spiritualsnippets.com

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

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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The Top Twenty

 

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1 John 3:16- “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”

 

Recently, I was asked to list my TOP TWENTYverses, that is. 

I am sure you have had a similar request in a Bible Study Group, Sunday School class, or even from a curious friend.

Before printing my list, I scrolled through it briefly, looking for typos.

I found one—sort of.

Instead of typing John 3:16, I had written 1 John 3:16, instead.

I started to make the correction, but I was curious. (I’m always looking for special messages from God. Was this one?) What did the verse in 1 John say? Was there a similarity in meaning to the often-quoted verse, John 3:16?

I turned to the reference and read the beautiful words about love. (Also, in John 3:16, so there was a connection, but there was more). 

The verse was an answer to prayer because I had been searching for the perfect verse to put in my almost-finished Christian Suspense Novel, Truth or Dare—a story about a wayward father called upon to donate a kidney to his child.

God heard my prayer for guidance and led me to the exact verse to use in my book. 

And, yes, 1 John 3:16 will forevermore be included in my Top Twenty.

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A Benediction for You

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Numbers 6:24-26  “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His face upon you, and give you peace.”

 

The pastor in the church I attended as a child always ended the Sunday service by proclaiming a benediction.

It was my favorite part of the worship hour. I would close my eyes and let the scripture wash over my soul. I felt so close to God!

There are many benedictions in the Bible. I’ve included two, here, that are especially meaningful to me.

If you have had a hard week…if you are facing difficulties…if you need encouragement, meditate on these words and let the peace of God flood into every corner of your life, bringing you the full knowledge of His love and grace.

Ephesians 3:20,21– “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

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Now Is The Time for Praise

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2 Samuel 22:1-3 “David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.” 

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,

    my shield and the horn of my salvation.

He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—

    from violent people you save me.”

 

Did you ever wake up praising God?

Wow. What a feeling!!!

You’re on top of the world.

Maybe you’ve just received good news. Perhaps an answer to prayer. Or, you’ve been blessed in an unexplainable way and you look at a friend and say, “It has to be a God thing.”

I usually begin by shouting to the heavens, “Thank you, Lord.” This is followed by a more serious prayer and a chorus or two.

Praise isn’t just for today—or for us. A lot of people in the Bible had reason to give God a “shout-out,” too. 

Many Christians love to read the Psalms because of King David’s beautiful words. He sang 2 Samuel, as he did a great many of his Psalms. He also played stringed instruments. David knew how to express his love and gratitude.

Some of David’s psalms were written in the midst of battles—or as a result of deliverance from the hands of his enemies. He knew when—and how—to praise God. 

I recall, as a child, singing this chorus: “Do you know what time it is? Time to praise the Lord … anytime’s the right time to praise the Lord.”

Whether in the midst of disappointment or a spiritual battle, after you receive a blessing or an answer to a prayer, NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME TO PRAISE THE LORD.

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“I Can Read Him Like a Book”

25938206930_c02b565a292 Corinthians 3:2- “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.”

“Don’t let him fool you. I can read him like a book,” my husband said of our son when he was only ten years old. He was sure that he could tell what our son was thinking—what he was up to—by the look in his eyes and the evasive way he answered him. 

Wouldn’t it be a compliment to a Christian to be leading a life so “Christ-like” that others would immediately conclude that he/she was a believer? To be leading a life of truthfulness? Full of forgiveness? Wrapped in love for others? A life of service?

I’ve met Christians like that. In word and action, so open and gentle in their manner that there is no doubt as to the authenticity of their faith.

It is my hope, in 2019, that I would become more and more like Christ. That others would see Christ living in me.

That I might be an open book, easily “read” and recognized by everyone as a child of the Most High God.

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A Little Lesson on LOVE

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Matthew 5:44- “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

 

I have a new logo—a heart, with the words, “Stories of Forgiveness” inside.

Each of my three Christian Suspense Fiction books has been about something different: abuse, unbelief/pride of self, and bullying. However, the central characters all experience healing because they learn to FORGIVE.

Forgiveness has the power to transform lives. No matter who we are or what our background may be, we can each find joy, power, and freedom in forgiveness.

But what about love (you know, the heart in the logo) how does that tie in?

Some people are not so lovable. People who hate, curse, and persecute you are especially hard to be nice to. However, God says we are to do more than that—we are told to love them.

Many years ago, my pastor told me that praying for someone that had “rubbed me the wrong way” would allow The Holy Spirit to work in my heart and make it possible for me to actually come to love that person.

