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Forgiven…Loved…..Transformed!

Archive for the tag “Prayer”

Fear of Succeeding

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 – But he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Last week I mentioned that I accepted a position as the Director of Ministry for a local Baptist church (fcbc.church). The first week has been a whirlwind! It has been amazing, difficult, challenging, and exciting all in one!

The gifts and talents that I bring into the ministry here seem like they are complementary to the gifts and talents the other staff and elders have. After the first week it seems like an amazing fit!

A lot has happened this past week with the ministry. There have been some deliveries of benevolence funds to people, helping someone find a new job, helping people get food at a local food pantry, and working with local organizations to see if they would be a good fit in our building during the off-hours.

Then there are those items that I have been doing for many years in the business industry: writing training programs for ministry leaders as well as church-wide, doing needs analysis of ministries, and studying up on topics I know very little about (when I started in the coffee industry about 15 years ago I had no clue what coffee really was, the same holds true today with ministry).

I sat down over a couple days and created some training programs. They need work, but I think they are pretty decent programs.

Then fear set in.

Proverbs 18:3 – To answer before listening – that is folly and shame.

How much prayer and seeking of God’s face did I do before working on these? I honestly couldn’t remember!

I knew I had prayed at least a little bit, but I couldn’t honestly say that I was putting God first as I put together those programs.

I hope I didn’t just do something successful without bringing Christ into it!!!

I know that ministry is tough. The first week here has been full, but not tough. I am wondering if I am missing something.

But what IS tough is keeping Christ at the forefront of the ministry.

Some tasks are simple. A door is broken, let’s get the door fixed. Not a lot of prayer time required to make sure I make the right decision.

But what about the benevolence and food pantry and job help. If I get those wrong, then more than my own ego would be in jeopardy. I honestly can’t remember how much prayer I put into them all.

Psalm 5:3 – In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

So today I started something a little different. Instead of coming in and immediately getting to work, I am taking the opportunity to dig into the Bible for a few minutes and then go to prayer. Then, when I am about an hour or so from leaving, I go into the sanctuary and pray.

This is the reason that ministry is a calling and not a job. It is very easy to get caught up in the job aspects of the ministry, but if we look at everything as some aspect of “the job,” then we will never grow and excel in Christian ministry. But, on the flip side of that, if we spend all our time in prayer, fasting and dying to ourselves, then the little details like taking out the trash, setting mouse traps, and cleaning toilets will never get done.

1 Thessalonians 2:12 – Encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

I have had several jobs in my life. Every single one of them eventually gets boring and repetitive. I am sure ministry will be no different in many ways. But the call of ministry, if we see it as such, will carry us through the doldrums and bring us into exciting high winds to fill our sails.

So here’s to hoping that I don’t see only success. Here is to hoping that I fail a little. Here is to hoping I don’t get bored on the repetitive tasks and am able to enjoy the diversity of ministry.

And here’s to hoping that this journey will bring the discomfort to me and my family that causes the awakening that God so sorely needs in this world today.

Prayer from a Jewish Carpenter

The Lord’s Prayer. The majority of Americans have heard it at one point or another in their lives. It has been a point of contention in America through the ages. While many people in America want to throw shade at Madalyn Murray O’Hair for getting the Lord’s prayer removed from schools, her case in 1963 just helped to define prayer in the schools and add further clarification to cases that were already completed. In 1948 McCollum versus Board of Education decided to ban religious exercises in the classroom. In 1962, the case that specifically removed prayer from the classroom was Engel versus Vitale. It wasn’t until 1963 that O’Hair and other cases came to light that added more clarification to previous decisions.

The controversy about a short prayer is remarkable! This prayer has been around since before even Jesus’ public ministry. Depending on your translation, it can be as short as 55 words or as long as 75. It has been prayed and studied by countless millions worldwide for centuries.

But was Jesus the first to say those words?

While it isn’t a controversy, most Christians believe that Jesus was the one who first said the words to Lord’s Prayer. Many people don’t realize that Jesus came to fulfill much of the Jewish Bible and create a new covenant. Many of Jesus’ teachings speak directly to the heart and soul of Jewish Law.  And the Lord’s Prayer is no different.

Every part of the Lord’s Prayer can be found in different Jewish prayers or Psalms. I want to look at each area below and give the Jewish counterpart.

Our Father in Heaven

While Origen, one of the church fathers in the 3rd century, through that the Lord’s Prayer separated Christianity from Judaism because of calling God “Father,” the truth of the matter is that God has been called Father since the early days of Judaism.

