From This Day Forward
Haggai 2:19— “From this day will I bless you.”
In searching for what to write as this new year begins, my attention was drawn to an article that I had previously written in December 2004—over 11 years ago. Since this article was first written, Jimmy Swaggart Ministries (JSM) has launched the Sonlife Broadcasting Network. As well, World Evangelism Bible College has blossomed in house and has inaugurated its online programs, which are already active in more than eight different countries. Personally, I have watched my family “grow up” and “prosper” in the Lord. I thought it would be good to remind all of us of God’s promise by reprinting this word. Time will not diminish a true word or promise that comes from the Lord. As we begin this new year, let us keep our eyes on the prize— Christ Jesus—and let us dedicate our lives to reaching more people than ever with the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
FROM THIS DAY FORWARD
A few days ago, while conducting a Sonlife radio-thon, the Lord gave a word to those associated with the radio network/Jimmy Swaggart Ministries. It stemmed from the little book of Haggai and concluded with the promise, “From this day will I bless you.” This word from the Lord has had such an impact on my own personal life that I felt that I needed to share it with you as well.
CONSIDER YOUR WAYS
The children of Israel had been held in Babylonian captivity for 70 years. The Lord allowed a remnant to return to Jerusalem after the allotted 70 years had been served. The remnant was to rebuild Jerusalem. Headed up by Zerubbabel and other leaders, the tattered remnant made its way back to a ruined and wrecked Jerusalem.
Their first task was to rebuild the altar (a type of the Cross of Calvary). Their second task was to rebuild the temple. They were successful in laying the foundation of the temple, but then strong opposition arose to the work. Seemingly surrounded by enemies and given an official order to do so, the remnant stopped work on the temple. For the next 16 years or so, they focused on building their own homes and prospering themselves. It seems that no expense was spared in preparing their houses, while at the same time, the house of the Lord stood in ruins.
God called a prophet by the name of Haggai to address the situation. He stood where he could be heard and rebuked the relatively small remnant living in Jerusalem.
He accused them, and rightly so, of focusing on their own desires while God’s house lay desolate and wasted. He went on to say that the reason the people were not prospering was because they had neglected the work they had been raised up to do. In response, God had called for a drought on prosperity in every measure and had “blown” upon all the labor of their hands.
A CALL TO LABOR
As Haggai’s message sounded, it was accompanied by a great moving of the Holy Spirit. This operation of the Spirit brought great conviction, repentance, and a renewed zeal for the work of God.
The leaders and the people began to gather materials to rebuild the temple and within 24 days, they were prepared to complete work on the temple.
God is calling out to His people to “consider their ways.” In many church circles, “knowing God” has been degraded to simply receiving earthly temporal and personal blessings. The church’s true responsibility is to promote the redemption plan of God (all that the Jewish temple exemplified).
In a nutshell, we need to return our attention to Christ and Him crucified and the presentation of that message to a world that is hurting and to a church that is dying. Our labor will involve a commitment to preaching and teaching the Cross, the giving of our personal funds, and intercessors who know how to call on God. So gather your materials and prepare to labor! This is the reason the church exists. It is not that we should build our own homes, ministries, etc. It is to promote the redemption plan of God.
A CALL TO BELIEVE
About 30 days after the labor on the temple had begun, Haggai went to the remnant of Jewish workers. His message was simple: “How do you see it now?” This question was a pointed exhortation to see that what they were building was far more important than what met the natural eye.
The building on which they labored was almost ugly in comparison to Solomon’s grand edifice. However, the beauty of the temple was in its message, not its construction. The message of redemption is still what God sees as beautiful. Haggai encouraged the people by saying, “Be strong and work and do not fear, for the Spirit of the Lord is with you to help you.” As laborers in God’s kingdom, we are to labor and believe the effectiveness of God’s message (Christ and Him crucified) as we preach it or take it to others.
A CALL TO HOLINESS
Haggai would come a little time later and tell the laborers that they needed to attend to holiness. Holiness is not brought about by religious self-efforts. True holiness is produced by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit in the heart of man. For the believer today, the only route to true holiness is by embracing the sanctification process that is produced by trusting in Christ and Him crucified. To embrace any other method of sanctification makes the believer a “spiritual adulterer” and “unclean” in the eyes of God. You must not only accept this message, but you must reject everything and anything else other than this message.
A PROMISED BLESSING
Haggai addressed the remnant of Israel one time after that, giving two separate messages in one day. In the first of his two messages, he stated the promise that came forth several weeks ago to us here at the Sonlife Radio Network and Jimmy Swaggart Ministries. That message said, “From this day forward … I will bless you.”