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Habakkuk’s Prayer

This political season in America is evidencing a decadence unparalleled in American history. Lying, bullying, and boasting is the norm. Though it would be easy to blame the candidates, we must remember that politics is almost always downstream from culture. Our political front-runners are a reflection of the pollution that has flowed down to them from our culture.

dirty waterPOLITICS IS DOWNSTREAM FROM CULTURE

So should it surprise us that as in the days of Noah, and as in the days of Habakkuk, that a holy God might “shake the earth” and in so doing, sift the wheat from the chaff? We know the prophecy of Habakkuk is a double vision prophecy, with both a near and far vision. We know the near prophecy was fulfilled. We don’t know when the far prophecy will be fulfilled, but we do know that Jesus told us to be alert to the “birth pangs,” and as we see decadence, natural disasters, and terrorist acts increasing in strength and frequency, we would be fools not to prepare our hearts.

This week my dear friends Ann and Sylvia are here, for their annual visit. (They have come to me for the 12 summers I have been without Steve.) They bless me abundantly with their love.

ann,sylvia,me2016Sylvia, Dee, and Ann (seated)

Sylvia’s daughter texted her, asking her what her blood type was, for she was standing in line in Orlando to give blood to help with the worst shooting disaster in American history. Sylvia’s nephew is a doctor who was helping with the injured, overwhelmed by the horror. This is not in a far away land. This is here.

We said to one another, “What is happening to our world?”

Ann and Sylvia came with me to my church, The Orchard, and we were all struck by something my pastor said. In the Greek, (and in many translations) Romans 8:26 says that the Spirit helps us to pray because we do not know what to pray. I’ve always thought that said how to pray. And while they are similar, the what turned a light on for me. For twelve years Ann, Sylvia, and I have prayed together — but primarily about circumstances. When we asked our adult children to send prayer requests, they asked to be married, or to have children, or to be employed. We ourselves have prayed for our own challenging circumstances to be remedied. And God has been so gracious in answering those prayers, giving us so often, though it often took years, our hearts’ desires.  AND PLEASE, DON’T THINK WE SHOULDN’T PRAY ABOUT CIRCUMSTANCES, for God tells us to cast our burdens, to make our desires known, and to practice dependence on Him. In fact, as Ann and Sylvia and I, and our children, look back upon so many specific answers to specific prayers, we are humbled that we belong to a God who is GOOD, who loves to give good gifts to His children.

AND YET, WE MUST NOT ONLY PRAY ABOUT CIRCUMSTANCES.

WHY?

The three of us have spoken against the “health and wealth gospel,” and treating God like a vending machine.

5.0
5.0

But though we know this, if we are praying primarily about God to remedy our circumstances, are we not falling subtly into this same error? Are we revealing we do not know what to pray? If God, as a good good Father, cares more about our hearts than our health, wealth, and even happiness, should not we as well? And indeed, if God is choosing once again to lead His people into the wilderness and to refine them through suffering, how will we respond when instead of rescuing us politically, or from terrorists, or from natural disasters, He brings “the Chaldeans?”

Will we simply be praying for “the Chaldeans” to go away?

That’s not what Habakkuk did.

Habakkuk shows us both what and how to pray when trouble comes so that we can be strong and sturdy, surviving like the deer who lives in the wilderness and needs to traverse treacherous mountains.

hindsfeetsalm-18-33-pps

hinds-feet-on-high-placesLast year when Ann and Sylvia came we determined to pray Scripture, to pray for our hearts, and the hearts of our children — as well as circumstances. As we reviewed those requests this year, we have seen growth, though it is harder to see spiritual change, for it is inward, than it is to see marriages, babies, employment, and improved health. But we do see evidences that God is at work in our hearts and the hearts of our loved ones: more peace, more passion, better relationships, and more joy, despite trouble. We are seeing more “fruit” in the vineyard. And so we continue on to pray Scripture for our hearts and our loved ones.

And as the birth pangs increase, we must learn to pray as Habakkuk did.

 SUNDAY:

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

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study

2.  Read Habakkuk 3:1-3 in your own translation and then in The Message.

1-2 A prayer of the prophet Habakkuk, with orchestra:

God, I’ve heard what our ancestors say about you,
and I’m stopped in my tracks, down on my knees.
Do among us what you did among them.
Work among us as you worked among them.
And as you bring judgment, as you surely must,
remember mercy.

3-7 God’s on his way again,
retracing the old salvation route,
Coming up from the south through Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.

A. Meditate and then comment on this:

“As you bring judgment, as you surely must, remember mercy.”

B.  How do you see both judgment and mercy at the cross?

C. When judgment falls, “as it surely must,” Habakkuk looks back at God’s “old salvation route.” Teman and Mount Paran (verse 3) were part of the wilderness, and repeatedly, (think Exodus, Hosea, Song of Songs) God leads His bride into the wilderness. What was His purpose in doing so, and how does this show us how and what we should be praying for in the wilderness?

D. Now, whatever wilderness you are now in, or your children are now in, or whatever wilderness may come, for what do you think it is most important to pray? Do so, here, for yourself and then for your loved ones.

Right after Steve’s diagnosis of cancer, God told him to “fight.” We thought it meant to fight the circumstances of cancer, but as time passed, Steve realized it was to fight the enemy who wanted him to despair of God, and to persevere to the end with faith. The Holy Spirit showed Steve what to pray. He prayed He would be faithful, that He would glorify God no matter how great the suffering became, and that if it was the end, he would end well. He prayed for His children to be children of great hearts, trusting God, no matter what. Steve did glorify God to the end, and how I remember his room in the Milwaukee hospital being filled with emotional doctors and nurses before he was helicoptered home to Nebraska to die — they saw Jesus in him and said they would never be the same. God answered Steve’s prayer for the Spirit showed him what to pray. For Steve “the Chaldeans” did not go away, but neither did they win. God made Steve’s feet like hinds’ feet in high places.

Steve in Robe

3. Compare Hab. 3:3-7 with Exodus 19:16-20. What do you see? What insight and comfort did this give Habakkuk?

4. Compare Hab 3:8-15 with Exodus 15:1-13. What do you see? What insight and comfort did this give Habakkuk?

5. How did remembering these things and repeating them in prayer help Habakkuk to be strong?

6. In a sentence, remember one time God showed His mercy and mighty hand to you.

7. Read Hab. 3:16-19

A. As the prophet waits for the “day of trouble,” find anything you can that expresses his emotions.

B. How, when everything is taken, is it possible to still rejoice?

C. How can this attitude give you hinds’ feet in high places?

Thursday-Friday Sermon

http://www.gospelinlife.com/rejoicing-in-tribulation-6016

8. Share your notes and comments.

Saturday:

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

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158 comments

  1. 1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    Determining to pray Scripture!  Praying for people’s HEARTS and their walk with God, relationship with Christ.  I began to learn this very early on in my Christian life as I perused my mom’s prayer journals…..filled to overflowing with meditation and prayer on the Word of God.  Then together with other mom’s in a group (at the time) called Moms In Touch.  When we gathered for prayer we NEVER “took requests”, but rather just began reading and praying through a Scripture….which of course then led into “circumstances” as well!  This created a HUNGER in me for Scriptural praying that has never gone away.  I have had seasons of shameful prayerlessness, but when returning to the Lord in repentance and prayer, my heart’s desire is to pray Scripture.  It’s very moving to study the New Testament Church at prayer and the Apostle Paul’s recorded prayers, etc……they are NOTHING like “my aunt Susie’s brother in law Jimmy has a cold…..”!  They were always Christ filled and God honoring and exalting!!  In SPITE of the circumstances.  🙂  
     
    One area of prayer that I am convicted of even as I read your words here this morning Dee, is our entire political “situation”……I have slacked off terribly in praying for our leaders and political candidates……ugh.  For who am I to know which one or ones perhaps the Lord might even be drawing to Himself in mercy?  I think the Lord has been bringing me to this place of repentance and prayer in this arena in MANY ways over the past week…..I am on a Facebook break these days….wonderfully refreshing and helping me to silence the noise of it all…..so that’s a start!  🙂  
     
    As always Dee,  thanks for the feast you set before us each week.  Deeply grateful.

    1. Oh I love how you pray, Jackie, the Scripture.  And you are right, most prayer in the New Testament is with regard to our hearts, rather than our circumstances.  Paul even prays that we will come to understand just how deep the Love of God is for us, in Christ.  I think when we truly grasp that, we can press on and press in through the worst of circumstances.  

    2. Jackie,
      Praying scripture ~  yes.   I have one friend here who truly knows how to pray scripture.  We have often gone for long walks with intermingling conversation with each other and the Lord as we walk.   She is a wellspring of scripture and one of such beautiful humility.
       
      This Audrey Assad song weaves Psalm 23 and has become, for me,  a prayer to sing:  
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8WgHGOak1c&list=RDm8WgHGOak1c#t=29

    3. Jackie-So love your testimony and can relate so! OH my..In regard to our political situation I too struggle. I am thinking I may need to change how I pray…my desire is for God to spare us from what is to inevitably come due to the inward decay of our Culture-but it is coming. Yet also to pray His will be done and to do whatever it takes to bring more to Himself and to grow us because the decay has infected us too. SO glad we can be confident He won’t give up on us- our heart problems and really we have to be willing to accept the pain in the cutting of our stones-I think we are too comfortable here in America-me too- which can put up too many distractions from our idols to us drawing nearer to Him. Habakkuk has been a wake up call to me in what seems to be a few years of me asking myself, “If everything were taken away, if Isis was going to chop my head off would I cling to and trust God?” I thought of the Sophie Scholl movie from her trial to when she put her head in the guillotine…could I be as faithful as she? OH I want to.

    4. Jackie, I have only recently learned to pray through scripture and its because of this blog! I LOVE IT!! in fact now that you reminded me of this I am going to do it right now ?. 

  2. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Oh, just everything stands out.  When I force myself to select one portion, this is what stands out:

    “If God, as a good good Father, cares more about our hearts than our health, wealth, and even happiness, should not we as well? And indeed, if God is choosing once again to lead His people into the wilderness and to refine them through suffering, how will we respond when instead of rescuing us politically, or from terrorists, or from natural disasters, He brings “the Chaldeans?” 
    Will we simply be praying for “the Chaldeans” to go away? 
    That’s not what Habakkuk did.
     

    I definitely am WISHING the Chaldeans would go away.  It would be a step in the right direction to PRAY that they would go away.  I am amazed at how God has been working in the hearts of some of the people in ISIS, and I do pray that He would continue to manifest Himself to draw people out of ISIS.  During recent years, it seems that He has been manifesting Himself to Muslims in unprecedented ways — or maybe it’s media coverage that is unprecedented ??   But mostly what is standing out to me in this passage is that God wants to use “the Chaldeans” to change my heart.  He has changed my heart through them, but I do go in kicking and screaming.  If those mountain goats in the photo would have been kicking and screaming, they would have tumbled down the mountain 🙂

    Periodically, I am amused when I take a “helicopter view” of what prayer requests (including mine) say about the church.  It seems as if we mostly are very sick people who travel a lot.  And yet, if those illnesses and fears draw us to Him, they can begin to shape our hearts.  I still want the Chaldeans to go away, though  — since they haven’t, I’ll probably move from one group of Chaldeans to another!

