Abiding, Bible, Choices, Confession, Darkness, Fellowship, Forgiveness, God's Will, Power, Scripture

FROZEN SUN AND MOON

HABAKKUK 3:11

“Sun and moon stood in their lofty places; they went away at the light of Your arrows, at the radiance of Your flashing spear.”

June 21 is normally the longest daylight day of the year where I live. The sun seems to hang in the sky forever. But I cannot imagine the scene in Joshua 10 when the sun literally stood still. “12Then Joshua spoke to the LORD on the day when the LORD turned the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, ‘Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, at the Valley of Aijalon!’ 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the Book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hurry to go down for about a whole day. 14 There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.”

Habakkuk, perhaps, is recalling that story. He knows God has that kind of power. His point in today’s verse is to remind the people of God’s omnipotence. He even holds the sun and moon in His hand and does with them as He wishes. If that is so, then surely, He can handle what they are going through.

APPLICATION

What do you believe? Do you believe God can handle your problems? I told someone this week, “Whatever is over your head is under His feet.” God can and will handle it, in His time. But you must believe. You must trust the God of the universe to carry you through whatever it is you are facing.

My family has been through a lot in the past dozen years. They watched me go through two stem cell transplants for an incurable disease with no guarantee I would pull through. But in the midst of that, we trusted our Lord. We knew whatever happened, He was in control.

The same God who turned His back on His Son and caused the world to go into darkness because of the sin which Jesus took on Him is the same God who will not work in your life as He desires until your sins are confessed and you are in fellowship with Him. Turn to Him today and confess your sins to Him. Let Him wash you clean and work in your life today. Come out of the darkness.

Father, today I bring all my sins and transgressions to You. Forgive me, Lord, and set me back on the right path.

Standard
Bible, Creation, Glorify, Power, Praise, Scripture

NATURE RESPONDS

HABAKKUK 3:10

“The mountains saw You and quaked; the downpour of waters swept by. The deep raised its voice, it lifted high its hands.”

I have said it before, but creation groans at the presence of God. When we keep our mouths shut and don’t extol His greatness, the trees and birds will take up the slack. God’s presence can be seen everywhere around us if we will just look.

Habakkuk is telling us the same thing. The mountains see God and quake. Perhaps there were actual earthquakes or the thunder echoing off the mountains made them appear to quake. The waters sweeping by like the judgment of God on His people. The ocean deep raises its voice, and its waves lift high His name. What a beautiful picture.

APPLICATION

I do not want creation to outdo me when it comes to giving God praise. I want to “out glorify” the trees and rivers, mountains and oceans. I want my praise of my King to be loud and proud. I want the world to know where my allegiance is.

Today, we are so busy worshipping creation that we forget the Creator. So many environmental groups will fight to protect a single salamander in a forgotten stream somewhere but won’t pause for a second to recognize the creative force behind it all.

This Christmas, as you celebrate Jesus’ birth, take a minute and celebrate our great Creator. Thank Him for His presence in all of creation which points us back to Him. But also, glorify Him above all. Don’t let the trappings of Christmas “out glorify” you. Make your voice heard above the clamor of Christmas. Jesus is born in Bethlehem.

I will shout it from the mountaintop that Jesus is Lord. Praise the God of all creation.

Standard
Accountability, Attention, Belief, Bible, Commands, Faithfulness, Ministry, Power, Scripture

WHEN GOD SAYS, “JUMP”

HABAKKUK 3:6

“He stood and caused the earth to shudder; He looked and caused the nations to jump. Yes, the everlasting mountains were shattered, the ancient hills collapsed. His paths are everlasting.”

You’ve all heard the expression when someone is in charge and wants immediate responses. When they say, “Jump,” you are supposed to ask, “How high?” In other words, don’t question the directive. Just do it. Some parents are that way. Some bosses are that way.

Habakkuk describes God that way. Even the earth and the nations respond to God immediately. Habakkuk tells us the mountains are scattered at His voice. The ancient hills collapse. God’s power is incredible. He can literally cause the universe to change. We would do well to remember that as we interact with the Holy of holies.

