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Daily devotional

February 25 - Complaining about God?

"Your words have been hard against me, says the LORD. But you say, 'How have we spoken against you?' You have said, 'It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.'" -  Malachi 3:13-15 Scripture reading: Psalm 73:1-28 The people weren’t directly shaking their fists at God. Rather, they were complaining to one another, but the LORD knew their hearts. He always does, of course! He knows all that we think or say. What is their complaint? It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts? (3:14). You can almost hear the disdain in their voice. What’s in it for us if we serve God? The word for “profit” refers to a weaver cutting a piece of cloth free from the loom. The idea is that these people expected their “cut” or percentage and they were grumbling because they believed the LORD was not giving them their fair share. Whenever we grumble about our circumstances or wrong treatment, we are really elevating ourselves above God. I’m trying to serve You LORD, but all I get is trouble. The arrogant and evildoers are prospering and seem to escape judgment. I also deserve some happiness. Perhaps we even say, “God doesn’t truly love me because He would do more to make me happy.” Does Christ exist to make you happy? Is He your personal vending machine to give you what you want? Be careful! The flesh is inclined to self-pity, self-focus and self-centredness. Christ came to save you from the guilt and judgment of your sin. What’s in it for you if you serve the LORD? More than you can imagine when you think about eternity! Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord to help you see what you have in Christ when you feel like grumbling. Thank the Lord that we can truly have rest for our souls in Christ (Matthew 11:28). Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 24 - The Lord’s rebuke

“I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.” - Malachi 3:11-12  Scripture reading: Proverbs 11:1-31 This rebuke is one that we are very happy to accept! When we bring the full tithe to the LORD, His promise of blessing includes rebuking the devourer for us. The reality was that Israel’s crops and vines were being devoured because of their lack of trust, true devotion and covenant faithfulness to the LORD. They were putting forth a lot of effort with little favourable results. Farmers know that a lot of money, time and resources go into planting a field with the expectation of a good harvest in the fall. It's very disappointing when the corn or beans don't grow well, the harvest is poor and the investment of all that labour and money yields little. No one likes to work only to have their paycheque disappear with too many bills and expenses! No one likes working for little! The LORD says without Me your labour will not know true blessing. Now, we must be careful not to fall into the prosperity gospel mindset, thinking if I give my full tithe to the LORD, He will, in turn, give material wealth and happiness as a result. The LORD does not promise health and wealth because we give money or some other resources to the church. Rather, His promises start with spiritual life and blessings in Christ. He provides our needs and enables us to be content with what we have. Christ gives true life and salvation and nothing can take that away. Trust Him today and receive real heavenly prosperity. Suggestions for prayer Thank the LORD He is faithful so that we can truly depend upon Him. Praise the LORD that He promises to supply our needs and helps us to trust Him so that we experience life and blessing in Christ. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 23 - The Lord’s challenge

“Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” - Malachi 3:10  Scripture reading: Philippians 4:1-23 As we continue in this passage, the LORD now challenges His people to test Him and then promises to pour out His blessing on those who fully tithe. This is the only place where testing the LORD is a positive thing to do. Recognize also that this test is not just about your money, but it is really about how much you are willing to trust the LORD. Testing Him is about proving Him to be true to His Word even when circumstances seem to say otherwise. God allows Himself to be put on trial. He didn’t have to make this promise. He could have simply told us to give our tithes because He demands it and that’s it. But His desire is for us to trust Him fully. Is God true? Is He faithful? Will He keep His promises? Will He provide? One of the best ways to find out is to fully tithe. His blessings may not come in the way we expect, nevertheless, He will fulfill His Word when we fully trust Him. It is said, when windows of heaven are open over your home, there is His blessing. When they open over your business, there is His blessing. When they are open over your mind, there is His blessing. When they are open over your body and soul, there is His blessing. The LORD never breaks His promises! Christ is worthy of your trust when you place your confidence in Him by faith. Do you accept the LORD’s challenge? Suggestions for prayer Pray the LORD will give you true faith and trust in Christ. Ask the LORD to help you take the LORD at His Word, to trust His promises, and to accept His challenge to fully tithe. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 22 - Bring in the full tithes

“Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.” - Malachi 3:10  Scripture reading: 1 Peter 5:1-14 Notice in this verse, that the LORD tells His people to bring the full tithes into the storehouse. The verb bring is a causative command. The LORD is telling them to make this happen and that they are required to give. They were also commanded to give the full tithe and not just a partial offering so that there would be full provision in God’s house for His work. They were giving something, but just weren’t giving all that the LORD required. They weren’t obeying completely. They were like those who soothe their conscience by dropping a few dollars in the offering plate every once in a while. Partial obedience isn’t really obedience; it’s just doing what is convenient for you. If I was audited on my income taxes, what would happen if I told the CRA/IRS, “I pay most of my taxes. You should be happy I gave you something.” Do you think they would accept this reasoning? Does the LORD accept this type of reasoning? The reality is that for many Christians, giving ten percent would be a huge increase because they don’t really give to the LORD as they must. Tithing should not be that difficult for us. You need to budget and be disciplined, but it ought to be routine. Remember, we give the full tithe so that the full work of the ministry is accomplished. Are you giving a full or partial tithe to the LORD? Are you being faithful to Christ in this regard? Partial obedience isn’t really obedience. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the LORD will help you to be faithful and give your full tithe to Him to support His work. Ask the LORD to prosper Christ’s church through the practical giving of His people. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 21 - Robbing yourself? 

“You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you.” - Malachi 3:9  Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 3:1-17 The LORD continues to speak to His covenant people and tells them what will happen because they do not give proper tithes and contributions. These are very strong words when the LORD says, you are cursed with a curse. To rob God by not giving a proper tithe means you are really hurting yourself more than anyone else. When the people refused to trust God by giving, He allowed the devourer to come and diminish their crops (3:11). This may refer to locusts or other insects, hail or drought. The LORD wants His people to trust Him and not just with the material things of this world. If we don’t trust God to care for us, whatever we do trust in will prove futile. A long time ago I spoke with an investment planner and he was amazed that I would donate and give to the church. Why waste money and give so much with so little return? You could put that money in a retirement fund and it will be a great investment for you, he told me. I am already investing it actually, I said to him. This is an investment for eternity. The church of Christ and His work is the most important thing that I have the privilege to support. Are you investing in eternity? Are you giving the LORD what you should in your tithes? His work is the most important thing you have the privilege to support. Don’t rob yourself by robbing God. Suggestions for prayer Ask the LORD to help you trust Him by giving to Him your proper tithe and contributions. Pray that you will know the grace and blessings of Christ as you invest in eternity by practically supporting His church. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 20 - Will a man rob God?

“Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, 'How have we robbed you?' In your tithes and contributions.” - Malachi 3:8  Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 9:1-15 Today is a day of worship. As you come to church think about this question given here, will a man rob God? The verb for “rob” means to defraud and steal. “Robbing God” means keeping back from God what rightfully belongs to Him, namely our tithes and contributions. A tithe is ten percent of one’s grain, fruit, animals, or money (Leviticus 27:30-34). Tithing is also an act of worship as seen in Abraham giving tithes to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20; Hebrews 7). Where is giving on your list of priorities? I heard a story of a missionary in Africa who received a knock on the door of his hut one afternoon. Answering, the missionary found a boy holding a large fish in his hands. The boy said, "Reverend, you taught us what tithing is, so here, I've brought you my tithe." As the missionary gratefully took the fish, he questioned the boy. "If this is your tithe, where are the other nine fish?" At this, the boy beamed and said, "Oh, they're still back in the river. I'm going back to catch them now." This boy desired to bring the first fish for the LORD, then had the others for himself.  When you make up your budget, do you give to God first or to yourself? What is first on your list? What is your attitude towards giving to Christ? Are your priorities and motives for earning, spending, saving and giving in line with what God desires for you and with His Word? Will a man rob God? Suggestions for prayer Be thankful to spend this day in worship to our covenant God. Ask the LORD to give you a generous heart. Pray the LORD will help you to give your tithes and contributions as He has blessed you. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 19 - Return to me