    Hi to Ann and Sylvia, too. Enjoy your time together.

    1. OH Renee!  I’m about to go out the door to church….but I had to stop and rejoice in what you have offered us here!!  SO pithy.  Your helicopter view of our prayers made me laugh out loud……”It seems as if we mostly are very sick people who travel a lot.  And yet, if those illnesses and fears draw us to Him, they can begin to shape our hearts.”   AMEN!!  And oh, to pray for the “Chaldeans” (ISIS?) in our lives……exactly how Jesus, Paul and the whole of Scripture teaches us to pray……such good words from you this morning.  Thank you!

    2. Oh Renee ~  You always make me smile 🙂

    3. Renee,   I actually chuckled aloud at your description of the mountain goats going kicking and screaming (and tumbling down the mountain)!    My husband  prays that the Lord will “eliminate Isis.      I tend to feel that when one evil group is eliminated, another one seems to move right into that place.    So I find myself praying for the Lord to “thwart the efforts of the evildoers”!      

  3. I have spent the morning reading all the posts from last week and realize just what I miss when I only answer the questions of the study! Sometimes it’s difficult to get to it all and that makes me sad.
     
    BTW – Lizzy (again) posted GOLD with an article of Keller’s, on hell. DEE – please post here?
     
    Here is what I appreciate about the blog….Deanna and her wonderful scripture references that SO helped me understand better. Susan with her thoughtful responses to each question. Wanda with her digging and digging into each resource (although you are much nicer and accepting of others than I am ?). Jackie, sweet Jackie! You uplift everyone with your smiley tone and excellent references to scripture (so jealous you can quote “from the hip!” Jill who honestly questions herself, and us for that matter (not in a bad way)! Lizzy who is persistent and doesn’t give up. All the others whom I know I should mention but I need to get my be-hiney out of bed and get to church now!!! Thank you, thank you all for helping me understand! When I go back and read my posts I feel so dumb ?. I have learned:
     
    spiritual gifts – prophecy, extortion, teaching, mercy, leading, service and contribution.
     
    – some people think all will go to heaven no matter what (?).
     
    – “true” teachers hold camp when the doctrine is threatened by false prophets. (A spiritual gift of theirs)
     
    jesus talks about hell a lot!
     
    and so much more that I can’t list here because of time. this week I will read as I go….I encourage others to as well. It makes the study that much more meaningful.

    1. Laura – what an UPLIFTING post from you today!  🙂  And I agree about the Keller article on hell that Lizzy posted last night…..read it late last night and ALL OF US should read this!!!  It is so helpful and really kind of puts a wrap on last week’s study!  
       
      And I can NEVER fathom why you feel “dumb” – you ask some of the BEST questions, the most needful, on this entire blog!!  I cannot number the times I will read one of your questions and think “that is a GREAT question!”.  And one of the draws for me to this particular study blog years ago was the quality of Dee’s questions…..so you are in good company!  
      And it is so right that we celebrate one another and how the Spirit uses each of us in His way to sharpen one another!  I appreciate your reminder there…….
       
       
       

    2. Laura, “ditto” to Jackie and Dee….I think you ask things we all may be thinking but are afraid to say. And you have a directness about you that just gets right to the point!

    3. Laura-dancer, I have the opposite problem. I start by reading the comments and find I haven’t much to add that’s all that brilliant. These gals here are so wise! I’m learning so much. 

  4. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    The photograph of you with your faithful friends, Dee.   For the Lord has given me a small band of faithful friends during this particularly trying time in my life  (one of them is from here on the blog and she has been such a voice of encouragement, clarity and insight)
     
    Oh, how we need each other when we become disoriented and discouraged.  
     
    I am a Wyoming girl who lives in Montana, so I have often seen these mountain goats.   This photo made me stop and think.  They don’t seem panicked about their “predicament”.   (They probably don’t even view it as a predicament.)  And the Lord made them in such a way that they can exist in these dangerous circumstances.   Anywhere there are mountain goats, the view is breathtaking.      But I’m not a mountain goat and I don’t like heights so I often miss the view for all my fear.   We surely do need the Lord Himself to give us the hinds feet for these high places.    And the daily water and manna for this wilderness.   

    1. Oh Nila.  Earlier this morning when I first read your words about the mountain goats (straight from your mountain girl soul!) I had this little humming and buzzing sense in my spirit as I read…..I know, not eloquent!  But the Spirit seems to alert me sometimes in that way…..”pay attention here!”…..you gave me MUCH to chew on – and there was a direct connect to the message from our missionary speaker at church yesterday too.  How I loved your perspective that their predicament is not really a predicament at all!  Wow.  How I needed that wide lens perspective from the Lord on my own “predicaments” this morning.  THANK YOU.  🙂  
       
      But I almost choked on my coffee when I read this “But I’m not a mountain goat”!!  The words that followed were so rich and important, but I just HAD to have a good laugh first of all!  And those words made it into my journal this morning too…..I think they are going to be used of the Lord time and again throughout my days.  🙂  

  5. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    What and how to pray…I have always prayed for specific things in my life and for my family and friends. Lately, I am only praying that my children find their way back to Jesus. If they have Him then they will be equipped with all they need to manage their lives well. I do t know when or how it will happen, but I do know God will prevail if He sees fit. I also must learn to bear the weight of not being answered in this life, as Job did. I may not ever see the work of His hand here on earth, and I must be okay with that. It is hard.

  6. What stands out?
     
    I truly agree with Dee’s statement: “If God, as a good good Father, cares more about our hearts than our health, wealth, and even happiness, should not we as well?” Nothing draws me closer to God than hard times, though I do not WANT them.  
     
    God seems to have put me into a “silent” mode as far as this blog is concerned for now. Though I love many of you here, and each week, for a long time, I have read Dee’s study and tried to comment and follow along, yet it seems I cannot. I have been blessed with an opportunity to study God’s Word with Dee and you all. Now I am taking a hermeneutics course this year and my study time needs to be focused there for now. I took last week and did not even follow along here. I hope to keep reading here and occasionally commenting but must turn my flagging energies elsewhere. God bless you all as you study His Word to discern his will. 
    My daughter, Krista, has completed her course and has moved home here. She loved her Early Childhood Education course and did really well. I have seen a growth in maturity in her. Pray for a job for her please. We will have a busy summer with her boys here quite a bit. Life moves on. I am grateful for our Facebook page where we can keep in touch with prayer requests.

    1. Diane, we always miss you when you’re not “here”! Thanks for letting us know how Krista is doing and I am happy you’ll get lots of time with your grandchildren this summer. Will pray for Krista, for just the right job!

    2. Diane – Your presence here will be sorely missed.  🙁  But I see in you a fine example of Hebrews 12:1&2…..you have such discernment to see the vision of the race that God has marked out for YOU to run!  Despite what you term your “flagging energies”, I surely see PERSEVERANCE in you.  🙂  You are “staying in your lane” in this race that He has given you….and the blessings that will spill over to your dear ones and so many others are inestimable!!  And please share my congratulations to Krista on finishing her course so well!!!  I just prayed for her along with you according to this Hebrews passage…..when I first started here on the blog, Krista’s life was SO HARD and she was in the midst of a terrible storm.  I know that this new normal must still be so difficult many times……but God DOES bring beauty from ashes, and He is doing so for Krista it seems!  

      1. Ditto to all said here, Diane; you will be missed. So glad to hear of Krista and the course completion! I will pray for her to find a wonderful job ?

    3. You are such a dear person, Diane!  Praying for your daughter to find a job!

    4. Thanks, ladies, to those who have commented here and those who haven’t but  who I know remember my daughter and I in your prayers. Krista had a wonderful graduation day yesterday. She was so pleased to get honours. We took her boys out of school for the event and then went to a nearby lovely wooded park with a play area for lunch, photos and a time to play. Even my Dad and step-mom plus son Joel came for the event. Lots of lovely pictures and I have posted a few on my Facebook page. Thanks so much for your prayers. She is hoping to get a full time job, but even now is getting some casual work. God is a good, good Father!

  7. 1. What struck me… How much harder it is to pray for spiritual change, but how much more lasting, and I can’t help but believe that it is also pleasing to our Father.
     
    2. How can God ignore abortion, abuse, rape, greed, injustice, idolatry, and the list goes on.  When we are close to the sinful person we can often feel God and His compassion.  We can see how lost they are and how sin around them encouraged them to do wrong.  So we want accountability for wrongs done against us or ours.  But we don’t want too much accountability when it is ourselves in the spotlight.  Then we want mercy.  And we end up conflicted.  God’s answer in Jesus is complete, perfect, and final, but not easy.
    judgement and mercy at the cross…Christ bore terrible pain, betrayal and shame.  And then the worst, having the Father turn His back.  But Jesus took it willingly (no man takes my life, I lay it down of my own accord).  He did it to provide mercy for each person who says.. I get it.  It should have been me on the cross.  Thank You Jesus for dying for me and making it as though I had died.  And from now on I want to live for You alone.  
    God leads His bride into the wilderness sometimes to lead a person to Himself, or to show us the deepest part of ourselves, or to experience more of Him and be changed by that, or to benefit someone else (I can share with those who are afflicted the comfort I have received, and maybe to show Satan God’s glory and power.
    it is so important to pray for people’s relationship with God, for their relationships with family, that every experience will become an opportunity to turn it over to Jesus and see it change to bring us good and bring glory to Christ.
     
    3. I especially liked v3-4,  Rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden.  I think of Jesus as being not only AT the Father’s right hand, but BEING the right hand of God.  And God’s power was hidden in Christ from the creation of the world until the resurrection, when the rays flashed out and spread the light of the gospel everywhere.

    1. Mary – I loved your entire #2 answer….especially took note of your words about God sometimes leading His Bride into the wilderness…..were you with us here for the study on Song of Songs?  We did ponder the wilderness.  A place of incredible opportunity to begin to long for intimacy with Christ.  

      1. Yes, I was with for the Song.  Thank you for the kind words.

  8. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    ” AND PLEASE, DON’T THINK WE SHOULDN’T PRAY ABOUT CIRCUMSTANCES”        My immediate thought is:   of course we shouldn’t think that, because we are to have an intimate relationship with our Lord,  talking  with Him  (that is what prayer is) and telling him what is near and dear to our heart.  Circumstances are what our lives seems to be made of, and I think it is expected that we should talk to the Lord about circumstances.  

  9. I am touched deeply by your friends visit and the praying you do together. It is such a blessing to pray together. I have a friend from my time in Vermont who always got together for prayer. We think alike and share so much spiritually. Your focus this year is so good. The practice of praying scripture is helping me so much to keep my focus on God and not on my requests.
    Today I heard the In Touch program on prayer and so many points go along with your comments. This book of Habakkuk is so relevant and I’m thankful for the study we are doing.

