His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely, This is my beloved, And this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem! Song of Solomon 5:16 NKJV
The daughters of Jerusalem ask the Shulamite “What is your beloved more than another?”
The Shulamite uses gold, precious gems, valuable spices, rare commodities, and objects of purity to describe her beloved from head to toe. He is more than a chief among ten thousand in her heart. He is the one for her!
Love surpasses the limited understanding of mortal man.
Love can be freely given and freely received but not purchased. We may seek it with all our desire and never find it. Or find it in the most unexpected places. The heart wants what the heart wants and yet love is a choice not a feeling.
My wife and I fell in love when we were young. The first time I saw her I turned to watch her walk away. She turned back to look at me. The next time I saw her we looked deep into each other’s eyes. We were together every day that summer. It was perfect!
Today my wife suffers from debilitating medical conditions. She has been hospitalized several times. Her health problems put a lot of stress on our relationship. I choose to love her every minute of every hour and every hour of every day.
My wife and I do not have a perfect marriage. We struggle more than I would like to admit. But we always fall back to seeing each other through loving eyes. She is the one!
I have tasted the sweetness of intimacy with God. Nothing compares to His great love!
In the morning when I wake I seek the Lord by speaking to Him. I might say good morning my Lord my God my King my Savior my provider my protector. Sometimes the words “my friend” echo through my heart. My beloved confirms that we are friends!
God tests us with His eye lids. What does that mean?
There are times when The Lord intentionally gives us space. It may seem like He is far from us. He is not. It may seem like His hand of blessing has been removed. It has not. It may seem like God has gone away and left us to ourselves. He will not!
Once when I sought the Lord my heart heard “precious”. We are precious in God’s sight! The Lord looks at us through loving eyes. His love is perfect and unending. Our Heavenly Father longs to take us home to spend eternity basking in the Sonlight of His love!
Will you choose to love Jesus with all your heart soul and strength in this new year? Will you choose to receive His love this year? Jesus chose to love you with His life. It is a choice Jesus makes again and again. You are the one Jesus loves!
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and covers a multitude of sins. James 5:19 NKJV
Is it worse to wander away from Jesus or place a stumbling block in the path of a person who has? Is it a bigger sin to wander away from Jesus or sit in self-righteous judgment of someone who has? Is it worse to sin or turn your back on someone who sins?
These questions completely miss the point just as many of us do every day!
The verses right before these are about meeting specific needs. They tell us what to do when we suffer and when we are sick. They tell us what to do when we sin. They describe the incredible power and authority God gives us to pray for each other!
God wants us to know we can help people turn back to Jesus. That does not happen when we make it harder for people to repent. It does not happen when we judge people as if we are better than them. It does not happen when we walk away from people!
Our words and actions carry the power of life and death. We can speak blessings or curses. We can pray or lash out. We can accept or reject people with our hands and feet. We can embrace and carry other people, or we can walk away and discard each other.
God’s love compels us to love Him. God’s love draws us to Him. Jesus expresses and reveals His love through other people!
There are times when we need to speak the truth to people who sin. It must be done in love. It must be done to draw people back to Jesus!
If you have wandered from the truth turn your heart back to God. Jesus is waiting for you with His loving arms wide open. Jesus will not condemn you. Jesus will receive you with joy and thanksgiving!
If you know someone who has wandered away from the Lord speak the truth to them in love. Tell them Jesus never stopped loving them. Tell them they have the power to turn away from sinful behaviors back to faith in Jesus!
There are consequences for sin, but Jesus will be with us as we walk out our repentance.
Everyone makes mistakes. They are part of living in a fallen world in fallen bodies. That is not an excuse for sin. It is encouragement to turn back to the one who took your sin upon Himself.
Turn a sinner from the error of His or her way. If you have a need ask someone to pray for you. If you know someone with needs prayer do not wait. Pray right now!
