spiritualsnippets.com

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

Finding Strength in Promises

 

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Romans 4:20– “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God.”

 

 

I live in the desert southwest. One of my favorite plants is the Ocotillo cactus. But, they can be very finicky. If the soil or sunlight is not to their liking, they simply won’t grow.

We have planted several in the past and while our neighbors boast leafy ones with bright red flowers, we have never had one to leaf out. Ours look like dry… gray… dead.

We decided to try again. We planted one  prominently out front.

We followed the directions from the nursery salesman and waited.

I even prayed over the five-foot “sticks” and we continued our vigil.

As I passed by our living room window last week, I stopped dead in my tracks. Could it be a tiny red bud at the top of one of the arms? I rushed outside to get a better look.

Yes. There it was!

And, then this morning… behold, a second.

Now, Ocotillos leaf out, first, and then flower. But, not ours. We now have two flowers atop our non-leafy plant, which I call our “flowers of promise—our assurance of a healthy plant that will someday leaf out!

The Bible is full of God’s promises for those who love Him. In fact, my research shows that there are 7,487 promises that God has made to humans. Among them are: wisdom to Solomon; a son for Sarah and Abraham, eternal life for those who believe; the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for believers; and thousands more have been given and thousands already fulfilled!

The verse above refers to Abraham. I like it because it says he didn’t waiver through unbelief. He was strengthened when he received God’s promise.

The Bible is full of promises for us who love HIM. So, when we are discouraged or feel like giving up, we can turn to the scriptures and be refreshed by claiming His promises for ourselves and our situations.

Don’t waiver. Be strengthened!

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Giving Thanks for a Stroke

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Genesis 45:4-8a “Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” 

 

We had just arrived at our New Year’s brunch destination when my sister called to inform us that our brother-in-law had a stroke and had been admitted to the hospital.

You may have received one of these drop-to-your-knees-and-pray phone calls at some point in your life, also. And, hopefully, it was followed a little later by another one saying that your loved one was doing fine—a full recovery expected.

However, in this case, after hearing that good news, further testing detected a serious heart problem.

We prayed, of course, about this new health-related difficulty, but we also had cause for praise and Thanksgiving for the stroke. Without it, the heart complication might not have been diagnosed—until it was too late.

So, the silver lining to the cloud is that now my brother-in-law can see a specialist and perhaps undergo life-saving surgery.

Genesis tells the story of Joseph’s brothers. They sold him into slavery, but he found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the end his father and brothers were allowed to settle in Goshen and avoid the devastating effects of a severe famine. The brothers had evil intentions that guided their actions, but God used their actions to put Joseph in a position to save many lives.

Be encouraged today. The situation you now find yourself in—the health scare, the misunderstanding among friends, the financial setback—may be a blessing in disguise.

Our Heavenly Father, our Healer, our friend knows our present and future needs and is able to supply them in accordance with His will.

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Are Your Feet Beautiful?

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Romans 10:15b- “As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

 

I am sure you have heard in the last few weeks about missionaries who have been captured and/or killed by the very people that they wanted to reach with the message of Jesus.

They didn’t stay in the comfort of their own homes. They didn’t enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with their friends and loved ones.

They went to a myriad countries around the world to preach the gospel—the Good News—to those who haven’t heard.

They were selfless…obedient…servants of The Most High God.

Some were tortured. Many lost their lives.

The Holy Spirit led. They followed—without regard for their own safety or well-being.

Most of us cannot imagine giving up what they have for the cause of Christ.

Hands serving…feet going…

God calls all Christians to a life of service to others. 

I see it everywhere I look: on street corners and in front of stores, Salvation Army volunteers ring their bells; church members add their gifts to the benevolent fund at church; people donate meals; others mow lawns; still others make blankets for those who are ill or those in need of winter warmth.

We aren’t all called to serve in far off countries. We only need to look around us to find ways of serving in our own communities.

Whether you choose to work in a soup kitchen or a non-profit thrift store; whether you can devote an hour or an entire day; if you are serving others in Jesus’s name, you are acting as His hands and feet here on earth.

 

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No Requirements

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Romans 5:8- “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

Please join the choir. No talent required. 

I was excited to read these words in our church bulletin. Let’s just say that if they’d hold auditions based on talent, I wouldn’t have a chance. 

Oh, I do like to sing along with the car radio, and once in awhile in the shower. I do worship in song from my seat in church.

But, up front and center? Behind a microphone? Oh, no, that would never happen.

Most choirs, I was sure, would never “accept” me. But, the call for new members for the church choir said no one would be refused.

Maybe I would go to that first practice on Wednesday night…

Even though a lot of things in life must be earned, we don’t need to be talented, perfect, or beautiful to be accepted by God. We don’t have to do a certain number of good works or fulfill specific requirements.

Membership in God’s family is “come as you are.” Even though we are sinners, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

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Identity Crisis

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Romans 8:15b-17a you received the spirit of sonship as God’s adopted children. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are His children, then we are His heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…”

 

As I picked up my online order at the Walmart counter, I was asked to show my driver’s license to verify my identity.

