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DELIVER ME! (Habakkuk 1)

LAST MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND I BEGAN WATCHING FOR A CARD

FOR MOTHER’S DAY ON THURSDAY…

NOPE.

FRIDAY.

NOPE.

MAYBE ONE OF MY FIVE (FIVE) CHILDREN WOULD REMEMBER.

SATURDAY.

NOPE.

 

WHERE’S THE CARD FILLED WITH HAND-WRITTEN APPRECIATION FOR ALL I’VE DONE?

LUCYYou need to know THAT I TOO NEED TO BE DELIVERED.

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!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8Td9cZajyE

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. rebecca@deebrestin.com) (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

SUNDAY:

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

Background:

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.

Habakkuk1-2

3. Read Habakkuk 1:1-4 and describe Habakkuk’s lament.

habakkuk15

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?

Habbakuk1-13

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?

Skipjack tuna and bycatch caught in the net of the Ecuadorean purse seiner 'Ingalapagos', which was documented fishing on a fish aggregation device (FAD) by Greenpeace in the vicinity of the northern Galapagos Islands. Bycatch included; juvenile bigeye tuna, juvenile yellowfin tuna, black marlin, Spanish mackerel, wahoo, triggerfish, mahi mahi, Green turtle and Olive Ridley turtle. Around 10% of the catch generated by purse seine FAD fisheries is unwanted bycatch and includes endangered species of sharks and turtles. The catch of large amounts of juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tunas in these fisheries is now threatening the survival of these commercially valuable species. Greenpeace is calling for a total ban on the use of fish aggregation devices in purse seining and the establishment of a global network of marine reserves. LAT 04:07 NORTH / LONG 091:28 WEST
Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of men are snared in an evil time…Ecclesiastes 9:12)

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

THURSDAY-FRIDAY SERMON

8. Listen to the first sermon in the series and share your notes and thoughts:

Why Does God Do Nothing?

SATURDAY:

8. What is your take-a-way and why?

Leave a Comment

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235 comments

  1. Dee – Oh, HABAKKUK!!!  I love this book and many years ago memorized portions of it….once again, I think a re-visit there could not be more timely….and Twila is inspiring me to review and re-memorize!  I cannot number the times that I read quickly through a new week’s study and think “this is the BEST of the best!!”.  That’s how I feel this morning.  As the Spirit has led you right where we need to be, I tremble.  For we North American Christians are entitled, priveleged and, all too often, blind to our need for repentance – and I am at the top of the list.  You say “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.”   It is so.  Yet His mercies are new every morning and He is ALWAYS faithful to His remnant…..(I’m doing a Nehemiah study these days, so “remnant” is on my heart!)….though through intense suffering oft times.  I cannot WAIT to dig in!
     
    An aside – until last week I had never heard of Audrey Assad…..I don’t listen to contemporary Christian music anymore, but love when you sisters here direct me to specific songs and artists!  Last week I listenend incessantly to Audrey Assad!  Food for my weary soul, she is.  THANK YOU Dee and Nila for the heads up on her ministry of heartsongs.  And now I find that she is the daughter of a Syrian refugee?  That has an indelible print on my heart as well (Syria and the refugees…..so many stories there…..) .  Such a kiss from the King!  Such rich nourishment.  Always to be found here with you, Dee.

  2. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? The birds in the video. Usually songs are just put to random creation scenes, or focus on human images that would represent our feelings…but it struck me half way through the video: the birds are free. They do not have to stay on the ground, they can fly free and be released (temporarily) from the laws of gravity…  Though they probably only fly for necessity and purpose we can fly for the pure pleasure of being with Him and glorifying Him. To go higher up and deeper in. And then the sheep. They do not want, not because they are clever enough to secure their well-being but because they trust the shepherd that leads them. (Thinking to the small book we read : A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23, W. Phillip Keller)
     
    2. Have you ever studied Habbakuk? If so, what is your take-a-way at this point? No. But I am anxious to. I have long wanted to look into and understand the prophets more.

  3.  First of all I just want to say that I miss some of our sisters here and want them to know that I’m thinking of them. Those who’ve been on our blog for the last five years even only for a short while; I miss you.  You can’t imagine the support system that we have had, and how it has helped me live life, sometimes daily. I’m not going to mention names but suffice it to say, I’ve been on the blog for five years or so, and have seen many of you come and go. I realize it’s for different reasons but I just wanted you know how I felt. 
     
     Next I’ve been thinking about last weeks lesson. Isn’t it interesting how many of us have had a great trials we had to go through in the past few weeks, few months? I can only imagine that it’s not just individuals being attacked by satan, but it almost seems like the entire blog is! We have to remember to keep first things first,  right? 
     
     Now to the lesson… 
     
    1.  I have a bit of a different take on this presidential election then you do, Dee…. My pain and anguish came in the last two election cycles. I have spent the last eight years feeling like we were doomed as a country. Although the two candidates who, most likely, will make the general election are not exactly who we want,  I do believe it’s time for a REAL change.  I know that I love politics,  and can be very passionate about this topic, but I will keep myself in check, I promise!  You  have baited me for several weeks now Dee! I have long thought we needed a businessman in office… In fact, I voted for Ross Perot, full disclosure.  The ideology in Washington really needs to stop. I’m more concerned about the schools today being mandated to “include” transgendered people; as if they’re not already included.  I’m concerned that now in our high schools boys and girls can go in the same bathroom; we will have a huge problem of monitoring those bathrooms so that there’s no sexual activity going on!  For .3% of our entire population, we’re going to change the way we do things?  Also, for those schools who don’t have a problem at all, now our government has created a problem!  I’m so ready to move back to Texas! I love that the attorney general made a biblical reference, in that “we don’t need your 30 pieces of silver!”    
     
    Anyway,  Businessmen tend to surround themselves with people who know specifics;  they delegate. I know, I’m married to one.  That is our hope. The people delegated to, are the ones we need to watch, not the boss.  It’s a bigger picture than what we are looking at right now.  our founding fathers were not all lawyers, nor did they only on themselves to make important decisions. Remember the room full of men during the signing of the Declaration of Independence and such?  they were farmers and blacksmiths and so one who relied on each other.  OK, off the bandwagon. 
     
     I don’t know a lot about Habukuk, so I’m looking forward to the study this week! 

      1. You know what Dee? I really love and admire you. Thank you for being you.

      1. I love this back and forth between Dee and Laura. I think when we listen to ‘understand’ rather than listening to ‘reply’…that goes a long way when we have political discussions and I sense that here! I do believe if not now in the future we have to have those discussions amongst ourselves for I agree, as Dee sai, about the stages of persecution here in America. It is happening slowly and we need Habakkuk and to encourage one another. I think a forum like this is a great place for it..I have learned F.B. isn’t. 🙁  or amongst ourselves in our groups at church.

    1. Laura, thank you for the reminder that businessmen delegate…this too is my hope. 
      dear Laura, I cannot tell you the impact of your presence on this blog…
      Indeed the evil one presses, but our Lord is our strength and He provides for our sweet fellowship and study…we are a cyber “family” with a wonderful, gifted spiritual leader.

      1. Nanci, thank you for that sweet comment! When I read your post last week and felt your anxiety, I thought we all were being “attacked!” We must fight him off by sticking together! We cannot give up or give in. Jesus gave too much for us to succumb, right? So glad you are back ?!

    2. Laura. Thank you for that! You blessed me so. I read Dee’s email and was drawn, by the Spirit no doubt?

      1. Oh Anne! I have thought of you often and wondered how your life is going. Thanks for “popping” in and saying hi! I still love your flowers gravatar ?! 

    3.  
       Hello Laura,
       I tried to post today but somehow it didn’t allow me. Thanks for your encouragement and I want to get back to the study.
      You and the other sisters are in my prayers.
       
      Dear sisters, I am one of those missing persons, as Laura mentioned. Yet I want to get back to this study on Habakkuk.
      I agree that first things should be valued, and all the distractions pull us into discouragement.  Spiritual growth, conversion and developing godly relationships are  so important. And suffering is a path back to the first things so often.
      I love Joni’s words and she is truly my example to draw close to God and believe that his purposes are not achieved in the worldly values.
      I want to be contented with the path God has chosen for me. I confess my weakness to the unappreciated picture Dee shared in the opening to this week’s study, and yes, I identify with the mess sadly.
      Each of the heart sharing is so special and opens my eyes to the need to continue to delve into this blog study. thanks, Laura, for your encouragement! Prayers for you and each sister.

      1. Shirley–so good to see you here again!

      2. So glad you have arrived back with us Shirley!! Yay!! we still need to try to get together this summer with Liz❤️. Also, Jackie mentioned a friend with a house on the Cape! I think we need a retreat!! If you didn’t get to read last week’s blog, I encourage you to do so; it is a peach. First things first and the rest falls into place! Happy blogging!

    4. Laura, I appreciate your thoughtful comments on politics, and it has been make known here that you love politics! And I’m glad for it, because you are a critical thinker. I’m thinking after reading your comments, that we cannot pin our hopes on one person to save our country, as well as we cannot fear that one man will ruin us, either. God is in control.