Turn a wandering soul back to the truth. Jesus covers every sin under the sun every
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16 NKJV
The context of this portion of scripture is meeting specific needs. It is not the power of prayer although prayer is mentioned seven times in James 5:13-17. Anyone who is suffering should pray. Anyone who is sick should be anointed with oil and prayed over.
Elijah was a man with a nature just like ours. God sent him to pray for the rain to stop. It did not rain for three years and six months. The Lord sent Elijah to pray when He was ready to send rain. Elijah obeyed the Lord. God sent crop producing rain on the land.
Elijah prayed according to God’s will. The Lord answered. God answers when we pray according to His will. There are times when God will not act until we pray. Why did God wait until Elijah prayed before He did what He had already determined to do?
God sent Elijah to pray publicly so there would be no doubt He was withholding the rain. The Lord wanted to show Israel He is God in the heavens above and the Earth below. God wanted to show them He answered when they prayed according to His will.
The Lord created us to live in interdependent relationships with each other. God did not send an angel to declare it would not rain. He sent a man to speak to other men. He wants us to make our needs known so we can lift each other up in prayer today.
God does not need us to confess our sins to each other so He can forgive them. The Lord does not need us to turn to each other so He can bring healing and restoration into our lives. Jesus knows everything we have done. Nothing is kept secret from the Lord.
God tells us to confess our sins and make our needs known so we can help each other. When we pray for someone who is caught in sin we are praying according to God’s will.
Jesus wants to set people free from bondage. Jesus wants us to hold each other up in prayer. Jesus wants to use us to meet each other’s needs.
God wants us to help each other walk out our faith in Jesus. A person who is struggling with sin cannot confess if no one is willing to listen. A person who sits in self-righteous judgment cannot pray the effective fervent prayer of righteousness.
We all struggle with sin. Saying we have no sin is the same as calling God a liar. Sometimes we just need someone to be open and honest with. We need people who care enough to pray for us!
Love Jesus with all your heart mind soul and strength. Demonstrate your love for Jesus by loving His people!
Push every hindrance aside. Pray effectively and fervently for the people you love. Your faith in Jesus makes you righteous in God’s eyes!
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10 NKJV
God wants us to humble ourselves in His sight. The Lord does not want us to lift ourselves up. If we are to be raised up in a particular way Jesus will do it.
Pride was the sin of Satan. The devil wanted to be exalted like God.
Adam and Eve chose to believe the devil’s lies instead of obeying God. They were deceived but they made a conscious decision to disobey the Lord. Humanity and God’s perfect creation were tainted by their sin. Pride was their primary motivation.
The serpent told Eve when she ate the fruit her eyes would be opened, and she would be like God knowing good and evil. The first man and woman were tempted by a desire to be like God. They wanted to decide for themselves the difference between good and evil.
Their eyes were opened. They did begin to know good and evil. They gained knowledge. They did not gain wisdom. Wisdom had been with them in the garden of perfection.
God was with them. They had relationship with the Ancient of Ages. Adam walked in the cool of the day with the Lord. He spoke to God. God spoke to Him. If Adam and Eve had questions they could have turned to the Lord for answers.
Wisdom resides in the right hand of Almighty God! He gives it to those who seek Him!
Adam and Eve received ungodly wisdom because they turned to an ungodly source. The devil convinced them they could receive wisdom apart from God. Satan convinced them they could meet their own needs and make their own way in life!
We were created to live in a dependent relationship with God. He never intended for us to find our own path to wisdom. He did not create us to live in a world that denies Him. The world scoffs and scorns at godly wisdom. People exalt themselves above the truth!
God wants us to humble ourselves in His sight so He can lift us up!
Jesus wants us to participate in His ministry. He wants us to join Him as He restores His creation one heart and soul at a time. God wants us to trust Him so we can share in the joy of seeing people brought back into His love and care!
Humble yourself in the sight of God. Let Him lift you up. He knows what is best for you.
The God of the bible has all the answers you will ever need. Turn to Jesus when you arrive at the crossroads of good and evil. Jesus will guide you along the path that leads to blessing and prosperity. It will be the road less traveled, but you will never get lost!
Turn to Jesus for the wisdom to make the daily decisions that determine the course of your life. Wisdom is in His right hand. Love is in His heart. And He will be with you!
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High.
Isaiah 92:1 NKJV
Are you thankful for the great and marvelous things God does? Do you love singing praises to Jesus for saving you?
I am thankful for the many times God intervened in my life. I love to worship God even though I cannot sing very well. I love to worship Him with my harmonica even though I do not play it very well. I love to worship the Lord because I love Him.
If you do not know Jesus it may sound strange to hear someone say, “I love the Lord.” It does not sound strange to me. I love Jesus because He first loved me!
God wants us to love Him because of who He is. Not because of what He gives us. Jesus does not want us to love Him because of what He can do for us. Jesus wants us to love Him just as He loves us. Jesus wants us to be in love with Him.
If you are not in love with Jesus how can you fall in love with Him? To know Jesus is to love Him. You must get to know the Lord before you can fall in love with Him.
My work in a prison was frustrating. I wanted to help men change their lives. Many of them did not want to change. There were times when God opened a window so I could get through to them.
One group of men wanted to know more about my life. I struggled to get them to focus so I could teach the curriculum. I realized God wanted me to share the times He delivered me from the consequences of my sinful life.
I told them about the time God delivered me from a prison sentence. I shared with them the time I was surrounded and attacked by gang members. I told them about the time a man put a knife to my throat. I told them God rescued me and that He could rescue them.
God manipulates people and events to accomplish His will for our lives. Sometimes we overlook God’s hand on our lives. We explain it away as coincidence. Jesus intervened in my life many times. He protected me from harm so I could work in that prison!
It is good to give thanks to the Lord for the great and mighty work He does in our lives. It is good to sing of God’s mercy and grace. It is good to give thanks to Jesus for the wonderful things He wants to do in our lives today!
Draw near to Jesus so He can draw other people to Him. Sing praises to the God Most High every chance you get!
What has the Lord done in your life? Who can you share those amazing stories with? Ask the Lord to open a window so you shout out to everyone how much you love Jesus!
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20 NKJV
There are many holidays celebrated throughout the year. Only one holiday is set aside to honor the birth of our Savior!
Jesus was born over 2,000 years ago. Jesus existed before time began. Through Him the universe and all it contains was created. Jesus’ birth is the single most important event in human history. Jesus birth death and resurrection change His-Story!
If Jesus Christ is Lord of your life it no longer belongs to you. If you live by faith in the Son of God Jesus lives in you and through you today. The God who loves you and gave Himself for you wants you to give yourself completely to Him today!
I hear people talk about the commercialization and pagan roots of our traditions. Some say we should not put up Christmas trees, give presents or celebrate in December!
My wife has been in the kitchen making cookies. Today she will prepare a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. It blesses her to express her love and devotion to us by making cookies and cooking Christmas dinner for us.
There are presents for our children grandchildren and each other under our Christmas tree. Giving gifts to the people we love is a blessing!
Christmas is not about traditions. It is not about cookies candy or delicious food. It is not about the gifts we give and receive. It is about remembering and celebrating the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ our Savior, the Son of God, God in the flesh!
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We were created to live in loving relationships. God created us to be loved by Him and to return His love. He created us to share His love with each other. Jesus gives us the great joy of living in loving relationships with Him and each other!
If you find it difficult to express love remember; You have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer you who live, but Christ who lives in you. The life you now live in the flesh must be lived by faith in the Son of God!
Jesus loves you and gave Himself for you so you could love Him and other people. You have the freedom to give and receive love because of Jesus’ love for you!
Celebrate Jesus’ love for you by loving Him and His people in every season of life!