“From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, 'How shall we return?'” - Malachi 3:7  Scripture reading: 1 John 1:1-10 The LORD tells His people they had turned away from Him and His statutes. Even though the LORD gives a word of disapproval, yet there is always grace. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. This is an imperative, a command from the LORD. It means to make this a priority, to do this immediately, and turn their hearts to the LORD. This command comes with a promise, I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. The LORD is telling them that if they repent and turn from their sin and return in faith and trust, then He will also turn and no longer seek to judge them. This should make us realize that the LORD is pleased to deal with us in grace no matter what mistakes we have made. He is willing to restore us to a right relationship with Him in Christ His Son! What is their response to this command and offer? Is it immediate repentance and faith? But you say, 'How shall we return?' They are in denial and they don’t believe anything is wrong. Why does the LORD come to you and confront you about sin in your life? It is because he loves you, wants to save you, and help you so that you do not continue in sin. Don’t come to Him with denial if you have fallen away from the LORD. Rather, come to Him in repentance and faith because of His grace to you. He is a forgiving God. Suggestions for prayer Praise the LORD that Christ is with us and has cleansed our sin with His own precious blood. Ask the LORD to restore you if you have fallen away from Him. Pray that He will help you live for Christ. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 18 - I do not change

“For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” - Malachi 3:6  Scripture reading: Romans 8:28-39 Our world is more subject to change today than it has ever been in human history.  More information has been produced in the last 30 years than in the previous 500 years. Smartphones are powerful little computers in your hand! Approximately fifty percent of college graduates are going to jobs that didn’t exist when they were born due to advances in technology. We are living in an incredibly advancing world which can be very overwhelming. One man put it this way: "My great-grandfather rode a horse, but he was afraid of a train. My grandfather rode a train, but he was afraid of a car. My father rode in a car, but he was afraid of an airplane. I ride in an airplane, but I’m afraid of a horse." That’s certainly making a full circle! Despite our ever-changing world, trusting Jesus makes life very certain for us. This is why true fulfillment does not come from a changing world, but rather from our changeless God Who made this world and everything in it. Jesus is the firm foundation for our faith. He never fails, He is never out of the way and He is always in control. He says, For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. What could ever happen to us when we place our trust in the living God? Is there anything that can separate us from Him and His love? Through the circumstances of life, are you fully trusting in the One that does not change? Suggestions for prayer Thank the LORD for the privilege to be called by God in Christ because of His love and mercy. Ask Him to help you to trust Him as your foundation of faith through this changing world. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 17 - He comes in judgment

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.” - Malachi 3:5  Scripture reading: Psalm 40:1-12 The LORD is a purifier of His people, but He also declares that He will draw near to judge those who continue in rebellion and sin against Him. The LORD gives a representative list of vice, each of which was a breaking of His law and a cause for judgment. Sorcerers refer to those who use occult practices. Adulterers are those who are unfaithful in the covenant of marriage and spiritually unfaithful to the LORD. Those who swear falsely are those who tell lies in personal relationships and those who commit perjury under oath in court. Those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner. These are the wealthy and powerful who take advantage of those who are weak, vulnerable and unable to defend themselves. The underlying problem that creates all the other problems is that they do not fear the LORD. This is God’s covenant people and not some heathen nation! He is the LORD of Hosts, the God Who saved them, restored them and provides for them. He calls them out for their wicked ways. This should make us pause and consider how we think, live and act as Christians in our generation. He comes in judgment. If you have gone astray, return to Him in true repentance and faith. Fear the LORD and recognize that He sent His Son, Jesus, to save and restore you. Look to Him to help you live for His glory. Suggestions for prayer Thank the LORD He has taken us from the pit of destruction and placed us on the Rock which is Christ. Thank Him that Jesus saves us from judgment and restores us to a right relationship with our God. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 16 - He comes to purify

