Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 21 December 18:
Note: Here is a short video overview of Haggai: https://youtu.be/juPvv_xcX-U
1. Haggai 1:1 — “In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.” The day God spoke to Haggai and to Joshua was recorded as a historic event on a specific day. Have you recorded the dates when God has clearly worked in your life?
2. Haggai 1:4-6, 9 — “’Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?’ Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it. ‘Why?’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.’”
– The Great Commission has been hindered because God’s people have prioritized themselves over God. Many can’t seem to find time for Bible study, prayer, fellowship, evangelism, and ministry, but they seem to have time for everything else. They can’t afford to tithe, but they do have plenty of debt, a large TV, a nice car, and a communications bill (cable, cell phone, satellite TV, internet, etc) well over $100 per month. It is about choices today just like it was in Haggai’s time.
– We were created to serve God, glorify Him, and enjoy Him forever. To do anything else is to defy our very nature and purpose, leaving us like fish out of water. Solomon discovered this when he sought to define his own purpose and direction only to determine that anything apart from God’s Will was “meaningless, meaningless, meaningless.” At the end of his misadventure, he came to the following conclusion: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13).” If we choose to seek our own kingdoms on earth rather seeking “first the Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33);” and if we allow “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth (Matthew 13:22)” to distract us from God’s purpose, we will not only remain personally unfulfilled, we will also live unfruitful, meaningless lives. In the church of America, less than four percent of “committed” Christians tithe while the average adult spends somewhere above 30% of their monthly income paying back debt. Have we surrendered the Great Commission to our pursuit of the American Dream? Haggai declares that it is time to focus on the Mission and declares: “Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty (Haggai 2:4).”
3. Haggai 1:13, 14 — “’I am with you, declares the LORD.’ And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God.” When you finally decide to put God first in your life, He will empower you to accomplish great things for His glory, not for your glory.
4. Haggai 2:4-9 – “Yet now be strong…. Be strong…. Be strong, all you people…. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts…. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not…. I will shake the heavens and the earth…. I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts.” God’s plans are god-sized and will be impossible for you to accomplish through your own power and resources. God will ALWAYS ask you to do what you cannot do so that He can reveal His power to the world rather than your power, leaving no doubt who did the work, and bringing glory to Himself. It takes complete faith and obedience to follow God, but He will provide beyond your wildest imaginations in ways than can only be described as miraculous. The Spirit will empower you if you keep in step with the Spirit and do not quench the Spirit.
5. Haggai 2:17 – “I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the Lord.” In hard times, God expects you to consider your ways to see how you might be sinning against Him. God brings glory to Himself by forgiving sin, but not by blessing sin. God forgives graciously and then demands justice and righteousness to follow.
6. Proverbs 21:1 — “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” God is in control of all the world’s leaders to accomplish His purposes. God can use leaders as instruments of blessing or as instruments of punishment.
7. Proverbs 21:2 — “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” God knows your heart better than you do. If you want to know the truth of yourself, ask God to reveal it to you.
8. Proverbs 21:3 — “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” God is not looking for empty ritual. He wants obedience motivated by genuine love for Him.
9. Proverbs 21:4 – “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.” Your heart directs your focus and what you prioritize in life. A bad heart leads to bad daily decisions. As the old Pastor says, “The heart of man’s problem is the problem with man’s heart.”
— Ezekiel 11:19 — And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,
— Ezekiel 18:31 — Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?
— Ezekiel 36:26 — And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
10. Proverbs 21:16 – “One who wanders from the way of good sense will rest in the assembly of the dead.” True leaders guide you down the right path. Only Jesus knows the right path, and you must follow Him. Otherwise, you will wander aimlessly down a different path that leads to destruction. Someone once said, “Leaders know the way and show the way.” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life….” Jesus also said that eternal life is knowing Him (John 17:3). So, true leadership is knowing Jesus and making Him known to others.
11. Proverbs 21:17 – “Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.” Don’t become a pleasure seeker.
12. Proverbs 21:27 — “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent.” God sees and judges the motives behind your actions. What we might judge as good deeds, God might judge as bad (and vice versa), because we aren’t honest with ourselves about the motives behind our actions, but God knows. We are motivated to do things, seemingly good or bad, for many reasons — fear, greed, pride, duty (because we feel obligated), or love. The Bible says that if the action isn’t motivated by love, it is merely a “filthy rag” or a “clanging cymbal” (noise). What motivates you to do the things you do? Before you do something, ask yourself why you are really doing it. Are you motivated by love? Really? Search your heart. Pray that God will show you the truth of your heart that is hard for you to see. Seek the heart of Jesus.
13. Revelation 17:1, 2 — “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” God will judge all infidelity.
14. Revelation 17:1-14 – “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” The world’s powers offer enjoyment and success, but they are evil, opposed to God, and will not win in the end.
15. Revelation 17:6 — “And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” The wicked take pleasure in persecuting Christians, and God allows His people to be persecuted for His purposes, but the faithful are honored by God in the end.
16. Revelation 17:7-14 – World powers are tied to Satan who was defeated at the cross, but still exercises power until end time.
17. Revelation 17:9 — “This calls for a mind with wisdom.” Understanding God’s word requires more than just intellect, it requires wisdom. Many have a mind (intellect) without wisdom. Wisdom comes only from God — it is not something we can achieve without the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Only God can show us what we cannot possibly understand from our own knowledge. You must have Holy Spirit given wisdom to study and understand this book.
18. Revelation 17:14 — “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” True followers of Jesus are both chosen and faithful to Him.
19. Revelation 17:17 — “For God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.”
– God’s people seek with great daily diligence to have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16; Phil 4:7), while the wicked have the mind of Satan. Both groups have unity, the Christians unified in Christ and everyone else unified in Satan. Today, there are many calls for unity, but unity apart from Jesus results in collective destruction.
– God will use evil earthly powers in His plan to defeat evil. He remains in control, allowing the evil to believe that they have succeeded in their plans.
20. Revelation 17:18 — “And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.” The woman appears to be a world system (government, economic, values, etc.) that controls seven major nations (v9), five nations fall to one major power who reigns under the one-world system for a while and is replaced by another nation who reign under the one-world system for a while. (vs 9, 10) An eighth power will rise with ten kings. (vs 11, 12)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 Dec 18: Commit today to eliminating all personal debt and to giving at least 10% of your income to the church. Keep an accounting of how you use the resources God has given you, endeavoring to use your resources to serve the Kingdom of God and not for self-serving purposes. (Haggai 1:5, 6, 9)