VIDEO God’s Reasonable Deal

Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

This is a very colorful verse. It mentions scarlet, red, crimson, and white. For the sake of time, let’s just focus on scarlet. For centuries, scarlet has been a color that signifies wealth and power.

How ironic that the color really came from a bug!

The finest scarlets in antiquity came from a tiny scale insect called Kermeswhich were parasites among the oak trees throughout the Mediterranean world. The male insects were very small and could fly away, but the females had no wings. When collected, they were found to contain thousands of eggs and their offspring were brilliant red. The insects were captured, dried, and ground into powder, which was used to form the scarlet dye.

In a remarkably similar way, sin is a parasite to the human soul, and it dyes us—and it causes us to die. The devil wants to stain us through and through.

Only the scarlet blood of Christ can counteract the stain and make us white as snow.

Break down every idol, cast out every foe; now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. James L. Nicholson 


God’s Reasonable Deal, Isaiah 1:18-19 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

 

Day of Encouragement

We urge you, brothers and sisters, . . . encourage the disheartened.  1 Thessalonians 5:14

First responders show dedication and courage daily by being on the front lines when disasters occur. In the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City in 2001 when thousands of people were killed or injured, more than four hundred emergency workers also lost their lives. In honor of first responders, the US Senate designated September 12 as the National Day of Encouragement.

While it may seem unique that a government would declare a national day of encouragement, the apostle Paul certainly thought this was needed for the growth of a church. He commended the young church in Thessalonica, a city in Macedonia, to “encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Although they were going through persecution, Paul encouraged the believers to “always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else” (v. 15). He knew that as humans, they would be prone to despair, selfishness, and conflict. But he also knew they would not be able to uplift one another without God’s help and strength.

Things are no different today. We all need to be uplifted, and we need to do the same for those around us. Yet we can’t do it in our own strength. That’s why Paul’s encouragement that “the one who calls you [Jesus] is faithful, and he will do it” is so reassuring (v. 24). With His help, we can encourage one another every day.

By:  Estera Pirosca Escobar

Reflect & Pray

How can a word of encouragement keep despair away? Who can you encourage today?

Jesus, thank You for the encouragement You give me each day. Show me who I need to encourage as well.

The Desires of Your Heart

Psalm 37:1-6

Context is important to our understanding of God’s Word and His ways. But I repeatedly hear one promise quoted without consideration of surrounding ideas that explain it. People often tell me, “God said He would give me the desires of my heart, so I’m trusting Him to do that.” Before we can lay claim to this promise, we must notice one of the conditions in the first half of the We are to delight ourselves in the Lord (Psalm 37:4).

What does this mean? Delight is a high degree of pleasure, satisfaction, and gratification. Although we may readily claim that we feel this way about God, the proof is in our desires and actions. Do we long to know Him and take time each day to read His Word? Are we eager to meet with Him in prayer? Is He in our thoughts throughout the day, or do we forget about Him for long stretches of time?

We must also read this promise in the context of the other verses that speak about trusting the Lord and committing our ways to Him. In other words, God is the focus—not our desires. When we truly delight in Him, His desires become ours, and we want only what is in line with His will.

Revival Through His Word

“My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.” (Psalm 119:25)

Sometimes the battle takes its toll, we feel like the enemy is winning, and our soul “melteth for heaviness” (v. 28). Many psalms share these intense emotions and seek God’s face for relief and revival. These eight verses in Psalm 119 provide a concise remedy that every Christian needs sometimes.

  • Open confession and supplication: “I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me” (v. 26).
  • Clear request for understanding: “Teach me thy statutes. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts” (vv. 26-27).
  • Reaffirmation for personal witness: “So shall I talk of thy wondrous works” (v. 27).
  • Bold request for spiritual strength: “Strengthen thou me according unto thy word” (v. 28).
  • Request to gain victory over habitual sin: “Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously” (v. 29).
  • Conscious declaration of personal commitment: “I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments I have laid before me” (v. 30).
  • Remembering past righteous behavior: “I have stuck unto thy testimonies” (v. 31).
  • Plea for God’s favor and mercy: “O LORD, put me not to shame” (v. 31).
  • Expectant promise for future lifestyle of holiness: “I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart” (v. 32).

