Don’t Leave Jesus in Ruins

Haggai Late nights with Jesus are my absolute favorite. Everyone is asleep, it’s quiet, and I can really focus on what the Lord is telling me through His word. Tonight, it took me a whole four verses in the book of Haggai before I knew that I’d be typing up a blog post before I could even think about going to sleep! It was these words that spoke to me:

 “Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while My house lies in ruins?”

~Haggai 1:3-4 (NLT)

So many different thoughts went flying through my head as I read those words, so many different ways to look at them and use them to better yourself and your relationship with the Lord. I think I’ve managed to choose two points that I want to share.

1. Are you too busy living a life of luxury to notice that your relationship with Jesus is in ruins?

There are so many prosperity preachers out there today that try to push a “how to use Jesus and His teachings to get rich” kind of message. I’m personally not a fan. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to pull His teachings out of context, try our best to then use them to get rich and live a luxurious live of ease, then die and go to Heaven.

NO.

Jesus died on the cross so that we could find forgiveness, joy, comfort and love in Him and live a luxurious life in eternity with Him, in Heaven, when we die.

Yes, some people have worldly riches and possessions and are just as good of Christians as anybody. I’m not saying that having money is a negative thing, We can do so much good with money, as far as donating and helping the needy. I’m just saying that we need to be careful that it doesn’t cause us to forget about Jesus and turn Him into an after thought.

When He says “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance. (to the full, till it overflows.)” (John 10:10 AMP) He isn’t necessarily talking about living a life overflowing with worldly riches and possessions. Jesus Himself can and will give us a life overflowing with joy and blessing. So don’t get comfy and cozy in luxury and leave Jesus out in the cold and ruins! Like the temple in the verse, do you need to “rebuild” your relationship with God?

2. Are you living in the warmth and comfort of Jesus’ love while your friends are left in the cold ruins?

I think all of us are probably currently, or have been in the past, guilty of this one. Are you letting your light shine so that others can see it, or are you hiding it around certain people because you’re ashamed of it, or even afraid to “offend” someone with your Biblical views? I struggle with this as much as anyone! I want everyone I encounter to know the love of Jesus, but I worry so much about “shoving Jesus down their throats” that sometimes I miss opportunities to share Him with others! I just pray that through my blog and my Facebook page I can at least reach a few people and change their lives because of something I post or mention in conversation.

Share the warmth of Jesus’ love this Christmas season, don’t leave others out in the cold without it!

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

~Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

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God’s Assurance through Ruth and Boaz

Ruth

The Lord has taken me through the book of Ruth three times in the last few months. I figured He was trying to reveal something to me or get an important point across, so of course I obeyed and read it again and again. I thought maybe He was going to use Ruth and Boaz in some way to teach me about relationships, or waiting on Him, you know, the usual stuff. What I actually found, was a lot deeper than any of those points.

Disclaimer: I’m not at all saying that these observations/interpretations line up with what the Bible scholars have to say, they’re just what I’m seeing and the thoughts that are wandering through my brain as I read God’s Word.

In the midst of my third time through Ruth, I was reading the words on the page, but seeing the story from a completely different point of view. Especially once I hit chapter two. Somewhere around verses eight through ten Boaz is speaking to Ruth about not leaving his field to go gather grain elsewhere, that he’ll protect her and make sure she has everything she needs right there.

(8) Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. (9) Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”

Ruth’s response? 

(10) So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

As I read, I wasn’t reading that as Boaz and Ruth communicating. All I could hear was the Lord using that exchange to reassure me through Boaz of His presence and protection in my life. 

I heard it as something like this-

And the Lord said to me, “you will listen My daughter, will you not? Do not look to man or any other idol. Stay close to Me, let your eyes be on the blessings that place in your life and go after MY will for you. Have I not commanded the devil not to touch you? When you are thirsty, come to Me. My Word will be living water and I will quench your thirst…

My response?

She fell on her face, bowed down to the ground and said to Him, “Why have I found favor in Your eyes, that You should take notice of me, a sinner?”

The answer?

In God’s eyes you are sin free, white as snow, cleansed by the blood of His son who died on the cross for you! He loves you, even though you’re not perfect. He knew that when He created you, that’s why He sent Jesus to die in our place so that when we die, as long as we’ve accepted Jesus, we can hang out in Heaven with Him and all those who have gone on before us.

 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

 Ephesians 2:13 (NLT)
*Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references used in this post were taken from the NKJV.*

“If it Pleases the King…”

Esther As I dove into the Scriptures this morning, I was especially drawn toward the book of Esther. So, I followed the nudge of the Holy Spirit, (of course!) flipped to it, and started reading. I was surprised at how much I was able to actually pull from this book! There were a couple of things that jumped out at me as I read.

1. We don’t have to compete to obtain grace and favor in the eyes of Jesus:

After Queen Vashti disobeyed King Xerxes, he decided that she had made a fool out of him and didn’t want other women to get word of her behavior and think that it was okay for them too to be disobedient to their husbands. So he basically banished her from the kingdom. King Xerxes then appointed officers throughout all of the provinces to gather all of the young, beautiful, virgins and bring them to Shushan to begin the process of selecting a new queen. Esther had to work to stand out from many other women in order to obtain grace and favor inn the eyes of King Xerxes.

Thankfully, Jesus isn’t looking for the prettiest, or the smartest, or even the holiest of us! There’s no competition to obtain the Grace and favor of our Heavenly Father, we already have it. If you’ve confessed your sins and asked Him into your heart and to be a part of your life, BINGO! You’ve already won!

““Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Every single one of us is given a chance to obtain God’s grace and favor, not just a select few Bible scholars, or pastors, or Sunday school teachers. The question is, will you take what He’s offering to you? Take on His marvelous will for your life?

That brings me to my second “Ah ha!” moment.

2.We should want to please our King:

Each time Esther (or anybody, really) approached King Xerxes with a petition, she always began with “if it pleases the king…” and continued on with her petition. Shouldn’t we have the same attitude as we approach Jesus with our wants and needs? Instead of coming to Him “Dear Lord, I NEED…” “Heavenly Father, I would really like…” “Lord, would You please…” maybe we should take a page from Esther’s book and only want something if it pleases Him. After all, He knows what’s best for us, shouldn’t we want His will for our lives over our own? I know I do! I’m positive that whatever He wants for my life is WAY cooler than anything I could ever want for myself. I want to live my life to please Him, even when those around me are living to please the world and obtain worldly possessions.

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10 (AMP)

“You can have all this world, just give me Jesus.”