Category Archives: Malachi

2 Chronicles 35; Revelation 21; Malachi 3; John 20

But Josiah was determined to fight. He refused to listen to what God was saying through King Neco, so he disguised himself and went into battle on the plain of Megiddo. – 2 Chronciles 35:22 GNT

I am not sure where is the line that I have stepped over when it comes to not listening to God. I am amazed at the things I do when I could simply rest and listen. If I am not listening, I am definitely not praying.

“It was not of faith, else why ‘disguise’ himself? There is no record of any prayer before the battle, as in the case of so many of his godly ancestors; and this rash act of Josiah seems unaccountable.” – Knapp

There are so many promises of safety from God, why do I choose to ignore Him when He is talking to me.

He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.” – Revelation 21: 4 GNT

I am reminded that if I had turned my back on God somewhere along my journey, He is still there waiting for me and willing to walk with me.

The Lord Almighty answers, “I will send my messenger to prepare the way for me. Then the Lord you are looking for will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger you long to see will come and proclaim my covenant.” – Malachi 3:1 GNT

I am thankful for God’s goodness and His grace. His promises are there for me because of His goodness and His faithfulness. His patience and His mercy see me through to the end.

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!” – John 20:28-29 GNT

I make progress as I grow in maturity by confessing Jesus – the one I cannot not see from time to time and yet who I believe in all the time.

Father, I am not too sure why I fight battles that are not mine to fight. I am not too sure why I do not listen to advice that is given to me. I am even more unsure of myself when I think that You are not looking at me, watching me, knowing what I am thinking and doing – bascially thinking that I am fooling You. How do I come to such a place? Your promises are clear and simple and generous and yet I find a way to walk off the path. Thank you for making my journey of faith Your business. You come and find me and walk with me until I am firmly growing in my faith, coming to a place where I do not have to see to believe, but am able to believe without having to see. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Malachi 1-4; Psalm 2; Revelation 9

I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert. Id Edom says, “We are shattered but we rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.” Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!” Malachi 1:1-5 ESV

I think about how quickly I can doubt God’s love for me. When I am having a bad day, many times it’s because I forget to be grateful. But, God is still pursing me, showing me how much he does love me… My six year old daughter found a small notebook of mine and started to write in it. As I looked through it, I realized that it was a gratitude journal from 2014. It is small enough that I would keep in my purse and jot things down when they came to my mind. As I started to read it, I was filled with praise over God’s faithfulness in my life. God knew that I needed that reminder, on that cold rainy day. Because not very long after, the garage door broke and my van was stuck inside. Instead of worry, I was able to change my attitude to thankfulness in the midst of frustration. I wish I could say that was always the case in my life. But, just like the Israelites, I am so forgetful.

For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6 ESV

Sometimes when I read these verses about the Lord’s judgement, I forgot about his goodness. That he is merciful. And he never gives up on me, never. He wants hearts to turn towards him.

They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them…The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plaques, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” Rev 9:5&6; 20&21 NLT

Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?” Malachi 3: 1-2ESV

Thank you Father for caring about the small and large details of my life. That you love me with an everlasting love. I eagerly wait for your return. Amen.

As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, And I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession…Blessed are all who take refuge in him” Psalm 2:6-8, 12B ESV

Amy(amyctanner)

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Malachi 1-4; Psalm 2; Revelation 9

I don’t much like reading about or thinking about violence. Torture, murder, war, vengeance, spitefulness, and the crushing blow from your blindside by an unexpected source leave me fearful and unable to shake off the helplessness I feel. Yet, our present difficulties do have a connection to the future, if we care to believe in prophecy and the words of our Lord.

“He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision…” (Psalm 2:4). We live in an age where it seems evil is called good (dealing drugs in order to pay for cancer medication is one relative truth put forth in the media), and there seems no stopping the spiraling down the immoral slide into a bottomless pit of everything anti – Christ. Prime time TV today looks like XXX movies of yesteryear.

What is more frightening is how many in this world are ‘hell’ bent on discrediting God, stifling believers, and threatening even the livelihood of the every-day Christian in order to wipe out the concept of sin and redemption. It sometimes seems that our prayers are bouncing off a force-field of unchecked deceit and selfishness, falling unanswered back to earth. Though we are to “fight the good fight” with spiritual warfare, I fear that we are in danger of being vaporized by the powers that be.

