Inasmuch as Jesus has gone before us, things remain not as they would have been had he never passed that way. He has conquered every foe that obstructed the way. Cheer up now thou faint-hearted warrior. Not only has Christ travelled the road, but he has slain thine enemies. Dost thou dread sin? He has nailed it to his cross. Dost thou fear death? He has been the death of Death. Art thou afraid of hell? He has barred it against the advent of any of his children; they shall never see the gulf of perdition. Whatever foes may be before the Christian, they are all overcome. There are lions, but their teeth are broken; there are serpents, but their fangs are extracted; there are rivers, but they are bridged or fordable; there are flames, but we wear that matchless garment which renders us invulnerable to fire. The sword that has been forged against us is already blunted; the instruments of war which the enemy is preparing have already lost their point. God has taken away in the person of Christ all the power that anything can have to hurt us. Well then, the army may safely march on, and you may go joyously along your journey, for all your enemies are conquered beforehand. What shall you do but march on to take the prey? They are beaten, they are vanquished; all you have to do is to divide the spoil. You shall, it is true, often engage in combat; but your fight shall be with a vanquished foe. His head is broken; he may attempt to injure you, but his strength shall not be sufficient for his malicious design. Your victory shall be easy, and your treasure shall be beyond all count.
“Proclaim aloud the Saviour’s fame,
Who bears the Breaker’s wond’rous name;
Sweet name; and it becomes him well,
Who breaks down earth, sin, death, and hell.”
But what restitution can he make who casts abroad the fire-brands of error, or the coals of lasciviousness, and sets men’s souls on a blaze with the fire of hell? The guilt is beyond estimate, and the result is irretrievable. If such an offender be forgiven, what grief it will cause him in the retrospect, since he cannot undo the mischief which he has done! An ill example may kindle a flame which years of amended character cannot quench. To burn the food of man is bad enough, but how much worse to destroy the soul! It may be useful to us to reflect how far we may have been guilty in the past, and to enquire whether, even in the present, there may not be evil in us which has a tendency to bring damage to the souls of our relatives, friends, or neighbours.
The fire of strife is a terrible evil when it breaks out in a Christian church. Where converts were multiplied, and God was glorified, jealousy and envy do the devil’s work most effectually. Where the golden grain was being housed, to reward the toil of the great Boaz, the fire of enmity comes in and leaves little else but smoke and a heap of blackness. Woe unto those by whom offences come. May they never come through us, for although we cannot make restitution, we shall certainly be the chief sufferers if we are the chief offenders. Those who feed the fire deserve just censure, but he who first kindles it is most to blame. Discord usually takes first hold upon the thorns; it is nurtured among the hypocrites and base professors in the church, and away it goes among the righteous, blown by the winds of hell, and no one knows where it may end. O thou Lord and giver of peace, make us peacemakers, and never let us aid and abet the men of strife, or even unintentionally cause the least division among thy people.
All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)
Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle. — Numbers 31:14
The Torah portion for this week is Matot, which means “branches,” from Numbers 30:2–32:42, and the Haftorah is from Jeremiah 1:1–2:3.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry.” If that’s the case, then we can tell a lot about the greatness of Moses from what made him angry in this week’s Torah portion. God had commanded Moses to instruct the Israelites to go to war against the nation of Midian. This was the same nation that had attempted to destroy the children of Israel by sending women to seduce the men and trick them into idolatry. However, when the fighters returned from war, Moses was angered to see that the Midianite women – the ones who caused the most damage – were left alive. The people had disobeyed God and that was what angered Moses. He was angry because of his intense devotion to God.
That being said, it seems that Moses was punished for his anger even though it originated from an admirable place. A few verses later we learn that it was Eleazar the priest who communicated the laws regarding the purification of vessels taken in war rather than Moses. (See Numbers 31:21–24.) The Sages explain that Eleazar had to instruct the soldiers about the law because Moses was made to forget the laws when he became angry. Certainly Moses was justified in his anger, and we can even argue that his zealousness was praiseworthy, so why was he seemingly punished for it?
Maybe you’ve had the following experience. You are trying to open a door to a house or car and the key just won’t turn. You might be in a rush or your hands full of packages and you start to get frustrated. You jam the key in further but the door still won’t open. You become angry and annoyed, trying desperately to open the door in all sorts of foolish ways. Had you stayed calm and rational you might have realized that you simply had the wrong key!