      1. You are so right Susan…. God is in control. I just hope people who believe that don’t sit back and not participate. A while back, a friend posted on FB how disappointed she was in the choices we have this election season. She is from Arkansas, has lived there her whole life, and knows one side well. I had just received a poignant email from Ben Carson about the race and his plans after dropping out. I believe Ben is a Godly man that’s why I voted for him in the primary. His email encouraged us to not give up, and to not stay home in November. He had many reasons for his argument, and if you want to read it, I could post it on the FB page. I think God gave us this earth to be good stewards and sitting back and not doing anything is not His plan. Ben Carson will be part of the administration, just watch! He will be there to fight for us and he is a Godly man. We will be represented.

  4. Dee,  
    I agree with Jackie ~  So many times I eagerly come here early on a Sunday morning to find such timely, life-giving, significant words.   And yes,  our God has given Jackie a Barnabas heart.   Thank you, Jackie, for allowing your wounds to have such a tenderizing affect on your heart and thus on the rest of us.    I have pondered, at times, the scripture that says, “By His wounds we are healed.”  (Is. 53:5)   And I’ve wondered, if we are healed by His wounds, might it be that our wounds might help bring healing to others?   If we allow the wounds of life to press us closer to our God, and in that way to keep a tender heart, could He be more visible to others through our pain?    I have long-loved author/poet missionary Amy Carmichael    One of my favorites is  this poem called No Scar.

     
    Hast thou no scar?
    No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
    I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
    I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
    Hast thou no scar?

    Hast thou no wound?
    Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
    Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
    By ravening beasts that compassed Me,
    I swooned.
    Hast thou no wound?

    No wound? No scar?
    Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
    And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.
    But thine are whole; can he have followed far
    Who hast no wound or scar?

     
    Dee, thank you for taking us to Habakkuk.   

    1. What an appropriate poem, Nila. Amy Carmichael has such wisdom. Thank you, Nila.

    2. Nila–I love Amy Carmichael too, and thank you for sharing this rich poem! “Yet, as the Master shall the servant be, And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.” wow

    3. Nila~
      Beautiful poem by Amy Carmichael.  I think I’ve said before, her story impressed me so much as a little girl in Sunday School.  And when I began my job as Children’s Ministry director, the first encouragement note I sent to my volunteers had a quote of hers attached.  Yet, I have never read her poetic works.  I need to do that.  This one is heart rending. 

  5. Oh sweet Dee, how blessed we are by your transparency…it’s what first drew me into your teaching. You speak His truth, but you never preach “at” us, you humbly coming alongside and share with us what He’s teaching you. What a gift. I love Lucy’s face above–how I relate to that! And I almost sent you one of those ‘like a mother to me…’ mother’s day cards 😉
     
    I am joining the others in excitement over studying Habakkuk again. I remember studying before with you,several years ago and how it blessed me. I like this from Joni “God cares more about our spiritual character than our health, wealth, or even our happiness.” So often I forget what a gift it is that He cares most about my spiritual character, my holiness. Only when I have His perspective can I agree and see this way. Paul Miller (sorry, I keep quoting him lately!) says: “Suffering is the crucible for love. We don’t learn how to love anywhere else… suffering doesn’t create love, but it is a hothouse where love can emerge. Why is that? The great barrier to love is ego, the life of the self. In long-term suffering, if you don’t give in to self-pity, slowly, almost imperceptibly, self dies. This death of self offers ideal growing conditions for love.”  I want that. I want death to self and to live fully for Him, with yes that can lament current circumstances but carry an unshakable hope in the One who created all, holds all the power, and who is Love. And yet, I hate suffering. I have had physical, emotional, spiritual–I know we all have, and I hate it. Continually I have to remind myself who He is, and as we remembered last week, trust and wait. Sorry to spiel–this all looks so timely, necessary, good. 
     

    1. Such a profound quote from Paul Miller, Lizzy. Wow, much to ponder.

    2. Lizzy Love this thank you.
      “The great barrier to love is ego, the life of the self. In long-term suffering, if you don’t give in to self-pity, slowly, almost imperceptibly, self dies. This death of self offers ideal growing conditions for love.”  
      I think I am going to put that on my bathroom mirror this week:) I too want death to self

  6. The theme of suffering which permeates in Habakkuk has such resonance in me. Here in Canada we watch in grave concern at US politics but have our own deep concerns. Our Supreme Court of Canada has decreed that we allow assisted dying like some countries in Europe. Oh, how this hurts my heart and seems to many of us as a sign of the beginning of God’s judgment – a clear signal that those in judicial and political power do not have any regard for God and his power over life and death! Oh, it is hard not to be fearful! But Audrey Assad so speaks to me in this song. “From the fear of … [so many things] … deliver me. … When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want.” So haunting, so relevant, so needed. Let me remember and focus on your goodness, O Lord!

    1. Diane, I read Tim Challies blog regularly (He’s in Canada) and he referenced this today–so upsetting. Yes, we must remember and focus on His goodness, His power, and His promise that He is at work. So thankful for our faith–I cannot imagine to not have the assurance that all WILL be made right one Day, and that truth allows us to say “all is well” today~

    2. I was so sad to read these headlines, Diane.   As the U.S. has become such a hostile place, I have often longingly looked at Canada.  As a Northerner, growing up an hour from the border, Canada always intrigued me yet seemed so familiar.   So much I admire about your country, Diane.   And yet, now, this sadness for you.  We are surely battling the enemy of our souls all across the globe.  

  7. SUNDAY:
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    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.
    Joni Eareckson Tada has said, “God cares more about our spiritual character than our health, wealth, or even our happiness.”
    Dee, you are speaking to me directly. I want a life free of pain. I want a healthy body (no blood pressure problem or shoulder problem). I want my daughter to be happy. As much as I would like to think I want my soul to grow, these 2nd things are barking loud at my tree. A good friend today at church, as we shared about our tendency to be “fixers” said, we often thrive in “functionality”. As long as we can function at the speed we think we should be in, we are good. Then God allows troubles or trials (for her, she had twins after already having 4 kids!) and we realize we are not who we think we are. He rocks our world so He can sift away the 2nd things in our lives and let Him be first.
    2. Have you ever studied Habakkuk? If so, what is your take-a-way at this point?
    Though I have not done a study on Habakkuk, some of my favorite verses  are from it. They ministered to me deeply during some very hard times in my life.  Chapter 3: 17-19.  I was a poor nursing student then and my father was chronically ill. Mom was our stabilizing force. When I look back, I see the faithfulness of God despite my messes and sinfulness and feelings of inadequacy and wanderings.  He has brought me to a safe place (Him). He is faithful1
    Though the fig tree does not bud
        and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails     and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen     and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,     I will be joyful in God my Savior.
    19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;     he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,     he enables me to tread on the heights.
     
     

      1. Yes, it is golden, Dee.  With some health issues knocking on my door lately, vs 19 is a great reminder for me. I am committed to stay in this summer study though I have other responsibilities to follow through. I thank the Lord for your transparency as are so many of the ladies here.

  8. Thank you, Dee for introducing us to Audrey. She is indeed anointed. Been listening to her other songs as well.

  9. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “Nothing slips between God’s fingers”
    When I read this it really struck me; what a gentle, nice, comforting reminder that the Lord knows our story from beginning to end; nothing surprises Him…we, individually and collectively, are known.
     
    Dee, I so appreciate that you allow us into your “humanness”…thank you for your authenticity and lack of pretense.
     
    2. Have you ever studied Habakkuk? If so, what is your take-a-way at this point?
    I have not studied Habakkuk previously. 

  10. I want to share this story about conversion…
    My parents were friends with a couple (C and D) ; my husband and I are friends with their son and daughter-in-law.  The wife/mother, D, died several years ago…she believed and was a  faithful Christian woman.  C was a very likeable, friendly man, the kind of guy that could talk to anyone about anything at anytime.  He had major misgivings about the Christian faith and was an unbeliever.  Knowing my parents are Christian (Catholics), he asked my parents if they believed all that stuff that the church teaches…my parents said that they did, but again to no avail.  C at 97 years old had a stroke and was in nursing home care for probably the past 6-8 weeks; he died last weekend, his funeral was this past Thursday.  The minister from the nursing home did his funeral service…he shared that when C arrived, he made it very clear that he was not interested in talking about faith, Jesus, etc.  Despite C’s disinterest, the minister continued to visit C regularly, establishing a relationship, not pushing or prodding, just listening and being present.  A few days before C died, when the minister came to visit C, C asked to talk to him about Jesus…  C lived 97 years on this earth and only a few days before his death he accepted the Lord’s incredible gift of grace and came to faith.  The Lord unrelentingly pursued him, wooed him…it took 97 years, but the Lord never gave up…  I think about the “seeds planted,” the “watering,” “feeding,” “fertilizing” in hopes of germination.  Germination occurred for C!…oh how our Lord is faithful…through the Lord’s grace, C and D enjoyed a wonderful reunion in heaven and the rest of C’s life will be in eternity with the Lord.

    1. Oh, Nanci, what a marvelous story! Tears! What joy in heaven over one sinner who repents!

    2. Oh Nanci–what a beautiful picture of our God’s relentless pursuit of His own, of His fierce love for us, and of the faithfulness of this servant minister. So glad you shared this. SO encouraging!

    3. What a story, Nanci! It brings so much encouragement to us to continue sharing Jesus with others though it is met with apathy or disinterest. Thanks for sharing!

