Sometimes the simplest messages are the most difficult to obey. One such message is only two words. What is this message? Well, in plain and simple language: Trust God! Easy to say, hard to do.
Not having things go the way we want when we want is one of the toughest things in life we have to deal with. Prayers aren't answered right away, loved ones pass away, and bad things happen to good people.
It’s not about the change in the weather, how young or old you are, or any other circumstance. None of these things matter. Life is to be celebrated, not merely endured.
During this holiday season, let's pledge not to let ingratitude become our creed or cynicism our stumbling block.
Malachi was the last call of the Old Testament. Prophesying after the days of Nehemiah, Malachi witnessed the settled, stagnant, corrupt indifference of God’s people, which the prophet deplored. The people’s intermarrying with foreigners (non-Jews), neglecting to pay tithes, and offering blemished sacrifices at the altar caused Malachi to confront and warm them of the consequences of their actions.
Conflict per se isn't necessarily bad. But we have a problem when conflict stems from, is expressed with, or remains unresolved, because of sinful motives, attitudes, or actions.
The prophet Haggai had led the way in rebuilding the temple…but the people lost focus during the process. The prophet Zechariah rolled up his sleeves and plunged, with reckless abandon, into the work of helping his friend Haggai. But Zechariah’s style was very different. Rather than rebuking the workers, he relied on words of inspiration and positive encouragement to motivate the people.
Haggai was God’s spokesman sent to awaken and arouse the post-captivity Jews from their lethargy. With determined focus, he pursued one major goal: to complete the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. He was a “get it done” leader; a highly motivated man who attacked indifference as the enemy it was. Haggai (and later Zechariah) was used by the Lord to afflict the comfortable, convincing them there was no excuse for delay.
In the first section of Zephaniah’s book he announced sure judgment with a simple yet forceful style. Then, in the second section, he tenderly prophesied that God would send relief and blessings on His people. Through it all, Zephaniah emerged as a choice prophet in a long line of tough and tender men.