Bible, Future, God's Will, Heaven, Promises, Scripture



Then the word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying,”

You may have heard the joke about the little boy who went to church with his friend for the first time. He had never been to church before, so he didn’t understand a lot of the things that were going on. His friend explained when the song leader raised his hands they had to stand and sing. When they passed the round wooden plates with the felt bottom, they were supposed to put their offerings in it. When the preacher stood up and placed his watch on the pulpit, the little boy excitedly asked his friend what that meant. His friend replied, “Absolutely nothing.”

We know that every action of the Lord has meaning. That’s why we need to look intently at this last section of Haggai. This is the fourth and final word from the Lord. This one occurs on the same day as the last one we found back in verses ten through nineteen. This final word is a word of encouragement. God will reveal His plans to Zerubabbel. He wants him to know what is about to transpire.


Don’t you wish God would do that for us? Oh, wait! He has done that. We have His Word that reveals to us exactly what is going to happen. Revelation 22:1-5 describes the scene in heaven. “1 And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illuminate them; and they will reign forever and ever.”

That is our future. That is what we have to look forward to. You need to read the Word to see what is coming. It’s all there. God isn’t trying to hide things from you. He isn’t playing peek-a-boo with you. He may not reveal every detail of your future, but He promises you that He will be with you. He promises you eternal life with His Son. He promises you that you will receive your heavenly rewards.

I am thankful I know what is coming. These earthly days don’t really matter. I know where I am headed. My future is sealed with a promise. It is my prayer that you are going with me. If you are not sure of your salvation, make it sure today. Confirm with the Father your place in heaven. He’s always welcoming new residents.

Praise You, O Lord, for the guarantees You give me. I know You hold me in the palm of Your hand.

Asking, Bible, Blessing, Change, Courage, Direction, Following, Future, God's Will, Scripture



“‘Is the seed still in the barn? Even including the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree, it has not produced fruit. Yet from this day on I will bless you.’”

“From now on” hints at a change. Something is about to happen that will change your circumstance or maybe even your life. When my children left home, they faced some “from now ons.” They no longer were protected under my roof. They were either married with a new family or in a new city with a career. Some “from now ons” are scary while others are exciting. Let’s look at the one described in verse 19 today.

What starts out as a continuation of the description of their suffering due to their disobedience ends with a “from now on.” Look at it. The last sentence says, “Yet from this day on I will bless you.” The literal translation is “From this day I will bless.” Things were changing. God was returning His blessing on His children. Don’t you know a shout went up when they heard that news? After years of suffering, God was going to rain down His blessings on them again.


Have you been in a period of suffering? Take heart, friends. God has not forgotten you. His “from now ons” still happen today. He can change the trajectory of your life with one flick of His little finger. He has certainly done that in my life on a number of occasions. Moving to a new ministry or meeting that certain person can make a new “from now on” happen.

Are you praying for a “from now on” moment? Stop and pray for God’s perfect will in your life. I am reminded of the passage in James. James 4:13-15 says, “13 Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are just a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’” 

“From now on” in the life of the believer can mean many different things. But one thing is for sure – from now on the Lord will be with us. From now on His mercies are new. From now on Jesus is interceding for us. From now on…

From now on, Lord, I will pray that Your will be done in my life so that I can learn to trust You more.

Abiding, Bible, Commitment, Heart, Scripture



“‘Do consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month; from the day when the temple of the LORD was founded, consider:’”

In the past several years I have made a drastic change in the way I read and study God’s Word and spend time with Him. Every Man A Warrior ( did that through its emphasis on memorizing and meditating on the Word of God. You could say I have truly taken to heart the meaning of doing a Quiet Time. It’s a passion for me now. The first thought on my mind each morning is getting with the Lord and listening for His voice.

What you can’t see in the English translation of verse 18 is the two different Hebrew words that are used for “consider.” Actually, in the Hebrew, it reads “Now consider, consider…” And the last word of the verse is again, consider. The second and last time “consider” is used, Haggai uses the word that really means “take to heart.” The verb comes from leb, the Hebrew word for heart.


You are probably thinking Well, big deal, Carl. Now, listen. When you take something to heart that involves some serious contemplation. I am reminded of the commandment given to us in Deuteronomy 6:5-6. “5 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.” Twice the word “heart” is used there. It’s the same word used in Haggai 2:18.

So, let me ask you. What is your heart set on? What is your greatest desire? What drives your thoughts each and every day? Nothing has changed since these words were written by Haggai back around 520 B.C. That’s closing in on three thousand years ago. God’s commands and His words are timeless. We are still told to set our hearts on Him.

Let me encourage you today to examine your heart. See where it is set. If it is not set on Him, reset it. Make knowing Him your top priority. I promise you He will show Himself to you. Oh, how He loves you.

Oh, how He loves you and me. Oh, how He loves you and me. He gave His life. What more could He give? 

Abiding, Bible, Choices, Devil, Enslavement, Following, Hope, Pride, Return, Scripture



“‘I struck you and every work of your hands with scorching wind, mildew, and hail; yet you did not come back to Me,’ declares the LORD.”

When I read today’s verse, my thoughts went back to a dog I used to have. That dog was bad about running away from home. If he got off his leash or out of his fence, he would take off and be gone for days. Most of the time I would have to track him down by neighbors’ reported sightings. You would think he would happy being fed, loved on and cared for, but he had other plans it seemed.

Even though God judged the nation of Israel in the past through the destruction of the crops with scorching winds, mildew and hail they did not return. Amos 4:9 uses almost the same words as Haggai. “‘I struck you with scorching wind and mildew; The caterpillar was devouring Your many gardens and vineyards, fig trees and olive trees; Yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the LORD.” About 200 years separated these two prophets which tells us they were very slow to return to the Lord.


Our failure to return to our Lord may not span 200 years, but we are just as disobedient. He tries to draw us back, but we reject Him. We are comfortable in our sins. Just like my runaway dog, we like the “freedom” that we think we have on our own. We don’t see the dangers that lurk behind every corner. The devil loves runaway Christians. He will continue to lure you away.

So, what must we do to return? It’s pretty simple. Just stop running. Stop, turn around and fall into the arms of Jesus. Now, what does that remind you of? How about the story of the Prodigal Son that is told in Luke 15:11-32. It says the son came to his sense and returned. Even though he probably still smelled like pigs, his father embraced him and welcomed him home.

If you are like me, you probably stink with sin sometimes, especially if you have been wallowing in it. God has been calling you home, but you have ignored Him. Return to Him. Come home. He is waiting for your return.

Come home, come home. Ye who are weary come home. Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling, calling all sinners, come home.

Abiding, Bible, Blessing, Caregiver, Contentment, Gifts, Hunger, Provision, Scripture



from that time when one came to a grain heap of twenty measures, there would be only ten; and when one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there would be only twenty.”

I have been blessed through my years in that I can say I have never gone hungry. Oh, I thought I was starving a few times, but I was really just whiny about not eating when I wanted. There’s a difference in being hungry and truly starving. Not having enough to provide yourself or your family is a real issue in many parts of our world today. Be grateful if you are like me and are blessed with more than you need.

God was reminding the people of Israel to continue to think back to the days when they didn’t have enough. Grain was short on supply, as well as the fruit of the vine to make wine. Those were days of judgment when they suffered because of their disobedience. Now, they were living in relative ease, but they needed to remember where they had been and what God had done for them.


Maybe that’s you. Do you need to remember where you were and where God has brought you? We seem to forget so quickly, don’t we. In the middle of thanking the Philippians for sending him a gift, Paul says this in Philippians 4:11-12. “11 Not that I speak from need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”

Paul reflected back to the lean years. He shared how God had taught him to be thankful in whatever situation he found himself. Boy, we could learn a lot from Paul, couldn’t we? But I love the next verse. Paul reveals the secret to this. It’s in verse 13. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” That is the key. It is Christ in me. It is Christ in you.

When I think back to my “lean” years, I can pinpoint specific events that caused my faith to leap forward. Times when all I could do is trust in His sovereign will helped me grow. Was it fun? Nope. Did I struggle through it? Yep. But looking back I can see the fingerprints of God all over. Will you join me in trying to look closer for God’s fingerprints today? They are there. We just have to look.

