Category Archives: Habakkuk

Habakkuk; 2 Corinthians 7

We come across a shorter book in the Bible and a dilemma that even we in this day and age may find hard to comprehend. Habakkuk is a prophet pleading to God for a revival to take place in Judah. And God’s answer is that He will send an invading army even more evil that Judah to bring about that restoration. Habakkuk can’t get his mind around that idea. God even states, “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told (1:5 [NIV]).” Then God shows him that even this invading hoard will be destroyed, but Judah will return to God through all of this.

There is a promise to those who stay faithful in all this carnage. In Habakkuk’s prayer we read the following, “1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth. 2 LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy (3:1&2 [NIV]).”

Look at the outline below of this very interesting, challenging and short Minor Prophet.

Outline

  1. Title (1:1)
  2. Habakkuk’s First Complaint: Why does the evil in Judah go unpunished? (1:2-4)
  3. God’s Answer: The Babylonians will punish Judah (1:5-11)
  4. Habakkuk’s Second Complaint: How can a just God use wicked Babylonia to punish a people more righteous than themselves? (1:12;2:1)
  5. God’s Answer: Babylonia will be punished, and faith will be rewarded (2:2-20)
  6. Habakkuk’s Prayer: After asking for manifestations of God’s wrath and mercy (as he has seen in the past), he closes with a confession of trust and joy in God (ch. 3)

What are the applications for us? I see several:

  • When we pray for something we need to be ready to have our view of God’s ways stretched. We may find His promises and truths on their heads when it comes to conventional wisdom.
  • Restoration may come with a price. God’s winnowing ministry can hurt as much as destroy, but as Habakkuk prays, mercy is found in judgement as well.
  • God still amazes us in our prayers. We are too many times like the prayer meeting for Peter. When their prayers were answered they didn’t believe it. How are you in that category. I can some times be like those prayer warriors in the first century.

Through restoration and judgement we see God in a new and amazing way. Let’s hold on to that for sure.

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2 Chronicles 6:12-42; 1 John 5; Habakkuk 1; Luke 20

I love Solomon’s prayer when he dedicated the temple to God once it was completed.  Full of passion, his body  language denoted humility before an almighty God.  I find myself falling on my knees and raising my hands in prayer more often these days – probably an act of surrender acknowledging to God that more and more I need Him in my life.

Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court; and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven. – 2 Chronicles 6:13

Over the years, my “prayer batting average” is pretty low. I have prayed for the salvation of people who have not gotten saved. I have prayed for the restoration of sinning Christians, who have not repented and been restored. I have prayed for the reconciliation of many Christian marriages that have broken up.  I have prayed for physical healing for those in need and they have not been healed.  You would think that I might just give up.  I did once, when I was fourteen, and God showed up so tangibly that I will never lose my confidence that He is working everything out in His own time.

And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14

I am still learning today the same lessons I did then as I face different situations in my life.  I still cry, still tell Him what bothers me and I have given God exactly what He needs to do to solve the problem – oops – He still is ignoring my solutions.

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?  Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? – Habakkuk 1:1

I know there is a temptation for me to abuse prayer, to fake it and to tell everyone how pious I am in my prayer walk.  Pretty sure I have not fallen to the level of the scribes in Jesus’ time.

They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation. – Luke 20:47

Father, as I kneel before You with my outstretched arms, I do it knowing that as I come before You, it is to acknowledge that You reign in my life.  I yield my life before You and as Solomon consecrated the temple, I consecrate myself to You again this day.  As Jesus taught us to pray – I acknowledge You as my Father  –  I worship You today.  Be glorified in my life.  If that comes through answered prayer – that would be a blessing and encouragement to me – if it comes from Your hand another way, I am so thankful that You are still listening to me.  For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory for ever – Amen. 

evanlaar

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Habakkuk 2; 2 Corinthians 7

WE…the overwhelming pronoun used in 2 Corinthians is not “I”, it is “we.” 2 Corinthians is a letter written by a man who is in love with God and his community of fellow believers. This kind of love must have been a shock to the world. It’s the kind of love that one might expect from a close-knit family, but not from people who are unrelated. It would be reasonable to expect that the early Church would turn on each other and disband in the face of opposition and persecution.

