Saturday, 31 March 2007

You have your reward

“Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” - Matthew 6v2

There is nothing new about men who carry out their religious practices and rituals simply to be seen by others. The Pharisees did it by making a big show of their giving and looking for a pat on the back to affirm their supposed spirituality. We may not be as obvious as that – but if we are not careful we can get caught in the same trap of doing our religious practices for the purpose of getting recognition.

Jesus deals with this in a very clear manner. He says that if we give alms, or do anything else religious, to get men to see how spiritual we are, we already have our reward – it is done.

The question is a matter of faith. Are we willing to wait for God’s reward, or are we content to gain the immediate gratification of man’s praise?

Friday, 30 March 2007

Love your enemy

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” - Matthew 5v43-44

Jesus’ teaching often flew in the face of common thinking. He never fit the mould of the times. He forced the leaders to think outside of the box. This is one clear example of that.

Everyone agrees that we should love our family, our neighbours, and our God. That is easy enough and no one would question that. No controversy there.

It is Jesus’ expansion of that teaching that flies in the face of convention.

  • Love your enemies
  • Bless them that curse you
  • Do good to those who hate you
  • Pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you

This is the kind of teaching that really pushes the limits of our faith – to pray for those who are out to destroy us? I recently read a book that challenged me on this point. Here is the test – can we pray for people like Al-Qaeda? Can we pray for the terrorists who carry suicide bombings on innocent people? Think about it – most of these folks are seeking to make God happy in their own way. They really think that their actions will please God. Who needs our love and prayers more than them?

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Let it go

“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” - Matthew 5v39

No one likes to be criticised, attacked, cut off in traffic, called a name, etc. Our first fleshly response is to lash back in word or deed. We just don’t like it when someone does something to us. We are always tempted to “get our own back” when this kind of thing happens.

Jesus addressed this issue. He does not teach that we must lay down and submit to any kind of attack, but He does tell us that we should never respond with a retaliatory attitude. In our language today Jesus would very well be saying, “let it go.”

We need never take a “get him back” attitude. It will ruin us and make us ineffective in our service to God. God will sort it all out.

Let it go

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Let your yes be yes and your no be no

“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” - Matthew 5v37

Jesus continued to speak about the correlation between what is done on the outside and what is going on inside the heart. It was common practice in His time on earth and even today where we are supposed to make a promise, or swear an oath to prove that we are going to do what we say or that we are speaking the truth.

Easy enough to take an oath and easy enough to break it. Jesus says that we are not even to take an oath. Jesus’ teaching is simple – just tell the truth! Simple enough, no hassle, no complication, no deep theology – just tell the truth.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Dealing with adultery

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” - Matthew 5v27-28

A list of rules and “dos and don’ts” can be a blessing in some ways. All you have to do is obey the rules on the outside and everything is okay. If God would just tell us clearly what to do and what not to do we would be fine, just go down the tick list and we are right with God.

The Law did this in a sense and the religious leaders had perfected it. Do this and you are spiritual, do this and you are not. Easy enough, right?

Then Jesus came along and shook everything up. It is not enough just to act right, now Jesus says what is in our heart is what is really important. Here He talked about adultery. Most of us can say, “I have never committed adultery.” Fair enough, good job, we are okay there. Jesus took it to a new level when He said – “If you lust after a person you are committing adultery in your heart.” Jesus is saying that the outside is not enough. In the dirty little corners of our hearts there may be things hiding that we would never want to come out, but Jesus says that if we lust we have committed adultery.

We may pass one test. How do we do when we put ourselves to Jesus’ standard?

Monday, 26 March 2007

The danger of anger

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” - Matthew 5v21-24

Jesus was accused by some of trying to destroy the Law. In actuality nothing could have been further from the truth. In this section He explains what it means to fulfil, or complete the Law. The first thing He deals with is anger.

We all know how dangerous anger can be. Jesus said that not only is it dangerous, but unjust anger can be equated with murder. When you think about it, it is not that hard to understand. Anger, if not controlled can make a person irrational and lead them to act without thinking. Even if nothing follows in the way of action, the angry feelings can create a “murder of the heart.”

