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!

Keep Away from Evil

Keep Away from Evil

As servants of the Living God and followers of Jesus Christ, we should have a sincere desire to stay away from evil in every form:  evil thoughts; evil words; evil people; and even occasions to be tempted to commit evil.  If we obey the Lord, and obey the Scriptural command to be holy (1 Pet 1:16), this will make sense to us.

By mercy and truth atonement is made for wrongdoing, and by the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil.  (Pro 16:6 NASB)  If we have a respectful reverence for the Lord, it will keep us away from doing evil.  If we have done evil in some way, and if there is an avenue open to us to make amends for it, God’s gifts of mercy and truth will guide us to the right path. For any sin that we may commit, we need to repent to the Lord and ask Him to forgive us and to cleanse us from unrighteousness. The GOOD news is that He always hears and answers these prayers for forgiveness and cleansing. Praise God!

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.  (Joh 17:15 ESV)  I believe Jesus was praying for all who would accept Him as their Lord and Savior and follow Him all of their days.  The Lord prayed for His followers (US) to be kept away from the evil one who is satan.  The evil one and his works are described in John 8:44.

But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”  (1 Cor 5:13)  This is language similar to Deuteronomy 24:7 regarding excluding people, those who are indulging in evil, from the fellowship of believers. 

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  (Eph 4:31)  The Scriptures exhort us to avoid indulging in any of these activities, because they do not honor the Lord nor do they flow from the heart of God.

Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.  (1 Pet 3:11)  We must always choose to reject evil actions, and turn to the Lord.  When we follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we will seek and pursue peace with all of our hearts. 

Let us highly value peace in our hearts, in our relationships, and in our lives.  The peace of God which passes all understanding (Phil 4:7) encompasses within it wholeness, maturity, and completeness as well as freedom from turmoil and worry. Focus upon serving Jesus and doing good, and you will be blessed.  Hallelujah!

What Makes the Enemy Run?

What Makes the Enemy Run?

What makes enemies run away?  The presence of the Living God! 

What about God’s presence in us and with us causes our enemies to “perish at His presence”?

When my enemies turn back, they shall fall and perish at Your presence.  (Ps 9:3 NKJV)

This verse tells us that the enemies begin to run away (‘turn back’) and then they fall and then they perish (or die).  God’s power, perfection, and glory have this devastating effect on those who work in defiance of God and of His will.

You will make them turn their backs when you aim your arrows at them.  (Ps 21:12 NCV) 

They run from God in fear and terror because the enemies of our souls are aware that God is always victorious, and His arrows never miss their targets.

You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.  (Ps 18:40 NIV)

The explanation for this verse is that the enemy (satan) sets ambushes for people and aims arrows of lack, sickness, strife and fear at God’s people.  God’s arrows are the power of His spoken Word, His living Word, and His written Word.   With the power and authority of Jesus Christ and His finished work of salvation, the Lord overcomes and overpowers the enemy easily as we trust in Him, and speak His Word in faith and power into our circumstances.

Rejoice in the goodness and the mighty power of our God!

Discouraged Versus Encouraged

Discouraged Versus Encouraged

Look, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’  (Deu 1:21)

Discourage means to dishearten; to dash someone’s hopes; to hinder or to restrain.  When you discourage someone, you hinder them from a plan or a project that they intended to complete.

When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  (Act 11:23, underscoring added)

. . . 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 . . .  (Col 2:2)

Encourage means to embolden; to inspire; to support or assist someone.  When you encourage someone, you inspire them.  You assist them by expressing your confidence in their ability and their resolve to complete their mission.

As followers of Jesus and children of the living God, let us be channels of blessing on the earth to encourage fellow believers in their faith, and to encourage non-believers to accept the precious gift of salvation offered to them by God, our Father.

The Bible demonstrates in many passages that believers encourage one another in their faith, and it strengthens them.  (See Ac 11:23; 16:40; 20:2; Rom 1:12; Eph 6:22; Col 2:2; 4:8; 1 Thes 3:2)

The Word pleads with us in this verse:

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.  (1 Thes 5:14 ESV, emphasis added)

Here is another Scripture passage that demonstrates a way to encourage one another:

Then you will recite to one another psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; you will sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts . . .  (Eph 5:19 ISV)  If we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to the Lord—even alone in our quiet time with the Lord—we will encourage and embolden ourselves in our faith.  God bless you.

