Abiding, Bible, Comfort, Peace, Rest, Scripture

WAIT QUIETLY

HABAKKUK 3:16

“I heard, and my inner parts trembled; at the sound, my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble; because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will attack us.”

I have mentioned before that I have worked with children most of my ministry. Only in the last few years has my focus turned to discipling men (that’s a story for another day). I don’t know how many times I have dealt with children who would not get quiet at bedtime. They just couldn’t rest. You may be that way.

As Habakkuk closes his message to the people, he now reflects on the chastisement of the nation, the terror of their enemies and finally his position in this. He says, “I must wait quietly.” The Hebrew word here means to rest, to get quiet, to withdraw, to get comfort. In other words, in the midst of the trial, Habakkuk felt a peace.

APPLICATION

Rest! It’s not easy sometimes. My wife gets mad at me because I can go to sleep so quickly. I tell her it’s a gift, lol. But I haven’t always been that way. There have been many a night when I could not shut my brain off. I couldn’t rest. I was anxious about things. Stress can do that to you. So can your physical health.

Are you at rest? My brother-in-law, Dr. Wayne Barber, wrote a book about this. It’s entitled “The Rest of Grace.” You can find it on Amazon at The Rest of Grace by Wayne Barber (1998-07-04): Amazon.com: Books. His basic message in the book is for us to rely on the strength and power of God and not ourselves. We have to rest in the grace God has given us.

As I have gotten older, I have learned to do that more. I still struggle from time to time when I pick up those old habits. But for the most part I have learned to rest in Him. There is a peace that is so comforting when I do that. Will you join me in His rest?

Lord, I am thankful for the rest You give me when I place my trust in You alone.

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Affection, Bible, Comfort, Modeling, Relationships, Scripture, Suffering, Sympathy, Testimony

COMFORT

NAHUM 3:7

“‘And it will come about that all who see you will shrink from you and say, “Nineveh is devastated! Who will have sympathy for her?” Where shall I seek comforters for you?’”

Some people just have no sympathy. They can walk past a hurting child and ignore them. They can look the other way when they see someone in obvious need of help. Our world today is getting less and less sympathetic. It is all about “me.” People do not want to risk getting involved.

The Lord is saying through Nahum that people will do that to Nineveh. They will flee from them in the midst of their destruction. Nineveh, who showed no compassion, will now receive no compassion. There will not be anyone who will come to comfort them.

APPLICATION

My mind immediately goes to 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

We are not to be like the onlookers who passed by Nineveh. We are to reach out and comfort those around us who we see in need. As Paul said above in 2 Corinthians, we are to use the comfort we have received from the Father to comfort them. It is “trickle down” comfort. We share what has been given to us.

I have been both the recipient and giver of comfort in my life. Let me tell you – I had rather give comfort than receive comfort. I am not a good receiver. But, oh the joy I receive when I can give that to others. In a hospital or a funeral home, I can give that which the Father has given me. So can you. 

Father of all comfort, thank You for comforting me with Your Spirit. I can share that now with others.

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Abiding, Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Caregiver, Comfort, Dependence, Faith, Promises, Protection, Salvation, Scripture

IN TIMES LIKE THESE

NAHUM 2:10

“She is emptied! Yes, she is desolate and waste! Hearts are melting and knees wobbling! Also trembling is in the entire body, and all their faces have become pale!”

A couple of years ago, when I was going through treatment for my Amyloidosis, I got very weak. I was deathly ill. I had fainting spells and lost a lot of weight because I could not keep anything down I ate. My face was pale. My knees were wobbly. I felt as if my heart was melting. I guess you could say I could relate to the description in today’s verse.

Nahum, of course, is describing the condition of the Ninevites. Joel uses a similar description in Joel 2:6. “Before them the people are in anguish; all faces turn pale.” We find this description again in Jeremiah 30:6. “Ask now, and see if a male can give birth. Why do I see every man with his hands on his waist, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale?”

