Bible, Despair, Joy, Modeling, Peace, Praise, Scripture, Singing

GLOOM, DESPAIR AND AGONY

ZEPHANIAH 1:15

“That day is a day of anger, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness,”

Back in the 1970’s a comedy show hit the airwaves of the U.S. entitled “Hee Haw.” One of the songs that was sung regularly on the show was about gloom and despair. The lyrics were:

Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me

These words may not all fit today’s verse, but they sure come close to how someone who was facing the day of the Lord and His judgment would feel. Of course, it wasn’t about having bad luck. It was all about bad choices – specifically one – rejecting Jehovah in favor of idolatry and rebellion. That choice would certainly bring gloom, despair and agony.

APPLICATION

We who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have accepted Him as Lord and Savior have no reason to worry about gloom, despair or agony. Our hope is in Him. Certainly, none of those words describe our Lord. He is joy, light and radiance. He brings peace and comfort. He exudes the glory of God.

So, why do so many Christians walk around singing that old Hee Haw song? They almost act like Eeyore, the donkey from Winnie the Pooh. Every time you see them all you hear about is how bad things are. They are children of the King, but they act like a lowly peasant who has been downtrodden and forgotten.

I choose to walk in victory. I choose to sing a different song. I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. He has put a new song in my heart. Will you sing with me? Will you praise His holy name? Let the world know about the joy you have because you have chosen to follow Jesus. They need to hear it and you need to proclaim it.

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!

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Bible, Captivity, Despair, Devil, Enemies, Evil, Faithfulness, Satan, Scripture, Submission, Surrender, Trust

WILL IT EVER STOP?

HABAKKUK 1:17

“Will they therefore empty their net, and continually slay nations without sparing?”

(This is blog #2500. I cannot believe it. I began these post on January 1, 2016. I am about to finish my 7th year of writing these daily blogs. Please pray for me as I seek the Lord as I write these each day.)

The rise of evil and its spread throughout the world seems to never cease. It just gets worse and worse. Just the moment you think it can’t get any worse, it does. The depth of evil a person will plunge is beyond our imaginations. Will there ever be an end to this? When will God step in and stop it?

That’s the question Habakkuk is asking at the end of Chapter One. God has shown him this vision of the Chaldeans coming in and defeating them. He knows of their ruthlessness. He does not want his people to suffer. He is crying out to God, “When will they stop? Will they ever stop? Haven’t they done enough?”

APPLICATION

You may have been under spiritual attack from the evil one and have cried out the same as Habakkuk. “Lord, when will it end? I can’t take much more of this.” Trials come in all shapes and sizes. Some last a long time and others are over quickly. It is those that linger that truly test us.

We must remember, though, that God will not put on us more than we can handle with His help. We surely cannot handle it on our own, but as we submit and surrender to Him, we can get through whatever it is we face. There may still be dark days as you trust Him, but we are assured of His faithfulness.

I have faced these challenges. I have shared about some of them in my blog posts of the past. Suffice it to say, I have learned these lessons the hard way. There have been times when I entered a trial fully trusting. Then there are other times I went in kicking and screaming. But through them all I have found my Lord to be right there with me, sustaining and nurturing me. Will you rest in Him in the midst of your struggles?

Father, in Your strong hands I place myself. Do with me as You see fit.

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Advice, Affliction, Answers, Bible, Despair, Evil, Looking, Scripture

I CAN’T STAND IT!!!

HABAKKUK 1:3

“Why do You make me see disaster, and make me look at destitution? Yes, devastation and violence are before me; strife exists and contention arises.”

Too much of anything is well…too much. Whether that be good or bad! When I was going through my chemotherapy, there were days when all I could see was the misery. On the outside I put on a fairly, brave face. Most people would not have known I was struggling. But on the inside, I was throwing in the towel. I was done. All I felt was bad, with no end in sight.

