Tuesday, September 22, 2015


By Angeline M Duran Santiago

What Am I doing?

Ever feel like you're just working away, from early in the morning until late at night, unceasingly busy in your daily job and then onward to responsibilities in your life with your family or other obligations? Ever fell like you give until your last ounce of energy and still, there is nothing to show for all your hard labor?

What about putting in extra hours only to see only a few pennies extra on that pack check and you're like, "Didn't I work ten hours over time? Where is it?" The money just seems to not give or stretch no matter how early you rise to put in extra time or how much later you agree to stay until, the pay just seems to slip away in such a way that you can't even put a few dollars into savings sometimes.

What about this scenario: Some people enjoy the fine lifestyle, good dining and the joy of purchasing name brand clothing, fancy cosmetics, an amazing car and jewelry beyond what most people can ever hope to have- and still, it is not enough. Some people like this, keep buying, keep attaining, but they are never pleased or satisfied because the minute someone they are jealous of buys the newest makeup collection, the latest shoes, or the next great gadget, they must have it, and in only a few days, it's pushed to the curb along with their other toys. 

You have and get and have and get but it is not enough. We place our energy and focus on everything else but rarely do most things succeed because of one thing. We are building ourselves up, constructing our personal kingdoms and our intimate worlds where the only one worthy of praise and recognition is, you got it, US.

Haggai Chapter One has these words:
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough.You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

Does this sound like you and me? Today as I read this scripture, I felt the overwhelming reality that I have been extremely busy with life, with work, with trying to make ends meet and providing for my needs, my home, mine. And while all that is what it should be and it's all great, it's when we get to the point where we lose ourselves in that battle to do it all that we lose the battle in understanding what really matters the most.

 Imagine earning money and it just falls out of the holes in our pockets? This scripture is saying, literally, that's what is happening and then it tells us why.

Haggai Chapter One goes on to say this:
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 

Wow! Lord, I've been busy, you're right, with my own agendas for a very long time. My busyness has kept me not only away from your house, but without time to pursue your presence and follow after your call in my life. My tiredness at times has been excuse to put things off, yet, I still come up with time to fulfill so many other things that add up to such little importance. I guess the part of Haggai chapter One that hit me today the most was this part here:

10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.

Because of me....ME. 

Because I have chosen to give greater attention and passion to my personal agendas and schedules, I've put aside the Lord's agenda. Because I have worked to please others, I've put pleasing God as second choice. Because I have labored with all my might and strength in the ways of this world to build and empower my own life, my home, me and mine, I have put God's ways on the back burner giving Him my spare tires, my tiny moments before bedtime, my quick prayers on the bus, and my yawning worship as I make coffee each morning. Because, because, because.

In the Wrong House:

Yet, it is my lifestyle that has gained me nothing that has caused the blessings to cease. The drought, the dry times, the joy, the blessings and the anointing have been put on hold because I have not taken the time to go up the mountain, time of prayer and intercession, time before the Lord even if it is hard to go up, up, climbing and reaching to the top, but taking time to go up and fill my life, my spirit and my mind with God's word and presence. It is only then that I will find the "timber" or what I need, as God supplies every need, to go back down into my super busy life and build the house for God in my own home, in my heart and in my life. 

The victory and the blessings will come when I return to the old ways of not being afraid of the mountains that appear before us in our journey as Christians. We will come upon the mountains, but God tells us to come up to the mountain because then he will provide us the wood for us to build his home. 

13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord.

I am with you. What a statement. First he tells us not only that we're spending our time and effort on building the wrong house or kingdom, he corrects us and instructs us on what to build and how to go about it. Next, he explains that because we've been investing ourselves in what doesn't matter, this is why our prayers have seem unanswered and our blessings far away. But, being who He is, he ends at least this part saying, "OK, now you know what needs to get done, get started, and oh, yeah, by the way, I am with you. and then like a P.S. at the end of a letter, it says, declares the Lord. 

Yup, so we know it is coming from the Lord himself. Like, get it together. No big deal. I am not going to stand here and keep talking about the same issue over and over. You have been giving your all to the wrong cause, you get what I am saying? Now, start again and this time, not alone, not on your own. This time, not in your own strength and in your own understanding and reasoning. This time, I am with you. This time I will lead you. This time I will guide and bless the work of your hands.

In the Right House:

The promises keep coming and coming and coming. And that is what I want for myself, my kids, my husband, my parents, my brothers and their families, my family that is far away and those that don't know the Lord yet, and YES, I want it for my friends and those faithful few who dare to venture and give time to the words I place on this blog.

There are many things coming our way and if you continue to read the book of Haggai you will hear the Lord saying, "Do not fear. Press on. Trust me. You are not alone. I will be with you from the beginning to the very end."

I pray you will renew your commitment to build God's kingdom in your midst and in your life. I pray the Lord will help us as we begin to focus on what truly matters, His plan for our lives, and not ours.  Until next time, God bless.



By Angeline M Duran Santiago  The storm rages on and the winds buffet the lands in violent twirls. Some say it is the season for hur...