Zechariah 8

Obedience and Feasting

The word of the Lord of Armies came: The Lord of Armies says this: “I am extremely jealous for Zion; I am jealous for her with great wrath.” The Lord says this: “I will return to Zion and live in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City; the mountain of the Lord of Armies will be called the Holy Mountain.” The Lord of Armies says this: “Old men and women will again sit along the streets of Jerusalem, each with a staff in hand because of advanced age. The streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in them.” The Lord of Armies says this: “Though it may seem impossible to the remnant of this people in those days, should it also seem impossible to me?”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies. The Lord of Armies says this: “I will save my people from the land of the east and the land of the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be their faithful and righteous God.”

The Lord of Armies says this: “Let your hands be strong, you who now hear these words that the prophets spoke when the foundations were laid for the rebuilding of the temple, the house of the Lord of Armies. 10 For prior to those days neither man nor animal had wages. There was no safety from the enemy for anyone who came or went, for I turned everyone against his neighbor. 11 But now, I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies. 12 “For they will sow in peace: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce, and the skies will yield their dew. I will give the remnant of this people all these things as an inheritance. 13 As you have been a curse among the nations, house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you will be a blessing. Don’t be afraid; let your hands be strong.” 14 For the Lord of Armies says this: “As I resolved to treat you badly when your fathers provoked me to anger, and I did not relent,” says the Lord of Armies, 15 “so I have resolved again in these days to do what is good to Jerusalem and the house of Judah. Don’t be afraid. 16 These are the things you must do: Speak truth to one another; make true and sound decisions within your city gates. 17 Do not plot evil in your hearts against your neighbor, and do not love perjury, for I hate all this”—this is the Lord’s declaration.

18 Then the word of the Lord of Armies came to me: 19 The Lord of Armies says this: “The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth will become times of joy, gladness, and cheerful festivals for the house of Judah. Therefore, love truth and peace.” 20 The Lord of Armies says this: “Peoples will yet come, the residents of many cities; 21 the residents of one city will go to another, saying: Let’s go at once to plead for the Lord’s favor and to seek the Lord of Armies. I am also going. 22 Many peoples and strong nations will come to seek the Lord of Armies in Jerusalem and to plead for the Lord’s favor.” 23 The Lord of Armies says this: “In those days, ten men from nations of every language will grab the robe of a Jewish man tightly, urging: Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

Christian Standard Bible (CSB)The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

Revelation 16

The First Bowl

16 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” The first went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and severely painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped its image.

The Second Bowl

The second poured out his bowl into the sea. It turned to blood like that of a dead person, and all life in the sea died.

The Third Bowl

The third poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. I heard the angel of the waters say,

You are just,
the Holy One, who is and who was,
because you have passed judgment on these things.
Because they poured out
the blood of the saints and the prophets,
you have given them blood to drink;
they deserve it!

I heard the altar say,

Yes, Lord God, the Almighty,
true and just are your judgments.

The Fourth Bowl

The fourth poured out his bowl on the sun. It was allowed to scorch people with fire, and people were scorched by the intense heat. So they blasphemed the name of God, who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give him glory.

The Fifth Bowl

10 The fifth poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues because of their pain 11 and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they did not repent of their works.

The Sixth Bowl

12 The sixth poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the east. 13 Then I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming from the dragon’s mouth, from the beast’s mouth, and from the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are demonic spirits performing signs, who travel to the kings of the whole world to assemble them for the battle on the great day of God, the Almighty. 15 “Look, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who is alert and remains clothed so that he may not go around naked and people see his shame.” 16 So they assembled the kings at the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

The Seventh Bowl

17 Then the seventh poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. And a severe earthquake occurred like no other since people have been on the earth, so great was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the Great was remembered in God’s presence; he gave her the cup filled with the wine of his fierce anger. 20 Every island fled, and the mountains disappeared. 21 Enormous hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell from the sky on people, and they blasphemed God for the plague of hail because that plague was extremely severe.

Christian Standard Bible (CSB)The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

Psalm 144

Psalm 144

A King’s Prayer

Of David.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock
who trains my hands for battle
and my fingers for warfare.
He is my faithful love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in him;
he subdues my people under me.

