Scripture reading for January 8th: Genesis 18-21, Matthew 6
Key Scriptures: Matthew 6:9-13 “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and for give us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.””
Jesus, in teaching His disciples how to pray, gave simple instructions. He laid out a pattern for them. God was addressed as ‘Our Father in heaven’, implying family relationship. Really, the term ‘Father’ is more like ‘Daddy’! The priority was to His will being done, not ours! We were to acknowledge our dependence on Him for everything: provision, forgiveness, and protection from evil and the evil one.
Genesis 18:23-25 “Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will You then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked. Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?””
Prayer: Father, thank you for Your simple instructions and the ability of Your people to come before you and ask questions and declare our needs! In Your Holy Name, Amen.
Scripture reading for May 1st: 2nd Chronicles 29-32
Today we find our country in economic turmoil and moral collapse. We find many of our children leaving the path of the Lord and going into captivity in the world system of humanism and self-gratification. Many churches are losing members and there are few young families in attendance. But the times we live in are not new!
This was the case 2700 years ago in Judah under King Hezekiah. The wrath of God was poured out on the nation because they had forsaken Him! Many had fallen to the violence of that day. Women and children were in captivity and the nation was in terror and fear. (2nd Chronicles 29:8-9) King Hezekiah began to set things in order. His plan of action was to order priorities for obtaining the blessing of God again. The first step he took was to reopen the doors of the the temple and repair it’s doors. (2nd Chronicles 29:3-6) He brought in the priests and Levites and had them consecrate themselves first and then they began to cleanse the temple. They removed all defilements from King Ahaz and restored the utensils and furniture that he had removed.
The next thing Hezekiah did was gather all the leaders and renew the covenant with the Lord by sacrifice. Sin must be confessed and atoned for with blood sprinkled on the altar. (2nd Chronicles 29:24) The king and the people sang and worshiped as the sacrifices were being offered. The Levites played and led the singing. The people bowed and worshiped and offered themselves with joy and gladness! The work was completed quickly!
Is your life in turmoil and your family in captivity? Is your temple in disrepair? Begin by removing the clutter and idols and turn to the Lord in humble repentance. Consecrate your life to the Lord again and establish a regular pattern of worship. Claim the blood of Jesus Christ to atone for your sins! He can do a “quick work” in your life too! May God’s blessing and joy be restored!
Scripture reading for September 26th: Haggai 1-2
Mary and I had just about gotten our children through college and the last one was ready to get married. We were enjoying our first senior pastorate in Lacey, Washington and an empty nest. On our day off, we would go antiquing and sight-seeing. Then God spoke to us through a missionary about enlarging our family by adoption. To be honest, that choice did not initially look like something we wanted to do.
Haggai was speaking to people who had chosen to come back from Babylon and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Initially, these Israelites had the right priority and obeyed the Lord. But they had drifted away from the priorities that once motivated them and began to focus on themselves. They neglected the house of the Lord! (Haggai 1:2-4)
“Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat but never have enough. You drink but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains, and bring down timber and build a house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,”says the Lord.” (Haggai 1:5-8)
Have you experienced lack of satisfaction and lack of fulfillment? It may be your priorities have lost their focus on God and His will. The Israelites had gotten their focus onto themselves and their houses and neglected God’s house! God was gently reminding them of their priorities. If we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, everything we need will be added to us. If we try to grab what we need, even what we have will be lost! (Matthew 6:33)
God is once again going to shake the earth, sea, and all the nations of the earth. The ‘desired of the nations’ (Jesus Christ) is coming and will fill His house with glory! Jesus Christ did this in human form about 500 years after Haggai’s time. He will do it again during the millennial reign following the rapture of the church. “”The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,” says the Lord Almighty. “And in this place I will grant peace,” declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:9)
Scripture reading for May 1: 2nd Chronicles 29-32
Today we find our country in economic and political turmoil in the midst of an election year. We find many of our children leaving the path of the Lord and going into captivity in the world system of humanism and self-gratification. Many in the church are restless and confused. When we read the word of God, we find that nothing is really new.
This was the case 2700 years ago in Judah under King Hezekiah. The wrath of God was being poured out on the nation because they had forsaken Him! Women and children were in captivity and the nation was in terror and fear. (2nd Chronicles 29:8-9) King Hezekiah began to set things in order. His plan of action was to set priorities that would bring success and the blessing of God again. The first step was to reopen the temple and repair it’s doors. (2nd Chronicles 29:3-6) He brought in the priests and Levites and had them consecrate themselves and then cleanse the temple. They did a quick work of removing all defilements from King Ahaz and restoring the utensils and furniture that he had removed.
The next thing was to gather all the leaders and renew the covenant with the Lord by sacrifice. Sin must be confessed and atoned for. The blood was sprinkled on the altar. (2nd Chronicles 29:24) The king and the people sang and worshiped as the sacrifices were being offered. The Levites played and led the singing. The people worshiped and offered themselves with joy and gladness! The people brought thank offerings and sacrifices for themselves.
If you find your life in turmoil and your family in captivity, the plan of Hezekiah might work well for you. Is your soul in disrepair? Is it cluttered with idols and remnants of the world system? Begin by removing the clutter and idols and turn to the Lord in humble repentance. Consecrate your life to the Lord again and establish a regular pattern of worship. Claim the blood of the last and only perfect sacrifice to be sufficient to atone for your sins! Jesus Christ has done all that is needed to cleanse your soul! He wants your life to be marked by joy! He can do a “quick work” in your life too! These ancient words from Hezekiah are as true today as then!
