Allegiance, Belief, Betrayal, Bible, Deceit, Deception, Evil, Scripture, Worship



“Then he said to me, ‘To build a temple for her in the land of Shinar; and when it is prepared, she will be set there on her own pedestal.’”

We live in a world of false religions. They are all around us, and I’m not talking about the ones we can see. Some people make their careers their gods. Others put all their faith and trust in sports teams and live and die whether they win or not. It’s all deception. It’s all an attempt to fill that “God hole” in their hearts. But nothing will – except Him.

When Zechariah asked the question of the angel in the previous verse, he received this answer. They (the two winged women) were carrying her (wickedness) to Shinar to set her on a pedestal to be worshipped. Shinar was a well-known place. Does it sound familiar? Genesis 11:2 tells us, “And it came about, as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.” This was the place of the tower of Babel, man’s first attempt at a world empire against God. Here in this vision, the Lord is showing Zechariah that it would happen again.


Before you start throwing stones, let me ask you something. What are you building for God? Are you so focused on yourself that you have no need for Him? We certainly don’t call it empire building, do we? Oh no! We are just trying to be successful. Do you know how God measures success? Joshua 1:8 speaks it clearly. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success.”

Success is about building God’s empire. It’s about knowing and living His Word. If you want to be successful and build something, then build on that. That pedestal holding wickedness will one day come tumbling down, along with all those who worship her. Just like the tower of Babel, it is a false tower, a tower built on evil.

You are probably thinking Carl has gone off the deep end. What is he talking about? Listen friends, one day we will all be judged according to who we have followed down here. I am in the camp with Jesus. How about you? The only place I have to look is up. He’s right there. He is there for you, too. Let’s build this together.

No matter where evil builds their tower, Lord, I will be focused only on building Your kingdom.

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.

Bible, Church, Reverence, Scripture, Worship



“‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison?’”

The problem with comparing things is there is always something that is bigger and better. My family has lived in several homes. Each of them had their strengths and well…their weaknesses. We have never been about buying bigger and better. It was more about just meeting our needs. Most of these houses were provided to us as part of my job, so we really could not complain. But there is always that lure of something better, right?

The Israelites were mixed in their emotions about this newly renovated temple. Some of the older people had seen the original temple built by Solomon in all its glory, everything overlaid with gold. Fifty-nine years after its destruction, here they were, looking at an “inferior” temple – or so they thought. They were comparing the old and the new. Why? Because they had their own idea of what the temple should look like, not what it was – the house of God.


Don’t be harsh with them. Their perception was their reality. We are the same, aren’t we? I have heard too many people complain about the color of the carpet in church. Others don’t like the chairs. The pews were holier. The stained glass windows are replaced. How dare they do that! And I haven’t even mentioned the lighting or the sound system.

You see, we also compare our image of what we think church should look like. Don’t get me wrong. I like the stained glass and pews. I prefer a well-lit service and a lower decibel of sound. But it is not about that. We are in God’s house. We don’t go to church to worship a building. We go to church to worship the occupant.

I have probably ruffled some feathers with this post. If I have offended you, I apologize. That was not my intention. I did intend, however, to get you to think. What are you comparing? What is your reason for doing that? God’s house is God’s house, whether it is a tarp with plastic chairs or a cathedral. It’s what happens inside that counts. Next Sunday, go to worship. Don’t just go to church. There’s a big difference.

Father, I worship You, no matter the setting. Help me keep my eyes looking up, not around at my surroundings.

Abiding, Belief, Bible, Glory, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Praise, Scripture, Worship



“So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of armies, their God,”

There has been a stirring of the Spirit in the past month at some colleges and universities, which started at Asbury College in Kentucky. What began as a regular chapel service grew into a movement of God with literally thousands from around the country coming to experience this non-stop service. Some people have questioned what was happening there. That is not our right. God will reveal whether this was real or not. The stirring of the Spirit is not for us to question.

Finally, the spirit of the people is stirred by the Lord here in Haggai 1:14. Notice that this began with the leaders, Zerubbabel and Joshua. Then the people were stirred. And this stirring of their spirit resulted in putting their feet into action. They began to work on the temple, God’s house, the LORD of armies. They didn’t just sit around and enjoy the stirring. They obeyed God’s call to action. Glory!


I truly believe the reason God’s work has not been accomplished sooner is because our leaders have not been receptive of God’s stirring. The event that is described in today’s verse is also mentioned in Ezra 1:5. “Then the heads of fathers’ households of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and the Levites rose up, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem.”

It is important to mention that no one should try to accomplish what they think God wants until He stirs their heart to do so. But our leaders have to be ready and able to hear God’s voice. This is only through prayer and time in His Word. So much ministry is done without the first thought of what God wants. Good can get in the way of what is best if we are not careful.

