When Scared, Praise God – Habakkuk 3: 17-19

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Jacob had 12 sons. Juda, the 4th son, became the leader of one of the 12 tribes of Israel, which eventually became a nation. The bible speaks more of the tribe of Juda than any of the others.

Habakkuk, a prophet of the tribe of Juda, was given a very graphic vision of disaster, one that made him almost collapsed at just the thought of what was to come upon the people at the hand of the Babylonians.

Habakkuk saw everything dead or taken. There was no food, no water, nothing that could keep the people alive. Thousands upon thousands would die.

Every vine, every crop taken and the rest burned to the ground. All livestock gone. All possessions ransacked, with the Babylonians taking what they wanted. What they didn’t take, they completely destroyed. Habakkuk saw that there was absolutely nothing left. And then at the end of this pillaging, the Judean’s would become the captives of the Babylonians. Habakkuk is in agony knowing what is coming.

Habakkuk knows that this destruction is from God and that it will happen. He knows the people actually deserved a time of judgement because of the way they have fallen away from God. What worries him most of all is that God is going to use the Babylonians to show them just how far they have drifted; to use people who are known to cause total destruction and take captives, and he worries knowing it will come at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar’s army.

Although Habakkuk is devastated by his vision, he knows that if God is bringing this type of judgement, then the people deserve it. He knows there is nothing he can do to stop it, even if he calls out for God’s help.

So what does Habakkuk do? He praises God!

“How can he possibly do that?” we ask. Habakkuk has faith that God is a just God and although he is not happy with what lies ahead, he can find peace that God is a sovereign and just God and so he begins to praise Him.

Habakkuk has no idea when these events will happen but he has prophesied the events to the people and will now praise the Lord in spite of what the future holds.

He wants to give the people the hope of better things to come, so he praises God and speaks of trust in Him. He wants to encourage the people to have hope, even when everything looks disastrous. He wants them to have the attitude of “not my will, but your will”.

Habakkuk rejoices in the Lord, declaring that God is his strength. He claims that he will not slide, but will have a good foothold and will stand strong. He wants to lead the people by faith.

The last verse (and he will make me to walk upon mine high places) may mean that God is taking the people to places they didn’t want to go, but they can have a good foothold and stand in faith and strength, knowing that God will deliver them from their trials.

The NIV interprets it “He enables me to walk on places I could not go without his help.”

Rejoice

Almighty God,

I bless your holy name. You are the eternal King. It is my desire, like Habakkuk, to praise you and glorify you in all times and situations because you know what is best for me, even when I don’t. You know what is truly buried in my heart and what needs to be worked out.

I know Father, that in your holiness, it is impossible for your children to live in sin and rebel against you. I know, that although it grieves you, you are willing to allow me to go through troubled times as well as the good times.

By allowing the Babylonians to go through a time of disaster, I’m sure many of them realized that they needed a shaking up. I’m not meaning to belittle what happened to them, but I do know that many times after we come out the other side of a situation, we can see your reasoning very clearly.

Like Habakkuk, may I always find the strength to praise you, no matter what I’m going through. Help me Father to never slip so far away that I need a lesson like the tribe of Juda needed.

In the name of your blessed son, Jesus Christ, I pray

Amen.

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Even When We Don’t See You, You Are There – Psalm 69: 1-6

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It is believed by some, that this Psalm was written by a (Divinely inspired) Levite during captivity in Babylon. However many others think it was written by David when being chased by Saul. Some assume this Psalm written about Jesus – many disagree with that. Others think it is written in a style of Jeremiah. No one knows for certain whom the author was and so for this post, I will just use the name Palmist.

The Psalmist is crying out to God for help, saying that he feels like he’s drowning and the problems are still rising. He can’t seem to get a foothold on them. He is frustrated and feeling like he’s up to his neck in water, with an “I’ve had it up to here with my enemies” type of attitude.

His throat is dry from calling out for help and his eyes are still failing to see God. His faith however, is strong and he continues to pray and call out to God.

Why are there so many enemies? God is aware of the Psalmist’s innocence, knowing that he has not committed any crime towards those who are after him. However, he knows and admits that he is indeed guilty of other sins against God. Verse 5 says “You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you.”

The Psalmist is worried that perhaps, if people see him calling out to God and receiving no answer, then they may believe (wrongly) that there would be no hope for them, with God.

Perhaps he assumes that the people’s reasoning may go something like this… We know that the Jewish people are God’s chosen, the ones he claims to love, and see; God has turned his back on a Jew, so what hope could there be for a Gentile like me? What kind of a God is he that would have no mercy for his own beloved?

However, the author believes that if the people see that God forgives the Psalmist’s sin and sees how much God loves him, watches over him and helps him, then perhaps they may be encouraged. The Psalmist wants everyone to see how wonderful God is and how He is working in the Psalmist’s life, so others may turn towards God also.

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Heavenly Father

Just like in this Psalmist’s day, I cannot stand against the enemy on my own; I need your help. I need the faith that this particular author had.

This person is crying out for help and seemingly not getting any. Many unrighteousness (and some righteous) people believe that you are not available in certain circumstances just because you don’t give the kind of help they need or want. Many will turn away from you, believing you don’t love or care for them.

However this Psalmist will not give up, despite his body wanting to. I have learned, through scripture that you Father, give or allow that which you know is best for each situation. You also know exactly how long it will take for us to learn the lesson and you patiently wait. However because of this, people may think that you have turned your back on the afflicted person or situation. You have not!

However, the Psalmist worries that his actions of calling out and then getting no help or answer may turn people away from you. They may think; if that is the way God helps his people in a tough spot, then that God is not for me. However this author knows that you God were (and still are) a gracious and merciful God, in spite of what others see.

I understand what he was surmising. There have been many times in my life that I have called out to you and not been helped nor answered, appearing as if I have been “unfriended” by you God.

I admit that I commit sins and sometimes do foolish things in front of others. I ask forgiveness for the times I have not been a good representation of you. Please never let my faults turn someone away from you and your love.

May I always have faith in you and may I always help others to see that you are standing right beside us, in all circumstances, whether we see you working or not.

May I always be a good representation of you and I pray Father that my actions would actually draw people closer to you.

Thank you that you oversee everything in my life, and for loving me everyday as you do.

In the Holy name of Jesus.

Amen

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Feeling Overwhelmed? – Psalm 108: 1-6

Psalm 108 1-6Some say this Psalm was written by David, while others say it is a combination of two of David’s Psalms (Ps. 57:7-11 and Ps. 60:5-12) combined by the captives of Babylon near the end of their captivity. Others say it was used in the Temple by the Jews. In fact, the identity or the reason it was written is not known.

The Psalmist starts off overwhelmed, possibly even thinking that God has left him. However, we see that he will not give up! The fleeing thoughts of defeat do NOT stop him from praying for deliverance. He declares that he is fixed (faithfully) to God with his whole heart and soul. The Psalmist declares that he will wake up early to sing and praise God with his voice and with musical instruments.

He will go among the people (Jews) and among the nations (Gentiles), surrounding himself with all types of people and openly showing and singing his love and praises for God. He is not bribing God! This is a heartfelt promise.

The Psalmist declares that he will go before the people, telling them of God’s mercy that is great throughout the universe. Praising that the truth of God reaches higher than the clouds and that God is exalted in all the Heavens.

He believes that when they see how he has been (saved) delivered out of trouble and just how far the arms of mercy and grace can spread, the people may start listening to him. Then through the love of God, many people of all nations will turn to the Father, away from their gods and idols. He suggests, in a way, that he would be their example (role model).

Then he goes back to his current situation and prays for deliverance. The Psalmist asks God to remember him, His (beloved) child. The Psalmist is truly asking God to help, knowing that the only way out of his current situation is through God’s grace.

He asks to be saved with God’s right hand. In olden days, the King would always place his highest ranking person to stand on the right hand side of the throne (today Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father). Perhaps the Psalmist was asking God to send that right hand person (or perhaps an angel) to help and deliver him. He closes by asking God to answer his prayer.

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Almighty God,

You are the God of all good things. You are the God of hope, the God of deliverance, the God of love, grace, mercy and the God of everything created. You deserve our praise and prayers.

Allow me to praise you in the way the Psalmist did. He opened his heart fully and invited you in. He found a time and a place to praise you, whether in music, song or prayer, and yes, even if it meant waking up early!

