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.

Asking, Belief, Bible, Correction, Devil, Direction, Questions, Scripture


 ZECHARIAH 4:4  “Then I said to the angel who was speaking with me, saying, ‘What are these, my lord?’” How many times have you been confused about something? Well, I have to admit that it has happened to me a lot. But one thing I have learned to do is ask questions. If I am not sure about something, I ask somebody to help me, to show me how to do it right or how to understand it. It’s humbling to ask for help. But it sure improves my own knowledge. Zechariah asked the angel what this golden lampstand meant (we discussed this in yesterday’s blog). He wasn’t clear on the vision. But he trusted the angel to show him what the purpose was. That kind of speaks to how God speaks to us. Sometimes He shows us something and we don’t understand. It’s okay to ask questions, just like Zechariah did. APPLICATION Do you have questions for God. Ask Him. It’s perfectly fine to tell Him you don’t understand. He wants you to understand. He is not trying to confuse you. That’s the devil’s job. He is the author of confusion. Paul tells us so in 1 Corinthians 14:33. “…for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.” God, I don’t understand. Help me understand. This reminds me of the man who asked for help in his belief. Mark 9:24 says, “Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief!’” Is that you today? Then cry out to the One who has all the answers. Don’t you want to fully know Him? Don’t you want to know His purpose for your life? One day we will have the mind of Christ. Until then, keep asking questions. He will answer you. 

Hear my cry, O Lord. Send me what I need to know when I need to know it.

Accountability, Bible, Boundaries, Commands, Direction, Following, Hearing, Obedience, Scripture



“‘Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, “This is what the LORD of armies says: ‘Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.’” But they did not listen or pay attention to Me,’ declares the LORD. “

I can’t recall the number of times my parents told me to not do something. I heard them, but I did not listen. You see, I knew better than to do the things I was doing. I knew doing them would get me in trouble if I was caught. I got to be pretty sneaky. My mom and dad went to heaven not knowing about some of them. Hmmm, now that they are up there, do they know? Lol

The Israelite’s fathers did not listen or pay attention to the Lord’s commands. They heard them over and over again. They knew the Law. They knew the commandments. However, they chose to live as if they did not care. The Hebrew word for “pay attention” means to prick up the ears. Just picture a dog laying down and resting. When you call its name, what does it do first? It pricks up its ears. You see, the Israelites had not pricked up their ears to listen to the Lord.


What is the Lord telling us in this verse? Prick up your ears! Listen! Do what I say! Sounds easy enough, so why don’t we do it? Because we are just as stubborn as those Israelites who did not listen and pay attention. We want to do what we want, not what the Lord has instructed us to do.

Do you know what happened nine times out of ten when I did not follow my parents’ rules? I got in trouble. Yep, I usually was disciplined. Same is true when I don’t follow God’s rules. I find myself in trouble. God will discipline those whom He loves. Aren’t you glad? Probably not, if you are honest. But it is for our good. We know that, right?

Psalm 103:17-18 paints a beautiful picture of this. “17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting for those who fear Him, and His justice to the children’s children, 18 to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts, so as to do them.” I can’t say it any better than that.

O Lord, I know Your commands are for my good. Lead me in the path that is true and right.

Abiding, Belief, Bible, Correction, Direction, God's Will, Kindness, Scripture



“‘Speak to Zerubbabel governor of Judah, saying, “I am going to shake the heavens and the earth.”’”

I grew up in SW Georgia where pecans are a cash crop (by the way, it is pronounced pee-can, lol). I used to love to watch the workers harvest the nuts. Someone (I wish it had been me) invented this machine that has a huge mechanical arm that grabs the tree trunk and shakes it. When that happens, all those nuts come falling down. It literally rains pecans.

I thought about that when I read today’s verse. God said He was going to shake the heavens and the earth. He was saying He was going to literally shake things up. Things were about to change. But His people had nothing to fear. They would be gathered up, just like those pecans, for the harvest. He was going to do this to elevate His people.


Is your life all shaken up? Perhaps the Lord is trying to prepare you for something great. But Carl, I don’t like this shaking. I want to live in peace. That’ll come. Trust Him. Submit to Him. Allow Him to work in your life and shake out all the stuff that needs to fall out. He may be shaking you to get you to move in the direction He has for you.

I know we all like to live without any troubles. But to experience real peace, we must submit to His mighty hand. Peter tells us this in 1 Peter 5:6-7. “6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 having cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares about you.” Did you see that last phrase? He cares about you. Never doubt that.

