A&D Biker Ministries "Growing the Kingdom of God . . . one Biker at a time"

DOC'S BLOG

June 18, 2018

 

A Father’s Day Week Devotional

“A GODLY FATHER?”

 

Luke 8:40-42, 49-56 (NIV)

40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him.  41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.  As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.

 

This story of Jairus is interrupted (in verses 43-48), by a grown woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years (the entire life of Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter).  She reaches out; touches Jesus; and is healed - because of her faith in Him!  It turns out that this WASN’T an interruption at all, but an intervention . . . God IS there for us, whatever our need or age!

 

49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader.  “Your daughter is dead,” he said.  “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”  50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”  51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother.  52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her.  “Stop wailing,” Jesus said.  “She is not dead but asleep.”  53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.  54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!”  55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up.  Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.  56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.

 

In this story, we find a FATHER, named Jairus (let’s just call him Jay), who is concerned about his sick little girl.

 

This guy, Jay, was a “leader in the synagogue” . . . perhaps he oversaw the daily operations of the synagogue, or arranged the services, or chose who would read the Scripture and who would speak, or did the custodial duties, etc.  He may have heard Jesus speak in the synagogue at Capernaum, because he certainly knew Who Jesus was!

 

Whatever the deal was, Jay was very well known AND very respected in the community.

 

And, he was also a DAD.  We do not even know his little girl’s name, because she is only referred to in this scripture as “Jay’s daughter.”

 

Whatever her name was, what do you think she saw in her dad?  She probably saw how important he was in the community, but she may have also thought of him as being really old and out of touch, like most 12-year-old daughters see their dads!

 

 

In this scripture, we find 3 vital things that the girl saw in her father, and they are non-negotiable for us men today, if we truly want to be . . .     A Godly Father!

 

1.  She saw a dad who was not ashamed to seek / go after / pUrsue Jesus

 

41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house

 

This dad, Jay, stepped up without hesitation, and he fell down at the feet of Jesus!

 

Now, notice that Jay did NOT come to Jesus in the dark of night, like Nicodemus did.  There was a huge crowd of people there, but old Jay had come because his daughter was sick. 

 

Those of us who are parents know how hard it is to see a child of ours suffer in sickness . . . especially when we cannot help them!

 

Notice that Jay went to Jesus himself.  He did not send his wife.  He did not send one of his other children (if he had more).  He DID NOT send an employee who worked for him.  OLD Jay, the dad, went to Jesus Himself!

 

I wish that every dad, everywhere, would seek Jesus without shame . . . that men would take seriously our spiritual responsibilities in our homes.

 

Our nation is in the mess it’s in because our fathers are out seeking guns, or golf balls, or are just plain goofing off . . . instead of seeking Jesus!

 

Our nation is in the mess it’s in because our fathers send the wives and kids to Church, instead of going and seeking Jesus Christ ourselves!

 

Our nation is in the mess it’s in because our fathers do NOT boldly seek after God!

 

What a difference it would make, if our fathers would seek Jesus - like Jairus did!

 

1.  Jay’s daughter saw a dad who was NOT ashamed to seek / Go after / pursue Jesus

 

2.  She also saw a dad who was not ashamed to bring Jesus into his house

 

41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.  As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.

 

Jay “begged Jesus” to come to his house because of his dying daughter!

 

Notice, in these verses, that the event which follows happened as Jesus was on the way to Jay’s house.  In fact, the whole stinkin’ crowd was on the way to Jay’s house!  (Can you imagine that phone call, as Jay called home on his iPhone and told his wife, “Hey, honey, everyone is coming over to the house!”

 

God, our heavenly Father, please make US dads who bring Jesus into our homes!

 

Abba Father, make us dads who agree with Joshua and declare to the world, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

 

God, make us dads who lead our families in prayer!

 

Hey, DADS, do you want to bless your family?  Lead them in prayer the next time you’re together at a meal, or at a get together, or whatever.

 

Father God, make us dads who invite Jesus into our homes by reading His word (the Bible) every day!

