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In December of 2012 heavy grief came due to the massacre of little children in Newtown, Connecticut. Samuel Freedman wrote a column in The New York Times titled: “In a Crisis, Humanists Seem Absent.” Freedman noted the explicit religious vocabulary in all the public ceremonies. Even President Obama delivered close to a sermon based on 2 Corin. 4 and 5. Though Connecticut is very secular, every single family had a religious service as they buried their child.  In Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, Tim Keller wrote: “When facing your child in a coffin the secular consolation that ‘the dead do not suffer’ seems thin in comparison to the Christian consolation of the resurrection.”

We are studying Habakkuk, which is full of suffering. The near prophecies of Habakkuk were fulfilled just decades later as the Chaldeans came and brutalized Judah. But what causes us to pause is that this prophecy points to the end times as well, when suffering will intensify before Christ will come. But in the midst of woe upon woe, God gave flashes of hope, hope to which God’s people then and now must cling. This is real hope, not thin comfort.









Last week I was in a prison near Milwaukee where the women were graduating from an Idol Lies curriculum. A beautiful young inmate stood up and sang I Can Only Imagine.

I Can Only Imagine

The women worshiped, and, as has been my experience, the worship was deeper and truer than in the church outside prison walls. Suffering has caused them to press into God, and they are more than surviving. Why? They are holding on to the hope of the day to which Habakkuk points.






1. Hab. 1:1-4 – 1st lament: Why is God allowing God’s people to do wrong?

2. Hab. 1:5-11 – 1st reply: I’ll raise up the Chaldeans to discipline my own.

3. Hab. 1:12-2:1 2nd lament: Will You use the wicked to swallow those more righteous?

4. Hab 2:2-20: 2nd reply: I will purge the Chaldeans next, but don’t despair, for one day “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

As we look at the sins of the Chaldeans, and the woes God brought to them, we must also look at our own hearts, for their root sins of idolatry are also our root sins. God will not bring arrows of woe to His Bride, for “woe” in Scripture is always for the enemies of the Bride. He will eventually wipe out all our enemies or change their rebellious hearts. What He will do with His Bride is not punishment but discipline, purifying us. And one day, Hosea 2:17-19 promises, “I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth…and I will betroth you to me forever.” This time on earth we are being purified and prepared for that great day, and in the midst of trouble, we must hold to His promises and walk in repentance and faith. That’s cooperating with the One who is turning our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.



1. What stands out to you from the above and why?


(If you were not able to listen to the Keller sermon last week, you have another chance! Do it when you can and share your notes or comments. Or go back and read Deanna’s amazing notes.)

The Culture of Pride

It is June, and time for graduations and speeches exhorting the graduate about how to make the best of their lives. My favorite speech came from Gordy Scharf, son of Dr. Greg Scharf, preaching professor at Trinity Seminary. Gordy told his classmates that there was a quality that would guarantee them of contentment, success, and genuine joy in life. He surprised them with what it was. HUMILITY. That would make them grateful and content for what they were given, and trusting for what they were not. That would give them success in what mattered most: character and relationships.

Likewise, the opposite, pride, C. S. Lewis says, is the cancer of the soul.


2. Read Habakkuk 2:4-5

A. Find all the descriptions of pride you can in these two verses. Look carefully for word pictures.

B. With what is pride contrasted in verse 4? What do you learn from this?

C. Meditate on the quote from C. S. Lewis and explain why you think it is true or untrue.


A. What gifts or possessions that God has given you do you tend to trust in instead of Him?

B. How could you walk in repentance and faith concerning this?

Lewis also calls pride the chief sin, for it leads to others. Let’s see how this happened with the Chaldeans.


4. In Habakkuk 2:5b, what sin has pride led to? Why do you think this happens?

5. Describe the first WOE in Habakkuk 2:6-8.

6. Describe the second WOE in Habakkuk 2:9-11.


7. Describe the third WOE in Habakkuk 2:12-13.



What I love about this verse is that it will happen here on earth, not in some ethereal place. God will create a new heaven and a new earth that will be more beautiful than we can even imagine.


In D. A. Carson’s commentary on “New Testament use of the Old Testament” he finds a parallel to the above passage in Romans 1, when God’s wrath “will be revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrightousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18)

“Destruction must come in order for salvation to arrive. God’s wrath sweeps away his enemies, in this way working salvation. As a result, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the earth.”

8. Challenge Question: Compare Romans 1:17-18 with Habakkuk 2:11-14 and see if you can find, in each:

A. The way the righteous are to live

B. The wrath of God against the unrighteous

Last week Susan and Jill initiated a good discussion about struggling with the idea of finding comfort in the fact that God will judge. Both have hearts of compassion and found this challenging. It is hard to think of God sweeping away the unrighteous. We’re going to have a whole week on this next week, but for now:

9. What thoughts do you have?


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

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  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    First, what stood out is the assurance of our promised future, the basis of our Christian hope: “THERE WILL BE NO MORE SIN, NO MORE TEARS, AND NO MORE DEATH.””He will eventually wipe out all our enemies or change their rebellious hearts.”
    Then the humbling, convicting truth of my own sin, how I am like the Chaldeans:  ‘”for their root sins of idolatry are also our root sins”
    But then, to gift of His mercy–so undeserved and so desperately needed: “”God will not bring arrows of woe to His Bride” He is committed to purifying me, disciplining me, making me His Beauty, to reflect Him.
    It’s the Gospel–and it really is, as Keller has said, “unfair in our favor”. It doesn’t make sense–this amazing combining of mercy and truth. 

    1. I too liked “He will eventually wipe out all our enemies OR CHANGE THEIR REBELLIOUS HEARTS.” This is sweet-I feel so secure knowing He knows hearts and I don’t!! :)) So we pray for our enemies but trust Him to do the sifting of hearts. That is SUCH a relief. 🙂
      I absolutely love how you tied in the combining of mercy and truth- it doesn’t make sense this amazing combining..it is “Unfair in our favor”. Hallelujah! 🙂

  2. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Pride! Ouch. Yet resurrection Hope-GLORY! 🙂
    …in the midst of trouble, we must hold to His promises and walk in repentance and fath. That’s cooperating with the One who is turning our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.
    When I don’t cooperate with Him it is because of my pride..I am SO grateful He is ‘turning’ my heart of stone into a heart of flesh.
    I am encouraged that His mercies are new every morning..I have been convicted this past week in regard to a certain heart issue He is exposing. When I try to cooperate with His Spirit inside and turn, the foxes come in through another person and through my natural bend toward idolatry to talk me out of it..and so this morning I am going to turn and cooperate! I am going to trust Him to handle and provide in the circumstances surrounding it.
    I feel a bit of relief yet at the same time I know His chisel isn’t going to be real comfortable-for as I set on course trusting Him and making the sacrifices necessary this person will come in and tempt and I fear myself-that I might give in again! But He is stronger.  

    1. oh Rebecca, praying for you now–for His peace to cover you and for His power to strengthen you. How I relate to this: “His chisel isn’t going to be real comfortable”! And yet, I am so thankful too, for His gracious turning of my heart. You are such an example to me of humility and trusting in Him amidst such trials. Love you~

      1. Both you and Dee do cooperate in this area I struggle to and it shows in your lives and you both encourage me in that! I am thankful that God doesn’t leave us alone with the foxes in the Vineyards! 

    2. Rebecca – “When I try to cooperate with His Spirit inside and turn, the foxes come in through another person and through my natural bend toward idolatry to talk me out of it…and so this morning I am going to turn and cooperate!”  What a zinger of recognition I felt reading your words here….for this too is my storyline at times!  Some of those who love me best find my choices perplexing and potentially detrimental to myself….and gently try to talk me out of my “foolishness”….but the wonder of it all to me…..is how He comes to us!!  When we begin to want Him most of all….to dwell in HIs Word…He makes the path clear, step by step….and He does fortify our souls to follow.  No matter what the cost might be.  His unparalleled company becomes the pull we cannot forsake.  Praying right now for your will in this to be heart melted into His.  🙂  

    3. Oh, yes, the chisel.  I have thought of myself as being wood or stone, and He takes the chisel to me.  I complain because I think He is taking away parts of me And it really hurts, but it is really like Michaelango said – the only stuff being removed is what does not fit in the finished sculpture.

  3. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?         That suffering will intensify as the end time draws nearer.     I think every generation feels this.  But I think that now, with the internet, we are so overwhelmed with information and knowledge of every global disaster and catastrophe, that whether or not there is more suffering, world wide….we are surely beginning to feel it more.  When Katrina happened, we felt, as a nation, what Indonesia (for example)  feels on a regular basis I suppose.  (Our Compassion child in Indonesia wrote and asked if we were okay, because he heard about the hurricane in the U.S.)   But on a personal level, it surely seems that I know more people who are suffering devastating losses than my parents did.  But then, of course, I simply, know a lot more people.  That is also partly due to staying in touch via internet.  I wonder if one part of that increase in suffering, is the increased awareness of global suffering??   Would that be a part of the fulfillment of this prophecy?  I always have a hard time understanding if the suffering we know is actually more or the awareness is more or both?   What would be a good source to help me clarify this?
    (Of course, our forbears who forged out a life here as early settlers,  suffered in different ways than we do; …regularly losing children, dying young due to lack of medical care and knowledge etc. …. which still happens in developing countries. )    I am looking forward to this study, because I do struggle with the feeling of being overwhelmed with suffering. Keller’s book on suffering is at my fingertips because it is such an exceptional resource and practical guide..

      1. Truly agree that civil discourse in public debates has degenerated completely in our time.  Though, early in the season, the party with two opponents showed a lot of respect for one another.  The party with many opponents, seemed to have incivility from the onset from the little I could bear to watch.   But as the season wears on, it always seems to get worse and worse.  Overall, it’s amazing to see, even in my lifetime how much this public discourse (hard to even call it discourse much of the time) has changed.  That does speak to godlessness.  Just read II Timothy 3 passage.  You’re right.  It sounds like today. 

        1. Wanda and Dee….Wanda, you have asked such good questions about suffering and our awareness of that suffering across the globe.  Your questions piqued my curiosity enough that I spent some time looking at statistics of martyrs in the world today, etc…..and I quickly found that there is GREAT disagreement as to the true “numbers” of martyrs!  The “100,000” a year used by the Pope and some evangelicals appears to be inflated….and yet DOES represent great suffering that cannot be denied (genocide, for example, might not be true “martyrdom”, but who could argue that it is true and wretched suffering??).  Numbers aside, I do agree with you both that in reading the 2 Timothy 3 passage it is hard not to see our world today.  Sadly, the political scene that you both have referred to is only the tip of the iceberg to me – I see that passage being lived out for sure in my own community, workplace and family……many that I love dearly would “fit” there.  🙁    The verses following in 2 Tim 3 have always interested me too…..”always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” haunts me – and surely is in evidence all around us. Of course it must be noted that the great Christian writers through the ages often believed that they too were in the end times….even without benefit of the internet!!  But one thing we can be sure of:  we ARE closer to the coming of Christ than ever before!!  It sobers me to look at this day unfolding and apply the Lord’s urging to my heart to be “ready” for His appearing…..and yet, as well, my heart sings HALLELUJAH, what a Savior!!!  

