Morning Reading & Prayer
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Merciful Father, we humbly thank You for all Your gifts so freely bestowed upon us; for life and health and safety; for strength to work and leisure to rest; for all that is beautiful in creation and in human life; but above all we thank You for our spiritual mercies in Christ Jesus our Lord; who with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Malachi 1:1 (NLT) – This is the message that the Lord gave to Israel through the prophet Malachi.
“I have always loved you”
Malachi 1:2-5 (NLT) – “I have always loved you,” says the Lord….
“This is how I showed my love for you: I loved your ancestor Jacob, but I rejected his brother, Esau, and devastated his hill country. I turned Esau’s inheritance into a desert for jackals….”
“They may try to rebuild, but I will demolish them again. Their country will be known as ‘The Land of Wickedness,’ and their people will be called ‘The People with Whom the Lord Is Forever Angry.’ When you see the destruction for yourselves, you will say, ‘Truly, the Lord’s greatness reaches far beyond Israel’s borders!’”
“Cursed is the cheat”
Malachi 1:6-8, 14 (NLT) – The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name… by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar….
“When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased?…
“Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!
“Listen, you priests!”
Malachi 2:1-2, 5-9 NLT) – “Listen, you priests—this command is for you! Listen to me and make up your minds to honor my name,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “or I will bring a terrible curse against you….
“The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered me and stood in awe of my name. They passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin.
“The words of a priest’s lips should preserve knowledge of God, and people should go to him for instruction, for the priest is the messenger of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. But you priests have left God’s paths. Your instructions have caused many to stumble into sin. You have corrupted the covenant I made with the Levites,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So I have made you despised and humiliated in the eyes of all the people. For you have not obeyed me but have shown favoritism in the way you carry out my instructions.”
“I hate divorce!”
Malachi 2:14-16 (NLT) – You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.
Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
“I will put you on trial”
Malachi 3:1-5 (NLT) – “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me….
“But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross….
“At that time I will put you on trial. I am eager to witness against all sorcerers and adulterers and liars. I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, who oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the foreigners living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“You have cheated me!”
Malachi 3:8-12 (NLT) – “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me!
“But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’
“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease…. “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“I will spare my people”
Malachi 3:16-18 (NLT) – Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name.
“They will be my people,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”
“The Sun of Righteousness will rise”
Malachi 4:1-6 (NLT) – The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all.
“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“Remember to obey the Law of Moses, my servant—all the decrees and regulations that I gave him on Mount Sinai for all Israel.
“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
“Healing In It’s Wings” – A Cappella
O, Father, I do sin, and my heart breaks deep within; for You have sought me, yet I turn away from all Your loving care. So often do I fall, yet You reach out again, lifting my burden that is more than I can ever bear.
Through Your beloved Son, there is grace so undeserved; how can I ever sin against the One who makes my heart to sing? So weak I need Your help, so to You I do turn; then light of morning rises up with healing in its wings.
Do not delay, oh God, oh be gracious and forgiving; in Your compassion, through the Son You gave in pain and selflessness. Against You do I sin; yet through You do I live, ever to please You, ever praising all Your righteousness.
My broken contrite heart is so worthless in my sight; but You restore it, give it peace and joy to love and follow You. O, may I ever strive to live pure in Your sight, filled with Your goodness, free to glorify and honor You.
Blessing – (Northumbrian Community)
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!