spiritualsnippets.com

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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