Archive for the month “July, 2016”

Pondering the Word – Malachi 3:16

PonderingtheWordJust to give you some background, here is what Chuck Swindoll says about Malachi…

The people of Judah began to be exiled from the Promised Land in 605 BC, returning from Babylon seventy years later. By the time of Malachi, they had been back in the land for more than a hundred years and were looking for the blessings they expected to receive when they returned. Though the temple had been rebuilt, the fervor of those early returning Israelites gave way to a thorough apathy for the things of God. This led to rampant corruption among the priesthood and a spiritual lethargy among the people.

Malachi came along at a time when the people were struggling to believe that God loved them (Malachi 1:2). The people focused on their unfortunate circumstances and refused to account for their own sinful deeds. So God pointed the finger back at them, and through Malachi, God told the people where they had fallen short of their covenant with Him. If they hoped to see changes, they needed to take responsibility for their own actions and serve God faithfully according to the promise their fathers had made to God on Mount Sinai all those years before.

The verse that most caught my attention this week was Malachi 3:16, “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored His name.” 

As I use my sanctified imagination I have pondered what it was that those who feared the Lord talked about together. I have no doubt that they were appalled by the way others around them were talking about God (3:13-15). I have no doubt that they were appalled by the way that their fellow Jews were “robbing God” (3:8-12). I Have no doubt that they were appalled at the behavior of the priests of God (2:1-9). They were not gossiping together but expressing righteous indignation concerning the way that the Lord was being blasphemed – not by those who were not Jews but by those who were Jews, the people of God’s own choosing.

Whatever they talked about was pleasing to God because He “listened and heard.”

May our conversations be such that they capture the attention of God and cause Him to perk up His ears so to speak. May we be appalled by the lackluster way that even those who call themselves Christian behave in the name of God. And may God create within us a righteous fervor that demonstrates tangibly that we are among those who “fear the Lord.”

Quotes Worth Pondering – Craig Groeschel

QuotesWorthPonderingWhen it comes to your marriage, if the grass looks greener somewhere else, it is time to water your own yard!

Articles Worth Pondering – How To Pray When Your Soul Is Bone Dry

Articles Worth PYou know you ought to pray. You know that God invites and even commands you to pray. He loves to hear from you, loves to know you. Yet there are times when your soul feels bone dry, when even opening your mouth to pray seems an impossibility. What do you do?

Read the rest of this article by Tim Challies by clicking HERE

Pondering the Word – Nehemiah 8:10

PonderingtheWordThe last part of Nehemiah 8:10 says this, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” This has been one of my favorite verses in Scripture for a long time. Perhaps you have even noticed that it is on the banner picture of this blog. As I read it again this week in its context of Nehemiah 8 I began pondering this question: Where does this joy come from that gives us the kind of strength we need to deal with all that life throws at us?

2 passages that help with the answer. The first is Nehemiah 8:7-10…

7 The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah—instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there.
8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.
9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
In this first passage we see that the Israelites’ hearts had been pierced by the Word of God. As the Scripture was read they wept and they grieved as they realized how far short they had fallen from living out the life-energizing dictates of the Word. They recognized just how disobedient they had been and they began to understand how critical it was to know and understand and live out what the Bible says. Notice verse 12…
12Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
The 2nd passage is John 15:9-11…
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
This passage reiterates what Nehemiah says… obedience to the Word enables us to experience the freshness of God’s love for us and to find joy – a complete and abiding joy.
One of the reasons that so many “Christians” seem so miserable is because of disobedience. The world has so influenced the church that often believers think they are followers of God when they are just tag-a-longs. We, the church, needs to hear God’s Word as if it were the first time – like the Israelites in Nehemiah’s day – and allow our hearts to be pierced and broken and then renewed and invigorated by “the joy of the Lord.”
 joyoftheLord

Quotes Worth Pondering – C.S. Lewis

QuotesWorthPondering“Christianity , if false, is of NO importance, and if true , of INFINITE importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

Articles Worth Pondering – POKÉMON GO IN A FRACTURED AND FLATTENED WORLD

Articles Worth PPokémon Go has taken America by storm. If you’ve seen people on the streets of your neighborhood peering into their phones, you’ve witnessed their attempt to catch mythical creatures that appear in various places. Pokémon Go is a cross between geocaching and augmented reality games, and the results have been astounding….

Read the rest of the article by clicking on the link below:

POKÉMON GO IN A FRACTURED AND FLATTENED WORLD by Trevin Wax

Quotes Worth Pondering – Paul David Tripp

QuotesWorthPonderingGrace calls you to keep forsaking old ways for new and better ways and then enables you with the presence, power, and promises of God.

Articles Worth Pondering – Assisted Suicide: A Quadriplegic’s Perspective

Articles Worth PJoni Eareckson Tada begins her article this way…

Culture is so easily influenced by the entertainment industry. This is why I am sounding an alarm about a very dangerous message in a film released this summer. The movie? Me Before You.

I went to see Me Before You the first week it was out. I was curious because the story is about a young man named Will who became paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. The filmmakers did a great job of conveying his emotional struggles in facing a life without use of his hands or legs. As you might expect, Will falls into suicidal despair. That is until his mother hires Louisa, an upbeat young woman who sees it as her job to cheer him up. In time, they fall in love.

Click on the link below to read the rest of the article.

Assisted Suicide: A Quadriplegic’s Perspective – by Joni Eareckson Tada

Pondering the Word – Ezra 9:4

PonderingtheWordThere is a verse here in Ezra that carries great weight:

“Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel…”  (Ezra 9:4)

I am reminded also of what the Lord says in Isaiah 66:2, “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”

As I ponder this little phrase several questions come to mind:

  • Where are the “everyones” in our world who “tremble at God’s Word”?
  • Why do we NOT tremble at the Word of God?
  • What would the church look like if the saints of God trembled at God’s Word?

I’ll just leave those questions hanging out there this week for you and I to think about. I do know this – Ezra was a man who trembled at God’s Word and it made all the difference in his life. I’m not sure that I know many people that I can say this about. Including myself. Much to ponder.

 

Quotes Worth Pondering – Tim Keller

QuotesWorthPonderingIf your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself.

A broken person is a much more attractive leader to God, than one who doesn’t know that he is broken.

What you do today is shaped by what you believe about tomorrow.

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