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!

An Everlasting Covenant

An Everlasting Covenant

Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore.  (Ezek 37:26 NKJV)

From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing.  I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.  (Jer 30:19 NIV)

For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.  (Zech 2:5 KJV)

A covenant is an agreement, pledge, bond, or contract.  The Bible reminds us that God cannot lie (Tit 1:2) and that His Word is tested and true.  (Ps 119:140, 142)

God’s promises to His people, based upon the passages above, are that:

  • He will establish us;
  • He multiplies us;
  • He gives us His peace;
  • He lives within us;
  • He will bring us honor;
  • He guarantees that we won’t be disdained;
  • He protects us as a wall of fire; and
  • He is the glory within us.

He will establish us by confirming that our faith us genuine and that our relationship with Him is legitimate.

He multiplies us by adding other believers to our numbers, and by giving us literal children of our own, as well as spiritual children whom we parent as spiritual mentors.

He gives us peace that passes understanding (Phil 4:7) because He is the Prince of Peace.  (Isa 9:6)

He lives with every believer because we are individually (and collectively) the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19)

How does God bring honor to any believer?  Some of the ways He will honor us is by hearing and answering our prayers for other people.  When we lead people to accept Jesus as their own personal Savior, we are being honored by God.  When God performs signs and wonders in response to our prayers for someone, he is honoring us.  He is responding to the genuine faith that we are using by praying on behalf of other people.  Hallelujah!

The final three promises are that we won’t be disdained; that He protects us; and that His glory is within each of us.  These are things that we have to simply trust Him to perform.  We don’t need to do anything about them; we just need to continue in our relationship with Jesus Christ and keep on serving our Savior, who is a Covenant-Keeping God.  Glory to God!

Working Hard Has Benefits

Working Hard Has Benefits

We can’t bring any glory to the Lord or to the Kingdom of God by being lazy.  There is no honor in laziness, nor is there any glory in being idle.  I want to make it clear that I’m NOT talking about people who yearn to work, who have searched rigorously and urgently for employment, but haven’t been able to obtain it.  That’s not the same thing. 

What these Scriptures are addressing are people who prefer to be idle, and those who choose to engage in gossip and spreading rumors rather than performing true, diligent labor.  

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.  (Pro 14:23 NIV)  This verse teaches us that working hard brings us the benefit of being paid for our labor.  Those who only talk about working, but who actually do nothing, earn no wages and can buy no groceries.

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.  (2 Thes 3:10-11 NKJV)  This excerpt from 2 Thessalonians demonstrates the truth that people who won’t work will have nothing to eat.  In addition, when people don’t work they have lots of time on their hands which the enemy can turn into opportunities to sin against God.  While all sin is displeasing to God, the sin of gossip displeases the Lord greatly. It is the reason that the Scriptures describe such persons as busybodies.

And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.  (1 Tim 5:13 NKJV)  Here again, the Bible warns us about idle hands and minds being turned toward evil, unrighteous pastimes. 

As we see from Proverbs 14:23 (above), the Holy Spirit says that ALL hard work brings financial gain and advantages to the ones who work diligently.  The Bible encourages believers to work hard, to be responsible and kind, and to live honorably within our communities so that we are an asset to them.  God will reward us with His blessings as we live obediently to His word. Praise His Name!

Jesus, Beloved of the Father

Jesus, Beloved of the Father

Jesus is the cherished and treasured Son of the Heavenly Father. 

He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  (2 Pet 1:17 NIV)  The Father declared His great love and approval of Jesus.

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”  (Mk 9:7 NIV)  Not only does God, the Father, say again that He loves Jesus, but He tells us to listen to Jesus.  The Lord wants us to not only listen to Jesus, but to OBEY Him.

