Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Great Resource In Troubling Times

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord . Psalms 31:24 KJV

Many people look to science and the thoughts and deeds of humanity to solve their problem. Such futility. People always let you down. Jesus never does. I have been recently made very aware of this as I faced a health challenge that could have been much worse than it was. I carried with me the “peace of Christ that passes all understsnding” as I walked through it.

For this, I am forever grateful.

Obedience is Key…

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—
John 14:15‭-‬16 NIV

Andrew Murray points out, in his book Experiencing The Holy Spirit, that obedience is key to receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus refers to this more than once and Peter mentions it:

We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” -Acts 5:32 NIV

Prince of Peace

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭9:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Couldn’t we all use some peace in today’s world? Who better to give it to us than the PRINCE of PEACE? Merry Christmas!

Our Refuge

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord , hast not forsaken them that seek thee. Psalms 9:9‭-‬10 KJV

Times may seem scary for many, but as believers we should always know where our help comes from.

Wake Up Call

They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off. -Hosea 8:4 KJV

There is more than one preacher who is saying the election is over and we need to acknowledge the winner and move on. While it does appear clear right now who won the U.S. presidential election and also that we must accept the results and move on, to say this is the desire or will of God is hardly clear. Unfortunately, that is what many are saying, especially in the Reformed camp. I am in agreement with my brothers and sisters in the faith who say that God is sovereign. Absolutely, nothing happens without His consent. No argument from me. However, that does not mean that He particularly likes it or wishes it to be so. While I prefer the KJV over other translations, perhaps the NIV renders this best: They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval…

Let this be a wake-up call to the Church in this country and throughout the world. Our adversary is working over time and we must be on guard against him. We must not rest on our laurels and think that “God’s got this” or “What’s the use? God will do whatever He wants, anyway.” We can be sure that He wants us out there, promoting Christian values as law-abiding citizens. It doesn’t require violent protests or harsh, inflammatory rhetoric. It simply involves the Gospel message of God’s love for us. In any country, that is true patriotism.

Proper Perspective…

Thus saith the Lord ; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord . Jeremiah 17:5 KJV

Is the 2020 U.S. presidential race significant? Yes, but that’s a subject for another post. Let us remember who is never up for re-election: our Lord Jesus. Men and women come and go, but He is forever.


The Global Message of Habakkuk: Trust the Lord, no matter what. That is Habakkuk’s message for God’s people around the world today. Believers can, and must, trust in God no matter how tumultuous outward circumstances may become… Will believers rely on God for all that they need to nourish and sustain them as they await their inheritance of the world itself (Matthew 25:34; 1 Corinthians 3:21-23)? -ESV Global Study Bible

Overview: Habakkuk is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible except in the book of Habakkuk. His name is believed by some to be derived from the Hebrew word chabaq, meaning “to embrace.” It would be appropriate if that were so, given the unpleasant circumstances around him at the time and need to cling to his faith. However, it should be noted that it is also related to a word in the Semitic language Akkadian called habbaququ, referring to a species of garden plant or fruit tree.

Habakkuk knew that Judah was full of lawlessness and tyranny. He knew the righteous were oppressed (Habakkuk 1:4,13). He predicted the invasion of Judah by the Chaldeans (1:5-11). By the eighth century B.C., the Chaldeans had begun to rise in power in Babylon and by Habakkuk’s time had become synonymous with the term “Babylonian.” These events finally affected Judah. Pharaoh Neco killed the godly king Josiah in 609 B.C. and Judah fell into Egyptian hands for the next 4+ years. When Nebuchadnezzar II defeated Neco and drove him back to Egypt, Judah fell into Babylonian hands (604 B.C.). Through a series of events over the next several years (including attempted revolts), things became very bad for Judah. That included the destruction of the temple around 587 or 586 B.C. of course, as Habakkuk predicted in 2:6-20, Babylon had their day of reckoning when they were defeated around 539 B.C. by Cyrus of Persia. Because of all these historical events, we have a fairly accurate idea of the date to attach to this book.

So what is Habakkuk’s contribution to the Bible? It tackles an issue most of us have confronted: trying to discern God’s purposes in this crazy, mixed up world. We are reminded of the realization that God has His will for this world and the events He allows to happen. Habakkuk’s message that the righteous will live by faith paved the way for a greater understanding of that truth in the New Testament, which further defines that saving faith as found in Jesus Christ (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38,39).

