Category: Minor prophets
Judgment fails to bring repentance!
Scripture reading for December 13: Malachi, Psalm 2, Revelation 9
Revelation 9: 18-21 “By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound. 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 thei sexual immorality or their thefts.”
It is a terrifying thing just to read John’s account of these angels blowing their trumpets and the judgments released on the earth that caused the death and destruction of a third of mankind. But is it even more terrifying to be told that those still alive after these plagues and judgments refused to repent. They still clung to their evil and rebellious way of life and chose to follow demons and gods of their own making that allowed them to do as they wanted. It has been said that sin is a form of insanity that takes us further than we want to go and exacts a price higher than we want to pay and keeps us longer than we want to stay. This is amplified during the great tribulation.
Psalm 2:10-12 “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear; and rejoice with trembling. 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.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for warning us by Your unchanging Word of the dangers awaiting those who are proud and arrogant and refuse to repent. No one will have an excuse on the day of judgment for You have shown us all mercy by warning us through the prophets and Your disciples. Use me today to share the warning and call all to ‘kiss the Son’ before the day of His holy wrath.
Malachi 4:1-3 “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 leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of Hosts.”
Walking in love and truth
Scripture reading for November 29th: Zechariah 12-14, Psalm 94, 2nd John
2nd John: 4-9 “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady–not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning–that we love one another. 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. 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.”
In Jesus Christ, love and truth are joined together. John’s second letter is short and to the point concerning Christ’s commandment to love one another. This commandment is not new, but one given by God from the beginning to His people. Loving one another involves faith in God’s Word and obedience to it. Jesus Christ came in a human body and lived a sinless life of faithful obedience to His Father. As God’s Son, He alone is worthy of our love and obedience. Only through abiding in His Word do we have confidence and know that we have the Father and the Son! Beware of deceivers who deny Jesus as God’s Son and His teachings as truth!
Psalm 94:14-15 “For the Lord will not forsake His people; He will not abandon His heritage; for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it.”
Prayer: Father God, I know You through Your Son Jesus Christ and cling to Him as my Savior. Through Your gift of the Holy Spirit, I am now able to joyfully obey Your Word and seek to know and apply it to my life. You are my Lord and King and I choose to follow Jesus and walk in His truth. May my walk bring Your love and truth to those still in the darkness of sin and bondage of self.
Zechariah 14:9 “And the Lord will be King over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be One and His Name One.”
Overcoming faith and love!
Scripture reading for November 28th: Zechariah 9-11, 1st John 5
1st John 5:2-5 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
John concludes his letter to encourage the church with a simple test of believer’s love for God and salvation. If we truly love God, we willingly seek to obey His Word. Obedience is not hard or begrudging, but joyful and freely given, coming from faith in God and His holy Word. This willing obedience of faith is the key to victory over the world and the forces of darkness and the antichrist. Simply believing on Jesus Christ as God’s Son gives us confidence of our salvation and God bears witness in our spirit that we possess eternal life and that God is our Father. Faith requires humility and the choice to trust God’s Son for all needs and promises. God want’s us secure in Christ, not in fear of the world or Him.
1st John 5:12-13 “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.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for these encouraging truths about the simplicity of salvation. I place my trust fully in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for my salvation and the gift of eternal life. I seek to live each day in obedience to Your holy and true Word, awaiting the fullness of all You have promised. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and give me open doors to share Your great Son with a lost and dying world.
Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Perfected in love!
Scripture reading for November 25th: Zechariah 6-8, 1st John 4
1st John 4: 16-19 “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 also 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. We love because He first loved us.
God is love! His covenant with His people is a covenant of love demonstrated to all men through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. We can love God and others because He first loved us. God’s love takes time to know and to believe in. God is working in us through the Holy Spirit to perfect His love in us, giving us confidence instead of fear of punishment when we ultimately stand before God on the day of judgment. His perfect love casts out all fear of punishment. When we are truly perfected in God’s love, we do more than say “I love God,” we also love others made in His image. God’s love is pure, peace-loving, full of good fruit and kind. The Holy Spirit brings this fruit to ripeness making us like Jesus Christ.
