Sunday, January 18, 2009


Haggai 1:5, 7 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

God used His prophet to challenge the people about their priorities and their activity. They were twice told to "Consider your ways." Haggai prophesied during the rebuilding of the temple after the Babylonian captivity. His message was to a people who were guilty of procrastinating about the building of the Lord's house. They felt there was ample time to improve and enjoy their own homes, but there was no urgency about God's house.

What does it mean to consider one's ways? The word consider means "to think about or set your heart upon." They were to honestly evaluate their way of life. This is such good advice for us all. Is it right for us, the way we live? Is it right to neglect God's house or God's work? Is it right for those who claim a relationship with God to have time for personal interests or hobbies, but no time for God's work? How about neglecting our Bible reading or prayer time? Isn't it interesting how we have time for things that we want to do, but very often do not have time for things God wants us to do? We need to think about, or consider our ways.

When God's house and God's work are being neglected, we should not expect to see His approval and blessing. It is so easy for us to get our lives and priorities out of balance. That is why it is good, from time to time, to consider our ways. Are we neglecting our families? Are we neglecting our Christian service? Do our job or hobbies demand too much of our time? We need to seriously evaluate our schedules and see where our time is being spent. What important activities are being sacrificed because we are investing too much of our lives to less important things? Once we have done an honest assessment of our ways, we need to make adjustments that reflect our new intentions.

It is important to think about what we need to be doing, but it is another thing to change our ways. What should I be doing that I am not doing? What am I doing that I should not be doing, or at least not doing so much of? Do I have time in my schedule for visitation or soul winning? Am I doing my part as far as helping with ministries or projects at the church? Do I plan time in my schedule for family? Just as God used Haggai to challenge the priorities of His people, may His words speak to us as well.

A devotional thought by Pastor Smith of Mt. Zion Baptist Church

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

10 Sure-fire Ways to Avoid Becoming a Missionary

(This was posted by a pastor on a mailing list earlier this week..... food for thought!!!)

1. Ignore Jesus' request in John 4:35 that we take a long hard look at the fields. Seeing the needs of people can be depressing and very unsettling. It could lead to genuine missionary concern.
2. Focus your energies on socially legitimate targets. Go after a bigger salary. Focus on getting a job promotion, a bigger home, a more luxurious car, or future financial security. Along the way, run up some big credit card debts.
3. Get married to somebody who thinks the Great Commission is what your employer gives you after you make a big sale. After marriage, embrace the socially accepted norms of settling down, establishing a respectable career trajectory and raising a picture-perfect family.
4. Stay away from missionaries. Their testimonies can be disturbing. The situations they describe will distract you from embracing whole-heartedly the materialistic lifestyle of your home country.
5. If you happen to think about missions, restrict your attention to countries where it's impossible to openly do missionary work. Think only about North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and other closed countries. Forget the vast areas of our globe open to missionaries.
6. Think how bad a missionary you would be based on your own past failures. It is unreasonable to expect you will ever be any better. Don't even think about Moses, David, Jonah, Peter or Mark, all of whom overcame failures.
7. Always imagine missionaries as talented, super-spiritual people who stand on lofty pedestals. Maintaining this image of missionaries will heighten your own sense of inadequacy. Convincing yourself that God does not use ordinary people as missionaries will smother any guilt you may feel about refusing to even listen for a call from God.
8. Agree with the people who tell you that you are indispensable where you are. Listen when they tell you that your local church or home country can't do without you.
9. Worry incessantly about money.
10. If you still feel you must go, go out right away without any preparation or training. You'll soon be home again and no one can ever blame you for not trying!

Inspired by Stewart Dinnen's list in How are You Doing? (Bromley: STL Books, 1984)

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