Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

Well, we are three weeks into 2020! The New Year’s excitement is waning and many are settling into their “normal.” Some are still grinding away at their goals, but, for some, discouragement and even disappointment is starting to set in. It’s not for lack of effort, or lack of motivation, but lack of results. Three weeks of advertising and promoting and only a few sales. Three weeks of praying, fasting, and dedication to a reading plan and no apparent breakthrough. Three weeks of diet and exercise and only a few pounds lost. Or worse, only three short weeks and already messed up, or, even worse, given up!

Last week we saw, in Zechariah 4, that Zerubbabel received encouragement to continue the work of rebuilding the temple.  (The Limits of Your Best) Discouragement had set in, and the Lord’s messenger reminded him, that it’s not by his power or might, but only by the Spirit of the Lord would the work be completed  (Zechariah 4:6 ).

A second part of this message speaks volumes to us. The Messenger goes on to pose the question, “Who dares despise the day of small things . . . ?” (Zechariah 4:10). Sadly, I’m guilty. I sometimes look at my meager results and wish things would move along a little—no a lot faster. And because it is not, I feel defeated and deflated. This is a hard one for me. I know that starting small is par for the course, but slow growth can be discouraging and frustrating. It is at these times, that I need this reminder not to despise small beginnings. The passage goes on to tell us why. “. . . for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10 NLT). He lovingly looks on to see us start the work He’s assigned to us. Our faithful Father’s eyes watch over the work and sees to it’s completion. Philippians 1:6 admonishes us to be “confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Don’t resent small beginnings! If God has given you the vision, resist discouragement. It may start out small but hold on.  He may give you a glimpse of the end result.  You may feel ready for that end right now, but you have to walk through each season of growth, preparation, and refining.  Starting small allows you to GROW through the process.

If your heart has been stirred with expectancy, don’t let your expectation dwindle. Don’t let small beginnings hinder you.  If God gave it to you, trust Him to bless it, grow it, and cause it to prosper and bear fruit.

Blessing,

EB

**read the other posts in this series Write the Vision (2020)  and The Limits of Your Best.

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I WILL Wednesday 1/15/2020

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at His sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.  Psalm 27:4-6

Sometimes we just feel generally happy. Needs are met, family is well, doggy is wagging his tail. All seems right in your world. We just feel good. This was not the case for David. Yes this Psalm begins with David confessing faith over fear, but he still had enemies! Vicious enemies who desired to utterly destroy him. Wickedness came against him, armies surrounded him, threats of war rose against him. Everything was not good!

In this period in David’s life, he could have asked for anything. Protection, peace, an end to all this turmoil. Instead, the one thing David desired was the presence of God. He names several blessings that he found in God’s presence.

1. In the Lord’s dwelling, David was safe. (Vs. 5). This was not just a position, but also a posture—the presence of the Lord is a safe place. Though danger looms, my heart can rest in the safety of my Savior.

2. In the shelter of the Lord, David was hidden. Concealed from all the noise around him. He was very conscious to the reality of his situation. However, David’s security, as our security, is found in the Lord.

3. David was set high upon a rock. Jesus Christ is the Rock, our foundation that we should build upon. If I am on the Rock, the storms may come but I will not be moved.

4. David was able to lift his head above his enemies. Yes his enemies were still present, but David did not set his focus on them. He set his eyes on the Lord so that he might gaze in His beauty.

With all these blessings that stem from God’s presence, it’s no wonder why David responded, I WILL sing! We should respond that way too! Singing praises to our Lord, for He is worthy, He is faithful, He is constant, and He loves us. It is in Him where we can truly rest in the midst of danger, in the midst of the rain, in it the midst of our enemies. We can rest in Him. He is my safe place. He is my hiding place. He is my rock. So I will shout and offer sacrifices of joy, and I WILL sing a song of praise to My God.

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The Limits of Your Best

Nothing pains me more, as a teacher, then for a student to truly do their best and still end up with a poor score. I know that all students can learn but they all don’t get it at the same time. So, to see one of my kiddos put their all into something and it be a failure is disheartening. It reminds me that there are limits to our best. Our best can take us but so far and sometimes, even at our best, we end up with failure.

