12.20.18 – Small Beginnings

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” – Zechariah 4:10a

Beginning something new is hard. Continuing on to completion is even harder. Progress feels slow, especially when you already have the vision in your head. But the One who gave you that vision rejoices to see the work begin, and He knows each step along the way is necessary. We can learn to rejoice in the process as well. We should rejoice, for having such a vision entrusted to us from God, and being given the passion and responsibility to bring it to life is a high honor. It is not something we can do on our own, but only by trusting and following the guiding of Holy Spirit through our prayers along the journey.

“It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” – Zechariah 4:6b

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12.18.18 – Sitting Peacefully

“And on that day, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.” – Zechariah 3:10

A day will come when all of God’s people will sit in peace with one another, under protection, shielded from the attacks and accusations of the enemy.

The day is today.

The Lord promised He would forever remove the sins of the land in a single day (Zechariah 3:8-9). His promises are faithful and were fulfilled on the day Jesus Christ died on the Cross. A sinless lamb, Jesus bore the literal weight of the world on His shoulders as He carried His cross to Calvary, where He was hung and beaten until His final breath. The clouds darkened as the veil was torn. His final words echoed in the air. “It is finished.”

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Around The World

This article originally appeared on Persevering Hope, an online community opening conversation about mental health and the church.

A fun game of “Around the World” basketball was recently an avenue where God chose to speak to my heart. I love when God speaks in the everyday moments, and I am learning how to look beyond the everyday moments and the everyday people I pass by to peer into the windows of their soul. Author Ken Gire, in his book Windows of the Soul explains, “There is something beyond the surface of the everyday events of our lives and something beyond the surface of the lives of the everyday people we pass by” (pg. 43). Having recently returned home from a short mission trip, I looked past the everyday people and events of Guatemala during our time there. I am learning to keep my spiritual eyes open back at home in order to look beyond the everyday of those I pass by here. There really is something beyond the everyday, if only we have eyes to see and ears to hear. We all have stories and backgrounds, struggles and victories, and each is vastly different and personal.

Playing “Around the World” with my husband at our local community center where we had just finished working out, we were both struggling to make it around. Neither of us have played basketball in years, but we were having fun just shooting baskets and having a little friendly competition.  I didn’t think much of it until somehow I made a connection in my brain and a thought occurred to me. I’ve been around the world, and I’ve struggled. From struggling with reverse culture shock after returning home from a mission trip, to walking through the desert of the Middle East while deployed with the military, I’ve come home changed every time. Sometimes growing for the better, and sometimes I’ve taken two steps backward as I deal with anxiety and depression.

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Veteran’s Day Reverence

We served in different wars, in a different time and place. The weapons have changed, the vehicles are stronger and faster, the equipment more advanced. The faces have changed, and the mission looks different. But the service is the same, the brotherhood hasn’t changed. The reasons for joining may be different, and yet somehow the same.

I will never walk the path you walked, nor see the things your eyes have seen. It’s a different kind of battle we fight now, but our stories sound the same. It’s a story of wanting to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, of finding our belonging in a family we never expected.

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“Well done.”

“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant’.” – Matthew 25:23a

“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Anytime I hear this, whether it be a new teaching or some other aspect, I struggle. Not because I see myself as a bad person or underserving, but rather because I’ve always been a people-pleaser. I struggle to say no, and the worst feeling in the world for me is letting someone down or not being able to help. I know what the Bible tells me about identity and I know nothing in this world can separate me from His love, but I struggle with a works mentality that what I do is what earns my place. What really earns my place is not anything I do at all, but only by the love and grace of my Heavenly Father am I defined as a beloved child of God.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries for tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39, NLT

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