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Haggai:Encouragement For All Part 3: UnWrap The Gifts!

Posted by Lorraine Serra on November 6, 2010 at 10:05 AM

How many ads have you seen or articles have you read that promise an easy way to “organize” your closets, or “trim your hedges”, or “wash your windows” or even “lose weight without exercise”.  


They sell products to make the task easier, but they still require your cooperation. There is some work involved.   You must acquire the tools and then, take action. They don’t do you any good at all if they sit in the packaging carton or on your bookshelf.


Our relationship with God through His Holy Spirit is much the same.  We can read the Word, and hear His instruction, but unless we take deliberate action to apply and obey what He teaches us, we won’t see victory over the Three D’s or any other challenge in life:  Disinterest, Discouragement, Dissatisfaction.


We are stuck with this imperfect, fallen world full of trouble.  But, remember, Jesus said, “Take heart, for I have overcome the world”. (John 16:33)  Now, that is a promise of hope for us when we plug into resurrection power to equip us beyond our circumstances.  We can have freedom, contentment and joy, even in the challenges.


Haggai speaks to all of us:  “Consider your ways!”   Are you spinning your wheels? Do the same patterns and habits trip you up in your life? How can you be “an overcomer” in the Lord’s strength?


I take great comfort in Romans 8:26 which states that the Holy Spirit “helps us in our weakness.”   Yes, indeed.  He intercedes for us before the Father, and he intervenes in our weakness, but not in our avoidance.


Like the Jews, Haggai tells us to consider how we spend our time, our resources and our talents.     Have we lost interest in the things of God as did the Jews?  He then laid out instructions so they might see fruit in life and find contentment.  


In verse 8, the Lord spoke to them through Haggai:  Stick with the plan.  Don’t give up!  Go chop down the trees, bring the wood and build the temple.  Obey me.  Then, I will find pleasure in your obedience and be glorified in what you accomplish.   


God is telling all of us, in all our circumstances:  Obey!  Stick with the plan! You will be blessed by the results even as I am glorified in the work of your hands.  You may not have the resources of Solomon, and I realize you can’t order cedar from Lebanon, or gold from Ophir to rebuild my temple.  Still, I will find pleasure when you give me the best you have, and I will accept it because I love you, and I honor your obedience!   I am reminded, “To obey is better than sacrifice.”  (1 Sam 15:22)


Friends, if the remedy to our struggles is obedience, then how and where do we look to uncover our disobedience?   If contentment evades us, what needs to change so that we may enjoy it?  Where should our hearts be focused?


Principle #1   Worship is the priority.    Worship invites Holy Spirit Energizing, Life-Giving Empowerment, Comfort and Wisdom.  For what purpose?  To enlighten and correct us.


Examination of our actions, motives and expenditures in light of our service to God is hard work.   I know in my life, it is an ongoing discipline!    But the Holy Spirit is with us forever, revealing all that is hidden from our natural eyes. (John 14:16)   It is His job to convict us of our sin (John 16:7-11).   As we spend time with Him, He will do His job.

 

Principle #2   Live in step with the Spirit, obedient to His instruction to live out God’s Word of Truth.

The Lord sent Haggai to tell the people they would never be content until they attended to His house first.  We must make God’s priorities our priorities. 


We need an attitude adjustment.  If we want true peace, contentment and freedom in our relationships, in our work, in our homes, it starts when we prepare our temple for His presence in a deeper, fuller way.    Don’t forget, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  (1 John 4:4)   Halleluia!  Aren’t you glad?


First and foremost, He wants us to live for Him in a way that attracts others to find salvation through Jesus.   What we build in this life is temporal, but our calling, our focus, is to build that which is eternal.  You can’t fake something like that.    You must desire it as much as oxygen! 


The good news is, we can’t do it alone, and we don’t have to.  Be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, so that everything, I mean everything, coming out of our hearts, minds, attitudes and mouths exalts Jesus!  


Oh, I need to do some housecleaning, some renovations in my temple!   Don’t you?  Less of me, more of Him.   Focus my heart on You, Lord!


Jesus came to give us life, abundant life. (John 10:10)   Now and for eternity.  He gave us His Holy Spirit to make our journey wiser, if not exactly easier.  But, if we fail to unwrap His gifts and use them, they will do us no good whatsoever.   


Assignment:  In Galatians Chapter 5, we are most likely familiar with the fruit of the Spirit.   Good fruit springs forth from a healthy tree.  Sweet, delicious, and attractive.  


But please focus on Galatians 5:13 -18 and then on to the end 25-26.   Then, consider Ephesians 4:31.   Finally, read  James 1:16-23


Do you see any connection to how we are to obey God and stick to His plan?