 

Heavenly Father, make us dads who invite Jesus into our homes . . . by inviting AND bringing our family to worship!

 

Daddy, make us fathers who worship you, God.

 

Dad’s, let your kids see you honoring the Lord - by praying, by reading the Bible, in worship . . . by living for Jesus!

 

God, make us dads who invite Jesus into our homes!

 

1.  Jay’s daughter saw a dad who was NOT ashamed to seek / Go after / pursue Jesus

 

2.  She also saw a dad who was not ashamed to bring Jesus into his house

 

3.  finally, jay’s daughter saw a dad who was not ashamed to put the welfare of his child into the hands of Jesus

 

49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader.  “Your daughter is dead,” he said.  “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”  50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”  51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother.  52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her.  “Stop wailing,” Jesus said.  “She is not dead but asleep.”  53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.  54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!”  55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up.  Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.  56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.

 

When Jay got the news that his daughter was dead, he did NOT say to Jesus, “Oh well . . . never mind.”   NO.  Instead, he put his daughter into Jesus’ care!

 

our world needs Dads who will dedicate their children to the Lord!

 

our World needs Dads Who will lead their children to seek, and to trust, God’s will for their own lives!

Much like Abraham (and his son Isaac), we must be willing to “surrender our children on the altar of God’s plan” . . . NOT our own plans.

 

God has a plan!  It was God’s plan that Jay’s 12-year-old daughter would continue to live. Look what Jesus said:

 

50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” 

 

Do not be afraid.  Just believe, just trust God, and she will be made well.”   Jay put his daughter in the hands of God’s care . . . completely!

 

God, please make us dads who daily commit our children into the hands of Jesus!

 

Hey, dads, what do your children (and others who are watching your life) see in you?

 

Do they see a dad who is not ashamed to seek the Lord?

 

Do they see a dad who is not ashamed to bring Jesus into the home?

 

Do they see a dad who prays for them AND who commits them into the hands of the Lord?

 

Fathers (and everyone), let thE following scripture be your life:

 

Romans 1:16 (TLB)

I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ.  It is God’s powerful method of bringing all who believe it to heaven.  This message was preached first to the Jews alone, but now everyone is invited to come to God in this same way.

 

 

June 11, 2018

 

I use several different resources for my daily time in God’s Word (my personal devotions).  Some are very well known authors from centuries past, and some are current day authors who are not so well known.  I really enjoy the different flavors each brings in talking about Bible passages through the lens of their own life journey!

 

Once in a while, I search online for devotions written for (or by) Bikers.  One such devotional that I recently read was written by John Hargrave - who is part of the United Church of Christ.  His thoughts made me laugh AND take personal inventory of how I respond to people who are a real challenge for me. 

 

I share it with you, below, and my prayer is that it may be a positive challenge for you, also.    

 

A Blessing for a Biker

by John Hargrave

 

Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and

be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.


I was driving to church for an evening meditation group.  Slowing down traffic was a bicyclist in Spandex and a racing jersey, biking directly in the middle of the road.  Behind him was a guy on a motorcycle, who honked at the bicyclist to pull over, so he could pass.  Instantly, the bicyclist shot the motorcyclist the finger, and began shouting at him about biker rights.

 

This is a common thing in our state:  in fact, the official name for a Massachusetts driver is a “masshole.”  When a fellow motorist yells at you, or curses your ancestors, it is difficult not to react with anger, or an even more creative swear.  But, I have come to view these episodes as a kind of spiritual discipline. 

 

Somewhere in my UCC travels, I picked up a little trick:  you look at the person and mentally recite, May you be well, and free from suffering.  By saying “free from suffering,” you are not wishing them death.  You are taking the unpleasant momentum of the moment, and redirecting it with a simple blessing!

 

Jesus said, “Love your enemies,” but if you're leading a relatively stable lifestyle, you probably don't have many outright enemies.  Who are we supposed to pray for?  ISIS?

