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(The Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at email@example.com and reques #330.)
Our scripture text this morning is Haggai 2:3 7. The easiest way to find it is to go to the end of the OT & turn back a couple of books because Haggai is the third book from the end of the OT. Listen as I read it to you.
"`Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong O Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘& work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’
"This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens & the earth, the sea & the dry land. I will shake all nations, & the desired of all nations will come, & I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty."
A. Right now I particularly want to notice the question in the middle of the third verse, "How does it look to you now?" That is a good question to ask during the first few weeks of a new year, "How does it look to you now?"
1. Look back at 2010, how does it look to you now? It probably looks a little different than it did back at the beginning of 2010. Now we can look back & see all the pounds we lost & then regained. We can see the promises we broke. We can see all the hopes & dreams & disappointments & sorrows of 2010.
2. We can also ask this question about 2011. How does 2011 look to us now? As we look forward to the prospects of this year, what do we see?
Do we see doom & gloom? Some of the prophets of doom tell us that 2011 is going to be a bad year economically. But other forecasters tell us that 2011 will be a great year, & that we can expect wonderful & exciting things to happen in our nation & the world.
B. So what do you see? Do you see clouds, or sunshine? Do you see despair, or hope? What do you see as you look forward in 2011?
ILL. Behavioral scientists have discovered that we usually see things that we are prepared to see, & that this is all centered in a network of nerve cells called the "Reticular Activating System." And everybody here today has a "Reticular Activating System." Did you know that?
The Reticular Activating System works like this. Once something has been brought to our attention & we have been prepared to see it, we’ll see it virtually everywhere we go.
For example, if you decide to buy a new car & you make up your mind that you are going to buy a certain brand, a certain body style, & a certain color, all of a sudden you’ll see those cars everywhere. You’ll see them on the roads, in TV advertisements, in newspapers & magazines. They’re everywhere.
Now what has happened? They were always there, but the moment you were prepared to see them, your Reticular Activating System kicked in, & suddenly you saw them everywhere.
C. It happens in other areas of life, too. We see what we are prepared to see. If we are prepared to see doom & gloom in 2011, that’s
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