In Proverbs 29:11 it is written: “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” One way to understand this verse is that when we are angry, we become foolish, but when we are calm, we are wise. Moses wasn’t punished with forgetfulness because of his anger; rather, it was the natural consequence of his anger. When we are angry, we compromise our mental faculties. We do all sorts of foolish things and say things that we later regret. We lose control and rationality. Moses’ anger clouded his ability to give instructions clearly and rationally, so Eleazar had to do it.
The word “anger” is one letter away from the word “danger.” Next time you find yourself angered, even if it is fully justified, stop and do nothing. Wait for your anger to subside and only then take action. One moment of anger can destroy a lifetime of work, but one moment of patience can save us from a lifetime of regret.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President
How can I defend myself against Satan’s attacks?
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
During his life, Harry Houdini had a standing challenge that he could escape from any jail cell within an hour. A small town in the British Isles had just constructed a new jail cell they thought was escape-proof, and they wanted to put it to the test. Houdini entered the cell and immediately went to work. After two grueling hours — an hour past his deadline — Houdini finally withdrew his file from the lock and leaned against the door in exhaustion. To his amazement, the cell door swung open.
The jailors had tricked the great magician by closing the jail door but never bolting the lock. He was free all along, he just didn’t know it.
Satan has the same strategy, doesn’t he? His greatest weapon is to make us think that we are trapped, when in reality the cell door is always open. Satan can’t bind us, so he tricks us into making us believe the cell door is locked.
The title above is in red for a reason! If it were not for the shed blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.) I would still be sitting in prison spiritually. As a child I knew about Jesus from Sunday School lessons and the such; as a teenager I wondered about Him and God’s creation; yet I knew Him not. The Word had been made known to me; prayers had been prayed over me. Yet I knew Him not. I was still a child on milk with a longing unfulfilled not knowing all the time I was born for a time such as this!! I won’t bore you with all the trial and tribulations; but, I will tell you forth running that in my adulthood as a mother with first child that is when the Lord God Almighty grabbed me by my boot straps and put a mentor in my life that set me on track to know God’s Word, to be among believers in Christ, to be baptized, and to serve the Lord. At this point I saw the prison door opened and the chains dropped. Fast forward: We were living in Florida at the time and this is when God said in an “Audible Voice,” “ARE YOU READY TO GET UP YET!!!” THAT got my attention: This is how it happened….
Typical family night, I’m giving my boys their bath and getting ready for bed. All of the sudden out of the blue I hear, “ARE YOU READY TO GET UP YET!!!” I looked around, ask the boys if they heard anything, “No, they said.” I asked my daughter who was sitting at the computer in the living room doing homework and she said “No.” Then I ask my husband and he said “No.” The only other sounds was the normal neighborhood children getting last few minuets of playtime in before being called in for the evening. Dogs barking, cats meowing, just normal stuff and no TV on in our house. I finished with my boy’s bath and got them off to bed. I waited till all were turned in and sought the Lord in prayer.
This was the night the Lord truly revealed Himself to me my brothers and sisters in Christ! Father God on this night revealed His treasures to me and gave me my nugget (Rhema Word) for life: My Life verse:
Isaiah 30:21 (AKJV)
21 and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
On this night my journey with Jesus Christ truly began. Little did I know that He would use Prophecy as tool for being born for a time such as this. The journey took an even deeper turn when I learned by trial and tribulations on a personal level to “Willingly Allow” the Holy Spirit to be the driver and not me. I am here to tell you that I am still learning! I would not be here today if it were not for the precious Blood of Christ, the Grace and Mercy of God, Protection of Christ, Leading of the Holy Spirit! I share all of this to tell you not to discouraged or dismayed of heart in these perilous times we face. God is control and Jesus Christ is Foundation which the gates of hell “SHALL NOT” prevail!
Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
With these treasures of the Lord I bless you, ask the Lord to keep you, encourage you and protect you and yours in the precious name of Jesus Christ! Amen
PRISON DOOR OPEN AND THE CHAINS DROPPED
Acts 16:16-40 (AKJV)
16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 17 the same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 20 and brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21 and teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24 who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. 36 And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace. 37 But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. 38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. 39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. 40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.
May the peace of the Lord be upon you all in Jesus’ name. Amen
“Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods.”
