Would you recognize him if you saw him? Would you believe it if you had been there?


This morning’s reading starts in Malachi 3 and has two very interesting titles: “The Master You’ve Been Looking For” and “The Difference Between Serving God and Not Serving Him“. The reading speaks to the coming of John who will prepare the way for when Jesus comes. It then references how when Jesus comes, to take away the sin of the world. To clean up things. To point people in the right direction. Now where are you in regards to God? Are you following Him? Is He your God? Do you know what it takes to return to God? Here’s what He says in His Word:

“You ask, ‘But how do we return?’

8-11“Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day.
“You ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’
“The tithe and the offering—that’s how! And now you’re under a curse—the whole lot of you—because you’re robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers.” The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. — Malachi 3:8-11

Not only does He share what needs to be done, He also provides the one time in the Bible where we are asked to test God in this. Are you putting God first? or are you just giving Him the leftovers? Are you giving Him your best? or just what you have left or don’t value? Trying bringing Him your best first. 100% is His, however, to show that we trust Him and to show how much He loves us, a tithe or 10% or a tenth is what we are to give back to Him and then live with 90% that is blessed. Would you rather have 100% that is yours or 90% that is blessed and is yours? This is where the challenge is given, the gauntlet is put down: “Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.” In another translation, we read it this way: “10Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12“Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Imagine doing the right thing the right way and being called blessed because God’s delight is shining on you. Imagine 90% that is worth more because of God’s blessing than 100% that you have to handle all on your own. It’s an interesting lesson to learn. It’s an interesting thing to do and test God with to see the difference. I know every so often at church when our pastor teaches on tithe, he goes to the grocery store and buys 10 of various fruits and vegetables. He takes 1 and puts it on the table that represents God’s 10% and he then piles up the rest on the table that represents ours. It’s an incredible visual and gets the point home.

Ever questioned why anyone would serve God? Ever thought what’s the point? Ever talked down to people who are serving God? Ever asked what do you get out of serving God? Ever asked what do you get out of it or what difference does it make? Or how about thinking that those who aren’t following God have a better life? more fun? are lucky?

When God goes into action, will you be found in the book of life? Will you get special treatment? Will you risk finding out what the difference is by seeing others get special treatment and you won’t?

17-18God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “They’re mine, all mine. They’ll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving him.” — Malachi 3:17-18

Jesus is coming back. We might know the day and the time, however, we know He is coming back. People look at the signs and forecast the weather, look at what is going on all around us that point to the fact that He is coming back. Be it what we read in Matthew:

4-8Jesus said, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities, claiming, ‘I am Christ, the Messiah.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places. This is nothing compared to what is coming.

Matthew 24:4-8

Be it what we read in Mark:

5-8Jesus began, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When you hear of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history, and no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. But these things are nothing compared to what’s coming. 9-10“And watch out! They’re going to drag you into court. And then it will go from bad to worse, dog-eat-dog, everyone at your throat because you carry my name. You’re placed there as sentinels to truth. The Message has to be preached all across the world. 11“When they bring you, betrayed, into court, don’t worry about what you’ll say. When the time comes, say what’s on your heart—the Holy Spirit will make his witness in and through you.
12-13“It’s going to be brother killing brother, father killing child, children killing parents. There’s no telling who will hate you because of me. “Stay with it—that’s what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry; you’ll be saved.

Look at what is taking place right now in the world. Listen to the news about what the threats are and what the possible wars could be. Consider the lawsuits and bills that are taking place around us and what they are all pointing to. Is it worth it some may ask, and the answer is yes. Remember how Jesus closes as we read in Mark “Stay with it—that’s what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry; you’ll be saved.”.

This morning’s reading speaks of the return this way:

1-3“Count on it: The day is coming, raging like a forest fire. All the arrogant people who do evil things will be burned up like stove wood, burned to a crisp, nothing left but scorched earth and ash— a black day. But for you, sunrise! The sun of righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings. You will be bursting with energy, like colts frisky and frolicking. And you’ll tromp on the wicked. They’ll be nothing but ashes under your feet on that Day.” God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so. — Malachi 4:1-3

It’s not too late, this morning’s reading speaks to what we need to do. We also see it in the writings of John the Baptist and the disciples. John speaks:

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”

Matthew 3:2

Peter speaks:
37Cut to the quick, those who were there listening asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers! Brothers! So now what do we do?” 38-39Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.” 40He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!” 41-42That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.

 

5-6“But also look ahead: I’m sending Elijah the prophet to clear the way for the Big Day of God—the decisive Judgment Day! He will convince parents to look after their children and children to look up to their parents. If they refuse, I’ll come and put the land under a curse.” — Malachi 4:5-6

So today, I lift up this choice to you. Choose life! We all get a choice and some wait it out and never get to choose, others choose early and know when they get called home, they are saved. What does it take to be saved you may ask?

