Abiding, Angels, Answers, Bible, Devil, Direction, Distractions, Eyes, Looking, Scripture, Visions



“Then the angel who had been speaking with me went out and said to me, ‘Now raise your eyes and see what this is that is going forth.”

Sometimes it feels like something will never end – like a tennis match on tv, lol. My wife loves to watch tennis. She played a lot of it years ago and just loves to watch matches. But for me, they seem to just keep going and going. It seems they are almost done and then it continues.

Zechariah must have felt like that. He gets through with one vision and here comes another. We are going to see this vision over the next few days. But I want you to notice something in this verse. The angel tells Zechariah to raise his eyes and see. He knew Zechariah had seen a lot and maybe was a little tired. So, he directed his eyes to this next vision. He wanted to make sure he was looking.


Where are you looking? Are your eyes wandering? In order to see what the Lord would have us do we have to be looking at Him. We can’t be distracted. Oh, that is a ploy of the devil. He wants to get our eyes off of Jesus. He wants us to look at anything other than Him.

Isaiah 45:22 tells us, “‘Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.’” Wow! God wants us to look at Him. He says, “Look to Me.” There is no other means for salvation. It only comes through Him There is no other source for direction. He points us in the right way. Where are you looking?

For most of my teenage years, my eyes were looking inwards. I wanted to please myself. I wanted what I wanted. It was not until I met my Master at age 16 that I started looking at Him. There have been days since when my eyes have gotten turned. But thanks be to God, He has never moved. He is there, waiting for me to look towards Him again. My eyes are fixed now.

Fix my eyes only on You, O God. I do not want any other view.

Abiding, Bible, Following, Light, Scripture



“Then I said to him, ‘What are these two olive trees on the right of the lampstand and on its left?’”

I just arrived home from a couple of weeks out of the country. One thing I know about international travel – you have to have fuel. Not only do the planes, trains or automobiles you use have to have it, but so do you. Man, I’m tired. I was pretty much doing something every day I was there, which I prefer. But boy, I needed fuel.

These two lampstands were mentioned earlier in this vision. When I wrote about them in an earlier blog, I mentioned that they were the source of oil for the bowl on top of the lampstand, giving it an unending source of oil to keep the seven lamps burning. It was a symbol of God’s unending source for the nation. He was always there and always would be there.


Aren’t you glad He is your unending source? As a child of the Father, we have His unending love. Jeremiah 31:3a says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love;” We have His unending protection. In Psalm 61:4 we are told, “Let me dwell in Your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.”
We have His unending Spirit residing within us. 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us that. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”

We have no reason to be tired spiritually because the source of our spiritual energy is not of ourselves. It is from God. He energizes us. When we get spiritually tired, check out which power source you are plugged into – yourself or God. Hmmm, that gave me a gut check, especially coming home from this trip.

The light of Christ shines through you not because of your efforts. There is nothing you can do to make that flame brighter except…die to yourself and let more of Him shine. Just like those lamps on that lampstand could not shine without that source of oil that flowed into them, neither can you shine brightly unless you allow Jesus to flow through you.

Flow through me, Lord Jesus. Let Your light shine brightly.

Abiding, Bible, Hearing, Listening, Scripture, Speech, Testimony



“Also the word of the LORD came to me, saying,”

In this world of multi-media, we can get lost in messages and texts. I send a lot of emails. Usually, they are to groups of people I have saved in a distribution list. But occasionally I will need to send an email to just one person. I will type it, check it and hit send only to realize I needed to add something to the message. Now, I have to send another message.

The angel has been delivering God’s message to Zechariah, but now in today’s verse we see the Lord talking directly to Zechariah. I love the word “also.” In the Hebrew it is much stronger than that. It is an emphatic word. It is a strong word. It’s kind of like “And furthermore.” God is driving the point home. He has been watching and listening to the angel’s conversation with Zechariah and adds to it.


