God wants to love and bless us

“For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1 NKJV

Are you ready for Malachi? (No, no one is ever ready for Malachi!) Today we grab this book and don’t let go until you are blessed.  But what a dreadful work and process that is – You must face raw truths that cut to the quick. You must finally be humble. You cannot continue to lie to yourself – there is NO ONE righteous enough to press through this book, honestly, without conviction. To some degree or another – since all sin is named, again we find ourselves confronted with the message: REPENT!

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Malachi, chapters 1-4 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).  The name Malachi means God’s Message or God’s Messenger – literal translation is the action of the job of a messenger angel. So the name of the book and right off in the second verse – we know these are the words of the Lord. Because of this, take a moment to get your attitude and heart in the right place, draw all reverence out and show deepest respect. This is the word of the Lord by the divine messenger of the Lord.  The Lord is speaking. Pay special attention.

Yes, we should always pay special attention when we read “Thus says the Lord…” but here, today we have an entire book of thus says the Lord. He says the root problem, lays out a few symptoms that prove the problem and or course reminds us to get it right. This time around (and fitting in my eyes that it is the last book in the Old Testament) – He is very clear that grace has boundaries and limitations.

This book speaks of John the Baptist making a way for Jesus and speaks of another Elijah type person who will make the way before the second coming. It really, nicely sets the stage for the arrival of the Messiah.

So – what is God’s complaint?  Malachi begins and it goes in circles and you might get a little lost or confused – and then as he gets into the symptoms (and conviction may trickle in) it is easy to get hung up on that and miss the overall big picture.  The complaint is that we have NOT believed and loved him with all our hearts, soul and spirit – that we are not 100% surrendered to His will for us.

Before I did today’s reading, I thought I was good – every day I wake up and tell God I surrender all and ask for His help – I ask Him to magnify the feelings of conviction, even before I sin – so I may be aware and draw closer and surrender more. So, I must be good going into this. I also have read and studied Malachi before – so I must be ready.  Before I finished todays reading, I was in tears repenting and surrendering areas I thought I had surrendered. I surrendered to an idea that God would work it out a certain way and I was good with it – but I must say I am good with it no matter which way it turns out. Do I believe He is God? Do I believe He is good? So even if it seems scary and uncomfortable, but it is God’s will – then isn’t that what is good for me?

Since we read Esther – I have been quoting her resolve: “If I die, I die”. If I live, it is Christ’s will and Christ within me and Life more abundantly – and if I die it is heaven and eternally at the goal, having won the prize.  So why get hung up on symptom? Face the truth of the problem head on – is this real? If so, let us act like it.

There is a lot in this message – and Malachi is like an angle with a deep blessing.  We need to ask God to give it to us as we read and wrestle with ourselves and with the message and work out our salvation and choose and hold on and do all the things like Jacob wrestling with the angel for his blessing! Do not leave this book without your transformation.  Let it prepare the way as we move next into the birth and life of our Lord and Redeemer!

Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand is not actually enough anymore – God misses us, cries for us – longs to have a relationship with us before our grace runs out – within the time frame in order for us to fulfill His plans for us. Oh yes, His grace is longsuffering – but we all die at some point and run out of chances to get this right – and we will answer for it and to respond with “at least I made it” will not be good enough for you or for God.

Highly debated is the doctrine of “once saved, then always saved” and people have used scriptures to defend it and other use scriptures to say you can lose your salvation.  Since it is unclear – I err on the side of being able to lose it.  Because then I fight to protect it and hang on – to make sure I bear fruit – that when I get there he doesn’t say “go away, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23). I do not want to be lukewarm and find out what it means in revelations that He will spit lukewarm Christians out of his mouth.

This whole book is a love letter from God where He is saying He loves you and wants so much more for you – just surrender all and let Him be master and father over all areas of your life. He just wants a close relationship with you.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4 NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Malachi 1-4 NKJV

Polluted Offerings to God

The [a]burden of the word of the Lord to Israel [b]by Malachi.

Israel Beloved of God

“I have loved you,” says the Lord.
“Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’
Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?”
Says the Lord.
“Yet Jacob I have loved;
But Esau I have hated,
And laid waste his mountains and his heritage
For the jackals of the wilderness.”

Even though Edom has said,
“We have been impoverished,
But we will return and build the desolate places,”

Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“They may build, but I will throw down;
They shall be called the Territory of Wickedness,
And the people against whom the Lord will have indignation forever.
Your eyes shall see,
And you shall say,
‘The Lord is magnified beyond the border of Israel.’

Polluted Offerings

“A son honors his father,
And a servant his master.
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honor?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?
Says the Lord of hosts
To you priests who despise My name.
Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’

“You offer defiled food on My altar,
But say,
‘In what way have we defiled You?’
By saying,
‘The table of the Lord is [c]contemptible.’
And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice,
Is it not evil?
And when you offer the lame and sick,
Is it not evil?
Offer it then to your governor!
Would he be pleased with you?
Would he accept[d] you favorably?”
Says the Lord of hosts.