Jesus’ teaching is ideal here – don’t let anger fester. Deal with it quickly. In fact, unless we deal with angry feelings we really can’t have fellowship with God.

Lets learn, with God’s grace, to deal with anger quickly and completely before it becomes “murder of the heart.”

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Not one jot or tittle

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” - Matthew 5v17-18

One of the reasons that Jesus’ message was not initially well received was that the scribes, Pharisees, and other religious said that He had come to destroy the Old Testament law. Of course this accusation would cause huge opposition because to the Jew that Law was everything.

Jesus made it clear that that was not His purpose. In fact He says that God’s word cannot be destroyed, every jot and every tittle are preserved until it is all fulfilled. A jot is similar to a full stop and a tittle is similar to a serif on a typeset. It does not seem that these would be that important, but God says that it is all important – every part of His word is important and every part is preserved.

We can rest assured that what God says He keeps. Jesus did not come to wipe out the Law. He came to fulfil the promises of it. His word I just as important today as it was when He wrote it. We can take great comfort in the fact that His word was His word, it is is His word, and it always will be His word.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Let your light shine

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” - Matthew 5v14-16

I don’t think any of us could even doubt that we live in a world of total darkness. It seems to just get darker and darker day after day. Men are stumbling about in the darkness without hope and without guidance.

Into the world of darkness God sends light in three ways.

  • The word of God is called a lamp for our feet and a light for our paths
  • Jesus is called the Light of the world

These both are clear images of light in darkness. We know that Jesus provided the light needed for salvation and that His word provides light for living. We can all bear testimony to that. There is however one aspect of light that is bit more challenging:

  • You are the light of the world

Me? Light? What an awesome responsibility. Many people are never going to open a Bible and many only hear about Christ when they use His name as a curse. Where are they going to see the light? Jesus has the answer – they are going to see the light in us!

What are we going to do about it? By God’s grace we must never keep our light hidden from those who are in darkness. We need to let it shine before all men so that in our good works God might be glorified!

“This little light of mine- I’m going to let it shine!”

Friday, 23 March 2007

You are the salt of the earth

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” - Matthew 5v13

Salt is probably the one mineral which has had the greatest impact on the history of the world. Wars have been fought and empires lost over salt. Economies have risen and collapsed over salt.

Salt has an important history for two reasons – 1) Its preserving power, and 2) its flavour enhancing capacities. Jesus used salt here to describe His followers as the “salt of the earth.” He mentions how that salt that has lost it flavour is only good to be thrown on the roads and paths to be walked on. Salt does not go off. Jesus is talking about common salt that is not pure, but mixed with other minerals and chemicals. This kind of salt is worthless – the only use for it is to clear ice or kill vegetation along the road. A good picture for us in road grit used in the winter the treat icy roads – we would never use this on our tables!

This is a perfect picture of one aspect of our ministry here on earth. We are to be the pure salt of the earth – undefiled by sin. When our saltiness is mixed with sin we are no better than road grit, we have no flavour and no preserving power. May God make us the pure salt in the world and may we flavour the world with His word.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Rejoice and be exceeding glad

“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”. - Matthew 5v12

“Rejoice and be exceeding glad,” sounds like a wonderful idea. Wouldn’t we all like to “rejoice and be exceeding glad?” Anyone who read just that phrase would be excited at the prospect.

The context however might be a little “put-offish.” Jesus said that we should rejoice and be exceeding glad when we are persecuted and reviled for His sake. Now we see one of the great paradoxes – when persecution comes for Jesus’ sake we are to rejoice!

It just doesn’t seem to make sense. Rejoice in persecution? How are we supposed to do that?

The key here, like so often, is looking beyond the present circumstances to what God is going to accomplish. We are not going to fit into this world – full stop. People are not going to get it, and eventually our stand for Christ may make it difficult as we face persecution.

What do we do? Rejoice, our reward in heaven is great, and beside – it has already happened to others!

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Immediately they followed Him

“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.” - Matthew 4v19-20

Repentance is a vital theme of the New Testament. When Jesus began His public ministry He picked up the same message as John, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” We must note the importance of His message – repentance is vital. Christ’s message is incomplete without repentance.

