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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Proverbs 21:30

There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.

For further study - Proverbs 21:1-31

I had you read the whole chapter today in our extended reading because Proverbs is such a practical book for believers to read on a daily basis. Someone said, "a Proverb a day keeps the devil away."

It is a great idea to read a Proverb every day of the year and glean from your readings wisdom beyond what you have today. I have found that to be the case with me. As an example of this, let me share several blessings from my reading today.

The hearts of our political leaders are truly in the hand of the Lord and He is in control of all “governmental leaders”, both the saved and the lost, Proverbs 21:1. Any financial gain we make thru deception only leads to a terrible time, Proverbs 21:6, even unto death.

The writer of the Proverbs, King Solomon, spoke of a proper work ethic and that those who “love pleasure” will end up as the poor. This is a lesson very needed in our society today.

As one who often opens his mouth before thinking about what is being said, I really pray for God's help to understand, Proverbs 21:23. I can stay out of trouble, if I watch my mouth and tongue more closely. Have you ever had that problem? You don't have to answer.

If we know Christ as Lord and Saviour, Proverbs 21:26, gives us instruction for our giving.

The last verse in Proverbs 21 is “prophetic”. It talks about the "day of battle". I know this verse, written around 3,000 years ago, has application down through the millennia. It is also looking to that final "day of battle" that takes place at the end of the Tribulation Period, the Battle of Armageddon .

This “final war” will be the one where Jesus intercedes to defeat the forces of Satan who are trying to kill all of the Jews remaining on earth at that time, Revelation 19.

Notice the verse says even though you prepare for war, your safety is in the Lord. Jesus Christ will come to defeat Satan and all of his forces and set up the “kingdom”, the Kingdom He has promised to the Jewish people.

According to other prophecies in God's word, this “day”, the “day of the final war”, is quickly approaching. However, I must remind you that seven years before this “final war” the Rapture will take place and all Christians will be called up to the heavenlies. That day could be today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you for your Word, the Bible, given to me, instruction on how to live.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Psalm 24:10

Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

For further study - Psalm 24:1-10

When reading through the Bible, as you come to Psalm 22, 23 and 24, you see three aspects of a "shepherd," the "good shepherd," the "great shepherd" and the "chief shepherd." In Psalm 22, the Psalmist reveals the "Good Shepherd" as the “shepherd” who gives his life for his sheep, John 10:11.

The Psalmist gives us a graphic picture of death by crucifixion. This Psalm is a prophecy of the Messiah who would give His life for the salvation of all who would come to Him for eternal life.

Psalm 23 depicts the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the One the Psalmist is writing about, as the "Great Shepherd." The writer shows the "Great Shepherd," "brought again from the dead through the blood of the everlasting covenant," Hebrews 13:20, is the One that tenderly cares for the sheep.

In our devotional reading for today, we focus on the "Chief Shepherd," I Peter 5:4, who appears as the "King of Glory," the One who comes to reward the sheep. Four times in Psalm 24 the Messiah is referred to as the "King of Glory," verses 7-10.

As we begin to read through this 24th Psalm we see that the Great Shepherd was also the "Creator," verses 1 and 2. The truth is, that the only way He could be the “Chief Shepherd” and the “King of Glory” is that He was the “Creator” of all things and that all of Creation belongs to Him.

The Psalmist then tells us that the only way we can "ascend to the hill of the Lord" is if we have "clean hands and a pure heart," verse 4. By the way, the next verse in our reading reveals to us that our salvation, the way to clean hands and a pure heart, comes from Him, verse 5.

Verses 7-10 speak of the coming Messiah, referred to here as the "King of Glory." I have heard a song that uses these four verses as the words to its melody. It is a beautiful song, which, of course, is what the Psalms are, “songs to sing”.

Let me go back to the reference in I Peter 5:4 that speaks of the "Chief Shepherd," the "King of Glory." Notice the Chief Shepherd brings with Him when He comes a "crown of glory" for all of us, as Christians, that have "fed the flock," I Peter 5:2. That means we have helped other Christians to grow in the Lord as we have been "examples to the flock," I Peter 5:3.