    4. Nanci Such a beautiful story giving much hope. Thank you!

    5. Nanci – I just have to add my voice to the chorus of celebration and delight at your story!!!!  C’s story is such a picture of the tender patience of our Lord ….and I LOVE how that pastor’s heart really reflected that as well….just steadily “staying with” C, despite his “rejection” of the gospel.  Oh, how this spurs me on in my prayer fatigue for so many in my life who continue to reject Christ……I’m only called to be a faithful witness and it is the Lord who does the impossible work of salvation!!  🙂  His mercies are new every morning……

    6. Such a wonderful story, Nanci.  And when I hear stories of ‘last minute’ conversions,  I always think of that parable about the workers who worked all day and those who just came at the end of the day.  They all got paid the same. ‘The wages of sin is death.  But the GIFT of God is eternal life.”  It also can put other matters of justice and mercy in perspective.   

  11. 2.  Yes, the end of Habakkuk!  My paraphrase is that even when everything in my personal world, including my nation, is falling apart, yet I will not just survive but will rejoice in God.
     
    4a.  You asked for thoughts.  It is hard to get on board with it being a good thing for Judah to be overrun bu Babylon, even in the hands of God.  I feel much like that for our own nation.  I know we are reaping what we have sown, but it is still hard.
     
    5b.  How does this verse shed light on why Jesus was abandoned on the cross?  God cannot look on evil, and since Jesus had taken all our sin on Himself, God had no choice but to turn away from Him.  So is the verse saying that God could no longer look on Israel because of their sin, and abandoned them?
     
    6.  God is sovereign, and it is a comfort.  I think it is the only rope to hold us from the abyss of giving up completely.  It doesn’t make it easy and certainly doesn’t make everything all better.  When my children were in grade school, I had a time of walking the floor at night.  What if they were harmed in some deep evil way?  Would God still be God?  Eventually I got to where the answer was yes.  Even if the worst I could imagine were to happen, God would still be God, He would be sovereign.  I guess that needs to be my stand now as well, no matter what happens with the culture or with the nation.

    1. Mary B.    Your number 6 is profound.  We all need to find that place in our suffering and yet, it can be so hard to get there.  I appreciate that encouragement. 

  12. Oh Dee. I too thank you for your transparency. I can so relate. I almost did not even want Mothers Day as I did not want to feel the pain of not having approval. One daughter does not celebrate Mothers Day anymore and my other daughter just sometimes does not put those types of things as a place of importance. I had a time of prayer a few days before in preparation of keeping my eyes on the Lord staying close to him. Though I do not participate on Facebook I sometimes go on thru my daughter and saw some children writing such lovely dedications to their Moms. I confess what I found myself doing was fretting and envying How UGLY and messed up is that???? I am so grateful we can bring our mess to Jesus and he helps to clean us up. Most of the cleaning has come thru suffering. I do believe we are in need of a shaking up in this country. Thankful we have the rock to stand on when it does begin to shake.
    I have never studied Habakkuck other than my own personal reading. Looking forward to it.   

  13. I read Laura’s post bemoaning the missing sisters on this blog.   I haven’t been missing long – just the last three weeks or so, but I am hopeful now that I have broken out into a clearing!   I did issue a little warning that I had a constellation of life events ahead of me, and I think I have gotten most of those behind me — with the Lord’s help all of them ended up on a positive note!   I am looking forward to this study on Habbakuk, and have already purchased all five of Keller’s sermons.
     
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I could really relate to Dee who was watching for Mother’s Day cards and appreciative notes.   We really want that sort of thing from our children, don’t we?  I am most fortunate that both of my daughters live only 20 to 25 minutes away from me.  I see them each Sunday in church (as a minimum).   I will admit that I am spoiled – it is much harder when your kids are scattered across the country or maybe even globally.   
     
    As I view things that are happening in the USA, and particularly in the present election process, I begin to wonder “Am I crazy or is it the rest of the country?”   Recently CNN had a series on about “The Race to the Whitehouse” in which they reminded their viewers that there have been some fairly preposterous things happen in past elections that we might have forgotten about.   As a nation we have weathered a lot of upsetting processes through the decades.   I know I tend to get upset more over things that are happening at the present time, and frequently think “This is the worst that has ever happened!”    Likely not true!
     
    2. Have you ever studied Habakkuk? If so, what is your take-a-way at this point?
     
     
    I know that I studied Habbakuk in college, but that has been a looooonnngg time ago.   You all studied it before I joined this blog.  I know I have not gotten into the book of Habbakuk deeply, and so, Dee, I am very happy you have chosen this study at this time!   

    1. Deanna-so good to have you back!

    2. Deanna:    I like your reminder and the things from CNN that you referenced.  I think Solomon said something similar:  ‘THERE is NOTHING NEW under the sun!’    That does help me keep perspective sometimes.  

  14. 3. Read Habakkuk 1:1-4 and describe Habakkuk’s lament.
     
    Habakkuk laments that God is not listening. He has cried for help and nothing changes. Oh! How I know this feeling! I feel that my prayers are falling on deaf ears and that God doesn’t care. I try not to dwell on this, and instead continue to press in. Yesterday I danced the hymn I chose from last week. It was extremely therapeutic.
     
    He says he cries “violence!” and nothing happens. Again, no one is saved. This reminds me of the persecuted Christians in the Middle East right now. It seems as if He is far away.
     
    He says he doesn’t understand why he has to sit by and watch with his hands tied; nothing that can be done by man alone. I feel this way about many issues in our world today; the Middle East, and yes, even our political situation here in our country. Things are out of control.
     
    finally, he says that they are “stuck,” not moving forward or backward. He laments that the wicked are all around and justice is perverted. How true does this ring in my ears, when I see the things the current president seems to think he can just demand and have done, regardless of what his role is in the government. His overreaching is ridiculous and the lawmakers who could make him stop won’t! For people who don’t live here, and don’t understand the Donald Trump/Bernie Sanders phenomenon, this is it. People in America are MAD. They are tired of politicians not moving forward and doing what we put them there to do.  Our government was formed with the idea that the people would run it not the politicians. I agree with Dee and her friend that we may “get what we deserve” so that we will learn. 

    It seems, so far, that there are parallels for me with Habakkuk!

    1. Laura–So much good pondering here, I’m a bit embarrassed at my 4 sentence response! LOVE that you danced the hymn you memorized–you inspire me (not to dance, but to keep reminding myself the Truth!)

    2. Laura, as I read your words about the violence in the Middle East,I also feel like lamenting. Why is there not an end to this  violence? I have been reading the book of the Voice of the Martyrs, i am n. These persecuted Christians are willing to suffer and though I do not envy their situations I am overjoyed to know the strength of their faith, their courage and what God shows in their faithful obedience to him.
      I feel so weak as I learn how they respond so unselfishly. I am so used to comfort and having all my needs met for housing, medical and so on.

  15. Whoa, Laura!    You are connecting on a heart level with Habakkuk right out of the starting gate!  Your continual perseverance to press in to the Lord – LOVE your joy in the dance to your hymn!! – will indeed give you those pockets of TRUE joy along the way.  For some reason this morning a little song that I remember being sung in the Bible church that my parents brought me up in (even though my heart wasn’t in it!)came to mind.  Hadn’t thought of it in years and used to think it very corny.  But here is is:   (it expresses Habakkuk’s prayer in 3:17-19 in a way!)
    I will Trust When I Cannot See  
     
    When I cannot understand God’s leading,
    When I do not know the reason why
    He should choose the path that lies before me,
    still to Him in faith I can reply:
                                                               CHORUS:     I will trust when I cannot see
                                                                                 when I’m faced with
                                                                                 adversity,
                                                                                 And believe your will is
                                                                                 always best for me
                                                                                 I will trust when I cannot see.
     
    When I feel the sting of disappointment
    and my dreams lie crumbled in the dust
    when my best adds up to loss and failure
    and the things that happen seem unjust.      (CHORUS)
     
    When I face the furnace of affliction
    And the pain seems more than I can bear,
    when I think it strange this fiery trial
    still I’ll tell my blessed Lord in prayer:     (CHORUS)
     
     

    1. oh Jackie–these lyrics just made me tear up! I SO needed this this morning, I know it was to Laura, but the Lord blessed me with it–thankful for you sweet sister

      1. awww….Lizzy.   I needed those lyrics this morning too.  So grateful that those simple words ministered to you…..He continually amazes me in His care and tenderness to us……oh the endless ways He comes to us moment by moment!  

        1. Yes, Jackie, this song is perfect. I never heard it but the lyrics are so true.

    2. I’ve never heard that hymn, Jackie and it has some great lyrics.   I love that you shared it.  I also love that these truths that we were immersed in as children come back to us.  YOU so often give me hope for my loved ones who have lost their way.  

  16. 3. Read Habakkuk 1:1-4 and describe Habakkuk’s lament.
    He has been calling to the Lord a long time, and feels the Lord’s silence, passivity, His absence. He is grieved at his circumstances, the sin, destruction, strife around him. He is tired of the injustice, of the prevalence of evil. He is angry, without hope. 
     
    4. A. How does God show Habakkuk that the terrible thing about to happen is His sovereign plan? (v. 5-6)
    God tells him he is at work, in an unbelievable way. He will use the Chaldeans for His own purposes. 
    B.  How does God describe the Chaldeans and who is their god? (v. 6-11) Thoughts?
    They are bitter and hasty, dreaded and fearsome; their own might is their god.
     
