family devotion

malachi

READ ABOUT IT:

Malachi means "my messenger"--and he came with a message from God: repent.


Years earlier, God's people had turned away from Him, and He punished them with slavery in a foreign land. But then God brought His people home again. They rebuilt the temple and worshiped Him--for a time. But the next generation turned away from God yet again. 


The priests no longer served God or His people. The people lied and broke their promises. And they robbed God by no longer giving Him their tithes (a tenth of their money, crops, and property). The people gave God their leftovers, instead of their best. 


Malachi told the people they must truly worship God. That meant humbling themselves before Him, keeping their promises, and giving Him their tithes. Malachi also told of another who would one day come with a similar message to repent--he would be John the Baptist.


Who?

The book was written by the prophet Malachi, but very little is known about him. Malachi is the last book of the Minor Prophets and the last book of the Old Testament.


When? 

The book of Malachi was written after the temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. It was probably written sometime between 460 and 435 B.C.


Why? 

Years after God's people returned to their homeland, they once again forgot God. Malachi told them that a day was coming when God would judge the wicked, but there would also be a day of salvation and blessing for those who fear Him.


The Big Picture

God loves and protects His people, but He also expects us to be faithful to Him. When people do not follow God, He will judge them. Yet, God is always eager for His people to turn back to Him. 


TODAY'S PRAYER: 

God, thank You for the testimony and dedication of Your prophets. Help us to hear Your words of repentance and renewal as we look to follow You. Their words directed Your people to the Savior who would one day come--Jesus. Thank You for the gift of Your Son, especially as we celebrate His arrival this Christmas. In His name we pray, amen.


This week's devotion is from the Big Picture Interactive Bible (p. 907).

A Note for Parents

Children are a gift from the Lord. The psalmist writes, "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him" (Psalm 127:3). If you read this entire psalm, it speaks of the blessings God provides--home, security, food, and children. In particular, children are referred to as a heritage--gifts not possessions. And entrusted with these gifts, parents become stewards. 


What an awesome responsibility to nurture--to feed, nourish, sustain, maintain, cherish, and provide for these gifts from God. As parents provide for their material needs, it is essential that we also take into consideration their spiritual needs. It is indeed the work of the Holy Spirit to plant faith in the hearts of our children and to cause that faith to grow. But it is also an awesome privilege to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit, to hear the splash of baptismal water, and to trust in God's loving care and direction for our children as they grow. 


This note today is taken from the Arch Book Baby Jesus Visits the Temple by Alice Earnheart Maas.

Weekly DEVOTIONS

Each week, CYPRESS CHAPEL will provide you with a devotion to center additional thoughts around the lesson that was offered on Sunday.  You may want to return to some of these devotions throughout the year, or even share them with friends. 


Why are family devotions important? In recent years the responsibility to raise a child in the faith has been placed on the church (staff, programs, events); today we are seeing a steady decline in regular church membership as a result of this trend. The hope of CYPRESS CHAPEL is that parents and kids are able to openly talk about their faith with each other.