Category Archives: Sacred Snippets

Sacred Snippet: Tests and Trials

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Tests and Trials

You look okay on the outside. Everything looks great to others, but privately you feel threats, encounter significant problems, or experience suffering that people can’t see. The Bible calls these tests and trials.

When people start seeing through you, it’s tough. You don’t want to feel weak in front of other people. You don’t want them to see the difficulties you might be facing, the threats you might be encountering, or the internal turmoil you are going through. However, you know they are there.

My Test and Trial

One day, I opened my blog website and discovered it was no longer there. Panic engulfed me. Also, emails were being sent to my blog subscribers, which I did not send. I panicked–fearful some obscene image or article might show up on my site sent by an intruder. I tried to fix the problem on my own. But the backend software (the hidden infrastructure of the website) was in complete disarray. I went to my paid subscription sources and hosting site and got partial help. But internally, the data inside my blog was corrupt. There were severe problems–five, to be exact. “Hacked” was a word I never wanted to hear, but hackers were precisely who infiltrated my site. [However, if you are reading this now, no worries, it has all been fixed, my dear friends.]

God is our Source

In our lives today, personal pressures and problems consume our thoughts, and nobody but us know they are there. They destroy our thinking. We even go to trusted websites or self-help books to help to no avail. When we face inner struggles, our heavenly Father is the one to approach first. He knows what is going on in our minds, personal ruminations, and physical selves. God is there not only to help us with these difficulties but to walk alongside us until the time is right for Him to show us His purposes. 

Children, take your intimate struggles to the Lord and ask Jesus to plead with your heavenly Father to show His purpose. 

Sit before Your Heavenly Father

The Bible says we will have struggles and trials. Being a believer does not alleviate living in this fallen world. Before reaching out to friends, family, or Internet sources, go first to God, sit before him, rest, and ask Him to handle your threats, problems, struggles, and concealed thoughts. He is there for you. 

James 1: 2-5 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Then wait in prayer, meditation, and Bible reading for an answer. Sometimes God answers quickly, but oftentimes, we are left waiting, yearning, and seeking His response for even years. As we wait, let us be growing in an abundance of love for our Lord and Savior. Live in joy and service until the time comes when we have “been approved” for our dedication and undefiled obedience, whether in this life or the next.

James says, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial, for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

How to Handle Tests and Trials

  • Recognize that tests and trials come to all people,
  • Realize our adverse circumstances allow us to reach greater maturity in Him,
  • Pray for guidance,
  • Seek His wisdom,
  • Obey God’s principles and precepts,
  • Understand that our trials are opportunities to honor the Lord,
  • Be joyful through testing and trials,
  • Trust that God knows what He is doing,
  • Know that when the trials cease, our faith will be stronger,
  • Stand firm no matter how long our testing or preparation takes, and
  • Know that the ‘Crown of Life’ awaits us when we have stood the test and our trials are over.

Just as it took time to fix my website, commit to journeying with the Lord during your wait time and love Him with your entire being, no matter what!

God Bless,

 

 

 

Books by Patti Greene

BIBLE WORD SEARCH PUZZLE SERIES

Sacred Snippet: Tootsie Pops

I love how God can take the simple things in life and turn them into a blessing.

This morning I stopped at CVS with the intent to purchase only some computer paper. However, I decided to check out the candy row to see if they had a bag of Tootsie Pops. I had searched two other stores previously to no avail. Lo and behold, I discovered CVS had my favorite low-calorie candy—three points per pop for those who know what I mean! ¹

As mostly what happens to us all, we go into a store with good intents and come out with more. I even added some colorful Post-it Page Markers to my other two items. As I left the drug store, I hit the red light under Houston’s Katy Freeway. There I saw a young man. His legs were so skinny—like they were diseased. All I had to give him was a Tootsie Pop. I cannot say I was extremely generous by giving him the entire bag, but I wanted to give him something sweet to eat. I wrestled opening the bag; finally, I had to use my teeth to open the bag. Not cool, but I was afraid the light was going to turn green.

Once the bag was open, I reached in and started to pull out an orange and red pop, but then stopped. It was like the Lord said, “Give him your best.” God knew that red and orange were not my favorites, but chocolate and purple were. So, I quickly reached in, opened my window, and gave him a chocolate and purple Tootsie Pop. It might not seem like a big sacrifice, but when you understand the last two bags of Tootsie Pops I bought had no purples in them, you can understand my “sacrifice” a little better.

Now, here is the best part. I handed this young man the two pops. He saw them and gave me a big old grin through his crooked yellow teeth, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “thank you.” Yes, it was a small gesture on my part, but it started me out on the right foot and started his day out with a little sweetness too!

Sacred Snippet: Refilling the Pot

When the coffee pot is empty, we refill the water, the grinds, and the filter.

When this year ends, let us refill our mind, heart, and soul with the love of God!

