spiritualsnippets.com

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

What is it About Pets?

1 John 4:19- “We love because he first loved us.”

Angie had a hard time healing emotionally after her Springer Spaniel, Rex, died. She had been shy growing up, and a bit of a “late bloomer” as her mother put it. But once she connected with Rex, her confidence grew by leaps and bounds.

He loved her no matter what and she thrived beyond all her parents could hope for.

Most people will tell you that the dog’s ability to give its owner unconditional love that is the reason they are so drawn to their pets.

The Bible tells us that we love Jesus because he first loved us—while we were sinners. He loves us unconditionally and we are drawn to Him with cords of love and grace.

Do you need someone in your life who will love you no matter what? Turn to Jesus and acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord. Experience His peace and unconditional love.

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Do You Have It “All”?

Mark 10:25- “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Brad shook hands with his partner and turned to place his briefcase in his Tesla. He glanced at his Rolex. Eight o’clock. Once more, he’d missed dinner with his family.

All the way home, through the gate, and up the gradual incline that ended in a curved driveway, he thought about his charmed life.

He had everything. Wealth, a beautiful family, a retirement account unsurpassed by anyone in his company. Why, then, was he unhappy? Unfulfilled? 

The new guy, Jack, was starting at the bottom. He was barely even able to support his family on his meager salary. But he had a spring to his step. He radiated happiness.

His demeanor was so irritating that today Brad flat out asked him what made him so happy. 

“Jesus.”

Brad knew what that kind of life would mean. Bible Studies, Potluck dinners at the church, and tithing. Giving up time and resources he’d worked so hard to acquire.

He stood on his front steps, his hand on the door handle. Who in their right mind would give all this up?

Not me, that’s for sure.

It’s hard for the rich and powerful to put faith in anyone other than themselves. But they need a Savior just as much as you and I. 

If you know someone who “has it all” on earth, pray that they will be able to relinquish control—for a heavenly reward.

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Until Next Time

Acts 1:11- ““Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Those of you who have family who don’t live close, may experience what it is like to have them visit for a few days and then pack up and leave until “next time.”

With a wave and a “I’ll be back” they’re off.

You’re never quite sure if they will return soon. Their next visit may be months—even years—away.

But you look forward to it with eager anticipation.

The disciples must have felt that way when Jesus ascended into heaven. After all, He told them that He would return.

Christians look forward to His coming again, too. Many of us would like to hasten the day… to see Him coming in the clouds.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

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Wonderful

I Peter 3:22- “(Jesus) has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”

Recently, as I was compiling information on heaven, I came across this quotation credited to John Newton: “When I get to heaven, I shall see three wonders there. The first will be to see many people whom I did not expect to see; the second will be to miss many who I did expect to see; the third and greatest of all will be to find myself there.”

Christians don’t have to wonder if we will go to heaven when we die. We have assurance of our future home because of our faith in Jesus Christ and his payment for our sin through his death and resurrection.

However, if we look at another definition of the word wonder, “a remarkable or amazing event,” I’m sure we all will agree that it will be beyond description. Seeing Jesus and being in his presence, being reunited with family and friends, being restored to wholeness in mind and body, experiencing the answers to age-old questions, and so much more.

Heaven will be full of wonder.

WONDERFUL.

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The Eternals

John 3:16- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

I watched the television previews for a new series this week. Called The Eternals, it is about a fictional group of super-powered beings whose job it is to preserve and safeguard the planet. The basic premise is that they have—and will—live forever. (At least that is what I conclude from the trailer.)

Humans have always been fascinated with the prospect of living forever. We’ve all heard about billionaires that die and have their bodies preserved for awakening at a predetermined time in the future.

Death, however, is seldom longed for—except, perhaps by those who are in intense physical pain, those emotionally disturbed, or the elderly.

But did you know that you can have the assurance of eternal life?

The Bible includes many verses referring to the promise of eternal life, given to believers by Jesus Christ. He is not a fictional character, like The Eternals. He is God’s Son who gave his life–shed his blood–to pay the penalty for our sin.

The gift of Eternal life is available to all who put their faith in him.

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He Loved You FIRST

1 John 4:19- “We love because he first loved us.”

My niece recently found one of her animals dead on their property. She mourned its passing as one might a human being. (All of you animal lovers know what I’m talking about.)

My sister told me that my niece’s animals love her. They all come to the fence when they hear her voice. Not just for food, as you might imagine, but for attention—a scratch behind the ears, a gentle hug, encouraging words.

She showed love to them, first. Then, they responded to her in kind.

The Bible tells us that Christians respond to the selfless love of Jesus. He loved us, first, as we are told in Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”                                  

We are his people, the sheep of HIS pasture.

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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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Calling All Sheep!

John 10:14- “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.”

Most of the kids in our neighborhood played outside from the time we got home from school until we were called for supper.

Although there would sometimes be several parents calling their own brood home at the same time, each of us knew when it was our mother’s or father’s voice shouting  “dinnertime!”  

God reminds us that He is our Good Shepherd. When He says that His sheep know His voice, he is referring to those of us who are “His”—those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

How do we distinguish His voice, from that of others?

Simple: If it is written in His Word, the Bible, then we can be certain it is truly His voice. The Bible also tells us that He will speak to us when we seek the wisdom of Christian friends, pastors and other church leaders. Many Christians tell of instances when they “hear” God’s voice in the form of an “impression” in their mind after a time of prayer, meditation, and/or fasting.

What we do when we hear His voice is important.

If I had heard my mother calling me to dinner, and had not heeded her call, I would have been pretty hungry by bedtime. In the same way, if we do not follow-up on God’s call with some kind of action on our part, we will likely find that we have missed more than a meal. We will have missed a banquet!

I’m not saying that you are going to miss the Marriage Supper of The Lamb. I am referring to missing out on the daily relationship with God and His blessings for those who respond to Him out of obedience.

Set aside time for daily prayer and get back into The Word. 

Become familiar, again, with the voice of The Good Shepherd.

**Revised from an earlier blog post.

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Looking Beyond

Hebrews 12:2– “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endurethe cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Both of my children had recurring cases of planter’s warts when they were youngsters. Each time, they begged me not to make them go to the doctor, knowing the removal from the soles of their feet would be very painful.

I explained that the procedure would bring about the desired result. Once healed, their feet would no longer be tender to walk on. 

A few days later, they’d be playing outside again. The memory of the surgical procedure was already a thing of the past.

Have you ever put off a medical appointment because you thought the treatment would have been too painful, avoided having a conversation you felt might threaten a friendship or delayed making a decision that was just too difficult?

Jesus identified with those feelings. He faced a painful death on the cross. However, he looked ahead to the salvation of mankind and endured the anguish.

It was the only way to get the desired result.

There are times in life when the pain of the present must be endured in light of the promise of better days, better health, better circumstances to come in the future. 

But we don’t have to go it alone. Jesus will be beside us all the way—guiding, encouraging, healing.

He was here. He knows what it is like to be human. He also knows what it is like to be God. 

He doesn’t just hold our hands. He holds us in his hands.

He gives us the promise of a wonderful future because he was willing to look beyond his present circumstances and ahead to that glorious day when he will welcome his children into his kingdom—where he will sit at the right hand of God, to the glory of The Father!

***Reprinted from an earlier blog post.

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Start All Over

Have you ever wished you could start all over? Erase something you said to someone in anger? Go back to a point in time when you made a hasty choice resulting in an unplanned pregnancy? Wished you hadn’t told your parent a lie to avoid punishment? 

Have you wanted an opportunity to do it all over again— make a better choice the next time around? 

Even though God knows everything you have done, He is willing to forgive. To wipe your slate clean.

He sent Jesus, his perfect son, to the cross to pay the price for our sins. Without the shedding of His perfect blood, the relationship with us which God desires would not be possible.  

And freedom from the sins in our past would not be a reality.

By acknowledging His gift today, you can begin a relationship with Him that will continue throughout eternity.

Because He loves you UNCONDITIONALLY.

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