1st John 4:20-21 “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God Whom he has not seen. And this is the commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your faithful and righteous love demonstrated through Jesus Christ. Have Your way in perfecting that kind of love in my life, towards You and towards people. Help me to love others with purity of motive, always looking out for their highest good and welfare. Give me confidence through Your faithful love on the day of judgment and make me like You in this world.
Zechariah 8:7-8 “Thus says the Lord of Hosts: “Behold, I will save My people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.””
It’s all about love!
Scripture reading for November 24th: Zechariah 2-5, Psalm 93, 1st John 3
1st John 3: 11-15 “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
John kept his message to the churches he oversaw very simple. He pointed them to a basic commandment: ‘Love one another.’ He used the oldest example of murder as an illustration of how the unrighteous of the world hate the righteous and seek to destroy them. So it is in this world until this day that we live in. One of the surest signs of salvation and eternal life is our love for our brothers and sisters. If we have hatred, we abide in death, not life eternal. Love for others comes from new birth and the Holy Spirit of God, Who Himself is Love, abiding in us. Love gives grace and forgiveness as our Lord did for us.
Zechariah 4:6-7 “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. Who are you O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace to it!'”
Prayer: Father God, I love You and I love the brothers and sisters in Your family. Thank You for the gift of love and eternal life. I can only love because You first loved me and gave me Your love in the abiding Holy Spirit. Your love is holy and mighty–moving mountains and drawing many to salvation. Forgive those who are still in hatred and fear and use me to share the Good News of Your amazing love.
Psalm 93:4-5 “Mightier that the thunders of many waters, mightier that the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty. Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits Your house, O Lord, forevermore.”
The ‘Abiding’ anointing!
Scripture reading for November 23rd: Haggai, Zechariah 1, Psalm 138, 1st John 2
1st John 2: 26-29 “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie–just as it has taught you, abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him.”
To abide in something means to take up residence and remain. John was writing to the believers being attacked by false teachers and warned them to listen to the Holy Spirit, Who abided in them. The Holy Spirit’s anointing brings instruction to us concerning living and applying God’s Word and thereby ‘abiding’ in Jesus Christ. John wanted believers to have confidence in their relationship with God based on Truth, not on some false teaching or opinion of men. A mark of false teachers was that their life was a lie–they failed to practice the Truth and abide in Jesus Christ by faith and through grace. A mark of a true follower of Jesus was practice of right living because of new birth and the abiding Holy Spirit.
Haggai 2:4-6 “Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of Hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.”
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your Name and Your Word and the anointing of Your Holy Spirt to abide in me and help me to abide in Jesus Christ, my Lord. Thank You for being with me always and for empowering me through the Holy Spirit and grace to live in righteousness and have confidence in Your acceptance when You return again. Abide in me and give me opportunity to share Your Word and Name!
Psalm 138:2 “I bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your Name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your Name and Your Word.”
Clothe yourselves with humility
Scripture reading for October 18th: Obadiah, Jeremiah 40-42, Psalm 147, 1st Peter 5
1st Peter 5: 5-10 “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that He may exalt you, casting all your cares 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. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Peter closes this short letter with a call to humility and watchfulness. We have an adversary, the devil, who seeks to destroy us and consume us. We must resist him with a firm resolve to trust God. Our Great God is mighty to save and abundant in power and He delights when His children humbly cast all their cares upon Him. Suffering may be part of the experience here on our earthly walk, but God’s grace will sustain us and in the end, He will restore us and strengthen us with the fullness of our salvation–eternal life in the presence of His glory!
Psalm 147:5-6 “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure. The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked to the ground.”
