Tag: restoration

Times of refreshing!

Scripture reading for May 8th: 2nd Kings 10-12, Acts 3

Key Scriptures:  Acts 3:19-21  “”Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.”” 

Peter called on the Jews to repent and turn to Jesus Christ, the One spoken of by the prophets.  Jesus, alone could restore all things and bring times of refreshing that would follow repentance and turning of hearts to Him.

2nd Kings 12:4-6 “Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the holy things that is brought into the house of the Lord, . . .and the money that a man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the Lord, . .and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered.”. . .  “But by the 23rd year of King Jehoash, the priests had made no repairs on the house (of the Lord).”

Prayer:  Lord, my heart is moved to see Your Holy Temple restored and cleansed.  Cleanse me and Your Church and bring times of refreshing as we obey You.  Amen.

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Rejoice in restoration!

Scripture reading for June 12th:  Psalm 48-51

Key Scriptures:  Psalm 51:10-12  “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take you Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

King David had sinned greatly by committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband Uriah taken out.  He was confronted by Nathan the prophet of God and he humbly confessed his need for cleansing in his heart and restoration.  He even asked for a willing spirit and a continuation of God’s Spirit dwelling in him.  God graciously answered this prayer and all who come to Him for mercy through Jesus Christ!

Rejoicing in restoration:  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  That Go was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”  (2nd Corinthians 5:17-19)

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Thankful for conviction!

Scripture reading for May 26th:  Job 39-42, Psalm 1

Key Scriptures:  Job 42:1-6 “Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted.  You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures My counsel without knowledge?’  Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.  “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’  My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You.  Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

When God came and confronted Job in answer to his request, God’s questions for Job caused him to humble himself and repent of his own questions and lack of understanding.  Job took responsibility for his own sins and recognized that his nature was dust and ashes!

Thankful for conviction:  The Gospel confronts us with knowledge of God and conviction of our own sinful ways, providing Christ’s mercy as the way of escape!   “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.  See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.”  (2nd Corinthians 7:10-11)

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Rejoice in our Kinsman-Redeemer!

Scripture reading for March 14th:  Ruth 1-4, 1st Samuel 1

Key Scriptures:  Ruth 4:13-15  “So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.  The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer.  May he become famous throughout Israel!  He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.”

The hand of our Lord directed Naomi, an Israelite, and her Moabite daughter-in-law to return to Israel after tragically losing their mates.  God raised up a close relative (Boaz) to provide redemption and continue the family line.  God also by grace made this Moabite widow the great grandmother of King David in the line of Jesus Christ!

Rejoicing in Redemption:  God used Naomi’s and Ruth’s faith to further His purposes for bringing about the redemption of mankind through our Kinsman-Redeemer Jesus Christ!   (Mary) “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me–holy is His Name.”  (Luke 1:46-49)

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Danger in failure to repent!

Scripture reading for August 12th:  2nd Corinthians 12

Key scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 12:19-21  “We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.  For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be.  I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.  I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.”  

The pastor’s heart of the Apostle Paul was concerned about the spiritual state of the members of the church at Corinth.  He earnestly desired their strengthening in Christ and spiritual health so he wrote to them concerning sins that he knew were still prevalent there.  This list could still fit many or most church families today!  The sins he listed caused division and strife and would ultimately bring God’s judgment if not repented of!  The only way to deal with any sin is to turn from it, confessing responsibility for the sin and asking Christ for mercy through faith in His sacrifice.  Without repentance sinners will perish!  (Luke 13:3,5)

Observations for over-comers:  Self-examination and regular repentance when the Holy Spirit convicts us keeps our souls healthy and strong!  “Therefore this is what the Lord says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve Me; if you utter worthy, not worthless words, you will be My spokesman. . . .”” (Jeremiah 15:19)

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The year of Jubilee!

Scripture reading for February 10: Leviticus 24-27

In our culture, golden anniversaries are special.  When a couple has been together 50 years there is always a celebration!  God also uses the 50th year as a special year.  He called it the year of Jubilee!  It was a year of freedom and restoration for all of God’s people.  On the 50th year, debts were to be forgiven and property that was taken or bought from the original owner was restored.  No one was to work the land and whatever grew without any human effort was to be used for food for the people.  It was a blessed time that the people looked forward to.  It pictured the reign of Messiah, when he would come and restore the fortunes and possessions of his people and vanquish their enemies.

