Feeds:
Posts
Comments

October 13

Dear Friends,

For the past nine months we have experienced the joy of seeing the breadth of God’s plan for humanity and His love for each of us.  I am amazed at the growth in my own journey as I have trusted God to teach me through the greatness of His Story.

Unfortunately, I am unable to continue blogging through the One Year Bible due to my daily responsibilities at home and at church.  I have loved this discipline but have been unable to keep up this writing schedule and love and care for my family in the way God has called me.  There just aren’t enough hours each day.

Thank you for reading with me.  I encourage you to continue on with me as we finish reading the Bible through to the end of this year.

May this be your prayer, as it is mine…

“… I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…”  (Phil. 3:8)

In Christ,

Shannon

These past few days we have read about Esther, Mordecai and the Jews rebuilding the temple.  Not one of these parties knew how God was going to finish their stories, yet in the midst of personal difficulties, they remained faithful to God as they endured the circumstances He allowed.

I have a friend who is living proof that one can be faithful amidst difficult circumstances.  You see, my friend is dying of brain cancer.  Like Esther, she holds a position today, she never requested.  Like Esther, she had a choice to make: either trust God or turn her back on Him.  And like Esther, her story has the potential to save the lives of many.

Weeks ago, before she began losing her ability to speak or write, she sent an email to anyone she has ever worked with in the public school system, her friends and family, telling them about her faith in the loving and gracious God who has allowed her to live, and now die, with cancer.  I have no doubt her email will have eternal impact marking the beginning of many more lives of faith.

My dear sweet friend is too humble to ever admit she is anything like Queen Esther, but she is my Esther.  Upon learning of her cancer and considering the possibilities for treatment, she stood before her King to request salvation for those she loves, willing to give up her life so that others might know Him too.

It won’t be long before her King, the lover of her soul, calls her home.  Face to face she will see Him and the faith she has had for a lifetime on earth will be fulfilled in the presence of her faithful God.

Lord, may my life be Your instrument used to impact others as these great women have impacted mine.  And may You receive all the glory for the great things You have done and continue to do in our lives.

How rich and full is today’s reading.  I could read for hours, study for days and still not understand it all, but it is a glimpse of the hope and the future that we have in Christ and it excites me!

Last night, we watched an amazing movie I highly recommend called “Faith Like Potatoes.”  In it an African farmer calls out to God for rain to feed his crops, provide for his family and heal his land.  There were no sprinklers, no under ground wells or aqueducts.  God was his only hope.

Zechariah seems to understand this dependency that we in modern day America tend to forget.  “Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who makes the storm clouds.  He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone.” (Zech. 10:1)  In Zechariah’s day, as in modern day Africa and even in modern America, GOD IS OUR ONLY HOPE.  We tend to forget that.

However, we live in a world where farming, medical, and other everyday life solutions have been discovered so we no longer think that we need to pray for miracles.  We have pushed God so far out of our lives that we no longer depend on Him to sustain us, heal us or rescue us.  In fact, we have grown so dependent on the other solutions that we don’t even see the need for God to be in our lives at all.  In this great land of possibility, there are so many possibilities we’ve left no room for God to do the impossible.

I also was struck with the description Zechariah gives of the One who will come from Judah.  “From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.” (Zechariah 10:4)  As the mother of a first year boy scout, I am learning how important the tent peg is when pitching a tent.

A tent peg brings stability to a tent.  It keeps is grounded to what is solid and sure.  When the weather kicks up, it is the tent peg that keeps the covering stable and secure.  I also find it interesting when considering tent pegs in Scripture, that it was a tent peg used to kill an enemy of God’s people.  (Read more in Judges 4, 5)  With this tent peg, justice, protection and promise were all fulfilled by God for His people.