Looking back at my life, I can see times when God shook me to get me where He wanted. It was never a violent shaking. It was gentle and compassionate. But I have learned to trust His hand. I don’t see it as a hand that is poised to strike me. No, it is hand to embrace me, even in the shaking. I know He wants what is best for me. Do you?

Lord, in the shaking of my life, You have directed me to follow Your will. Thank You, Lord.

Asking, Bible, Blessing, Change, Courage, Direction, Following, Future, God's Will, Scripture



“‘Is the seed still in the barn? Even including the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree, it has not produced fruit. Yet from this day on I will bless you.’”

“From now on” hints at a change. Something is about to happen that will change your circumstance or maybe even your life. When my children left home, they faced some “from now ons.” They no longer were protected under my roof. They were either married with a new family or in a new city with a career. Some “from now ons” are scary while others are exciting. Let’s look at the one described in verse 19 today.

What starts out as a continuation of the description of their suffering due to their disobedience ends with a “from now on.” Look at it. The last sentence says, “Yet from this day on I will bless you.” The literal translation is “From this day I will bless.” Things were changing. God was returning His blessing on His children. Don’t you know a shout went up when they heard that news? After years of suffering, God was going to rain down His blessings on them again.


Have you been in a period of suffering? Take heart, friends. God has not forgotten you. His “from now ons” still happen today. He can change the trajectory of your life with one flick of His little finger. He has certainly done that in my life on a number of occasions. Moving to a new ministry or meeting that certain person can make a new “from now on” happen.

Are you praying for a “from now on” moment? Stop and pray for God’s perfect will in your life. I am reminded of the passage in James. James 4:13-15 says, “13 Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are just a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’” 

“From now on” in the life of the believer can mean many different things. But one thing is for sure – from now on the Lord will be with us. From now on His mercies are new. From now on Jesus is interceding for us. From now on…

From now on, Lord, I will pray that Your will be done in my life so that I can learn to trust You more.

Bible, Direction, Evangelism, Fishing, Obedience, Scripture, Service, Witnessing



The Chaldeans bring all of them up with a hook, drag them away with their net, and gather them together in their fishing net. Therefore, they rejoice and are joyful.”

I love to fish, especially for large-mouth bass. Anyone who has read my blogs in the past is aware of this. I don’t get to fish as much as I used to, but I love it. Fishing is fun and exciting (especially if you are catching fish). It relieves stress for me. I could be happy whether I am catching a lot of fish or not. But I am always looking for a bite with every cast.

The Chaldeans were not literally using fishhooks and nets to gather the people of Israel. Habakkuk is using that imagery because it is one the people could relate to. They had all seen fishermen at work. They saw how they rejoiced when they had a big catch. The Chaldeans, Habakkuk says, will react the same. They will rejoice at their victory over Israel.


What are you fishing for? I don’t mean you are using a pole or rod and reel. I am asking if you are fishing for souls. Jesus told His would-be disciples what He would do for them. He tells these fishermen He will change their lives if they will follow Him. Look at this story from Matthew 4.

“18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

Jesus is calling us just like He called Peter, Andrew, James and John. We may not be mending nets, but we are busy with other things. He tells us to lay down those busy things and follow Him in doing the better things. Will you cast your net today into the waters Jesus is directing you? There are souls to be saved.

Lord, I know You are calling me to fish for men, not fish. Show me where to cast my net today.

Bible, Direction, Holiness, Purity, Scripture



Your eyes are too pure to look at evil, and You cannot look at harm favorably. Why do You look favorably at those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?”

When I read this verse today, my thoughts immediately went to Job 31:1. “I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully on a young woman.” I want my eyes to be pure, but ian this world, that’s a pretty hard thing to do. Our eyes are under constant bombardment.

Habakkuk knows God’s eyes are pure. He knows the God of His people cannot stand to look on sin. So, why is He allowing these wicked Chaldeans to come in and defeat them? Why is a holy God using them to judge Israel? Surely, God cannot handle looking on such evil.


Everywhere we look, evil abounds. This world is constantly throwing evil our way. Any attempt to have holy eyes is a target for the evil one. He uses every conceivable method to divert our eyes off of God and onto the evil.

Thankfully, we can rely on God’s eyes remaining holy. Yes, He used the Chaldeans to judge Israel. He was doing that to bring them back to Himself. It wasn’t to drive them further away. God will not shield our eyes from evil just to make our lives easier. That is not how He works.

God will steer our eyes toward the holy, but we are in total control of what we choose to look at. We can choose to peer into the abyss of sin or into the heavenlies. What holds more promise. His Word directs our eyes. Our time with God reading His Word and praying points our vision.