The Jubilee was the culmination of 7 periods of 7 years.  After 6 years, the Israelites were to rest their land for a year.  God promised to provide enough for them in the 6th year to carry them through until the harvest of the 8th year.  There were to be 7 cycles of 7 years and following the 49th year, on the Day of Atonement, the priests were to sound the trumpet and announce the beginning of the Year of Jubilee! (Leviticus 25:8-10) What a joyous occasion!  God giving us a picture of his amazing restoration and rule of grace!

In the New Testament we find the Jubilee in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 4, verses 18-19.  Jesus announces his calling and ministry by reading from Isaiah 61:1-2.  The proclamation of the “year of the Lord’s favor” was a reference to “Jubilee”!  Jesus is our Jubilee!   He died to bring us into God’s family and restore our inheritance.  One day the trumpet will sound, and the restoration will be completed at the final “Jubilee”!   “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven  with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.”  (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18)

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“Do you love Me?”

Scripture reading for November 3rd: John 18-21

When you are in a covenant relationship with someone, it is always good to affirm our love for that person.  We go through seasons when the relationship may be strained or drifting rather than passionately connected. We go through personal trials and attacks of Satan that seek to knock us off our vows of commitment.  Today we will consider Peter, one of Jesus’ most trusted disciples who denied Jesus three times. (John 18:22-27)

We don’t know exactly how long after the resurrection that the account in John 21 takes place.  Peter and a number of the disciples had decided to go fishing in the Sea of  Tiberius (Galilee).  They fished all night and by morning had nothing to show for.  As they were approaching shore, Jesus stood there and called out to them.  They told Him that they had no fish but didn’t recognize Him.  He told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat.  When they did, they were unable to haul their net into the boat because of the great number of fish!  At that point, John recognized Jesus and told Peter.  Peter immediately jumped into the water and came to Jesus, who had built a fire with fish already cooking and some bread for the tired fishermen.  John’s account states that this was the third time Jesus appeared to them.

After Jesus served them the meal, Jesus turned to Simon Peter and asked him a question. “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15)  This was repeated three times in similar fashion.  Peter’s feelings were hurt because Jesus asked him this three times. (John 21:17)

Jesus wants us all to affirm our love for Him on a daily basis.  We can tell Him we love Him,  but obedience demonstrates the reality of our love.  In Peter’s case, he was called to feed the lambs and sheep.   For us, we must spend time listening, praying and reading His word.  Then obey what He shows us!

A final thought concerned Peter’s death.  Tradition says that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome.  He chose that because he felt unworthy to die as his Lord had!  “To live is Christ, to die is gain!” (Philippians 1:21)

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Covenant Love!

Scripture reading for March 28: 2nd Samuel 8-10

Have you ever sought to help someone who would not be able to do anything for you in return?   In our reading today, King David does just such a thing!  David was a warrior and strong man of God.  He was always ready to fight the Lord’s battles.  He had been involved in a struggle for leadership  following the death of Saul and Jonathan, his friend.   God helped David and brought about victory over Saul’s son Ish-Boseth.  Now David was king, and one of the first acts of his rulership was to seek out any relatives of Saul or Jonathan that he might show kindness to based on his covenant promise to Jonathan.  What an odd thing for a king to do:  show kindness to their chief rival! (2nd Samuel 9:1)

It turned out that one son of Jonathan was still alive.  His name was Mephibosheth and he was crippled in both feet from a fall.  David sent for Mephibosheth and greeted him warmly.  He restored all his grandfather’s land and property to him and placed Ziba, his servant, in charge to work the ground for him.  He gave Mephibosheth a seat at the king’s table like one of David’s own sons! (2nd Samuel 9:7)  What unexpected kindness from this mighty warrior towards a rival whose grandfather had chased him and hunted him for almost thirteen years.

