Whiter Than Snow

Whiter Than Snow

Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.  (Isa 1:18 NIV)

This Scripture verse is a type of ultimatum from God full of grace and mercy.  The Lord is offering forgiveness and cleansing for the repentant soul.  The color red signifies the deep-rooted nature of sin, and the white indicates purity and innocence which only the Lord can impart.

Purify me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.  (Ps 51:7 CEB)

Purge me with hyssop, with the blood of Christ applied to my soul by a lively faith, as the water of purification was sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop. The blood of Christ is called the blood of sprinkling, Heb 12:24.  (Source:  Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Psalm 51:7)

. . . and to honor his glorious grace that he has given to us freely through the Son whom he loves. We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace, which he poured over us with wisdom and understanding.  (Eph 1:6-8 CEB)

The passage above suggests that the blood of Jesus, our Savior, has freed us from the grip of sin, and immersed us in the forgiveness and glorious grace of God.  What an eternal gift of God from the heart of our living God! 

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  (1 Joh 1:7, emphasis added)  All who have accepted Jesus Christ as their own Lord and Savior have had their souls made whiter than snow.  All we need to do, going forward, is to walk in the light of God’s Word and in fellowship with our fellow believers. All glory to God!

Be Steadfast

Be Steadfast

Be steadfast in your spiritual life.  Steadfast means unwavering, unfaltering, loyal, devoted, or constant.  So how can we be steadfast and in what ways?

. . . rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer . . .  (Rom 12:12)  Continue in daily prayer interceding for yourself and for other people and for our leaders—both spiritual and national.

For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.  (Gal 5:5)  As we eagerly wait for the return of Jesus (or to arrive in heaven ourselves), wait with a sense of anticipation, eagerness and joy. 

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  (Joh 16:33)  The Lord warns us that we’ll experience tribulation somehow, at some point in our lives, but that we should be cheered up knowing that Jesus has already overcome the world.  So be loyal and stalwart in believing the truth of this Scripture.  Remember that the Lord is with you and that He fights FOR you.  (Deu 3:22; Josh 23:10)

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.  (1 Cor 15:58)  Be devoted to thriving in the work of the Lord, knowing that one day you WILL receive your reward.  The “work of the Lord” involves ministering to others (by prayer, service, or helps); sharing the gospel with others; and baptizing new believers or bringing them to church so that they can be baptized in water.

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.  (Ac 2:42)  Be unwavering in having fellowship with other believers; in sharing meals with them; in taking communion with other believers, and in prayers with them and for them. 

Above all, rejoice in hope! 

The Blessings of Fellowship

The Blessings of Fellowship

There are great blessings that result from fellowship and unity with other believers.  We need the companionship of close friends and relatives who are fellow Christians.  Let’s look at the Scriptures.

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
  (Eccl 4:10 NIV)

Here the Bible reminds us that having a close companion or friend will provide us with support, help, and strength.

. . . not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.  (Heb 10:25)

This passage in Hebrews reminds us that gathering regularly with other believers provides encouragement and validation of our faith as well as support.

Therefore comfort one another with these words.  (1 Thes 4:18)

Meeting with other believers provides us with comfort, security, and reassurance.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11 RSV) Christian fellowship provides inspiration from the Bible, the nurturing of our faith and the joy which lightens our hearts.  What beautiful and loving blessings from God!

The Message of the Cross

The Message of the Cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  (1 Cor 1:18 NIV, underlining and emphasis added) 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Rom 1:16, emphasis added)

 . . .  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  (1 Cor 1:23-25, emphasis added)

. . . because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.  (1 Thes 1:5 ESV, emphasis added)

The message of the cross is sometimes referred to as the:

  • Gospel of Christ (Rom 1:16)
  • Good News (1 Thes 3:6)
  • Power of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Resurrection Gospel (1 Cor 15, entire chapter)

What is the message of the cross?  It is that God LOVES the world, and desires to be in RELATIONSHIP with each and every one of us.  Thanks to this truth, the Father God provided salvation to all mankind through Jesus Christ.

Jesus humbled himself in coming to earth as a newborn baby.  He grew up as a normal, human boy and learned the trade of carpentry.  He lived a sinless, perfect life serving His heavenly Father.  Jesus preached Good News, and demonstrated the love of His heavenly Father by performing signs, wonders, and miracles. 

Jesus displayed the need for continuous fellowship with His Father, as well as drawing apart for prayer.  He modeled forgiveness, wisdom, and walking in the Spirit for us all.

The symbol of the cross is an icon of grim human suffering and public humiliation.  Jesus’ suffering and subsequent death and resurrection are all part of the message of the cross.  In the light of Christ’s resurrection, there is restoration of hope, complete joy, and utter triumph.  Hallelujah!

Notice that the preaching of this gospel of salvation is always accompanied by the POWER of God.

