Category: Minor prophets

Overflowing generosity!

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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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Sheep? Or goats?

Scripture reading for August 19th: Micah 5-7, Matthew 25

Matthew 25: 31-34 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on HIs glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Jesus finished His last teaching before going to the cross by telling His disciples of His glorious return with all the angels. He told them how all nations would be gathered before His glorious throne and He would separate people, one from another into two groups. One group was the ‘sheep’ and was placed on His right hand. They were welcomed into the kingdom and blessed. The other group was the ‘goats’. They were placed on His left hand and then sent away into eternal punishment of fire along with the devil and his rebellious angels. The basis of this judgment was faith applied in obedience to God towards the sick, the imprisoned, and the poor and needy. Helping these is helping Christ the King!

Matthew 25:41-43 “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.”

Prayer: Father God, without Your Word and Your Son, I would have no hope or understanding of Your desire to show compassion and kindness to lost mankind. I want to be in the ‘sheep’ group at the gathering of the nations. Help me to so live and follow You each day as to live by faith and fulfill Your will to show mercy and bring Good News to the lost.

Micah 7:18-19 “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of His inheritance? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”

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Sudden and unexpected!

Scripture reading for August 18th: Micah 1-4, Psalm 10, Matthew 24

Matthew 24: 40-44 “Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Jesus was responding to the questions of His disciples following the last supper and on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. They had wanted to know when the temple would be destroyed and what would be the signs of His return and the end of the age. Jesus warned them that His return would be sudden and unexpected by most people. It would come like a thief in the night. It would be like a bolt of lightning that would light up the sky from east to west! They must stay alert and watchful. No one would know so all would be called to live by faith.

Psalm 10:16-18 “The Lord is King forever and ever; the nations perish from His land. O Lord, You hear the desire of the afflicted; You will strengthen their heart; You will incline Your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

Prayer: Father God, Thank You for the warnings and promises of Scripture. Help me to stay alert and awake so that the ‘thief’ does not plunder my household, my children and grandchildren. Give me power in prayer and holy living to help them and all you send me to prepare for Your soon and sure return and the final judgment. Have mercy on the unbeliever through Your Gospel message.

Micah 4:6-7 “In that day, declares the Lord, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away and those whom I have afflicted; and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forever more.”

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Seeking greatness!

Scripture reading for August 12th: Hosea 14, 2nd Chronicles 26-27, Psalm 61, Matthew 20

Matthew 20:20-23 “Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to Him with her sons, and kneeling before Him she asked Him for something. And He said to her, “What do you want?” She said to Him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, in Your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink My cup, but to sit at My right hand and at My left is not Mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”

Jesus had just foretold His death by crucifixion and resurrection on the third day to his disciples. After this, the mother of James and John came to Jesus with a request. She, probably at her sons’ request, humbly made a plea that one son would be on Jesus’ right and the other on His left in His new kingdom. Jesus told them that they did not know what they were asking! Those places of honor were not Jesus’ to give but only were reserved by the Father for those deemed worthy. All the disciples were indignant over this request. They all wanted honor! Jesus told them the secret to greatness and honor: Become a servant of all and take the last place. Allow God the Father to exalt you!

Matthew 20:23-25 “But Jesus called them to Him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Prayer: Father God, I am humbled before You and Your Son Who showed mercy to me and all who will repent and believe. You demonstrated the path of greatness, exaltation, and eternal life and rulership through complete obedience and humble service by giving even Your life blood and body. Teach me this path to greatness and lead me in Your way of taking up my cross and following You.

Psalm 61:1-3 “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I, for You have been my Refuge, a strong Tower against the enemy.”

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Do I really want to know?

Scripture reading for August 11th: Hosea 11-13, Matthew 19

Matthew 19:16-22 “And behold; a man came up to Him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why do you as me about what is good? There is only One Who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and mother, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”

Jesus was approached by a rich, young man who was very religious and seemed intent on finding the path to eternal life. He asked Jesus what deed would assure him of eternal life. Jesus pointed the man to God, Who alone is good, and to God’s commandments as a starting place. The man asked Jesus what commandments were important. Jesus responded with the prohibitions against murder, adultery, stealing, lying, and dishonoring your father and mother. He threw in the great commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. This young man said he had kept these but felt something missing. Jesus then advised him to sell his possessions and give them to the poor and follow Him. This exposed his sin of idolatry. He left in sadness–and our Lord was also sad for him!

