spiritualsnippets.com

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

Thought Life

Psalms 19:14- “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”

In high school, my Sunday school teacher frequently talked about “thought life,” warning us that impure thoughts lead to impure actions. Conversely, he said that pure thoughts lead to actions that are acceptable to God.

Throughout life, I have found the verse in Psalms to be true. But for teens nowadays, the influences of social media, movies, and literature are even more profound.

So, if what goes into their minds is impure, how can their thoughts (the meditations of their hearts) be pleasing to God? And how can the result be lives lived according to God’s will?

I think the answer to the question is found at the end of the verse: Those that find their salvation and strength in the Lord, will be able to live with clean minds (thoughts) and out of their mouths will come clean speech.

The Bible and prayer—along with the Holy Spirit—will guide teens living in the world today. When their true desire is that their thoughts and actions please God, He will be there to help them do just that. 

As parents and grandparents, daily prayer for our young people to resist the temptations of this world and to follow the truth found in God’s word is more important today than it has ever been.

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Have You Felt His Nudge?

Jeremiah 17:10- “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”

My week had gone by quickly, filled with lots of activity. Doctors’ appointments, lunch with girlfriends, grocery shopping, a visit with Dad.

I told myself that I couldn’t have squeezed anything else in. But that didn’t make me feel any better about not doing the one thing I’d placed at the top of my list: visiting a sick friend.

Yes, I’d sent a card. I’d even called. But I’d been a Christian long enough to know what it felt like to be “nudged” by the Holy Spirit to do more.

And now I was experiencing what it felt like to disappoint Him—again.

You see, it wasn’t the first time I’d put what I wanted to do in front of what I knew He was calling me to do. Like yesterday, when I hadn’t spoken to the homeless woman sitting in front of Walmart. And all the other days when I could have shared the Good News of Christ, but didn’t.

My Sunday school teacher used to quote a Bible verse, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Even before reaching adulthood, I had occasions to experience the meaning of those words. 

For as long as I can remember, I have quoted the verse to myself about hearing God tell me I had been a good and faithful servant. The desired to hear God say those words to me encouraged me many times to reach beyond myself and serve God in my community.

But now I was disappointed to find I was putting self first. I knew that didn’t please Him—and it didn’t make me happy either.

I confessed my pride in self and my accomplishments. I asked for forgiveness and for Him to send the Holy Spirit to minister to my heart and lead me in the path he has for me. I’ve prayed for Him to infuse my soul with a love for the scriptures so that I might walk that path with strength and passion.

How are you doing on your journey of putting God first and serving Him with zeal?

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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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