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Post Covid Lit

Let’s face it. Covid changed things. Some for better, and others for worse. But overall, some books written pre-covid, just don’t make sense in today’s world. The challenges we face in this post-pandemic state are unique. I have found a few books written after the pandemic that speak into our lives today.

Find Your People by Jenni Allen

Own Your Past Change Your Future by John Delony

Your Brain is Always Listening by Daniel Amen

Each of these books touches on the loneliness epidemic in our society today. While they’re not perfect on their own, read all together can be helpful. I also suggest the all popular book, Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I believe that book needs to be read alongside Jenni Allen’s Find Your People book. While I deeply appreciate Jenni’s book, she speaks from a pretty healthy place assuming she’s speaking to mostly healthy people. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. I pray she follows it up with a “Find Healthy People when Toxicity feels Normal,” book.

The book by John Delony seems incredibly basic in its findings. But it’s necessary in our day and age. It reminds people to eat healthy, get connected, exercise, get outside, and how to change one’s thinking, among other things. It’s one of those things that everyone needs to hear and be reminded of on a regular basis. It also is incredibly encompassing of the whole person. He doesn’t just say how to change your past eating habits or how to change your relationships. He takes a wholistic focus on how to really have lasting change.

Daniel Amen’s book, I know I’ve touched on before, but it’s worth mentioning again. So many of us struggle with wrong thinking. If we could just get that right, we’d be able to change so many other things in our lives. I plan on reading his book multiple times. It’s largely a brain book, but written by the leader in neurology.

While sitting down and reading is shown to lower blood pressure and relax us and have all sorts of benefits, I listened to each of these books audio. So if you’re on the go, in the car, or take long walks, grab a device and listen away. Your brain will thank you.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

And if you’re into fiction, try Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. This book has taken off! It’s 14 hours of listening, which is nearly twice your average book. It’s so well written that it needs to be required reading for English classes. You’ll be hooked right away and keep reading all the way through to find out what happens. A pandemic, of sorts, happens in this book. So that’ll be interesting too.

Continue reading Post Covid Lit
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Are you MOVEable?

I had a best friend and roommate defriend me in college. It wasn’t just on Facebook, but in real life, in our one bedroom apartment! Up to that point, she hadn’t just been my best friend, but largely my only friend in college. After she turned on me, being in our apartment together became unbearable. I started doing my homework in the lobby, at the library, out at coffee shops, wherever I could, away from her. Yes, I tried to work it out, and years later, we did, sort of. But that’s beside the point. In the midst of me getting out of my room, I developed many more really deep and meaningful friendships with people whom I otherwise wouldn’t have had if I remained in my room with my one and only “friend.” Sometimes adversity can lead us to better and brighter things. For me, that was definitely true.

“But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went”
(Acts 8:4).

In the book of Acts, we read that a wave of persecution swept over the Christians. Many of the believers were scattered as a result (Acts 8:1). “But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went”
(Acts 8:4). It says the believers were scattered. But what we also see is that the Word of God spread! The rest of Acts chapter 8 gives examples of people in various areas receiving God.

Many times in the Bible, God told people to go somewhere. Abraham was called to go to the land God would show Him. Joseph was sent, through adversity to Egypt. Then Jacob took his whole family to Egypt. Moses was to go to the Israelites and return them to the promised land. Jonah was to go to Nineveh. Ruth went with Naomi back to Israel. Eventually, the Israelites were sent out of the land of Israel. Then, 70 years later, they were told to return to the land. God’s people throughout the Bible moved quite a bit!

Jesus’ last words to His disciples were to “go” and tell the world about Him (Matthew 28:18-20). He rarely told His people to stay. And when they are told to stay it’s like, “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Or in Exodus 14:13 where God said to be still while He rescued them. The only time God told His people to stay put is when they’re watching God move. Otherwise, He tells them to move!

