spiritualsnippets.com

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

Transformation: On the Inside

Romans 12: 2a- “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

A new prescription pill is on the market, targeting individuals with mental issues. I perked up when I heard these words: “You cannot change what goes on in the world, but you can change what goes on inside you.” (Perhaps not a perfect quote because I wrote it down later).

As believers, we can change a lot of what goes on inside us. Developing the daily habit of prayer and spending time in the Word are key to “renewing our mind.”

And we must guard our hearts and minds. That’s a matter of monitoring what goes into us—the visual, oral, and auditory.

Movies. Conversation. Music. Books.

It’s been over fifteen years ago that I began to listen exclusively to Christian radio. Now, granted many of the secular songs on the radio are beautiful and there is nothing wrong with them, per se. However, I found that often the commercials and commentary were often chocked full of negativism and sexist remarks that I knew held the potential for keeping my mind off things “above.” 

Over the years, I have developed a “filter,” making it possible for me to “guard my heart and mind.” The Holy Spirit has changed my mind and my desires, just as Christ promised.

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Time for a Change

Isaiah 57:15- “For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’.

The day before her haircut appointment, Jana studied herself in the mirror.

She’d worn the same hairstyle for the past decade. Time for a change.

But that would only be an external change.

She also longed for an internal change.

For years, she’d been struggling with a critical spirit toward a certain individual.

She prayed to the Holy Spirit to change her attitude toward her friend, to grant her a forgiving spirit where she was concerned. 

Because, just like only her hair stylist could change her hairstyle, she knew only the Holy Spirit could change her heart.

It might not be pleasant. She knew from past experience that it might even be painful. But she longed for the joy was that was missing from their relationship.

Over the next few months, Jana continued to pray. Slowly things began to change and the joy in their friendship returned.

Do you need to make some kind of internal change? The Holy Spirit longs to revive your spirit and give you joy, too! 

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Need a Little Nudge?

James 4:17– “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

Brad’s wife worried when he was an hour late coming home from work. When he did arrive, he lied and said he had a flat tire instead of where he had actually been.

Sins of commission are sinful actions that are done on purpose, such as lying and cheating.

Rachel knew a family that needed food, but she failed to offer them money or groceries. 

A sin of omission is a sin that takes place when one fails to do what he knows is right. 

The Holy Spirit nudges Christians toward right behavior. He speaks to our hearts, convincing us to step out in faith and follow His lead.

The key to determining whether a sin is one of omission is if we know what we should do, but don’t act on it.

If we listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him guide our actions, we will know the right things to do and we will be able to encourage each other to do them!

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Comfort and Compassion

Isaiah 49:13- “Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord comforts his people and has compassion on his afflicted.

I currently have two friends battling cancer and one who recently lost a loved one to Covid-19. In all three cases, these Christians tell me that they feel much closer to God now than at any other time in their lives.

Why?

Could it be that they realize they do not have control over these situations and so rely on the one true God for help and comfort?

Maybe they are spending more time in prayer and in reading the scriptures, such as  

Deuteronomy 31:8- “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Or, this one from 2 Corinthians, chapter one, verse 3- “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.”

He’s not a God on a lofty throne who has no idea what we are going through. His Word tells us that Jesus came to earth as a man and suffered many of the same things we do. He is well-acquainted with suffering and so He has given us His Holy Spirit to bring us comfort like no one else can. 

My friends have found the Holy Spirit to be compassionate… loving… understanding… and comforting.

No matter what the circumstances, He is there for His children.

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His Radiance

John 14:9– “Jesus saith unto him, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?’”

Hearing songs like, “My Father’s Eyes” and “Let Me Be Like You”, remind us that the songwriters were inspired by the desire to see the lost from God’s perspective.

I’m sure you have heard the phrase “Be the Hands and Feet of Jesus”…fulfill the great commission. If one sees a sister or a brother in need, help them as Jesus would. 

We should live our lives in such a way that others see Christ living in us. Our speech and actions should reflect those of our Heavenly Father.

What a privilege it is for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus, as His representatives, here on earth…to do the work he has left us to do. To spread love, mercy, and kindness wherever we go.

Have you ever met someone who just “glows” with the radiance of Christ’s love? I ‘d like to be that someone. How about you?

With the power of the Holy Spirit working within us, we can be. As we let Him control our lives and actions, we will be.

It goes deeper than a beautiful smile. It is the outward radiance of our inward relationship with the Father—living in such a way that others recognize the Father’s presence when they are around us.

As ambassadors for Christ, we can show His love by actions that are worthy of calling ourselves Christians…Christ followers…earthy representatives of our Heavenly Father.

There’s someone out there who needs a helping hand or a word of encouragement today. 

Maybe they need to hear the gospel. 

When our paths cross, let’s make sure that when they see us, they see The Father. 

