The reforms of Josiah will not keep the people right with God for long. Zephaniah speaks of how Jerusalem’s rebellion continues. After all the attempts to reacquaint people with God’s laws and expectations, the people (“it”) respond like this. “No one can tell it anything; it refuses all correction. It does not trust in the Lord or draw near to its God.” How do you think God feels when we pull away?
We have all known people who have left the church community for one reason or another. Perhaps they had a life event happen, and rather than embrace God’s provision, turned away blaming God for the misfortune. Maybe there was some personality clash with church leadership leaving them feeling disillusioned about their faith. People will find reasons when they decide they want to go out trusting their own power rather than the Holy Spirit power we’ve been given.
Continue reading “Zephaniah 3:1-8 – What Sorrow Awaits”
Peter had no doubt witnessed false teachers at work trying to confuse people and twist the truth. Heresies have plagued the church for centuries. Such deceivers are alive and well today, too. And God is watching. These inaccurate messages are not being ignored by God.
And God is not pleased with the messengers of those heresies. Their fate is set, and they don’t even know it. As Peter says, “they will bring sudden destruction on themselves.” Their deceitful actions and teachings full of lies will catch up to them. We can rest in that assurance at least.
Continue reading “2 Peter 2:1-3 – False Teachers”
Obadiah speaks to the reasons Edom is facing their judgment. They sinned for their evil behavior against their own relatives. This passage leaves no doubt “why” calamity would fall on Edom. The Edomites brought it on themselves for more than one reason.
There is so much emphasis on “you should not have” in this reading. We often kick ourselves after doing something we realize later was a mistake. Don’t we say, “I should have known better.” The Edomites won’t get a chance to say that since they will all be destroyed. All they have is the advance warning which sets the expectation for what is coming in motion.
Continue reading “Obadiah 10-14 – You Should Not Have…”
James has an interesting way of bringing this letter to a close. There’s no “see you soon” or “have a nice life” kind of ending. This letter has been full of content from the start. Certainly, James’ parting thoughts have been full of wisdom. And his devotion to his readers by calling them “dear brothers and sisters” concludes what has been a recurring theme. James is not a stranger to his audience.
In these two short verses, we see James’ version of searching after the lost. Matthew’s gospel reveals a series of stories about lost items. Jesus used those parables to emphasize the importance of not leaving anybody behind. Or, as Paul puts it, God “wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)
Continue reading “James 5:19-20 – Are You Wandering?”
This is a text for difficult times. Coming off the warning of the locusts and the feared day of the LORD, people were needing to know where to turn. Where do we turn in our own times of struggle? Here’s a word from the LORD for your weary soul. “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.”
God doesn’t expect us to “get our act together” before we approach him. That doesn’t matter to him. He wants us to come to him before it’s too late. The enemy is circling, trying to distract us and interfere with our divine allegiance daily. We can be sure these prophetic words are for us, too.
Continue reading “Joel 2:12-17 – Repentance”