 

Imagine instead that Jesus said, “Love the most difficult people in your life.”  We all have plenty of those:  overly needy friends, annoying co-workers, dysfunctional family members.  Can we look at them, when they're really getting under our skin, and say wholeheartedly, “May you be well, and free from suffering?”

 

The bicyclist did eventually pull over, still hollering at the motorcyclist.  As I passed him, instead of shooting him a dirty look, I shot him a little blessing:  May you be well, and free from potholes! 

 

PRAY . . . May the difficult people in my life be well, and free from suffering.

 

June 4, 2018

 

A BIG thank you to Mr. Wayne Behrens, for preaching God’s Word in the A&D Biker Ministries worship on June 2!  Following are Wayne’s personal notes from that message:

 

THE WAY OF THE RIGHTEOUS

The Blessed Psalms

 

 

            NIV                                                            The Message

1 Blessed is the man                                         1 How well God must like you -

   who does not walk                                          you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon

   in the counsel of                                               you don’t slink along Dead-End Road

   the wicked                                                       you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College

   or stand in the way of sinners

   or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law                          2-3 Instead you thrill to God’s Word, you

   of the LORD,                                                    chew on Scripture day and night.                                       

   And on his law he meditates                              You’re a tree replanted in Eden,

   day and night.                                                  Bearing fresh fruit every month,

3 He is like a tree planted                                     Never dropping a leaf, always in blossom.

   by streams water,

   which yields its fruit in season                       

   and whose leaf does not wither.                  

   Whatever he does prospers.                       

4 Not so the wicked!                                      4-5 You’re not at all like the wicked,

   They are like chaff                                             who Are mere windblown dust -   
   without that the wind blows away.                       Without defense in court, unfit company

5 Therefore the wicked will not                              for innocent people.

   stand in the judgment,                                 

   Nor sinners in the assembly                                

   of the righteous.

6 For the LORD watches over                             6 God charts the road you take.

   the way of the righteous                                     The road they take is Skid Row.

   but the way of the wicked will perish.          

 

Have patience when reading the Scriptures - especially the Psalms.

 

Look, really look, at the words and embrace what you’re reading.  Meditate on the words and phrases, and ask questions about what you see.

 

If you were a plant growing out of the soil of God’s Word, would you be more like a piece of grass, which isn’t planted too deeply, or a tree that is rooted?

 

How is the person rooted in God’s Word described in Psalm 1:3?  Are you experiencing this life?  Why or why not?

 

How can you root yourself more deeply in the Scriptures this week?

 

Psalm 1:1-6

Do you consider yourself blessed?  What does blessing mean to you?

 

What does Psalm 1 have to say about the blessed person and the wicked person?

What are their ends?

 

How would you summarize Psalm 1 in one sentence?

 

“Seek your fullest, deepest blessedness by delighting in God, in his Word, fruitfully.”

 

Psalm 1: 4-6

When you read the O.T. and read about the righteous, who do you think it is talking about?

Who are the righteous in Psalm 1:4-6?  How do you become one of the righteous?

 

Romans 3:10-11, “…there is no one righteous.”

Psalm 53:2-3, “…there is no one who does good…”

Psalm 34:15, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous.”

Psalm 37:17, “for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous”.

Psalm 37:39, “The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord.”

Psalm 55:22, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

Psalm 32:10-11, “Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart.”

Phil. 3:9, “…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

Phil. 1:9-11, “…filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God.”

 

They aren’t exactly what you would call a list of “Who’s Who in Purity and Sainthood.”  In fact, some of their antics and attitudes would make you think of the Saturday night crowd at the county jail.  What few halos there are among this befuddled bunch could probably use a bit of straightening and polish.  Yet, strange as it may seem, it is this very humanness that makes these people refreshing.  They are so refreshing that should you ever need a reminder of God’s tolerance, you’d find it in these people.  If you ever wonder how in the world God could use you to change the world, look at these people.

 

What people?  The people God used to change history.  A ragbag of ne’er-do-wells and has-beens who found hope, not in their performance, but in God’s proverbially open arms.