  10. Just a note:     I just want to tell Dawn that her questions and comments touched me deeply last week.  I resonate with so much of what she said.  The doctrine of hell is by far the hardest thing for me to come to terms with in the Christian faith.  And I’ve explained those reasons many times so I’m not going back there now, but just wanted to let Dawn know that I hear her struggle.   And feel it too.  It has never been something I’ve ‘worn’ easily. Especially, the way you worded your questions, Dawn. I have felt all of those, the very same; even though the basic doctrine, I accept.
     I was gone at the end of the week, with no internet, so just saw her final comments now.  
    (I even got to have lunch and a nice talk with Renee on Saturday.  🙂  )   That was a great part of my weekend away. 
    Will be leaving for 3 days this week too, without internet, so I don’t think I’ll even try to write here.  I’ll try to read some.  
    There’s a lot that fits into the ‘What stands Out’ question, as always.  But I will try to stay silent this week.  
     

    1. Wanda – I agree with you about Dawn’s piercing questions last week about hell….it takes some courage to bluntly, yet respectfully admit to specific struggles with hard topics. Dawn did that well!  I wonder if you have had a chance to read the article by Keller on hell?  Lizzy posted it late on Saturday and it is excellent.  
       
      Your comments last week were as thoughtful as it gets and I will miss your participation this week.  🙁    But, to be honest, three days without internet sounds kind of heavenly – enjoy!  Grateful for you and Renee connecting over the weekend too!  

    2. If anyone looks back at last week, look at Dawn’s last post near the end. I love how she has determined to trust the Lord even though she cannot understand all His ways (and couldn’t we all say that).

    3. Thanks to all of you for your kind comments both this week and last. I debated all week about posting that comment. I didn’t want my struggle to be a stumbling block to others and pray that it isn’t.

      1. Dawn, you gave voice to what many of us have thought. Thanks!

  11. A. Meditate and then comment on this:  “As you bring judgment, as you surely must, remember mercy.”WOW! I LOVE this — and I do like The Message better than ESV which says “in wrath remember mercy.”  The word “you” in The Message personalizes and helps it sink in.  This verse is SO comforting.  God is holy, and He will bring judgment.  Judgment is necessary.  His mercy reminds me that everything (i.e., “I” 😉 ) will be okay.  This will sound crazy, but the verse almost makes me WANT his judgment — because I want to know Him; I want HIM, his holiness; I want His “kingdom [to] come, His will [to] be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”  But I know that I would be toast in the face of His holiness if it weren’t for His amazing mercy and grace.
     
    B.  How do you see both judgment and mercy at the cross?  Jesus bore the wrath/judgment of God through his suffering and death.  His mercy is reflected in Rom 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”   We are blessed with God’s mercy because Jesus satisfied His judgment; He was/is holy.

    I hadn’t heard this song for years, but thought of the chorus of “At Calvary” when I read the verse above as written in The Message.  “Mercy there was great, and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me; There my burdened soul found liberty, At Calvary.”  (I can visualize/hear the soloist singing it from when I was about 10 yrs old!)

    1. Renee!   I remember that song “At Calvary” from MY childhood too!!  Golden.  Thanks for the memory.  🙂  You prompted me to look at the Message version for v.2 and I loved “I’m stopped in my tracks, down on my knees.”  But for some reason (coming back to our spiritual gifts again maybe????) “in wrath remember mercy” is a phrase from the ESV that really speaks deeply to me…..in fact, it’s been one of my prayers for years!  🙂  

  12. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    Quite a lot stands out! The opening comment about how politics and politicians reflect what is going on in the culture is very interesting to ponder. I do believe there is such an undercurrent of ANGER in today’s culture and we see it in the political arena and many people feed off of it. Here is maybe a silly example, but I took my daughter for an overnight trip to “Amish country”. As we drove about an hour to get there, we encountered on the highways the many impatient drivers who passed us, often with impatient gestures (we notice that a lot!). Contrast – Saturday morning as we set out from our inn, we got behind several buggies. One open-air buggy contained an older Amish man who was resting his arm over the back of the seat and he was looking around at the beautiful, serene scenery of the early morning. We couldn’t pass him for a bit due to the curving, twisting roads. I think my speedometer was about 2 mph. But oh, even my daughter appreciated the peaceful atmosphere of where we were.
     
    Love the photo of you, DEE, and your dear friends. What a blessing….enjoy your time with them! The “Jesus vending machine” picture also says a lot. Thinking about what we pray about is so good, too. Circumstances, or hearts. And I agree that praying Scripture is powerful; it’s a “springboard” to prayer, taking that phrase from Dee! (I did smile at Renee’s above post about we must be people who are sick and travel a lot. I think of the many requests I’ve posted here and on FB to try to keep up with my sons’ travels, and there’s more coming! My oldest told us yesterday that he and his friend are planning to go to London next year to see their favorite soccer team play….I’m worrying already:))

  13. 2. Read Habakkuk 3:1-3 in your own translation and then in The Message.
     
    A. Meditate and then comment on this: “As you bring judgment, as You surely must, remember mercy.”
     
    This made me think of the times when men pleaded with God to remember mercy. Abraham asking the Lord to spare the cities where his nephew Lot was living if there be only a few righteous found there (I think he got it down to ten), and God agreeing (yet He couldn’t even find ten). In His mercy, He spared Lot and his family. When God was angry at His people and said He wouldn’t continue to go with them, and Moses pleading with God not to abandon them.
    Isaiah 54:8 says, “In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer.” I know I need to cast myself upon His mercy. It is His mercy that assures me that I can.
     
    B. How do you see both judgment and mercy at the cross?
     
    I see judgment in that, in Max Lucado’s words, as Jesus became guilty of every sin committed, imagine the words, “Guilty!”echoing through heaven. I do not see Jesus receiving mercy on the Cross. He had to bear the full brunt of God’s wrath. The mercy is that it is not me on the Cross. Not that I could bear the guilt of the sin of the world, but how could I even endure the punishment for my own sin?
    Going back to last week’s discussion, though, I see how this just trips people up. The Cross was horrible – how is it that it displays mercy? I can’t even really understand it. I can read it in the Bible, say I believe it, but deep down I ask, “God, wasn’t there another way?” Perhaps deep down, mankind just doesn’t want to believe that we’re really that bad. Sin, death, crosses – do they have a part in our “modern world”?

  14. …. God leads His bride into the wilderness. What was His purpose in doing so, and how does this show us how and what we should be praying for in the wilderness?  (Deep breath).  I’ve been thinking about this for about an hour — and am not sure exactly how to respond.  It seems like the wilderness is a place where His bride (eventually) sees that He is all they have.  It is an “opportunity” to know Him and his purpose — and purge ways of the past, ways of the world.  Yesterday, the sermon was from Deuteronomy — and how it was a new generation, the ones who weren’t entrenched in the ways of Egypt (pastor said it better!) who would see the promised land.  The wilderness purifies his people — and even without “regular” distractions, seeing Him does not come naturally.  I’d like to approach the wilderness as if I were camping in a luxury camper — with the conveniences of home and without some of the distractions.  But it is that camper and my wanting to maintain control that prevent me from seeking His purpose, His glory.  The wilderness strips me of control and of “stuff.”  When I focus on Him, I have to pray “in wrath remember mercy.”

    1. Oh Renee, this is funny (but true!) “I’d like to approach the wilderness as if I were camping in a luxury camper….”

  15. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    I love how God has led Dee to lead us through Habakkuk..this is so important!! We need this now. The second thing is praying about circumstances but also praying about heart issues, and Dee’s story about her pastor helping her to see that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in ‘what’ to pray.
    I love that in that passage in Romans God says the Spirit helps us in our weakness by interceding for us with groans too deep…that is a huge comfort to me!
     

    1. Agreed. There are so many times when I just don’t know what to pray. I try to think thru what would be best in this situation and still can’t come to an answer. As I struggle to come up with what I think should happen and then to pray for that, I realize I don’t know anything… and I’m so thankful for this verse in Romans that assures me, I don’t have to figure it out first then pray… I can just pray. And knowing the Holy Spirit is interceding and putting my thoughts into His words, gives me great comfort. I can’t screw this up. He’s got it.
       

  16. 2.  Read Habakkuk 3:1-3 in your own translation and then in The Message.
     
    A. Meditate and then comment on this:
    “As you bring judgment, as you surely must, remember mercy.”
     
    Habakkuk knew that it was inevitable that God was going to judge and chastise/discipline Judah.  I think Habakkuk trusted God in that process, but still Habakkuk dreaded the experience.   You will note that Habakkuk did not ask for God to change His mind about disciplining the people of Judah, but he did know that God could show mercy, and he begs for that.   Habakkuk knew Judah was going to learn a lesson, but he hoped for God’s mercy in seeing them safely to the other side of His judgment.
     
    B.  How do you see both judgment and mercy at the cross?
     
    God saw that mankind was full of sin, and He could not just ignore that and let it go. God had to bring his judgment upon the sin, which His holiness could not allow.   He showed mercy in that He had a plan for Jesus to come and bear our sins on the cross.  

    C. When judgment falls, “as it surely must,” Habakkuk looks back at God’s “old salvation route.” Teman and Mount Paran (verse 3) were part of the wilderness, and repeatedly, (think Exodus, Hosea, Song of Songs) God leads His bride into the wilderness. What was His purpose in doing so, and how does this show us how and what we should be praying for in the wilderness?
     
    I think His purpose was to “shape them up.”   The Hebrews wandered for 40 years in the wilderness, because they just couldn’t get it right.  Because God loved them, He kept working with them — teaching them to trust Him (for manna and water, for instance), and to obey Him (spelling out his wishes in the Ten Commandments).   God about lost it with them when they made the golden calf, but Moses was able to intercede and negotiate for God’s mercy.   Today we are going through our various types of wilderness, and we need to pray for God to have mercy upon us and for His guidance and leading so we get through our wildernesses. 

    D. Now, whatever wilderness you are now in, or your children are now in, or whatever wilderness may come, for what do you think it is most important to pray? Do so, here, for yourself and then for your loved ones.
     
    Dear God, we are so humbled when we realize there is a great gap between what you want for us and where we are.   We can only gasp out “Have mercy, Lord!”     We know you are in charge, so we will try not to panic no matter how long and remote the wilderness becomes.  Please just hold my whole family in the palm of your hand, and give us strong guidance, so we may come out on the other side victorious and praising your name!   Amen. 