Many prayers in Judaism begin by calling God “Father.” And the term “Father in Heaven” comes from a reader’s Kaddish at the end of Jewish services that would be recited as the following, “May the prayers and petitions of the entire community of Israel be accepted by their Father in Heaven.”

Isaiah goes so far to call God “Father” directly.

Isaiah 63:16 – But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.

Israel is even known as the “children of God.” These expressions show a familial relationship with God, who is our Father.

Hallowed be Thy Name

The Kaddish goes on to say, “sanctified be His great name.” Throughout much of the Old Testament we find that “holiness” is God’s prevailing attribute.

Leviticus 11:45 – I am the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

Something interesting to note, here, though is that when the Bible was translated for the common people, the Saxon word “haelig” was used, which is where the word “hallow” is derived from. The original term in the Kaddish is “yitkadash” which means “sanctified.” This would then line up to the Old Testament and the book of Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 38:23 – I will magnify and sanctify Myself, and will reveal Myself in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’

Thy Kingdom Come

To continue with the use of the Kaddish, it says, “May He establish His kingdom during your life and in your days and in the life of the whole house of Israel.” These are the prophecies that are taught in both Zechariah and Daniel.

Daniel 7:27 – Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’

The “kingdom” as a symbol of God’s dominion is the messianic hope of the believers.

Thy will be done

The Kaddish says, “By His will, He created the world.” Many other prayers in Judaism begin with “May it be Your will.” This is usually followed by some specific desire that we obey and be given the opportunity to perform something commanded in the Torah. For example, “Obey His will, so that he may fulfill your will – the desire of your heart.” (Mishnah Avot 2:4)

This is a very clear section of the prayer. We should work for God’s will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven. It is needed here on earth. In heaven it is already done.

Give us this day our daily bread

In the Middle East, it was customary to have our primary food be placed inside bread. This is still going on today in meals that are surrounded by pita.

Genesis 3:19 – By the sweat of your brow you will eat your bread, until you return to the ground—because out of it were you taken. For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”

In synagogue, it is required to offer thanks before a meal, “Blessed are You, oh Lord our God, who brought forth bread out of the earth.” Also, there is a grace given after a meal that would thank God “who provides bread to all flesh, for His mercy lasts forever.”

Forgive us our trespass (sin, debt)

Three times daily Jews will pray the Amidah. In it we find, “Our Father, forgive us for we have sinned. Our Sovereign, pardon us, for we have transgressed; You kindly forgive and pardon.” If this is done in sincere repentance, then God grants forgiveness.

Around 170 BC, a Jewish scholar named Ben Sira changed the idea of forgiveness. He changed the idea from simply God forgiving to us needing to forgive our neighbors. “Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. Can a man harbor anger against another, and yet seek healing from the Lord? If he has no mercy toward a man like himself, how can he pray for his own sins?” (Ben Sira 28:2-4)

This is similar to the Mishnah in the first and second centuries in describing Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement.

In both Luke and Matthew, though, the words used are different. Matthew asks to forgive our debts and Luke asks to forgive our sins. The original word, “h’ovah” can be translated in three different ways: an obligation, a debt, or a sin. If we were to strictly use the Hebrew text of the Amidah, however, we would find that the word “sin” would be prevailing winner.

Lead us not into temptation

Again we run into multiple possible translations. Both the Aramaic-Hebrew words and the Greek words can mean test or temptation.

The origin of this section of the prayer comes mainly from the Psalms.

Psalm 26:2 – Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;

People have the ability to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, death and life.

Save us from evil

Again we look to the Psalms for the inspiration for this section of the prayer.

Psalm 34:14 – Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

The end of the Amidah says, “Oh my God! Guard my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking guile.” It is important that the Jewish prayer does not refer to the “Evil one.” Many churches have translated this to say “deliver us from the evil one.” In a strictly Jewish context, this would mean to save from doing that which is evil.

For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever

This section was added much later, about the 4th or 5th century. It comes from the book of 1 Chronicles in which it is recited at a Jewish service when the Ark was opened and a scroll of the Torah was removed.

1 Chronicles 29:11-13 – Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

The Lord’s Prayer is recited millions of times on Sundays around the world. In the early church and even in many churches today it is recited as much as 3 times a day. Augustine said that it should be recited by every Christian at least once a day.

Regardless of how much you pray it or even how much you desire to learn from it, the truth is clear, Jesus did not put this together specifically for the Christian church. This was a bridge between religions. This is an opportunity for Christian and Jew alike to come together in prayer to the Almighty God.