    5. A.  What questions does the prophet have of God in verses 12 and 13?
    He questions who God is:
    He asks God about His eternal nature: “Are you not from everlasting…?” 
    And His silence towards protecting the righteous: “why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent…?”
     
    B. My friend Debbie asked me why God abandoned Jesus on the cross. How might the above verse shed light? 
    v. 13 “You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong,”
    God, in His holiness, cannot look upon evil. His eyes cannot look at what is vile. The vileness of our sin is what separated God and Christ, and is why Jesus had to die. I think this verifies that Jesus fully took on our sin, be came our substitute in every way. 
     
    C.  To what does Habakkuk compare mankind in verse 14? (See also Ecclesiastes 9:12)
    Man are like fish and crawling things—lowly creatures without a ruler, where destruction goes unchecked.
     
    D. How does the success of their violence affect the thoughts of the invaders? (verses 15-16)
    They become greedy and slaves to their net, making a god of it.
    E. What question does he ask of God in verse 17?
    He asks God how long this will continue—when will He intervene?
     

  17. 3.  Read Habakkuk 1:1-4 and describe Habakkuk’s lament.
     
    Laura has covered this so splendidly already and I cannot add much to her words on this.  I do think that the heart of Habakkuk’s cries to the Lord are expressed in Habakkuk’s struggle in feeling like the God that He thought he “knew” is nowhere to be found!  The God that is Holy and Righteous and a jealous Bridegroom to His people Israel SEEMS utterly indifferent to their gross sin, which had led to horrible destruction and violence and injustice.  He asks God in v. 3, “why do you idly look at wrong?”.  And isn’t that our ongoing struggle?  To take heart by faith in looking “….not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (1 Cor.4:18).  Oh Sovereign Lord of all the ages….may we grow this very day in our trust in You!  Help us in our weakness to believe Your Word.  To know that one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father! That You are the Alpha and Omega and we are Your Beloved Bride….resting loved and content and secure in the midst of perilous, perilous times.  Come, Lord Jesus!

  18. 3. Read Habakkuk 1:1-4 and describe Habakkuk’s lament.
    Habakkuk expresses a raw lament in the form of “why”. He is desperate for God to intervene and there is a sense of abandonment as he wonders why it is taking so long for God to answer his cry for help.    Verse 4 particularly caught my attention as Habakkuk says, “Why do you force me to look at evil,
        stare trouble in the face day after day?”   He is overcome by what he sees and it is unrelenting.   It is more than he can bear.  His anger with God finds its voice in these verses.  
     
     
     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)   God tells Habakkuk clearly that He is raising up this army of destruction.  
     
    B.  How does God describe the Chaldeans and who is their god? (v. 6-11) Thoughts?   
    Verse 9 says they are,  “A dreadful and terrible people,
        making up its own rules as it goes.”    They are the visible army of the enemy of our souls who comes to kill, steal and destroy.  (John 10:10)

  19. 3. Read Habakkuk 1:1-4 and describe Habakkuk’s lament. He is crying out to a God that he knows is ABLE to save and intervene but either will not or will not yet. Habakkuk sees that the law is no longer effective because no one respects it anymore….oh my…the parallels to our country are overwhelming. I saw a picture once of two teenagers fighting fiercely and a group of kids watching, filming on their phones, with no one intervening…perhaps this is how Habakkuk felt, watching all those around him enduring strife at the hands of perverted law and God not doing anything…?

  20. 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) God tells Habakkuk that it is His work – the coming attack will be at His hand. This is interesting that Habakkuk says, “God, you are not doing anything!” And God answers, “Look! I am doing such a work that you would not believe it even if I told you.” Wow. Isn’t that true always?!
     
    B. How does God describe the Chaldeans and who is their God? (v. 6-11) Thoughts? The Chaldeans are described as fierce warriors: bitter, hasty, march long distances, able to seize ruthlessly, swift horses, fiercer than wolves, swift to devour, violent, disrepectful because they are confident. Their god is their own might and ability. 
     
    This is one of those passages where the knee-jerk reaction is to say, “well, I would never have my own might as my god…” But we do without knowing it. Even more frequent, which you can see in the Chaldeans’ description, is to have our expectations as our god. You may be able to see a smidge of this in Habakkuk’s lament? He says, God, you arent doing anything! Translations (possibly): God you are doing any of the things I think you should be doing in the time I think you should be doing it!  But how does God respond?! LOOK! I am working….more than you can even realize, even if I told you! 
     
    I know now this is a specific prophecy about a specific time, but I believe the same is true today: He is working! I cannot lift my eyes to Jesus to see only what I think I should see in my situational salvation, but rather lift my eyes to Him and just LOOK for what He is doing…Trusting not what should happen, but Him who has His hand in whatever does happen.

  21. I think my favorite thing about habakkuk 1 is that he is so very raw. I was brought up to think it was wrong to question God or get angry with him. But all you have to do is read the Psalms and hear that David is a man after God’s Own Heart to know that that is a false believe.
    I hesitate to speak of suffering as a part of my lifet I have suffered very little.
    I have found in my small sufferings that it has been extremely helpful  for me  to let go of what I thought life should be and accept what God has chosen for me. I let myself feel the loss and  I try hard to not good on to right to what I want.. I try to mine each situation for Gold and ask God what is next, how are you going to use me through this. 
    But as I said, I have never suffered greatly. It is fairly easy to trust him in the small trials because he has showed himself trustworthy! . But I have no idea how I would handle true suffering. .
     

    1. Cyndi, you share such a wise perspective here, “….to let go of what I thought life should be and accept what God has chosen for me.” That so reminds me of a photo Dee posted once that showed a track with the lane lines clearly marked. A runner must stay in his own lane or be disqualified. That is a powerful image for me because I often look at another’s “lane” and want to be in it instead of mine. From what you shared last week about being lied about and the pain you experienced from losing a ministry job, I do feel you have suffered more than “small” things, and I know you’ve suffered along with many troubled youth you’ve tried to help, carrying their burdens, too. You are showing us how you handle true suffering.

      1. Susan, thank you for your kind response! I have friends who have lost husbands, children, siblings…have cancer, have filed bankruptcy, had spouses walk out, children go to jail, etc. I have truly never REALLY suffered 🙂 but your kind, tender heart is so sweet! 
        Please know that that is a gift, not a weakness! It is a great blessing to those around you but I fear it makes life harder for you.

    2. to let go of what I thought life should be and accept what God has chosen for me

      Thanks for this, Cyndi.
       
      Such wise words that sound so simple.  And yet, I must learn them over and over and over.  I am glad that at my age, I finally feel like it is sinking in.  🙂

  22. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I wanted to say when I read the opening, “Oh – you too, Dee?!” Thank you for your honesty, Dee. I was thinking this morning about how depressed I felt on Mother’s Day, even though I have SO MUCH to be thankful for! My mom is still with me, and I took her out for lunch that Saturday to spend time with her. I got flowers from one son, a card in the mail from the other, and both called. My daughter was at home, though had to work on a paper for school, so it was just a quiet day. But I longed so for the past and missed my absent sons so much that I actually felt it in my body. I went for a walk around my neighborhood and literally felt like my legs weighted 50 pounds each. What I could not have was all my children at home, and so I grieved for what I felt I was missing, instead of appreciating what I have.
    I have pulled your book, Idol Lies, off the shelf. I am just on chapter 2, Christy’s story. I, too, believe that I suffer from relational idolatry. It is a huge stronghold in my life right now. I noted how in the book, you ponder why some are set free and some remain chained. I was talking it over with God this morning and I decided that it must be a matter of my will, that I make up my mind that He is not enough and cannot give me what ____can, and therefore, I stubbornly cling to my idols even when I know it brings such pain. It comes down to a real problem of unbelief. I so need His help.
     
    The Audrey Assad song dissolves me to tears. I watched it last week when Nila gave the link and did the same. From “deliver me from comfort” to deliver me from the fear of loneliness – oh, that hurt….more tears. And I fear for my children, too, because in our fast-paced, socially isolated world, I don’t want them to suffer from isolation and loneliness. I grieved again the break-up of my son and his longtime girlfriend, the one he was pretty sure he would marry. I feel sort of ashamed, that maybe I am just a “weak” person and that is why I am overly dependent emotionally on others. I am looking forward to studying Habakkuk because when I heard Linda Dillow speak at a conference, she said that it was this book that helped her out of a very serious depression.

    1. Susan – I’m so respecting the way that you are grappling through on this issue of your longings for your children, your sorrow over the almost empty nest…..and the way that you are bringing this into the light of Christ and pondering whether those relationships with your children might be idols in your life.  Surely for MANY of us, our children would be a very prime temptation to fill that heart idol!  Or at least I can speak for myself and say that I know it is true for me.  My marriage also for many, many years was an idol.  Just a few short years ago, it seemed that the Lord rather got my attention on BOTH fronts – the marriage and the children (by then all young adults) and there was a real turning in my heart.  Matthew 10:37-39 was the specific passage that devastated and, ultimately, freed me from the chains of those idols.  Life has been SO DIFFERENT since then!  About the only thing I can think to compare it to is my years as an alcoholic – and the FREEDOM that I have experienced in those decades since the chains were broken!!  Another similarity between the two is this:  as long as we walk this earth, our idols still know our names and call to us!  Much like in C.S. Lewis’ classic “Screwtape Letters”, if the temptations can’t get us through the front door, they will try the back door….and the windows too – maybe even the chimney!!!!  🙂  The ONLY freedom, the only security is CHRIST and the love for Him that He faithfully begins to grow inside of us when we repent and “lose our life ” for his sake.  MANY have been my “slips”.  But the path has been enormously peaceful.  I’m enormously grateful that the story of the father of the boy with a demon was recorded for us in Mark 9:24…..”….I believe, help my unbelief!” was his cry.  And Jesus answered Him.  🙂 Praying along with you in this Susan.  The discernment in your sharing is so piercing.  Thank you.

