Answers, Asking, Belief, Bible, Confidence, Faithfulness, God's Will, Listening, Scripture

RIGHT ON TIME, JUST IN TIME

HABAKKUK 2:3

“‘For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hurries toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it delays, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay long.’”

Aren’t you glad God is never late? I know! I know! We often think He is, don’t we? I can remember a few times in my life when I tried to hurry Him up. “Come on, God. Don’t you see me down here? When are you going to do something?” Don’t judge me. You have prayed the same thing, lol.

God tells Habakkuk that the vision He is receiving is for “the appointed time.” He doesn’t tell him when. He just reassures him that it 1) hurries toward the goal, 2) will not fail, 3) will certainly come, and 4) will not delay. Now, this is God speaking, so Habakkuk knows he can trust the message.

APPLICATION

God is always right on time. He is always just in time. He is always aware of the clock. He doesn’t always wait to the eleventh hour. Sometimes He reacts quickly. I have known prayers that were answered as soon as they were lifted up (or so it seemed). Other prayers were repeated for years until He answered.

Whether quick or delay, His answer will come. He promises that. I have shared several verses in the past about answered prayers. Let me encourage you to do a study on prayer through Scripture. Look up and read all the prayers that are recorded. It may surprise you to see how God worked in each and every situation.

How do you handle waiting? I am naturally a pretty impatient guy. I hate waiting at restaurants. I won’t stay if the wait is longer than ½ an hour. But God has taught me to wait on Him. I know all His messages in His Word are true. I know He is sending His Son to take us home. I will wait. How about you?

I will wait on You, Lord. You will accomplish Your work in due time – Your time.

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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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Abiding, Battles, Bible, Faithfulness, Scripture, Trust

UNSHAKEABLE

NAHUM 3:12

All your fortifications are fig trees with ripe fruit—when shaken, they fall into the eater’s mouth.”

When I read this verse, my mind flashed back to an old Sandy Patty song, “Unshakeable Kingdom.” In case you don’t know that song, here is the link to see the video:

The chorus ends with this:

The kingdom of God
A kingdom that will never end
The living unshakeable kingdom of God, of God!

Nahum, of course, was prophesying just the opposite of the enemies of God. They were shakeable. They were vulnerable. They could be destroyed. God proved that by wiping them out. But thanks be to God, since we are in His kingdom, we are not.

APPLICATION

Maybe you have been shaken. Perhaps you have faced obstacles and challenges that have rocked you to your core. This life is hard sometimes, I know. We have all faced things that test our faith. I want to reassure you that God is not shaken by those things.

Whatever you are dealing with, God is bigger. There is nothing that He cannot deal with if you will let Him. He will lift you out of the miry clay and set you on solid ground. He will pick you up, dust you off and put you back on the path He has chosen for you.

Is it easy? No! Is it worth it to trust? You had better believe it. Speaking from experience, I can tell you it is. I have had my tests. I have not been faithful in some of them. I have failed some tests. What does God do? He allows me to try it again – til I get it right. That is really a privilege. That may sound crazy, but with each test I learn to trust Him more. So can you!

Father, I trust You. I want to prove my faithfulness to You. I am yours.

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Abiding, Allies, Battles, Bible, Confidence, Disappointment, Faithfulness, God's Will, Promises, Scripture

MISPLACED CONFIDENCE 

NAHUM 3:9 

“Ethiopia was her might, Egypt too, without limits. Put and Lubim were among her helpers.” 

Have you ever had someone you were depending on let you down? It is no fun feeling. Your hopes seemed dashed. You get angry at that person and then you get sad. Emotions are always a part of this kind of disappointment. What do you do with those emotions? 

Nahum was reminding Nineveh that no one can depend on any earthly power. He gives the example of No-Amon who depended on Ethiopia and Egypt for her might. Historical records have shown their armies numbered in the millions, like sand on the seashore. But No-Amon still fell. Only God’s power is eternal. 

APPLICATION 

I pray you have not suffered the fate of misplaced dependence. Let me reassure you – people will let you down. I have promised people that I will eventually disappoint them. I am not perfect and have never claimed to be. I know my failures. Do you? 

As believers, we know our only certain source of strength lies in Jesus Christ. Only He can sustain us. Read these words from Psalm 62. “5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Hm. 6 Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress; I will not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. 8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” 

Aren’t those great words? I just love that He is my rest, my hope, my rock, my salvation, my fortress, my salvation, the source of my honor, my mighty rock and my refuge. If that doesn’t give you confidence, nothing will. Trust Him today! 

I shall trust in You at all times, my God and my Savior. 

