Tag Archives: leisure

Doing the Work of The Lord

Today’s message summary of June 4, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

If your focus is on the work of God, it will change you.  God should come first in your life.

If there is a lack of focus, there will be a hole in your life that cannot be filled by material things.

You can be confused over those things that you deem to be priorities.

Over time, God’s work can get lost within the course of life.  You can get so busy living and lose track of what is most important; yet, God has a plan for you each and every day.

The word of God is the most important part of your life.

Haggai 1:1-11

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: These people say: The time has not come for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.

The word of the Lord came through Haggai the prophet: Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, the Lord of Hosts says this: Think carefully about your ways:

You have planted much

but harvested little.

You eat

but never have enough to be satisfied.

You drink

but never have enough to become drunk.

You put on clothes

but never have enough to get warm.

The wage earner puts his wages

into a bag with a hole in it.

The Lord of Hosts says this: Think carefully about your ways. Go up into the hills, bring down lumber, and build the house. Then I will be pleased with it and be glorified, says the Lord. You expected much, but then it amounted to little. When you brought the harvest to your house, I ruined it. Why? This is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts. Because My house still lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house.

So on your account,

the skies have withheld the dew

and the land its crops.

I have summoned a drought

on the fields and the hills,

on the grain, new wine, olive oil,

and whatever the ground yields,

on man and beast,

and on all that your hands produce.

 

Haggai’s words to the people of Judah was a revealing of their weakness toward the work of God.

  • Carelessness about the matters of God
  • Their sincerity concerning the things of God is small
  • Their leisure time was more important than God’s work
  • Their personal comfort was more important

Ezra 5:1-2

But when the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak began to rebuild God’s house in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were with them, helping them.

When you see and hear that God is at work, it places an expectation from Him upon your life.  As you remain obedient to Him, He will affirm your efforts and even provide the support that you need in service to Him.

Ezra 6:14

So the Jewish elders continued successfully with the building under the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia.

Ezra 7:5-6

Abishuas son, Phinehass son,

Eleazars son, Aaron the chief priests son

came up from Babylon. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which Yahweh, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he requested because the hand of Yahweh his God was on him.

 

The workforce was made up of everyone who had returned from exile.  Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they still rebuilt the altar at its original site (Ezra 3:3).

The people overcame their fear in order to obey God.

Haggai points out the weakness of God’s people and what causes them to be distracted.  What are the distractions in your life that prevent you from serving and honoring God?

Haggai 1:2

“The Lord of Hosts says this: These people say: The time has not come for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.”

  • You can see it, but you won’t do the work
  • You can hear about it, but will not do the work.
  • You can receive from God the ability to do what is needed, but still choose not to do it.

 

The conflict here is your comfort versus God’s comfort (Haggai 1:3).

When is the right time to do God’s will and be obedient to Him?  The right time is when you see it, hear about it, and have received from God the ability to do it.

Deuteronomy 6:10-12

When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give youa land with large and beautiful cities that you did not build, houses full of every good thing that you did not fill them with, wells dug that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves that you did not plantand when you eat and are satisfied, be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.

Haggai 1:5, 7

Now, the Lord of Hosts says this: “Think carefully about your ways.”

You need to give consideration as to your ways in life.  You need to go over how you make your decisions and reflect deeply upon how you are spending your time.  He wants you to be thoughtful as to your ways.

God challenges you with your way of thinking here.  Before God asks you to do something, you need to consider how you are going to respond to Him.  He may give you something that will pull you out of your comfort zone.

God will enable you to do many things in your life if you simply remain obedient to His will.  Take pleasure in it, you please Him and honor Him, and God will honor you.

Are you taking care of God’s business?  It remains as a priority in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ.

Haggai gave words of encouragement only after the people were willing to obey.

Haggai 1:12-14

Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and the entire remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. So the people feared the Lord.

Haggai, the Lords messenger, delivered the Lords message to the people, I am with you”—this is the Lords declaration.

The Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, the spirit of the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. They began work on the house of Yahweh of Hosts, their God.

Once the people began to fear the Lord, their own fear to proceed had subsided.  The people had to see God for themselves.

God’s message is “I am with you.”

Romans 8:31

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

Haggai 2:3

Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Doesn’t it seem like nothing to you? Even so, be strong, Zerubbabel–this is the Lord’s declaration. “Be strong, Joshua son of Jehozadak, high priest.  Be strong, all you people of the land”this is the Lord’s declaration. “Work! For I am with you”the declaration of the Lord of Hosts.

To build the temple was going to require strength. God’s encouragement was to say “be strong” three times.

When the Spirit of God is with you, there is no need for fear.  He will enable you to complete the task at hand.