APPLICATION

The world today seems to belittle or limit God. Many do not believe He is capable of the miraculous anymore. Those days are gone or so they think. God has shown off in the past but not anymore. Don’t believe that for a second. He is still up to the incredible.

As I travel the globe in my ministry, I hear stories told of the dead being brought back to life. I hear about villages being supernaturally protected from the evil forces who want to destroy them. God is still about the miraculous. He is not done showing the world who He is and what He is capable of.

And the greatest miracle of all is the miracle He does in the life of a sinner who comes to Jesus. He totally cleanses that person of their sins and gives them a new life in Christ. He sets them on His everlasting path towards glory and gives them a new purpose. That’s miraculous!

Father, forgive me when I doubt Your power in my life. I can do nothing without You.

Standard
Abiding, Affliction, Bible, Enemies, Hope, Power, Scripture, Security, Strength

THEY’RE COMING

HABAKKUK 2:7

“‘Will your creditors not rise up suddenly, and those who collect from you awaken? Indeed, you will become plunder for them.’”

We have all heard stories from friends who have suffered financial hardships. The creditors start calling and don’t let up. Answering the phone is scary. Even knocks on the door cause fear to enter. Knowing creditors are literally at your door is a frightening thing.

The Lord is telling Habakkuk that these Chaldeans, who think they are so strong and terrible, will be trembling as their enemies fall on them suddenly. They will collapse under the hand of those who they had so cruelly reigned. They will become the plunder. Their “creditors” are going to destroy them.

APPLICATION

Are you living in fear of something? What or who is knocking at your door? If we are not relying on Jesus, we are living dangerously. There is nothing that can protect us outside of Him. He is the only One Who can! He not only knows what is coming. He knew it before they did.

If that doesn’t calm your heart, nothing will. The God of Ages has your back. I do not mean to imply that you won’t go through hard times. We all do. But knowing that the Lord is there to defend you should give you the confidence to forge forward.  I am not trying to paint a rosy, pie-in-the-sky picture. I know this to be true because His Word tells us.

He tells us He will never leave us nor forsake us (Dy 31:6; Heb 13:5). He is our strong tower and the righteous run to Him (Pr 18:10). I could go on and on, but there are literally hundreds of verses that tell us He is there. Trust Him. Let Him defend you.

You are my strong tower, Lord. I will run to You.

Standard
Accused, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Defeat, Devil, Evil, Power, Scripture, Victors

LED AWAY

NAHUM 2:7

It is set: She is stripped, she is led away, And her slave women are sobbing like the sound of doves, beating their breasts.”

I had a friend, who is now with the Lord, who was captured and was a prisoner of war during World War II. He survived the Bataan Death March in the Philippines that was led by the Japanese. He told me once how hopeless and helpless he felt. I cannot imagine what he went through.

Nahum is describing Nineveh as a woman being led away in captivity – stripped, sobbing, beating their breasts. Hopeless, helpless! When Nineveh was defeated, the surviving inhabitants were led away. Nineveh would never be the same. Rebellion against God never ends well.

APPLICATION

We often feel defeated. We feel hopeless and helpless when the enemy is upon us. When we give in to the attacks, he can rob us of our joy. But we must remember what Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

We are not defeated. We are victorious because of Christ. We are the victors. The war has already been decided, and we are on the winning side. Never forget that. We will face battles in the future, and we may fail at times. But we are not captives.

Aren’t you glad that you are not on a death march? When you  get discouraged, look up. You need allies in your life who can come alongside you during those trying times. Most of all, turn to Jesus, who can take all your pain away. You are NOT DEFEATED!

Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever. He sought me and bought me with His redeeming love.

Standard
Accountability, Accused, Bible, Destruction, Judgment, Majesty, Power, Scripture

THE EARTH SPLITS

NAHUM 1:5

“Mountains quake because of Him, and the hills come apart; indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, the world and all the inhabitants in it.”