Prayer: Father God, You alone have all power, dominion and authority. I humbly submit to Your authority and to those you place over me in government and Your Church. Thank You for answering prayers and giving directions to Your people for their eternal good. Forgive those who reject Your Word, to their own destruction. Lift up Your humble people and have mercy on the proud and wicked through the Gospel.
Jeremiah 42:19-21 “The Lord has said to you, O remnant of Judah, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Know for a certainty that I have warned you this day that you have gone astray at the cost of your lives. For you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the Lord our God, and whatever the Lord our God says declare to us and we will do it. And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God in anything that He sent me to tell you.”
Scripture reading for September 27th: Zephaniah, Psalm 74, 2nd Corinthians 8
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 overflowing generosity of the Macedonian church in the face of severe persecution. These believers were filled with joy even in the midst of extreme poverty and gave extravagantly out of the little they had. They could only give out of their means but some gave beyond their means because of their faith in God and they demonstrated their faith through giving and even counting it a great favor to give for the relief of other believers who were also in need. Paul noted that they could do this only because they had truly given themselves to the Lord first and then they discerned God’s will to give to these needs.
Psalm 74:12-13 “Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. You divided the sea by Your might; You broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the joy and willingness to give reflected in these Macedonian churches that were under severe affliction and poverty. I see Christ Jesus in their generosity and compassion for others who were also suffering. Help me to overflow with generosity and joyful response to the needs of your people. I give myself and my possessions to You to bring You glory and work salvation on earth.
Zephaniah 2:3 “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do His just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord.”
Godly grief and repentance
Scripture reading for September 26th: Habakkuk, 2nd Corinthians 7
2nd Corinthians 7:1 “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”
Paul instructs us in how to walk as people of faith. In Christ, we are new creations and God has transformed us inside and taken up residence through the Holy Spirit. Now that we are cleansed, we must do our part to keep our ‘house’ clean. We must break off any entanglements with unbelievers and not be yoked with them. (This did not include those already married to unbelievers, if the unbeliever wanted to stay in relationship. 1st Corinthians 7:12-14). Each believer must forgive those who wronged them and have repented. We must get rid of habits that have enslaved us and say ‘no’ to sin and worldly thinking. God’s Word written and applied brings godly grief that leads us to repentance and cleansing with no regrets! We are not just sorry we got caught but sorry enough to change.
2nd Corinthians 7: 8-12 “For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it–though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for all Your many promises of Your presence with us and eternal life with You for eternity. From Your Word, I understand that without holiness, I won’t see the Lord. Help me to apply Your Word through the power of the Holy Spirit and to cleanse myself of defilements from my past life and entanglements of this world and culture. Thank You for godly grief, leading me to repent.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
Focus on eternal reality!
Scripture reading for September 21st: Nahum, Psalm 149, 2nd Corinthians 4
2nd Corinthians 4: 13-18 “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that He Who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Paul shared with the Corinthian believers how faith motivated him in the preaching of the Gospel. He believed the Gospel message of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection so that is what he preached. He was confident because of faith in God’s written Word and promises that those who heard and believed would also experience resurrection. Even though their bodies were getting older and wasting away, or suffering persecution, inside, Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit was renewing them and preparing them for eternal glory. Focusing on the unseen realities of God’s eternal Word would bring vision and victory! Praise and worship greatly facilitates our focus!
Psalm 149:1-3 “Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise His Name with dancing, making melody to Him with tambourine and lyre.”
Prayer: Father God, We praise You and worship Your Holy Name! Thank You for the eternal Truth of Your Word and Your Son, Jesus Christ! Give me continued grace to not lose heart or faint in these times of persecution and adversity and experiencing the aging process in my own body. Renew me today through the Holy Spirit and show me the amazing things to come in the unseen world of Your Throne!
Nahum 1:15 “Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of Him Who brings Good News, who publishes peace! Keep your feasts, O Judah; fulfill your vows, for never again shall the worthless pass through you; he is utterly cut off.”