Are you able to believe even without seeing it? If you were showered with opportunities to choose, would you keep rejecting them? If you kept being shown different options, would you still wait? If you realized your time was short would it help you decide? Or will you go your own way until you get to see it with your own eyes in the end? Will you wait until it is too late?
This morning starts with getting to see …
10Then the disciples went back home.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
(Matthew 28.9, 10; Mark 16.9-11)
11Mary stood crying outside the tomb. While she was still crying, she bent over and looked in the tomb 12and saw two angels there dressed in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13“Woman, why are you crying?” they asked her. She answered, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!” 14Then she turned around and saw Jesus standing there; but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15“Woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who is it that you are looking for?” She thought he was the gardener, so she said to him, “If you took him away, sir, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned toward him and said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (This means “Teacher.”) 17“Do not hold on to me,” Jesus told her, “because I have not yet gone back up to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am returning to him who is my Father and their Father, my God and their God.” 18So Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and related to them what he had told her.
–from John 20
Will you continue to resist the call? Will you continue to press forward without the promise? Will you choose not to turn back to God and have to deal with the consequences? Is there anything that anyone can do or say that would change your mind? Don’t wait till it’s too late!
The Fall of Babylon
1After this I saw another angel coming down out of heaven. He had great authority, and his splendor brightened the whole earth. 2He cried out in a loud voice: “She has fallen! Great Babylon has fallen! She is now haunted by demons and unclean spirits; all kinds of filthy and hateful birds live in her. 3For all the nations have drunk her wine—the strong wine of her immoral lust. The kings of the earth practiced sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the world grew rich from her unrestrained lust.” 4Then I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out, my people! Come out from her! You must not take part in her sins; you must not share in her punishment! 5For her sins are piled up as high as heaven, and God remembers her wicked ways. 6Treat her exactly as she has treated you; pay her back double for all she has done. Fill her cup with a drink twice as strong as the drink she prepared for you. 7Give her as much suffering and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. For she keeps telling herself: ‘Here I sit, a queen! I am no widow, I will never know grief’ 8Because of this, in one day she will be struck with plagues—disease, grief, and famine. And she will be burned with fire, because the Lord God, who judges her, is mighty.” 9The kings of the earth who took part in her immorality and lust will cry and weep over the city when they see the smoke from the flames that consume her. 10They stand a long way off, because they are afraid of sharing in her suffering. They say, “How terrible! How awful! This great and mighty city Babylon! In just one hour you have been punished!” 11The merchants of the earth also cry and mourn for her, because no one buys their goods any longer; 12no one buys their gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; their goods of linen, purple cloth, silk, and scarlet cloth; all kinds of rare woods and all kinds of objects made of ivory and of expensive wood, of bronze, iron, and marble; 13and cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine and oil, flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and carriages, slaves, and even human lives. 14The merchants say to her, “All the good things you longed to own have disappeared, and all your wealth and glamor are gone, and you will never find them again!” 15The merchants, who became rich from doing business in that city, will stand a long way off, because they are afraid of sharing in her suffering. They will cry and mourn, 16and say, “How terrible! How awful for the great city! She used to dress herself in linen, purple, and scarlet, and cover herself with gold ornaments, precious stones, and pearls! 17And in one hour she has lost all this wealth!” All the ships’ captains and passengers, the sailors and all others who earn their living on the sea, stood a long way off, 18and cried out as they saw the smoke from the flames that consumed her: “There never has been another city like this great city!” 19They threw dust on their heads, they cried and mourned, saying, “How terrible! How awful for the great city! She is the city where all who have ships sailing the seas became rich on her wealth! And in one hour she has lost everything!” 20Be glad, heaven, because of her destruction! Be glad, God’s people and the apostles and prophets! For God has condemned her for what she did to you! 21Then a mighty angel picked up a stone the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “This is how the great city Babylon will be violently thrown down and will never be seen again. 22The music of harps and of human voices, of players of the flute and the trumpet, will never be heard in you again! No workman in any trade will ever be found in you again; and the sound of the millstone will be heard no more! 23Never again will the light of a lamp be seen in you; no more will the voices of brides and grooms be heard in you. Your merchants were the most powerful in all the world, and with your false magic you deceived all the peoples of the world!” 24Babylon was punished because the blood of prophets and of God’s people was found in the city; yes, the blood of all those who have been killed on earth.
–from Revelation 18
Will you question God? Do you believe in God? Is it a battle of wits? Is it a battle over to believe or not to believe? Is it a battle over what is going on? Is it a battle over what you are having to go through or deal with? Put your hope and trust in God! Know that for those who have received Jesus there is no condemnation! By having received Jesus, we have been saved!
1Do you know when mountain goats are born? Have you watched wild deer give birth? 2Do you know how long they carry their young? Do you know the time for their birth? 3Do you know when they will crouch down and bring their young into the world? 4In the wilds their young grow strong; they go away and don’t come back. 5Who gave the wild donkeys their freedom? Who turned them loose and let them roam? 6I gave them the desert to be their home, and let them live on the salt plains. 7They keep far away from the noisy cities, and no one can tame them and make them work. 8The mountains are the pastures where they feed, where they search for anything green to eat. 9Will a wild ox work for you? Is he willing to spend the night in your stable? 10Can you hold one with a rope and make him plow? Or make him pull a harrow in your fields? 11Can you rely on his great strength and expect him to do your heavy work? 12Do you expect him to bring in your harvest and gather the grain from your threshing place? 13How fast the wings of an ostrich beat! But no ostrich can fly like a stork. 14The ostrich leaves her eggs on the ground for the heat in the soil to warm them. 15She is unaware that a foot may crush them or a wild animal break them. 16She acts as if the eggs were not hers, and is unconcerned that her efforts were wasted. 17It was I who made her foolish and did not give her wisdom. 18But when she begins to run, she can laugh at any horse and rider. 19Was it you, Job, who made horses so strong and gave them their flowing manes? 20Did you make them leap like locusts and frighten people with their snorting? 21They eagerly paw the ground in the valley; they rush into battle with all their strength. 22They do not know the meaning of fear, and no sword can turn them back. 23The weapons which their riders carry rattle and flash in the sun. 24Trembling with excitement, the horses race ahead; when the trumpet blows, they can’t stand still. 25At each blast of the trumpet they snort; they can smell a battle before they get near, and they hear the officers shouting commands. 26Does a hawk learn from you how to fly when it spreads its wings toward the south? 27Does an eagle wait for your command to build its nest high in the mountains? 28It makes its home on the highest rocks and makes the sharp peaks its fortress. 29From there it watches near and far for something to kill and eat. 30Around dead bodies the eagles gather, and the young eagles drink the blood.
–from Job 39
God knows all. God is patient and doesn’t want anyone to go to hell. He gives people opportunity to turn back and with every step some will still choose to not turn to Him. He shares wisdom and witnesses, yet some will not receive it. Will you accept the offer? Will you receive it? Will you ask Jesus into your heart and your life so that you can be saved?
Do you have your priorities set right? Do you have a heart of obedience?
The Lord’s Command to Rebuild the Temple
1During the second year that Darius was emperor of Persia, on the first day of the sixth month, the Lord spoke through the prophet Haggai. The message was for the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and for the High Priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak.
2The Lord Almighty said to Haggai, “These people say that this is not the right time to rebuild the Temple.” 3The Lord then gave this message to the people through the prophet Haggai: 4“My people, why should you be living in well-built houses while my Temple lies in ruins? 5Don’t you see what is happening to you? 6You have planted much grain, but have harvested very little. You have food to eat, but not enough to make you full. You have wine to drink, but not enough to get drunk on! You have clothing, but not enough to keep you warm. And workers cannot earn enough to live on. 7Can’t you see why this has happened? 8Now go up into the hills, get lumber, and rebuild the Temple; then I will be pleased and will be worshiped as I should be. 9“You hoped for large harvests, but they turned out to be small. And when you brought the harvest home, I blew it away. Why did I do that? Because my Temple lies in ruins while every one of you is busy working on your own house. 10That is why there is no rain and nothing can grow. 11I have brought drought on the land—on its hills, grainfields, vineyards, and olive orchards—on every crop the ground produces, on people and animals, on everything you try to grow.”
The People Obey the Lord’s Command
12Then Zerubbabel and Joshua and all the people who had returned from the exile in Babylonia, did what the Lord their God told them to do. They were afraid and obeyed the prophet Haggai, the Lord’s messenger. 13Then Haggai gave the Lord’s message to the people: “I will be with you—that is my promise.” 14The Lord inspired everyone to work on the Temple: Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah; Joshua, the High Priest, and all the people who had returned from the exile. They began working on the Temple of the Lord Almighty, their God, 15on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month of the second year that Darius was emperor.
–from Haggai 1
We need Jesus because He is the only one who can! He is the only one who is qualified! Be it for the sacrifices! Be it for the opening of the seals! It’s not Jesus plus, it’s just Jesus!
The Splendor of the New Temple
1On the twenty-first day of the seventh month of that same year, the Lord spoke again through the prophet Haggai. 2He told Haggai to speak to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, to Joshua, the High Priest, and to the people, and to say to them, 3“Is there anyone among you who can still remember how splendid the Temple used to be? How does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all. 4But now don’t be discouraged, any of you. Do the work, for I am with you. 5When you came out of Egypt, I promised that I would always be with you. I am still with you, so do not be afraid. 6“Before long I will shake heaven and earth, land and sea. 7I will overthrow all the nations, and their treasures will be brought here, and the Temple will be filled with wealth. 8All the silver and gold of the world is mine. 9The new Temple will be more splendid than the old one, and there I will give my people prosperity and peace.” The Lord Almighty has spoken.
The Prophet Consults the Priests
10On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of the second year that Darius was emperor, the Lord Almighty spoke again to the prophet Haggai. 11He said, “Ask the priests for a ruling on this question: 12Suppose someone takes a piece of consecrated meat from a sacrifice and carries it in a fold of his robe. If he then lets his robe touch any bread, cooked food, wine, olive oil, or any kind of food at all, will it make that food consecrated also?” When the question was asked, the priests answered, “No.” 13Then Haggai asked, “Suppose someone is defiled because he has touched a dead body. If he then touches any of these foods, will that make them defiled too?”
The priests answered, “Yes.” 14Then Haggai said, “The Lord says that the same thing applies to the people of this nation and to everything they produce; and so everything they offer on the altar is defiled.”
The Lord Promises His Blessing
15The Lord says, “Can’t you see what has happened to you? Before you started to rebuild the Temple, 16you would go to a pile of grain expecting to find twenty bushels, but there would be only ten. You would go to draw fifty gallons of wine from a vat, but find only twenty. 17I sent scorching winds and hail to ruin everything you tried to grow, but still you did not repent. 18Today is the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, the day that the foundation of the Temple has been completed. See what is going to happen from now on. 19Although there is no grain left, and the grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced, yet from now on I will bless you.”
The Lord’s Promise to Zerubbabel
20On that same day, the twenty-fourth of the month, the Lord gave Haggai a second message 21for Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah: “I am about to shake heaven and earth 22and overthrow kingdoms and end their power. I will overturn chariots and their drivers; the horses will die, and their riders will kill one another. 23On that day I will take you, Zerubbabel my servant, and I will appoint you to rule in my name. You are the one I have chosen.” The Lord Almighty has spoken.
–from Haggai 2