Tag Archives: Zephaniah

2 Chronicles 1; Revelation 1; Zephaniah 2; Luke 24

I have a very strong sense of personal story about who I am in relation to God and others. The problem is that too often, that story is more fiction than fact, akin to the city Zephaniah spoke of, “the exultant city that lived secure, that said to itself, ‘I am, and there is on one else.’ ” Zephaniah 2:15  Remove God and the narrative has scary consequences; it’s more like a horror movie.

Then I have the stories I spin about God and others: who they are, what they mean to me, how they are supposed to behave. Those story lines are seldom they way I would write them. When things go unexpectedly, I question God and wonder where He is. I try to make sense of it all and I find myself walking that road to Emmaus, totally unaware that Jesus is right there with me, rewriting the story in ways I never imagined.

“Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ “ Luke 24:31-32

Later, Jesus sits with his disciples as says to them, ” ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” Luke 24:44-45

Holy Spirit, you are here. Open my heart and mind to your Scriptures. May your truth resonate within me.  Your Word brings freedom and invites me into a life that is far better than anything I could imagine. Thank you that you are the author and perfecter of my faith.   Amen

Kathy

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2 Chronicles 10; Revelation 1; Zephaniah 2; Luke 24

Then starting with what Moses and all the prophets had said about him, Jesus began to explain everything that had been written about himself in the Scriptures…

He said to them, “Remember when I was with you before? I said that everything written about me must happen—everything in the law of Moses, the books of the prophets, and the Psalms.”

Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He said to them, “It is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that a change of hearts and lives and forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all nations, starting at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:27; 44-48 (NCV)

Since I truly gave my heart to the Lord and began following Him, I have sought out authentic understanding of the scriptures. As I read, I’ve had questions, often generated by conflicts in teachings I have heard over the years.

I’ve heard many versions of the gospel from many different teachers. I have heard some teachings which have resonated with the Spirit inside me and some that have made my toes curl. Some teachers sought to control, while others preached freedom in Christ. Some taught hell fire and brim stone doctrine, full of sin and suffering. Some taught circumcision of heart flesh, co-crucified/co-heir identity, and sin-saturated grave clothes left behind in the tomb.

In the beginning of my journey into the Bible, I didn’t fully understand the importance of the Old Testament, a telling of the history of Israel. And then slowly those passages were opened up to me. The pages became relevant and personal. The stories became real to me, not simply words on ‘papyrus’ anymore. I was shown the significance of each story, of each man and woman’s journey, the role they played in the big picture. The foretelling of Christ hidden within those pages, hidden in plain sight, was revealed to me. I was given eyes to see and ears to hear and I have come to love the Old Testament as much as the New.

Come to the Lord, all you who are not proud,

who obey his laws.

Do what is right. Learn to be humble.

Maybe you will escape

on the day the Lord shows his anger. Zephaniah 2:3 (NCV)

Two years ago, as the new mom of a 10 month old and living on the mission field, I was searching for a way to get deeper in the Word despite the busyness of life, of motherhood and ministry. I prayed for something, anything to help me stick to my plan. I needed encouragement; I needed accountability. Less than two days passed and God answered my prayer with an email from Courtney (66Books365), a friend of a friend who I had never met before, inviting me to become a part of the 66Books community. I was astonished by the timeliness and the answer to my prayer. And, I continue to be in awe of our ensuing friendship.

Blessed is the one who reads the words of God’s message, and blessed are the people who hear this message and do what is written in it. The time is near when all of this will happen. Revelation 1:3 (NCV)

As I read the Bible as a part of this book club, I am blessed beyond measure.

I have come across verses that I have read many times before that didn’t mean much to me in the past, but that resonate for such a time as this. These passages have become significant to my current situation and circumstances and offer new wisdom, re-enforcing my godly identity. Sometimes, what I read is God’s way of preparing me for what I am about to experience, His way of giving me new tools to use in the future, even as early as later in my day.

As I read, I gain new insight and understanding of areas of my walk with Christ that were a mystery to me before. I am given revelation about my struggles and the solutions to those issues. I am given real life examples to follow, mentors to help me through, and a Comforter to walk alongside me. And, in turn, God is using me to teach and impart what I am learning to others, both on and off the foreign mission field.

The Bible is encouraging and inspiring. It is transforming and life-changing. It has increased my faith and my reliance on Christ. It has become the sword I use to deflect the darts of the enemy. God’s Word has become my life-giving, daily bread.