As He began to preach Jesus came across two men whom He had met as disciples of John. Peter and Andrew had returned to their nets. We don’t know whether their ministry with John had been temporary or whether they had left, but now they had a new task.

Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Their response is amazing and challenging for us. The Bible reports that they immediately they left their nets and followed Him. There was no discussion, no debate, and no delay. They simply followed.

What do we do when challenged in various areas to follow Him? Sadly it is too easy to sit back and debate if we should do what He wants. Our fears and trepidation can keep us back.

Lord, give me the strength to simply follow when you call.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Man does not live by bread alone

“And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward hungry. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” - Matthew 4v2-4

When I was watching television recently I heard a comment on a talk show that man’s three driving forces were food, sleep, and sex. This sort of summarises the mindset of the world today. If a person has enough food, sleep, and sex everything will basically be okay. There was no mention of anything outside the physical.

This kind of thinking drove Satan to the His first temptation of Christ. After praying and fasting for forty days Jesus was led into the wilderness where He encountered the devil. Knowing His physical hunger Satan tempted Him by challenging His deity and telling Him if He really were God He could turn the stones into bread.

Jesus shot down the whole theory of what life was all about. Man does not live by bread alone. To fit the quote above we might also say that man does not live by sleep alone or sex alone. What else is needed for real, complete life? Jesus said that he lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. God’s word is a vital part of a real life.

That being the case we must take care never to neglect that part of our lives. Do we give God’s word as much emphasis as the areas mention on the talk show? How far off base we can become when we focus on the physical.

Monday, 19 March 2007

This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased

“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” - Matthew 3v16-17

This is a unique passage in scripture. The baptism of Christ was an occasion of such import that all three persons of the Trinity were present. Jesus was there in the flesh, the Holy Spirit was there in the form of a dove, and God the Father spoke from heaven. In this way God put His public sanction on the ministry of Christ that He had approved and ordained before the foundation of the world.

There is more to it than that though – His words are a tremendous picture of His love when we consider what the ultimate purpose of His coming was for this beloved Son, with whom He was “well-pleased,” to go to the cross for my sins.

What a wonderful truth for us to remember. God loved us so much that He sent His beloved Son to die for our sins. All we can do in response to that kind of love is to respond by loving Him and serving Him.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand

“And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” - Matthew 3:2

After the excitement of a baby born in Bethlehem and angelic announcements nothing more happened for about thirty years. The next visitation from God came in the form of the prophet John boldly preaching and baptising in the wilderness. God’s message was the same it had been when He left off with Malachi – God’s people must repent of their sins.

John was laying the groundwork for the arrival of Messiah. Total repentance, as the Law had taught was impossible. John was trying to make people aware that they needed another avenue. Messiah would come with His message of grace and mercy to provide what they truly needed.

But the message of repentance would endure. Repentance would now be the sign of true salvation. Repentance does not change, but the good news is that Jesus makes it possible, and He is the only avenue.

Repentance is also for the believer, and we really have no excuse for with Emmanuel we have all the power needed to repent. The question is, do we really want to?

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Emmanuel – God with us

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” - Matthew 1v23

What an amazing God we have! When we think of God and man it is difficult to think of anything more different. He is perfect, holy, sinless, all-love, all-grace, all-mercy, and all-truth. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and unchangeable. Man is none of these, we must work at being holy, loving, merciful, graceful, and truthful and we cannot be omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and unchangeable. All of this makes the truth of Emmanuel even more amazing.

Emmanuel means, “God with us.” This is one of the most amazing facts feasible. God with us – it doesn’t really even make any sense does it? How does it happen, this “God with us-ness?” It happens only by the grace and mercy of our loving, merciful, perfect, indescribable God.

Every day when I awake I need to remember that the God who brought the morning is here, with me. May and love, serve, praise, and sing to the God Who is with me!

Friday, 16 March 2007

Call His name Jesus

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” - Matthew 1:21

Four hundred years had passed since God had spoken to Israel through Malachi. In our terms the people had not heard from God since about 1600. Four hundred years of silence from God – surely they had given up hope of ever hearing from God again.

Suddenly God spoke! First He spoke of a new prophet; John was to be born to bring a message of repentance. No one but his parents heard these words, but God was speaking and it was time for man to listen.

A few months later God spoke again. This time the words were of awesome import. He came to a little, insignificant carpenter in Nazareth. The words He spoke must have stunned poor Joseph. “Your fiancĂ© is pregnant…” How he must have been gutted – he knew that he had not sinned with Mary. God didn’t make him wait long – “but don’t fret, this child is My son. You are going to call Him Jesus” Why Jesus, after all that was almost the same as Joseph’s name?

The answer shook the earth! “He will save His people from their sins.” Jesus – Saviour, the Messiah – the One who would, through death provide salvation for the world.

What wonderful news after four hundred years of silence. The most amazing thing is that He not only saved those people 2000 years ago, but He came to save me as well!

Thursday, 15 March 2007

The Sun of Righteousness

“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” - Malachi 4v2

God closes His word in the Old Testament with great words of comfort to those who choose to fear and trust Him. At the very end He says that those who don’t follow Him will one day face a curse. The sense of that curse is final destruction.

But praise God that is not where He leaves it. There is a message of hope before he gets to that point. “To those who fear my name the Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in His wings…” Those who choose to fear God are not going to face the curse that the rest of the world will face.

Praise God for the healing in His wings. There is so much pain, hurt, and suffering in the world today that there is comfort in the knowledge that we have a Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings. Lets avail ourselves of His marvellous healing!

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

I will make them my jewels

“And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” - Malachi 3v17-18

Many times in the Old Testament God makes comments and promises that do primarily apply to Israel. Yet these show an aspect of God’s character that also has an application for His people in the church. Here God mentions that the day will some when those who truly fear God will be honoured as He makes them His jewels and they will know right from wrong and behave accordingly.

The picture of becoming God’s jewels in beautiful. God will make those who fear Him into His jewels, His precious possession, or as Ephesians puts it, his workmanship.

It is an amazing fact that God could take rough, broken, dirty vessels and turn them into His jewels. Praise God that He is the Master Jewel Crafter!

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

God does not forget us

“Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.” - Malachi 3v16

Sometimes, if we are to be totally honest, we can have the same feelings as the people of Israel did. Sometimes, we too could be tempted to say, “What is the use of serving God? Is He really listening? Is He really going to do anything for us?” God doesn’t always act the way we think He should and sometimes we don’t like it.

Sadly, at that time we really are not fearing God the way we should. Those who fear the Lord talk about it to each other. God heard them and, to illustrate it in a way that we can understand, He created a book of remembrance for all that feared the Lord and thought on Him instead of their situations and their problems.

Of course God doesn’t need a book to remember us, but what a precious thought for us to dwell on. When it seems the darkest, lets remember that we are remembered where it counts – with God.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Will a man rob God?

"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” - Malachi 3v8-10

Can you imagine anything worse than robbing God? Israel was bound by Old Testament law to tithe and give a certain amount. They had stopped doing so and in doing that they had robbed God of what was rightfully His. By robbing God of what was His they were depriving themselves of what He wanted to do in their midst. God gave them a way out – “You want to see the blessings return? Try me out, go back to giving me what is mine and I will bless you so much that you will not be able to receive it all.

We, of course, are no longer bound by the Old Testament law. Praise God that it was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ! Is it possible for us to rob God? Can we do the same thing Israel did?

Not exactly of course. We can’t break a law the does not bind us. We can however rob God by not giving Him what is His. When He purchased me on the cross I became His, My body became His temple. He bought me; I am His lock, stock, and barrel.

How do I rob God today? I do so when I don’t give Him my very best. When I hold back my time, my efforts, my resources, my talents, my abilities, and my very best I rob Him of what is rightfully His.

I wonder how God could bless if we all stopped robbing Him and gave God His due? I wonder if He could open the windows of heaven for us and pour out such a blessing that we would not be able to receive it?

Sunday, 11 March 2007

If you return to me I will return to you

“Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?” – Malachi 3v7

Today’s thought goes hand in hand with yesterday’s. God said, “I am the Lord, I do not change.” Pure and simple; uncomplicated – God does not change.

So what happens when we don’t feel close to God? What happens when the lines of communication seem broken? What happens when the joy of the Lord seems to have departed? What happens when our Christian life does not seem as vibrant and exciting as it used to?

Lets try to put two and two together here. If our relationship to God is not what it once was, and He never changes – who changed?

Praise God for the knowledge that He is still there, He hasn’t moved. All He is waiting for is for us to return to Him.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

I am the Lord, I do not change

“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” - Malachi 3v6

I am the Lord – I do not change. There are many words of great comfort in the word of God, but His unchangeableness must be one of greatest comfort. Everything else in life changes; only He stays the same no matter what. We age, and eventually we die. Governments come and go. Even creation groans under the weight of sin and “waxes old like a garment.”

But God never changes – never. What does that mean for us? First of all we have the same God who said, “Let there be light” and who parted the Red Sea so that six million Jews could cross over in one night. This means that we have the all-powerful God of the universe “On our side” when we belong to Him.

What else does it mean? It means that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He is just as powerful and alive today as He was when He walked on earth. His power has not diminished nor will it ever diminish.

Even more personal than that is the marvellous personally is the fact that Jesus Christ is just the same today as He was the day we first got saved. His love for us has not diminished. Even when we fall He does not change - He still loves and cherishes us. Even when we shamefully sin and make a mockery of His sacrifice on the cross, His love does not change. Even when we “kiss Him only to betray Him again” He still loves us. Praise God that He never changes!

Friday, 9 March 2007

You have wearied the Lord with your words

“Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?” - Malachi 2v17

How does God get tired of our words? In this case Israel wearied God with their words when they went on they own merry way without worrying about their actions or their sin. Their attitude was, “Why not, God isn’t going to do anything about it.” Little did they know that God was about to send the worst kind of judgement on their sin. What could be worse that the judgements of the Old Testament? They were about to find out – four hundred years of silence from God.

There could be nothing worse than not hearing from God at all. Think of how it feels when fellowship is broken with a loved one. Think of the empty, hollow feeling consumes you. This is what Israel was about to experience.

God hates sin, and is going to deal with it. Today through the blood of Christ our sins are forgiven, washed over by the blood of Christ, and the judgement is paid. Yet, God still hates sin. As believers we must be aware of God’s attitude towards sin. We are still His children when we sin, but we can’t expect the sweet fellowship with Him that comes when we are living pure and holy lives.

If we truly want to hear from God and see Him at work we must see sin as He sees it, then confess and forsake it.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Giving God less than best

“And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts. And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts.” - Malachi 1v8-9

At the end of the Old Testament God laid out His “bill of particulars” against Israel. This little book summarises all that had gone wrong.

One major problem was their sacrifices. They were sacrificing things to God that they knew the government would not have accepted in taxation. The attitude was, “Well, since no one else will take it we will give it to God.”

We can look back and think about how wicked it was to give God second best. Or, we can see it there is something there for us to learn. How do we do when it comes to giving to God? Does God have the very best of our time, our possessions, and our efforts? Are we ever giving God what man would not accept?

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Where is my honour?

“A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?” - Malachi 1v6

Malachi is probably, in my mind, the most heart-breaking book in the Bible. In retrospect we know that it would be God’s last words to His people for four hundred years. In it we see God’s heart as He points out to the nation how they have continued to disobey and dishonour Him with their words and actions.

In this section God points out that it is natural foe a son to honour his father and a servant to respect his master. Yet God points out that though He is both Father and Master His people are not showing Him the honour and respect which He is due.

“If I am your Father, why aren’t you honouring Me? If I am your Master why don’t you respect Me?” You can almost hear His heart breaking as He knows that they are not going to respond.

What about our own lives? We claim that God is our Father and our Master. Do we show Him the honour and respect that He is due, or do we just keep Him around to help us in a jam?

Does God see us the same way He saw Israel in this passage?

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

HOLINESSS TO THE LORD

“In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowls before the altar.

- Zechariah 14v20

During this present age God calls on us to live a holy life in a very unholy world. There is little around us conducive to living a life of holiness and separation. The world has a strong draw and we live everyday right in the middle of it.

Let’s look forward to the day of the Lord that Zechariah talks about. In that day even the bells an the horses harnesses will be holy. The cooking pots in every house will be as special and dedicated as the vessels in the Holy of Holies. There will be no differentiation between what is holy and what is unholy. All will be holiness to the Lord!

Can we even imagine what a day that will be? All the struggles with sin put away. Won’t it be a wonderful thing to live holy lives in a holy world?

Monday, 5 March 2007

The Lord shall be king

“And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” - Zechariah 14:9

Along with yesterdays entry there is another exciting aspect of the Lord’s one day return. When the Lord comes back again He is going to come as King of the whole world. During the millennial reign of Christ He is going to literally be reigning on earth as King of the world, and we are told that we are going to live and reign with Him for a thousand years!

It is a great joy today to know Jesus as our own King in an eternal, spiritual realm. One day it is going to be real and physical. He is going to reign on earth as the literal King of the world. There will be only one Lord. All false belief systems and all false gods will be done away with.

We have so much to look forward to! While we live and function here on earth may we look forward with excitement and anticipation that one day my King will be THE King!

Sunday, 4 March 2007

The day of the Lord comes

“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.” - Zechariah 14v1

“The day of the Lord comes” is such a short little statement that we might overlook it if are not careful. Another danger is that we might be so accustomed to hearing a certain phrase that we forget the import of it. Yet, the fact that the Lord is coming should thrill our souls and we should always look forward to His return.

The fact that this theme preached by the prophets, expanded upon in the New Testament and concluded the Bible should remind us that it is a vital truth that we must never lose sight of. All through the years Christians have believed. Patrick, the evangelist to Ireland in the fifth century was looking forward to the :soon advent” of our Lord.

How can we be expected to keep looking and being excited about it? Because the Lord says the day of the Lord is coming. The fact that it doesn’t fit our timeframe doesn’t mean that it is not true.

The day of the Lord IS coming. What a day that will be!

Saturday, 3 March 2007

These are the things you shall do

“These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.” - Zechariah 8v16-17

When God gives instructions to His nation Israel in a particular time and place in the Old Testament it is obvious that not all of them are for us or applicable to us. However sometimes God does lay down principles for us that reveal something of His character and what He wants to see.

Here God gave Israel a few simple instructions about what He expected out of them.

  • Speak the truth to your neighbour
  • Do what is honest and peaceable
  • Don’t think badly about your neighbour
  • Don’t love dishonesty

Aren’t those practical thoughts in a day and age that generally teaches just the opposite of each of these points? Someone said recently that we should live radically different lives in order to draw men to Christ. Doing these things would certainly be considered radically different! Perhaps men could see the radical difference and be drawn to our Saviour if we took these things to heart and put them into action.

Friday, 2 March 2007

He cried and they would not hear

“Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts:”

- Zechariah 7:13

Not everyone is willing to listen when the word of God is preached. There is a time when some people will not hear God’s word. They refuse to heat God when His man cries out.

God is patient. He wants all men to come to Him. He sends His word and His people to call all men to repentance. His great love draws all men to Him, yet there are some who will not listen when He calls.

God is patient. He waits patiently for men to call out to Him. Sadly, the day is going to come when it will be too late. God’s patience is not infinite – one day it will be too late to call out to God. Once man has crossed death’s door they can call all they want, but God will not hear.

We have a pressing need to see men come to Christ while they have a chance. May we be constantly praying and sharing while men have their chance.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Should you not obey

“Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?” - Zechariah 7v7

Israel really thought they had it figured out and that they were doing it all right. They were praying and fasting on a regular basis for several years. When it didn’t seem to them like this was all “working” they came to the priests and asked them. They didn’t have an answer so they went to the prophet Zechariah. He did have an answer, but it might not be what they wanted to hear.

“Who are you fasting for?” Sometimes fasting can be misdirected. It is possible that we can fast for our own benefit, so that we feel like we are doing our duty, or even to have a goal that we want accomplished. There is a “feel good” factor to our fasting if we are not careful. The test of whether or not our fasting is proper is here in verse seven – “Should you not hear the words which the Lord has cried out?” Hearing God’s word implies obedience. There can be no doubt that God desires our prayer and fasting, but even more than that He wants our obedience.

We read in another place that to obey is better than sacrifice, from this passage we read that to obey is better than fasting.

Let us examine ourselves as we fast. The answer is not to stop fasting, but to always obey with our fasting.