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!

A Wise Life Lesson

A Wise Life Lesson

An angry king is like a roaring lion.  Making him angry may cost you your life.  (Pro 20:2 NCV)

If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great offenses to rest.  (Eccl 10:4 NIV)

As messengers of death is the king’s wrath, but a wise man will appease it.  In the light of the king’s face is life, and his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.  (Pro 16:14-15 NKJV)

A “king” or “ruler” as used in these verses, refers to someone with power and authority over other people.  In modern times, that could represent a Prime Minister, Senator, President (whether of a nation or of a private company), employer, supervisor, manager or foreman.  A person’s boss has a measure of power and authority over them.  Anyone, even a parent, who has power or great influence over the events of our lives would fit into this description.

The life lesson here is to recognize the importance of these types of people in our lives.  It’s wise to learn what makes such influencers happy, what displeases them, and what soothes them.  Further lessons to be learned from these Scriptures are:

  • Don’t underestimate the significance of such people in our lives;
  • If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Rom 12:18 NIV)  We should strive to keep our relationships with “kings and rulers” peaceful.
  • Don’t leave an uncomfortable situation; remain calm; and work to placate (pacify, soothe) the influencer.
  • Pray for God’s supernatural favor with everyone, especially these types of people. 
  • Endeavor to earn favor by working hard, showing respect and following instructions.

Lastly, remember to ask God to give you the grace that you need in order to maintain peace in these relationships.  May God continue to bless you every single day. 

Don’t Be a Stumbling Stone

Don’t Be a Stumbling Stone

This study is about causing people to stumble spiritually, and it is a serious matter in God’s sight. 

As followers of Jesus, we have a grave responsibility to expose people to the light of the true gospel of Jesus Christ as outlined throughout the entire scriptures.  The gospel of salvation sets people free and makes the promises of God available to them.  It also gives them the blessing of an eternity in heaven.

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!  (Mt 18:7 NIV, emphasis added)

My reading of the verse above is this –

This present world is an evil and dangerous place. It’s full of attacks, sins, traps, and sorrows.  We all recognize that it’s a treacherous road that we must travel through life, full of stumbling-blocks, precipices, and false guides.  But God forbid that any one of us should be the cause of spiritual or moral stumbling on the part of another person.

Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!  (Lk 17:1 NIV)

Here a similar idea to that of Matthew, above.  The truth of Luke 17:1 is that God is warning that a great wretchedness shall come upon anyone who causes injury or harm—in word or deed—to one of His little lambs.  Who qualifies for God’s punishment?   

  • 1. Anyone who has in some way discouraged a believer in serving Christ and in fulfilling their calling.  Or anyone who has discouraged a Christian so deeply that the believer is in danger of being driven away from serving Christ completely. DO NOT discourage other people in any way that would undermine them or discourage them from achieving their goals.
  • 2. Those who corrupt the truths of Christ and His Word, and so distress and hassle the minds of believers. This is an evil practice of planting seeds of doubt into the hearts and minds of those who have faith. WE ARE NOT CALLED TO hassle or distress brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • 3. Those who profess to be Christians, but who live scandalously (shamefully, sinfully), and thereby weaken the connections between and sadden the souls of God’s people. We must live in OBEDIENCE to and in agreement with the Word of God.

May each one of us live in harmony with the standards of God’s holy Word. Blessings upon you.

God Draws People to You

God Draws People to You

Do you realize that God surrounds His people with His supernatural and miraculous favor?  God’s favor upon believers turns us into people magnets!  What do I mean?  Let’s look at what the Bible has to say.

Arise, shine; for your light has come!  And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.  For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.  The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.  (Isa 60:1-3)

In the verse above, notice that the passage states: “. . . the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.  The Gentiles shall come to your light . . . “ 

The Word Gentiles in Biblical times referred to people who were NOT God’s chosen people.  So, in our era, the word basically refers to unbelievers–those who haven’t heard the good news of the Gospel of salvation.  The reference to God’s glory arising over us and people coming to our light is a poetic way of describing the fact that people will approve, esteem, prefer, and promote those who are recipients of God’s favor. God’s favor upon us causes other people to be attracted to us so that we may have an impact for good on behalf of the Kingdom of God in this world.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mt 5:16)

When unbelievers and believers observe the good works done by those who believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord, it will cause them to honor and to glorify God in response.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.  (Eph 5:8)

To walk as children of light implies living upright, holy and exemplary lives that conform to biblical guidelines and standards.

