spiritualsnippets.com

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

“I Can Read Him Like a Book”

25938206930_c02b565a292 Corinthians 3:2- “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.”

“Don’t let him fool you. I can read him like a book,” my husband said of our son when he was only ten years old. He was sure that he could tell what our son was thinking—what he was up to—by the look in his eyes and the evasive way he answered him. 

Wouldn’t it be a compliment to a Christian to be leading a life so “Christ-like” that others would immediately conclude that he/she was a believer? To be leading a life of truthfulness? Full of forgiveness? Wrapped in love for others? A life of service?

I’ve met Christians like that. In word and action, so open and gentle in their manner that there is no doubt as to the authenticity of their faith.

It is my hope, in 2019, that I would become more and more like Christ. That others would see Christ living in me.

That I might be an open book, easily “read” and recognized by everyone as a child of the Most High God.

Advertisements
1 Comment »

Meeting Your Zacchaeus

31118050408_fb7e161d30

 

Luke 19: 1-4 “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him …”

 

Each time the lady in front of Billie leaned over to make a comment to her husband, Billie had to reposition herself so that she could see the speaker.

Dan was shorter than the other guys around him, so he wasn’t able to see all of the members in the band as they performed.

Billie and Dan had a similar experience to that of Zacchaeus. They couldn’t see who they wanted to see. 

In the Bible story, Zacchaeus and Jesus (whom he climbed a tree to see) end up spending time together. Zacchaeus repents of his sins and experiences forgiveness.

I don’t know what Zacchaeus expected to happen that day (scripture only says that he wanted to see who Jesus was), but our Lord knew he’d be up in that tree. He had a message for him and Zacchaeus responded.

Sometimes, the days just don’t unfold according to our plans. Sometimes God has something different in mind for us. Perhaps he wants us to listen to someone’s troubles, deliver a meal we hadn’t planned on making, give a blanket to a needy person. 

Whatever the case … whatever the circumstance … wherever He leads …

There just may be a Zacchaeus in our lives waiting for us to share the message of forgiveness and grace.

 

Leave a comment »

Restored

36872576442_3f415a4e15

Matthew 26:28- “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

 

We experienced a huge Monsoon storm in the middle of last week. It began with a gentle breeze blowing as I left my Bible Study group at 8:00 p.m. About ten minutes down the road, it began to rain. It was a full-fledged storm by the time I neared home.

I entered my neighborhood to find that the power had gone out. That meant I had to run from my driveway around the house to the front door, since my non-working electric opener prevented me from pulling into the dry garage.

My umbrella bent in the strong wind, so that by the time I got the door to the house open I was drenched. My hair, cut and styled earlier that day, was sopping wet. My shoes and legs were muddy. My hallway, littered with grass and twigs.

I was a total mess. The face that had looked passable enough to me to take a “selfie” a few hours before, now needed a good scrubbing.

Power was finally restored around 2 a.m.

Have you ever felt wonderfully clean inside after you partake of communion at church? After you spend time in quiet reflection, confession of sins, and then experience the feeling of being totally forgiven? And, for those few moments following, as you listen intently to the sermon, feeling so much closer to God…without that load of sin between you and Him?

Then, before you know it, your mind wanders and you think a sinful thought? Or, you get all the way to the car before making an unkind remark to your spouse?

You suddenly find yourself in that sin-confession cycle once again…in need of cleansing…going before the throne and asking for forgiveness…wanting to be in right relationship with the Heavenly Father…knowing that although you mean well, you are human and will mess up many more times? 

The good thing is that He is willing to forgive and restore us each time we come to Him with a humble and contrite heart. We don’t have to wait for communion Sunday or until 2:00 a.m. 

We have access to the Father—and his cleansing grace—twenty-four seven!

1 Comment »

A Little Lesson on LOVE

imageedit_246_9535150375

Matthew 5:44- “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

 

I have a new logo—a heart, with the words, “Stories of Forgiveness” inside.