      1. Jackie, you made me smile with the C.S. Lewis description of all the ways temptations come – “….maybe even the chimney!!!” I guess I need to lock myself in a closet:))
        I am fairly sure that my relationships with my children are my heart idols. In fact, I know it. Laura mentioned above what a support this blog is – a daily support! I find that I open up here and share things with all of you that I’ve not shared with anyone else. And it is daily support and encouragement. I don’t have any friend whom I would call every day; I’d be afraid that I’d wear out my welcome. But most of us are “here” every day and we interact with each other, or at least I do, more frequently than with face-to-face friendships.

  23. I am excited about doing this study of Habakkuk.  I need a study.  I feel lost….I need my map again and what better place to start then where someone else is crying out for help. Will post more later.

    1. Oh Sabrina, I think you have come to the right place – a warm welcome to you.  I remember that I followed along silently for a LONG TIME…..and I began to see this study as a group of women gathered around a campfire…..and JESUS HIMSELF was the light, the warmth……and so it has been.  This is a safe circle in which to cry out for help to God.  He hears.  Through the Scriptures and the Spirit and the fellowship…..we do experience HIm.   

      1. Jackie, I love your description of this blog as a campfire around which we sit and Jesus is the light!
        The tempter does know all our weak areas and how to enter in and distract us so that we seek idols of relationship, be it marriage or children, or friends…
        I am thinking of the scripture that refers to God’s ways as higher than our ways, and our understanding is so limited. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts.” Isaiah 55: 8,9 This points out to me that yes, I need to trust God in these difficult times that I just do not understand. The world’s issues are foolish, selfish and the violence, in words and actions, only hurt. Yet God is at work when I don’t understand. I pray, too, “I do believe,help me overcome my unbelief .Jesus had just said, everything is possible  for him who believes.” Mark 9:23,24

      2. Thanks for the campfire analogy Jackie! I feel nice and snuggly warm now ?! Love and hugs to you sister!

    2. Welcome Sabrina~   You have found a safe place here.

    3. So glad you have joined us Sabrina! this is a great place to be ?

    4. Welcome, Sabrina!    We will look forward to having you here with us!

  24. 5B.  My friend Debbie asked my why God abandoned Jesus on the cross.  How might the above verse shed light?
     
    This got me thinking about the attributes of God – Who He is.  He is immutable – He never changes.  (Malachi 3:6).  This seems to me to undergird in a sense ALL of His attributes – in Habakkuk 1;13, the attribute would be “holiness”.  God is Holy.  Always.  No exceptions for all of eternity.  At the same time He is Loving and Merciful….these too are a part of the nature of God, thus He desires relationship with us…..born into sin.  Holy God, sinful mankind.  The simplicity and complexity of all of this “impossible” gulf come into focus only at the cross of Christ.  The following short excerpt from Megan Hill’s recent book, “Praying Together” speaks eloquently to this:
     
    “To know what effect our sin has on our right to pray, we must go to the cross.  Here at Golgotha, the God-man shoulders the wrath of God in our place, and here we find a prayer that is the most horrific to ever be uttered.  Here, our condemned Savior cries out, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mark 15:34)  And there is no answer.
     
    Forsaken by God, cut off rom relationship to the Father, Jesus’s prayer as the accursed sin bearer was met only with silence.  Seminary professor Edmund Clowney used to tell his students, ‘You haven’t heard the cry of the Son until you’ve heard the Father who didn’t answer.’  What do our prayers justly deserve?  Silence.  And yet the God who rejected the prayer of the wrath-bearing Son accepts our prayer because of him.  ”  

    1. Wow….this is just so good, Jackie.  I’m glad I scrolled back and found it.  Your thoughts about the attributes of God are helpful and so is the quote. 

  25. Welcome, Sabrina!  So glad you are here!
     
    3. Habakkuk 1:1-4: describe Habakkuk’s lament.
    Habakkuk sees the violence and injustice all around and doesn’t understand why the Lord doesn’t intervene, why He allows the violence and injustice to continue.  Habakkuk wants the Lord to make things right rather than be silent.

  26. 6. Some of you are truly suffering. Is God’s sovereignty a comfort? Why or why not?
    I’m still meditating on the blessing of last week’s Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” He is active. When I soak in Who God is—holy, perfect in every way, all-powerful, and active…and to know that I am His and He is working all things for His purpose and my good…I have peace. His sovereignty IS a comfort to me, but too easily dismissed and forgotten when I am in the thick of trials. I am so impatient, and a wimp to suffering. I need to continually remind myself, He holds all things, and His ways are perfect.
     
    I’m reminded too of 2 Cor. 4:16  “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
     

  27. 3. Read Habakkuk 1:1-4 and describe Habakkuk’s lament.
     
    Habakkuk feels that God is turning a deaf ear to him when he cries out about injustice, wrongdoing, and violence that surround him.  
     
    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)
     
    He tells Habbakuk to just watch and be utterly amazed, because God intends to do something so fabulous Habbakuk wouldn’t believe it even if God explained it all.  Habbakuk had been complaining that God was doing nothing, but God informs him that things have already been put in place to bring God’s justice forward.  
     
    B.  How does God describe the Chaldeans and who is their god? (v. 6-11) Thoughts?
     
    They are feared, dreaded, and are a law unto themselves.  They are swift, fierce, powerful, and they take prisoners!   They build up earthen ramps so they can come over the city’s walls.  Perhaps the fact that they knew how to win militarily would give them so much confidence that their might would become their god.   So they felt it was not only okay to conquer people, but they showed no regard for humanity.   They hauled home the riches and tribute from the nations they conquered.   Verse 11 says their own strength is their god.  
     
    5. Read Habakkuk 1:12-17
    A.  What questions does the prophet have of God in verses 12 and 13?
     
    He asks God (almost as if to remind God of it) if God is not everlasting.   He is saying “God, do you remember who you are?  You never die.”   Further on, he asks God why it is that, if God is too pure to look on evil, and if God cannot tolerate wrongdoing, then why is God tolerating the treacherous people?   Why is God silent while the treacherous devour the righteous?
     

  28. 7. What thoughts do you have on chapter 1? Did any thing in particular quicken you? If so, go through these three steps:
    Reflect — I am LOVING 1:5b “For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.”
    Respond — Father, You remind me that You are the God of the impossible. You delight in restoring, reconciling, resurrecting. You are working right now in my trial and You are doing something I wouldn’t even believe if You told me. You are amazing. 
    Rest — I trust You. I know You are good. I know You forgive my doubts, my fears, the mess I make of things. Thank You for who You are. Thank You for Your unbelievable, unending grace and mercy and love. I trust You. I will wait.
     

  29. 2. Have you ever studied Habakkuk? If so, what is your take-a-way at this point?
     
    I only remember a little bit from when we looked at Habakkuk here on the blog. I remember listening to a Keller sermon on it, the part about God making me (enabling) me to walk on my high places….I remember Habakkuk standing on a high point and watching, waiting, for the disaster to come, yet he rejoiced in the Lord.

  30. 5C.  To what does Habakkuk compare mankind in v. 14?  (see Ecclesiastes 9:12).  
    Fish and crawling things.  I remembered a Proverb and was surprised to see that Proverbs 22:3 is repeated word for word in Proverbs 27:12 – “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”  How often in my own life this has been the case.  Too many times I have found myself living in the moment – just like fish and crawling things! – too “busy” to repent and love God with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind.  As a resullt, there are sins of omission, for instance, in my life…..those things that the Lord has clearly shown me to do….and I say “I will Lord….tomorrow…..”  I am needing to heed these words of warning TODAY in my life.  

  31.  listening to Audrey Assad’s song yesterday morning and this morning. When I taste your goodness, I shall not want…The fear of this trial won’t have me.OH. 

    1. Rebecca – :(……last week I listened to Audrey Assad’s song “His Mercies Are New Every Morning” about a hundred times I think!  It is theologically so RICH and very, very comforting.  Is it still your back?  Oh.  Over 10 years ago I had one little round with sciatica…..and it was SO humbling and scary too. I am and will be praying for you this day friend.  Oh Jesus, Your mercies are new this morning for Rebecca…..may she taste and see that You are good again today….moat especially in our hard places.  Hear her cries.  LIft her up ….in her heart, her soul….and yes, her body.  Amen. 

      1. Jackie-I have been a huge fan of Audrey’s music, but lately it has gotten deeper and more theologically rich-which I love. I know she converted to Catholicism in the past year-but all I know is God is using her music and her testimony as a Syrian Refugee mightily. 

  32. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “Who will deliver me from my pettiness and need for approval?” I am there too. God’s timing is always impeccable with Dee’s blog!
     