Do I share this fierce love for my fellow believers or am I quick to pull away when things get difficult and avoid conflict? Paul leans in:

“Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter… yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance.”  2 Corinthians 7:8-9

Somethings are simply worth fighting for. Human conflict is risky, but truth wins. Paul modeled what he described in his previous letter to the church at Corinth:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

This is the very love God showers down on me everyday through the work of his son, Jesus. It’s more real than the breath in my lungs and the beat of my heart.

Holy Spirit, teach me to love like you do. Help me to lean in towards others and not pull away when difficulties arise. Help me to receive the truth as well as speak the truth in love. Give me a heart that is humble and willing to risk not being understood or loved in return. And relieve me of my  crazy need to be right. May your truth win in all my relationships. Amen

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of your the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14

Klueh

 

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Psalm 75-77; Romans 6

WOW… how incredibly blessed I am!! I wonder… from that statement alone, can you conclude if I’ve had a great day or a bad day? Were my expectations met or not? Can you tell? I feel safe in saying that a majority of those I asked would likely say my day was great. But as Christians, we’re called to sing praises to our most amazing God and “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” according to Paul in his letter to the church in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. So, I know what I am to do… I get it, so why don’t I actually do it? I’ve concluded that it takes a lifetime to train and reinforce the delicate, but definite connection between my head and my heart. But how?? I need help, because I believe that we will never fully come to know the true power of unconditional praise until we learn of its value in our trails.

In researching the background of the Psalms for this post, it made more sense knowing that the people referred to in the reading had just been saved from the King of Assyria. In Psalm 75:1, 9, the Psalmist is expressing the thankfulness to God for what He had done. Psalm 76 offers another example of a ‘good’ outcome after God destroyed the enemy by “…breaking the enemy’s weapons” (Psalm 76:3). But, would they have been thanking God is the outcome of their encounter with the King of Assyria been different? In Psalm 77, it is clear that the Psalmist is writing from a place of deep questioning and disappointment… that God had “forgotten to be gracious to them” (Psalm 77:9) as the outcome is not what they thought it should be.

This is one of the difficult lessons that I continue to work on… that I don’t have the kind of faith I should have to praise God in all things, especially when to my eye, the event or circumstances appear dismal, dark, or disappointing. I make that mistake often, it seems… it isn’t natural for me to associate disappointment, (*my* disappointment!), with anything potentially good.. I mean, after all… it certainly doesn’t feel good! Before becoming a Christian, it never occurred to me that there was a much deeper, more meaningful lesson going on that I just didn’t get… YET! But I’m not alone… there’s hints of the essence of Psalm 77 to the Book of Habakkuk, where Habakkuk wrote to the Jews that “…there must be faith”, especially during times of limited understanding of why God doesn’t offer assistance… that we must remain faithful that one day our God will send help… but, in His time.

When circumstances in our lives appear to be insurmountable, we can either choose to fall deeper into despair and self-pity, or we can rise above the circumstances and look up, rejoicing in our Lord and Savior, believing at that crucial moment that His love and mercy are real, He is faithful, and He has His own way of using circumstances to ultimately express His love for us and His grace to us. On the surface, it may appear to be easier for us to choose to blame others and become angry at God. But as followers of Christ, we’re called to go deeper… to turn to the One who is capable of turning deep sorrow into indescribable joy! And, while many cannot see ourselves as anything but a mistake in God’s kingdom, despite Jesus’ promise of unconditional love, He alone is the one who will bring us through to greener pastures when the time is right. All He asks is for us to trust Him with everything… this is what we are called to do as believers in the goodness and grace of Almighty God. Very much what we are commanded to do in Romans 6:11… “…count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Are you having a hard time finding a reason to rejoice our amazing God today in your circumstances? Here’s an idea… thank God for not only for what wonderful things He has planned moving forward, but also the lesson(s) to be learned in existing circumstances. While it may be true that we know ourselves better than anyone else, we certainly don’t know ourselves better than our Creator who designed us!

