spiritualsnippets.com

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

Give Them a Nudge

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Mark 1:14,15- “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

 

I do my grocery shopping on Sunday afternoons following church, assuring my husband has fresh vegetables, fruit, deli meat, and bread for his lunch Monday thru Friday.

As I was entering my favorite supermarket today, I heard part of an announcement for a coupon give-a-way at a specific table at the far end of the store.

I watched as men and women alike, hastily turned their carts in that direction. “That’s worth eight bucks,” I heard someone say.

I’m sure I looked bewildered because someone gave me a nudge and shared the necessary information. “They are giving free rotisserie chickens to the first-twenty-five shoppers!”

What is there about the word FREE that sparks elation in our hearts?

I wonder why Eternal Life, Salvation, and Heaven—free gifts from Jesus—aren’t always met with the same sense of awe and jubilation… 

Is it because people cannot believe such wonderful gifts could be true, I asked God?

For some.

Do others feel they are undeserving? 

Are there some who don’t believe there is a God, so a gift from Him has no basis in their reality?

Maybe there are those who are unrepentant of their sins and want to keep the status quo?

Or, could it possibly be that they simply need to hear the announcement?

Give someone a nudge and tell them the Good News.

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The Cross Was No Accident

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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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The Valley of Decision

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Joel 3:14,15– “Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the Lord will arrive. The sun and moon will grow dark and the stars will no longer shine.”

 

As I read from the book of Joel this week, the words I bolded in verse 14 stood out to me. I immediately felt a burden for those who are at a place in their lives where they must decide whether or not to follow Jesus—those who stand at a crossroads and know that the decision they have put off for so long must finally be faced.

The decision about what to do with Jesus is the most important one in a person’s life.

Who to marry, what car to buy, what job to take, how to discipline children effectively, which health strategy to follow—all are important, to be sure. But once a person realizes their eternal destiny is at stake, all other decisions pale in comparison.

Remember the old adage: Ignorance is Bliss? I would rewrite it to say: Ignorance is False Bliss.

A large percentage of people worldwide live each day for themselves, ignoring the spiritual side of life. Without regard for the eternal, they cling to a false sense of well-being.

But, whether they choose to say to themselves, “There is no God,” or believe God exists, but is  distant and unconcerned with the everyday lives of human beings, or hold to any number of beliefs in-between, the truth according to scripture is that each of us need to make a choice. 

God made His choice when he sent Jesus to the cross to pay for our sins. He chose to give us His gift of eternal life.

Then, he put the ball in our court. We must either accept his gift by placing our future in the hands of Jesus, or reject it. 

For me, that was an easy choice because I knew I wasn’t capable of saving myself.

What about you? 

Are you in the valley of decision today?

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Don’t Be Turned Away at the Gate

 

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Luke 13:28– “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.”

 

An avid watcher of daily newscasts, I saw heart-wrenching photos of immigrants this week reaching the United States borders, only to be turned away. The dream of living in America, it seems, is not going to be a reality for some of them.

There will be many who are turned away at Heaven’s gates, also. It will be a great disappointment for many.

As a Christian, my heart breaks for those who will not spend eternity in Heaven. I feel a great urgency to share the gospel whenever and wherever I can.

There is a familiar Christian song that asks God to break our hearts with what breaks His—and I cannot think of anything that breaks His heart more than knowing that He will have to refuse anyone the blessing of an eternity with Him.

Christians, with our changing culture, more than ever we need to take the commission seriously.

If you are reading this and aren’t a believer, please heed the warnings in the Bible and from your Christian friends. I urge you to make it your mission over the next six months to learn what the Bible has to say about God’s love for you, forgiveness of sins, and His gift of eternal life.

Don’t be turned away at The Gate!

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The Unopened Gift

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If someone told you that they have a Christmas present that they refrain from opening, and that year after year it remains wrapped underneath their tree, you would probably stare at them in disbelief and ask

“Why?”

Good question.

But, wait, do you have a gift you haven’t opened?

I think you know the one I’m talking about.

God gave us a gift when he sent his son, Jesus, to earth. But, have you put off opening your gift? Unsure of what to do with Him…how your life might change if you accepted God’s gift?

What if I told you that there’s not a gift—at any price—that could ever compare to God’s gift?

After all, could there be any better gift than forgiveness of sins…eternal life… unconditional love of Almighty God?

Amazing, huh?

This is a gift so special that you won’t want to exchange it, get a refund, or leave it unopened.

God is reaching out to you with a precious gift.

All you have to do is accept it.

Don’t think you’re worthy?

You’re right.

Not one person that has ever accepted God’s gift has been worthy of it.

Not one person has been able to earn it, either…because it’s a gift.

Right now, I’m asking God to give you the strength to lay your fears aside and reach underneath the tree—that place where you’ve left God’s gift unopened—and give you the courage to accept Jesus, His son, and the salvation that He brings to each of us who BELIEVE.

 

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The Master of “Fake” News

 

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“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Every time I turn on the television, I am bombarded with what we have come to call “fake news”: The President did this or that, a famous person died, someone was secretly married, and so on. Often, we find out the story was totally fabricated.

Some of the lies are fairly easy to spot, but others are more difficult to discern.

Satan is the master of lies, the Bible tells us. And, the lies he wants us to believe are those that affect our eternal lives.

Here are just two examples of his lies that mean the difference between life and death:

The first lie is that there are many ways to get to Heaven.

Oh, it sounds good to some people who want to believe that no one religion or group has all the answers. It may sound plausible to them that as long as we are sincere and do our best, it will turn out well for us in the end.