How I hate moving! How comfortable I get in my own home, my own space, with my own stuff, making a place and space all, “my own!” You know the common denominator in all of that? Mine, me. God tells us to spread His Word, to be more into that than our own comfort. And we can’t avoid the reality that many times, moving is a part of obeying His Word. We move physically, or we get moving spiritually. We go. We rarely sit as Christians. We go. “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” God asked in Isaiah (6:8).

I can think of two basic responses to this call to go. Moses, when told to go and deliver the Israelites from slavery said, “Please Lord, send someone else” (Exodus 4:13). Then there was Isaiah’s response to God’s question of “whom shall I send?” Isaiah said, “Here I am; send me,” (Isaiah 6:8). One was ready and willing to be sent. The other didn’t feel like it or want to go at all. But it’s important to remember, that God actually used both of these men. God also used Jonah, even though he did the opposite of going where God wanted him to go. Guess it just goes to show that we probably won’t win in an argument with God, or in a game of hide and seek. If God wants to get us somewhere, He’ll do it. But wouldn’t it be nice if we let go of our fears, trusted Him, and went with a willing heart? I know it’s a lot nicer to take my kids somewhere they want to go that to fight them tooth and nail to get them somewhere we have to go. Why give God a hard time? And God continued to use Moses and Isaiah. But we don’t hear of Jonah being used anymore by God. I wonder how much more God would use us if we were more willing and obedient.

Pray today through Psalm 51:12, asking God to restore to you the joy you had when you first believed, so that you will be empowered to obey Him, willingly. And remember, obedience might involve, moving! Amen!

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Are you doing the ONE THING Jesus asked?

If you’ve been in the church for any length of time, you’ve likely heard of “the great commission,” where Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and save everyone! I’ve preached on the verse on more than one occasion. Today, after a brief review, I want to focus particularly on the phrase “all nations.”

"Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age”
(Matthew 28:18‭-‬20).

The last words Jesus had to His disciples were this: go! He reminded His disciples how He had been given ALL authority. Because of that, they are to listen to Him, above all worldly leaders or ANYONE else!

Then Jesus said they are to GO. Did He say to stay? No, He said to go! Where? Into ALL the world, all nations. Doing what? Baptizing them. Who gets baptized? Only those who claim to follow God publicly! It’s an outward expression of an inward decision. Baptizing who? Those who have heard about Jesus and chose to believe in Him, the One true God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Then what? Discipleship! We are to not just save people, but teach them how to obey God and live for Him. And with all of this, it might get lonely. We can be encouraged that Jesus will be with us, always. He who has ALL authority, will be with us as we follow Him!

Now that we’ve reviewed the great commission, let’s go in depth into what it means by “all nations.” Depending on the translation or the sermon you hear, ultimately, you’ll hear that this term refers to all peoples. All people groups. It might be a tribe, a group of people who speak the same language. Again, being a Christian in America for very long means we’ve probably heard all this before.

I recently saw a map of unreached people groups. I’d seen it before. What shocked me was seeing a map immediately afterward of where all the missionaries in the world are. Folks: the maps weren’t just different, but drastically different! We’re not reaching the unreached! I can think of two problems. First, apparently those nations we are reaching, we’re failing at discipleship. If we were succeeding, I think we’d have more missionaries. Second, we’re sending people to the wrong areas. Sure, there are unreached people in Europe, but they have churches there! Can’t those churches there reach those people there? I also heard a disturbing statistic recently: there are 9 churches for every unreached people group in the world. Wait, what? How many unreached people groups is your church praying for?

This is the one thing Jesus said we’re to do as Christians. I mean, you know that meme “he had one job!” Is God looking down saying about His Christians, “wow, that’s a neat coffee shop and a fancy Bible study. Love that worship song, Christian rock concert, but… That’s not what I asked you to do! You’ve forgotten My people over here.” Know that I’m speaking to myself here as well.

