Day Twenty-Five: Malachi

Today I used my ability to switch books again and ended up in the book of Malachi. In this brief message God brings 4accusations against his people:

1. They are offering defiled sacrifices.

After spending so much time in the Old Testament lately, this is pretty horrifying to be honest. There was a time where kings and prophets offered hundreds of animals to the Lord, and did so joyfully! David and Solomon are some great examples. To see that the people clearly no longer offer their sacrifices with joy but merely out of duty is devastating.

2. The priests have left God’s path.

God specifically accuses the Levites of no longer serving Him with reverence- and thus passing that lack of reverence to the people. He says that the Levites “…have shown favoritism in the way you carry out my instructions.” (Malachi 1:9b). Their actions are leading the people into sin, and God demands that they stop.

3.They are unfaithful.

This accusation addresses the husbands and wives of Judah. God accuses them of marrying women who serve idols, and divorcing their wives. As a result the Lord declares that he is not going to accept their offerings.

4. They are robbing God of the tithes and offerings due Him.

Again, after reading so much in the Old Testament lately this is really disappointing. According to the Law every feast has a different purpose and required offerings. God uses these offering for many things- to give the people a way to demonstrate their faith and love for him, as an atonement for sin and as a way to provide for his priests. God promises to bring them into abundance if they just start obeying his commands again!

It all sounds pretty grim- except for promise God included in chapters 3 and 4. He says:

“Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heavens Armies.- Malachi 3:1

They don’t know it, but Jesus is coming! And as I look at this list of accusations I am fully aware that God could lay these same things and more at the churches feet- but the promise of Malachi still applies to us!

Jesus is coming.

Tomorrow, I’ll be headed back to Deuteronomy. See you then!

In Christ,

Karen

Day Twenty-Four: Numbers

This book is very appropriately named. It has covered the counting of God’s people and the counting of wealth of Israel. It also included how many animals should be used for which sacrifices, what tithes should be paid, and lists of the physical provisions God had made for each tribe.

But one of the biggest things I noticed was Moses’s brother Aaron. He served as Israel’s high priest during their wilderness wandering and after reading this I don’t think he gets nearly enough credit!

Moses was clearly the one speaking directly to God (Numbers 12:8), but Aaron was responsible for the day to day running of the Tabernacle. He supervised setting it up and packing it up when God moves Israel to a new location. He lead the sacrifices, mixing incense, directing the Levites who served in the Tabernacle. And considering the fighting men of Israel numbered over 600,000 he has no small task before him!

And all that aside Aaron stood beside his brother. Every time Israel backslid and brought the wrath of God upon themselves, Moses and Aaron physically stood between the people and God’s wrath, interceding on their behalf.

I’m very impressed by this man of God, and again I don’t think he received the credit he is due at times.

Tomorrow I will continue on into the book of Deuteronomy! I’ll be traveling with our student ministry next week, so I’m trying to hit some of this bigger books this week and save the smaller ones for our trip.

In Christ,

Karen

Day Seventeen: 2nd Thessalonians

Welcome back!

Today I read 2 Thessalonians- my 17th book of the Bible in as many days. Like 1st Thessalonians, this letter was penned by Paul, Silas and Timothy. It’s a little shorter than the first, but full of encouragement!

First, they encourage the church to continue with what they are doing- and that they are continually praying for them.

Then, they encourage the church not to be alarmed- the return of Jesus hasn’t happened yet. They remind the people of what is to come and the regardless of how bad it gets, Jesus still reigns victorious.

Finally they encourage the believers to pray for them- that the Gospel is spread quickly and that they will be rescued from evil people. They also remind them to avoid living an idle life dependent upon the church- they encourage them to work to earn their own living.

As I read this the call to prayer really stood out to me. Because in each prayer- both the one for Thessalonica and the one for Paul, Silas and Timothy- focuses around advancing the Kingdom.

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him.” – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12a

“Finally, dear brothers and sisters we ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you. Pray too that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not everyone is a believer.” -2 Thessalonians 3:1-2

It made me reflect on my own prayer life. How often do my prayers reflect this? Sure, I pray for ministries, fellow pastors and those I want to see come to Jesus- but if I’m honest a lot of my prayer time goes toward people who are physically injured or ill.

Now, I’m not saying that these prayers are wrong at all! But these passages did make me think that I need to spend more time praying over and for the mission of the church- both locally and globally! A new personal challenge perhaps?

Tomorrow I will be reading the book of Job! Thanks for following along!

In Christ,

Karen

Day Sixteen: 1st Thessalonians

I can not believe that we are 16 books into this challenge! It has gone by faster than I expected.

Today I am in 1 Thessalonians. I’m not super familiar with this book and right off the bat I learned something new! It states that this letter is from Paul, Silas and Timothy, and as you read the letter clearly reflects that. The word “we” is used liberally as these three praise and encourage the church in Thessalonica.

First they reflect on the first visit with the church- how they came to Christ and how proud they are of the way the new believers imitated Christ.

Then Paul, Silas and Timothy were called to another area and the scriptures say they were separated for a while. So long in fact that Paul admits that he got nervous and sent Timothy to “find out whether your faith was still strong.” (1 Thessalonians 3:5).

And the next paragraph is so beautiful! I can practically see the excitement of these 3 pastors and this section is penned. 1 Thessalonians 3: 6-7 says:

“But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports you remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you! So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith.”

As a pastor I can honestly say I completely understand their joy. I love seeing students I’ve poured into standing strong in their faith and doing what God has called them to do! It’s so easy to get caught up in the work that still needs to be done or the struggles we are currently dealing with.

I highly encourage you to look back at pastors or spiritual mentors in your life and call them, text them or send them a card saying how much their ministry is still influencing your life.

For example my youth pastor, Kyle mentored me my last 2 years of high school. He and his wife were like second parents to me in high school and it was while I was in his ministry that I was called into ministry.

Jeff Grof is the one who sat me down and helped me fill out a student leader application and constantly urged me to push myself.

My high school debate coach Colleen Averill taught me how to communicate well and was always there to encourage me or give me a hug.

Mac & Jen Dalton, a couple who constantly encourages our family and walked us through a season of change and waiting.

I could go on and on and on.

I know for a fact that these people are still there for me and rejoice with our family when they see what God has done- and many others. So take a moment and touch base with someone who has poured into you- and rejoice together.

Tomorrow join me in 2 Thessalonians!

In Christ,

Karen