Personal revival is as sure as the Word of God. But revival assumes our own deep desire to live in accordance with God’s Word. God will “enlarge” (fill, expand) our heart when we seek His face (Psalm 81:10). HMM III

Really, Time Is Running Out

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

—Romans 13:12

The absence of spiritual devotion today is an omen and a portent. The modern church is all but contemptuous of the sober virtues—meekness, modesty, humility, quietness, obedience, self effacement, patience. To be accepted now, religion must be in the popular mood. Consequently, much religious activity reeks with pride, display, self-assertion, self-promotion, love of gain and devotion to trivial pleasures.

It behooves us to take all this seriously. Time is running out for all of us. What is done must be done quickly. We have no right to lie idly by and let things take their course. A farmer who neglects his farm will soon lose it; a shepherd who fails to look after his flock will find the wolves looking after it for him. A misbegotten charity that allows the wolves to destroy the flock is not charity at all but indifference, rather, and should be known for what it is and dealt with accordingly.

It is time for Bible-believing Christians to begin to cultivate the sober graces and to live among men like sons of God and heirs of the ages. And this will take more than a bit of doing, for the whole world and a large part of the church is set to prevent it. But “if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).   WTA050-051

Lord, speak to me as I pray slowly through that list of “sober virtues”and also that list of attitudes with which much religious activity reeks. Convict me; change me; cultivate within me the “sober graces.” Amen.

 

Not How Happy, but How Holy

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

—Romans 6:15

 

A selfish desire for happiness is as sinful as any other selfish desire. Its root is in the flesh which can never have any standing before God….People are coming more and more to excuse every sort of wrongdoing on the grounds that they are “just trying to secure a little happiness….”

The effect of this modern hedonism is felt also among the people of God. The gospel is too often presented as a means toward happiness, to peace of mind or security. There are even those who use the Bible to “relax” them, as if it were a drug.

How far wrong all this is will be discovered easily by the simple act of reading the New Testament through once with meditation. There the emphasis is not upon happiness but upon holiness. God is more concerned with the state of people’s hearts than with the state of their feelings. Undoubtedly the will of God brings final happiness to those who obey, but the most important matter is not how happy we are but how holy. OGM047, 049

The whole matter of personal holiness is highly important to God!…Morally, we dare not ignore this commandment, “Be ye holy.” ICH061-062

 

A Testimony of Salvation

Romans 5:1-2

It was in the open street that this great change passed over me. If I could only have possessed the flagstone on which I stood at that happy moment, the sight of it occasionally might have been as useful to me as the stones carried up long ago from the bed of the Jordan were to the Israelites who had passed over them dry-shod.

The entrance to the heavenly kingdom was closed against me by an evil act of the past which required restitution. In a boyish trading affair I had managed to make a profit out of my companions, whilst giving them to suppose that what I did was all in the way of a generous fellowship. As a testimonial of their gratitude they had given me a silver pencil case. Merely to return their gift would have been comparatively easy, but to confess the deception I had practiced upon them was a humiliation to which for some days I could not bring myself.

I remember, as if it were but yesterday, the spot in the corner of the room under the chapel, the hour, the resolution to end the matter, the rising up and rushing forth, the finding of the young fellow I had chiefly wronged, the acknowledgment of my sin, the return of the pencil case, the instant rolling away from my heart of the guilty burden, the peace that came in its place, and the going forth to serve my God and my generation from that hour.

I felt that I could willingly and joyfully travel to the ends of the earth for Jesus Christ and suffer anything imaginable to help the souls of other men.

One reason for the victory I daily gained from the moment of my conversion was, no doubt, my complete and immediate separation from the godless world. I turned my back on it. I gave it up, having made up my mind beforehand that if I did go in for God I would do so with all my might.

William Booth, They Said It