Bible, Covenant, Promises, Protection, Relationships, Rescue, Scripture, Security, Strength

MY STRENGTH

HABAKKUK 3:19

“The Lord GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like deer’s feet, and has me walk on my high places. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.”

Here we are at the last verse of Habakkuk. This verse is one of the most quoted in the book. If you missed the beginning of the look at Habakkuk, go back to the beginning of my blogs on this awesome book. They began on November 2. That means we have spent 56 days looking at each verse of this wonderful message to us.

Habakkuk closes his message with praise to God. He confesses publicly that the Lord God is his strength. He does not place his trust in the armies of Israel or on some foreign power. He knows God is the only source of strength. He brings in the image of the deer climbing up effortlessly to the high places. He says God does the same for him. And that applies to us as well.

When we are at our lowest, the Lord picks us up. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” When we rely on Him, He can lift us up to the high places. He does it effortlessly. It is no strain for Him, but for us, it’s agony.

APPLICATION

My little granddaughter asked me the other day to throw her high. Now, she’s approaching five years old. When she was a toddler, this was an easy ask. I could throw her multiple times to her glee. But now…that’s not so easy. It is hard for me to do that more than twice. Aren’t you grateful that God does not tire of lifting us up. No matter how many times we fall, we can turn to Him and say, “Father, lift me,” and He does.

I have had to call on Him several times in my life. There have been moments when I did not think I could carry on. That weakness may have been emotional, physical or spiritual. Each time He came to my aid. Each time He “made my feet like deer’s feet and has me walk on my high places.” He will do the same for you.

I want to climb to the highest heights, Father. Lift me up to be with You.

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Devil, God's Will, Judgment, Relationships, Scripture

GOD’S FEET

HABAKKUK 3:12

In indignation You marched through the earth; in anger You trampled the nations.”

I don’t know if you have ever heard the sound of an army marching. Depending on the size, it can be quite loud. You can hear the sound before you see the bodies, in most cases. In ancient times, armies would stomp their feet and even shout in an attempt to put fear into their enemies.

Habakkuk describes God as marching and trampling. His approach to the nations who do not know Him and who reject Him is no secret. They will stand in judgment. God’s anger, His wrath against sin must be satisfied. That is why He tramples the pagan. That is why He will judge all unbelievers.

APPLICATION

God isn’t making some kind of surprise attack. He is not sneaking in covertly to try to ambush people. He has made known very publicly His requirements. God is not trying to trick people or mislead them so He can zap them. No! God wants all men to come to Him. He sent His own Son to die to make that possible.

So, why do so many people reject Him? Why are so many still left in the world who do not know Him? Because the enemy is working overtime to prevent any others from coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus. It is our job to tell them. How will they know unless we go?

This Christmas, tell someone about Jesus. Maybe while you are out shopping, share Jesus with the cashier at the store. Perhaps you could give a tract to some people at the mall. Maybe you could give gift bags to someone who is homeless and include a message about Jesus. Find some way this Christmas to bring someone to Christ.

Father, I do not fear Your footsteps because I know I belong to You.

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Abiding, Bible, Intimacy, Listening, Quiet, Relationships, Scripture

JUST BE QUIET

HABAKKUK 2:20

“‘But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.’”

As I read this verse a memory popped up in my head. Once I first came to Christ in 1977, I was 16 years old and hungry to know Him. My home church, Pelham First Baptist, used to leave the door open twenty-four hours a day to the prayer room. I can still see that room. It seemed to be seldom used (that is sad to think about), but I loved to go there to pray. It was a quiet place where I could hear God’s voice. I needed that place.

This verse today in Habakkuk is probably the key verse to the whole book. This is the central message of God to Habakkuk for His people. It’s as if the Lord is saying, “Get quiet and listen to me. I am still on the throne. No one has removed me. I know who you are and where you are. Do you trust me? Do you love me? Come to me now.”

APPLICATION

Are you hustling and bustling every day this time of the year. The holiday season seems to put people in a tizzy. They can’t seem to rest. Take a breath and look at this verse today. God is telling us to get quiet and listen. We seldom do much listening, do we? We are always talking or doing something.

Getting quiet is a skill you must develop. It does not come naturally for most people. But the benefits of listening to God are huge. You get to hear His voice. You get to rest in the bosom of the Father. You can hear your spirit connect with Him in an intimate relationship meant only for you. Don’t you want that?

I know I do. I want to know Him more. I need to get quiet more often. I need to hear my own heartbeat as it connects with His. Oh, how I long to hear His voice. And the beautiful thing is He wants that too. He wants to spend that kind of time with us. That’s the amazing God we love and serve.

Word of God speak. Speak to me. Let me get quiet and just listen.

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Bible, Family, Loyalty, Relationships, Scripture, Wealth, Worship

WHAT DO YOU WORSHIP?

