August 6

Malachi 1-2, Psalm 63

The opening verses of the book of Malachi contains words that many find difficult. These words are in Malachi 1:2-3, "...Says the Lord. "Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated." This verse is quoted by Paul in Romans 9:13. People are troubled with the concept that God hated Esau. But this reveals the problem with our minds, for we should be more shocked that undeserving Jacob was loved. Most of the people that I share with during the week come from a Catholic or Protestant background but don't seriously practice and never really ever asked God to be in their lives. When sharing with a patient this week, when I presented the Gospel message she, like most people, have difficulty understanding why everyone doesn't go to heaven, since most of us are "pretty good". She asked how a God of love and forgiveness could send anyone to Hell. But the truth is He doesn't send, He respects our free will, and we choose while on this earth. Recently, they did a survey on high school students and found them academically lacking but excelling in self-esteem. We, adults, like to point this out to the younger generation, but are often guilty ourselves. When I pointed out to this patient that David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) was now a Christian and if his heart is as it seems, he will be heaven-bound while most others are headed to hell (Jesus' own words in Matthew 7:13-14 which talks of the narrow gate to heaven and the wide gate to hell). 

God through his messenger, Malachi, revealed to the people of Judah (which is just as applicable to the people around us) that they were going through the motions of religion, they were complacent, disinterested and their hearts were not after God. In Mal 1:6, he says, "A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is my honor? And if I am a Master, where is my reverence? Says the Lord of hosts To you priests who despise my name. Yet you say, 'In what way have we despised Your name?' " Realize the word despise here means "to take lightly" not to hate or loathe as we often consider it.  He goes on to describe the disregard the priests showed in their sacrifices and says in 1:8, "...Offer it then to the governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?...". He goes on in 1:13 to describe the mindset behind these defiled offerings, "You also say, 'Oh, what a weariness!' And you sneer at it,"....

In our society of high self-esteem in elevating those commandments which we think we obey while disregarding those that we don't or justifying why we don't saying that we are no different than everyone else. The God who commanded in the 6th and 7th commandment not to murder or commit adultery is the same God who commanded us to have no other gods (which is the emphasis of these verses in Malachi), not to lie or bear false witness or covet in the 1st, 9th and 10th commandments.  James 2:10says, "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." Though most of us are not teaching pastors, those of us in Christ are now his priests, as it says in 1 Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;". We who proclaim God's beautiful Gospel message need not fear, for God will give us the words to say (Matthew 10:19) and we are filled with the Holy Spirit as Paul encouraged Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." In the book, Cyrano de Bergerac, the character of the young cadet, named Christian, lacked the ability and confidence to speak to his love, Roxanne. Cyrano was the mind, strength and confidence behind Christian. Likewise, we as Christians simply need to stay in His Word and allow ourselves to be used by God and be open to His leading, and He will give us the words.

Since some of those following this Facebook site and some of those that I personally send these posts to have not yet made a decision for Christ, in the quietness of wherever you are, if you want to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and experience His salvation, say these words and mean them, "God, I know that I have sinned against You and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. With Your help, I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness-the gift of eternal life! Amen!" The words must go along with your heart. If you have said these words for the first time, get yourself into the Bible on a daily basis, find a Bible believing Christian to disciple you, find a Bible believing church (consider Calvary Chapel Old Bridge if you live in the area) and experience the freedom that God promises those of us who have made this decision. Read this great promise from God, through Paul in Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster