White as Snow

“Come now, let us reason together. says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18a

Today I was in my art studio painting a dog portrait.  As I felt like I had not gotten the picture exactly right, I began to take alcohol and a Q tip to remove the acrylic paint from the areas on the canvas that needed changing.  I noticed that no matter how much scrubbing, there was some paint that never came off completely.  What ends up happening is that after it dries, I just try paint over the smug. Most of the time it covers, but I know that there is still a messy place under the finished painting.

I wonder if that is what we do sometimes spiritually.  The Bible is clear that we all sin (make mistakes.)  Instead of confessing that sin to Jesus, we try to get relief of the guilt by trying to forget it or just paint over it by trying to do better the next time. If we could just remember that we as God’s children have access to Jesus, our Savior that died and shed His blood on that old rugged cross, that we might be forgiven and have a new clean canvas.  By confessing our sin.      1 John 1:9 says that He is faithful to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

What can wash away my sin?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

What can make me whole again?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus

     Oh! precious is the flow

     That makes me white as snow,

     Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Nothing can my sin erase

Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Nought of works, ‘tis all of grace_

Nothing but the blood of Jesu. (written by: Robert Lowry 1876)

Joy

Phyllis

THE CALL TO CONSIDER CAREFULLY!

“Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord.  Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they shall be like wool.  If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land, but if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.  Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  Isaiah 1:18-20

 Is this it?  Are we living in the generation that sees the end of this world as we have known it?  Some say so, but is it true?  When the disciples asked Jesus when the end of the age would be, He told them, “No one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone!”  The question today (and every day) should be, “What is the Lord saying to me today?”  One worthy consideration is to examine how the Lord spoke to people in the days of the Old Testament.

 The prophet Isaiah was sent by the Lord to say to the Lord’s people, “Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me.”  (Ch. 1:2).  “Sons who act corruptly!  They have abandoned the Lord.” (Ch. 1:4).  “Your land is desolate, your cities are burned with fire, your fields—strangers are devouring them in your presence; It is desolation, as overthrown by strangers.”  (Ch. 1:7).  The people sought to placate God with their religious activities.  “I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts.  They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them.”  (Ch. 1:14).  “Cease to do evil, learn to do good.”  (Ch. 1:16,17).  Then the Lord explains how to go about doing these things.

 He first gives a chance to His family, “Come now!”  (Ch. 18).  If we do come to the Lord, it will be at His timing, not ours!  “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be white as snow.”  We can be forgiven!  As of today, the Day of Judgment has not arrived.  Thank God it is still the Day of His Grace!  Not only that, but we can be fulfilled.  “If you will consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land.”  The time to deal with the Lord is when He is dealing with us, and He is obviously dealing with us today!

 Our gracious God not only provides His family a chance for renewal, but He also announces a choice for the foolish.  “If you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”  (Ch. 1:20).  Jesus dealt with the issue of the reliability of the Father’s Word with His disciples in Matthew 7:24ff by using the analogy of the foundation for a house.  If one builds his house on a rock, even if floods come and winds blow, the house will stand.  But if  one builds his house on sand, when the winds blow and floods come, the house will fall, and great will be the fall of it!  Each must ask himself, “On what am I building my life?”

 So what about the reliability of Scripture when it comes to the future?  Once again Isaiah speaks up.  “Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken!” (Ch. 1:20).  Untold numbers throughout history have put their trust in the truthfulness of God and His Word, and the testimony of their lives have been an encouragement to others to trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.  (Proverbs 3:5,6).  What about you?  What about me?

 Jon Moore

Together

My heart grieves over the anger we are seeing and how divided we are as a nation, and even the people of the Church of the living God. The enemy has done his job well to cause chaos.  As I was reading the book of Nehemiah in my quiet time, I was reminded of what can happen when people from different backgrounds, skills, and opinions, set their minds and hearts to the task God has given them.

In chapter 1-3 we find that the leader Nehemiah, “was sent by God” to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem that had been broken down. He had volunteers to help. I was struck by the way the volunteers were about the work. Together the task was underway.

Eliashib and his brethren built the Sheep gate, next to him the men of Jericho built, next to them Zaccur built, next to him Hassenaah built, next to him Meremoth built, next to him Meshullam built, and so on and so on listing names and brethren throughout the entire 3nd chapter of Nehemiah.  I was struck by all the people of different skills and opinions worked side by side together to rebuild what had been broken down. We must keep in mind that the enemy using Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem all the while was working to get them distracted, discouraged, and divided. They had one goal, to do the task that the Lord had set before them.  The wall was rebuilt in record time.

Can we see any correlation to our chaos and confusion today?

There is strength together.  Working side by side.