There are what we know as modern missionaries, who work for Cru (God bless them), or other organizations who plant churches in anti-Christian areas. But the bush missionaries, who blaze a trail, build their own houses, clear a landing strip in the jungle, poop in a hole in the ground that they dig STILL exist! And we need more of them if we’re ever to reach the whole world for Christ. If we’re ever to actually obey the great commission, we need missionaries who go the distance, learn new languages, translate the Bible, learn new cultures, risk their lives, and teach the Word where it’s NEVER been taught before. It’s the great adventure we’ve been called to! We don’t just need missionaries who teach God’s Word where the people have grown tired of it and it’s now a post-Christian society. But we need trail blazers, bush wackers, handy men and creative women to change their lives and their lifestyles to dive into a tribe never reached with the gospel before.

I know some missionaries who work in the bush of an unreached people group. They’re the real deal. It takes them 2-4 days to reach their tribe, once they land in the country, often hiking 1-2 of those days! They get groceries once a month and if they run out, they can’t just go to McDonald’s. They’ve translated the New testament, started a church among the tribe. They have 60 believers there now.

What if every church took ONE unreached people group and started praying for them to be reached with the gospel? What if then, someone was raised up to go, as Matthew 28:18-20 says. We all can’t go, but we can give and we can pray. And we can choose to give and pray for the unreached as opposed to just the unwilling. I know missionaries in a country in Europe who get about one convert a year, while those in the bush receive many annually. Those in the bush are HUNGRY for the Word. I know a missionary in India who hiked miles to reach a group of people to share the gospel with them and they all believed. Why are we pouring money and resources into ineffectiveness?  We have one job as Christians.

One last thought on all of this. The missionaries who go into the bush, start a church, translate the Bible for that tribe, and do the hard work, they’re also fulfilling all the other commands in the Bible at the same time. By doing that, they’re reaching the poor, orphaned, widowed, forgotten people of the world. They’re being the hands and feet of Jesus. They’re setting people free of addictions, of abuse, saving marriages and families. The rest of the commands in the Bible aren’t forgotten when we reach the unreached.

So, why don’t we hear about these missionaries you ask? Because they’re not here! They’re busy doing the work of the Lord, often in remote locations without modern conveniences like Internet, or for some, without electricity. And even if they do have those things, they’re not living in America! We hear about American missionaries in America. So we support our own, and avoid telling others at work about Jesus, because that’s what we gave our tithe to those American missionaries to do. Wait what? No! It’s every Christian’s job to share Jesus, not just those in full time ministry.

I’m not here to condemn you, or your church, but I am calling us to rethink our priorities. We have one job as Christians, preach the Word, to all nations. If we’re living in America, we should be preaching the Word and discipling others in how to walk in it. Our money should be tithed to our church, that hopefully also supports missionaries reaching the unreached. And we too, should be supporting such missions. So you give 10% to your church. Give 1% to an unreached people group or missionary. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out a couple of the organizations below. No, I’m not compensated by any of these organizations. I just believe they’re fulfilling the great commission and can help you do your part. Pray. Give. Go. Chose one or all of those options.

Blazing a trail for new tribes, translating the Bible, starting churches, discipling the nations

Bible translation

Ship missions (providing resources)

Aviation training to fly in remote areas

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Folly vs. Wisdom

Reading through the Little House on the Prairie series has made me think a lot about society back then verses ours today. Most notably, how incredibly hard working those in the 1800s were. We have transitioned largely from being a hard working society into an entertainment society. We love to be entertained. We love pleasure, thrills, and exciting new things. We despise the boring, mundane things like actual work. While nothing’s wrong with entertainment in general, and workoholism isn’t healthy, somehow, we’ve missed something deeper.

When explaining Proverbs 9:13-18 recently, I said the following. It’s like all these people were walking straight, following the rules, doing what was right, what they were told, obeying God. But then up on a hill, a woman called out to those doing right and tried to get them to do wrong! She sat down, not working and urged them to do evil! She had a name and it’s “Folly.” Folly urges people to steal and hide and be pleasured. Some people listened and they stopped doing good because they followed her. But what they didn’t realize was that her way lead to death.