“But now entreat God’s favor,
That He may be gracious to us.
While this is being done by your hands,
Will He accept you favorably?”
Says the Lord of hosts.
10 “Who is there even among you who would shut the doors,
So that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain?
I have no pleasure in you,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“Nor will I accept an offering from your hands.
11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down,
My name shall be great among the Gentiles;
In every place incense shall be offered to My name,
And a pure offering;
For My name shall be great among the nations,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

12 “But you profane it,
In that you say,
‘The table of the [e]Lord is defiled;
And its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’
13 You also say,
‘Oh, what a weariness!’
And you sneer at it,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick;
Thus you bring an offering!
Should I accept this from your hand?”
Says the Lord.
14 “But cursed be the deceiver
Who has in his flock a male,
And takes a vow,
But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished—
For I am a great King,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“And My name is to be feared among the nations.

Corrupt Priests

“And now, O priests, this commandment is for you.
If you will not hear,
And if you will not take it to heart,
To give glory to My name,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“I will send a curse upon you,
And I will curse your blessings.
Yes, I have cursed them already,
Because you do not take it to heart.

“Behold, I will rebuke your descendants
And spread refuse on your faces,
The refuse of your solemn feasts;
And one will take you away [f]with it.
Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you,
That My covenant with Levi may continue,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“My covenant was with him, one of life and peace,
And I gave them to him that he might fear Me;
So he feared Me
And was reverent before My name.
The[g] law of truth was in his mouth,
And [h]injustice was not found on his lips.
He walked with Me in peace and equity,
And turned many away from iniquity.

“For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge,
And people should seek the law from his mouth;
For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
But you have departed from the way;
You have caused many to stumble at the law.
You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base
Before all the people,
Because you have not kept My ways
But have shown partiality in the law.”

Treachery of Infidelity

10 Have we not all one Father?
Has not one God created us?
Why do we deal treacherously with one another
By profaning the covenant of the fathers?
11 Judah has dealt treacherously,
And an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem,
For Judah has profaned
The Lord’s holy institution which He loves:
He has married the daughter of a foreign god.
12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob
The man who does this, being [i]awake and aware,
Yet who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!

13 And this is the second thing you do:
You cover the altar of the Lord with tears,
With weeping and crying;
So He does not regard the offering anymore,
Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands.
14 Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because the Lord has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
15 But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.

16 “For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words;
Yet you say,
“In what way 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?”

The Coming Messenger

“Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

“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 launderers’ soap.
He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
He will purify the sons of Levi,
And [j]purge them as gold and silver,
That they may offer to the Lord
An offering in righteousness.

“Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem
Will be [k]pleasant to the Lord,
As in the days of old,
As in former years.
And I will come near you for judgment;
I will be a swift witness
Against sorcerers,
Against adulterers,
Against perjurers,
Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans,
And against those who turn away an alien—
Because they do not fear Me,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

“For I am the Lord, I do not change;
Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Yet from the days of your fathers
You have gone away from My ordinances
And have not kept them.
Return to Me, and I will return to you,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“But you said,
‘In what way shall we return?’

Do Not Rob God

“Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
Says the Lord of hosts;
12 “And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

The People Complain Harshly

13 “Your words have been [l]harsh against Me,”
Says the Lord,
“Yet you say,
‘What have we spoken against You?’
14 You have said,
‘It is useless to serve God;
What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance,
And that we have walked as mourners
Before the Lord of hosts?
15 So now we call the proud blessed,
For those who do wickedness are [m]raised up;
They even tempt God and go free.’ ”

A Book of Remembrance

16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who [n]meditate on His name.

17 “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts,
“On the day that I make them My jewels.[o]
And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him.”
18 Then you shall again discern
Between the righteous and the wicked,
Between one who serves God
And one who does not serve Him.

The Great Day of God

“For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“That will leave them neither root nor branch.
But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
You shall trample the wicked,
For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet
On the day that I do this,
Says the Lord of hosts.

“Remember the Law of Moses, My servant,
Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel,
With the statutes and judgments.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

Footnotes

  1. Malachi 1:1 oracle, prophecy
  2. Malachi 1:1 Lit. by the hand of
  3. Malachi 1:7 Or to be despised
  4. Malachi 1:8 Lit. lift up your face
  5. Malachi 1:12 So with Bg.; MT Lord
  6. Malachi 2:3 Lit. to it
  7. Malachi 2:6 Or True instruction
  8. Malachi 2:6 Or unrighteousness
  9. Malachi 2:12 Talmud, Vg. teacher and student
  10. Malachi 3:3 Or refine
  11. Malachi 3:4 pleasing
  12. Malachi 3:13 Lit. strong
  13. Malachi 3:15 Lit. built
  14. Malachi 3:16 Or esteem
  15. Malachi 3:17 Lit. special treasure

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