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My dear prison ministry friend, Linda Strom, showed up at my door this week with part of her beautiful team. My house guests and I welcomed them with delight and moved to the back porch to experience the joy of God connecting His family.

Linda’s pastor from Temple, Texas, Gary DeSalvo, told us of his shocking diagnosis of eye cancer in 2013. He joked with me about his glass eye. His attitude was so jovial that I joined in his banter, telling him, because I was on his blind side, that I was really beautiful. I was assuming, because of his joy, and because of his wife’s peace, that all was well now. And when I asked him to confirm that, he shocked me, telling me he has been given a thirty percent chance to live two more years.

So, from wherein comes this joy?

From suffering!

Our own Renee nailed it last week as she pondered the purpose of the wilderness,

which she realized was not a forest, but a desert. 

It seems like a place where because of a lack of “stuff,”

God’s glory becomes more evident,

a place where “the things of earth grow strangely dim

in the light of his glory and grace.”

That’s exactly it.

We gorge on earthly delights and have no appetite for God.

So He takes them from us as a merciful gift so that:

  • We become hungry for Him
  • Discover His amazing presence
  • And are surprised by joy!


Gary Desalvo, Senior Pastor of Temple Bible Church: Temple, Texas
Gary Desalvo, Senior Pastor of Temple Bible Church: Temple, Texas

Pastor DeSalvo then told me, and the timing seemed too much to be coincidence, that he asked his family and his large church family to memorize the close of Habakkuk to prepare them for whatever might come. This was a confirmation to me of what I felt led to ask you to do. This week our primary homework will be the memorization of the Habakuk 3:17-19 in whatever translation you like.


Because His Word has power, as you hide it in your heart, it will also illumine truths to you, which you in turn can share with us. Though it is natural to fear the desert wilderness, if it is coming, let’s go into it with the living water in our hearts.


I will also give you some questions and a few parallel references to help you as you ponder this powerful poetry of God. At the close of the week there is a final (and free) sermon on Habakkuk from Tim Keller. And then, with these truths tucked in our hearts, we will move on from Habakkuk to our next summer study.


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

Monday-Thursday: Habakkuk 3:17-19

My friend Twila, who has memorized a good portion of the New Testament, suggests writing out the portion to memorize for the day and memorizing it immediately. Then you can take it with you wherever are through the day to keep reviewing it.

    2. Read Habakkuk 3:17-19 and summarize it.

    3. How will you divide these three verses into six days to memorize?

As you memorize this week, please simply come on the blog and share your insights. You don’t have to do any more homework — but if you like, these things may give fuel for your ponderings. And these pictures may jog your mind for memorization.













One of the biggest evidences that Scripture is inspired by God is how, though the 66 books were penned by many authors and span centuries, it all hangs together, and important truths repeated throughout. This theme that the wilderness can produce joy occurs in the New Testament as well. Meditate on Romans 5:3-5. In context, find the key command in Romans 5:3 and 5:11.

4. Why should we rejoice according to these passages?

5. How can suffering produce endurance?

6. And endurance produce character?

7. And character produce hope?

8.  If you studied the Song of Songs with us, how was the wilderness a gift to the bride? (Hint: How did she come out of it?)


9. What are you learning from your pondering and memorization?


      Generosity in Scarcity - Timothy J. Keller

10. Share your notes and comments on Generosity in Scarcity.



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


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

    I guess I understand a little bit about being in the wilderness when I felt like God was no where around. However, when I am thinking deeper, I think there are different types of wilderness’.
    There were those times that were awful. It was painful, sad, and lonely. I don’t really want to be there again. These were times when my teenagers were very lost; when my dad died when I was 13; when the cancer of this world infiltrated my own home through moral issues. Then, when I went through cancer treatment a few years ago, I went through a different type of wilderness. I still didn’t know what God had planned for me, but I didn’t feel lonely, or scared, or anxious. I prayed, just as I prayed for the other types of situations. If the cancer returns I will be okay with whatever He decides my fate will be. So, my question is why would there be two types of wilderness’? Why would I be calm in one situation when I am praying vs. another season? Maybe it’s the trust factor? If I trust Him to always come through, then maybe the peace is there too? Hmmm, if that’s the case, I would have to move my dad’s death into the cancer column because I was very young but felt the touch of God the Father then, although it has been hard not having a dad basically my whole life.
    I do like to see how God choses to solve problems though. It’s exciting to think of how He will answer my prayers (weird I know). Some of my wilderness times issues have not been resolved and may never be (like Job). I may never know the outcome and have to be satisfied with that. That is hard. Other wilderness times have been addressed by God although I may still be in “limbo” with the answer (my cancer – 2 friends are going through recurrences right now). 
    I still don’t really like or want to be in the wilderness. Overall I think it’s a sad, painful place to avoid. I’m not sure why anyone would ever choose the wilderness? 

    1. I thought I edited during the time frame but no go. Here’s what I added at the end:
      Part of why I don’t appreciate the wilderness is because mine are SO draining. They always are huge issues, they can’t ever seem to be “normal” sized! They seem longer than they should, bigger, and not solvable. It’s not that I am “focused on earthly things” all the time, rather please Lord, “throw me a bone” every so often!!

      1. Laura:    We have some parallels in our life experiences.   I ‘get’ your question.   I also had cancer, several surgeries and lost a breast to it.  But, going through that was not anything compared to going through the pain of seeing two of my children reject the gospel.   I remember saying very similar things as you just said, when I was freshly recovering from my cancer surgeries.   For me, the answer is that my own trust is securely in the Lord.   He gives grace for me to face the wilderness.  But when I watch my loved ones go through life without trusting Him, that is a wilderness that I cannot affect.  I cannot create that trust in them.  I can cling to God relentlessly, but it doesn’t make them cling to Him.  That, for me, is much harder than anything that happens directly to me.  My trust is secure for my own ‘fate’.    The ambiguity of their faith is the hardest thing I have ever known.   And yet, we are still commanded to trust God’s heart, when we can’t see His hand.    

        1. I agree Wanda, my children are not walking with the Lord – not ONE of them! So very sad. I may have had a long term prayer answered however regarding Sarah, however I don’t want to mention specifics as I keep saying to God, “…please don’t “play” with me here!” I am finding out details and it may take me a while to know if it is truly so. 
          I am becoming very close to my grandson and know that at any moment she could leave and my heart will hurt. I think his would too.
          I do know that I learn in the wilderness and I know to “gear up” for those times prior to them occurring. It’s logical. But, I don’t really like the anticipation of the coming.