    I have been really petty..I thought my approval idol was almost totally rooted out and then i am down with my back-and possibly permanent disability..it is a horrible trial for me right now. It all started the first week of May.Itisn’t  getting better. I had to cancel teaching at VBS-and I hate committing and canceling but it seems with our family dynamics and now my back I have had to. This is the only church where I haven’t really dived deep into leadership and it is painful for me. I fear they think I am not dependable and don’t keep commitments- Approval idol. BUT God is delivering me again..and HE is starting again with Dee’s blog-and Audrey Assad’s song.  I so desire to memorize Habakkuk..since I am down, I can. 

      1. Dee-Oh yes I recall hearing her say that..and love it too..suffering IS redemptive. I am experiencing this over the years..slowly..He is bigger than this..and I want  to  make this count for His Glory..not my comfort-He isn’t interested in my comfort or really even happiness..He is interested in being my happiness and joy! And I prayed with trepidation, last month for Him to strip me of the things that I am putting my affections on over Him..I think of Joni Tada and how He radiates from her..and my issue is a molecule compared to hers! 

  33. 4. Read Habakkuk 1:5-11.
     
    first of all…Chaldeans = ISIS!!!
     
    A. How does God show Habakkuk that the terrible thing about to happen is His sovereign plan? (v. 5-6) 
     
    God says He is working among the evil. I’m not sure what He means about the “wonders;” does He mean the wonders of evil or the wonders of good things? We’re there any good things then?
     
    B.  How does God describe the Chaldeans and who is their god? (v. 6-11) Thoughts?
     
    The Chaldeans are evil; they have strong forces that rip apart nations among them, and their God is themselves.

  34. 4 and 5
    Why do bad people get good things, why does God let them win? why does HE not just crush them and put a stop to all the evil in the world, Why why why???
    sunday school answer….the fall
    heart answer….I have no idea, it makes me angry, it makes me question, it makes me want to run from the question.
    I KNOW God is good because of my experience with HIM.
    I KNOW HE is real because of my experience with HIM
    I KNOW HE can be trusted in the horrible times because HE has shown himself to stay by my side no matter how bad things get.
    I CAN TRUST HIM …. WIH ME.
    BUT I question what the heck HE is doing in the lives of so many others. I can’t see HIS big plan in others lives and it looks from the outside like he does not care.
    I’m not sure the questions you ask have answers Dee. not this side of heaven any way. all I know is that I can trust HIM with MY LIFE! He has been so kind and loving to me, even in times of suffering I can feel HIS loving hand upon me. I struggle with why it seems so many people do not have that with HIM. why? why does HE not seem to be real and loving to so many?
    this lesson leaves me with more questions then answers.
    and it leaves me so very thankful that I have such an intimate relationship with HIM.
    and it leaves me LONGING to share how wonderful HE is if you let him be with as many people that will listen.
    and it leaves me wondering HOW to do that! HOW do you explain a relationship? You can not experience the love of someone unless you believe with all your heart that they love you….how do you convince people that a God that allows evil to “fill thier nets with the innocent” loves them?

      1. you just made my life 🙂

    1. YES, Cyndi! We need to get away from the “Sunday school answers” and start being honest with God and one another. Thank you for freely expressing your frustration, and for reminding us that we can trust God – and know that He can be trusted – without the warm fuzzy feelings. Faith is a decision, and sometimes faith has to be tough.

  35. Eloquent Cyndi.  Your passion for Him shines so and is contagious!!  🙂  And yet….your last question is so poignant – “how do you convince people that a God that allows evil to ‘fill their nets with the innocent’ loves them?”  The picture that come to mind is those incredible believers – and the thousands that they represent – kneeling on the beach in their orange suits preparing to be martyred by ISIS for being “people of the cross”.  It seems that not a one of them begged for their lives or recanted their faith in Christ.  I’m convinced that in that moment they KNEW how much Christ loved them….and now they are with Him forever!!!  They have fought the good fight, they have finished their race……

    1. thank you Jackie. I struggle so with the suffering of others!

  36. 5. Read Habakkuk 1:12-17
    A. What question does the prophet have of God in verses 12 and 13? He seems to be asking God to confirm who He is. Are you not forever? Are you not pure? These are not truly inquisitive (Habakkuk knows the answers) but questions for reassurance possibly…questions to confirm what is already knows to be true. The true question comes at the end when He asks God why what is happening doesn’t line up with what Habakkuk knows of God’s character. He asks God why, if He cannot look at wrong, does He continue to watch evil be played out. If God cannot look at wrong then He should “fix it” immediately so as to not gaze at it any longer.
     
    B. My friend Debbie asked me why God abandoned Jesus in the cross. How might the above verse shed light? God cannot look at evil. For all the sin to be put on Christ at the cross meant God could not look upon Him. In order to NOT abandon us and look away from us, He looked away from His Son bearing the sin and shame for our sake.
     
    C. To what does Habakkuk compare mankind in verse 14? (See also Ecclesiastes 9:12) You make mankind as fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler. Ecclesiastes also compares man to the fish of the sea….easily snared by a net of evil.
     
    D. How does the success of their violence affect the thoughts of the invaders? (verses 15-16) Their success leads their hearts to worship the tools of their success.
     
    E. What question does he ask of God in verse 17? Are the evil to keep emptying and filling and emptying and filling their nets and destroy all the nations? 

  37. 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)
    God tells him that he is going to raise up a horrible people to accomplish his plan…hard to believe for Habakkuk and for us that God can move forward his plan through wicked people-but he has, does and will. This is actually a comfort to me for He is in control even of the wicked. He sets their boundaries and uses them to accomplish His plan. 
     
    B.  How does God describe the Chaldeans and who is their god? (v. 6-11) Thoughts?
    They are a ruthless people whose God is their power. Reminds me of Isis.

  38. I have a busy week so probably won’t be on here much but am loving all the sharing on here and the new and re-newed past participants. 
     
    Rebecca, I am continuing to pray for your back. Are you completely bed-ridden? So hard, but again, I see you turning to Jesus in this. This is such a witness.
     
    I am happy we are studying Habakkuk. I have studied it in the past and memorized the last verses, as have others here. This book speaks so loudly to me because of its honesty in talking to God in afflictions and learning to lean even when it does not seem God is rescuing us.

    1. Diane-nope..that would make it worse, so I am getting up, walking, sitting, resting..trying to not do one thing for too long. 🙂 Thanks for asking!

      1. Oh, Rebecca. Do take care. Besides medication, have you been referred to any specialists? Do they know what the root problem is?

        1. Diane-you are dear! 🙂 Great question. I don’t want to dominate on the blog with this issue-so I am being careful..I have been referred to a Spine Surgeon for a consult..I am finding the good ones are rare. I tried to get into a Spine Center but have to wait until July or August. My son in law is a Dr. of Radiology and he has Doctor friends who might be able to help me find a good one.  We will see. I’ve heard nightmare stories about back surgery. So glad God is in control-just praying about direction. 🙂

        2. Rebecca, thanks for responding. I have been thinking of you and wondering. I will be in prayer for a good doctor. I know what you mean about horror stories. Perhaps you could post more on our Facebook page that is specifically designed for prayer requests.

        3. Diane, I just want to tell you how much it meant to me that you asked and are praying!! You are such a gem here!! Much love to you.

  39. 5. Read Habakkuk 1:12-17
    A.  What questions does the prophet have of God in verses 12 and 13?
    He asks why God who is everlasting and Holy tolerates the wicked and is silent while the wicked eat up those who are more righteous. This is upside down and he can’t really contain it-it makes no sense.
     
    B. My friend Debbie asked me why God abandoned Jesus on the cross. How might the above verse shed light? 
    God is Holy and can’t look upon evil. The fall put a wall between us and God so intimacy was broken. When Jesus was taking on our sin on the cross, He became sin for us. God turned his face away because He is Holy and can’t be in the presence of sin. Habakkuk 1:13 a: Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
     
    C.  To what does Habakkuk compare mankind in verse 14? (See also Ecclesiastes 9:12)
    We are like fish in the sea with no ruler. V14 and 15 go with Ecclesiastes 9:12. People are trapped in evil times that fall unexpectedly on them-like fish caught in a net. 
     
    D. How does the success of their violence affect the thoughts of the invaders? (verses 15-16)
    Wow-never saw this before..but the invaders success becomes their god. For it fuels more violence to continue feeding their comfort and control idols. He then empties his net and goes on to destroy more nations-feeding his idols.
     
    E. What question does he ask of God in verse 17?
     Will the invaders not be stopped? Will they keep emptying their nets to go on and destroy more nations? It sounds like he is asking God, “Are you going to let them have complete control of the world?” 

  40. Dee-just wanted to make an observation and encourage you..At first I was thinking..oh no she is cutting down the amount of questions…BUT you have GREAT questions!! AND this was a great idea. I can meditate more on the questions and not feel I have to rush through, and your questions are deep and good..not fluffy and pointed toward us but you point us to Him. Grateful! Thank you.

    1. I agree with Rebecca here Dee! Shorter and sweeter is helping me stay here and participate feeling as if I can manage to completion (although in the past I just did what I could anyway! But, I always felt like I was missing dialog between the bloggers because I never had time to do both.) Now I feel like I can answer questions and read some of the post also! Thank you!

