Today’s Reading – Malachi 3-4
“Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring 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! Your 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. “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. (Malachi 3:8-12 NLT)
I don’t like to test God. In fact, I try to avoid it if at all possible. Yet, the tithe is one area where He challenges us to test Him. I was reminded of this illustration this year with the abundant harvest we saw all around us in the fields this year. Each crop was plentiful and it was that way in my little garden as well. Some reported that they had so much that they lacked space to store it. I was reminded of these verses in Malachi. If we will honor God with the tithe, He will bless us.
Application to me – Most of us are not farmers these days. We have to honor God with our money because that is how we are compensated for our work. God rewards our faithfulness in giving. I have seen that in my life and am encouraged to continue by His faithfulness to me each year.
As I look back on anther year, God’s blessings are everywhere in my life. I rejoice in them and look forward to another year of His grace and goodness.
Warren Weeks – December 31, 2013
Today’s Reading – Malachi 1-2
Here is another thing you do. You cover the Lord ’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. (Malachi 2:13-15 NLT)
God expects us to honor our marriage vows. We can’t separate any part of our life from our relationship to God. In order to be in right relationship with God, He takes seriously the vows we have made in marriage.
Application to me – God takes marriage seriously. Probably more seriously than we do sometimes. These verses remind me to be thankful for my wife and her love for me and the love I have for her.
Warren Weeks – December 30, 2013
Today’s Reading – Zechariah 11-12
The burden of the word of Jehovah concerning Israel. Thus saith Jehovah, who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him: behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it be in the siege against Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it. (Zechariah 12:1-3 ASV)
Jerusalem will be a burden to those who oppose it. We have seen that is true in the last 50 years. Those who oppose Israel always seem to come up on the short end of the stick. Zechariah’s prophecy has come true in our lifetime as well.
Application to me – I am reminded today that all of God’s promises come true and are applicable to our life today in some way. It is our task to seek it out and find it.
Warren Weeks – December 27, 2013
Today’s Reading – Zechariah 9-10
Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt. (Zechariah 9:9 NLT)
Zechariah told of Jesus’ coming and riding on a donkey. We know from the gospels that Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. The people hailed Him as king yet riding on a donkey was not a symbol of victory. Righteousness and victory do not necessarily go with humility.
Application to me – Am I humble when my righteousness exceeds those around me in my eyes? When I am victorious in something, is my first thought of humility? I can learn a lot from the image of Christ that Zechariah describes.
Warren Weeks – December 26, 2013
Today’s Reading – Zechariah 7-8
But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things, says the Lord.” Here is another message that came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The traditional fasts and times of mourning you have kept in early summer, midsummer, autumn, and winter are now ended. They will become festivals of joy and celebration for the people of Judah. So love truth and peace. (Zechariah 8:16-19 NLT)
God’s message to show mercy to others, love justice, obey God and love others is always the same. The prophets said it in different ways but the message never varied.
Application to me – How closely do I follow what God desires? Something to think about today.
Warren Weeks – December 25, 2013
Today’s Reading – Zechariah 5-6
I looked up again and saw a scroll flying through the air. “What do you see?” the angel asked. “I see a flying scroll,” I replied. “It appears to be about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide. ” Then he said to me, “This scroll contains the curse that is going out over the entire land. One side of the scroll says that those who steal will be banished from the land; the other side says that those who swear falsely will be banished from the land. And this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I am sending this curse into the house of every thief and into the house of everyone who swears falsely using my name. And my curse will remain in that house and completely destroy it—even its timbers and stones.” (Zechariah 5:1-4 NLT)
Zechariah saw some crazy stuff. Flying scroll, woman in a basket and the four chariots. Those four horses seem to show up a lot in Scripture. The flying scroll shows how seriously God takes stealing and lying.
Application to me – Can God trust me with a vision? The prophets were ordinary guys but followed God so closely that they had a special relationship with Him that they could be trusted with visions. I want to be close to God so He can trust me to proclaim His powerful message and be true to His calling on my life.
Warren Weeks – December 24, 2013
Today’s Reading – Zechariah 3-4
And I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these are? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts. (Zechariah 4:4-6 ASV)
Zechariah sees a vision of a lamp stand with two olive trees beside it. He asks what the trees were. The angel’s reply was that they were the Spirit of God. The trees represented the source of the light because they produced the oil for the lamps. It wasn’t might or power that produced the light but the Spirit of God.
Application to me – What is the source of light in my life? What guides my steps each day? Is it the light that I can produce or God’s light that guides me?
Warren Weeks – December 23, 2013