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!

Pleasing All Men in All Things

Pleasing All Men in All Things

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.  (Rom 15:1 NIV)

Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.  (1 Cor 10:32-33, emphasis added)

Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.  (Phil 2:3-4 CEB)

We’re instructed by God’s Word to watch out for what is best for others and pleasing to others.  We’re also urged to avoid selfishness and encouraged to care for each other.  That’s a tall order, right?  The apostle Paul said that he pleased all men!  Wow, he is a righteous example to us all.

So why did Paul ‘please all men’?  He did it so that many people would be saved.  By his pleasing and caring behavior toward others, he won many, many people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  All of those people accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  Paul didn’t do it in order to be a man-pleaser but in order to win souls to the Kingdom of God. His motivation was pleasing in God’s sight.

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.  (Gal 1:10)

. . . not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart . . .  (Eph 6:6)

Our assignment as followers and servants of Jesus Christ is to please God first, but also to demonstrate God’s love to all people.  That means doing top-notch work in our jobs (even those who are self-employed).  It also means finding ways to cooperate kindly with our earthly neighbors whether we have a house, condo, apartment, or a tent. 

We also, as servants of Jesus, represent Him in our families, with our friends and within our communities and churches.  As ambassadors for God’s Kingdom, we have the honor and privilege of being ‘the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.’  (2 Cor 2:15) May our conduct and our conversation be as a pleasant perfume to the lost and the hurting as well as to the Lord Jesus.  Praise the Lord!

Faith is a Gift

Faith is a Gift

Remember that faith is a gift from God!  It is a precious gift and vital to our daily life in the service of the Kingdom of God.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God . . .  (Eph 2:8 NKJV)

Each and every believer has been given a measure of faith.  Be sure to make good use of what you have been given.  Use your faith constantly either for yourself or on behalf of other people, which is the highest and best use for this beautiful gift.

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  (Rom 12:3 NKJV, emphasis added) 

Some believers have even been given an unusual gift of faith that stands well above the norm.  To all such believers, I encourage you to pray, pray, pray for other people and help them to receive everything that they need from the Lord—the chief need being salvation!

. . . to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit . . . (1 Cor 12:9 NKJV)

We must serve God by USING the spiritual gifts that He has given to each and every one of us.  It is our responsibility and our joy to discover what our spiritual gifts are and then to use them in spiritually productive ways on behalf of the Kingdom of God and of His people. 

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  (1 Cor 13:2)

We must use all of our spiritual gifts—whatever they may be—with LOVE!  God is love (1 Joh 4:8), and all who serve His kingdom must flow in LOVE. 

Note that love is the FIRST fruit of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.  God bless you!

Savior & Deliverer

Savior & Deliverer

Our God is our Savior and our Deliverer.  His Word is full of His promises to us, and it also contains the testimonies of many believers who have experienced the Lord’s saving power and deliverance.

The Lord will save me when anyone tries to hurt me, and he will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. Glory forever and ever be the Lord’s. Amen.  (2 Tim 4:18 NCV)

But the Lord is faithful and will give you strength and will protect you from the Evil One.  (2 Thes 3:3 NCV)

God saved us from these great dangers of death, and he will continue to save us. We have put our hope in him, and he will save us again.  (2 Cor 1:10 NCV)

These Bible verses remind us of some wonderful truths about the God whom we serve:

  • God saves us from those who try to harm us;
  • The Lord will make sure that we arrive safely in heaven;
  • Our God is faithful;
  • God’s grace will give us strength and protect us from the enemy of our souls;
  • God has saved our souls, and will continue to save us day-by-day; and
  • As long as we put our hope in Him, He will continue to save us time after time.

There is no God like our God!  (Ex 8:10; 1 Sam 2:2; 1 Chr 17:20)  Let us give Him all of the glory, honor, and praise!

Don’t Choose to Oppress Others

Don’t Choose to Oppress Others

Today we’re looking at the wisdom of God’s Word, as well as the grave importance of choosing to be on God’s side at all times.

Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways . . .  (Pro 3:31 NKJV)

An oppressor is also known as a “man of mischief”—a person who is an evildoer and who is destined to reap the eternal harvest of his wickedness.  That harvest of wickedness often begins to unfold while the oppressor is still on earth.

Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them . . .   (Pro 24:1 NKJV)

This verse warns us all to recognize that there’s nothing whatsoever to envy in those who are evil.  At times when evil men seem to succeed, we may become jealous of them, and then want to be with them.  The type of evil this proverb is discussing is associated with troublemaking and violence.  The Lord knows the end from the beginning, and He knows what torment awaits these cruel people. 

If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them.  (Eccl 5:8 NKJV)

In this verse, we are told not to marvel over the fact that in a certain province [district, municipality, county, or state] there is a person or people in authority who practice violent perverting of judgment and justice, and who oppress the poor under rule of law, backed with power. 

God is higher than the highest of officials. God has set other people in higher levels of authority who oversee the province where evil is being done.  If those higher officials do nothing to correct the situation, rest assured that God wields his own hierarchy of power.

There is a realm of angels who are employed by divine justice to protect the injured and to punish those responsible for harming the poor.  Our Supreme God in heaven demands that oppressors answer to Him.  And they will certainly do so, and they will not escape God’s judgment. So in all of your trials and tribulations, trust the Lord to rescue and to deliver you.  God bless you.

