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Posts Tagged ‘beginnings’

Spoilers

October 22nd, 2012

“Catch . . the little foxes that spoil the vines.” Song of Solomon 2:15 NKJV.

Small things appear insignificant except to those who see potential others do not.

My thoughts and comments today are about “spoilers.”

God places high value on small things. Every enterprise begins small, appearing insignificant at its early stage except to those who see potential others do not. The Bible advises, “Do not despise these small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10 NLT. And Jesus noted that, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” Luke 16:10 NIV. Faithfulness is learned little by little and responsibilities are proportional to reliability.

Not all little things are little. By that I mean, some little things can have big results – a small idea can produce a profitable business, a small seed holds disproportionate potential, a small kindness can begin a long friendship, a wise word can change a life’s direction. The Bible says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” Proverbs 3:27 NKJV. Nothing good that is said or done is inconsequential. Small things should not be disparaged; they may hold vast potential.

But I must also warn that little things can have big, unintended and unwanted repercussions as well. James, while describing the effect of a small bit in a powerful horse’s mouth and a small rudder to turn a large ship, adds that “Even so the tongue is a little member that boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles . . and the tongue . . defiles the whole body.” Read James 3:2-12 NKJV. Words mean something, for good or harm for the person who speaks them as well as those who hear them. An ill-advised word can disparage ideas, destroy incentive, or dash hopes.

Solomon addressed this negative potential with the image of a vineyard, “Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” Song of Solomon 2:15 NKJV. The vine is where growth and fruit are to be found; those represent your future productivity. Spoilers, like small foxes, are often unnoticed until after damage has been done. Most of us are not undone by big things. Those are more easily recognized and readily avoided. Small things are often your undoing – the road not taken, the overlooked opportunity, the unnoticeable omission, the little temptation, or the lesser failure.

There are many tender moments that are spoiled by intention or lack of attention – an achievement not celebrated, an anniversary forgotten, a thank you unspoken, a kindness unappreciated, a person not valued, and many similar opportunities for good that are overlooked. Such things happen everyday in businesses, families, marriages, and personal relationships when the smallest things – someone’s countenance, tone of voice, body language, attitude, words, or even their silence – can assist or resist progress, build or dampen enthusiasm, and develop or disparage an idea. Protect the vines; secure the fruit of blessing; defeat the spoilers; refuse to become a spoiler for others.

My prayer for you today is that you will protect the potential in your life and others.

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Start Small, End Big

August 25th, 2011

“Who [with reason] despises the day of small things.” Zechariah 4:10 Amplified Bible

“Whatever God provides is enough for a successful beginning and a spectacular finish.”

My thoughts today are about “start small, end big.”

Lives are spent and irreplaceable time is wasted trying to gather and/or store up enough to make a great start; but is that ever possible, really? If you wait until you have everything you could possibly need to do what you plan to do, you probably will be left with too little time to do it. And if you never begin, one thing is for certain, you will never finish.

Whenever you are called of God, whatever God provides you is always enough for a successful beginning. Sometimes you may think you need something more of what you have or something other than what you have, but what you have is exactly what you need for your obedience to begin. Willingness is a good beginning. God says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10 NLT. The Bible is filled with stories of individuals who found that what seemed so insignificant when they began became sufficient when they included God.

Needing more than you have? When Moses worried about going to Pharaoh on Israel’s behalf, he could recite multiple reasons why he couldn’t do what God was asking. He recounted everything he lacked until God asked, “What is that in your hand? Throw it down!” Exodus 4:2 NIV. Nothing much, except a shepherd’s staff. God always starts with what you do have, not what you don’t. Obedience and release makes ordinary things extraordinary in God’s hand.

That’s where God begins; such a small beginning, but one not to be despised. Moses could hardly believe what God did with a simple, ordinary staff. If you read the story, that is never again called “the staff of Moses.” From the time he chose to obey God, the Bible says, “And he took the staff of God in his hand.” Exodus 4:19 NIV. That staff parted a sea and released water from a rock. The key is trusting what you have into God’s hands fully, the same for you as for Moses. What he had was more than enough when Moses began to obey. In the story of Moses leadership, “the staff of God” was always in his hand! God is always sufficient; we are not. Read 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NLT.

Needing faith to believe God for a big thing? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen . . for without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to Him must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:1/6 NKJV. Begin with the faith God has given to you, “for God has given to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 NIV. How much faith do you need? You have the faith you need if you use the faith you have. Jesus said, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed . . nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 NIV.

Needing more resource than you have? You should see what Jesus can do with “five barley loaves and two small fish!” Read John 6:1-13 NKJV. Philip counted what they needed and pronounced it “not sufficient.” Andrew brought a boy with his small lunch, but decided, “What are they among so many?” Jesus began with what they thought was too small and multiplied it until they had too much. The little you have is a sign of bigger and better things to come!

My prayer for you today is that you place all you are and all you have in God’s hands.

