spiritualsnippets.com

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

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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Spilling Over Into Joy!

Colossians 1:11,12- We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. (From “The Message” translation.)

“Mama, are we there yet?”

Those are words every parent has heard!

We humans are an impatient sort, aren’t we? We want to do it NOW, have it NOW, see it NOW, read it NOW, go there NOW…

NOW, NOW, NOW!

We could all use a heavy dose of patience, couldn’t we?

My long-time prayer partners could tell you that I have been asking them to pray for me in this area for years. I’m not there, yet, but I’m getting closer…

In these two verses from Colossians, we are reminded that patience is not just gritting our teeth and bearing the “waiting” for the answer to a prayer, for something to take place, or the end of suffering to come at last. That’s not the kind of patience God wants for us. “Grinning and bearing it” isn’t the way to live the victorious life in Christ.

No, our Heavenly Father wants us to experience the glorious strength that He offers because we will then be able to endure what often is (or seems to be) the unendurable.

But, it doesn’t end there because He offers more than just the ability to wait. He promises the kind of patience that spills over into joy.

That’s amazing. That takes us beyond the enduring and straight to the abundant life He has for us—that bright and beautiful life that begins when you come to know Him as Savior and continues on into eternity!

So, how do we get to that place of joy? Ah, let’s look at that verse again…it says that He will bring us to that place by HIS STRENGTH—not ours.

It’s not about us and what we do.

It’s all about trusting HIM—tapping into His “glory-strength.”

Is there something in your life that seems unendurable? My prayer for you, today, is that you will trust Him to strengthen you and bring you to that place of patience that “spills over into joy.

Brenda

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What’s In the Bucket?

1 John 5:11b-13: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

My husband and I saw a rather intense movie this afternoon. We rode home in quiet contemplation, each of us lost in our own thoughts.

When we arrived home, he went outside to do yard work and I grabbed my shopping list and headed to the car for my weekly trip to the grocery store.

As was just about to pull away from the house, when my husband walked up to me with a bucket in his hand. “Guess what is in this bucket?” He held it out toward me. “Go ahead, look.” He smiled and gestured for me to come closer.

Hunkered down in the corner was a brown baby bunny! My heart soared and my tenseness faded away. This precious example of new life changed my countenance in an instant!

What is it about new life that lifts our spirits…give us hope?

The Bible says that we can have a new life, in Christ, when we acknowledge Him as our Savior and accept His forgiveness of our sins.

Our hearts will soar when we give up the things of the past—the sins that weigh so heavily on us—and let Jesus claim the victory over them!

Romans 6:14 says that sin will no longer have dominion over us, but instead we will have newness of life.

May the God of all hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him. (Romans 15:13)

Brenda

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Spread the Joy!

Matthew 6:31– “Do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?”

A few years ago, we vacationed in Hawaii. We enjoyed the slower pace, the relaxed atmosphere. We also enjoyed the island music.

One popular song which played over and over the week we were there was “Don’t Worry; Be Happy.”  We couldn’t help but sing it throughout the day. It was a catchy tune with a positive message.

God’s Word reminds us that worrying about anything is useless and counter-productive. Instead, God says that real happiness is found, not in wishful thinking, but in obedience to His Word.

Our focus needs to be on others—not on ourselves. We will find that when we take steps to help a neighbor, donate our time at a local food bank, or visit a shut-in, we will forget about ourselves, leaving our worries up to our Lord. As acts of service and worship, when we act as the hands and feet of Jesus, we will find His provision for our own needs to be more than enough.

We will find that we are never depleted, but that He is continually refilling our reserves of energy and compassion toward those whom Jesus has called on us to serve. When we follow His example, we find that our joy (yes, not superficial happiness, but deep spiritual joy) overflows!

Don’t worry! Spread the joy!

Brenda

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