Keep my gaze on the holy things, Lord. I only want what is holy to come into my view.

Accountability, Belief, Bible, Conceit, Deceit, Denial, Direction, Following, God's Will, Judgment, Scripture, Surrender


NAHUM 1:9 

“Whatever you devise against the LORD, He will make a complete end of it. Distress will not rise up twice.” 

I have known a few people in my life who have literally shaken their fists at God. They have decided to live their lives as if He does not exist. They refuse to acknowledge Him and may even seek to mislead others. They are, in a sense, making or devising plans against God and His people.  

These people have lived for centuries. Nahum saw them in Nineveh. In fact, their king thought his success against Israel was due to his own strength and power. He quickly forgot that He was only the vessel God had used to punish Israel. As Nahum attests, God “will make a complete end of it.” No one can escape His judgment. 


Are you devising plans against God? Of course not, Carl. I would never make plans against Him. Listen, dear heart, when we do not yield to Him, we are in fact devising plans against Him. We are saying that we know better than Him. We believe our way is better.  

Our devious plans against God’s will for our lives will not succeed. When will we realize that? Sure, we may see some initial success, but it will not last. There is no eternal reward for our temporal plans. However, when we submit to Him, His plans will lead us directly into eternity. Now, that is a plan. 

Looking back at my life, I can see moments when the trajectory of my life turned toward my own selfish desires. My devious plans included choosing to do what I wanted to do, even though the Spirit within was saying something different. Hindsight is always 20/20, but God’s foresight is as well. Trust His plans. 

Lord, thank You for having the perfect plan for my life. Help to surrender to Your will. 

Abiding, Allegiance, Bible, Bondslaves, Demons, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Enemies, Following, Obedience, Scripture


MICAH 7:16 

“Nations will see and be ashamed of all their might. They will put their hand on their mouth, their ears will be deaf.” 

I shall never forget football drills and the coach screaming at us, “I want 110% out of you men. Don’t slack off.” I gave it my all. I played hard. I knew when I was giving it my all and when I was not. The coach could tell, too. I would miss blocking assignments or a tackle.  

Micah is now addressing the people again after God has spoken. Here he is showing us that we will always face opposition. The enemies of Israel gave their all against them but failed. The word “all” means whole or complete. In other words, they were all in. But they found out their might was no match for the might of God.  


Are you giving your all to Him today? I am not asking if you are working non-stop for Jesus without taking any breaths. No, I mean are you all in? Does Jesus have all of you? So many of us think we can just say a prayer and go about our business as if nothing has happened. That is not the case. 

I promise you that the enemies of the cross are all in after us. They are giving it their all to try to bring us down. But their “all” is no match for us if we are all in for Christ. It is His power that will defeat them, not our power. I can make you another promise. Christ is all in for you. 

Look at what He did for you. He died a horrible death on the cross for your salvation. You cannot get much more “all in” than that. His love for you cost Him everything. He gave His life to ransom your soul. He deserves your all. Give it to Him today. 

All to Jesus, I surrender. All to Him I freely give. 

Abiding, Advice, Advocate, Belief, Bible, Boundaries, Direction, Disciplemaking, Dreams, Encouragement, God's Will, Scripture


MICAH 7:11 

“It will be a day for building your walls. on that day your boundary will be extended.” 

I have a friend in Kenya who pastors a local church. This church began a school a few years ago for the children in their town who were too poor to attend the local schools only because they could not afford the uniforms. This school is expanding, thanks to the gifts of donors. They are eyeing some nearby land to expand so they can build some dorms to house some children who are homeless and are wandering the streets. 

Expansion! Micah prophesies the expansion of the boundaries of Israel. They will rebuild what has been destroyed and live in their land. Building and expanding their nation will take a continued reliance on Jehovah God. Micah is encouraging them to trust Him and believe in His promises. 


You are probably saying to yourself Carl, this is all well and good, but how does this apply to me? I am glad you asked. What size box do you have God in? By that I mean, what limitations have you put on how God can work in your life. Most of us do that. We cannot begin to dream of anything more. 

Let me tell you something. You need to think bigger. Now, I am not telling you to start asking for a jet or a bigger home. I am telling you to ask God to expand your circle of influence. Ask Him for greater opportunities to serve. Maybe He wants you to go on a short-term mission trip. Maybe He is calling you into full-time ministry. 

God wants to use us and use us mightily. He wants to see us expand His kingdom. He has great plans for each of us. He desires a willing vessel to use to send His message to others. Will you ask the Lord to expand your boundaries? Trust Him to show you. 

Expand my boundaries today, Lord. Show me how I can influence more people.