 

What can you say about a fellow whose lust got so lusty that he got a woman pregnant, tried to blame it on her husband, had her husband killed, and then went on living like nothing ever happened?  Well, you could say he was a man after God’s own heart.  David’s track record left little to be desired, but his repentant spirit was unquestionable.

 

Then comes Jonah.  God’s ambassador to Nineveh.  Jonah, however, had other ideas.  He had no desire to go to that heathen city.  So, he hopped on another boat while God wasn’t looking (or at least that’s what Jonah thought).  God put him in a whale’s belly to bring him back to his senses.  But even the whale couldn’t stomach this missionary for too long.  A good burp and Jonah went flying over the surf and landed big-eyed and repentant on the beach.  (Which just goes to show that you can’t keep a good man down).  And on and on the stories go:  Elijah, the prophet who pouted; Solomon, the king who knew too much; Jacob, the wheeler-dealer; Gomer, the prostitute; Sarah, the woman who giggled at God.  One story after another of God using humankind’s best and overcoming man’s worst.

 

Even the genealogy of Jesus is salted with a dubious character or two - Tamar, the adulteress, Rahab, the harlot, and Bathsheba.

 

The reassuring lesson is clear.  God used (and uses!) people to change the world.  PEOPLE!  Not saints or super-humans or geniuses, but people.  Crooks, creeps, lovers and liars - he uses them all.  And what they may lack in perfection, God makes up for in love.  (From No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, by Max Lucado).

 

Martin Luther:  “We are like men who study the signposts and never travel the road.” 

 

 

May 28, 2018

 

The Last O.T. Prophet - Malachi

Godly Insights For Today

“THE TRANSFORMING FIRE OF GOD”

A proverb, like:  “Make hay while the sun is shining,” offers us wisdom.  But, wisdom is often gained through experience . . . and experience takes time.  Have you ever wondered how some common proverbs might be thought of - by children?

 

Strike while the . . . bug is close.

 

Don’t bite the hand that . . . is dirty.

 

A penny saved is . . . not much money.

 

Children should be seen . . . and not spanked, or even given a time out.

 

A child may have a hard time understanding the lesson taught in proverbs. Experience, and not explanation, is the real teacher of life’s lessons!

 

Think about our wisdom compared to the wisdom of God.  Just when we think we have life figured out, our neat & tidy world may get turned upside down.

 

We struggle to understand.  We put question marks where God puts a comma!  We want to keep on moving, but God says stop.  Our very best ideas just don’t measure up to God’s timeless wisdom!

 

Times have changed, since Malachi’s day, but our questions are still the same.  AND . . . God’s answers have not changed, either!

 

Malachi 3:1-4 (NLT)

1 “Look!  I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.  Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple.  The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  2 But who will be able to endure it when he comes?  Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears?  For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes.  3 He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross.  He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.  4 Then once more the Lord will accept the offerings brought to him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as he did in the past.”

 

GOD WANTS TO TRANSFORM OUR LIVES! 

 

He has a solution for our confusion - transformation and renewal.  God wants us to grow up spiritually!

In our childish wisdom, we ask God to change our circumstances, but God wants to use our problems to change us.  We won’t find real happiness and joy in people, places or possessions, because, lasting peace is NOT just the absence of problems.

 

You could wake up tomorrow morning and God could change it all.  I mean, your family could be perfect; you could be living in the house of your dreams; and you could have a new job with a BIG income!  Everything could be just the way you want it to be, but you would still be miserable - because you haven’t changed!

 

1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

 

Now, God could do something about the people, places and possessions in our life.  He could even fix all our problems.  But, we still wouldn’t have wisdom.  God doesn’t just want to fix the external; He wants to transform us from the inside out.

 

Romans 12:2a (NLT)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. 

 

It’s time for us to grow up in Jesus!

 

Ephesians 4:132 (NLV)

13 All of us are to be as one in the faith and in knowing the Son of God.  We are to be full-grown Christians standing as high and complete as Christ is Himself.

 

We need to move beyond the superficial into the supernatural.  God desires spiritual transformation within our lives . . . he wants to renew us.

 

So - how does the transformation happen?

 

Malachi shows us 5 steps to being changed.  These are 5 steps to letting God help us to grow up spiritually, putting childish things behind us, and being transformed into a new person by changing the way we think.

 

1. TRANSFORMATION IS A WORK OF GOD’S GRACE

 

Malachi 3:1 (NLT)

1 “Look!  I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.  Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple.  The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 

 

So, how is Malachi showing us God’s grace?  I don’t even see the word “grace” in that verse!

God says he will send His messenger to prepare the way for his coming.  Malachi prophecy’s the coming of John the Baptist.  John was . . .

 

 

Matthew 3:3 (NLT)

A voice of one calling in the desert, “Prepare the way for the Lord.”

 

John the Baptist prepared the way for the coming of Jesus.  Malachi also foretold Jesus coming as “the messenger of the covenant.”  Before Jesus died a criminal’s death upon the cross, He shared the Passover with the disciples.  As Jesus passed the cup to them he said . . .

 

Luke 22:20 (NIV)

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

 

Malachi also pictures God’s grace in another way, saying, “the Lord you are seeking will come to His temple.”  In the Old Testament, the temple was a place for the people to worship God.  However, in the New Testament a change takes place.  Through grace, the temple is not just a place - the temple becomes a people God dwells in, by His Spirit.

 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.

 

By God’s grace, and through faith in Jesus Christ, we are cleansed of our sin and made into a temple - a sacred dwelling place - in which God the Holy Spirit lives!

 

Jesus fulfilled God’s eternal plan to establish a covenant of grace.  God looked forward to the new covenant of grace - making us into a people in whom He would live by His Spirit.

 

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NLT)

31 “The day will come,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah.  32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt.  They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord.  33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord.  “I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.  34 . . . And I will forgive their wickedness and will never again remember their sins.”

 

Transformation is a work of God’s grace in our lives! 

 

But, God will not force his grace upon us.  We must see our need for his grace . . . AND we must choose to receive it!

 

2. TRANSFORMATION REQUIRES BROKENNESS AND HUMILITY

 

Malachi 3:2a (NLT)

But who will be able to endure it when he comes?  Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears?  

 

In the end, those who believe they can make it on their own and have no need for God will one day discover that they CAN’T stand before God! 

God will let you try to go it alone.  The Bible says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”   (James 4:6 NIV)

 

Spiritual transformation is only possible when we humble ourselves.  When we come to the end of our own childish wisdom of wanting life done our way - and we submit to God’s plan for our life - then by God’s grace our hearts will be changed!

 

The people in Malachi’s day did not see their need for God.  With prideful hearts, they brought their offerings to God - fulfilling their religious duty - but they didn’t want God to change them.  Instead, they wrongly accused God of not loving them; of not being fair or just.

 

Many people today are also just going through the motions of fulfilling their religious duty. 

It’s not good enough to just believe in God; it’s not even enough to try to be religious.  The Bible warns us about “superficial Christians.”

 

Timothy 3:5 (NLT)

They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.  You must stay away from people like that.

 

Malachi confronted the proud religious people of his day with their need to be transformed by the power of God.  How will you endure the day of His coming?  How will you stand in His presence?  The people had made the mistake of believing that their sacrifices and offerings satisfied God.

 

We too make the mistake of thinking we can earn the right to be in God’s presence.  The Bible teaches us something totally different. Listen to this prayer of David:

 

Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT)

16 You would not be pleased with sacrifices, or I would bring them.  If I brought you a burnt offering, you would not accept it.  17 The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit.  A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.

 

Offerings don’t make the worshiper acceptable to God . . . it’s the worshiper who makes the offering acceptable to God - through humility & brokenness.  We need the power of God to transform our lives!

 

3. TRANSFORMATION ACCEPTS GOD’S PURPOSE

 

Malachi 3:2b (NLT)

For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes.

 

God’s grace accepts us just as we are.  We can’t try to dress ourselves up or cover over our sin.  We must humble ourselves, then God’s grace will take us in.  GOD TAKES US JUST THE WAY WE ARE, BUT HE WON’T LEAVE US THAT WAY!

