020, may we yield to our Maker, praying that He will guide our lives and ultimately fulfill the purpose for which He created us.

Keep Looking Upward.

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The Cross Was No Accident

Night view of Antigua, Guatemala from "Cerro de la Cruz"

John 3:16- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

 

The Cross.

For Christians, the symbol of hope.

The death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation through the forgiveness of sins for all who believe.

The cross was no accident. 

His great love motivated the Creator to sacrifice His Son.

We have painted them, gold-plated them, encrusted them with jewels, decorated our walls with them, worn them around our necks…

What is it that draws our hearts to the cross?

The Bible says that we love Him because He first loved us.

I think we are drawn to the cross because it is there that He showed us the extent of His pure, unconditional, unending, indescribable love.

No, the cross of Christ wasn’t lovely. It was “rugged” as the old hymn describes it. Built with rough, splintered wood that was held together by crude nails.

Christ was nailed to it and died the death of a common criminal. How unbelievable He would do this for you and for me.

Yet, Jesus welcomed the cross. He had planned this moment from the beginning. It had all come down to this.

But the cross was no more the end for Jesus than it is for us. 

Coming to the cross with Thanksgiving for the love that put Him there, rejoicing at the open tomb announcing His resurrection, leaving our sin there and following Christ.

That’s just the beginning. 

Let’s celebrate it today. 

He is worthy of all praise. Crown Him with many crowns. Lord of Lords. King of Kings.

The precious  Lamb of God. 

 

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Be That One out of Ten

 

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Luke 17:17- Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”

 

On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus healed ten men who had leprosy. Only one of them came back and thanked Him.

We often forget to thank God, too, even though we have so much to praise Him for—the healing of a physical ailment, provision of a necessity, an unexpected blessing.

The Easter season is often one in which we overlook the purpose, and get caught up in the secular aspects of the day—coloring eggs, putting together the family dinner, buying a new dress…

Let’s not take for granted His Mercy and Grace, His forgiveness of sins and His gift of salvation.

Praise to our Most High God. The author and finisher of our faith.

Thank you, Jesus, for your work on the Cross.

Thank you for the Resurrection and the empty tomb.

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There’s Got to be a Word…

I John 4:9- “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”

 

When I was a young girl growing up, Saturday mornings at our house were designated for cleaning. My favorite chore was dusting. I was able to close my bedroom door and put my favorite 45’s on the record player while tidying up.

One of my favorite songs was “There’s Got To Be A Word” (that means more than “love”). This was a romantic tune that tugged at the heart of every teenage girl in the 60’s. But, as I reminisce of days gone by, I wonder if there might really be a word that does mean more than love, or deepens its meaning, shows love in action

Babe in a Manger  (oops, more than one)

Cross

Immanuel

Nails

Messiah

Resurrection

Savior

Forgiveness

Adoption as Sons (sometimes just one word won’t do)

Mercy

Grace

Jesus

 

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The Cross of Christ

I Corinthians 1:18- “The message of the cross is the Power of God.”   6298781578_b3e7278622

I wear a cross necklace. I rarely take it off. It is a daily reminder to me that Jesus died for my sins.

It is not an amulet. It does not protect me against evil, danger, or disease. It is a symbol of God’s great love for me.

I see crosses on walls in churches and homes. I see them on car windows and tattooed on arms. I see them on rings, bracelets, earrings.

Some are made out of stained glass, some are cast in silver, some made out of barn wood, some even tooled onto leather headbands and wristbands.

I would like to think that the cross is more than a fashion icon, room decor, or body art.

I would like to.

I would also like to think that everyone knows the real meaning of Easter.

I would like to think that everyone has heard the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I would like to.

But, just in case…

The story is a simple one, really.

A story about how God—because of His great love—left Heaven to be born of a virgin and live among men. How, according to His plan and purpose, He allowed men to take his life.

He became the perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind. He gave himself—shed His perfect blood—to make it possible for us to live with Him in heaven for all eternity.

It had to be this way. Because there was no other way.

Because perfect love didn’t say, “I won’t.”

Because perfect love said, “I will.”

The cross?

Its message is the Power of God unto salvation for all who will believe.

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A Free Gift for You

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Luke 3:22- “… and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

 

From her hospital bed, Lois opens a card with a familiar picture of a white dove on the front. The very sight of it warms her heart and reminds her of the peace of God.

Jenny pulls into the parking lot of a hospice thrift shop. She notices a familiar dove symbol on the sign as she enters the building.

Bill buys his wife a new Bible for her birthday. He has her name inscribed onto the leather cover, choosing the symbol of a dove to accent the beautiful printing.

What is it about the dove that makes it a popular symbol among Christians?

Two prominent stories in the Bible involve the dove. One is about the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit descending upon him as a dove.