      2. Got a question here. It says in 2Tim 3:5 to ‘avoid such men as these’. Is that giving me permission to turn off the tv and stop listening to it? Or, as Christians, should we be engaged in the political process (as much as our stomachs can take at least)? I’d really love to tune it all out but is that the right thing? Wouldn’t I be hiding my light then?

        1. Not sure I can answer your question with any authority, but I know that feeling. I have it too and sometimes, I just have to take a break from politics.  I very rarely watch political stuff on TV.  Too sensational and skewed.  I do read op eds and try to read or hear the real stories of issues and events from varied and reputable sources.  I’ve become pretty cynical about much though.  All of the issues I care most about are intertwined with politics and positions and I think it’s very difficult to truly sort out what a candidate believes and how their belief will effect their position.  So, I often have to look at their character as best as I can see.  The corruption in the whole system, makes clarity indistinguishable I think.  I think we can still be salt and light in our own spheres of influence though.  

    1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    It truly seems that evil is growing much and deeper; yet are we just more aware or is it truly the end times?
    This week I had to study Zephaniah to teach. I see how Habakkuk and Zephaniah are so much alike. Judgment is predicted and it will be terrible, but there is hope. There are definitely near prophecies and distant prophecies. The Israelites were led into captivity within decades of Zephaniah’s day; yet there is a distant prophecy toward the end times when all evil will be swept away. What I struggle with is how to explain the necessity of judgment based on God’s holiness. How do we explain that judgment is just? In a culture that expects ease and comfort, feels entitled to it and experiences great rage when they do not get what they feel entitled to, how do we teach humility and the patience of doing without and repentance?  Many will not listen; will not turn; many are deceived, or are complacent or stubborn and will be judged. So sad! Even believers are many times not exempt from the sufferings that are the result of the sins in our culture. But Praise God! We live THIS side of Jesus and the Cross where he took the judgment that we deserve, so we could be rescued in the age to come, as we repent and turn to God.

    1. Diane – I just popped in to quickly look at the study….and your answer captivated me!  I agree with Dee that your passion shows!!  You use a variation on the word “entitlement” several times…..I agree wholeheartedly that this impacts our cultures and our world and our families enormously.  Oh, how it blinds us to our TRUE NEED – to repent of our sins and turn to Christ.  I’ve been a lot in the OT of late too, teaching a study on Nehemiah (written by Kathleen Buswell Nielson – GREAT questions!!), which follows the third stage of the rebuilding of Jerusalem (the walls specifically!).  Prayer and repentance are key themes in Nehemiah as the building progresses…and Nehemiah is a man of prayer.  I’ve long been so blown away by the way that the OT prophets identify with the sins of their people entirely – no excuses.  Our study in Nehemiah has been a blessed opportunity for reshaping my prayers.  And it’s been intriguing to be studying the “other side” of the judgement in Nehemiah…..where mercy and rebuilding and restoration are beautifully laid out….and the magnificence and sovereignty of God are celebrated!!  🙂  

        1. Dee,  this is my first of her studies….though we hope to follow it up with her study in 1&2 Thessalonians: “Living the Gospel to the End” – sounds timely, right?  🙂  

      1. Thanks for your kind comments, Jackie. Your enthusiasm about Kathleen Buswell Nielson’s Bible study intrigues me. How long was that Nehemiah study? Your recommendation is helpful. I am looking for a great Study leader who really helps us dig into the Word!

        1. Diane – the Nehemiah study by Kathleen Nielson is 10 weeks, with each study week divided into 5 day segments.  It is part of the “Living Word Bible Studies” series and the study book itself is spiral bound with plenty of space for answering questions and note taking.  This link gives you a behind the scenes glimpse at the author’s process:  byfaithonline.com/the-power-of-the-gospel-our-conversation-with-kathleen-nielson-part-2       The Living Word Series includes:  Joshua, Nehemiah, Psalms (vol 1&2), Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs, Isaiah, John, Colossians and Philemon, 1&2 Thessalonians.  Hope that helps! 🙂  

    2. Oh wow, Diane.  You nailed it with your sentence about a culture of entitlement vs. humility…patience of doing without….repentance.  This is evident in very young children when their parents have modeled that kind of selfish living. I think the selfish attitudes are far more prevalent in many places in our culture now than what I recognized even a couple decades ago, in working with children. And their parents are likely modeling what they saw practiced.   I observed a very vivid example of this at a gathering we were at just yesterday.  

    3. Diane, 
      So true in regard to it being hard to explain the necessity of judgment based on God’s holiness that it is just..Whew!! Yesterday I had a long discussion with my oldest who has had a hard time understanding 2 Kings 2:23-25. How could God do that to ‘little children’. ‘little children’ was a reference to the immaturity of the men who were taunting Elisha-but just explaining to Him God’s judgment-that the bears mauling those men was just for they were basically saying Elisha was a sham which could hinder the Israelites from listening to him..I told him God is fierce in his Holiness, yet his Love is just as fierce. I believe this was his discipline-a curse put on them out of his jealous passion for his people to be redeemed from their idolatry and back into his arms. Yet they were a stiff necked people. Trying to understand His wrath and His Love-His justice -which my son intellectually is trying to do, is impossible. Yet I am learning to be glad that God has given me a son who isn’t believing because we do, and if he does turn and want God it will be God drawing him near. So we are there for him to dialogue but trusting God with his heart.
      Anyway, I am SO with you Diane!  He is uncontainable, fierce, yet He became flesh, ordinary, a poor carpenter to make us one with Him. This humbles me again this morning and makes me glad for I can trust Him. Clinging to the Cross and rejoicing in His resurrection with you sister. Thank you for your post!!! 

    4. Thanks to many of you for your encouraging comments on my post on Zephaniah. I have had the privilege to do a long-distance hermeneutics study this year on how to study the Bible (though I am not finished yet). It has given me a lot of helpful information plus the confidence to dig in myself to understand Scripture. I just love how God’s Word has so much for us, if we slow down to look, listen to God, ask questions and dig! As we understand the Scriptures in their context, also we often see how they are SO relevant to us personally, our deepest personal needs as well as to the bigger picture of the world today. 

      1. Diane–you really inspire me! Is the hermeneutics study online, or with your Church?

      2. Diane – like Lizzy, I’m wondering about your hermeneutics study – would you recommend it?  🙂  

  5. I haven’t read anyone else’s post, so please forgive me if I echo someone else, or sound like I am rising up against what another has said.
    1. What stands out to me?  This time on earth we are being prepared and purified for that great day.  We must hold on to His promises, walking in faith and repentance.  Each day is my opportunity to 1) lean in close to Him in adoration and love. 2) listen and do what He prompts, so that the good He wants from my life happens. 3) be a witness in my sphere of influence about Who and What He is.  And 4) remember that this is still Friday, but Sunday is coming.
    2a. The last description of pride by my thought on the list was to capture other people.  That really stood out to me.  It seems to me that a lot of what we think of as friendship is really capturing someone for ourselves.  They make us feel better.  We (I) are not there primarily to give or to truly love.  Sometimes it seems that those who are seeking hard after God feel a void here, but that is a lie of Satan.  What we really have is the freedom to love God more.  And when we learn to hold friendship with an open hand, He is able to pour wonderful times with others into our lives without us trying to capture them
    2c. I agree with Lewis.  We are incapable of seeing life without a censoring lens.  When we see life through the lens of ourselves (pride), everything is colored by how I feel, what my needs are, and how I want things to happen.  
    The Woes.  I saw a progression in them toward deeper and deeper sin, idolatry, and outward evil.  By extension, that means less and less hearing God or caring about what He cares about.
    9. Thoughts on God judging vs Him being only merciful and loving.  If God is not just, then speaking very foolishly, I can just live for myself here and now and it will all be fine in the end.  If the deepest injustices that happen on earth never have to be answered for, it leaves me feeling that the worst injustices against people don’t matter, that their pain doesn’t mean anything.  I don’t want to spend eternity with those who ruined people’s lives unless they have chosen Jesus.  God doesn’t make people go to heaven.  Why would someone want to be with God then, when they decidedly did not want to be with Him now?  Christ’s death is sufficient for all, bur scripture is clear that not everyone will be His in the end. When someone continues to reject Him and refuse to come under the umbrella of His love, they are the one choosing to get wet.  When someone chooses not to get into the Ark of His Salvation (Jesus), He is under no obligation to take them into heaven, and outside of heaven is judgement.  I had a pastor once who told the families of people he didn’t know the spiritual standing of, that God would do what is right.  That is where I have learned to find my last answer to this.  I don’t have to figure out what it all means for any one person.  I only need to trust that God will do what is right in regards to judgement.  He doesn’t have to get my opinion first.
    10  my take away.  This was deeply provocative for me today.  We talked at church today about people who either don’t believe or know Jesus, or think they do because they’ve always gone to church.  I’ve also been reading in Ezekiel, where God says he is a watchman, and it is up to him to warn people of the coming destruction.  The people need to take action to be spared.  I hear Him calling me to a deeper personal holiness by His grace and action in my life, and to being bolder in talking to others about Him.

    1. Mary – I appreciate your challenge to us in 2B on “friendship”.  Here is a resource that examines what you have mentioned :   https://kellyneedham.com/2016/06/03/friendship-gone-wrong-unseen-neediness/       This post from just a few days ago harks back to a 6 part series on “Friendship Gone Wrong” that Kelly Needham wrote on her blog about a year and a half ago I believe.  The 6 part series is  EXCELLENT and piercing.  

      1. Jackie, thanks for sharing this article. It was very convicting. I could identify with the part about not necessarily needing people until they disapprove of me, and then I have to do something to straighten that out because I need them to be okay with me. Oh how I wish my heart wasn’t such a murky mess:))

    I find this so hard to imagine — it is such a far cry from what we are experiencing now.     I enjoyed the song “I Can Only Imagine,”    then right after listening to it, the next song came on before I could click it off.   It was “Who Am I,”  a song we have heard before on this blog.    I felt like I really got a two-fer!