  41. B. My friend Debbie asked me why God abandoned Jesus on the cross. How might the above verse shed light? 
     
    God is so holy that he cannot bare to look upon evil, and Jesus took all of the sin of mankind upon himself on the cross.    Therefore there was a period of time in which God abandoned Jesus during the crucifixion.    However, I have to be honest here and say that even though I can intellectually say those words,  I still find it difficult to think that God did abandon Jesus even for a short while.  
     
    C.  To what does Habakkuk compare mankind in verse 14? (See also Ecclesiastes 9:12)
     
    Mankind has been made like the fish in the sea.  They dart around like they have no ruler or guide, and they get caught in the nets of the evil one and evil times that fall upon them.  
     
    D. How does the success of their violence affect the thoughts of the invaders? (verses 15-16)
     
    Their success causes them to put their faith in the ability of their nets to catch their prey, so they end up worshiping their nets instead of God.

    E. What question does he ask of God in verse 17?
     
    Is evil going to keep prevailing?   Is the enemy going to just keep emptying his nets, gathering up the innocent, and destroying nations?     Is it never going to end? 

    1. Deanna, 
      I love your answer to B, and your honesty for I agree, it is difficult to grasp! 

  42. 3. What really stands out to me about Habbakuk’s prayer is how he had God’s heart. His lament is over what he sees, more than how it affects him. His complaint is about violence and injustice that he sees. That is God’s heart too but he feels like God just doesn’t care. He complains that God does not change it or punish the perpetrators. He felt that God was turning a blind eye to what was happening. He complained that the law was not getting the job done. That was a bold prayer.
    Laura, thanks for asking about me. I don’t want to take up space on the blog so I will post on the Facebook account. Thanks for your point about Trump being a business man rather than a politician. I needed some light in that storm.

  43. 4A. How does God show Habakkuk that the terrible thing about to happen is His sovereign plan?
    God tells Habakkuk that it is He who will do something unbelievable, it is He who will raise up the Babylonians to reap havoc on Judah
    …v. 5, “…For I am going to do something…” and v. 6, “I am raising up the Babylonians…”
     
    B. How does God describe the Chaldeans and who is their god?
    The Chaldeans are fierce, fast, and strong.  God describes the Chaldeans in terms of animals with top notch speed (i.e., leopards), a violent fierceness (i.e., wolves), and scavengers, taking whatever they can when they can (i.e., vultures).
    The “god” of the Chaldeans is themselves (self)…they worship their own strength, might, and ruthlessness, their own abilities.
    Thoughts?
    Many thoughts come to mind…
    *the independent spirit of the American, sometimes arrogant and self-serving, frequently forgetting that our nation was founded on our faith and trust in God; it is God who allows our nation to be blessed (or disciplined, as the case may be, but none the less for our good), anything we as a nation claim as “good” is from His hand.  As a nation we too often suffer from disordered loves.
    *on an individual level, how much is taken for granted; mindlessly accepted as “the way it is,” routine and not given a second thought.  This point slammed me night before last as I was reading Mark Buchanan’s book, “The Holy Wild.”  The second chapter is titled “The Testimony of Leaves,” he writes,
    “a single leaf. So fragile … yet a leaf may withstand hurricanes, stubbornly clinging to its limb.  … This single leaf, joined to the tree, drinks poison from the air … and refuses to return in kind, instead spilling out life-giving oxygen.  This leaf tilts to catch the sun … to distill the heat and light down to the shadows, down to the roots, back up to limbs. To shade the earth. To feed you and me.  A leaf. God makes these season after season, one after the other, billions upon billions, from the Garden to the New Jerusalem.”
     
     

    1. Nanci,
      I’ve read Mark Buchanan in the past, but have not seen this book.  Loved this quote from the “Testimony of the Leaves.”  So thought-provoking.   Thank you!

    2. Nanci – I read “The Holy Wild” a few years back….don’t remember the “leaf” part at all! SO grateful to read your post now though….much food for thought….yesterday my little leaf of a life drank in some poison for sure – and I am not sure that my response was life-giving.  In fact, I was silent.  Hmm.  I must confess to waking this morning with thoughts like this:  “Jesus, You dwell within me…..WHY do I struggle so with saying the ‘right thing’ in the heat of the moment?”.  Going back to John 3:30; “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  Adding your words to my journal this morning friend.  🙂  

      1. Jackie, sounds like things were a little rough yesterday! 🙁 Saying a quick prayer for you.
         
        I can SO identify with how you expressed this: “and I am not sure that my response was life-giving.  In fact, I was silent.  Hmm.  I must confess to waking this morning with thoughts like this:  “Jesus, You dwell within me…..WHY do I struggle so with saying the ‘right thing’ in the heat of the moment?”.  Going back to John 3:30; “He must increase, but I must decrease.” 
         
        I too feel so inadequate in my responses on the spur of the moment – tongue-tied, fearful, silent or emotional and scared to say anything lest I  burst into tears or say the “wrong” thing.
         
        I am rereading “Which No One Can Shut” by Reema Goode [pseudonym, I am sure]. She and her husband live and witness to Muslims in the Middle East. It is a fascinating book. It is encouraging and daunting at the same time. God is at work among Muslims; but it is so dangerous to convert in that religion. As I read it, I am praying for our Muslim refugees who have fled war in the Middle East. Lord, use us please somehow to share the truth of who You are with them, even though we are inadequate to the task.

        1. Diane – your words here to me truly exemplify the phrase in Nanci’s quote from Mark Buchanon – “spilling out life  giving oxygen”!  In this moment, you have done that for me and I am encouraged to persevere!  🙂  Thank you sister.  😉  Your words on feeling inadequate to respond in the moment were precisely my experience yesterday…..and many times, really.  I am going to try to add your recommended book to my reading list very soon…it is so good in these trying times to remember, remember, remember the persecuted church.  Jesus said that He is the Rock!  “….and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  (his church!).  I just re-read “The Cost of Discipleship”…..(Dietrich Bonhoeffer)….oh how the Lord has used and continues to use the life/death and words of that martyr!  

    3. Nanci, thanks for sharing. The leaf’s testimony is something to ponder today….

    4. Correction…this was actually taken from Chapter 3.  I picked up “The Holy Wild” by happenchance (we know better… 🙂 ) on Sunday from the church’s library…I am really enjoying the contemplation.

  44. 6. Some of you are truly suffering. Is God’s sovereignty a comfort? Why or why not?
     
    Compared to a lot of my sisters on this blog,  I am not actually suffering.   But my greatest concern recently has been that my son-in-law still does not have a job.    He has been out of employment for a long time now.  When he proposed to my daughter, he had a wonderful job while he was living in WV, but his department was phased out, due to the infamous “sequester.”  He moved here before the wedding (they were married last August).  He has had no luck finding a job in his field.  I think now he is bewildered and a bit depressed about his situation.  I fear he is no longer trying hard to find employment. I keep praying that God will intervene and help him find a good job.    Here is where God’s sovereignty is a help for me, because I believe that God is in charge and that he must surely have a plan.  I know this is not a problem I can solve, and I rely on God to step in at some point (it is just difficult when I don’t know where that point is!!)   I tell myself that God isn’t just my God, but he is also the God of my daughter and son-in-law as well.   I just have to keep talking to my soul on this issue  — as long as I leave it on God’s shoulders I can get some sleep.   

  45. 5. Read Habakkuk 1:12-17
    A.  What questions does the prophet have of God in verses 12 and 13?
     
    He doesn’t understand how God can stand by watching the atrocities done to the righteous by the evil ones. He knows God is powerful enough to do something, yet He doesn’t.
     
    B. My friend Debbie asked me why God abandoned Jesus on the cross. How might the above verse shed light?  
     
    Hmmmm….this one has me stumped. Why would God leave Jesus to die? He didn’t want to look at the evil? So He turned away? Abandoned Christ? I don’t think that sounds right. I think He gave Christ so He could have many more; us. One for all, otherwise none.
     

      1. I love this, he was not really looking away from his son but looking away from all are hideous sins!

        1. Cyndi and Dee-me too..I haven’t heard it put quite that way, so eye opening and true! I also like, “He was so aware of God’s presence, He was aware of His absence.” 

  46. C.  To what does Habakkuk compare mankind in verse 14? (See also Ecclesiastes 9:12)
     
    He compares mankind to fish of the sea and crawling thing who need no ruler.
     
    D. How does the success of their violence affect the thoughts of the invaders? (verses 15-16)
     
    It’s a controlling thing… The evil ones continue to “sacrifice” the righteous over and over again. Habakkuk wonders if it will ever end. The captors think they are in charge and that they run the world; they have the power. Little do they know of Gods presence and work being done (or so He says it is – I am waiting for this work to be revealed, both in this scripture and in the world we live in today!).
     
     

  47. 6. Some of you are truly suffering. Is God’s sovereignty a comfort? Why or why not? Like many others have already commented, I have not suffered like so many others, and surely not like our brothers and sisters who are suffering under persecution and poverty around the world….however, I once heard someone say, “Your hard is hard.” Meaning that while on a scale of “worse” and “better” your hard may not tip the scale but that does not mean it isn’t hard or isn’t suffering. God’s sovereignty allows or brings each thing to refine us and draw us close, specifically what we need for where we will go. God’s sovereignty is a field leveler – taking away expectations and “shoulds” and replacing them with trust and openness toward His will. God’s sovereignty is a comfort but more than that (because the hard still hurts and chafes and breaks) it is grounding, solidifying, it is the eyesight to bait us toward perseverance….on His path. The knowledge of His sovereignty in the midst of hard doesn’t take it all away and let you escape, it grounds your faith to keep walking, seeing things through His eyes.