 

Psalm 66:10 (NIV)

For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.

 

Silver doesn’t come out of the ground all shiny and clean.  Silver ore is as little as 1% silver with 99% of other minerals, metals and just plain dirt.  In order to remove the impurities, the ore is crushed, sifted, and heated in the fire.

 

WE resist being crushed, and sifted; we want to run from the fire that purifies.  In our childish wisdom, we ask God to change our circumstances:  “God it hurts; the fire burns; please take it away!”  In God’s wisdom - adversity and painful circumstances fulfil his divine purpose in our lives.

 

Most of us just throw away anything that is broken, but God treasures a broken life.

 

God can’t do anything in our lives - until we are broken!  Brokenness and humility enable God to remove the impurity of sin from our lives.

 

Did you know that silver is used to make mirrors?  Mirrors have one purpose:  to provide us with an accurate reflection . . . we want to be able to see ourselves as we really are!

 

God refines us like silver, so that the world can see the image of Jesus in us.  God’s purpose is to cleanse our lives of sin; to purify our hearts so his holiness and glory can be seen through our lives. God’s goal is to make us like Jesus.

 

Humility opens the door for God’s grace to forgive us of our sin.  Humility further enables us to accept God’s purpose in our lives, and to reflect him to the world!

 

4. TRANSFORMATION COMES AS WE CONTINUALLY HOPE IN GOD

 

Malachi 3:3 (NLT)

3 He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross.  He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.

  

When we see God in verse 3, he ¡s just sitting!  Maybe he’ll purify us - if he ever gets around to it.  NO!  Transformation is a PROCESS; it takes time.  So, God sits . . . and waits for the refining to be completed in our lives.

 

A silversmith will leave the silver over the fire and just watch it.  He doesn’t stir it; he doesn’t move it away from the fire.  He just watches the silver until the moment he sees his image reflected on its surface . . . then he removes it from the flame.

 

God won’t leave work undone in your life.  He will complete his purpose, but it takes time.  So, God sits and watches us over the flame:

 

Philippians 1:6 (NASB)

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

When it seems that God isn’t working, or that he’s forgotten about us, that is the time when we must trust in his unfailing love.  Remember, Malachi began his message with a reminder of the eternal love of God; a love that is sovereign, strong, steadfast and seeking.

Psalm 42:11 (NIV)

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

 

We need to learn to continually hope in God.  With an unwavering faith, trusting wholeheartedly in God, we can give him a sacrifice of praise.  We praise God, not for our circumstances . . . but we praise him for who he is!

 

5. TRANSFORMATION REFLECTS THE GLORY AND GRACE OF GOD

 

Malachi 3:3-4 (NLT)

3 He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross.  He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.  4 Then once more the Lord will accept the offerings brought to him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as he did in the past.”

 

God has achieved his purpose in us, when we reflect his image.  The beauty of Jesus is seen in all that we do and say.  Occasionally reflecting the image of Jesus is not enough; God wants to purify our lives so that we reflect him in everything we are about!

 

We are daily being made to be like Jesus, to reflect his glory and holiness - with greater clarity and distinction.  In everything we do, from the really big issues of life, to the mundane everyday routines, god wants us to reflect Jesus!

 

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO “REFLECT JESUS”?

 

Being in a hurry is replaced with patience.

 

Procrastination becomes perseverance.

 

Harsh words are replaced with gentleness.

 

Bitterness and resentment turn into forgiveness.

 

Envy and coveting becomes contentment.

 

Pride and conceit is replaced with humility.

 

Selfishness turns into generosity.

 

An angry short fuse is replaced with self-control.

 

Deception / half-truth turn into honesty / integrity.

 

Doubt & fear transform into faith & confidence.

 

Through God’s grace, and for his glory, we CAN BE transformed into his likeness!  Then . . . little by little . . . we will reflect more and more of Jesus. 