  17. Sorry — long, had to process!! (didn’t have to post, though.  Feel free to ignore 😉 )Another deep breath.  I just re-read the intro again, was reminded of something I saw last week, and then did a little research.  I may be hyper-sensitive because I was scared into becoming a Christian (multiple times) as a kid because the end times were here then — and because of familiarity with SD reservations and history here.  Here is another phrase that stood out to me (and I saw it online last week, too): “the worst shooting disaster in American history.”  Then, last week I saw a photo with the caption that the massacre at Wounded Knee was the largest mass shooting — and more people did die through shooting at Wounded Knee than in the Orlando night club, as horrific as it was.So, I did very preliminary Google “research” and learned that many of the things that are labeled worst or most are true only if we consider the U.S. timeline as starting after WWII.  (and I would guess even later for people of color).  Anyhow, I know that in SD, rates of everything bad were worse way back when.  Sioux Falls was the divorce capital of the country, and the Wild West wasn’t exactly safe or sin-free.  A few of the worst mass killings in the U.S.:-1890:  Wounded Knee Massacre, on the Pine Ridge reservation:  ~62 women and children were murdered (shot)– plus men; greater than 150 total.  Many of the tribal massacres (including those prior to that time) were not war as we know it (and also involved more deaths than in Orlando, which was horrific).  Victims were unarmed and starving.  
    -1917:  East St Louis Riot/Massacre-  between 40 and 150 African American men, women and children killed (not sure they all were shot though)
    -1923: Tulsa, OK  (Black Wall Street) up to 300 men, women & children murdered
    -1929: Rosewood, FL — up to 300 men, women & children murdered (not all shot, though, some bludgeoned)
    I guess it’s not surprising that so many Negro Spirituals focused on heaven or glory.  SO, next step:  Google Negro Spirituals and heaven 🙂  (very interesting article ! by George Faithful, 2007 https://www.slu.edu/Documents/arts_sciences/theology/final_george2.pdf)

    In the spirituals, we see forgiveness embraced through the cross of Christ, awe expressed toward God the Father, ecstasy in light of salvation, self-respect because of slaves’ new identity in the family of God, ethical earnestness in light of God’s coming judgment, and hope in light of eternal life in heaven.
     
    The Negro spirituals had a coherent theological content, but they did not make mere theoretical assertions. They each had practical applications, both implicit and explicit. Because God was their father, Christian slaves could rest content that He would provide. Because Christ’s suffering had meaning, they knew that their suffering was not in vain. Because of the reality of the fall, they knew that their trials were not their fault and that they had a supernatural enemy. Because of the hope of heaven, they knew that they were bound for a true, lasting, peaceful home. Because of the necessities of holy living, they knew that they must struggle against their own desires in order to please God. Slaves found both great consolation and impetus for action in the spirituals. Full of joy and sorrow, the Negro spirituals were sermons in song.

    One aspect of Negro spirituals that I particularly appreciate is the practical application for day to day living.   I tend to grasp onto talk of end times or heaven as sort of an escape hatch — and sometimes lose sight of the day to day faithfulness (God’s and ours) when I read about this being end times.  Recognizing the bloody past of the U.S. and the extreme suffering that people suffered for decades both within our borders as well as overseas helps me recognize the importance of faithfulness and forgiveness in the long term.  God always is faithful — and now I’m thinking that I might tune into some of those old spirituals to tune me up. 

    1. Renee, this is an awesome post. How qujckly we forget the past and the horrendous crimes against minority peoples. The spirituals are so beautiful and share the deepest feelings. Many wilderness times when people pressed in to God and his promises.

    2. I’m glad I didn’t ignore your post. 
      So much suffering all around throughout time. And, I complain about some of the most minute things. It’s humbling to be reminded of those who went before us who suffered and endured, persevered, and found peace and comfort in the cross of Christ! I am inspired by their stories! Thanks for sharing!
       

  18. 3. Compare Hab. 3:3-7 with Exodus 19:16-20. What do you see? What insight and comfort did this give Habakkuk?
     
    Habakkuk is awaiting the judgment that God has promised to bring upon Judah.  However, he still realizes how awesome God’s power is, and how God can give them strength to get through it.  In the Exodus passage,  Moses is leading the people out to “meet with God.”   They stood at the foot of the mountain and waited, and God descended on the mountain in fire and smoke. Once again they realized the double-edged sword — on the one hand, God’s power for wrath was powerful, but also so was God’s strength to help them through it all.   
     
     
    4. Compare Hab 3:8-15 with Exodus 15:1-13. What do you see? What insight and comfort did this give Habakkuk?
     
    The passage in Habakkuk tells how there are hard times — times when God is angry — not with elements of nature, but with the people. Crop failure and the death of animals would devastate Judah.  However, Habakkuk took hope in God’s sovereignty and strength, and it made Habakkuk want to rejoice and praise God, because he realized that God was still in charge. 
     
    In the Exodus passage, we have the songs of Moses and Miriam — songs of victory after they had been delivered from the hands of the Egyptians by God parting the sea.   The Hebrew people had to remind themselves time and again of “what God had done for their ancestors”  in the past, and each time it gave them new hope and trust in God.    
     
     
    5. How did remembering these things and repeating them in prayer help Habakkuk to be strong?
     
    It was helpful to Habakkuk and it is helpful to us to inventory the times God has helped us through tough circumstances in the past, and to be able to say “God did it before, and He can do it again!”     

  19. perfect timing- just last night I was thinking “are these really the candidates America has to choose from ” but I love Dee’s reminder that they are a “reflection of the pollution that has flowed down from our culture”. Excited to be back for the summer

    1. So glad to “see” you here again Natalie!

    2. We are excited to have you here for the Summer! 🙂

  20. B.  How do you see both judgment and mercy at the cross? God’s judgement was made known through His turning away from Jesus as he bore our sins. The mercy was oh so great!! Through His mercy we are free from punishment because Jesus bore our sins and became our sacrifice!
     
    C. When judgment falls, “as it surely must,” Habakkuk looks back at God’s “old salvation route.” Teman and Mount Paran (verse 3) were part of the wilderness, and repeatedly, (think Exodus, Hosea, Song of Songs) God leads His bride into the wilderness. What was His purpose in doing so, and how does this show us how and what we should be praying for in the wilderness? The purpose of the wilderness is to expose our weaknesses. He uses it to bring to our attention those things that we were depending on instead of Him.
    It shows us that we should be praying for freedom from our idols, our total desire and need must be for Him alone.
     
    D. Now, whatever wilderness you are now in, or your children are now in, or whatever wilderness may come, for what do you think it is most important to pray? Do so, here, for yourself and then for your loved ones.
    The most important thing to me that we pray for is that whatever may come we will cling to and depend on Christ and Christ alone.
    Dear Heavenly Father I thank you for all that you have provided for me and for my family. I pray that as I reflect on the ways that you have faithfully brought me through troubles in the past, it will give me encouragement and faith to trust you with my future. I pray that my sons will remember your faithfulness to us and that I will be bold in proclaiming your faithfulness to the future generations.

      1. I did 🙂

  21. A. Meditate and then comment on this: 
    “As you bring judgment, as you surely must, remember mercy.”
     
    I suppose the writer is lamenting to not be too harsh on those who sin and who aren’t repentant; for them to suffer but not too much.
     
    B.  How do you see both judgment and mercy at the cross? 
     
     
    I see the sinners next to Jesus as being the judged and the forgiven. The one sinner turned away from Jesus and I believe even said something derogatory toward him? The other sinner asked for Jesus to remember him in “His kingdom.” Jesus replied that he would.
     
    “One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!” But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this.”
     
    Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.” He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.””
    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:39-43‬ ‭MSG‬‬
     

  22. C. When judgment falls, “as it surely must,” Habakkuk looks back at God’s “old salvation route.” Teman and Mount Paran (verse 3) were part of the wilderness, and repeatedly, (think Exodus, Hosea, Song of Songs) God leads His bride into the wilderness. What was His purpose in doing so, and how does this show us how and what we should be praying for in the wilderness?
     
    He wants us to long for Him. On earth we know this as true love; when we can’t be with our loved one and we desperately miss him. He wants us to see what it is like without Him, and to not want to be without Him ever. The wilderness is a scary, lonely place. Why would we want to be there?!

  23. C. When judgment falls, “as it surely must”, Habakkuk looks back at God’s “old salvation route”. Teman and Mount Paran (verse 3) were part of the wilderness, and repeatedly, (think Exodus, Hosea, Song of Songs) God leads His bride into the wilderness. What was His purpose in doing so, and how does this show us how and what we should be praying for in the wilderness?
     
    I believe God’s purpose in leading His bride into the wilderness is to show her that she must be totally dependent upon Him. I looked back at Hosea 2:14, which comes after a description of the people’s idolatry, that they did not acknowledge that it was the Lord who “gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold – which they used for Baal.” The ancient people, and we/I today, forget that it is God who gives us everything. We not only do not acknowledge that everything we have is from Him, but we take what He gives and spend it on worthless things – not just our money, but our time, our talents. We get into the trap of living for ourselves. A wilderness cannot sustain life. It is there that He takes His bride, to show us that those idols we’ve been clinging to and counting on can do nothing for us. In the wilderness, the truth screams, “Where are you idols now? Can they help you?” Yet, God doesn’t abandon his bride to perish in the wilderness. In Hosea 2:14, God says that He will lead her into the desert where He will “allure her and speak tenderly to her”. There is the judgment along with the mercy. He wants to bring us out, as in The Songs, “Who is this coming up from the desert, leaning on her lover?” If I really took this to heart, I could begin to see wilderness times as a place without distractions, a place to lean into Him, a place to seek His forgiveness and sweet companionship, a place to listen for His tender words of love and forgiveness to me.
    A small example of this: I can get caught up in small inconsequential things, like thinking about what new haircut I should get (not that that’s inherently wrong, but becoming overly focused on appearance could be feeding an idol), or something I want to buy. When my mom had her stroke and I was sitting in her hospital room, those things weren’t on my mind; they didn’t matter. My mom and dad used to be a great source of security and even approval for me. The one night I spent at the hospital, my mom became so confused to the point that she didn’t even know who I was. She also was trying to pull things out and get out of bed, and she hit me and said some really mean things to me. I know she didn’t know what she was doing, but it hurt. I felt very much “in the wilderness”. I felt very alone and honestly, God seemed very, very far away. At times like that, it can be hard to know how or what to pray. I have to shamefully admit that on the inside, I was hurt and even angry at my mom. I knew she couldn’t help it, but most likely my idols had “taken a hit” and I had trouble dealing with it.
     
    I’m thinking that it is important to pray that I would have a heart that will respond to Him in the wilderness. I know the wilderness is meant to break us, in some way, to show us our need for Him. The bride in Hosea must have responded rightly because God says that she will “sing as in the days of her youth” and that she will call Him “my husband”. I see danger in that as Dee has taught us, Satan will whisper his lies to get us to back away from God because we will think He doesn’t love us. I believe the Scriptures can help us in knowing how to pray. If we don’t have the words, which I often don’t, we can pray Scripture and speak the truth to our own souls, too. I would want to pray for a heart that will allow Him to remove from me what shouldn’t be there, even though it hurts, and for a soft heart that will respond to Him in obedience.

    1. Susan, I love your honesty-this is one of MANY things I love in you. WHen you mentioned the bride in Hosea-my heart lept. 🙂 OH that passage hit me…and I thought of SONG OF SONGS!! This is the Gospel!! :))) 
      Hosea 2: 13-15 “I will punish her for the days of the Baals When she used to offer sacrifices to them And adorn herself with her earrings and jewelry, And follow her lovers, so that she forgot Me,” declares the LORD.14“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness And speak kindly to her. 15″Then I will give her her vineyards from there, And the valley of Achor as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
       
       
       

    2. Oh wow! Susan, thank you for the review of the different scriptures! How soon I forget ?. I can understand that pain to which you refer with your mother. Although my mom didn’t go through the same situation, I did feel sad when I was trying to help her exercise and eat healthy (by having my own PT with her and cooking diabetic meals) to have her reject my food and tell me she didn’t feel like doing the exercises. It made me sad too. I know that is different than being called names and not knowing who you are, but it still hurt a bit. 
       
