But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?” Acts 5:3 NKJV
The bible does not tell us the amount of money Ananias and Sapphira received for the sale of their property. We do not know what percentage they gave to the work of the ministry and to share with the disciples.
Most of us consider 10% of our income a reasonable amount to give to the church. When we give our 10% we feel we have done our fair share. We feel confident we have not robbed God.
If 10% of our income is what please God the Lord must have been very pleased with Ananias and Sapphira. It is safe to say whatever amount they gave was much more than 10%.
Ananias and Sapphira told the same story when they were confronted. They had a plan. They would not have believed the scheme could succeed if they presented anything less than a large percentage of the proceeds to the apostles.
God was not pleased with what I believe was a large and generous gift to the church. If Ananias and Sapphira had told the truth they would have been praised as examples of generous giving.
God judged Ananias and Sapphira for the intent of their hearts not the size of their gift!
It is possible to do the right things for the wrong reasons.
Jesus sees straight into our hearts. Our Lord sees our motivation for the things we do in His name!
Give generously of your time treasure and talent. It pleases your heavenly Father. God wants you to be a cheerful giver not a begrudging thither!
Jesus loves you. The Lord will be pleased with anything you do in His Name if you do it because you love Him!
Jesus wants you to give everything you are and have to Him. That does not mean He wants to take everything away from you. Jesus wants you to be 100% committed to living for Him. Jesus wants you to make 100% of your resources available to Him!
Almighty God owns all the cattle on all the hills in every corner of the world. Jesus wants to bless you and other people through you with the true riches of His Kingdom!
Give from the first fruits of your increase to Jesus. Serve the people of God with integrity and transparency. The Father honors people who honor Jesus!
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?” Acts 5:3 NKJV
We read in scripture that those who believed in Jesus were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say any of the things he possessed were his own, but they had all things in common. They were united in their love for Christ and each other.
The people of the early church shared everything they had with each other. They expressed their love for each other in practical ways.
A man named Joses who was called Barnabas by the Apostles sold a piece of land. He brought all the money and laid it at the apostle’s feet for the work of the ministry.
This is the first time Barnabas is mentioned in the bible. Selling the land and giving away the money contributes to his reputation and standing among the believers. He was respected and admired. He became a missionary an evangelist and leader in the church.
A man and his wife also sold some property. They kept part of the money and gave the rest to the Apostles. They claimed they sold the property for less. They said they were giving everything from the sale to share with the disciples and support the ministry.
Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit. They were confronted by the Apostles. They were given a chance to confess and repentant. When they continued in the lie they died.
Ananias and Sapphira wanted what Barnabas had. They wanted the respect and admiration of the church. They wanted to be more involved in the ministry. They wanted authority and position. They were guilty of jealousy and coveting.
Ananias and Sapphira wanted to do good things but their motives were wrong.
God put Ananias and Sapphira in the church for a reason. The Lord may have had great things in store for them. They took matters into their own hands instead of waiting on the Lord. They resorted to deception instead of trusting God!
God created you for greatness. Jesus wants you to wait for Him to open the doors you are to walk through. Jesus wants you to wait for Him to complete the work He wants to accomplish in you and through you. Jesus wants you to give Him glory for the good works He accomplishes through your service to God!
When we step out ahead of the Lord we hinder the work God wants to accomplish in us and through us.
Pray before stepping out in faith. Trust Jesus to complete the work He created you to complete in His Name! Trust Jesus to perform great and mighty works through your simple acts of faith in Him and obedience to Him!
You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse; You have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes, With one link of your necklace. How fair is your love, My sister, my spouse! How much better than wine is your love, And the scent of your perfumes than all spices! Your lips, O my spouse, Drip as the honeycomb; Honey and milk are under your tongue; And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. Song of Solomon 4:9-11 NKJV
Solomon speaks sweet words to his beloved. His heart is melted by her beautiful eyes and the jewelry she adorns herself with. Her love is intoxicating. Her perfume makes his head spin. Her lips are sweeter than honey. Her voice arouses him. Even the smell of her clothes is enticing!
The Shulamite woman was Solomon’s first love. He married her shortly after becoming king of Israel. He fell so deeply in love an entire book of the bible was written about it. But this book is so much more. It represents God’s love for you!
God loves you passionately!
When you lift your eyes to the Lord He is filled with intense delight. When you adorn yourself with the righteousness of Jesus He is pleased. The Lord sees a beautiful spotless bride in waiting. You are His sister, His brother, mother, son, or daughter. You are God’s beloved!
Your love pleases God in a way nothing else can. Your prayers ascend to Him like incense. Your worship calls to Him like a chorus of angels. Your beautiful heart stirs Him when you share the Gospel with lost sheep. Your righteousness was as filthy rags. Your faith has washed you clean!
