spiritualsnippets.com

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

Perfect Faithfulness

Isaiah 25:1- “Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.”

We invited some new friends over for dessert at our house last week. When a large frame with a dozen small pictures of our family over the years caught their eyes I told them a little bit about each person and pet displayed. 

What a thrill it was to share the joys of a lifetime with others. 

Thinking back to that experience, I realize that each photograph recounts, in some way, the faithfulness of God. We remember that He has blessed us with people and events in our lives that He planned for us before we were even born.

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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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Once Lost. Now Found.

Luke 15:8- “What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost’.”

**You are on my heart this morning. I don’t know your name or exact circumstance, but you have a loved one who needs the love of Jesus in their life. I remembered this blog that I wrote years ago. I hope it is just the message you need today. Here is a reprint of my earlier blog post:

Last week, I lost my cross necklace. I reached up to straighten its chain and it was gone!

I checked in our bed, the shower, the car, and on the floor of every room in the house. It just wasn’t there. I was devastated!

I had worn the “lost” cross for more than 15 years. It was precious to me.

“Please God, let me find it!” I asked, fervently. I prayed for Him to shine his light on it…to guide us to wherever it was.

Two days later, I rejoiced with a friend when my husband found it atop a roll of carpet we had pulled up in our renovation. It glistened in the bright morning sun.

I thought of the lady in the Bible who went around her house looking everywhere for a lost coin. She rejoiced when she found her lost silver coin. She even called her friends to let them know.

The verse following Luke15:8, above, reminds us that “…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” 

You and I were the reason for their rejoicing at one time, when we repented and came to Christ. When we tell others of His love and forgiveness of sins, and they become believers, the angels will rejoice with us in their salvation, too!

What better day, than today, to ask God to shine His light onto the heart of a relative or friend? 

We can all rejoice together that the one that was once lost is, now, “found”!

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A Change in Routine

Matthew 7:25– “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

Mel and Agnes sat on the balcony outside their small Assisted Living Apartment. Nothing seemed the same anymore. People to cook their meals, do their laundry, put them to bed at night.

Their routines were changed, the food was not always prepared to their liking, the cleaning wasn’t the way Agnes would have done it.

Then, on top of everything else, Covid-19 struck. And, with it, regulations on who could visit, how to deal with doctor’s appointments and family gatherings. Even the ability to go to church or shopping.

Not long afterward, an explosive political climate and uncertainty in the stock market took a big chunk out of their investments.

Their situation seemed more serious by the day. 

What would they do?

Instead of listening to the newscasts and becoming anxious, they sought comfort in God’s Word. Matthew 7, reminded them of their firm foundation in the Lord.

So, instead of complaining, they chose to be thankful.

Instead of tears, they chose joy.

Instead of listening to the “world” and seeking their own solutions, they chose the comfort and assurances they found in God’s Holy Word.

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Oh, Joyous Fall!

Acts 14:17- “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.

Fall is my favorite season. 

The smell of autumn leaves, bonfires, s’mores, warm cider, pumpkins and spices…

The other seasons each have their own distinctive scents, special foods, and ways of celebration, too. 

God cares for us intimately, giving us each new day as a gift from Him. And, as the Great Provider, He gives us rain, crops, foods to sustain us.

But, read today’s verse, again. He also gives us these things in order to fill our hearts with joy.

God cares about us in the midst of life’s storms and, in the fullness of time, brings us back to the mountaintops where He showers us with blessings and indescribable joy.

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Realigning Our Priorities

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Hebrews 13:5- “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”

 

Callie’s husband, Marc, was recently given a promotion.  Along with it came a sizable increase in salary. So much so that they could afford to move out of the lower-middle class neighborhood and into an exclusive Country Club home on the golf course.

This was a dream come true for the middle-aged couple that had struggled to make ends meet for such a long time.

It wasn’t long before they were settled in their new luxury home. Callie loved the beautiful new furniture and the couple enjoyed relaxing by their lagoon-style pool and entertaining new neighborhood friends.

One day, Marc came home to find Callie crying and distraught. “I thought I would be happy. But, I’ve been lying to myself, to you, and to God. I feel so ashamed. I’d read scripture enough times to know better, but somehow I thought we were the exception. We had all we needed before, but I kept wanting more and more.”

Marc nodded. “I feel the same way. This life is so superficial. I haven’t experienced one day of true joy since we moved here. Let’s pray for God’s forgiveness and then His direction in what to do.”

The story of Callie and Marc is all too common. Just as parents often must let their children learn things “the hard way,” God often teaches us in similar manner.

And, like our children, when we learn the hard lessons of life for ourselves, we are often capable of encouraging others when we see them making comparable choices, rather than relying on God’s promises.

When Callie and Marc’s priorities were realigned with God’s purposes, they starting a non-profit with their increased income.

