Inside Story: Nothing to Lose
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Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

What’s happened to me?

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

Solomoni [sohl-oh-MOH-nee] asked himself. He was still a teenager, but he knew that he had messed up his life. He had disobeyed his parents and joined a gang of teenagers who stole and used drugs. God has condemned me for what I’ve done, he thought. I’m lost. There’s no hope for me; I have nothing to lose. With this attitude, he continued living a life of crime. In time he was arrested for and sent [...]

Visions of Hope (Zechariah)
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“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’” Zechariah 7:9-10, NIV 

An oft-recurring theme with the Minor Prophets and echoed again with Zechariah is the plight of the oppressed. Strangely, it is not the foreigners that Zechariah is accusing of this crime. It is God’s chosen people, the Jews. Today’s parallel might [...]

11: Visions of Hope – Thought Starters
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” ‘ “In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,” declares the Lord Almighty.’ ” Zechariah 3:10 NIV

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

[Thought questions for Visions of Hope June 12, 2013]

1. We have this hope. How do you think Zechariah would feel to hear us lustily singing the Adventist hymn, “We Have This Hope”? Wouldn’t it be easier for all concerned if Jesus would come now? Why doesn’t He? [...]

Thursday: Beyond Fasting
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Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

During Zechariah’s third year of ministry, a delegation from Bethel came to Jerusalem to ask the priests and the prophets a question (see Zech. 7:1-3).

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

When they were in exile in Babylon, the people fasted during the fifth month to mourn the destruction of the temple (2 Kings 25:8-9). This was in addition to the fasts held in the fourth, seventh, and the tenth months (Zech. 8:19). In the fourth month, the breaching of the wall [...]

Wednesday: Not by Human Power
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Read Zechariah 4. What hope is being presented to the people?

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In this vision, Zechariah sees a lampstand fed by two olive trees, which refers back to the candlestick located in the Holy Place of the wilderness tabernacle (Exod. 25:31-40). The seven lamps are arranged around a large bowl that serves as a reservoir of oil.

The bowl, with its bountiful supply of oil, symbolizes the fullness of God’s power through His Spirit. The seven lamps shine [...]

11: Visions of Hope – Teaching Plan
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Key Thought : Zechariah’s message was for God’s people not to lose hope, but to learn to serve Him in the present.

[Teaching plan for Visions of Hope June 10, 2013]

1. Have a volunteer read Zechariah 1:1-5.

A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. How does one “return” unto the Lord? Since He is talking to the church members who think they have a relationship with Him, how would [...]

Tuesday: God’s Readiness to Forgive
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Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

Read Zechariah 3. How is the gospel portrayed here?

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With, perhaps, the exception of Isaiah 53, no portion of the Old Testament better reveals the wonderful truth of salvation by faith alone than does Zechariah 3. In this vision, the high priest Joshua is being tried on accusations brought forth by the official accuser, Satan. The accusations against the high priest also apply to the nation which he represented. The name Joshua (also spelled as Jeshua) means “the Lord saves” (see Matt. [...]

The Vision of Hope for Laodicea
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Daytona Beach sunrise.

Daytona Beach sunrise.

In the late fall of 2006 I bought a brand new car. A few days later, or nights actually, I lay in my bed wide awake. I glanced at the clock as it read 4 AM. Then the idea hit me. If I jump in my brand-new car right now, I can travel across Florida to the east coast in time to watch the sun rise. I had seen several sunsets on the west coast where I [...]

Wax On – Wax Off
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If you don’t understand this cultural reference, it’s from the movie, The Karate Kid. The main character in the movie is a teenage boy, Daniel who has just moved to town and is getting bullied. In order to stop it, he wants to learn karate. He meets up with the manager of his apartment building, Mr. Miyage, who agrees to teach him. One requirement of this agreement is that Daniel must obey Mr. Miyage’s [...]

Monday: The Lord Is Coming
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Read Zechariah 2.

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It records a vision in which the prophet is shown a renewed Jerusalem, so full of people that it overspreads its walls. It will attract countless Gentiles as well, a thought that must have sounded very strange to the people. Verse 10 begins with a call to joy, followed by the reason for such jubilation: the personal coming of the Lord to live among His people.

The Lord’s dramatic return to dwell in His rebuilt house [...]

Valleys and Mountains
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Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Mark 4:9, NKJV

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I recently began wearing hearing aids. Before that, my children would say I was “hard of hearing”. I accused them of mumbling. During the first church service I was aided, I was amazed I could hear the prayer requests from the very back pew when I was at the front of the sanctuary.

The audiologist tells me repeatedly, “We [...]

Sunday: Comforting Words of Life
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Read Zechariah 1.

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What is the essential message here? Focus especially on Zechariah 1:3. What is the Lord saying to the people?

The return from the exile to Babylon sparked joy in the hearts of the remnant people. But the return also caused anxiety. Would they be safe and secure in their land, or would enemies come again to harass them? Had God forgiven their past unfaithfulness, or would He continue their punishment? What did the future hold [...]