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Accountability, Advice, Appeasement, Bible, Calling, Choices, Discipline, Faithfulness, God's Will, Looking, Modeling, Scripture

ALL FOR NOTHING 

MICAH 6:15 

“‘You will sow but you will not harvest. You will tread the olive press but will not anoint yourself with oil; and tread out sweet wine, but you will not drink any wine.’” 

I have been trying to learn some more Swahili and, for the first time, some French. The app I am using has some timed lessons. If you do not finish the lesson in the time given, you have to start again. All that concentration and all that work for nothing. It can be a little frustrating. 

God told the people that all their work (sowing and treading) will be for naught. They will harvest nothing. They will not get enough oil for anointing or wine to drink. Somehow, they had to learn that all they had came from Him. Those blessings required obedience, which they had not shown. 

APPLICATION 

Are you spinning your wheels for God and getting nothing back? Well, maybe you are spinning the wrong wheels. We make the mistake all the time of “doing” for God. We think if we just stay busy He will bless us. I hate to disappoint you, but that is not how it works. What He initiates He anoints, not what you initiate. 

Now James tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:26). God does want us to serve Him and to accomplish His plans. That requires “doing.” One person has said we have to put feet to our prayers. Just be careful to make sure you clear it with the Lord first. 

I was taught by my dad to show initiative. That is a good trait to have unless your initiative is self-driven and not God-driven. The joy of knowing that you are doing what the Lord has called you to do is so delightful. Do not spin your wheels trying to “do” for God. Stop, pray and let Him show you what it is He would have you do. 

Lord, slow me down and help me see Your grand plan for me. I want to serve where You want me to serve. 

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Abiding, Advocate, Alone, Bible, Confidence, Courage, Covenant, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Idols

ABANDONMENT

JONAH 2:8

“‘Those who are followers of worthless idols abandon their faithfulness,’”

I worked for over 30 years in the child welfare field. In all those years, I saw a lot of children who had been abandoned. Abandonment is not a pretty thing. The feelings of loss and neglect are awful. Those who abandon are thinking only of themselves and not the lives they are affecting.

Jonah draws this analogy in referring to those who have abandoned their faith in favor of worthless idols. Those idols (or really those who peddled them) offered sensual or physical pleasures as part of their worship. The people’s hedonistic tendencies led them to choose those idols over true worship. They walked away from God. They abandoned their faith.

APPLICATION

Have you abandoned your faith? Have you tried to find something else to meet your needs? There is nothing else. Just like Jonah said, those things are “worthless.” They have no true meaning, no eternal purpose. They promise all sorts of things but never deliver. They only enslave.

If you have left your faith or it is weaker than it used to be, return to Him now. He will never abandon you. He will always be there. His love is eternal. His support of you will never end. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”

So, is your heart completely His? If it is, He promises to “strongly support” you. There is no reason to abandon your faith. If you are struggling right now, turn to Jesus. He can carry you through. I pray you will stay close to Him. Do not abandon!

I will stay with You, O Lord. I know You will never abandon me.

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Advice, Advocate, Asking, Bible, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Scripture, Wisdom

GOD, YOU’RE RIGHT

JONAH 1:14

“Then they cried out to the LORD and said, ‘We earnestly pray, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life, and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, LORD, have done as You pleased.’”

Many times in our lives we wrestle with a decision, so we cry out to God. Psalm 118:5 comes to mind. “From my distress I called upon the LORD; The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.” This Psalmist understood where to go. We should learn a lesson from this. Cry out to Him.

The sailors had tried everything to not do what Jonah told them to do to him (throw him into the sea). Now, they have been driven to Jehovah God to beg forgiveness for the action that was about to take place. God used a raging sea to draw these men to Him. These pagan sailors were about to see God in action.

APPLICATION

Don’t wait until you are knee deep in life’s cesspool before you cry out to God. He sent His Son Jesus to rescue you from all that. We must have the wisdom to pursue our God in all circumstances. That wisdom only comes through the reading and studying of God’s Word.

That Word must transform your mind so the first thing you think about when you are going through that hard time is the Word. What would the Word say do? What verse comes to mind? A friend of mine says, “Scripture memory gives the Holy Spirit a vocabulary to speak to us personally at any time or place. Since the Lord can use scripture we have put to memory, we can trust His communication with us.”

I am thankful for the scriptures I have memorized. They serve me well when I am in distress, or I encounter someone else in distress. That happened yesterday and I was able to share God’s Word with them without even opening a Bible. I had it stored in my heart and mind. Will you spend some time today memorizing a passage?

Thank You, Lord, for the Word. Thank You for using all those authors over all those years to tell Your story.

