Wednesday, March 8, 2023

today's meditation - RELATIONSHIPS

I have felt led and prompted to change course at this point.  

I will continue "Today's Meditation" here on this blog after I finish the next topic on "RELATIONSHIPS".

As always, because I want to know what God says on this topic, I will be reading through the Bible and taking notes on everything regarding our relationships - with God, ourselves and others, which will of course include friendships, dating, marriage, raising children, etc.

You can find this Devotion Focus blog from this


today's meditation (Mal.4) Remembering the Ten Commandments

(Dear Lord Jesus, guide me and give me insight as I read and study Your word, and let it be the meditation of my heart...)

(Malachi 4:1-5) “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of armies, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branches. 2 But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and frolic like calves from the stall. 3 And you will crush the wicked underfoot, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I am preparing,” says the Lord of armies.

4 “Remember the Law of Moses My servant, the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.

5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and strike the land with complete destruction.”

Here is a reminder of the Mosaic covenant, that in order to have their covenants fulfilled, Israel as a nation must be obedient to God's word.  The only way to be perfectly obedient is to believe in and trust in the Lord.  This being the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) who would soon come in flesh.  But they failed to recognize their Messiah, and they rejected Him. Their covenants have yet to be fulfilled.  And they are still waiting for their Messiah.
Therefore, this chapter is also a reminder that for those who don't look to the Lord for their salvation, there will be destruction and judgment. One day, all unbelievers will go through the Tribulation.  Within those seven years, not only will the Israelites see the signs of Jesus' second coming, but the Lord will send messengers throughout the earth with the gospel message.  So, during that time, Israel as a nation will believe... realizing that Jesus was and is their Messiah.
When Jesus returns and has victory at the battle of Armageddon, He will do away with evil, and take with Him all those who became believers during the Tribulation.  He will then establish the Millennial kingdom and fulfill all of Israel's covenants.  During that time, He will also heal people, and establish peace and justice over the entire earth.
Meanwhile, to avoid going through the Tribulation, as well as eternal death, we must give our hearts to the Lord.  As a believer, remember God's words, which includes the ten commandments.  The first half is all about fearing, respecting and loving the Lord.  The second half is all about loving people.  To believe in the Lord includes embracing His word and His will.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

today's meditation (Mal.3) Growing Our Faith

(Dear Lord Jesus, guide me and give me insight as I read and study Your word, and let it be the meditation of my heart...)

(Malachi 3:1-18) “Behold, I am sending My messenger, and he will clear a way before Me. And the Lord, whom you are seeking, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of armies. 2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderer’s soap. 3 And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old, and as in former years.

5 “Then I will come near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, those who oppress the wage earner in his wages or the widow or the orphan, and those who turn away the stranger from justice and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of armies. 6 “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, the sons of Jacob, have not come to an end.

7 “From the days of your fathers you have turned away from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of armies. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’

8 “Would anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the entire nation of you! 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and put Me to the test now in this,” says the Lord of armies, “if I do not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. 11 Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruit of your ground; nor will the vine in the field prove fruitless to you,” says the Lord of armies. 12 “All the nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the Lord of armies.

13 “Your words have been arrogant against Me,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is pointless to serve God; and what benefit is it for us that we have done what He required, and that we have walked in mourning before the Lord of armies? 15 So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up, but they also put God to the test and escape punishment.’”

16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened attentively and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and esteem His name. 17 “And they will be Mine,” says the Lord of armies, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will have compassion for them just as a man has compassion for his own son who serves him.” 18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

The answer to the question, "Who can stand before the Lord?" is - no one.  We are all born with a sinful nature.  But when a person choses salvation in Jesus, it is Jesus who refines us, and cleanses us from our sins, and covers us with His righteousness, and only in His strength are believers able to stand before Him.  
Everything we have is from the Lord.  And so, with a grateful heart, and a trusting heart, why would we not trust the Lord to take care of all that we have and all that we are going through and all that we are to do?  As believers, we will have the desire to give to God with our time, money and energy.  We are not saved by works, and we do not keep our salvation because of works, but in our works - our faith is evident. 
The awesome thing is that everything we give and do in God's strength and wisdom brings glory to Him.  To trust in the Lord fully will be evident in how we stand in God's promises with obedience.  This is when we will see our own faith grow - in the love, strength and faithfulness of God.

Monday, March 6, 2023

today's mediation (Mal.2) Following Good Examples

(Dear Lord Jesus, guide me and give me insight as I read and study Your word, and let it be the meditation of my heart...)