As we continue to launch out towards the things of God in 2020, we can run full speed ahead—right into a wall because there are limits to our best. You can be a great speaker, but still struggle with reaching certain people. You may be an outstanding writer, but your words can fall on deaf ears. You might be the most methodical person, but your attention to details and out-of-the-box thinking cannot move the supernatural.

If you go in your own strength, the end will be less than God’s best. Your best pales in comparison to God’s best. There really is no comparison!

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When Zerubbabel set out to rebuild the temple, progress was halted and he became discouraged. A messenger of the Lord came and assured Zerubbabel that the work would be completed, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit”  (Zechariah 4:6 ).   His mission would be accomplished, but it would not be because of Zerubbabel’s skills or abilities, it would not be because of his gifts and talents. Any mission that God ordains can only be accomplished by His Spirit. What begins in the Spirit—that vision, that calling, that God-sized idea— cannot be completed in flesh. Only by the Spirit of God can we walk out the vision and calling He has entrusted into our hands.

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As you run with the vision God has given you, know that your best will only take you so far. Don’t rely on your own strength, skills, or abilities. Trust the supernatural empowerment of the Holy Spirit who can go places you can’t go, who can reach people you can’t reach and who can accomplish what you, even at your best, cannot accomplish.

#2020 #clearvision

(Have you written the vision? Write the Vision (2020)

I Will Wednesday 01/08/2020

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.  Psalm 27:1-3      

Happy New Year!

For many of us, the new year brings renewed focus. We look at our dreams and aspirations and we set out to put practices in place that help us reach those goals. If you are anything like me, you do this year after year. Some years we do well, but most often, by February, we’re adjusting our plan or even resigning to defeat. So many times obstacles appear and deter us from our goals. One main deterrent is fear.

Fear can stop us in our tracks and make us succumb to doubt.

King David thwarted fear with his confession found in Psalm 27. Though enemies threatened him and uncertainties loomed, David said “in this I WILL be confident.” “In this” refers to the truths declared at the beginning of the passage. Two beautiful truths that we can rest in.

The first truth, “the Lord is my light and salvation.” Darkness cannot cause me to fear, because The Lord is my light, He illuminates my path. No darkness can exist in the presence of His brilliance. Enemies cannot cause me to fear because the Lord is my salvation, He rescues and He saves. No enemy is a match for the power of God.

The second truth, “the Lord is the strength of my life”. King David was a skilled warrior. He was victorious in battle many times, but He never attributed his success to his own skills or abilities. He knew that, only in the Lord’s strength, could he win. The word strength here can be translated “Stronghold”-a fortified place of protection. In God’s strength I can only prevail.

We, too, can look forward with confidence knowing that we walk in the Lord’s illuminating light, in His Divine protection, and in His unrivaled strength. Then, come what may, we can say I WILL be confident.

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Write the Vision (2020)

Most of us enter the new year full of zeal and fervor. Excitement stirs at the potential of new beginnings. Dreams, goals, and visions are the words of the day and we start off running hard towards the things God has for us. Unfortunately, the zeal fades and the fervor is soon lost and we settle back into the ho-hum of everyday life. Believe it or not, a new year holds no power to change anything but the date. Nothing changes unless you change!

One specific practice we need to put in place is writing down the vision, the dream or the plan God has given you. Vision board gatherings are very popular, but sometimes they focus more on what we want and not on the things God has designed for us.  We should plan, we should have dreams and goals, but remember “it is the Lord’s will that prevails (Proverbs 19:21 ).” We must ensure that we have what God has said cemented in our minds and memories so that when we see it come to past we know that it is God and we will praise Him for it.

The book of Habakkuk gives us a look at God’s instructions to this prophet. Habakkuk bore the heavy weight of His people. He prayed and God gave him an answer. Then God gave him these instructions, “Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets that he who reads it may run with it (Habakkuk 2:2 ).  When you write down the vision, plainly, just as you’ve received, you as well as others are more inclined to run with it. This involves a few things. First, acknowledge the vision for your life. You have to see it and embrace it (Habakkuk’s name means one who embraces). Then, you have to make it known. No, not to everyone! Allow the Holy Spirit, through His wisdom, to lead you to someone who you can share with.