An in-depth look at certain verses:

1:3. Why does the Lord show us such iniquity and injustice? So once we identify it, He can deliver us from it. If God has broken our heart, it is so He can replace it with a new one. If He kills us by the law, He makes us alive by the gospel -Spurgeon.

1:13. We are reminded that God’s eyes are too pure to approve of evil and tolerate wickedness. Habakkuk wondered why God’s holiness didn’t stop him from using the corrupt Babylonians to punish a less wicked nation such as Judah. What are your thoughts about that?

1:14. Habakkuk likens humankind to lower creatures with no rulers or judges and wonders how this wickedness can go unchecked. Was he excusing away their behavior as though it could not be helped before they had to be punished?

2:1. Habakkuk fully expected God to answer him so he waited in watchful expectation. Do you believe God will answer you? It has been suggested that we keep a journal of God’s responses to our prayers as a wonderful testimony to His faithfulness.

2:2-3. Once again, the Bible reminds us of a truth we must fully embrace to sustain our faith in times of trial: God’s timing is perfect. It is not in our time, but in His. It may seem that He is delaying –and we may feel compelled to “remind Him,” but that would be our mistake. He knows what is best and in accordance with His perfect will. There is a real peace and serenity when we come to terms with that truth. Here’s what Charles Spurgeon had to say on these two verses: In order to separate the precious from the vile, God used the winnowing fan of affliction so that the chaff might be blown away and the pure wheat remain.

2:3. A.J. Pollock says this verse refers to the hope of the Jew for Christ to come to Earth and subdue His enemies. When this verse is quoted in Hebrews 10:37, the “it” (the vision) becomes “He,” as in the Lord, who will surely come and will not tarry.

2:4. Charles Spurgeon: This is what living by faith meant — a faith that does without anything — a faith that can take nothing and be content with it because it finds everything in God — faith under the worst conceivable conditions. This is how the just are to live.
Charles Stanley: Why does God contrast pride with faith? Because pride stems from the belief that we know better than God, while faith understands we are completely dependent upon Him (Psalms 75:5-7; Hebrews 11:1,6).

The Babylonians ascribed their strength to their god, but would ultimately fail. All Judah needed to do was repent and seek God and they would survive. They persevered and the Lord even used Persia to bring them back into the Promised Land (2 Chronicles 36:22,23; Ezra 1:1-3).

3:2. God must act to judge sin. Even when He does, He is still willing and able to show mercy.

3:17-19. Here we find a key point to the book: Habakkuk saw that living for God did not automatically bring immediate prosperity by worldly standards and knew that a savage Babylonian army was about to plunder his homeland. He was certainly discouraged. Yet, despite the impending fate awaiting his nation, he knew who his God was and took joy from that. Habakkuk was fully aware of God’s unfailing faithfulness and performance in the past. All of the deliverances foreshadowed the ultimate deed of history: the coming of Christ “when the fullness of time had come” (Galatians 4:4). The ultimate fulfillment of God’s covenant promises to His people is found in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20). Much like the author of Psalm 18, he knew the Lord to be his rock and a mighty fortress (Psalms 18:2,3).

In conclusion…

One of the biggest lessons we should receive from this short book is that God delights in upholding the weary and reviving the faint-hearted (Isaiah 40:29-31).

Experiencing a Full Life in Christ.

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Galatians 6:14 KJV

I have recently revisited a perennial favorite in Christian authors: Andrew Murray. I have begun reading his book “Full Life in Christ.” It doesn’t take very many chapters for the Christian reader to feel convicted for the way they conduct themselves as children of God. Andrew Murray contends that we can become like Christ in the way we conduct our lives here on Earth. Biblically, he is correct. He has given us the Holy Spirit to enable us in this all important task. Are we crucified in Him?

Know Where You Stand

I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:13 MEV

Most of us (maybe all) have had times when we question our salvation. Did we get “caught up in the moment” when the altar call was given or did we really give our hearts to Jesus? Satan loves it when we doubt or question God’s love for us. The Bible is CRYSTAL CLEAR on this topic: we can know. We must know. There is no room to be wrong about this. The Bible will reveal the answer. Know that God loves you. If you desire to know God, you can be saved.

JOEL: Prophet of Pentecost

Major Lesson: Without repentance, judgment will be harsh, thorough and certain. Our focus should not be on the things we have but, rather, the LORD our God.