I look forward to receiving from the "Chief Shepherd" a "crown of glory" when the "King of Glory" comes. I want to give back to our Lord this crown, Revelation 4:10, in thanksgiving for what the "Chief Shepherd," the "King of Glory" has done for me.

PRAYER THOT: Help me, Lord, to be at the task of "feeding the flock" by being the example you want me to be so I will receive the "crown of glory" from the "Chief Shepherd" when You come.
Thursday, May 29, 2008

Job 38:7

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

For further study - Job 38:1-7

The 38th chapter of Job comes at a time in the life of Job when he is very depressed and considering the suggestions of his so called friends to just curse God and die. The Lord comes to Job and confronts him with a number of questions about his creation... when the Lord had brought the heavens and earth into place and everything else in creation into existence.

Notice verse 4 with verse 7. The question is, “Job where were you when I created the earth.....when the morning stars and the sons of God shouted for joy.” This question gives us the time of the creation of angels, described here as the “sons of God”, Job 1:6 and 2:1, and the “morning stars”.

God brought forth angels on the “first day of creation” after the time He created the heavens, and before He created the earth, Genesis 1:1. I say that because God created all things in the 6 - 24 hour days of creation, Exodus 20:11. Job 38:4 and 7 says when the earth was created the angels shouted for joy. The “angels” had to be there at that time.

The subject of angels, both good and bad angels, has a close connection to Bible prophecy, both in the first coming of Jesus Christ, and the Second Coming. In fact, the most used word in the book of Revelation, other than “and, the, etc.”, is “angel” or its plural, “angels”, used 81 times.

An “angel” delivers the message of “Revelation” to the Apostle John who recorded its prophecies for us to read, Revelation 1. The “letters” to the Seven Churches, Revelation 2 and 3, are presented to the “Angels” of the Churches. Angels deliver all of the seven “Trumpet Judgments”, Revelation 8, 9 and 11, and all of the “Vial Judgments”, Revelation 16.

Angels are our fellow servants, Revelation 19:10 and 22:9. Angels will accompany Jesus Christ as He returns to the earth at His Second Coming, Matthew 24:31. Angels are real and will play key rolls in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the period leading up to the Lord's return.

This angelic activity includes both good and bad angels. (see my study on “Angels” for much more information on “angels”) As at the 1st coming of His 2nd coming “angels”, both good and evil, will participate. I'm convinced that even now angels are preparing for their role in the soon coming of Jesus Christ, which could be today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for the “protection” that Angels provide for me and for the reality of their “partnership” with me in ministry, as well.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Esther 3:13

And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.

For further study - Esther 3:7-15

Last time we read from Esther 3, we looked at the first 6 verses of this chapter. We traced the family of Haman, the villain of Esther, back to Esau and forward to Herod the Great and finally to the Palestinian people of today.

This whole family line, the family of Esau, is a tool of Satan to try and destroy the Jewish people, their cousins. Satan knows if he can work to destroy the Jews, all of them, then God fails to complete His plan for the Jewish people. If that were to be the case then God fails and Satan can claim to be the "Most High God".

The book of Esther portrays Haman as the number two “leader” in the Persian Empire under King Ahasuerus. In verse six of this chapter from our devotional reading last time we saw that Haman sought to destroy all the Jews in the world in his day.

Then he called for the King to write the "Law of the Medes and the Persians" and called for the death of every Jew in his empire. This Law of the Medes and the Persians could not be changed once sealed. The King actually gave the power to destroy all the Jews in the Persian kingdom, to the enemy of the Jews, verse 10, to Haman.

This is another of the events in history where the Devil moves to destroy the Jews, to "wipe them off the face of the earth". However, the worst time in all of history for the Jews will be during the seven year Tribulation Period that is yet future.

It is during the "time of Jacob's Trouble", Jeremiah 30:7, that this slaughter of Jews will take place with two out of every three Jews on earth being killed, Zechariah 13:8.

