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Small Beginnings

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zech 4:10a; NLT). The meaning of the words “small beginnings” is insignificant or unimportant. In other words, what may seem unimportant or insignificant to us is something that makes God happy. It’s interesting that some of the people God chose to do His work were seemingly unimportant. There was Moses who felt he couldn’t speak properly (Ex 4:10); David whose father didn’t even bring him before Samuel for selection to be king (1 Sam 16:11) and Gideon who called himself “the least in his father’s house” (Judges 6:15). Not to mention Jesus who was born in a lowly stable to humble parents. Jesus Himself chose unimportant people such as uneducated fishermen to be His disciples; He also spent time with people that the world would call insignificant such as tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners. His whole ministry was directed to people with needs.
You might be thinking that what you do for God is insignificant – you don’t have a world-wide ministry, you’re not winning souls to the Lord every day or your prayer life doesn’t feel very dynamic. However, according to our initial verse above God is rejoicing over the small things you do. As Jesus Himself said, “Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it to one of the least (in the estimation of men) of these My brethren, you did it for Me” (Matt 25:40; AMPC).

Greetings that minister

Many of the epistles in the Bible, 17 in fact, have some common words of greeting. For example, “Grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:7b; NKJV). “Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Tim 1:2b; NKJV). In one epistle, written by Jude, the brother of Jesus, we read, “Mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you” (Jude 1:2; NKJV). In their greetings the writers above were conveying words of encouragement from the Lord to the Christian churches. Let’s look at the words used. The Greek word for grace describes God’s unmerited favour, available to His children enabling us walk in and all His blessings and the life He has for us to enjoy. God’s grace encompasses empowerment to be all He wants us to be, especially as His ambassadors. God’s gift of peace is a state of perfect wellbeing in harmony with God and each other, even when we are surrounded by turmoil. Mercy is the practical outward expression of goodness and pity. God shows us mercy in His forgiveness and gift of salvation. We are to show mercy to people who are suffering and in need. In Jude’s epistle the Greek word for love is agape, God’s unconditional love for us and the love we are to walk in as Christians. This love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in us (Gal 5:22-23; Rom 5:5). Let’s think on God’s greetings by the apostle Paul and other writers of the epistles. These greetings should motivate us to be constructive in our conversations and use our words to be a blessing.

The Presence of God

“A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!” (Ps 84:10; NLT). God is omnipresent so His presence is with us at all times and also all around us; we can see it in the beauty of God’s creation (Ps 114:7; 139:7-12). In the Old Testament the presence of God led the Israelites in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Ex 13:21). Later on, God’s presence was in the tabernacle (Ex 40:3, 34) and also in the temple, in the Holy of Holies.
King David was someone who loved the presence of God (Ps 16:11), it was the one thing he wanted more than anything else (Ps 27:4). He quoted God as saying, “Seek My face (inquire for and require My presence as your vital need). My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require (of necessity and on the authority of your word). (PS 27:8; AMPC). The word “face” in Hebrew often means “presence” as in this verse. The Bible also tells us how we can enjoy God’s presence more fully and it’s through worship, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise” (Ps 100:4; CSB). As New Testament Christians we have the presence of God living right inside us in the form of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19).
In heaven we will experience the ultimate presence of God, “I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Rev 21:22; NLT) and Rev 22:4, “And they shall see His Face and His name will be written on their foreheads” (NLT). Hallelujah!

Put off the Old Man and put on the New

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17; NKJV). When we asked Jesus into our life our spirit was made new and we became new spiritual creations (John 3:5-6). Moving forward we need to get rid of the “old man” or lifestyle and grow into the new Christ-like nature and life God has for us (Eph 4:15, 22-24). The apostle Paul exhorts us to “put to death” the sinful nature of our soul and body (Col 3:5a; NKJV). In Colossians 3 and 4 he gives us many areas to consider: lust, lying, anger, theft, corrupt and foolish words, bitterness, malice, sexual immorality, poor humor, covetousness and blasphemy.
In those same chapters we also see many characteristics we should grow into as Christians: gentleness, lowliness, righteousness, holiness, kindness, meekness, mercy, forgiveness, tenderness, patience, truth, unity, peace, renewal of mind, grace, love and the fullness of Christ. The list may seem overwhelming but with God’s help we can put off and put on to be more like Jesus every day. The apostle Peter encouraged us to “desire the pure milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2a; NKJV) and the author of Hebrews 5:12-14, exhorts us to delve into the solid food of the word. As we get revelation of God’s Word the Holy Spirit can transform us to be more and more like Jesus (2 Cor 3:18). In Philippians l 1:6, we are assured that, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”, or when Jesus returns to earth at the end of time. Let’s get busy putting off and putting on!

God is Good

The goodness of God is one of the foundations of our Christian faith; it is what everything hinges on. God is completely and consistently good and nothing bad can come from Him. “Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good” (Ps 106:1; NKJV). “Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men” (Ps 107:8,9; NKJV). These Old Testament scriptures (and there are many more) are confirmed in the New Testament, for example James 1:17 says that all good gifts come from God. It is said of Jesus that He went around “doing good” (Acts 10:38). Jesus Himself said that it was God, the Father, who enabled Him to do many good things (John 10:32). We see that of course in all the miracles that He performed; He was continually doing good things such as healing, delivering and helping people. It is because of God’s great love for us that He does good things for us (John 3:16). So, if something not good happens in our life we can rest assured that it is not coming from God; no matter what happens – good or bad, God is good, all the time! (John 10:10). And, “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28; NKJV).
So, “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps 34:8) today. Study and meditate on the goodness of God and allow God to give you more revelation on this subject and then you can say with conviction, “God is good!”