  7. 1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “This time on earth we are being purified and prepared for the great day, and in the midst of trouble, we must hold to His promises and walk in repentance and faith.  That’s cooperating wiht the One who is turning our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.”  (Ezekiel – 36:26)
    I so LOVE Ezekiel 36:26, for how miraculously IMPOSSIBLE is it that God should do such a work in our hearts??????   To literally pour His LIFE into our deadness.  Amazing Grace!  
    I also love the focus this brings us to on HUMILITY.  This past weekend the Lord took home his servant Les, my very FAVORITE man in my church.  He died Friday night of a sudden heart attack and our small church (250 or so people) is absolutely rocked to the core by his death.  I had spent a fair bit of time in his home over the past few years and he had such a “fatherly” kind of heart to all.  I cannot even begin to list the terrible troubles that he and his wife and their children have endured over the past few years….truly almost “Job like” in their waves of deep, deep trials.  Only about a month ago he and I were talking and he was speaking of his wife, Theresa…..he said to me “Jackie, the harder it gets the more she just presses into Jesus….and the more He just pours out of her….”.  SO TRUE – of BOTH of them!  As I tried to process some of my grief over the weekend….the thing that kept coming back to me was how unusual Les’ HUMILITY was.  He did so much for so many….always with a twinkle in his eye and a smile that could light up a room…..and yet, always there was suffering.  People like the teachers we love to listen to and who so edify the body of Christ with the use of their gifts are so highly esteemed by us….and yet, when it comes right down to it, it is the “Les'” in our lives who show us the unquenchable love of Christ in the trenches of suffering.  OH LES.  What is your present reality right this moment?  As Dee’s beloved prison student sang “I Can Only Imagine”…….you fought the good fight, you finished the race, you kept the faith.  Well done, faithful servant.  We miss you so much.

    1. Jackie, Les sounds like a wonderful, godly man, and how blessed you were to know him, yet how you must miss him, too!  I love how you describe him, “fatherly, kind, humble, giving to others, and with a twinkle in his eye.” I KNOW that twinkle in the eye you speak of, even through suffering. It reminds me of a man I knew who has also since died, and how in the midst of his suffering with cancer, I saw with my own eyes that twinkle in his eyes as he continued to give of himself to others.
      I’m jealous, in a good way (!), of your small church. It really sounds like a family, which (in my opinion) gets lost in a bigger church. It’s the kind of church where I know I’d feel most at home, but can’t seem to find right now. I get emails from church and they’ll mention the death of someone but honestly I have no idea who they are. And the fact that you spend time together in each others’ homes is wonderful, too.

      1. yes and dear Dee….how you understand what Theresa is living just now.  Your descriptions of your Steve so remind me of Les.  🙂  

    2. What a wonderful, godly description of Les! How you honour him by your words! May God comfort you, his wife and all who loved him in your time of grief. I want to be like him, praising and serving in my suffering! I am just reading through Psalm 69, pondering with the aid of Keller’s Songs of Jesus. Using this Psalm, Keller describes the importance of praising and serving in our suffering. Here is today’s thought by Keller, which I just think is so good, and seems to be what Les lived. 

      DON’T WASTE YOUR SORROWS. What do we do when we are afflicted and in pain? Usually we give in to self-pity, bitterness, fear, or envy. It is because “everything difficult indicates something more than our theory of life embraces.” David, however, does not fall into these things because he has an understanding of life that encompasses suffering–he uses it to glorify God (verses 29 and 30). Praise to God is an antidote to the self-absorption that can overtake us when we suffer. This not only honors God but also encourages others (verse 32). When suffering, don’t get sucked down into yourself–turn outward in praise to God and minister to those in need. 

      1. Diane thank you for sharing this.

    3. Jackie-I am in tears!! What a wonderful tribute to Les..but also how honoring to Jesus. 

    4. Jackie:   Peace to you and to your church family as you gather and grieve and say a temporary good bye to this wonderful servant and friend to you all.  His labor here is not over as the example Les has been will continue to remind and spur you on.  I know this because there have been people like Les in my life and when I think of them and am encouraged to press on.  

    5. Jackie praying the comfort of all who knew Les. Thank you for sharing. I have always loved the scripture ” those who sow in tears  shall reap in joy. he who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing , shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringi his sheaves with him” Psalm 126:5-6
      Diane I loved what you shared may we not turn inside to ourselves thru our suffering but allow the Lord to use us in our suffering for His glory. Nothing wasted.

    6. I’m so sorry for your loss Jackie. I will keep you and your church in my prayers. Oddly enough, as I walked with Cooper today (gorgeous day), I listened to Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth who spoke of the Psalm that talks about sowing your tears! I think someone mentioned that here….

  8. 1.What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Hosea 2:17-19, “I will betroth you to Me forever” – I remember several years ago reading a book in which this verse was quoted. I had never heard it before and it brought me to tears….in a way, the Lord asks us to “marry Him” and it’s a beautiful proposal, a lasting union, and showcases His faithfulness.
    I also liked the review of where we’ve been so far, and as I was re-reading Habakkuk, the sin of the Chaldeans in 1:11, “guilty men, whose own strength is their god”, stood out to me because it speaks of pride and self-reliance and living independently of God, and I have that sin, too. I just finished a five day juice fast, and I was mostly relying on my own self-determination and willpower to do it. I have never done a fast like this before. Now I look back and think, why didn’t I ask the Lord to “join” me in it, and turn to Him for help? But it was a matter of pride, an I can do this attitude.

    1. Ah Susan, my take away from your juice fast is that you were so quick to learn from the experience and to desire to have the Lord “join” you in it!!  Fasting is such a perfect example of a willingness to be emptied and to invite Him into the hungry places…..and I LOVE that you saw this….even though you may feel it was belated…..I feel so certain that He will indeed be joining you – at your invitation – next time!!  Fasting is something that I have gotten far away from….and I deeply appreciate your illustration as it timely for me to consider carefully again.
      And thank you so much for your tender reply to my “Les” sharing.  I added your church family desires to my prayer journal just now as well, Susan.  About five years ago I was abjectly miserable in the “mega church” that I had been very plugged into for the better part of two decades.  I knew God was “releasing” me due to some serious things happening there….and yet I was grief stricken.  Visiting new churches was guaranteed to produce tears!! Oh, how I longed for a smaller church, a more intimate gathering of believers .  (Not that small necessarily translates into intimate or even godly).  The Lord’s direction absolutely blew me away….the only “perfect” thing about my church is Christ.  But this little body is real, it is home.  I will be continuing to pray for this “home” church for you dear sister.  

  9. 2.  Read Habakkuk 2:4-5.
    A.  Find all the descriptions of pride you can in these two verses.  Look carefully for word pictures.
    His soul is “puffed up” and “not upright within him” (v.4).  My mind goes some ridiculous places….but the very first thing I thought of the was the “Stay Puft Man” (monster) from the old movie “Ghostbusters”!!  Still…..I think of that monster – a ridiculous buffoon to look at…..and doesn’t pride within us  often make us look the same?  At the same time, terrible destruction and devastation lies in the monster’s wake.  Often pride looks too absurd to be taken seriously…..and yet, the very real misery left behind is utterly serious.  Oh, how Stay Puft Man reminds me of someone on the political scene even now!  And yet…..I know my real need is to look at my own heart and “see” myself as Stay Puft Woman…..when the Lord shows me the roots of pride that are all too real in my life.  An “upright soul” would be one that is honorable, righteous, noble, incorruptable….the list goes on.  Pride buries all that is upright.  Of course, as believers, the Lord never leaves us…..but our pride CAN grieve and even quench His Spirit within us.  How horrible.  
    It’s interesting to me that wine makes an appearance here in describing pride and arrogance.  ?  As an alcoholic, this word picture makes me literally shudder……even though it’s been decades now since my drinking days….I can SO relate to the restlessness, the insatiable nature and greed for more, “never enough” after that first sip.  I understand the comparison here with DEATH.  ugh.  This verse fascinates me and I hope to return to it to dig deeper!  

  10. 2. Read Habakkuk 2:4-5
    A. Find all the descriptions of pride you can in these two verses. Look carefully for word pictures.
    V. 4 says the pride is being puffed up. That’s a word picture of being inflated, full of “hot air”. I also looked at the Message translation, and it translates “bloated by self-importance” and full of himself.  Ugh – I hate it when I feel bloated after a meal! Something that is bloated is distended, too big, and uncomfortable. The Message also says that despite being bloated, he’s really empty inside, “soul empty”. Gives me the picture of popping a balloon with a pin, and all the air comes out and you’re left with nothing.
    V. 5 says, “wine betrays him”. Does this mean as in when a person drinks too much, their inhibitions are gone and the real person comes out? They say and do things that reveal their true character. I also see arrogance and restlessness, never being satisfied, always wanting more, greed, using other people for your own gain.
    B. With what is pride contrasted in verse 4? What do you learn from this?
    Pride is contrasted with the righteous who live by faith. TLB says, “Wicked men trust themselves alone as these Chaldeans do, but the righteous man trusts in Me and lives.” I learn that God considers it wicked to be trusting in myself, in my own abilities, in my own strength and resources, or even trusting in others to help me above Him. Living by faith means trusting in Him and in His wisdom, strength, and power. It’s not taking credit for a good work or something good another sees in me, but giving Him the credit.
    C. Meditate on the quote from C.S. Lewis and explain why you think it is true or untrue.
    I believe it is true, Cancer does eat up the body and destroys healthy cells, tissues, and organs so that they cannot function the way they were designed to do. So does pride destroy our spiritual “body”, or life, in preventing me from functioning as God made me to. He wants me to love others and serve others and of course, to love Him. But pride puts me at the center and everyone and everything revolving around me, instead of God at the center and I revolve around Him. How can I truly love someone else if, in pride, I am, if only mentally, judging them, being critical of them, or thinking that I am better than they are? What blows me away is that in relating to us, God has every right to feel proud and to think of me in that way – judging me, being critical of me, only seeing my faults and flaws….but He doesn’t do that! Pride destroys contentment because it makes me feel like I deserve better than what I have.

    1. Susan……I hadn’t seen your answer until after I posted mine.  I see we both have the same question and thought about ‘wine betrays him’…..  

