Category: Minor prophets

Jesus explains marriage and divorce

Scripture reading for July 23rd: Matthew 19

Key Scriptures: Matthew 19:3-9 “And Pharisees came up to Him and tested Him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that He Who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to Him, “Why did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.””

Marriage issues have been around for a long time, even in and amongst God’s chosen people! The Law of Moses contained instructions about marriage and divorce. Jesus pointed the questioners to God’s written Word for help and then explained to them God’s plan for marriage. God made humans in two sexes–male and female. Marriage was to be between a man and a woman. They must leave their father and mother and cleave to each other, forming a new family entity of ‘one flesh’. God, Himself joins them together and man is commanded not to separate. God would use the union to bring godly offspring into the earth to fill and care for it. Jesus went on to explain that Moses was given instructions about divorce because of man’s harness of heart, not because it was God’s plan. Jesus emphasized that sexual immorality was the only ground for divorce. Getting married to another after a divorce for any other reason resulted in committing adultery. Broken marriages sow violence into our lives. God’s plan is simple for marriage. Man’s hard hearts make it complicated. Godly marriage is a reflection of Christ and His Bride the Church.

Ephesians 5:31-32 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for Your plan for godly marriages and the raising of godly children. Thank You for grace when marriage is broken by hardened hearts. Have mercy on our land and Your people as many have not believed Your plan for marriage–one man and one woman till death parts. Heal us from the violence sown from broken covenant marriages. Protect those living according to Your plan.

Malachi 2:15-16 “Did He not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife or your youth. For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of Hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit and do not be faithless.”

Tags : , , , , , ,

Prayer and godly living!

Scripture reading for January 5th: 1st Timothy 2

Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 2:1-6 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For their is one God and there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave His life as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”

Prayer and godly living go hand in hand. Paul taught Timothy and us that all types of prayers and thanksgiving for all people, and especially political and spiritual leaders, would yield great benefits. Those under authority who pray for those in authority help to set the atmosphere of their own lives and the community, state or nation of which they reside. God is pleased with the faith exhibited through prayers. Jesus Christ is seated at God’s right Hand to intercede for us in agreement with our prayers and He alone gave His life and blood to ransom all men. This testimony stands true and must be shared with all men before Christ Jesus returns!

Psalm 32:6 “Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to You at a time when You may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe You are the One and only mediator between God and man. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit to enable me to pray effectively and give continual thanksgiving for all men and those in authority. I want a quiet and godly life, sharing the Gospel, and pleasing my Savior!

Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Tags : , , , , , , ,

Repentance resisted!

Scripture reading for December 11th: Malachi, Psalm 2, Revelation 9

Key Scriptures: Revelation 9:20-21 “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, 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.”

John recorded the seven trumpets and their woe brought upon the earth as the scroll had been opened and God’s final judgments were being poured out on the earth. One of the curious truths John recorded was that although many of earths final group of people were killed by the judgments, the rest refused to repent. They clung to their idols and worshiped demons and continued to flaunt the breaking of God’s holy commandments. Neither positive miracles nor the calamitous judgments of these last days could penetrate the hardened hearts. Although they knew the judgments were from God, they refused to ask for His mercy.

Psalm 2:12 “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am in awe of Your great mercy towards me and my family. Thank You for Your love and mercy. I pray that all of my offspring will “kiss the Son” of God, Jesus Christ and take refuge in Him.

Malachi 4:1-2 “For behold, the Day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The Day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My Name, the Sun of Righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out like calves from the stall.”

Tags : , , , , , ,

Winning a full reward!

Scripture reading for November 27th: Zechariah 12-14; Psalm 94; 2nd John

Key Scriptures: 2nd John 6-9 “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. For everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”

Deception is a mark of the devil and his agents in this world. Lying is the antithesis of God the Father and Jesus the Truth and is the native language of the devil. John again mentions those false teachers and calls them ‘antichrist’ as well as deceivers. This word means ‘counterfeit’. They were in the visible church but really not believers in Jesus Christ, Son of God. They advocated false doctrines and were under a deceiving spirit trying to rob believers of their full reward. The true believers could stay safe by abiding in Jesus’ love and showing love for Him by obedience to all His commandments. These were summed up in two: love God and love your brothers and sisters.” This is our “work” of faith, to believe and follow Jesus’ teaching in His love. Watchfulness is needed over our own souls and those of other believers because the ‘antichrist’ is already here.

Psalm 94:12-13 “Blessed is the man whom You discipline, O Lord, and whom You teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, deliver me from the evil one! Fill me each day with Your Word and Spirit, and discipline me if needed. Give me the watchful eyes of an under-shepherd to help brothers and sisters live in Your love and abide in Your Word, receiving their full reward.

Zechariah 13:9 “And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon My Name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are My People’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.'”

Tags : , , , , , ,

Do you have eternal life?

Scripture reading for November 26th: Zechariah 9-11; 1st John 5

Key Scriptures: 1st John 5:12-15 “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.”

The devil always wants to get us into doubting our faith and our relationship with God. The aged Apostle John wrote to the early church to give them confidence. It is really quite simple: if you have Jesus Christ, God’s Son, you have life eternal. If you do not have Jesus Christ as Lord in your life, you abide in death. Having confidence in our relationship with Jesus Christ means knowing that what God’s Word says is true. Faith rests on God’s Word, not our feelings. We can now pray effectively and confidently to find the help we need to live victoriously by faith overcoming the devil!

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am thankful for Your trustworthy Word and the confidence that comes as I believe that You are God’s Son and my Savior. I call on You daily to fill me with Your Holy Spirit and strength to do Your will.

Zechariah 10:1 “Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord Who makes the storm clouds, and He will give them showers of rain, to everyone the vegetation of the field.”

Tags : , , , , ,

Confidence on judgment day

Scripture reading for November 25th: Zechariah 6-8; 1 John 4

Key Scriptures: 1st John 4:14-18 “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

John did not want believers to live in fear, unsure of their salvation. In fact, if believers are living in fear of punishment on judgment day, they have not been perfected in Christ’s love. They have failed to lay hold of the truth of Jesus by faith. Jesus is God’s Son and Savior of the world. Jesus is “Love.” When we are able to freely confess that Jesus is God’s Son and our Savior, we know by God’s unfailing Word that God abides in us and we in Him. We can love God because He first loved us and demonstrated that love through Jesus Christ. His perfect love is a choice, not an emotion, based on Who He is: Love!

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for Jesus Christ, Your only Son and my Savior. I confess Jesus Christ as My Lord and Savior and receive His amazing love. Because of this, I can have confidence on judgment day.

Zechariah 8:16-17 “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord of Hosts.”

Tags : , , , , ,

Are you of God? Or Satan?

Scripture reading for November 24th: Zechariah 2-5; Psalm 93; 1 John 3

Key Scriptures: 1st John 3:7-10 “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s Seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this is it evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

John was concerned about deception in the church. False teachers came and spread the lie that it did not matter how you lived, receiving Christ in your spirit was all that was needed. John set the record straight by repeating the same thing several times and ways. If you practice sin, you are of the devil. If you practice righteousness and love your brothers and sisters, you are born of God and His “Seed” abides in you. We are not saved by works, but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. God’s “Seed”, His Word and Spirit, come to live in us and transform us into Christ’s image. Our fruit shows which one we belong to: either the devil or God.

Psalm 93:5: “Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits Your house, O Lord, forevermore.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I don’t ever want to be deceived. Thank You for the Holy Spirit and Your “Seed”, the Word given as grace gifts to form Christ’s holy character in me.

Zechariah 4:6 “Then he said to me, “This is the Word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.””

Tags : , , , , , ,

Abiding forever!

Scripture reading for November 23rd: Haggai; Zechariah 1; Psalm 138; 1 John 2

Key Scriptures: 1st John 2: 15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Affections help us to set priorities and guide us through life. The Apostle John warned the believers not to set their affection on this world. Love of this world, its desires and appetites and the things that worldly people hold in high esteem, will block out a person’s ability to love the Father. Besides, all these things and activities are temporal and passing away. If we love the Father and those created in His image, we will seek to share God’s love and plan of salvation. We will do the will of the Father and instead of having temporary pleasure but eternal loss. We will enjoy life eternally resting in God’s presence and peace.

Psalm 138:8 “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I love You and the Father and have set my heart to do Your will while on my temporary assignment in this world. Give me daily reminders of Your great love and faithfulness and my need to hold this world lightly with an open hand.

Haggai 2:9-10 “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, declares the Lord of Hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of Hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of Hosts.”

Tags : , , , , ,

God’s Mighty Hand!

Scripture reading for October 16th: Obadiah, Jeremiah 40-42, Psalm 147, 1st Peter 5

Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 5:6-9 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded’ be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

The world of the last days is stressful unless we are fully submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter encouraged believers to humble themselves fully by casting their anxieties and fears on Christ as an act of trust that Christ hears and will act to strength us and deliver us through the trouble or out of it. It is Satan that is our true adversary. We must resist Him by staying firm in faith. Suffering is a normal part of standing firm in these last days and God’s mighty Hand can deal with all our anxieties.

Psalm 147:2-3 “The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am totally dependent on You and trust You for peace and deliverance from worry and fear in these last days. In Jesus’ Name, I resist Satan’s roaring and threats.

Obadiah 15: “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.”

Tags : , , , , , ,

Delighting God!

Scripture reading for September 25th: Zephaniah, Psalm 74, 2nd Corinthians 8

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 8:1-5 “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints–and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.”

Paul commended the Macedonian churches for their gracious giving. These churches were in severe persecution and were suffering physically and economically. But Paul was impressed with their joyful hearts and gracious giving, even beyond their means. They did not need to be persuaded, but begged to be part of the relief of other brothers and sisters. Their giving was marked by giving of themselves to the Lord first and then their offerings.

Psalm 74:12 “Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You are my King, working salvation. Keep my heart in step with Yours, full of mercy and generosity. I give myself to You to dwell in my midst and open my hands to give as You direct.

Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a Mighty One Who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”

Tags : , , , , ,