Yesappa, Thank You for blessing me with Your Word. Thank You for making Your Word rhema for my life, my daily bread. Thank You for revealing Your love, Your grace, Your wisdom to me. Continue to open my eyes and ears to receive and to understand Your scriptures; continue to explain to me all that has been written about You. Help me humble myself so that I may truly hear and obey Your message. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

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

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Zephaniah 1,2,3; Acts 24

Zephaniah 1

“I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place, the very names of the idolatrous priests—those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the Lord and who also swear by Molek,those who turn back from following the Lord and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.”

12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad.’

18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath.”In the fire of his jealousy the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth.

Zephaniah 2

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.

Zephaniah 3

15 The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.

Acts 24

15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

Our God is a jealous God!  We see it everywhere in scripture.  Nothing stirs God’s anger like His people worshiping other gods.  He is very clear on this matter.  His Word records example after example of people who violated this commandment.  Worshiping of “no god” is not a safe alternative either.  Zephaniah shows us that God doesn’t think very highly of those who “don’t think of God at all”.    How about wealth?  Wealth won’t protect you from God’s wrath either.  It is clear that God intends for us to seek him.  We are commanded to humble ourselves, seek righteousness, and do all that He commands.

Zephaniah points us to what we know: the King of Israel is the answer to our salvation.  With Jesus on our side we have no need to fear any harm.  He has taken our punishment.  He has defeated our enemy; we have reason to rejoice and sing praise.   It is for this reason that Paul could boldly stand trial before Felix in Caesarea.  Paul was no longer afraid; he was able to boldly preach the Gospel to all who gathered at the court.  No other god can save us.  Only the one true God has the ability to save us from the wrath of the one true God!  Praise God that He has provided us a way to avoid His wrath.

Heavenly Father,  I thank You for Your Son Jesus.  I thank You that You have provided a way for my salvation.  I thank You for allowing me to worship You as the One True God!

Ed Sorrell

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2 Chronicles 10, Revelation 1, Zephaniah 2, Luke 24

But he rejected the advice…  2 Chronicles 10:8

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, … which must shortly take place.  … for the time is near.  Revelation 1:1,3

Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’s anger. Zephaniah 2:3

And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32

To read, see: www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2Chron.10;%20Rev.%201;%20Zeph.%202;%20Luke%2024&version=NKJV 

2 Chronicles 10          Rehoboam went to … make him king. Jeroboam  spoke to Rehoboam …therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before …But he rejected the advice …and consulted the young men who had grown up with him.

                  Who am I listening to? To whose counsel? And why? What is the proof that it is wise counsel? Lord, have me run to the Throne instead of the phone. Have me pour into your Bible else I may be liable. Make me humble before You force me to crumble. Amen! Isaiah 40:13

King Rehoboam … saying, “…your yoke heavy, I will add to it; …I will chastise you with scourges!” So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from God, that the LORD might fulfill His Word,

                   Pride and arrogance is against God. Rejecting wisdom and not being just, merciful or walking humbly with God provokes God’s wrath. Yet this was the consequence from earlier sins against the Lord God (verse 15).   Proverbs 16:18, Proverbs 16:5 Micah 6:8

when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, …Israel departed to their tents. …King Rehoboam mounted his chariot in haste to flee to Jerusalem.

                Lord God Almighty, please have my nation’s officials heed Your Voice, fear You and listen to Your people. Have Your people take Your Yoke upon them so they will live by Your Word and Holy Spirit. Have me seek Your Face and Will and desire it above all else!! Please cause Your people to repent to You before we suffer greater judgement upon our land! Amen. Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 37:4, 2 Chronicles 7:14

Revelation 1              The Revelation of Jesus Christ, … which must shortly take place.  … for the time is near.

                If the time was “near” then, how soon is Christ Jesus coming now? What must I do to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ? (Proverbs 28:13, Psalm 1, Psalm 51, 1 John 4:15, Romans 10:9, Matthew 28:18-20, Isaiah 52:7, Romans 10:14-17, Hebrews 10:23, John 15)

                Jesus Christ rose from the dead and now lives to intercede for us (Matthew 28, Hebrews 7:25). So what is Jesus Christ like now? Here is the Revelation of Jesus Christ:

Amazing description of the Lord Jesus Christ, from His own mouth!

the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth. Him who loved us, washed us from our sins in His own blood, has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 

the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.  the First and the Last

Action>>             He is coming with clouds, every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him.

