Wednesday, July 15, 2015


The Prophet Malachi was God's personal messenger. Malachi was riveted by the humbling presence of His holy God and his assignment from heaven was to deliver direct assertions from God. "I have loved you" Malachi 1:2 - to which the lazy Priests questioned God "How have You loved us?" That question was evidence of their short term memory loss. God had rescued them from HARD LABOR in Egypt, and took them safely through a miraculously parted Red Sea, fed them daily, clothed them, and walked with them as a Pillar of Light each night. Have you ever said "I'm doing my best" when you knew you were limping, and laboring half-heartedly? Has disappointment ever snuffed out your hope? Everyone of us have performed at below standard during difficult times. When we feel insecure because of shifting sand, because of unwanted changes, because of demands made upon us when we are operating at our lowest levels, we tend to LABOR grudgingly and accuse others of being unjust. We easily get miffed at others for dis-regarding our significance as they expect us to LABOR without complaint.  It is also very common for each of us to dishonor, or discount wisdom during times of personal struggle. Our mothers LABORED in pain to bring us into the world as we know it. We were given a name, we did not choose our parents, our inherent character traits, our personality, or our aptitude for career paths. As adults we labor day to day believing that we must bring honor to our birth family name. The identity we were assigned upon our entrance to planet earth comes with a nationality, a zip code, a zodiac sign and a language. Our birth parents,
or our adoptive parents exercised authority as they represented us at the doctor's office and when they brought us to school. Our holy God also LABORED hard to retrieve us from the emptiness that follows the achievement of lofty personal goals. God came down from His throne and walked the earth as Jesus Christ.  Jesus LABORED with all authority, as our Spiritual Father, and He adopted us and gave us His family name.  God claimed us as His kid, and as He promised, He sent the perfect Sacrifice to cover ALL our sins, and filled us with the Holy Spirit, Who never departs from us. Talk about a LABOR OF LOVE! Let us take time to acknowledge who we became "in Christ" as a Christian. Let us LABOR to live as  a "FEAR FREE" born again child of God, who has already gladly surrendered and free fallen in pure FAITH into Who Jesus Christ is.  Trusting Him to catch us when we fall, we jumped off the cliff of world FEAR, and we walk in faith,  ignoring the CAUTION that the unliberated souls cast out. We must NOT doubt the living Word of God. "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You must not be surprised at My saying, 'You must be born again.'  The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:6-8 NIV ~ True Christians are born again of the Spirit, which is from God.
Like the wind, the Holy Spirit swept into us, and though we could not see from whence the Spirit came, we heard the sweet small voice whisper "I have loved you, you belong to Me."  We were wooed by His love, and His grace changed our hard hearts of resistance. His Spirit gave us understanding of all the mysteries, as the Word of God was written by the Spirit. We do NOT live in fear, but we speak and act according to our faith. The High Israelite Priests were a fraternity of holy men who were anointed by God and given very high LABOR standards.  The High Israelite Priests of Malachi's time pitiful lack of gratitude for all that God had provided deserved our Father God's response.  Our holy, all powerful, full of authority God then declared His holy love- hate
relationship with Esau's nation of Edom and Jacob's nation of Israel.  The Israelite Priests had been bringing skimpy offerings that dishonored God. They had not been LABORING at their best as His anointed ones.  They were hoarding money and not feeding the spiritually starved.  God had shown much favor to the Israelites, as long as they treasured their inheritance, as God's chosen people. God is always fair and just. Isaiah 2:11 " The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low." God's word warns us, it gives us examples of how not to be. Israel questioned God "How have we despised Your Name?" Malachi 1:6 ~ The Hebrew word for name is sem. In Hebrew God's name or sem includes the concept of identity, character, significance, power, authority, presence, essence, and representation. God replied "By offering polluted food upon My alter." Malachi 1:7 ~ Offering blind or automatic robot praises is to dishonor God's name, His power, His Holy essence. When we offer sick excuses, when we whine and deny that we have NOT doubted or sinned, we are evil in our
rebellion and denial of God's holy significance. The Holy Spirit breathed words in Malachi 2:15-16 clearly puts the responsibility on the holy men for abandoning the Almighty God of the scriptures. "Did He not make them ONE, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? - So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless." The purging fire of heaven, the indwelt Holy Spirit, will erase the ERRORS of our past, IF we allow Him.  God does not regulate our choices.  He urges us to come and lay down our burdens, and pick up our mats and walk. IF we break our vow to love and obey God, and/or our spouse, our hearts will feel fractured until we return to God. God permits us to choose Him, trust Him, come to Him with all our burdens.   IF we want to experience JOY, then it is imperative that we give to God our past, our fears, our hesitations, and let Him CHANGE us for His glory.  We must allow God's grace along with the Holy Spirit to give us understanding as we contemplate God's covenant with us, and His enduring compassion and understanding for our LABORS and SUFFERING.
Our holy God is a relational Father, and with His Son, and the Holy Spirit all working in unison to redeem, restore, and forgive us, the appropriate RESPONSE from us is "Thank You Father for all my struggles which have caused me to seek You with all my heart!" Joni Erickson Tada who paints with her toes, knows that the grace of God does at times, come packaged as difficulty, without a tidy bow of understanding.  Yahweh does not always come immediately to RESCUE us from our consequences, or our unexplained painful life experiences.  Christians who are quick to take offense, and blame others in defense, are the same people who are anxious about everything.  Like the High Priests, they are NOT humble, and they do not rely on God through prayer. WHY?  Because they are insecure and truly trust-impaired. Security is a deeply rooted confidence that God is on the throne, and His faithful Authority rules, all the time, in every circumstance.  Is not our security centered in our Father? Our identity "in Him" is found in His word, which is true.
The opposite of security is an arrogant demand that we have the right to complain when life gets complicated or tough. If the Israelites wearied the Lord with their words, is it not possible that we weary our family, friends, and the world with our whiny insecure words of woe?  "You have wearied the Lord with your words." Malachi 2:17 - Job absolutely wore out the Almighty when he defended his complaints. "I'm not letting up, I'm standing my ground.  My complaint is legitimate.  God has no right to treat me like this. It is not fair!"  Job 23:1-7 The Message ~ Now consider a friend who has confessed their huge foe-paw to God, or think of something you said that was ungodly and confessed - on a scale of 1-10, do you believe our heavenly Father has completely forgiven both...or is He still waiting to give you another chance? Grace and forgiveness is a GIFT. It came to us easily without effort on our part.  Let us then quickly issue grace and forgiveness to honor God in our LABOR to please Him.  May we continue to walk worthy and LABOR on to bring our NEW FAMILY NAME all honor and glory.  AMEN

1 comment:

  1. "MALACHI, a love that never lets go." A book study by Lisa Harper
    Notes taken in class turned into a post that keeps me LABORING