Almighty God loves you! That is not theology. It is reality. God longs to usher you into His presence with joy and gladness. Jesus will not be denied by any force in heaven or on the earth. Only an unwilling heart can stop God from pouring out His love on you!
Men, Jesus is calling you to love your wife the way He loves His church. Jesus stepped down out of eternity to come alongside His bride. Jesus put the needs of His beloved before His own. Jesus laid down His life for His bride. He will never abandon her!
Humble yourself and come alongside your bride. It will not kill you to do the dishes, make the bed or cook dinner so she can rest after a long day. Give your beloved a back rub or put lotion on her feet. Jesus washed His disciple’s feet! Be Jesus to your bride!
Be passionate about your love for Jesus! Do not abandon your first love for anyone or anything!
When we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus He empowers us to love the people in our lives. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Enjoy the sweet love He pours out through you to those around you!
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31 NKJV
God used the Apostle Peter to heal a man of lameness. Peter and John were arrested for preaching the resurrection of the dead through faith in Jesus, why?
The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead.
When ordered not to speak or preach in the name of Jesus the Apostles said, “Whether it is right to listen to you more than God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
After being released the Apostles gathered with other believers. They prayed for boldness.
We live in a time when speaking the truth of God’s Word brings us into confrontation with many of the people around us. What should we do? How should we live?
Peter and John were fishermen. Jesus called them to follow Him. He told them “I will make you fishers of men.” They were Jesus’ closest associates. The spent three years with Jesus. They heard all that Jesus said. They saw all that Jesus did.
Jesus is calling us to follow Him. The Christian life is not just about salvation. That is just the beginning. Regardless of what we have done in the past Jesus is calling us to take a stand for truth today!
The Apostles were among the most influential men of all time. They impacted the world for time and eternity. How were these common fishermen able to impact the world in such a dramatic way? By spending time with Jesus!
Have you heard the things Jesus said? Have you seen things Jesus has done? Ordinary men and women of faith in a great God, like you and me, can impact the world we live in today, how?
Spend time with Jesus. Live in unity with other disciples of Christ. Pray for boldness. Listen to God more than any other person, theological organization, or government!
The world is full of people who deny the Word of God. They want us to believe we were created by random chance or accident. They do not believe our choices determine where we spend eternity. They do not believe faith in Jesus determines who we spend it with!
Do not be deceived. If you live by faith in Jesus today you will live with Him in blessed perfection throughout eternity!
Jesus can use you to impact your corner of the world. Pray for boldness to declare the Word of God to a world full of people who desperately need Jesus!
You are all fair, my love, And there is no spot in you. Song of Solomon 4:7 NKJV
Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast. It is not proud. Love puts the beloved before self. Love is longsuffering without keeping score.
Love sees through longing eyes. It beholds the beauty within. Lover covers a multitude of sins because it is borne of God. God is love!
When God looks at you He sees the glory of His only begotten Son! The Lord sees us as we will be in eternity, without even a blemish of sin!
God is just in all He does. His judgment is perfect. He cannot be manipulated by anyone or anything. And yet Jesus is moved by His love for us in ways that defy logic!
God’s plan for creation is based on perfect love. His desire to live in relationship with us forms the parameters of His good and perfect will. Our Heavenly Father will be as blessed in eternity as we are, why? Because His love for us is perfect and unending!
You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse; You have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes, with one link of your necklace. Song of Solomon 4:9
It is much easier for women to believe they are the object of God’s perfect unending love. It is harder for men. Anyone who can let go and bask in God’s love is blessed!
We are all the bride of Christ!
The bridegroom loves the bride like no one else can. When the bride is in pain the bridegrooms heart aches. The bridegrooms greatest desire is to love the bride with all his heart and strength. The bridegroom lays down his life so the bride can live!
Jesus wept over the City of God. It was not because they rejected Him. It was because He knew they would suffer for rejecting Him. The physical aspect of Jesus’ sacrifice was so great blood excreted through His pores. He gave up His life so we could live forever!
The God who loves you is close today. He is strong enough to save you. He longs to rejoice over you with gladness. He wants to put you at rest with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing if you accept Him as Lord and Savior today and in eternity when you dine with Him! (Paraphrase of Zephaniah 3:17)
God’s passionate love for you moves Him in ways so strong and beautiful it defies description! Let go of every hindrance that keeps you from being moved by God’s perfect unending love for you!
Jesus gave up His life so you could receive His life. Take up your cross and follow Jesus into perfect unending love!
