Author Archives: cazehner

About cazehner

I'm a woman who loves God's Word, the Bible. And I love sharing what it is God reveals to me through his Word. I pray that everything I write is consistent with Scripture, and that everyone who reads this blog will be drawn closer to the Savior. I am praying for you.

September 10; Marvelous

Zechariah 7-8; Ezra 5-6

Many times in Scripture God challenges our motivation. Why is it we do what we do for Him? Why do we worship?

“Is it really for me,” God asks, “or for you?”

Zechariah shares that God is going to return to Jerusalem, His people will enjoy prosperity once again. Then He says, “It may seem marvelous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvelous to me?” (Zechariah 6:6)

We can’t deny that God has blessed His Church in America for centuries. We sit comfortably in our cushioned chairs with air-conditioning and state of the art technology, coffee in hand. We feel pretty blessed to be living in a land where we can go to church without fear. Many Christians in other parts of the world don’t share that reality. We are truly blessed.

It seems marvelous to us. But what is God’s take on it?

God makes it clear He’s not interested in the show. He is only interested in our hearts. Do we get out of bed every Sunday to worship God in Truth? Or do we go to church because it makes us feel good? Is our motivation for giving, or volunteering, or visiting shut-ins, our own self-esteem, or have we emptied ourselves and allowed God to use us for His glory?

I’m reminded there are some who are doing things in Jesus’ name, who don’t really know Him. In the end, those people will join the unrepentant sinners in an ugly eternity separated from God.

Let’s not take our blessings for granted. But let’s also not forget why and Who we worship. I pray that our motivation for life, and worship will be to please God out of grateful hearts for what Jesus did for us. Period. I pray that what seems marvelous to us, will be truly and gloriously marvelous to God.

September 9; I Love God

Zechariah 1-6

Sometimes I think we can get so caught up in the details of the visions like Zechariah’s vision we might miss the message. Colorful horses, horns, flying scrolls, and mountains of bronze make for an intriguing mystery. And everything in these visions is symbolic of something important.

But today as I read these six chapters I see God’s Sovereignty. I see His love for people, and His hatred of sin. I see Him providing the means of salvation, and the blessings that come from obeying Him.

I see a God who tirelessly works to draw all people to Himself, a God who has thrown open the doors of the temple, torn down the walls around Jerusalem, so that anyone who comes to Him can enter and join His family. I see my Savior who, because I have accepted His grace, has exchanged my filthy life for His righteousness, the Branch clothed in majesty, and who is building the Church one redeemed soul at a time.

I see a God who loves me. And I love God.

September 8; Give Careful Thought

Psalms 97-100; Ezra 4:1-5, 24; Haggai 1:1-2:23

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” (Haggai 1:5-6)

Does that describe me? Am I always trying and falling short of what I want? Is my focus on being comfortable, worshiping God when it’s convenient, obeying Him when it benefits me?

God, through the prophet Haggai, tells us to give careful thought to our ways. Are we as intent on building God’s House, His Church, as we are of building ourselves up? If we feel unsuccessful or dissatisfied in life or in ministry, we need to ask ourselves, for whom am I working?

God tells us in verses 9-10 that our failures come at His hand, our efforts result in ruin because God withholds His blessing.

I hope you worship today in a church filled with believers in Jesus. I hope you aren’t there to fellowship, or have a cup of coffee, or because it’s convenient. I hope you are there to worship God at great cost to yourself. I pray you will empty yourself, and allow God’s will be accomplished in and through you. I pray that when you leave that building you are ready to get out there and build God’s House according to His blueprint.

Let’s give careful thought to our ways.

September 7; Changing Anxiety Into Joy

Daniel 11b3 6-12:13; Psalms 93-96

Often when I read the psalms God will hit me right where I live. I’ll hear something on the news, or someone close to me will share something that has me concerned, or I will have something happen that shakes me. Then, when I read God’s Word, it’s like God is addressing that very thing that is on my heart. He is amazing!

I’m not going into detail today about what is specifically heavy on my heart because that which is on your heart is very likely something quite different. But I want to share with you what God has said to me through His Word about handling our concerns and battles. I think it applies to us all.

In Psalm 94 the writer begins by pointing out the things that are wrong in the world, that wickedness is seemingly going unchecked. But then we are reminded that God created us with ears, do we think He can’t hear? He created us with eyes, do we think He can’t see? The psalmist calls us foolish for thinking God can ever be caught off-guard. He knows every thought we have. We can rest assured that the things on our hearts are on His heart, too.

The psalmist points us to Scripture, the place where God teaches us, where we find relief from our trouble, where we are assured that as God’s inheritance we are not forsaken. It’s the place where I love to go to hear God’s heart-beat.

Then lastly, the psalmist tells us if we are fighting a battle, God fights with us. When we fall, He catches us. When we are weak, He is our fortress and refuge.  Then in verse 19, listen to this:

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

You remember Philippians 4:6-7, don’t you?

Be anxious for nothing but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I Peter 5:7 says,

Cast all your anxiety on him because he care for you.

So I guess today, as my heart is heavy, as I find myself worrying about people I love, I am reminded that God wants to be in this with me. He wants to be my rock and my refuge. He wants to teach me, assure me, love me through it.

