LAST MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND I BEGAN WATCHING FOR A CARD
FOR MOTHER’S DAY ON THURSDAY…
MAYBE ONE OF MY FIVE (FIVE) CHILDREN WOULD REMEMBER.
WHERE’S THE CARD FILLED WITH HAND-WRITTEN APPRECIATION FOR ALL I’VE DONE?
I’m a mess.
(And you should also know I am SO blessed by my children. Flowers from my firstborn came on Saturday. And all called on Mother’s Day. The next week their cards and gifts arrived. I live in the middle of nowhere and it takes a long time for the U. S. mail to arrive!)
WHO WILL DELIVER ME FROM MY PETTINESS?
WHO WILL DELIVER ME FROM MY NEED FOR APPROVAL?
Audrey Assad, the daughter of a Syrian refugee, has been anointed by God to write and sing for all of us, for we all need to be delivered. And Trinity Fellowship combined it with an amazing video. I need to sing, sing, sing ’til this sinks deep in my heart. How I need to be delivered!
You may be wondering how this trivial incident has anything to do with the state of the Western World, our political situation, and Habakkuk.
As a child, when tragedy came to another family, my Dad would say: “Dee Dee — that’s real trouble.” I understand better now what he meant: suffering sifts the petty sands of irritation away. No longer do socks on the floor or forgetting a special day matter… you’d do anything to have that loved one back, just as he or she was.
The Christian church is vibrant and growing everywhere except in the wealthy, white, Western world. There is a thirst and a passion for Christ among the poor, the prisoner and the persecuted. In His mercy, God tries to revive us through kindness, but if that doesn’t happen, He will shake our world. As Joni Eareckson Tada has said, “God cares more about our spiritual character than our health, wealth, or even our happiness.” The astonishing scene that is happening politically, at least in the United States, could very possibly be the writing on the wall that the shaking has just begun. We may not have a leader of integrity and wisdom. We have been protected from living in a war-torn land for over a century and a half — but God may be taking His protective hand off of our country for our greater good. God’s purpose is to grow our souls — whereas so often our purpose, even if we are believers, is Epicurean: to be happy and to be free of pain.
I met my friend Twila during the fall of the 2012 election. She prayed fervently about that election — and was devastated when God moved differently than she expected. But He also taught her the difference between first things and second things. Second things are the things we want fixed from the petty to the truly heart-breaking. The first thing is always our relationship with God. If the first thing is right, we may get the second thing, or at least have perspective about it. Nothing slips between God’s fingers.
Could it be that God sees we will not gain perspective and press into Him unless suffering comes? So, for this presidential election, Twila has a different mindset. She did, again pray, that God would show us mercy, giving us a president of integrity and character, but she was prepared that He may give us, not mercy, but what we both deserve and truly need. At this point, the “writing on the wall” is frightening, just as it was for Habakkuk. So “on the side,” Twila is memorizing Habakkuk to prepare herself.
We may all desperately need Habakkuk sooner than we think. So, for our first short summer study, that is where we are headed. Tim Keller has five sermons on Habakkuk that will cost you ten dollars. That money goes to ministries in New York. (If you simply don’t have ten dollars and will faithfully participate, write Rebecca and we’ll help you. firstname.lastname@example.org) (We dipped our toe into Habakkuk four years ago — but just for one post.)
I’m going to keep the lessons shorter than usual for many of you are still in other studies.
Here is the link to get all the sermons at once — and we will listen to the first this week. Living By Faith in Troubled Times
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. Have you ever studied Habakkuk? If so, what is your take-a-way at this point?
MONDAY-WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY: Habakkuk 1
Habakkuk was written about 640-615 B. C. after God used Assyria to awaken Israel. Now He shows Habakkuk that He is going to use the treacherous nation of Babylon to both punish Assyria and awaken Judah. This prophecy was fulfilled several decades later in 586. Then God punished Babylon when it fell to Persia in 539. The book of Habakkuk begins with a lament, for Assyria is bringing devastation to Israel.
3. Read Habakkuk 1:1-4 and describe Habakkuk’s lament.
4. Read Habakkuk 1:5-11.
A. How does God show Habakkuk that the terrible thing about to happen is His sovereign plan? (v. 5-6)
B. How does God describe the Chaldeans and who is their god? (v. 6-11) Thoughts?
5. Read Habakkuk 1:12-17
A. What questions does the prophet have of God in verses 12 and 13?
B. My friend Debbie asked me why God abandoned Jesus on the cross. How might the above verse shed light?
C. To what does Habakkuk compare mankind in verse 14? (See also Ecclesiastes 9:12)
D. How does the success of their violence affect the thoughts of the invaders? (verses 15-16)
E. What question does he ask of God in verse 17?
6. Some of you are truly suffering. Is God’s sovereignty a comfort? Why or why not?
7. What thoughts do you have on chapter 1? Did any thing in particular quicken you? If so, go through these three steps:
Reflect — what quickened you and why? (God speaking to you)
Respond — (You speaking to God)
Rest — REST IN WHAT HE IS SHOWING YOU — THIS IS EXPERIENCING HIS PRESENCE
8. Listen to the first sermon in the series and share your notes and thoughts:
8. What is your take-a-way and why?