I traveled with about 25 ladies in a Women’s Retreat ministry for nearly 15 years.  At the, retirement gathering of that ministry, we were sharing some of the amazing things that we witnessed during our time together. I will forever be touched that during all those 15 years, I never heard a critical or unkind word from any woman on the team.  How could that be?????

We had one purpose:  Honor the Lord, each other, and serve the people, TOGETHER!

Joy,

Phyllis

IT IS TIME TO TURN!

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name……. turn from THEIR wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive THEIR sin and will heal THEIR land.”  2nd Chronicles 7:13,14a, c

 There is little doubt as to the desperate need for change in America.  There does seem to be no small mount of confusion about who is to do the changing, and why!  However, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that it is specifically to His people that the Lord looks to be the prime movers of this needed change.  Long ago the Lord spoke to the young Hebrew King, Solomon and told him there are ways that God can put into motion that if His people are paying attention, these acts will serve as a call to them for a need for radical change.  In recent years the world has witnessed not only an accelerated lack of reverence (respect) for God, but an open defiance of the Lord, and the things of God!  This has been accompanied by economic catastrophe and deadly sicknesses.  It would seem to be obvious!

 The Lord laid down four conditions for returning to a right relationship and fellowship with Him.  The first condition is the Lord’s people must humble ourselves.  I dealt with this condition two months ago in the June article.  If you missed it, scroll up and read “THE FORSAKEN FACTOR IN REVIVAL!”  Today I want to deal with the fourth and final condition for revival…“If My people who are called by My name…TURN from THEIR wicked ways,…”

 Some Believers have a hard time seeing any of their ways as “wicked.”  The Hebrew word in this verse translated “wicked” literally means “deviation from the right way.”  A one degree error in an airplane’s compass, if uncorrected will result in the airplane being one mile off course for every sixty air miles travelled.  If you fly 300 miles, when you land you will miss the runway by five miles!!!  ANY WAY that deviates from the right way is a wicked way!  Do you have any idols in your life?  Keep in mind that an idol is anything or anyone that substitutes for God!  Anything or anyone in your life that ever takes priority over God and His will for your life is an idol!

 The Hebrew word translated “way” in this verse means “trodden path.”  Have you ever lived in a house on a street corner?  Did people ever take a “shortcut” across your yard?  Over and Over again?  Did it create a “trodden path” in your yard?  Do you have any “trodden paths” in your life?  Sometimes we have done things a certain way for such a long time, they become trodden paths.  If they are ways that displease the Lord, they are deviations from the right way!

 

A young deacon on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides Islands back in 1949 had prayed with fellow deacons for many nights for the coming of revival.  One night his praying took a turn.  He began to pray, “Are MY hands clean?  Is My heart pure?”  Then came conviction, followed by confession and cleansing, followed by more following his example.

Then came mighty revival!  Someone needs to lead the way!  It is time to turn.

Jon Moore

Taking the Mask off!

2 Cor 3:18 “And all of us as with unveiled faces, continue to behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are continually being changed into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another from the Lord, the Spirit. (Amplified Bible)

As we have been wearing the masks everywhere during the Covid 19 pandemic that has swept our world, I could not help but think how uncomfortable it has become. My glasses fog up where I can’t see as well, my breathing is impaired, I can’t smile and be friendly with others like I love to do, and certainly having conversations and  being understood is much more difficult.

I am afraid that many times, we as Christians, wear our spiritual masks trying to hide the real condition of our walk with the Lord or the lack there of. Moses face shown with the glory of the Lord after he encountered God on the mountain, however as the days went by, the glory began to fade,  so he wore the face covering so that others might not see it fading).  Exodus 34:25-39 Could that be us?  Are we one way at home and another around other folks. Is the glory fading? What are some of the things that the spiritual mask covers?  Secret sins, ungodly TV or movies, critical spirit, gossiping, self-protection, and others that I am sure the Holy Spirit can bring to our mind.

It is time to repent and take off the spiritual masks!!!

What are we gaining by removing our spiritual masks?  We can see much more clearly the truths in the Bible, we can once again have that personal intimacy, and once again have those amazing conversations with our heavenly Father, and certainly now, we can freely breath in the breath and power of the Holy Spirit.

 And with an “open face,” we are being constantly changed from glory to glory into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joy

Phyllis

 

THE FORSAKEN FACTOR IN REVIVAL!

“However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.”

2nd Chronicles 32:26

The Bible is full of promised blessings for those who humble themselves!  Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the wise man Solomon wrote, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23).  James reminds us, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6).  Peter writes in 1st Peter 5:6, “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.”  Unfortunately, today’s society does not look on humility with the same admiration as does the Lord!  The question becomes, Why does the Lord put humility first when it comes to the conditions He requires for the coming of revival in 2nd Chronicles 7:14?