Haman is only one of Satan's agents raised up to kill off the Jews. The coming Tribulation persecution of Jews as foretold in Zechariah is in line with Haman, and the book of Esther.

In fact it will be worse than the killing of six million Jews during Hitler's Holocaust. The Tribulation “holocaust” is the climax of Satan's plan that includes Haman and Hitler.

As in the book of Esther, where the Jews were saved from total destruction by the hand of God, the holocaust in the Tribulation will be stopped by God's intercession for the Jewish people.

As we notice what's happening all over the world, the increase in anti-semitism, we must be aware that the Bible prophecies focused on Satan and his persecution of Jews will be fulfilled and that fulfillment is getting ever closer.

PRAYER THOT: Dear Lord, As I focus on the Jews in our world and what is happening to them today, help me realize how close we are to Your return to the earth.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nehemiah 6:16

And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.

For further study - Nehemiah 6:1-16

What a stamp of approval, the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval," when the world, in fact the enemy of the Jewish people, realized that "the work was wrought of our God". The work Nehemiah wrote about, of course, was the rebuilding of the “walls and the streets” of the city of Jerusalem.

God had worked in the heart of the King of Persia to allow Nehemiah, the King's cupbearer, to return to Jerusalem to reconstruct the walls around the city and repair the streets of the "holy city".

As we come to the sixth chapter of Nehemiah, we see that the job has been completed, verse 15. This was a very fine bit of civil engineering, to repair the walls and the streets of a war-torn city. Actually it had taken only 52 days to do all of this work in this devastated city, verse 15.

As the "foreman" on the job, Nehemiah had led the workers, as a man of God, with a purpose focused on service for the Lord and His chosen city. It was a matter of "focus" with Nehemiah.

Verses 2-4 indicate that the enemies of the Jewish city and its people wanted to stop the work of the Lord. They tried to divert Nehemiah away from his work. Notice Nehemiah's response to the invitation to walk away from his God-given mission, verse 3.

The focus, according to Nehemiah was, "I'm doing a great work, so that I can not come down." When doing a great work for the Lord, we must stay focused on the mission that God has given us and let nothing distract us from His will for our lives. It may be hard to focus but we must do so to get His work done.

As one reads through all of Nehemiah's account of this rebuilding of the walls and repairing the streets of Jerusalem we can find example after example of how God's man under God's leadership and provision, can do God's will much faster than previously thought.

This project was done as a testimony to the "heathen" around Jerusalem who were doing everything they could to cause Nehemiah and his team to fail. This event is one of the "milestones" along the way, in Jewish history.

The fact is that the Persian king Artaxerxes would make a decree that would mark the time in history to start the count that would lead up to the time when Jesus Christ would be hailed as the King of Kings, on the day of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem, Daniel 9:25-26.

The exactness of this pronouncement by the King sets in place the point of reference by which Jews, Gentiles and Christians can begin to count 173,880 days until Messiah Jesus Christ would show up in Jerusalem, Luke 19:40-45.

According to Jesus, in the Luke passage, He showed up in Jerusalem on the exact day He was to be there, not a day late or a day early, the exact day He was to be there. Jesus then told those there and the ones who would read this passage later that by reading the Word of God, and understanding what it's saying, we can know what time it is in His plan for the future.

The practical and the prophetic come together in this passage of scripture, our devotional reading for today.

PRAYER THOT: Help me, dear Lord, to focus on the mission you have given me to complete for you.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ezra 6:15

And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

For further study - Ezra 6:15-22

The portion of scripture for today's devotional reading, and the extended reading is a record of the completion of the building of the Second Temple and the dedicatory service to follow. It also records the observance of the first of the seven Jewish feast days, the Passover.

This sixth chapter of Ezra is key to understanding how God fulfills prophecy and how He will fulfill prophecy.

In chapter one of Ezra we read about the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy about a leader named Cyrus who would come to power and allow the Jews to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple destroyed by the Babylonians, Isaiah 44:28 & Ezra 1:2-3.

