Scripture reading for January 5th: Genesis 14-18
Cause for Rejoicing: Genesis 14:16-20 “He (Abram) recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions together with the women and the other people. . .Then Melchizedek, King of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And Blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”
Abram’s nephew Lot and his family and servants were taken captive by desert marauders. When Abram heard about it he pursued them and he recovered Lot and all that was lost! On his return, a mysterious king, Melchizedek met him with a meal of bread and wine and blessed him in the name of the Creator, God Most High. This so moved Abram, that he gave this Priest/King a tenth (tithe) of all the spoils. This came before the law about tithing!
Cause for rejoicing: God restores what is lost! He defeats our enemies and blesses us with a meal of bread and wine! We joyfully give our tithe and honor our Creator/Priest/King! “This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of the Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. first, his name means “king of righteousness” then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace. Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.” (Hebrews 7:1-3)
Sunday July 27th, 2014
When we gather on the first day of the week, we declare our trust and dependence on God as our source of strength and hope! We acknowledge of our fear and respect of His great, love, and protection. In Him alone is safety and security, not in our money, our national military, or our own knowledge. We come together to worship Him, offer our tithes to support His world-wide mission to reach the lost, and to hear His Word!
May the Lord bless you today with faith that moves you to join with those worshiping our Lord! Faith without corresponding actions is dead!
In His Love, Pastor John and Mary
Scripture reading for May 12th: Nehemiah 8:2-10:39
Nehemiah knew that the real strength of God’s city would come not from walls of stone around it, but from a renewed commitment to follow the Law of the Lord. The word of God is a sure foundation for blessing and success and also a strong source of protection when His people are walking in faith. Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law began to read aloud to the people. They listened attentively. (Nehemiah 8:1-3)
As the people listened, they needed explanation. It had been many years since they had heard God’s word and some had never heard it. The people began to weep at the law of God. Nehemiah told the people not to weep, but to share food and fellowship and rejoice because the “joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10)
They were reading the law of God again the second day and found that the Israelites were to celebrate the Feast of Booths by making shelters and living outside for a week. This feast commemorated their deliverance from Egypt and wandering in the wilderness. They decided to celebrate it. They read from the Book of the Law each day for seven days and on the eighth day had a holy assembly. There they repented and separated themselves from foreign influences and confessed sins. A beautiful prayer of repentance is recorded in Nehemiah 9.
Following this prayer, they made vows to God to maintain purity in marriages. (Nehemiah 10:30) They recognized God’s desire for godly offspring and purity of living and worship. They promised not to buy or sell on the Sabbath and to cancel debts in the seventh year. (Nehemiah 10:31) They promised to pay their temple alms and tithes to care for the Levites and the House of God. (Nehemiah 10:32-37)
All this commitment was brought about by simply reading aloud the Book of the Law! God’s word has power to bring change in our hearts. It brings conviction of sin and reveals the love and mercy of God. The confession was public and the vows of commitment were even put in writing! (Nehemiah 9:38) This new commitment brought the joy of the Lord to the people and it was their strength!
Greetings on another day of rest. This is the third Sunday of Advent. Joy is the theme for today. The angels rejoiced at the birth of Jesus and sang joyful hymns of praise! The shepherds heard the angel’s announcement, went to find the baby and rejoiced with Joseph and Mary. As we prepare our hearts, we are filled with joy anticipating the coming of Jesus Christ. This time He will come with the hosts of heaven and we who believe in Him will be caught up to meet Him in the air! So shall we ever be with the Lord!
Today’s reading to help us finish on time comes from Hebrews 5-7. Here are a few of my favorite scriptures from this section. I hope that they will speak to you of the character and love of Jesus Christ! May they inspire joy on this day of rest.
“No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. So Christ also did not take upon Himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to Him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” And He says in another place, ” You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 5:4-6
“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and , once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 5:7-10
“God did this so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:18-20
“Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:23-25
May the Lord bless your day of rest and reflection with great joy and peace through Jesus Christ! In His Love, Pastor John
Scripture reading for October 5th: Malachi 1-4
Malachi was the final voice of a prophet in the era of the Old Covenant. After him, God was silent for 400 years until John the Baptist came on the scene. Malachi was like a street preacher of his day. He would go out where the people were and ask questions of them. He loved to pose questions and then answer them. With this style he sought to provoke God’s people to repent and do what God had commanded and required.
There were several issues that Malachi hit hard in his preaching. One issue concerned the priests who were sacrificing blind, crippled and diseased animals. God was and is holy and He demands pure sacrifices; His priests were dishonoring Him. (Malachi 1:6-14) God is a great king who is worthy of our best!
Another issue was priests who were breaking their covenant vows with their wives and also with God, Himself. They were sacrificing to God on the Sabbath, but then going up to idol temples, sacrificing to idol gods and having sex with the temple prostitutes. God was watching and angry! He warned them through Malachi that this practice would defile them and sow violence and divorce into their homes. (Malachi 2: 11-16) This also dishonored God and broke their vows to Him as well! This behavior hinders the development of godly offspring, God’s plan for covenant marriage.
God warned them as well of another evil practice. The law of God strictly forbids stealing but these people were stealing from God. They were not giving God their tithes, bringing them under a curse. The devourer was eating their crops and taking away their sustenance. (Malachi 3:8-12) The remedy was simple–return to God by bringing Him His tithe! God tells them that they can test Him in this, the only place in Scripture where testing God is allowed or encouraged! God promises to open the windows of heaven for those who honor Him with the tithe! He will also rebuke the devourer and bless their provisions.
God was going to send His messenger of the covenant to His temple. He would be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap, purifying the Levites. This process would bring about righteous obedience in the offerings and personal behavior. Who could stand when this “messenger” comes? God was going to be quick to testify against those involved in sins of adultery, perjury, sorcery, and oppression of orphans and widows! (Malachi 3:1-8) The people better prepare for this messenger and the refining fire! This fire would reduce those who opposed the Lord to ashes but the righteous would go free! (Malachi 4:1-3)
Malachi had a message that still rings true today for us. Jesus is coming! He is coming with fire this next time. Those who believe in Him will have their works tested by fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Those who oppose Him will be defeated by fire and eternally judged by fire! We need to heed the time and return to the Lord before time runs out!