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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Snippets: The Dazzling Heavens

Psalm 8:3-4 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?"

Well, contrary to my statements in last week's post, I was not able to do either a guest post or a personal one during the week. ;) I do apologize for that. On either Wednesday or Thursday there is going to be a very special guest post, however! :) I'm really looking forward to putting in on here, and I think all of you will like it as well.

For my topic today, I chose something that I find so fascinating: the vast expanse of space and the beauty that fills it. As I was researching for this post, I found out some incredibly cool stuff about stars:

  • Every star that you see in the night sky is bigger and brighter than our sun.
  • On a clear night, you are able to see 20 quadrillion miles, at least. (I'm going to say this the next time someone asks me how my eyesight is. ;)
  • There is a "hyper-giant" star named Pistol that shines ten billion times brighter than our sun. Wow. It emits such massive amounts of radiation that even if humans could travel to it, life could not be sustained in any place even close to it.
  • Galaxies often collide with each other. Due to the vast space between the stars within them, the stars themselves don't usually crash. However, the gas clouds and dust will, forming even more new stars.
  • There are around 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone. 
  • How many galaxies are there? No one is exactly sure except the One who created them. However, scientist have estimated that there are potentially more than one hundred and sixty billion galaxies. So we're talking billions of trillions of stars in the observable universe.
So now that you've been overwhelmed with all of these mind blowing facts, lets look at the place in the Bible where it talks about God creating the stars. Here we go...Genesis 1:16c "...He made the stars also." That's it. He made the stars also?? I mean, that almost just sounds like it's thrown in as an afterthought--oh yeah, by the way He also made those billions of trillions of inconceivably massive and innumerable celestial beings too. That to me says something of the absolute power and authority that God has. He knows each of those stars by name, and holds them in their exact positions in the sky. They are so regular and precise, that we can predict their patterns for hundreds of years into the future. 

All of this makes me feel pretty insignificantly tiny! As the Psalmist considered these things, he felt like that as well. And he asked the question, what is man? According to God's Word, man is the crowning glory of the creation! Not the stars or the sun, or the trees or oceans or animals, but man. Mankind is the only creation that Jesus Christ came to die for! The only part of this vast creation that God made in His own image. That is...incredible! 

As we look up at the stars this week, let's take time to thank God for considering us--tiny, microscopic specks in the scheme of the universe--and loving us enough to send His precious Son for our salvation. What a mighty God we serve!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Real or Fake friends?

Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."

First off, I want to say I'm sorry I haven't been posting really anything except Sunday Snippets lately. We've been in the very busy, rather chaotic period of gradually moving into our new house. ;) I haven't had much time for doing blog stuff. Anyway, hopefully there will be one or two guest posts soon, as well as my personal testimony of salvation at some point. Stay tuned. :)

To return to the point; today I was thinking a lot about the power of friends, both good and bad. I personally know multiple people who have walked away from the will of God completely, due almost entirely to the influence of their friends. Others have been pulled back from the brink of spiritual danger because a friend took the time and effort to pray for them and be an encouragement. In 1 Corinthians 15:33 it says, "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." In the verse at the head of this post, it says that friends can "sharpen" each other spiritually. God's Word is very clear on the fact that our friends influence us greatly! That being the case, I'd say it is pretty important to choose your friends wisely, don't you think?

So if it's this important to have friends that will lift you up, rather than drag you down spiritually, what are some ways that we can tell the bad friends from the good ones? Some people can be pretty good pretenders, after all! Here are a few things that, from my experience, are vital to watch for in a potential friend.

