For the past many weeks we have been studying the Minor Prophets. When we began our study with Hosea the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah were still intact, the priests were performing their priestly duties at the temple of God, and God’s people could not even imagine the hard times that were just around the corner.
During our study of the Minor Prophets we’ve covered Hosea, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Zechariah. We’ve witnessed the end of the northern kingdom in 721 B.C. at the hands of the Assyrians. We’ve witnessed the end of the southern kingdom and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple of God in 586 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. God’s people were in exile for 70 years in Babylon.
The last two prophets that we have studied, Haggai and Zechariah, are called post-exilic prophets because they came back from Babylon when Cyrus the Great told the Jews they could go home if they wanted. Once back home, the Jews found the city of Jerusalem in shambles, the temple was in ruins, and despair shrouded the city. It’s not too difficult to understand why the people felt overwhelmed and were tempted to just throw up their hands in defeat.
They began working on the temple, but that didn’t work out. The first sign of opposition sent the people home where they spent their time focusing on themselves. Haggai and Zechariah were used by God to try and light a fire under the people. The people went back to work and completed the temple in 516 B.C. The work might have been completed on the temple, but there was still much work to be done on the hearts of God’s people.
In Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, we find the people of God talking back to God like a rude teenager being disrespectful to his parents. God says, “I have loved you.” The people rolled their eyes and said, “How have you loved us?” God explained Himself and yet the people continued to question God’s assessment. Continue reading “Thankful Reminders
1 Chronicles 16”
Today is Father’s Day. I want to take a moment to thank all of the men who have taken on the responsibility of being a father. You may have all kinds of titles attached to your name that reflect the respect you have earned in the community, but there is no title more honorable, more weighty, or more demanding than the title of “Dad.”
For many men today we have confused the temporal with the eternal. We give our best effort to that which will eventually go away and lag behind in our efforts at home. Many men are willing to lay down their lives for their job. They would never think of saying, “No” to any request made by the boss. No sacrifice is too great to gain that corner office, promotion, or end-of-year bonus, but when it comes to their home many men do not exhibit the same kind of commitment and willingness to sacrifice.
I believe there are many reasons why this is a reality for many men. For some of us, we didn’t have a dad to show us how to be a man, how a man interacts with his family, or the sacrifices that a man makes for his wife and children. With no model, no mentor, we are left to do the best we can do with what we’ve got to work with. For some other men, the workplace offers us a more controlled environment. We may be in a position of authority where we tell others what to do and they simply do it, we have people to assist us, and serve us, and we like that. At home, we’re not the “boss.” We ask our kids to clean their room and they look back at us like we’ve told them to find a cure for cancer. We bark out instructions like General Petraeus and instead of a salute, everyone within in the sound of our voice rolls their eyes. For some of us men playing golf, hanging out with the boys, and kicking up our heels is fun, carefree, and an escape from the hard work of being a husband and father. Being a dad can be challenging, frustrating at times, but it is the stuff of eternity. God has ordained us to be dads. He has called us to bless our children, teach them His Word, how to recognize His ways, and to press on through the difficulties and challenges with undying conviction and unyielding commitment. Continue reading “Father’s Day 2010
“Be The Man!” –Seek God
They were all sitting around the living room watching TV when the evening anchor cut to the reporter on location. The reporter said, “We are here with Mr. Filthy Rich and the kids who are benefiting from his generous gift – a gift that has changed these kid’s neighborhood. Mr. Rich heard about the plight of the kids who live in the drug-infested, run down neighborhood and decided to get involved. He heard that there were no playgrounds for the kids and no community center to give kids opportunities to do something other than commit crimes or wilt away in front of the television. Mr. Rich was so moved that he got involved. Others joined his passion and today we are here for the dedication of the new community center with its indoor swimming pool, educational facilities, and sports leagues for boys and girls. Money has been provided to pay three staff members who will run the community center, oversee the volunteers, and help the kids. This is a great day for these kids and their community. Thank you Mr. Rich!”
Continue reading “Give Where You Live!
1 Samuel 30:21-31;
1 Chronicles 29:10-20”
At this time of year, every year, we spend a couple of weeks talking about stewardship. Immediately dollar signs jump to the forefront of your mind and many of you are thinking, “Why does the church always talk about money?” Let me make something very clear, I didn’t say that we are going to talk about money, I said that we are going to talk about stewardship. Money is one thing, but stewardship is something altogether different. Let me show you the difference.
Continue reading “It Is All His!
1 Chronicles 29:10-20”
On Thursday, many Americans will enjoy a day off from work so they can gather with their family and give thanks to Almighty God for the many blessings that He has showered upon them during the past year. Those of us who are idealistic, some would say na=EFve, can envision Thursday as a day that all Americans will humbly and sincerely count their blessings and offer praise to our King for the mighty things He has done. Realistically, what will happen in more homes than not is that the ladies will work harder than any other day of the year in order to provide a feast that would make Martha Stewart glow with pride. Most of us guys, the self-designated “taste-testers,” will waltz through the kitchen during the commercial breaks of the ballgames to grab a slice of turkey or a bite of sweet potatoes. The kids will be playing, oblivious to all of the activity, with cousins and neighbors whom they have not seen in quite some time.
Continue reading “How To Live A Thank-Filled Life
1 Chronicles 16”