  11. Pride, Humility, Faith, fear…why do they seem to hide within each other? I will think that I have finally got a handle on my Pride when fear comes and seems to fuel the pride. I think that I  have faith and then pride comes like a thief in the night and steals my Humility. When I am hurting I tend to cover myself in a cloak of pride, it feels so protective! But then I ailienate those I love most because there is no soft heart when pride has taken over…the heart of flesh has turned to stone.
    In the last two weeks Paul’s blood sugar levels have gone dangerously low 10 times, my son got married (I did the flowers and the ones I ordered did not come in so I had to go all over toledo looking for light pink roses before I could begin making them and I had to press 220 white chair covers and organize the rehearsal dinner) Ellie ended up in the ER with a bad asthma attack, Lily has had an infection on her arm that has grown from the size of a pea to the size of an orange and my mother in law left the day after the wedding without saying goodbuy because she felt “unwanted”….
    I say all this to say that humility went flying out the door!!! when I get stressed and overwhelmed instead of going to me knees I “work harder” “become better” I try even harder to become ENOUGH!…and it blows up in my face every time! I end up hardening my heart with pride. I’m not sure why I can not catch this as it is happening! I never seem to see it until things calm down and I have time to sit at HIS feet for an extended period of time and really listen to HIM. OR go on my bible study blog and have it thrown in my face…..(thanks Dee…I think!)
    So it circles back to faith. do I have enough faith to believe that HE is enough for me and for all those I love or am I going to fear, am I going to expect myself to be everyones “enough” which is a crazy prideful thing to expect! OR am I  going to humble myself enough to admit that I will never be ENOUGH and that is OK! because HE is!

    1. OH CYNDI, it’s been a while since I’ve read something that SO describes ME, and so CONVICTS me–“when I get stressed and overwhelmed instead of going to me knees I “work harder” “become better” I try even harder to become ENOUGH!” Praying for us both in this! 

      1. oh how i wish we lived  closer! I feel like we both struggle with such similar things. we will pray for each other in this! I blogged about it today if you want to read it. 🙂 facesofgrayce.com

      1. You are so kind Dee! Once again, you humble me. There is this saying “I want to live a life so full of HIM that when my feet hit the floor Satan says “oh no, she’s up”
        Some days I Just want to stay in bed so that he takes his mind of me for a while!

    2. Oh Cyndi I so can relate. The Lord is teaching us. I am thankful to be seeing so many things of pride in my life. It grieves me but we have to see it in order to cooperate with the Lord to deal with it. I think of an alchoholic or someone else addicted to something who first must admit and see the problem. The Lord did that in my life as I had an alchohol addiction  Praise God we are seeing things. Lord help us kill our pride.without You it is impossible. We are saved by Grace it is only by has grace we can change. Lord change me!

      1. Amen Liz…Lord change me!

  12. t pride puts me at the center and everyone and everything revolving around me, instead of God at the center and I revolve around Him. How can I truly love someone else if, in pride, I am, if only mentally, judging them, being critical of them, or thinking that I am better than they are? 
    this screamed at me this morning! Pride makes us the center.Humility makes God and others the center.

  13. What stands out from the reading?
    The idea that WOE is reserved for those who don’t follow Christ. I’ve never considered that. However, discipline is for Christ’s followers. I’m not a fan of being disciplined but I prefer it to woe, which I had to look up to be sure I properly understand. It means grievous distress and affliction. 

  14. My sermon notes are:
    2 Principles for living through evil times
    1- Understand with your head the source of evil (Hab.2:5,18)
    common sources are Arrogance/Pride and Greed, 
    -the evil/proud are empty of honor and glory which makes them insecure and never satisfied so they get greedy as they grab at God’s glory for themselves
    Another source of evil is Idolatry: Looking to a created thing to give you what only God can give.  
    2- Consolation for your heart to comfort you as you face evil (Hab2:14&20) Verse 20 reminds us that the Lord is in His Holy Temple  He is Large and in charge! In spite of what we do, His plan still rules. We can’t thwart His plans for us.  Verse 14 promises the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord! We can take that to the bank!
    I know I am oversimplifying what Keller said, but I have never been much of a note taker.  

  15. 2. Read Habakkuk 2:4-5 A. Find all the descriptions of pride you can in these two verses. Look carefully for word pictures.
    The soul is puffed up—filled with air, nothing substantial, nothing that lasts. I’m picturing one of those inflatable punching things—that never really stay upright—filled with air and they teeter with any outside influence.
    I’m also thinking–he has to create his own filling, he self-inflates, he is self-righteous.
    He is in contrast to a righteous man. 
    An arrogant man who is never at peace, full of greed. He always wants more, never satisfied. 
    Death, opposite of Life, opposite of Christ—there is no satisfaction for death. There is a continual hunger, yearning for more. 

  16. 2. B. With what is pride contrasted in verse 4? What do you learn from this?
    Pride is contrasted with righteousness in Christ. Andrew Murray says “Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.” In our family devotion just now, we read Matt. 18—the unmerciful servant. The servant who had just so graciously been forgiven his debt, turns and demands payment from own owing him a much smaller debt. Hie pride has blinded him, he has forgotten his own indebtedness, acting as though he is entitled to payment. 
    A living awareness of the depth of my sin, forces me no alternative but to live by faith in Christ’s righteousness having been given to me. Pride is the absence of an awareness of my depravity, it does not allow for Christ’s righteousness to own me. 

    1. Lizzy – “Pride is the absence of an awareness of my depravity, it does not allow for Christ’s righteousness to own me.”  Something about the precise way you stated that made me “shift” inwardly.  For of all the damage pride brings, nothing could ever compare to the horror of not allowing Christ’s righteousness to own me……this thought from you is going along with me today.  Golden.  thank you.  🙂  

  17. C. Meditate on the quote from C. S. Lewis and explain why you think it is true or untrue.
    I have thankfully not known many personally with cancer, until Mary E.  I think about her excruciating pain that radiates from every site, the scans to search for progression, the strength of drugs required to bring it to a halt…all of the side effects, and I still can’t even be beginning to imagine what it feels like. So to picture all of that, within my soul—and yes, I believe my pride is like that. It may start small, in one area, but without me realizing it, it rapidly spreads, trying to take over. Quick fixes and my own remedies will not take care of it. My pride requires the full power of Christ’s death, the Perfect Sacrifice, in order to kill it.
    “Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure; Save from wrath and make me pure.” 

  18. 2. Read Habakkuk 2:4-5
    A. Find all the descriptions of pride you can in these two verses. Look carefully for word pictures.      puffed up.  (a picture of ‘look at me’….drawing attention to myself by way of making heads turn)  exhibiting desires that are not righteous. (our example is humility, when we are prideful, we do not follow Jesus’ example)   betrayed by wine:  (does that mean that when drinking, the prideful person glibly speaks and shows off his intentions?)  pride makes one arrogant & restless:  (never content.  always striving for more)  greedy as the grave:  (death comes to all, no exceptions.  like the grave which has no discretion.  the prideful person gives no thought to others, is never satisfied, always wants more acclaim, more attention, more notoriety) 
    B. With what is pride contrasted in verse 4? What do you learn from this?    Pride is contrasted to faith.  ‘The righteous lives by his faith.’    I was struck that when Paul says this is Romans, he is quoting Habakkuk.  I never saw that before.  This scripture was Luther’s defining moment and became the rallying cry of the reformation.   We are saved by faith.  It is not of works so that no one can boast, (Eph. 2:8,9) which takes us right back to the contrast with pride.  
    C. Meditate on the quote from C. S. Lewis and explain why you think it is true or untrue.

    “For pride is a spiritual cancer; it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment or even common sense.”  

    Cancer destroys the body by multiplying destructive cells; ravishing all the good cells in its path.   Pride can do the same, by eating up the good things like love, contentment and common sense (to name a few).  When we are filled with pride, there isn’t room for these virtues.  Pride makes us think only of ourselves so we can’t be filled with love for others.  Pride makes us always desire more; we need to be known as the best, the brightest, the prettiest, the wealthiest, the worthiest etc.  We are restless as Habakkuk says, because our contentment is elusively tied to our ego.  Pride robs us of common sense because we live in a delusive state. We act as though the world revolves around us.  Our world view is distorted when we see through the lens of our ego, what benefits me, who praises me etc.  

    1. Wanda, your answer to C. is very insightful and convicting. Someone said that pride is at the root of every sin.

  19. 2B.  With what is pride contrasted in verse 4?  What can you learn from this?
    Pride is contrasted with faith.  So sobering.  In this case I think I can learn that there is no truce, no peaceful co-existence between the two on this earth.  Obviously, faith brings a kind of patient waiting, that “active waiting” that we looked at last week.  Pride, by contrast, never rests…..v. 5 will illuminate the restlessness and greed of pride.  Pride crushes.  Faith brings healing and restoration.  

  20. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    I just bought the the book you referenced here by Tim Keller! I bought it for my son to read (not that he will), as he has been so pained by events in his life. 
    As George and I traveled home from Atlanta, we stopped at his sisters house in NJ just as a wave of thunderstorms had passed. As we sat at the dinner table, he noticed the sun shining on the trees outside and remarked how beautiful it was. I decided to go outside and check it out. Believe it or not, what I saw was breath taking….an entire rainbow was present and another was forming above the full one! A double rainbow just like your image here. Hope. It was comforting to me.
    2. Read Habakkuk 2:4-5 
    A. Find all the descriptions of pride you can in these two verses. Look carefully for word pictures.
    – his soul is “puffed up.”
    – he is arrogant 
    – he drinks too much, thinking he can “do what he wants.”
    – because he never rests, he has his hands in everything; he feels like he must be involved in all things.
    – he is greedy and collects things for himself including people.

    1. Laura – I’m so grateful to see you and your determined  thankful spirit here this morning!  🙂  I loved that little peek into George’s appreciation for the beauty of creation as well!  

    2. Laura–so glad you are home again and LOVE the double rainbow gift He gave you–reminder of His promised protection over you 🙂

    3. Glad your life is getting back to ‘normal’, Laura.  Though new normals come after every crisis.  Good to see you back here!    A Minnesota friend posted a gorgeous photo of a double rainbow probably about the same time you saw yours.  So beautiful!

  21. 2C.  Meditate on the quote from  C.S. Lewis and explain why you think it is true or untrue.
    Susan, Wanda, Lizzy have so graphically illustrated the comparison between pride/spiritual life to cancer/physical life.   Hard reading for me this morning as I have my own very personal “exhibit A” before me day in and day out.   One thing further that I have observed is that, regardless of where the cancer originates, no part of the body remains untouched or unaffected.  And the treatment can ravage as much as the cancer…..leading me to think on pride and our “spiritual treatments” of pride…..how often they not only are ineffective in getting at the ROOT sin…..but they actually cause further destruction and sorrow.  🙁   Honestly, I ‘m a little overwhelmed in pondering all of this – I see no cure but throwing myself upon the mercies and grace of Christ.  I had to stop here this morning and go to Isaiah 53…..comfort.