The message of the cross proves the magnitude of the love that God has for mankind.

What Is a Backslider?

What Is a Backslider?

A backslider is someone who has reversed their direction in a given area.  In terms of Christian faith and life, it usually refers to a person who at one time had a vital, meaningful relationship with Jesus as their Savior but who has turned away from the values of following Christ and living a moral, upright life. 

But the Lord says, in the verses below, that He loves the backslider, that He is married to them, and that He will heal their condition by bringing them back to Himself.  Glory to God!

Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you.  (Jer 3:14a)

Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.  (Jer 3:22a)

I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely . . .  (Hos 14:4a)

This turning away from faith may happen if a person isn’t connected to a church or a body of believers with whom to fellowship.  It may also occur if someone becomes neglectful about Bible reading, prayer, and praise and worship.  These are all forms of communication with the Lord, and any relationship will wither and collapse without ongoing, regular communication. 

So we can’t allow our affections for the Lord to cool down by discarding the habits that uphold and sustain our faith in Jesus.  It’s always good to review our conduct occasionally to make sure that we’re making decisions that will positively impact our life of faith.  Our life habits should sustain and nurture our Christian faith, so guard them well.

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord . . . (Ac 3:19) Our sympathetic Savior is happy to restore and to revive our relationship with Him at all times.  And He says that times of refreshing will follow, times of rejuvenating the relationship with Him and pouring out grace upon you to inspire you in fresh ways.

Anyone who has backslidden from their faith in Christ has hope.  The Lord is loving, merciful, and kind.  He longs for us to return to Him and to reestablish our relationship with Him—the God who is love.  (1 Joh 4:8)  God bless you.

Stir Each Other to Love & Good Works

Stir Each Other to Love & Good Works

When we have fellowship with other believers, we can influence one another to perform acts of kindness out of love for the Lord Jesus and thereby bring glory to God.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  (Heb 10:24-25 ESV)

. . . but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  (Heb 3:13) 

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  (Act 2:1)

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11)

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless . . .   (2 Pet 3:14)

These Scripture verses shown above demonstrate a number of good examples for us believers today:

  • As we have regular fellowship, and we have the privilege of comforting and improving each other.
  • It is good to encourage one another to perform kind and loving deeds.
  • We should exhort (urge) one another to live holy lives, even as Jesus did.
  • We should live in peace, harmony, and holiness.
  • It is good to meet with other believers very frequently or to have fellowship through a phone conversation.
  • Do not allow ourselves to become hard-hearted.
  • When we do meet with fellow believers, it is important to be in one accord (unity, harmony).

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can be an incredible blessing and encouragement to one another.

We Are His Offspring: His Children

We Are His Offspring: His Children

All who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord are children of God.  Here is what the Bible says.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name . . .  (Joh 1:12 NKJV)

For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also His offspring.  (Act 17:28 KJV)

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith . . . (Gal 3:26 NIV)

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  (Rom 8:14 NIV)

The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are His children.  (1 Joh 3:1 NIV)

Characteristics of Children

  • In Christ, we are children of God through faith. As such, we are able to feel an affectionate, devoted, and respectful confidence in our Father God.
  • We know that we are greatly loved by our Father. We recognize that we are precious to Him.
  • We have a spirit of ready obedience to our Heavenly Father—because of our love for Him and His love for us. We have an earnest desire to obey Him because we trust that His plans for us are totally good and always in our best interests.

Advantages that Children Receive

  • We are in a loving relationship with our Father, and are continuously surrounded by His supernatural and miraculous favor.
  • We are forgiven, cleansed, and free from bondage.
  • We are entitled to fellowship and communion with our Father.
  • Our Father gives us wise counsel and teaching by the Holy Spirit.
  • Exceeding great and precious promises have been given to us by our Heavenly Dad. We are encouraged to “ask and receive so that our joy may be full.”

Trust God to pour out the benefits of salvation in Jesus Christ upon you.  Because we are His children, He invites us to turn to Him and ask Him for everything that we need.  Put away any timidity, and with loving trust and assurance, ask Abba Father to meet your needs right now.  God bless you.

There’s Power in the Blood, Part 3

There’s Power in the Blood, Part 3

This is the last in our series on the power of the blood of Jesus.  Did you know that the blood of Jesus has a voice?

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”  He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”  10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. (Gen 4:9-11, emphasis added)

The blood of Abel cried out to the Lord from the ground.  Do you not believe that the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ also has a voice that God hears?

. . . to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.  (Heb 12:24, emphasis added)

God determined that the redemption of mankind required a much greater sacrifice than the blood of goats and rams.  It required the blood of His Son, Jesus.