It distinctly ties Jesus to His Jewish roots.

And it should go without saying that it should also tie us to those roots.

The Altar is Empty

As we come up to Resurrection Sunday I can’t help but think about the amazing truth that the tomb was empty.

That fact alone makes me continually think about my words, actions, and behaviors to see if I am living a life that would bring honor to the simple message that the tomb is empty. But as I look around my church on any given Sunday I find that not only is the tomb empty, but the altar is empty as well.

Every Sunday we give people the opportunity to come up and pray with an elder or prayer worker. The impetus is the call to accept Christ.

Typical routine: Songs, announcements, tithe, sermon, sinner’s prayer, altar call.

The altar call is for both the saved and the unsaved. This past week my pastor preached on a topic that should have had Christians from all walks of life coming to the altar to pour themselves out before God. Unfortunately, other than the typical people who come up almost every Sunday, we had very few people come forward.

I have always debated the use of sinner’s prayer/altar call. There are times I think it is “easy believism.”

Are you going through a tough time? Come leave it at the altar, God will fix it. Just not always in the way we expect.

The part that is sorely missing in the sinner’s prayer/altar call is the follow up to walk through life with the person. And this isn’t only at my church. This is happening in churches all across America.

Our church was blessed with over 70 people giving their lives to the Lord last year and over 60 getting baptized. That is almost as much as the average Christian church has in attendance on any given Sunday!

But is it enough? And, Christians, why are you not pouring your heart out before God when given the opportunity?!?

While the altar call is not really found in the Bible, there are some examples that show that an altar call is biblical. For example, Jesus publicly asked the disciples to follow Him immediately. And they did.

Later in the book of Matthew, we are told a new believer must acknowledge Christ “before men.”

We also see that when Peter gave his first sermon that thousands came to the Lord that day, which can denote some sort of altar call.

The danger comes in whether, especially with conversions, those conversions were real. Romans 10:9 explains that believing in your heart comes first, followed by a verbal confession. It is dangerous just to think that someone calls out to the Lord for saving that they are saved. Just look at Matthew 7:22.

Matthew 7:22 –On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

True salvation leads to continual sanctification as the fruit of the Spirit buds and grows inside the new believer. If there is no fruit, then there is no repentance.

But what about for the believer?

Every Sunday there are elders and prayer workers up front waiting for people to pray with. Why won’t people come forward?

We are called to leave our burdens at Jesus’ feet.

Without having a physical Jesus to do that with, we typically lay our burden at His feet through prayer.

This is very similar to what Hannah did in 1 & 2 Samuel.

1 Samuel 1:15 – But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD.

Hannah poured herself out before God.

I imagine a pitcher of water.

The water are the burdens in our life, which is the pitcher. Think of how heavy that pitcher becomes when the burdens begin to fill the pitcher.

Then the altar call comes.

You sit in your seat, wondering when the service will be over so you can be first in the drive thru line at the fast food place. Meanwhile, all those burdens, and your already half-full pitcher, goes into next week where more burdens fill you up.

The next week you think that you have had enough, so you go to the altar and pray with an elder or prayer warrior.

But you don’t want to give it all out.

So you pour a little of the pitcher out at the feet of God.

You walk out of church feeling a little lighter, but still full from the previous weeks.

The next week comes and your burdens take you to the brink. You go into church on Sunday morning and just can’t even bring yourself to worship. You stand there while the music plays, staring blankly at the band. Then during prayer your mind is wandering across everything you have to accomplish. During the sermon you are making plans for the rest of the day and possibly the week.

Then the altar call comes.

You have a choice.

You can go down and unload. That would be doing what Hannah did by emptying herself before God. That will help give you clarity and direction throughout the upcoming week but realize that your pitcher will start accumulating water again.

Or, you could go down an release just enough burden to lighten your load a little, knowing that you will overflow with burdens the coming week.

But you have another choice.

You could go to the altar every Sunday and pour out your burdens before God every single Sunday. Going into a new week with an empty pitcher helps us to maintain sanity, but it keeps our perspective on the One who can remove our burdens completely.

So, this Sunday don’t let the altar be empty. Let’s always remember the tomb is empty, but the altar is filled with people who desire to pray with you and help you pour yourself out before God.

