Zechariah 7:4-5 Why Did You Do It?

Then the word of the LORD Almighty came to me: “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?'” Zechariah 7:4-5

The people had come to Zechariah asking if they should continue to fast as they had while they were in captivity for seventy years. When he presented that question to God, He asked if they were really fasting for Him during that time. In the next verses God accuses them of mourning and fasting only for themselves and not for Him.

Very often people do many things that appear to be good and done for the right reasons. Wealthy people give millions of dollars every year. It may be that they are doing it for the right reasons, but often it is more for a tax write-off, then out of love and care for the people. In this way it is done out of personal, selfish reasons.

In the church, the same type of action occurs. People who claim to be believers in Jesus, pray and give money…in public, but at home never take time to pray. In the church they will sing songs of praise to God, but at home listen to and sing songs that do not honor God at all.

Most of what is done is about appearance, just like the Israelites. They would fast and pray, but it was all about themselves looking good, or attempting to get God’s favor. People often do things in church to make themselves look like a good Christian believer. No one wants to be seen as they really are.

No matter what is done in the church, it should be done out of love for God and love for others. This is whether it is praying, worshipping, teaching, preaching, or serving in some other way.

As you do the actions that you do, ask yourself why you do them. Are those actions for God, for others, or for yourself?

Your focus of all that you do, should be for God’s purpose. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Every action that you do should mirror those of Jesus–to seek and save the lost. Your prayers should be for God’s will to be done, not just to meet your own desires.

Why do you do what you do?

I pray today that you will do all things for God; that you will act according to God’s desires; that you will pray for God’s will, not your own desires; and that you will be a witness to this world.

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Joel 1:13, 15 Weep And Mourn

Put on sackcloth, you priests and mourn; wail, you who minister in before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offerings and the drink offerings are withheld from the house of God. Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Joel 1:13, 15

Destruction of Judah was imminent. The enemy was already closing in on the nation and God was ready to destroy the nation. All of the people had chosen to walk away from God and follow other gods, no longer did the nation follow God. After many warnings, God chose to destroy the nation. Now, Joel is calling all the people to weep, mourn and fast. The destruction would be great, because it would be brought on by God.

Although Judah had been destroyed, and Israel has been restored, there is still a great destruction coming soon. There is a time coming when Jesus will return to end all life on this planet. The planet earth will be destroyed.

When that time comes every person will be divided into one of two groups. One group, who has chosen to follow Jesus, will be changed and brought to heaven for eternal life. The other group, who chose to reject Jesus will be condemned in hell for eternity.

No one knows the day or hour when that will happen, but everyone can be sure it will happen. All the prophecies of Jesus have been fulfilled so far, so that there is  no reason to doubt this will not occur also.

As a believer, this news is a bittersweet message. On one side it tells you that you will be going to heaven to live for eternity with God. On the other side it also tells you that billions of people will be destroyed and condemned for eternity.

Take a look around you and notice how many people do not know Jesus as their own personal Lord and Savior. Most likely, it is the majority of people. Even if it is a few, you should be weeping and mourning for those who are lost. Weep and mourn at the destruction that is coming.

Now, because it has not happened yet, go out and tell someone about Jesus. Spread the gospel message to all, so that all may be saved from the coming destruction.

I pray today that God will reveal to you the times you are in; that you will see those who need Jesus; that you will weep for those who need Jesus; and that you will be a witness for Jesus in this world.

Matthew 5:4 Getting Comfort

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

Jesus now tells you that anyone who mourns will be comforted. Why would a person mourn on a regular basis? Why would someone be so sad about something or anything?

The first thing most people think about when they see someone mourning is that person must have lost someone they loved. Was there a death in the family?

Most always when there is a death in the family or a close friend, there is a time of mourning. For each person how this looks can be different. One person may weep constantly while another becomes very silent and serene.

Even the world will see and accept this type of mourning. As a Christian there may be other reasons to mourn. Look around you. Do you see other people? How many of those people are following Jesus? How many of those people are worshipping some type of idol in their life?

When Jesus stood up on a high hill and looked out over Jerusalem, He started weeping. He saw a lost city that God loved. He saw people dying in their sins.

Does your heart-break for the lost? As you watch the news and see the trouble occurring do you mourn?

Along with seeing all the trouble and hurts in the world, what do you see in yourself? Does your life perfectly show Jesus? If not, which is everyone, you have room to grow. Knowing there is room to grow should make you mourn over the faults in your life.

The extreme crying out to God for the lost and for your own life is the mourning God will comfort. Just as you desire to bring comfort to someone who has lost a loved one and is mourning, God wants to comfort you in your mourning.

God understands the sadness that you feel in seeing the lost that are dying. He understands the sadness you feel at not being exactly like Jesus.

Cry out to God and weep for the lost, hurt, dying world and for yourself. God will reach down and bring you His peace and comfort. Do not look to things or other people for comfort. Those things and people are only temporary and know only in part. God knows all and is eternal. God will never fail you.

I pray today that God will move your heart for the lost; that your heart will break when you see the lost and dying; that God will wrap His arms of love around you and bring you His comfort; and that God’s Holy Spirit will be with you always.