Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Power of Praise- Part Two



In Haggai we saw how the Lord urged the Israelites to consider why their efforts to prosper themselves came to so little while they lived in fancy homes but the temple lay in ruins. As Haggai goes on, (and I urge you to read the entire book) we see that the Lord told them to go up into the mountains and bring back wood to rebuild that temple. (Chapter 1, Vs. 8) We further see that the Lord assured the people He would be with them (Vs. 13) and He encouraged them, stirring them up and gave them an enthusiasm for their work. (vs. 14).
Then, in Chapter 2, the Lord tells them to be strong and work for He is with them. (vs. 4) He tells them that He will not break His promises to them, that His Spirit will be with them, and not to be afraid. (vs.5) Then, He tells them He “will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; 7 and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations,[b] and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. 8 ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. 9 ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.” So, they will lack for nothing to build a glorious temple and they will have peace.
The Lord cautions them not be defiled, not to sin, for their sin will defile their work. (vs. 10-14.)
Then, as the book ends, the Lord promises to overthrow all the enemies of Judah and make their governor, Zerubbabel like his own signet ring!
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, I submit to you that the story of Haggai has as much to do with our spirits as it did with that temple thousands of years ago.

Jesus said he would tear down that very temple described in Haggai and rebuild it in only three days. When he died on the cross, the earth shook, the rocks split, and the curtain in that temple separating us from God was torn in two.

Consider 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NKJV)

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
The temple destroyed at Jesus’ crucifixion was rebuilt in us through His resurrection.
We were designed and created as God’s greatest work on this earth. God created everything on earth by simply speaking it into being—except for human beings, which He formed out of the dust with His own hands and breathed the breath of life into with His own breath. (Genesis 2:7) We were created as creatures of praise to His glory! So, praise is our natural relationship with God.
When we live unnatural lives, lives of sin and striving to enrich ourselves with the things this world tells us will bring us happiness, we find ourselves trying to fill a bucket with holes in it. It is, as Solomon says, “vanity and chasing after wind.” The idea that the riches of this world enrich us is a lie that steals our joy and kills our souls. (Does the description of anyone in the Bible as a liar, a thief, and a murder ring any bells?)
True joy is found when we scale that mountain of Calvary and bring down the wood of the cross of Jesus Christ to build temples of praise in our spirits that bring pleasure and glory to God. It is then we find the Lord is with us, that He encourages us, stirs us up, gives us enthusiasm,  assures us He will be with us, that He will never break His promises, that He guides us with His own Spirit, that we need not be afraid, and that He gives us peace. These truly are riches far greater than we can ever gain from gold or silver or fancy cars or houses. It is then, when we take delight in the Lord, that we find the true desires of our heart are His desires for us because the God of the abundant life can grant greater gifts than we can ever imagine.
Yes, we will have trials and trouble and temptation (and maybe even migraine headaches) but praise of God has the power to overcome the adversity in our lives and leave the signature of God on us. To the praise of His glory!
Does it seem backwards to praise God when things in your life are not going well? Are there other things in the Bible that seem backwards to the way the world works? Are you willing to try spending one day focusing on praising God and letting us know what happens?
Today’s praise:
Psalm 105:3
Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!

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