The woman named Folly is brash.
    She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.
She sits in her doorway
    on the heights overlooking the city.
She calls out to men going by
    who are minding their own business.
“Come in with me,” she urges the simple.
    To those who lack good judgment, she says,
“Stolen water is refreshing;
    food eaten in secret tastes the best!”
But little do they know that the dead are there.
    Her guests are in the depths of the grave (Proverbs 9:13-18).

How often I pursue something thinking it will give me life, but I am disappointed. I see this with my kids and toys constantly. They love new toys, but only when they’re new. Do you know how quickly they become un-new? It depends on the toy, but usually about a day or so. Then they’ve moved on to something else. We as adults, while perhaps more sophisticated, are no different. We get something thinking we need it and soon realize we need something else. We get rid of the old things in hopes of something new. Or we try a new activity, a new group, a new friendship, a new job, a new recipe, all the while hoping by trying something new, we’ll find an answer to our deep longing. It seems we’re either trying new things, or in despair thinking “everything is meaningless” like in Ecclesiastes.

So what is the answer? We find our answer earlier in Proverbs chapter 9. There we read what wisdom does. Fearing the Lord results in wisdom. Knowing God can help us make decisions (Proverbs 9:10). We’re to avoid the foolish influences in our lives and strive to know God and His wisdom more. What can you do to avoid the foolishness of the world today? Is there an unhealthy relationship that needs dealt with? A media influence? An activity or materialism cling you need to let go of? What can you do today to find contentment in the Lord and seek His wisdom? Pray to do that, by His power. Amen!

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Never Explain. Never Complain.

The Royal family in England has a motto: never explain, never complain. It doesn’t mean they never get upset. However, to the public, they don’t encourage gossip. It’s a motto that has largely served them well. Even lately with Prince Harry sharing some of their secrets, they have stood firm as a solid rock for their country. They have not come out to the public about how they feel about Harry. They’ve handled the matter privately.

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life…” (Philippians 2:14‭-‬16).

Working as a camp counselor, one summer I had this Scripture hanging at the foot of my bed. I reviewed it daily and preached it to myself. I tried to make it become my attitude. The translation I had at that time said to do everything without “complaining or arguing,” (Philippians 2:14). Despite the intensity of the camp counselor job, I strived to not complain, to do my work with a good attitude, and glorify God in all I did.

Today, I preach that verse to my kids as a mom. Not complaining doesn’t mean we have to like our circumstances. But we try to find things we like about it. We try to find the good in all circumstances. We trust GOD with our circumstances. We trust GOD with our desires, as opposed to looking elsewhere for fulfillment. I can handle someone telling me “no,” because my ultimate trust and fulfillment is in the Lord, not in their response to me and my desires. I can trust the Lord without complaining because I know that every decision is ultimately from the Lord, who has my best interests in mind (Proverbs 16:33, Jeremiah 29:11). I tell my children (and myself), when someone tells them “no,” they’re to say, “it’s OK. My trust is in the Lord.”

Is that not the ultimate source of our complaints? It’s that we don’t trust God’s goodness to us in our situation. We don’t have everything we want. Life’s not perfect, so we complain. We don’t get what we want, so we complain. Does it do any good? Do we ask God (James 4:2-3)?

The world is full of complainers. Often times, you’re not cool if you don’t complain. Philippians 2 explains even deeper why the Lord has called HIS children to live differently than the rest of the world. We’re not to argue, not to complain, not to grumble under our breaths. We are to be what the verse says, “pure,” by steering clear of these things. By doing that one thing, we stand out from the rest of the world. God desires HIS children to be pure, blameless, unable for someone to bring an accusation against. It’s a tall order. “Never complain.” Can you do it?

Remember, it doesn’t mean we’re dishonest about what we dislike, but we don’t dwell on it or grumble about it. Instead we get busy doing what the Lord has called us to, placing our ultimate trust in Him. BECAUSE we trust HIM with our circumstances, we have no reason TO complain. We can give our “complaints” or desires to HIM, and move on, trusting that He has good in store for us, WHATEVER the circumstances. Today, tell the Lord about your unmet desires. If it’s a deep struggle, pray with a friend about it. Trust HIM to care for those in His way. Then move on in confidence trusting Him to use your good attitude where you are to shine His light to the world. He will do it. Amen!

