First Things First

Laura N. Sweet

Read: Haggai 1 Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? (v. 4) There’s an old saying, “Don’t put the cart before the horse.” Unlike our farming ancestors, we may not have experience with either carts or horses—but we do understand the meaning. First things come first. Focus on your top priority, and then see to other details. It’s an important key to success. The exiles who had returned …

Sing, Daughter of Zion!

Laura N. Sweet

Read: Zephaniah 3:11-20 He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love. (v. 17) It began as a traditional father/daughter dance; the bride and her dad waltzed to a slow and somber ballad. Suddenly, the music changed! A lively polka played, a reminder of the family’s Polish heritage. Father and bride began to spin and swirl across the dance floor, faster and faster as we clapped in time. The bride rose higher and higher in …

Yet I Will Rejoice . . .

Laura N. Sweet

Read: Habakkuk 3:3-19 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (v. 18) The storm raged throughout the night, and I awoke before dawn to see the results. It was worse than I thought—flood waters covered the road and were making their way across our front yard! We began to prepare for the worst. Thankfully, the rain stopped later that day, and the damage was minor. It could have been much …

The Mountain of the LORD

Laura N. Sweet

Read: Micah 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid. (v. 4) Turn on the television any night of the week and you will see images of war from somewhere in the world. Even when our nation is not currently engaged in combat missions somewhere, we know it takes only one rogue nation or one evil dictator to do the unthinkable—and once again we are plunged …

Getting What You Deserve

Laura N. Sweet

Read: Jonah 2 Then I said, “I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.” (v. 4) Have you ever heard someone say, “All I want is what’s coming to me!” Our frustration levels rise when we feel we are being cheated out of something we deserve. We demand our rights—assuming that “what we deserve” is going to be a good thing. Maybe that’s a wrong assumption! Take Jonah, for example. He really …