How To Glorify God

Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:

Every day that we live is a day of opportunity.  There are many different events within the day that, when they are all lumped together, make up the events that summarize your day of opportunity.  The mini-events have such an effect where we can conclude that the overall day was “a good one” or “a bad one,” and we readily recognize days where there are triumphs, successes, and, of course, setbacks or tragedies.  We often measure our personal progress in segments that are broken down to the days we live, but we need to always remember that personal success or failure is not to be the defining measurement of our life.  Our true success is in how we glorify God in everything that we do.

When we look at the things that we do each day, we don’t often think about glorifying God in what we do.  We don’t, for example, look at the act of brushing our teeth as a way of glorifying God, but consider that your good habits of caring for your teeth will keep your healthy and make a contribution towards your overall appearance as you do your work for the Lord! When we look at this verse, it gives greater evidence to the fact that the Lord wants you to have the same focus in everything you do:

Colossians 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

This includes everything that you do in work, in leisure, at home, at the grocery store—everywhere that you go.  This involves a lifestyle of living eagerly for Christ—and it means that everything that you do will reflect your love for the Lord.  It will be evident in your appearance, your speech, and your actions.  You are a living testimony for Jesus Christ, and it will be evident to everyone who sees you.  All of your words and actions will, in turn, glorify God!

Your approach to your life has a profound effect on how you glorify God.  If you wake up every day “on the wrong side of the bed,” your focus will often reflect on negativity rather than on being positive or having a favorable outlook on life.  Your approach to life is often about your attitude.  A person with an attitude problem is more focused on self and all of the issues surrounding the cause of the attitude than on doing anything enthusiastically for the Lord.  Your attitude will invariably have a positive or negative impact on your day of opportunity.

In order to maximize your ability to glorify God in everything that you do, it is important for you to develop a living philosophy and approach to each day.  This is not about reading more self-help books or looking for something that the world offers about feeling good about yourself, but there is a lot to be said about the importance of confidence in who you are and what you do, and that confidence comes with your understanding of who Jesus Christ is in your life and the loyalty that you have for Christ because of what He has done for you.

1 Peter 2:24

He Himself bore our sins 
in His body on the tree,
so that, having died to sins,
we might live for righteousness;
you have been healed by His wounds.

Remember that everything that you do or say is because of your healthy relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is working within you as you work through Him, which, in turn, brings Him glory.

Philippians 2:13

For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.

Philippians 4:13

I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Glorifying God to the best of your ability consists of three important elements:

1.) Being yourself

To be yourself is not the essence of living any way you want to as we are addressing it here, for to do so means that you are focusing more upon self than upon God.  Being yourself is about living as the very person that God created you to be.  To be who you are in Christ is the opposite of living in your own strength or ability, or even living in such a way where you are conforming to the expectations of others.  God would rather that you not listen to what your friends or family say that you should be, but instead would rather that you would be obedient to His Word and to His will as you live your life.  He knows you better that anyone else does, and He reminds you over and over how much He values you as a person:

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For it was You who created my inward parts; 
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.
15 My bones were not hidden from You
when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in Your book and planned
before a single one of them began.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

You should also be yourself because God knows your heart, which indicates your sincerity in your relationship with Him as you perform your daily routine.

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.”

2.) Use your gifts and talents

Since God created you to be yourself, He gave you certain gifts and talents that He wants you to use and develop in order to be a living testimony—which will glorify God as you use your gifts.

Romans 12:6-8

6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

   If prophecy,
use it according to the standard of one’s faith;
7 if service, in service;
if teaching, in teaching;
8 if exhorting, in exhortation;
giving, with generosity;
leading, with diligence;
showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

Notice that our gifts are to be used with humility but also with the confidence that our gifts promote a position of leadership in our ministry for the Lord.  You don’t have to be a leader in your group to exhibit leadership qualities.  Those who are great in hospitality are performing acts of service, but it is in those acts of service you are exhibiting leadership as a member of the body of Christ.  Your acts cannot help but glorify Him because you are using your gifts for Him.

3.) Seek excellence in everything you do

As you live and grow each day, you discover that there is always room for even more growth and more improvement.  Life is meant to be a learning experience, and if you continue to find ways to grow in the use of your gifts and talents, you will continue to glorify God in your actions.  It is when you believe that there’s nothing more that you can do to improve how you do your work that there is less humility in your way of thinking and there is more self-centeredness in your approach to life.  The person who yields to the Spirit in everything that they do will conform and act according to the Spirit.  If you are seeking the best in everything you do for the Lord, you are open to learn and grow for God’s glory.

Proverbs 16:3

Commit your activities to the LORD, 
and your plans will be achieved.

Matthew 5:14-16

14 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Your good works will glorify God as you seek excellence in everything that you do.  If we always remember that God wants not only the best for us but also for each of us to be the best that we can be, we will glorify God in everything that we do.  Our best for Him comes through the realization that He loves us.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.