How can the application of these verses aid you to find contentment through obedience?


Sovereign Lord, I am always in awe of the power of Your Word to pierce through to the deepest areas of my heart.  Do heart surgery on me once again, O Lord, that I may obey with gladness and know the true joy of living for the pleasure of my Savior.   Grant me wisdom and self- discipline to interact well with those difficult people and situations in my life.  I want the light of Your Spirit working in me to shine brighter than my own opinion or attitude.  Thank you, Lord.  I trust in You. Amen.

 

 


Categories: HAGGAI STUDY

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6 Comments

Reply Lorraine Serra
7:33 AM on November 11, 2010 
Praise God, dearest Linda! He is trustworthy. Isn't it awesome how He meets our needs in the most surprising ways. I know He is comforting you to give you assurance that He will equip you to serve your family.

I grieve with you in your situation. But let me share this:

I was just working on a study about peace. Your whole family is in turmoil. Mental illness and depression does that. Sometimes that mental illness is, at its root, the result of having "no peace". Memories that resurface to imprison once again, feelings of worthlessness, fear, grief, tossing and churning, losing sleep. All of this causes turmoil, restlessness, the opposite of peace. It is most certainly complex.

The spiritual battle for the mind and heart is being waged. We know that prayer is our greatest weapon to tear down these strongholds.

Christian counseling goes beyond medicine to help the person know their personal worth to the Lord God who created them. I do pray God's Holy Spirit will reveal the priceless, precious treasure that she is to Jesus. She is His child, His daughter, His Royal Princess, no matter what externals have affected her mind and emotions.

It is true, life without PEACE is unbearable. The only Peace that satisfies is what God can give. Man can't create it. It doesn't come packaged, and is not the result of great intellect, talent or sensitivity. Its source is found in Christ. "Peace I leave you, not as the world gives" John 14:27 Proverbs 14:30 "A heart at peace gives life to the body." "He will keep in perfect peace those whose eyes are fixed upon Him." Isaiah 26:3

Encourage your heart and that of your family, Linda. You are the aroma of Christ to them! 2 Cor 2:15 I'm praying for you!
Reply Lorraine Serra
7:06 AM on November 11, 2010 
Hi Gwyneth.
Where would we be without Jesus? He has given us so much. I praise Him for His patience with me. No wonder they call life a journey, a process, a struggle, a challenge, whew! But, God is greater. In His love, we are at peace.
Reply Lorraine Serra
7:02 AM on November 11, 2010 
Sweet Val!
Your analogy is so accurate for us all! We trust in the Lord, and ask His guidance to light or way, and yet our path can be such a zig zag. I always praise God for your transparency. You are not alone, sister. I pray your walk is sweet with the Lord today!
Reply Linda
10:37 PM on November 10, 2010 
Lorraine, when I read your reference to Romans 8:26 I was reminded this week of how God intercedes for us in our weakness. We've been in a crisis situation with my family member for 6 weeks now. Last Saturday I had given in to fear and guilt regarding her precarious future. The Enemy was determined to steal my joy. Still, I was able to sleep okay and wake up somewhat refreshed. The next day at church my friend told me I had been heavy on her heart and she was diligently praying for me. I shared with her my struggle and we gave thanks and glory to God for His sweet grace and faithfulness. Even in my weakness, He was taking care of me and strengthening me for His purposes. He is trustworthy!
Reply Gwyneth
9:33 AM on November 8, 2010 
That is a beautiful prayer, thank you Lorraine. I really needed to hear this message and I will indeed look up the passages you suggested. I pray that God does a work in our hearts that is permanent and life-changing! It is so true how we keep repeating the same patterns of behavior and doubt. Trusting in God's love is soooooo wonderful!
God bless you today and always!
Reply Val
8:44 AM on November 7, 2010 
This walk of mine is like a zig zag to the finish line. God is so gracious to continually show me where I need improvement and give me the strength I need to keep going.

The mouth is so evil sometimes and yet the words that come out can be used for blessings other times. This morning I am reminded of those words and how I use them. So many times I wish I could capture what has come from my mouth and shove it back in....

It is gratifying when your words are soft and a blessing to others... On the contrary when words of anger or malaice fly, no one is happy or feels the presence of God.

I see this most prominent in my relationship with other women and second my family, who I feel safe around. A challenge today to guard my mouth but first my heart, what a blessed feeling it is when close to Christ.

You are right, worship is a great starting place. I can't ever think of a time that I have finished singing praises to the Lord and then let out words that I wanted so desperately to put back. Praising God puts my heart in a rightful place to be a true blessing to others. It sure feels good too...

Heart surgery with no anesthesia, no scar, and I feel better. GOD IS GOOD!