HABAKKUK 1:16

“Therefore, they offer a sacrifice to their net and burn incense to their fishing net, because through these things their catch is large, and their food is plentiful.”

People worship stuff. There, I said it. We worship sports. We worship money. We worship prestige and fame. We have done it for centuries. Whatever we put most of our time and attention to becomes our god (notice I put a little “g” there). When will we ever learn that there is only One True God?

The Chaldeans literally worshipped their instruments of war. They would praise their swords and spears. They would claim their strength as their god. This was a common practice then and one that continued for centuries. Warriors in many countries often sacrificed to their weapons and swore allegiance to them, as if they were gods.

APPLICATION

So, this begs the question of us. What do we worship? I know you are going to be quick to say, Carl, I only worship God. Really? Then where do you spend your resources? How much time do you really give God? Do you worship Him in Spirit and in truth? John tells us to do that in John 4:24. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

I live in the South where football is King. I’m talking about American football, of course. This time of the year people spend hours engrossed in a ballgame that will be forgotten next year. But we won’t spend 30 minutes with our Lord. I know I am meddling. And I must confess that I watch football, too. But it is not my god. It can never replace that relationship.

Your god may be your family. You spend every moment thinking of and caring for your family, but you neglect your time with Jesus. There is nothing wrong with caring for your family, but we need to spend time with the One who adopted us into His family. Ask yourself today what your god is. Is it Jesus or something else?

I seek You, Lord. I want to know You more so I have to spend time with You.

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Bible, Boasting, Humility, Relationships, Scripture, Service, Strength, Works, Worship

THERE IS A GOD AND YOU’RE NOT HIM

HABAKKUK 1:11

“Then they fly along like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, they whose strength is their god.”

Some people have a god complex, meaning they think they are gods of some sort. They think everyone should bow to them and do whatever they ask. They think they can do no wrong. They see themselves as superior, and we should be grateful they even acknowledge our existence.

The Chaldeans made a fatal mistake. They thought their success against Israel was due to their own strength, their own power. They did not realize God was simply using them as His instrument of judgment against Israel to bring them back to Himself. If God calls you guilty, you are guilty. They were and would soon find out.

APPLICATION

Do you suffer from a god complex? I sure hope not. As believers, it is important to know your position in Christ. Yes, we are beloved. Yes, we are the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). But God is on the throne. Jesus is at His right side. They rule heaven and always will. We will not arrive in heaven one day and tell Jesus to move over.

I love what Colossians 2:10 says. “In Him you have been made complete.” Does that mean we are perfect. Not by a long shot. The word “complete” there means to be filled up, to be satisfied. Because of Christ’s sacrifice we have been filled up. Filled up with what? With Him through the Holy Spirit. We lack nothing spiritually anymore.

But we cannot sit idly by and simply dwell in that. We have work to do. I read a quote this week by A.W. Tozer. It said Christ didn’t call us to work. He called us to worship. It is through worship that we are led to work. That is a rough paraphrase, but you get the idea. We are not in charge. God is. Live like it.

Father, I want to acknowledge right now that You are the one and only true God. There is none like. There is none beside you.

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Affection, Belief, Bible, Commands, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony, Wisdom, Witnessing

WHAT ANIMAL CHARACTER ARE YOU?

HABAKKUK 1:8

“Their horses are faster than leopards, and quicker than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen charge along, their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swooping down to devour.”

My title may sound a little crazy, but there are actually personality tests out there that will designate which animal type you are based on your test scores. Check this one out –

4 Animals Personality Test – Focus on the Family

I think I am a beaver, lol.

Unfortunately, the Chaldeans were not defined by a personality test. They were defined by their ferocity and savagery. God says they are “faster than leopards, and quicker than wolves.” They are horseman who charge and “they fly like an eagle swooping down t devour.” Not a pretty picture if you are the prophet who has to deliver this message to the nation. But there you are. When God speaks, you have to deliver the message.

APPLICATION

I am really not interested in what animal you are. I am more interested in how you treat others. I pray you are not like the Chaldeans, who devoured others. People use the excuse all the time – “Well, that’s just the way I am.” That is no excuse. We are all flesh, and left to that, we are all horrible human beings.

But through Christ, we are changed into a new creature (a new animal, to keep the analogy going). All our old behaviors and habits are nailed to the cross. We are no longer the same. We don’t have that excuse anymore. We are to live as Jesus directed us in Matthew 10:16. “‘Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as wary as serpents, and as innocent as doves.’”

Jesus names four creatures in that verse – sheep, wolves, serpents and doves. Which are you? I pray you aren’t the wolf. Treat others as you want to be treated. React to others as Jesus would. Don’t prey on others. Instead pray for them. One little letter changes the whole meaning, doesn’t it?

O God, You have transformed me into a brand new creature in Christ. Let me live to honor You in all I do.