(Malachi 2:1-17) “And now, this commandment is for you, the priests. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the Lord of armies, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. 3 Behold, I am going to rebuke your descendants, and I will spread dung on your faces, the dung of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it. 4 Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, so that My covenant may continue with Levi,” says the Lord of armies. 5 “My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and was in awe of My name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and injustice was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and justice, and he turned many back from wrongdoing. 7 For the lips of a priest should maintain knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of armies. 8 But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have ruined the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of armies. 9 “So I also have made you despised and of low reputation in the view of all the people, since you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction.”

10 Do we not all have one Father? Is it not one God who has created us? Why do we deal treacherously, each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord which He loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 As for the man who does this, may the Lord eliminate from the tents of Jacob everyone who is awake and answers, or who presents an offering to the Lord of armies.

13 And this is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and sighing, because He no longer gives attention to the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your marriage companion and your wife by covenant. 15 But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And why the one? He was seeking a godly offspring. Be careful then about your spirit, and see that none of you deals treacherously against the wife of your youth. 16 “For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with violence,” says the Lord of armies. “So be careful about your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”

Often, when God's word gives us a bad example of what not to follow, He gives us a good example to follow.  In this chapter, our good example is Levi.  And, most often, when God's word tells us what not to do, He then tells us what we should be doing.  These are all the points found in this chapter:
  • being saved is to live in God's life and peace,
  • walk with the Lord in peace,
    • therefore DO NOT deal treacherously with others or be violent
  • be careful about your spirit,
  • nurture your relationship with the Lord,
  • show reverence to the Lord and His name,
  • be in awe and give honor to His name
  • be awake and answer to the Lord while giving your offering,
    • therefore DO NOT profane the sanctuary
  • obey the commandments which are given as an object of reverence to revere the Lord
  • keep the Lord's way,
    • therefore DO NOT cry to God when you are willfully living in sin and expect Him to find favor with you
  • seek instruction from our spiritual leaders who are messengers of God
  • listen, take it to heart, 
  • maintain knowledge,
  • give true instruction,
  • teach your children to be godly,
    • therefore DO NOT twist God's word to consider evil things good in God's sight
  • walk with the Lord in justice, 
  • give true justice,
    • therefore DO NOT show partiality
  • turn others from wrongdoing,
    • therefore DO NOT cause others to stumble
  • a believer should marry another believer,
  • nurture your marriage,
    • therefore avoid divorce and DO NOT treat your spouse treacherously

Saturday, March 4, 2023

today's meditation (Mal.1) Giving of Our Best

(Dear Lord Jesus, guide me and give me insight as I read and study Your word, and let it be the meditation of my heart...)

(Malachi 1:1-14) The pronouncement of the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi:

2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was Esau not Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob; 3 but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and given his inheritance to the jackals of the wilderness.” 4 Though Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins”; this is what the Lord of armies says: “They may build, but I will tear down; and people will call them the territory of wickedness, and the people with whom the Lord is indignant forever.” 5 And your eyes will see this, and you will say, “The Lord be exalted beyond the border of Israel!”

6 “‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the Lord of armies to you, the priests who despise My name! But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?’ 7 You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is to be despised.’ 8 And when you present a blind animal for sacrifice, is it not evil? Or when you present a lame or sick animal, is it not evil? So offer it to your governor! Would he be pleased with you, or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of armies. 9 “But now, do indeed plead for God’s favor, so that He will be gracious to us. With such an offering on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?” says the Lord of armies. 10 “If only there were one among you who would shut the gates, so that you would not kindle fire on My altar for nothing! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of armies, “nor will I accept an offering from your hand. 11 For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name shall be great among the nations, and in every place frankincense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name shall be great among the nations,” says the Lord of armies. 12 “But you are profaning it by your saying, ‘The table of the Lord is defiled, and as for its fruit, its food is to be despised.’ 13 You also say, ‘See, how tiresome it is!’ And you view it as trivial,” says the Lord of armies, “and you bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I accept it from your hand?” says the Lord. 14 “But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King,” says the Lord of armies, “and My name is feared among the nations.”

Yeah, so, I'm going to put the shoe on the other foot.  How would we feel if someone claimed that they loved us like family but invited us over and served us expired food that made us sick while they ate a freshly prepared gourmet meal?  Or how would we feel if we were a fireman who had saved a person from a burning building, and the person gifted everyone in the department with expensive gold watches but gave us a plastic hourglass from an old boardgame?  Or how would we feel if our children just stopped visiting or talking to us, even after we've done the best to help them towards a successful life?
Considering that the Lord is God, King, Creator of everything, and considering everything the Lord has done, is doing and will do for us, does He not deserve our love, energy, time, attention, devotion, honor and our very best?  He is so much MORE than worthy!

Friday, March 3, 2023

today's meditation (Zech.14) Seeing and Knowing

(Dear Lord Jesus, guide me and give me insight as I read and study Your word, and let it be the meditation of my heart...)