Each of my three Christian Suspense Fiction books has been about something different: abuse, unbelief/pride of self, and bullying. However, the central characters all experience healing because they learn to FORGIVE.

Forgiveness has the power to transform lives. No matter who we are or what our background may be, we can each find joy, power, and freedom in forgiveness.

But what about love (you know, the heart in the logo) how does that tie in?

Some people are not so lovable. People who hate, curse, and persecute you are especially hard to be nice to. However, God says we are to do more than that—we are told to love them.

Many years ago, my pastor told me that praying for someone that had “rubbed me the wrong way” would allow The Holy Spirit to work in my heart and make it possible for me to actually come to love that person.

So, I put Matthew 5:44 to the test. Over the period of a year (it is not a one-prayer process) I found that I actually came to understand and care for the other person.

And, yes, forgiveness followed.

2 Comments »

What Do You Think He Wrote?

594913302_018ee3cef5

My husband and I recently went to a Christian movie. In it, a local church puts on a play. One of the Bible stories it portrays is the story of a woman who is brought to Jesus with the allegation that she has committed adultery.

Punishable by stoning, Jesus directs that anyone who was sinless should cast the first stone.

When the story started, however, we read that Jesus was writing with his finger on the ground (in dirt, or sand, I am not sure).

Since scripture doesn’t reveal just what it was that Jesus was writing, it has been the subject of many debates over the years.

In the movie, the character of Jesus writes the word “GRACE.”

In reality, he may have been writing something quite different. He might have been simply doodling. We just don’t know.

However, because in the verses that follow Jesus offers the woman forgiveness, the word “grace” aptly fits this situation.

It is the same unmerited favor…the same undeserved pardon he offers us.

Grace.

Leave a comment »

Father, I’m Home!

15438513498_643fc7c4fa

 

Luke 15: 22-24 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

 

A soldier returns from battle.

A college student comes home for Christmas vacation.

A woman meets her birth mother for the first time.

Two friends reconnect after many years apart.

An estranged couple remarries.

Each scenario is a reason for rejoicing, isn’t it?

 

We don’t know the heartbreaking stories that lie behind each one, but we do feel the happiness in the reunions, don’t we?

We celebrate with each of those brought back together.

Relationships are mended and new memories can be made…

Hearts are joyous once again.

Although the word prodigal refers to someone who has spent money or resources recklessly or wastefully, that is not my “takeaway” from this Bible story.

Let’s focus on the fact that people were brought back together AND that relationships were restored.

Sometimes this happens simply because people return home after a time away, as in the case of the student and friends, above.

Other times, reconnections involve the element of forgiveness.

The prodigal son had wasted away his inheritance. He needed his father’s forgiveness. He humbled himself, seeking the restoration of their relationship.

God included this story in the Bible, I am convinced, to remind us that He forgives us…restores our relationship with Him…and that He wants us to follow His example in our own lives.

Is there someone in need of your forgiveness?

Or, is it you that needs the forgiveness of another?

In order for that to happen, two things must take place:  ~a humble, contrite heart of the one seeking forgiveness.  ~a willingness of the other to extend forgiveness.

In your case, it may not be an earthly relationship that needs mending. It may be your relationship with God that is in need of restoration.

If so, run to your heavenly father.

Let Him place the ring on your finger…

the robe on your shoulders…

and rejoice that you have returned home.

Experience anew what it is like to be wrapped in God’s grace!

Leave a comment »

Do You Know What Will Happen Tomorrow?

26878700942_42a380f77f

 

James 4:14- “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

A friend of ours passed out while driving last week. His car hit a transformer and went up in flames. He was pulled out of the vehicle just in time. Praise God, he didn’t have a scratch on him!

As I thought about this miracle, the verse above came to mind. Even though we may say, “See you tomorrow” to our friends and family, none of us knows if that will be true or if a tragedy might claim our life.

That’s why it is so important that each of us is prepared to meet God. One day, we will either stand before Him, forgiven by the blood of Jesus, or guilty and without excuse.

Now is the time to get right with God.