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Sweeter Than Honey

Psalm 119:103- “How sweet are Your words to my taste; Sweeter than honey to my mouth.”

Bibles can be purchased in a vast array of styles, covers, print options, sizes, and so on. In fact, many of us have several copies: thin, New Testament only, study Bibles. Some zip, others have handles, some children’s Bibles sparkle—variations abound. 

Because the Bible is so accessible, so plentiful, many of us take it for granted. 

However, there are some countries where seeing a copy of the Bible is a rarity. And whether that is because of poverty or lack of religious freedom, the Bible is revered as the precious Word of God that it truly is. If those people had an opportunity to see—even touch—a Bible, it would cause quite a stir. 

Glance in the direction of your bookshelf or bedside table and see the miracle displayed there in the form of a book inspired by the Holy Spirit. 

Now open it to Psalm 119:103. Meditate, along with the psalmist, on the words written there. In the wonder of the moment, imagine the words to be as sweet on your own tongue, as they were to him when he penned them. 

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Twenty Seconds Well Spent

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Psalm 55:17- “Evening and morning and at noon will I pray to the Lord, and cry aloud and he will hear my voice”

 

I am learning a lot as I spend an increased amount of “alone time” here at home.

The first thing I learned is that I’m not alone. I feel a deep and abiding joy as the Holy Spirit ministers to me.

The biggest thing I am learning is the importance of prayer in the life of believers. He is teaching me not just how to pray, but actually to pray more often and in every circumstance—for family, friends, and the people of the world.

Here’s an idea I’d like to pass along: as you spend your twenty seconds of hand washing time over the course of the day, send up a prayer and praise to the Heavenly Throne each and every time.

That’s it.

Nothing earth-shaking.

Or is it?

I can tell you, it’s rocking my world!

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Is Your Heart Troubled?

 

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                                          John 14:1a- “Let not your hearts be troubled…”

 

One of the talk shows I watch regularly ends with this encouragement from the scriptures: “Let not your hearts be troubled.” 

The need for solace and peace is abundantly clear as each day’s news is presented and analyzed.

Couple that with our own personal problems and no wonder more people suffer from anxiety.

A mound of bills to pay, family relationships falling apart, health issues.

So how do we find true peace in these uncertain times?

First, rely on the Holy Spirit to bring us peace…the deep peace within that knows God is in control; not the peace that we feel we can create ourselves because that peace doesn’t last.

Second, rely on the encouragement of the scriptures and other believers. Renew our thoughts and minds, speaking the words aloud in moments of apprehension.

Thirdly, pray right away when the need arises. And keep praying throughout the day. Pour out your fears to Jesus. Lay your burdens at his feet. And, once you feel your anxieties lift, resist the desire to take them back up again and worry about them. 

Claim victory over them in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

 

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Perfection, Holiness, or Both?

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Matthew 5:48- “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

I recently wrote a blog for authors about how similar words—even synonyms—have slight differences in meaning.

After I finished writing, I thought about the words holy and perfect, which have long been linked together in my mind. God instructs us to be perfect, but since he knows that we are human and can never be perfect, I figure He must not consider these words to be synonymous.

I looked up holy in the dictionary: dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred morally and spiritually excellent.

Next, perfect: having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be; free from any flaw or defect in condition or quality; faultless; precisely accurate; exact.

I focused on the words “good as it is possible to be,” remembering that the Bible tells us that our own righteousness is like “filthy rags” in comparison to His righteousness AND that He promises to present believers faultless before the throne of God.

So, I determined that any perfection we might attain is due to the workings of the Holy Spirit within us. Not what we can do on our own. 

I looked again at the definition of holy, realizing that we must dedicate ourselves to God and His purpose. It is the Holy Spirit who will do the work in making us perfect. (In God’s sight, of course! Remember, when He looks at us, He sees His perfect Son, our savior, Jesus Christ.)

So, there it is. I can only be holy—I can only be perfect—if I am willing to be changed for His purposes by the Holy Spirit.

 

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The Father of Compassion

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2 Corinthians 1:3-4  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

 

The word father refers to the male person who is the source of life for his offspring. But, the term father is so much more than simply referring to procreation, the physical act.

It is a man who gives care and protection to his offspring.

Someone who begins or originates an idea or work is also referred to as a father. For, instance, we say that George Washington is the Father of our country… that James Madison is the Father of the constitution… the term founding fathers credits certain men for their work in establishing our government…

Christians pray to God, our Heavenly Father.

The verse in second Corinthians tells us that God is the Father of Compassion. 

Because God IS love, compassion for us and our sufferings naturally flows from Him.

Through prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can tap into that source of love and compassion and use it to comfort others.

God is the originator. 

The source.

Our compassionate Heavenly Father.

 

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