Tag Archives: Christian

White As Snow

Have you ever spilled bleach on your clothes? I have. I even did it on purpose one time. In the 90’s, stonewashed jeans were in style, and we couldn’t afford them. I decided I could stonewash a pair myself. I went to the driveway and poured bleach on my jeans. I then began to rub it in so I could get that faded look. It turned out nothing like i thought. They were the ugliest pants ever. To make sure I never tried that again, my mom made me wear those out in public.

Bleach is a pretty amazing product (if you know what you’re doing). It will take the color out of almost any fabric and make your whites brilliant. I’m not sure when it was invented, but I can tell you that they didn’t have it in Jesus’ day. On our trip to Israel, they showed us how they made wool yarn, and then showed us how they dyed it. Once they put the color into the wool, there was no getting it out.

Isaiah 1:18 says, “‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool’” (NLT). The people understood the whiteness of wool and the redness of dyed wool. What they didn’t understand was how God could take something dyed and turn it back to its original color. God was saying He could do the impossible in an impossible way.

For over a thousand years, there was one way to get your sin covered up. It was through sacrificing a perfect lamb. God sent His only Son into the world, not to cover up our sins, but to bleach them. His blood would remove the stain of sin from our lives. An impossible task made possible by a baby born in Bethlehem. Christmas is the season of hope because with the birth of Jesus, there was hope of being reconciled to God. No matter how stained our lives are with sin, one drop of His blood will make it white as snow.

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

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Respect


I once heard someone say, “If you want respect, you need to give respect.” They were purposefully disrespecting a person in authority because they felt like they weren’t getting the respect they deserved. Of course the situation escalated because now the manger was feeling disrespected. It created a vicious circle and a broken relationship. It was sad to watch, and unfortunately it’s pretty common in our world today.

The Bible has a lot to say about respecting others. However, in no place, does it say we are only to respect those who respect us. Our flesh is what cries out for that. You and I are to respect our parents, our leaders, and those in authority whether they deserve it or not because they are placed over us by God. You can disagree with them without being disrespectful, but God’s Word is clear. If each of us learned to respect others, a lot of strife would go away.

Here are some Bible verses on respect. 

1. Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents, for this is the right thing to do. “Respect your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise added: “so that all may go well with you, and you may live a long time in the land.” Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, raise them with Christian discipline and instruction.
Ephesians 6:1-4 GNT

2. Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.
Titus 2:2 HCSB

3. Show respect to the aged; honor the presence of an elder; fear your God. I am GOD.
Leviticus 19:32 MSG

4. Pay to all what is due: tax to whom tax is due, customs to whom customs, respect to whom respect, honor to whom honor.
ROMANS 13:7 AMP

5. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.
1 Peter 2:17 NLT

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Walking In God’s Presence


My son is competitive like most kids. He wants to be first everywhere we go. The problem is that he doesn’t always know where we are going. Sometimes when he gets a few steps ahead, I turn and he keeps going straight. I’ll usually make a noise to let him notice. He then runs over and tries to stay in front. With each turn, I remind him that I’m the one who knows where we are going, and that he should follow. 

There are other times when he’s just trying to keep my attention. If I’m trying to do something, he’ll get in my face. If I direct my attention elsewhere, he moves to try to stay in my face. Sometimes it makes me laugh how hard he tries to get and keep my attention. The truth is that it’s a picture of how we are to be with God. Sometimes we forget to be like children, which is what Jesus told us to be like. 

I believe God is looking for us to be in His presence. He’s not wanting us to be out in front of Him trying to guess where He’s leading us, and He’s not just wanting us to be somewhere in His vicinity. He wants us to go get in His face, and to be where He is looking. Psalm 116:9 says, “I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth!” (NLT) The Psalmist understood what God desires from each of us, and that is to walk in His presence. 

The word “presence” in its original meaning, is the word for face. So to walk in the Lord’s presence is to walk where He’s facing. In order to do that, we need to be constantly looking at Him to make sure we are going the same way He is. We have to spend time in prayer throughout the day constantly grabbing His face and attention. It’s what children who love their parents do. God is not annoyed by us in trying to do this. He is honored when we walk in His presence. 

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Promise Keeper


I once had a boss who would promise to do things for us. Each week, during staff meeting, he would tell us if we hit a certain goal, he would buy lunch or get us gift cards. They weren’t crazy promises, but they were commitments none the less. After about six weeks had passed, I hadn’t seen any of the things he’d promised. I finally asked a co-worker, “Is he full of hot air or does he make good on these promises?” It turns out, he was full of hot air.

Maybe you’ve been let down by people too. I’ve learned that people are great at breaking promises. It’s easy to make them in the moment, but hard to keep them once the time has come. After working for this person, i vowed to do my best not to make a commitment unless I know I could keep it. I’m amazed how many people are shocked when a promise is kept. We’ve all gotten used to people breaking commitments, that we’re taken aback when someone actually keeps it.