Choose Jesus. We “…do not even know what will happen tomorrow.”

Choose Eternal Life in Heaven. We “…are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

Choose the miracle of forgiveness.

Leave a comment »

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

 

24242736756_af66576fbc

1 Comment »

Will He Call Your Name?

Revelation 21:27- Nothing impure will ever enter it (heaven) , nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

The National Football League held their yearly drafting of eligible football players last Thursday night. It is the NFL’s most common source of player recruitment. Each team is given a position in the drafting order and can use it to select a player, trade their position, or in several other options.

Currently consisting of seven rounds, the first player chosen is most likely given the highest paying contract, reflecting the fact that he is the most sought after player and deemed the one with the most potential.

Just imagine what it must have been like for these young men to learn that they were in the draft and for them to sit, waiting on Thursday night, to hear their names called—to be chosen for the coming season by a prestigious NFL team.

Some of you may be able to identify with their emotions because you, too, may have waited—or may be currently waiting—to hear if you have been selected as the chairperson of a committee, if your painting received the blue ribbon, if your book or song will get major recognition, if your recipe is voted as the most delicious, and so on.

I recall a song they used to sing quite often in church when I was a child. It was called “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder (I’ll Be There)” This, of course, refers to the fact that Jesus will open the Book of Life in heaven and present the names written there to God. As Christians, I’m sure that none of us can imagine a list we would rather be on!

So, how does one get their name written in this Book of Life? Pay a fee? Perform an unusual feat? Help society in some way? Follow on the coat tails of ancestors?

What if I told you there is NOTHING you can do? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Why?

Someone already did it for you. All you need to do is acknowledge the gift and follow the giver. It is so simple; yet, millions will miss it.

You see, prior to Jesus dying on the cross, God had a system of laws in place. Those who broke the law were to use a sacrificial system, requiring the blood of animals to “cover” each individual’s sin. The problem was, they had to keep sacrificing because—you guess it—they kept sinning. Thus began a vicious sin-sacrifice cycle.

When God gave his son, Jesus, as the only perfect sacrifice for man’s sins, He did away with the prior sacrificial system once and for all because sins were not just covered—they were forgiven.

Jesus was able to end the sin-sacrifice cycle because His blood—and only his blood—wasn’t tainted by sin. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23-25 “ “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith by all who believe.

So, that is our part in the story of forgiveness. We must confess our sins and receive our new life in Christ by putting our faith in Him. We read in 1John 1:9 that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

So you see, our sin is a barrier to the relationship God wants to have with us—so much so that He was willing to sacrifice his own Son for us. On the third day, God raised him up in victory over sin and death. Our part is to put our faith in Jesus. When we do, we will not only have our sins forgiven and lead a life on earth that is in relationship with our Heavenly Father, but we will be assured of eternal life in heaven, as well!

When the Book of Life is opened, will He call your name?

2 Comments »

What’s In the Bucket?

1 John 5:11b-13: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

My husband and I saw a rather intense movie this afternoon. We rode home in quiet contemplation, each of us lost in our own thoughts.

When we arrived home, he went outside to do yard work and I grabbed my shopping list and headed to the car for my weekly trip to the grocery store.

As was just about to pull away from the house, when my husband walked up to me with a bucket in his hand. “Guess what is in this bucket?” He held it out toward me. “Go ahead, look.” He smiled and gestured for me to come closer.

Hunkered down in the corner was a brown baby bunny! My heart soared and my tenseness faded away. This precious example of new life changed my countenance in an instant!

What is it about new life that lifts our spirits…give us hope?

The Bible says that we can have a new life, in Christ, when we acknowledge Him as our Savior and accept His forgiveness of our sins.

Our hearts will soar when we give up the things of the past—the sins that weigh so heavily on us—and let Jesus claim the victory over them!

Romans 6:14 says that sin will no longer have dominion over us, but instead we will have newness of life.

May the God of all hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him. (Romans 15:13)

Brenda

1 Comment »

%d bloggers like this: