By the Spirit!

Scripture reading for October 9th:  Zechariah 3-7

Key Scriptures:  Zechariah 4:6-7  “So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.  What are you, O mighty mountain?  Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground.  Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God Bless it!””

Zerubbabel was the governor who was in charge of the rebuilding in Jerusalem.  The difficulties and resistance was like a mighty mountain that could not be moved with human strength.  But God promised supernatural help by the Spirit!  What man could not move, God’s Spirit would accomplish as His people walked in dependence on Him and not their own strength, money or ability.

Empowered by the Spirit:  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

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Rejoicing in the Lord’s Coming!

Scripture reading for October 6th:  Haggai 1-2, Zechariah 1-2

Key Scriptures:  Haggai 2:6-9  “”This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.  I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory.’says the Lord Almighty.  ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.  The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord.”

Haggai gave Israel a word of warning and encouragement.  God was going to ‘shake the nations’ as well as the heavens and the earth.  This would happen in ‘a little while’.  After this shaking, the ‘desired of the nations’ would come.  The Lord would fill His house with glory and grant peace there to His people.  We are now awaiting the “Desired of the Nations” and the glorification of our bodies to be like His glorious body!

The Lord’s Glorious Return:  “Immediately after the distress of those days, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light’ the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’  At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.  They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.”  (Matthew 24:29-30)

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Rejoice! Shout! Sing!

Scripture reading for October 5th:  Habakkuk 2-3, Zephaniah 1-3

Key Scriptures:  Zephaniah 3:14-15, 17  “Sing, O Daughter of Zion shout aloud, O Israel!  Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,  O Daughter of Jerusalem!  The Lord has taken away your punishment, He has turned back your enemy.  The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;  never again will you fear any harm. . . .The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  

Zephaniah saw a day coming when God would rescue His people and end their time of punishment.  He would defeat their enemy and be revealed as their great King!  Fear would be removed forever and God’s Presence would comfort and enfold His people as He took great delight in them and rejoiced over them!  What a beautiful picture of prophetic encouragement!  Believers await that day when the Great King is revealed and He surrounds them with His great love and joy!

Rejoicing in eternal joy:  “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be nor more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  (Revelation 21:3-4)

 

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A God who Amazes!

Scripture reading for October 4th:  Nahum 1-3, Habakkuk 1

Key Scriptures:  Habakkuk 1:5  “”Look at the nations and watch–and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if your were told.  I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth. . . .”” 

Habakkuk had questions for God.  It appeared that God was allowing injustice in the land of His people.  It appeared that God was tolerating evil and wrong-doing.  But God answered him by telling him to look at what He planned to do:  use a wicked and ruthless nation to judge His people!  This was a hard concept to grasp.  A good and holy God who used even the wicked for His good purposes.  God’s people would have a hard time believing in God’s plans to save them too, when His Son Jesus Christ revealed the way of salvation!

God’s amazing salvation:  “”Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.  Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:  ‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, if if someone told you.'”  (Acts 13:38-41)

 

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Rejoicing in Jesus our Shepherd!

Scripture reading for October 3rd:  Micah 3-7

Key Scriptures:  Micah 5:2, 4-5  “”But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me One who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.  . . . He will stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the Name of the Lord His God.  And they will live securely, for then His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth and He will be their Peace.”

Micah was given prophetic insight concerning the coming ruler of Israel who would be born in the town of Bethlehem  (House of Bread). This information came over 700 years before the special person would be born.  In fact, this “Ruler” would be a shepherd to His people, bringing security and provision and most importantly, peace!  This “Ruler” would indeed be famous in the entire earth!

Rejoicing in prophetic fulfillment:  “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the One who has be born King of the Jews?  We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.  . . . “In Bethlehem in Judea, they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:  “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a Ruler who will be the shepherd of My people Israel.'”  (Matthew 2:1-2, 5-6)

 

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Rejoicing in God’s Great Compassion!

Scripture reading for October 2nd:  Jonah 3-4, Micah 1-2

Key Scriptures:  Jonah 4:4-5, 10   “On the first day, Jonah started into the city.  He proclaimed:  “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.”  The Ninevites believed God.  They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.   . . . When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened.”  

Jonah had vowed to preach whatever message God gave him for the wicked city of Nineveh.  He began a walk across the huge city that would take three full days announcing God’s plan to judge them in just 40 days.  This brought holy fear and faith to the whole wicked city and they repented!  When God saw their faith and deeds of repentance, He had compassion on them!  He would much rather save people than bring judgment.  What an awesome God of compassion we serve!

God’s great compassion:  “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  (2nd Peter 3:9)

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Thankful for One greater than Jonah!

Scripture reading for September 29th:  Amos 8-9, Obadiah, Jonah 1-2

Key Scriptures:  Jonah 1:14-17  “Then they cried to the Lord, “O Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life.  Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for You, O Lord have done as You pleased.”  Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm.  At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to Him. But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.”

Jonah had been instructed to go to Nineveh and preach God’s coming judgment.  Jonah rebelled and boarded a ship for Tarshish.  A great storm arose and God revealed it was Jonah who had caused it.  Jonah told them to cast him into the sea.  They did and this calmed the angry waves.  God provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, where he stayed for three days and nights.  His ordeal mirrors prophetically that of Jesus Christ over 800 years later, who preached repentance to His own people!

God’s amazing plans:  “He (Jesus) answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!  But none will be given it except for the sign of the prophet Jonah.  For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented a the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.””  (Matthew 12:39-41)

 

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Thankful for a Good God!

Scripture reading for September 28th:  Amos 3-7

Key Scriptures:  Amos 5:14-15 “Seek good, not evil, that you may live.  Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say He is.  Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts.  Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.”

As a good father warns his children, so God warned His people, Israel, of coming judgment as consequences for their sins and rebellion. He sent Amos with a call to repentance:  “Seek Me and live.”  (Amos 5:4)  Real life was found in keeping God’s commandments and doing what He decreed was good.  If they would repent, God would show mercy.  But pride and arrogance and riches and complacency caused God’s people who heard Amos’ message to sent him away:  “Get out, you seer!  God back to the land of Judah!”   (Amos 7:12)  May we listen to our Good Father’s advice today!

Thankful for a Good Father’s instruction:  “Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”  (Romans 12:8-11)

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Thankful for Salvation!

Scripture reading for September 27th:  Joel 1-3, Amos 1-2

Key Scriptures:  Joel 2:30-32  “I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.  And everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved, for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the survivors whom the Lord calls.”  

Joel saw a vision of a devastating locust plague that swept over the land.  This locust plague was a type of the judgment that God was planning to send on His rebellious people.  Joel called God’s people to fasting, prayer and repentance.  He then reminded them of God’s promise of warnings that would precede this judgment and also His promise of deliverance for all who would call on the Name of the Lord!  This prophesy has meaning and brings hope for all today who will call on God’s Name!

Thankful for God’s faithful promise:  “For their is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly bless all who call on Him, for, “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.””  (Romans 10:12-13)

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Rejoice in God’s victory over death!

Scripture reading for September 26th:  Hosea 10-14

Key Scriptures:  Hosea 13:14  “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.  Where, O death, are your plagues?  Where, O grave, is your destruction?”  

Hosea had a Word of God for the remnant that would trust in Him.  God, who alone had the power over death, would ransom them from the grave and redeem them from death!  God asked two questions of “death” and the “grave”.  The answer was that “death” and the “grave” would have no plague or power to destroy God’s people or to negate God’s power over them!  This verse was quoted by Paul in the New Testament and given to encourage Christ’s church about the certain victory they have in Christ!

Rejoicing in our victory through Christ:  “”Where, O death is your victory?  Where, O death is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”  (1st Corinthians 15:55-56)

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