      This particularly resonated with me:
      “The ancient people, and we/I today forget that it is God who gives us everything. We not only do not acknowledge that everything we have is from Him, but we take what He gives and spend it on worthless things – not just our money, but our time, our talents.”
       
      thank you.
       

    3. Susan, your answer touches my heart.
      Your example of being with your mother when she was confused is so special. Wilderness experiences are all unique, yet I remember times with my mother that were somewhat similar. That was one of my wilderness times as well.
      Your prayer that God would soften your heart and that you would respond in obedience is excellent. I pray for this as well.

      1. Thank you Shirley, for your understanding of my wilderness time with my mom.

  24. 2 A. Meditate and then comment on this:
    “As you bring judgment, as you surely must, remember mercy.”
    To me the Gospel is about His Presence and so this is huge. I am lingering on what Lizzy said last week that His Justice and Mercy are never without His Love. Truly understanding the crux of where Mercy and Justice meet on the Cross-??? I hope I don’t ever think I fully ‘get it’ or get bored by it because I will miss the depths of His Holy Love that are inexhaustible.  
     
     

    1. I had another thought…God’s love was shown in his judgment on Israel for their idolatry. He furiously loves them and to see them finding satisfaction and pleasure with their idols over Him hurt Him and because He is Holy-it angered Him..He was showing real jealousy bent from a furious love for his people. His jealousy runs a lot deeper than man…and so does His Jealousy for me-for us here on the blog-it runs deep yet we won’t face His judgment when we sin for He took that on the Cross and rose again.oh..He may discipline us which is totally different than judgment for He uses it to change us into His Image more and more but to know that none of my failures will change the fact that I am His and He is in me-His presence in me and I can enjoy Him..and that whatever happens in my life with my sin nature that bends away-which I hate-that HE grafted me in and works all of my failures, sin, and the bad things that are out of my control for good-for His Glory-He turns it all around. The world sees death as the end-horrific…be we say Oh death, where is your sting? To live is Christ, to die is gain. 

  25. 5. How did remembering and praying these things help Habakkuk be strong?   It is like having a supernatural infusion of courage.  Eyes are opened, and like Elisha’s servant, we look and see ourselves surrounded by horses and chariots of Fire.  And we really get it that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
     
    6. One time of showing God’s mercy and strength.  My whole life is a picture showing how God took someone damaged emotionally and spiritually, a barren woman, and made her/me strong, healthy and exuberant in praising Him.  That is not to say I don’t struggle or fail, but that without His intervention I would either be dead or horribly dysfunctional.
     
    Tim Keller’s sermon- so good!  Moses went after political and social bondage, but the ultimate Moses went after our bondage to sin.  The first used the blood of a lamb, but the second one WAS the lamb.  The first engraved the twelve tribal names for the high priest.  The second is the high priest who has engraved us on His own hands.

  26. B.  How do you see both judgment and mercy at the cross?
    Judgement – Christ Facing spiritual death and destruction
    Mercy- A sinless one serving the sentence for sinners.
    C.How does this show us how and what we should be praying for in the wilderness?
    The purpose is to keep trusting and obeying. Sometimes you can only put one foot in front of the other. Just don’t give up. Take one step at a time, even if that’s all you can do. Remember his faithfulness in past storms. Thank him for those.
    This reminds me of when I had PPD when my daughter was born last Oct. I didn’t understand why I was feeling the way I was feeling. I would just cry all the time and had severe insomnia and anxiety. I felt like giving up and didn’t know how to deal with my hormones. With the encouragment of others, every day despite how I felt, I reminded myself it was just a feeling. I reminded myself just keep on with my daily routine. I did my normal routine eventhough I didnt want to and would still have meltdowns several times a day. During that time I remembered and thanked him for leading me out of 7 year storm of infertility. The Lord was faithful and because of His grace ( and some medications ), things are going really well. I know He was always there even when I couldn’t feel Him. I remember my mother in law told me to keep on trusting…even if I never slept a wink again… even if I never felt better… Keep trusting. 
     

    1. Oh Natalie, my heart goes out to you! I also had PPD after my daughter was born, and it was a very frightening time. I’m so glad you had much support and encouragement to help you get through that time, and also your continuing to be thankful to Him helped you through.

    2. Natalie, You are loved! What an incredible difficulty with hormones out of balance. Yet you took each day and made it through and had support from loved ones.
      Each of our wilderness experiences is different yet difficult. But God is at work and we grow in trust as we make it through those times.

      1. I don’t know if it will help anyone here, but it helped me. I shared with my doctor how occasionally  I feel depressed and sometimes think about not being alive. Thinking about how it would affect or not affect my family, and start believing lies about how they’d probably be better off without me. She showed me how cyclical those feelings are and how they are influenced by hormone levels and that she could prescribe some medication for that to keep me more stable. Even though I didn’t choose to take the medicine, it has really assured me to know what I’m feeling is normal, and like others have said, I just need to keep trusting God to get thru those rough days because, they always pass. And when they do, I’m just incredulous thinking about how bad I felt just the other day, and today I couldn’t conjure up a tear for whatever it was that had me spiraling downward just hours before. It reminds me of Dory in Finding Nemo, she’d say, “Just keep swimming”. I say that to myself whenever I start trusting and believing my feelings instead of the truth of God’s word. I believe most of my wilderness times have been in my own mind, and it’s then that I have to remind myself of God’s past provision, His love for me, His promises for my Good and my future hope.

  27. D. Now, whatever wilderness you are now in, or your children are now in, or whatever wilderness may come, for what do you think it is most important to pray? Do so, here, for yourself and then for your loved ones.
     
    I think the most important thing is to pray for my family and friends salvation; that they know Jesus and love Him most of all. It’s as Dee said a few weeks ago – if you get the first thing first then the rest falls into place.
     
     
    Dear Jesus, sometimes I lose sight of what’s really important in my life; You. It’s so easy to be distracted with work, house, and everyday “life.” My children have drifted far away and I can’t imagine what you will do to draw them back to You. I pray they will  be quiet and listen for You to guide them in their individual lives. You are their only hope, Lord.
    Help us to be more like George Mueller; a man who put his entire faith, in all walks of his life, in Your capable hands, without worry and stress of what is to come next. You blessed him with a long life that is still touching others today. Amazing grace! Thank You Dear Jesus. Thank You! 

    1. Laura, I know you like to listen to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss….I caught a bit of it yesterday, about the life of George Mueller. Did you happen to hear it also?

      1. 3. Compare Hab. 3:3-7 with Exodus 19:16-20. What do you see? What insight and comfort did this give Habakkuk?
         
        God is in control. He is mighty and powerful. He can do what He wants to set us straight when we venture off the correct path. I suppose Habbakuk knew that God I would judge those who dared to be wicked.

      2. Yes I did Susan! I was deeply touched by learning about his work and faith in God, especially after he was a very bad child who ended up on prison at the age of 14! It gives me hope for my own kids ?. I may need to read his biography now!

    2. Laura, I too, agree that praying for our family and friends’ salvation is one of the most important prayers. I will pray for your children along with mine and grandchildren. Though we see no way, God will make a way to reach these dear ones.
      We will trust and pray and know His sovereign will is at work.

      1. Thank you for prayer Shirley. I really appreciate it and will pray too for you and yours.

  28. D. Now, whatever wilderness you are now in. or your children are now in, or whatever wilderness may come, for what do you think it is most important to pray? Do so, here, for yourself and then for your loved ones.
     
    Dear Lord, I do seem to be in a wilderness of sorts. I am fearful of the future, fearful of suffering more loss. Fearful that I can’t handle it. Yet I see that even in the wilderness, I try to hide from You. I am really good at avoiding dealing with things I know I need to deal with. Please help me to believe You that You really want me to come out of the clefts in the rocks, that You will be with me and that You will help me. I am afraid for my children and other loved ones whose lives are going pretty well, but they are in the wilderness because they are living their lives without You. They just aren’t interested in spiritual things, in You. Lord, I need You to help me to trust in You, to lean on You, to really believe that You are all that I have, and that You are enough. Please open the eyes of my loved ones who are not yet Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    1. OH Susan, I love your heart!

  29. Oh my… sometimes (often 😉 ) I get stuck on a question, and this week I’ve been stuck on a question I already had answered…the one related to God’s purpose in leading His children into the wilderness.  I guess that was not my final answer.During the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking about “the wilderness.”  And some aspects of the wilderness seem attractive (peace and quiet? — though not sure there always is peace).  Jesus also went into the wilderness.  After thinking more (and more and more), I realized that I don’t even know how to define wilderness. I think of forests, but this was the desert.   It does seem like a place where, because of lack of “stuff” etc., God’s glory becomes more evident, a place where “the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

    “Since the end of December, I have been listening to the Getty’s updated version of “Facing a Task Unfinished.”  This was originally written to recruit missionaries following the Boxer Rebellion in China.  (Interesting similarities between the Boxer Rebellion — a movement to get rid of foreign influence — and today).  I wondered if the time of the Boxer Rebellion was “the wilderness?”  Many Christians lost their lives.  Yet this period fueled the strength of the Church in China — Christianity doesn’t appear to be a superficial, cultural thing there, at least not to the extent it has been here.  I still don’t know exactly what the wilderness is, especially in terms of applicability to today.  Is it a period of suffering and persecution?  Is it a time God uses to prepare His church FOR suffering and persecution?

    It does seem that “the wilderness” is a place in which people are called/pulled out of dependence on one’s “own” resources: physical, financial, etc.  It’s a place where God’s glory and His work are evident (whether or not we always choose to see).  At first, I think I interpreted the wilderness from an individualistic perspective.  But it looks as if the wilderness includes both individual and church-wide experiences.  The commonality is that God is leading and His glory is shown.  While the wilderness may include discipline, it is NOT discipline in the “punishment” sense of the word.  I moved from more of an individualistic to a church-wide perspective, but I think I’m still too “people-centered.”  I don’t think I’ve fully grasped (or ever will!) the connection between the Glory of God, the wilderness, and the building of His kingdom.  I still have more vague questions than specific answers.In a last ditch effort (maybe not, I probably will re-visit!) to understand this, I googled what is the wilderness Bible.  and limited myself to looking at one link: http://bibleresources.americanbible.org/resource/jesus-and-wilderness.  This helps (a little!):

    In the Exodus story, Moses went through the parted Red Sea, into the wilderness, and up to Mount Sinai. In Jesus’ story, Jesus passed through the waters of baptism, into the temptations of the wilderness, and up to a high mountain with the devil. Jesus’ identity is established in the tradition of Moses, foreshadowing that Jesus would ultimately lead God’s people to a new covenant with God.  Jesus is framed as the right interpreter of Law—people who follow Moses must follow Jesus. In this story, like in the story of the Israelites, the wilderness is a place of hunger and struggle, as well as a place for the establishment and securing of identity—in this case, the identity of Jesus as the human and divine Son of God.