I have never experienced an earthquake. Where I live, they are not common. I have friends who live on the west coast of America, and they have experienced them. They describe their houses shaking and moving. Some have shared pictures of breaks in the ground. They have not seen mountains quake, but they believe they could.

As Nahum uses this imagery to describe the mighty hand of God, this exhibition of raw power is just the fingertip of God. In fact, since God spoke all of the earth into creation, He could just as easily speak it into extinction. The Ninevites have stirred the wrath of God, and even their physical environment will suffer.

APPLICATION

Just how powerful do you think God is? Well, that’s a stupid question, Carl. I know God is all-powerful. We say that and may even believe it. So, why are we so surprised when He does those things that only He could do, things for which there is no other explanation?

I have said it before – our western minds try to eliminate the supernatural in favor of the natural. We like to try to explain it. We want to put everything into nice, neat, little boxes. Sometimes, however, God just shows up and acts in such a way that only his majestic power can explain.

May I encourage you to not too hastily disregard these acts of wonder. Let them sink in a minute. Perhaps you are witnessing a God act. Maybe He has privileged you to be a part of it. Just don’t throw out the supernatural explanation before you have prayed about it. I am hoping to see more and more of these events in my lifetime as God chooses to show us these end-times we are in.

Open my eyes that I may see, Lord. Let me see the works of Your hands everywhere.

Standard
Abiding, Advocate, Belief, Bible, Blessing, Covenant, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Power, Relationships, Scripture

NOT BY MY MIGHT

MICAH 5:13

“‘I will eliminate your carved images and your memorial stones from among you, so that you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands.’”

I loved my dad. He could fix just about anything. I learned so much from him about that kind of stuff. I watched and learned. He involved my brother and I in the projects so we could learn to do it ourselves one day. But when he started having some heart issues and was struggling with my mom’s health, he came to the end of his rope and finally admitted to God that he “could not fix this.” Then he gave his heart to Christ at 80 years old.

God is saying in verse 13 that there was nothing they had created by the works of their hands that could save them. Those carved images of wood and stone would not do anything to help them. Those memorial stones they had set up meant nothing. Only their faith and belief in Him mattered. They had to return to Him.

APPLICATION

Well, this application is pretty much in your face, right? What are you trying to prove to God by continuing to try to do it all on your own? I know people who have said, “I do not need your God. I am fine on my own.” That may sound noble, but it is really foolish. Self-reliance leads to self-destruction.

Zechariah 4:6 says, “Then he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of armies.’” That is the key right there. It is only by the leading of the Holy Spirit that we can accomplish anything. Isaiah said something similar in 26:12. “…all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” It has never been about what we can do for God. It is only about what He can do in and through us.

I am thankful that God broke me of my self-reliance years ago. Going through two stem cell transplants will cause you to rely on others and especially Him. I could do nothing. I was weak physically, spiritually and emotionally during those times. But He showed me His strength. Do you know that today?

O Father of heaven and earth, You care enough for me to invest Your time and Spirit in me. You have made me Your own.

Standard
Bible, Blessing, Commands, Confidence, Courage, Exhortation, Godliness, Holy Spirit, Justice, Power, Scripture

FILLED WITH POWER 

MICAH 3:8 

“On the other hand, I am filled with power—with the Spirit of the LORD—and with justice and courage to make known to Jacob his rebellious act, and to Israel his sin.  

I can’t help but think about Tim the Toolman Taylor. That was a character on a sitcom that was popular back in the 90’s. In fact, “Home Improvement” ran for eight seasons from 1991 to 1999. Tim was always trying to get more “power” in his tools or equipment, usually with disastrous results. That is not the power referred to here in today’s verse. 

When I looked up the Hebrew word used here, I did a double take. It said, “a lizard.” What? As I read further, I found out it was used to refer to power and strength. It is the word used to describe Samson’s secret strength in Judges 16. That “secret” has not changed. True power is from God, as Micah goes on to say, “with the Spirit of the Lord.”  