Several other scriptures speak of the importance of writing things down. When God allowed Moses and the Israelites to defeat the enemy that came up against them, He told him to write down the account of victory (Exodus 17:14 ). When God promised Jeremiah that He would restore Israel, He told him to write it down so that Jeremiah would have a record of God’s promise (Jeremiah 30:2 ).  As a teacher, I often have my students write the things they are learning in their own handwriting, because it helps the concepts to become cemented in their minds. God’s desire for our lives should be so rooted in our hearts and minds that we run with passion toward His plans.

And you want to run with the vision! But please understand what running with the vision entails. You must have patience. That seems contradictory—“you are asking me to run and wait?” Yes! You want to go in God’s timing so that you will have kingdom success. As God told Habakkuk “if it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time”  (Habakkuk 2:3 ).

To run with the vision, you have to do something. While you wait, pray, study, research, worship, prepare.  Be ready when doors open.  Also, put in place some spiritual checkpoints, some dates on the calendar where you check in on your forward progress. Be intentional about what you do for the Lord and watch Him bless the work He has called you to. Don’t leave 2020 with regrets! Write the vision then run with it.

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Write The Word January (2020)

Happy New Years Sparrow Song Family!

I pray this email finds you in the best of health and encouraged to continue to walk in the light of the Lord.  Can you believe it? We are in a new year, full of so many possibilities and adventures!  I am so very excited about what God is going to do in the lives of His people.

Luke 12:32 says “Do not fear, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Even though there are so many questions and uncertainties in this new year, there is one thing we can rest on and that is the Word of God.  His Word tells us that He truly enjoys blessing His children!  That He has pure delight in giving you the Kingdom! So no matter where He orders your feet, just know that He is and will always be there for you.  So my prayer for you this year is that God reveals Himself to you a new and different way each and everyday.  I pray for blessings for you and your entire family.  I look forward to hearing how God blesses you with His Word!

Remember: The Word W.O.R.K.S!

On another note, it has been wonderful being on this Write the Word journey with you and I hope you have enjoyed it just as much I have.  I would like to introduce The Word W.O.R.K.S. Scripture Writing Journal, designed to assist you on your journey to getting to know our Lord and Savior better each day. Please take a look:
https://www.amazon.com/Word-R-K-S-Scripture-Writing-Journal/dp/108124285X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+word+w.o.r.k.s.&qid=1577864594&sr=8-1

God bless you and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I WILL Wednesday 12/18/19

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

King David penned this beautiful, beloved Psalm that depicts the loving, tender care of our Father as a shepherd. He used metaphors that were highly relatable in his time to draw a vivid literary picture of the gentle, yet powerful leading, protection, and correction of the Lord.

Here David speaks of the trust and calmness of sheep when accompanied by the shepherd even in the midst of the most dangerous situations (valley of the shadow of death). It is here where the sheep are comforted by the rod and the staff. The rod is used to protect the sheep from danger, while the staff is used to guide the sheep where it needs to go. This leaves nothing for the sheep to be concerned with. All they have to do is focus on the shepherd and enjoy life abundantly.

Wow! This is actually how we should live our lives every day with Jesus our Shepherd! As we go through hard and dangerous times, or “the valleys of the shadow of death” we, like the sheep, are comforted by His rod and staff. He will protect us (But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.  2 Thessalonians 3:3, and He will guide us (Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Psalm 119:133)

This is great news to me! The fact that I, like the sheep, can just rest while I focus only on God and enjoy life abundantly. It doesn’t matter if the enemy tries to attack me, or what they try to take from me, for God’s rod and His staff protect and guide me even if I get lost on the journey. So I will declare that even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I don’t have a reason to fear, because he protects me and I won’t get lost on my journey because He guides me.
I WILL FEAR NO EVIL!

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