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How to get Published

Unfortunately, publishers don’t want that book you’re writing, or you have in your head to write. And even if you get it into print, it likely won’t sell, beyond a few family and friends who love you very much. Sorry to burst your bubble. Writing is full of rejections. It’s a hard truth.

Why don’t publishers want that book of yours? Because it’s not marketable, unique, and well written. If it were, you’d be on the best seller list.

Let’s go over those one by one, so you won’t waste your time writing things that won’t go anywhere.


Yes, it has to sell. Anyone can sell the first 100 books to their family and friends. But after that, if it’s not marketable, well written, and unique, it won’t sell.

If you’re famous, what you write will be marketable. If you have a good intriguing title, it’ll sell. If it’s pretty, or has a catchy picture on the cover, it’ll sell. If it impresses people, they’ll but it again. It has to be something people want to read about, en mass.


It’s easy to read a bunch of books and think you could write something similar. A publisher doesn’t want just a ho hum average book like all the rest. They want something special, unique, that will stand a head above the rest. don’t want something like all the rest of the books out there. It has to be unique.

The 5 Love Languages has sold more copies every year ever since it first came out. It’s a unique book. It’s a unique idea! It’s also marketable and well written.

Mo Willems pigeon and elephant and piggie books are unique. They’re fun page turning books often dealing with emotions. They’re also marketable and well written.

Herve Tullet’s book Press Here was unique, because it was interactive! It was a new concept.


Your English teacher was right. You have to pay attention to Grammer. It needs to be well written. Sure, publishers edit, but it’s expensive and they don’t want to fix your blotched up thoughts on paper thrown at them half done. They want a finished copy, a polished one, something that’s pleasant for them to read. Send your work to some friends, lots of them, before you send it to a publisher. Also, consider an editing service. Your book has to be well written, not just grammatically, but all throughout. It has to flow, be readable, and feel like a finished work. It might be unique and marketable, but if it’s not well written, it’ll be a dropped book instead of a page turner.

Mr. Putter and Tabby books are well written, worded nicely, and flow well.

Little House on the Prairie books are well written, descriptive, exciting, and conclusive.

Unfortunately, I’ve spent way too much time sending publishers things they’re not interested in. I’m not a famous person or famous writer. Therefore, if I want to get published, I have to write not what I want, but something they want. I have to write what the public wants. I have to write what publishers want. And unless you’re famous, you do too.

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Jesus stopped to rest

Jesus got tired. The God of the universe, having all power and authority, was worn out (Matthew 28:18-20)! Jesus was fully God and fully human.

“Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime” (John 4:6).


Look at the word, “tired,” briefly. It’s the same Greek word as used in Matthew 11:28 when Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (emphasis mine). It’s also the same word as used in Revelation 2:3 when Jesus spoke to one of the churches saying, “You have patiently suffered for Me without quitting” (emphasis mine). The actual definition does not speak of a physical exhaustion, as we think from John 4:6, as Jesus had finished a long walk. Instead it refers to an emotional exhaustion, a discouraged feeling. I believe the emotional exhaustion Jesus felt was largely a result of the physical exertion He had exerted.

I don’t know about you, but I often think of Jesus as robotic, machine like, moving through life miraculously slaving away at ministry with a happy heart and a smile on his face, never losing patience and never pooping, because, He was perfect! I mean, if He was perfect, did He really poop? Or did He eat the perfect amount so that His body never produced any waste? Ok, He was fully human. I’ll leave that for a doctor to answer. Back to topic! Yes, Jesus got tired! Discouraged even! Emotionally exhausted!