Scripture reading for April 20th: 1st Chronicles 22-27
As I have attended and worked in different church families, one of the things that is often done poorly is the transition of leadership. Often when there is a change of leaders, no preparation or thinking has been done by the core leadership of the church. Sometimes the selection process becomes a popularity contest instead of seeking God’s will. It divides the church and there is great turmoil. Many times people fail to seek the Lord for His plan of succession and a plan for success!
When David was old and “full of years”, (1st Chronicles 23:1) he made Solomon king over Israel. David’s son Adonijah had tried to make himself king but Bathsheba and Nathan the prophet worked together to redirect the situation. (1st Kings 1:1-5) There was a power struggle because flesh wants control and often seeks to take power for self. It is one of the strategies of Satan to bring division and confusion in a church or nation.
After installing Solomon, David wisely helped his son succeed in accomplishing the tasks he knew were God’s will. David told Solomon that it was God’s will that he build the Lord’s house. He was positive and encouraging and prayed for God’s wisdom and discretion that his son might keep the Law of God and have success! A father’s blessing and God’s blessing go a long way toward success! (1st Chronicles 22:11-13)
Next, David assembled materials for the Temple. He generously provided from his own treasury for God’s house! He set a good example for his son and the nation of personal sacrifice. He understood that when God’s house was provided for, God would bless His people. (1st Chronicles 22:14-16)
The last thing David did was to gather the key leaders of Israel together and encourage them to support Solomon. David cited the Lord’s victories and how God had given the people rest. He encouraged the leaders to seek the Lord with all their heart and soul and to begin building. This transition would continue the vision of the Lord through David and insure the accomplishment of God’s will and purposes. (1st Chronicles 22:17-19)
Pray for your church family and nation for godly transition in leadership. Stand against Satan’s strategy to divide people and promote selfish leadership who will ignore God’s plans. May God’s kingdom come and His will be done here on earth as in heaven!
Scripture reading for September 27th: Haggai 1-2
Haggai had been sent by the Lord to speak to His people who had returned to Jerusalem after the exile to rebuild the city and temple. Haggai had the people’s respect because he obeyed the Lord and spoke for God plainly. (Haggai 1:12) The people he spoke to feared the Lord and received the word brought to them.
One of the problems with the returning exiles was misplaced priorities. They came back to Jerusalem and found a mess. The walls were broken down and houses and vineyards were overgrown with weeds. They got their eyes off fixing the city wall and the temple and began working on their own houses. (Haggai 1:2-11) They focused on themselves and their own needs and neglected God’s plans and His house. This resulted in drought on the fields and poverty in their lives. They could not get ahead.
The remedy for this was to refocus on God’s house, placing Him first! God promised them that if they did this, He would be with them and bless them. They obeyed and began the work. Some of the workers were depressed because the rebuilt temple was not nearly as beautiful as the original temple that they remembered. Haggai had to speak a word from God to help them stay focused. “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,” says the Lord Almighty. “And in this place I will grant peace,” declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:9)
God would bring even greater glory to His house in the last days. God would shake the nations, and the desired of the nations, Jesus Christ, would come and bring glory to the Temple. He would sacrifice Himself for the sins of the people of all nations, enabling them to be forgiven and adopted by God into His family. They would be able to receive the Holy Spirit, a deposit of God’s glory. This glory would be within each believer, which now makes up the new temple of God. The glory of this later house would be greater than the former!
We, too, must check our priorities. Are you seeking to put God’s kingdom first in your life? Have you prioritized building His temple over building your own bank account or business? Put the Lord first and He will bless you!
Greetings on this first day of rest of 2010! We are beginning a new year and a new decade. Time is ever marching on and it shows no partiality to anyone! Be sure to take time to rest and reflect on what you have read from God’s word and what you heard preached at church. If you are not taking time to gather with God’s people, think about your priorities today. You are missing out on a blessing and are also disobedient to the Lord! (Hebrews 10:25)
Our theme for this year is the promise of Jesus Christ that He will return soon! This is an event related to time and our understanding of time. What does ’soon’ mean to you? Does that mean in the next few minutes? Could it be yet today? Will it be in the first month of this new year? Will 2010 be the year that Jesus comes? The important thing is not exactly when He is coming, but being ready when He does come.
Do you have an assurance based on God’s word that you are ready for Christ’s coming? Do you know what is required to be ready? Are you using your talents and resources to serve the Lord? Do you have a dream from the Lord or a desire in your heart to accomplish something great for the Lord that you have not yet attempted or started? Are you holding on to some besetting sin that has a grip on your life and is holding you back from your purpose? Please know that I’m not asking these questions to make you feel guilty, but rather to stimulate your thinking.
If we knew for sure that Jesus would come back by the end of 2010, what things would you do to prepare? This is the kind of thinking that should help us to have the power to change and attempt great things for God. It should help us get rid of bad habits and sins that hinder. It should cause us to launch out in attempting to fulfill dreams and visions.
Take some time today and write down some dreams that you have, and needed preparations for the coming of Jesus Christ. Begin to think about this year as if it were the last year you had on earth before the rapture. Ask the Lord to lead you in changing attitudes and actions to reflect your new priority!
In His Love, Pastor John