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A Place to Start

January 11th, 2010

“Do not despise small beginnings; the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10 NLT

“You have to begin somewhere, or you will never get anywhere.”

My thoughts today are about “a place to start.”

People are impressed with size, yet God rejoices over seeds. The bigger the bank account, the house, their fame or reputation, the more important the person appears to others. If you are wise, you will recognize along with God that a seed is exactly the right place to start, however small that seed may seem at first. Seeds hold incredible possibilities waiting to be released.

Jesus understood that in His Kingdom every beginning is a promise of something greater to come. Jesus often used the example of the tiny mustard seed, well known by His listeners as the smallest of seeds. He explained, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and planted in His field.” Matthew 13:31 NIV.

You are wise to learn that to begin does not require anything more than you presently have. Jesus used this small seed to encourage His followers to appreciate the power in seeds. Jesus taught that accomplishment is not about how little you start with; it is how much of your potential you will ultimately realize. With God, your potential is beyond what you may expect. What are you waiting for? Today is a great place to start.

Jesus told the story of a servant who was given a small portion of his master’s wealth to invest and increase. Read Matthew 25:14-29 NIV. Thinking it too small to make much of a difference, and yet too large a risk if he were to lose his master’s money, he foolishly chose to do nothing – to simply bury the money for safekeeping. At least, he reasoned, he would not lose anything; he failed to realize that neither could he gain anything.

Was his master pleased with his carefulness? No, his master was displeased. The man tried to excuse himself by admitting he was afraid. In the end he lost everything, for even the small amount he had was taken from him and given to another who would do something more for his master.

The outcome is not only the result of the potential in the seed. God put that there. The eventual result of your small beginning is also dependent on your own view of the importance of what you have and your willingness to begin where you are. You alone can put that there!

You have to begin somewhere, or you will never get anywhere. You have to plant a seed before its power can be released. The Bible says, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24 NIV.

When God had a great work for Moses to do, Moses was reluctant to begin. The task seemed so vast and Moses felt so small. He overlooked that God was so great. Here’s where God chose as a place to start; “What is that in your hand?” Exodus 4:2 KJV. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for God to use for His glory. What has God put in your hand? What opportunity has God placed at your hand? Begin where you are with what you have; just make sure God is included.

There are a lot of great things to be accomplished in your life that wait for nothing more than your clear decision to begin and confidence that what you begin with will be enough for God to do something spectacular for His glory. See Ephesians 3:20 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that God will see your seed sown, and rejoice.

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Whatever It Takes

June 22nd, 2009

“I have finished my course; I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4.7-8

“Somewhere between starting and finishing, character and discipline are demonstrated.”

My thoughts today are about doing “whatever it takes.”

Beginnings are exciting. Finishing is always satisfying. It is all the time and tears in between where the problem usually comes. But somewhere between starting and finishing is where character and discipline are demonstrated. That’s when a lot of people who started with the best of intention and promise quit – become distracted with other things, or start something else before finishing the first, or just give up.

I think “whatever it takes” is the attitude of a winner. Anyone can be a quitter. A good finish is what differentiates the winners from the losers. My Dad often advised me, “when you start something, don’t quit until it’s finished; never start anything you don’t plan to finish.” Jesus told of a man about to build and a king going to war. They first counted to cost to avoid their being unable to finish their task.  See Luke 14:25-33 NIV. Jesus said that being His disciple requires the same.

I think six things are essential to finishing what you start:

(1) Purpose. Be clear about what you start and why you did so. Was it important then? Then it is still important now. To be clear now, you have to see the possible future.

(2) Passion. You have to believe strongly in the value of what you are doing. No one will continue to waste their time, energy, or resources on things that don’t really matter to them.

(3) Preparation. You should prepare for anything to be harder than you think, take longer than you plan, and require more than you expect.

(4) Patience. Only your commitment of whatever it takes” will enable you to work as hard as you need and work as long as is required to conclude successfully.

(5) Perseverance. You must endure every difficulty and continue in spite of any discouragement you may feel in order to “finish your course with joy.” Acts 20:24.

(6) Promotion. You are recognized and rewarded only for what you finish, not what you start.

Jesus lived His life with a clear and single focus, to “to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4:34. He calls you to do the same. Wouldn’t you count Jesus successful? Did He voice any reservations, or place any conditions, or claim for Himself any exemption? No, Jesus models the attitude of “whatever it takes.”

Here is Jesus’ testimony, I have finished the work You gave Me to do.” John 17:4. On the Cross where He died for the sins of the whole world, Jesus declared, “It is finished!” John 19:30. Make no mistake. That is not the defeated cry of failure and resignation. That phrase is from a combination of Greek words translated, “I have finished, and it is the finest and best I can offer.” Jesus did whatever He needed to do for your complete salvation. Father God accepted His sacrifice, and you have been “sanctified through the offering of Jesus Christ once and for all.” Hebrews 10:10.

My prayer for you is that you will have the readiness and resource for whatever it takes.

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