Heavenly Father, we know You love us always, but to our limited minds, when things don’t go as we think they should go, we question You and Your promises to us because we get confused, disappointed, and frustrated. Please help us to bridge the gap between our heads and our hearts so we can see You in all circumstances and know that You are in control, regardless of what it looks like to us and we become consumed with the circumstances and not the Creator of our lives. Please help us to remember that You are God and please forgive us when we don’t trust in you for all things in every situation. Amen!

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2 Chronicles 7, 2 John 1, Habakkuk 2, Luke 21

2 Chronicles 7:3 “When all the people of Israel saw the fire coming down and the glorious presence of the Lord filling the Temple, they fell face down on the ground and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying, ‘He is so good!  His faithful love endures forever!'”

Love as defined in Websters dictionary is: “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.”   Love as God defines it in 2 John 1:6 says, “Love means, doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.”

In the beginning: God loved, so very much that He created the Heavens and the Earth.  God so loved that He gave His only son to die upon the cross for my sins. God loved me before there was any human knowledge of my ancestors or my entrance into this world.

I have fallen on the ground many times but it has not always been out of praise and worship!   Numerous times in my life my heart has been pricked during a sermon and I knew I was in need of taking that step forward to make a change in my life, yet I have chosen to remain still out of “peer fear” that someone would see my hand go up or would feel my body move from its’ seat going down front to pray with the pastor.

Luke 21:26 “The courage of many people will falter because of the fearful fate they see coming upon the earth, because the stability of the very heavens will be broken up.” 

I read my bible and pray daily, teach my children to love and find strength through their trials, yet there I sit struggling with the thought of someone seeing me step forward to make a positive change for Jesus’ name.   In Luke 22:42 Jesus prays, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”

Jesus went forward and endured the emotional and physical pain of suffering out of LOVE for me.  I am to be conforming towards His image and although this does not mean dying an agonizing death upon a cross myself, my faith should be that of willingness to do so if it meant taking a stand for Christ.

I want to love in the true meaning of love, be willing to suffer for Jesus’ name, but, until I put aside my fears and become fervently courageous, I will continue to be a stumbling block.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “Then, if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

Father, I stumble and I fall, yet you are there each time to raise me back up.  You love me beyond anything I can fathom.  I ask that you humble my heart to be more open to your leading and that I would be willing to stand up for you no matter what the cost. I pray that I can love others as you love me and that I would wait patiently as Habakkuk did to have your visions and plans revealed and fulfilled in my life.  Help me Lord to fall on my face in adoration towards you and be so filled with your spirit that I can’t help but cry out, “You are good! Your faithful love endures forever!”  – Amen

Live2Love4Him4Ever

~Erica

 

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2Chron.6:12-42; 1John 5; Hab. 1; Luke 20

Stubborn?? Me????? NO way…

lighthouseI’ve been struggling for some time with the concept of growing spiritually… how do I do it? I mean, I know that being in the Word on a regular basis is an important step… that Book is magnificent! I mean… it really does have something to say about every aspect of life. I’m an auditory learner, so I enjoy downloading content I can learn from that is specific to a particular issue. Existing in the technology age has tremendous benefits for me; downloading messages and sermons so they exist in the ‘cloud’ allows me to listen anytime I want from my computer or my cell phone. In 2013, there is certainly no lack of material to grow spiritually and to change our hearts, and yet, there is still something keeping me from full access to God’s voice into my soul, but what is it?

Years ago, while listing to an audio book by Stephen Covey, I learned of an interaction between a ship’s captain and seaman that was life changing… the story went something like this… While on maneuvers, a battleship lookout noted a light in the dark, foggy night. After noting the light’s coordinates, the captain recognized his ship was on a collision course with the other vessel. The captain instructed, “Signal the ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees.” The return signal countered, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.” The captain signaled, “I’m a captain, change course 20 degrees.” The response was, “I’m a seaman second class, you’d better change course 20 degrees.” By this time the captain was furious. His signal curtly ordered, “I’m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees, immediately!” The reply: “I’m a lighthouse. You make the call.”

