Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Small Beginnings and a Big Finish

We want the big. We want the great. We want the finish without the start. The grand finale without the in-between.

In the book of Zechariah, God is using him as a voice to the people. That's why he's called a prophet. His ministry was to the exiles returning to Jerusalem.

Nebuchadnezzar (Babylonian empire) had invaded, taking the captive (including Daniel--the one from the lion's den) the people, and destroying the cities. You can read more on this in my post, Joy from Light bulb moments: A Lesson in Daniel. 

Then the Medo-Persian empire took power and Cyrus began letting the people go back home to rebuild--Jeremiah the prophet prophesied this. These were the scrolls Daniel read (the ones Baruch had written for Jeremiah. You can read about that in my post, Pick up the Pen and Do it Again).

The exiles were going to go back home to face utter chaos and ruins.  Imagine that. But like last week's post, It isn't over until God says. He hadn't forgotten His people.

In fact, they had a constant reminder from Zechariah. Just by hearing his name. It means, "Yahweh Remembers." Isn't that beautiful?

This book is full of visions about the Second Coming of Christ and is very interesting, but what I want to hit home today comes from Chapter 4, concerning the finishing of the temple which had been destroyed when the Babylonians invaded.

God is talking of Zerubbabel, the grandson of king Jehoiachin and leader of the first group of returning exiles from Babylon.

Verse 9-10: “Zerubbabel has laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord All-Powerful has sent me to you. The people should not think that small beginnings are unimportant. They will be happy when they see Zerubbabel with tools, building the Temple…"

In the NKJV, it says in verse 10, "For who has despised the day of small things?"

This verse hit me hard. It reminded me of something a friend of mine always says about publishing. That she's okay with small beginnings. I agree with her. I am too. If we are faithful with little, we'll be ruler over much. Jesus said that, not me.

But the morning I read this, it really stuck with me. I was thinking over a twenty year dream (not about writing) and things have been so small. A door is about to open which is huge and yet…compared to my big dreams, it's still a small beginning.

But small beginnings aren't unimportant.

So, I cross-referenced it for further insight and it led me to 2 Chronicles 16:9.

"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him." 

That word loyal stuck out to me. Here were a few of my thoughts directed to God in that moment:

What do you mean by loyal, Lord?
I feel like I mess up so often, I couldn't be considered loyal.
But I want to be loyal.
Loyal translates kindness in some passages…what exactly is this?

But I didn't have time to pull up my Lexicon and see what that word meant in the Hebrew. I decided I'd come back to it later.

I grabbed my iPad and headed out to the gym with my husband. After our strength training session, I climbed on the treadmill and pulled up a John Piper sermon, using my Desiring God app.

The last thing I'd read was 2 Chronicles so I clicked on a sermon from that book and began to read. You can read the full version of his sermon HERE.

When you ask God questions, when you're curious about His Word, He answers.

Here is what I read from John Piper:

"…It's one of my favorite verses in all the Bible. I hope you will learn it by heart. 'The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless…"

The same verse I'd read in NKJV earlier from 2 Chronicles. But he went on to share what that word blameless (loyal) means.

"whole, i.e., wholly relying on Him, that's what the context requires toward him." ~John Piper

Right there the Lord spoke to me. Through His Word. And into my heart.

God is looking, searching for those who will rely wholly on Him--to be strong on their behalf.

My prayer on that treadmill was a picture. In my head I saw the menu screen of the Shrek movie--where Donkey is pacing the crowd and jumping up over their heads.

"Pick me! Pick me!" He chants repeatedly.

I said, "Lord, I will rely wholly on you. Pick me! Be strong for me! I'm just like Donkey. Stubborn, run my mouth way more than I ought to and half the time nothing of any substance comes out, I have off-the-wall ideas that generally fall flat, but I'm willing. Pick me. Pick me."

Sunday during worship (I can't even remember the song), that image popped into my brain but this time, strong hands took hold of Donkey's face, calmed his spirit and settled him down from jumping and pacing and begging, "Pick me! Pick me!"

And He whispered to my heart.

"I've already picked you. Before the foundations of the world." This was in reference to my dream and what I desperately long to do. At this moment, I can't give the details (it's not writing related at all) but when I can, I will. But Sunday I was uncertain. Sunday, I just wanted to beg God to use me. To try and convince Him, I'd rely on Him wholly.

