Friday, September 28, 2012
Welcome to Day 271 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Zechariah joined Haggai in rousing the people from their indifference, challenging them to resume the building of the temple. Haggai’s primary purpose was to rebuild the temple; his preaching has a tone of rebuke for the people’s indifference, sin, and lack of trust in God. He was used to start the revival, while Zechariah was used to keep it going strong with a more positive emphasis, calling the people to repentance and reassuring them regarding future blessings. gty.org
Zechariah 1:3, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’”
Zechariah 2:10, “‘Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord.”
Zechariah 3:4b, “Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.'”
Luke 11:11, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit [some translations say, “good gifts”] to those who ask him!”
God wants to heal and restore us, and give us good gifts!
I once heard one of our pastors, Marc Dupont, tell a story about how God wants to give us ice cream. If I recall the story correctly, the gist if it is that broccoli is better for our kids, but it’s more fun to watch them eat ice cream! I want to take my kids out for ice cream, because they enjoy it…
… and I enjoy watching them enjoy it!
God wants to give us good gifts, but at times I think he is only interested in providing for my “needs.”
But he wants me to have ice cream, too!
It’s so easy to slip into a mindset that God is angry and ready to inflict punishment, versus wanting to give us good gifts, or the Holy Spirit to us. Like he is withholding from us until we are “good enough.”
If that were the case, it would never happen. I may sin less, but I will never be “good enough” or deserving of much of what he has for me.
Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
New every morning…
New every morning!
New EVERY morning!!
Like today! Right now, sitting on my couch at 6:44 AM, his mercies are new. For me… and, for you!
Just as for the Israelites… whose history was certainly an up and down roller coaster ride of drawing near, then drifting (or turning) away from him. God never stopped pursuing them, or reneged on his covenant with them.
Not even during their exile… Their captivity lasted 70 years… For them, in their lifetime, that must have felt like an eternity… but in comparison to their 400 years of slavery?
I often wonder, as I’m sure you do too, about things like that. Why would a good God allow his people to be enslaved or to be conquered??
Well, it certainly wasn’t in his plan. All he has ever wanted was a people who would love, trust and follow him.
But they would not. They turned away, repeatedly…
And he would draw them back.
Again, and again, and again.
The same is true for us. If there is space between me and him, it is never on his end. It’s always because I have allowed, or put that space there.
And his mercies are new every morning.
Thank you Lord that your mercies are new for me today!