So, I put Matthew 5:44 to the test. Over the period of a year (it is not a one-prayer process) I found that I actually came to understand and care for the other person.

And, yes, forgiveness followed.

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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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I Know You’re Out There

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Psalm 91:4– “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

 

As I awoke this morning, God told me to put aside what I had already started writing for today, and to write this message TO YOU, instead:

Yesterday, you were on top of the world.

Today, everything has come crashing down all around you.

Yesterday, you had no worries…only endless possibilities.

Today, you are considering only a few options.

Yesterday, the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

Today, the skies are are overcast and there is a storm brewing.

Yesterday, you wore a smile that lit up the room.

Today, that smile has turned to tears.

I know you are out there.

You are asking God, “Why my family?”  or  “Why me?”

You are wondering what good can come of your situation…your loss of a loved one…your diagnosis…your sudden disappointing news.

You’re holding back the tears, denying the feelings of abandonment, loneliness, betrayal.

You don’t have to go it alone.

God wants to rescue you.

Pray fervently for Him to heal your relationship, your broken heart, your body.

He wants you to draw close to Him. He wants to offer you His strength, His peace, His power.

He loves you. Lean on Him.

Instead of focusing on whatever your problem is, He wants you to give it over to Him and let Him handle it.

He wants you to trust Him and the power of His mighty hand.

You are precious to Him.

He wants to pour out His love on you.

He wants to cover you with His wings.

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How Will They Know We Are Christians?

John 13:35- “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”      What-Is-The-Meaning-Of-The-Christian-Fish-Symbol

 

A horseshoe, a four-lear clover, and a wishbone. Each symbolizes good luck.

Manufacturers have unique symbols for their products, whether they be cars, shoes, clothing, or eyeglasses.

Sports teams and schools choose mascots to make themselves more recognizable to the public and to build team/school spirit.

Traffic signs utilize symbols to help drivers become instantly aware of the rules of the road, especially those involving emergencies/warnings.

One interesting symbol Christians sometimes use is that of the fish, often seen on fenders, jewelry, and stationary.

The use of the fish symbol by Christians began in the early days of Christianity. Since Christians were often put to death for practicing their faith, they often worshiped in secret places.

A fish painted on the outside door of a house let Christians know that they would be safe and welcome inside. It was also used as a Christian greeting. Upon meeting someone new, a believer would draw half of the fish symbol in the dirt and the other person (if a Christian) would complete the other half of the symbol, thus revealing himself or herself as a Christian.

However, if the other person did not recognize what was being drawn, he was most likely a non-believer. Thus, the believers’s religious beliefs remained hidden.

Today, the Christian fish symbol is often used to identify Christians and/or Christian businesses. Free from persecution, at least here in the United States, the fish symbol is proudly displayed for all to see.

Jesus tells us that it is not symbols, elaborate robes, or showy prayers that should identify Christians to the world.

He wants us to show love and understanding to each other… to grant others the same mercy and grace he extended to us.

They will know we are Christians by our love.

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That’s Who He Is

2 John 1:3– Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Ah, love.  It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

When we are “in love,” we feel a certain way, which causes us to act in a more or less predictable manner. Perhaps we are more thoughtful, more giving, more…

You get the picture.

Love motivates us.                                  371032725_9c92f53032

But, although loving another person prompts us to show our love for them through our actions, our behavior toward those we don’t love isn’t motivated in the same way—if at all.

Such is the way of man.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we felt such love for everyone that we showed it in our actions toward all people… at all times?

That’s not possible, you say.

You’re right.

Left to our own devices…acting according to our own nature…we simply are not capable of experiencing—and acting in accordance—with that kind of all-encompassing love.

What about God?

The Bible says that God IS love.

His very essence is love. One hundred percent of Him. One hundred percent of the time.

Essence: the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something that determines its character… without which it would not exist or be what it is.

So, following the definition, God’s very nature is love and without it, He would not exist.

He is completely love…all of Him.

He’s not just loving in his actions to some people at some times (when He feels like it).

He’s not just motivated by it, as human beings are.

HE IS LOVE.

Only love can love…everyone…all the time.

It’s impossible to wrap our heads around that truth, isn’t it?

And, because He acts in accordance with his very essence, he cannot act in opposition to it.

He loves unconditionally because the pure essence of His love doesn’t depend on you and I—or our actions—at all.

Because that’s how He is.

That’s who He is.

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