What am I – An Encourager or A Discourager?

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Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.” (Haggai 1:5, NIV)

As the Refining ministry continues the series “Major Wisdom through Minor Prophets”, I have found myself reflecting on the book of Haggai. I have been preparing to facilitate the upcoming one-night study by digging deep into various messages and translations on the material. No matter the view or angle, it seems the perspective of God is gently asking me to self-evaluate and answer the question: What am I?

Let me explain. Many of you know I tend to squawk out “Why?” when studying God’s word. Why this, why that, why would God use them, why didn’t the people just obey, why is this so hard, why does God want me doing it this way, why am I going through this valley again, etc. I am sure those around me are busting at the seams to really say, “Stop it with the whys! Just have faith and trust. Not everything is meant to be analyzed.” Yet, for me, my whys seem to be exactly what I need-WHY? Because they generate the real question God needs me to hear.

How true this is when it comes to Haggai. In an outstanding message by Gary Hamrick, he made this all too clear. He simply asked the question of WHY? Why did the Jewish exiles lose their fire and desire to rebuild the Temple of the Lord?

Well in my human, fleshy thinking I could come up with all kinds of reasons. I could even become extremely judgmental and place my thoughts on the situation without even stopping to put myself in their shoes. I might even go so far as to say, “Why in the world would they be released from captivity and not do everything possible to rebuild the Temple as God instructed?” Seriously, He is the one and only Lord who saved them from the enemy.

BUT…Did I ever stop to think about the opposition which discouraged them? Did I even once give thought to hostile neighbors threatening and enforcing legal allegations if they tried to rebuild? Did I take the time to put it into modern day perspective and reflect upon the discouragement around myself which stifles my own efforts in living for God? (I think you know the answer to these questions)

After almost two decades of discouragement, they seemed deflated and unmotivated to carry on any restoration of the Temple. So, they used the materials to build their own homes because this would cause they less stress and opposition. Sound familiar? I know it does for me. The discourager’s taunting pulled their attention away from the simple truth—The truth that we are saved from enemy when we are God’s children! We are released from captivity and the discouragement is straight from the enemy. He does everything in his power to use whoever he can to keep us from having faith and trusting in God.

YET…a turning point happens within the heart of these Jewish exiles. WHY? Because Haggai comes as an encourager. He inspired them to get back to work and put their energies into the things of God. They felt strengthened to step out and put the Father first. They choose to stop denying the Lord because of Haggai’s message.  Judah was back on track and within five years they accomplished what the Lord had ask of them two decades before. WHY? Because Haggai encouraged them!!!

What Am I? An Encourager or A Discourager?

What about you?

HAGGAI: One Night Study

We Are BACK! Not only that, but we are offering a ONE NIGHT online study for you and your friends. You don’t want to miss this fall event.

Just respond “SIGN ME UP” and we will send you the link and material for the night. If you would prefer to email us, our email address is: refiningjourney@gmail.com.

The first “5” to sign-up will have an extra ticket in the door prize drawing.

Invite someone new who has never experienced a night with the Refining Ministry. If they sign-up and attend, you will receive another ticket in the drawing.

For those “newbies”, we are offering you two extra door prize tickets right off the bat. We would love to have you.

REMEMBER-This is ONLY one night!

What are you waiting for?-signup NOW!

Do you see GOD in the DiaGnOsis?

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Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4 ESV

Thank you, sweet friends, for allowing me the time to take care of family matters. Death is never easy-sudden or expected. This journey has been complicated and layered yet simple and straight forward. The bottom line is God has been, is, and will be glorified through each aspect. I want each of you to know your prayers and extension of love is greatly appreciated. There is a lengthy list of people who have gone above and beyond which I will forever be grateful.

Life lessons come in unusual ways. The Lord has been conveying lots of wisdom this past month-some of it I have been willing to receive and some-well let’s just say I am processing it. 😊

Lately, the word DiaGnOsis has been very present. You know that term easily defined as, “the identification of the nature of an illness or problem by examination of the symptoms” according to Webster. Permit me to share:

  1. It is stage 4 cancer, and we need to do more tests.
  2. Their condition from Covid is now fatal.
  3. Good news-we can treat this ailment and restore your health.
  4. The diagnosis 2 ½ years ago was conveyed: Limited lifespan.
  5. It is not a sprain-it is a spiral fracture.
  6. Hey! This is repairable and not as costly as I once predicted.
  7. You have a condition which doesn’t respond to pain medication.
  8. Super-you can ring the bell-the cancer is no longer present!
  9. On closer examination, we have detected serious issues.
  10. Fill in: _______________________________________________

We are continually given a diagnosis for many things in life. Good, bad, or ugly: the choice is to discover GOD in the midst. It is not always easy to see the Lord when receiving devastating and/or unwanted news. On the flipside, many times we forget to realize the Almighty Father is also in the middle of the good analysis as well.

God has allowed occurrences lately to force me to sit quietly. Being the “why bug” that I am, I have tried to identify the reason for the recent events. It seems the answer is basically to “look for Him”.  Discover Him in my sorrow, physical pain, blessings, overwhelming joy, worship, conversations, family, interactions, work, commute, travel, cleaning, struggles, laughter, marriage, friendships, etc. WHY? Because I need to remember He is my Commander in Chief and Christ Jesus is my Kinsman Redeemer. No matter the situation or circumstance, God has clearly conveyed the true diagnosis: I AM GREATLY LOVED!

How do you face analysis in your life? Do you search for GOD in the DiaGnOsis?

In Philippians, Paul taught us the importance of seeing GOD in all things. He modeled the posture the Lord wants us to embrace in good times and in bad: count it all as joy. While in prison and before his execution, Paul wrote, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (Philippians 1:12-14 ESV).

Our obedience and attitude of faith helps us see GOD in everything regardless of the analysis. This is so evident in the life of Paul. He chose to cling to God’s assignment no matter the cost because he embraced the glorious outcome. Beaten, bruised, and knowing execution was around the corner, Paul continued witnessing and professing how the Lord was using every minute of his life as a testimony and encouragement for others. Regardless of the worldly DiaGnOsis, he saw the hand of the Lord in it all. WOW! Just WOW!

Paul’s life is a challenge for us to see GOD in all things and continue the race before us regardless.

I think I need an attitude of faith adjustment.

What about you?

May GOD be glorified in all that we do so others will know the one true Lord.

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