Thank you Father for working in my life, giving me the strength (and want) to stand up with my whole being (soul) declaring my love for you and that Jesus is Lord!

You are so worthy of my praise. I will praise you now and forevermore.

In the Holy name of Jesus Christ, I pray,

Amen

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God’s Mercy Endures Forever – Yes Forever

Psalm 118 1-7

There are many opposing views as to who wrote this Psalm and why it was written. The most accepted view is that David wrote it when he became King of Israel.

David was writing to God in thanks for allowing him to be the King of Israel and for bringing him through the times that Saul had been chasing him.

Whenever David’s Psalm was sung, it was a reminder of how gracious God is. Three times David writes that thanks must be given to God for his mercy that endures forever.

1 – Let Israel say: “that his mercy endureth for ever. “

David tells a part of his story of how he overcame fear. He called out to God for mercy and was answered with the faith he needed to survive.

David knew that God was with him and because of that knowledge he tells the children of Israel that they also can receive God’s mercy and feel love and peace.

2 – Let the house of Aaron now say: “that his mercy endureth for ever.”

When God is within the priests, then the priesthood remains solid.

3 – Let them that now fear the Lord say: “that his mercy endureth for ever.”

There were many gods in those days and David reminds the people that only those who call out for mercy and become believers of the one true God will be watched over by The Lord eternally.

David goes a step further and asks a question to which he already knows the answer. “What can man do unto me?”

Nothing – is the answer. With God by his side, David knows, without doubt, that he can stand up to the enemy without fear and the enemy will be defeated.

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Heavenly Father,

How great is your loving kindness and mercy! How wonderful you are to teach me, as your child, the lessons I need to learn.

Although David’s song was written for his people of Israel, all Gentiles are also included. That is awesome Lord! Every person throughout the entire world, regardless of the era or race, colour, position, mind, sex, or sins, has (or has had) the opportunity to be your child and we are privileged to have you by our sides for eternity. All we have to do is ask!

Like David, I have lived through many wonderful and many difficult times. I realize now that the difficult periods have been times of growth and they have taught me how to stand strong in you and ride them out.

I know that I can cry out to you Lord in my difficult times, as did David. Because I have faith in you Father, through Jesus, I can pray for mercy, for strength, wisdom and advancement. You will hear my prayers and you will enable me to stand strong at all times knowing, without doubt, that you are giving me the strength to endure.

Like many people in the Bible, David made it through his trials, Jesus made it through his trials and I can make it through mine and will come out the other side a better person than when I went in.

Many, many thanks Father for the mercy you have shown me and for the love, courage, strength and faithfulness I have in you. I am blessed to be your child, now and forever.

Your name is Holy and I hold it above all other names. In Jesus, I pray.

Amen

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Every Knee will Bow to Jesus – Phillipians 2: 9-11

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[9] Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
[10] That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
[11] And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (KJV)

When God sent his only son to earth, in human form, he gave him a name that was above all other names… JESUS!  A name to be held in high esteem forever.

When Jesus returns, he will come as a King! He will arrive in all of his glory and every person will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Jesus will be acknowledged as King, Lord, the Son of the Almighty God, a part of the Trinity. Every being will bow down to Him, declaring that “Jesus Christ is Lord”, to the glory of God, the Father.

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Almighty God,

May your name be highly exalted forever. You are so worthy of being placed above all others, receiving our praises, honour and love.

This passage tells us that the day will come when EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will acknowledge and confess that Jesus is Lord.

All of creation? Yes! Regardless of our beliefs or denomination; everyone will bow. Yes, every angel, every saint, everyone who has already died and is buried. No matter what our race, no matter if rich or poor, no matter of our intelligence level or age, no matter our circumstance, no matter whether in heaven, on earth or under the earth, absolutely EVERY knee will bow, declaring Jesus is Lord.

Yes, even satan, will bow down to Jesus, along with his fallen angels, demons and all of the wicked (unrighteous). Each of them WILL bow down and declare that Jesus is Lord!

Thank you Father, that you have blessed me with the faith that allows me (already) to be enjoying a personal relationship with Jesus. It is my privilege and my honour to declare that “Jesus is Lord” now and into eternity!

In the wonderful, precious, holy name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I pray.

Amen

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