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the Highest, And on Earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:9-14 NKJV
An angel appeared before shepherds in the fields with their flocks. The angel was not a sign to them. A multitude of the heavenly host appeared giving praise to God and a blessing to mankind. This was not a sign to them.
The sign was a helpless baby wrapped in rags and sleeping in a place intended for animals. Jesus came to the meek and humble of the world as one of them!
Mary would be too young to get married today. The shepherds lived like migrant field workers. As the animals ate up the grass they moved on to greener pastures. They worked into the night protecting their livelihood. It was a stark and humble existence.
God chose a young girl to mother His Son. He announced the birth of our Savior to the lowliest of working-class people, why? God does not look at status or position. God looks deep into hearts for the secret things hidden in them.
The Father saw in Mary and the shepherds people of humility and character. He saw people who knew this world had nothing to offer them. The Lord saw people who longed for things only God could give them!
God is looking deep into our hearts for things only He can see today. He is looking for people of humility and character. God is looking for people who know this world has nothing to offer us. He is looking for people who long for things only Jesus can give us!
Has the Lord ever given you a sign? In 1993 I asked the Lord to bless my marriage. I felt a tingling sensation throughout my body. The Lord gave me a sign He would bless my marriage. Jesus has blessed us. Jesus gave us the son we longed for.
Are you looking for more than this world offers? Do you long for things only God can give you? Humble yourself before the Lord. Surrender your heart to Jesus. The virgin birth, sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a sign of His great love for you!
Jesus came into the world as the Son we needed. Jesus is much more than a sign. Jesus was and will always be the redeemer of a lost world. Jesus sent servants to announce His birth. Jesus is calling servants to make Him known today. Will you answer that call?
God sends you good tidings of great joy today. Give glory to God. There will be peace on earth when the Prince of Peace returns to the earth to rule and reign forever!
“And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him. Mark 12:33-34 NKJV
A Pharisee asked Jesus, “Which is the first commandment of all.” The Pharisee did not ask the question because he was curious. He did not ask because he wanted to please God. He hoped Jesus would say something the legalists could use against Jesus.
The Pharisee was a product of the religious system that placed a heavy yoke on common people. They followed the tradition of the elders and demanded the same from others. They were pious to the last title and jot of the law but abandoned relationship with God.
Jesus did not condemn the Pharisee for being a religious zealot. Jesus encouraged him by declaring, “You are not far from the kingdom of God”, why? The Pharisee knew that loving God and the people near us pleases Jesus more than sacrifices and offerings!
The law Jesus wants us to follow today is the law of love!
We were created to love God and each other. We were not created to read the bible or go to church. We were not created to teach and preach. We were created to be extensions of God’s love. We only benefit from those things if they help us grow in love!
There may be people you feel you cannot love. There may be people you need to love from a distance. Maybe people find it difficult to love you. Nothing is impossible with God! Jesus would never give us a command we cannot obey!
Sin separated us from God. Sin divided people into tribes, nations, and political systems. Sin separates spouses and divides families. Sin crosses cultural and economic lines to breed hatred envy and strife in every place where people gather.
Christmas is a season of love and celebration with friends and family. If we believe Jesus is the reason for the season we should focus on why He came. Jesus came to break us free from bondage to sin. Jesus came to restore our relationship with God the Father!
Do not question God’s greatest commandment. Obey it through faith in the Faithful One. Follow the path of love. Obey the law of love. Let Jesus love people through you!
Love God with all your heart mind soul and strength. Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. The kingdom of God belongs to people who seek Jesus with the mind of a child and obey Him like a faithful Son!
This is the season of giving and receiving. Receive God’s love as a favored child. Express your love for Jesus by obeying Him like a faithful son!
Share God’s love with the people near you this Christmas season!
For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him. Isaiah 64:4 NKJV
Christmas has become commercialized and secularized. The words, “Jesus is the reason for the season” are a reminder of why we celebrate Christ-mas. It is a great saying. Many of us are very fond of it. The truth is you are the reason for the season!
