Category Archives: Zechariah

Zechariah 9-11; 1 John 5

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.
The idols speak deceitfully,
diviners see visions that lie;
they tell dreams that are false,
they give comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep
oppressed for lack of a shepherd.

“My anger burns against the shepherds,
and I will punish the leaders;
for the Lord Almighty will care
for his flock, the people of Judah,
and make them like a proud horse in battle. (Zech. 10:1-3) NIV

As I ponder verses in the Bible, it often occurs to me there really is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9). Zechariah is so descriptive of what is happening in our own time in history. So many have turned from the Lord and are wandering aimlessly through life. They live as exiles from God and others. We are created for connection, and often out of hurt or desperation make bad choices in that area. Without God, we can easily become lost sheep. We have an enemy that rules this world and wants to keep us separated from the Truth. He wants nothing more than to “shepherd” us as far away from God as possible. The world promises hope and comfort but really what we receive is despair and bondage. That is not how God wants us to live.

These verses tell us that we are to seek God’s provision for our lives and believe Him—not the idols or false prophets of our time. God alone is the one we can trust and believe.  He will guide us and will not lead us astray. The idols, or things of this world, lie to us and confuse us. Like sheep, we are prone to wander. We keep looking and looking for the true Shepherd.

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea
and from the River[b] to the ends of the earth. (Zech. 9:9-10) NIV

He can be found, this Shepherd, and we as believers are His flock, His people, and He will care for us. God promised us a deliverer long before Jesus came to earth and we find hints (a.k.a prophecies) all throughout the Old Testament. Even with these prophecies, he did not come in the way anyone expected. God had a different plan—a much better way. These verses are especially meaningful as we have recently celebrated Thanksgiving and are rapidly approaching Christmas. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter—all holidays meant to praise and honor our Almighty LORD and be grateful for his plan to bring us to Himself. Let’s celebrate our righteous and victorious King!

Lord, I know how easy it is to be distracted and led away from you. Please help me keep my focus on you through a heart of gratitude, through humble service, and love for others. Your Son showed me how to do that. May I continue to study the Word, who is your Son, and live as He lived.  In His name I pray. Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Zechariah

Zechariah 9-11; 1 John 5

Periodically I hear people criticize Christianity because they say it’s just a bunch of rules you have to follow. And the Apostle John sort of agrees with them in this passage. And yet in the middle of these verses you find an astounding statement. See if you can find it.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—sour faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:1-5 [ESV])

Did you find it? I think the second sentence in verse three is astounding, “And his commandments are not burdensome.” I am reminded of some of the world class athletes we know. Michael Jordan never complained about the rules in basketball. He never complained because the basket rim was at 10 feet. He never complained about the 3 second rule or the length of the court. He was world class while playing within those constraints and excelled.

The rules and commands we find in the Bible are for our good. They protect us and give us freedom. They are not there to control but to bring freedom to our lives. They are not oppressive but freeing.

How bout you? What command are you having trouble with? Have you thought about the fact that obeying that command will bring you freedom. Try it and see if it works.

Oh and by the way. By keeping these commands in no way gets us into heaven. The Apostle John addresses that later in the chapter and takes all the guess work out about the heaven thing. Read below:

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13 [ESV])

So he gives us that answer right there in the statement. We enter into an eternal relationship with God by putting our trust in Him alone for our salvation. Simple believe in what He has done for us on the cross.

So where are you in all this today? Are you believing in Jesus alone for your salvation? Do you understand that it isn’t a bunch of rule keeping that gets us there? But on the other hand do you realize how freeing it is to live by the rules and commands God has given us? Think on these things today.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized, Zechariah

Haggai; Zechariah 1; Psalm 138; 1 John 2

I remember 2 Chronicles 7:14 so well – it’s been drilled into my life through so many different kinds of prayer meetings. What a surprise to find the same message in Haggai this morning. When God is not a priority – it matters to Him!  I find myself meditating on His challenge.

Think about what I have said! – Haggai 1:7  CEV

While I might have been challenged this morning, it matters nothing unless I heed it.  What I love about God is that His grace was extended to me like He allows does.

The Lord’s answer was kind and comforting. – Zechariah 1:13  CEV

So what does that mean in my life today.  What can I expect?  Turning to the Lord, making Him my priority, gives me amazing blessings – love, protection, safety, kindness.