One great besetting sin of ancient Israel was idolatry, and the spiritual Israel are vexed with a tendency to the same folly. Remphan’s star shines no longer, and the women weep no more for Tammuz, but Mammon still intrudes his golden calf, and the shrines of pride are not forsaken. Self in various forms struggles to subdue the chosen ones under its dominion, and the flesh sets up its altars wherever it can find space for them. Favourite children are often the cause of much sin in believers; the Lord is grieved when he sees us doting upon them above measure; they will live to be as great a curse to us as Absalom was to David, or they will be taken from us to leave our homes desolate. If Christians desire to grow thorns to stuff their sleepless pillows, let them dote on their dear ones.
It is truly said that “they are no gods,” for the objects of our foolish love are very doubtful blessings, the solace which they yield us now is dangerous, and the help which they can give us in the hour of trouble is little indeed. Why, then, are we so bewitched with vanities? We pity the poor heathen who adore a god of stone, and yet worship a god of gold. Where is the vast superiority between a god of flesh and one of wood? The principle, the sin, the folly is the same in either case, only that in ours the crime is more aggravated because we have more light, and sin in the face of it. The heathen bows to a false deity, but the true God he has never known; we commit two evils, inasmuch as we forsake the living God and turn unto idols. May the Lord purge us all from this grievous iniquity!
“The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only thee.”
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible.”
1 Peter 1:23
Peter most earnestly exhorted the scattered saints to love each other “with a pure heart fervently” and he wisely fetched his argument, not from the law, from nature, or from philosophy, but from that high and divine nature which God hath implanted in his people. Just as some judicious tutor of princes might labour to beget and foster in them a kingly spirit and dignified behaviour, finding arguments in their position and descent, so, looking upon God’s people as heirs of glory, princes of the blood royal, descendants of the King of kings, earth’s truest and oldest aristocracy, Peter saith to them, “See that ye love one another, because of your noble birth, being born of incorruptible seed; because of your pedigree, being descended from God, the Creator of all things; and because of your immortal destiny, for you shall never pass away, though the glory of the flesh shall fade, and even its existence shall cease.” It would be well if, in the spirit of humility, we recognized the true dignity of our regenerated nature, and lived up to it. What is a Christian? If you compare him with a king, he adds priestly sanctity to royal dignity. The king’s royalty often lieth only in his crown, but with a Christian it is infused into his inmost nature. He is as much above his fellows through his new birth, as a man is above the beast that perisheth. Surely he ought to carry himself, in all his dealings, as one who is not of the multitude, but chosen out of the world, distinguished by sovereign grace, written among “the peculiar people” and who therefore cannot grovel in the dust as others, nor live after the manner of the world’s citizens. Let the dignity of your nature, and the brightness of your prospects, O believers in Christ, constrain you to cleave unto holiness, and to avoid the very appearance of evil.
All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)
Author’s Note: NOTICE HOW MUCH OF THE AKJV HAS BEEN “OMITTED” IN THE NLT.
Joel 3:18 AKJV
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine. (LOCATION OMITTED: JUDAH AND SHITTIM/MOST IMPORTANT THE HOUSE OF THE LORD NOT “EVEN” MENTIONED)
Joel 3:18 NLT
After all is said and done, what does it look like when God’s restoration is complete? How does the blessing of God’s redemption manifest itself when he’s finished reinstating his people?
When we move away from God and disobey his commands, he brings us under his hand of discipline. His purpose is to keep us from harm and to bring us back into communion with him. He restores our blessings, even greater than before.
The prophet Joel described it like this: “In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk. Water will fill the dry streambeds of Judah, and a fountain will burst forth from the Lord’s Temple, watering the arid valley of acacias.…Judah will remain forever, and Jerusalem will endure through all future generations.” (Joel 3:18-21).
Simply put, it looks like heaven on earth: God’s people living in the light of God’s blessing, moving in his will, bathing in his mercy, feeling his presence, singing his praises, experiencing his glorious love. When we live the way God wants us to live, he brings blessings too great to describe. He shelters and defends us. He provides for our every need. He hears our prayers and answers them. He resides among us.
It’s hard for so many of us to imagine that because we live so much of our life in rebellion. God doesn’t want us to spend our life under his hand of discipline — he has much greater plans. If only we could learn to rest in his love and give ourselves over to his perfect will. That’s when we would know firsthand that God’s provision and goodness are far beyond anything we could expect or imagine.
Adapted from Embracing Eternity by Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins and Frank M. Martin, Tyndale House Publishers (2004), entry for March 1.
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House