Reflection on Haggai 2:1-9

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Haggai2:1-9

Scripture

“I will shakes all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,” says the Lord Almighty.

Observation

Haggai calls to the High Priest, the governor and the remnant of the people. After the rebuilding of the Temple, some of the people who remember the old Temple are feeling that the new building does not match the old one.

Haggai brings the word of the Lord to encourage them. The Lord reminds them that He is still with them, as He has been since He led them out of Egypt.

In a little while the Lord will shake the nations, and people will come from all nations to worship at the Temple. The Lord declares that the glory of the new Temple will be greater than that of the old house,

Application

As we get older we can pine for the “Good Old Days.” We may look to a simpler age, a happier time in our family or perhaps an exciting time when God seemed to be at work in our own lives or in the church.

God is always with us and He is always planning a “new thing.” His glory increases in our lives as we continue to surrender to him.

Sometimes the work of the Lord is exciting and busy, like harvest time. Other times He is working deeply where we cannot see. But always, it is the same God bringing about His purposes.

Prayer

Father please help me to understand how you are working in me at this time. May I trust that the glory of the present time is greater than the glories of the past. Amen.

Reflection on Luke 19:1-10

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+19.1-10

Scripture

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this house today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham.”

Observation

Jesus enters Jericho, where a chief tax collector named Zacchaeus climbs a sycamore tree to get a glimpse of the Messiah. Jesus comes to the tree, looks up and calls Zacchaeus down, inviting himself to Zacchaues’ house.

Zacchaeus joyfully takes Jesus to his house, but the self-righteous people grumble at Jesus going to the house of a sinner. At the meal, Zacchaeus tells Jesus that he is going to give half his wealth to the poor and repay those whom he has cheated.

Jesus replies, “Salvation has come to this house today. The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”

Application

The issue of salvation confounds those who are religious. They cannot grasp the power of grace to transform sinners. As they don’t consider themselves to be sinners, they have no concept of grace.

Jesus wakes us up to His grace. Every sin, MY sins, even the darkest ones, are capable of being forgiven, repented and removed.

As we see His never ending grace to us, our hearts are changed, and those things that once gave us security, pleasure or power seem so undesirable in the light of His love. Sin stops being fun.

The tricky part is maintaining our awe of God’s grace and remembering where we came from so that we avoid that other awful sin- self-righteousness.

Prayer

Lord your grace is beyond my words. You continue to rescue sinners like me and to forgive sins like mine. Help me Lord to stay on the highway of humility, and free from all forms of self-righteousness that would blind me to grace. Amen.

Reflection on 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/search?%s=2+Thessalonians+1.1-12

Scripture

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.

Observation

Paul tells the Thessalonians that he always thanks God for them because they are growing in faith and in love for one another.

They will be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God for which they are suffering. When the Lord Jesus returns, those who trouble them will receive judgement. All who do not know God will be punished with everlasting judgement and shut out from the presence and majesty of the Lord.

Paul prays for them constantly that God will fulfil every good deed prompted by their faith.

Application

What pleases God about our walk with Him is that we grow in faith in Him and in love for our brothers and sisters. Along with this, naturally, comes opposition. This may take the form of outright persecution or more subtle forms of mockery and derision.

In all of this, we must look to the big picture, that God is working out His purposes in us and through us. Those who remain hostile to God will experience God’s rigthteous judgement, eternal separation from Him.

That judgement will come; we don’t need to make it happen. In the meantime we set our hearts on growing in faith and love.

Prayer

Eternal Father, you are holy and righteous, gracious and loving. Help me to grow in my experience of you each and every day

Reflection on Habakkuk 1:1-2:4

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/search?%s=Habakkuk+1.2-2.4

Scripture
The revelation awaits its appointed time
It speaks of the end and will not prove false
Though it linger wait for it
It will certainly come and will not delay

Observation
Habakkuk calls out to the Lord and asks Him to do something about the violence and injustice he sees in the land.

The Lord replies that He is going to do something amazing. He will raise up the Babylonians to sweep across the whole earth.

The Lord tells Habakkuk to write down this revelation on tablets so that a messenger may run with it. The revelation awaits its appointed time. It will be proved true, but they are to wait for its appointed day.