Max Lucado’s Before Amen – SPONSORED POST

familychristian

book of the year

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – pray without ceasing

Family Christian gave me the opportunity to review Max Lucado’s book, before amen. Not only did I jump at the chance to review it, I was excited to! before amen is Family Christian’s 2015 Book of the Year!!! Congrats Max!!! (or is that Mr. Lucado….Mr. L….M.L.?)

Andy Mineo, on his new album Never Land, said it best, “I talk about You more than I talk TO You.”

Countless Christians walk into churches on Sunday where that line is very poignant. Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century preacher, called the basement of his church the powerhouse of the church. That is where the “praying without ceasing” happens. Spurgeon explained it this way, “If the engine room is out of action, then the whole mill will grind to a halt. We cannot expect a blessing if we do not ask.”

Matthew 6:9-13 – “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Max Lucado brought out before amen, a study on the Lord’s Prayer given to us by Christ in Matthew 6:9-13. The really cool thing about this book is that it breaks down the Lord’s Prayer into simple, understandable nuggets that each Christian can put into practice.

Max calls his version of the Lord’s Prayer the Pocket Prayer. It takes each line of the Lord’s Prayer and places it in simple language. How often have we thought about the Lord’s Prayer and certain lines such as “forgive us our debts…” and said, “My only debt is my mortgage. Is the Lord going to forgive my mortgage?” He takes those lines that many people can get hung up on and breaks into simple terms. For example, for that section above, he calls it “Forgive me.”

He starts introducing us to the Pocket Prayer by saying that he is looking at God through the eyes of a child. We need to get to a place of being God’s child before we can truly understand what it means to pray with faith and power. Children are simple. They don’t speak eloquently or in long-winded fashion. They pray simple, direct prayers.

And that is the definition of Lucado’s Pocket Prayer.

It is to break down the mysticism and fear regarding prayer and turn it into a simple, child-like action of love and faith.

Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Prayer should not be something we need to schedule time in our day to do. It should guide our day.

food book pic

Prayer should not just be there to talk to God when we need Him the most. It should be the comfort that is with us each and every minute of the day, good times and bad.

Mimi hospital book

Max wants each and every person to know that prayer is simple. It is reaching out in child-like faith to our Daddy. He wants us to realize that is what Jesus was doing when He called out to Abba…father, daddy. If we think of God as daddy, then that changes how we speak to Him. we begin to speak in simple and direct terms.

When my son was 5 and wanted a toy or piece of candy, he would tell me, in no uncertain terms, that he wanted that candy. He didn’t come up to me and say, “Hey daddy, I am thinking of a 5 letter word, starts with ‘c’ and ends with ‘y’.”

But that seems to be what a lot of our prayers sound like.

Mark 11:24 – Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Max is trying to teach us to be direct. Be specific. It isn’t that God needs to hear it to issue it, but it is that we need to hear ourselves say exactly what we need in order to understand when the blessing comes. How can you know you have been blessed if you don’t even know what it is you want God to bless you for?

The overarching message of this book is that prayer is simple and we shouldn’t be scared of it or avoid it.

I do have a small criticism of this book, however. The Pocket Prayer is a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer. It is very easy for people to read that all they have to do is utter the 20 words of the Pocket Prayer and their day is sealed. Prayer is a little more involved than that and in each individual chapter around the words of his Pocket Prayer, Lucado goes into more detail that brings the reality of what the prayer is about.

Overall, before amen is a great addition to any Christian’s library. This is especially true for those Christians who are constantly mentoring new believers. This book is a wonderful teaching guide to prayer for a new believer.

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

It even has a study guide that will allow the mentor and disciple to spend time in God’s Word, in prayer, and in accountability to each other.

If you would like to find this book and the materials to run a study group around it, you can locate everything on the Family Christian site here.

Max Lucado is the preaching minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, TX. He has published 31 books over the past 29 years. Max, and his wife Denalyn, have three grown daughters.

Why Can’t I Be the Old Me?

Joel 1:14 – Announce a sacred fast; proclaim an assembly! Gather the elders and all the residents of the land at the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.

Over the past month, God laid on my heart to ring the New Year in at church, not out partying. When first proposed in my head, this was an awesome idea. God had put that thought in my head since I got divorced, and this year I finally spoke up and proclaimed that it should be done.

But then reality, the world, and Satan begin to play with my mind.

It was difficult, for example, for Mimi and, especially her boys, to understand why, for the first time ever in their lives, they would be missing the ball drop on TV. Heck, it was even difficult for ME to understand that.