    1. Dear Jackie……  Know that I thought of you especially when I wrote briefly about physical cancer.  I know you live life in it’s wake every single hour.  I know so many others who do also.  Cancer is very, very personal to me. I’ve lost many family members to it and recently experiencing the death of several close friends who have succumbed to it also.  Just thinking about it, ties my stomach in knots.   Just as, having my daughter in the hospital with complications of CF last week did.   Such a harsh reality that was.  The one thing that keeps me going is this:    Cancer doesn’t have the final say.   Neither does cystic fibrosis.   Or anything else.   Only Jesus.  Jesus creates beauty from ashes.  Redeems and resurrects the body to it’s fullest, purest, disease free form.   When my friend, Steve died two summers ago….I kept thinking this.  Cancer didn’t win.  I will see Steve again; in joy eternal.  And I know that the spiritual state of our loved ones, causes the most consternation.  I just fall on God’s mercy over and over and over.  And I fail badly, as I did when I reached the end of my rope during my daughter’s hospitalization last week.  I wanted to give up for a day or so.  It seemed too insurmountable to keep on believing.  But God was faithful, yet again.   He restored my hope.  He gave her a restoration and new start as well.   Your ‘exhibit A’ is so, so precious to our Jesus.  And so are you.  I trust His character and that He will be faithful to you also.  (This comes with those oft repeated, but sometimes inducing a helpless feeling…..cyber (((HUGS))). )

    2. oh yes, Jackie , I agree with Wanda’s words to you–you and your dear Jes, are in our prayers and my heart hurts for all your pain and loss. I cling to hope for you, continuing to pray for His mighty power to make all things new, to bring true restoration and healing. Love you~

  22.  3. SELF-EXAM A. What gifts or possessions that God has given you do you tend to trust in instead of Him?
    I’m a hyper-organized planner type, and I tend to try to gain some security from it. I am (sometimes) one of those who put things on a list just to check it off—and I have lists for everything! So when I’m ‘doing good’ and accomplish a lot, I tend to feel good. When plans get thrown upside down, or when others around me are disorganized and plan-less, I get irritated. Icky. Oh Dee. You and your convicting questions! 
    B. How could you walk in repentance and faith concerning this?
    First, I recognize that beneath my hyper-planning control idol, is fear. I fear chaos. I fear the unknown, unexpected. I fear that I won’t be able to handle ‘it’. And this reveals my weakness, and humbles me.
    Then I face the truth: I won’t be able to handle it. I was never meant to or made to. I was made to be needy. I don’t like to be needy, but I am made to be. Needy for Him, dependent on Him.
    He has brought me to this place. I revisit it daily though—I so tend towards this area of self-reliance. But He has brought me to be less fearful of chaos and more desiring to be fully dependent on Him. It is changing my decisions, my heart. It’s almost scary except I know it is from Him—kind of that start of a roller coaster, where I know it will be crazy unsettling at times, but also too much joy to not live fully reliant on Him, surrendering to His lead. 

    1. diddo

  23. vs. 4 contrasts pride with faith. If we really believe that “Gods got this” we do not need to live in fear which in my life leads to pride. Im struck by the part of the CS quote that says even common sense goes flying out the window when the cancer of pride takes over….what a testimony to our culture!
    I have been thinking a lot about how God treats HIS people. It seem that HE is never afraid of “puffing them up” He just keeps telling them how much HE loves them (us). he says things like “the Lord yur God is with you he is mighty to save, he will take GREAT DELIGHT IN YOU, HE WILL QUITE YOU WITH HIS LOVE HE WILL REJOICE OVER YOU WITH SINGING. (ZEPH 3;17) He never fights pride with humiliation unless his had is forced and we have been so rebelous that HE is left with no choice.
    when i see pride in my kids or husband i try to squash it out…I correct, hold back praise, shut them out. But what God does to fight pride is to love us better. HE says, “I love you so much that you can trust me, you do not need to do this on your own” Humilty is the fruit of that trust. I am free to let go of my self rightousness and pride when I know that HE has no expectation that I can do this life on my own. It frees me up to respond instead of react to my kids, it makes it so that I do not NEED to be praised by my husband in order to feel loved by him. It helps me to be a life giving instead of life sucking. 
    my pride has made me want to be someone, I want a job that leads to recognition or a ministry that puts me in the spotlight….GOD has told me that what HE wants for me for right now is to be a mom, a really good mom, but just a mom. He may open up door for me in the future but for now being a mom is my calling. it kinda sucks! I am not a stay in the background kinda person. (like you did not know that already!) I like attention. I like having accomplishments. I want a book or a great blog or a speaking ministry…but that is not what I am called to do right now. Maybe when God sees that my prideful heart can handle it he will give me a platform to encourage other women in  this journey…but for now MOM/wife is my only title….and that is right where God wants me.
    sorry for the spelling, no time to edit, on my way to dr. with Lily

  24. One more thought I have to get out on the Lewis quote! Not to argue at all, and I know we all know this–but it feels important to say that while pride wrecks havoc on our soul in a similar way, pride is something we choose–it is a choice of me walking in sin, and the destruction it does to my soul is a consequence of not trusting and walking humbly with my Lord. It is a “fair” consequence of my own sin. Cancer of the body is never chosen, never caused by the person, never deserved. It’s not fair. Just had to get that out : )

  25. 4. pride leads to never being satisfied. we just want more and more and we are never at peace because we are expecting ourselves to be able to fill a void that only humility and submission under our maker will ever fill.

  26. A. What gifts or possessions that God has given you do you tend to trust in instead of Him?
      1) My husband and friends who are close to my heart and soul.   I run to them.  I text someone, facebook message, email or call.   I know I do this.   I ask for prayer from others, sometimes before I’ve even stopped and prayed myself.   I expect to find comfort from their love and concern and their words.  And most often I do.    And I know the comfort they give comes from God.  But I also know, that He longs for me to come first to Him.   I do know that when truly in crisis; my mind is too numb or too surged with adrenaline to pray…..and the gift of intercession by others, is absolutely invaluable.   
    2)  Books, articles, printed stuff.  I run to them for counsel.  True that they are based on God’s truth, but yet, I search the internet and my book shelves feverishly before I stop and am still before the Lord of the Universe.  The God who inspired the answers I am looking for.  I suppose it’s like reading an article about an author’s life while not accepting a personal invitation to sit down and meet with that very author.   
    3.)  Sometimes, I just escape.  I find something comforting to read or watch or do, that has nothing to do with my pain.  To keep my mind off of it for awhile.   I suppose this has it’s place.  We do need to re-set from time to time.

    1. Whoa Wanda! Have you been reading my journal? That’s basically what I thought of too. Minus the escape. But now that you mention it, I do that, too. 
      What you said about your husband and friends is so true. I know I should first go to God, but I guess I go to my husband or call a friend because I want sympathy, a hug, or even someone to bolster my position… Which is obviously pride. 
      Then I also run to books and the Internet for answers before ever praying or reading scripture for answers. 
      To answer the second half of this question about walking in repentance concerning this I think acknowledging I have placed other people above God is the first step. Then, praying first to Him in my need and with thankfulness for His word and for other godly friends. Both are gifts from Him and encourage me in my daily walk. 

      1. Jean...and when I read your answer to the second half of the question, it sounds so much like my own, which I wrote out hours ago.   Also what you said about bolstering my position.  Oh, I wrestle frequently with that one.  The approval/pride thing can be so strong in me.   (But I do like this kindred spirit I am sensing 🙂  )
        B. How could you walk in repentance and faith concerning this?       
        Self awareness comes first.  I need to stop and ask myself, when I run to the phone or computer: 
        “Have I talked to the Lord yet?”   and the Obedience:  I need to actually spend time in prayer and in the Word.”    
        Lots of conviction just typing these words.  Pretty sure I messed up on this again today. 

    2. Wanda, I ditto Jean (except that I don’t run to my husband)…but to a friend, to my sister; I used to run to my mom and dad….I run to books, articles, internet….and I like to escape through perusing a catalogue, watching some TV.

      1. I’ve caught myself many times over the years turning on the morning news before I even have said a single prayer. And then, getting to the end of the day and reading the newspaper, while my bible still sits where I placed it after last Sunday’s trip to church. It’s these times when I tend to get a bit stressed out, worrying over the events of the day, snapping at my family, and feeling guilt for neglecting the Only One who can bring true peace to my soul. It’s why I decided to do this study again. I love how Dee relates scripture to my life and seeing how others are applying it in their lives. 

        1. Jean, thank you for your honesty….I think we’ve all been there, too! And, I’m so glad you decided to join in here as a way to draw closer to Him!

  27. 2 B. With what is pride contrasted in verse 4? What do you learn from this?
    It is contrasted with a righteous person living by faith. I guess simply put, you should live by faith in God, not in yourself.
    2C. I do agree with the C.S. Lewis quote. I think if you are too wrapped up in yourself then you miss the good things of life, including love. I remember years ago wondering why pride was such a bad thing to have? So funny. When I think back to that time, I get all squirmy inside. I can’t believe I thought that way!

  28. 3. SELF-EXAM
    A. What gifts or possessions that God has given you do you tend to trust in instead of Him?
    Well….if you’ve read any of my posts over the last several weeks, there is a recurring theme and it really hit home the lesson we did that included “disordered loves”. The gifts are my three children. As far back as I can remember to my childhood, I was always a little bit lonely. I never had a ton of friends, only a few; was never in the popular group in school. Really struggled to feel loved and accepted by others. When I had my children, for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel alone. As they grew, they made my life full, rewarding, purposeful, meaningful, and my identity was securely wrapped up in being their mom. They were my companions, the ones I spent the majority of my time with – we played together, rode bikes together, hiked together, read together….So I can say that I trusted in them to be my all-in-all – my comfort, my approval, even my control, as at the time when they were young, they looked to me to guide them and I could “manage” their lives.
    However, the security blanket I had made out of my children is being pried from my hands. I have two adult sons whose career paths have and will take them far away from home. My middle son is, as some of you know from FB, currently in Utah. I don’t have an address. He has called once for 5 minutes, but I understand as he is working from 5am – 8pm, 7 days a week. My almost 16 year old daughter will frequently say, “Mom, you’re my best friend!” And I say, a little uneasily back to her, “But you’re very best friend should, and must, be Jesus. I can’t promise to always be here for you or to never let you down!” It has become very obvious to me that I took the good gifts of my children and made them into heart idols because of the emotions I suffered when the older ones flew farther and farther away….I was very depressed, crying, when my middle son left for Texas, and then Utah, this summer. I know it’s okay and normal to miss your children, to feel pain in their absence, because naturally you love to be with the ones you love, and separation is painful. But when I started to feel hopeless and like my life has no meaning and purpose anymore and when I read what Augustine wrote about having disordered loves, it became obvious that I had placed them before God.
    B. How could you walk in repentance and faith concerning this?
    Wanda mentioned coming to self-awareness. Keller said in a sermon that seeing the problem means there’s hope – you’re awake, not asleep. I do see it and I re-read about Christy’s struggle with relational idolatry in Dee’s Idol Lies and I named my sin before God. I know that I need to acknowledge this as sin before God and ask for His forgiveness and His help. Here’s a question though that I’ve thought – how do I know if I’ve really made progress in overcoming my idolatry OR have I just resigned myself to the fact that my children cannot meet my needs for love, approval, etc…. The difference between repentance or resignation?
    I know that I need to go to the Lord for love, approval, comfort, and to trust in Him to meet those needs. Yet, even yesterday in talking to Him I was telling Him that I know that while He is so gracious and kind to stoop, to bend down, to me and to want me to come to Him, as Jesus said, when I’m weary and tired and heavy-burdened and He wants to give me rest; He wants me to cast my cares upon Him because He cares about me, yet I know that He does not exist FOR ME. He is not my servant. It’s the other way around. Yet I thought of David saying in Psalm 18:35 that “You stoop down to make me great.” So while I acknowledge that HE does not exist to serve me, I am worshipping Him and thanking Him for His being so kind, so gracious, so merciful, to bend down to me to want to help me.

