spiritualsnippets.com

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

Did You Know?

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I Corinthians 10:31- “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

 

Have you been reading Spiritual Snippets each week, unaware that I am an author of Christian Fiction?

My first book, Runaways, the Long Journey Home, was based on a recurring dream. I consider that book, and the four that have come after it, as opportunities to declare the love and forgiveness of Jesus.

Authors bear tremendous publishing and marketing expenses. The revenue from book sales is what keeps us afloat.

These summer months, with Covid keeping many of us inside, have been the perfect opportunity for new readers to experience just how exciting Christian Fiction can be. 

Here is the book description of Runaways from my Amazon Book page:

No Mama. An abusive father. A dog for a best friend.

Ten-year-old Jake runs away from his remote Appalachian home in the dead of winter.

He and Hound, face freezing temperatures and near starvation as they travel through mountainous terrain.

And, they narrowly escape Father as he tracks them with the very rifle he used to kill Sam and Mama.

Then, when Jake hears about God’s unconditional love for him, he is confronted with the biggest decision of his life:

Will he keep running…

Or face his father?

**All of my books are available on Amazon, Kobo, or at the Barnes and Noble order desk. Formats: paperback, e-book, and Audible. You can find out more about me on my two websites:  www.spiritualsnippets.com and www.brendacpoulosauthor.org   

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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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Not Forgotten

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Luke 12:6- “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.”

 

I instinctively turned my shopping cart down the PET aisle. I even reached for the KITTY LITTER before I acknowledged the reality: I had made the decision to put my beloved cat down the week before. The vet had diagnosed his problem as Kidney Failure. Nothing could be done, except to ease his pain.

I cried for days.

We no longer devote laundry room space to Brinkley’s dish or litter box. But, our memories are vivid…our hearts heavy.

Pets don’t have a soul. They have no knowledge about God. They don’t know what it is like to experience His love.

Or do they?

Scripture tells us that God knows when a bird—one of His smallest creatures—falls from the nest. He cares for them!

God created all things according to His purpose. So, I want to believe that, whether in Heaven or on the New Earth, we will once again experience the unconditional love of our pets.  

Just as I cannot envision a world without colors, fragrances, stars, and music, I believe God will allow us to continue to enjoy the companionship of animals for all eternity.

  

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The Unopened Gift

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If someone told you that they have a Christmas present that they refrain from opening, and that year after year it remains wrapped underneath their tree, you would probably stare at them in disbelief and ask

“Why?”

Good question.

But, wait, do you have a gift you haven’t opened?

I think you know the one I’m talking about.

God gave us a gift when he sent his son, Jesus, to earth. But, have you put off opening your gift? Unsure of what to do with Him…how your life might change if you accepted God’s gift?

What if I told you that there’s not a gift—at any price—that could ever compare to God’s gift?

After all, could there be any better gift than forgiveness of sins…eternal life… unconditional love of Almighty God?

Amazing, huh?

This is a gift so special that you won’t want to exchange it, get a refund, or leave it unopened.

God is reaching out to you with a precious gift.

All you have to do is accept it.

Don’t think you’re worthy?

You’re right.

Not one person that has ever accepted God’s gift has been worthy of it.

Not one person has been able to earn it, either…because it’s a gift.

Right now, I’m asking God to give you the strength to lay your fears aside and reach underneath the tree—that place where you’ve left God’s gift unopened—and give you the courage to accept Jesus, His son, and the salvation that He brings to each of us who BELIEVE.

 

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Paying It Forward

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2 Samuel 10:2- “David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.”

 

I placed my order and pulled forward to pay for my meal at the fast food drive thru. Imagine my surprise when the teenager at the window said, “No charge. The lady in the car in front of you paid your bill.”

I honked, waived, and told the kind stranger thank you as I stuck my head out of the car window. “Have a good day,” she said as she drove down the busy street and out of sight.

What a nice—and totally unexpected blessing. It made my day. There was still some goodness left in our world, after all.

The idea called, “pay it forward,” leaves it up to me to perform a nice gesture for someone else.

Repaying kindness with kindness.

The phrase “paying it forward” may have originated after a movie featured it some years ago, but the Bible records many instances of similar acts done in Biblical times—David paying respects to Hanun at the death of his father, King of the Ammonites; Rahab’s life being spared because she hid Israelite spies on her rooftop to protect them from attacking soldiers, and so on.

When someone repays kindness with kindness, we all remark about how nice it was…how thoughtful…even unusual in our world today. It is almost unheard of, however, for someone to repay with kindness those who hurt them.

Repaying unkindness with kindness?

Jesus was flogged, beaten, spit upon, denied, ridiculed. Yet, he repaid those unkindnesses by dying on the cross for the sins of those people, as well as our own.

Only unconditional love would do that.

Only by the grace of God.

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That’s Who He Is

2 John 1:3– Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Ah, love.  It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

When we are “in love,” we feel a certain way, which causes us to act in a more or less predictable manner. Perhaps we are more thoughtful, more giving, more…

You get the picture.

Love motivates us.                                  371032725_9c92f53032

But, although loving another person prompts us to show our love for them through our actions, our behavior toward those we don’t love isn’t motivated in the same way—if at all.

Such is the way of man.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we felt such love for everyone that we showed it in our actions toward all people… at all times?

That’s not possible, you say.

You’re right.

Left to our own devices…acting according to our own nature…we simply are not capable of experiencing—and acting in accordance—with that kind of all-encompassing love.

What about God?

The Bible says that God IS love.

His very essence is love. One hundred percent of Him. One hundred percent of the time.

Essence: the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something that determines its character… without which it would not exist or be what it is.

So, following the definition, God’s very nature is love and without it, He would not exist.

He is completely love…all of Him.

He’s not just loving in his actions to some people at some times (when He feels like it).

He’s not just motivated by it, as human beings are.

HE IS LOVE.

Only love can love…everyone…all the time.

It’s impossible to wrap our heads around that truth, isn’t it?

And, because He acts in accordance with his very essence, he cannot act in opposition to it.

He loves unconditionally because the pure essence of His love doesn’t depend on you and I—or our actions—at all.

Because that’s how He is.

That’s who He is.

.

 

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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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