The song Imagine by John Lennon has sold millions of copies and has been a hit throughout the years. It expresses what many cannot and that is a deep desire for world peace, religion that heals instead of hurts and barriers torn down that all could live in peace. The words, “Imagine there’s no Heaven. It is easy if you try. No hell below us. Above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today.” Yes, people said he was a dreamer.
This month the blog is on the Bible book of Zechariah – a dreamer, vision seer of a different kind. He imagined a real Heaven with a real God trying to call people back to Himself. His book is filled with all kinds of visions, messages and burdens and while it is one of the most unstudied or talked about book of the entire Bible, and although he is not as popular as John Lennon, he had a lot of good things to say. He pointed us to a very real heaven and pointed out the way to gain God’s favor instead of anger.
Zechariahs’ name comes from Zakar (Hebrew for Remember) and Yah (Hebrew for God) so his name literally means God has remembered. In a world where everyone forgets that is comforting! He was a seer and a prophet’s son. His 8 visions, 4 messages and 2 burdens were all for the purpose of encouraging people to rebuild the Temple. His prophetic call was different from his contemporaries. He was a weird guy, but his work not only impacted his generation but one day Jesus would walk into the very temple he had encouraged them to build. His work was fit for a king! There needed to be a place for people to find God and one another. God sent Zechariah to encourage them to build, build and keep building. He was sent to give them that message in various forms. Note that he had a different role than the priest or king.
There are many comments in Zechariah about false shepherds and looking for the true Shepherd. I am going to intentionally not mention those things out of love for shepherds today who are struggling on many levels. Pastors have the same stressors, worries and pressures that their congregants have and if ever they needed a break it is now. Maybe instead of pointing out their failures we could apply some of that grace and mercy we are longing to receive. Those looking to the Great Shepherd will fare much better than those who do not. Maybe bringing supplies to the church would be a way of celebrating this book! Ask God how you can help build HIS church in this hour.
Zechariah gives many wonderful promises of a Shepherd and Savior to come. Worship is priority and those who look for this KING should rejoice because surely He is coming! What will He find us doing?
I’ve wondered this month; how does this book apply in our day? Hear a few of the scriptures regarding the Temple in the NT:
Mar. 14:58 “I will build another Temple, not made with hands.”
Mar. 15:38 “The veil of the Temple was rent in two, top to bottom.”
John 2:15 “He made a whip of cords and drove them out of the Temple.”
Acts 2:45 “They continued daily in one accord in the Temple and breaking bread from house to house…”
Acts 26:21 “For this cause the Jews caught me in the Temple and went about to kill me.”
1 Cor. 3:16 Know ye not that YE are the Temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?’
So, we see that the Temple has a new, fulfilled meaning post resurrection. It has always had controversy; it has always had a remnant and people trying to fashion it after their version of God. It is also the work of the Lord and Jesus said HE would build HIS church and the gates of Hell would NOT prevail against it! God is wanting to build HIS kingdom and fill us with His Spirit to be the Church in this hour. Not a building made with hands but a people where He can move and reign.
Imagine, by John Lennon – did you know it really was not written by him? Years later Yoko Ono filed for half of the copyright. Here is what Lennon said, “A lot of it, the lyric and the concept – came from Yoko, but those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho.” (BBC Interview 1980). The song written in 1971 took 9 years before it became public that it was a collaboration. Perhaps along with world peace, we should also imagine a world where the body of Christ functions TOGETHER. Black and white, Democrat and Republican, Male and Female? His Spirit, in full measure always unifies, not divides, includes, not excludes. It is Gods’ signature. His Spirit moves, speaks, and functions in both Gentile and Jew, male and female and by His Spirit means He uses young, old and whosoever calls on His name. It is time for the world to see this. When we fight for the unborn but smear people like Kamala Harris (or Sarah Huckabee Sanders), we look UGLY. When we fight for women’s freedoms and bash white church guys, we look UGLY. You can insert any party, gender or color – unverified gossip is evil and hatred makes God angry. No it doesn’t matter if others are doing it, and no being better is still rooted in competition –be holy!
Imagine if we let the Holy Spirit sow cords of love through it all and decide others can choose their path but we CHOOSE to follow after God with ALL our might, soul, and strength. Yielded hearts bring God much pleasure. I do not know about you but lately I feel allergic to nonsense.
Ephesians 2:21, “In whom all the building fitly framed TOGETHER grows unto a holy temple in the Lord.
The Lord through wild visionary dreamer Zechariah, lets us know that we need to return to God, not religion, not affiliations or churches but first to God Himself. The promise is that IF we do, God will return to us. Then He calls us to repentance to build alongside others (similar/opposite).
I liked chapter One, vs. 13 where the angels are questioning if God will have mercy on these pitiful folks. God comforts them and the wording is almost consolation for those in grief. I wonder how much of our world they see and wish they could impact.
