From This Day Onward

“Now then, consider from this day onward. Before stone was placed upon stone in the temple of the Lord, how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. I struck you and the products of your toil with blight and mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the Lord.  Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day… Since the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid, consider:  Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you…”

 “I am about to shake the heavens and the earth,  and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down…  On that day, declares the Lord, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, declares the Lord, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of hosts.” Haggai 15-19,21b-23

Woe to the Israelites. They’d returned from exile yet given up rebuilding the temple. Having been stripped of all that was theirs, they clamored to collect and repair for themselves and neglected building for the Lord. He planted a stake in their life ground through his prophet Haggai that from that day forward life could and would be different if they would renew their commitment to Him. His Spirit was with them to stir, strengthen, bless, and give hope of glory for the present and future. (Haggai 1:4-5,7-10,13; 2:4-9)

It’s easy to get bogged down in the present with the weight of the past. Regrets, failures, setbacks can all sully our vision and impede our progress. ‘Woe is me’ becomes our exasperated mantra as we trudge to make it another day. But God thinks differently about and toward us. He sees us as inestimably valuable, owners of every spiritual blessing in Christ, and longs that from this moment forward we would live that way. (Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 3:13-14)

What “but I always” and “but if only”s are hindering a fresh vision of life with Christ? What bitterness, regret, or hurt snaggles our way forward? If indeed we are forgiven, new creatures in Christ, and His love has been shed abroad in our hearts, are we not free to leave these at the cross and press on forward on the upward way? (Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

From this day onward, will I set aside angst and anger? Will I choose not to curse but to bless, not to despise but to love? Will I not complain but give thanks, not fret but trust, not resent but seek to understand? Will I set aside self for the good of others, and cease worshiping self in order to exalt Almighty God? Will I live in freedom and joy because I belong to Jesus and am secure in His everlasting arms, no matter what I have or how I’m treated by the world? (Matthew 5:11-12)

Father, please fill me with Your Spirit, that I might from this day on wholeheartedly worship you and serve your purposes with great joy, to Your honor and glory.

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