APPLICATION

The application, to me, is clear. We are weak and frail without Jesus. He is the source of our strength. You may think you are strong, but let a trial come your way and you will see what you are made of. Our flesh, in itself, can only bear so much. But it is amazing what we can endure with the help of the Lord.

Perhaps you are going through a very trying time right now in your life. You may be sick or grieving. Whatever it is, Jesus is your strength. Your knees may be wobbly, and your heart may be faint, but Jesus has you. Quit trying to manage it on your own. You can’t, He never said you could. He can and He always said He would (to borrow a quote from a dear brother-in-law).

I am so thankful that both times I went through my stem cell transplants I knew who held me. It was not the doctors or their medical knowledge. It wasn’t the great treatment I received at the hospitals. It wasn’t my wife, as precious as she was through both of those events. It was Jesus. He carried me through. He can carry you, too.

In times like these you need a Savior. In times like these you need an anchor. Be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Blessing, Comfort, Following, God's Will, Judgment, Scripture

A LONGING 

MICAH 7:1 

“Woe to me! For I am like harvests of summer fruit, like gleanings of grapes. There is not a cluster of grapes left to eat, nor an early fig, which I crave.” 

When I travel, I get a longing for home about the end of the first week. I can just feel the warmth of my own bed at home. I can taste a big glass of sweet, iced tea. Those longings do not go away until I reach home and can fulfill them. You have probably experienced similar longings. 

Here, at the beginning of chapter 7, Micah in voicing some of his longings in the face of the judgment of God. He compares his longing for the Lord’s comfort to the longings of a harvest, both grapes and figs. They both bring pleasure, as does the presence of the Lord. 

APPLICATION 

What are you longing for? If it is for the things of this world, that longing may be met, but it will be a fleeting pleasure. We are to long for the presence of the Lord with more passion than we have for other things. Those other things will not last. They are not meant to. 

But the presence of God in our lives will last for eternity. Did you get that? You can pursue and obtain only one thing that will truly last. If that is true (and it is), why do we spend so much time in pursuit of other things. 2 Peter 4:2 says it well. “As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” 

Examine your longings today. Do they match up with God’s Word and His will for your life. All those things you strive to obtain need to be seen in view of what will give God the most glory. By doing that, you please the Father.  

O Lord, You have given me so much to be thankful for. Help me to strive for only those things that give You pleasure. 

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Abiding, Bible, Comfort, God's Will, Harmony, Peace, Scripture

HE IS OUR PEACE

MICAH 5:5

“This One will be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, when he tramples on our citadels, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight leaders of people.”

I find peace in the outdoors. When I am fishing (whether I am catching anything or not), I am at peace. When I am sitting in a deer stand or ground blind, I am at peace. I find peace in a quiet morning reading God’s Word or a book that can edify my walk with Him.

Micah declares the Messiah will be their peace. He was and still is. “The Assyrian” here represents all the nations that had and would come against the people. They are no match for their Redeemer. The “seven” and “eight” here are interesting. Of course, seven means wholeness and completeness. When coupled with eight, they mean a countless multitude. What a promise.

APPLICATION

In Isaiah 9:6, Christ is called the Prince of Peace. Paul, in Ephesians 2:14, say, “For He Himself is our peace,…” All through both the Old and New Testaments, we see peace. I have said before in my blogs, that peace cannot really be discovered until you are at peace with God. Are you?

Once your peace with God is secured through the acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior, that peace begins to spread. You become a more peaceful person, thus making your other relationships more at peace. It may take some time for that to become your lifestyle, but you learn to rest in Him.

Peaceful may not be the first word used to describe me, but I am surely at peace. I have learned to not sweat the small stuff. I have learned to trust Him with those decisions that are facing me each day. Big ones and small ones, it does not matter. Every decision I make is run by Him, and I allow His peace to be the barometer. If I do not have His peace about a decision, that decision is either no or not now. I wait. Are you at peace today?

Peace like a river, there’ll be peace like a river, peace like a river floods my soul

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Abiding, Advocate, Bible, Comfort, Disciplemaking, Following, Listening, Scripture, Shepherd

OUR SHEPHERD

MICAH 5:4

“And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth.