During the COVID-19 crisis we were encouraged to put up Christmas lights to bring hope to our neighborhood. We did and one night plugged in a tall white lacy angel. Well, during a windstorm, our angel, complete with a scarf around her neck, got airborne. Up she went past the trees and houses, flying in the breeze. I sincerely hope no drunks were out at that hour as seeing this angel swooping around would have been quite disturbing to say the least. I was extremely concerned she would land on some unsuspecting walker or freak out some wayward child threatened by their parents that God is always watching. We had a lot of fun with the thought of where it might land. After the lockdown we were guest preaching in a church in another city. I decided to “gift” them with my special angel. Leaves had collected on it and my husband and kids recommended we leave it at home. I urged them on and when my husband began teaching that morning on the angels in Revelation, he sheepishly admitted that the gift was timely. Angels are real and whether it is one flying over your house with a pretty scarf, or one assigned to you or your local church– we can imagine God caring about the outcomes. Not all dreams are while we are sleeping. God has dreams, plans, and hopes for our families and the churches. I imagine they look more like Zechariahs’ visions, than John Lennon’s song.
Last month as we studied Haggai, I kept asking God how He wanted to build His church. Zechariah tells us in Zechariah, chapter One, vs. 16, “My house shall be built in Mercy.” What is mercy? It is tender affection, grace, and pity. It is the bowels or seat of emotion and refers to love and tender affection. Remember that? Deep, abiding, fervent, affection like one would have for a relative. 1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply for love covers a multitude of sins.” IF it is truly God’s house – that will be the mark of it. Not Facebook likes, publicity stunts or offerings but genuine love for one another, for ALL. You cannot buy that at Walmart or Mardel. You cannot learn that at Seminary. Not even great Hillsong or Bethel music will be the trademark of God’s presence – only His mercy working in and through the body of Christ and individuals.
Zechariah goes on to remind us that it is “NOT by might, nor power but only by God’s spirit”, Zech.4:6. Not best practices, not muscle or title or degree but by diligently obeying His voice that we will be able to hear and know the Lord.
This great man who encouraged the building of the Temple also addresses one of the hugest battles in this process – our minds. Joyce Meyers Battlefield of the Mind would be timely to read with this book. Chapter Seven, vs. 9 & 10,
“Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you imagine or plan evil in his/her heart against his/her brother/sister.”
To imagine means to think, esteem, calculate, make a judgement, plot, meditate. When we are building something great and big and awesome it is easy to think we are mighty and on the “winning side” but the Lord wants us to be on HIS SIDE. Building WITH the saints is more important than going solo or without the ones God sent to share his word/burden/prophecy. This same word (Imagine) is used when Eli thinks Hannah is drunk. There she is praying, and he accuses her falsely of having an addiction. His assessment is based on what is in his own heart, not Hannah’s and gives a wrong diagnosis. Ouch! Talk about painful. There she is serving the church and the priest, and they think she is doing them harm. It happened right before God was getting ready to move. The enemy is incredibly good at his craft. This is an arrow the enemy uses, and we are all susceptible. It is interesting that it is mentioned as a correction while building. We would be wise to give others the benefit of the doubt in these seasons.
I have fallen in this area many times unfortunately. I had a dear friend visit me recently and I confided in her a struggle I was having in my personal life. Later I overheard her three times tell someone on the phone, “I got the dirt and I’ll share it with you when I return to the city.” She had been a trusted prayer warrior and confidant. My heart was broken. I could not believe she had changed so much. She was a champion in my life, and this disturbed me greatly. I decided to take it to the Lord and asked Him to help me ask the question I feared the most. In this era of conspiracy, era of protests and masks vs. unmasked persons it is easy to mistrust anyone and everyone. The war lines are being drawn and the enemy will take as many prisoners as he can before the last hurrah. I went to my friend and before I could confront her with sharing my personal dilemmas she shared with me how the Lord had led her to go to the center of the United States to pray for Revival, anointing and repentance for our nation. Guess what? Yes, she brought dirt, actual physical dirt back from that very spot to remind her praying friends to intercede for our nation. She was raised up for “such a time as this”. Boy, did I feel stupid. I felt bad for not trusting, I felt bad for not guarding my tongue and almost wrecked a wonderful friendship. It takes just as much time to imagine GOOD about someone as it does bad. The difference is if we imagine good – the Lord will step in to comfort and support. If we imagine and judge bad and begin to plot evil, we step over into the side of the enemy and further from God. These minor things hinder the building of not only the local church but the kingdom.
Return to God and Repent
Rebuild the Temple (people/church of God)
Restore everything, everywhere, everyone possible
I can only imagine what it would be like…. If we all returned. If we all walked by HIS side here. If we all repented, if we all began to build GODS Kingdom and invested our lives to restore Gods purposes. What if we looked on our sin and brought it to God and overlooked others and lifted them up in prayer before the throne, offering mercy and grace? I’m not there yet but I want to be.
Lord, we ask for Mercy. Lord, we ask for your help to give Mercy. Help us to build YOUR church, YOUR way for YOUR glory.
Build your Kingdom- here, in our hearts in this moment and with others where possible, we prayer. RenaeRoche2020
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