For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you today? Deuteronomy 4:7-8 NKJV
Moses called the nation of Israel to righteousness and obedience to God.
Moses told Israel if they obeyed God’s commands He would be with them and bless them. God would provide for them and give them victory over their enemies. If they worshiped the Lord only they would dwell in a land flowing with milk and honey forever.
God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow.
Jesus is calling us to obey His righteous commands today. The Lord is calling us to worship Him and only Him today. God’s greatest desire is for us to love Him with all our hearts, with all our souls and with all our minds today and every day.
God honors people who honor Jesus. The Lord blesses people who live in obedience to Him!
If we honor Jesus in all we do God will honor us. If we draw close to Jesus in our hearts He will draw close to us. Jesus will provide for us and protect us. He will give us victory over our enemies. The Lord will cause us to dwell together in unity, safety, and prosperity.
Jesus is doing a new thing in the world. He is doing a new thing in the lives of people who know Him and trust Him!
What is it Jesus wants to do on this the first day of the rest of your life? Jesus wants to draw you deeper into intimate relationship with Him. Jesus wants you to love Him with all your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your mind!
Jesus is near to you today. You may call upon the Lord for any reason today!
Jesus chose you to live in this place at this time in His-story. You are a royal priest and an ambassador of Christ to the nations. Pray for healing. Pray for unity. Pray for righteousness to sweep across the face of the earth!
Pray for Jesus to be lifted-up before the nations. Pray for men, women, and children to bow before the Lord of Glory and love Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul, and strength!
Call out to Jesus on behalf of our nation and all the nations of the world today!
Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out that very hour. Acts 16:16-18 NKJV
The slave girl was speaking the truth, but she was possessed by an evil spirit. The evil spirit was not drawing people to Christ. It was drawing people away from the Lord!
This attack came as God’s servants went to prayer. The enemy attacks when we step out in faith. Satan wants to distract us. He wants us to focus our attention on everything but Jesus.
The devil perverts the truth of God. He uses it against us. No one can serve two masters. This girl was speaking the truth about Paul and his companions while practicing witchcraft. When people claim to speak for God we must consider how they live.
The girl followed the disciples for several days before they cast the demon out of her. It is important for us to wait on the Lord before stepping out in faith. The bible tells us Paul was greatly annoyed by this girl. Paul was not fearful because Jesus was with Him!
Paul and Silas were put in jail. The owners of the slave girl were angry at the loss of income when the demon was cast out of her. While Paul and Silas were in jail they shared the gospel with the jailer. His entire household was saved.
God uses Satan’s attacks for His glory and our salvation!
Satan is a real being. He takes people captive to do his will. There really are demons who seek to destroy God’s people and bring destruction to our world. They inhabit a spirit realm we cannot see with our eyes.
We can see the Spirit of God working among us through eyes of faith!
We have nothing to fear from the devil or his demons when we live according to God’s will. We have nothing to fear from anyone or anything when we step out in faith to serve Jesus!
Jesus wants us to fear Him and Him alone. Jesus wants us to know His power and authority are unequaled in all of creation. Jesus wants us to serve Him so He can save people from the works of Satan!
God wants you share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people in your life. Jesus wants you to walk in great boldness because He is with you everywhere you go!
Jesus can use you to shake the foundations of bondage and set people free today!
And it shall be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there. 1 Kings 17:4 NKJV
The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah. 1 Kings 17:16 NKJV
God sent the prophet Elijah to confront the King of Israel. Ahab was an evil King. He served false God’s. Elijah told Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand; there shall not be dew or rain these years, except at my word.”
God sent Elijah into hiding by a brook to protect him from harm. The Lord commanded birds to feed Elijah bread and meat twice a day.
When the brook dried up. God sent Elijah to live with a widow. She only had enough food to eat and feed her son one meal. Elijah asked her for a cup of water and a morsel to eat. She replied that she only had a handful of flour in a bin and a little oil in a jar.
Elijah said, “The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.” She went her way and did what the prophet asked. The bin of flour and the jar of oil was not used up just as God said through Elijah.
The price of food and other necessities have risen rapidly. Millions of people are unemployed. An unseen virus spreads fear and uncertainty. Pain and anger overflow into the streets of our cities. Crime and violence are on the rise. Where is Jesus?
God is still on the Throne of Creation! The Prince of Peace sits at His right hand today!
The Lord used birds and an impoverished widow to provide for His servant in biblical times. He used Elijah to provide for her. God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow!
God will not leave people who trust Him hopeless. People who wait on the Lord will not be disappointed. People who walk by faith and not by sight will not be left destitute. God will meet the needs of people who serve Him today!
