Monday, June 11, 2018

Though It Tarry, Wait For It

Ever feel like you are an onlooker among many other onlookers seeing and hearing the same things as others, yet while they are being entertained, you are inwardly sorrowful at the spectacle of it all?

Do you ever become perplexed by unpunished evil -- the kind of evil that ensnares the innocents of a society? Do you find that wherever you look, to the left hand or to the right hand, evil is parading itself in all of its debauchery?  Do you ever meekly ask the all-powerful God, "Why is this permitted, Lord?"

If yes, then please know that you are not alone.  The Lord in His vast knowledge that transcends space and time used a relatively unknown prophet who lamented the sights and sounds of his time period's world stage to speak to His people thousands of years later as we are forced to be onlookers on this world's stage.

Let this bring you peace, Saints.  Let this bring you peace.  God knows all about the enemies at every turn, and while the enemy may think he is in control, God is actually using the enemy and his minions to bring about a greater good for God's faithful remnant.  God sees all and is over all.

Habakkuk - Not much is definitively known about this prophet, but I praise God that He permitted this man's short 3 chapters to be placed in the Holy Bible.  I tell you, time and again, God shows me that every single period and comma means something in His Word.  The Holy Spirit took nothing for granted when composing the Bible -- and neither should we when we read it.

When the Holy Spirit is guiding our study of God's Word, the Bible truly does become a Living Word.  It is truly made alive with the quickening of the Holy Spirit stirring our innermost being as we read it.

God is amazing.

Habakkuk appears to have been a prophet who lived during an agonizing time.  Click here to read the entire Book of Habakkuk - it is a very short book of the Bible.

Below are some key points from the Book of Habakkuk as outlined in the reference section of the Thompson Chain Bible:

  • Main Theme:  The Mysteries of God's Ways in Dealing with Sin and Oppressors
  • Synopsis:  The book begins with the prophet being heavily burdened by unpunished evil and questioning God as to why He is permitting such things to occur against His people.
  • He receives a reply revealing the divine plan of using the Chaldeans as a swift and terrible instrument of judgment against evil nations.  Habakkuk 1:5-11
  • Still the moral problem is unanswered in the mind of the prophet.  How can a holy God use these wicked heathen to waste and destroy people more righteous than they?  Are wrong and violence to continue forever? Habakkuk 1:12-17
  • The prophet ascends his watch-tower to look over the world.
    • He receives the reply of Jehovah, and is told the purpose of God is soon to be fulfilled, and is encouraged to wait for it, Habakkuk 2:1-3.  Then follows the sentence that has been a watchword in the Christian Church - Habakkuk 2:4.
  • Content with the new light received, the prophet utters a series of five woes against the dishonesty, the covetousness, the bloody building enterprises, the debauchery, and the idolatry of the great world power.  Habakkuk 2:6, 9, 12, 15, 18-20
  • Finally, he utters a sublime prayer (or psalm of praise), speaking of the majesty and glory of GOD and declaring his unwavering trust in His divine plans.  ~HALLELUJAH!~
Below is an outline of Habakkuk (Bible Study Tools):

I.  Title (1:1)
II. Habakkuk's First Complaint: Why does the evil in Judah go unpunished? (1:2-4)
III. God's Answer: The Babylonians will punish Judah (1:5-11)
IV. Habakkuk's Second Complaint: How can a just God use wicked Babylonia to punish a people more righteous than themselves? (1:12;2:1)
V. God's Answer: Babylonia will be punished, and faith will be rewarded (2:2-20)
VI. 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)

___________________________________________

Saints, continue to live by Faith.  No matter the sights and sounds that are so vexing, always remember that the Lord is in control.  In due time, He will bring all things together for His Glory.  Let us be found faithful to Him.  The just shall live by his faith.  Live by faith.  
Faith. Faith.  
Let God turn your sadness and complaint into a song.  He did it for Habakkuk.  He will do it for all who genuinely seek Him.  Habakkuk forgot his lamentations of the evils of the world and instead, it was replaced with a joyful song of God's control of it all!  Oh, hallelujah to my King!
Habakkuk's Psalm at the End of the Book
17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.





Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Nowhere Else


The Loneliness of the Christian
By: A.W. Tozer
The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an
ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the 
fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate
world.
His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his
kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his
absorptions in the love of Christ; and because with his circle of friends
there are few who share his inner experiences, he's forced to walk alone.
The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused
them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord himself suffered in
the same way.
The man (or woman) who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual
inner experience will not find many who understand him. He finds few
who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so
he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk.
For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is
avoided, and the gulf between him and society widens. He searches for the
friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes
and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none, he, like Mary
of old, keeps these things in his heart.
It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find
human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find  
nowhere
else.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Stealth

Stealth - 
One of my boys likes to use this word when he describes certain people. Part of the definition involves doing something secretly without anyone realizing it is going to happen. Most of us have heard of the stealth bomber. 

That aircraft was built to move quickly, efficiently, & secretly, and the after-effects of the stealth bomber are unmistakable. 

Months ago, I found myself in a predicament that brought fear upon me. I wasn't sure why I was placed in the situation, but I wanted out of it. I prayed earnestly on the matter for days, and when the Lord spoke, He literally said, "Walk on." 

You see, a part of me wanted to consult people regarding the matter, but the Lord instructed me to "Walk on" past those I thought I should speak with in the matter. He told me that He would handle it and that I was not to consult 'wizards and warlocks' who just offer worldly solutions. 

I literally kept walking that day. And now months later, I see a stealth God Who knew exactly what He would do with that situation. 

He doesn't call Christians to cower somewhere in the corner or to run from the battle. He calls Christians to report for duty, waving the banner high. 

He will stealthily place His people in the eye of the storm so that we can bear witness of HIS TRUTH right in the middle of a Roman system of lies.




Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Warden

Recently, I, as well as other teachers in our area, were given the opportunity to visit places of employment for an in-service day.  I chose a USP (United States Penitentiary) in our area.

We were scheduled to take part in a tour of the prison that houses over a thousand inmates.

We discovered when we arrived that the tour would not occur, after all, because there had been violent episodes a few days prior, and the prison was on lock down.

I said all of that to really say this:  Instead, we were escorted to a conference room where three USP employees planned to introduce themselves to us, explain the dynamics of a prison system, daily life, employment opportunities, etc.

The teachers hadn't been in the conference room but for a few minutes when the first USP employee began introducing himself and his role at USP.  As he did, a man walked into the room; immediately, another USP employee saw the man, and she interrupted the speaker mid-sentence.

She said, "The Warden is here."

The way she said it was unmistakably understood. Somebody just entered the room.  SOMEBODY just entered the room.  Everybody else take a seat because SOMEBODY --the leader, the boss, the rule maker, the rule enforcer-- just entered the room.

The speaker didn't even finish his sentence.  The floor belonged to the Warden.  The other speakers very obviously stepped back as the Warden began speaking and were attentively engaged.  This moment was one of the best examples of respect I have ever observed by man.
One day, every knee shall bow.

This may sound silly, but for me, the moment was remarkable not because of the man or his job title but because I couldn't help but liken it to what everyone should do when the LORD enters the room.  

How often do we stop mid-sentence when The Lord has something better to say?
How often do we truly reverence the Spirit Of God when He enters our realm?
How often are we willing to lay down our dialogue as we converse with others when the LORD stops us mid-sentence?
How often do we listen attentively when The Lord is speaking?
How often do we allow our egos to take a seat because The Lord has a better plan?
How often do we heed the signs when it is time for God to speak and time for us to be silent?

We better know that although the warden held the keys to a man-made prison; the Lord Jesus Christ holds the keys to hell and death.

May we be found faithful to HIM and know that The Lord  is the SOMEBODY who

  • always has something better to say,
  • always deserves our reverential respect,
  • always supersedes our thoughts, and
  • always deserves our undivided attention.



Amen!