. . . that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world . . .  (Phil 2:15)

When we live and walk as children of light we expose darkness wherever we find it; we search for meaningful fruit in our own lives; we participate in our local church or fellowship; and we read and meditate upon the Scriptures (the Bible) regularly.  Glory to God!

A Light for the Nations

A Light for the Nations

Do you realize that Jesus is the Light for all Nations, and as His disciples and followers, WE are called to shine His light into all of the earth?

For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”
  (Act 13:47 NIV)

I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles . . .  (Isa 42:6 NIV)

For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32 a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”  (Lk 2:30-32)

How can you shine the light of God’s love and salvation into the world? 

  • By serving the Lord obediently and joyfully;
  • By sharing your testimonies of how you came to accept Christ as your Savior and about your answered prayers;
  • By praying for other people’s needs and asking God to bless them and to provide for them;
  • By testifying to the miracles, signs and wonders that God has performed for you; and
  • By living a holy lifestyle in obedience to the Scriptures.

Here is a passage from the Bible that gives us some answers:

Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.  (Phil 2:14-16, emphasis added)

God bless you!

Light Versus Darkness

Light Versus Darkness

Jesus warned His followers that they would have the light for only a little while longer.  We can judge for ourselves if we are living in the light or if we are living in darkness.  Let’s see what the Word of God says.   

If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness.  (1 Joh 2:9 NLT) 

If we catch ourselves disliking people or even hating them, we know that we’re operating in the dark.  May God give us His grace to walk in the Light of Jesus Christ.

But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.  (1 Joh 2:11 NLT) 

The verse above shows us what it’s like to have been blinded by darkness.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  (Tit 3:3 NIV)

The book of Titus, chapter 3 reminds us what we were like before we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior.  Titus urged his readers to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.  And then, verse 3 tells us that we were at one time disobedient, deceived, enslaved in sin, and living in malice and hatred. 

Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.  (Joh 12:35)

Jesus, our example and beloved Savior, reminds us to walk in the light while it is still available.  Those who walk in darkness don’t know where they’re going, and get off of the path of righteousness. 

One way to remain in the light is to read and to meditate upon the Word of God.  Another test of walking in the light is our obedience to the Scriptures:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  (Phil 4:8)  Let us be obedient to God by meditating upon these worthwhile and noble truths. Jesus told us:  “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  (Joh 16:33)  Trust in His overcoming light even when darkness seems to surround everything.  God bless you.

We Beheld His Glory

We Beheld His Glory

What does the word glory mean?  It means:  splendor; wonder; brilliance; or exaltation. 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  (Joh 1:14)  This verse is describing Jesus and His glory.  It says that “we beheld His glory” which means that we can see it and recognize it.

This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.  (Joh 2:11)  Any time that Jesus performed signs, wonders, and miracles, He manifested His glory clearly for all to see.

When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  (Joh 11:4)  The only way that a sickness can be for the glory of God is when the sick person receives their complete healing by faith in Jesus Christ and they give all the glory, honor and praise to the Father God. 

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  (2 Cor 4:6)  The “light” that was given to man was Jesus Christ, the light of the world.  (Joh 8:12) As we look into His face and accept Him as our Savior, He shares with us His own glory and relationship with the Father.

In Matthew 5:14 we are told that WE are the light of the world because we are the followers and disciples of Jesus, and we carry Him in us and with us wherever we go.

As we obediently follow Jesus, the Light of the World, we share His light and His life with others.  In His name, we pray for people to be saved, delivered, and healed. We are also privileged to see miracles and wonders done in the mighty name of Jesus.

We cannot hide our light, but rather we must allow it to shine brightly in the darkness for we are merely reflecting the glory of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, to the world.

Choose Boldness & Endurance

Choose Boldness & Endurance

If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.  If we deny Him, He also will deny us.  (2 Tim 2:12)  We must sustain our faith throughout our lifetimes, and when we do, the Lord promises that we will one day reign with Him.

But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 10:33)  Let us be watchful that we never—in any way—deny the Good News of Jesus Christ.  It takes the grace of God to boldly and persistently pursue a life of faith in Jesus.