        2. WANDA…Your post was a breath of fresh air to me. THANK YOU. I have two who are or have rejected the Gospel and this pain is horrendous-the hardest thing I have ever known. it is comforting to hear that from you..and I agree..He is faithful and this has helped me see how I am not in control of them spiritually. A few years ago people used to comment on our boys how well we are raising them, I would say, “it isn’t up to us thankfully..but there are no guarantees. We just planted seeds. It will be by the Grace of God if they walk with Him.” 🙂  BOY I am learning my heart can be so deceiving..my heart was so not where I thought it was in truly trusting Him with their hearts. He is cutting away the dross in my heart through this and I am grateful. Sunday I found so much encouragement in Matthew 15: 22-29. 🙂

        3. Wanda, your post has opened up a lot here as many of us here have grown or almost-grown children who are not walking with Him. It’s hard when you think back to when they were young children and they appeared to have been saved. That leaves me with so many questions. I was with my oldest son when he prayed to receive Jesus as His Savior around the age of 11, and I remember his tears of thankfulness. I think he still believes in God, but God just doesn’t seem to fit in to his busy life. Another son was, in his youth, involved in some really in-depth Bible study groups and would read his Bible on his own. Then, when he got into high school, it seemed he was too intelligent to really believe a lot of the things in the Bible, and at one point in college, he told me that it wasn’t that he didn’t believe in God, he just didn’t care; i.e., just not interested. I encourage and encourage my high school age daughter to get to know God on her own, to read her Bible, to answer the question for herself if Jesus would ask her, “But who do YOU say that I am?” I have told her that her faith has to be her own (she has to own it). It seems that today, everything crowds-out God from our lives.
          The questions I have about salvation come from some of this. My oldest son appeared to be very sincere when he prayed at the age of 11. It was not my asking him to, or prompting him to, but his response to a devotional I used to read to him and wanting to himself. So then I wonder about how he, as a young boy, prayed, but “nothing really happened”? Which makes me shudder every time I hear very well-meaning pastors on the Christian radio telling people at the end of their broadcasts that if you “feel God speaking to you, pray a prayer something like this….” and then they say, “If you prayed that prayer, you are now a child of God.” But I also wonder, when God hears these prayers, does He sort of sift through and know who really isn’t sincere deep down and so He doesn’t save the person? But now they think they are saved. That is the reason why for years and years I doubted my salvation and I think I broke a record in how many times I prayed, asking God to save me, just in case I really wasn’t saved.

        4. I have been following this conversation about grown children on email where I haven’t been able to comment right away. so I’m a bit late. However, I wany to add this, my husband and I have lived a very traditional life with our church attendance being much like I read here and our marriage is very old school with me at home with the kids.
          When I was a young child, my family attended a very ritualistic church, but after my parents divorced and my dad remarried he no longer felt worthy to attend. It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I returned to the church to go thru the complete education and become a member. Then, shortly after starting college, I was approached by a Christian who shared the gospel in a straight forward manner that completely upset my apple cart of beliefs. I had to make a choice and I did. I chose to follow Christ and to put aside the rituals of my recently joined church. 
          I began attending a church that seemed to me completely different from what I had just been a part. But, little did I realize, they may not have held to showy rituals but they did hold many legalistic beliefs that I eagerly adopted as my own. You may know what I’m talking about, all the shalls and shall nots. Christians shall have a daily quiet time, go to bible study, be at church Sunday morning and evening, and Wednesday evening, too. Christians shall not swear, dance,smoke, drink, go to movies, play cards… I’m sure you could add a few. 
          Anyway, I say all of this to get to my point which is, I raised my kids this way. It wasn’t until my oldest kids got into high school and started questioning some of my beliefs and challenging my own sinful attitudes and practices that I realized I bought into a lie. The lie that says there is only one way to behave as a Christian. Of my five kids, two really look like the Christian of my traditional mind, the others are really different.
          They all have claimed to be Christ followers and I have seen them seeking His will in unique ways throughout their lives. However, at this time, I have one adult child who most of the family thinks has turned away from Christ because he’s turned away from church. I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to leave my church in the past fifteen years since God has been revealing my sin (and perhaps our corporate sin) of legalism and judgementalism. But, as I was being disciplined, I saw my friends also being awakened to it and I really feel like together we’ve learned much and have let go of many of our requirements on our fellow believers. I’m so glad I’m still at this church and we are all working out our salvation together.
          And that’s what I pray for my wayward looking son. That he will be led to come back to worship and find strength and encouragement for his journey from fellow believers. He has never said to me, or anyone else who’s told me, that he has decided to abandon Christ, so I must believe he’s continuing to follow but he’s just in a lonely spot along the path. 
          I know this may be completely different from what many here are experiencing and I pray for your kids as you mention them. i know we are similar in that as moms there’s just nothing we love more than having all of our family together in one place! And that’s what I’m praying for in heaven. 

        5. Susan – as you duly noted, Wanda’s post opened up quite the conversation straight from the heart about the whole crushing heartbreak of realizing that our children, who may well have exhibited what we had assumed was “true faith” and a “conversion experience” when they were young, have shown by their young adult lives that Christ is really not a factor at all in their lives.  Some openly turn on Him with venom…..living out the fruits of atheism or pantheism or any other “ism” out there in the world but following Christ and living from a heart that beats with love and devotion to HIM.  But even sadder to me is the one who is just simply too full of themselves, their life goals perhaps or career or money or success…..this present world and all it’s glitter and challenges consume their every waking moment.  I think that the parable of the soils (Matt 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8) brings a whole lot of clarity to what we see not only in our kids, but all around us in the world.  Jesus is SO CLEAR on how tied to “fruitfulness” is the true condition of our hearts!  The Puritans seemed to really “get” that this is what the Scriptures teach from cover to cover – if there is no transformed LIFE there is no transformed HEART.  For many years I think my prayers for others reflected praying for FRUIT in lives that were unregenerated – and in reality I should have been praying for the soil of their hearts.  🙁   Susan, you have touched on something very important when you speak of hearing teachers and preachers using the “Sinners Prayer” as a basis to assure people of a salvation that they may know nothing of.  As moms, we can let our wishful thinking along the same lines trump what we KNOW the Bible says about true conversion.  Here is what Charles Spurgeon adds to this conversation:  
          “Beware, I pray thee, of presuming that though art saved.  If thy heart be renewed, if though shalt hate the things that thou didst once love, and love the things that thou didst once hate; If though hast really repented; if there be a thorough change of mind in thee; if thou be born again, then hast thou reason to rejoice; but if there be no vital change, no inward godliness; if there be no love to God, no prayer, no work of the Holy Spirit, then they saying ‘I am saved’ is but thine own assertion, and it may delude, but it will not deliver thee.”    I think Spurgeon here fleshes out Ezekiel 36:26 (that we have looked at here on the blog together several times) and Romans 8:1-14 and 2 Corinthians 5:17….and all of Scripture really.  🙂  
          I’m chuckling to myself just now as I remember the famous lines from Coach Taylor on Friday Night LIghts….”clear eyes, full hearts…..”  No, that little phrase is not a Scripture verse….but I do think it is instructional in how the Word would have us walk through life, praying for those the Spirit brings into our worlds.  Grace and Truth.  We discern and see clearly the true soil, the true heart needs of those we love so dearly.  And our full hearts of love pray for His Grace to transform their lives from the inside out!  My heart soars to think that, even today, the Mighty Lord of the Universe will be doing just that all around this weary, sin soaked world.  Amen.  🙂  

      2. I’ve always wondered that too. Why do some people seem to have to endure so much hardship and others it seems, very little? Laura-dancer, I really appreciate your testimony here. Its apparent to me God has seen you through some very difficult times. 