A studied look at Scripture reveals that when there is a list of blessings, or conditions for blessings, whatever is listed first is listed first for a reason.  It is the most critical, most important.  Think about it!  Why would one pray, or seek the Lord, or turn from every way that deviates from the right way (the meaning of the word ‘wicked’ in 2nd Chronicles 7:14) if one thinks that we can solve our own problems, or make ourselves right with God in our own way?  When we humble ourselves, the rest tends to follow, but prayer, seeking God and broken repentance are foreign to the prideful.

We need to recognize the scale of mankind’s problem.  First, pride is a perpetual problem.  “So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from Sennacherib the king of Assyria and from the hand of all others…And many were bringing gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem and choice presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.”(vv 20-23).  Not only is pride perpetual, the enemy will see to it that it is also keenly personal.  After the Lord delivered Hezekiah from certain defeat and imprisonment, He was personally healed by God from a fatal disease!  “ In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill; and he prayed to the Lord, and the Lord spoke to him and gave him a sign.  But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received, because his heart was proud!”  (vv24-25).

Some years ago, a preacher friend of mine sent me a book of which he had been the general editor.  It is a collection of sayings by people who are noteworthy for their faithfulness and fruitfulness in ministry.  One such is the author and theologian J. C. Ryle who is credited with saying, “We have been too often content with zeal for orthodoxy and have neglected the sober realities of daily practical godliness!  There has been of late years a lower standard of personal holiness among believers than there used to be in the day of our forefathers.  The whole result is THE SPIRIT IS GRIEVED!  And the matter calls for much humiliation and searching of hearts!”

My prayer for myself and each of you who name the Name of Jesus as Lord and Savior is that each of us would begin to humble ourselves before Him!

Jon Moore

My Determined Purpose

Many years ago, I read a little book by Bro. Laurence called, “The Practice of the Presence of God.”  Bro. Laurence had devoted himself to God as a monk and lived his life praying and doing what we might call menial tasks for his fellow brothers. He states that He made a commitment to doing little things for the Lord each day and to never deliberately stray from Him.  Oh, how the Lord gripped my heart of the necessity in my life for a much deeper and more intimate fellowship with my heavenly Father! I had found my self so busy serving the Lord that I had neglected the most important, worshipping and being in His presence daily.

What does it really mean to live and dwell in His presence? In Websters 828 dictionary it states: in close view, within, a spiritual Spirit to be present.  Psalms 27:4, “One thing I ask of Thee, oh Lord, that I will seek, inquire for, and insistently require that I may dwell in Your presence all the days of my life.”

“MY PRAYER”

That I may know Jesus—

That I may__

 progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.

That I may __

perceive and recognize and understand the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly.

That I may —

In that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection.

That I may __

 share in His suffering as to be continually being transformed in His Spirit into His likeness even to His death.

Taken from __Philippians 3:10

Joy ,

Phyllis

 

THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART FOUR)!

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit…”

Ephesians 5:18

Back in January I said I would attempt to address four basic questions about the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  The first question was, “Why should every Believer be filled with the Holy Spirit?”  I dealt with this by examining the 14th, 15th and 16th chapters of the Gospel of John, because they contain an ongoing discussion by the Lord with His disciples about His soon-coming departure, the coming of the Holy Spirit and the role the Spirit would fill in the life and ministries of His followers.  If you have not already done so, I recommend you scroll down and read the last three month’s devotionals.

 This month I will focus on the last three questions.  Question two is, “What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?”  The Greek word “filled” in Ephesians 5:18 means “to fill; to be filled to the full.”  It carries with it a picture of “to be fully taken up with; to be fully under the control of!”  Thus, to be filled with the Holy Spirit means not so much to have more of the Spirit, but for the Spirit to have more (all) of you!

 Question three is, “Do you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit again?”  Some argue they do not need to be filled, because they were filled with the Spirit at conversion!  Certainly, a Biblical view of salvation teaches that it includes a full surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, but guess what?  You leaked!  The commandment to be filled in Ephesians 5:18 is in the present imperfect tense in the original Greek language meaning, “Be always being filled with Holy Spirit!”  Ask yourself this question, “Do I have the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23 fully operative in my life today?”  The absence of any one of this cluster of fruit indicates you need to be filled again with the Spirit.  Likewise, “Is the power of the Holy Spirit demonstrated in your daily living, preaching, teaching, witnessing.  Acts 1:8 says we receive power when the Holy Spirit fills us.  The absence of power is a reminder we need to be filled again!  Note the experiences of the disciples in the book of Acts.  See 13:52 especially.

