That's the Book: Haggai
This was a beautiful weekend. Sunny, time with family, good results from an EKG. Catch your attention? Sure caught mine. Saturday afternoon I felt a weight on my chest. The kind all those Pinterest meme's about women's heart attack symptoms being different than men's tell you not to ignore. So I hauled into the urgent care. Said enough magic words to earn an ambulance ride and full workup at the local ER. Turns out my heart is completely fine. Not sure what happened but might have been a mix of a nasty allergic reaction and a bit of paranoia from too many recent visits to friends and family in the hospital. As I read through the book of Haggai, I'm feeling grateful and paying attention.
In 520 BC the Babylonian empire fell to the Persians. The Israelite people in captivity were given a the opportunity by the Persians to return to Israel. A remnant returned and were using all their time and resources to rebuilding their homes but were completely neglecting rebuilding the temple. Haggai encouraged them to get to work! Gratefully they did. As they worked some of the people were discouraged by the size of this new temple compared to the grand temple of Solomon. Haggai's message was the same. One of encouragement. Be strong. Look to God. Be faithful. Keep working. The future is bright. It's the same message to us.
"This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Give careful thought to your ways.'" Haggai 1:7
As I'm sitting here this Memorial Day I'm grateful for the sacrifice others have made for my freedom. I'm sickened by recent hateful events and praying for insight to how to respond. I'm pondering work life balance. I'm wondering if I'm sewing seeds of hope around me. I'm thinking through the input I receive in my life. Too much junk food. Too much time online. Considering invitations and motivations. Clearly I need to eat better, exercise more often, detox on technology. Its a time for thought. Here is a list of ten questions you may want to ask yourself. Give careful thought to your ways.
1. Do the people who matter most in my life know that I love them?
2. Do my actions match my faith?
3. Is there someone I need to forgive?
4. Are my habits dragging down my health? or my story? or my family's health?
5. Is there someone I should thank?
6. Am I using all my resources for myself only? What can I cut or give to support what God is doing?
7. Do I have questions I need to trust God to answer?
8. Is my version of success the same as what God wants?
9. Am I vested in heaven? What can I do to be more heaven focused?
10. What do I do to rest, to restore, to renew?
This certainly isn't an exhaustive list. And its not supposed to trigger guilt or frustration or despair. Mindfulness is a way to get to freedom. To peace. To growth.
"Be strong, all you people of the land,' declares the Lord, and work. For I am with you," declares the Lord Almighty. 'This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear."
I love this verse. Broken and weak is useful to God because its where we can be molded and grown. But His instruction for us is to be strong. To work. To not fear. The reason that is all possible is because HE is with us. Be strong and work FOR I am with you. God is the purpose and the power. Can I encourage you today? God wants you to get help. He wants you to ask the hard questions and find the reasons for the stress. He wants you to think and face and ponder the truth. But its because His goal for you is for health. To be mighty for and through Him. Now - just like the people in Haggai's day were distressed because the work of their hands was smaller than they thought it should be - sometimes we forget the long view. God will eventually set all things right. The seeds we sow now may be for eternity not for next week. But the effort will produce results. His spirit remains among us. Wherever we go. Give careful thought.
The team at Read Scripture hits it again. Your choices MATTER. Read and see what Haggai has to do with your story.
I think I need this shirt. You might need one too. Faith Over Fear. He is with you.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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