In Context

The verse about Jesus becoming exhausted occurred after Jesus had walked by Himself to Samaria. Most Jews went around Samaria because of the racial tensions between Samaritans and Jews. But Jesus, a Jew, went through Samaria, as I’m sure He felt led by the Father to do. He led the way, alone, with His [Jewish] disciples trailing behind. The Bible says the disciples went to get food, it does not explain why Jesus did not go with them or why He went on alone without any of them. Maybe He didn’t want His disciples talking Him out of it. Maybe He didn’t want their fears of Samaritans to cloud His ministry. Maybe He just wanted to get there and they were taking their time. Maybe He needed time with His Father to pray through how to love those crazy disciples. God knows. But He walked ahead, alone. And when Jesus made it to the well, He wasn’t just physically exhausted, but He was emotionally spent too! As we know, physical exertion can often weigh on our mental state, as I’m sure it did His. Walking quite a ways in the middle of the day is enough to discourage anyone, even Jesus.

Why do marathon runners like having people cheering them on? Because they get physically exhausted and mentally discouraged. Jesus had physically exerted a good amount of energy. But no one had been there to cheer Him on. It’s no wonder His disciples urged Him to eat when they caught up with Him (John 4:31).

Why does it matter?

So what? What does this mean for us today? Three things:
1. Jesus is relatable.
2. Jesus was used by God in His exhaustion.
3. Jesus was used by God in His need.

First of all, being fully human, Jesus can relate to your exhaustion, your weariness, your discouragement. Jesus knows your pain! Take a rest. It’s OK. Jesus sat down because He was exhausted and discouraged. You can too. It’s OK. Take a seat and see what He will do. His yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30).

Second, God used Jesus in His exhaustion. Jesus’ ministry didn’t stop when He stopped to rest. Let me say that again. Jesus didn’t stop saving people when He took time to slow down! One more time: Jesus’ ministry didn’t stop when He stopped to rest!

Jesus’ ministry didn’t stop when He stopped to rest.

Someone needs to hear that today. A Samaritan woman went to Jesus and through speaking with Him, she became a believer and an ambassador for Jesus. If God is calling you to slow down and rest, it doesn’t mean He’ll use you any less or save any fewer people. Through Jesus stopping to rest, He saved one person, the right person, who went on to save many, as a mighty disciple for Christ. What if Jesus kept going? What if He walked right past her? He could have said to Himself, “I’m the Son of God and today’s not my day to die, and it’s hot! So I’m going to keep going until I get to some shade. But He didn’t. He was tired, so He listened to His human body and rested.

Third, God used Jesus in His need. Jesus had thirst! He needed a drink! He was human, after all. So Jesus asked the Samaritan woman, who went to the well, for a drink. In His need, asking for a drink led to a ministry opportunity. Often, we think meeting our needs is our responsibility. Or we think sharing our needs with others is selfish. I’m preaching to myself here. But as Jenni Allen explains in her book FIND YOUR PEOPLE, sharing our needs with others can be one of the best things we can do to build a relationship with them. Obviously, this isn’t a blanket statement. It needs to be done in wisdom, while taking into account safe people, boundaries, appropriate levels of sharing etc. But God can use our neediness as a ministry opportunity. I recently heard of a lady, Kelly, who had to go to the hospital for some serious health issues. She prayed for ministry opportunities. She explained afterward how the whole time she stayed in the hospital, she was constantly being used of the Lord to share with others coming in her room about Jesus. In her need to be healed physically, God used her to heal others spiritually. God can use you in your need.

Therefore, if you’re feeling discouraged or physically exhausted, take heart. Jesus felt that way too. Resting will not stop God’s work in you. Do you have a need that the Lord is leading you to share with someone? Trust Him in taking that step of faith. Maybe your sharing will bring that person closer to the Lord. And remember, just as Jesus was fully human, you are too.

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Are you missing something?

What’s something you value? Something you make time for in your life? Perhaps it’s your daily coffee that you wouldn’t miss for the world. Perhaps it’s your kids’ birthdays, or sporting events, that you wouldn’t miss for the world. Your anniversary. Today’s passage highlights a group of people who missed something extremely significant.