        1. Jean, I suspect my troubles are just as others’, they just don’t talk about them! It’s the way I process things….to talk them out. I bet other people have big things too ?.

        2. Jean, I couldn’t respond above to your very honest post about your upbringing and family. Thank you for sharing here. I have hope in that my children have not claimed to not believe in God, rather it is a quiet time for them (as you spoke of your one son). I remember going through a 10 year period also. Where I didnt attend church or do any kind of bible study. When I started having children I felt like something was missing and realized it was God/church! We began attending a local church and ended up raising our kids there. My own story should give me hope! It’s so easy to forget though when you are in “the thick” of the moment. 

    2. Laura–I understand what you mean about you “2 types of wilderness”. I think you are wise to see that trusting in Him makes the difference. I think sometimes it can be harder to entrust to Him those we love, than it is to trust Him with our own struggle. But I am finding that if I can really release those I love in their wilderness, to Him–there is a peace that washes over me. Praying for you this morning. 

    3. Laura, I too understand the pain of “not solvable” wilderness experiences. It is so difficult, for example, when there is nothing we can do as we watch a loved one suffer – especially the pain of relationship rejection – like when they have rejected the Lord or they have rejected us and the Lord. That kind of pain never goes away, I think. It is so hard to KNOW that we cannot fix it; we are not in control!
      “Yet” we can KNOW he walks with us to comfort us in the midst of the wilderness. God never leaves us or forsakes us in that pain. (Deuteronomy 31:8) He too knows and feels the pain – he bears our burdens with us. “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:4) His “goodness and mercy [loving kindness]” is with us all the days of our lives. (Psalm 23).
      Even when my heart is so sad that I feel that it will break, He comforts me with these thoughts of Him, and He enables me to keep on walking, and even savoring the joys of each day, with a hope that he will, one day, make all the wrongs right and wipe all tears from my eyes. I can REST in Him. These are, for me, the “heights” of which Habakkuk speaks. 

      1. Ahh yes, Diane! That old control idol ?

    4. Laura, love your ponderings here. I can very much relate to wilderness times that were so awful – painful, sad, and lonely. That is like when my nephew died. There’s just nothing to describe it. I feel like we’ve all journeyed with you over the years as you’ve shared your life with us, and I truly see such tremendous growth in you….yes, in how you trust in Him. When you ask why would you be calm in one situation and that if you trust Him to come through, then maybe the peace is there, too….this made me think of the passage in Philippians 4:4-7, where it says that as we choose not to be anxious about things but rather to go to Him, with thanksgiving, presenting our requests and petitions to Him, and then the “peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
      I also like how you get excited to think about how He will answer your prayers (it’s not weird!) The psalmist did the same thing in Psalm 5, where he says, “In the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.”

      1. Susan, I have become more trusting in God, haven’t I? I am blindsided many days with my family and each persons “issues” and when in the past I would have “freaked out,” now I just muddle through with faith. It’s definitely less stressful!

        1. Yes you have, Laura! (I wanted to put in one of those yellow smiley faces but I dont’ see them!)

      2. Susan, I am just seeing this about you and your children. I feel like I exposed my kids to God during their formidable years too (I don’t k or if any of them accepted Jesus as your son did). I do think of all my children Sarah (of all things) really wanted to know Him. Here’s a story…one day we were listening to a song called “Tears from Heaven” by Eric Clapton. He had lost his young son by way of falling out of a window in his NYC apt. We were tking about the words (she was about 6). She said, “mommy he is lucky.” I said, “really? Why?” She said, “he gets to meet Jesus.” I was dumbfounded. 
        I like your dialog with your daughter! I may use some of it with my kids if that’s ok?

  2. What stands out to you from the above and why?       The peace and the strength that Pastor Desalvo and his wife displayed.   It is an amazing and beautiful thing to see the heart of God, in a believer who is truly going through the wilderness with Him.     In our noisy world of social media (hmmm.  less talking face to face, but more ‘written noise’ it seems)  where people express every negative thing that happens to them in loud chatter,  here is a couple who display…..”In quietness and confidence will be your trust”  and ” thou wilt keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is stayed on Thee”   (Is. 26:3~KJV)     That is a rare treasure.    I have a cousin who is going through pancreatic cancer right now, with such a steady, confident trust in Jesus, also.   I think his quiet trust speaks loudly to his medical care givers. 
    I peeked ahead at the week’s questions and the pictures you posted, to illustrate the end of Habakkuk are absolutely heart rending.   They perfectly tell the story and I think those images can bore into our minds and our hearts.    
    When I went through Keller’s book,   “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering”   (which I highly recommend)……I told my friend, who reads with me,   “I feel like, by reading this now, when things are relatively calm (a couple years ago)  I should be more prepared the next time pain and suffering comes.”      It is true.  I have been.    We have had some big trials since then……my son’s traumatic and life threatening DKA episode last September, among them.    I feel like when I read and study something that I allow to get ‘anchored’ in my soul…….even though I squirm my way out of that security over and over……will still be a reminder and a place where I can return, when the hard times come again.     Thank you for this, Dee.

  3. Oh Dee, I am in awe of His gifting in you, and thankful for how it blesses us in our faith journey. You have so beautifully woven Gary’s story around the truth that grounds him, the object of His faith has produced in him such joy.
    In this morning’s sermon, my pastor quoted Fanny Crosby, and it seems so fitting here. In reference to her blindness, she said:  “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me…If I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind…for when I die, the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour.”
    I don’t always recognize the gift it is while I am in the wilderness, and yet at times, by His mercy, I have been able to see it. And I am continually encouraged by the lives of those around me. Truly, the ‘saints’ I have learned the most from, and whose Christ-likeness I am most drawn to, have suffered much. It so comforts me to know He will never waste my suffering, He will never leave me, and the best is yet to come. I can’t say I welcome suffering, but I do not fear it quite like I used to. I long to allow suffering to mold me more, make me softer. It’s helpful to remind myself of these truths while the waves are fewer.
    At the end of service today we sang “By Thy Mercy”–and these stanzas seemed to echo our cries:
    In the weary hours of sickness, In the times of grief and pain, When we feel our mortal weakness, When all human help is vain.
    In the solemn hour of dying, In the awful judgment day, May our souls, on Thee relying,Find Thee still our Rock and Stay

    1.  It’s helpful to remind myself of these truths while the waves are fewer.

      Yes, Lizzy.  This is so good.  We were on the same track here, in expressing the need to be prepared for the sorrows and suffering that will come our way.     And, about being determined not to waste our sufferings.   I have a friend who is going through SO much right now, and she has stated those very words.     
      I really love that Fanny Crosby quote.  Thanks for the reminder!   Our sermon this morning, also fit so well with this lesson.  As Pastor K. spoke of having peace amidst the hardest of circumstances, she used the example of Corrie ten Boom forgiving the prison guard who had harassed them.   And her famous quote,  “You never so much touch the ocean of God’s love as when you forgive your enemies.”   That is also a huge step in experiencing the ‘Shalom’ we are meant to experience.  It’s so true that those saints who have suffered most come forth as pure gold…and we are drawn to them.  

