There’s a Hole In the Bucket

Haggai 1: 6 -7

You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes. Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways!”

There are few of us who have not lived through a time when it seemed like we couldn’t get ahead no matter what we did. The answer to that problem is that we must look more closely at the condition of our lives.

In this story the prophet Haggai is speaking to the Jews. They have returned to their land after 70 years of Babylonian captivity and have begun rebuilding their lives. However, they have left the temple in disrepair. God is telling them that there is a hole in their lives which needs filling. Verse 4 reads, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house [the house of the Lord] lies desolate?” I can well imagine that these people were praying themselves blue in the face all the while not realizing that by their own actions, or rather their neglect, they were effectively loosing locust among their harvest. I think the same is true of us so perhaps we should consider our ways.

We know that the devil is a thief. What I am finding is that we open the door and invite him to come in and steal from us. Of course, we do not realize we are doing it but that is why God says, “Wait. Stop for a moment and consider your ways.” If you are being robbed of health are there ways you are cooperating with the devil? What about finances? I wrote a devotional recently entitled, It Works, the point of which is that giving actually does create financial well-being. Although I have written on the topic numerous times over the years still people struggle with their finances when they shouldn’t. But I look at their lives and patterns and see that they are not doing those things which God said would cause them to prosper. “Consider your ways!” Give and it shall be given to you. It isn’t complicated but it requires you to do something affirmative.

The Bible teaches us to guard our hearts for from it flow the issues of life. (Proverb 4: 23). The God’s Word translation reads this way, “Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it. ” But we soak our precious hearts in television shows, music, and movies that traumatize it and then we immerse it in hours of negative news broadcasts. Of course you are challenged. Your heart cannot bear up under that and if you think it can, you are fooling yourself. I don’t mean to be harsh I just want you to have everything that you want and need and everything that Jesus died to give you but we cannot pollute our homes, minds and hearts and still receive fresh, clean water.

Look at your home. Does more enter into it that is of the light or of the dark? Don’t tell me how that TV show really isn’t that bad. I’m not your boss but God is saying, “Consider your ways!” He is only saying this to you because He wants to get blessing to you but you are blocking the way. He only wanted you to give so that He could bless you. He wanted the Jews to rebuild the temple because it was depriving them of their blessing. 

What is it that you want out of life? What does God say about how to acquire it? He has spoken to every issue. Now ask yourself this, “How can I cooperate with God so that my needs and desires are fulfilled?” God isn’t holding back on you. He wants to fill you to overflowing (Psalm 23). He just needs a little cooperation from us. I pray that God speak to your heart today and show you ways that you can plug up the holes in your life.

Guard Your Heart

Philippians 4: 8

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I have written to you previously about ingesting the output from the news media. I want to share with you a personal story today and put a finer point on this conversation.

I have been working very hard on making my heart more tender and more open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. In order for me to hear God’s voice more easily and thus more consistently I have to allow my heart to be open to Him. God works through my spirit to give me revelation and inspiration. So, I need to keep my spirit open and ready to receive from Him.

Yesterday I watched one of the morning news programs, which I do very infrequently, and I was shocked at what I saw. First there was the report of the shootings in France. There was a video clip of a police car approaching the two shooters and then the reporter announced that an officer had been shot and killed. The clip cut to the scene of the officer’s funeral.  It gave the impression that the shots we heard and saw as the police car approached killed one of the officers.

Then there was a story about a policeman in the US who shot a young man. The altercation was filmed by the video camera in the police officer’s car. Shockingly, the footage of the police officer shooting and killing the man was shown on this morning television show. I was appalled. I saw his pistol firing. I saw a person being killed, for real. That is more reality TV than I bargained for.  There was no warning that the clip they were about to show was graphic.

You will not be surprised to know that I turned off the TV and left the room. I noticed immediately that my insides were affected. I need to be open and sensitive to the Spirit of God but you cannot watch that kind of broadcasting and keep your spirit open. You will automatically begin to close down your sensitivity. You have to. Your own survival techniques respond to that over stimulation and begin to shut down your heart.

So here is my point. That kind of news reporting is not good for your spirit. However, I know that you wish to stay abreast of what is going on in the world. Here is my advice. First of all, print media, while sensational, is not as sensational as television video broadcast. It is still wise to guard your heart from an over indulgence in the negative news media regardless of the medium but at least print media and internet reporting do not have as great a negative impact on one’s spirit. Secondly, perhaps there are news sources that are not as sensational as the morning program I saw. I doubt there are many outlets sharing good news but perhaps you can find some that are not quite as extreme. 

We are living in different times. Never before have people’s spirits been so inundated with news media coverage. I believe strongly that this is not good for us. Just look at people who watch a lot of television news. Are they happy, successful, upbeat? There spirits are under the constant barrage of negativity. It is impossible for them to live in light, life and victory. God help them!

I will probably never turn on that morning program again but besides that I have made a decision to strictly limit the amount of that gunk I allow in my house. And I certainly do not want to poison my spirit with worldly pollution since my spirit is where God lives. I, like you, am the temple of God and I wish to guard and preserve that temple. I want to hear and be led by the voice of God and I cannot do that if I have closed the ears of my spirit because of the junk the world spews.

Look again at today’s verse. We are supposed to let our minds dwell on those things which are lovely, that which is excellent and worthy of praise. And truth? Jesus is the truth. It is he that our minds are supposed to dwell upon.

This is a life message. It is so important. Guard your heart for out of it flows all of the issues of life (Proverb 4: 23).