As we approach the new year and are thinking about our New Year resolutions, we tend to think like this . . .

If I am stressed, I need to unstress.

If I am frustrated, I need to be less frustrated.

If I lust, I need to stop lusting.

If I am addicted, I need to not be addicted.

If I am proud, I need to be humble.

If I lie, I need to stop lying, and

If I am overweight, I need to stop eating.

This list could go on and on and on!

As believers, we encounter the same challenges as unbelievers. The difference is we have the power through the Holy Spirit to confront these ordeals not just in our strength, but in His.

As we face the New Year, let us commit to asking the Lord to continually show us our shortcomings and sins, then evaluate and confess them. Let us renew our relationship with Christ through daily prayer and Bible reading. Let us lay our souls bare before Him and talk to Him about EVERYTHING. He is here to hear our concerns, our weaknesses, our upcoming decisions, our plans, and our spiritual concerns. He already knows them, but by expressing ourselves to Him in either quiet meditation or loud wailing, we are connecting to the source who wants to guide up to a deeper walk with Him in holiness “. . . For He knows the secrets of our heart” (Psalm 44:21).

Below is an example of sharing one’s heart with God from Psalm 139. I challenge you to read this Hebrew prayer from King David aloud and make this prayer your prayer as we approach this upcoming year!

Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I get up;
You understand my thought from far away.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, Lord, You know it all.
You have encircled me behind and in front,
And placed Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot comprehend it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take up the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

For You created my innermost parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully formed in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my formless substance;
And in Your book were written
All the days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts for me, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

If only You would put the wicked to death, God;
Leave me, you men of bloodshed.
For they speak against You wickedly,
And Your enemies take Your name in vain.

Do I not hate those who hate You, Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
Put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me,

And see if there is any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Psalm 139:1-24

Prayer:

Lord, let not anything interfere with my quiet times with You or my connection with Your church and community. Let me worship You with gratitude and live a life of perseverance in every direction You lead.

Bible Version: NASB

Sacred Snippet: Serving Christ

Do not ever belittle yourself thinking “small” service to the Lord does not count. Believe me, it counts!

In my quiet time this morning, I was thinking about ways I have “served” the Lord in years gone by and I could not get past this one time!

Years ago my husband and I were members of Autumn Creek Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. The building had just been built and we were getting ready for our very first service in the new church building. The day before our “grand opening” the congregation was helping to get the church ready. My job was to clean the inside windows of the church and dust the sawdust off the windowsills. No, there were no paid cleaners!!! We were all just doing our part–serving and fellowshipping together.

Why does this stand out in my mind as a significant contribution to the kingdom of God now? Maybe because it wasn’t huge like teaching a class or running Vacation Bible School; maybe because God was preparing me for more, or maybe He was showing me that sometimes it is the little, ‘behind-the-scene’ service that is just as important as big visual positions. As years have gone by, I think it was all these things.

When we serve God in the little things and are faithful to Him, He will give us more in His time; He will show us our spiritual gifts; He will smile down upon us. He is growing us.

So next time you smile at a lonely person, change a diaper in the nursery or send an encouragement card to someone, remember you are being the feet of Christ. He is working through you in the little things.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB)

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#ServingChrist

Photo Credit: Canva

Books by Patti Greene – Order Below!

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

Sacred Snippet: Watching a Former Church Online

FBC-O’Fallon, Missouri by Patti Greene

Since COVID-19, my usual Sunday morning consists of watching my own church Bear Creek Church, Katy online, then watching Southcrest Baptist Church, Lubbock, and then an “extra church” for variety.

Today, my “extra church” was our former church, First Baptist Church-O’Fallon, Missouri. We left there 24 years ago when we moved back to Houston.

It was an awesome feeling. I felt like I was back in time. Memories of areas the Lord privileged me to serve filled my being — the apartment ministries, the Christmas tree gifts ministry, the library ministry, and the fun times like when a lady leading a group I was in just got up, closed her eyes and laid down on the floor for 5+ minutes. Everyone else seemed to know what she was doing but for me! Turns out it was a menopause attack! I learned a lot at that church about God and life.

Of course, all the pastors have changed, but the music and “being in the sanctuary” was like being right there with my old friends and church family!

I even imagined my former and now late pastor Gary Taylor at the helm preaching. I was brought back to the day we all poured out our love to him when he rolled himself onto the platform shortly after his devastating car accident. He couldn’t wait to preach to us. And we couldn’t wait to love and pray him through his crisis time. He trusted us to love him through his difficulty because we were family-we really were.

The sermon today by the current pastor Dr. Michael Atherton was on “Spiritual Giftedness” in the church and I only took six pages of notes! I typed them up; and even distributed my notes. Okay, to be honest, I only emailed them to one person so far.

I say all this to encourage you to think back to a church that gave you great satisfaction and joy and join them online sometime. It will make you so grateful for all the experiences and love you have received from God.