Then, on the morning of the prayer event, Satan was REALLY trying to dig into me. “You should be able to go out and party it up.” “It is only one night.” I even went so far as to go through the Facebook pictures of my party friends. Every picture, a raging party in the background and smiles on all the faces.

Philippians 2:4 – not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Reality was hitting.

I didn’t want to spend all night in church for what would probably be a couple people.

I wanted to be out, living it up, placing a lampshade on my head and dancing to rave music at the foam party or something.

So what happens when this kind of thought creeps into my head?

I pray.

Mimi and I were talking back and forth on text and Skype and I was in prayer during almost all of it.

I thought about a few things.

First, I remember those days. I remember college and my professors getting me drunk after the final class. I remember one of my first business trips ever and ending up in a strip club. I remember the trips out of the country for work and spending the down time drinking and spouting profanities.

Were those fun nights?

Sure, from what I can remember of them.

But then I thought about whether they defined me. Was I always that happy during those times? Sure, those were fun nights, but was there a pure joy that came with it?

Of course not. My final class of my college career involved a presentation. Guess who did horrible on it. Yep, this guy. In retrospect, I was drinking to numb the pain from doing horribly on my final class.

What about the business trip? Yea, during my time at that company I was excelling. I was doing so well at catching thieves in the restaurants that my boss had put me in charge of that around the region. The business trip was a national meeting where all my peers were as well. Being the guy that was responsible for getting a lot of people fired, I had no friends. While everyone else was out at the after parties and enjoying each other’s company, I was bound to be stuck in my hotel room yet again. I went out simply to get away. And that is where I ended up.

What about the trips outside the country where I got drunk? My marriage was failing. I was thousands of miles away and I couldn’t do anything to fix it. So I decided to drink it into submission for a night.

I don’t give you those stories because I want to hear a collective “awwww” from everyone. I give you those stories because I want you to realize that I had something missing at that time. I claimed Christ, yet I hated being alone with Him.

Ephesians 4:22 – You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

So how does all this relate to last night?

Those feelings came flooding back to me. Feelings of wanting to do my own thing and be out there partying and drinking and just enjoying the night. But there was a difference this time.

I took it to God in prayer.

And wow did I get a sense of peace.

So I went to set up for the prayer and before every one showed up, I went to the altar, got on my knees, and prayed for God to bless it.

Going into the night we only had two confirmations and one of them texted me and called out, so I only knew 1 person was coming.

But God told me to be still and trust Him.

So I did.

And at 10pm, people showed up.

By 10:10 we had 9 people.

Throughout the night we ended with 16 people coming and going through there, not counting our senior pastor who made a cameo appearance at 11:30.

The prayer time I got alone with Mimi was priceless. The time I got to speak with Jay, Nelson, Stacey and Joe could not have happened in a loud place filled with a party.

By the end of the night, I met a few people who were praying for their daughter who was sick, an elderly woman who counsels families of prisoners, and a young adult and her mom.

And as 2014 came to a close, we didn’t watch the ball drop or watch Taylor Swift sing or even get anxious about whether there would be anything bad going on. We prayed. We took our own fears and problems and anxieties to God and left them in His hands. We prayed for our families. We prayed for our church. We prayed for our communities and our nation. We prayed for places like Ferguson, China, and Syria. And we prayed that all those out partying would make it home safe.

And then we took communion. As everyone was watching the ball drop, we were breaking bread and drinking grape juice.

1 Corinthians 11:26 – For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

And the next morning, we weren’t nursing a hangover or trying to put the pieces back together on what happened. We weren’t worried that someone had a Facebook or Instagram picture up about us doing something that we shouldn’t have been doing.

No.

We were thanking God that we had the opportunity to spend that time just sitting at His feet, talking to Him, and loving on Him.

We were counting our blessings.

We were taking a deep breath and getting ready to tackle 2015, knowing that the victory has already been won. We gave the new year to God. We dedicated it to Him.

And He will bring us immeasurable joy and peace through this upcoming year.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing

Amen.

Praise Abound: A Study of Habakkuk 3

Habakkuk 3:1 – A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet.

As I close out this series on the book of Habakkuk, we realize that in the first chapter, he was very frustrated with what he was seeing around him. In the second chapter, he is waiting patiently for the answer that the Lord provides him. By this third chapter, he is praising God for being completely in control.

In verses 1-2, Habakkuk pleads to God for mercy. He knows that his people, and most likely ultimately himself, are being judged. He asks God to be merciful in light of judgment. Through verses 3-15, he praises God for his power and majesty. What is amazing about verses 3-15 is some of the language Habakkuk uses. The metaphors and similes are amazing to imagine. Picturing God as brighter than light, with rays flashing from his hands just warms my heart, as I can imagine it warmed Habakkuk’s.