Often I think that we should be fighting by showing anger, using inflammatory words, and attacking those atheists and agnostics who damage the good Name of God. What is unlike my normal thinking (and isn’t that the purposeful way of God), I have recently wondered if I have been ‘fighting off’ the will of God. Doing so would be preposterous, yet prophecy tells us there is no turning back what God has ordained. Even the fallen angel “was given the key to the bottomless pit” indicating that his apocalyptic activity is under the Lord’s sovereign control.

Before you write me off as a pacifist or a weak Christian, consider that our world is destined to become more and more unmanageable and evil. God is allowing this to prepare us for that final battle, allowing this to give the ungodly a chance to know and accept salvation, and allowing this to set up the final judgment. Yes, we should pray for a stay from God’s hand so that we might buy time for others to be saved. We should work on the harvest of souls. Christians should have a hope that “on that day (the coming of the Lord) that [God] makes us His jewels,” He will spare us as a man spares his own son who serves him.” (Malachi 3:17).

Why should we persevere in the faith? Clearly the answer is so that we can be with Christ in Heaven.  John 17:24 quotes Jesus Christ saying, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” This world hurls itself toward the Rock that will be a crushing force to those who refuse Christ, and a stable dwelling place on high for us who believe. Nothing can stop what God has put into motion. So why should we fear what is to come?

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2 Chronicles 36; Revelation 22; Malachi 4; John 21

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let the one who hears this say, “Come!” Let whoever is thirsty come; whoever wishes may have the water of life as a free gift. Revelation 22:17 (NCV)

Jesus said to them, “Come and eat”…Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, along with the fish. John 21:12-13 (NCV)

The end of the year is a perfect time to remember my past, not in such a way that bogs me down and makes me depressed over my failings, but in a way that lifts me up and gives testimony to God’s goodness in my life. It is a time to reflect on His timely provision, His faithfulness, and His constant beckoning.

This year has been a difficult one for me. Spending the first half of the year in the U.S. as a single mom to my two daughters while my husband ministered in India and then spending the second half of the year re-adjusting to life in a third world country has made for a lot of stress and struggle. I have dwelled much of the year in a desert place – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – hungry and thirsty for more connection, especially with Jesus.

“But for you who honor me, goodness will shine on you like the sun, with healing in its rays…” Malachi 4:2 (NCV)

As I look back, I am reminded of the oases that God offered me throughout the year, havens that allowed me to be refreshed, to heal, to be encouraged, to taste and see that He is good:

  • My family’s support. Though my parent’s house became overrun with baby paraphernalia and toddler’s toys, Nick Jr. and Sprout cornered the TV airways, and temper tantrums and time outs were a moment by moment occurrence, they welcomed us with open arms. They helped me love my kids on purpose and made it possible for me to care for myself as I transitioned into a mom of two.
  • My friends’ encouragement. I was re-united with women I’ve known for years and I experienced divine encounters with new friends. Bonding over coffee, playdates, and MOPS meetings gave me time for adult conversation and helped me remember that I am not alone in my journey as a woman, as a wife, and as a mother.
  • My church body’s acceptance. I am blessed to call many places of worship ‘home’; communities where I am readily received whether I’ve been there every week or only visit once in a blue moon. The people are caring, the corporate prayer and worship is a breath of fresh air, the pastors’ messages fill my spirit, and the nursery workers are God-sent, allowing me precious moments to spend time with God without worrying about my children.
  • My husband’s and in-laws’ provision. I grappled with the thought of returning to India because our living arrangements in the past had been less than ideal (150+/- square feet of living space without a place for a kitchen and without running water). When my daughters and I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by an apartment on the second floor of my in-laws house which tripled our living space and provided a kitchen, a bathroom on the same level, and running water.
  • My daughters’ unconditional love. No matter how unruly and high-spirited my girls are, no matter how many times they do things that infuriate me and break my heart, there is nothing in the world quiet like the sweet, and sometimes sticky, hugs and kisses from my children. Their expressions of love melt my heart and strengthen my revelation of love with the Father.

The end of the year is also an opportunity to think about my hopes for the coming months. It is a time to make future plans, to make choices about what paths my journey will take. It is a time to listen to what the Lord is saying about His will for my life.

The Lord has been whispering the word ‘COME’ to me recently. “Come near to Me. Be connected to Me. Position yourself in My arms. Let Me be your priority. Let Me give you what you need, the desires of your heart. Let Me give you joy. Let Me show you the truth about who I made you to be. Let Me be your fulfillment. Let Me feed you and give you drink. Let Me give you peace, freedom. Rest in Me.”