In Genesis 8, Noah released a dove after the flood. When the bird returned to him, it had an olive leaf in its mouth, letting Noah know there was dry land nearby. Many commentaries consider this as marking the end of God’s judgment and the beginning of a new covenant with man.

What is this “new covenant?” Jesus explained at his last Passover meal that his blood would be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:28). By this, he was affirming that his death and resurrection was the means by which he would bring salvation to all who would believe.

No more would the offering of animal sacrifices be required to cover their sins, a ritual that required repetition on a daily basis. Instead, Jesus would shed his perfect blood once—for all.

A free gift for all who would believe in the Son of God for the forgiveness of sins.

Not because of righteous things that we might do, but because of His great mercy.

He loved us. He gave himself for us.

That we might have eternal life.

May the Holy Spirit descend on you, like a dove, declaring to you the good news of His salvation and the truth of the gospel…

For this reason, He endured the Cross.

 

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Looking Beyond Present Circumstances

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

Both of our children had several recurring cases of planter’s warts when they were youngsters. The removal from the soles of their feet was very painful. After they had been through it once, each subsequent time they begged me not to make them go to the doctor.

I’d explain to them that although uncomfortable, the procedure would bring about the desired result. Once healed, their feet would no longer be tender to walk on. After several minutes of encouragement, they’d wipe away their tears and head for the car.

Once in the doctor’s office, a resurgence of the initial fear would often take place. That’s when I’d hold their hand and talk them through the operation. 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 could identify 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. The good news is that we will not 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. But 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!

 

Brenda

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No More Chains

Lamentations 3: 22,23– “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (NRSV)

When cleaning out a long-forgotten box filled with old books, I came across a copy of Ripley’s Believe it or Not from 1978. As I thumbed through it, I was captivated by a picture of “The Man of Chains” from Lahore, Pakistan.

In the photo, Mohammedan Sahib Allah Shah was dressed in over 670 pounds of chains which he reportedly wore for the last thirteen years of his life, as a penance for his sins. The article told of many similar acts of penance practiced by religious groups around the world.

The Bible tells us that, while we should hate sin and refrain from sinful acts, we can be assured of forgiveness because of the great love and mercy of our Lord. Jesus bore the punishment for our sins when He went to the Cross. Nothing beyond our acceptance of this precious gift from Him is necessary on our part in order to obtain salvation.

No more can the chains of sin bind you and keep you apart from the Father. No more can guilt burden your life. No more need for penance because God’s mercies are new every morning!

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A Simple Act of Faith

Revelation 21:27 – Nothing impure will ever enter it (Heaven)… but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

I watch on television as a news report shows guests arriving at the entrance to a resort hotel for the wedding of two Hollywood celebrities. Each name is checked against an official guest list before they are admitted to the gala affair.

I guess wedding crashing is a common occurrence, as I see a beautifully-dressed couple denied entry. They are escorted off the property by two security guards . Their tears and protests get no sympathy. Their names are simply not on “the list.”

The Bible tells of the Book of Life which contains the names of all of us on earth that have put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. If our names are written there, we will gain entrance to Heaven; if not, we will be turned away.

It is a simple act of faith on our part. It was a huge act of love on His part.

Jesus is the only perfect substitute for payment of our sin. As God’s sacrificial Lamb, He shed His blood on the cross for each of us. The Bible says that if we believe in our hearts that Jesus died on the cross for us and confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, we will be saved.

Be sure that your name is in the Book of Life. If you are unsure, start reading in the book of John…and keep going. Ask God to give you understanding of His Word so that you, too, will someday be able to profess your faith in Christ.

It’s a simple act of faith.

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Lost and Found

Luke 15:8– “What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost’.”

Last week, I lost the cross necklace I had just written about in my blog. I reached up to straighten it’s chain and it was gone. I checked in our bed, the shower, the car, and on the floor of every room in the house. It just wasn’t there. I was devastated!

Yes, I did have another cross I could wear, but I had worn the “lost” cross for more than 15 years. It was precious to me.

“Please God, let me find it!” I asked, fervently. I prayed for Him to shine his light on it…to guide us to wherever it was. Two days later, I rejoiced with a friend when my husband found it atop a roll of carpet we had pulled up in our renovation, glistening as the late morning sun shined on it through a dusty window.

I thought of the lady in the Bible who went around her house looking everywhere for a lost coin. She had other coins, too, but she lit her lamp and rejoiced when she found her lost silver coin. She even called her friends to let them know.

The verse following Luke15:8, above, reminds us that “…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” You and I were the reason for their rejoicing at one time. When we tell others of His love and forgiveness of sins, and they come to Christ, the angels will rejoice with us in their salvation, too!

What better day, than today, to ask God to shine His light onto the heart of a relative or friend? We can all rejoice together that the one that was once lost is, now, “found”!

Brenda

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