The Just for the Unjust

The Just for the Unjust

Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer, suffered ONCE for the sins of mankind even though He was completely without sin.  His purpose in doing this was to reconcile us to His Father God, and Jesus completed the task that He was given.  (see Joh 19:30)  Praise God! 

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit . . .  (1 Pet 3:18, underscoring added)

Jesus was made alive by the Spirit because the Holy Spirit’s power raised Jesus from the dead.  (Rom 8:11)  And the same Spirit also dwells within each and every believer.  Think of it!  Resurrection power abides within every believer!

. . . so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.  (Heb 9:28)

As I mentioned above, Jesus completed His assignment when He lived a sinless life, suffered and bled and died, and was resurrected from the grave. Jesus was offered, by His Father even as Abraham offered his son, Isaac, on the altar in Genesis 22:9-13.  Since Jesus dealt with the sins of mankind already, He NEVER needs to have anything more to do with sin. 

God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God.  (Rom 4:25 CEV)

Through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, all who accept Him as their own Savior and Lord have been justified and made acceptable to God.  Glory to God! Now, since we have been born again and made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, we may joyously look forward to seeing Jesus face-to-face in heaven when our life on earth has been fulfilled.  Or a praiseworthy alternative to that will be when Jesus returns to earth to rapture His church.  (Dan 12:1-2; Mt 24:30-31; Mk 13:24-27; 1 Cor 15:51-53; 1 Thes 4:16-18; Rev 3:10)   Hallelujah!

God Knows Those Who Trust in Him

God Knows Those Who Trust in Him

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.  (Nah 1:7)

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.  (Joh 10:14)

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.  (Pro 18:10)

But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.  (1 Cor 8:3)

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  (2 Tim 2:19)

Our God is full of power, wisdom and knowledge.  He knows when a person turns to Him with love, and when a person has put their trust in Him.  To such people, God is a fortress, a good shepherd, and a place of safety.

God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.  (Isa 64:4)  What a magnificent promise!

All who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior have been given many promises in the Bible.  Here are just a handful of such treasures:

  • Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.  (Deu 31:6)
  • The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence.
    I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.
      (2 Sam 22:3-4)
  • “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”  (Joh 10:28-30)
  • The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  (Ps 23:1-5)

Let me reassure you that God knows your heart.  He knows that you love Him, trust Him, and turn to Him in times of need and trouble.  He will not fail you nor will He ever forsake you.  He will meet your needs and fulfill His promises to you.  What joyous facts to know! Hallelujah!

Make Every Effort to Do Good to All

Make Every Effort to Do Good to All

The Bible invites us to do good to everyone.

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.  (1 Thes 5:15 NIV)

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.  (Gal 6:10)

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord . . .  (Heb 12:14)

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.  (3 Joh 1:11)

As children of the most High God, we desire to live holy lives that obey the Word of God.  We serve a good God who is full of mercy, forgiveness, and love.  God has given every believer the blessing of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who leads us and teaches us. 

We should:

  • Strive to do whatever is good—for each other and everyone else;
  • Never pay back a wrong; never seek revenge;
  • As we have opportunity, do noble, virtuous, kind things for everyone—especially other believers;
  • Seek to be at peace with ALL; and
  • Pursue holiness always.

Jesus, our Good Shepherd, demonstrated “doing good” to all.  If we follow His example, and emulate our Prince of Peace, we will be blessed.

God, Our Mighty Warrior

God, Our Mighty Warrior

Our God is a mighty warrior who fights for His people and on behalf of His people.  What a powerful blessing from God has been granted to us!

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.  (Zeph 3:17 NIV)

The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. (Ex 15:3 NIV)

The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.  (Ex 14:14)

The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.  (Isa 42:13 NIV)

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.  They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.  (Jer 20:11 NIV)

A warrior is a soldier, fighter, combatant, and trooper.  God tells us that He fights for us and goes before us in battle.  (Deu 1:30)  This reminds us to follow our Lord and Savior in any battle and never to try to strike out on our own.  He is our leader so we need to be responsive to His timing, strategies, and guidance.

The Lord tells us not to fear our enemy because of the fact that God, Himself, fights for us.  (Deu 3:22)  Since we know that we have the Lord with us—because He never leaves us nor fails us—then we’re able to successfully put a thousand enemy troops on the run!  (Josh 23:10)  Glory to God!

Sometimes the Lord simply instructs us:  “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!”  (2 Chron 20:17)

Through the Scripture passages shown above, we recognize that:

  • Our enemies will stumble and not prevail.
  • The enemy will fail and be disgraced.
  • Our Lord, our Warrior, loves us and saves us;
  • He delights in us, and
  • He rejoices over us with singing!

All glory and honor and praise be unto God, our Savior! God bless you.

Promote Peace

Promote Peace

As disciples of Christ we’re called to promote peace in the world.  Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.  (Isa 9:6)

What does it mean to “promote” peace?  As servants of the Living God, we are directed to:

  • Encourage and support,
  • Sponsor and further,
  • Advertise,
  • Elevate and advance peace in every circumstance and situation.

Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.  (Pro 12:20 NIV)

If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.  (Lk 10:6 NIV)

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  (Ps 34:14)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Mt 5:9)

Just from this small selection of Bible passages we learn that:

  • Promoting peace brings joy—not only to us but to everyone involved;
  • People who sponsor peace will have peace rest upon them;
  • We should do good by seeking and pursuing peace; and
  • All peacemakers are blessed children of God.  Hallelujah!

An invitation to promote peace is given to every believer in God’s Kingdom.  Let us joyfully respond to this appeal from the heart of God.