The follower whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Peter heard him say this, he wrapped his coat around himself. (Peter had taken his clothes off.) Then he jumped into the water. John 21:7 (NCV)

When I hear these words spoken to me, I want to dive into His Glory. I want to drink His living water, His new wine until my thirst is abated. I want to be renewed by the rivers, baptized in His restorative blood once again. I want to run toward my Creator, my Savior. I want to embrace Him and never let go. I want to abide in His oasis and be filled by His daily bread. I want to draw close to His heart and rest forever in His presence. And, I am grateful that I am His daughter, His beloved.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May it be your best year yet, full of abundance and blessings!

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Malachi 3, 4; Revelation 22

 “I am God—yes, I Am. I haven’t changed…Return to me so I can return to you,” says God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

 “You ask, ‘But how do we return?’

 “Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day.

 “You ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’

 “The tithe and the offering—that’s how! And now you’re under a curse—the whole lot of you—because you’re robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers.” The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

 “You’ll be voted ‘Happiest Nation.’ You’ll experience what it’s like to be a country of grace.” God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so. Malachi 3:6-12 MSG

Whenever pastors give their exhortation on tithing I almost always get on edge. I am not sure if it is because it sometimes has the feel of stereotypical tele-evangelist trying to convince me I am going to hell if I don’t help them pay for their Mercedes or if it is a reminder that I haven’t always been faithful and diligent with giving back to God. I think sometimes it seems like what I can give isn’t enough and that makes me feel like a failure even though the Bible tells me otherwise (Mark 12:41-44 MSG)

Some pastors pass the plates and don’t say a word. Some just have a box in the sanctuary and trust people to do their duty. Some take time out of every service to guilt people into giving.

And then, there are those pastors who help me remember that giving to God willingly and joyfully is an act of worship no different than singing a beautiful praise song or dancing before the Lord with all my might. They reveal the blessings of obedience in giving. They share about being a pipeline for God.

At first, I was a little leery, but I began putting it into practice, this marvelous concept of trying to out-give God, of giving from a heart of love. I made it my goal to not let an opportunity to give pass me by.

GOD-of the Angel-Armies said, “They’re mine, all mine. They’ll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving him.” Malachi 3:17-18 MSG

Amazing things began happening in my life. Just like those brilliant pastors said…blessing began flowing into my life. Gratitude. Joy. Financial gifts. Debt forgiveness.

I began giving whatever I could give. Sometimes it came from the tenth of the money I had earned. And sometimes, when I didn’t have anything but a bit of loose change, I would give it all wrapped within a Bible verse and tied with a prayer of abundance.

I continued giving by being obedient to what I felt like God was asking me to give. My marked-up, earmarked Bible to a hurting, homeless man who I found out later had been praying earnestly for one. A hug to a woman who was blind and now could see except through the tears that were clouding her eyes. A pair of flip flops to a man who could barely walk for the wounds of leprosy that plagued his feet. A prayer and a way out to a teen who had been fending off her uncle’s advances for months. Cooking a celebration meal for the widows in our church to remind them that they are loved and wanted.

When I got into the habit of giving it became an easy thing to do and yet at the beginning it was so difficult. I had this bucket mentality – when my bucket was full then I would give from the overflow. Only whenever I had an overflow, my bucket just got bigger and I still rarely gave.

I found that when I started intentionally giving to God and to others regularly it changed my attitude. I wanted to give more than ever before. I began looking for different ways to give. And it has come to the point where I would even be willing to give the shirt off my back if I was lead to give it.

It is the last day to give in this year. Some people will give today with the hopes of helping their taxes. Some will give because they are inspired. Some will give from their abundance. And some will give from their lack.

Regardless of where you are, consider reaching out. Give from your heart to someone in need. Meet them where they are with a hug, a gift, an act, a word, or a bit of your time. Share Christ’s sacrifice of love to a stranger. Hold the door for someone struggling with her grocery bags. Pay the toll for the car behind you. Visit with someone at a retirement home or hospice. Offer a meal to a homeless man. Give a donation to your church or an organization that shares your vision.

Be generous today and see where it leads in the new year.

The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you. Oh, Yes! [today and in the year to come!] Revelation 22:21 MSG

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

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