(Zechariah 14:1-21) Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoils taken from you will be divided among you. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be taken, the houses plundered, the women raped, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be eliminated from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west forming a very large valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and the other half toward the south. 5 And you will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!

6 On that day there will be no light; the luminaries will die out. 7 For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at the time of evening there will be light.

8 And on that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.

9 And the Lord will be King over all the earth; on that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.

10 All the land will change into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. 11 People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will live in security.

12 Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth. 13 And it will come about on that day that a great panic from the Lord will fall on them; and they will seize one another’s hand, and the hand of one will be raised against the hand of another. 14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. 15 And just like this plague, there will be a plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, the donkey, and all the cattle that will be in those camps.

16 Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of armies, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. 17 And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of armies, there will be no rain on them. 18 And if the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

20 On that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the Lord.” And the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the bowls before the altar. 21 Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the Lord of armies; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them. And there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord of armies on that day.

Only unbelievers will go into the Tribulation, but there will be those becoming believers during the seven years, along with Israel as a nation.  They will see the judgements, the signs of Jesus' second coming and believe.  Some of the judgements include the sun and stars losing their light, wars, plagues, and earthquakes.
Near the end of the Tribulation, like the parting of the Red Sea, the Lord will cause an earthquake which will create a valley for all believers to use to escape the enemies.  Then the Lord will come again with His holy ones to have victory at the battle of Armageddon and remove all sinners from the earth.
Only believers will enter the Millennium, but there will be people born into that time period and they will have to make their choice - to make Jesus their Lord and Savior or not.  Jesus will be right there on earth, governing it with immediate and righteous justice.  Jesus will also be right there in person to answer and guide people.  And Jesus will fulfill all of Israel's covenants.
As for right now, all believers have the indwelling omniscient Holy Spirit to help guide us.  The Lord is omnipresent, so anywhere and all the time, we can talk to Him and make our requests known.  And because the Lord is omnipotent, nothing is impossible for Him.  We also have access to God's written word, the Bible, which is relevant and applicable to any situation we could ever encounter.  Because God desires that all come to know Him, He is faithful so we can see and know - BEHOLD - we can be confident and trust in Him.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

today's meditation (Zech.13) Going Through the Fire

(Dear Lord Jesus, guide me and give me insight as I read and study Your word, and let it be the meditation of my heart...)

(Zechariah 13:1-9) “On that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for defilement.

2 “And it will come about on that day,” declares the Lord of armies, “that I will eliminate the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land. 3 And if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who gave birth to him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, because you have spoken falsely in the name of the Lord’; and his father and mother who gave birth to him shall pierce him through when he prophesies. 4 Also it will come about on that day that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive; 5 but he will say, ‘I am not a prophet; I am a cultivator of the ground, because a man sold me as a slave in my youth.’ 6 And someone will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will say, ‘Those with which I was wounded at the house of my friends.’

7   “Awake, sword, against My Shepherd,
     And against the Man, My Associate,”
     Declares the Lord of armies.
     “Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered;
     And I will turn My hand against the little ones.
8   And it will come about in all the land,”
     Declares the Lord,
     “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish;
     But the third will be left in it.
9   And I will bring the third part through the fire,
     Refine them as silver is refined,
     And test them as gold is tested.
     They will call on My name,
     And I will answer them;
     I will say, ‘They are My people,’
     And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

By the end of the Tribulation, two thirds of the earth itself will have been destroyed.  At the battle of Armageddon, Jesus will come again and have the victory.  He will then take all those (about one third of the people) who have become believers during the Tribulation into the Millennial kingdom where He will establish and maintain peace on earth.  Therefore, these believers will have come through the "fire" of the Tribulation.
Salvation in Jesus and trusting in Him brings us through the fire, when we pass from earth to heaven.  All people will be judged!  Unbelievers will be judged by their sins, all of them, and none of them will be justified.  For believers, because all our sins have been forgiven, our account has been wiped clean, and Jesus covers us with His righteousness as our eternal protection.  So, we will be judged for the deeds done with right motives.  All other "good" deeds will be burned up, and we will be rewarded for those that come through the fire - those done with pure motives, in Jesus' strength and righteousness.
For right now, when we go through tribulations in our lives, we need to realize that these are tests meant to refine us.  Like in verse 7, which is a reference to when Jesus was arrested and the disciples scattered, instead of becoming scared, discouraged or bitter, we can look to the Lord for our help in order to see what a mighty work He will do.  Trusting in Him will bring us through "the fire" of our struggles.  This is not only how one's faith will grow stronger in the Lord, but this is also how our testimony to others will shine through.