The Father loves the Son and gives everything into his hands.  (Joh 3:35 CEB)  Again we see a declaration of the Father’s love for Jesus, as well as the truth that the Father has given Jesus authority over ALL THINGS.  (See Mt 11:27; 28:18; 1 Pet 3:22)

Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights!  I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.  (Isa 42:1)  In this passage of the Bible, we hear the Lord describing His Son, and reminding us that the Father defends and endorses His Son.

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  (Lk 10:22)  This Scripture verse highlights the close relationship between God, the Father, and Jesus.  It also establishes the truth that Jesus will reveal the Father to those who trust in Him as Savior.

In Christ, all believers have been made complete.  (Col 2:10)  He has redeemed us from sin, death, and eternal damnation.  Jesus is approved of and dearly loved by our heavenly Father.  Jesus is God’s Elect One.

How many more reasons do we need for us to love and honor Jesus with everything we are and everything we have?  Hallelujah!

Know Jesus & You’ll Know the Father

Know Jesus & You’ll Know the Father

The Scriptures below remind us that when we know Jesus, then we also know our heavenly Father. 

But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.  (Joh 15:21)

Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?”  Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”  (Joh 8:19)

And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.  (Joh 16:3)

It’s our honor and our privilege to come to fully know Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  We do that by reading, studying, and meditating upon the Word of God.  In the Bible, we see verse upon verse explaining to us the nature and personality of the Lord.  The knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ is entry into eternal life.

But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight,” says the Lord.  (Jer 9:24)

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  (Joh 17:3)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  (1 Joh 4:7-8)

According to 1 John, God is love.  And everyone who loves is born of God and KNOWS GOD! 

Do you want to know God?  Then learn of His perfect love for YOU; study and meditate upon His love for you. Search out and meditate upon the Bible verses that discuss the love of God, and how His love has been manifested. Once you have received and fully understood His perfect love for you, turn around and shower that love upon everyone in your life, beginning with yourself.  As Matthew 19:19 reminds us, we can only love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Learn about God through His magnificent, matchless love.

What Are Idols?

What Are Idols?

You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you.  (Deu 6:14)

Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.  (Deu 8:19)

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  (1 Joh 5:21)

What is an idol?  An idol can be a statue, a god or deity, a symbol, a hero, or an obsession.  Hollywood and movie industry stars can be idols for people, as can a certain model of a car, or a favorite brand of watch or any number of other things.

The key is, what is the most important thing in life to you?  What do you talk about the most?  What do you think about and dream of daily?  Around what are your goals centered?  Are you determined to achieve riches and fame?  Influence?  Do you dream of becoming a political influencer? 

Any of these things, and more, can become idols in a person’s life.  But God’s Word warns us strongly to stay away from these things.  Therefore, we need to take stock of our thoughts and to acknowledge what we value in our hearts. 

A follower of Jesus would value their relationship with their Savior more highly than any other thing in their lives.  Equally, Jesus’ followers would highly value the Word of God.  And of course, we also choose to honor and to consistently obey the teachings of the Bible. 

We may each joyfully pursue our relationship with our Lord, and endeavor to mature in faith in our Redeemer.  Life is all about Him—not about us.  Our true hero is Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Glory to God!

Glorify the Lord

Glorify the Lord

One of our assignments, as believers in Christ, is to glorify the Lord.  Let’s look at what the Scripture says.

My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior . . .  (Lk 1:46-47 NIV)

I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 12 I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.  (Ps 77:11-12)

I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore.  (Ps 86:12)

Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare His praise in the coastlands.  (Isa 42:12)

Glorifying God means to acknowledge His impressiveness and to give Him respect by praising and worshiping Him.  We do this mainly because He alone deserves to be praised, honored and worshiped.

God’s glory is the core of His nature, and we give glory to Him by recognizing it.  In glorifying God, we exalt Him; we recognize and honor His deity; and we elevate Him above all else in our lives and in our thoughts.