King David’s actions were much like that of our gracious God!  God is a kind king who cares for His people.  He honors those who are in covenant relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.  When we are crippled because of sin, he takes us into his house and seats us as one of his own sons.  He restores our property to us and lavishes us with blessing and restoration.  (2nd Corinthians 5:17) We have grace and favor because of the covenant made with the King’s Son!

Because of God’s favor to you, look for a way to show kindness to someone who is handicapped, needy, or hurting today.  Try to show special kindness in the way that Jesus has shown the same to you!  Remember, if you have done it to the least of these, you did it to Jesus Himself!  God bless you as you follow our Master today in this kindness!  (Matthew 25:40)

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The year of Jubilee!

Scripture reading for February 10: Leviticus 24-27

In our culture, Golden anniversaries are special.  When a couple has been together 50 years there is always a celebration!  God also uses the 50th year as a special year, calling it the year of Jubilee!  It was a year of freedom and restoration for all of God’s people.  On the 50th year, debts were to be forgiven and property that was taken or bought from the original owner was restored.  On this year, no one was to work the land.  The land would be left to rest and whatever grew without any human effort was to  be used for food for the people.  It was a blessed time that the people looked forward to.  It pictured the reign of Messiah, when he would come and restore the fortunes and possessions of his people and vanquish their enemies.

The Jubilee was the culmination of 7 periods of 7 years.  After 6 years, the Israelites were to rest their land for a year.  God promised to provide enough for them in the 6th year to carry them through until the harvest of the 8th year.  There were to be 7 cycles of 7 years and following the 49th year, on the Day of Atonement, the priests were to sound the trumpet and announce the beginning of the Year of Jubilee! (Leviticus 25:8-10) What a joyous occasion!  God giving us a picture of his amazing restoration and rule of grace!

The problem was that the Israelites never took the Sabbath years every 7th year and they never did have a Year of Jubilee.  They knew about it because of Leviticus but failed to do what God asked.  When we fail to obey, God always has His way.  The Israelites went for 7o years of captivity in Babylon so that the land where they had lived and neglected God’s command could have it’s rest! (2nd Chronicles 36:20-21)

In the New Testament we find the Jubilee in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 4, verses 18-19.  Jesus announced his calling and ministry by reading from Isaiah 61:1-2.  The proclamation of the “year of the Lord’s favor” was a reference to “Jubilee”!  Jesus is our Jubilee!  In Him, we have restoration and a return of our stolen property.  God wants us to find our food, fulfillment, and blessing from His grace, not our own efforts!  Jubilee is a picture of Jesus’ provision for every person who trusts in Him by faith!

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Fortune-telling Prophets

Scripture reading for September 21st: Micah 3-5

The false prophets of Micah’s day were in business for the money.  If you fed them, then they would give you a good word.  If you did not, then they were against you!  (Micah 3:6)  God promised that these false prophets would enter a time of darkness where God would not answer them.  He likened them to fortune tellers who gave readings for money!  (Micah 3:11)  They claimed to speak for the Lord and prophesied peace because God was in the midst of His people.

Micah, on the other hand, was filled with the Spirit of the Lord and power.  He was motivated to stand for justice and truth and declared plainly to Israel and Judah their sins.  “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.” (Micah 3:8)  He plainly rebuked Israel for distorting truth and despising justice.  He laid out a case against Judah for bloodshed and wickedness, bribery and money grabbing religion.  The result was God’s judgment on the land and the destruction of Jerusalem.  Micah was declaring the true fortune of the people who were in sin and rebelling against God.

Micah also declared the future state of Jerusalem after the time of exile.  “In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.  Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob.  He will teach us his ways , so that we may walk in his paths.” God has plans for Jerusalem in the future.  It will be established as the central site of God’s rule in the last days.  God’s law and word will go out from there and God will judge between many peoples and establish a reign of peace.

The one who would bring this peace would be born in Bethlehem from the tribe of Judah!  (Micah 5:2)  This ruler would have origins from ancient times.  He would shepherd the flock in God’s strength and His greatness would go to the ends of the earth!  Micah was prophesying the future plans of God for rulership of the earth under Jesus Christ!  Now that’s real fortune telling!

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