spiritualsnippets.com

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

Have You Heard It All Before?

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Proverbs 1:5- “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—”

 

When Nancy heard the door open, she pushed herself to a sitting position from the sofa where she slept waiting for her son’s safe return.

She glanced at her watch. One o’clock. 

He had overstayed his curfew again. 

“Jake—”

“Not now, Mom. I’ve heard it all before.”

“That’s the problem, son. You hear me speaking, but you don’t really listen. Listening requires that you not only receive the sound, but you also understand my words.”

Many times I have felt the same way when hearing a sermon.

I may have heard the Biblical account before…even read it myself multiple times over the years. 

Then, one day, a word or phrase stands out. Perhaps there is a different emphasis. A unique illustration of a major concept or theme.

And then…

behold

it has a new, deeper meaning as I listen to the message God has for me.

When I open myself to not just hearing, but listening, I am able to gain more understanding.

God’s Word blesses my soul.

As I listen, He speaks to my heart.

 

 

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The Torn Veil

 

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

 

With movie theaters closed, many of us are watching movies at home on our televisions. Some are new releases. Some are old classics.

One such well-known movie is The Godfather.

The screenwriter used a number of ways to build the character’s (Vito Corleone, the crime boss and head of the “family”) importance.

One of them was to show that Vito was inaccessible but to only a few select people. Those who wanted to talk with him,  had to go through an enforcer, first—each and every time.

I thought about this as I read my morning devotional and spent time in prayer with God.

Amazing as it is, The God of the universe is totally accessible to Christians.

There is no title we must have. No secret knock. No certain time of day that He is to be approached.

When Jesus died on the cross, the veil of the Temple was torn. Access to the Holy of Holies was given to believers.

We don’t need to go through an intercessor, or enforcer. We can talk with Him anytime we’d like. 

Because once we come to the Father through Jesus Christ, His forgiveness of our sins makes a relationship with Him possible.

 

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If We Only Ask

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I Timothy 2:8- “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.”

 

With a deep sigh, I turn off the television and head down the dark hall to the bedroom. I drop into my comfortable reading chair, place my elbows on my knees, and rest my head in my hands.

“Lord, so many people are hungry and out of work. So many are protesting…rioting…looting. Violence is all around. And, then there’s the virus. Thousands are ill… dying. What do you want to happen? What do you want Christians to do?”

PRAY

“Sure. Okay. But—”

PRAY

I pick up my Bible and turn to I Timothy.

There it is, confirmed by the scriptures. 

God doesn’t want us to be angry or get frustrated or depressed.

He simply wants us to do the obvious…

What he has taught us to do.

He will take care of us… the world…

He will show His might and power.

If we only but ask.

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Follow the Red Arrows

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Psalm: 18:32- “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.”

 

I was looking forward to shopping at one of my favorite stores this week. I entered the doors, greeted by a masked worker who pointed to the red arrows on the floor and sent me on my way. 

Later, at a new burger and shake shop, there were still more new regulations to follow.

My final stop was at a furniture store where my temperature was taken and I was told to wait in line outside because I hadn’t called ahead for a “personalized” appointment.

Such are life’s changes due to Covid-19.

Reflecting on my day, it seems to me that my new approach to public interaction must be to simply follow the directions of each and every business as they individually try to cope with the “new normal” in their own way.

Directions are intended to keep us safe.

God has our best interests at heart, too. That’s why he gave us His Word.

Unlike us, who are taking it one day at a time and doing our best to comply with new regulations and procedures as they evolve, God sees everything from beginning to end. 

We can trust in His guidance 100% of the time.

Walking according to His direction will keep us safe and secure. 

 

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The Ultimate Acknowledgment

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Romans 14:11– “As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

 

“How did you and your lab partner do on your project?” I asked my son as he came through the door.

“I don’t get it, Mom. He and I did the project together. I worked just as hard as he did. But, the teacher gave him a “97” and me an “84.”

Acknowledgement. We want someone to validate the efforts we make, don’t we?

I thought back to my son’s comments of over three decades ago as I watched the evening news, yesterday.

Wanting to hear many different perspectives on the coronavirus, I have been watching newscasts on several different networks.

With the exception of Christian channels, I have yet to hear one person give any credit to God for holding our world together, for any healings, for advances in testing, for anything.

But, be of good cheer, The Bible tells us, one day He will be acknowledged—by every single soul.

Until then, He hears the words of His Father echo throughout all eternity: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

 

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One Out of Ten

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Luke 17: 16-18: “He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”

 

Christians all over the world have been praying for an end to the fires in Australia—asking God to send rain.

Last week, He did just that.

He sent rain AND hail.

How many of us pour out our hearts to God, only to “forget” to offer thanks when our prayers are answered?

A friend is healed from an illness.

A wayward child returns home.

Funds are provided to pay for unexpected bills.

In Luke, ten lepers are healed, but only one returns to thank Jesus.

Although there are scriptures reminding us to pray to The Lord to supply our needs (He wants to give His children good things), we are also told that giving thanks is the appropriate response.

 

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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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A VERY LOUD Horn

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Psalm 34:4- “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

 

Each summer, our family made our trek to see our Grandparents and extended family back east. As it got closer to the time of the trip, I would grow more and more anxious about traveling over the Arizona mountains. I learned to pray for our safety in the days leading up to our vacation.

The one lane road over the Salt River Canyon (which was reconstructed and widened some years ago) had countless switchbacks and when another vehicle approached, coming from the opposite direction, Dad would need to pull to the side as far as possible in order to let the other car pass.

On one such trip, when Dad fell asleep at the wheel, a semi-trucker blew his horn to wake him just in the nick of time. It was then that I became a true believer in the importance of praying in all circumstances. 

All six of us had been sleeping, but God was watching over us and sent a huge eighteen-wheeler with a VERY LOUD horn to warn our father of impending danger.

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Finding Refuge

 

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Psalm 62:8- “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.”

 

A family vacationing abroad was recently thrust into a situation of international intrigue. They felt alone and isolated, due in part that they did not speak the language of the host country.

They turned to the American embassy, seeking safety and shelter from pursuit of dangerous foreigners.

There are times when we, too, may feel things/people are coming against us. 

Where can we turn… to whom should we turn?

Psalm 62:8 reminds us that we can cry out to the Lord “at all times.” We can pour out our hearts to our heavenly father.

He wants us to find our refuge in Him.

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He Has Your Back

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                            I Peter 5:7– “Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you.”

 

Do you find yourself worrying about things?

Are there times you are fearful? Anxious?

Would it surprise you if I told you that worry and fear aren’t from God?

God really does want us to live a life in which we trust that He is in control and will take care of us.

I Peter 5:7 tells us that God has “got our back.”

He supplies our needs as we trust Him day-by-day. 

This week, I experienced an instance of this happening in my own life as my siblings and I faced a medical crisis with my father. 

In the moments following an accident, he brought us together to comfort and counsel with each other. We drew strength from God—and each other. And, behind the scenes was a network of prayer partners from my church and neighborhood.

How grateful I am for each one of these individuals who were supplied by God to be His hands and His feet here on earth as my father’s life was in crisis. 

Whether it is a financial, emotional, or spiritual need you have, remember God wants you to reach out for Him. 

Because He cares for you!

 

 

 

 

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