The point for us? God is not done talking to us. He has more to say – if we will just listen. In Luke 9:44, Jesus called the disciples close and said, “‘Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.’” Have you heard the Lord tell you to “listen carefully”? He just may have a message for you.

The last couple of days I have been at a Pastors’ Conference. We have had some incredible pre-session prayer times. Each day as I walked the room and prayed over the table and chairs, God has given me words for that day. How did I hear those words? I was listening. He did not speak audibly to me. He spoke through His Spirit, but the words were as clear as a bell.

Today God may tap you on the shoulder and say, “Listen up. I have a message for you.” Get still somewhere and just listen. Try it for one minute. Then try it for two minutes. If you keep practicing this, you will want to add minutes so you can hear more from Him. God had more to say to Zechariah. He has more to say to us. Listen!

Here I am, Lord. I am listening. Speak to me.

Abiding, Bible, Blessing, Prayer, Protection, Provision, Scripture, Temple, Trust



“‘What are you, you great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring out the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”

I once helped my dad and other volunteers build additions to the school we were attending. I watched them pour the foundation and begin laying the block. At first, it was kind of exciting. But for a young boy like me, that did not last until…they were laying the last block on the top of the wall. Whew! What a project!

In today’s verse you see the mention of the “top stone.” Zechariah is being told their enemies (great mountain) will be defeated (become a plain). And then the temple, which had long had its foundation cornerstone laid, would have the crowning achievement completed – the laying of the top stone. Scholars agree that this is a reference to Jesus being not only the cornerstone but also the top stone. He is the beginning and the end.


Do you see that in your life? I mean, is Jesus your first and last, the beginning and the end? He should be. He should have your highest priority. You have heard that your priorities should be God, family and then church. That is the order of things. That is how it should be. Jesus should be the crowning achievement in your life, your top stone.

When we don’t place Him first, we lose focus. Putting other things before the Lord never works. Jesus told us in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.” Do you believe that? It’s true. He will meet your needs. Just put Him first in your life.

Maybe you have done that, and you still don’t feel He is listening. Hold on, dear one. He is. Keep trusting. He knows exactly where you are. He knows your name. Keep calling out to Him. His timing is always perfect even though we think He is not responding. He is. I promise. Better yet – He promises.

I know You hear my cries, dear Lord. I shall wait for You.

Abiding, Bible, Choices, Faith, God's Will, Gospel, Power, Salvation, Scripture



“Then he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of armies.’”

Oh, do I have stories to tell of my attempts to do things on my own. Whether it was stubbornness about a task I needed to accomplish or my impatience with others resulting in me going it alone, I learned that I need others in my life. I particularly need the one true source of power – Jesus Christ. Amen?

Today’s verse is an often quoted verse. But seldom do people go back to the vision in verses 2-5 to get the full meaning of this verse. Just as the lampstand was fed eternally by the olive trees depositing an endless supply of olive oil, so too would Israel be provided the strength through Jehovah. It wasn’t about military strength or their own physical strength. It was God who would enable them to finish the temple to His glory.


We need His Spirit. We need His power. It is not about us. It is all about Him. Have you experienced this? I pray you have. Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The power of God! For salvation! To everyone who believes!

We find later in the New Testament, another writer stating the same message. 1 Peter 1:5 says about believers, “who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Not only does His power save us, but it also protects us. Why would we not want to yield to Him?

Let me let you in on a little secret. God will let you try it on your own. Even though He has drawn you to Him, He will not force you to receive this power. And then when you find out that you can’t do it, He is there. That was my dad’s testimony. He finally realized at 80-years-old that he couldn’t do it on his own. Glory! Hallelujah! You can know that too.

It is Your power, God. It is Your Spirit that gives us strength.

Abiding, Abundance, Bible, Peace, Rest, Scripture



“‘also two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left side.’”