He wants to change my anxiety to joy. And I am going to let Him!

September 6; It Is Good To Praise The Lord

Ezra 3:1-13; Psalms 92 and 126; Daniel 10:1-11:35

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night… For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands…The righteous will flourish like a palm tree… proclaiming “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him. (Psalm 92)

It is good to praise God, and we on the coast of Georgia have a lot to praise Him for. We escaped Dorian when that hurricane stayed out at sea as it passed us by. We were spared, while others weren’t. We had no damage, while others lost everything – including the lives of loved ones.

Are we wrong to praise God for the outcome we experienced in light of the devastation in other parts of the world? We would be wrong NOT to praise Him.

So I will unashamedly praise God that I can drive across the causeway and go to my home, pick up a few twigs, and resume life as usual. I will praise God that my friends are safe, and their homes are just as they left them, God was merciful to us, and I want to make that known. We didn’t deserve His kindness, and that is a humbling realization.

Yet as I praise God, I will also pray that He will be merciful to those who are facing unspeakable loss from this storm. Dorian is not through with its fury. Others are battling the wind and rain right this minute. I pray that God’s hand will be evident to all who are involved even now.

I am reminded that God is worthy of praise, period. He is worthy of praise no matter what circumstances we face. His worth is not based on how easy my life is, and He isn’t less worthy of praise if my life is difficult.

Praise God. He shows His love in the morning, and His faithfulness at night. He is my joy, my strength, my peace, my everything. I’m praising God for who He is. He’s worth it.

September 5; The Other

Ezra 2:21-70; Nehemiah 7:26-73a

Monday I shared that we had been evacuated from our island due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian. I’m thankful today to tell you we are able to go home. The storm has passed, and it’s safe to be on the island again.

The Jews we read about today in Ezra and Nehemiah are going home, too. Finally after seventy years of captivity, they were free. They didn’t know what to expect when they got there, but they were on their way home and, if they were anything like us returning islanders, they were excited. There is just something about going home, isn’t there?

The passages we read today are full of genealogies. Ezra reports name after name of people whose families were going home. And if reading the phone book isn’t boring enough for you, Nehemiah does us the favor of repeating the same list. So we get to read the list of name after name after name, twice! Woo Hoo!

What can we learn from these lists? Well, my friend, never blow off what God has breathed into print. He has something to say on every page of the Bible.

Here’s a blast from the past: “Newhart.” Bob and wife running an inn. A scraggly hillbilly comes through the door, followed by two more scraggly hillbillies. He introduces himself, “My name is Larry. This is my brother Darryl, this is my other brother Darryl.” (You are going to have to be a certain age to remember this one! Sorry, kids.)

I thought of them this morning as I read this genealogy record, then read it again. Because in Ezra 2:31, then again in Nehemiah 7:34 we meet “the other Elam.” Makes me wonder about the other Elam, or the first Elam, or the more important Elam. What would cause a person to be known as “the other?”

Most of us would admit that we like to be the one recognized as important, significant, talented, irreplaceable, whatever. We at least like to be recognized for what we have contributed to the work of God. But here we have a man who the only thing we know about him is, he isn’t THE Elam. He’s the other one.

This is what God whispered in my ear as I read this today. This Elam is going home. This Elam is listed with those who were freed from slavery, and he and his family were going home. He won’t be remembered for anything other than his freedom, and his destination. That’s all we need to know.

And that’s what needs to be known about each of us. Are you a Christian? Have you repented of sin and asked God to give you what Jesus’ death bought you? Do you know the Savior?

Then, friend, you are free! You are free from the chains and the penalty of sin. You are God’s child in every sense of the word, and you are headed home. Home! Eternity with God in glory.

And I know, without a doubt that when you look into Jesus’ eyes He won’t see you as just another Christian, or “the other” sinner He died for. You will look into His eyes and know He sees no-one but you, loves no-one more than He loves you, considers no-one else more important than you.

You won’t be “the other.” You will be “the one!”

 

 

 

 

September 4: To Obey, or Disobey

Ezekiel 1:1-2:20; Daniel 6:1-28; Nehemiah 7:4-25

The island where I live is under a mandatory evacuation order from the governor in preparation for Hurricane Dorian. Most of us left immediately, others have stayed. Our pastor sent an email to the church members and gently reminded us God told us in His Word that we are to obey our God-ordained leaders in authority. He encouraged us to leave the island we love, in obedience to those leaders.

But is there a time when we are to disobey our leaders?

Daniel got the word that no one was to worship any one or anything other than King Darius for thirty days. Might not be such a big deal, a month isn’t that long. What would be the hurt? After all, the government made the order.

Daniel did not obey. And he wasn’t very secretive about his disobedience. He continued to pray in front of his open window three times a day. And he wasn’t praying to any Darius.

I hope all of us reading these chapters in God’s Word today are good citizens of the countries in which we live. I hope we all pay our taxes, and follow speed limits. I hope we are law-abiding citizens.

But I also hope we are prepared to defy laws that would force us to compromise what God has ordained. I hope we know what the Truth is according to Scripture, and are ready to stand firm.

There may come a day when we, too, will have to decide if we are going to bow to ungodliness, or continue to stand in front of open windows and worship God.