  4. I have to agree that I can trust God easier when I am the one in the wilderness vs. my children or those I care deeply about.  For me, I think it is a control thing.  When i can not control something, the practicallity of living out my faith is a reality that is hard to live.  I need to practice what I so easily preach to others that are going thru struggles .  i can quickly become a Pharisee who likes to live in the safety of my religion, not just my faith journey where I say that God is bigger and always good.

  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QGErOg2Erw
    Here’s a song I just posted to the facebook page.   I heard it for the first time today.  Really fits in with this discussion of Wilderness.  
    “Jesus, Be Near to Me”  by Nia Allen.  Beautiful and moving.  I love the words it uses to show how God reveals Himself to us, in our questions and pain.  

    1. Wanda,  the song is beautiful — and I agree, very fitting for our Wilderness discussion.  Thanks for sharing it!   Isn’t it inspiring how things like this just turn up at the right time?   I just love it!

      1. Yes it is inspiring!   So much in our sermon today reinforced Dee’s words here….and then I came home and found this song that a friend posted on facebook.  

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

    Dee,  I love the way you have assembled this week’s lesson.    I am impacted greatly by your selection of photos.    I confess along with Wanda,  I went ahead and peeked to see what was coming.    However, for the sake of this first question,  I will just comment on the one photo with a wilderness of parched, cracked earth, as seen through the full glass of water.    My first reaction was that the wilderness seemed so much worse due to being magnified by looking through the glass of water.  I wondered if we feel the despair of the wilderness more because we have experienced so much better times (when our glass is full).  But then I finally made the connection that I think you were trying to make — that if we take the living water with us into the wilderness situation, we will survive it and maybe even thrive!  

    Gary DeSalvo’s testimony is very touching.  It would be enough if he just lost sight in one eye, but to be told he may only have a 30% chance of living  a couple of years is greatly more difficult, I feel.   It is quite a testimony that he is planning for the spiritual survival of those he will be leaving behind by having them memorize the close of Habakkuk.    Wow!  It is wonderful to see God’s choreography again, that this man showed up on your doorstep just as we are studying the close of Habakkuk!  

  7. Such good comments from everyone – so much to think about.  I just happened to look at Ps123:1-2, and it really struck me.  Lifting up my eyes to God, over everything else in my life til He is all I see, all I focus on, all I care about.  Perhaps God doesn’t have to send us through the wilderness to teach us Himself.  I want that to be true, but I don’t think it fits with the Bible.  All the NT writers said to expect tribulations and suffering, and that we can rejoice in it.  I guess I am trying to justify a way around the wilderness and hoping to gain all the benefits of that experience without the pain.

      1. Ha!  I pray for myself and my parents, brother, nieces and nephews, “please conform us to the image of Your Son…as kindly and gently as possible, while still getting us there!” 😀

  8. The wilderness is not a place I choose, yet I find myself in the desert of loneliness and sadness when I least expect to be there. The forces of evil move in unexpectedly. I do not realize but it may be the cycle that I thought was broken…Actions that hurt and cause me to react quickly.
    I look for success, for fruitfulness, for understanding. The wilderness journey brings me into the presence of my Savior whose love reminds me that He is all I need. This week, listening to Tim Keller’s sermon I understand how the joy comes, after the weeping that drives me to Jesus.
    Psalm 103: 8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. verse 11 For his unfailing love towards those who fear him is as great as  the height of the heavens above the earth.
    I am ready to memorize the words of Habakkuk’s prayer!

  9. I just want to say what a blessing this blog is to me, and the fellowship of sweet sisters who I have never met, and likely never will this side of Heaven.  Yet, I feel such a kinship with you! I come from a very fundamental independent Baptist background, not by choice.  I have stayed with the movement because all of my family and friends are there.  I cannot tell you the turmoil and pain that are in my heart as I cannot join in with the very, very hateful banter I hear regularly.  I had two ladies pounce on me as if they were going for my jugular this week-end because I kindly pointed out the hatred in a face book post.  I have been on the verge of tears all week-end as I hate to be the despised one.  They tell me to get on my knees and get right with God.  What a breath of fresh air to read this blog and feel the love of the sweet Lord Jesus wash over me.  I hope I haven’t offended any one in this blog by this post.  I just long for Heaven and Jesus, and to be rid of the pain here below.  You ladies bring me a bit closer to that soon reality.  So blessed today by the reminder from Dee of how the bride left the wilderness – leaning on her beloved.  Oh, it is worth the pain, dryness, and bitterness of the wilderness, if in that wilderness I find my Beloved and learn to lean and rest in His embrace.  Thank you, Dee, and ladies!  Love to you all! 

    1. Miriam, I think of you often and wonder how you and your daughter are doing. I am keeping you both in my prayers. I’m sorry to hear of your experience in the church you’re in with these ladies….sigh. Self-righteousness for sure, yet I have to watch for the same attitude in my own heart. How quickly we forget from where we’ve come.

    2. Miriam, I hear such deep pain in this post. It is so sad when others inflict pain and think they are doing God’s work! So many have suffered in this way! Please do not turn away from God because of the sin of others! God loves you. Yes, lean on Him! Praying for you!

    3. Oh Miriam, <3  <3  

    4. Miriam, you mentioned FB.  Are you in our FB prayer group?  Email me at reneeo at brookings dot net if you want to be added.
      Put “Dee’s FB group” in subject line so that I see your request, if you’re interested. 