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

Jesus told us that the kingdom of God has come upon us, and that the kingdom is within each and every believer.  Let’s look at the Scriptures.

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.  (Mt 12:28 NIV)

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit . . .  (Rom 14:17 NIV)

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”  (Lk 17:20-21)

He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  (Lk 9:2)

‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’  (Lk 10:11)

The Kingdom of God arrived on earth in the person of Jesus, and was established in the hearts of all believers when Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to His disciples.  This is described for us in Acts 2:1-5.

Since then, all who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord have also received the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  We are told in the Word of God that we are the very temple (house, dwelling) of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19) Glory to God!

The gift of the Holy Spirit is referred to in Scriptures as:

  • The promise of the Father (Lk 24:49; Ac 1:4)
  • The Helper (Joh 14:26; 16:7-16)
  • The Spirit of Truth (Joh 14:16-17; 15:26)
  • The Breath of the Almighty (Job 33:4)
  • Advocate (Joh 14:16 NIV; 1 Joh 2:1)
  • The Eternal Spirit (Heb 9:14)
  • Lord (2 Cor 3:17)
  • Intercessor (Rom 8:26-27)
  • Teacher (Joh 14:26)
  • Spirit of the Living God (2 Cor 3:3)
  • Spirit of Glory (1 Pet 4:14)

We are temples of the Living God.  We are highly blessed and favored, and we need to meditate upon that truth more frequently.  It’s almost too monumental of a concept to grasp with our human intellect.  The Kingdom of God dwells within you and me!  Rejoice!

Call the Walls Salvation

Call the Walls Salvation

Here are a couple of prophetic verses from the Bible.

Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.  (Isa 60:18)

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:  “We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.  (Isa 26:1)

There is a day coming when Jesus Christ shall gather His church together, and the verses above foretell of that victorious time.  There will be no need of gates or walls for protection, because the walls will be the very salvation of our God, and the “gates” that we enter will be praise unto our God.  Praise opens all gates into the presence of our living God.

God has shown Himself well able to protect His people.  He says that He is a wall of fire around His people.

‘For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”  (Zech 2:5) 

God is already the glory in our midst—right now. 

He is our Protector and Deliverer.  (2 Sam 22:2-3; Ps 5:11; 34:17; 91:9-12; 2 Thes 3:3)  As we walk with Him and obey His Word willingly, He takes care of all of our individual needs.  Surely, our relationship with Jesus Christ is a fortress and a protection from evil.  The walls of this fortress are called “salvation.”

God Has Spoken to Mankind

God Has Spoken to Mankind

God can speak to us in various ways.  As the Bible establishes, He can speak through miraculous or supernatural demonstrations:

  • He spoke to Moses through a burning bush (Ex 3:1-4)
  • God spoke to Gideon through a fleece (Judg 6:37-40)
  • He spoke to Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-5)
  • He used a donkey to speak to Balaam (Num 22:1-35)

God can also speak to mankind through dreams and visions.  There is clear evidence of this in the lives of Joseph, Solomon, Jacob, Peter, John, and Paul.  This may also happen to us today in 2019.  (See Acts 2:17)

God can speak to us through other people who are spiritually mature and operate in wisdom. He can speak to us through the Bible; through our thoughts; through circumstances; through the sensation of peace in our inner man; and also, God can speak to us in a whisper.  So, we must train ourselves to be VERY sensitive to God’s voice—no matter what the volume.

God spoke through the Scriptures the very story and plan of salvation:

 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 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 1:12-14)

Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary even as the Scriptures foretold.  Jesus fulfilled His assignment on earth and arose triumphantly from the grave and ascended into Heaven.  We accept the good news of salvation through the gift of faith that God has given to every believer.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.  (Heb 11:1-2)

Our God is referred to as the “Living God”  in Ps 42:2; 84:2; Isa 37:17; Jer 10:10; 23:36; Dan 6:20, 26; Hos 1:10; Mt 16:16; 22:32; 26:63; Mk 12:27; Lk 20:38; Joh 6:69 and others.   We are so blessed and privileged to be in a loving relationship with the living God.  Glory to God!