This world needs Jesus now more than ever. We need peace to prevail over strife. We need hope to prevail over fear and uncertainty. We need love to prevail over hatred. Jesus needs us represent Him by being agents of peace and love!
Trust Jesus with your needs. He is trustworthy. Entrust Him with your resources. Jesus will use them to bless your neighbors.
Look past the fear of pestilence. Jesus will arise with healing in His wings. Do not judge people by the color of their skin. Consider others more highly than yourself. Do not seek vengeance for sin. Give glory and honor to the Prince of Peace by living in peace with all people!
So, the King commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he went out and struck him down, and he died. Thus, the kingdom was established in the hands of Solomon. 1 Kings 2:46 NKJV
Benaiah was one of David’s mighty men. He is one of my favorite bible characters.
Benaiah killed two renowned heroes of Moab. He went up against a giant Egyptian with just a club. He snatched the Egyptians spear away and killed him with it. He went into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. You would not want to encounter Benaiah in a dark alley at night!
Benaiah was a true man of war. Then again so was Goliath. Goliath fought for God’s enemies. We all know what happened to him.
God used Benaiah to fight Israel’s enemies. He used Benaiah to establish Solomon’s rein over the Kingdom. Benaiah became the commander of Israel’s armies.
Benaiah was a seasoned warrior. He had the scars to prove it. It was not training that made Benaiah a mighty warrior. It was not his physical ability. God created Benaiah to be a mighty warrior.
Benaiah was a mighty warrior because he served God. He served the anointed leaders of God’s people. God created Benaiah to fight for the glory and honor of Israel. Benaiah fought for the glory and honor of God’s holy name!
God created you to serve His Anointed One (Jesus). The Lord created you to serve His people. God created you to fight for the glory and honor of His name today!
The Lord wants us to fight our battles through faith in Jesus Christ!
God wants us to fight our battle of faith by submitting to His Word. He wants us to overcome the desires of our sinful nature by obeying Him. Jesus wants us to overcome the temptations of the world by considering other people more highly than ourselves.
God wants you to fight the good fight of faith right where you are with what you have!
I have a bible and a computer. This message is what I am doing with them. You have the word God has given me to give to you. What will you do with it?
Will you fight the good fight of faith for the glory of God? Will you step out in faith and serve Jesus right where you are with what you have today?
You do not have to fight the good fight of faith alone. Wherever you go in faith for the glory and honor of God’s holy name Jesus will be with you!
Serve Jesus in the strength of Almighty God today!
Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us. Acts 16:14-15 NKJV
When God opened her heart to the Gospel Lydia and her household were baptized. Lydia set an example of obedience that was followed by her household. Nowhere in the scriptures is there ever any mention of a husband.
Lydia persuaded the disciples to come into her home as guests. None of this would be out of the ordinary today. In that culture it was very unusual for a woman to be in such a position of authority. It was unusual for a woman to invite men into her home.
God is not a respecter of persons. We are all equal in His eyes. The Lord does appoint leaders in the Body of Christ. He places one person in this position and another person in that position. We are all called to lead people to Jesus!
We are all called to be followers of Jesus Christ!
We are not called to follow any one person. Christians should never be locked into a designation of either being just followers or just leaders.
The bible does not teach authoritarian leadership. The bible teaches servant leadership. In biblical vocabulary the words “leader” and “servant” are synonymous. Jesus said, he who would be the greatest among us must be the servant of all!
Maybe you are the Pastor of a church. The Lord is calling you to follow the example of Jesus Christ. Jesus laid down His life for His church. The Lord is calling you to serve Him by serving His people.
Are you a new believer? The Lord is calling you to be a leader among His people. The Lord is calling you to lead other people to Jesus Christ. Be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Lead other people to the Lord by setting an example of obedience to God!
This would not be the last time the missionaries would enter Lydia’s home. Paul and Silas went to Lydia’s home when they were released from jail. It was there that they encouraged the brethren before pressing on in their journey.
It does not matter if you have been walking with Jesus for decades or got saved yesterday. Jesus can use you to influence people and events to bring glory to God and change the spiritual atmosphere in your corner of the world.
Follow Jesus wherever He leads you. Lead people to Jesus through servant leadership!
You who dwell in the gardens, The companions listen for your voice-Let me hear it.
Make haste, my beloved, And be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices. Song of Solomon 8:13-14 NKJV
The lovers were separated. They longed to be reunited.
Solomon had great wealth. He could have given his beloved anything she desired. The Shulamite was poor. She had only her heart to give. That was more than enough for Solomon. It was all he really wanted.