“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2:21 NKJV
After being filled with the Holy Spirit the Apostles declared the glory of God in unknown tongues. People from all over the world heard them in their own language. When they were accused of being drunk Peter stood up and proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Three thousand people who only moments before mocked the Apostles repented and received salvation through faith in the Risen Lord.
In 1993 a man I had never met shared the gospel with me. Through tears of joy I bowed my heart and receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Everyone, including me was amazed!
The same year I helped a local businessman give away a load of produce. I went to Victory Outreach. I was blessed and amazed when one of the Pastors names was mentioned. I knew him as a drug dealer. His family was notorious for crime and violence.
Years later my family and I went to a youth retreat. God gave me a burden for that Pastor. I prayed for him all weekend. I went to work Monday morning and listened to my voicemail. I heard his voice. God brought him into my life as a brother in Christ!
When Peter shared the gospel with his neighbors they asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter responded, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
We are the people who are “afar off.” The promise of the Holy Spirit is for us today!
If you do not know Jesus today is the day of your salvation! Confess your sin. Ask God to forgive you. Ask Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior. Be baptized as a testimony of your spiritual death and rebirth as a child of God. Do not wait! Do it today!
If you are struggling through trials and hardships remember the words spoken through King David. “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” Jesus is fighting for you. You are not alone!
These are the last days before Christ’s return. God is pouring out His Spirit on His sons and daughters. All people who call on the Name of the Lord will be saved!
As it is written; how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!
Use your beautiful feet to step out in faith. Deliver glad tidings of good things to your neighbors. Share the gospel of peace with them in the Power of Holy Spirit!
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Acts 2:2 NKJV
This is event took place on the day of Pentecost.
Jesus had previously told His disciples; “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The events of Pentecost occurred when the disciples were together in unity. They were in Jerusalem in obedience to Jesus. They waited for the Holy Spirit in faith!
Most of the disciples were not theologians or bible scholars. Messiah revealed Himself to them. Emmanuel the God man called them. Jesus chose them to be His witnesses. Jesus taught them. Jesus revealed how much He loved them by living with them.
Filled with the Holy Spirit the Apostles began speaking in languages that were unknown to them. Those words spoken in faith changed the eternal destiny of multitudes!
I am not a Pastor Priest or Theologian. I’m not even a writer. These messages are filled with words that were previously unknown to me. I write them in faith because I believe Jesus will use them to change people’s lives and destiny. God’s Word changed me!
Has Jesus Christ revealed Himself to you? Has God changed you? If so, Jesus has chosen you to be His witness. Jesus wants you to testify of the things He has shown and taught you. Jesus wants you to be a witness of His great love for all people!
Ask Jesus to fill your life with His presence. Let Jesus speak to you and through. Obey the Lord so He can change the lives of the people in your corner of the world.
You do not need to be a Pastor Priest or Theologian to serve Jesus. God wants you to follow the example of the Apostles and the early church. They gathered together in unity with other believers. They obeyed Jesus. They waited for the Holy Spirit in faith!
You do not need to wait for a sound to come out of heaven. You do not need to wait for a mighty wind to blow. Jesus wants you to respond to His great love in faith today!
Step up to the witness stand. Testify for Jesus Christ. Tell other people what you have seen and heard. Share the love of God with people everywhere you go in faith!
Ask Jesus to fill your life with His presence. Follow Jesus to the ends of the earth. Serve Jesus in faith today!
For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. Acts 1:5 NKJV
Jesus told His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to empower them. They obeyed the Lord. The disciples received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. They spread the message of the gospel throughout the known world. God turned their world right side up!
The Lord told me I would serve Him. He also said I had to pass through fire. I needed to be refined. I had not yet been tested in the cauldron of adversity.
Years later I had a dream. I was in a king’s palace. I heard a voice say, “Now I know you are my friend.”
God called Abraham His friend. Abraham was not perfect. He made mistakes. Abraham trusted God at times. He also failed to trust God at times. He failed to wait for God. He took matters into his own hands. God tested Abraham’s faith. Abraham passed the test!
I am not perfect. I make mistakes. Sometimes I trust God. I wait for the Lord in faith. Sometimes I fail to wait for God. I take matters into my own hands. How about you?
I have passed God’s test of faith. Have you? I am a friend of God. Are you?
I have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. God has empowered me for service. Nothing is preventing me from serving Jesus. Is there anything preventing you from serving Jesus?
The day of Pentecost was an amazing event. Jesus empowered His disciples to turn the world right side up. They went forth in the power of the Holy Spirit. They needed to seek God even after Pentecost. They needed to continue obeying and serving Jesus daily!
I must continue to seek the Lord daily. I must make the decision to live for Christ today! Will you seek the Lord today? Will you live for Jesus today?
We only get saved once. We receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit once. Our faith is put to the test every day. When we are tripped up by the little foxes that spoil the vine God wants us to get back up. Jesus wants us to follow Him with even more dependence on Him!
I had an image of God the Father as a master craftsman. He was preparing a disciple for service. The Lord reached into His bag and took out a tool. I thought of myself as a pair of needle nose pliers.
I do not know if you are a screwdriver or a monkey wrench in God’s tool chest. I do know Jesus wants to use you turn the world right side up!
Jesus created you to be a useful tool in His mighty hands. Let Jesus use you today!
You are all fair, my love, And there is no spot in you. Come with me from Mount Lebanon, my spouse, With me from Lebanon, Look from the top of Amana, From the top of Senir and Hermon, From the lion’s dens, From the mountain of leopards. Song of Solomon 4:7-8 NKJV
Solomon goes one step further in declaring the beauty of his beloved. Previously he said, “You are fair my love.” Here he states, “You are all fair my love.” Solomon tells his beloved, Everything about you is beautiful!
In both cases it may seem like an insignificant difference. It is not. There is a difference between a man telling his wife she is beautiful and saying everything about her is beautiful. Physical beauty fades. The beauty in a heart of devotion is eternal.
Solomon goes on to say there is no spot in his beloved. His heart trusts in her to be a blessing. She will bring good into his life not evil. The beauty of her virtue shines bright.
Solomon calls his beloved to come down from the mountains with him. He will lead her safely past lion’s dens and protect her as they travel through leopard country. Solomon embraces his role as protector and provider of his beloved.
Six times in the first chapter of Genesis God beheld his creative work; “And God saw that it was good”. The Lord created mankind and blessed them; “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good!”
The Lord sees you through loving eyes. You are beautiful in His sight. If you have been to the mountain top and received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior there is no spot in you. God sees the perfect righteousness of His Son when you come before Him!
In the fullness of time Jesus Christ will come for His bride. The Lord will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep and are seated with Him in heavenly places.
Jesus will not come as a lamb for slaughter. He will come as a mighty warrior riding on a white horse. The armies of heaven clothed in fine linen, white and clean will follow Him!
Not one person who put his or her trust in Jesus Christ has ever been lost. They are all eagerly waiting for the great wedding supper of the Lamb! They are waiting for the day Jesus sets up His Kingdom and leads them home!
Jesus takes His role as protector and provider of His people very seriously!
Solomon’s love failed. He gave his heart away like cheap candy. He married hundreds of women from all over the world. Many of them led him into idolatry.
Jesus will never fail you. His perfect love endures forever!
Trust Jesus with your life. He will lead you safely through every evil thing this world can throw at you!
Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove’s eyes behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats, Going down from Mount Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep which have come up from their washing, Every one of which bears twins, And none is barren among them. Your lips are like a strand of scarlet, And your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like a piece of pomegranate. Your neck is like the tower of David, Built for an armory, On which hang a thousand bucklers, All shields of mighty men. Your two breasts are like two fawns, Twins of a Gazelle, Which feed among the lilies. Song of Solomon 4:1-5 NKJV
Solomon praises his beloved. He gives seven descriptions of her beauty. They seem strange to me. You may find them odd as well. They give us a glimpse into the value system of the day. They tell us a lot about life in Israel. They tell us much about Solomon.
God has a different definition of beauty than us. He describes beauty differently than we would. His definition and descriptions of beauty tell us a lot about the Kingdom of God. They tell us a lot about the Lord.
A rich man named Nabal was harsh and evil. His name meant fool. His wife’s name was Abigail. She was a woman of understanding. She was beautiful inside and out.
David reached out to Nabal for provisions. Nabal was abusive and angry. He hurled insults at David. David armed his men to take revenge. A servant told Abigail. She prepared to protect her family.
Abigail met David. She bowed before him. She offered him gifts of food and drink. Abigail acknowledged her husband’s foolishness. She asked for forgiveness. She spoke words of wisdom to David. Abigail thanked God for preventing David from spilling blood.
David said, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand!”
Abigail’s beauty came from a heart of devotion to God. She put the safety of others before her own. Her wisdom was born of humility. Humility opens blind eyes.
During a season of pain and heartache the Lord spoke to me. He said, “I have seen your pain.” God loves brokenhearted people. He is drawn to them. Brokenhearted people are beautiful in God’s sight. Heartache can produce a contrite spirit and promote humility!
Jesus gives no regard to the appearance of our bodies. He sees what is in our hearts. Jesus is the discerner of hearts. Do not worry about what you will wear or how you look. Examine yourself to see what is in your heart. What is in your heart tells Jesus everything He wants to know about you!
Set your heart on Jesus so your inner beauty can radiate before God and man!
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