Be Ready!

Be Ready!

Why does the Lord want us to be ready to tell people about salvation at a moment’s notice?  One reason is that the Lord is not willing that any should perish; He wants everyone to be saved.  (2 Pet 3:9)

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  (2 Tim 4:2)  He wants us to be ready whether it’s convenient and whether it’s inconvenient—when the world mentality (at any given time) is “pro-Christian” or “anti-Christian.”  Our heart attitude should be eager to share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.

No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.  (2 Tim 2:3-4)  The warfare in which we’re engaged is to share the gospel with as many people as possible, regardless of their response or reaction.  Leave that part in God’s hands.  When we accepted Christ as our Savior, we were automatically enlisted as a soldier in the army of the Living God. 

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men . . .  (2 Cor 3:2) Not only do we share the gospel with our words, but we share it by the lives that we live.  People will read us as easily as they read a book or a letter. 

What are you sharing through your day-to-day life?  Is your readiness joyous and filled with hope and courage?  If so, then it will be good and edifying to read!

God’s Goodness

God’s Goodness

In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the Lord and of his goodness.  (Hos 3:5b NLT)

To be in awe of something means to be afraid, tremble, or to be so alarmed—even to the point of shaking in fear. Everything God does is good, but His goodness can be overpowering, particularly when it is clearly unearned.

God’s goodness is on display every minute of every day, but clearly, in the last days God will be performing such amazing miracles that the vast majority of people will not be able to ignore it any longer.  The Lord will make sure that His acts will be center stage before the nations.

The Lord is called the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6), and peace provides the tranquil environment needed for healing of all illnesses—mental, physical, and relational.   Healing is only one of God’s many good gifts to mankind.

Consider these truths from the Word of God:

  • God’s goodness gives us hope (Ps 27:13)
  • God’s goodness prevails continually (Ps 52:1)
  • His goodness leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4)
  • We are told to consider (meditate upon) God’s goodness (Rom 11:22a)
  • God takes pleasure in His goodness (2 Thes 1:11)

The first usage of the word “good” in the Bible (Gen 1:3-4) establishes the fact that God is origin of everything that is good.  When God moves, speaks, or acts, something GOOD is always produced. 

The goodness of God contains no darkness or evil of any kind.  (Ps 5:4; 1 John 1:5 AMP) 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  (Jas 1:17)

It’s time to reflect upon and rejoice in the goodness of the living God, whom we serve.

No Condemnation

No Condemnation

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.  (John 5:24 KJV)

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . (Romans 5:1 NKJV)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  (Rom 8:1)

The free gift of salvation by faith which we received through Jesus Christ results in our justification!  We have truly passed from death (eternal condemnation and punishment) into LIFE—eternal love and unity with the living God.  We’ll spend eternity living and serving God in the light of the love of Jesus Christ.

Because we are not under condemnation (Rom 8:1), and because we have entered into eternal life NOW, we have a Mediator and an Intercessor:  Jesus Christ!  He represents us and fights for us!

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.  (Heb 9:15 NKJV)

A Mediator is an arbitrator; umpire, referee, or intermediary.  Jesus is all of these things for us.  Jesus is our Mediator SO THAT we may receive our eternal inheritance!  Our eternal inheritance is rich and abundant; it is available to us NOW.

Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.  (Job 16:19-21 NIV1984)

Jesus pleads with God, on our behalf, as Someone pleading for a friend!  Jesus is our Witness—He knows and TESTIFIES that we are justified and set free because He gave His ALL for us! And we accepted His free and generous gift.  We accepted not only salvation, but all of the blessings, benefits, and promises that are part and parcel of that perfect and eternal salvation!

As we live out our salvation, life (and people) may still inflict hurts.  Yet, our God provides a remedy:  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [sorrows].  (Ps 147:3)  The Holy Spirit is your Comforter who pours out love upon you.  (John 14:16; Rom 5:5)

 Abundant life is ours!  (John 10:10)  A life rich in freedom, health, healing, reconciliation, prosperity, mercy, wisdom, grace, joy, and many more blessings are ours—in Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God that was slain!

You are without condemnation.  You have been and are justified—you are redeemed!  You are consecrated to God in order to live for Him.  Enjoy the blessings of eternal life, O child of the Most High God!