Solomon wanted to stay in touch with His bride. If only he could hear her voice as her companions did. The Shulamite wanted Solomon to hurry home.
Jesus owns all the cattle on all the hills throughout the world. All the silver and gold belong to Him. We have nothing to offer Him but our hearts. That is enough for Jesus. All the Lord really wants is our love!
God wants to hear our voices. He wants us to praise Him out loud. Jesus wants us to lift-up our voices to Him in worship. God wants us to give everything to Him in prayer. The Lord wants us to be in communion with Him every day!
Corrie Ten Boom spent time alone with Jesus every day. She talked to Him as if He were with her because He was. He was with her in the death camps. He was with her as she traveled around the world sharing God’s love. That is the type of communion Jesus wants with you!
Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
When a man and woman were betrothed in Israel the bridegroom went to prepare a home for His bride. He would return for her when it was ready. She did not know when that would be. She waited and prepared for her beloved’s return.
Jesus Christ longs for the day He brings us home. Only the Father knows when that glorious day will be. Until then we must carry on with the Father’s business and prepare our hearts for our beloved’s return!
Do not set your heart on the things of this world. It is passing away. Use your time treasure and talent to develop a relationship with the lover of your soul. Jesus will return for people who long to be with Him as much as He longs to be with us!
Make beautiful music to Jesus in your heart. He is preparing a beautiful place for you to spend eternity. It will be a place where a perfect God pours out His perfect love on perfected people. Do not miss out. Everything will be perfect in the Kingdom of God!
Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison;
and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!”
And his chains fell off his hands. Acts 12:7 NKJV
Herod killed the Apostle James. When he saw that it pleased the legalistic Jews he had Peter arrested. Herod’s intention was to kill Peter. But the church was in constant prayer for him.
Peter was bound with chains. He was sleeping between two soldiers. There were other soldiers guarding the prison door. An angel appeared and loosened Peter’s chains. Peter returned to the disciples who greeted him with astonishment and thanksgiving!
Peter was delivered from the forces warring against Jesus and the people of God. He was freed to serve the Lord!
My wife had surgery to replace three discs in her neck. She needed around the clock care. She was transferred to a rehabilitation facility. The care was atrocious. The conditions were appalling. I became her caregiver.
Our son walked of into sin. We were overjoyed when he returned. We were heartbroken when he left again. I was a year or so into a position with a new company. I used all my paid time off. It was make or break time. The company invested heavily in me. They expected a return!
I asked my supervisor if I could skip a meeting. She said no. I rushed out the door. Something rose up within me. I call it righteous faith. I like the sound of furious faith as well. I chose not to be a victim of our circumstances. I chose to rise above them!
In the imprecatory Psalms David called down curses and cried out to God for vengeance against his enemies. I cursed the enemy of my family and called on God to take vengeance for us!
I could not change my circumstances. I did not surrender to them. I rose above them!
I could not change my wife’s health. I could be Jesus to her. I cannot live my children’s lives for them. I can trust God to transform them. I can do my job as unto the Lord and trust Jesus to provide for my family!
I prayed like a man who believes my enemies are God’s enemies. Just like David did. I prayed like a man who believes the Lord listens. Just like the saints of old did!
You cannot change your circumstances. You can trust God with them. You cannot defeat the forces of evil. You can be more than a conqueror through faith in Jesus Christ. You are free to serve Jesus Christ today!
Pray like someone who believes God is for you and not against you, because He is!
The Shulamite to her beloved
Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealously as cruel as the grave, Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised. Song of Solomon 8:6-7 NKJV
The bride wants to be set apart in her beloved’s heart. She wants him to draw strength from her love. She wants her love to be with him everywhere he goes and before him in every decision he makes. Love comes and goes in this world. God’s love is eternal!
God wants our love to be as unconditional and eternal as His love for us. Love cannot be weighed and measured. No value can be assigned to it. Love is priceless. Any attempt to buy or barter love would only lead to resentment and bitterness.
Death may seem final. It is not. Jealousy is as cruel as the grave because it destroys all who are touched by it!
The Lord tells us not to covet because it leads to a multitude of sins. It is one of the things that leads to lying, stealing, cheating, and murder. It separates family and friends, destroys marriages, and eats away a person’s health from the inside!
Do you want God to love you? That may seem like a silly question to a follower of Jesus. It is not. Jesus wants us to seek His love. He wants the assurance of His love to be with us everywhere we go. Jesus wants His love to be taken into account in every decision we make!
Our love for Jesus can be unconditional. We can love Him regardless of circumstances, trials, and hardship. We will sin. We will make mistakes. We will fail in many ways. We may even get angry at God. That does not mean we have to stop loving Jesus!
Our love for the Lord can be eternal. We are eternal beings created in the image and likeness of God. We can love Jesus here on the earth and on into eternity. Faith and love are the only things we can take with us into eternity!
Jesus conquered the grave with His priceless love. God’s love cannot be earned. It cannot be bought or sold. It can be freely received even though it cost Jesus His life. We can share it with everyone we meet and be filled with even more of God’s precious love!
This book of the bible is about love. It is about Solomon’s love for a Shulamite woman and her love for him. That love ended in sin. It is also about God’s love for us. God’s love for us will never fail, it will never lead to disappointment, and it will never end!
Your love for Jesus never has to end. Do not let circumstances, sins, failures, or mistakes cause you to turn you heart away from Jesus. God’s heart will always be inclined towards you. His gaze will always be on you. Fix your eyes on Jesus today!
“If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” Acts 11:17-18 NKJV
Peter witnessed to Cornelius and his family. God saved them. This was the first time the Holy Spirit was poured out on gentiles. They were the first non-Jews in the Body of Christ.
When the Jewish believers heard what happened they argued with Peter saying, “You went into uncircumcised men and ate with them!” Peter explained his vision and the events that followed. They glorified God and received the new believers into the household of God.
All sin is primarily against God. And yet it is people who suffer the effects of it. The great unpardonable sin is grieving the Holy Spirit. Despising other people is also a great sin.
The Jewish people looked down on other races of people. They would not associate with gentiles. It was considered an uncivilized act to eat with them.
Bigotry and racial arrogance were no longer acceptable after Cornelius was saved. Jews Romans, Greeks and eventually people all over the world became brothers and sisters in Christ. Many were persecuted. Some were killed. All were loved by God!
Unity of Spirit and diversity of races, heritage and cultures enriched and blessed the Body of Christ. These things gave glory to God!
Jesus sent His followers into all the world to make disciples. They went forth in unity. They gave their hearts to God and each other. They were recognized as disciples of Jesus because they loved one another!
We were all created in the image and likeness of our Heavenly Father. Jesus saved us so that we could be yoked together in His eternal family!
When we divide ourselves along racial, ethnic, or cultural lines we rob ourselves of the richness of God’s diversity. When we allow economics to divide us we miss out on God’s blessing. People will not believe we represent Christ if they do not believe we love each other!
Jesus is sending us out to make disciples today. We must obey that command in unity with other believers. It is not important for us to look alike or even act alike. It is important for us to be Christ like!
Jesus temporarily gave up His right to rule and reign when He walked the earth. He chose to serve His brothers and sisters in love.
Will you choose to serve your brothers and sisters in love?
His left hand is under my head, And his right hand embraces me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, Do no stir up nor awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 8:3-4 NKJV
The final chapter of this book reveals the strength of the young lover’s relationship and their desire for intimacy.
The Shulamite wishes they were siblings so she could express her affection for Solomon in public. He would be a leader in her mother’s home. She would give him spiced wine to drink and shower him with her femininity without hindrance or reservation.
One of the hardest things for a young Christian to accept is that we must not be unequally yoked with people whose values and convictions contradict our own. We must marry within the household of God if we are to follow Jesus faithfully!
A marriage with God at the center cannot fail. That does not mean Christian marriages never fail. It means married couples who put God before feelings, emotions, offenses, and selfish desires never fail.
Matthew Henry’s commentary says the bridegroom’s left hand is under his bride’s head supporting her with his power and keeping her from fainting during her most difficult suffering. His right hand embraces her to comfort and love her when she needs it.
Jesus Christ is the lifter of our heads. He holds us up during the trials and troubles life throws at us. He lifts up our heads when we fall into sorrow and shame. He lifts us up when we feel like we cannot continue to run our race and fight the good fight of faith!
Jesus provides comfort and love when we need it. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Jesus has the answers to every question we face. His love never fails the way human love does!
Solomon’s bride tells the daughters of Jerusalem not to interrupt their intimacy.
We should hold our intimacy with Jesus as sacred because it is sacred. We should set aside the time to commune with Christ every day. It will take discipline, the discipline to schedule our time with Jesus and the discipline to keep ourselves from distraction.
The greatest threat to our intimacy with Jesus comes from other people. Most of the people in our world do not follow Jesus. If we follow them they will lead us away from Christ. Find people who are following the Lord. Follow their footsteps to Him!
Trust Jesus with everything. His left hand is under your head supporting you and keeping you from fainting. His right hand is embracing you providing comfort and love when you need it!
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