Ezra 5 & 6
Ever Feel Like You Have a Purse with Holes?
Ezra 5 & 6:
Are Your Priorities God’s Priorities?
The people who had come back enthusiastic and ready to rebuild the temple, had met some resistance and gradually quit doing God’s work and, instead, got busy with their own lives.
God used the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to stir and rebuke the people about their priorities. In Haggai 1, God said:
“‘Consider your ways! 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 God of Hosts, ‘Consider your ways! Go up to the mountain, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,’ says the Lord” (Hag. 1.5-8).
What about you? Do you need to consider your ways? Are your priorities God’s priorities? Have you gotten “too busy” to be concerned about the things of God? Do you feel like you work hard, but everything goes into a purse that is full of holes? Could God be using circumstances to get your attention?
Today’s Other Readings:
Everything Comes from Him
Verse 7b says, “All my springs are in you.” In Acts 17.28 Paul said, “… in Him we live and move and have our being.” And James 1.17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above … ” (NASB).
God is the source of every talent, every ability, every blessing. Scripture tells us that He even blesses the unrighteous in many ways. The Puritans called it “common grace.” And yet, we are so easily puffed up and become proud of our achievements, our possessions, even, our children. We need to be careful to give God the glory that He and He alone is due!
Contentious and Angry
In verse 19, God again sees fit to warn us, ladies, that we can easily go from being a blessing to being a curse to our husbands and/or children.
“Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.”
Of course, we women are not the only ones who struggle with anger and it’s just as destructive when it’s you men.
If you struggle with anger get a copy of Wayne Mack’s book Anger & Stress Management God’s Way. In it he explains that anger that is selfishly focused or controls us is sinful—no matter how we try to justify it. If you’re dealing with angry children, check out The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo or Getting a Grip: The Heart of Anger Handbook for Teens. Both are extremely practical and helpful for parents and children alike.
Religion versus Relationship
Paul was basically in protective custody, but the religious zealots were still not content. Some banded together agreeing not to eat until Paul was dead and then worked out a plan to bring that to pass.
Such is the way of religious fanaticism! We see it today in Muslim extremists who are willing to blow themselves up in the process of killing their supposed enemies.
The irony is that the very thing these Jewish extremists claimed they wanted to protect, their Jewish purity and heritage, was the very thing that God wanted to use to draw others to Him. Instead, in their pride they twisted it into an excuse to exclude everyone but themselves.
The devil doesn’t care if people are religious. In fact, he often uses religion to stir up strife, trouble, wars, and all kinds of evil. What he doesn’t want is for you to have a genuine relationship with Christ, because he knows that has the potential to change your life and draw others to God.
Lord, keep us from religious self-righteousness. Help us to be lights shining out in a dark world. Help us to fulfill what You said were the two greatest commandments—to love You and to love others with Your love. In Jesus name … amen.
In the next few days, we’ll look at the biblical grounds for divorce, how an entitlement attitude affects our contentment, the worthlessness of religion, and how flattery can result in great temptation. Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss any of these upcoming posts.
Anger and stress are perhaps the two most defining aspects of our world today. There are many ways of handling stress and anger: You can get increasingly angrier and more stressed out, you can resort to drugs and alcohol, you can turn violent, you can retreat into your own world and become cold and distant—or you can react God’s Way!
Dr. Wayne Mack, one of the most well-known and trusted Christian counselors of our time, puts his years of experience and Bible knowledge to work for you in this book! In it, he tells you, not just how to handle anger, but the root causes of anger. By doing this, Dr. Mack helps you to better understand why your reactions to stress, and its accompanying anger, are usually the result of “not getting what we think we need.” He then goes on to explain how to restructure your thinking to make your reaction more Christ-like
If you’ve ever struggled with anger, if you’ve ever been so stressed out that you don’t know where to turn, then let this book, guided by the principles of scripture, change your life—forever!
Anger! Is it ever a problem in your home? Do your children ever speak to you in angry, disrespectful tones? Or do they fight between themselves? Have you ever lost your patience when dealing with an infuriating situation? If you honestly answered “yes” to any of those questions, you could use this book. It’s a book which goes beyond the external manifestations of anger and deals with the internal source: the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
In The Heart of Anger, author and counselor Lou Priolo tackled the tough problem of anger in young children; its causes and cures. Now, Priolo takes his years of experience and considerable skills in defusing anger in teenagers. This is a book designed for teenagers. It is meant to be read by teenagers. But Mom and Dad don t worry: We want you to read it, too! THIS IS THE BREAK-THROUGH BOOK YOU VE BEEN LOOKING FOR. IN IT YOU LL FIND HELPFUL TOPICS LIKE: Learning how to communicate properly, how to maintain your cool when provoked, how to manage your manipulating tendencies, using the appeal process, how to handle rejection and hurt, and undoing disrespect. Plus, the author shows you how to journal your anger experiences to better understand why and how you get angry, and what you actually say when you are angry! Sure to be a classic, this book will put your life back on a God-glorifying track!
Uprooting Anger by Robert D. Jones is an absolute treasure, thoroughly biblical, extremely practical, and well written. Jones tackles a problem–sin–with which every believer must deal and, rather than offer some psychological mumble-jumble, takes the reader directly to the Word of God. The issue of anger is framed and handled as the Holy Spirit intended. As a result, the reader is given biblical instruction and hope.
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