  • Does this person talk down about the authorities in their life? This is a really bad sign. If someone can't respect the leadership God has placed over them, how then can they follow God, the ultimate authority?
  • Do they consistently push boundaries? Are they always trying to get a little more of what they want, even when there's already been guidelines set up?
  • Do they speak negatively and/or inappropriately? BIG red flag here! Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. (Luke 6:45) If there's trash coming out of someone's mouth, it means there's trash in their heart.
  • Do they encourage you towards Godly thoughts and actions, or away from them? This is the biggest question of all. When you come away from a conversation with this person, do you feel uplifted spiritually? Or does it feel more like you've just been hanging out with a non-Christian?
This is not an all-inclusive list, but I hope it encourages you to think carefully about who you choose to be close friends with. Please understand, we need to show Christ's love to those around us, regardless. I'm not saying we should totally shun everyone who is not living according to God's Word. Of course not! :) However, there should be a distinct difference in who we as God's children spend the majority of our time with. If we surround ourselves with those who care nothing about serving Him with their whole hearts, our entire lives will be affected by that mindset. Let's hold onto the Godly friends we've been blessed with!! Also one last thing: if you want to BE a true friend? Apply this list to your own life. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Win, win, win

Sunday Snippets
Win, win, win

Galatians 6:9 "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

There is a man named Mark Cahill, whose main goal in life is to share his faith in Christ, and to encourage Christians of today to do the same. If I ever need to be convicted about passionate witnessing, all I need to do is watch a video of his online, or read one of his books! Today I want to share with you one thing he talks about a lot, that has really been an encouragement to me.

First of all, let me give you some scenarios. One day, you're out door knocking with your church, and end up sharing Christ with someone on their doorstep. This person is under obvious conviction as you tell them the bad news of sin and it's consequences, then the incredible news of what Jesus did to remedy it. Then and there, they pray God for His forgiveness and mercy, and accept His redemption. WOW!! What an amazing blessing!

Scenario 2: A person opens the door, and merely glares at you as you start to talk, then slams the door in your face. Hmm. Not a good response, right?

The last scenario is one that usually wouldn't happen in our country necessarily, but is certainly possible. You try to share the Gospel with someone, and they kill you for your faith. Well, that would be the worst response of all, wouldn't it?

What if I were to tell you that each of these responses is equally wonderful? Yep. All of them. Win, win, win. Think about it with me for a minute; response one is good...they got saved and are on their way to heaven because of you! Amen! Response two? You obeyed God's mandate by sharing your faith. You have a responsibility to witness, not to accept Christ for the person! Your obedience is not changed by the fact that they didn't respond the way you may have hoped. Your reward is in heaven! And the third response is honestly the best one of all. What greater way to be sent into the Saviour's presence than while you are directly obeying Him by faith? God has promised a special, magnificent reward for those who die for the cause of Christ. Death is merely a doorway to a glorious eternity with the One who set us free!

As you share your faith this week, be not weary in well doing. Whether you are gladly welcomed or flatly rejected, it's ALWAYS a win, win if you are trusting God and obeying His Word! :)
"Never let your fear of man trump your love for God."
-Mark Cahill

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Our Only Safety

Psalm 4:8 "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety."

When I was younger, I used to deal with a lot of fear at night. I wasn't afraid of the dark, or of someone breaking in during the night, or of monsters under my bed...I was terrified that the house would burn down. Now while this is a legitimate thing that could possibly happen, I took this fear to an extreme. I would lie awake in terror for the longest time, nearly every night! Even after I came to know The Lord, and no longer feared death and what came after, fire still terrified me. To this day, I still sometimes struggle with it. However, one day I finally realized that this abject fear was actually sin! In Philippians 4:6 it says, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Being "careful" means to be full of care over something. I was letting this care rule my life! 

My grandma once said something I've never forgotten..."We are invincible until God is done with us on earth." If we are striving to serve God and stay in His will, our protection and safety is in Him alone. He is the Everlasting Father, and no one can pluck you out of His hand! Nothing, I repeat: nothing can happen to you unless God allows it. In which case, He will sustain you through it. This concept quite honestly changed my life. When I stopped being constantly afraid, there was a LOT more room for joy in my heart! :) Notice the verse that comes after Philippians 4:6 that I quoted earlier. "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." When we are careful for nothing, but cast our cares on Him (1 Pet. 5:7), His peace will fill our hearts, casting out fear. Praise God for His loving protection of His children!