First Things First

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Haggai 1:1-10

TO CHEW ON: "You have planted much but have harvested little. You eat but never have enough. You drink but never have your fill. You put on clothes but are not warm. You earn wages only to put them in a purse with holes in it." Haggai 1:6

“Pack your things, some of us are going home!” The exciting news spread amongst the exiles in Babylon. Zerubabbel, grandson of King Jehoiachin, led the happy travelers back to Judah.

But when they entered Jerusalem, what a mess they found! Houses were broken down. The streets were full of broken bricks and garbage. The temple was a heap of rubbish.

So the people got to work. They cleaned up the garbage. They made bricks and rebuilt their homes. Some started working on the temple. But they didn’t get very far. It was such a big job, they just quit in discouragement. Instead they worked in their fields, gardens and workshops to earn money to make their own houses nicer. It seemed, though, that no one was doing very well.

Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992

One day God gave a message to the prophet Haggai. He told Haggai to talk to the people about how they were living.

“God sees that you’re working hard but aren’t getting ahead," Haggai went on. "You plant lots but harvest little. Your food doesn’t satisfy you. Your clothes don’t keep you warm. You earn money but it disappears as if you had holes in your pockets. There’s a reason for this. God is not blessing you because you are thinking only of yourselves and not of Him.”

Aren’t we often like those people? In our busy lives, it’s easy to forget God. And so we don’t read the Bible, pray or gather with others to worship. Should we be surprised then, if God takes His blessing away from us? Life becomes just like the life Haggai described – a lot of effort with little results.

But we can change. We can get our priorities right and put God first. When we do that, we can expect His blessings in all kinds of ways.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to always put You first. Amen.

MORE: Choices

Our everyday lives are full of choices. The choices we make show if our first priority is ourselves or God. Below are three situations you could face. Choose the response that shows that God is your first priority.

1. You get your weekly allowance and you:

a] spend it all.
b] save it all.
c] take out one tenth of it to give to God before doing anything else with it.

2. There is a new kid in your class so you:

a] introduce yourself and welcome her to join your group.
b] make fun of her.
c] ignore her.

3. Your parents have you in music lessons so you:

a] practice the bare minimum to get by.
b] work at getting better and developing the talent God gave you.
c] skip out of practicing whenever you can.

ANSWERS

You Might Also Like:

Water Water Everywhere

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read Genesis 7:24-8:12Noah welcoming the bird back to the ark - Artist unknownTO CHEW ON: "But God remembered Noah and all the wild a...

Why? Why?? Why???

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read Job 2:1-13Job and his friends - Artist unknownTO CHEW ON: "When Job’s three friends Eliphaz... Bildad... and Zophar... heard abo...

First Choice

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read Genesis 13:1-17Abram and Lot - Artist unknownTO CHEW ON: "So Abram said to Lot, 'Let’s not have any quarreling between you and m...

A Letter and a Prayer

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 32:6-15 & 20,21 TO CHEW ON: “'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyr...

A Deathbed Prayer

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 20:1-11 TO CHEW ON: “'Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, 'This is what the Lord, the God of your father Davi...

Bethlehem Food Bank

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ruth 2:1-12 TO CHEW ON: “May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, un...

As Good as His Word

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 36:15-20 TO CHEW ON: "The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, be...

Surprising Appearance

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 8:26-39 TO CHEW ON: "Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus." Acts 8:35 Im...

Temple Superstition

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 7:1-13 TO CHEW ON: "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will le...

Thank-you Glory Cloud

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 5:1-14 TO CHEW ON: "Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their servi...

The War Inside Me

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Romans 7: 14-25 TO CHEW ON: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Romans 7:15 Wha...

Too Scared to Eat!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 27:27-44TO CHEW ON: "Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his h...

Unlikely Warrior

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Judges 6:11-16 TO CHEW ON: "The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.'...

What Would Jesus Do?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 5:27-31 TO CHEW ON: "Jesus answered them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the ri...

Busy Behind the Scenes

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joshua 2:1-14 TO CHEW ON: “'I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all w...

Give Your Problems to God

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 40: 27-31 TO CHEW ON: "Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will ...

From Problem to Praise

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 13:6-12 TO CHEW ON: "But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from...