“But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.” - Malachi 3:2-4  Scripture reading: 1 Peter 1:1-9 In Christ, we no longer stand guilty before a holy God. Nevertheless, we still need sanctification. He purifies us. He is like a refiner’s fire and a fuller’s soap. It is said, silversmiths took ore and refined it to get the purest silver they possibly could. God himself wants to refine His children so that they become pure. The greatest and most important part of the refining process was the heating of the metal. The silversmith would hold a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. In refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest to burn away all the impurities. He had to sit in front of the fire, holding the silver and had to keep his eyes on it the entire time it was there. For if the silver was left in the flames even a moment too long, it would be destroyed. The silver is fully refined when the silversmith could see his face reflected in it. Remember, your covenant God desires to refine you and remove all impurities. He is working to sanctify you. Sometimes, this takes the fires of affliction and pain. Whatever the situation in your life, He will sit and watch you in the fire ever so patiently. He carefully pulls us out of the fire at just the right time as He works His purposes in us. All so that He sees Christ reflected in us. Suggestions for prayer Praise the LORD that He has given us Jesus, the One Who purifies us. Ask the LORD to sanctify you so that you reflect Christ more and more as you look to Him by faith. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 15 - My messenger

“Behold, I send my messenger and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.” - Malachi 3:1  Scripture reading: Malachi 3:1-17 The LORD, in grace, sends His messenger to prepare the way for His coming into the world. I read that the imagery of preparing the way before the LORD came from the custom of clearing the road and preparing a town for the visit of the king. Before the king would travel, he sent out his messengers who proclaimed his coming. They didn’t have road crews to maintain the roads like we have today. So when the townspeople heard the king was coming, they would go and repair the road, fill in the ruts and potholes and clear away any rocks and debris. Once everything was prepared and his coming announced, then the king would come. The first messenger here points to John the Baptist, the forerunner whose ministry God used to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. The second messenger of the covenant, is Christ, the One in Whom you delight. He has come into His Temple. The LORD declares His coming and warns the people to take notice and to be prepared. He graciously sends His messenger to declare, “The KING is coming! Be ready!  Come to Him in repentance and faith for He alone is your salvation! He is coming to His Temple to make Himself a sin offering for us and to restore us to our God. He comes to fix the potholes of sin. He clears out the rocks of self-centeredness and pride. Are you rejoicing at the news the King has come and He seeks to save His people? Suggestions for prayer Ask the LORD to help you deal with any type of vice and sin in your heart. Pray that the LORD would grant you a strong desire to know His Word and that you would look to Christ as your Saviour. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

 February 14 - Guard yourself

“Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.” - Malachi 2:15  Scripture reading: Isaiah 40:1-31 The LORD commands His people to “guard yourselves in your spirit” so that they will be faithful in their marriages. The word “guard” comes as a picture of a sheepfold. When a shepherd was out in the wilderness with his flock, he would gather thorn bushes to build a safe place for his flock for the night. The thorns would protect the sheep from predators and harm. Hence, we are to guard and protect ourselves in our marriages, like the shepherd guards the sheep, so that the predators of carnality, adultery, and sin do not break in to harm and destroy it. How do you guard your spirit? We must protect our minds against the constant bombardment we have from our culture that is contrary to the Word of God. The Psalmist declared, How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word (Psalm 119:9). The only way to effectively guard our spirits is to be constantly immersed in God’s Word. That is going to take more than a 30-minute sermon twice a week. Think about how often we are exposed to secular media that is contrary to God’s Word. We are constantly being fed with ungodliness through advertisements, music, TV shows and movies. What we believe and follow certainly affects our relationships and marriages. The LORD calls us to be faithful. As the Proverb says, Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life(Proverbs 4:23). Are you seeking to guard yourself through Christ? Suggestions for prayer Ask the LORD to help you to be faithful and to use your time for spiritual life and growth in God’s Word through Christ. Pray the LORD will protect your heart from the corruption of the world. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 13 - Faithful and committed

“Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the LORD, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.” - Malachi 2:11  Scripture reading: Ephesians 5:1-32 Malachi uses the example of marriage to illustrate how the people had been faithless to the covenant and to God. When it came to their marriages, the men of Israel were taking foreign wives and marrying the “daughters of a foreign god.” In other words, they were marrying women who remained faithful to other gods. Like Solomon, foreign wives had turned their hearts away from the LORD. Because of this, the people corrupted their worship of the LORD with the worship of idols and other deities. Hence, the LORD charges the people with profaning the sanctuary despite their expression of love for it. Paul tells us in Ephesians 5 that the relationship between a husband and wife is a picture of Christ and the church. He tells us, Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25). How great is the love that Christ has for us that he would give Himself up for us! When people violate the marriage covenant, they are also corrupting the picture of this important covenant relationship Christ has with His people. Malachi is a relevant book for us today. We’ve become a self-centred, individualistic society in which people regularly fail to keep their commitments. And what is happening with marriages in our culture? Unfortunately, they are failing as they are no longer seen as sacred covenantal unions between a man and a woman. In the covenant of marriage, we also show our commitment to be faithful to Christ as the One we ultimately love. Suggestions for prayer Pray the LORD will give you sincerity of heart as you worship today. Pray the LORD will help His people have committed, loving relationships in the covenant of marriage. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 12 - The LORD is faithful to his covenant

“Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?” - Malachi 2:10  Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 7:1-26 Here the people are questioning and they recognize God as their Father, yet they have been faithless and profaned God’s covenant. They received the covenant with the LORD because of grace. This is reaffirmed by the two questions that Malachi asks in vs 10. Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Malachi is not using these questions to teach the universal fatherhood of God. He is making clear that God is the Father and the Creator of His covenant people. And despite their continued rebellion, faithlessness and profaning the covenant, God kept this covenant with them. The fact Israel had returned to the land and worshipped at the rebuilt Temple was certainly evidence that God is faithful to His covenant with them. T. Barnum made a fortune based on his philosophy, “There is a sucker born every minute.” Con artists have always thrived on schemes to bilk unsuspecting people out of their money. Our enemy, Satan, has a con game and he seeks to deceive you. He tells you, God is not good, He is not faithful, and He will let you down if you trust in Him. Is this true? Jesus is not faithful and Satan is so? If you believe this then I have some great swampland in Florida I would like to sell you!! Your heavenly Father is faithful to His covenant and His people. He shows His faithfulness in how He sent His Son to save His people from their sin. Trust in Him and you will not be disappointed. Suggestions for prayer Praise the LORD for His covenant faithfulness and love for us, a love that sent His Son, Jesus, to earth to die for us. Pray that we would respond in faithfulness and love for Him. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB.  ...

Daily devotional

February 11 - We are messengers!

“True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.” - Malachi 2:6-7  Scripture reading: Colossians 1:1-14 In the time before modern communication, when a king needed to communicate with someone in his kingdom or with a foreign dignitary, he would send his messenger with his message. The messenger was not free to create his own version of the king’s word. Even if he didn’t like the message, he still had to be absolutely accurate when declaring what the king wanted to say. When referring to Levi, the LORD declares that he feared Him and stood in awe of Him. As a result, Levi taught true instruction and no wrong was found on his lips. Our text says he walked with God, lived in peace, uprightness, and was a reliable source for instruction. He was a messenger of the LORD of hosts! This applies to us today as well, doesn’t it? The message of Jesus, the King of kings, is to be declared faithfully and accurately by His servants in all generations. We are also His messengers! We need to have a testimony like that of Levi. Do you fear the LORD and stand in awe of Him? Do you seek to walk with God, live in peace and uprightness before the LORD? Do you seek to declare true Biblical instruction to others? Sound teaching must flow out of a godly life. Only in Christ by His Spirit can we be a true witness to others with the saving message of the gospel. Seek to be a faithful messenger for Christ today. Seek to know the truth so that you can share the truth. Suggestions for prayer Thank the LORD that He saved us in Christ so that we can live godly lives, walk with Him and receive His instruction. Ask the LORD to help you to be His messenger to share His truth to others. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 10 - A covenant of life and peace

“So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the LORD of hosts. My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name.” - Malachi 2:4-5  Scripture reading: Romans 5:8-21 Life and peace are qualities we all desire. Are you lacking these in your life? How do we obtain true life and peace as mentioned in our text? Through the One Who enters into a covenant relationship with us by our mediator Jesus Christ. When Malachi mentions Levi, he is not just referring to the man, but to the line of priests that descended from him. The LORD chose the tribe of Levi for the care of the tabernacle and the ministry in the sanctuary.  He placed them in a special covenant relationship with Himself as part of the ceremonial law. The Levitical priesthood pointed forward to Christ in His mediatorial office as the ultimate High Priest making intercession for His people. There are several ways in which God’s covenant with Levi is described here. The LORD declared that it will stand; it is a covenant of life and peace and a covenant of fear. This Levitical covenant points to the greater covenant of grace we have with Christ, our great High Priest. As a Christian, it is Christ Who gives you life and peace! Outside of Christ, one can never truly know and experience life and peace. The LORD’s covenant is established with us by grace as we have faith in Christ. It also means we fear Him or reverence Him as Levi feared and was in awe of His name. May you know covenantal life and peace as you seek to reverence Him as your God. Suggestions for prayer Praise the LORD that He gives us life and peace and restores us through the intercession of our Great High Priest Jesus Christ. Ask the LORD to help you to reverence Christ as your Saviour and Lord. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 9 - Harsh words?

“Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it.” - Malachi 2:3  Scripture reading: Psalm 29:1-11 In verse 3, the LORD becomes very graphic by saying that He will spread dung on the faces of the priests and rebuke their children. This will cause them to be despised and humiliated by the people. These proud priests were trying to keep up their image as important and influential men. But God will expose them for what they are, defiled and unclean. The LORD is saying that because His priests have not honoured Him or His holiness, He is going to take the excrement from the sick animals they are sacrificing and smear it on their faces. Imagine these self-righteous religious leaders with their faces covered with feces! Horrible to imagine, but that’s how serious God is about His servants approaching Him acceptably with right offerings. The LORD is telling these men He rejects them completely. As the dung is to be taken away, so the LORD says He will remove them. What is the Lord’s desire for you? We are called to honour the Lord and to keep His covenant as those who are in Christ. Your covenant God is not passive about how we treat His name. Are you able to truly prosper if you rebel against Him and His Word? How would you react if the LORD was rebuking you the way He is rebuking these priests? May it be our prayer, LORD, help me not just give lip service to You. Help me to reverence Christ. Help me to truly know Christ as Saviour and to live to glorify Him. Suggestions for prayer Ask the LORD to give you a right view of the holiness and majesty of God and give you the desire to live in a manner that shows reverence and respect for Him, to live for Christ and not just ourselves. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 8 - Are you listening?

“And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.” - Malachi 2:1-2  Scripture reading: Malachi 2:1-14 Notice that because they didn’t honour the LORD, they didn’t bother to listen to Him. The term “listen” means to hear intelligently and to respond with obedience. To “take it to heart” refers to an active decision of the will. He also warns them that if they do not take it to heart to honour His Name, He would curse them. In fact, He had already cursed them. Not a good position to be in! It was time to pay attention and listen up. But they didn’t seem to care. The first step down the slippery slope of superficial religion is to dishonour the LORD and His holiness. A.W. Tozer said, “What you think about God is the most important thing about you.” And yet, because of God’s love and grace, He offers them a chance to return. Look at the very first word of verse 2, “If.” God is giving them a condition and if they persist in their wicked ways, then He will punish them. On the other hand, if they turn to God and set their hearts to honour and obey Him, then He will give them His blessings. Should we not also take it to heart to make sure we are giving honour to the name of Christ? If you are seeking to be obedient to the LORD by grace through Christ, then thankfully enjoy His blessings. However, what happens if you ignore Him and don’t bother to listen to His Word? Don’t be in a place where He sends His curse upon you.   Suggestions for prayer Ask the LORD to help you pay attention to His Word and that you will be able to more and more die unto sin and live unto righteousness through Christ Who makes you holy. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 7 - A proper attitude toward God 

