< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: June 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Build God's Temple!

Haggai 1:1-13 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest:

2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house. ’”

3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin? ”

5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored, ” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands. ”

12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord.

13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord.

This is a perfect example of what I love about the Bible. You think it’s telling a story, but it’s also telling you what to do! The story tells of the prophet Haggai relaying the word of God to the Israelites to rebuild His temple. They had returned from captivity to do this; started it, but then never finished. He tells them they are living in their decorated homes while His house is lying in ruins. Their priorities are all messed up.

He also points out that they run after this and that, work themselves to death, and nothing is ever enough or goes well because they are chasing after the wrong things!

God tells them (and us) when we work for Him, He takes pleasure in it and it is for His glory. That’s why we should do what we do! And what does He want us to do? Build His temple! According to 1 Corinthians 3:16 God’s children are His temple! We are to build up His church, encourage His children and disciple!

If that’s not clear I don’t know what is!

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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Ten Revival Warning Signs

I get a daily email devotion from James MacDonald, Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel and want to share today's because it is so practical:

When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord! —Jonah 2:7-9

The verses you just read are the turning point prayer Jonah prayed in the belly of the fish. He knew he needed revival. But how do we know? As with many diseases, the need for revival has certain warning signs—here are ten of them. Each of these statements completes the sentence: Revival is needed when __________. How many of these represent warning signs of needed revival in your life? Revival is needed when:

1. My prayer life ceases to be a vital part of my life.

2. My quest for biblical truth ceases and I become content with the knowledge of Scripture already obtained.

3. I have family, friends, and coworkers who are headed to a Christ-less eternity and eternal separation from God, but that fact ceases to move me to action. 

4. I do not rejoice in the blessings of God upon others, but struggle secretly with envy and resentment. 

5. Aspirations for Christ-like holiness cease to dominate my life and thinking. “I want to be more like Christ. I want to be more like Christ.” When that ceases to dominate my thinking, revival is needed.

6. I can hear the Lord’s name used in vain, and am not offended.

7. I can listen to spiritual things mocked and eternal things flippantly treated and not be moved to indignation.

8. I can watch degrading movies and television and read morally inappropriate literature and not be deeply grieved in my heart and shut it off or walk away, revival is needed.

9. I find more delight in the promotion of discord than in working for unity and harmony among the Lord’s people.

10. Injustice and human misery exist all around me and I do little or nothing to relieve it, I need revival.

Like any warning-sign list, we can ignore these, but to our peril. These points allow us to track drift in our spiritual life. If you cringed when you read any of them, that area needs another look. What is God’s Spirit telling you? Tenderness in a danger zone is a healthy reminder that revival may be necessary.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Be Strong and Courageous

Joshua 1: 1-9 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them —to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates —all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The essence of your strength is the presence of your God!

If you are going to do anything for God, if you are going to know His victories, you must stand on His promises. What Joshua fulfilled was God’s promise to Abraham 600 years earlier (Genesis 12):

1.      The promise of a large amount of land for the Israelites.

2.      The promise of God’s presence.

We must trust in Him because He WILL keep His promises. But we must also realize that when we do trust in Him we will be tested! If we expect this it won’t throw us! And then we must be obedient. If you believe – you obey! “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you.”

1.      Hear the word. Receive massive amounts of God’s words.

2.      Know the word. Meditate on it day and night. Process it! Memorize scripture.

3.      Do the word. It’s not the hearer of the word, but the doer of the word that is blessed. Make disciples! Forgive people! Love them! Serve!

4.      Blessings will follow. “Your way will be prosperous and you will have success.” (Just remember this is not earthly, but eternal success.

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