spiritualsnippets.com

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

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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When There Are No Words

 

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Romans 8:26- “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

 

I am a writer—at least that’s what I like to call myself.

Some stories come easy, but others take a lot of research and editing.

There are times when I find it difficult to find the exact words I am looking for.

At times when I am sad, or when something has occurred and I am so emotionally distraught that I cannot begin to express the extent of my anguish, I can ask the Holy Spirit to take over for me…to express to God such deep feelings that I find impossible to do on my own.

The Holy Spirit knows how to speak to the very heart of God. And, when he does, I experience God’s peace.

 

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Need Help Doing What is Right?

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Romans 7:15-  “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

 

Have you ever felt like Paul in this verse from Romans?

Does it seem the more you try not to do something you know is wrong, the more you find yourself doing it?

It could be lying.

Perhaps speaking your spouse with sharp words.

Maybe it’s being critical of someone else’s actions.

Or watching something inappropriate.

You try not to do it. You really make an effort. You pray to God for help.

We all have similar stories, don’t we?

So, what gives?

The Apostle Paul wrote the words in Romans 7:15. Even though he was a mature christian, but he admitted to doing the very things he didn’t want to do!

Perhaps one of the marks of a mature Christian is the awareness of this struggle with evil in our lives.

So, like Paul, we find ourselves saying, “What is wrong with me? How come? The very good that I want to do, I do not do. That which I don’t want to do, is precisely what I do?”

If we read on to the end of Chapter 7, a verse pops out at us: “Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ our Lord.” And, if we proceed into Chapter 8, Paul talks about the power of the Holy Spirit to give us strength to conquer our sins…our destructive behaviors that hurt us, those we love, and strain our relationships.

One of the reasons He gave us the Holy Spirit was to help us do what is right.

If we are forgiven through the death of Christ on the cross, why do we still live with the truth from chapter seven?

The truth is, we are both saint and sinner. And, as long as we live here on earth, we will experience this struggle.

So, take hold of the power of the Holy Spirit to help you conquer your weaknesses as they show up in your daily life.

Then, thank God for victory over the very things that keep you from a deep and satisfying relationship with Him and those you love.

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Do You Know the Good You Ought to Do?

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James 4:17– “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

 

 

SIN.

Boiled down into simplest terms it is doing something wrong.

But what about those times when the Holy Spirit speaks to us, prompting us to do something good for someone—but we don’t do it.

That is SIN, too.

We might shrug it off and say, “I’ll do it, later.”

Or, “How do I know that’s really The Holy Spirit speaking?”

Or, we rationalize why doing the “good thing” may not really be a good thing at all. (If I give money to that beggar, he might squander it! )

So, let’s get this straight. We know the right thing to do. We just don’t respond.

The Bible says it is SIN.

Am I sure about that?

I read it a second time.

That verse from James convicts me right where it hurts.

The good I should do

—could involve the spending of my time…my energy…my money…

—could mean a change of plans…a change of perspective…a change of heart…

Doing the good I know I should do requires responding to His prodding all day long…and it just may involve opportunities to minister to others in ways we might never imagine.

It just might lead to an opportunity to share the gospel.

It means seeing others needs through HIS eyes…the very eyes that one day saw me 

and sent Someone to meet my need.

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A Free Gift for You

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Luke 3:22- “… and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

 

From her hospital bed, Lois opens a card with a familiar picture of a white dove on the front. The very sight of it warms her heart and reminds her of the peace of God.

Jenny pulls into the parking lot of a hospice thrift shop. She notices a familiar dove symbol on the sign as she enters the building.

Bill buys his wife a new Bible for her birthday. He has her name inscribed onto the leather cover, choosing the symbol of a dove to accent the beautiful printing.

What is it about the dove that makes it a popular symbol among Christians?

Two prominent stories in the Bible involve the dove. One is about the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit descending upon him as a dove.

In Genesis 8, Noah released a dove after the flood. When the bird returned to him, it had an olive leaf in its mouth, letting Noah know there was dry land nearby. Many commentaries consider this as marking the end of God’s judgment and the beginning of a new covenant with man.

What is this “new covenant?” Jesus explained at his last Passover meal that his blood would be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:28). By this, he was affirming that his death and resurrection was the means by which he would bring salvation to all who would believe.

No more would the offering of animal sacrifices be required to cover their sins, a ritual that required repetition on a daily basis. Instead, Jesus would shed his perfect blood once—for all.

A free gift for all who would believe in the Son of God for the forgiveness of sins.

Not because of righteous things that we might do, but because of His great mercy.

He loved us. He gave himself for us.

That we might have eternal life.