5For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands.   6But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). 7And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” 8In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: 9If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”   12Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” — Romans 10:5-13
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Are you honoring? Are you showing respect?


Today’s reading from Malachi raises very interesting questions. If you look at how you speak, what is it really saying? If you look at how you are acting, what is it really saying? What is it saying to those around you? What is it saying to those looking up to you? What is it saying to God?

Is it good? Is it honoring? Is it respectful? If yes, how so? If no, why not?

Are you living in a way to get the spot light to shine on you? Are you shining from the inside out? There is a difference and it matters.

God has loved you faithfully. Why do you despise God? Why aren’t you really worshipping Him? What are you celebrating other things more than you are Him? Why aren’t you putting God in that important spot of your life? Are you willing to give Him your best? Are you willing to give Him the first of the best? Why are you just going through the motions? What’s the point? What good is it for you or for anyone? Why not stop giving from the leftovers and start giving from the first fruits? Why not stop holding back the best rather than trying to keep it all for yourself?

Will you take time to stop and listen to what God is saying? Will you take time to stop and hear what He desires of you and for you? Would you stop walking so proud, nose in the air, for pride comes before the fall and with your nose in the air, you won’t even see that thing in front of you that you are about to trip and fall over. You realize people are watching you. You realize that because they are looking up to you, your actions will impact them and their behavior and generations to come. Will you humble yourself and reconsider before it is too late? Will you turn back to God and call out to Him? Will you ask Him for wisdom? Will you ask Him for forgiveness? Will you be bold and courageous and do what He is asking and calling you to do?

Or are you going to wait for a wake-up call? Do you need to fall? Do you need to start to drop before you will give Him your attention? How far? How fast? How long? will you need to fall before you will stop and call out to God? Do you need to hit rock bottom? Do you need to have a vision of Heaven or a vision of Hell? What’s it going to take?

Truth! It exists. It is real.

How are you teach the truth? You are a leader and as such people are learning from you daily. Are they hearing and seeing the truth? Are you providing guidance? Or are you messing things up? Are you sending people down the wrong path? Or off the right path? Why aren’t you willing to speak the truth? speak for what is right? speak up for those being wronged?

God’s Word raises an interesting thought to ponder…

10Don’t we all come from one Father? Aren’t we all created by the same God? So why can’t we get along? Why do we desecrate the covenant of our ancestors that binds us together? — Malachi 2:10

Another thing to consider…

13-15And here’s a second offense: You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don’t get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you’ve broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don’t cheat on your spouse.
16“I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat.
17You make God tired with all your talk.
“How do we tire him out?” you ask.
By saying, “God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all.” And also by saying, “Judgment? God’s too nice to judge.”

So let’s take time today to reflect and get our minds, our hearts, and our souls right so that our steps and our journey forward are for good, not just our good, but also the good of those around us who are counting on us and looking to us.

 

Where are you focused?


There is so much going on. There are so many things that could be getting your attention. There are so many things competing for your attention and your time. Are you on the look out? Are you following something or someone? What do you have your eye on?


This morning’s reading starts with the title “The Whole World Has Its Eyes on God“.

Do you have something that you are keeping your eyes on so that you know where you are going? Do you have a destination you are wanting to get to and have a north star or something that you are using to get there? Are you keeping your eye on God so that you can follow after Him? What are you expecting? What are you anticipating? What are you hoping?

The next title speaks to Jesus riding in on a donkey. Kings tend to come on donkeys in peace and horse for battle. Jesus’ first visit had Him on a donkey that Palm Sunday with people shouting and speaking prophesy. Today’s reading speaks to it this way:

9-10“Shout and cheer, Daughter Zion! Raise the roof, Daughter Jerusalem! Your king is coming!
a good king who makes all things right, a humble king riding a donkey, a mere colt of a donkey.
I’ve had it with war—no more chariots in Ephraim, no more war horses in Jerusalem, no more swords and spears, bows and arrows. He will offer peace to the nations, a peaceful rule worldwide, from the four winds to the seven seas. — Zechariah 9:9-10

When I think of the colt of a donkey on Palm Sunday, I also reflect on His second coming when He will be coming back to claim what is His, what is already His and finish the battle with Satan. He will be on a horse that time and ready for battle. The first time He came to fulfill the law and to open the doorway to reconciliation with God for the sins of the world. So that everyone who will receive Him, who will accept Him as their Lord and Savior, who will follow after Him. As we read in John 3:16, God loves us, He sent Jesus to save us not to condemn us. So now we need to keep our eyes on Him. God’s Word also speaks to us being prepared:

  • I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. — 2 Timothy 4:1-2
  • Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. — Ephesians 6:13-18
  • With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. — 1 Corinthians 15:58
  • You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. — Mathew 24:44
  • 13Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! — 1 Peter 3:13-17

There are many more. Trying to find a list, I found this link that you can check out.

The chapter finishes with the Jesus on a horse, the one who will fight and win the war of all wars. The war for the souls.

14-17Then God will come into view, his arrows flashing like lightning! Master God will blast his trumpet and set out in a whirlwind. God-of-the-Angel-Armies will protect them—all-out war, The war to end all wars, no holds barred. Their God will save the day. He’ll rescue them. They’ll become like sheep, gentle and soft, Or like gemstones in a crown, catching all the colors of the sun. Then how they’ll shine! shimmer! glow! the young men robust, the young women lovely! — Zechariah 9:14-17

Let’s pray for those who are lost, sheep without a shepherd. Let’s pray that the truth and hope that comes from a living relationship with Jesus can be brought into their hearts. Let’s pray that lives will be reset and returned under the hand and covering of God. Let’s pray that our light, our words, our actions will point people to the one true God in a transformational way that will and does save. Jesus came to be the shepherd. He came to show us the way. He is the truth, the way, and the life, nobody gets to the Father except through Him. There aren’t many ways. There is but one way.

As I get into chapter 11, an interesting question comes to mind. Do they really care about you? Who is over you? Do they care? Or are they just wanting to get what they can and move on? It’s interesting to see what the difference looks like. It’s interesting to experience what the difference feels like.

Take a look around, are people trying to get rid of something? Something important and real? Something that should be the highest priority? Is there an attack going on against the way? Are they preparing the world for a time of battle? Are they preparing the world for a time of reset? Do you see that there is a battle underway? Do you see there is a battle going on right now for your soul? Who is going to stand up and be counted? Who is going to stand in the gap? Or are we headed towards the end? Is the momentum that strong that there is no turning back? Is there still time for a people to come together and try to restore truth, hope, love, justice? What is the purpose? What is the intention? What is the reason for such actions and decisions? Are things being improved or is the average being lowered? Are we headed back up? Are we heading back down? What’s really at the heart of the matter? What is driving people’s actions and decisions? Really… What’s really motivating them? It’s a matter of the heart so let’s inspect what the motive is.

How close are we to the Big Day?

There is only one thing that can wash away the filth, the grime, the sickness, the chains, and it the love of Jesus. It is only by His blood that we can be reconciled back to God, become new and clean in the eyes of God. He is the fountain that will wash away the sin of the world. When the Big Day comes will you be on the right side? Is God your god? Are you part of His people?

Chapter 14, starts with the title “The Day Is Coming”.  What day you may ask? The chapter is clear and starts with:

“God’s Judgment Day is on the way”

It will be an incredible day – Jesus in the lead and an army of angels with Him.

6-7What a Day that will be! No more cold nights—in fact, no more nights! The Day is coming—the timing is God’s—when it will be continuous day. Every evening will be a fresh morning.
8What a Day that will be! Fresh flowing rivers out of Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea, half to the western sea, flowing year-round, summer and winter!
9God will be king over all the earth, one God and only one. What a Day that will be!
10-11The land will stretch out spaciously around Jerusalem—to Geba in the north and Rimmon in the south, with Jerusalem towering at the center, and the commanding city gates—Gate of Benjamin to First Gate to Corner Gate to Hananel Tower to the Royal Winery—ringing the city full of people. Never again will Jerusalem be totally destroyed. From now on it will be a safe city. — Zechariah 14:6-11

Which side will you be on? Are you for Him or against Him?

12-14But this is what will happen to all who fought against Jerusalem: God will visit them with a terrible plague. People’s flesh will rot off their bones while they are walking around; their eyes will rot in their sockets and their tongues in their mouths; people will be dying on their feet! Mass hysteria when that happens—total panic! Fellow soldiers fighting and killing each other—holy terror! And then Judah will jump into the fray! — Zechariah 14:12-14

Today, I lift this day up to God and I ask how I can help and what I can do to point others towards Him. I ask Lord for Your wisdom and favor in what I say and do so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Help me Lord to be a good ambassador for You. Help me Lord to shine so that others will see that I am just like the moon in the dark sky, reflecting the light of Your Son Jesus my Lord and Savior. Lord, help me today so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Is there hope for those who have lied or stolen?


This morning’s reading starts with a very interesting vision. It caused me to wonder how to start the title of today’s blog. I also remembered a video I once read that was asking the question of people if they were liars and thieves. With these combined, the part of this message that I will want to ensure to include is that there is hope and there is an answer.

Are you a good person? Have you kept the 10 commandments?

What is a liar? People who tell lies. What are other words for a lie: untruth · falsehood · fib · story · tall tale · white lie · invention. Have you ever told a lie? Do you know that God’s Word puts it at the same level as the rest of the 10 commandments?

What is a thief? People who steal or rob. What are other words for rob: steal from · take from · hold up · stick up · raid · pickpocket · mug. Have you ever stolen something? Do you know that God’s Word puts it at the same level as the rest of the 10 commandments?

There is hope, but it requires a turning, it requires a choosing, it requires an action to be taken. I have heard it called Hell’s best kept secret.

Here is a quick video (just over 5 minutes – you can watch if you would like) before I get into today’s reading and what it speaks to:


Today’s reading starts with a vision of 1 flying book. The purpose of the flying book is to go out and destroy all the liars and thieves. The next vision in today’s reading from Zechariah 5 was about a basket that contains all the sins of the world. Everything that everyone has done everywhere on earth. It was being taken away to be stored. The next vision comes from Zechariah 6, it speaks of 4 chariots that are going out to survey the earth. They were divided up 2 heading north and 2 heading south. 2 were sharing the sense of the Spirit, serene and secure. In the next vision the first thought that came to mind was Jesus, it was saying that the man would be called Branch. As I read on it spoke to this person being both King and Priest. The vision finished with a message, an important message that we need to put our minds to a life of responsive obedience to the voice of God.

The next chapter brings up a good perspective. What is our focus? God’s focus is beyond religion, He is interested in the people. He wants a relationship with each of us. Zechariah 7 starts with the title “You’re Interested in Religion, I’m Interested in People”. The statement is based on the people’s desire to do the right thing as they were approaching the 70th year. The question raised what why did you do what you were doing? Was it really for God? Or were you doing it as a religious thing. God’s interested in the people. He looks beyond the ceremonies and into the hearts and lives of the people. God wants us to follow His plan. It’s put this way in today’s reading:

“‘Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another—that’s evil.’ — Zechariah 7:7-10

Will we listen to such simple instruction? Will we live in this way? Will we do what we are called to do? Will we keep away from evil plots and schemes?

God cares! God is involved! Jerusalem’s new name will be Truth City, God’s Mountain, Mount Holiness.

Nothing is too much for God!

God’s plan is one of salvation.

Don’t be afraid. Keep a grip on what God is doing.

Keep it simple. Keep it honest.

God’s desire is that we speak the truth, the whole truth when we speak.

He wants us to do the right thing by one another, personally and in the courts.

Be fair, Be honest.

Keep it simple and honest.

He will turn the days of mourning into days of feasting, celebration, and holidays.

Embrace Truth! Love Peace!

Let’s be a part of the blessings of God’s people.

Turn back…I care so much about you, I want to spend eternity with you.


What if your morning started with a message from God and the message spoke this:

‘Come back to me and I’ll come back to you. Don’t be like your parents. The old-time prophets called out to them, “A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: Leave your evil life. Quit your evil practices.” But they ignored everything I said to them, stubbornly refused to listen.’ — Zechariah 1:1-4

How would you respond? Would you reflect on where you are at? Would you reflect on where you are heading? Would you consider your ways and what results have come from them so far? What if you happened to be the one who was supposed to deliver this message to others? Would you do it? Would you have the courage to post it, to speak it, to share it? My answer is to turn back to God and go His ways. Like the “Lost Son“, we can know that we will be received and restored. Receiving this message to be passed along, I will share it. What God shares with me each morning, I post. What God shares with me each morning, I grab onto. I know when I miss or am delayed in my reading that it impacts the rest of my day, it sets me off course from what the day should be, I am not filled up.

Turn to God before it is too late.

This morning’s reading from Zechariah speaks of visions that he had…

First Vision: Four Riders:  A scouting mission

Second Vision: Four Horns and Four Blacksmiths: A battle against evil

Third Vision: The Man with the Tape Measure: Surveying what is to come

Fourth Vision: Joshua’s New Clothes: God can take our dirt and make it clean. Jesus came to give His all to reconcile us back to God. We want to follow Jesus so that we may be found in Him in the end times.

Fifth Vision: A Lampstand and Two Olive Trees: It may get started small, but wait till you see how it all ends up in the end. Be filled with God’s anointing. Allows the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to be your guide.

I may not know how God’s Word is brought to me at the right time in the right manner, but I do know who sent it. Today’s reading, closes with Psalm 64:

1Listen and help, O God. I’m reduced to a whine And a whimper, obsessed with feelings of doomsday. 2-6Don’t let them find me—the conspirators out to get me, Using their tongues as weapons, flinging poison words, poison-tipped arrow-words. They shoot from ambush, shoot without warning, not caring who they hit. They keep fit doing calisthenics of evil purpose, They keep lists of the traps they’ve secretly set. They say to each other, “No one can catch us, no one can detect our perfect crime.” The Detective detects the mystery in the dark of the cellar heart. 7-8The God of the Arrow shoots! They double up in pain, Fall flat on their faces in full view of the grinning crowd. 9-10Everyone sees it. God’s work is the talk of the town. Be glad, good people! Fly to God! Good-hearted people, make praise your habit.