Is it possible that like the captain of the battleship, I believe that I can control and handle all of my problems on my own and don’t need to heed to anything or anyone? Is the problem really… me? I’ve examined this more in the last several years and I’m not liking what I see. My Dad taught me a long time ago that a man does things for himself… you don’t ask for help… you just dig in and do what you need to do. If I could speak with my Dad today, I would respectfully tell my Dad that he was wrong… that through a relationship with Christ, there is no shame in seeking Him as a model to aspire to in all things and to be there, without fail, to hear and bless us. It has been said that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle… I don’t agree… I believe God gives us more than we can handle so we must turn to Him instead of relying on ourselves.

In his views on learning in the 21st century, Allen Toffler has often been quoted as stating that “[t]he illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Perhaps the take away from this quote from a Christian perspective is that regardless of how we were all raised, in order to grow in Christ, we need to make some adjustments to learn a different way to live… to include Christ in ALL things of our lives, good or bad. Because, like the lighthouse we just read about, God’s authority is never changing, it’s always constant (Hab.1:12; 1John5:20). Whenever a change of course is required, it is I must make the correction from my end.

The Captain in the story was stubborn, but he certainly hasn’t cornered the market on stubbornness. There are times when stubbornness is a good thing, like being the breadwinner in the home or a care taker protecting their children from wrong influences. However, more often than not, our stubbornness can cause a plethora of other problems, especially when our stubbornness is directed towards God and how He wants His children to live their lives.

So… how do we get over ourselves with the goal of increasing the pathway to our Lord and Savior? 2 Chronicles 6:12-42 offers some guidelines which will help us to consider the ‘lighthouse’ more than ourselves on the deck of our own lives… starting with humility (2 Chronicles 6:12-13). God’s Word speaks of humility being the key to acceptance by God (Micah 6:8). And as we are called to act like Christ, humbling ourselves in the presence of others is a start towards heart change. Honoring Him (2 Chronicles 6:12-13) has the effect of redirecting our focus on God and remembering who He is… He is Lord (Luke 6:46; Luke 20:44), He is God (John 20:28), He is Lord of the Church (Col. 1:18), He is faithful (Heb. 10:23), and He is merciful (Ps. 118:1). Through God’s promises (2 Chronicles 6:16-18), we have the opportunity to reflect on His fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled promises; for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom. 10:13). Lastly, we should whole-heartedly seek God in all things for revival through prayer (2 Chronicles 6:19-21) as it pleases God when we seek Him and pour ourselves out to Him (Ps. 126:5). Seeking our Father, with all our hearts allows restoration to begin (2 Chronicles 6:22-42).

Lord… help me to unlearn what I needed to learn to survive… to mark my checklist of religious rituals. Sweet Jesus, please stand by my side during this process of relearning how to live life with You in it… always… not just when things are going as I believe them to be going. You are my lighthouse, my rock I want to fixate on, because like the lighthouse, you are steady and provide comfort to those that are lost. Break me of all stubbornness and from being prideful… Amen!

Greg (gstefanelli)

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2 Chronicles 25; Habakkuk 1-3; Acts 25

But a man of God came to him and said, “O king, these troops from Israel must not march with you, for the LORD is not with Israel…Even if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy, for God has the power to help or to overthrow.” ~ 2 Chronicles 25:7-8

 

We are on day 103 of raising our daughter. As a parent, there are many decisions that have to be made, both for the good of the baby & the family.  Probably one of the bigger topics of childrearing includes immunizations.  We have discovered there are just as many voices saying YES as there are saying NO, and both sides have equal amounts of scientific documentation.  And it’s not just an all or nothing deal; you are also faced with the dilemma of choosing only a few shots and if so which ones and why.

 

Raising a child comes with so many important decisions—from supplementing to bedtime rituals to immunizations to schooling and so on—it’s best to take this journey surrounded by godly counsel.  We have chosen godparents for our daughter and also have a few select friends to walk along with us.  And when the chaos and noise gets too loud and I get information-overload, Brad always says, “Who do we listen to,” which translates into, “We listen to our core group of friends and from there we take it to prayer if we are still unsure.”

 

No matter where you’re at in your life—raising children, or like the king in this scripture, preparing for war—godly counsel is so important.  Today, pray for those you turn to and those to whom you give godly counsel, that God would be in the center of it all.

Heatherpotts5

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