Jesus did not just come to fulfill prophecy. He did not come just to experience the human condition. Jesus came to reveal the Father’s love to us. He came to redeem us from sin and death. Jesus came to restore us to our rightful place within His Kingdom!
Jesus came to the earth to lavish His love upon us! God created us to extend and enlarge the loving relationship He existed in since before time began! Jesus wants us to receive the unconditional eternal love only our Heavenly Father can lavish upon us!
My son lived outside of the love and protection of his family for several years. It was a dark and fearful life. Time after time we offered to bring him home so we could lavish our love and care upon him.
My son refused to come back to the people who love him and want the best for him. He did not return even though there is no place where he is more dearly loved. We waited in faith for the day of his return so we could lavish our love upon him!
There are many people who refuse the Father’s love. They have chosen to live outside of His love and protection. Many of them live dark and fearful lives. God is waiting for their return so He can lavish His love and care upon them!
There is only one True and Living God! No idol, false religion or belief system has ever been revealed the way Jesus has! He was born of a virgin. He walked among us. He lived a sinless life. He offered His life up as a sacrifice for our sin.
God the Father raised Jesus from the grave as evidence of His divinity. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father praying for us today. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father waiting for men women and children to return to Him in faith!
Jesus is active in the world today. He works on behalf of people who trust Him with their lives. Jesus reveals His great love for us by helping people who wait for Him in faith!
My beloved son returned. We will celebrate Christmas with him this year. It will be a celebration of love and hope. We will celebrate our love for each other and the hope we have in Jesus. We will give glory to God for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ!
There is no other way to receive God’s free gifts of unconditional love and eternal life but through faith in Jesus. He is actively working on your behalf today. Wait for Him in faith!
Celebrate Jesus’ birth. Celebrate His love. Celebrate the hope you have in Jesus! You are the reason for this season of love and hope!
Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9 NKJV
Adam and Eve lived in paradise. Sin and death were unknown to them. They tended the Garden of Eden in perfect peace. The Lord came down to walk with them in the cool of the day. They had intimate fellowship with the Ancient of Ages.
The devil deceived Adam and Eve into questioning the goodness of God. They saw that the fruit of the forbidden tree was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise. Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying the Lord.
God called out to Adam saying, “Where are you?” Adam answered, “We hid because we are naked”. God asked them if they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree.
Adam and Eve were not hidden from God. He knew exactly where they were. He knew what they had done. Why did God ask those questions if He already knew the answers?
The Lord God sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden. He assigned an angel to guard against their return. God did not want them to eat the fruit of the tree of life. If they had the evil in men’s hearts would have been unleashed upon the earth forever!
And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:24 NKJV
Six generations after the sin of Adam and Eve Enoch walked with God. Enoch did not taste death. The Lord took him, why? What does it mean that Enoch walked with God?
Maybe Enoch pleased God so much the Lord wanted to have an even closer intimate relationship with him. Maybe God had such a special plan and purpose for Enoch he was taken directly into God’s presence for instruction and preparation.
When God asked Adam, “Where are you” He wanted Adam to realize what he lost. God wanted Adam to know the intimacy they had was severed irreparably.
God wanted Adam to take responsibility for what he did. Adam did not. He blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. If there was someone the serpent could blame he would have.
This Christmas season the Lord wants to ask us the same questions He asked Adam. “Where are you?” “Have you partaken of forbidden fruit?” Will you walk with God?
Jesus does not want to condemn us. He does not want to punish us. Jesus wants us to know what is at stake. If we are not where we need to be we can put one foot in front of the other and walk back to the Lord in faith. If we have sinned we can repent!
Jesus is not a baby anymore. He will always be a man. Jesus has always been God. Jesus made a way for us to live with Him in paradise forever!
Jesus made a way for you to walk with God today!
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