I worship at your holy temple and praise you for your love and your faithfulness.  You were true to your word and made yourself more famous than ever before.  Though you are above us all, and you keep a close watch on everyone who is proud.  I am surrounded by trouble, but you protect me against my angry enemies.  With your own powerful arm you keep me safe. You, Lord, will always treat me with kindness. Your love never fails. You have made us what we are. Don’t give up on us now!  – Psalm 138: 2, 6-8  CEV

Quite a journey this morning – repentance, Lord responds with grace, embraces me with blessings – how do I respond to that kind of cherishing?  A different kind of challenge ends my morning devotion.  God has called me to love Him, to have close friends who do the same, love others and in all of this, I cannot even give a small room in my heart to love the world.

We truly love God only when we obey him as we should, and then we know that we belong to him. My dear friends, I am not writing to give you a new commandment. It is the same one that you were first given, and it is the message you heard. But if we love others, we are in the light, and we don’t cause problems for them.  Don’t love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father. – 1 John 2:5,7,10,15

Lord, this morning You are speaking right into my heart. As much as You have challenged me, You have made me come alive as I realize that I feel so connected with You. I pray that the Holy Spirit will give me the courage to be the follower of You that You have called me to be.  I do not want to live the life of a bored Christian.  May those I connect with see the passion in my life that You have put there.  Thank you for challenging me to make You a priority. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized, Zechariah

Ezekiel 37-39; Psalm 87; John 13

Someone noticed that I talk a lot about God’s care and protection.  It seems like I come across these themes quite a bit, especially in my readings found in the Old Testament.

Their king will always come from the family of my servant King David and will care for them like a shepherd. The people of Israel will faithfully obey my laws. They and their descendants will live in the land I gave my servant Jacob, just as their ancestors did. I solemnly promise to bless the people of Israel with unending peace. I will protect them and let them become a powerful nation. My temple will stand in Israel for all time – Ezekiel 37:24-26  CEV

I think it excites me to read these passages of scripture because they relate so freely to the love that Jesus has for me.  If He can love a group of people who reject Him so often, so fully, lacking so much gratitude for what He has done in their lives, then I know His love for me can equal such actions from me.

It was before Passover, and Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and to return to the Father. He had always loved his followers in this world, and he loved them to the very end. – John 13:1  CEV

Unconditional love, a word that is known but a word rarely experienced.  I look for it in all my relationships that matter.  It is inside me to want and I believe it is in me to give, but I choose judgement over love sometimes.  Somehow I feel it gives me more power.  But love changes the world, as it has me.  If I want someone to know just how much they mean to me, how much I cherish them, how much they matter to God, then I need to let them know of Jesus love for them.  Jesus can care and protect more than anyone or anything this world has to offer. What other gift can I give to you other than Jesus and His love – what other gift would you want from me?

Father, remind me that your unconditional love is the greatest gift I can give to someone today.  No matter if they are looking for something else, like the forty year old lame beggar at the Beautiful Gate who was looking for a gift of money.  Peter and John said, we do not have money, but we have Jesus, can we give Him to you? Taking the man by the hand they said stand up and walk.  That Lord, that image of love, has not left my mind for some time.  That is the kind of love I want to give away today.  Fill me with Your Spirit and enable me to do that with those I meet.  Thank you for allowing me to be a bit of You in someone’s life. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

11 Comments

Filed under 2 Corinthians, BG2, Ezekiel, James, John, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Song of Solomon, Zechariah

2 Chron. 31; Rev. 17; Zech. 13:2-9; John 16

“You will shine like silver and gold through my purifying fire.”

“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure… I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” Zechariah 13:9 NLT

In this season of celebration for the birth of our Lord and Savior, this passage in Zechariah reminds us that God’s greatest act of love was sending His Son to die for us… In essence, our Father handed us holiness!

However, our Father shows His love in another way… one that seems harsh apart from His perspective. He loves us by putting us through His refining process, which, on the surface, goes against our understanding of a loving Father towards His children.

Many are thrown off by His willingness, even His proactive efforts, to let us suffer for our good. Indeed, it makes little sense to us why He would offer a gracious salvation, but then submit us to troubles with the intention of growing us to be more like Him. Is He making us pay for our sin after all?

This is a question we each need to settle completely, because our interpretation of it impacts our view of God, and where we stand with Him. Simply put, the answer to the question of “Is God making us pay for our sin?” is no… if we believe that, we’ve missed the whole point of adversity in the context of God’s model for us. God’s refining fire is not a way designed to be viewed as a payment plan for our wrongs. We aren’t earning His love through His refining. God doesn’t love us because He refines us… He refines us because He loves us.