I know in my own life I could stay very busy doing “stuff” for God. There is no end to the lists I could make to keep my calendar full. I have to ask the Lord each day what He would have me do. It is not about what I want to do. It is all about what He would have me do. How about you? Check out your motives for ministry. Make sure you have heard God and let Him stir your spirit with His Spirit.

Please stir my heart
Take me back to the fire
And bring to me recollections of joy
And renew my first desire


Bible, Majesty, Reverence, Scripture, Worship



“Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, just as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the LORD.”

You know, as a child the idea of showing reverence is a foreign concept. Do you bow down to someone or something? Are you a slave to them? Just what does it mean? Kids have no clue, but neither do adults, really. We think we do, but we don’t show it. Speaking in King James English does not make you reverent.

The governor, the high priest and the remnant of people finally obeyed the Lord, which led to repentance and the show of reverence. The Hebrew word for “reverence” means to fear or be afraid, to fear. In fact, one translation reads “put in fearful reverence.” After all God’s judgment, they were now ready to show Him reverence.


I do not think any of us know how to truly show God the reverence that is due Him. We try but fall short. Listen to how Proverbs 1:7a uses this word. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” That’s pretty good, isn’t it? As believers, our fear of the Lord isn’t a scary thing. It is a reverent thing. We acknowledge Who He is and who we are not.

Next Sunday, when you go to church (you are going, right?), walk into your place of worship with a new attitude – an attitude of reverence. You don’t have to crawl in with your head bowed, but you should walk in knowing that you are going to be entering into a time of worship. Prepare your heart before you arrive. Confess your sins and be prepared to enter the throne room of heaven.

Reverence! Awe! We get to behold the King. We get to come before the Creator of the universe. We are called His children (read 1 John 1:12). We have the right to worship. And we worship with reverence. We worship with appreciation for all He has done for us. I think that is exactly what the people of Israel were feeling in Haggai 1:12.

We bow down. We lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus.

Bible, Modeling, Offering, Redemption, Repentance, Sacrifice, Scripture, Testimony, Worship



“Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near, because the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests.”

As a man of God, I am called to sacrifice for my family. There have been many things that I willingly gave up or decided not to do because of my family. Other things required an action to my sacrifice. I had to choose to do something which was sacrificial in nature. Now, hear me clearly. I have almost never wanted to make a sacrifice that cost me something. But each time I did, it was worth it.

In verse 7 of Zephaniah 1 we see the prophet declaring that God is the one who prepares the sacrifice. God had rejected man’s sacrifices of bulls and sheep because they were not given as true sacrifices. They were merely an action the people did out of tradition. There was no true sacrifice from the people. So, now He is preparing the sacrifice. Through judgment He is consecrating His people.


Romans 12:1 tells us, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Our sacrifice to God is not a bull or sheep. Our sacrifice to God is ourselves. And as with any sacrifice, we must be put on the altar, dead to ourselves.

The altar of God had a point on each corner where the sacrifice could be tied down so it would not slip off the altar as it was burning. I know I need to tie myself down each time I offer myself to Him. I am usually not a willing sacrifice. I go kicking and screaming. But just as the sacrifice that was given correctly and burned on the altar gave a sweet aroma to God, our willing sacrifice of ourselves puts a sweet scent in the air to God.

What part of you have you not sacrificed to God? What are you holding back? He demands it all. A partial sacrifice is not a sacrifice. He demands a complete and whole sacrifice of yourself. Will you offer it to Him today? Will you lay yourself own on the altar of God and allow Him to raise you back up?

I offer myself today, Lord, as a willing, living and holy sacrifice to You.

Bible, Exalting, Praise, Rejoicing, Scripture, Singing, Worship



“You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for the salvation of Your anointed. You smashed the head of the house of evil to uncover him from foot to neck. Selah”

I like to sing, and to be able to sing you must know when to pause or rest. It helps if you can read music, but a lot of people sing without ever having learned to do that. A pause in music can be powerful, if done well and done right. It accentuates the rest of the music.

Why am I giving you a music lesson? Because remember when I started chapter 3, I told you that Habakkuk wrote these verses in combinations of three Hebrew words. He wrote it to be able to be sung to music. So, it makes sense that he would say “Selah” to mark a pause. Think about that. Why a pause? What was he trying to point out?


Maybe you need to take a pause. That pause, that Selah meant something. The word “selah” actually means to lift up or exalt. Hmmm! Think about that. How can we pause in order to lift up or exalt our Lord? What could you do this holiday season to lift up Jesus?

We get so busy with all the holiday trappings that we forget to stop and thank Him for all He has done. We forget to take a breath and actually enjoy our family instead of hustling and bustling from this house to another house. We try to cram as much into the holiday as we can.

I want a slower Christmas this year. I want one in which my family can say “Selah” and pause to lift up and exalt my Lord. I want to think about the true meaning of Christmas. It is not about the tree or presents or Santa Claus. It is about Jesus. Don’t make light of that this year. Selah!