  29. 4. In Habakkuk 2:5b, what sin has pride led to? Why do you think this happens?
    He is greedy. When I am prideful, I am trying to fill myself with air that doesn’t satisfy me, cannot sustain me—I am puffed up to appear full—but empty inside, like a balloon. Air does not satiate, it leaves me hungry. So my self has been expanded but has nothing inside to sustain this inflated body. So I search for whatever I can to fill me, to support this outer shell of inflated self. In contrast, when I trust in Christ’s righteousness, my desire for self gain is replaced by the hunger to know more of Christ, and that rather than puff myself up with things that can never satisfy, I seek Him, that His fullness would dwell in me. 

  30. The more I study, the more I realize how little I understand. I WANT to understand GOD…but there is no way, HE is GOD and I am not and HIS ways are not my ways. As I listened to Keller try to explain how God is fully in charge but not controlling I just got more and more confused. And in enters pride, thinking that I should understand the creator of the universe! He does not require my understanding, HE requires MY BELIEF. my trust, my faith in things I can not see or comprehend. It takes humility to do that. to admit that I do not understand…..but to trust anyway.
    Amy Carmichael was a missionary to India. she saved 1000s of girls from the sex trade and also led 100s of women to look past the cast system and serve as Jesus served. She prayed for a husband for many years. when asked why she thought God did not send her one her response was “I believe HE called him, he just did not listen.” While looking at a property for yet another orphanage she fell and broke her hip/leg and was never out of pain again. While in bed she wrote. that is why we know who she is today…100 years later. God used that fall, God uses her not having a husband or family…but I just can not believe that he was BEHIND those things. we can change HIS plans. we have free will. We can mess things up and then HE comes in and creates something beautiful our of our mess IF WE LET HIM HAVE CONTROL. HE is a gentleman, he does not TAKE CONTROL, he waits for us to give it to HIM.
    the thought that it does not matter what we do, God will always have HIS way (here on earth) makes NO SENSE TO ME AT ALL. so be warned, the next paragraph is argumentative….and perhaps it is my lack of faith or humility that makes me need to believe this way, but this is where I am at.
    I have to believe that HE allows evil in this world in the sense that HE allows satan to to be the prince of the earth. HE gave the evil one limited domain on earth but HE has total control over heaven. until there is a NEW earth there will still be evil because satan still has access, he has NO access to heaven. I do not believe that GOD sits up there saying “ok satan, you can kill this person with cancer or that 16 yr old can commit suicide” HE gave him access and now it is OUR CHOICE who we follow and in the END we win….but here, on earth…sometimes satan wins. children die, people get cancer, millions of HIS people are killed in gas chambers all because we live in a fallen world where HE does not have total control…but some day we will live in HIS domain where satan CAN NOT ENTER and then we will live under HIS perfect will and beauty. HE can not make us obey HIM, HE will not make anyone love HIM because if HE did that love would not be relational, it would be forced.
    that’s prob. not theologically correct. but it is the only thing that makes ANY sense to me so that is where I have to live.

    1. Cyndi, I appreciate your wrestling through these things. It is so hard to understand things like why things happen, does God permit them, allow them, or cause them, how do our own choices fit in….I agree that while we want to understand God, there is no way we can. I like this, “He does not require my understanding, HE requires MY BELIEF, my trust, my faith in things I can not see or comprehend.”

  31. 2. Read Habakkuk 2:4-5
    A and B 
    V4. I see being puffed up like being a Marshmallow and when put to the fire it burns up. 🙂 As opposed to the righteous as described in Isaiah 40:31. When put to the fire we will mount up with wings like eagles-we will walk and not grow weary. The Marshmallow fills itself up with stuff to bring contentment and satisfaction but when suffering comes it burns up. It is incapable of truly loving sacrificially like Jesus so it seeks to control others or justify hurting others because it was hurt. 
    The righteous find our satisfaction in Him, content with where we are, what we have, what we know-and don’t know-the mystery of suffering, and so in our suffering while we lament and grieve, we trust God and let him be our salve. When fear creeps in we trust instead of running to people or things to trust-this can be immediately or over a period of time depending on our maturity. I also see the righteous trusting Him for the future..we were made for the world to come-the new heavens and new Earth, and so we have this God made thirst inside for an Eden life-Being Home in Him. Instead of pursuing it in creation like the marshmallow does, the righteous pursue Him for satisfaction rejoicing in the world to come. The righteous love sacrificially.
    C. Meditate on the quote from C. S. Lewis and explain why you think it is true or untrue.
    I think it is true. Pride takes us into ourselves-inward, instead of outward where Jesus takes us. Going inward is destructive! Self reliance is like building a house on sand..everything falls apart when the waves hit. Pride will not allow us to receive wise counsel in relationships, finances, ministry, which leads us to do things and make destructive decisions. We usually end up being bitter in old age. 

  32. 3. SELF-EXAM—-OH NO.  🙂
    A. What gifts or possessions that God has given you do you tend to trust in instead of Him?
    My ability to disciple my boys-my parenting (control idol)..I didn’t think this was true until yesterday when I told Patrick, “It is my fault E. has turned from God for he doesn’t have enough of the Word sown in his heart to discern the lies satan is throwing at him right now. I must not have sown enough in when he was young!” Patrick brought to memory the labor when he was young and as he grew up, and he said besides it isn’t up to us anyway. It is up to God. We can sow but God does the sowing in deep and heart softening. I KNEW this..but I needed this word from him to combat satans condemnation. Repenting and walking in  faith for me in this has been a  process..of repenting and walking in faith, then repeating and He is helping me become more content with where E is at in his journey.
    I am STILL learning that trials like this are opportunities for God to get rid of the dross in my heart. To show me when I am like the Chaldeans trusting in myself-filling myself up with myself instead of trusting Him. AND like the Marshmallow burning up..Thankfully, instead He is sustaining me in this trial but believe me my marshmallow had some sides burning!! This trial has been the worst of my life so far, yet I am finding contentment leaving his heart with God-which is HUGE. At first I wanted to just smack sense into him or kick him out of the house after he told me I believe in a flying spaghetti monster. I didn’t handle it well at first, but now God is giving me love over frustration for him and a trust that God has this-because HE DOES. 🙂

    1. Oh Dear Rebecca “This trial has been the worst of my life so far, yet I am finding contentment leaving his heart with God” That is HUGE and I am with you:) 
      I can so see the Lord smiling on this and saying now watch dear child what I will do with this:) I will bless your faith in ME. My timing My way.

    2. Rebecca–praising Him for this: “God is giving me love over frustration”. You model faithful surrendering when all seems dark–He is bringing you light, and I see you clinging to that hope. Praying with you for E.

    3. I just want to say Rebecca, that my heart is so with you in this trial with E.  What you are going through is my greatest fear for my grandchildren. It is so wonderful that God is giving you such love in spite of E.’s attitude. You are in my prayers.

    4. Dear Rebecca,
      Rebecca:    I just read your comments about parenting and your son, E.  As you know from other things I’ve said, this resonates with me completely.  And after 14 years, it is still the biggest trial I have.  (I remember when I had cancer, making the statement that that was nothing compared to the heartbreak of having children who rejected the Word)  And I had that very same feeling so many, many times.  It still crops up sometimes.   ‘If only I had……’   ‘If only, we had…..’  I can fill in the blank with so many regrets.  I was so freed when I heard a couple,  high profile Christians whose children had left the faith,  say that ‘we would never say that what we do for our kids brings about their salvation.  We would say that it is all by God’s grace.  So, we cannot say that what we didn’t do, caused them to reject’.    (paraphrase)   This helps me over and over.   And I see that it is yet another example of me wanting everything ‘normal’ and ‘expected’ as I wrote in a reply to Jill’s comment.   The only thing I ever imagined was that all of my children would know, love and serve the Lord.  This alternate spirituality some of them practice is completely out of ‘my plan and expectation’.   But God is still sovereign.  He has also been opening some doors this year.  As I remember Bing praying once for her child…   ‘revealing the chinks in the armour’.    I hope you are encouraged today,  Rebecca.       Immanuel!  He’s is with you! 

  33. 4. In Habakkuk 2:5b, what sin has pride led to? Why do you think this happens? 
    Greed-being a greedy person which eventually leads to oppressing and hurting people. This person never has enough..He fills himself up and then those things don’t satisfy so he goes to controlling and oppressing  people. It gets crazy…this is where common sense comes in via the c.s. lewis quote. It gets evil going over board, out of bounds. I have heard the leader of North Korea has gone to the lengths of further greed in pedophilia..and I wouldn’t be surprised if it leads to further craziness like nuking another nation in order to gain more control or satisfaction-not seeing he is putting his own life at risk. I see A LOT of lack of common sense in our nation. Think about all the things we are obsessing over and demanding justice for when children are being murdered in the womb, and Syrians and others are being oppressed and murdered all over the world: trans-gendered bathrooms??? A Gorilla getting killed?? Gay Marriage-when they can have civil unions?? Now pedophiles are wanting their rights???? All over the internet people obsess with the strangest things here in America-common sense about true justice is out of the window. It is no wonder we have raised up the candidates we have to choose between for president. 
    This is such a warning to us, to me..when left to our own devices without Christ what destruction pride can bring!