“But you say, 'How have we despised your name?' By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, 'How have we polluted you?' By saying that the LORD's table may be despised.” - Malachi 1:6b-7  Scripture reading: Ephesians 2:1-22 When the LORD confronted the priests through Malachi, they didn’t get it: “How have we despised Your name?” “How have we polluted You?”  They looked at all their activities: they were busy offering sacrifices and leading the people in worship. They were doing everything they were required to do. However, in all their activities they did not have a God-ward focus. They were not offering their sacrifices to please the LORD. They were not focused on magnifying His Name. Their attitude reflected their arrogance and lack of reverence for Him. They were going through the motions of worship, but their hearts were not seeking to exalt and glorify God as He deserves. There is a story about a missionary who received a shipment of used clothing and other items from some dear older saint. Included in the box was a jar full of used tea bags that the lady had faithfully dried out and sent for the missionary’s use. Used tea bags! Why not send a case of new ones? If you hear about a missionary who needs a new computer, don’t give your old, outdated one. Buy a new one! If it’s for the LORD, shouldn’t we give our best? Ask yourself these questions: Am I valuing what God values? Do my priorities, the way I spend my time, money and efforts, reflect the things that matter most? Am I seeking to honour Christ above all else in my life? May we seek to magnify the Name of the LORD in all we say and do. Suggestions for prayer Ask the LORD to give you a heart that desires to obey Christ rather than to surrender to human passion and sin. Pray that, by grace through faith, you will also live for Christ and grow in sanctification and holiness. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 6 - Come with true worship

“But you say, 'How have we despised your name?' By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, 'How have we polluted you?' By saying that the LORD's table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil?” - Malachi 1:6b-8a   Scripture reading: Psalm 26:1-12 This charge is serious since priests were supposed to be holy, faithful and offer right sacrifices. Rather than coming to the LORD in His appointed manner, what are they doing? Arguing with Him. How have we despised your name? How have we polluted you? They are saying, we are coming with animal sacrifices, this is what you want isn’t it? What’s the problem? The problem was that they assumed they could offer any animal, blind, lame or sick. If it is being sacrificed anyway, it is a great way to get rid of unwanted animals! Better to offer blemished animals than none at all, isn’t it? They were trying to make worship more convenient and affordable for the people. The LORD tells them their offerings are polluted and that they despised His name. To offer blemished sacrifices was evil and an affront to His holiness. Remember all of the offerings pictured the perfect spotless sacrifice of Christ! Don’t be like these priests, to argue with God rather than submit to Him when things don’t go your way. Don’t think, better to give God something rather than nothing at all when it comes to your devotion, worship and giving. Don’t come to God with a polluted heart, holding on to sin while only giving lip service to Him. On this Lord’s Day, come to Him in sincerity of heart, with true repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, your only pure and holy sacrifice for sin. Come with true worship today as you meet with the LORD. Suggestions for prayer Ask the LORD to grant you sincerity of heart in true faith to Christ. Pray that you will see Christ as the perfect sacrifice for your sin and that He will give you grace so that you will give Him true worship. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB....

Daily devotional

February 5 - Our father and master

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name.” - Malachi 1:6  Scripture reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 The LORD is a father to Israel. Should the nation which was considered a “firstborn son” of the LORD be less obedient and so careless? This is why God’s question was so sharply declared, If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? These questions show the important relationship we have with the LORD. We are His children and He is our Father, the One Who loves us and provides for us in every way. Is it right then to take His Word lightly and to only listen and obey when it suits us? There is a phenomenon that happens called a sinkhole. A sinkhole occurs when the ground underneath the surface gives way and everything collapses creating a huge hole. Sinkholes can swallow people, cars, even entire buildings. Suddenly everything simply caves in and disappears. Why am I telling you this? The sinkhole happens in a place where there is a weak foundation. You think the ground on which you are standing is solid, but suddenly it is not and everything is gone. Without Christ, we have no real foundation for our beliefs and faith. We may think everything is solid, but then it is not, as if a sinkhole appears and everything is gone. The LORD is our Father and Master through Christ. Your relationship with Him is so vital and important. Do not have sinkhole religion without foundation, but have true faith in Christ as Saviour and Lord. Suggestions for prayer Pray that Jesus will be the foundation of your faith and not some kind of sinkhole religion. Ask the LORD to help you honour, obey and fear Him as your Father and Master. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB.  ...

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