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.  (Lk 9:26)

To deny Christ means to reject Him and His claim to be the Son of God and savior of all those who believe in Him.  This denial is a life-long denial, where there is no repentance and no acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ.  To those whose lives deny the Lord, the Lord will also say to them one day, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” as we read in Matthew 7:23.    (Source:  http://answersfromthebook.net/jesus-said-that-if-you-deny-him-before-men-that-he-will-deny-you-before-his-father-peter-denied-the-lord-does-this-mean-that-jesus-will-now-deny-peter-before-his-father)

We need to be bold and brave in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We aren’t all called to be preachers, pastors, missionaries, or evangelists, but we are ALL called to let our light shine in a dark and pain-filled world.  One way to do that is through good works that bring glory to God.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mt 5:14-16)

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)

Each one of us can be courageous in living our life as a follower and servant of Jesus Christ.  We may do that quietly and without fanfare, but all who know us should perceive that we have been with Jesus.  (See Acts 4:13) 

For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.  (Rev 19:10, emphasis added)

Another way to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel is through telling others about our own, personal testimonies of God’s goodness to each of us, and of His miracles and wonders.

Avoid the Well-Traveled Path

Avoid the Well-Traveled Path

Do you know what a “well-traveled path” is?  It’s a route or road that hundreds and even thousands of other people have used.  It may have indications of the fact by having a pothole or crack in the road, or a dented safety rail here or there.

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.  (Pro 14:12 NIV)

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.  (Pro 16:25 NKJV)       

Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.  (Lk 13:24 NKJV)

 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Mat 7:13-14 NKJV)

In spiritual terms, the well-traveled path is the “way that appears to be right, but in the end leads to death.”  (Pro 14:12 NIV)  This helps us to understand that following Christ as a disciple means that more often than not, we will be living our lives “against the flow.”  While the worldly, unsaved people are going in one direction, believers are going in a completely different direction and along a path that is narrow and difficult.

The verse from Luke 13 (above) reminds us that the narrow gate is the one intended for believers who love Jesus Christ.  But as Matthew 7:14 reminds us, difficult is the way which leads to life (eternal life).

Why is the path to eternal life difficult?  Because it has many challenges to our faith and to our self-control.  There are temptations to sin and also to unbelief, and they are placed in the path by the enemy of our souls.  1 Peter 5:8 says: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  We must be sober and vigilant to guard our relationship with Jesus, and to keep it vital and full of life.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  (Joh 14:6)

Jesus is the WAY into eternal life.  He is the person whose footsteps we believers follow.  The path that He traveled IS our roadmap and our path. (Ps 85:13)  We can understand, then, that following only the footsteps of Jesus will cause the trail to be understandably narrow. 

Remember that the Scriptures tell us that God’s Word is a lamp for our feet and a light upon our path.  (Ps 119:105)  His Word will reveal many things to us as we travel along the path of righteousness.

We have been given a promise from the Lord that as we travel the path of righteousness, we will find only life—and no death in any form.  In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.  (Pro 12:28)  This is a very valid and important reason to continue to follow Jesus throughout our lives.

God says that as we obey Him, He makes our paths straight.  
. . . in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  (Pro 3:6) 

The Lord makes our steps along the way stable and strong as we rejoice in Him and in our salvation.  The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him . . . (Ps 37:23 NIV)  What a promise!  Hallelujah!

Do You Not Care?

Do You Not Care?

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. (Mk 4:37-39)

In this passage from the Scriptures, the companions of Jesus ask Him, “Don’t You care that we’re in danger of dying?”  Is it ever possible for God to NOT care about His sheep?  Decidedly NO—it is not possible!

Here are just several passages from the Bible to demonstrate my point.

Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.  (Deu 3:22 NIV)  God fights for you.

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.  (Deu 31:8)  The Lord never leaves you; don’t be fearful.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  (Ps 27:1)  The Lord will light our way and give us strength.

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  (Lk 12:7)  God not only loves us but He also values us highly.

So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?”  (Heb 13:6)  We may boldly declare that “God is my helper.”

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  (1 Joh 4:9-10)  God loved us first, and gave us His salvation.

Our salvation was designed by God the Father and paid for by Jesus Christ, our Savior.  What more proof do we need that God cares for us always, at all times, and in all circumstances? We are the objects of the unconditional and unending love of God.  Hallelujah!