Promise Keeper

The Beginning of the NEW TESTAMENT – Matthew 1-4

matt 1

Thursday, April 27

So after years of prophecies and waiting, the Messiah is finally here!

Matthew 1: 21-23       21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,”

After reading through Zechariah and Malachi I’ve come to appreciate Jesus as the Messiah even more than I already did. Understanding the ups and downs of God’s relationship  with the Israelites helped me understand the need and reason for Jesus. He was born as a fulfillment of prophecy and that’s exactly the life he lived.

 

God keeps his promises.

 

-Elleigh Dylewski

 

 

heb 10

 

(Matthew 1:21 Photo Credit – http://my-savior-lives.tumblr.com/post/69954608098

Hebrews 10:23  Photo Credit: http://www.mygivingback.com/2016/08/)

Do You Get It?

Malachi 1-4

Malachi

Wednesday, April 26

Have you ever tried reasoning with someone who just doesn’t get it? After reading Malachi that’s exactly how I felt. At this point the temple is built and the Israelites are settled back into their traditions and way of life. They are now waiting for the prophecies of their Messiah to be fulfilled. But with this wait and settling in came the return of sin, doubt and once again a disconnection and separation from God.

The Israelites began to sacrifice improper animals, they were withholding tithes, they were marrying outsiders, they weren’t obeying and honoring the covenant they had with God. With all this corruption going on they refused to see themselves as the problem. Instead they put the blame on God questioning his very love for them (Malachi 1:2) . Almost desperately God points the finger back at them, reminding them of his great love and his promise of a messiah. He urges them to take responsibility for their actions and remember to obey the covenant they have with Him.

I found it interesting that the last book of the Old Testament left me with a feeling of desperation. You felt the need for the Messiah and I almost couldn’t wait for him to come, then I realized: wait, Jesus did come! Today we have a new covenant with God, one that is fulfilled by grace through Jesus Christ.

 

I hope you get it.

 

-Elleigh Dylewski

 

Refined or Destroyed

Zechariah 11-14

zechariah 13

Tuesday, April 25

The book of Zechariah brings a message of hope to the Israelites but also a dose of reality. The final chapters focus on two key elements: the coming Messiah and the Kingdom of God. Zechariah prophesies of a hope and salvation of the coming Messiah (Jesus, shepherd) but also of his rejection by the Israelites. He prophesies of a coming Kingdom where God will rule, but also the tribulation that will unfold for those that don’t believe.

 

Zechariah 13:7-9 says 7 “Awake, sword, against my shepherd,

against the man who is close to me!”

declares the Lord Almighty.

“Strike the shepherd,

and the sheep will be scattered,

and I will turn my hand upon the little ones.

8 In the whole land,” declares the Lord,

“two-thirds will be struck down and perish;

yet one-third will be left in it.

9 This third I will put into the fire;

I will refine them like silver

and test them like gold.

They will call on my name

and I will answer them;

I will say, ‘They are my people,’

and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

 

Powerful words from a powerful God.

Here are the three things I took from Zechariah 11 – 14:

  1. God has a plan – some of which has already unfolded (Jesus’s first coming and the Israelites rejecting him).
  2. His plan is still playing out and yet to unfold (Jesus’s second coming and the Kingdom established)
  3. You and I have a role in His plan. Part of that role is to accept and believe in God’s plan with the faith to live it out. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Zechariah makes it clear that God has the plan.  It’s your choice to be a part of it or not. To be refined by fire or destroyed by fire is up to you. In the end I say, the Lord is my God.

-Elleigh Dylewski

 

(Photo Credit: http://w3ace.com/stardust/scripture/verse/Zechariah_13:9)

The Other Christmas Story

Psalms 1-7

second-coming

Saturday, December 24

In our reading today, we enter into the book of Psalms.  To use an analogy, Psalms is probably like the collection of worship music that your worship team is using at church.  They were written to be set to music, have a variety of authors, covers a wide variety of themes and topics, and even have instructions to the “worship leader” as how (tempo, instruments, mood) many of these psalms should be played.  You will notice as you read throughout the book of Psalms there are lines, stanzas, and chapters that have found their way into the Christian worship (and even some secular music) of today.

One recurring topic, laced throughout the book of Psalms that fits our reading and the season, is the prophetic telling of a promised Messiah: his jubilant arrival, the long awaited Word of God becoming flesh.  The angels, the earth, the heavens, and every man had been created with a longing for this event and had waited its fulfillment (Colossians 1:15-20).  Sadly, much of the focus of this season has turned away from the telling of this story, and turned to other ones.  In many of the Christmas movies I know,  someone asks, “Who wants to hear the story of Christmas?”  The family patriarch takes a seat by the fire.  Children gather around at his feet.  Everyone quietly listens as the story begins.  “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house…”  I sigh.  This is not the LIFE-ALTERING, SALVATION-BRINGING, PROPHECY-FULFILLING, HISTORY-CHANGING Christmas story I know, BUT there is a rivaling Christmas story that is equal, or even greater than the one we currently know about the humble beginnings of a baby in a manger. This story is made mention of in the Psalm 2:

“I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.  I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:

He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” – Psalm 2:6-9

The first advent of Jesus Christ is the fulfilling of prophecy, but it is not complete; there is more to come.  There is a second advent of Christ.  He will come to earth not quietly in a manger, but as the King empowered by God Almighty.  EVERYONE will know of his arrival. To those who know Jesus, it will harken a time of great joy, restoration, and peace; however, the fulfillment is still not complete.

“Therefore, you kings, be wise;be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.  Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.  Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” – Psalm 2:10-12

 There is no justice in telling part of this.  For these wonderful things to occur sin, evil, and death must be destroyed, including those who do not give their lives to the King of Kings.  When all this has happened, the story is complete, and a new age and life begin.  If there is another story we tell at Christmas, let it be this one; the one that has power to bring everlasting joy, peace, salvation to all men.

-Aaron Winner