In chapter two of this book written by the scribe, Ezra, we see the record of the families from the twelve tribes of Israel who did return to Jerusalem to rebuild that temple.

Ezra three to five records how the Jewish people did not set as a priority the building of the temple but instead looked to their own needs.

Notice Ezra 5:1 here we see that the two Jewish prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, are used by God to preach to the Jews in Judah to be about the task of building the temple (At this point in a reading through the Bible one should read both Haggai and Zechariah).

The prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah have both a short- term fulfillment and a long-term fulfillment. The Jewish returnees from Babylon were exhorted by these two prophets to rebuild the temple which they finally did as they had been directed.

Our key verse and the extended reading are the record of the temple being rebuilt and dedicated; however, this was done twenty-five years after the Jews returned to Jerusalem and only under pressure from Haggai and Zechariah.

This Temple was the Second Temple that was still standing in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount in the days of Jesus Christ. In 70 AD, this Temple was destroyed and another Temple will be rebuilt on the Temple Mount; in fact, two more temples will stand there in Jerusalem.

Zechariah 6:12 tells us that the "Branch", another name for Jesus, will build His temple where He will rule and reign, in the Kingdom to come.

However, there will be another temple in Jerusalem before Messiah builds His Temple. Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, II Thessalonians 2:4 & Revelation 11:2 reveal there will be a Temple in the Tribulation Period. That Tribulation Temple will be the location for the "image of the beast", a symbol of the Antichrist, Revelation 13:14-15.

All preparations have been made for the building of that temple. The Jews could start erecting that temple any day. Please remember that our reading today in Ezra 6 reveals the Temple of his day was rebuilt. These other two temples are yet future. The stage has been set for the next two Temples to be built in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you, Lord, for fulfilled prophecy that sets the stage for other prophecies to be fulfilled.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

II Chronicles 6:6

But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
For further study - II Chronicles 6:1-11

Our extended reading for today in II Chronicles 6, the first 11 verses, is the record of the sermon that King Solomon gave at the dedication of the first Jewish Temple. After 7 years, Solomon's men had finished building the Temple in Jerusalem and as we saw in our last devotional reading in II Chronicles, King Solomon had brought the Ark of the Covenant into the Holy of Holies and the "Glory of the Lord" had filled the "house of the Lord," II Chronicles 5:14.

As Solomon preached that “dedication day”, he honored the Lord and his father, King David. King Solomon was so honored that he had been the one chosen by the Lord to build the temple. The king realized that the Temple would one day be the "house of habitation" for the Lord, forever, verse 2.

In addition to the Temple being where God would dwell among His people forever, the Temple must be in the city of Jerusalem, Psalm 132:13-14. Verse 4 of our reading reveals the partial fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, II Samuel 7.

In this passage the Lord promised King David that his son would build the Temple in Jerusalem and that one of David's sons would sit on the throne forever. That last promise in II Samuel 7, one of David’s “sons” on the throne, will actually be fulfilled by Jesus Christ at His Second Coming.

However, the first step in fulfilling the covenant given to David was being fulfilled on that day as testified to by King Solomon. The Lord, since the Exodus from Egypt, had not to that point chosen any city in the Promised Land to build a house, worship center, and had not chosen a man to be ruler over His people.

Solomon reveals in his sermon that the Lord had chosen Jerusalem for His permanent Temple and King David, Solomon's father, to be the "co-regent" with Christ at that Temple in Jerusalem, forever.

Almost 500 years after King Solomon's sermon, the prophet Ezekiel wrote that King David would rule from the Temple in Jerusalem, alongside Jesus, forever, Ezekiel 34:23-24 and Ezekiel 37:24-25.

The fulfillment of Solomon's prophecy revealed in his sermon and the prophecy of Ezekiel will take place during the 1,000- year Millennial Kingdom, yet future. This fulfillment takes place after the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon and when Jesus rules and reigns from His Temple in Jerusalem, forever.

By the way, the Rapture could happen today, which would signal the time of fulfillment for the other prophecies spoken of and yet to be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOT: Even so come Lord Jesus and help me to live in that expectancy today.