Have you ever watched a shepherd call his sheep? It is pretty amazing. No matter what they are doing, if they hear his voice, they come (or so I have been told). They do not respond to any other voice, but his. I hope you can view this link. It is a great example of what I am talking about.  Do sheep only obey their Master’s voice? – YouTube

Micah is sharing with the people the rise of the Messiah. He will come and shepherd His flock, if only they will listen. I just love the last phrase of this verse – “because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth.” Look what has happened in the world for the cause of Christ. It has indeed spread to the ends of the earth.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you a question. Do you hear His voice? Do you hear the Shepherd calling you? You know He is. He wants to guide you. He wants to lead you to green pastures. He wants to guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). Will you let Him?

We are just like those dumb sheep sometimes. We wander off near dangerous bluffs. And when Jesus tries to prod us to safety, we rebel and wind up crashing over the side. Then we blame Him for not protecting us. We place ourselves in danger time after time, when all we have to do is listen for His voice.

I have learned that to hear His voice, I must be spending quality time with Him. That involves prayer, meditation and the study of His Word. His Spirit speaks to me through those. And as I spend more time, I have a clear channel to the throne of grace. How sweet it is to hear His voice early in the morning. Are you listening?

Father, speak to me. Guide, guard and graze me.

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Advocate, Anxiety, Battles, Bible, Comfort, Courage, Devil, Encouragement, Hope, Rescue, Satan, Scripture

BEAT TO PIECES 

MICAH 4:13 

“‘Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hoofs bronze, so that you may pulverize many peoples, and dedicate to the LORD their unjust, and their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.’” 

Have you ever beaten anything to smithereens (that is a good ole Southern word)? That is the same idea as the word “pulverize” here in today’s verse. I can remember taking one of my dad’s hammers outside and crushing rocks with it. I would pound those things, so they were just dust. Ah, childhood memories! Lol 

The Lord is telling Israel that one day they will pulverize their enemies. They will be defeated and blown away like chaff. They will be totally destroyed. This was welcome news since they were on the other end of that timeline, being defeated themselves. But the day was coming when He would restore them. 

APPLICATION 

Maybe you are feeling pulverized right now. Perhaps the weight of the world seems to be on your shoulders. You cannot get rid of that beaten down attitude. I have good news. The Lord of all creation knows exactly where you are and how to get you out of that spot. We must remember that Satan wants us to feel that way. When we are down, we usually are not about the Father’s business. 

I only know one way to get rid of that feeling – time with Jesus. As you spend time in the Word and in prayer, that dark cloud seems to lift. Jesus tells us to cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Suffering is not all bad. I know that sounds too spiritual for you. But believe me, it is true. 

I have learned to bring all my cares to Him each day. When I am faced with a difficult decision or things do not seem to be going well, I pause and pray. I listen for His voice. Psalm 118:5 says, “From my distress I called upon the Lord; The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.”  Let Him set you there also. 

Father, thank You that You hear my cries for help. When I am in distress, I know I have Your ear.  

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Accused, Bible, Comfort, Dreams, Goodness, Holiness, Inspirational

DREAMING OF SIN

MICAH 2:1

“Woe to those who devise wrongdoing, who practice evil on their beds! When morning comes, they do it, because it is in the power of their hands.

I do not dream a lot. I do have a few, though, that stick in my head. I have dreamt of falling and find myself jerking awake. I have also dreamt about trips I have made. Before Christ I would dream about sinful stuff. That is the thought behind today’s verse.

The audience receiving Micah’s message were accused of even dreaming about sin, dreaming about how they could practice evil. And a first light, they would do it. Wow! They had abused a holy sanctuary of the bed with their sinful thoughts and desires. They had not allowed that place to be a place of peace and rest, but rather a place of chaos and rebellion.

APPLICATION

I have a friend who practices HWLW. That stands for His Word Last Word. He meditates on a passage of Scripture, usually one he is in the process of memorizing, right before bed. That way the last thing on his mind is the Word of God. He swears that gives him peaceful nights and dreams.

