Sunday: Comforting Words of Life
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Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

Read Zechariah 1.

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What is the essential message here? Focus especially on Zechariah 1:3. What is the Lord saying to the people?

The return from the exile to Babylon sparked joy in the hearts of the remnant people. But the return also caused anxiety. Would they be safe and secure in their land, or would enemies come again to harass them? Had God forgiven their past unfaithfulness, or would He continue their punishment? What did the future hold [...]

Sabbath: Visions of Hope
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Read for This Week’s Study: Zechariah 1, 2, Rom. 15:9-18, Eph. 3:1-8, Zechariah 3, 4, Exod. 25:31-40, Zechariah 7.

Memory Text: “‘In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,” declares the Lord Almighty’” (Zechariah 3:10, NIV).

Key Thought: Though Israel had been punished for its sins, it was time to live again in relationship with God according to His promises.

On the wall of an old castle in central Europe a short Latin inscription reads: “Dum spiro, spero!” It means, “As long as I [...]

Further Study: First Things First!
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“But even this dark hour was not without hope for those whose trust was in God. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah were raised up to meet the crisis. In stirring testimonies these appointed messengers revealed to the people the cause of their troubles. The lack of temporal prosperity was the result of a neglect to put God’s interests first, the prophets declared. Had the Israelites honored God, had they shown Him due respect and courtesy, by making the building of [...]

Inside Story: Standing Up for Jesus, part 2
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Image © John Clement from GoodSalt.com

Bien’s family refused to allow her to attend the Adventist church.

Image © John Clement from GoodSalt.com

When she insisted, they tried to force her to live with her grandmother on a small island. Bien tried to hide her fear. She wanted to continue her schooling, but the island had no school.

She refused to be separated from the people at the church, people who were praying for her, who encouraged her, and who had shown her what true love was. When [...]

Punishment of the Wicked In Light of The Cross
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Image © Justinen Creative from GoodSalt.com

Image © Justinen Creative from GoodSalt.com

To me, the biggest lie out of the Dark Ages is not that Sabbath was changed to Sunday, or that when you die you go straight to heaven. To me, no lie distorts the character of my loving heavenly father like the lie that sinners will be tormented throughout the endless ages of eternity. Fact is:

It is no arbitrary decree on the part of God that excludes the wicked from heaven; they are shut [...]

Call off the Search … Significance Found
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Many of us, especially in “First World” societies, devote a considerable amount of time, money, and energy to discover and maintain some reason to be on this planet. In fact, a few years ago, California state legislator, John Vasconcellos, put together a task force to promote self-esteem (a feeling of significance) for the school children of California.

Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

While that sounds like a really great idea, in actual practice what has happened is that people who [...]

10: First Things First – Thought Starters
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“‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the Lord Almighty’” (Haggai 2:8, NIV).

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[Thought questions for First Things First June 5, 2013]

1. Are we there yet? How did you feel the last time you read the Old Testament from start to finish and came to the small book, Haggai? Was it tempting to page through the few verses of this book to get on to the New Testament? Or did you slow [...]

Thursday: The Lord’s Signet Ring
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Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

“‘“On that day,” declares the Lord Almighty,

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

“I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,” declares the Lord, “and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,” declares the Lord Almighty.’” (Hag. 2:23, NIV).

The final message from the Lord to Haggai was given on the same day as the previous one in order to complement it (see Hag. 2:22-23). The Lord warned of a coming destruction of kingdoms and [...]

Wednesday: The Desire of All Nations
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Read Haggai 2:6-9.

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

What is being promised here, and how are we to understand its fulfillment?

Through Haggai, God announced a great earthshaking of nations on the day of the Lord when the temple would be filled with Divine presence. The prophet called on his contemporaries to look beyond the present adversities and poverty to the future glory of God’s kingdom toward which the temple pointed.

The main reason for the splendor built into the temple of Jerusalem [...]

10: First Things First – Teaching Plan
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Key Thought : Haggai’s message was simple and logical. What are our priorities, and why is it important to get them right.

[Teaching plan for First Things First June 3, 2013]

1. Have a volunteer read Haggai 1:3-7.

A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. What reason did Haggai tell Israel that their labor and efforts weren’t being prosperous?
C. Personal Application: What priority does offerings to keep the local church [...]

Tuesday: Do Not Fear!
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Together

Haggai 2:1-5 presents an interesting development in the great revival taking place among God’s people.

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About a month after the temple work began, God sent an encouraging word through Haggai to the remnant who had determined, without adequate resources, to rebuild God’s house as directed by the prophets. Haggai asked the elders how the temple’s current state compared to its appearance before the exile. Clearly, the present appearance did not match the former glory. People may [...]

First Things First! (Haggai)
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Ruins

“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Haggai 1:4, NIV

Very old ruins have held a romantic fascination for me. When I walk beside the ruined walls, I wonder what stories could they tell of lives lived long ago. What hopes and dreams did the people who built them have? What tragedies might they have witnessed? Were the lives of those ancient folk mundane with routine and boredom? [...]