Habakkuk 3:4 – His brilliance is like light; rays are flashing from His hand.

In verses 16-19, Habakkuk tells God that he will wait patiently through this judgment. He says that even though God is sending the Babylonians as judgment, he will wait until the day is right to come against them.

Habakkuk 3:16 – Now I must quietly wait for the day of distress to come against the people invading us.

The book of Habakkuk is comforting to those who live in an evil society and 21st century America is an evil society. There are a lot of points that we can take away from this book.

First, there are times when God doesn’t seem like He is there but in reality, He is very actively involved. Look at verse 1:12. God was using the Babylonians to achieve the purpose of judgment.

Next, Habakkuk explains that God is holy. In verse 1:13, he tells us that God’s eyes are too pure to look on evil. It is very humbling to know that God cannot stand evil, especially in our day of constant temptation and self-gratification.

Third, God not only hears our prayers, but He answers them. And when He answers them, we need to be prepared for HIS answer, not necessarily OUR answer. Whenever a person prays, we typically have an idea of how we would like the answer of the prayer to be. Unfortunately, many times, we as Christians feel that if God answered us differently, then He hasn’t answered us at all. Perhaps He is simply giving you the answer you need at the time you pray rather than giving you everything you want.

Habakkuk 2:1 – I will watch to see what He will say to me

Fourth, God is both just and good. He will judge the wicked and has the concern of the righteous always in His mind. While the righteous are not spoiled children who constantly get everything they want, God uses the wicked sometimes to bring the righteous back in line.

Finally, faith and faithfulness is a key to living a righteous life. This means that we live according the fact that God is just and righteous. Think of places in your life, right now, that need you to reconsider how you live. Could it be in your church life? Could it be in your work? Could it be in your marriage or your relationship with your kids? Or could it be simply with your relationship with God?

The book of Habakkuk, although written over 2600 years ago, is just as relevant today as it was then. I we look at Habakkuk and realize that everything God said came true, then we, as the righteous, can look back over our tragedies and realize that God is truly in control.

Habakkuk 3:18-19 – I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!

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Godinterest Magazine

Godinterest Magazine covering faith, culture, life and all that other stuff

Sillyloquies

We write to remember. To see our thoughts in sentences. So we can hopefully one day figure out what all those words really mean.

this is... The Neighborhood

the Story within the Story

The Awakening

An Ordinary Man Being Awakened By An Extraordinary God

Limbiley's Blog

Life&Love Trials&Tribulations Faith&Fortitude Redemption&Restoration.

Mind's Seat

Set your mind on the things above

J.S. Park: Hospital Chaplain, Skeptical Christian

From Devout Atheist to Skeptical Pastor: A Blog For Busted-Up, Beat-Down People (Like Me)

116 Boyz

Born Again Christian Male Gamers

Jayne Surrena

Fictional Memoirs

juleseddy1

A topnotch WordPress.com site

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

missjordanlee

twentysomething thoughts on grace, life, and health

soma

positive thinking

One Salty Dawg

Recent College Grad's Quest For Meaning

Blonde and Fabulous

some girls were born with glitter in their veins.

Book Hub, Inc.

The Total Book Experience

Morgan Mitchell

• Dreamer, Thinker, Blogger • |Loves Jesus| • College Student • |Living proof of a loving God to a watching World.| • #fivecollective

valeriu dg barbu

©valeriu barbu

Moving at the Speed of God

Sharing the Thoughts and Adventures of David Jackson, Church Multiplication Missionary with the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware

philliphowell

Tasting and seeing that the Lord is very good!

My Blog

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

Morning Story and Dilbert

Inspiring, Encouraging, Healthy / Why waste the best stories of the World, pour a cup of your favorite beverage and let your worries drift away…

Tea Cups and Grace

Life, faith and cups of tea.

True Warriors of God

Put on the full armour of God ~ Ephesians 6:13

Write For A Cause

The Spiritually Inclined Deductions by Jenine Silos

newlifer1

http://newlifer1.wordpress.com/

By His Spirit

Reflections of a Female Seminary Graduate

Threshing Floor

Forgiven...Loved.....Transformed!

Forgiven...Loved.....Transformed!

Forgiven...Loved.....Transformed!

Woven by Words

Forgiven...Loved.....Transformed!

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