    5. Miriam,   Your words prod at my heart.   I was in a church for 28 years and involved at every level; even a paid staff member, but when I knew I was not headed in the same direction (for many reasons) I resigned my staff position.  My heart was sad and restless and I cried almost every Sunday.  Still, I loved the people there….the ones we had ‘done life with’ for nearly 3 decades.  But my attendance began to wane and I would often just slip in for my fellowship group or maybe in time for the sermon of the first service.  So much else tied my stomach in knots.  The ladies here, know that I struggled and cried out for a long time.  There was much to consider and I couldn’t leave until my husband and I were in total agreement.  And then, one day, after so much anguish, he woke up on a Sunday and said…..’Let’s go to ________”  (name of the church we now attend).  And we did.  And we were completely overwhelmed by how God had led us.  I could check off a dozen things on my ‘list’ of what I had longed for in a church body.  We never looked back.  It was a hard move to be sure.  We felt awkward and because of my husband’s work schedule, he could only attend on Sunday morning, so it took months and months for him to feel connected.   It’s only been 15 months, and we still have a ways to go, but we have never felt such peace in a decision.  Both churches teach the gospel.  Both have loving, caring people….but we had to be in a place where our hearts could truly worship and where we were challenged and not stagnant.  We still attend gatherings (grad parties, a wedding reception etc) that are filled with people from our old church; mostly our old fellowship group, and we love and appreciate them.  We miss them.  But those who truly love us, are happy for us.   They know we struggled.   I also found such solace here in this blog fellowship,  when I felt I could not fit in with any women’s study at our old church and I withdrew.  This is a wonderful place for those of us who are struggling for a season.  I will pray too, that you find peace in your soul about staying or leaving.  I know it is so, so hard.  I walked away from so much hurtful banter….and went to my pastor in tears several times, over things that were said and practiced…..there was only one way to ‘think’ it seemed.  And if you thought differently, you definitely felt it.  People didn’t try to be overtly cruel….instead they all ‘assumed’ that everyone thought like they did (politically etc) so that we could all laugh at the same political jokes etc.  We needed to find a place that felt safer….and even though I know there are many different views in the church we now attend (and became members)  I know the pastoral staff is committed to peacemaking and not division.  They do not make political stances from the pulpit and that has refreshed us so much.  

      1. A big issue that destroys relationships in the body of Christ is when politics is brought in…
        I always wonder why people think it is SO important. Surely this present world will not have peace.
        And we know that God is at work,even allowing the result of disobedience to affect the nation.

      2. Wanda-yes..getting political is not wise for a church to do. I so agree. We don’t like it if they go to either side..We just want to view issues in our culture through a biblical lens, however it is easy for a church to throw in ideology from the left or right without realizing it. That is why I love how Tim Keller handles it! 

        1. Shirley and Rebecca:   Thanks for your replies.   

          I always wonder why people think it is SO important. Surely this present world will not have peace.And we know that God is at work,even allowing the result of disobedience to affect the nation.

          The above statement is so very true, Shirley.  Thank You!
          Rebecca:  Are you referring to a specific sermon or article by Keller?   I’ve not been able to keep up with the last two Habakkuk messages….was there something in them you refer to?    Thanks! 

        2. Wanda-He weaves it into his sermons sometimes..and I have heard one that totally helped me with this-it was about varying political ideologies vs a scriptural world view.  Sometimes he will reflect on a passage and say something  like,  conservatives see it this way, while Liberals see it this way, etc… then he expounds the passage-the truth-how Jesus responded or saw it.  As a family we watched a Keller sermon 2 Sundays ago where he spoke at a convention with pastors and he tied this into a point he was making. There are also a few sermons he has that address this..but I listened to those several years ago. I will have to go into my dropbox and find them. I would recommend, if you are able, to listen to his sermons-free ones as a habit if you can. You can play them while you clean, while you drive, etc.. Either via your phone, or you can burn them on CD’s or via an ipod, etc. I like to listen while I clean but I haven’t  been able to lately although I am going to today! I can also get his sermons via ROKU streaming.  🙂 

    6. Miriam, you are loved! It is a very special fellowship we have here. We can be open with each other and encourage one another. It is so sad that church fellowships can be destructive. This must grieve the Holy Spirit …

  10. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    I also love the processing that we are all doing together about the wilderness. I do not think it was a coincidence that Linda Strom brought her pastor to meet Dee and what is going on in his life and how he and his church are memorizing a part of Habakkuk to prepare themselves. This also stood out to me, that “We gorge on earthly delights and have no appetite for God.” The irony is that, that statement kind of describes what happened to Adam and Eve. They sacrificed a perfect relationship with God for a piece of earthly fruit. But the truth is, I do the same. I’m still processing from last week and also Renee’s comments on the wilderness, how the things of this earth grow strangely dim in the wilderness and we see more of His glory. That is what Habakkuk seemed to be reflecting on as well; God’s revealing Himself in the wilderness times of his ancestors.
    At the end of last week, I was processing, “So, what does all this have to do with me, right now?” I read how Habakkuk determined in his mind and heart that despite the bleak outlook, he would rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in God his Savior. I am one who has great difficulty “rising above my circumstances”. If my circumstances are hard, painful, depressing, sad, and seemingly hopeless, I get pulled down by them. This shows me that I am making my circumstances, or even allowing them, to be the barometer that determines my level of joy. Yesterday began well, but after a conversation with a family member, things went downhill from there. I found myself losing my appetite, dwelling on what was said, and feeling emotions ranging from guilt to sadness. There’s nothing like the wilderness, though, to make you realize just how small and helpless you are.
    Habakkuk said that it was God who enabled him to go on “his” heights. I have a lot to learn.

  11. 2. Read Habakkuk 3:17-19 and summarize it.
    I’m going to try to summarize this in modern terms. “The day may come when some kind of disaster hits where I live. The grocery stores may all be closed up or have empty shelves. I may really be wondering where my next meal is going to come from as I’ve run out of food. I may not even be able to go to the bank and get any money. I may end up literally with nothing but the clothes I’m wearing. I may lose my home and all of my possessions. Yet I have determined that I will rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in God my Savior. He is my strength and He’ll keep me from slipping into despair. He will enable me to “walk” on the heights, to somehow cling to hope and not be drowned by my circumstances.”
    As I summarized this, I felt rather hollow because I’ve not experienced this level of disaster, yet I read an article in the paper yesterday of some who are experiencing this right now in West Virginia. Families who have lost everything due to massive flooding. A woman was quoted who said she had nothing but the clothes on her back. She and others were eating hamburgers provided to them by a church. The smell of rotting food was wafting from a grocery store. She said, “We’ve lost everything. Where will we go now?”
    So it seems to me that this passage in Habakkuk isn’t just some “spiritual state of mind” in the face of disaster. For these people in WVA, isn’t it the Body of Christ reaching out to help (and other volunteers) an important way God uses to help people through a wilderness time such as this?

    1. Susan, I like your summary. And the example of the WVa. flood disaster has touched me as well.
      That is a wilderness for sure. I just cannot think of being in a wilderness with such losses, yet it makes the Habakkuk scripture so real, with barren fields and empty barns.
      I also know your words about circumstances. I always seem to sink under the adversity of relationship issues.
      I come back to the simple song I learned so long ago, Jesus loves me,this I know…I am weak, but he is strong. Yes, he is a strong tower!

    2. Just found this, SUSAN.   I truly made me think.  You really got to the heart of this passage.  We should all relate to the hypothetical, because as you pointed out, it IS real for someone somewhere, every day.  And we could be that someone also.  
      Convicting, to be sure. 

