Without love, knowledge can be a source of pride. Without humility, knowledge can lead us into a judgmental attitude. Without wisdom, knowledge can result in idealism and a perfectionist spirit. Knowledge needs a buffer…something to soften it, to give it perspective, to make it workable and real. Perhaps the very best companion for knowledge is discernment.
Encouraging the disheartened is important for a body of Christians. Enduring tough times is too. And worshipping is equally essential. A church needs all three…but a ministry is incomplete unless there is also the presence of learning. Healthy, vibrant flocks are kept in that condition by a continual emphasis on the discovery of new truth as well as the review of old truths. Such emphases give our faith stability and substance.
No matter what the situation, people in every generation and age group have struggled with a lack of gratitude and feelings of entitlement. We have a long history of pride, narcissism, and faithlessness.
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.