    1. Ugh! Didn’t limit myself to one link.  I also scanned this, which is deeper.  (saved for later!): http://www.thetransformedsoul.com/additional-studies/spiritual-life-studies/the-power-of-love

    2. Renee, love your digging deeper here, about how do you even define what is the wilderness?

      1. I agree Renee-what an  insightful post!!  It does seem that “the wilderness” is a place in which people are called/pulled out of dependence on one’s “own” resources: physical, financial, etc.  It’s a place where God’s glory and His work are evident

      2. Ugh….. I thought I understood wilderness to be more about suffering and persecution….. but, Renee is making me see something else. Hunger and struggle, and the idea of the desert not forest…. thirsting. And, then that bit about Jesus in the wilderness just before his confrontation with the devil. It does seem like there is so much I have missed here. I hope we do talk more. I don’t want to forget this point. I feel like I need to think more about it. I LOVE THIS STUDY!!!! Thanks for all your prep work, Dee. Thanks to all the ladies here who take it so seriously and share so much of what you have learned with us.  

    3. To me, the wilderness is not a good place. It is not a place I want to be at all. It is Job scratching himself with pottery. It is my daughter 300 miles away at 1:00 am in the Bronx with no money to get a subway. It is my son who at 16 got mad and at 10:00 at night rode 20 miles on a bike to a friends house whom I didn’t know. It is my dad dying when I was 13.  It is another family member (young) who thinks he is “gay” – a damned soul.  It is a sad, lonely, desperate place where I feel alone. i have chosen to look for God in those times, and have tried to remember He is in control. It is difficult, but I certainly don’t see peace during the wilderness times

  30. D. Now, whatever wilderness you are now in, or your children are now in, or whatever wilderness may come, for what do you think it is most important to pray? that we would see Jesus, hope in Him alone
    Do so, here, for yourself and then for your loved ones.  Lord God, Thank you that you are with me, with us, in the wilderness.  Thank you that you LEAD me into settings that strip away the clutter impeding my vision of you.  Help me discern the difference between what is important to you and what is important to the world.  Thank you for the manna.  Please forgive me for complaining about your provision.  Thank you for the hope of the Promised Land, that just as you led me into the wilderness, you are leading me out of it.  Work through me so that others may see your Glory.
    Oh Lord, you know the thoughts and fears of my friends and family who are in the wilderness right now.  May they KNOW your love and faithfulness.  Please work through these experiences to draw them to yourself.  Help them to hear your voice and listen.  I pray especially for one person to see you more clearly, to desire to saturate herself in your Word, to follow your truth…through the pain and the questioning, that she will remain faithful to the end.Thank you, Jesus, that you experienced the wilderness and understand.  In your precious Name, Amen.

  31. 3. Compare Hab. 3:3-7 with Exodus 19:16-20. What do you see?  (short answer!).  Habakkuk is reviewing in detail how God showed himself during the Exodus– Who he is, His power.   What insight and comfort did this give Habakkuk?  Same God, same power today
    4. Compare Hab 3:8-15 with Exodus 15:1-13. What do you see?  Habakkuk was recounting how God was victorious over the Egyptians   What insight and comfort did this give Habakkuk?  Focusing on God’s previous work, His victory in the past, gave Him hope that God would be faithful, bring victory to his people.

  32. Now, whatever wilderness you are now in, or your children are now in, or whatever wilderness may come, for what do you think it is most important to pray? Do so, here, for yourself and then for your loved ones.
    Lord, I thank you for today. I thank you for times when I was in the wilderness because it was only You who could have given me strength to endure what was in front of me. Thank you for letting others see the miracle of having children, even when doctors told you it would be close to impossible. Lord I know there might be another wilderness period around the corner, but I am Your child and I don’t have to be afraid of the what ifs. Lord I pray for my daughter Mary, there will be trials, and I don’t want to pray those  storms away if that means she becomes closer and more like You. I do pray for wisdom, guidance, faith like a rock, and comfort all the days of her life. Amen
     
     

  33. What stands out from the reading?
    1) Vending Machine Jesus… Here I am with my pocketful of quarters. Hmmmm, what sounds good today? 
    2) Politics is downstream from Culture… Don’t drink the water without a handy dandy purifier!
    3) Romans 8:26… The Spirit helps our weakness in prayer- interceding for us when we don’t know what to pray… According to the will of God. So, I wonder if the Spirit ever has to alter my prayers because I’m too daft to pray in the will of God. Could that be why my prayers don’t always seem to be answered????

  34. 2a) just wondering, does God give mercy because we ask, or because He is merciful? Sorry, my comment is just a question. 
    2b)Judgement and mercy at the cross. 
    Jesus forgives the thirf on the cross who acknowledged Him as savior, that’s mercy. And Jesus is forsaken by God on the cross, that’s judgement. 
    2c) God’s purpose in wilderness. 
    To discipline them for their unbelief and lack of faith in His promises to them. So, I think we should be praying for hearts of faith (for this pleases God,Hebrews 11:6) that believe Him and trust His promises to us. 
    2d) praying to know God more, Trust God more, love Him more, etc. reminds me of one of the first praise songs I ever learned as a new Christian. 
    https://youtu.be/xPLr9m6avGA
     

    1. I think God gives us mercy because that is who He is. He watches and when we get ourselves into trouble He helps us through.
       
      “For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.””
      ‭‭Romans‬ ‭9:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬
       

      1. Just getting back to this study after a couple days away. Thanks for answering my question, Laura. 

      1. How could I have missed this great question! Hmmmm….Perhaps because He is merciful for on the cross He extended it to us without us asking. Yet He also does when we ask because He is merciful..So I think asking is very important too. Not sure I helped for I may have missed something. GREAT question. 

        1. He is pretty complex, isn’t he? And, I feel like my question is kinda like asking, Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I love thinking about it, though.

      2. I did see Jean’s question yesterday — and was aware that my “first” response might not be my “real” response. Thanks, Jean — your question soaked in!  Today, my answer is “Yes!” 🙂

        God gives mercy because He is merciful; our asking doesn’t make Him more merciful, but He does give us mercy because we ask.  Asking God for mercy doesn’t give us mercy in the sense of sticking $ in a vending machine though.  It’s related to His love for us, desiring relationship with us.  I don’t know — maybe we get just as much mercy whether we ask or not? (but that’s really not the point!)  Asking for mercy demonstrates a sense of our awareness of God’s mercy and reinforces our awareness of our need for God’s mercy.  Asking also helps us recognize how/when God responds with mercy.  So, if receiving mercy is connected to our awareness of whether we’ve received it or not, God does give mercy because we ask. SO, I need to cultivate a habit of asking for mercy — because He is merciful.

        1. Love this! Thanks Renee!

    2. Jean – as so many have answered so well….GREAT QUESTION on mercy!  Scripturally I guess the answer would be “both”.  God is merciful without a doubt because that’s Who He is…..but I remember when Nila suggested we listen to a series on the “Mercy Prayer” on RBC…..I had never thought about praying for mercy quite like it was presented in that teaching – as “the most prayed prayer in the Bible”.  Now surely the Lord is giving us a strong hint with that pattern of praying for mercy!  He desires and hears our prayers for mercy…and yet, “I will have mercy on who I will have mercy”.  Another of the great mysteries of our God.  What I love so much about your question is that is gets us pondering the greatness and awesomeness of our God.  🙂  Thanks for spurring us in in thinking on these things!  

      1. My pleasure…. Could you tell me more about the Mercy Prayer? Is there a link I could go to? Thanks!

  35. 4. Compare Hab 3:8-15 with Exodus 15:1-13. What do you see? What insight and comfort did this give Habakkuk?
     
    Each of the passages stands out with a shining view of who God really is; how He defeats evil or how grand He is in the universe. In many passages, it turns to how His wrath will take over the land. In Exodus it is a back and forth of who God is, the. How He will judge. In Habakkuk, it starts with who God is, and then turns to how He will judge.
     
    In Exodus it is the Egyptians who are destroyed and in Habakkuk it is the Chaldeans.
     
    Again, Habakkuk sees that God has taken care of His people in the past and He will do so in the future. 

  36. 3. Compare Hab. 3:3-7 with Exodus 19:16-20. What do you see? What insight and comfort did this give Habakkuk?
     
    The passage in Habakkuk seems to be talking about God’s coming with judgment….he speaks about God’s splendor being like the sunrise, and “plague and pestilence” being brought by God. The earth shook and mountains trembled. In the Exodus passage, it describes the Lord descending on Mount Sinai. There was thunder, lightning, clouds and smoke, and “the Lord descended on it in fire”. The whole mountain was shaking. Moses and all the people were at the foot of the mountain, watching and trembling.
    Insight and comfort? (Renee’s answer helped me here, she said Habakkuk knew it was the same God, same power) Hmmm….would a comfort simply be that God was gracious enough to reveal Himself to His people, to descend upon the mountain so they could “see” Him? There were boundaries, though; they couldn’t go up the mountain to Him (only Moses was called up). Here was the Lord God right beore their eyes, yet He kept His power in check so they could be that close. I see in both passages the need for a healthy fear and awe of God.

  37. 4. Compare Hab. 3:8-15 with Exodus 15:1-13. What do you see? What insight and comfort did this give Habakkuk?
     
    Exodus 15:3 says that the Lord is a warrior. Both passages describe God, the Warrior, in a battle with the enemies of His people. I believe Habakkuk 15:1-13 is the prophet looking back at how God rescued the Israelites from the Egyptians by drowning the Egyptians in the sea. But first, He allowed His people to be slaves in Egypt; then He delivered them. The purpose is always to reveal God’s glory to the nations. Habakkuk understands it will be the same in his day; the Chaldeans will have their day for a season, and then the Lord will turn the tables on them.

  38. Joining the party very late this week! Laura – I loved your comments above about why you love this blog! It encouraged me and I agree with you – each brings a special piece.
     
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why? Politics is downstream from culture (almost always). This is disheartening but I suspect more true than we realize. 

  39. 2 C. When judgment falls, “as it surely must,” Habakkuk looks back at God’s “old salvation route.” Teman and Mount Paran (verse 3) were part of the wilderness, and repeatedly, (think Exodus, Hosea, Song of Songs) God leads His bride into the wilderness. What was His purpose in doing so, and how does this show us how and what we should be praying for in the wilderness?

    Hosea 2:14 just quickened me. He said He is going to allure her by leading her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. To Allure means to powerfully attract or charm. To be alluring is the quality of being powerfully and mysteriously attractive or fascinating. He disciplined her by taking her in the wilderness BUT in that discipline He spoke tenderly to her and His beauty was better, bigger and more satisfying than her idols could ever be. SO He took her into the wilderness to cut the stones from her heart and redeem her to Himself.
     
    When in the wilderness I would admit I don’t believe He loves me and ask Him to redeem me from this pit where I have held onto other lovers.  I would confess I don’t sense His presence, His Love, and I fear my heart might grow cold.  I would ask Him save me-to allure me, to show me His beauty again-to melt my heart with His Love-to speak tenderly to me and make my heart hot for Him.  I have learned when He allures me I turn from being in bed with my idols for nothing is more powerful, more beautiful, more anything than Him..and I am a fool when I think anything else will satisfy me like Him.
     