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In Joel 1:1, it begins “The word of the LORD that came to Joel…” Thus, we know that this message was divinely commissioned and we are reminded that God always has a word for His people. This time: repent while you can.

Before repenting, the people had to prepare for the work of doing so. In Joel 1:13, we read “gird yourselves and lament, you priests.” (NKJV) 

Then comes the actual work of repentance. In 1:14 the steps are clearly laid out: 1. “Consecrate a fast.” Getting right with God must matter more than anything, including eating. 2. “Call a sacred assembly.” God’s people must come together in unity and a spirit of repentance. 3. “Gather the elders.” Church leadership must be visibly involved in the work of repentance. “Into the house of the LORD your God.” We must come together corporately in the place where we normally should meet with God. “And cry out unto the LORD.” Cry out to God and trust He will respond in mercy. (Guzik)

What happened: A plague of locusts had come to discipline the nation. Chuck Missler refers to these locusts as “not necessarily natural insects” in Learn The Bible in 24 Hours and considers them probably a ‘demon army.’ It caused an agricultural disaster in Israel. Joel called people to repent before even greater calamity occurred, not to “run for cover” (Joel 2:12-14). 

Questions to contemplate: Have you ever stopped to think about how much God ‘puts up’ with? Can you think of times when you benefitted from God’s patience and extravagant love? (From Message  Devotional Bible) As a believer, do you look forward to the Day of the LORD? We should, if we know Him. We should want Him to show His strength if we abide in Him (Guzik).

We learn once again that, while God will judge us for our sins and there will be a price to be paid (Joel 1:15-20), He will also respond to sincere repentance with mercy and salvation (Joel 2:32).

Chapter 1 begins with destruction brought about by locusts and reveals the suffering that entailed. Has any suffering you’ve endured been destructive to your relationship with God or has it been redemptive? What about Job’s response to suffering (Job 1:20-22)? The Bible gives believers clear cut direction as to what their behavior should be when they are in the midst of suffering (1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-7).

Most of the history of that time had to be passed by word of mouth from one generation to another (Joel 1:3). Like the fig tree, the vine is also used as a symbol for Israel as we previously read in Joel 1:6-7. In verse 15 as we also read, Joel mentions the “Day of the LORD.” This is continued in 2:1. This phrase is mentioned 5 times by Joel and mentioned by no less than 5 other prophets (Ezekiel, Amos, Obadiah, Zephaniah and Malachi). This term can also refer to the time when Christ comes to consummate history (Mal.4:5; 1 Co. 5:5; 2 Co. 1:14; 1 Th. 5:2).   The book of Revelation offers more detail on the Day of the LORD.

In chapter 2, we discover that nations from the north are going to attack Israel (Joel 2:2). This is discussed in Ezekiel 38, 39. Half-hearted repentance before God will not do (Joel 2:12).  He demands more than that from us and will make Himself available to us if we seek Him with all our hearts (Jer. 29:13-14). He wants genuine repentance from our hearts. When we do, we stand to be very blessed by our loving Father (Joel 2:13). God does promise to once again bring rain to the land in sufficient abundance for it to flourish (Joel 2:23-24). Joel 2:25-26 shows what the destructive power of sin can do to us — how it can eat away at our lives, but also how the restorative power of God can work in a believer’s life. In Joel 2:28-29, we see why Joel has been referred to as “the Prophet of Pentecost.” This is not the only place in scripture where we read of God pouring out His unifying Spirit on His people (Ez. 39:29; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28).

The key to God’s redemption is found in chapter 2: the gift of His Holy Spirit. This story continues into chapter 3. In Joel 3:1-3, the LORD will restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem in fulfillment of Moses’ promise (Deut. 30:3) while gathering the rest of the nations for judgment. The site of the judgment is to be the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2,13). What is more important than the location is the meaning of the name: “The Lord judges.”

Joel 3:4-6 records the LORD speaking directly to those who had profited from Judah’s demise. God would repay them for their offenses of robbery and slavery. There is a reverse of a statement made by Isaiah: Instead of beating swords into plowshares in Isaiah 2:4, God’s people are instructed to do the reverse (Joel 3:10). This is considered a preamble to the Battle of Armageddon, taking place in “the valley of decision” in a face-off against Israel and its God (Joel 3:14-16). This will be a time of fierce judgment for God’s enemies, but also great mercy for His people (Heitzig). The LORD is a God who restores! Joel 3:17-21 once again records the story of the LORD restoring good fortune to Israel.