Matthew 19:28-29 “Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne; you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for My Name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.”

Prayer: Father God, You are Good and Your goodness had led me to repentance and life through Jesus Christ. Thank You for giving me the Holy Spirit to write Your Word on my heart that I might love God alone and love my neighbors as myself, fulfilling Your commandments. Thank You for Truth that leads to life eternal. Use me today to share the Good News of a merciful Savior Who promises such great reward!

Hosea 13:5-6 “It was I Who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought; but when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot Me.”

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The Generous King!

Scripture reading for August 10th: Hosea 7-10, Matthew 18

Matthew 18: 21-28 “Then Peter came up and said to Him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.”

Jesus told a parable in response to Peter’s question about the frequency that forgiveness should be offered to a brother who sinned against you. In the parable, a king was settling accounts and a subject came before him who owed him ten thousand talents–a huge sum of money. The king ordered the man’s goods liquidated and he and his family sold into slavery. The man appealed humbly to the king, and the king kindly forgave the debt and released him. What followed was astounding! That forgiven man went and found a man that owed him only a small amount and demanded payment by seizing him and choking him. When the man asked for mercy, he refused and threw him in prison. When the king heard this, he took action and threw him in jail until the debt was paid.

Matthew 18:32-35 “Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also My heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Prayer: Generous heavenly Father, thank You for Your great mercy in forgiving me my sins and wiping out my debts, which were many. Forgive me when I have not been generous with mercy towards others who have offended me or did wrong to me. I want Your mercy, not judgment. Fill me with the grace to forgive and show mercy. I desperately need Your mercy each day.

Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that He may come and rain righteousness upon you.”

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Healed instantly by Jesus!

Scripture reading for August 9th: Hosea 4-6, Psalm 58, Matthew 17

Matthew 17: 14-18 “And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to Him and kneeling before Him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.”

Matthew told the story of Jesus, Peter, James and John returning from the Mount of Transfiguration. There was a crowd gathered and Jesus was approached humbly by a man whose son was an epileptic and had seizures that sought to destroy him. This man had gone to the other disciples but they were unable to help the child. Jesus rebuked them and the people for their lack of faith and twisted thinking. Even though Jesus had taught His disciples to pray for the sick and believe God for miracles, these men were not believing God to see the needed healing. Jesus simply rebuked the evil spirit behind the sickness and immediate healing was the result. Oh that as followers of Jesus, we walked continuously by faith in God’s Holy Word and the knowledge of God’s compassionate heart to heal and deliver.

Hosea 6:2-3 “After two days he will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him. Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

Prayer: Father God, forgive me when I only see life through my own eyes and don’t know You or Your Word as I should. As a follower of Jesus Christ, fill me with Your Holy Spirit and grace to truly heal and deliver those suffering under Satan’s bondage and darkness. Send the rain of Your Spirit to water the earth and bring reward to the righteous and escape from judgment.

Psalm 58:10-11 “The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked. Mankind will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God Who judges on earth.”

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The secret to finding true life!

Scripture reading for August 8th: Hosea 1-3, Matthew 16

Matthew 16: 24-26 “Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

As Jesus approached the time of His departure and His encounter with death, Jesus called His disciples to a full dedication of their lives in following Him. This was a choice for each person to make freely from their own will, Jesus did not force or coerce anyone. This choice involved taking up a cross and following Jesus, even to death. Those wanting to save their lives must be willing to lose it. Anyone who would lose their life in following Jesus would find life eternal!

Matthew 16:26-28 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay each person according to what they have done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Prayer: Father God, I look forward to the Day of Christ when He comes with all His angels in the glory of His Father. I know there is nothing I can give for my own soul. I trust solely in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. I am willing to follow Jesus Christ and take up my cross, dying to myself and living fully for Your will. Indwell me today by the Holy Spirit and lead me into Your will and everlasting peace.

Hosea 2:18-20 “And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to Me forever. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.”

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