spiritualsnippets.com

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

The Cross Was No Accident

Night view of Antigua, Guatemala from "Cerro de la Cruz"

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

 

The Cross.

For Christians, the symbol of hope.

The death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation through the forgiveness of sins for all who believe.

The cross was no accident. 

His great love motivated the Creator to sacrifice His Son.

We have painted them, gold-plated them, encrusted them with jewels, decorated our walls with them, worn them around our necks…

What is it that draws our hearts to the cross?

The Bible says that we love Him because He first loved us.

I think we are drawn to the cross because it is there that He showed us the extent of His pure, unconditional, unending, indescribable love.

No, the cross of Christ wasn’t lovely. It was “rugged” as the old hymn describes it. Built with rough, splintered wood that was held together by crude nails.

Christ was nailed to it and died the death of a common criminal. How unbelievable He would do this for you and for me.

Yet, Jesus welcomed the cross. He had planned this moment from the beginning. It had all come down to this.

But the cross was no more the end for Jesus than it is for us. 

Coming to the cross with Thanksgiving for the love that put Him there, rejoicing at the open tomb announcing His resurrection, leaving our sin there and following Christ.

That’s just the beginning. 

Let’s celebrate it today. 

He is worthy of all praise. Crown Him with many crowns. Lord of Lords. King of Kings.

The precious  Lamb of God. 

 

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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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Giving Thanks for a Stroke

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Genesis 45:4-8a “Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” 

 

We had just arrived at our New Year’s brunch destination when my sister called to inform us that our brother-in-law had a stroke and had been admitted to the hospital.

You may have received one of these drop-to-your-knees-and-pray phone calls at some point in your life, also. And, hopefully, it was followed a little later by another one saying that your loved one was doing fine—a full recovery expected.

However, in this case, after hearing that good news, further testing detected a serious heart problem.

We prayed, of course, about this new health-related difficulty, but we also had cause for praise and Thanksgiving for the stroke. Without it, the heart complication might not have been diagnosed—until it was too late.

So, the silver lining to the cloud is that now my brother-in-law can see a specialist and perhaps undergo life-saving surgery.

Genesis tells the story of Joseph’s brothers. They sold him into slavery, but he found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the end his father and brothers were allowed to settle in Goshen and avoid the devastating effects of a severe famine. The brothers had evil intentions that guided their actions, but God used their actions to put Joseph in a position to save many lives.

Be encouraged today. The situation you now find yourself in—the health scare, the misunderstanding among friends, the financial setback—may be a blessing in disguise.

Our Heavenly Father, our Healer, our friend knows our present and future needs and is able to supply them in accordance with His will.

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GRATEFUL HEARTS GIVE PRAISE

 

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Hebrews 13:15- Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”

 

Recent accounts of terrorist attacks tell of people who stepped into the line of fire to save loved ones.

Parents often sacrifice things they want in order to clothe and feed their families.

In the Old Testament, people sacrificed animals to cover their sins.

Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on an altar on Mt. Moriah.

God sacrificed his son as atonement for our sins.

Sacrifice: “An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.”

Many give of their time and resources to further the gospel.

Some believers may even lose their lives in defense of it.

For most of us, this won’t happen, of course.

But, we can offer a “sacrifice of praise” from truly grateful hearts.—ones that openly profess his name.

 

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An Unusual Choir

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Acts 16:25- “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

 

Recently, I heard about a group of prisoners in a maximum security prison that had formed a choir. The camaraderie among those inmates and the discovery of their hidden talents was something to behold as the story unfolded. I felt so blessed as I heard them perform.

They are hardened criminals. Many of them have tried to kill each other while in prison.

Now, they are singing together! What a transformation.

There was an earthquake as the singing was going on in the prison in Phillippi. The Bible tells us in verses 27 and 28 that even though all of the previously locked doors were suddenly opened, not one prisoner even tried to escape!

So, is it the power of music that changed both groups of criminals?

I don’t think so. I think we can accord the changes to the fact that God used both of those circumstances to bring the prisoners into better relationship with HIM and, then, with each other.

King David wrote hundreds of songs of praise to God. Christian hymnals are full of beautiful ones written by many gifted individuals throughout the ages.

Whether in the present or the future, God may use singing to lift, inspire, and change, just like He has throughout the ages.