  34. 4) Hab.2:5b What sin has pride led to? Why do you think this happens?
    His appetite is enlarged and like death, it’s never satisfied. Greed
    ive been hoping someone else would explain what they think the rest of this verse means when it talks about gathering to himself all nations and peoples? In my mind that seems good. But clearly, the scripture means it in a negative sense. Does it mean he’s trying to be popular? Saying and doing whatever it takes to get others to side with you? Actually, I think others already have made this point. 

  35. 5-7) Describe the first three woes. 
    Hab. 2:6-8  when the proud, in an effort to amass wealth and stuff, starts borrowing and perhaps even stealing, it’s only a matter of time before his debtors come a knocking. And when they do, their ‘kingdom’ will crumble and fall because they’ve built on a shaky foundation. 
    Hab. 2:9-11 I think if people who cheat and embezzle here, or using unethical methods to increase their own wealth at the expense of others. ENRON comes to mind. Insiders there knew things were getting shaky and were able to pull their investments out and run, but innocent shareholders who had no idea what was going down, stayed in and lost everything. In the case of ENRON, many of the guilty party were indicted and convicted. 
    Hab. 2:12,13 this one is tougher for me. I understand who the woe is directed at- those who build a town upon violence and bloodshed, but what does the second half mean? People toil for fire and grow weary for nothing.  I think it might mean they work in vain. They can’t get ahead. My big question is, how does this woe in particular apply to me? 

  36. 2. Read Habakkuk 2:4-5
    A. Find all the descriptions of pride you can in these two verses. Look carefully for word pictures.
    1  Arrogant and “puffed up.”
    2. Evil desires
    3. Never at rest
    4. Greedy
    5. Never satisfied
    6. Takes captives
    B. With what is pride contrasted in verse 4? 
    Pride is not righteous or faithful.
    What do you learn from this?
    Pride goes before a mighty fall!
    C. Meditate on the quote from C. S. Lewis and explain why you think it is true or untrue.
    Pride is a spiritual cancer.    It does eat at us, when we are filled with pride.   We are not content with anything – always striving and striving.   It is blinding – we see everything by the light of our pride which distorts our view, and we cannot exercise common sense when we are operating under the power of our pride.   We hurt or destroy other people, and pride never allows us to apologize or make things right again.    It is very much like a terrible illness like cancer.    Pride in one area of our lives can metastasize to other parts of our lives.
     3. SELF-EXAM
    A. What gifts or possessions that God has given you do you tend to trust in instead of Him?
    Like several others on this blog, I find myself running to family in times of crisis. Family is very important, and it seems so natural to bask in their love, but also because of love I can become worried or concerned for their well-being.   In another way,   if I am puzzled or worried about something, I am sometimes guilty of browsing the internet for the answer, when I should be in prayer instead, asking for God’s answer.     
    B. How could you walk in repentance and faith concerning this?    
    By consciously trying to keep my focus on God and putting Him first.   By deliberately reviewing my performance in this regard and doing a personal re-set when it is needed.   By asking God to help me with all of this.    

    1. oh Deanna–I relate to this too well! ” if I am puzzled or worried about something, I am sometimes guilty of browsing the internet for the answer, ” 
      But I love you “B”–that you mention to ask Him for help in being faithful to Him, oh how we depend on His Spirit to help us depend more on Him and keep Him as our focus!

  37.  3. SELF-EXAM
    A. What gifts or possessions that God has given you do you tend to trust in instead of Him? 
    I’m not sure I really know how to answer this question…my ability to control situations? Is that a “gift” I have been given? I don’t knowwhat you mean by gift. I have a fairly low viewpoint of myself most of the time and ask myself often what my purpose is here on earth; why did God bother to make me? I double and triple check everything I do because I don’t trust myself.  I have the gift of dance, but is that really a gift, or is it something I have developed over time? Not sure about this one.
    B. How could you walk in repentance and faith concerning this?
    I suppose I could trust that God created me for some reason (unknown to me) that I should just believe He knows what He is doing, right? I have recently started telling myself (and others) that He wants all of us to be with Him and that’s why He left us here; to help others realize this. We are to be ambassadors of sorts for Him. I believe this is even in scripture (Corinthians?). Here it is:
    “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
    ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    As far as my control idol, I gave up on trying to control situations a long time ago. It isn’t always easy, and I have to remind myself to back off, but I am so much better than I used to be in this area. I think I am getting “gift” and “idol” mixed up in this question.

      1. I see now. I thought about this all day and thought a “gift” He has given me is that of “gab.” Unfortunately, I sometimes end up putting my foot in my mouth! That’s where the repentance comes in, I suppose. I should pray more to have constraint, or to think, think, think before I speak. I want to make sure I say quality things, especially when trying to discuss God with those of little or no faith. 

  38. 4. In Habakkuk 2:5b, what sin has pride led to? Why do you think this happens?
    Their pride has led to greed, an insatiable desire for more. I believe that if you are walking in humility, acknowledging that what you have received is from the Lord’s hand, you are thankful. If you lack something, you may pray to Him about it and ask for what you think you need but will accept His decision, whether He gives it to you, or not. Pride, as it takes over, seems to give you the green light to go ahead and take what you want, by whatever means, because you are acting as “god”, and you will take what you want. The prideful person becomes controlled by his or her own desires.
    5. Describe the first WOE in Habakkuk 2:6-8.
    The Chaldeans have stolen the belongings of others, made themselves rich by extortion, and made everyone their debtors. The WOE is when those they have oppressed in this way will arise and turn the tables on them and they will become the victims, they will be the ones plundered.
    6. Describe the second WOE in Habakkuk 2:9-11.
    The Chaldeans have built their empire by unjust means, setting themselves above everyone else to escape “the clutches of ruin”. They think they are safe from being poor, or oppressed, or affected by the common trials that others must endure. They have ruined the lives of others. But the stones are crying out against them, a metaphor which means that God knows what they are doing, and the WOE is that they will be ashamed and they have forfeited their life. I think this means that because they didn’t choose God, the life they have forfeited is not only physical, as in they themselves will one day be overtaken and many killed, but also spiritual life.
    7. Describe the third WOE in Habakkuk 2:12-13.
    The Chaldeans have built their empire through bloodshed, and when it says “and establishes a town by crime” it makes me think they are like the Mafia. They control everything through fear, crime, and murder. The WOE is that everything they have done is only “fuel for the fire”, the fire that will be for their own torment. This speaks of His judgment and their eventual punishment. Interesting cross-ref. in Isaiah 50:11, “But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from My hand; you will lie down in torment.”

    1. Susan–your thoughtful reflections on all the “woes” are really helpful to me. And this cross ref. of Isaiah 50:11 is such a powerful picture!

  39. 2. Read Habakkuk 2:4-5
    A. Find all the descriptions of pride you can in these two verses. Look carefully for word pictures. 
    “His soul is puffed up…” His soul is “not upright within him…” I am confused because verse 5’s word pictures of arrogance seem to be about the wine, speaking metaphorically about wine as an arrogant man? “An arrogant man who is never at rest” “greed as wide as Sheol” ” like death he never has enough” “gathers for himself all nations and collects as his own all peoples.”
    B. With what is pride contrasted in verse 4? What do you learn from this? Pride is contrasted with the righteous man who lives by faith. An arrogant man is not a man who is living by faith, he trusts in himself, and indeed believes he can accomplish whatever and needs no Saviour. The arrogant man says, “There is no god unless he is what I say he should be.”
    C. Meditate on the quote from C.S. Lewis and explain why you think it is true or untrue. I definitely think that it is true. Pride is the opposite of “I must decrease so that He may increase” (though I know that is taken out of context, I do think the concept applies). Pride is increasing and gloryfing myself. This is setting up idols and we have already studied that we cannot be content unless we trust in Him and allow Him to dispel our idols. someone has said that all sin stems from pride…which is just seeking me rather than Him. So much more to say on this…!
    3. SELF-EXAM
    A. What gifts or possessions that God has given you do you tend to trust in instead of Him? My training as a nurse to get a job if needed, my parents and in-laws both owning land that we could live on if needed, a capable husband who will work diligently to provide for his family regardless of what it takes (though not immorally)…. Interesting all these things link to money as security for me and my family. How different would my faith look if I was homeless…. Ironically I have wanted to move to the bush in Africa and live in a hut for years! Maybe it’s not even money, per se, but rather just knowing what life looks like, what normal is, what I can expect…there is a pride in that “I can figure it out if needed…” Even basic skills like reading, writing, logic can be a source of pride when realizing what you could have to adjust in life in response to tragedy. (Thinking here of Jennifer Rothschild, Joni Eareckson-Tada, Katherine Wolfe…)
    B. How could you walk in repentance and faith concerning this? To serve Him with all I have. To remember all I have is given by Him and is done unto Him. There is a part of me that feels guilty for having what I do have (speaking economically). I do not shy away from people grieving or enduring relational hardship or physical hardship, but people in economic hardship I feel guilty that I have a home and they do not! I want to give each one a room and I cannot so I a trying to find where that balance is – to be ok with the task given to me by God in the small capacity that He enables me in…now to be brave and do it.
    One more thing: I think in evangelism I tend to trust His forgiveness, more than Him. I get afraid of the increasing animosity towards Christians and don’t speak up sometimes… This is trusting that He will forgive me for my choice rather than trusting in Him for whatever happens, animosity or not….

    1. You sure gave me a lot to think about just now, Jill.   Your musing in the self exam questions go deep.   ‘…….knowing what life looks like,  what normal is, what I can expect….”.  That has been the essence of my mistrust my whole life.  It’s why I generally ‘play it safe’……not too many risks, not too many surprises.   I can even pride myself because I have common sense and live in moderation.  But sometimes, God calls us to do something completely out of the box and I’m one who hesitates so much.   I can see that as pride and trying to be self sufficient now.  

      1. Wanda, in response to your playing it safe comment…
        My family went to Yosemite a few years back and stayed at a B&B owned by a couple in their 70’s. We had several conversations with the couple and it was clear to me that both of them were adventurers and Yosemite had been their playground for decades. They climbed and hiked the mountains and enjoyed so much of life that scares me to death. In fact, on this trip into Yosemite, I had to sit at the base of a trail alone while my family went up the mountain without me because the terrain was so frightful to me. I really wanted to go with them to see the beautiful waterfalls promised to those who dare, but alas, the scaredy-cat in me just wouldn’t cooperate. 
        Anyway, I was telling my host about my fear and she told me a quick story about her own mother. She had just turned 100 years old and the local news station interviewed her. My host said it came as no surprise to her the response her mother gave to one question. When asked how she thought she made it to 100, her mother replied, “Oh, I guess I was just careful.”
         I don’t know if it will strike you the way it did me that day, having just missed what my family still claims was one of their favorite hikes they ever took. But, since that trip, I have tried to step outside of my comfort zone and attempt things that scare me a bit. I haven’t jumped out of an airplane, but I did zip line! 