We have such an amazing future hope for on that day “…The Lord will be king over the whole earth.  On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.” (Zech. 14:9)  Meditate “on that today” and all the fact of his Kingship will change about the world in which we now live.  I’d love to hear your thoughts when they come to you…

Our God is worthy of our praise.  His love endures forever; not for a moment, not a long while, but FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER.  It never ceases, never grows tired, never faints.  His love endures. (Psalm 118)

Our God is righteous.  No other One sets the standard but God alone.  He is the only One who is wholly righteous and never will fault.  (Psalm 129)

All that has been created can praise God Almighty:  the angels and heavenly hosts, the solar system, clouds and heavens, sea creatures, weather, nature, wild animals and of course people can praise their Creator.  (Psalm 148)

We, the created, can praise Him with songs, together or alone, rejoicing with dancing, music and tambourines.  For all things, we can praise Him.  We just need to praise Him… and if we don’t?  The rocks will cry out to do so. (Psalm 149, 150)

As you lay your head down tonight, spend some time praising our God who is worthy and righteous for HE IS and YOU WERE MADE TO PRAISE HIM.

“But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears.  They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or the words the Lord Almighty had sent… So the Lord Almighty was very angry.” (Zechariah 7:11, 12)

I read the above verses and I wonder how much different it is today.  If we were honest we’d have to say, “Not much.”

We as a generation refuse to pay attention.  We stubbornly turn our back and stop up our ears so we can’t hear the things of God.  As a society, our hearts have grown hard like flint and we do not listen or care about the words that God has sent.  Why wouldn’t God be angry with our society?  Our generation?  Our nation?  He has given us every opportunity to know Him and we have turned to other gods.

Just like God promised to save His people and bring them back to live in Jerusalem (8:8) He has promised to save us, the Gentiles, and bring us into a New Jerusalem if we but recognize His Word and submit to His will.

Paul writes in Romans 10:8-9, “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART” — that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved…”

With me, take time this day to confess personal and corporate sin to the Lord Almighty.  Then, take time expressing your thanks for the salvation He has gifted each of us who confess Him as Lord.

Today is the beginning of another school year for our family.  The summer was full, refreshing and a complete respite from the ordered discipline I have come to know and love between September and June.  It’s 5:00am and the kiddos are up, pancakes are ready for the griddle, the house is abuzz… and I’m back to my daily blogging.

This summer we read the account of the Israelites and their captivity at the hands of pagan kings.  Today we read from Zechariah.  A remnant is now in Jerusalem rebuilding the city and God’s temple (Nehemiah and Ezra) and God is still calling out to His people with a yearning to reunite Himself with them.  “’Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zech. 1:3)

I heard a wise pastor say, “It takes one to forgive but it takes two to reconcile.”  At this point in history, had God already forgiven the sins of the Israelites?  Absolutely!  But had they yet been restored in a loving relationship that included both parties?  Not quite.

As Zechariah continues, we will read more visions and prophecies of a coming Christ, both the coming of Christ in the New Testament and the coming of Christ in the End Times.  Much of what we read we may not quite understand.  But don’t give up.  Keep reading and make notes in the margin of your Bible because you may see the same images pop up through the book of Revelation or have moments when the Holy Spirit brings to mind recorded facts about Jesus Christ that sound vaguely familiar to some verses in this book.

But even more importantly than that, know this today:  Your God, our God, desires to be in relationship with each of us.  However, if our relationship is not currently what it should be, we (YOU & ME) are the ones who need to make a change.  The same God who called out to the Israelites calls out to us today through His Spirit saying, “Return to Me.”

With me, consider today what you need to do to return and restore your relationship with the Lord Almighty… then take some time to make it happen.

Dear Friends,

thank you for your amazing consistency reading this blog as I have worked to share my thoughts these past six months.  It has been a joy to write and collaborate with you as we read through the Bible together.  However, in the past few days, I have realized that my time with the Lord and my family are my greatest priorities and my days are already being stretched so thin.  With that understanding, I regret that I will be unable to update the blog daily throughout the summer but will continue reading with you and occasionally return to blog the deep thoughts I glean from Scripture.

My hope is to return to blogging daily in September when the boys go back to school.  Until then, please continue to read and journal yourself.  I would still love to get together with those of you who are able in August.  Please let me know by email if you are able to attend.

Until next time…