December 20

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“‘Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’” (Haggai 2:4-5 NKJV).

From: December 20, 2017

“Be strong. Do the work. Do not fear.”
 
These are the three instructions the Lord gave to the Israelites who had returned from Babylonian captivity. Zerubbabel was the grandson of Jehoiachin, penultimate king of Judah. He led the first group of captives back to Jerusalem. He and Joshua, the high priest, led the people to rebuild the temple, but the people had been putting their own households first. After rebuilding the foundation years earlier, the temple still lay in ruins. The people had not finished what they had begun. They had become busy with their own homes, putting their own house ahead of the Lord’s.
 
Perhaps they felt they didn’t have the money or the expertise. Perhaps they feared falling short of the “glory” of Solomon’s Temple (Hag. 2:3). Whatever their reasons, they had stopped working. So, God gave them three instructions: “Be strong. Do the work. Do not fear.” And He gave them one powerful promise: “I am with you.”
 
He still makes this promise to us today. As the angel told Mary, “Do not fear. The Lord is with you. For nothing is impossible with God!” (Luke 1:28-37).

“These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth” (Revelation 11:4 ESV)

From: December 20, 2016

Who are these two “prophets” (witnesses)? As a rule, the Old Testament is best understood through the lens of the New Testament. But an understanding of the book of Revelation often requires a reversal of this approach, as it is filled with Old Testament imagery and reference. The description of the “two prophets” is a clear allusion to the “two olive trees” found in Zechariah 4. There, the angel told Zechariah that these two are “the anointed ones who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth” (Zech. 4:14). Those with a historical view of Revelation have named various heroes of the faith in the early church as the identity of the two witnesses. But holding to a futurist view of Revelation, I believe that these two witnesses are yet to come. Their identity is not named, yet their description brings to mind the ministries of Moses and Elijah. Certainly, they are the two who stood with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration. Perhaps, they will be the ones who stand for Him again in the future at the end of days.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV)

From: December 20, 2015

In this psalm, David prayed for God to “search” his heart and reveal to him any worries or wickedness, so that he might correct his way. David has already praised God for His comprehensive knowledge of him. He realized that God knew him better than he knew himself. David contemplated on how God knew him even in his mother’s womb, how He knew his “rising up” and his “lying down.” So, David asked the God who can see the human heart to examine his. David was “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) because he had first given his own heart to God. This is a good prayer for us today: “God, search me. Reveal to me where I am not right with you. You know me better than I know myself. Tell me why my heart is worrying or holding on to some idol today. Forgive me and cleanse me afresh, so I can live this day for You.”

“These two prophets are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of all the earth” (Revelation 11:4 NLT)

From: December 20, 2014

Who are these two “prophets” (witnesses)? Since Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture, as a rule, the Old Testament is best understood through the lens of the New Testament. But an understanding of the book of Revelation often requires a reversal of this approach, as it is filled with Old Testament imagery and reference. The description of the “two prophets” is a clear allusion to the “two olive trees” found in Zechariah 4. There, the angel told Zechariah that these two are “the anointed ones who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth” (Zech. 4:14). Those with a historical view of Revelation have named various heroes of the faith in the early church as the identity of the two witnesses. But holding to a futurist view of Revelation, I believe that these two witnesses are yet to come. Their identity is not named, yet their description brings to mind the ministries of Moses and Elijah. Certainly, they are the two who stood with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration. Perhaps, they will be the ones who stand for Him again in the future at the end of days.

“Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?” (Haggai 1:4)

From: December 20, 2013

The prophet Haggai wrote during the time when Israel’s remnant returned from Babylonian captivity. The temple lay in ruins. Yet, the people were not inclined to rebuild it. They were focused on their own houses and excused their behavior by saying to themselves, “The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.” This prompted the Lord to ask them a question about the timing for their own homes being built. These were not mere shelters to help them survive. These were fine “paneled” houses, meaning they had been in the land long enough to start prospering and yet, they ignored the Lord’s house. The Lord’s question exposed their true priorities. They were not putting God first. The wonderful difference between their response and the response of their pre-exile forefathers is that they repented. They obeyed. And the Lord “stirred” their spirits and they went to work!

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: ‘The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever'” (Revelation 11:15)

From: December 20, 2012

The Magi followed the star looking for the one born king, and found HIm in the city of Bethlehem as prophesied. Yet, His kingdom had not yet come. Jesus preached the kingdom, and taught us to pray “Thy kingdom come” prayers. He was crucified and rose from the grave to overcome the ruler of this world and inaugurate His Kingdom. Some day, the 7th trumpet will sound and King Jesus’ will reign on earth as in heaven.

“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me” (Psalm 139:1)

From: December 20, 2011

The Greek philosophers taught that to “know thyself” was the beginning of wisdom. But the Psalmist says that God knows you better than you can know yourself. The answers you seek are not inside you. Self knowledge is best acquired by knowing the One who made you. Let Him tell you your true identity.