A Robe of Pure White

egretI was out early one morning on Dauphin Island. I love to watch the island come alive at first light. A beautiful white Egret, standing in the waters edge, caught my attention. Its snow white feathers were dazzling in the morning sun. How beautiful is God’s creation! A phrase from scripture popped into my mind: “…even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matthew 6:29).  After few minutes passed, the Egret took flight and soon disappeared toward the morning sun. 

How wonderful to know that our souls can be as white as that Egret. Isaiah 1:18 proclaims, “’Come now, and let us reason together’, says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be like wool.’”  The word scarlet in this verse recalls the picture of our sins as “hands full of blood” (v. 15). God’s grace and power can make such bloodstains as white as snow.  (See Romans 3:21-26.) 

Moments of wonder, worship, and praise, followed the Egret’s flight. Old hymns flooded my mind. Verses from “The Cleansing Wave” by Phoebe Palmer cause my spirit to soar. “I see the new creation rise, I hear the speaking blood; It speaks! polluted nature dies – sinks ‘neath the crimson flood.  I rise to walk in heav’n’s own light, Above the world and sin; With heart made pure and garments white, And Christ enthroned within.” These refrains were soon followed by the chorus of “Whiter Than Snow”: “Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow; Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”

My heart also resonated with the phrase from another hymn: “I gave Him my old tattered garment, He gave me a robe of pure white” (“The Windows of Heaven Are Open”).” What a blessed exchange He has offered! He will take our old tattered garment of sin and give us a blood-washed robe of pure white. As believers, one day we shall be like the Egret and fly away toward the Son. “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife (the church) has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:7,8). 

Do you have your robe of pure white? Are you ready to take your heavenly flight? If so, rejoice and again I say rejoice. If not, the words of Isaiah 1:18 are for you.

~ Brother Roy

Comfortable Inside

cool comfortableA while back on a very hot day, I was driving in a nearby city. I was listening to a local radio station hoping to hear a weather report. I wanted to know how hot it really was! A commercial came on and for a minute or two diverted my thoughts away from the heat. Appropriately, the commercial was an advertisement for a HVAC company. Their ‘branding phrase’ was, “We Can Make You Comfortable Inside”.

It was a good commercial, concerning the physical world around us. But, then I thought, what about the world inside of us, the spiritual world?  Our language often reflects our internal condition. We say, “We are hot under the collar.” Or we might say, “That really steams me.” Sometimes things like rejection or abuse cause us to say, “That leaves me cold inside”. Also in the physical realm, poor ventilation or dirty filters can cause the air inside our homes to carry pathogens that trigger allergies, make us sick, and cause any number of ailments. Just like we need a reliable HVAC system installed and maintained in our homes, we need a reliable spiritual HVAC system installed and maintained in the inner person.

Is there someone capable of installing and maintaining such a system that can make a person comfortable and healthy in the inner person?  The answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Jesus came into the world so that we through Him could experience control on the inside, in our inner being. We are, with the Lord’s help, able say with the Apostle Paul, “… for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content (comfortable)” (Philippians 4:11) Paul said to young Timothy, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:6).  Peace and tranquility make us comfortable in our inner person. Jesus can indeed make us comfortable inside. 

When King David’s world was falling apart by his own doing, he cried, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  He realized only God could forgive him and make him comfortable within. When we are in turmoil on the inside, we need to know “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).  The Message Translation offers a beautifully thought, “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace” (2 Corinthians 4:16). 

My Prayer: “That He would grant you, according to His riches of glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man…”  (Ephesians 3:16) 

He Can Make You Comfortable Inside.

~ Brother Roy

The Nature of Sand

sandBecause I have spent so much time on Dauphin Island, at the warm invitations of our dear friends the Eldridges, I have had the opportunity to observe many things, including the nature of sand. In some places the sand is soft, and you easily sink in. At other places it is firm enough to walk on. There are even places where the sand is so solid and firm you can drive a vehicle on it! For example, the sand at Daytona Beach has such a hard surface that automobile races have been held there with thousands of spectators in attendance.

I’ve had some personal experiences with the nature of sand. Our family was spending a holiday on the island. The driveway to the beach house where we were staying was hard packed sand. It easily supported the weight of our vehicles. My son-in-law came in from one of our many trips in and out and was just a few inches off the tracks we had been using. The car sank into the sand. The more we struggled to dig out, the deeper the car settled into the sand. What a job it was to get the car out! On another occasion, we were driving a truck on what seemed to be solid sand. When we attempted to turn around, we sunk. It took a track hoe to extract the truck.

Anyone who has read the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew is sure to surmise where this devotional thought is going. Jesus said, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand; and the rain descended, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on the house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27). 

Things may not always be as obvious or simple as they sound. Sometimes the sand around us is hard packed. Like the sand at Daytona, which can support dozens of racecars and thousands of people, the sand around us may appear to be solid. It seems hard enough to serve as a foundation. So we build. In doing so, we choose not only to ignore the words of Jesus, but also the instructions of the Apostle Paul who said, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3: 11).

The words of Jesus are as true today as they were when He first uttered them. The wise man builds his house upon the rock and the foolish man builds upon the sand.

On Christ the solid rock I stand (and build)
All other ground is sinking sand.

~ Brother Roy

Hiding in Plain View

blue heron1The Great Blue Heron is one of my favorite birds on Dauphin Island. They are large  beautiful birds standing 48 inches tall and have a wingspan of 5 feet. You would think that a bird that large would be nearly impossible to miss. Not so. I’ve looked right at one and have not seen it until something disturbed it and it took flight. 

Things like that happen to us in everyday life. Have you ever gotten frustrated when looking for something you know is there, but you can’t locate it? You either abandon the search or, in my case, I call for Miss Sue. My good wife can usually locate what I’m looking for quickly. She then sweetly says, “It’s hiding right here in plain view”. And it usually is! It’s like the heron that’s in plain view, but nearly invisible.

The kingdom of God is often like that. We search for the Lord and for answers to life’s problems. If we do not see Him immediately, all too often we desert the quest and move on in disappointment. We suffer on without His guidance or help.

Hear what God’s Word has to say on the matter:

  • Jeremiah 29:12-14 (NCV) – “Then you will call my name. You will come unto Me and pray unto Me, and I will listen to you. You will search for Me. And when you search for Me with all your heart, you will find Me! I will let you find Me, says the Lord.”
  • Acts 17:27 (NCV) – “God wanted them to look for Him and perhaps search all around for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any of us.”
  • James 4:8 (NKJ) – “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts you double-minded.”

road to emmausLet me share a Biblical example. Two disciples were walking away from Jerusalem soon after the death of Jesus on the cross. They were focused on their sense of loss and resulting confusion. They barely noticed that a stranger came close and walked beside them. They were discussing all of the things that had happened the past few days.  The two disciples didn’t recognize that the stranger walking with them was really Jesus. He was hiding, as it were, ‘in plain view’. How often is He with us in troubled times and we are oblivious to His presence? Circumstances may obscure Him from our view. Things like self-absorption, pain, wounded hearts, and disappointment often make it all but impossible for us to see Him.

It is also possible that He chooses to remain unrecognized for a time. He may be looking to see if our focus is on our temporal problems or if we have faith necessary to see in Him. Hebrews 11:6 states, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  He wants us to know that His presence is not dependent on the circumstances around us or on our emotional state. We must have faith in Him and His word. He is not far from us. He wants us to find Him. He wants us to draw near to Him, so He can draw near to us.

At the invitation of the two disciples, Jesus went into the house with them.  Jesus sat down with them at the table. He took bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. Luke 24:31, “And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him.” 

He said, “And, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). Amen.

~ Brother Roy