Thank You, Father, for reminding me here in this verse to pause and lift You up. I exalt Your name.

Accountability, Allegiance, Belief, Bible, Idols, Scripture, Truth, Worship



“‘What benefit is a carved image when its maker has carved it, or a cast metal image, a teacher of falsehood? For its maker trusts in his own handiwork when he fashions speechless idols.’”

My wife and I are opposites when it comes to morning conversations. I am a morning talker, and she is not. After her second cup of coffee, then she’s ready. By then, I am ready for a nap, lol. I am not often accused of being speechless. I guess that’s okay for a preacher, right?

God is telling Habakkuk to remind the people of the hopelessness of their false gods. Carved images don’t answer prayers. Carved images can’t even hear their prayers. Think how foolish it is to make something and then pray to it. But the idol worship of Habakkuk’s day was full of such practices.


You probably don’t have carved images sitting around your house. Maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps you do. Sometimes, believers go to another country and buy a trinket that they think is cute, not knowing it is some idol sold to worship a false god. That’s only inviting evil spirits into your home. Be careful of that.

But this verse isn’t about us doing that. Instead, it is about us worshipping anything other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He should be the only object of our worship. Nothing else is real. Anything we put on a pedestal intended to bring us happiness will fail us. Simply put, don’t waste your time.

I will commit to worshipping the one true God. How about you? Will you join me this Christmas season in spreading the good news of a God who loved the world so much that He gave His only Son to die for it? The world needs Jesus so badly. What better time than now to spread the true meaning of Christmas?

You are the only true God. There is none beside You. There is none like You.

Bible, Family, Loyalty, Relationships, Scripture, Wealth, Worship



“Therefore, they offer a sacrifice to their net and burn incense to their fishing net, because through these things their catch is large, and their food is plentiful.”

People worship stuff. There, I said it. We worship sports. We worship money. We worship prestige and fame. We have done it for centuries. Whatever we put most of our time and attention to becomes our god (notice I put a little “g” there). When will we ever learn that there is only One True God?

The Chaldeans literally worshipped their instruments of war. They would praise their swords and spears. They would claim their strength as their god. This was a common practice then and one that continued for centuries. Warriors in many countries often sacrificed to their weapons and swore allegiance to them, as if they were gods.


So, this begs the question of us. What do we worship? I know you are going to be quick to say, Carl, I only worship God. Really? Then where do you spend your resources? How much time do you really give God? Do you worship Him in Spirit and in truth? John tells us to do that in John 4:24. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

I live in the South where football is King. I’m talking about American football, of course. This time of the year people spend hours engrossed in a ballgame that will be forgotten next year. But we won’t spend 30 minutes with our Lord. I know I am meddling. And I must confess that I watch football, too. But it is not my god. It can never replace that relationship.

Your god may be your family. You spend every moment thinking of and caring for your family, but you neglect your time with Jesus. There is nothing wrong with caring for your family, but we need to spend time with the One who adopted us into His family. Ask yourself today what your god is. Is it Jesus or something else?

I seek You, Lord. I want to know You more so I have to spend time with You.

Awe, Bible, Holiness, Reverence, Sanctification, Scripture, Worship



“Are You not from time everlasting, LORD, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. You, LORD, have appointed them to deliver judgment; and You, O Rock, have destined them to punish.”

I don’t hold many things as holy. The Bible, of course, is holy. I consider baptism and communion as holy events. I even know some holy people. What does that mean – to be holy? That word in the Greek means to be set apart for a specific purpose. But let’s take a look at the word Habakkuk uses here. It might surprise you.

This title given to God here is one commonly used by another prophet, Isaiah. Just look at some of the times it is used by him. Isaiah 1:4; 5:19, 24; 6:3; 10:20; 12:6; 17:7; 29:19; 30:11-12, 15; 31:1. Wow! And that is only a few. Do you get the picture. This title is important. The Hebrew word means sacred. Habakkuk wants to start by addressing God in holiness and awe.


We have lost that sense of awe when addressing God. In the attempt to make Him personal, which He is, we have forgotten that He is also a holy God, deserving of all our reverence and worship. How we show that I believe is important. Why? Because the world is watching us.

You would be hard pressed to find a preacher in an U.S. pulpit wearing a suit and tie today. But that same preacher will don that attire when conducting a funeral. Why? We are showing respect in the wrong places. Now, let me quickly say that what you wear to church does not make you holy. But how you present yourself to others, I think, shows Who you hold as holy.

Some churches on Sunday mornings could pass for night clubs with the decibel level of the music and the darkness of the rooms. I know I am meddling today. But I so desire for us to return to a spirit of holiness and reverence for our God. Don’t allow the world’s influence to creep into your worship. Stay holy!

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. I want to cry holy.