The problem is that we’ve taken that mindset and have applied it to God. When we don’t see answers right away, we think God doesn’t care or He’s forgotten us. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God really isn’t being slow like some of us think. He’s patiently waiting for the right time. I’ve learned His timetable is different than mine. I often pray that He would act on my time, but really, i need to be praying that I could be patient enough to wait for His time. He always makes good on His promises.

Psalm 100:5 says, “For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness (in fulfilling promises) continues to each generation” (NLT). I added the original meaning in parentheses because it’s important for us to understand. God is good, and He keeps His promises. If you’re waiting on Him to fulfill His promise to you, keep holding on. It’s not too late. He is faithful to keep His promises to you.

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Be An Example


One of the things my dad has said my whole life is, “Do as I say. Don’t do as I do!” He’s always said it jokingly, but now that I’m a parent, I get it. My son mimics everything my wife and I say or do, especially the things I wish he wouldn’t. It’s hard to discipline him when he says, “But you just said that.” As a parent, I wish he’d follow my instructions instead of my example a lot of times. Parenting would be a lot easier!

We’ve heard it said our whole lives, “Actions speak louder than words.” We can say things all we want, but if our actions don’t back it up, people won’t believe what we say. I’m sure right now you are thinking of people in your own life who are guilty of this. When our actions don’t back up what we say, we lose credibility. When we lose credibility, we don’t have a leg to stand on. That’s why Paul was adamant in his letters to Timothy and Titus to be good examples.

In Titus 2:7, Paul wrote, “In all things you yourself must be an example of good behavior” (GNT). He wasn’t talking about being a parent though. He was talking about our Christian life. The world has too many “Christians” who profess Jesus with their mouth, but deny Him by their life. How can we win the lost if our lifestyle is no different than the world’s? When we accept Chris, we become a new creation. Our old way of living is gone.

Paul writes over and over about how we should live as believers. What He’s telling us is that our life should be an example of what Jesus can do. He can take all of our brokenness and mess ups and make us new. It’s not saying we won’t fail or sin again. That’s going to happen because we’re all human. When we are being led by His Spirit rather than our flesh, we become the examples that the world needs to see. We won’t have to tell them, “Do as I say, not as I do.” 

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Seeking God Daily


One of my father in law’s favorite activities is doing word search puzzles. They’re the ones where it’s a box of alphabet letters with words hidden in them. The word your looking for could be vertical, backwards, diagonal, or regular. It takes concentration, persistence, and determination at times to find these words. Sometimes, when he can’t find a word, he asks for help from someone else. An outside set of eyes often provides a fresh perspective in finding the words.

To me, finding God can be like one of those puzzles. He’s hidden in our daily lives among the things we’re used to seeing each and every day. It takes concentration, persistence, and determination to find Him in our daily lives. Often times, someone else comes along and points Him out to us while we are seeking Him. Sometimes we’re looking for Him to be hidden and He’s right there in plain sight.

One of the things we do at our nightly devotions with teams who go on a mission trip to Haiti is to ask them, “Where did you see Jesus today?” The first night is usually pretty quiet because so many of us live our lives knowing God is always with us, but we fail to look for Him. We trust He’s there, but we don’t take the time to search for Him daily and to seek Him. God’s desire is that we move past just an acknowledgment of His presence and that we would seek it daily.

Jeremiah 29:13 says, “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed” (MSG). When is the last time you searched for God in your daily life? He wants us to seek His presence daily and to see a His hand at work in our lives and in the lives of others. If we’re not careful, we’ll miss it. He wants to be found by us, but are we seeking Him?

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Helping One Another


Yesterday, I went to a friend’s house who had been flooded by Hurricane Harvey. As I walked down their road, my heart sank. There were piles of people’s lives in their yards. Some were about 8 feet high and about 20 feet long. These piles contained years of things they had purchased and collected over time. There were things that can’t be replaced that are lost forever. As my eyes began to fill with tears, i noticed something else. Both sides of the street had cars and trucks parked on it all the way down.

All of these houses had people coming to volunteer to help them begin the process of starting over. As we walked down the driveway, a golf cart pulled up behind us. A lady and her daughters asked, “Are tall hungry? We’ve made food for workers.” Soon after, a man walked up offering bottled water. In the midst of destruction, people were helping just as they have been doing during this entire storm. It was encouraging to me to see so many people doing what they could.

As Christians, we are to encourage and help others whenever possible. Part of being salt and light is proactively helping others in dark situations. If you want to show the world Jesus, show up in the hardest times, not just when it’s convenient. Sacrifice your time and resources for those in need. This world could use a lot of help, hope, and encouragement.

Here are several Bible verses on encouraging others and helping them. 

1. And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 GNT

2. And let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds.
HEBREWS 10:24 AMP

3. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
Romans 12:11-13 MSG

4. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Romans 12:8 NLT

5. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need — how can God’s love reside in him? Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action.
1 John 3:17-18 HCSB

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