  12. 2. Read Habakkuk 3:17-19 and summarize it. 
     The passage is basically saying that even when your world is crashing around you, you can still rejoice in the fact that you are saved by God. 

  13. What stands out?
    I’ve been thinking a lot about the desert wilderness, as my son just finished his first year of college in Phoenix. Hearing about all the sad deaths of hikers and bikers in that area has motivated me to call him to remind him of safe hiking guidelines. I read several articles (and sent them to him) and I think some of the guidelines really apply to walking thru wilderness times. The first thing I learned is it’s important to begin the hydration process BEFORE going into the desert. Just like I’ve read others say here, we need to be storing up God’s word when times are good. Second, you must bring with you more water than you think you will need for your hike. The amount varies depending upon who you listen to, but all agree it’s better to have more than needed than not enough. I loved how one article spoke of it. They said everyone should carry a gallon of water, however, not everyone will need it. Some will need more, others less. They instruct to share as needed in the desert. That’s a beautiful picture of fellowship amongst believers. We need each other. And that brings me to the last common guideline for hiking in the desert. Always go with a friend. It’s not safe to go in alone. We need each other. There, I said it twice. its just that important! 

    1. Jean, hydration!!!! — PERFECT illustration.

    2. Jean, what great guidelines for our wilderness hiking — hydration (water of life) ahead of time, more water than you think you will need, sharing, and always going with a friend!

    3. JEAN:  I was slow to get back and read all the comments at the beginning here.  But I just love your comments about hiking in the wilderness.   I am going to share this with my hiker husband who loves to use such things when he teaches.  🙂   The hydration AND the ‘going with a friend’.   He has had many, many experiences in the mountains where he had to carry a pack for someone who was struggling and/or when someone needed to carry his load.  SO applicable to the wilderness of living.  

  14. Laura-d, I’ve been pondering the discussion you initiated since I read it on my cell phone.  I think you nailed it with this: “They seem longer than they should, bigger, and not solvable.”  I wonder if this is the very definition of wilderness?
    I’m guessing most of us have experienced these two types of wilderness.  I’m starting to realize that what sometimes looks like wilderness to other people no longer is wilderness to me (though it might be annoying, frustrating, tiring, etc.).  For example, I’ve experienced some health problems for so long that they have become more comfortable; when I’ve started to put down roots in the wilderness, that little portion of wilderness no longer is wild. But then God leads me out of my inhabited portion of the the former wilderness to situations that are unsolvable, so far out of my ability to control that I eventually have to admit that I can’t solve anything. 
    I have to be in the wild, wild wilderness long enough to realize that not only can I not solve the situation, I no longer can blame the Egyptians!  For me, those unsolvable situations often do involve other people (because attempts to control/fix others causes more problems!) and often involve loss.  Yet I still try to control, to fix those other people or situations.
    We often hear that difficulties are as bad for loved ones as they are for the person directly experiencing the problem.  And from the perspective of the person experiencing the problem, other peoples’ attempts to fix me or control the situation often make the problem worse or drive me away — and when I’m desperate enough to follow bad advice, my relationship with God even is impacted.
    For people like me, who have tended to be control freaks, the wilderness likely is the only “cure.”  During the last few months, I have asked questions regarding “what to do” in situations where I have been clueless.  Yeah, I still want answers so that I can “fix” situations.  One response was, “You’re not going to like this answer: spend TIME with the Lord, fasting and praying, crying out to Him.  My response was, “I LOVE that answer.  That’s exactly what I needed to hear.”  I’ve often at a place now in which, though I still want solutions, I want the Lord even more.  And when people give me “solutions” (even if I’ve asked), I get annoyed — usually because if I’m asking, I’ve already tried “everything.”

    I’m really speaking to myself now, because I recently have discovered a potential “solutions” for a couple of huge challenges.  I’m already in over my head from volunteering to “help” — and ending up in charge of entire initiatives.  I also don’t have a ton of time/energy for more medical interventions.  It’s becoming more clear to me why believers in the past indicated that they spent MORE hours in prayer each day when they had more to accomplish.  And, of course, where other people are involved, prayer IS the only hope, because I am changed, too.I am prayer-challenged in that my prayer may not be prayer.  I wonder how often it is wishing, thinking, reading lists to God, even habitual stuff rather than communion with the Lord?  With that being said, I might answer #2 on here (not sure, I don’t want to delay memorizing)— but probably won’t post much more on here until later in the week.  If I spend too much time thinking, I won’t memorize and pray!

    See ya’ later, alligator:)

    1. We never know what others are going through, do we? I spoke with a friend yesterday who revealed a horrible situation she went through as a young woman. It shaped her life and I would never have thought she would have ever had trouble like that in her life.
      When you mention feeling “comfortable” in your pain now, it reminds me of the verses in Romans Dee has us reading this week about suffering leading to endurance, endurance to character, character to hope, and finally to God Himself. 
      Yes, Renee, we may not like the answer when we ask, but immersion in Him is the only way I have found to live more peacefully and let go of the control (a problem I have had in the past).
      prayers for your pain today ?.

  15. Sunday:

    What stands out to you from the above and why?

    Love his testimony that highlights his joy in the wilderness. That joy can only be from the Lord. Here is my heart at the moment…I can be in the wilderness myself, and find joy, but when it comes to my 8mo daughter…. I don’t think I would handle her being in the wilderness very well. Maybe because I’m a new mom? Those who have been moms for awhile, I am curious if you’ve been able to find joy when your children go through the wilderness quicker as you have matured in your walk? I like what Jean says –“hydrate before the dessert” I’m hoping that memorizing more of the word will hydrate me for those wilderness times my daughter might encounter in the future.

    1. Sorry to say this, Natalie, but I don’t think a mom ever gets over the pain of watching her children suffer…. For example: my second child has lived with cystic fibrosis for 30 years and type 1 diabetes for 20 years.  I will never feel ‘comfortable’ watching her struggle.  She had a very distressing hospitalization in May.  It had been 6 years since her last one.  Every fear and sadness flooded back to me.   BUT I will say this:  I have truly learned to be more grateful and more joyful in celebrating all the little things, when things are going well.  AND the big things; like her upcoming marriage.  My husband and I say things like…..’I have to pinch myself to make sure this is real.  God has given her an exceptionally, kind and supportive fiancee.  An answer to so many years of wondering and praying.   I hope I have become more mature after all these years.  I think I have, but the pain is always beneath the surface.  Carpe Diem!  Seize the Day!

      1. This is great! Congratulations, Wanda, to you and your family! New marriages are such a blessing!

        1. THANK YOU,  Jean!

  16. Dee, I got the book Bonhoeffer on my phone and am about halfway through it (so much is similar to where our country seems to be headed). I got on Groupon and got a free 2 month trial to Audible (a book app). I was able to download it for free.

