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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Think About These Things

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Philippians 4:8- “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Counseling his son as what to do about a recent break-up with a girlfriend, a father tells his son to “just forget about her.”

A concerned mother’s answer to her daughter’s sad demeanor is to tell her to “just think happy thoughts.”

 

When things aren’t going as planned or when someone disappoints us, we can turn to God’s Word, go to our Heavenly Father in prayer and seek the counsel of Christian friends because harboring ill feelings, taking revenge, or wallowing in self-pity steals our joy.

Forgiving others, extending grace and mercy to those we feel have wronged us, will keep our thoughts from wandering back to the negative and dwelling on what happened, rather than looking forward and restoring our relationships.

We need to keep our hearts—and minds—on Christ Jesus and those things that are pleasing to Him.

When we do, our burdens are lifted and the future looks brighter—

A future filled with hope and restoration.

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Father, I’m Home!

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Luke 15: 22-24 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

 

A soldier returns from battle.

A college student comes home for Christmas vacation.

A woman meets her birth mother for the first time.

Two friends reconnect after many years apart.

An estranged couple remarries.

Each scenario is a reason for rejoicing, isn’t it?

 

We don’t know the heartbreaking stories that lie behind each one, but we do feel the happiness in the reunions, don’t we?

We celebrate with each of those brought back together.

Relationships are mended and new memories can be made…

Hearts are joyous once again.

Although the word prodigal refers to someone who has spent money or resources recklessly or wastefully, that is not my “takeaway” from this Bible story.

Let’s focus on the fact that people were brought back together AND that relationships were restored.

Sometimes this happens simply because people return home after a time away, as in the case of the student and friends, above.

Other times, reconnections involve the element of forgiveness.

The prodigal son had wasted away his inheritance. He needed his father’s forgiveness. He humbled himself, seeking the restoration of their relationship.

God included this story in the Bible, I am convinced, to remind us that He forgives us…restores our relationship with Him…and that He wants us to follow His example in our own lives.

Is there someone in need of your forgiveness?

Or, is it you that needs the forgiveness of another?

In order for that to happen, two things must take place:  ~a humble, contrite heart of the one seeking forgiveness.  ~a willingness of the other to extend forgiveness.

In your case, it may not be an earthly relationship that needs mending. It may be your relationship with God that is in need of restoration.

If so, run to your heavenly father.

Let Him place the ring on your finger…

the robe on your shoulders…

and rejoice that you have returned home.

Experience anew what it is like to be wrapped in God’s grace!

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