But, the Bible says that Jesus is the only way to salvation.

Secondly, Satan wants you to think that as long as you believe in something, it’s okay. 

But, God’s word says in Acts 4:12- “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” And, in 1 Timothy 2:5. it says “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

The Bible is not fake news, a scam or a lie.

THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD AND ONE WAY TO GET TO HIM. It is THROUGH JESUS CHRIST ALONE. 

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No More Fear

 

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2 Corinthians 5:1-“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

 

3:00. Time to walk the dog.

We do fine on the first lap around the neighborhood. We meet and greet several others, then go on our way.

It’s not long until Baxter slows down.

When he falls behind, I give a tug on his leash.

The other neighborhood dogs run circles around us, walking proudly out in front of their owners. Baxter is quite a few steps behind me, now. I’m coaxing him along—leading him down the block.

Once home, he curls up on the sofa for his third nap of the day.

Yes, at seventeen, our faithful friend is feeling his age.

Every living thing ages, including pets and humans. We slow down. Sleep more. Eat and socialize less.

We tend to like staying home in familiar surroundings, often in our P.J.’s and slippers.

One day, realize we’re ready. Ready to go home.

We embrace the next phase: joining our Lord and our loved ones in heaven.

We claim the Biblical truth: to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. We don’t fear death because we have the assurance of many scriptures, like the one above.

We claim victory over death because Jesus conquered its hold on us when he defeated Satan at the cross. Our acceptance of eternal life through Christ erases our fear of death and we rejoice as we arrive at our heavenly home.

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Choose Your Own Ending

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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.”

When I taught my creative writing unit to my third graders, I sometimes used what we called “story starters.” These were usually a paragraph or two which “started” a story.

Although the initial paragraphs were typed onto the students’ papers, I usually read them aloud—very dramatically, if I do say so myself—following up with the directions for the students to finish the story, using their imaginations. Afterward, volunteers read their story endings in front of the class or posted them on a bulletin board.

Most students loved creating their own endings. Some were happy, some exciting, some sad. All of the many variations, which had each started from the same initial teacher-written paragraph(s), ended differently.

In real life, we have choices to make which affect the stories of our lives, don’t we?

And, then there’s the ultimate decision—whether or not to follow Christ.

No matter what our personal “story starter” was, we each have the power to choose our own ending.

In my latest book, The Choice, Will Hayes rejects Jesus and later experiences the reality of hell.

It didn’t have to be that way, of course. He could have chosen Christ. He could have chosen life.

I wrote the book as an urgent message to those who have, yet, to make the choice.

The Bible says that God doesn’t want any of us to perish. He gives us the freedom to accept or reject Him.

The ending of our story depends on the choice we make.

Yes, the beginning of our story has already been written, but, we can still experience forgiveness for the less-than-perfect choices that have shaped our lives from that point forward.

We can still be assured of eternal life in Heaven, by accepting Jesus as our Savior.

 

How will your story end?

The choice is yours.

 

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Pink Grass. Really?

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Matthew 7:13– “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

I read about a band of burglars that used little children to facilitate their break-ins of vacation homes. They directed them to enter through small “doggie-doors” and then unlock the doors to the homes so the adults could gain entry.

“If only it were that easy to get into Heaven,” you exclaim.

The Bible says Heaven’s gate is indeed narrow…and that not everyone is willing to listen to God’s instructions and follow Jesus.

Too many take the easy way…hoping to enter through the broad gate…

the way of the world

the way they think is best

the way of non-commitment

the way of denial.

But, the broad gate leads to destruction—an eternity without God!

One of my teachers used to illustrate the freedom of choice like this: a universal truth is  that a certain color is green. Let’s say someone comes along and calls it “pink.” They are welcome say that, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is green.

One can say that good works lead to Heaven, or that just being a nice person will earn them a place there, but that is just like calling the grass “pink.”

God’s Word says that JESUS is THE WAY

to the Father

to salvation

to Heaven.

The Bible says JESUS is the TRUTH

and the LIFE.

Here and now.

Forever and for all eternity.

Choose LIFE.

Choose JESUS.

Enter through the narrow gate.

 

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The Gate

John 14:6- “I (Jesus) am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

I rummage around in the console of my car for the remote control. One push of the button and the gate slowly opens, admitting me to the neighborhood.  Whether operating by a gate code, a special sticker on the car’s front window, or a “clicker”, I’m sure those of you living in gated communities understand if I confess that I still sigh with relief when the gate “recognizes” me and swings wide, granting access to my home.

I am speaking about my earthly home, of course.

But, what about my heavenly home? 25529773694_403d73b5bd

Is it true that some will be admitted to heaven, while others will be turned away?

According to this verse from the book of John, the only access to God and heaven comes through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Christians find peace for their souls and reassurance of eternal life in heaven as they trust Jesus as Savior.

My heart aches for those who have not put their trust in Christ—those who will be turned away at the gate.

Don’t read this and think, “I’m a good person. Surely, God isn’t speaking about me.

The Bible says that God is not a “respecter of persons.”  His laws apply to everyone, no matter their age, nationality, or earthly notoriety.

You may be beautiful in the eyes of the world. You may be smart, generous, and kind to others. You may be a hard worker, a good son or daughter, but if God cannot look at you and see his Son, then you will be left standing alone outside the gate.

YOU are the very reason I write this blog each week.

I pray that you will consider John 14:6 and that, in Christ, you will find the way to your eternal home.

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