Father, I am eternally grateful for Your bountiful provisions. The world may see them as meager, but I know You are giving me exactly what I need.

Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Consequences, History, Scripture



“But now, do consider from this day onward: before one stone was placed on another in the temple of the LORD,” 

Sometimes, before you can move forward, you have to look backwards. It has been said those who do not remember their history are bound to repeat it. I am sixty-two years old. There are more years behind than ahead of me. I realize that. I have a pool of knowledge about some things. I hope I am wise enough to learn from that and not repeat past failures (yes, I have had failures). Shouldn’t we all?

The Lord God tells the people in verses 15-19 to think back “before one stone was placed on another…” He is going to remind them how it was back then. Think back! Remember! Don’t repeat your past sins. Listen to Me. Follow Me. I will guide you. I am sure some of the people did just what the Lord said. But I am also sure others didn’t. That is just human nature, isn’t it?


If the Lord told you to do this, to think back, would you do it? I hope so. Do that right now. Think back to the person you were before Christ. Think back to the hopelessness. Think back to the longing you had in your spirit. Think back to the aimlessness in your life.

But now, think back to your moment of salvation. Think back to the joy that filled your soul. I am reminded of David’s Psalm 51.12 says, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.” It is natural to lose some of that “zeal.” God does not expect us to stay on the mountain top. But He does want to revisit those days. He wants to encourage us.

I am back in my hometown this week. This is allowing me to think back. I am seeing old friends and family who knew me before my salvation. It reminds of where He has brought me. I am so thankful. I wish I had gone through some of the things in my past, but thinking back I can see how the Lord has used them. I pray that is the same with you.

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died. My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride

Bible, Forgiveness, God's Will, Scripture, Sin, Testimony, Unclean, Worship



“Then Haggai responded and said, “‘So is this people. And so is this nation before Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.’”

I love to watch a really good hitter in professional baseball. It’s a battle between the pitcher and the hitter. The pitcher is trying to strike out the batter and the batter is trying to get a hit. Good batters know how to watch the pitcher and even manipulate the batter’s box to get the pitcher to throw a pitch they want. And when they do – whammo – out of the park.

Verse 14 is kind of like that. The Lord set up the priests for His response in this verse. He said, “So is this people. And so is this nation before me, and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.” He could not accept anything from them at this new temple until they cleansed themselves. He was telling them to look inward at their uncleanness because it was resonating across the nation.


Jesus addressed this very thing in Matthew 5:23-24. “‘23 Therefore, if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.’” Do you get the picture? God cannot honor your offerings if you are harboring sin against a brother.

I have been in church my whole life, and I have seen people sitting in church who couldn’t sit by certain people because of old grudges. Beloved, we can’t be that way. We must be forgiving and willing to ask others to forgive us. God tells us that He will humble the proud and exalt the humble. We cannot expect God to be honored and worshipped under such conditions.

I have had to go to people and ask for forgiveness. It’s not easy. It is very humbling. In most circumstances, that person has forgiven me. In others, they haven’t. But that is not on me. All I can do is be obedient to God. I can’t force them to do the same. If you have something against someone else right now, go to them or call them. Don’t text. That is so impersonal. Make it personal. And then pray together. It is really hard to stay mad with someone you are praying with.

Lord, I need to ask You to forgive me for any harm I caused in another believer’s walk with You. Give me the chance to make that right.

Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Questions, Scripture, Sin



“Then Haggai said, If one who is unclean from a corpse touches any of these things, will the latter become unclean?’ And the priests answered, ‘It will become unclean.’”

I was driving down a back country road recently when I started smelling this horrible smell. I instantly looked around in my truck, wondering if I had left something in there that had spoiled. Then I saw it. There was a dead animal beside the road that had obviously been there a few days. The stench from that carcass was wafting up and down that road for miles. I felt unclean just driving past it.

So, the second question gets asked of the priests. This time about passing uncleanness onto something. Remember, yesterday’s verse asked about transferring holiness which the priests answered in the negative. But here, the same action can transfer uncleanness, according to them. The teaching moment – it is a lot easier to transfer your sins. Only God can make something holy, but we can affect others through our actions.