  17.  2. Read Habakkuk 3:17-19 and summarize it.
    My earthly sources of food and nourishment, of protection and shade, fail me. And yet, “I will”–I will make the choice to rejoice. To remember all He has done for me and all of His promises, and find joy in them. I will find joy in my promised inheritance of fig trees that always bloom and vines and fields that are ever full, and so much more. In my choosing to focus my eyes upon these eternal truths, He fills me with His strength. He makes my feet like the deer’s, and lifts me to a place of higher, deeper, richer fellowship with my God.
    What struck me in reading this again just now, is the “I will”–there is an effort required on my part. I have to choose to take my eyes off the temporal circumstance that cloud my vision. They keep me from seeing Him. It is so hard to do–when we ache, when others around us are aching, with so , so much brokenness all around. But it is an act of faith, of my trust–to take my eyes off. I have to believe He has it all, and He asks me to close my eyes, buried in His chest, and trust. 

    1. Love what you say about it being an act of will, Lizzy. Thanks for the reminder. 

  18.     2. Read Habakkuk 3:17-19 and summarize it.
    Habakkuk affirms that even in times of starvation and loss, he would still rejoice in the Lord.  He was not reacting to the events around him, but instead he was led by his faith in God to give him strength (no matter what happens).  We need to live in the strength of His Spirit, confident in His plan for eventual victory over evil.  

  19.   3. How will you divide these three verses into six days to memorize?
    Day 1:   Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines.
    Day 2:  Repeat day 1 and add:   though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food.
    Day 3:  Repeat days 1 and 2 and add:  though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls.
    Day 4:  Repeat days 1, 2, and 3 and add:  yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
    Day 5:  Repeat days 1,2,3, and 4 and add:  The Soverign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
    Day 6:  Recite the complete passage

  20. 4. Why should we rejoice according to these passages? 
    I suppose because the bible says to? They seem kind of “Pollyanna” to me though. It seems like a prescription to manage the suffering; very stilted to me and not natural. However, if one can work through with this in mind then one may be healed from that pain.
    It leads us to Him; it makes us closer to Him.
    5. How can suffering produce endurance? 
    When pain occurs and won’t recede, you learn to endure, or bear that pain. What else are you going to do? 
    6. And endurance produce character?
    Once you bear that pain, it becomes part of you. It becomes part of your physical traits. You get used to it and lean into it. Again, what will you do otherwise?
    7. And character produce hope?
    Once you have this physical trait, you hope for the situation to change; that God will remove the suffering somehow. Your hope is that He will manage that suffering.

    1. Laura, I love your honesty in #4. Yes, “easier said than done”. It is definitely not natural to automatically rejoice in times of suffering. It seems that first, I have to whine, complain, have a giant pity party for myself, get depressed, etc…. I want to be happy, have comfort and ease more than I want to have more perseverance and character development.
      You’re making my mind go to other things…this rejoicing “in” our sufferings. I’m thinking of Horatio Spafford when his ship got to the place where he lost all of his daughters at sea, and he wrote It Is Well With My Soul. He was rejoicing in God his Savior, just like Habakkuk said that he would rejoice in God his Savior. Spafford certainly wasn’t rejoicing in the death of his daughters. When you’re sitting in a hospital room with your loved one, you are not rejoicing in their suffering, or FOR their suffering (or if you are the one in the hospital bed). If Habakkuk lived to see the invasion of the Chaldeans, I doubt that he was rejoicing as he saw homes destroyed and people killed and carried off as captives.
      I think we get the idea that we’re somehow supposed to keep a stiff upper lip about it all, as you said, a “Pollyanna” sort of attitude. But to cry, to weep, to grieve, to be sad, to be angry at the suffering is normal and appropriate. So what can we rejoice in when there is nothing in front of our eyes to rejoice in? Perhaps these kinds of passages whisper to our hearts, “Remember God”. Perhaps they are given to us so that we don’t abandon all hope?  Believe me, I don’t have it all figured out. I spend much more time, I’m sure, responding to suffering in the wrong way.

  21. 4. Why should we rejoice according to these passages?
    I am to rejoice in my sufferings because I know that suffering produces (in me) perseverance, character, and hope. The hope is real and will not disappoint me because God has poured out his love into my heart through His Spirit.
    The key command in Romans 5:3 and 11 is to rejoice: rejoice in suffering and rejoice in God. In the whole passage from 5:1-11, Paul gives many reasons for me to rejoice, the main theme being that I have been justified, I now have peace with God, God loves me and He proved it by Jesus dying for me while I was still a sinner and an enemy of God, I now am reconciled to God. This was all done for me by the Lord Jesus. So as I ponder how to rejoice in God, I see that I can rejoice in the Lord Jesus for what He has done for me, I can admire Him, set my affections on Him, praise His qualities and His character, kind of like the Shulammite did in The Songs when she explained why her lover was better than all the rest.

  22. 4. Why should we rejoice according to these passages?
    We rejoice in our suffering, not because we enjoy it (we certainly don’t), but because we know that through these sufferings God is building our character and shaping us.  We also rejoice because we know that Christ has “overcome” all evil for us, as he reconciled us to God by his sacrifice on the cross.  
    5. How can suffering produce endurance?
    I think one way is that once I have made it through one suffering,  it will help me with the next suffering because I am bolstered with the knowledge that the Lord got me through something bad once before.   Each time there is a new suffering, it produces a new testimony to my soul of how the Lord gives me strength to get through these things.   
    6. And endurance produce character?
    The things that we admire in other people and regard them as having character are produced by what they have traversed through in their lives.  This is part of what makes us each one unique — we have come through different life experiences (some good and some bad).   Our essence is made up of what we have been through and how we responded to those things.   
    7. And character produce hope?
    If God has seen us through so many sets of experiences in our past, then we build our hope on the knowledge that God has seen us through once and we know He can do it again.   Also we have God’s promises of all that He has planned for us, and we know (from experience and endurance)  that God always keeps His promises.   All of this gives us hope!   

    1. I love how you answered these questions. It reminds me of childbirth. The first time I went thru it I had to keep telling myself so many women have done this before myself and survived. And were rewarded with a baby at the end of their suffering. This won’t last foreve! The doctor promised! And each time I went through labor, I had to remind myself again and again that I did it before, God will get me through this again. It never got easy but each time the reward was totally worth it!