Habakkuk’s eyes are full of disaster, destitution, devastation, violence, strife and contention. That would depress anyone. He is finding it hard to comprehend this. God had promised blessings to Israel, not curses. God was about to tell him why these things are here. But right now, at this moment, Habakkuk is simply continuing to cry out to God.

Do these words describe your life right now – disaster, destitution, devastation, violence, strife and contention? If so, may I be so bold as to say to you that your eyes are on the wrong thing. When we look and look at all the evil around us, we are mesmerized by it. We can’t stop looking away.

APPLICATION

It’s kind of like if you are in your car and come across an accident. You slow down and look. You don’t want to stop looking. You know it’s not good, but you can’t help it. Sin can captivate us. And suddenly, we are stuck in this pit of disaster, destitution, devastation, violence, strife and contention. We too are screaming at God that we can’t stand it.

I don’t know about you, but I do not want those things in my life. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:8-9a, “8 But now you also, rid yourselves of all of them: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you stripped off the old self with its evil practices,…” If we stop looking at these things, we will soon discover that God has been there all the time, just waiting for us to look His way.

I want to focus my eyes on You, Lord, and not on the things of this world.  

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Advocate, Affection, Belief, Bible, Darkness, Despair, Encouragement, Scripture, Tears

WHY DO YOU CRY?

MICAH 4:9

“‘Now, why do you cry out loudly? Is there no king among you, or has your counselor perished, that agony has gripped you like a woman in childbirth?’”

Nothing is more disturbing for a parent than to see their child cry and not know the reason. We want to soothe them. We want to stop the tears, but they keep coming. This is especially true when they are very young and cannot communicate the reason. We usually figure it out after much trial and error.

Micah is asking the same question for the Lord. “Why do you cry out loudly?” He tells them there is no reason to cry. Even in their deepest valleys, their king is still there. He has not left them. Their counselor is not dead. He is very much alive. And even though the pain is real, this too shall end with much joy, just like a woman’s pain in childbirth ends with the joy of seeing that child for the first time.

APPLICATION

We do the same thing. When we go through a trial or a tough time, we often wonder where God is. We want to blame Him for our suffering. We even think He is trying to hurt us or cause us harm. Nothing could be further from the truth. God has not gone anywhere. He is still right there on His throne.

God allows us to go through trials to build our faith. It is never to tear us down. Some trials are harder than others – the loss of a loved one, a terminal disease. But no matter how hard the trial, God is still there. Our King still reigns. Nothing nor nobody has knocked Him off His throne.

Going through trials time after time allows us to build that faith that can move mountains. We begin to believe that God can sustain us through the darkest moments of our life. And then we can use that knowledge that we have gained to help others when they go through them. Paul tells us this in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. Take a look at that today.

Thank You, Lord, for always being right there. In the moments of my deepest woes, You are there.

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Cleansing, Confrontation, Deception, Despair, Destruction, Evangelism, Gospel, Integrity, Leading, Scripture, Witnessing

DISHONEST GAIN

MICAH 3:10

“Who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with malice.”

In one of my earliest ministry experiences, I worked with a person who was in leadership on the campus where I served. That person would take gifts meant for the children we served and take them home for their grandchildren. They would also take pool chemicals purchased for the campus to use in their own pool a home. Dishonest gain!

Micah continues his prophecies against the leaders of Israel and Judah. They had made their way to the top by stepping all over the “little people.” The poor and less fortunate were used by these leaders so they could gain more wealth and prestige. It did not matter who they hurt to get ahead.

APPLICATION

There is nothing much worse than someone who will take advantage or steal from the poor. They must not have a conscience. Wickedness pours out of them. They do not care who they use, as long as they get what they want. We believers should be able to spot those individuals a mile off.

So, how do we deal with people like that? Just like Jesus. What did He do? He loved them (He even died for them), but He did not join in with them. He dealt with the Pharisees and Sadducees often. Many of these got their positions by these very means – using others. Jesus knew that. He confronted them of their sins. But He still loved them.