If He didn’t give us the attention to beautifying us with His own character, He would be a negligent parent who allows His children to continue in destructive and dangerous habits. What caring parent lets his precious offspring endanger themselves and others with immature behavior? He wouldn’t be true to His identity as our heavenly Father if He didn’t act in our best interests.

This area of spiritual growth requires unlearning old ways and perspectives, and relearning new ways of understanding our heavenly Father… including rejecting the idea that pain is bad when it is from God’s hand for our benefit. It is through this pain that we learn to return to Him, to cling to Him, and to be like Him. In essence, we learn to wear the holiness of the salvation that He gave us at such great pain to Himself.

Heavenly Father… if it were up to me, I would not choose the pain of your refining fire. But just as Your Son spoke to You in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before He was to be crucified, He asked that You take what He was dealing with away, but that if it were Your will, that it be done, since He had the faith that You knew best. Father, it is that same faith we seek now… to know that whatever You put us through, is done so because You love us and know what is best for us. Thank you for loving us into becoming like You… Amen!

Greg (gstefanelli)

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Zechariah

2 Chronicles 29; Revelation 15; Zechariah 5: John 14

A thorough house cleaning is a wonder. It breathes new life into a home; windows are opened for fresh air to replace the stale. Spaces are decluttered so precious things can appreciated for what they are. Dark corners are combed of cobwebs and dust is swept away.

Hezekiah took hold of the house of the Lord and ushered in a new era. His people set themselves apart to the difficult task of  restoring the once sacred space. It wasn’t the exclusive work of the professionals– the priests;  the help of the Levites was necessary and “they were more conscientious than the priests in sanctifying themselves.”  2 Chronicles 29:34.

“And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because of what God had done for the people; for the thing had come about suddenly.” 2 Chronicles 29:29

When the sore soul, weary of bearing the kicks and scuffs of life, relinquishes control, resentment, anger and bitterness to God, the heart becomes the sacred space it was intended to be. When the soul confesses it’s sin against God and repents, He is quick to forgive and restore what was broken.  Why the holy One of Israel wants to take residence in this fragile, fickle human heart is a mystery. New life, a new song fills me. I am made new. Joy finds a home:

“Great and amazing are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, King of the nations! Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgements have been revealed.” Revelation 15:4-5.

Lord,  I hear your invitation to abide in you and your promise to abide in me. Come Lord Jesus. You make my heart your sacred home. Thank you for the depth of your love and the riches of your grace. Amen.

Klueh

Note: This is my last post for the foreseeable future. I won’t be joining you next year, but thank you Sixty-six Books Community for sharing these past years. It’s been wonderful and I look forward to continuing to read the blog.

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Revelation, Uncategorized, Zechariah

2Chronicles 26; Revelation 13; Zechariah 9; John 12

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations.  His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River[b] to the ends of the earth. (Zech 9:9-10 NIV)

 

12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna![d]

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[e]

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”[f]

16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. (John 12:12-16 NIV)

These verses speak to me of the faithfulness of God and the trustworthiness of his word. It may not be in my timetable, but you can trust it will happen. There were about 500 years between the time Zechariah prophesied of the coming Messiah, even to him riding on a donkey, and the actual event.  No one expected the Messiah to come as he did, even though his birth was prophesized in Isaiah.  We are told Jesus stood up in the synagogue and read a portion of Isaiah 61 and tells them the prophesy about himself was fulfilled that very day (Luke 4:17-21) and then sits down.  He told them who he was and they missed it. When Jesus rode into town on the colt of a donkey, no one even connected the two events until after Jesus’ resurrection.  Jesus reveals himself to me through his word and I can miss him as well.  As an analytical person, I sometimes need to sift through data in my head before the light bulb goes off.  The Holy Spirit is so patient with me.

Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate[a] with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar[b] of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. (John 12:1-3 NLT)

This dinner happened after Lazarus had been resurrected. I can picture it being a celebratory dinner of life when just days before there seemed no hope they would ever be together as a family again.  Yet here they were.  Mary was so overcome with love and gratitude for Jesus she poured her prize possession on him.  There was nothing in this world that meant more to her than he did.  She wiped the oil with her own hair.  In those days, women kept their hair wrapped around their head, they did not wear it loose.  Yet she exposed herself, leaving herself open to ridicule, in open abandonment to his presence.  In my mind that is true worship.

 

Lord Jesus, I don’t know if I have ever felt that overwhelmed by you that nothing of this world matters more than you—but I want to. You came to set the captive free and I long for that freedom, that abandonment to worship you with everything I am.  Thank you for stepping out of heaven to come to earth as a lowly infant and show us the way to true life.  O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.  Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized, Zechariah