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Eternity, Loyalty, Promises, Relationships, Scripture

DISAPPEARING ACT

NAHUM 3:17

“Your courtiers are like the migratory locust. Your officials are like a swarm of locusts settling in the stone shelters on a cold day. The sun rises and they flee, and the place where they are is not known.”

Who doesn’t love a good disappearing act?! I can still remember David Copperfield making a Boeing 747 disappear. That plane is probably still wandering somewhere, lol. We all know that the plane didn’t really disappear, but the illusion was breath taking.

Nineveh would soon disappear, just like the locusts as soon as the sun rises. During the cool nights, they piled on top of each other to stay warm. They were a mass of wiggly insects. Nineveh compares the army of Nineveh in that same fashion. They were so numerous they resembled this horde of locusts at night.

APPLICATION

Unlike the strength of Nineveh that disappeared never to return, our Lord will never disappear. He is with us forever. He remains by our side through this life. Then we will reign with Him forever in the eternal. He will never, never disappear.

I worked with a lot of children during my 30+ years in the Child Welfare system. Many of them had disappearing parents. Mom or dad or both deserted them. The damage done to those precious children would break your heart. I am so grateful for parents who were present in my life all the way up to the time of their homegoing. And one day we will be reunited.

I am also grateful that my heavenly Father is always there. I may not always feel that, but that is because I have drifted away. He is still there. Jesus will never disappear on you. He is there, faithful and true, always ready to lend you His hand. Will you take it?

Place your hand in the hand of the Man who stilled the waters. Place your hand in the hand of the Man who calmed the seas.

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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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Accused, Affection, Anxiety, Bible, Blessing, Compassion, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Love, Relationships, Satan, Scripture, Security

YOU’RE WORTHLESS

NAHUM 3:6

“‘I will throw filth on you and declare you worthless, and set you up as a spectacle.’”

I have known so many people who were told time and time again that they are worthless. Demeaning words spoken by mean people. Words meant to belittle and beat down others. It is the saddest when these words are directed at children. Their little faces are stricken. Their spirits scarred by harsh and undeserving words.

Nahum is sharing the words of the Lord towards Nineveh in today’s verse. These are harsh words from the Lord but remember who they are directed towards. Nineveh was an evil city which was part of an evil nation. They were godless and unrepentant. In the economy of God, they were worthless. God was indeed using them as an example to others.

APPLICATION

In contrast, God tells us we are highly valued. We are His treasure, the apple of His eye. He loves us with an uncompromising love. We can do nothing to cause Him to stop loving us. We may disappoint Him, but we can never do anything where He would declare us worthless.

If you are hearing those words, they are not from the Lord. They are from the evil one who wants to tear you down. He doesn’t want you to feel loved. He wants you to feel worthless and of no value. Do not believe those words. They are lies straight from the pit of hell.

As a child of the Father, you are loved. Walk in that love. Believe that love. Share that love. And as you do that, you will truly know the love of Jesus. It will envelope you. It will lift you on those days when the devil is whispering those lies to you. Remember that Jesus loves you with an everlasting love. Hallelujah!

I celebrate You, Lord. I am so thankful for Your love that will never fade.

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Bible, Favor, God's Will, Goodness, Praise, Promises, Relationships, Reward, Salvation, Scripture, Truth

TRUTH AND FAVOR 

MICAH 7:20 

“You will give truth to Jacob and favor to Abraham, which You swore to our forefathers from the days of old.” 

I like receiving gifts. Don’t you? I mean, come on, who doesn’t? But I really like receiving gifts that include things I need. I am at the age now that I really do not want many things. So, I am hard to buy for. When my family gets me a gift, it is usually something I have specifically told them I could use. 

Look at these two gifts that God gives Jacob and Abraham. The Hebrew word for “truth” can mean steadfastness, faithfulness and truth. The word contains so much more than what we consider truth. Then He gives favor. That Hebrew word is key to God’s covenant relationship with Abraham and the whole nation of Israel. It can also be translated as loving-kindness. 

APPLICATION

Oh, to have God’s truth and favor. Wait a second! I do! When we come to Christ, we receive both of these to their fullest extent. God’s truth is found for us in His word. God’s favor is celebrated through our covenant relationship with Him through Jesus. We receive the same gifts as Jacob and Abraham. 

Now, listen carefully. Both of these gifts are given for a purpose. God does not give us gifts to hoard and keep to ourselves. Oh no. These gifts are given to share. We share God’s truth with people everywhere. We introduce others to the covenant relationship we have in Christ. 

I am not worthy of these gifts from God. Neither are you. But God gives liberally to His children. The very moment you ask Christ into your heart, these gifts arrive. Hallelujah! Who can help but praise Him for these beautiful gifts. 

Thank You, Father, for giving me truth and favor, just like Jacob and Abraham. 

(This is my last blog on Micah. I will start the book of Nahum tomorrow.)  

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