And He reminded me: "Yahweh Remembers."

Sometime we--I--let the areas I struggle with overshadow the areas I'm obedient and I ignore that my heart longs and desires to be in God's will. I forget that I am trusting wholly in and on Him.

I need reminded: God didn't ask for perfection. He asks for commitment. To wholly rely. I'm progress. Not perfection.

And God is moving on my behalf. And yours.

Small beginnings means there's an end.

God will perfect that which concerns me, and you.

He will finish the good work He began in me, and you.

"…Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts." Zechariah 4:6:


What about you? 
Are you relying on Him wholly? 
How do you feel about small beginnings?

18 comments:

  1. We must be on the same heart-line today, Jessica, because I've been feeling this too. I've been reading Hosea, Jeremiah, Daniel, Isaiah all year. Fascinating scriptures.

    Last year, God asked me to trust Him--with all areas of my life. This year, He's molding me to continue that reliance, and it doesn't always feel good! But it IS good.

    And I'm so thankful to YOU personally for sharing The Circle Maker with me. It gave me concrete steps to pray daily with more purpose and fire. Love that!! I can't wait to see all God has in store for you. Yay!!

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    1. You're so right. It may be rather painful at times, but it is good and the rewards far outweight the pain! I'm glad you loved the book. It really ministered to me when I read it.

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  2. Just what I needed to hear today.

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  3. I love your vulnerability, Jess. Your willingness to say, "Your will, not mine." I'm praying that for myself. That if God has small beginnings in mind for me, I won't turn up my nose at that. That I'll embrace exactly what he has for me and be grateful that He let me do anything for Him at all! :)

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    1. Embrace your place, girl! God will honor you for it. :)

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  4. Jess, this was awesome! Thanks so much for your transparency and putting out there what we all feel from time to time.

    Hooray and AMEN to small beginnings!

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    1. Small beginnings truly are lovely! And those wilinging to accept them won't be disappointed! Hugs!

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  5. I can't even tell you how much this post means to me. I am still reeling from impact. Thank you very much.

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    1. You are so welcome, Beth. I'm glad it spoke to you. :)

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  6. Just soaking in your soul-refreshing post today!! I didn't know that Zachariah's name means Yahweh remembers. That just says it all. He remembers us when we forget Him, or push our relationship with Him to the side. He's ALWAYS ready to reengage and pick up where I've left Him. I needed to hear that today, Fiend. Hugs!!

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    1. It really does say it all doesn't it? I read that and just cried. Hugs back my fiend!

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  7. Oh my I just LOOOOVE your posts. I always need time to soak them in. :) Especially loved this line today: "God is looking, searching for those who will rely wholly on Him--to be strong on their behalf." Amen...

    As for small beginnings...yes. You know, I like the big stuff, the "holy crap, is this really happening?" moments in life. BUT so, so, so often those big moments happen after one or even multiple small beginnings...pieces that God is perfectly putting in place as he builds up to whatever's coming next. It makes me want to take joy in the smaller steps along the way.

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    1. Thanks, Tagg! You are so right. I've been learning to take joy along the way and it's been a treasure.

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  8. Love this, Jess. I sense your struggle in wanting your dreams to happen, and wanting to please God through patience and faith. I'm right there with you. Thanks for this wonderful reminder. ;-)

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    1. You are so welcome, Gwen! Hope your week is super blessed!!

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  9. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. This was exactly what I needed to hear. Keep moving FORWARD!

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  10. Jessica, I have tears in my eyes. "Yahweh Remembers." This spoke to my heart in more ways than you'll ever know. I love your heart in this post. I love that as I read these personal, intimate thoughts you have in your spirit, they echo the same intimate thoughts I have in mine. The God--the Awesome Father--speaks to each of us individually, but by His Mighty Power He calls out to His Bride--all of us--with One Voice. I love being a part of a body of believers who have the same heart cry: "Pick me, me, me!! I'm here! Pick me!" I love the visual of Donkey and I agree. I say things I shouldn't, I think things I shouldn't, I'm disobedient in areas God is trying to bring under submission--and yet, my heart is wholly devoted to Him. Thank you for the reminder that, though I a human and I fail, He isn't looking for perfection, He's looking for devotion.

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