spiritualsnippets.com

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

Comfort–Even in the Shadows

 

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Psalm 23:4 – “ Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…”

 

My local church sends out a daily email. In it, members receive prayer needs within the “body,” praises, and other pertinent information.

At times, I am astounded as to the number of people who are ill, recuperating from surgeries, or have concerns for family members.

Sometimes the news is heart-wrenching—the passing of someone dear to all of us.

Are you walking thru the valley of the shadow of death?

Even though the support of friends and family is encouraging—and we are told in scripture that we need to uphold our brothers and sisters in prayer—isn’t it incredible to know that our Creator, Healer, and Savior is there for us when the shadow of death crosses our path or the path of someone we love?

God is there, walking the road with us. He knows the depths of pain and sorrow we are going through. He wants us to cling to Him, as He is ready, able, and willing to bring us peace, even in the face of otherwise overwhelming circumstances.

King David, who wrote Psalm 23, paints a beautiful word picture of what Christians can experience when we lean on the God of all comfort.

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No Tree This Year

Galatians 4:4- “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”

 

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For several reasons, we decided not to put up a Christmas Tree this year.

Instead, the focal point in our living room is a lovely pottery Nativity which was painted by my sister-in-law more than three decades ago. We have displayed it for many, many Christmases.

The cow no longer has one of his horns. The saddle on one of the camels, one ear of the donkey, and the face of the shepherd boy have been chipped over the years.

The nativity may not look quite as beautiful as it once did, but I am enjoying it more than ever before.

I guess it was only natural to spend so much time and effort on our trees in the past. After all, it takes hours to place the lights and ornaments on it just so. Then there’s arrangement of the tree skirt and the placement of the packages underneath…

But, as I said, this year our focus is on the Nativity: Mary, Joseph, the babe in the manger, the Wise Men and the Shepherds, the livestock, and the Angel which appears to be hovering overhead.

God planned the redemption of humankind and, at just the right time, he sent his son, Jesus, into the world. God in the flesh, born in a stable and lying in a manger.

The story gets more beautiful with time. Nothing chipped, cracked, or missing.

The birth of our Lord in the fulness of time.

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What If Jesus Were Born Today?

 

6439494977_17f82094aeLuke 2:10-14~ “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

 

A brilliant star guided the Wise Men and Shepherds to the actual place where baby Jesus rested. Angels filled the night sky, their songs of praise directed to God.

Without the technology we have in the world today, news of the miraculous birth was a good deal slower than what we are used to.

So, what might it be like if Jesus were born today?

First of all, he would probably be born in a hospital, with Mary being released to go home the following day. Soft blankets, a mobile over the crib, and an economy box of disposable diapers would be necessities.

Mary would sit in a rocking chair next to the changing table and rock Jesus to sleep while Joseph stands in the doorway contemplating just how much their lives had changed in the last twenty-four hours. He’d wonder just how he was going to maintain their privacy when the news got out about the birth of God’s son.

Later, hearing a noise outside, Joseph would flinch when he looked out the window to see a crowd already gathering. The offers for the first photo would start pouring in, somewhere around six digits. Maybe more.

Mary would ask for some supplies from the grocery store, and Joseph would come up with an ingenious plan to escape the horde of reporters, retrieve the needed items, and sneak back into their apartment undetected.

The weeks and years to follow would be spent dodging the paparazzi.

Yes, the news would travel fast via texts, tweets, instagrams, Facebook stories, reports on the Evening News—even U-Tube Videos on his first birthday.

We can use our imaginations to suppose what his life might be like from that point on. Speaking engagements…guest appearances on late night television…maybe even a miniseries…

But, the point is this. Would we have believed that the son of God had been born on earth—that he had come to save people from their sins—any more than the Jewish aristocracy of their day believed it? After all, the Messiah they were looking for was a warrior—a conquerer—not a lowly peasant boy. So, would we believe that an ordinary-looking boy from a lower-middle class family could possibly be God’s son or would we attempt to explain it away as another instance of “Fake News?”

What would it take for us to believe? The recorded words that would turn out to be the best-selling book of all time? A documentary, perhaps?

Maybe footage from a surveillance camera showing Jesus talking to God? Or a Dateline exclusive interview in which Jesus describes what his life was like in Heaven and why he was willing to become human and die on a cross so that we might be reconciled to God?

Would his picture be displayed in our churches? Would he be invited to preach sermons there?

It’s interesting to speculate, isn’t it?

I am sure of only one thing: if he were to be born today, the result would be the same. There would be those who would reject Him; those who would embrace Him.

The truth, however, would still be the truth: He came to do the work The Father sent him to do.

He’d still be the Messiah…Immanuel, God with us.

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There’s Got to be a Word…

I John 4:9- “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”

 

When I was a young girl growing up, Saturday mornings at our house were designated for cleaning. My favorite chore was dusting. I was able to close my bedroom door and put my favorite 45’s on the record player while tidying up.

