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!

God’s Fierce Love for Us

God’s Fierce Love for Us

Chapter Eight of the Song of Solomon is a representation of God’s fierce and jealous love for people.  Not just His people but for ALL people.

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.  If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.  (Song of Sol. 8:6-7 NIV)

Here’s the way that I understand and meditate upon this passage from the Bible:

“Father, I am loved affectionately by You; lodged deep within Your heart; owned and acknowledged by You; and protected by Your powerful right arm.  My love for You is mightier than loss, bereavement or death.  Oceans of water can’t smother Your love for me nor can floods ever drown the power of our mutual love. If someone tried to buy our love with unimaginable riches, we would disdainfully reject it.”  Praise the Lord most High!

If you would insert the first name of your spouse or fiancé in the place of the word ‘Father,’ you would begin to comprehend the depth and breadth and intensity of God’s ferocious love for human beings. 

God’s love for us is His reason for sending Jesus to earth to purchase our salvation.  It’s His motive for inserting so many miraculous and precious promises into His Word for us to discover and to rely upon.  His promises are a priceless treasure given to us—we, who are the object of His potent love. I encourage you to meditate upon and to mightily rejoice in God’s fierce love for you! Glory to God!

BRIGHTEN SOMEONE’S DAY

BRIGHTEN SOMEONE’S DAY

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.  (Pro 12:25 NIV)

A cheerful heart is good medicine . . . (Pro 17:22a NIV)

We all experience days when we feel a little down or maybe worried or stressed out.  On days like those, we all appreciate a cheerful word or a phone call from a friend.  We all need encouragement, and we need other believers to come alongside of us occasionally to strengthen us.

We need a fellow believer to encourage our faith, to remind us of God’s goodness and glorious attributes, and to let us know that we are loved by God.  Only another person who follows Jesus, and has experienced life’s challenges and victories is able to help us in this way.  I encourage us all to cultivate friends who are fellow believers and who have been serving the Lord longer than we, ourselves, have.

Jesus taught us to love one another, and to be kind to one another.  He gave us His own example of how to live like this.

Offering hope, support, and cheer to one another is a wonderful and practical way to spread God’s love in this stress-laden world.  It’s important to encourage yourself first, in the Word of God. Another way to encourage yourself in the Lord is to remember all of the answered prayers you have experienced, and to remember all of the miracles that God has performed in the past in answer to your prayers. Rejoice! Thank and praise the Lord for these past testimonies and victories. Once you have done these things, you will have the strength to minister to others.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.  (Joh 16:33 NIV)

The Good News is still true.  The Lord is always reliable, and we can depend upon His Word and His matchless love.  He has overcome! 

So take a little time every day to share joy and cheer with everyone around you—with your family, friends, and co-workers.  Hallelujah!

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.

Don’t Put Faith in Wealth

Don’t Put Faith in Wealth

The Lord urges us in His Word to avoid trusting in riches just like we would avoid a plague.  True wealth is given by God to the righteous. Let’s read the Scriptures.

He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.  (Pro 11:28)

Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.  (Ps 52:7)

Why do you brag about your strength?  Your strength is exhausted,you rebellious daughter.  You trust in your treasures, never imagining who would attack you.  (Jer 49:4 CEB)

Don’t trust in violence or depend on dishonesty or rely on great wealth.  (Ps 62:10 CEV)

Jesus said clearly in Mark 10:23-25 that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for people who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of heaven!  Wow!

Jesus told a parable about a rich fool in Luke 12:16-19.  This fool had accumulated so much wealth that he had to build larger barns to hold it all, and then he decided to ‘eat, drink and be merry.’  And God said to him (v. 20-21):  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

This is wisdom from God for us.  In providing for ourselves, our children, and our retirement, we mustn’t allow ourselves to start trusting in and relying upon the money that we have set aside for emergencies or for a retirement fund.  Our faith in God and our relationship with the Lord Jesus must always be the main focus and core of our lives. 

Even though the Lord gives us power to get wealth (Deu 8:18; Ecc 5:19), we must never lose sight of the fact that this is a GIFT from God.  It is a reason for thankfulness and rejoicing over the goodness of God.  We need to consider this blessing as part of our heritage from God, and by acknowledging God’s central part in it, we may then rejoice in our labor.

Let us daily concentrate upon our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our righteousness.  Here are worthy things upon which to meditate:

  • Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Isa 9:6
  • Redeemer – Isa 59:20
  • Immanuel (God with us) – Mt 1:23
  • King of the Jews – Mt 27:37
  • Lamb of God – Joh 1:29
  • Bread of Life – Joh 6:35
  • Living Stone, Cornerstone – 1 Pet 2:4-8
  • Alpha and Omega – Rev 22:13

We must intentionally make Jesus the heart and focus of our entire lives.  Our trust and our entire reliance should eternally be upon Jesus Christ, who is our life!  (Col 3:4)  May God richly bless you.

Pay Attention to the Wisdom of God

Pay Attention to the Wisdom of God

Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; 18 for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips . . .  (Pro 22:17-18)

Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it.  34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.  (Pro 8:33-34)

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge.  (Pro 5:1-2)

As we read these passages from the Bible shown above, we can clearly see one theme shining through which is that we need to pay attention to and obey the Wisdom of God. 

The Bible is filled with the wisdom of God from the beginning to the end.  As we fill our hearts and minds with God’s Word, we will learn about God’s nature and goodness as well as about His eternal wisdom.

As we choose to obey God’s will and to yield to His wisdom, we will experience God’s blessings and prosperity.   As we continue to yield to His Word throughout the course of our life, we will acquire a merciful and loving heart toward others, and a deep desire to bless other people.  This is truly the outworking of God’s life and Spirit within us.

Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24, 30), and in Him, this wisdom is available to us.  Glory to God!

To Whom Should We Pray?

To Whom Should We Pray?

Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will pray.  (Ps 5:2)

We all know that we direct our prayers to God.  Let’s see what else the Bible says about prayer.

I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.  (Ps 3:4)

When we pray, the Lord hears our prayers. 

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  (Mt 6:9)

Jesus taught us to pray to our Father God, and to honor His name.

. . . that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  (Joh 15:16d)

Whenever we pray to the Father in heaven, Jesus tells us to pray in His name, so that we will receive the request.  (See Joh 14:13)

. . . giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .  (Eph 5:20)  The book of Ephesians shows prayer to the Father in Jesus’ name with thanksgiving.  The Lord loves a thankful heart.

As Stephen was being stoned to death, he called out, “Lord Jesus, please welcome me!” 60 He knelt down and shouted, “Lord, don’t blame them for what they have done.” Then he died.  (Ac 7:59-60)

This passage demonstrates that Stephen prayed directly to Jesus as Stephen was being stoned to death. 

We should pray in the Spirit, and we should pray in His power.  The Spirit helps us to pray, even when we don’t know WHAT or HOW to pray for a situation or a need.  (Rom 8:26; Jude 20)

In general, when we pray, we pray to “our Father” or even to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  We always pray to the Father in the name of Jesus (through His mediation) by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul said:  For through Him [Christ] we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.  (Eph 2:18 – bracketed word added)  We all have access [admission] to the presence of the Father through Jesus, our Savior.

Pray daily and continuously for the Bible tells us “men ought always to pray.”  (Lk 18:1)  Pray always, whether vocally or silently, because the Bible instructs us to do so.  Pray with confidence, knowing that the Lord hears our prayers and faithfully answers them.

Our Lives Are a Message

Our Lives Are a Message

Would it surprise you to learn that the life of each and every follower of Jesus Christ is an epistle (letter) to the world?

. . . clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.  (2 Cor 3:3)

The word epistle means:  letter, communication, or message.  Every person who has accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord is a message to the world!  The Holy Spirit, who has sealed us for the day of redemption (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 4:30), has been given to us as our guarantee or promise that we are born-again.

I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.  (Ps 40:8) 

The verse above teaches us that every human being [saved or unsaved] inherently knows the moral law of God. (Rom 2:14-15)  One reason that this is true is that all mankind has been created in the image of God. (Gen 1:27)

Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart . . . (Pro 3:3) 

Mercy and truth are bound up in the Scriptures.  When we memorize and meditate upon God’s Word, we are cooperating with “writing” them upon our hearts.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  (Heb 8:10) 

The Holy Spirit will bless every believer with grace to enable us to memorize passages of the Bible, thereby putting God’s laws in our minds and sowing it into our hearts.  Only the Spirit of the Living God has the necessary power to “write” God’s moral laws upon the heart of a believer.  This Bible passage says that God has made a covenant with us to do these things, and also to be our God. 

The Lord calls us His people, and what an awesome blessing that is.  God bless you!

Treasures

Treasures

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Mt 6:19-21)

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.  (Pro 10:2)

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  (Ps 19:9-10)

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.  (Mt 13:44-46)

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  (Col 2:2-3)

We may think that wealth and riches profit us in this life.  In some ways, that is true.  However, we should remember that any so-called treasure that is a result of dishonesty or sinful pursuits will not bring us the joy that truly satisfies.  Such treasures will never profit us in eternity. 

But the righteousness that is born of faith in Jesus Christ will deliver us from many evils in this life as well as from eternal death in the next.

The Bible is packed full of precious promises (treasures) for the believer.  There are promises concerning health, healing, prosperity, the blessings of children, and the joy of relationships.  There are promises about every area of life; and all we need to do is to study them, meditate upon them, and to claim them for ourselves.  Here are several examples:

  • Children are a blessing from God.  (Ps 127:3-5)
  • Great wealth is in the house of the righteous . . . (Prov 15:6a)
  • Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  (Ps 103:5)
  • Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.  (Isa 48:17)
  • For I am the Lord who heals you.  (Ex 15:26)
  • . . . who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.  (1 Pet 2:24)

These are the true treasures of life and of eternity in Jesus Christ.

Wisdom Speaks

Wisdom Speaks

Did you know that wisdom has a voice?  The Scriptures help us to learn this lesson.

Can’t you hear the voice of wisdom? She is standing at the city gates and at every fork in the road, and at the door of every house. Listen to what she says . . .  (Pro 8:1-3 TLB, emphasis added)

“Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it.  34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord; 36 but he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death.”
  (Pro 8:32-36)       Wisdom is speaking in this passage of Scripture. 

Why should we listen to the voice of wisdom? 

  • One reason is that the Bible tells us to listen to her voice. (Pro 2:2) 
  • We’re told in the Word to learn wisdom and to gain wisdom. (Ps 90:12; Pro 2:10-11)
  • The Bible says that we’ll be commended for having wisdom. (Pro 12:8)

Wisdom is essential in our lives because wise decisions often prevent sorrow and distress. Using wisdom in life can prevent difficult problems from getting worse, or from even happening at all.  When questioning whether something is right or wrong, wisdom will contribute toward making the best decision. 

Deduction:  Listen for, pay attention to and obey the voice of wisdom! 

The entire Bible is full of the wisdom of God, especially the book of Proverbs.  Read the Bible regularly and read one Proverb a day to sow wisdom into your heart.