Lord, what is a human that you care for him,
a son of man that you think of him?
A human is like a breath;
his days are like a passing shadow.

Lord, part your heavens and come down.
Touch the mountains, and they will smoke.
Flash your lightning and scatter the foe;
shoot your arrows and rout them.
Reach down from on high;
rescue me from deep water, and set me free
from the grasp of foreigners
whose mouths speak lies,
whose right hands are deceptive.

God, I will sing a new song to you;
I will play on a ten-stringed harp for you—
10 the one who gives victory to kings,
who frees his servant David
from the deadly sword.
11 Set me free and rescue me
from foreigners
whose mouths speak lies,
whose right hands are deceptive.

12 Then our sons will be like plants
nurtured in their youth,
our daughters, like corner pillars
that are carved in the palace style.
13 Our storehouses will be full,
supplying all kinds of produce;
our flocks will increase by thousands
and tens of thousands in our open fields.
14 Our cattle will be well fed.
There will be no breach in the walls,
no going into captivity,
and no cry of lament in our public squares.
15 Happy are the people with such blessings.
Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.

Christian Standard Bible (CSB)The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

Proverbs 30:29-31

29 Three things are stately in their stride;
four are stately in their walk:
30 a lion, which is mightiest among beasts
and doesn’t retreat before anything;
31 a strutting rooster; a goat;
and a king at the head of his army.

Christian Standard Bible (CSB)The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

 

 

Bible Gateway

The Son of God Appeared

Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:7–8)

When verse 8 says, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil,” what are the “works of the devil” that he has in mind? The answer is clear from the context.

First, verse 5 is a clear parallel: “You know that He appeared in order to take away sins.” The phrase “he appeared to . . .” occurs in verse 5 and verse 8. So probably the “works of the devil” that Jesus came to destroy are sins. The first part of verse 8 makes this virtually certain: “The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning.”

The issue in this context is sinning, not sickness or broken cars or messed up schedules. Jesus came into the world to help us stop sinning.

Let me put it alongside the truth of 1 John 2:1: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.” In other words, I am promoting the purpose of Christmas (3:8), the purpose of the incarnation. Then he adds (2:2), “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

But now look what this means: It means that Jesus appeared in the world for two reasons. He came that we might not go on sinning; and he came to die so that there would be a propitiation — a substitutionary sacrifice that takes away the wrath of God — for our sins, if we do sin.

Bible Gateway

FAMILY TALK NIGHT LIGHT FOR PARENTS – TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2018

Joyful Harvest

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest. Galatians 6:9

Gigi Graham Tchividjian and her husband, Stephan, are experts on the trials and joys of parenthood—they had seven children. Not surprisingly, considering the twenty-year span between their oldest and youngest kids, they often struggled with family activities such as devotions. It was a constant challenge to present material that held the attention of the older children and was also understandable to the younger ones. Sometimes it was a battle just to get them all into the same room!

Yet Gigi and Stephan persisted. They knew that family devotions often led children to a deep love for God’s Word. And years later, they began to see the fruits of their efforts. Stephan, for instance, ran into one of his sons walking in town with his fiancée. The son remarked, “We’ve just finished having our devotions together in the car.” Another son related to Gigi over lunch how much their family devotional times had meant to him. They’d shown him that the Christian life was a daily, workable reality. Gigi realized then that the years of struggle had been worth it.

You, too, may wonder if you’ll ever see the fruits of your parenting efforts. We believe that if you persevere, then at the “proper time” you will indeed reap a joyful harvest.

Before you say good night…

Are you persevering in your spiritual goals for your children?

In what areas did you struggle most when your kids were small, and what solutions did you find?

How can you help each other “not become weary” as parents?

Dear Father, sometimes we become so bogged down in the daily battles that we lose sight of where we’re going. Help us, Father. Empower us to make the most of our opportunities today…to love, to counsel, to warn, and to teach. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Illustration adapted from Weatherproof Your Heart by Gigi Graham Tchividjian (Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell Company, 2000).

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