And, we may use it as an offering of praise to HIM.

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Make A Joyful Noise–and Join the Heavenly Choir!

Revelation 15:3- “They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!”

 

This morning, our church choir was a bit scant. Some were ill, others on holiday trips. The director did something that has never been done before. She did an all call, asking members of the congregation to walk to the front of the sanctuary and “fill-in” for one of the missing members.

Now, I admit to being “vocally challenged”. So, when the opportunity to sing with the choir arose, I jumped on it.

Like a lot of us folk who weren’t blessed with the most beautiful of voices, I LOVE to sing…to lift my voice in praise of the Almighty. So, I literally flew to the front and joined the group.

It was a great experience. I forgot all about being in front of the congregation and just sang—from my heart.

I couldn’t help but imagine, when I returned to my seat, what it will be like to sing in that heavenly choir one day…joining in with the angels in unending praise of our Lord.

Only then we will be able to fully express the depth of our love and our gratefulness to our savior.

I don’t think we will need any kind of a teleprompter. We will sing from the depths of our souls.

From that place deep inside that only Jesus can fully know or understand.

My voice may produce more of a noise, than a beautiful sound of a fine-tuned instrument, but it will definitely be filled with joy!

This IS indeed a joyful season, but for Christians every day is a reason to rejoice…every day is a new opportunity to lift our voices in praise to our king.

Even if it is for only five minutes in the warmth of a morning shower—my usual venue—let’s lift our voices as if in rehearsal for that heavenly choir that we will one day be able to join.

Because I have it from a good source that there are still a few openings left.

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ADONAI Acrostic

In high school, I loved to do acrostics for my friends for their birthdays. It was a personal, yet inexpensive, way to celebrate each of them and their uniqueness.

In case you’re not familiar with them, you print a word, vertically, down the left hand side of the page. Then, you write a one-word adjective beginning with that letter, horizontally on the line next to each letter. An example might be:

“A” -adorable; “B” -brainy’ “C” -cute, and so on.

Instead of using one word, you can write an entire sentence or paragraph, if you like.

You might find it interesting to try doing one for your family members, grandchildren, etc. I promise, it will be the one thing they’ll save long after the Hallmark cards are forgotten!

Today, I would like to do a slight variation on this form of verse for ADONAI (Lord) by using a favorite verse from each book of the Bible beginning with the six letters in His name:
A cts 4:12- “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

D aniel 2:20-22 “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.”

O badiah 1:15- “The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.”

N ehemiah 9:6- “You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to

everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”

A mos 4:13- “He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—the Lord God
Almighty is his name.”

I saiah 6:3- “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

It takes a while to find just the right verse for each letter, but what a blessing it was to me while I was working on this to read chapter after chapter of His Word! I was overwhelmed to see, when I finished, that in most cases the verses spoke about our Lord’s attributes and/or were praises to Him.

Blessings,

Brenda

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What Do You Give the Man Who Has Everything?

Luke 2:13- “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’”

It waits under the Christmas tree wrapped in delicate paper and adorned by a large bow trimmed in gold. The gift is mesmerizing.

What could be inside? You shake it, hoping its sound will give a clue as to the contents. You consider its size and shape, narrowing the possibilities.

You think of the things you included on your “Christmas List” and try to judge whether or not each item could possibly fit into a box of that size or shape. Still, you won’t be sure until you actually remove the paper and ribbon.

Yes, the giving and receiving of gifts is exciting.

I saw a television ad a few days ago, which asked, “What do you give the man who has everything?” I immediately thought of Jesus. Isn’t He the epitome of one who has everything? What kind of gift would He want? Another galaxy? A trillion more stars?

Some 2,000 years ago, Jesus left Heaven where He, literally had everything, to be born in a stable to earthly parents who had very little resources. What He wanted then—and what He still wants in the 21st Century—is a relationship with US.

He wants our love, our trust, and our praise! He wants to hear our voices lifted in adoration, or softly making petitions in prayer. He want us to hear His voice, too, as we wait on His answers, as we read His Word.

In this “Season of Giving”, remember along with me the ultimate gift—Jesus—the Savior wrapped not in a gold-trimmed bow, but in swaddling clothes. The Lord of All who gave it all—for you and me!

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