Application
Habakkuk prays about violence and injustice, but the answer he gets is not what he hoped for, God deals with things in ways that we do not expect but which are always better and much wiser than we could imagine.

The Lord tells Habakkuk to wait for the right time, the appointed time. There is a revelation, a prophetic word, a destiny for all of us. We sometimes get discouraged because the time of God’s action is not our time.

God deals in seasons and appointments. We want everything now. God works at the right time, the best time. The promised “suddenly” seems to take forever to come and then bursts into existence before our eyes.

God acts in ways that are different to our expectations and with a different timing to what we expect. We have to learn to wait and trust.

Prayer
Father, you do all things well in their time. Help me to trust you even when answers seem slow in coming. Amen.

Reflection on Luke 18:9-14

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/search?%s=Luke+18:9-14

Scripture

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Observation

Jesus tells a parable to confront some people who who are confident in their own righteousness.

In the parable, a Pharisee and a tax collector go to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee stands up to pray about himself. He thanks God that he is better than others, including the tax collector.

The tax collector stands at a distance and prays, “God have mercy on me, a sinner.”

It is the tax collector and not the Pharisee, Jesus concludes, who is justified before God. Everyone who boasts will be pulled down, but those who humble themselves will be lifted up.

Application

Pride is an insidious, creeping disease that poisons the spirit, creeping in at every unguarded weak point.

Even christians can become self-righteous and proud. It is ironic that our walk with Christ starts with a recognition that we are not good until God calls us good; that we are so lost in sin that we need a Saviour.

It is so easy, as we gain confidence in God’s grace, to think that we are somehow better than the people who have yet to find salvation.

Like the Pharisee in the parable, we look down on evil-doers and forget that is what we once were.

Prayer

Lord, who am I in this story? Please identify pride or self-righteousness in my heart, and grant me grace to truly repent. Amen.

Reflection on 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/search?%s=2+Timothy+4.6-8,16-18

Scripture

I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith

Observation

Paul believes the time is close to his departure from this life. He has fought the good fight and kept the faith. Now he looks forward to receiving the crown of righteousness that is waiting for him- not just for Paul but for all who await the coming of the Lord.

At his first court hearing, there was nobody with him, but the Lord gave him strength so that he was delivered from the lion’s mouth. Paul knows that the Lord will rescue him from every evil attack and bring him safely into the heavenly kingdom.

Application

As he approached the end of his life, Paul could honestly say that he had fought the fight, finished the race and kept the faith.

My calling his not the same as Paul’s. We are all running our own race.

The key is to be faithful in the stewardship of the life God has called us to,.

There may be times when I feel like I have failed or pulled up short on what I should have done. There may be times when I feel like I have done the best I possibly could to honour God,. And there are the times when my life is so ordinary that God seems to be right out of the picture.

In all of these times I must determine to stay the course and remain faithful to Christ.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me to always seek you. No matter what comes my way, may the name of Christ be praised in my life. Amen.

Reflection on Joel 2:23-32

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Passage: https://www.biblegatesway.com/search?%s=Joel+2.23-32

Scripture

“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Observation

The Lord tells Israel to be glad for He will bring the rain they need. There will be showers of abundance, and the grain and wine will overflow.

God will repay what the locusts have taken- the great army of destruction. Then there will be plenty to eat, and they will praise the name of the Lord for the wonders He has worked.

Then, God promises, He will pour out His Spirit on all people. Sons and daughters will prophesy, old men will dream dreams, and young men will see visions. There will be wonders in the heavens above and on the earth below. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Application

We live in the age that Joel prophesied about- the era when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all God’s people. In the Old Testament the Spirit was available only to those whom God had called and anointed- prophets, priests and kings. But in the New Covenant, everyone who calls on the name of Jesus for salvation is filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter calls us a “royal priesthood” so all who are in Christ have the Holy Spirit.

We can all dream dreams, see visions and prophesy. The Spirit of prophecy is in us. Many do not, but I think the blockage is in them, not in God. We need to still our hearts and minds and learn to hear the still small voice of God and to discern the visions and dreams He gives us.

Prayer

I believe your promise Lord. Ever since I asked Jesus into my life your Holy Spirit has been in me. Help me to hear your voice and activate the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen.