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Haggai:Encouragement For All Part 1

Posted by Lorraine Serra on October 23, 2010 at 7:59 AM

In life there are tasks, and there are projects. One of my greatest challenges in raising a family is the endless numberof tasks that need to be accomplished every day.

 

Consider cooking, for example.   While some would joyfully whip out the pots and pans, throw open their cookbook and begin to slice and dice, I awake eachday, greet the Lord and wonder, “What’s for dinner?” as soon as I kiss our youngest son and send him off to catch his school bus at 6:20 am.


Some tasks require thought and planning.  But, not laundry.  For me, that’s a“no-brainer”.  Gather it up, start the machine, dry, fold, deliver to rightful owners. It’s endless.  Getting some help with this task keeps it from becoming a huge project.


Housecleaning is over rated.  Sure, I like to keep things picked up and somewhat orderly. But, if ever there was a thankless job, it is cleaning house.  Dust? It’s back again tomorrow.   Vacuum? Everybody just walked on it, ate on it, dripped on it.   Bathrooms? Well, you know.


Add to the house upkeep your work responsibilities and church activities, well, there are too many tasks to list.  But, you are well-acquainted with your own list.


The trouble with life is:  it is just so constant.   It is a project.   Life keeps coming at you.  Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, something else happens; illness, unemployment, plumbing problem, broken dishwasher, car needs brakes.   I need brakes!


When Jesus said, “Come unto me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest,” He was offering to give us the most powerful Project Manager available.  


The Holy Spirit Management Team guarantees relief from

“The Three Ds”….Disinterest, Discouragement and Dissatisfaction.


These can so easily creep their way into our life building project.


God’s Holy Spirit is on the scene now, just as He was during the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem about 520 BC when He sent Haggai to encourage a struggling band of Jews. 


As we study the book of Haggai, we will discover principles for dealing with The Three Ds in our lives as we refresh and renew our own spiritual temples, a heart for the Triune God.  I pray most sincerely that each of us will embrace and apply them with the aid of our Holy Spirit Management Team, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.


As we know  from the back story we read in Ezra, the captive Jews in Babylon were  released by King Cyrus in 536BC to return to Jerusalem so they might rebuild the temple of the Lord, as well as their city, culture and covenant with God.  We saw that it was truly a work of God during those 70 years in captivity which laid the groundwork and prepared the king’s heart to set them free. 


 It all started well.   The returning Jews began by building an altar and foundation for the temple. Worship of God and restoration of the rituals and covenant with Him was primary.   Now, isn’t that a great reminder for us, especially if we suffer from being a control freak!  Do you ever have the attitude that “everything is on my shoulders”?  I sure do.


This is where all good projects should begin.  We should remember worship of, and connection with, the Giver of Life, at the start of each day on our life building project. Consulting our blueprint, the Bible, and gaining clarity for the order of operations from the head of management, the Holy Spirit.  I find that relinquishing control and leadership to Him usually makes for a much more productive day on the site and a happier heart.  Of course, the opposite is true when I don't.


Assignment:  Search and share 2 or 3 scriptures about the Holy Spirit's power and leadership for believers. Do you have a favorite?   Tell us why it means so much to you.


Ezra reported to us that conflict arose when mockers and scoffers among the Samaritan people of the land caused the good work to be stalled after only 2 years!  The Persian court told them to halt the project.  They obeyed, but even after the order to halt was repealed, the remnant did not resume the building project.


The project sat like a construction zone that has lost its financing, stalled, ugly and unfinished for an unbelievable 14 years.   So, what in the world were those once fired-up Jews doing instead?   It appears those same Jews who vowed to abide by their covenant even to the extreme decision of “putting away their foreign wives”, found an excuse to abandon the plan.

 

In reading Chapter 1, verses 1-11, Haggai calls the people to “Consider their ways”.  In other words, “Wake up and smell the coffee!”  They are whining that it is not the time to build.  Maybe God didn’t want it completed.  Or, was it that a bit of confrontation had stopped them dead in their tracks?   At any rate, they set their attention on building their own fine houses, caring for their families and resuming business as usual.


  At first, that seems acceptable, even commendable.  But, in the process of doing seemingly “good things”, they let their passionate flame of love for the Lord go out through disinterest and distraction.


 A storm of conflict had come up to unsettle them, and after it had blown over, they remained stuck in self-preservation mode!   We might say, selfish-mode.  To get their attention once more, the Lord of Hosts had sent drought and famine.


  Then He sent a messenger, Haggai, with a clear message to re-examine their motives and actions.


Wow.  Have you ever found yourself an excuse to avoid pursuing God’s plan and purpose in your life?   When the going got tough, did you get going, or did you get sidetracked?


I think it is very understandable when this happens in our lives.  Especially if the task we are about is hard or more difficult than expected.   I know for a fact that I have been one to assume God is blocking my way, so I’ll just do something else for a while.   The trouble is, getting caught up in other “good things” can distract us from doing “God’s things”.


How often have you been inspired to do something, a new diet, exercise program, read a good book, help with a program at church?   Perhaps you were inspired to make changes at home with how you relate to your husband, your children, your relatives.    


Did you stick with it?  Were you overwhelmed by the level of difficulty?   Please share anything you’d like with us about your success in these areas or your struggles.

 

How do you relate to verse 6?  Take some time this week to ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance and revelation about areas in your life where you have need of wisdom, clarity, vision, purpose.   Make a list.  Then, between you and the Lord, choose one to wholeheartedly work on with His  help.


As always,everyone is welcome to share as you feel led. We all learn from God’s work in each other’s lives.

Peace and blessings in the Lord to all!

 

 


Categories: HAGGAI STUDY

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2 Comments

Reply Lorraine Serra
10:06 AM on October 30, 2010 
Hi Linda,
Halleluia! Those verses from Romans truly make me rejoice! Like you, I am grateful for salvation. Without the Holy Spirit, I am certain my life would be far from God.

I am feeling challenged myself, spending time in the OT. Such rich teachings there which help demonstrate even more dramatically, our need for Jesus, our Savior.

I always appreciate your thoughts, Linda. Thanks!
Reply Linda
10:57 AM on October 29, 2010 
I?ve been studying Romans for the last few months and I?ve been struck by the fact of our "deadness" in our sin prior to our salvation. If not for His Holy Spirit, I?d still be dead in my sins. Here are 2 verses about the Holy Spirit that have been exciting for me to ponder:

Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 8:2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

These verses explain my tendency to go my own way and get comfortable doing things without His empowerment (kind of like Israel). This sin nature: "I can do it myself, thank you" is still with us. We want the power, we want the glory. We think we know what?s best (peace at any cost, my agenda, etc.) and He allows us to go our own way until we hit a wall. Israel was just scraping by (vs 6). Sometimes we?re content with just that.....until we're jolted awake!! Thanks Lorraine for challenging us. I haven't been in the Old Testament for awhile.