    1. Jill,
      Your whole post here was so stirring.   Loved this:  God’s sovereignty is a comfort but more than that (because the hard still hurts and chafes and breaks) it is grounding, solidifying, it is the eyesight to bait us toward perseverance….on His path.  The knowledge of His sovereignty in the midst of hard doesn’t take it all away and let you escape, it grounds your faith to keep walking, seeing things through His eyes.
      It reminded me of Darrel Scott’s story (the father of Rachel Scott, the first student killed at Columbine).   As he was racing across LIttleton, Colorado toward Columbine High School, he distinctly heard the Lord tell him to look “through”, not “at” these circumstances.   His story of Rachel’s life and death is a hard, beautiful, stunning story of God’s sovereignty.
      http://www.amazon.com/Untold-Stories-Columbine-Darrell-Scott/dp/B0007Z0O1S
       
      And I heartily agree with you Jill ~  Your hard is hard.  We all matter to Him.
       

  48. 5A. What questions does the prophet have of God in v. 12 and 13?
    In v. 12 I see Habakkuk affirming that God is in control and his understanding that the discipline of the Lord on Judah would be accomplished by the Babylonians.  His questions come in v. 13, when he asks how the Lord can tolerate the treacherousness of the Babylonians and why He would allow a people much worse in terms of wickedness (Babylonians) to discipline a people less wicked (Judah).  Habakkuk questions why the Lord isn’t disciplining Judah via a more righteous means.
     
    B. My friend Debbie asked me why God abandoned Jesus on the cross.  How might the above verse shed light?
    Jesus’ crucifixion served the purposes of God…as humans we are so limited in our understanding, limited in our comprehension, we cannot fully understand all that was required to redeem us from our sin, but God knew full well what was required. God was fully in control and aware; to accomplish His purpose to redeem His people, this was the price that was needing to be paid.  The end (sin defeated, death overcome, redemption) was justification of the means (Jesus’ death on the cross). 

  49. Dear sisters,  
    Life has been pretty difficult for me in many ways, the past few months.  I have not even had the energy or time to open the blog here for the last couple weeks.  Most weeks, I open it  and try to begin and have just had too much on my plate.  Then I came here today, thinking I could cruise through and get a feeling for what I’ve been missing.  I have so much wanted to get involved again and  I see several comments bemoaning those of us who are missing.  I did step away because of some emotional sadness besides the busy-ness.  But scrolling through today, I am feeling a greater reluctance to join in.   I truly had hoped this would be ONE safe haven (in our media saturated world) where we wouldn’t have to be immersed in political discussion.  There are several among us who are very passionate about politics.  And I am one.  I read voraciously about issues and write and participate in several ways too.  And I have conversed with and written quite a lot of my views in other forums.   But I am going to honestly say that i know beyond doubt, that I do not share the same views as some here and I have just come from a terribly hurtful experience (in our old church) where if you did not see everything the way the majority did, your views were the brunt of jokes, anger and mistreatment.   So, when I see politics and the gospel side by side and  assumptions about what is God’s way…it makes me want to run as far away as I can.  I read many Christian writers who express their political views, their passion for the perils we are in as a country and their convictions are simply very different than many other Christians who write of theirs.   God clearly speaks to us in different ways regarding candidates and issues.  Many things that I prioritize and that come directly from the Scriptures,  on a political level, are often neglected and even rejected by some believers.   I feel like if we open these wonderful Bible studies up to expressing political views and naming names of people we do or don’t support, we will lose SO much unity here.  
    It surely isn’t the most important thing that I saw in cruising quickly through comments from this week, (I see life giving comments about Habakkuk as well)… but it is the most difficult for me.   Because I am very passionate about the issues of our day, I will have a hard time moving forward here without acknowledging that not all of us are (nor should we be)  on the same place on the political spectrum.   And it seems to me, that opening the political floodgates into this sacred space  invites a lot of potential distress and misunderstanding.  I wonder if any gains made would make that risk a good one.    Am I over reacting?  Or are there legitimate reasons to stay away from these hot topics?
    Feeling anxious about this.  
     

    1. Wanda – Yours is a word well spoken.  I could have written MUCH of what you have written here about desiring a “sacred space” free from political discussions that are so available to us in a myriad of different forums!  But I guess that I have found a peaceful place in examining the quesitons Dee has presented us with in this week’s lesson – and they are so excellent! – and simply sticking to those questions or responding to those who are posting responses to those questions.  Habakkuk is a rich treasure that can help us grow in grace.  And I think we can help one another so much as we pursue mining this treasure together.  
       
      THAT SAID…..I do hope that many here will read your words thoughtfully and carefully and take this personally before the Lord in prayer.  This passage came to my mind when reading your words …..”I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…”  (Eph 4:1-3…..).  The further we “rabbit trail” from the Scriptures, the harder that is to do!  And posts like this one of yours remind me of how much we NEED YOU here!!  I hope you will stay.  
       
       

    2. Wanda, I’m so sorry you have had a hard time over the last few months. I  too have struggled with major pain in my life over the past months and had trouble reading and commenting on the blog. However, when I have had encouragement from the people here, it has boosted me up so far that I felt I could continue in this long (sometimes arduous) journey on earth. I’ve wondered how your hand and pain are too; if you gotten any relief?
       
      As I read your comments, I think of the beauty of our blog (and America) is that we have the right to not visit here, not read certain posts, not agree with each other, and ultimately not join in certain discussions. It is our choice. I don’t believe people here should be censored whether I agree with them or not. I don’t think this place should be void of our world problems; we are being bombarded at all times, through many sources, with them (Christians being persecuted and such) as well as national issues. I don’t get on FB much because the people there aren’t always Christians and don’t have the same perspective (putting God first). We need each other here….even those with opposing views. Some of us need guidance through the scriptures to God (me) to remind me daily that there is s better life awaiting. I agree with Jackie in that I hope you will stay. I agree with you in that we all shouldn’t have the same viewpoints too. It adds to the discussion and makes people think. People learn when they see different sides.
       
      This week Dee has provided a comfort lesson to us. Many are distressed about what is going on and need to be calmed. I think she is one of those people? She is giving us that peace using Habakkuk. My guess is she found the peace first when she went to God looking for it, and then she wanted to share with us her findings. The world is a cruel place at times and it is nice to know that the bible resonates today as it did “back in the day.” 

      1. To answer your question, Laura:    hand and arm pain are the same.  I haven’t gotten any further in trying to get a dx.  typing is still the worst thing I do as far as irritating it.  but i am trying to address many other physical issues, so I don’t get any further on this one.  i do have another appt with the hand doc this coming week.  thanks for asking.  

        I wrote a post which is on the other page to address the other stuff. 🙂

    3. Wanda, I totally totally get what you are saying..I love your heart for unity and I agree we have to guard it. I thought about that the other day. If William Wilberforce or  Dietrich Bonhoeffer hid their heads in the sand like I have done this year in regard to politicians that affect the issues of the day-oh my! I love that you too have passion for the issues of our day. I have so much in my life already vying for my affections over God-if I get too concerned about this election then for me it might become idolatry like it was in the past-just like over eating is for me, so I am immature in this area for the pendulum has swung from being politically hot to cold..but there needs to be a balance! I am not sure me swinging to cold isn’t my comfort idol! It probably is! 
      I do agree that we need to be careful here. I do sense Grace here so that if someone does or doesn’t support Hillary, Bernie, or Trump that we wouldn’t be offended or think less of one another for I think when it used to offend me it became a red flag.  I am learning to ask God for help-Am I truly placing this above Him? Am I listening to someone else to understand them-where they are coming from or am I listening to reply? I am not saying we are engaging in idolatry about the Biblical things we are passionate about because God is too, but it is when we start getting offended and thinking less of others that red flags start flying with me-and believe me I have done that! 🙂  But if we don’t extend Grace to others and are unable to address it via Habakkuk then that might be a red flag too-but what do I know..God knows so I think it might be wise for us to seek Him before we post? I love your post for it SO helps!! And it helps me to be more sensitive to others before I post. 

      1. Rebecca – like you, I’m so grateful for the way in which Wanda’s  post is a needful reminder that the words we say matter!!!   It’s so interesting to me that you have used the word “grace” a lot….and mention Bonhoeffer…..I have been re-reading his book “The Cost of Discipleship” and can barely get past his first chapter there alone!  He speaks specifically of this word “grace” and how easily it becomes emptied of all it’s meaning.  Here are his first two sentences:  “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church.  We are fighting to-day for costly grace.”  Oh my.

        1.  I think Habakkuk takes us into world events but not necessarily political candidates. It shows us the sin in our world which we each can harbor in our hearts, and it shows us God’s sovereignty when things get bad, as they seem to be doing.
           

          Thank you, Dee.   This is exactly what I was thinking and it took me two long posts to ‘get there’. I said something similar on the next page, just before I read this.   I will probably never be able to write my thoughts in a succinct way.   🙁   

  50. Laura, this is a great post. Your heart grows more and more beautiful.

    1. ?