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SPILL THE BEANS

JONAH 1:8

“Then they said to him, ‘Tell us, now! On whose account has this catastrophe struck us? What is your occupation, and where do you come from? What is your country, and from what people are you?’”

Have you ever been asked to “spill the beans”? We are often asked to share information about someone or something, revealing something that was unknown to the asker. But did you ever stop to think about where that phrase came from? It probably originated from the ancient Greek process of voting. Votes were cast by using two different colored beans. After all had voted, the beans were spilled out to reveal the outcome.

The beans had been spilled. Jonah had been chosen by lots. Now the questions began. The sailors wanted to know what Jonah was doing and why his God was so upset with him. Remember, up to this time, they probably didn’t know exactly who God was. They were soon going to find out.

APPLICATION

When was the last time you were grilled with questions about something? It’s bad when you get those questions and don’t have the answers. It’s even harder when you have the answers but aren’t sure how to give them. Kind of like being in between a rock and a hard place.

Let me encourage you to share the truth, no matter the consequences. If you are asked to “spill the beans” about why you are the way you are, go for it. Testify of the amazing works of the Spirit in your life. Tell them about God’s saving power in your life. Give your testimony from salvation to the present. Spill the beans!

I try to spill the beans whenever I can. I want to tell others about the Lord. Sometimes, that is not received well. Other times it is. My job is simply to share. So is yours. Will you help me spill the beans more and more to a lost and dying world?

Lord God, You have commanded me to share the good news to the poor. Give me the opportunities to do that.

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Abiding, Bible, Blessing, Calling, Direction, Faithfulness, God's Will, Home, Obedience, Restoration, Scripture

THE RETURN

OBADIAH 19

Then those of the Negev will possess the mountain of Esau, and those of the Shephelah the Philistine plain; also, they will possess the territory of Ephraim and the territory of Samaria, and Benjamin the territory of Gilead.

My family and I lived in TN in the 90’s. We loved it there, but God moved us to FL for a season. We spent eight years there and then were called back to TN in 2007. It was like coming home. Now, you Floridians, don’t take that wrong. Florida was our home while we were there. But Chattanooga always felt like our real home. Coming back just felt right.

In today’s verse, Obadiah is prophesying the return of Judah to their homeland. Not only would they return, but they would expand their lands. God will always stay true to His children. He may take us to the “woodshed,” as He did Judah, but He will restore.

APPLICATION

You may have a story of God’s restoration power. I know I do. I’ve been through two stem cell transplants for this disease I have (Amyloidosis). Borrowing a miracle, I will face another one in the years ahead. But each time, the Lord has restored my physical health. I am forever grateful for the lessons He taught me each time.

You may have been restored financially or emotionally. But the most important restoration we can have is our spiritual restoration. He promises to bring us from death to life. He gives us a true new life in Christ. He died and we live. Isn’t that incredible.

And just like Judah, when He restores us, He gives us so much more than we had before. I don’t mean physical stuff. I mean spiritual growth. We go from infants needing milk to eating the meat of the Word as we surrender to Him and seek Him daily. It truly is a restoration process in our lives.

Lord, thank You for restoring me. I was dead in my sins and You gave me new life.

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Abuse, Bible, Covenant, Faithfulness, Promises

A HOLY PLACE

OBADIAH 17

“But on Mount Zion there will be those who escape, and it will be holy. And the house of Jacob will possess their property.”

Do you ever feel alone? Do you feel forgotten? I have heard of parents who forgot a child somewhere, only to discover they weren’t with them when they got home. That child could easily feel less valued. Perhaps they were thinking mom or dad didn’t want them anymore. All the situations I am personally aware of turned out okay and the kids were safe. But it can scare a kid.

Even after all the desecration and destruction that took place in Jerusalem, God says it will be holy. A remnant shall possess it. God did not forget about His holy nation. Yes, they rebelled against Him which justified their discipline and exile. But He did not forget about His covenant.

APPLICATION

God has not forgotten you. He loves you. Even when you feel alone, He’s still there. God often allows us to go through times like that to show us just how much He loves us. Perhaps you feel all your friends have left you. There is no one to help. God may be preserving you during this time to maintain a remnant.

Carl, that doesn’t make any sense. Why would God do that? Because God never breaks His covenant with His children. Did you know that? He hasn’t forgotten where you are. He needs you to remain faithful. You are the one He has chosen to remain. You are the seed of the promise.

I know I can rely on His promise. He has great plans for me. I know that. I believe that. My problem is me. I want what I want when I want it. That’s not how God works. He gives us what we need when we need it. He’s never late. He’s always on time. So, don’t fret if you feel alone. He’s got a plan.

Father, when I am all alone, You are there. You know exactly how I am feeling, and You love me through it.

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