As a young Christian, and having just surrendered to the gospel ministry, reading the book of Haggai (also known as his four oracles) for the first time gave me some level of consternation. Of course the book is one of history and prophecy for the remnant of Israel, etc., but it’s also a book of universal truth for all generations – Jew and Gentile alike.
The phrase, “consider your ways,” repeated several times throughout the book, brings a certain level of evaluation for any and all believers. It was of particular interest to this young minister’s process of decision making regarding practical aspects of life, i.e., choosing an institution for ministerial training – when, where, and how; and when and if to marry, etc. “Consider your ways,” was a challenge to me to look self introspectively, to prioritize, as well as to evaluate any natural proprietary value system.
In context, Haggai is basically calling on the people of God to look introspectively and circumspectly at their present condition and situation regarding their process of decision making in light of the house (and ways) of God.
Haggai challenged the returning remnant of God who found their precious land and God’s temple in great destruction and disrepair (for further insight see Ezra and Nehemiah). Upon arrival, they were enthusiastic about being back, but complacency and apathy soon set in and the things most concerning God were left for things concerning themselves, i.e., houses, politics, economics and religion, etc.
Someone told me about a man. A father of five, a fine man by all accounts, nice to co-workers and customers, as well as, strangers. He was taking his eldest son to check out a prominent college. On the way, their vehicle was struck by another vehicle, and sadly, both of them were killed.
The moment I heard the news, I was more than taken aback. It was as if the air had been knocked out of me. I don’t know why. I didn’t know him, never met him. I don’t use the word “fair” much, but thats what it seemed like, “it wasn’t fair.”
Then the Spirit spoke to my heart and reminded me that life isn’t fair, and thankfully, neither is God. God is Just. My wife and I talked about it for a few minutes and we encouraged each other about our past, present and what lies ahead for what we know of the future.
God made everything perfect. Sin changed that. As a result, death, disease and destruction entered into His perfect creation. And if that were the end of the story, what a miserable existence it would be, but grace found us, and her beautiful twin sister, mercy, as well as their cousins, forgiveness, lovingkindness, patience, faith, hope, and of course, Love.
Love casts out fear. Bad news, untimely news, horrifying acts of mankind, natural events in the world and in all creation can sometimes scare us to the point of irrational, anxious and unwarranted aggressive behavior…….but then, for the believer, PEACE……real Peace, peace that passes understanding, whispers to our hearts (sometimes it even comes in like a flood).
How often do you allow peace to attend your way? Speaking of the events of life, there is nothing new under the sun, as Solomon said. The only thing new under the sun is the next day. Assuming it comes, what will you do with it? How will you respond to the events of the “next day?” However we choose to live and make decisions, may it be so through the grid-work and goggles of grace, mercy, faith, hope and love, and may your experience be that of peace.
The first time I heard that phrase I was sitting in a Christian school fundraising strategy meeting. The challenge for the fundraising was great, and humanly speaking, greater than our school’s collective resources. I was sitting on the front row when the speaker revealed the master plan. Behind me was a faithful supporter of the school. However, no sooner than the plan was revealed, the speaker’s last syllable still hanging in the air, this faithful supporter snorted and sarcastically said, “Yeah, from your lips to God’s ears!”
At first I was upset by such an immediate resistance to God’s work. But then God began to speak to my heart. The statement is actually true in that it is a reference to petitioning God for His provision.
Have you seen or heard about our thermometer board gauging the giving for Clearview’s roofing project? Amazing! What’s it been, 4-5 weeks?! When the leadership team met to address the need, several ideas as to how to finance the project were discussed. Unanimously we agreed to pray and trust God for His provision through the sacrificial giving of His people. And likewise, You prayed, unanimously accepted the leadership team’s proposal, got behind it, and now look – the project is almost complete, and the fundraising goal has almost been met as God has prospered us!
Truly an accomplishment from your lips to God’s ears.
