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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I WILL Wednesday 11/13/19

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-2

Today’s passage, begins with a burst of praise to God. David declares, I WILL give thanks, I WILL tell, I WILL be glad, and I WILL sing praises.

This psalm of David was written to celebrate all that God had done in his life. The psalm begins with a praise that burst forth from a grateful heart. Throughout this psalm, he rehearses the reasons he bursted forth in praise: The Lord had delivered him from his enemies, the Lord had given him victory, the Lord remembers His people and shows them mercy. David made a habit of keeping the goodness of God at the forefront of his mind. He both recounted God’s goodness to himself and shared it with others.

We, too, can burst forth in a praise in the same fashion, in our lives, the hand of the Lord has delivered us from the hand of the enemy! He has secured our victory! He is a faithful friend who does not forget us. (You are not forgotten!) Today, let’s follow this example. Speak to yourself and say, I WILL give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart. I won’t hold back my gratitude. Instead, I WILL give my whole heart in worship. I WILL tell others about what the Lord has done. I WILL share my testimonies of deliverance and restoration. I WILL be glad and have a joyful heart because He is faithful to us. His love and grace endures. I WILL sing His praises even if everything is not the way I think it should be, because I know that God is good. And in His goodness, I am remembered, I am cared for, and I am loved.

Be blessed!DD7BA46D-46C9-4314-8DBF-24B931769DEF