    YET my souls natural bend is toward idolatry!! SO, this isn’t a ‘one time thing’-every day idols try to ‘allure’ me but they are like dirt compared to Him…I don’t want to let the foxes in our vineyard steal my joy for He is my joy.  SO I think this is where discipline comes in in His Word and in memorization which I need help with staying faithful in! So glad for this well here on the blog and I pray for a couple of face to face sisters here in my church or in my community where we can help one another turn our faces to Him.
     

  40. 2. A  Meditate and then comment on this: “As you bring judgement, as you surely must, remember mercy.” This reminds me of the manna and water in the desert wandering. And yet, the Israelites did not recognize mercy for preoccupation with the desert. This mercy is the small workings in times of severe hardship, how Jews were hidden and Bonhoeffer was treated well in the first prison and Corrie Ten Boom was able to forgive … The mercy is that He walks with us, stays with us, involved with the little things of our lives even though he big things all seem to go amiss.
     
    2. B. How do you see both judgement and mercy at the cross? We see the judgement in what Christ endured, to the point of separation from the Father – death. The mercy there is that He endured it FOR us.
     
    C. What was His purpose in doing so, and how does this show us how and what we should be praying for in the wilderness? It seems His purpose was to redirect the bride’s gaze. In the Song the bride comes out of the wilderness leaning on her beloved, I have always imagined this as an adoring lean, smile on face, clining to the one that she discovered is the only thing that really matters. 
     
    In Hosea the Lord put an end to all her mirth and feasts in order to lure her into the wilderness (chap 3). In the wilderness He reminds her of hope and she forgets the name of Baal and will call Him her husband. And then this – 6:6 “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” 
     
    So whatever the wilderness is it is different enough to make us reevaluate and reexamine, hopefully our hearts, so that we love Him and not the “city”. The wilderness makes us thirsty enough so that we come and drink the everlasting water (like in The Silver Chair when Jill must drink from the stream while being afraid of the lion….).
     
    2. D. …for what do you think it is most important to pray? For a heart that loves Him and leans on Him alone. 
    O God, this wilderness is rough, so many heartaches and “not-rights” that I long to have righted and made well! God each of our futures is in Your hands and You have ordained the details to journey us by the wildernesses that would soften our hearts and keep our gaze on You. May we not forget Your name and Your purpose. May we embrace all that comes each day with satisfaction in serving You! May we lean wholly on You and find our joy there and nowhere else. May we glorify Your name and learn steadfast love for You.

    1. Jill-your good post reminded me of Psalm 139:23! (2c)

  41. Not an answer to a question 🙂 but I started thinking about the following verses when I didn’t have clear answers to some of the questions:

    Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
     
    “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
    “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
    For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.    (Romans 11:33-36 ESV)

    After pondering (or briefly thinking about!) these verses, I started thinking about worship in the wilderness and the tabernacle.  I am AWED by the following (what God told Moses to say to Pharaoh) in Exodus 7:

    16 Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened. 17 This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood.

    There’s a whole lot about the wilderness that is conducive to worship.  I also read the following quote in an article by Michael Card: “Lament is learned only in the wilderness.”

  42. 6. In a sentence, remember one time God showed His mercy and mighty hand to you.  He spared my life, a friend’s life (and my car) when we was at a stop sign and a drug-crazed driver was so close that I could see his eyes in a near-head-on-collision (other car was lifted to other side of street and plowed down the signs there).  
    7. Read Hab. 3:16-19 
    A. As the prophet waits for the “day of trouble,” find anything you can that expresses his emotions. “my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled.”  The version I read doesn’t directly say this, but he likely became more calm after he spoke truth to his soul.
    B. How, when everything is taken, is it possible to still rejoice? The “how” is related to choices: I will wait patiently…, I will rejoice in the Lord, …in God my Savior.  But this isn’t a blind choice.  He KNOWS that God is Sovereign, that God is his strength.
    C. How can this attitude give you hinds’ feet in high places?  I am less fearful and less resistant to scary situations when I know God is in control and that He has me where He wants me.  It’s kind of a combination of God working through my attitude to make me more calm — and that helps with the hinds’ feet.  But also, I think God gives me hinds’ feet despite my attitude!

    1. Oh dear, I have had some crazy grammar this week. Note to self:  If editing nouns, edit verbs, too.

  43. I strongly recommend the sermon.  I listened a few times, and surprisingly decided to take notes (which is why I listened a third time).  I do have a few minutes left for note taking because I went to a reception.  And, oh my, I have talked to retired people — I saw what Keller talked about playing out in a couple hours: what happens when people remember the good stuff vs what happens when people “savor” the bad stuff.  It’s hard to be around someone who has been entrenched in bitterness for years.  
    I sorta had an “aha” moment during the section on “rejoicing proper.”  Repeating and remembering have been part of my life for years, but I don’t think I  understood rejoicing.  I am looking forward to applying this.  I’ll post my notes/comments if you don’t get better ones first 😉

  44. 6. In a sentence, remember one time God showed His mercy and mighty hand to you.
     
    This question is kinda hard for me. I have recently had a season where I took on way too much even for me (high energy “A” type personality). I was drowning. A friend had an unfortunately occurrence with her family and ended up moving back to our area and needed a place to stay while she found a job and got set up. We offered her a room in our home and she ended up finding a job immediately! She has helped me in many ways since she got back; a blessing – I call her the “Angel” God sent me ?. I really believe He knew I was at a breaking point and needed a friend to help. Thank You Lord Jesus; my protector.

    1. Laura-dancer, just HAD to respond to this and give you a hug. I am SO GLAD that God sent you an angel, in the form of a friend who has helped you. I have been sensing that you have been overwhelmed and have been worried. Isn’t God a “good, good Father,” as Dee points out in our study this week!!!!!

  45. A. As the prophet waits for the “day of trouble,” find anything you can that expresses his emotions. 
    His lips layover and his legs tremble. He is afraid and he “feels” the evil around him.
     
    He is patient in his waiting.
     
    He will rejoice in the Lord no matter what happens to him.
     
    B. How, when everything is taken, is it possible to still rejoice?
     
    God is in control and he waits for his salvation (there is still that tolookforwardto). He has God’s strength to lean on.

  46. Sermon notes: Rejoicing in tribulation.  Habakkuk is how to handle evil times.  H has learned that the country will be crushed by Babylonians; this is starvation level social collapse. He comes to face it with poise and patience.
     
    1851: Allen Gardiner shipwrecked, tip of South America, he was last one to be alive, his journal, last entry, ps 34:10, “I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God.”
     
    NOTE:  I like reading missionary biographies and was intrigued by the quote. Info online about Gardiner; excerpts from his journal here:http://anglicanhistory.org/sa/gardiner/marsh/05.html although this source seems more clear with good story and quotations:http://canecreekchurch.org/what-s-your-legacy/16-allen-gardiner
    Keller says that we say God is good when things are going well for us (Not sure I completely agree with this; I tend to forget God when things are going well.  I think I am more likely to recognize His goodness  during suffering)
     
    Habakkuk found a way to access love of God despite circumstances.  We infer the goodness of God from good things happening in our lives.  He knew the goodness of God in spite of life circumstances and could face with poise anything that would happen.
     
    What does it mean to rejoice in your suffering?
     
    What it is:  walking sure footedly on the mountain tops.  In ancient times, mountaintop was safest place to be; they couldn’t be attacked, could see for miles.  Walking on the heights is more dangerous but if you’re able to pull it off, it is more safe, more wonderful.  When suffering comes, it us pushing you up to the heights spiritually.
     
    Suffering will make you a far better or far worse person than you were before.
    Accurate translation: He makes me to go on “my heights;” i.e.,  character, closeness to God.
     
    When it happens: concurrently with sorrow and grief. Rejoicing in the Lord happens DURING sorrow and grief
    Wait patiently= deep peace and repose
    Not stoicism: e.g., Job arose, tore his garments, cried out, and sinned not
    Grief and sorrow enhance the joy, drive you more into God
     
    Jesus always was weeping because of his purpose,  When you are not all absorbed in yourself, you can feel the sadness of the world.  The joy of the Lord happens inside the sorrow.  Weeping drives you into joy. Weeping enables you to feel your grief without it sinking you.  You are finally emotionally healthy.
     
    How it’s done: not just a feeing. It is a discipline.
    1) Repeating:  is a pattern in the bible.  I will rejoice in the Lord, will be joyful (this isn’t repeated because he is in need of an editor!).  The bible never says anything once.  Says the same thing a little differently.  Understand it better by saying it twice. Repetition
    Why 4 gospels? Why wasn’t one enough?  Every time it goes in deeper.  God warns Pharaoh – two dreams; miracles repeated
     
    Michael Wilcock – human mind is centrifical.  Minds must be made literally to concentrate.  
    NOTE:  Quote is from his commentary on Revelation.  I was curious about Wilcock and the quote because of my very centrifugal mind.  Some of what Wilcock said:
     

    This is a fragment of a verse in the AV of Luke’s Gospel, which yields the clue to why Scripture is so full of repeated patterns. One purpose of repetition, as we have seen, is to show how relevant the Bible is. If what happened in the time of Balaam could happen again in the time of John, we are warned that it is equally likely to happen today. But repetition has another purpose. The RSV of Luke 22:15 reads, ‘I have earnestly desired’; what Luke wrote in Greek was, as the AV translates, ‘with desire have I desired’. Genesis 31:30 has the same sort of phrase: in the RSV, ‘you longed greatly’; in Hebrew, ‘you longed with longing’. Repetition of this kind has in fact been taken over into New Testament Greek from Old Testament Hebrew, where it is the regular way of expressing emphasis. To say a thing twice is to intensify it. To repeat means to underline. 
     
    And this is what God is doing constantly. He has basically just one message for men, the good news of salvation. But in his concern to get it across, he knows that one statement of it will not be enough. ‘Once God has spoken’, says the psalmist, but ‘twice have I heard’ (Ps. 62:11). Thus Pharaoh is given two different dreams which convey the same message, to impress him with its validity (Gn. 41:32). The disciples are shown two separate miracles which convey the same truth, to teach them a particular lesson (Mt. 16:5–12). The purpose of hitting the same nail several times is obvious: to drive it home.
     
     God is plainly teaching by this method throughout the rest of Scripture. And with good reason. The mind of man is incurably centrifugal, for ever flying off at a tangent. He must be brought back to the great central truths—made, literally, to concentrate. Those truths God outlines for him again and again, sometimes by a pencil sketch, sometimes by a more detailed pen drawing, sometimes by brushfuls of paint. The likelihood therefore is that he is doing the same in Revelation; and unless we have good reason to believe the opposite, we may expect the truth conveyed in this book to be intensive rather than extensive. In other words, what we are shown here is more likely to be a working over in colour of a picture we already know in outline, than to be an extra piece of canvas tacked on to the original picture
     

     
    How did Jesus have the presence of mind and soul to shape his response by quoting the Bible?  Because he drilled the bible into his heart, meditate over and over and over. The discipline of repeating
     
    2) Remembering. Main thing H does in ch 3 does is recount the Exodus.  The Exodus is the gospel. He is going back to the gospel. They were saved not by what they did but by what He  did.  Then gets to v 16 and says “now I’ve got peace.”  Not a prayer, not a sermon.  Who is he talking to? My soul.  I have to connect what I know about God, what he has done in the past, to my present.  Jesus: “Where is your faith?  You know who I am.  Reconnect your faith,.” There is no reason for you to panic.  Go back to gospel, exodus, what God has done.
     
    3.  Rejoicing proper.  This can’t simply refer to feeling.  Paul can’t command, is not commanding that you always feel happy.  He’s talking about a discipline, not just a mental thing, or a stoic thing. Rejoicing means to treasure, to savor, to take something that has happened and to say “what should this mean to me? How should I feel about this? Look at what he has done.  Look at how he is . Wait a minute. You’re adoring.  That’s not the same as thinking.  You’re appreciating. You’re valuing. You’re praising,, and that get’s us into the secret.  H looked at the Exodus which gets us into the gospel as far as he knew it.  We have a perspective he didn’t have.
    Luke 10. Jesus sent out disciples, gave them power to cast out demons.  Jesus said rejoice not that the demons are subject to your name, but that your names are engraved in heaven.  Engraved=award, you have accomplished something.
     
    Don’t say “look at what I have done.”  Stop savoring that.  When circumstances change, you will be destroyed, fall of f the mountain – will be destroyed if that’s your-SELF.  You’re already loved.  Here’s how he can make claim: Luke 9: Jesus top of mountain, transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared.  They began to talk to Jesus about “his exodus.”  Jesus was about to pull off ultimate exodus.  Moses risked his life to liberate children of Israel from political and social bondage.  Jesus gave his life to free us from sin and bondage.  Moses sacrificed a lamb.  Ultimate Moses was the lamb
     
    First Moses engraved the names of children of Israel on precious stones.  So brother Aaron had them engraved over his heart.  Ultimate Moses, Jesus, is high priest. Everything about  tabernacle, temple is a copy of what’s going on in heavenly places.   Jesus Christ stands before the Father;  your name is over his heart. You can absolutely know that your names are written in heaven. Use that.  Think about: when you get discouraged: think about your names are written in heaven.  think about that until you are okay.  Rejoice that He is the ultimate Moses. Live on a plane of who you are in Christ. Dream about that until you can handle anything
     
    Jonathon Edwards 1st sermon, Christian happiness:  age 18 – sermon: Christians should be happy.  3 points. Our bad things will turn out for good; Our good things can never be taken away from us; the best things are yet to come.  “Therefore you may now look down upon the whole army of worldly afflictions and suffering and you can consider with joy… they cannot do you any real hurt or mischief”  
     
      (Edwards’ sermon here:http://edwards.yale.edu/archive?path=aHR0cDovL2Vkd2FyZHMueWFsZS5lZHUvY2dpLWJpbi9uZXdwaGlsby9nZXRvYmplY3QucGw/Yy45OjQ6MS53amVv)
     

    1. Thanks for the great sermon notes, Renee, and for the links, quotes, etc. I too have a centrifugal mind, though I didn’t know what that was before now.

      1. Diane, I hadn’t heard the word centrifugal used to describe the mind before either.  But it is SO visual.  I can imagine my itty bitty brain bits flying away from the center of the centrifuge 🙂

    2. Wonderful notes, Renee!    I was about to post mine, and decided they just aren’t needed.     I will only add just a couple of additional things here. 
       
      The sorrow and the grief drive you into God, show you the resources you never knew you had, enhance the joy, and then the enhanced joy enables you to actually feel the grief.  ….The Joy of the Lord happens inside the sorrow.  It doesn’t replace the sorrow.  It doesn’t come after the sorrow.   Doesn’t come after the uncontrollable weeping.   The weeping drives you into the joy, enhances the joy, and then the joy enables you to actually feel your grief WITHOUT it sinking you.  In other words, you are finally emotionally healthy.   That’s how it works!
       
      Chapter 3 of Habakkuk is basically a recapitulation of the Exodus….Because the children of Israel were in slavery and in bondage, they didn’t have the power to get themselves out.  But God came and He miraculously intervened, and He entered history and He brought them out.   They were saved not by what they did, but by what He did.   That’s the gospel in the form that Habakkuk had available…. Here is what Habakkuk was doing.   He is telling himself, and he is reminding himself, and he is remembering and remembering the gospel until he gets to verse 16, and he says “Okay, now I’ve got peace!”  What he is saying is”I’ve got to connect what I know about God and what He has done in the past to my present.”  
      In Luke Chapter 8,  Jesus stills the storm, and then he turns to the disciples and says, “Where is your faith?”   Notice he doesn’t say “You poor guys, you need more faith, we’ll pray for you.”  He says, “Where is your faith?”  He is saying “You know who I am, you have seen what I’ve done, you’ve got faith — get it out!  It should be here, where is it?”   Rejoicing in tribulation says instead of you looking at the storm, instead of looking at the waves, instead of look at the circumstances, you go back to the gospel. 
       

  47. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    It stands out how timely this study is – even for those of us on the other side of the world. You may not know that Australia is going to the polls to elect a new government next week, and our politicians are engaged in a race to the bottom. Who can dish out the most cruel policies to asylum seekers, name-calling, fear based campaigns.
    Then today, the news that Britain is leaving the EU. Again, that is largely based on fear of the effect of migrants from Europe. All around the world people want to ‘chase the Chaldeans away’ or even better, stop them coming in the first place. All based on fear.
    This study comes as a breath of fresh air after watching the news of the day.
    (P.S. I currently have a break between semesters at uni. Last semester completely wiped me out, and I have negotiated one day less at work per week to try to avoid coming to the same point again. I’m just back from 2 weeks away to recover. With this extra day per week, I need to balance my life better for the next 18 months while I finish this degree.) 

    1. Lovely to see you comment here, Kerryn. Glad to hear the Australian perspective. Yes, fear seems to rule the day everywhere, doesn’t it.

    2. so glad you are back kerryn! i understand your dilemma because I have come through a season like yours it’s crazy! You should go back a few weeks to our study where Dee explains how we are to put the first things first and everything falls into place. It was a good reminder for me. 
       
      https://deebrestin.com/2016/05/our-biggest-problem/
       
      As far as the state of the world, specifically the UK, I think it’s a good thing that the people of that country demonstrated their ability to actually “work” their laws. I am impressed! 70% went out to votei! Good for them ? I don’t believe it is due entirely to fear.  I think it has everything to do with the economic situation also.  there are only so many sustainable jobs for people regardless of what kind of jobs they are. i see this happening with my own children; the jobs that they could have while they are in high school and college are being taken by immigrants who come here. This puts a great strain on us because then the parents end up paying more than they already are (college is out of the roof expensive these days). I also hear that the people in Britain were struggling getting in to see their doctors, and that was upsetting to them as well. The whole idea of let’s take everyone in and worry later is not a very smart plan in my opinion. You must plan for guests ?; it’s not sustainable.fear is one aspect for sure, but there are others. I think of cabin pressure in an airplane while traveling with a small child….you put your mask on first and then help the child. It’s unfortunate that the media makes those people out to be a discriminating type. It is not always that way. 

      1. Thanks Laura. I’m not at all suggesting the fears regarding immigration are unfounded or irrational. The fear that immigration will impact our own way of life is very well founded, and some changes will be negative if they are not well managed. Your own experience, as well as occurrences in UK, Germany, Greece, etc confirm that. Nevertheless that is still fear based reasoning. Habakkuk offers a different perspective… the Chaldeans were something to fear too, but that is not the prophet’s response. That’s why I find this study so refreshing and challenging. It’s not the way we usually think.

        1. Kerryn, thanks for this response to immigration fears. You are right. Habakkuk’s response is not fear, but of trust in the Lord.
          “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”2 Timothy 1:7

  48. 3. Compare Hab. 3:3-7 with Exodus 19:16-20. What do you see? What insight and comfort did this give Habakkuk? I really have a hard time with prophecy…… I think that Habkkuk is remembering when God came onto the mountain to address the Israelites. This bring comfort to Habakkuk because he remembers that God is the God of the exodus, He is all powerful and rescued His people.
     
    4. Compare Hab 3:8-15 with Exodus 15:1-13. What do you see? What insight and comfort did this give Habakkuk? I see more connection with these two. Habakkuk is remembering the splitting of the Red Sea and the destruction of those enemies that pursued God’s people. The comfort again comes from trusting in a God who is ABLE and therefore whatever transpires will not be because of inability but of sovereignty. 
     
    5. How did remembering these things and repeating them in prayer help Habakkuk to be strong? This remind me of Moses’s charge to the Israelites in Deut. 4:9 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children….” We see this practice of NOT FORGETTING throughout the old and new testaments. People recounting what God has done – so that they do not forget. We are strong not in ourselves or in our faith but in who our faith is in. We are strong because we are in the arms of the strong one. By remembering we are assured of the rock beneath our feet and it is strong!
     
    6. In a sentence, remember one time God showed His mercy and mighty hand to you. He called me to a breaking repentance in order to experience His unconditional love.

  49. D. Now, whatever wilderness you are now in, or your children are now in, or whatever wilderness may come, for what do you think it is most important to pray? Do so, here, for yourself and then for your loved ones.
    I am in a wilderness of my own making; caused by my attitude towards a work colleague. I spend so much time and energy revisiting every word spoken, reinterpreting, judging, criticising, plotting… So much negativity and it really has created a wilderness in my mind and my life. That’s what all judgment and no mercy does. I’m anxious and depressed.
    I’m not sure that this really counts, since God didn’t lead me into this particular wilderness. I found myself there by wandering my own way. Still, he does want to lead me out of this wilderness – maybe to another wilderness of his choosing, or to 
    Father, sanctify each and every one of my thoughts, throughout the day and through the night. May my thoughts towards others mirror yours, seeking their good, rather than plotting against them. 

  50. Dee asked for the quote from The Silver Chair by C.S.Lewis that I referenced above in regards to being thirsty in the wilderness and drinking while afraid.  perhaps it is in the wilderness in which we will become thirsty enough to drink from the only stream there really is. It is lengthy but here it is:
     
    “If you are thirsty, you may drink.”
    They were the first words she had heard since Scrubb had spoken to her on the edge of the cliff. For a second she stared here and there, wondering who had spoken.
    Then the voice said again, “If you are thirsty, come and drink,” and of course she remembered what Scrubb had said about animals talking in that other world, and realized that it was the lion speaking. Anyway, she had seen its lips move this time,and the voice was not like a man’s. It was deeper, wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy, golden voice. It did not make her any less frightened than she had been before, but it made her frightened in rather a different way.
    “Are you not thirsty?” said the lion.
    “I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.
    “Then drink,” said the lion.
    “May I – could I – would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.
    The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
    The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
    “Will you promise not to – do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.
    “I make no promise,” said the Lion.
    Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.“Do you eat girls?” she said.
    “I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
    “I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.
    “Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
    “Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
    “There is no other stream,” said the Lion.
    It never occurred to Jill to disbelieve the Lion – no one who had seen his stern face could do that – and her mind suddenly made itself up. It was the worst thing she had ever had to do, but she went forward to the stream, knelt down, and began scooping up water in her hand. It was the coldest, most refreshing water she had ever tasted. You didn’t need to drink much of it, for it quenched your thirst at once.

    1. Love this Silver Chair quote, Jill. It makes me want to go back and reread all the Narnian Chronicles.