Adoration [devotion, high regard, esteem] is also a component of glorifying God.  When we have this type of respect for God, our reverence is shown in ways that we can’t even perceive.  However, other people do notice it, and hopefully it will lead them to ask us for the reasons that we have for the hope that lies within us!

God’s Standard Against the Enemy

God’s Standard Against the Enemy

So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.  (Isa 59:19 NKJV)

In the New King James Version, the word STANDARD represents a force, like a narrow flood, that flows with great speed and force, and carries away everything before it.  By the word of the Lord and by His power, the attack of the enemy shall be broken.

Here’s the same Scripture from two other versions of the Bible. 

From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.  (Isa 59:19 NIV)

So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives.  (Isa 59:19 ESV)

The Lord’s power shall come like a rushing stream driven along by the wind of the Lord.  The WIND OF THE LORD signifies the power and might of the Holy Spirit. This word image allows us to image the majestic power and authority of our God.  He is worthy of all praise!

How appropriate is the passage in Jeremiah:

There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?  For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you.  (Jer 10:6-7 ESV)

Whenever the Lord drives the enemy to flight as described in the verses above, it will trigger a wave of humanity glorifying God and giving Him thanks, praise and honor.

If your church, community or family comes under an unprecedented campaign against you, meditate upon Isaiah 59:19 and ask the Lord to bring it to pass in your situation.

Humility and Wisdom

Humility and Wisdom

Humility and wisdom are two attributes that are praised in the Scriptures.  Blessings are frequently mentioned in connection with them.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.  (Pro 11:2 NIV)  Humility and wisdom are frequent companions!

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  (Jas 3:13 NIV)  This verse informs us that humility comes from wisdom.  As a matter of fact, a person with humility coupled with the fear of the Lord will experience riches, honor, and life.  (Pro 22:4)

Toward the scorners He is scornful, but to the humble He gives favor. The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.  (Pro 3:34-35 ESV)  To people who are humble, the Lord gives favor; and the Lord bestows honor upon the wise.

Only we are capable of humbling ourselves; no one else can do it for us.  When we humble ourselves, the Lord promises to exalt us.  (Jas 4:10 NKJV)  The Bible reminds us that if we don’t humble ourselves, the Lord will do it for us.  (Mt 23:12 ESV)

James 1:5 tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God for it because He will generously answer our prayer.  Scriptures state repeatedly the many blessings that God bestows upon those who are wise.  See Ps 111:10; Pro 3:13-18; 4:6-7; 14:16; 16:16; 24:3-7; Lk 21:15; Jas 3:17.

Because the end of the ages is approaching, all believers must live carefully and intentionally for the Lord.  Let us each take inventory of our strengths and our weaknesses; and if we are lacking in wisdom or humility, take steps to mend our ways. 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  (Eph 5:15-16 ESV)

Work is God’s Gift

Work is God’s Gift

This statement may shock you or surprise you:  Work is a gift from God!

And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.  (Eccl 5:19 NLT) 

Our work is a blessing to us because through it, we receive finances, satisfaction, and fulfillment.  We use our skills and talents to carry out our work, and we should actually enjoy making use of these talents.

The Bible shows us many, many passages that demonstrate that God, Himself, works.  Here are a few of those passages:

All men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider His doing.  (Ps 64:9)

Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.  (Ps 66:5)

I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.  (Ps 77:12)

In life, as we pursue an education, it is for the purpose of building skills, becoming trained, and uncovering our gifts and talents.  The more skilled and talented that we become, the more that we gain self-esteem, as well as a sense of purpose and accomplishment.  In this way, we are happy to acknowledge that we have contributed something good to the world.

When we work to a high level of skill and excellence, we bring glory to God and honor to His name.  When we work with a sense of joy and eagerness to discover solutions, we improve the environment of our workplaces.  In cooperating with and respecting our co-workers, we quietly acknowledge that we’re all made in God’s image. 

In such ways, we can contribute the love of God to those with whom we work, and thereby find favor in God’s eyes.