        1. Jean.…so much in this post speaks of my family…..they are all adventurers and my husband and all of my kids have hiked many mountains. And done other stuff. But the most adventurous of all…..the one who makes it her life ambition is the one who has both cystic fibrosis and type 1 diabetes to contend with.  She has made it her goal not to ‘arrive safely at death, just because she was careful not to hurt herself’…..well, something like that.  She has a famous quote she uses.  She’s always known her life may be shorter than it should be because of CF. And the last thing she wants is to have it defined by her illnesses.  So she defies that identity on a regular basis and is up for most anything.   I’ve spent my life caring for and supporting all of my husband’s and children’s trips and adventures.  And yes.  I was always the one at the bottom of the mountain for one reason or another. While in WA a few years ago, I had had significant back pain the entire road trip out there (from MN) and I stayed ‘on the ground’ for most of 2 days while all nine of the people we traveled with (adults our age as well as our ‘kids’ in their 20’s)  hiked for hours. That was very emotionally painful for me.  I guess I squandered all of those possibilities when I was younger, because now, with pain, arthritis and a knee replacement, I can’t do it anyway. But I still have hopes for exploring and travel on more  level ground!   (Yosemite is our family favorite and honestly, I was supposed to be there this week!  But the trip got cancelled due to serious health problems with my brother in law who we were going to visit).  But anyway…..I think when it comes to hesitating,  yes physical challenge is one thing.  But I am also know I need to be content with some of my limitations.  It’s the emotional/spiritual ‘out of my comfort zone’ that makes me wish I was braver.   Regrets over….’why didn’t I say that to that person just now?’  ‘I meant to reach out and didn’t’.   But I am working on this at all levels.  I went SO FAR out of my comfort zone this summer, that it still blows my mind.  But I’m not at liberty to say what it was. 🙂  I did a whole high ropes course in the dark, in the dead of winter when I was a chaperone for my daughter’s class trip about 18 years ago.  We had to do stuff like crossing a thin cable 50 feet in the air or walking on an ice covered log that high up…of course, we were secured in our harnesses even if it didn’t feel like it!   And it ended with a fun, quick zip line into a snowbank.  🙂  I’ve always been glad I did that!  As I write this, I can’t believe it was that long ago.

  40. A. What gifts or possessions that God has given you do you tend to trust in instead of Him
    This is a big question and one I am even a bit shy to answer as it just reveals the ugliness of pride. The Lord has given me leadership giftings but so often I trust in them that I do not do things in His right order. I trust in myself so often. By far less often than I used to praise God for that. I want truth in my life and the truth when we see it hurts but I will take the pain to get to where He wants me to be not where I think I should be.  
    7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:7-11
    Talking also about pride and this is a little off subject but then again not. The enemy is so subtle in getting into our lives with us grabbing onto the prideful things in life. I listened to a testimony of Christy Cymbala  the daughter of Jim Cymbala the pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle and it just blew me away at how the enemy can come in so sneaky. I could so relate to so much of what she shared. I pray we can all see and be aware of his workings and stand against his tactics.The message was called “Crying Out for Prodigal Children”

    1. Liz, I so appreciate your heart: “the truth when we see it hurts but I will take the pain to get to where He wants me to be not where I think I should be” Praying for you now as you trust Him in this. 

    2. Liz….THANK you for the link to that message.  I am tucking it away so I can listen sometime.  Sounds so good.  

  41. 8. Challenge Question: Compare Romans 1:17-18 with Habakkuk 2:11-14 and see if you can find, in each:
    A. The way the righteous are to live     
    In the Romans passage, I see these four points about righteous living:
    1)  Righteousness is from God
    2)  Righteousness is revealed in the gospel
    3)  Righteousness is by faith
    4)  Righteousness is for everyone; from first to last
    My NIV footnote stated that righteousness is ‘the state of being right’ in relation to God.   Being righteous is from God...we have to acknowledge our dependence on God (no self righteousness)   We can accept God’s righteousness, be clothed in it only by faith.  We can’t will it or plan it or work for it.  We need to read and heed the gospel to know how to live righteously.  We must see others as all standing in need of righteousness through grace, and all are included in His love and His desire to save.
    Comparing this to Habakkuk 2:11-14:  It speaks of the peoples labor that all their hard work (to the point of exhausting themselves) is of no lasting value but only fuel for the fire.  Yet the whole earth will be filled with God’s glory; filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.     What I see here is comparable because it shows us that we must live, not by striving and working according to our own efforts but  honoring God by trusting in His knowledge  Only His Word will last.   
    This thought immediately brought be to Isaiah 40:8* ‘The grass withers. The flowers fall. But the Word of the Lord stands forever.‘    But then I looked up at Is. 40:1-7 and see such an affirmation of the Habakkuk passage.   
    “Comfort my people”, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her years of hard service have been completed!   that her sins have been paid for!  that she has received from the Lord double for all her sins.”……. and the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all mankind will see it together!  For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.  
    And then it goes on to talk about the withering grass and flowers and verse 8 * comes in.  
    These three passages read together make a strong and beautiful statement about our righteousness and salvation.   It is all by God’s grace and for His glory!

  42. 4. In Habakkuk 2:5b, what sin has pride led to?   Why do you think this happens?
    It has led to greed.   Pride makes a person constantly discontented, always wanting more, constantly seeking something to make the person feel better and build themselves up.  
    5. Describe the first WOE in Habakkuk 2:6-8.
    Woe to those who gather their material goods by stealing or by extortion of others, and also those who gain their wealth by plundering others.   Those who do this will find their wealth taken away from them and be at the mercy of their creditors.  Money in and of itself is not evil, but God condemns the love of riches and the acquiring of money by evil means.  
    6. Describe the second WOE in Habakkuk 2:9-11.
    Woe to those who build  their home by unjust gain (by plotting the ruin of other people).  Those who do this will bring shame on themselves and their family, and  they will lose their own life.  
    7. Describe the third WOE in Habakkuk 2:12-13.
    Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by injustice!   Babylon had obtained its riches from the misfortunes of others.  But those riches would not do them any good – they would only add fuel to the fire. It would not bring them happiness, and their victims would cry out against them.

  43. 4. In Habakkuk 2:5b, what sin has pride led to? Why do you think this happens?
    The sin is “gathering” others because of greed. They had pride in themselves so they thought they could do what they wanted (Reminds me of ISIS). They thought they deserved more than they really did. 
    When we we get so full of ourselves, we forget the truly import bits of life; relationships between people, family, friends. We think we are the one controlling the situation, the one in charge. 
    5. Describe the first WOE in Habakkuk 2:6-8.
    The first woe involves reaping what you have sown! It suggests that the people whom they plundered would come back to do the same to them.
    6. Describe the second WOE in Habakkuk 2:9-11.
    Again, these people have set themselves apart from others; this time they have ill-gotten gains that physically puts their property in a place away from the regular people. The woe is that they will be shamed because of their actions. People will see them for who they really are and God will know; He sees all. 
    This scripture reminds me of when ISIS “chased” the Ysidi (?) people to the top of Mount Sinjar (?) a couple of years ago. I think is is opposite though…the Ysidi’s weren’t the ones who were setting themselves apart because they were the evil ones, it was ISIS who forced them to be set apart. It was sad; elderly and young were dying. The scripture refers to the Chaldeans (ISIS) being “woed” (?!) they are the ones who are isolating themselves and would be shamed for doing it. 

  44. I was hoping to spend more time on this questions, but we are leaving for the mountains next week, and I doubt I’ll be able to connect much then. 
    Last week Susan and Jill initiated a good discussion about struggling with the idea of finding comfort in the fact that God will judge. Both have hearts of compassion and found this challenging. It is hard to think of God sweeping away the unrighteous. We’re going to have a whole week on this next week, but for now:
    9. What thoughts do you have?
    I commented last week that one of my favorite attributes of God is that He is a perfectly just God. I’ve tried to figure out why that is so important to me…why I cannot imagine loving a God who is anything but just. It is not that I even think about the particulars, I don’t imagine what He will do to those who practice evil, I don’t envision His fiery wrath against the unrighteous,though I know these things to be true. On a human, practical level, I only want to be led by a Leader who is trustworthy in His fairness and action. Different times in my life, I have been under passive leadership. It was an awful feeling. I had no security. I could not trust that when something wrong was happening, all would be dealt with fairly.There was no consistency, to me, it defined chaos. A lessor example, when I was first married, I remember a time when it was clear I had been wrongly treated. The details aren’t important, but my husband agreed something should be said—and yet, he couldn’t do it. He admits his own fear of man kept him from standing up for me. It was a really hard thing for me to forgive. I felt like the one who was supposed to protect me, had failed me. He cared more about himself than protecting me.  Thankfully the Lord has grown us both since then and on a more recent time, my husband did stand up for me, even with a family member! 
    It is more than knowing God is my Defender. My God will always deal fairly and justly in all of life, including with me, in His discipline. I just find such comfort, peace, in that. He is not swayed by emotion, and fear has no grip on Him. He acts in perfect, holy, love-based justice. All the time.  
    What is most important to me about this topic is that I see so much danger in our culture’s tendency to separate the attributes of God. We want to highlight His love and mercy, but you cannot have mercy if our God is not holy and just. To diminish His wrath against sin in any way, diminishes the Cross, and the weight of Christ’s sacrifice. If I think on particulars—people, situations, then yes, my heart hurts for the lost, especially family members. But I trust He is not only all just, but all good, all loving, holy and wise. I have to trust He knows what He is doing and that in exercising His wrath, His love is never absent. It is beyond my understanding, but I trust by faith that His ways are perfect.

  45. 7. Describe the third WOE in Habakkuk 2:12-13.
    The people will work hard by killing and sinning to take the city they want. I’m not sure that I understand the “punishment” as set with verse 13:
    “Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing?”
    ‭‭Habakkuk‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    The way it reads to me is that creating these ill-gotten cities will all be in vain. 
    8. Challenge Question: Compare Romans 1:17-18 with Habakkuk 2:11-14 and see if you can find, in each:
    A. The way the righteous are to live
    Romans – the righteous should live by faith
    Habakkuk –  waitlng with patience for the Lord
    B. The wrath of God against the unrighteous
    Romans – The wrath of God will prevail.
    HabukkukI’m not sure I understand this one….as I said above, is it that their ill-gotten gains will be ruined by God?