Loving someone like that is hard, but we are called to do just that. How else will they hear and see the Gospel. They may spurn your words. They may even threaten you. That is okay. You have planted the seed which can grow later. It is our calling to spread the good news to everyone. Will you do that today? Who knows that person just might repent and come to Christ because of a word you shared?

Thank You, Lord, for cleansing me of my selfishness. Give me a love for the unlovable so they can hear Your message of forgiveness.

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Affliction, Battles, Bible, Brokenness, Darkness, Death, Despair, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Grief, Heaven, Mourning, Satan, Scripture

THE ENEMY APPROACHES

MICAH 1:15

“Moreover, I will bring on you the one who takes possession, you inhabitant of Mareshah. The glory of Israel will enter Adullam.”

In times of distress the enemy will attack. I just woke up to discover a dear brother in the ministry lost his sweet, precious wife last night. She died suddenly, leaving a gapping hole in my brother’s chest. We are praying for him, but most especially praying protection over him from the enemy’s attack. We know Satan loves to attack us when we are down.

Assyria was attacking Israel and Judah. “The one who takes possession” refers to the enemy invader. God was allowing the enemy to attack in order to judge His chosen people. He was striving to bring them back to Him, even if it meant severe judgment. But God had not broken His covenant with them. Israel (all 12 tribes) was still His child.

APPLICATION

Our spiritual enemy is powerful and very well armed. He loves to catch us unawares and unprotected. Sudden losses in our lives can shatter us emotionally. When we are in these places, the devil will whisper in our ears that God does not love us, that He does not care about us. Do not believe those lies.

That is why it is so important to cover yourself in God’s Word. Only His Word can get you through those times. This morning, the first passage that came to my mind was 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who 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. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

My dear brother will be okay. He will get through this. Why? Because I know he loves Jesus and loves His Word which is filled with the promises of God. He knows the Father loves him dearly. He may not understand why He took his bride home now, but he will – eventually. Be on guard my brothers and sisters.

Lord, thank You for Your promises. I know they never fail.

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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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Affection, Alone, Asking, Bible, Confession, Despair, Disciplemaking, Following, God's Will, Mercy, Prayer, Rescue, Scripture

THE PITS

JONAH 2:6

“I descended to the base of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, but You have brought up my life from the pit, LORD my God.

You may have heard the expression, “this is the pits.” But where does that come from? Well, I looked that up. It can refer to armpits which implies body odor, something that is undesirable. It also can refer to someone who is in the depths of despair. That is what I think of when I hear this. Well…Jonah was in the pits.

Remember where he is when he says what we read in today’s verse – the belly of a fish in the depths of the sea. It’s hard to get much lower than that. He was low. He was in despair. Look what he says, though. He says, “You have brought up my life from the pit, LORD my God.” Wait just a minute. He’s still in that fish. But now he realizes no matter the circumstance, God can lift you up from the depths of despair.

APPLICATION

If you are like most people, you have found yourself in “the pits” at some time. How did you manage that? How do you get out of “the pit”? So many of us turn to counselors or doctors for help. They can be very helpful. But so many of us don’t look at the spiritual side of our despair. We are spiritual creatures, as well as physical.

I want to encourage you the next time you find yourself in “that pit” to turn to Jesus. Ask Him why you are feeling the way you are. Ask Him what He would have you do to get out of that low place. He may reveal some hidden sin in your life that needs confessing. He may point you to someone who has gone through what you are going through at the time.

I have had the privilege to share my journey through chemotherapy and stem cell transplants to others who are going through the same thing. Let me tell you – chemo will bring you down into a pit. You need others to encourage you during that time. What have you gone through and what lessons have you learned that you can share with someone today? Do that.

Being in “the pits” is no fun, Father. I thank You that You have lifted me up each time I have called on You.

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY TO ALL THE MOMS OUT THERE READING MY BLOG!!

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