May the Holy Spirit descend on you, like a dove, declaring to you the good news of His salvation and the truth of the gospel…

For this reason, He endured the Cross.

 

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Is God On The Throne?

Exodus 20:3 and Deuteronomy 5:7- “You shall have no other gods before me.”

You may say, with a sigh of relief, “That’s an easy command to keep. I worship God and Him, only. The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

On the surface, this may seem to be true. However, let’s dig a little deeper into the true meaning of this otherwise “simple” command. Some of us, would have to admit that at some point in our lifetime, something or someone else has become a “god” to us.

Let’s look at the definition of “god”: an adored, admired, or influential person. For example, a renowned designer may be regarded as a “god” in the fashion industry.

  • a thing accorded the supreme importance appropriate to a god: For example, don’t make money your god.

This word “god” is often used interchangeably with the word “idol”, an object that is worshipped.

Anything can become a god in our lives if we let it take control of our thoughts and actions…if we put it on the throne of our lives in place of our Lord and Savior who rightfully belongs there.

Here are a few such idols I thought of. (There are, undoubtedly hundred more.) Fame, family, fitness, food, football, golf, fortune, free time, fun, television…

To alcoholics, alcohol may have become their god, taking control of their thoughts, actions, and desires. To addicts, it is the drugs their bodies crave.

The list goes on to include gambling addicts, shopaholics, those trapped in a lifestyle of pornography, and on and on.

Some of these things are good, such as food. But when eating gets out of control and we begin the worship food…let it control us, we have crossed the line into dangerous territory.

So, how do we keep that from happening? We ask God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in turning away from these “false gods” and back to Him. We pray for the strength necessary to repent from this kind of sin in our lives and toward the One True God. We ask others to pray for us, too.

We “keep our hearts and minds on Christ Jesus” as we are reminded to do in the scriptures. Daily Bible reading and memorization is key to renewing our minds.

If we need to, we seek Christian Counseling from our pastors and/or mental health professionals.

Jesus asks us to worship Him with all our hearts, our souls, and our minds.

Anything else we allow on the throne of our lives will steal our joy and erode our relationship with Him.

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I Didn’t Know That You Were A Christian!

2 Corinthians 3:2- “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.”

Many years ago, a fellow teacher at my school noticed the cross that I wear as a daily reminder to myself of what Christ did for me when He died on the cross. She looked at me and said words I will never forget, “I didn’t know that you were a Christian!”

That was one of the saddest comments I had ever heard, but it changed my life, profoundly. I didn’t want people to only know that I was a Christian because of a piece of jewelry. I wanted them to see Christ in me!

Immediately, I asked God to show me ways in which I needed to change so that other’s might know that I was His child. I didn’t want to be a fake. I wanted my life to be representative of a daily walk with my Savior.

Like the King’s messengers in Bible times, that took his communications bearing his signet ring embossed in the seal of wax, I want my life to show my commitment to Christ and be an outward sign of what He has done in my heart. As His representative here on earth, I want to glorify Him through my life and actions.

Do I mess up? Of course I do! But, because He forgives his children, I am able to start over again. He knows my heart, and He sends the Holy Spirit to help me move forward so that, hopefully, I will never have to hear another person say that they weren’t aware that I am a Christian.

Brenda

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Your Face, His Smile

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 me that the songwriters were inspired by the desire to see the lost from the perspective of God. They desired to walk as Jesus walked and treat others as Jesus did.

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. This is the impetus for many humanitarians who offer medical and financial help to those suffering from disease and poverty around the world.

As I read from John 14, yesterday, I was impacted by the part of the verse that I have bolded (above). Yes, the verse is referring to Jesus, specifically. It was given in reply to Phillip’s request, “Show us the Father.” Jesus said that since Phillip had seen Him, he had already seen the Father, because they are one.

But, when I read the verse, I saw another meaning for me. A message beyond the obvious. Such a simple message that I have missed it for decades. And, the message is this: As I live out my life, I am to do so in such a way that others see Christ living in me.  That my speech and actions should reflect those of my Heavenly Father.

From that perspective, 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.

We know it is goes deeper than a beautiful smile. It is the outward radiance of our inward relationship with the Father. The desire to live our lives as a reflection of the Father must be kindled by the fact that we want to live in such a way that others recognize the Father’s presence when they are around us.

As ambassador’s for Christ wherever we go, we can show the love of Christ by actions that are worthy of calling ourselves Christians…Christ followers…earthy representatives of our Heavenly Father.

There’s someone out there who needs us to be more than just another pretty face. It may be that they need a helping hand or a word of encouragement. Maybe they need to hear the gospel. Whatever it is, when our paths cross this week—or this month—let’s make sure that when they see us, they see The Father. 

 

Brenda

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