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Archive for the ‘Consider Your Ways’ Category

This past week’s devotionals we have looked at the book of Haggai and found ourselves relating to the ancient Israelites.  They used the “timing” excuse and their priorities were out of alignment and they struggled with feelings of insignificance.  We also related to the need for hope that only God can give when we look around and all we see is struggle and hardship.  Today we turn to the Psalms as we conclude this series on Consider Your Ways.  May this be the sincere prayer and intention of our heart!

“I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.  I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.”  Psalms 119:59-60

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Life doesn’t always feel like a blessing. It just doesn’t. There are really tough things happening to us, to friends, to the world around us. It was much the same for the Israelites in the book of Haggai. They were in a time of drought, meaning financial ruin all around them as they were an agriculturally based society. It was certainly not a time of great feasting and fun for the Israelites.

In the midst of this, God speaks:

“Is there yet any seed in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. “From this day on I will bless you.'”

He gives His people the hope of blessing. He says to them that it is not always going to be this way. He is motivating His people onward in obedience and in perserverence by revealing the good things in store for them.

We all need encouragment to keep moving forward even when times are hard. We need to know that God is indeed at work, moving us forward in His will and towards eternal blessings and riches in His presence. It is encouraging to know that it isn’t always going to be this hard!

Let’s consider our ways!  How can knowing this truth impact our life today?  How will our attitudes reflect this truth?

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In this week’s series called Consider Your Ways, we are looking at the book of Haggai. We can readily relate to the ancient Israelites as they hid behind our own favorite excuse of “timing” and also struggled with keeping their priorities in just the right order.

Have you ever tried to do something out of your ordinary routine, only to see the final product and lament how it just doesn’t look like you had pictured it in your mind? I do it ALL the time…mostly with crafts, but sometimes with pies, and often with my hair! It makes me feel so very…insignificant. Especially if there is a magazine picture I have been trying to copy. It also happens with important things in my life like ministry opportunities and relationship issues.

The Israelites ran in to this feeling as well. They had considered their ways, they put their priorities back in order, they obediently began work on the temple for the Lord…only what they could build seemed like a pathetic shadow of the previous temple’s glory. They shut their eyes and remembered in their mind the lavish beauty of King Solomon’s temple and opened their eyes to see gray rock stacked on gray rock.

“Who of you is left who saw this house in it former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong…and work. For I am with you, declares the Lord Almighty.” Haggai 2:3-4

Comparisons will never bring about true significance, but obedience to God will. And whatever God asks us to do, He promises to be with us to help us accomplish it. “I am with you, declares the Lord Almighty.” His very presence brings significance! Stop a moment and “consider your ways”. Is fear or challenge holding you hostage? Be strong and remember who is with you, the Lord Almighty!

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This week we are looking at the book of Haggai from the Old Testament and how this book encourages us to “consider our ways.” Yesterday we saw that throughout the ages, people have a knack for coming up with excuses to avoid what they don’t want to do. The excuse highlighted in this passage of Scripture, and one that we so often use ourself, is the “timing” excuse.

Listen to what God, through Haggai, says to the Israelite people who were avoiding the task of building God’s temple back in 500B.C.:

“Is it time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin. Now therefore, says the Lord of hosts, consider your ways!”

Ouch! God just called them out on their excuse right there in front of everyone and exposed the truth of where their priorities were! They had plenty of time to take care of the priority of personal comforts (note: paneled houses) but not so much time to take care of what God has specifically asked them to do…build His temple for their place of worship.

Dear friend, what are our priorities today? Are we going to keep pursuing only the priorities that benefit self, or that are comfortable to us, or that feel good? Or are we going to put a priority on pursuing obedience to God’s call on our life, regardless of the challenge and regardless of the sacrifice? The truth is that the best adventure of our life is found in putting God as top priority!

“Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

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We all have them, whether we admit it or not. When something gets placed in our path that we want to avoid, in less than ten seconds we can come up with at least one fabulous reason to NOT get involved. My favorite go-to excuse is the “timing” excuse. “It just isn’t a good time for me/my family/my finances/my schedule right now.” Come on, you know you have used that excuse too! You don’t even pause to consider whether you should re-adjust your life, you just recite your excuse and move on with your own plans.

We aren’t the only ones to ever do this! Check out this verse from Haggai 1:2:

“These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built.'” Haggai 1:2

Ahh! The classic “timing” excuse, dating back 2500 years ago when the Israelite people were avoiding something they didn’t want to do, something God had given them to do, the building of His temple.

Has God placed something or someone in your path recently, maybe even today, that He wants you to embrace and yet you are avoiding it? Are you using the “timing” excuse, though you know good and well He would provide the time you need were you to just say “Yes!” to Him?

In the book Of Haggai, God says, “Consider your ways…” Excellent advice 2500 years ago. Excellent advice for today!

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