Blessing in Obedience

photo by Samuel Zeller

photo by Samuel Zeller

Haggai 2:18-19

18 Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider: 19 Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you.”

 

In Haggai, God rebuked His people who had been released from captivity for 15 years.  They had built for themselves fine houses but left the temple in ruins.  Through the prophet Haggai, God asks them why they worked hard but did not have enough?  Then He told them He was why.  Even in the good of being released from captivity, they were not obedient to Him.

God told them to rebuild His temple.  The governor, priest, and people repented and turned back to God.  They placed the cornerstone which is the first step in rebuilding the temple and God said: “from this day on I will bless you.”

I noticed a couple of things right here in the Old Testament that jumped out at me.  Probably, because these things apply to me.  

1)   Even in good times, I am not always obedient.  The Israelites had been released 15 years and were not doing what God had released them to do.  They were living it up in their own way, not giving to God what was His.  In return, things weren’t going all that smooth even in their living it up.

2)   The moment they repented, turned back to God and demonstrated their obedience God said: “from this day on I will bless you.”  God didn’t wait for the project of obedience to be completed.  He blessed the moment they acted in obedience.

What a great and merciful God we serve!  He calls us until He gets our attention.  Then, just like that, as soon as we repent, turn back to Him and in the first act of obedience, He blesses!

Blessing comes in obedience!

What is God calling you to do? 

What are you waiting for?

Comment below if you have seen this to be true in your life.

 

Excellent Love

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I Corinthians 13
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails;
but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 
13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

 

God our Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit; ONE God showed us perfect love.  He created mankind knowing we would fail him.  He knew that in that failure, most of His creation would not choose to surrender to Him, yet He gave us the freedom to choose anyway.

God knew that those of us who would choose to surrender to Him would fall often.  Many times knowing the right thing but choosing sin instead.  But in His perfect love, He offers forgiveness as soon as we repent. 

He is patient, not wanting any to perish, and offers hope to all who believe.

How I want to demonstrate my Father’s love to others.  May I be patient, kind, not jealous, not a braggart or arrogant, not acting unbecomingly, not easily provoked, not taking into account wrong suffered and not rejoicing in unrighteousness but rather rejoicing in truth, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things and enduring all things. Why?  Because my Father’s love NEVER fails.

Does my love fail?  Yes! But does my Father’s love fail? Never!

May I choose to deny myself daily and take up my cross and follow Him so He receives all the glory and I might just be one of the vessels He chooses to use.

Early in the Morning | Plus Canvas discount code

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I took the above photo while on a trip to Hot Springs, AR with a friend.  That is Lake Hamilton at sunrise.  It was a very relaxing and renewing few days.

My friend has been a Southern Baptist missionary in Africa most of her adult life. She and her husband were home on furlough when she and I took this get away trip.  It was fabulous!  We agreed to have supper together and enjoy one another’s company in the evenings, but the mornings and afternoons we retreated away alone to seek the Lord.

We took time to have our own person devotions and quiet time with the Lord in the mornings.  She would go to one part of the house we stayed in and I went to the other.  We seldom saw each other in the morning. We usually took breaks at the same time for lunch so we shared our lunch meals together.  Then we would retreat back to our personal quiet space until evening. During this time we would seek God’s guidance for particular areas of our lives and work on goal and plans.

It was funny that every morning we each walked around the neighborhood, but neither of us realized the other was walking until we talked about our days.  I’m telling you, we seldom saw each other in the mornings.  Of course, the first morning I slept in (I won’t say how late – I was ashamed of myself). That must have meant that I needed the rest, right? 

I’m telling you, I would love to do this a couple of times a year.  It was great to spend uninterrupted time with Jesus and to pull away from the business of life to focus on Him and His direction for my life.

When I looked back over my photos from the trip, this one really caught my attention.  I was reminded that we truly are without excuse.  After all, the heavens declare the glory of God. So I looked up the verse, added it to my photo and found canvasdiscount.com to have the canvas made. 

I love how that one turned out so much that I had several other photos printed on canvas. If you want to check it out for yourself, just click on the link below. Plus recieve 15% off your order of $30 or more if you use this link:

The Battle is Real

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We see her at church or work or down our street and she is nicely dressed, clean and smiling as we talk.  But let us not forget that the battle is real.

What we don't know is that she's been under attack.  Maybe it was a terminal diagnosis of her loved one or maybe she just found out that her child was hurt by someone she trusted or she lost her job this week.  What we don't know is that it's not been just one of these, but a series of things that now have her bloodied and bruised.

We see her at the market and she hurls painful words at those around her.  She is mean and hateful.  We, too, want to lash out at her, or someone, when she said spiteful things to us! But let us not forget that the battle is real.

What we don't know is that she's been under attack.  Maybe everyday she's told by her husband that she is not good enough and never will be, or she found herself in a compromising position and she compromised or she was betrayed by someone she never thought would betray her.  What we don't know is that it's not been just one of these, but a series of things that now have her bloodied and bruised.

The battle is real - but the battle is not with them.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

Therefore, let us take up the whole armor of God:

  • the belt of truth
  • the breastplate of righteousness
  • the gospel of peace
  • the shield of faith 
  • the helmet of salvation
  • the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

Let us pray at all times in the Spirit, to keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.   (Ephesians 6:13-18 paraphrased)

Don't leave her to stand alone.  The Battle is Real.