Do you remember in the story of Jesus’ death, how much Judas was paid by the Pharisees to betray Jesus? Thirty shekles of silver (Matthew 26:15). Zechariah was a prophet. Prophets often did things the Lord led them to in order to send a message to the people. It’d be like an announcer after a basketball game where the little guy won saying, “see, with God all things are possible,” or something like that.

With Zechariah, the Lord led him to shepherd a flock of sheep, that was doomed to slaughter (Zechariah 11). At the end of it all, he asked for his wages. He was given thirty shekles of silver. Then, he took the money and threw it to the potter in the Lord’s temple (Zechariah 11:13). There’s so much in this verse!

“Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord” (Zechariah 11:13).

First of all, the amount, is the same as Jesus’ betrayer, Judas, received.

Second, Zechariah took the money and threw it in the temple. Judas did that too! “And [Judas] threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary…” (Matthew 27:5a)

Third, look at the Potter. Zechariah threw his thirty pieces of silver to the potter (Zechariah 11:13). With the thirty pieces received by the Pharisees from Judas, they bought the Potter’s field. The Potter still received the money in both accounts!

These bits of details about a potter’s field seem insignificant. But they’re completely purposeful. I’m sure Zechariah felt ridiculous following the Lord, not knowing the future significance of his actions. We haven’t even touched on the meaning of the flock doomed to slaughter!

So, who cares? What’s the point? I mean, it’s a neat connection, but why? Think for a moment. Who would have had a first hand seat of these events around the time of Jesus’ death? The Pharisees who doomed him to die. The Pharisees who should have known the Scriptures inside and out. The Pharisees who should have seen the similarities between their situation and the book of Zechariah. The Pharisees, who received the thirty pieces of silver, in the temple, and then bought the Potter’s field.
Shouldn’t they have been asking themselves, “why is this so familiar? Didn’t this happen before? Is God trying to get our attention? Was there more to that prophet Zechariah?” Yesss!


They didn’t see it. They didn’t recognize the connection. Or, as far as we’re told. But isn’t it interesting that God went to such lengths to tell them, even them! Even the very ones who betrayed Him! God gave them every chance imaginable to see Him as the Christ. He spoke their language. He spoke through the Old Testament prophets. He spoke through Jesus.

I can’t help but think personally what God is speaking to me today that I’m missing. Am I paying attention? Am I giving Him time or space to speak? Are you? Beyond that, do we think there’s a group of people God doesn’t care to save? Jesus didn’t spend much time trying to save the Pharisees. But He didn’t give up on them either. Nicodemus believed. Jesus gave him time (John 3). Are we open to God saving someone through us who happens to be in a group of people hateful toward Christ or us? Wow, that’s a hard question. Let’s pray today for wisdom to be His light where He calls. Amen!

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Small Beginnings

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand…” (Zechariah 4:10a).

Finding this famous phrase in the Bible surprised me. As Biblically literate as I am, I still missed realizing this common saying had roots in the Bible. “Do not despise these small beginnings…” (Zechariah 4:10).

What small beginnings are being referred to here in the Bible?

In this particular passage, Zechariah was having a vision of the future when the temple of God would be rebuilt. The temple was the center of the Israelites’ original promised land. At the time of this prophecy, the Israelites would have been downtrodden, discouraged, defeated, disappointed. All the “D’s.” It was after their city and country had been destroyed, including their beloved temple. It was after they had been taken captive by a foreign nation. But the Lord encouraged them that it would be rebuilt. The small beginnings referred to here were the foundation of the new temple. It might have looked measley compared to the old one. It might have looked like nothing, but a foundation. Small as it was, it signified the start to something big.

What does the Lord say about these small beginnings?

