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.
(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
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
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
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.” 
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.
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.
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:
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.
i.e., wholly relying on Him, that’s what the context requires toward him.”
~John Piper
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
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.
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.”
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
And He
whispered to my heart.
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.”
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.
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.
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?

One Word in 2013

*photocredit: freedidgitalphotosjscreationzshttp:

December rolls around and I spend my mornings sipping coffee, talking with Jesus about the past year. I shared my accomplishments and failures, renewed goals on Monday. And I gear up for a new year. 

The mornings go a lot like this:
“Lord–ah, can I not slosh coffee on my pajamas just one morning!–anyway, Lord, January is coming. Where are we going this year? What one word would you have me focus on and what verse will you give me for this year? Also, the 21 days of fasting are coming up…What–gulp–will you have me do?” *I won’t be sharing that with you as I don’t want to lose my reward. Things are supposed to be done in secret, ya know. I may have lost it already just by telling you that 21 days of fasting are coming up. SIGH. 😉 
Lately, I’ve been smacking into “loving others” verses, posts, stories etc…so is it love? I mean I can always work on that. Is it love? Lord, is it? I need a sign! 
One morning, early in December, I woke up and a word popped into my head. 
Joy? Seriously, God? In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a pretty jolly, joyful girl. Um…people tell me this all the time. Just last week, the cashier said I had the best smile. You did hear that, right? 
My word can’t be joy. I got the joy. Where? Down. Down deep in my heart. Deep in my heart to stay. And if the devil doesn’t like it…he can sit on a tack. Sit on a tack to stay.
If my word is Joy, then I need a sign. A big fat sign because quite frankly, I want a better word. And though this doesn’t sound joyous at the moment, I do have joy, Lord.
But wait!! Maybe joy isn’t such a bad thing. This year You must be saying my contract is coming and therefore, Lord, I will have even more joy! And You’re going to supernaturally heal my physical pains. Because this year has been the Valley of Weeping. Joy comes in the morning. 
A silent moment. I call that the God-sigh. 
Or what if this year isn’t going to be a year of harvesting the fruit I’ve labored over and it’s not the year for healing. Are you saying I’m going to have to have joy anyway? Or are worse things going to happen and I’ll need that extra dab that’ll do ya? 
Oh for the love of…well…You, pick another word! 
These are what my first several mornings looked like. Scary, huh? I know.
Okay God, whatever. If it’s joy so be it. But I really, really need a sign. An obvious-no-doubt sign–just hanging out there. 
That morning my husband and I went to see my son’s talent show at school. We entered the office and stood waiting along with a bunch of other parents– whose children couldn’t hold a candle to my child’s talent. I looked over by the door and there in the corner stood a toy soldier about my height. Yes, I put toy and my height together. 
A tag hung–the string nearly invisible–off of his soldier’s hat. In bold red letters it said:
Shut up! 
Inside my head, I said, “Well, that’s a sign hanging out of nowhere for sure. Joy it is.
On Sunday, during the morning service, guess what my pastor preached on? Yeah. Joy. Double dose of confirmation. 
But what verses? And why Joy? Each morning I’d open the Bible and look down to see if God had directed me to the verse. He didn’t. I entered “joy” into Bible Gateway and scrolled through them to see if one would jump out. 
It didn’t.
And then on December 21st, I woke up and took my iPad into the living room where I do my morning devotions. Each morning I read a John Piper sermon or article. I always feel like I’ve been fed to the brim afterwards. This day he shared this verse to this sermon (and here is the link if you want to read it for yourself–The Bible: Kindling for Christian Hedonism.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the
testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord
are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the
ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired
are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings
of the honeycomb
. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; in keeping them there
is great reward
.” Psalm 19:7-11
The word joy isn’t found in these verses, but I knew the instant I read them it was the right verse. My insides started bubbling and tears sprang in my eyes. Then God began to give me a tiny break down of the verses.
Each statement has to do with the Word of God and what it does in a believer’s life. And ultimately…it brings joy. 
Another paragraph down, I read this. A third confirmation of my word.
“The Bible Kindles Joy
The reason David praised God with the words, “He
leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul,” is
because he had bad days. There were days when his soul needed to be restored.
It’s the same phrase used in Psalm
—”the law of the Lord is
perfect, reviving the
soul.” Normal Christian life is a
repeated process of restoration and renewal. Our joy is not static. It
fluctuates with real life. It is as vulnerable to Satan’s attacks as a Lebanese
marine compound to a suicide bomber. When Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:24,
“Not that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your
joy,” we should emphasize it this way: “We are workers with
you for your joy.”
The preservation of our joy in God takes work. It is a
fight. Our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, and he has an
insatiable appetite to destroy one thing: the joy of faith.”

Looks like this year, I’ll be in the Word more than ever before. Join me as I study the precepts, commands, fear, the ways of God and ultimately joy. What are the differences between joy, happiness, and cheer? We’ll look at those in depth through passages and lives of other believers in the Bible. 
Joy isn’t about what we get i.e contracts, agents, material possessions etc… Joy is so much more. So much better. And I can’t wait to discover it all. Looking forward to 2013. Hope you’ll hang around with me and discover it as well! 
*Thank you to Melanie Moore for once again creating–for free–my one word. If you’d like her to create a one word button for you, check out her website and don’t forget to give her a big thanks! HERE

Do you have a one word focus? If so, share in the comments. If not, what are some of your goals for this new year?