Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Bowl of Popcorn

Kernels of truth were popping up throughout all of today’s reading. Just like the salty goodness of a bowl of popcorn, I couldn’t stop at just a taste. Please indulge with me today as I share all that the Lord spoke to my heart.

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“All expenses will be paid by the royal treasury.” Ezra 6:4

This verse excited me because just two days ago I read a post written by my friend Zoe. She was sharing how her son has wanted to be a pilot since the age of two. Without sharing all the details, he is currently receiving training, at no cost to him or his family, at over $150,000.00. As far as I can explain, all expenses are being paid by the Royal treasury. The King of Kings has provided a way from His storehouse of blessings. How exciting.

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“During the seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves?” Zechariah 7:5-6

*Ouch* God is stepping on my toes again.

I don’t know how many of you read Lysa TerKeurst’s blog, but on Thursday she held a little contest. In honour of her friend Holly’s birthday, the reader was encouraged to go and sprinkle happiness on the life of another and then return to comment on the good deed that had been completed. Knowing Holly, and having already written a post in celebration of her life here, I embraced this challenge with enthusiasm. My goodness, by about 9:30am I already had a list of seven things I had done to make another smile and I had many more ideas in mind.

Driving home from repairing an elderly ladies kitchen floor with Fabric Paint (long story), and mentally chalking up another good deed accomplished, the Lord spoke to my heart. “Joy, why are you doing all of these things today? Is it because you want to win a contest or because you love Me?” (Here’s where my feet began to ache!) I was doing kind things, but for the wrong reason. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord saw my heart. This shouldn’t be a one day effort, but a lifestyle. This needs to be a natural overflow from a heart that is truly His. My love for others must flow from the abundance of His love for me. Getting my motivation in check again.

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“They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the LORD of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the LORD of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them. Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” Zechariah 7:11-13

These verses caused me to remember my recent ear problems. I had a blockage that had to be removed by my doctor. It caused a physical hearing loss. What about our spiritual ears? Do they sometimes also need an appointment with the Great Physician? Do we sometimes turn away stubbornly, refusing to listen to what He is speaking to us? These verses tell us that if we put our fingers in our ears, displaying no willingness to listen to God, He does not listen to us. His silence is quieter and more unnerving than any physical deafness. Let’s keep our ears open to hear Him speak to our hearts.

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“All this may seem impossible to you now…But is it impossible for me? Says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” Zechariah 8:6

What encouragement!!! When I think of my Dad’s situation…the dear one who has turned their back on family, friends and God…Melanie's son Andrew…Susan’s cancer diagnosis…etc, I am reminded that NOTHING is impossible with God. Now that’s a good kernel to chew on!!!

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“Be strong and finish the task!” Zechariah 8:9

My friend Elaine reads my unspoken words so well. She knows when I’m getting weary and contemplating surrendering to this daily task. She senses discouragement and immediately speaks words of life into me. Last night I received a message from her that infused me with strength to keep writing. Not only that, but she prayed God’s breath would be all over me today as I opened His Word. I guess we know that prayer was answered.

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“Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing.” Zechariah 8:13

A symbol and a source. Both the representative and the reservoir. The sign and the supply. I just really liked that thought.

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“So don’t be afraid…So don’t be afraid.” Zechariah 8:13,15

This little Much-Afraid needs to hear those words daily. Fear has far too much freedom in my life. God needs to constantly speak these words into my heart. Someday I’m going to truly believe them.

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“The traditional fasts and times of mourning you have kept in early summer, midsummer, autumn, and winter are now ended. They will become festivals of joy and celebration…” Zechariah 8:19

Does this verse remind you of another passage of scripture? It did me. Isaiah 61:3, “…bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” The replacement of mourning for joy. Always thankful to make that wardrobe exchange.

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“I’m determined to go.” Zechariah 8:21

Determined. Devoting full strength and concentration to do something; resolute; strongly motivated; fixed or settled conclusively. Do we even see evidence of that type of commitment today in any area? Far too often when the going gets tough, we go alright. We leave the problem, situation, relationship and show no determination to remain, and with the Lord, work at a solution. Lord, keep my mind, eyes, heart fixed on You, devoted until the finish.

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“Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” Zechariah 8:23

Isn’t that beautiful? Can you imagine that request being asked of you? Nothing would delight my heart more and humble me deeper. That someone has heard of my faith in the Lord and desires to walk with me. Is your walk inviting such a request today? Let’s live so that other’s want to spend time as our companions on this journey, not because of anything we have done, but because of Christ in us.

My tummy is full. I’ve feasted well this morning. I trust something has filled your heart with His joy.

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5 comments:

Sharon@JoyInTheTruth said...

Wow Joy....lots and lots of meaningful, encouraging and challening POPS of truth here! I loved each one. Thank you. And God bless friends like Elaine!

I feel like I have just eaten some warm caramel popcorn with nuts! :)

Sande said...

His truth can be like popcorn .... you just want more and more.

Sometimes though, I get indigestion if I don't 'walk off' or walk out what He shows me.

Knowing the truth or living the truth.

Lutiemom said...

Thanks for sharing your "bowl of popcorn" with us! Each pop was edifying to the soul and gave me much to feast and ponder upon. I really enjoyed it.

nancy

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

What can I say? Pass the bowl. Man, (or in this case woman), did God show up or what? This is so beautifully written Joy. I'm going to print it out now and chew on it for my nightly time of devotion. Too much here to absorb in one bite.

You know I love your heart and your writing and fully believe that you will finish this work with all the grace and determination that God will infuse within you. This is a beautiful offering to him, to your family, to us, and I believe to a greater audience one day soon.

This is yours to finish. You will, and I will be the second to applaud your faithfulness. God has already offered his clap in the matter.

So good, Joy. And I'm not just saying that...

peace~elaine

~Grace and Peace said...

Joy,

Wow, I am full, too!

Thank you for sharing those kernels of truth. Those were great gems from Zechariah.

Yet, I find myself wanting more! My prayer is that we keep digging deeper in His word. May He feed us until we overflow. And in turn, may we use what He gives us to feed His sheep.

God bless you, dear friend!