Appearance =           One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

Spoke –         He laid His right hand on me, Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen   

I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.

Do I have any more questions? Not now, for the Lord Jesus Christ has it all covered, past, present and future!! Should I fear man? NO! Should I trust Jesus Christ with my life, past, present and future? YES! Should I fear and love God well? YES! Blessed be the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!! Romans 14:11-12, Isaiah 45:23

“Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Rev 22:20

Zephaniah 2             Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation, Before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’s anger.

     Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, The word of the LORD is against you,  “I will destroy you; …  I have heard the reproach  And the insults of the people … With which they have reproached My people, And made arrogant threats against their borders. Therefore, as I live,” Says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel,” … The LORD will be awesome to them, For He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; People shall worship Him, Each one from his place, Indeed all the shores of the nations. Desolation shall be at the threshold;

                  This can pertain to MY country! We have been arrogant and against the Lord of Hosts! Woe to the people who go against the Lord God Almighty!  LORD, may we “Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’s anger. …” – and may I be one of the first! Repentance is necessary!

                  I thought my own way was right. After all, that’s what my parents taught me and they went to church. That’s what my teachers taught me and they had authority. My culture told me I was right, and there are so many people, surely the multitudes would know. But God told me different (Psalm 1, Psalm 51) and the Lord God Almighty is always the Biggest and the Best. (John 14:6; Matthew 7:13-14; Matthew 11:28-30; John 3:3-21; 1 Peter 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:17 )

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Luke 24                     Now on the first day of the week, … they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. … did not find the body of the Lord Jesus…. behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. …“Why do you seek the living among the dead? …Remember how He spoke to you … and the third day rise again.’” And they remembered His words….told these things to the apostles…. and they did not believe them.

               How many times do I NOT remember God’s Word for my own heart? That God IS near. That He is NOT dead, but alive and living in me? Or ignore the fact that God is actively pursing other people too? Or not perceive the evident power of God Everywhere? How often do others not believe me when I tell them what God has done? I don’t want to be like those who incurred Jesus’ rebuke for their unbelief and hardness of heart? Hebrews 7:25; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 4:4; Luke 19:10; Matthew 9:6-8; Hebrews 11:1; Acts 10:38; Romans 1:4; Matthew 26:64; Psalm 19; Mark 16:14

Now …two of them were traveling to …Emmaus, … So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. … “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.”

                 Jesus Christ DID redeem Israel, and the Gentiles! But not as man expected!! Isaiah 55:8-9 Redemption was/ is eternal, not temporal! Lord, open the eyes of my heart to “know” you and how you have resurrected ME: Redeemed me to live IN the freedom of Christ! I want to joyously understand and live this viewpoint unceasingly!  

“He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” May I not be slow of heart to believe!

                    Am I reading God’s Word to SEE Jesus often? To learn about He Character of God and my relationship with and in Him? God, show me how You are sanctifying me so I may glorify You. What part(s) of me are “dying” because of my flesh, family, friends, and work that is revealing the living Savior in my midst?

Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.

             Am I like them? Does my heart BURN within me when I read God’s Word as He “talks” with me through it? Do I ask the Lord to open my understanding in order to comprehend the Scriptures? Verse 32, 45

                  Do I constrain the living Lord Jesus Christ to abide in me, to stay with me, to sup with me? How do I do this, or not? John 15 is my litmus test!

Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.

                 Do I “know Jesus” in the breaking of His Bread at the Lord’s supper? Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart to You and please never vanish from my sight!

And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”

                  Do I eagerly rush to tell others about the risen Lord Jesus Christ Who transformed me to be His child many years ago, and continues to sanctify me even within the past 24 hours!?

Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, … they were terrified … “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? …Handle Me … they still did not believe…

                   Lord, please increase my faith to be as solid as if You were sitting beside me right now! (I love You! And thank You! I am listening…) John 20:29

He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

                 Jesus testified that His life was the fulfillment of His Father’s plan. Then Jesus commissioned His people to witness and fulfill Jesus’ work while He lives to intercede for them in heaven. Hebrews 7:25

                Does this honoring “job” cause me to worshiped Jesus and go to live obeying Him with great joy, continually praising and blessing God? verse 52-53 May it be so Lord Jesus! May nothing hinder me from knowing your Kingdom Perspective and living it!!

“Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Rev 5:13

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Zephaniah 1 – Haggai 2

Scripture

“Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands.  Seek righteousness, seek humility;  perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” Zephaniah 2:3 (NIV)

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

The sorrows for the appointed feasts I will remove from you;  they are a burden and a reproach to you.  At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you;  I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered.  I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame.  At that time I will gather you;  at that time I will bring you home.  I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes.”  Zephaniah 3:17-20 (NIV)

Observation

Zephaniah’s prophecy begins with words of of certain judgment filled with horrible consequences and punishments for the sins of the people of Judah.  His words are frightening as Zephaniah speaks of God sweeping away everything in the land and completely destroying it.  It seemed that there was no hope at all.  This terrible day was coming soon and it will be a day of darkness and gloom.  His listeners most certainly felt fear, depression, and doom.

In the middle of these words of destruction there was a whispered promise of encouragement and incredible hope.    All the humble in the land, all those who do as He commands should continue to seek the Lord, despite the pending doom approaching.  They are to seek righteousness, humility and perhaps they will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.

In the finale is a crescendo of hope for all of the people who are faithful to Him.  The message is clear to the faithful.  Even though there will be difficulties now at this present moment, there will come a time of rejoicing!  God’s amazing message of hope includes words of love and singing!  He will judge those who have mistreated his people and he will purify his own, removing sin and evil forever.  He will gather the people home and bring restoration, forgiveness, incredible grace and they will live with Him forever.

Application

These words of Zephaniah are such an encouragement to me and they contain reminders that I desperately need to hear.

There is so much difficulty and trials in life that tempt me to just throw in the towel and just give up.  I am watching people I love and care about lose their jobs and their homes.  I see families of loved ones and friends breaking apart in ugly divorce.  I turn on the news and hear about how doomed we are with a crumbling economy and the threat of war and terrorism right outside my home.  I worry about my children, my home, my future.  The list is endless and the world tempts me to just throw in the towel and drown in hopelessness and despair because it seems so overwhelming at times.   I often hold on to just a slight glimmer of hope that gives me the strength and the courage to persevere and press on.

Thankfully, God has given His Word to me.  It is in passages such as this that I am reminded that God has a purpose for absolutely everything, even the things that bring discouragement, depression, hopelessness and despair.  God’s words spoken through the prophet Zephaniah, take me on a life journey, through the terrible darkness of judgment, sin and suffering into a beautiful new day of hope, restoration and magnificent light.  He does this because of His incredible, matchless and unfailing love that He has for me.

My eyes are soaked with tears of abounding joy as I type these words.  My God has paid the awful penalty of my sin by sending His Son, Jesus Christ to take my place.  He did this for me!!  He loves me and now, because of what He has done, I have a hope and I can rest in His love.  He allows me to see this love clearly manifested in the pages of His Word, as I hear Him say to me that despite my sin, He is with me and His is mighty to save.  He is taking delight in me and quieting me with His love and rejoicing over me with singing, not because of what I have done, but because of what He has done.  His love is real!  It is so completely perfect and I am left with no other response than to humbly and graciously thank Him and ascribe praise and adoration to my King and Savior.  How awesome He is!

Prayer

O God, I am overwhelmed by how awesome you are!  You are so merciful and so completely holy and good.  Your covenant of love is so amazing and timeless!  You have loved me long before I was even born into this world and your love stretches ahead into eternity!  How great and wonderful and truly amazing you are!

Forgive me, Lord, for those times of darkness in my life.  Forgive me for those times when I fail to set my mind and my heart on eternity with you.  Thank you for your reminder that I read in your words given to me through your prophet Zephaniah.  I will cling to that day with all of my heart, that glorious day of incredible rejoicing when you gather your people (and me) home to be with you forever.    That day is coming when I will become like you for I will see you as you are!  You will bring me to yourself and it will be a glorious day!  I do not even know how I will be able to contain such incredible joy in my heart but you will do it!

Until then Lord, I will continue to dwell in this land, even though it is so painful to be in sometimes.  I will trust in you, Lord, that one day, I know that I will thank you for every trial and every heartache and every burden that you have had me face in this life, for I know and I trust that you are fabricating and orchestrating all things for your glory, which ultimately is for my own good.  You are in control of everything and you have woven this heart and this life into a beautiful masterpiece that is all for you.  I need to pray, because I am human and my heart tends to wander, so I pray that you always remind me, no matter how difficult life gets, that I have a hope in you.

I love you and praise you with everything I am.  Take this existence and use me for your glory, Lord!  I am yours!

John (johnd7264)

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