spiritualsnippets.com

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

The Cross of Christ

I Corinthians 1:18- “The message of the cross is the Power of God.”   6298781578_b3e7278622

I wear a cross necklace. I rarely take it off. It is a daily reminder to me that Jesus died for my sins.

It is not an amulet. It does not protect me against evil, danger, or disease. It is a symbol of God’s great love for me.

I see crosses on walls in churches and homes. I see them on car windows and tattooed on arms. I see them on rings, bracelets, earrings.

Some are made out of stained glass, some are cast in silver, some made out of barn wood, some even tooled onto leather headbands and wristbands.

I would like to think that the cross is more than a fashion icon, room decor, or body art.

I would like to.

I would also like to think that everyone knows the real meaning of Easter.

I would like to think that everyone has heard the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I would like to.

But, just in case…

The story is a simple one, really.

A story about how God—because of His great love—left Heaven to be born of a virgin and live among men. How, according to His plan and purpose, He allowed men to take his life.

He became the perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind. He gave himself—shed His perfect blood—to make it possible for us to live with Him in heaven for all eternity.

It had to be this way. Because there was no other way.

Because perfect love didn’t say, “I won’t.”

Because perfect love said, “I will.”

The cross?

Its message is the Power of God unto salvation for all who will believe.

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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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God Sent You a Valentine!

Romans 1:20- “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

In the very stars of heaven, God proclaims his great love for us.

God sent us a Valentine!!

His love knows no bounds. His message is written in His Word and in the heavenly bodies of the universe. That’s right!  They aren’t just beautiful creations of light hung there for our enjoyment. (Although that was certainly part of His intent).

They were, in fact, put there to tell God’s story of His love, and plan of redemption.

15651996037_80068decbe_mThis may be a new concept for you, but read on…

Quite some time ago, my mother-in-law gave me the most fascinating book by the late James Kennedy called, The Real Meaning of the Zodiac. It contains his well-documented research, as well as that of eight other well-known Bible scholars. It is an astounding account of God’s love.

The book was printed as a special TBN Edition in 1989 and one of their most requested publications ever. In it, Dr. Kennedy unfolds the timeless story of God’s love—His Gospel in the stars.

The Bible tells us that He called all of the stars “the host of heaven,” that He numbered them, ordered them, and set them in the firmament to be signs. (Although their original meaning has been corrupted into something counterfeit by astrologers.)

His marvelous masterpiece, the art gallery of God, depicts the message of redemption revealing to man the account of the coming, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

That’s right. The way of salvation is revealed beautifully for us in the heavens!

Dr. Kennedy begins the explanation of the true Zodiac with Virgo, or the Virgin and the birth of the incarnate Son of God. He continues the “great celestial preaching of the Gospel” with the other eleven signs, ending with Leo, The Lion, which depicts Christ’s victory over sin, the world, and Satan.

By citing specific scripture for each sign, Dr. Kennedy reminds us that God has done all of this so that we might know of God’s love…that we might know His son as our savior, and so that the glory of Jesus and his redemption might fill our hearts with wonder and praise.

He loves me. He loves you.

He has told us so in His Word, in the heavens, and by sending us the gift of salvation through his son, Jesus.

May you never look at the night sky in quite the same way again.

It is His Valentine to mankind.

 

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Grace vs. Works

Romans 11:6– And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

One of the most popular songs of all time is Amazing Grace.

We say Grace before our meals.

Grace is a very popular girl’s name.

Philip Yancy wrote a book called, What’s So Amazing About Grace?

 I am a member of Grace Church.

Grace. What does that word mean?

Simple. It is undeserved merit.

It would be like me winning The Pulitzer Prize.

When we accept Jesus as our savior, God showers grace upon us. That is, he confers on us undeserved merit, or forgiveness of our sins.

We don’t deserve this merit, this forgiveness. We cannot work for it. It cannot be earned. That is why it is called grace.

Some people believe that by doing good works, they can earn a right standing with God. But, when you read Romans 11:6, we see that God is telling us that works is the opposite of grace.

God did not have working your own way to heaven as a part of his plan. No, he planned to give us a free gift of eternal life through his son, Jesus.

Why would he have sent Jesus to the cross to die if he planned to have you work for your salvation? What kind of loving father would have done that? That would mean that Jesus suffered and died for nothing!

But, that’s not how it happened. Knowing we could never earn our place in Heaven, he saved us by HIS GRACE through faith in Jesus Christ.

The next time we sing Amazing Grace, may we do so with a thankful heart—one that truly understands that this undeserved merit was not made possible by good works that we may have done, but by the greatest act of unconditional love that this world has ever witnessed.

Brenda

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The Cup

Luke 22:42 (NIV) “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

From the standpoint of a human being, the prayer Jesus prayed in the garden prior to His crucifixion was very understandable. He knew the pain and anguish He was about to suffer. He prayed that God would spare Him.

What about you? Have you ever prayed that God would spare you from some physical illness, uncomfortable confrontation, or punishment of some kind?

Maybe the pain or embarrassment was just too much to bear, so you asked God to somehow change or correct the situation so that you wouldn’t have to endure it. But, had you considered that there might be some good that might come out of your suffering? That maybe God would use its outcome for your best interest or to teach someone else as they listen to your story?

Jesus knew that it would only be by His death and resurrection that God’s plan of redemption for mankind could take place. He prayed that He would not have to drink of the cup God had prepared for him, but He also knew that we needed to be forgiven—made right with God—so He deferred to God’s will.

We each may very well have a cup to drink. Although our life situations may be different, it is only as we bow to God’s will that we can realize the blessing He has for us. He is able to turn your suffering into rejoicing as you come to Him.

Someone’s cup may be the death of a treasured friend. For another, it might be the unfaithfulness of a spouse. Still others may face caring for a child with a terminal illness.

Whatever it is, we can know this: our Savior knows our pain. He loves us so much that He drank the cup of crucifixion for us. But the good news is that God turned His suffering into rejoicing as He raised Him from the grave, victorious over death.

As God turned Jesus’ cup into the salvation for all men who will come to Him, He is fully capable of turning your cup into something good for you and those you love.

Brenda

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No More Chains

Lamentations 3: 22,23– “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (NRSV)

When cleaning out a long-forgotten box filled with old books, I came across a copy of Ripley’s Believe it or Not from 1978. As I thumbed through it, I was captivated by a picture of “The Man of Chains” from Lahore, Pakistan.

In the photo, Mohammedan Sahib Allah Shah was dressed in over 670 pounds of chains which he reportedly wore for the last thirteen years of his life, as a penance for his sins. The article told of many similar acts of penance practiced by religious groups around the world.

The Bible tells us that, while we should hate sin and refrain from sinful acts, we can be assured of forgiveness because of the great love and mercy of our Lord. Jesus bore the punishment for our sins when He went to the Cross. Nothing beyond our acceptance of this precious gift from Him is necessary on our part in order to obtain salvation.

No more can the chains of sin bind you and keep you apart from the Father. No more can guilt burden your life. No more need for penance because God’s mercies are new every morning!

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