 

May 21, 2018

 

The Last O.T. Prophet - Malachi

Godly Insights For Today

 

“GOD’S PROMISE OF PEACE”

 

According to national statistics, Wisconsin ranks 20th in population (of all the United States), with almost 5.8 million people.  And Wisconsin came in 30th, overall, in crime rate (including violent crimes).  Wisconsin is safer to live in than 29 other states . . . with about 31 crimes committed per every 10,000 people. 

 

How about you?  Have you ever personally been the victim of a crime, like having something stolen or being broken into?  Yeah . . . someone broke into our garage once.  If statistics mean anything, then about 2 or 3 of us here today could expect to be a victim of some type of crime this year. 

 

Did you know that more Wisconsinites are victims of crime - and they don’t even know it?  And, it’s not just limited to the Badger state . . . these crimes happen everywhere.  You could be a Spiritual Crime Victim!  Jesus said that Satan is a spiritual criminal.  The devil is “ . . . a thief coming to steal, and kill and destroy,” (John 10:10).

 

You don’t have to be a victim!  God wants to restore His blessing in your life and mine.  Jesus said, “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10 NLT).  Satan wants to destroy your life; Jesus wants to give life, and life more abundantly!  As we continue today with our series in Malachi, let’s look at God’s Promise OF PEACE.”

 

Remember, the foundation of Malachi’s message is built on God’s eternal love:  God’s love is sovereign, strong, steadfast, and seeking.  Not only is the message grounded in love, but it is also a word spoken to us by our heavenly Father, our Master and our King.  This is a message to us, from the living God who loves us personally!

 

1. This is a message for us TODAY

 

Malachi 2:1 (NLT)

“Listen, you priests - this command is for you!”

 

Now don’t just see “you priests” and think you’re off the hook. Instead, look carefully at “this command is for you!”

 

God’s message is alive!  This message spoken by Malachi, about 2,500 years ago, is not outdated and worthless.  Malachi’s message still rings true for you and me today!

 

I know, you’re still thinking, “I’m not a minister or a priest, so this message is NOT for me.”   WRONG! 

 

If you are a born again, Jesus following, Christian - MALACHI’S MESSAGE IS FOR YOU!

 

Throughout the Old Testament, priests were a special class of people who served as mediators between God and man . . . a kind of “go between.”  You couldn’t talk to God without a priest.  That’s all changed now!

 

The New Testament clearly teaches us the “priesthood of all believers.”  Jesus’ death on the cross gives us ALL access to God - personally and individually.  You don’t need a priest, any longer, to appeal to God for you:

 

Hebrews 10:19-20 (TLB)

19 And so, dear brothers, now we may walk right into the very Holy of Holies, where God is, because of the blood of Jesus.  20 This is the fresh, new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain - his human body - to let us into the holy presence of God.

 

1 Peter 2:9 (NLV)

But you are a chosen group of people.  You are the King’s religious leaders.  You are a holy nation.  You belong to God.  He has done this for you so you can tell others how God has called you out of darkness into His great light.

 

Malachi’s message is not limited to just the priests of his day, or to the professional ministers of today.

 

Malachi’s message is for all of us because we ALL are “a holy nation / chosen people / priests of God.”

 

Satan wants to steal this truth from you; he wants to rob you of the blessing that can be yours as a priest of God.  You are a priest, not a puppet or pawn for the devil to manipulate in the game of life!  In Jesus, you are a victor NOT a victim.

 

Don’t let Satan rob you.  Malachi’s message is for you!  Hear God’s word for you today.  Put yourself in the position to receive God’s Promise of Peace.

 

Why is it important for us to hear God’s message?

 

2. This is a message of REPENTANCE

 

Malachi 2:2-4 (NLT)

“Listen to me and make up your minds to honor my name,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “or I will bring a terrible curse against you.  I will curse even the blessings you receive.  Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you have not taken my warning to heart.  I will punish your descendants and splatter your faces with the manure from your festival sacrifices, and I will throw you on the manure pile.  Then at last you will know it was I who sent you this warning so that my covenant with the Levites can continue,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

 


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