There’s been a lot of talk and use of thermometers and other devices to measure a person’s body temperature during this time of “Covid 19.” The use of these devices has not been for the purpose of determining whether someone has Covid 19 or not. The purpose is to determine the body temperature of the individual being checked. The purpose, then, is determined by a goal. In this case, the goal is 98.6 on a body temperature measuring device. So the target goal for the thermometer reading is set, and most people take it very seriously to assure that the goal is met. As a matter of fact, the jobs of many people depend on the reading to match the goal. If the goal of 98.6 (give or take a degree) isn’t met, one doesn’t enter the building. So therein lies an inherent necessity.
We are currently involved in some roofing projects here at Clearview Baptist Church. We’ve had a great start and continue to experience growing interest. There is a cardboard thermometer on the stage near the organ that measures just where we are in the progress of our giving to meet the goal. You can see for yourself where we are. In many ways, reaching this goal, and other goals to insure the upkeep and betterment of our facilities, is detrimental to the life and growth of our church.
It is evident that the church is taking it seriously, and it is appreciated more than words can say. Giving is always a sensitive subject because it’s personal and it’s not accomplished without a great deal of consideration to other financial commitments in one’s life. Always give as God prospers you and leads you to give. We have and do enjoy the present facilities because of the faithful sacrificial giving of those in the past. Give now not only for our present benefits, but also for those who will follow.
The level of fear and angst for most of this year, 2020, has gripped the hearts of many. Yet others have more than survived, they’ve flourished. What’s the difference? Oversimplified, the answer is faith. Faith always dominates reason, or at least it should. I have found that the biggest component of fear, or the cause there of, is the unknown. It’s not just the fear of the unknown, but the unknown can be the cause of the fear.
I wonder what the level of fear was for Mary and Joseph? Talk about the unknown! Two young people with their whole life in front of them with the usual plans of marriage, family, one day taking over the family business, and “boom!” the faith Crisis of not only a life time, but for eternity. Your wife, whom you haven’t consummated your wedding vows with is with child. “Say what!” And the darling virgin who has kept herself vigilantly virtuous is told by an angel from God she will be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit from whence the impregnation comes. Can anyone say, “angst,” “fear?” Needless to say, potentially off the charts. However, what was their response? To quote Mary, “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.”
Faith, not reason, brought them to this conclusion. Reason would have had them cut and run. Societal concerns would have had them consider divorce and abortion, concluding by reason, with the help of science and law (statistically speaking), what the best alternative should be. Reason, science, law, etc, in and of themselves aren’t the issue, the source or motive for their application is, as well as, their proprietary consideration and ranking. Faith should dominate every decision in life.
What is so ironic about 2020 is it is the number designating perfect eye sight according to science and medical standards, and yet it is arguably the worst year ever world-wide, at least in modern/post-modern history. Fear arises where there is little or no faith, faith arises where there is love. God is Love. Merry Christmas!
Greetings, Earthlings! I hope you are missing us as much as we are missing you. I’m certain all of you have been keeping up on the Covid 19 status and how it is effecting our community, state and nation. In the last couple of days, there have been reports that our country, state and community will soon be “reopening.” President Trump intimated that their are states that could be ready to reopen “today.” However, he has left the reopening of America again to the state and local governments as they deem necessary.
In light of this news, several of our people have asked when Clearview will be gathering together again. Technically, religious meetings were never terminated by any government authorities. The interruption of Clearview’s regular scheduled meetings was voluntary on our part in the best interest for the health, safety and well-being of our membership and visiting guests. With this in mind, our best target date for regathering corporately will be some time in May. All this to say, stay tuned to any and all of Clearview’s social media outlets for confirmation date of the reopening of our regularly scheduled meetings.
Be patient and continue to trust the Lord. For the believer, the outcome of any and every circumstance is for God’s glory and our gain. Our present situation has not taken God by surprise . . . . nothing ever does.