Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Cleaner than clean

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Even washing clothes in a modern washing machine doesn't always get them 100% clean. Sometimes one has to apply JIK, extra soap or some other cleaning agent to get the stains out. If you understand this house-hold analogy, then you will understand what Malachi is getting at in today's reading. He is promising that God will refine and clean the Israelites - this will be done to make them acceptable to the Lord.  

"But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years." - Malachi 3:2-4

As we edge closer to Christmas let us reflect on the work of Jesus was he came to cleanse us from our sins. The tiny baby, born in the manger, grows up to become the man on the cross. The sacrifice of Christ allowed us the chance to become cleaner than clean. 

No amount of Religion can cleanse us from our sins - we need the love and grace of Christ to get us spotless.

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

He is on his way

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Picture the scene - You are at a wedding and everyone is excited and chatting away in the Chapel. Suddenly the minister walks to the front and says: "The Bride is on her way. She is almost here!"
The mood immediately changes and people have now become extra expectant - your minds begin to race and these could be some of your thoughts:

"She is on her way!
It will be any minute now.
This is what we came here for!"

Isn't this also the same for Advent? This is what we are waiting for:

"See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, 
and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. 
The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—
indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts" - Malachi 3:1

Indeed - Jesus is coming!

Living in Grace


Monday, 10 December 2018

Getting what we want

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I looked at this verse (Malachi 2:13) in a few different translations, but they all seemed so bleak. Trying to find the Good News in them was a little tricky, but as always, I do believe there is HOPE. 
Let us start with the words of Malachi first:

The Message says - "You fill the place of worship with your whining and snivelling because you don’t get what you want from God." 

The NIV says - "You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favour on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.

I read through this passage a few times and THEN it struck me: The reason the people are upset is because they can't get their own way - they are acting like spoilt brats and God has grown very tired of the people's snivelling. I can almost hear the Lord saying, "Go to your room and cool off a bit. We can talk later!"

This Christmas season let us remember to offer God everything we have and not to whine when we don't get our own way. Young kids who act like this are not very popular at Christmas celebrations and neither will we be, if we carry on demanding our own way. 

Let us put Jesus first this Christmas.

Living in Grace

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Walking with Integrity

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One of the "attractive" attributes of Jesus was that he was a person of INTEGRITY. He was totally upright and fully faithful to the mission his Father gave him. People knew that Jesus was always being sincere and genuine - there was nothing deceitful about him at all. And through his life, Jesus 'turned many from their sins,' just as Levi had done years before.

"True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in integrity 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 2:7-8 

As we journey towards the heart of Jesus this Christmas, may we allow him to turn us back to his ways.

Living in Grace

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Life and well-being

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"Know, then, that I have sent this command to you, so that my covenant with Levi may hold, says the Lord of hosts. My covenant with him was a covenant of life and well-being, which I gave him; this called for reverence, and he revered me and stood in awe of my name" - Malachi 2:4-5 

The phrase that stood out for me (from these 2 verses) was this one: 

"a covenant of life and well being"

It was the Lord who gave Levi this amazing covenant and God's deepest hope was that this would bring LIFE and WELL-BEING to Levi.

As we seek to revere the Christ-child this Advent, let us remember that God's covenant of Love has always sought to bring the best to us. God is indeed good.

Living in Grace