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.

Accountability, Advocate, Appointed, Bible, Bosses, Commands, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing



On the twenty-fourth of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Haggai the prophet, saying,”

I have a lot of bosses or supervisors during my ministry years. There were many times when they sent me to represent them in a meeting somewhere. I was usually given a message to deliver for them. When I delivered that message, I was careful to make sure the people in the meeting knew the words I shared were from my boss and not mine personally.

Haggai is a short book. Take a few minutes and read the whole book. As you are reading it, take note (if you want, use a highlighter) of every time the word of the Lord comes to Haggai or when it says “the Lord says” or something similar. You will see very quickly that Haggai is only speaking what the Lord told Him to say. He is only doing what the Lord has told him to do.


We read something similar in John 15:49-50. “49 ‘For I did not speak on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.’”

Even Jesus spoke only what the Father told Him to say. If that is true of the Son of God, shouldn’t we practice the same? We are too quick to give “godly” advice to people that we have no business giving. We tell people what God says they should do without first asking the Lord about it. Yes, we should share the Word with others. Yes, we should talk about Jesus to others. But let’s be careful to speak only the words the Lord has given us.

I pray just about every morning for the Lord to give me the opportunity to share Jesus with someone. I want to witness. I want to testify to our risen Savior, but I only want to do that when it is clear the Lord has opened that door. I don’t want to kick the door open before it is time. The Spirit in me (which is the Spirit of God, will direct when, to whom and how to do that. So, listen intently to Him. He will tell you what to say.

I love to tell the story, ‘Twill be my theme in glory, To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

Bible, Following, God's Will, Holiness, Modeling, Scripture



 “‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of armies, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the LORD of armies.”

Everyone wants things bigger and better. Isn’t that right? If a two-bedroom house is good, a three-bedroom house is better. If you have earned $1 million, $2 million is better. Get the picture? We tend to think that way, but is it right? Is it God’s way? Let’s take a look at today’s verse and see.

God tells the Israelites that the new temple “will be greater than the former.” Was He declaring that it would be bigger and better? I don’t think so. You see, this new temple would be the very temple in which Jesus, His Son, would walk. The Messiah would enter it, bringing in His peace. That would make it better, not the adornments.


So, what can you expect from your Heavenly Father? Will He make your life “bigger and better”? He may or He may not. What we can expect is that God wants us to be more like Him. He wants us to be holy. In Leviticus 19:2 God tells us, “‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.’” Peter shares this again in 1 Peter 1:14-16, “14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written: ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’”

Being holy is bigger and better. Walking with Him is being bigger and better. Now, the world will tell you just the opposite. It focuses on material gains or fame. Those things do not make you bigger or better. Who you are in Christ is all that matters. What do you want others to see in you? That is the real question.

For me, I just want them to see Jesus. That begins with my wife. I want her to see Jesus in me every day as we pray. I want my children and grandchildren to see Jesus in their dad or poppy. That is what will make me bigger and better. After all, there is nobody any bigger or better than Jesus. Right?

Make me like You, Lord. Help me to be holy, just as You are holy.

Bible, Blessing, Gifts, Giving, Offering, Scripture



“‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the LORD of armies.”

What do you have so much of that you consider it worthless or of no value? For me, it’s socks. Yep, I bet I have 30 pair. Why? I don’t know. Some I only wear when it’s cold. Others, the short white or black ones, are worn when it’s warmer and with tennis shoes. I like my socks and probably would not want to give any up, but they are a valueless thing in my drawer.

God is telling the people in Haggai 2:8 that He is not concerned with silver or gold being a part of the temple they are repairing. Perhaps the older people were upset because Solomon’s temple had been covered with gold. They may have been wondering how they were going to compete with that. God is saying He does not need that. He owns it all anyway.


God tells us in Psalm 50:10-12, “10 ‘For every animal of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 “I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and everything it contains.’”

God doesn’t need our offerings. He does not depend on our wealth to exist. Like He said, He owns it all. That does not excuse us from giving, though. We should give of our blessings. God gives it to us through whatever source He chooses, and we should give it back to Him. But God doesn’t depend on it.

Giving should be a joy for us, right? The Word tells us that in 2 Corinthians where Paul says God loves a cheerful giver. Are you a cheerful giver? You should be. Everything you give to God belonged to Him first. He is the creator of all. Remember – don’t give because someone tells you to. Give to honor the One who has given so much for you.

Thank You, Lord, for the gifts You give to me. May my offerings back to You be a reflection of that gratitude.