I want to ask you a personal question. Have you ever caused someone else to sin because of your own sin? Have you influenced others negatively? It is so easy to do that. Our actions have consequences, not only on ourselves, but potentially on others. I saw that far too often when I was working with children. Their parents’ choices influenced the children to follow the same sinful patterns.

In Matthew 18:6, Jesus tells us, “‘but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea.’” That is pretty harsh, isn’t it? But I believe Jesus meant that. You see, our uncleanness can affect others.

Now, you can’t transfer your sins onto someone else. Everyone is responsible for their own sins. We are all born sinners (Romans 3:23). But our lesson for today is to be careful how we walk so that we do not influence anyone towards sin. That would be sin for us.

Lord, keep me focused on living for You so that I can influence others to live holy lives.

Bible, Blessing, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Obedience, Offering, Sacrifice, Scripture



“‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and touches bread with this fold, or touches cooked food, wine, oil, or any other food, will it become holy?’” And the priests answered, ‘No.’”

Have you ever wondered what makes something holy? We have the Holy Bible (that one is understandable). We have holy water (which is used by some). We even have holy smoke, lol. A question is poised by the Lord to the priests about how things become holy. This may seem like a foreign concept for us today. We’ll dig into that a little further in a minute.

In today’s verse the priests are asked if a certain action would cause something to be holy. Can meat, that has been blessed by the priests, transfer holiness from it to another object if it touches it? You can read about this transfer of holiness in Exodus 29:37 and Leviticus 6:27, 29; 7:6. It was the meat given to the priests as part of their provisions. This meat was a portion of the meat given by the people for sacrifice. This meat belonged to the Lord.


Ahh! So, there it is! That is what makes something holy. We have the answer to the question. Holiness is only transferrable by the Lord. He makes something or someone holy. There is nothing we can do on purpose or accidentally that can confer holiness. Our holiness cannot be passed on. Each person must become holy on their own through the blood of Jesus.

You see that meat that was holy was only holy because it was part of the offering to God, a blood sacrifice. We are made holy through the blood of the Lamb. We are made more like Him (more holy) by surrendering more and more of ourselves on that altar of sacrifice. As we die to our flesh each day, the Lord allows us to experience more and more of His holiness.

Holiness is not something to be grabbed and obtained through a touch. Holiness comes through righteousness given to us by Jesus. Do you long to live holy? Do you want to be known as someone who lives holy? Then lay your life on that altar. Die to your will and live according to His will. Holiness will be poured upon you through His Spirit.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty…Only Thou art holy
There is none beside Thee, Perfect in power, in love and purity

Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Commands, Obedience, Rules, Scripture



“The LORD of armies says this: ‘Now ask the priests for a ruling:’”

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a football fan, especially Georgia Bulldog football. But the one thing I don’t like about the game now are all the pauses in play for the official review of a play. In this scenario, the head umpire goes to the sideline to watch an instant replay of the play in question. This can take a few minutes to several minutes. All the while, the players are cooling down on the field and perhaps losing their momentum at that point in the game. But an official ruling is necessary before the game can continue.

It’s interesting to me that here in verse 11 of Haggai 2, we see God telling Haggai to ask the priests for a ruling. We will see that over the next couple of days. But why does God need the priests to make a ruling. He is not asking them for advice. No! He is just wanting them to take a closer look at His law, not their laws. Just like the head umpire, they need to look very close at what they are doing, at their rulings over people. God is always precise and perfect in His rulings. They weren’t.


What do you need to take a closer look at? James tells us in James 1:25, “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.” “To look intently” means to stoop down and look, to really look. The same word is used in John when John and Peter went to the tomb after the resurrection of Jesus. It says John stooped and looked.

Take a few minutes today and “stoop and look” at how you are following Jesus. If you find yourself not following Him at all, stop whatever you are doing and come to Him. If for salvation, make today the day your surrender to Him. If for correction, let Jesus guide you back as you look intently at your walk.

We are all at different places in our walk with Jesus. But we all need to look intently and make a ruling about our journey. Make sure you are making the right ones. Only His Word can show you that. Take the time today. I promise it will be time worth taking.

I trust Your rulings in my life, O God. You are always right and true.