I can’t recall all the times God has met our needs. They are countless. I do remember going to the mailbox and finding a check to us that we weren’t expecting. Most of those times, it was exactly the amount we were needing to meet our needs that week. God has a way of doing that, doesn’t He?

These two olive trees were there to supply the olive oil to the bowl on the top of the lampstand we talked about earlier. A perpetual source of oil to keep the lamp lit. Isn’t that cool? God put two of them there. Of course, we know the olive branch is symbolic of the extension of peace. Peace was promised to Israel. They were so ready for this.


We all need peace in our lives, don’t we? God can give you His eternal peace. Jesus said so in John 14:27. We saw this verse earlier. “‘Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.’” Don’t you just love those words?

We find Paul saying something similar in Philippians 4:7. You probably know this verse. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Peace comes from one source – God. True peace – not the kind of peace the world offers.

Peace is a decision you make. You can choose to get upset in traffic or choose to be at peace. You can choose to be at peace with your husband or wife or you can choose to do battle. When you are at peace with God, you will be at peace with others. Let the olive oil of peace bring you peace today.

I have peace like a river, I have peace like a river, I have peace like a river in my soul.

Abiding, Abundance, Angels, Bible, Encouragement, Fruit, Goodness, Messiah, Prophesy, Scripture



“‘“Now listen, Joshua, you high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you—indeed they are men who are a sign: for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch.”’”

I have had a lot of nicknames. I was called Carlie Warlie by my siblings when we were children. My sisters still call me that sometimes. I was called C-dub by a college roommate. My favorite name to be called is Dad. I love that I am a dad to my kids. I am called Poppy now by my grandkids. That is the best one yet.

So, who is “the Branch” in Zechariah’s vision. Many scholars say (and I agree) that this is a reference to the Messiah. We have other prophets use this term. Isaiah 4:2 and 11:1 call Him “the Branch.” Jeremiah uses the same term in 23:5-6 and 33:15. This Branch, the Messiah, is being foretold by the angel who is addressing Zechariah. We know this was fulfilled through Jesus.


Do you know He has come? Jesus, the Messiah, the Branch, came over 2,000 years ago to fulfill the prophecies of these prophets. More importantly, He came to bring salvation to mankind. A branch reaches out. It lifts up. It bears the fruit. It provides shade from the heat. The Branch is given to us so that we can have all these things.

Have you come up under the Branch? Have you experienced the pleasures of His shade? Jesus wants to bring you so much more than comfort. He wants to bring you life, and life more abundantly. This Branch can never be cut off. It will stand forever. There is no danger of losing its protection, if you will just come up under it and receive what it has to give.

I have seen all kinds of branches. I have seen them from above and below. I have seen them while standing among them. But there is only one true Branch. Jesus is the Branch upon which I rest. He is sturdy and sure. Come to Him now.

Thank You, Lord, for providing the Branch for us.

Abiding, Bible, Quiet, Scripture, Silence



“Be silent, all mankind, before the LORD; for He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.”

Working with children for most of my ministry, I got used to telling children to get quiet. Of course, that is easy to say. It’s much harder to make happen, lol. But when I think about the sound of children talking, laughing and playing, it gives me joy. I am sure the Lord feels the same way. However, there is a time to get quiet and listen to the Lord.

That’s where we are in today’s verse. In Zechariah 2:13, the angel, who is still talking to him, says, “Be silent.” Why? “For He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.” Habakkuk 2:20 came to mind as I read today’s verse. It says, “But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.” One verse says He roused Himself from His holy dwelling, while the other one said the Lord is in His holy temple.” What’s the difference in these two.


Sitting and moving are two different things. When God moves, things happen. In Habakkuk, God is at rest in His temple. He is watching over. But in Zechariah, God has risen up and is about to move against Israel’s enemies. I am reminded also of Exodus 14:14 that reads, “The LORD will fight for you, while you keep silent.”

Do you see a common theme here? Of course, you do. Get quiet! Listen! One of the hardest things to do when we pray is to listen. We just want to talk and talk, giving God our list of demands. We need to set aside time to just be quiet and listen. God speaks in our silence. We can hear Him when we stop talking.

Will you get quiet today? Zechariah tells us to get quiet because the Lord is about to act. Woo Hoo! Let’s just sit back and watch what He will do. It will blow you away. Can you hear Him get up? Can you hear His robe rustling? He’s moving. Can you hear it? You got to listen closely. There, Carl, I think I hear…

Open my ears that I may hear Your whispers of truth.

Abiding, Bible, Joy, Rejoicing, Return, Scripture



“‘Shout for joy and rejoice, daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ declares the LORD.”

I can get excited about a lot of things, can’t you? I can yell and scream for my favorite team. I can shout for joy at the announcement of the birth of a grandbaby. I can even shout for joy during worship. Shouting for joy usually is associated with the arrival of something – a person, good news. What are you shouting for joy about?

The Lord tells the people it is time to shout for joy and rejoice? Why? Because He is coming! Wow! Can you imagine the smiles on the faces of these weary children of Israel? The great Jehovah is coming into their midst. He is returning to dwell among them. What a shout must have gone up at this news from Zechariah!


Isaiah 12:6 says almost the same thing. “Shout and cry aloud for joy, O inhabitant of Zion; for great in the midst of thee is the Holy One of Israel.” This wasn’t a new announcement – one that the people had not heard before, but it had been a while. In Albert Barnes’ commentary of Zechariah, he says this about this verse. “The source of joy is a fresh coming of God, a coming, whereby He should dwell abidingly among them: truly what is this, but the Incarnation? As John saith, ‘The Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us.’”

You know how sweet it is to dwell in His presence. There is just something special about getting up close and personal with the God of the universe. As a believer, He dwells in you in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Paul says as much in 1 Corinthians 6:19. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”

I am not my own. My body, my soul, my spirit all belong to Him. When God indwells you, He indwells all of you. No more hidden passageways. No more closets closed off to Him. He demands access to all of you. And when we surrender our all, the joy erupts. We can’t help but to shout for joy. Are you shouting for joy today?

There’ll be joy in the morning on that day!

Abiding, Bible, Blessing, Confession, Consequences, Decisions, God's Will, Scripture



“‘But I am very angry with the nations who are carefree; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster.’”

As a parent, I had the responsibility to discipline my children. I had one rule for spanking – only for willful disobedience. You may disagree, but I believe the appropriate use of spanking can be helpful in rearing our children. My children always knew why they were receiving that discipline and were prayed over afterwards. There is the danger of going too far with this, though.

That’s exactly what the Lord was referring to in today’s verse. He had used the other nations to discipline his children. They were the tool God used to administer His judgment. But some of these nations went too far and tried to annihilate His chosen children. He says he was “very angry with the nations” that did this. They “furthered the disaster,” which was never God’s intention.


We can take things too far, whether it be a good thing or a bad thing. Too much exercise can be bad for your health (at least that’s my excuse, lol). Too much sugar is definitely not good for you. But can you get too much of God? I don’t think so, but the downside of that is His light exposes our sins. Psalm 90:8 says that. “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.”

Before you say anything, let me explain something. Getting too close to God may not feel good at the moment, but it is certainly what is best for us. Those sins that are exposed need to be exposed. Psalm 10:9 says, “One who walks in integrity walks securely, but one who perverts his ways will be found out.” So, is God taking it too far? I don’t think so.

I have to admit that I have been guilty of taking things too far at times. One example would be watching College football (American football for all my non-U.S. followers). I could watch it all day on Saturday. I had to make a decision to limit that to my favorite team’s game. We can take things too far, can’t we? Ask the Lord if you are taking Him too far. I bet He says no.

Father God, I want to be in Your presence, even though I know it will drive me to my knees in repentance.