My husband has “Ask for ID” written on the back of his credit cards. 

Passports, birth certificates, fingerprints, passwords on various accounts—all in an effort to assure others that we are who we say we are.

Some people suffer from an identity crisis, unsure of their role in life. They say they don’t know the “real them.”

Our identity here on earth includes more than just our name, age, etc. It is also our values, our beliefs, and our personality…the roles we play in our community and our families.

But, as Christians, our identity is “who we are in Christ.” We have been adopted into God’s family. We are brothers and sisters who are heirs to all that God has, through Christ. As Co-Heirs to the Kingdom of God, we share in all the status, rights, and privileges of His beloved son, Jesus. 

We never have to worry that our identity will ever change or be challenged. Those who have faith in Christ belong to HIM.

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Taking Time

 

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Ecclesiastes 3:1– “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

 

My husband said to me recently, “You’re always busy. Why don’t you ever take time to just sit and relax a little?”

As I visited with my mother later in the week, she gave me a poem she had cut out of the newspaper some fifty years ago, entitled, “Take Time.”

“God,” I said as I drove toward home, “are you trying to tell me something?”

So, just in case He might be speaking to you about the busyness of your own life, I will include “Mom’s” simple poem:

                           Take Time

Take time to live; it is one secret to success.

  Take time to think; it is the source of power.

Take time to play; it is the secret of youth.

                   Take time to read; it is the foundation of knowledge.

                    Take time for friendship; it is the source of happiness.

Take time to laugh; it helps to lift life’s load.

                                          Take time to dream; it hitches the soul to the stars.

                                          Take time for God; it is life’s only lasting investment. 

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The Shade at My Right Hand

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                                      Psalm 121: 5-8 – “The Lord watches over you—

                                  the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

                                     the sun will not harm you by day,

                                nor the moon by night.

                                    The Lord will keep you from all harm—

                                he will watch over your life;

                                    the Lord will watch over your coming and going

                                both now and forevermore.”

 

I have had a lot of trouble, recently, with my eyes. Out of necessity, I purchased a pair of expensive sunglasses that were invented especially for surfers. They block out glare when sunlight hits waves.

The sunglasses do help me, but I find I still need to stay indoors as much as possible, or at least out of direct sunlight.

So, when I came upon a two-mile stretch of roadwork-related delays last week, I found myself looking for a way out of the traffic jam. However, I was hemmed in by barricades on one side and fellow travelers in front of me, in back of me, and in the lane to my right. With my eyes burning from the glare and tears flowing down my cheeks, I prayed to God for something—anything—that would offer relief. 

When the traffic light turned red, the flow of vehicles came to a halt. As I stopped my car, I found it was shaded by the only tree on that block! 

The light turned green and I was able to make it into the next block before the traffic light ahead turned red. Again, my car was shaded by a tree growing in the median!

As I thanked God for the second tree, I was reminded of Psalm 121. The Lord was surely watching over me. 

He was—and is—the shade at my right hand!

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The Great “I AM”

 

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Exodus 3:14- “And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.”

 

A friend was relating his son’s experience taking “Spanish” instruction last semester. He said the difficulty was with conjugating verb tenses.

I remember taking Spanish in high school, myself, and doing drills on verb tenses: I was. I am. I will be…and so on—words denoting past, present, and future states.

God refers to himself the I AM. Tenses don’t apply to Him since He has always existed, He exists now, and He always will. 

He has no beginning and no end.

He will always be there for you.

He’s unchanging. He’s 100% committed to you. 

You’ve no need to wonder, worry, or fret.

You can count on the one who loved you before you even came into being—the one who will love you throughout all eternity…

Because

He is The Great I AM. 

 

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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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A Glimpse of Heaven

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1 Corinthians 2:9-  “…What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

 

 

Mom’s eyes were filled with tears when she recounted last’s night’s dream.

“I didn’t want to come back,” she sobbed.

“What do you mean? Come back from where?” I held her hand and brushed the soft gray hair away from her face.

“From Heaven. It was so beautiful. I just wanted to stay there forever.”

I slid my chair closer. “What was it like?”

“Oh. I-I-I don’t know how to explain it.” She paused, a faraway look in her eyes. “It was all laid out before me. It went on forever. And, all the colors. I’ve never seen colors like that before. The jewels—they sparkled like… Oh, it was so wonderful. I want to go back.”

I thanked God for the little glimpse of Heaven given to my dear mother who is now experiencing the last stages of Alzheimer’s—and for the reassurance given to me as she spoke those words just a few days ago.

Not that we necessarily want this life to end, but most Christians would say that they, too, look forward to Heaven.

Streets of gold, colors beyond description…

Although we may imagine what it will be like, our human brains cannot even conceive of its magnificence.

Jesus will be there and I cannot even begin to understand what it will be like to be in His presence, to sit at His table, and talk with Him face to face.

For now, though, I’ll just have to be content to dream along with Mom.

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