One of my favorite songs was “There’s Got To Be A Word” (that means more than “love”). This was a romantic tune that tugged at the heart of every teenage girl in the 60’s. But, as I reminisce of days gone by, I wonder if there might really be a word that does mean more than love, or deepens its meaning, shows love in action

Babe in a Manger  (oops, more than one)

Cross

Immanuel

Nails

Messiah

Resurrection

Savior

Forgiveness

Adoption as Sons (sometimes just one word won’t do)

Mercy

Grace

Jesus

 

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Prepare Your Heart to Seek God

2 Chronicles 19:30– “Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God.”

Gifts wrapped. Check.

Cookies baked. Check.

Christmas letter written. Check.

Tree trimmed. Check.

Preparations.

All year long we prepare for

Birthday parties.

Meals.

Exams.

Food drives.

Company.

The Bible tells us how the Israelites prepared for their journey into the Promised Land, Noah prepared for the flood by building the Ark, Solomon prepared to build the temple, the people prepared for the passover, and Mary for the birth of Jesus.

The Bible also tells us that we must prepare our hearts to seek God.

Not just at Christmas.

But every day.

Like David. Like King Jehoshaphat.

What does that look like, in real life, in the twenty-first century?

Perhaps it looks no different than it did back then: coming before the Lord in quiet contemplation, emptying our thoughts of the hustle and bustle of preparations and coming quietly before Him…

with praise on our lips

with thanksgiving in our hearts

with souls ready to be filled.

Expectantly.

Jubilantly.

 

With a desire to know Him.

 

The babe in a manger.

The Savior on a cross.

The Lord of All.

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The Ultimate Hero

Romans 5:6-8  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

There is a television show beginning, soon, called Heroes. It will depict dangerous situations in which ordinary people, with extraordinary abilities display heroic acts of courage. I don’t know what the stories will be, but in my opinion

The Purple Heart…

Neighbors rescuing others from car wrecks, burning buildings, near drownings…

Citizens speaking out for the downtrodden; for the homeless…

Missionaries giving their lives as they are persecuted for sharing the Gospel…

The surf boarder who turned around to rescue his friend and competitor from a shark…

Firefighters…

These are worthy of the term heroes.

But, nowadays, I am saddened and disheartened when I hear of people that are getting credited in the media as modern day heroes. Some of them are people who are speaking out in favor of social issues that are against the values that our country—and our God—have held sacred in past generations. 

It seems, as a society, we have turned our backs on Christian values. Behaviors that were once seen as sin, are now being glorified. And, along with that, the definition of heroes has slowly eroded, too.

The dictionary defines a hero as “a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities: example “a war hero.”

I think most of us might agree that the ultimate hero is Jesus. He is that—and so much more—. In the flesh of a man, he displayed courage as he walked this earth. He was mocked, spit upon, misunderstood, and crucified.

He is a hero of the highest order: Savior of all mankind from the consequences of sin.

He gave his life for his friends AND his enemies.

Only a real hero would do that.

Only a Savior named JESUS.

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Is All That Glitters Really Gold?

Revelation 22:13 and 16b: “I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last…I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

The young woman at the restaurant flashed her engagement ring to the five other young ladies seated at her table.

“It’s so HUGE! Is it real?” one girl asked.

“I didn’t know Dave had that much money,” another chimed in.

“I’d get it appraised, and then insured. In that order,” offered yet another guest.

In a world full of fake jewels, furs, purses—even flowers—conversations like this are not uncommon. The quest for what is real is an ongoing one. No one wants to be outwitted or fall for a counterfeit, a reproduction, a copy.

We all want the “real deal”, don’t we? We have an aversion to being duped.

So it is with people. We want to know that our friends are really our friends. That they don’t pretend to be our friends to our faces, and then talk about us behind our backs. We want to be able to depend on the fact that they are who they say they are.

The Bible tells us that we can be sure that Jesus is who He claims to be. That He cannot—and does not—ever lie. His Word assures us of who He is and that we can truly depend on Him to do what He says He will do. He keeps His promises. He never fails. He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

One day, believers will meet Him in Heaven. We will see Him “face-to-face.”

We are not waiting to see a phony. We are looking forward to seeing our God, our Savior, our Lord. The true and Living Word…in all His Glory…our Bright and Morning Star!

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The Sunrise–God’s Reminder

Colossions 4:2– Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.

Our youngest grandson turned nine years old this month. I looked at the envelope in my hand. It was his thank you note for the “big” gift from us—new rollerblades.

Saying thank you is important, whether it’s in person, a phone call, or a written note, like Owen sent. So, how and when do we thank our Heavenly Father for His many gifts?

Hopefully, we don’t wait until a designated holiday rolls around to remind us to thank God for His blessings and for answered prayer. We have so much to be thankful for, on a daily basis, that we need to remember to thank Him every day.

I have been as guilty as anyone for praying petitions—asking for things—but failing to acknowledge Him in words of thanks when my prayers are answered. The Bible reminds us that His mercies are new every morning, so I have started using the sunrise to remind me, daily, to praise and thank God for His abiding love, His provision, and for answered prayer.

Beginning each day with a thankful heart helps me keep the rest of my day in perspective. It doesn’t require stationary, a stamp, or the U.S. Postal Service. I simply need to bow my head each morning to acknowledge my Creator, my Savior, my Lord.

How and when do you thank God? Please leave a comment.

Brenda

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