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The Single, Most Important Gift

 

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“…Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you… Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”                                                                                                Luke 6:27-31; 36-37

 

I love giving gifts—especially surprising someone with something they have been wanting or something they’d never buy for themselves (but would really like, of course).

One year, it was buying my parents new towels and matching shower curtain. They loved the gift—something they would not have thought of purchasing for themselves.

By the way, there is a gift that would be appreciated by almost anyone. A gift you can give any time of the year.

Whether it is a family member, a friend, or just a “crazy driver” on the road, the gift of forgiveness—even though difficult—is always appropriate.

God forgives us of our sins in order to restore a right relationship with Him. Forgiveness will do the same for us and those we love and care about. It clears the air. It says, “I care about you. I want to reconnect with you. I want you to be a part of my life.”

Forgiveness is as much about the one doing the forgiving as it is about the one receiving the forgiveness.

For the one being forgiven, it is like getting a gift you don’t deserve—a gift called grace.

But, for the one giving the gift of forgiveness it means the opportunity to restore the relationship.

Is there someone in your life who needs to be forgiven?

It could be the single most-important gift you give this season—bringing joy, peace, and restoration—a gift of grace.

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No More Night

 

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Revelation 22:5– “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”

 

 

When I was a youngster, we often played outside with the other kids in our neighborhood. We’d stay out until it started getting dark and our parents would call us inside for supper.

Yes, when the light started to fade, we knew our play time was nearing an end.

The most enjoyable times in life go by much too quickly, don’t they?

But the Bible tells us that an eternal place is being prepared for each of his children who know him as Savior. In heaven we will have unimaginably wonderful experiences that will never end.

No pain or suffering. No boredom. No hunger. No pain.

We will have friendships and laughter.

We won’t need to go to church, because we will live constantly and consciously in God’s presence.

Luke 6:23 says we will “Rejoice…and leap for joy, because great (will be our) reward in heaven.”

And although many of us will know the happiness of having our parents there with us, they won’t be calling us in when it gets dark…

for Jesus, the Light of the World, will be there.

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Jesus, Others, and You

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Romans 12:10- “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

 

A young man, appearing to be in his early twenties, sat on a wooden crate on a street corner in Bellingham. He strummed his guitar and crooned a song about love. The point of the song was that one could not completely love another, unless he first learned to love himself.

A handful of young people clapped to the beat, nodding to each other in agreement.

I’d heard the song before. In fact, there have been quite a number written which echo that same theme. I shook my head as I continued to walk down the street.

When I was a child, I learned the song, “J.O.Y.” in Sunday School. It’s a simple song with an enduring message: true joy can only be found when we live by the biblical principal of putting Jesus, first. That is followed by loving others; and finally by putting ourselves last.

In the world we live in today, this world of I Phones and I Pads—this life filled with television commercials enticing us to buy whatever looks good to our eyes—it’s hard for us to comprehend that true joy and peace are only achieved by acting in a way which is contrary to our love of self.

But, that’s just what Jesus asks us to do. Because, like the song says, putting Him first in our lives, followed by love for others is the way to a “peace that passes understanding.”

Jesus, Others,—and You.

 

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Joy In Unrelenting Pain

 

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Job 6:10a- “Then I would still have this consolation— my joy in unrelenting pain—”

 

I recently heard a story about Austrian concert pianist, Paul Wittgenstein. In 1914, while serving in active duty in WWI, he was shot in the elbow and his right arm was amputated.

One would think this would be devastating, ending a brilliant career. But that was not the case.

During his recovery, he wrote to his teacher asking for a concerto for the left hand alone. Following the war’s end, he studied intensely and reclaimed his career. He gave hundreds of concerts throughout Europe, playing pieces arranged for the left hand alone.

I vowed that if times of self-pity should come, I would remember this brave man whose attitude made it possible for him to still experience joy in his life after such tragic circumstances.

The Bible tells the story of Job, whose wealth, children, and physical health were taken from him.

Not only did Job not curse God, but we learn that he was able to experience true joy in the midst of those trials.

This can be of great comfort to those who are experiencing physical illnesses, family problems, financial struggles.

But, how is it possible that during times of dire circumstances one could find joy?

Like Job, our faith sustains us. We look to God to be our strength. We lean on Him and the promises in His Word.

We look at these times, not as obstacles to our joy, but as times of refreshing.

We view them as vehicles to deepen our dependance on God and draw us in close relationship with him.

We do not allow our trials to defeat us, but instead look at them as opportunities to change us, inwardly, to refine our character, to transform our hearts— to fulfill His new purpose in us.

Can we experience the “joy that comes in the morning?”

Our Lord says we can. He will restore us anew, whether in this life or in the one to come.

The Bible says He is faithful and He will do it.

He gives us His Word.

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