What can make me white as snow?

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No amount of work.
No amount of scrubbing.
No amount of sweat and effort on my part.
I can’t clean myself.
There is a way. Jesus has made a way. He, Himself, made the way by His own blood.

NOTHING BY THE BLOOD
What can wash away my sin
What can make me whole again
For my pardon this I see
For my cleansing this my plea

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing, nothing, nothing but the blood of Jesus

Nothing can for sin atone
Not of good that I have done
This is all my hope and peace
This is all my righteousness

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
And no other fount I know
Nothing, nothing, nothing but the blood of Jesus
Nothing, nothing, nothing but the blood of Jesus

Now by this I’ll overcome
Now by this I’ll reach my home
Glory, glory, this I see
All my praise for this I bring
All my praise for this I bring
All my praise for this I bring

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing, nothing, nothing but the blood of Jesus
Nothing, nothing, nothing but the blood of Jesus

Who is building my house?

As we looked at yesterday, the wise woman builds her house, but the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.

The word translated “builds” in Hebrew is banah. This is the same word used in Psalm 127.

1 A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds (banah) the house, those who build (banah) it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. 3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. [Psa 127:1-5 ESV]

Who is building my house?

It is the LORD I want to build my house. If it’s me doing the work, then it is in vain. I am laboring in vain if I’m trying to build my own house.

The children in my house are a GIFT of the Lord. They are a reward. They are my inheritance. I am blessed by God when my house is full of them. They are a blessing. A gift. I cannot make myself have them. I have to receive them because they are from Him. If I work, strive, labor, connive to get them, I am laboring in vain.

If I am being anxious, toiling over my house, I am missing it. It is the Lord who is building my house, though YES, He is using me to do it. I work faithfully, by faith, through faith, to serve the Lord and the call He has laid on me and the blessings He has placed under my care.

Thank you, Father, for each of the children You have blessed me with. Thank You.

A foolish woman? or a wise one

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. Proverbs 14:1 (ESV)

Matthew Henry’s commentary on Proverbs 14:1 reads,
A good wife is a great blessing to a family. By a fruitful wife a family is multiplied and replenished with children, and so built up. But by a prudent wife, one that is pious, industrious, and considerate, the affairs of the family are made to prosper, debts are paid, portions raised, provision made, the children well educated and maintained, and the family has comfort within doors and credit without; thus is the house built. She looks upon it as her own to take care of, though she knows it is her husband’s to bear rule in, Esth. 1:22. 2. Many a family is brought to ruin by ill housewifery, as well as by ill husbandry. A foolish woman, that has no fear of God nor regard to her business, that is wilful, and wasteful, and humoursome, that indulges her ease and appetite, and is all for jaunting and feasting, cards and the play-house, though she come to a plentiful estate, and to a family beforehand, she will impoverish and waste it, and will as certainly be the ruin of her house as if she plucked it down with her hands; and the husband himself, with all his care, can scarcely prevent it.

When I read Proverbs 14:1 this afternoon, it got me to thinking about the passage in Matthew 7 about the wise man who built his house on the rock, versus the foolish man who built it on the sand. In looking up that passage, I came across the similar, though less well-known, passage in Luke.

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46-49

The wise man builds his house on the firm foundation of the rock, obeying God’s Word, so when the storms of life come, his house stands. The foolish man builds his house on the sand. He does not trouble himself to dig down to the solid foundation. He cannot be troubled to obey God’s words. When the storms of life come, his house falls.

Yet, consider this, the foolish woman of Proverbs 14:1 is tearing down her OWN house with her OWN hands. She doesn’t need any storms to tear it down! She is tearing it down herself. She, also, is doing that by hearing these words of Jesus and DOING them.

I pray that as I go in and out today that I will spend my days building my house, not tearing it down.

Adoption, Gifts and Rewards

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him (God) for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”

On October 13, I am going to be sharing my testimony and speaking on this verse at the Shine Ministries conference in St Louis. I am so excited.

In preparation, I have really been studying each word and that word REWARDS just keeps jumping out at me. I keep thinking, “So, if the wages of our sin is death (Romans 6:23), if to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due (Romans 4:4), then how does this all fit together? How am I to be rewarded if I really deserve death?”

The way I see it is this – the adoption piece is what’s missing. Our adoption in as sons and daughters is a gift. Our faith is a gift. Becoming children of the very real God, that’s a gift.

And yet, after becoming His children, He rewards us.

There are several Greek words that are translated as ‘reward’ but let’s focus on “misthos“.

This word is used in 1 Corinthians 3:14 “If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward (misthos).”

Or how about Matthew 10:42, “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward (misthos).”

And Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward (misthos) is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

One last one, 2 John 1:8, “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward (misthos).”

I pray I haven’t lost you already, but do you see that each of these verses are promising a heavenly reward for the work that we have done on earth? This word misthos is translated as a REWARD.

But get this, look with me again at that amazing verse Romans 4:4, “Now to the one works, his wages (misthos) are not counted as a gift (charis) but as his due.”

Misthos is not only translated as reward, it is also translated as wages. This got me thinking — what really is a reward? Is it a gift?

Suddenly, I understood. A reward is not a gift. A reward is actually something you earn. Something you merit. Something you deserve.

I’ve won my share of awards over the years, and been rewarded with my share of plaques. Whether in debate or art contests or science fairs or school competitions (no sporting events, mind you) but every single time I have earned those prizes. I wasn’t just a spectator in the audience who was chosen at random.

In fact, just last week we went on a tour of the Memphis Metal Museum and I won this cool hook.

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But this was my REWARD, my wages earned because the tour guide asked, “What are the three things a blacksmith needs?” And I shot my hand up in the air faster than anyone else and she chose me to answer and I got it right: a hammer, an anvil and a forge. And because of that work, I earned the reward of the very hook we had just watched the blacksmith create.

God is our good father who blesses His children with rewards for our deeds done in this life, in this body, but salvation is not one of those rewards. Salvation is a gift. Charis. Grace. Favor.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace (charis) you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift (doron) of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

I urge you to go grab your Bible right now and read Ephesians 2 in its entirety. You won’t be disappointed!

And if you’d like more on this topic, you might enjoy this article. (Click on that blue word. It’s a link.)

Maybe tomorrow we will dig into this new word, doron. Stay tuned.

TWIG