The blood of Jesus is very powerful.  It:

  • Redeemed us, forgave us of sin (Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 9:12)
  • Set us free from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13)
  • Gave us fellowship with God (Heb 10:19)
  • Supplied us with an act of remembrance called Communion (1 Cor 11:23-26)
  • Provides healing (Isa 53:5)
  • Provides protection (Ex 12:13)
  • Obtained the Church (Acts 20:28)
  • Obtained for us the love of God (Rev 1:5; 1 Joh 5:6-8; 1 Joh 4:10; John 3:16)

As we can see from this study, the blood that Jesus shed for us is very powerful, indeed.  It is yet another benefit that is an integral part of our salvation.

The well-known, South African Dutch Reformed Church minister, theologian, evangelist, and mission organizer said:

“Of all the glorious things that the blood means, this is one of the most glorious: His blood is the sign, the measure, yes, the impartation of His love.” ~ Andrew Murray

Here’s another perspective from the great Bible teacher, M.R. DeHaan, M.D., who said:

The blood was to be sprinkled, remember, on the mercy seat right after the death of the substitutionary animal of sacrifice, Now Christ is, of course, our substitute.  He was slain for us upon the Cross, and entered into death for us, and when He arose, He immediately went to heaven, entered into the holy of holies in heaven, sprinkled His precious blood upon the mercy seat before the throne of God, and forever settled the sin questions, and delivered us from the curse of the law. This is clearly taught in the New Testament. Hebrews 9:12 is very definite on this:  But by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Lastly, a devout minister who was called the Father of Faith said:

The power of the blood of Jesus has provided everything you need to live a life of victory, including Redemption, fellowship, healing, protection and authority over the devil.  ~ Kenneth E. Hagin

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”  (Rev 5:12)  Hallelujah!

Guard Your Fellowship

Guard Your Fellowship

What is fellowship?  Genuine fellowship indicates a communion or spiritual union between like-minded and like-hearted people.  For a believer, our deepest fellowship can only take place with Christians who are as committed to the Lord and as mature in their walk of faith as we are.  How can light ever cooperate with darkness?

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  (2 Cor 6:14 NIV)

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  (Jas 4:4)  Don’t be so committed to friendships with unbelievers that you become lukewarm in your faith. Don’t learn to love the world’s ways.

Do not gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, 10 in whose hands is a sinister scheme, and whose right hand is full of bribes.  (Ps 26:9-10)  Unbelievers may want to engage in behavior or activities in which no Christian would take part.

But they mingled with the Gentiles [nations] and learned their works . . .  (Ps 106:35) Associating with unbelievers can teach us habits which are not pleasing to the Lord, or may even lead us into an area of temptation.

I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts.  (Ps 119:63)  Rather, it is far better for us and for our friends if we are both Christians and brothers/sisters in the Lord.  Because we believe God’s Word and we choose to obey His Word and His Spirit, we can encourage one another in faith and in good works.

This article is not teaching against evangelism by any means.  If you develop a friendship with someone in order to share your testimony with them, then you have embarked upon a holy purpose.  But if the person doesn’t accept the Lord as their Savior, then one might consider changing the status of that relationship to an acquaintance.  It would be appropriate to continue, in a spirit of love, to share unfolding testimonies with the person, or to invite them to church-related events where they would be exposed to other believers and opportunities to hear the Gospel. 

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned.  (Eph 4:17-20 NIV)  The fact is that unsaved people, no matter how nice they are or how much fun they may be, have no sensitivity to the spiritual realm or to the Spirit of God.  They are darkened in their understanding of spiritual things because spiritual things are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2:14)

True fellowship walks in the light as He is in the light.  (1 Joh 1:5-7)

Sin Hardens the Heart

Sin Hardens the Heart

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end . . .   (Heb 3:12-14)

This passage of Scripture above, says that we can become hardened by the deceitfulness [false-heartedness; faithlessness] of sin.  I believe that is referring to developing a hard heart

The last portion of the passage in Hebrews (above) says that we have become “partakers of Christ.”  What does that phrase signify?  It means that we are members of the body of Christ, and as such, we are His accomplices or assistants.  Remember that Paul tells us that we are “workers together with God” in 2 Corinthians 6:1.

Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said. 23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. Neither was his heart moved by this.  (Ex 7:22-23, underscoring added)

Hardness of hard refers to a heart that cannot be moved, stimulated, or motivated to a different path or a better way of responding.  It’s what happened to Pharaoh.  We must guard our own hearts carefully against the formation of such a tendency in ourselves.

When we walk in the light with Jesus, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from sin.  (1 Joh 1:7)  So be mindful of staying in the light of God’s truth by reading the Word, obeying the Word, praying, and having fellowship with other believers.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  (Phil 2:3-4)  Following this admonition will also keep us tender-hearted and humble before the Lord.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Rom 12:21)  We’re indwelt by the Overcomer—the Victorious One—so that we are empowered to actually overcome evil with good!  Glory to God!

God’s good plans for each one of us are that we be blessed and that each of us bring blessings to many others.  (Jer 29:11)