At least it did for me🎚

Sacred Snippet: Tree Trimmers

As I watched a crew of tree trimmers pruning the trees in my yard, there was one designated man whose job it was to place ropes securely around himself and climb into the inner portion of the tree to trim the branches that were high and unreachable to the other crew members. Without a doubt, this man–I feel sure—had been meticulously trained on how to use the saws and climbing gear properly.

I held my breath as this man stood on the tree limbs—convinced some would be too weak to hold him.

But then, I froze when I saw him slip a few feet down the limb. Only I WAS FEARFUL. He was not. He was confident because he had ropes holding him securely fastened in case of a fall.

He trusted in the ropes.

Watching him, I was reminded how many times we slip in our Christian walk, i.e. gossip, jealousy, critical spirit, and more.

But we have a God who, just like the ropes, holds us securely in place.

However, first, we must trust Christ to be assured of His full protection.

We do that by believing in Jesus Christ.

Then, we can lean on Him, securely aware He is our protector, and that He holds us securely in His arms.

In the Bible, ropes were used both for positive and negative purposes. On the positive side, ropes were used for . . .

  1. Support

After they had hoisted it up, they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along. (Acts 27:17)

  1. An escape

So, Michal let David down through a window, and he went out and fled and escaped. (1 Samuel 19:12)

  1. A reminder of God’s commandments

You shall, therefore, impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. (Deuteronomy 11:18)

Let us choose today to allow God’s “ropes” to give us His confidence during our times of need!

God Bless,

Sacred Snippet: A Silver Lining

I admit it! I am a readaholic! During this quarantine period, I have read a ton of books. I usually only like to read one book at a time (along with the Bible), but I have found myself in a pickle these past few weeks—to the point of becoming overwhelmed.

I am currently reading…
– A book by A.W. Tozer;
– A book on the Christian life;
– A book preview for a friend who will publish her book soon;
– A book that is accompanied by a workbook;
– Reference books for when I have questions; and
– A book on Winston Churchill and World War II. [Usually, my bedtime reading!] What’s up with that?

But, God always has a silver lining for us! My silver lining is that I now get to pick up whatever book my mood directs me too!

Right now, I think I will go back and reread 1 Kings 12! It was awesome yesterday, so I am going to reread it.

As much as this quarantine has changed our lives, do you have a silver lining you would like to share? I would love to hear it!

Sacred Snippet: Hidden Faults

If you have ever lived any length of time in a house, you know its hidden faults—those flaws that others who enter do not see. It might be the chips on your wooden floor that only you notice. It might be the water stain on the ceiling that no one sees unless they look up, or it could be the light fixture you never turn on because there is something faulty with the electrical outlet.

As a house has hidden “dents and dings”, we as human beings do as well.

We try to conceal them from others. Many times, succeeding.

Unfortunately, sometimes we try to hide these shortcomings, frailties, and weaknesses from God. Be that as it may, that is an impossible endeavor, because the Lord already knows everything about us. He knows our vices, our sins, and our thoughts. Our Heavenly Father even knows our personality and our temperament.

God confirms He knows us in Psalm 139 when He says, He…

  • Formed our inward parts;
  • Wove us in our mother’s womb;
  • Knows our frame;
  • Understands our thoughts;
  • Knows when we sit down and when we rise; and
  • Is acquainted with all our ways.

We may love our house—imperfections and all, but do these spots and blemishes ever end up on a “to do” list for someone to fix? Of course, they do!

God loves us—His children—and we are always on His “to do” list. He sees us and knows what is best for us. Desiring to lead and guide our souls, He disciplines and lovingly guides us knowing how to perfect us to bring more honor and glory to His holy name.

Today, let God have His way and will with you. Allow Him to fix you up so you can be the shining example He desires you to be. Ask Him to show you your imperfections. Then, confess them and claim the victory the Lord Jesus Christ won for you on the cross at Calvary.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NASB)

GreenePastures.org

Sacred Snippet: Spiritual Growth

I’ve been thinking about that dreaded feeling I experienced when I realized a painter had painted over all the markings on our “kid’s growth chart.”

Before the days of professionally-made wooden and personalized growth charts, I used to mark our kid’s height/growth on the inside pantry door in our home.

This reminded me of our spiritual growth!

– How is our spiritual growth chart?
– Is it short, tall, healthy, on track?
– Are you in a season of mighty growth?
– Or is it no longer there–just like our kid’s pencil and pen written growth chart?

We all grow at various times and through various means.

However, sometimes our growth chart patterns can signal a spiritual problem.

If you are concerned about your spiritual growth or lack thereof, talk to the Lord about it—just like a parent would talk to their child’s doctor if they weren’t growing.

“Complacency is easy and a deadly foe of spiritual growth.”
-A.W. Tozer

John 15:4-5

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