Tag Archives: Zephaniah

Searching for Love

This morning as we were finishing our walk, I was looking for my keys as we approached the house. For some reason, likely because coffee was not in my system, I was looking in all the wrong places. I went through each pocket to no avail, because I was not looking where they always are put. When I had a moment of clarity, I scolded myself and got some coffee.

Always, we look for things in the wrong places. For many of us, it is simply a matter of searching for our lost keys, a misplaced wallet or purse, or losing some paperwork you thought you put in your special spot. For some of us, we forget our “secret hiding place,” because it’s extra secretive. Yes, I’ve been there.  Sadly, one of the biggest things we look for in the wrong place is LOVE. The greatest love is the love of our heavenly Father. There is no greater love. Yet we turn every corner in life trying to find a person to give us the love that we think we need. The truth is a person can never give us the love we need—only the One Who created us can offer that love.

Today, be reminded of the love of God. He is singing over you (Zephaniah 3:17). He loves you with an everlasting, unfailing, overflowing love. It is unending. It is not based on circumstances. It is a love that sent His one and only Son to spread His arms wide upon a cross to the point of death just for you! It is a love that is forever reaching out for you, forever wanting to share life with you. Nothing can separate you from His love.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 [NLT]

Shoulder to Shoulder

In Zephaniah, we read of what is to come, and it is such a beautiful image. In verse 9, it says, “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve Him shoulder to shoulder.” The ESV translates this as “with one accord.” The HCSB says it differently, “with single purpose.” Picture this—God’s people shoulder to shoulder, with one accord, with single purpose.

I love considering what this verse means for us. This verse speaks about a time when we will join together in one accord to spread the Good News. Our mouths will be filled with pure words, purifying words, of the Gospel that we will spread throughout the world. This is where we are currently. This is not something that is to come—it’s NOW! Believing in Jesus Christ, receiving the Holy Spirit—this has given us the opportunity to speak with purifying lips, to serve shoulder to shoulder.

Nothing can keep us from serving shoulder to shoulder, joining together in one voice, in one accord—in harmony for the Lord Jesus Christ—except for ourselves. We allow our pride and our fears to get in the way. We take our purifying lips and allow them to be used for defiling purposes. Today, consider this verse. Consider what was prophesied here. Be a part of the purifying lips. This is only the beginning my friends. We will continue to join together shoulder to shoulder until the whole earth knows about Jesus. When He returns, when the new heaven and new earth come, we will continue together in one voice, glorifying the Lord. We will sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8).

“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve Him shoulder to shoulder.” – Zephaniah 3:9 [NIV]

Good Morning

baptism2Today was an awesome day! It was a good morning! We started worship with “Hold Us Together,” singing the words, “This is the first day of the rest of your life.” I looked onward and considered that today’s the first day of something special for three young girls, one who was confirming her baptism, and two who were scheduled to be baptized. Yes, my eyes began to tear up. One of the three girls was my daughter—the other two were two precious sisters who I have watched grow through the years—former students, considered family in my eyes. Oh what a wonderful morning!

As the three girls were before us I continued to pray for each one of them and I thanked God for His great plan for each of their lives. After the ceremony had finished, I made my way to the bathroom. I heard the words, “Good morning.” I looked around. No one was in the bathroom. No one was in the lounge. No one was anywhere near me. And I said, “Yes God, it is a good morning.”

Every day someone accepts the Lord as their Savior, it is a good morning. Every time someone becomes a brother or sister in Christ, it is a good morning. Heaven rejoices. We rejoice. God wants all of us to come home. Each one of us. Read 2 Peter 3:9. Today, it was a good morning. Three people very near and dear to my heart had the most important day of their lives. Join me in praying for each of these girls. Pray also that those who have yet to have their “good morning” will open their eyes and ears to what God has for them—the beautiful free gift—and give themselves as a living sacrifice. Thank you Jesus!! Oh what a beautiful day!

I wrote three verses in each of the books for the girls. Here’s one I wrote for my daughter:

“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” – Zephaniah 3:17 [NLT]

Doing the Same Old Things

Repentance means that there is a change. Repentance says, “I’m sorry and I do not want to do this anymore.” Repentance or metanoia means “change of mind.” It is an inward response not a behavior reform; however, repentance should show results of a change of behavior.

Zephaniah spoke of those who were doing the same old things. There was no visible proof that there was a change of heart or a change of mind. After facing the consequences of sin the people were right back at it “bright and early” in the morning.

If you have repented of something, there should be a visible change along with your inward response. When you turn your life over to Jesus, when you confess your sins to Him, your life should not revolve around doing the same old things. If you find yourself still doing the same old things today, ask Him to give you the strength to press forward. Pray for forgiveness, for comfort and for guidance. Never be fearful of asking your brothers and sisters for help—for encouragement, for support, for accountability. You do not have to spend your life doing the same old things. Jesus offers you something new.

 

“I thought, ‘Surely she’ll honor me now,
accept my discipline and correction,
Find a way of escape from the trouble she’s in,
find relief from the punishment I’m bringing.’
But it didn’t faze her. Bright and early
she was up at it again, doing the same old things.”

-Zephaniah 3:7 [MSG]

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Running

    When I was younger, I always was amazed at the story of Jonah. I imagined this man attempting to run away, and yet “the LORD hurled a great wind” and next thing you know he was swallowed by “a great fish.” Who tries to run away from God? It seems crazy and yet I believe we all have our moments.

    Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh. God told him of the important task he had, but he did not agree. We do this same thing when God gives us an idea of what we are to do in life, and yet we think we know better or we allow fear to dictate our actions instead of giving God the chance to direct our path.

    Perhaps it could be that we have this high paying job, but God wants us to go back to school for a college degree in something far from our current career. Maybe we are told to move, to enter or end a relationship, or perhaps to wait for something. What really can be hard to swallow is when you make a plan or goal, you nearly are there at the end to reach this goal, and God turns you around. Maybe you are paying off a house or car and think you can settle, but God thinks it’s time for a change.

    No matter what it is, God promises us that we will be blessed abundantly if we trust in Him. It’s hard. I won’t argue with anyone. I went across the world because God said to despite many sacrifices that had to be made. I went back to school though I loved my career and it provided for my family. Stepping out in faith is scary and it can be very unsettling; however, the rewards always come. Trust in Him for He alone is faithful. He is our victorious warrior who is by our side each day as we press forward.

“Do not be afraid O Zion;
Do not let your hands fall limp.
The LORD your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
– Zephaniah 3:16b-17 [NASB]