 The fourth question is, “How is one filled with the Holy Spirit?”  Peter in Acts 2:32-33 tells us that when Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection, the Father exalted Christ to the right hand of God, the place of all authority and power.  He gave the Son the promised Holy Spirit.  Jesus then poured forth the Spirit on the disciples at Pentecost, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit!  In like manner when we as Believers genuinely surrender our life to the Lordship of Christ, crowning Him both Lord and Christ, He once again pours out the Holy Spirit into us in His fullness!

 Jon Moore

THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART THREE)!

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit!”

Ephesians 5:18

Two months ago, I began to address the question, “Why does every Believer need to be filled with the Holy Spirit?”    This is the first of several questions I will seek to address in this series.  We have been examining chapters 14, 15 and 16 of the gospel of John, because they contain a discussion by the Lord with His disciples about His soon-coming departure, the coming of the Holy Spirit and the role the Spirit will fill in the life and ministries of both the disciples and those who follow them.  I recommend you scroll down and read Part One and Part Two before you read any further.

The third reason every Believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit is not only that He indwells and instructs the Believer, but that He also endows the Believer (John 16:14)!  Remember, the word “disclose” means to tell back!  The blessed Holy Spirit not only makes Christ real to the Believer, but also in the Believer, and ultimately through the Believer!  Remember also the meaning of the word “another” in John 14:16=“Another like Me!”  Jesus, the Son came to disclose (To tell back) the Father (John 16:15), “He is the radiance of the Father’s glory, and the exact representation of His nature!” (Hebrews 1:3) So, the Holy Spirit came to disclose (To tell back) the Son (John 15:26).  Only the Believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit can effectually disclose the Life of Jesus Christ! 

We have examined three reasons from Scripture why every Believer should be filled with Holy Spirit.  Because He indwells the Believer, He instructs the Believer and He endows the Believer!  Yet, there is a fourth reason.  Ephesians 5:18 is not a recommendation, it is a Biblical commandment!  In the original writing of the New Testament (Greek) there is a way sentences can be constructed so that the reader (listener) can know the statement is an imperative commandment!  Such is the case with Ephesians 5:18, it is imperative that every Believer be filled with Holy Spirit!  And how did Jesus Himself tell us we are to express our love to and for Him?  “He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me…” (John 14:21).

Jon Moore

THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART TWO)!

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit!”

Ephesians 5:18

Last month we began addressing the question of why every Believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit!  Remember that we are focusing on John chapters 14, 15 and 16, because these chapters contain a time of ongoing discussion by Jesus concerning His soon-coming departure, and the ministry His disciples would soon be leading.  A significant part of this discussion focuses on the role the Holy Spirit will fill in the life and ministries of the disciples, and those that will follow them!  In this discussion Jesus deals with three reasons why every Believer needs to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).  The first reason is because the Holy Spirit indwells the Believer, both with you (John 14:16), and in you (John 14:17).  To review scroll down and re-read last month’s devotional!

The second reason every Believer needs to be filled with the Spirit is He instructs the Believer.  “He will teach you all things.” (John 14:26a).  All the Believer truly knows of the Lord is taught/revealed to us by the Holy Spirit!  He instructs us in three ways.  First, He reminds us, “He will bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26b).  Some times we don’t need to learn something new.  Sometimes our memory needs to be prompted to remember Truth we have already learned!  That could happen when we are meditating on Scripture we have just read, or just heard, or in a conversation we are having with a fellow Believer.  The Spirit uses all kinds of instruments in His ministry to us!

The second way the Spirit instructs us is He refines us, “But when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the Truth.” (John 16:13a).  You may well ask, “Isn’t that the same thing as John 14:26?”  NO!  These are two separate things.  One is that the Spirit teaches us all things; the other is He not only teaches Truth, but He leads us INTO the Truth!  This is one of the ways of God that David referred to in Psalm 103:7, “He made known His way unto Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel!”  He reveals Truth to His servants and follows it by putting them in life experiences that will require them to validate the Truth in personal experience.  Only then can they minister the Truth in the Lord’s power!

Finally, the third way the Holy Spirit instructs the Believer is He reveals to us, “He will  disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13b).  The word “disclose” means to “tell back.”  If you want to know that for which you need to be prepared, pay attention to what the Lord is teaching you today!  There are no “accidents” in the life of a child of God, especially one who is committed to be a loyal follower!  Any educator will tell you the best environment for learning is one teacher for every student, and that is what the Lord has provided for each of His children!  Each Believer has the undivided attention and ministry of the Holy Spirit.  That is another reason every Believer needs to be filled with the Spirit!

Jon Moore