APPLICATION 

When we think about powerful people, we seldom think about godly people. We see people who control others as powerful. Their positions appear to give them power. The way they lord themselves over others gives them power, or so it seems. But is that really power? 

Micah tells us that real power is only sourced by God. It is His Spirit that indwells us. And look at what it fills us with power for – to make known “to Jacob his rebellious act and to Israel his sin.” I know what you are thinking. How can I do that? The Jacob and Israel Micah is referring to are long gone. You are right, but you can tell others. He will give you the justice and courage to do it. 

Don’t you want that kind of power? You can have it. You just have to yield to Him and let Him fill you with that power that comes through His Spirit. He promises to seal you with that Holy Spirit. It is the stamp of approval from a holy God that you are worthy of His love. 

Fill me with Your power, Lord. Send it to me so I can execute Your Will on this earth. 

Standard
Belief, Bible, Choices, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Fear, Power, Praise, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony

NOW I BELIEVE

JONAH 1:16

“Then the men became extremely afraid of the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.”

Sometimes seeing is believing. For instance, try to explain to someone who has never seen the ocean what it is. It’s more than a large body of water. It has its own ecosystem with fish and clams and shrimp. It has waves (they may ask what a wave is) that break on the shore. Explain that, lol.

These sailors were now seeing the power of God in the stillness of the sea. They saw His power in the storm, but this stillness was supernatural. The storm stopped when they threw Jonah overboard. His words had come true. They worshipped Jehovah God right there on the deck of the ship and probably offered a sacrifice as they made those vows. They now belonged to Him.

APPLICATION

Many times, we never see the result of our witness. We plant seeds and leave, only to have someone else come along and water and perhaps reap the harvest. Jonah never saw the change in the sailors’ lives. He was swimming for his life. Hmmm, that applies to us today.

In the midst of our trials, we are so often so busy trying to survive that we forget others are watching us. They are observing how we handle this trial. Does our speech match our deeds? Is our walk matching our talk?

Don’t forget that. People are watching to see if your words become true. I am not saying you are a prophet, lol. I am saying that you need to speak truth at all times. Then you are to make sure you are walking in that truth. The people who are watching you are looking for glimpses of Jesus, whom you proclaim. Can they see Him?

O God, my Savior, You may throw me in a raging sea only for the benefit of someone else so they can see Your power. Use me Lord.

Standard
Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Hope, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Power, Promises, Scripture

POWERFUL GOD

1 PETER 5:11

“To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

We read that word “dominion” and don’t stop to think what it really means. We all know God is God, right? We know He is all powerful, omnipotent. But what does “dominion” mean? The Greek word used here is kratos. It carries with it the idea of exerted power. It’s not just that He is strong. He shows it.

How does God show His power? He showed it at creation when He created the world and all that is in it. He showed His power when He parted the Red Sea to allow the Hebrew children to escape Pharoah. He showed it when Jesus turned water into wine. And He shows it in our lives every day by assuring our salvation.

APPLICATION

Dads, I bet your children used to think you were all powerful. They were awed at your biceps, right? Seriously though, most children see their parents as strong and powerful when they are small. They look up to you and admire your strength. But as they get older, they realize your strength is not any greater than anyone else’s.

That’s why we have to point them to the all powerful One. They need to know that God is the only one who has the strength to see them through their hardest times. And God is not afraid to  show His strength. He is always ready to exert His strength for His children. But He does it on His timetable. Peter says in this verse today, “forever and ever.” That means for infinity.

Do you need to see the Lord exert His strength today? Are you hurting and in need of a Savior? Let His dominion show out in your life. Surrender to Him. Stop trying to do it in your strength. You can’t do it on your own. The world may say you can, but you can’t. You need Jesus to empower You so He can work in and through you.

I will allow Your strength to work through me today. I can’t wait to see what You will do. Thank You, Lord, for always being there.

Standard