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Old Testament – Today we finish up the book of Amos! Obadiah is up next tomorrow! I like this part of the year in the Old Testament as we move through the Minor Prophets at a quick pace. Today in Amos we read about Amos & Amaziah’s interactions, visions of Locusts, Fire & a Plumb line, Ripe Fruit, God at the Altar, and then finish up the book with a Promise of Restoration. I like the beginning of Amos chapter 7 a lot. Here we see Amos praying for the forgiveness of Israel’s sins and asking God to forgo the visions of Locusts & Fire. This is a good reminder to each of us to pray for others, and not just only for ourselves.
Also, in chapter 7 verses 14 & 15 stood out to me when Amos was speaking with the priest Amaziah: “”I’m not one of your professional prophets. I certainly never trained to be one. I’m just a shepherd, and I take care of fig trees. But the LORD called me away from my flock and told me, `Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.'” This reminds me of something I actually heard from Mac Powell, the leader singer of Third Day, at one of their concerts. Mac reminded us all that sometimes we think that the only way we can really be serving God and others in big ways is if maybe we are pastors or missionaries. And Mac reminded us that this is not the case – all of us, no matter what our profession or walk of life, can serve God and others in big ways! We are all pastors and missionaries in the kingdom of God! I like that. And here’s Amos saying, “hey – I’m not a professional prophet. I’m just doing what God asked me to do.”
Amos chapter 8 verses 11-13 are a great reminder of how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to read God’s word, the Bible – where not everyone in our world today has this blessing. Actually, I have to admit – these are some of the most breathtaking verses for me in all of the Bible. For some reason I pay attention so acutely every time I hear these verses… this is scary stuff to consider… “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine on the land–not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the LORD. People will stagger everywhere from sea to sea, searching for the word of the LORD, running here and going there, but they will not find it. Beautiful girls and fine young men will grow faint and weary, thirsting for the LORD’s word.”
Amos chapter 9 verse 11 is a great Messianic foretelling of the coming of Jesus: “In that day I will restore the fallen kingdom of David. It is now like a house in ruins, but I will rebuild its walls and restore its former glory.” And verse 13 a foretelling of a Garden of Eden-like paradise to come: “The time will come,” says the LORD, “when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine!”
New Testament – Today in Revelation chapter 3 we read about The Message to the Church in Philadelphia and Laodicea. Verse 8 today is powerful, from Jesus: “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can shut.” Jesus has opened the door for us to enter God’s kingdom through faith in him. No one can keep us from entering through this open door – besides ourselves.
Verses 15 and 16 are convicting words from Jesus! “”I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!”
Verse 20 is beautiful from Jesus: “”Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.” As we read above – the door to entering into the kingdom of God through faith in Jesus is open and no one can shut it – except maybe we will shut the door ourselves in our own lives.
Psalms – Psalm 131 verse 2 is a beautiful reflection! “But I have stilled and quieted myself, just as a small child is quiet with its mother. Yes, like a small child is my soul within me.” What a great reflection and reminder to take 1 day a week as a Sabbath day of rest. A day to still and quiet yourself. Just like a small child is with its mother.
Proverbs – Proverbs 29 verse 23 teaches us today: “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.” How counterintuitive is this in our culture today? This Proverb reminds me that Jesus’ kingdom is an upside-down kingdom. The last shall be first. And the humble will be honored.
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV)
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