Another friend will place his memorization verse pack next to his bed. Just before he goes to sleep, he will review some verses. The Word of God is the last thing on his mind also. He wants God’s Word to permeate his life, even his sleep. I have not asked him how he sleeps, but I bet it’s good.

How are you sleeping at night? Are you having bad dreams? Try HWLW. Let God’s Word be the last thing on your mind. Often, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I will either start praying or start quoting verses in my head. Before I know it, I am back to sleep. God’s Word can be better than a sleeping pill. Put it to the test and see.

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

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Advocate, Affection, Bible, Brokenness, Comfort, Compassion, Despair, Grief, Holy Spirit, Mourning

HOW TO MOURN 

MICAH 1:8 

“Because of this I must mourn and wail, I must go barefoot and naked; I must do mourning like the jackals, and a mourning like the ostriches.” 

I have been to a lot of funerals throughout my ministry. Some of those who were grieving were really upset at the funeral. I have experienced some extreme mournings during those services. I have seen people hold onto the casket of their loved ones and just wail and moan. I have seen others fall on the floor sobbing uncontrollably. Everyone mourns differently. 

When I looked at today’s verse in the Hebrew, I discovered something interesting. The four words – mourn, wail, do mourning and mourning – are four different Hebrew words. They each describe the action differently. Look it up yourself. Why would the Holy Spirit lead Micah to use four different words to describe this? I believe it is because one word just can’t express our emotions. Micah is mourning and mourning greatly. 

APPLICATION 

Mourning is an important part of our lives. When we lose a loved one or a pet, we naturally feel empty. I am reminded of a passage from 1 Timothy 4. Verse 13 says, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as indeed the rest of mankind do, who have no hope.” 

Aren’t you glad our mourning isn’t based on earthly guidelines? God is with us in our deepest grief. He holds us tenderly as we weep and mourn. He understands. He created our tears. When we can’t find the words to pray, the Holy Spirit groans for us. 

I have grieved over the loss of a child, a dad and a mom. Other relatives have gone on to their heavenly reward. With each one I grieved differently. Just as Micah used different words to describe his grief, no one word could explain mine. Those are the times when I just rested in Jesus. Words were not necessary. Rest in Him today. 

Father of compassion and God of all comfort, I praise You for the words You give during our times of grief. 

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Affliction, Belief, Bible, Choices, Comfort, Death, Deception, God's Will, Grace, Healing, Hope, Scripture

JUST LET ME DIE

JONAH 4:3

“‘So now, LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.’”

Unfortunately, I have heard those words from too many people. I remember a young lady that was on my caseload at a children’s home who tried to kill herself. I was called to the cottage to find that she had cut her wrists. We quickly bandage them, applied pressure and took off for the hospital. She kept saying all the way there that she just wanted to die. “Just let me die.” Fortunately, she did not and worked out the issues that led her to this decision.

Jonah wanted to die for two reasons. The first was because he just could not stand the idea that Nineveh was saved. He wanted them dead. He had rather die than see that. Secondly, Jonah did not want to see his own country suffer under the hands of these Assyrians. He had just as soon die than see that. Life simply was not worth living, or so it seemed.

APPLICATION

I pray you never feel this way. I pray you never feel so hopeless that taking your life seems the only option. God has so much for you. I am reminded of Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” That is still true today.

When all seems lost, turn to Jesus. When troubles and trials flood your days, turn to Jesus. He can soothe any wound. He can heal any broken heart. But you have to ask Him. He will not intervene where He is not wanted. But the very second you make that first step towards Him, He is there with a warm and kind embrace.

Trusting Jesus with your life is more than just an eternal decision. It is a daily decision. He longs to guide and direct us. He does not want to see us stray off the narrow road. But He will let us. We are not tied to Him and drug along. Run up beside Him today and grab His hand. He will gladly hold yours.

Oh Father, for the thousands of souls out there today who have no hope, will You send someone in their lives today to share Jesus?

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