The Lord told His people two things regarding these small beginnings. First, He said not to despise them. Second, He said that He “rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10). I’ve had to recently start over in many ways. My house is half the size it used to be. Some kids recently came over and asked, “Do you have a basement? Do you have an upstairs?”
I answered plainly, “no, we don’t. We miss our basement. But we’re close to the park and we have a great location.” I have to remind myself that we’re rebuilding. We’re starting over, just as the Israelites were. God did not despise their small beginnings. He was happy that they were moving forward, taking small steps in the right direction. The Lord did not care that it wasn’t grandiose, like Solomon’s temple before. We too, must remember, to not compare ourselves to others. Our small beginnings will be used of the Lord for great things. God will use my small house, our start over. Just as He brought that temple to completion, He’s bringing you and me to completion too. The Israelites’ relationship with the Lord was restored, along with their temple. So the Lord will restore in me and mine, all that’s been broken. He will bring it to completion, despite these small beginnings. And He will do the same with you! Whatever seems small and dispise-able in your life, God can use for His glory!

What significance does the plumb line have?*

The plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand referred to a man going to work completing a work God had called Him to do! Despite how hopeless the work looked to the masses, God loved that this man was pursuing it’s completion, trusting God would bless it. What work has God called you to? As you consider that for a moment, let’s look a bit deeper. The small beginnings referred to here can also be translated in other places in the Bible as “young, youngest, small, least…” ( Logos Word study). What in your life has the Lord led you to that seems young, possibly the least, needing MUCH improvement? Instead of being annoyed at it not looking Pinterest perfect, remember that the Lord LOVES those things. He loves His people seeing value and bringing value to something the masses see as insignificant. Perhaps it’s people, literally young children, or others young in their faith. Perhaps you’re called to build them up just as this temple was raised up to glorify God. Do not despise teaching Sunday school to preschoolers. Do not despise that small business you’re starting with just a few sales, or that online presence with only a few likes. The Lord LOVES you moving in a direction, be it ever so small, in order to glorify Him!

Whatever you’re working on today, no matter how small and insignificant it seems, remember not to despise small beginnings, for the Lord LOVES seeing you work as you trust Him to bring your work to full glory. God’s got this. God’s got you. He’ll enable you to finish what He’s called you to. Amen!


Just a reminder. God sent Jesus to earth with a “small beginning,” being born in a manger, with animals. In God using Zerubbabel to prophecy this message, He was also preparing His people to receive a Savior, born in a manger. That small beginning saved the world! If God can use that, of course He can use you.

*The plumb line had significance, which you can Google.

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What to do with non-believers in Church

“These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want” (Jude 1:16).

I read recently that only about 40 percent of church goers are Christians.* If you’re a church goer, that statistic makes you question your salvation. I thought it was more like 80 percent. Sure, a few here and there might not really be Christians, but the vast majority are, right? Apparently not.

What do we do with verses like those in Jude? It’s an entire book ,albeit only one chapter long, about those in the church who don’t actually follow the Lord! Jude knew this was a serious problem. He says people like that cause divisions in the church, use God’s grace as an excuse to sin, defy authority, care only for themselves, and rebel (Jude 1). The Bible describes them as “dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you,” just from sharing a meal together (Jude 1:12). Our verse explains them as “grumblers and complainers” (Jude 1:16).

I don’t know about you, but as I read this, I couldn’t help but think, “I know people like that!” Unfortunately, I know people who flatter others just to get what they want (Jude 1:16). I know a whole group of people who will try to stop me from pursuing God’s will for me if I spend much time with them.

So what do we do? I mean, nobody’s perfect and we’re supposed to be around non Christians too, right? Thankfully, Jude tells us. We’re to build each other up and to pray (Jude 1:20). Note that he doesn’t say we’re to snuff out the non Christians and kick them out! Instead of complaining or praising to get what we want, we’re to show mercy to others, loving the person, but hating their sin (Jude 1:22-23). We can do this when we remember that God is the One responsible for keeping us in Him (Jude 1:24).

Do you know a person described in Jude’s book? How can you show them mercy without falling into sin yourself? If you truly know someone like that, you know how difficult it can be. Let’s start with prayer. Pray for those you know like this and how you can show them mercy without compromising your faith.

*From the book I Am a Church Member (Rainer).

Photo credit: Laura Stanley