  23. Susan:      I couldn’t reply to your comment to me above, so I’ll briefly respond here.  Mostly, just to say that I have all of the same questions.  I remember my daughter weeping in her room after coming home from seeing the Passion of the Christ.  She was so contrite and saw the greatness of His sacrificial love so deeply.  For weeks that followed, she read the Word, expressed her faith in written and creative ways, purchased a new study Bible…and the next school year,  used all of her ‘poor college student’ cash on hand, to take the bus to the mall and buy her roommate a beautiful leather covered Bible, because her roommate noticed that reading the Bible was important to her as a college freshman…..and asked to borrow hers.   My son is a writer and there are many song lyrics he wrote during his high school years, as well as verbal expressions as he led worship at youth events and played in some Christian bands. Both had moments of deep sincerity.   I don’t embrace the doctrine of ‘election’ easily nor do I feel settled with some of what is taught about ‘eternal security’.  I look at examples of real people and, though I know for certain, that only God knows the hearts of people,  there seem to be as many ‘stories of faith…..and leaving the faith’ as there are believers.    What I do know and cling to, is God’s wide mercy.   But even the wideness of God’s mercy was questioned, by one of the speakers on the panel discussion we listened to a few weeks ago, here. (the week we talked about Love Wins).   It’s enough to make me get very sad, confused and frustrated.  So, I MUST cling to the character of God and His eternal love and HIS sovereignty.  
    That is what hit me in the last verse of Habakkuk today.    The SOVEREIGN LORD is my strength!   And this week, because of so much confusion/upheaval in our world, I keep telling myself.  ‘Where else can I go?  YOU have the words of eternal life”……  Thank you Jackie, for frequent reminders of this verse. 

      1. Dee:   I went back to that lesson; 2 weeks ago, I think it was, and this is what I had commented about that.  It was Dr. Carson who touched on this in the ‘opening remarks’ portion.  He especially mentioned his challenge to the sentence  ‘God will never love me more or less than He does right now’  but I believe he also mentioned this in regard to the wideness of God’s mercy.     I could have gotten it wrong…..I only listened once, but this is what I noted.  (It’s part of a much longer summary about the panel.  Most of it was positive!)

         I do struggle with some of his certainty surrounding the fluctuation of God’s love and how he describes it in different senses.  His remarks about the statement ‘God will never love me more than He does right now’.… took me aback.   In one sense, I see how the scriptures he used to back his hesitancy to use this phrase, are helpful and right.  In another sense, it bothered me that he challenged this statement.   🙁   Ugh.  I knew if I opened myself up to this topic, I would struggle.  I don’t know how anyone can be settled on these doctrines.  🙁    This definitely made me feel like he was in opposition to Brendan Manninng’s teaching (as I understand it anyway.  I haven’t read it).    

  24.   3. How will you divide these three verses into six days to memorize?
    Well, I mostly already have it memorized from previous times.  But, I sat down with it this morning, and drew illustrations for each of the descriptions.   Wish I could post them…..but it’s maybe good that I can’t!  My artistry is sorely lacking.  🙂   I do love to illustrate colorful descriptions.  
    As I told Susan in the above comment,  I find such comfort in the words,  ‘the SOVEREIGN Lord is my strength’.     There is nothing greater to hold on to,  when we look at our personal lives and the frightening upheaval all around us.  

  25. 4. Why should we rejoice according to these passages?
    We should rejoice because we know what the ultimate outcome of our suffering is.   A HOPE that does not disappoint (via endurance and character producing trials.)   vs. 3
    We rejoice because we are reconciled to a Holy God.  It was the suffering of Jesus that allowed us to be clothed in righteousness and seen before God as spotless and clean.   We serve a God, who did not remain aloof when there was a great gulf between us and Him.  He entered into our world and into our suffering.   Through HIS suffering, we have been reconciled.    We have been redeemed.
    REDEEMER has become one of the most endearing titles of Jesus, to me, in the last 5 or 6 years, when the gospel has truly sunk deeper and deeper into my understanding.  

  26. 2. Read Habakkuk 3:17-19 and summarize it.
    That even though all earthly sustenance is ripped away..He is my sustenance and I will rejoice in Him. When I am feeding on Him..the true bread of life..He satisfies me and there is nothing here that can satisfy my thirst and so even if all is stripped away..He will set me on the heights with Him and I will rejoice. It is an inner rejoicing that you can see, I think, in our countenance..it might not be jumping up and down, but His peace and joy indescribable. 
    This may be a stretch but I am thinking of the Canaanite woman who begged Jesus to heal her demon possessed daughter…she was in a wilderness and pursued Jesus even though at first He didn’t come near. She knew that just eating a morsel of His bread was life to her soul-and to her daughters..even to be His ‘dog’ or his ‘slave’ to partake in Him was an honor. She wasn’t asking for her daughter to be given an earthly need..rather to be freed from satan’s control..she was that thirsty for her spiritually..Jesus was everything to her.

    1.  This is awesome Rebecca! I love the analogy of the Canaanite woman. It gets me thinking for sure.  Is left is indescribable so that’s why have a hard time explaining it to my children; The peace. My older son tends to have very emotional outbursts when things don’t go his way and he’s 25!  Since he argues with everything I say, I’ve decided to start pushing him towards Jesus. My kids all grew up in church, but they have not known Jesus for a very long time.  I bought the book online by Tim Keller about pain and suffering, and started to read it myself. I gave him my Amazon password to go in and read himself I don’t know if he has though.  He recently asked me if he should go back to school. I decided to tell him to pray and ask God if he thinks that’s the best plan for his life.  I’m trying to role model the things that I would do if I were in his situation.  When his girlfriend broke up with him he was devastated, so I pointed to the fact that Jesus has someone picked out for us (If it’s His will), it’s our job to find that person.  I feel like this is what God wants me to do right now. 

      1. Laura-that is so encouraging that you are pointing him to Jesus! Your son sounds like me when things don’t go my way..except mine aren’t outbursts but ‘inbursts’.. ;~) I whine inside. 🙁  I LOVE LOVE how you don’t engage in arguing with him..that is the mistake I have made with my oldest when he told me he turned from God..It is his control idol and pride. I was so astounded at his foolish thoughts I couldn’t help but ask questions and reason with him..but it would usually end in arguments. I remember saying, “Your kidding me, you really believe that?” and so I stopped and am praying and trusting God. I love how you are pointing him to Jesus..I am thinking when my son faces hard times God will open a door for us to do that for where will he go-who will lift his head? Certainly not man’s vain philosophy.
        I had a dream last night that my other son was backed into a corner by his comfort idol..God opened his eyes and he turned. 

  27. 3. How will you divide these three verses into six days to memorize?
    Monday- Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines
    Tuesday- Though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food
    Wednesday- Though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls
    Thursday – Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
    Friday – The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet
    Saturday- and makes me walk on my high places

  28. SO..I just had a thought and am processing in regard to wildernesses. Someone here said there are varying kinds and I agree. Can a wilderness time be a sense of His absence?
    I felt this after my oldest son and his brother turned their backs on God..it was horrid..and I recall the sense of his absence..one I couldn’t bear and I ‘felt’ at first He was upset with me maybe I was too liberal of a parent in some areas and too strict in others and so this was my fault. Satan was saying, ‘see, you thought God had your two boys, that He loves them and has them..that He is all powerful..but you were wrong. He is not all powerful, and he doesn’t care about you or your boys. i am more powerful-i have them.”  BUT when I thought of Psalm 18-His furious redeeming love-shaking mountains for me-that he can rescue my boys, and then of Peter how He denied Jesus, yet He matured in the Lord, and also of Judas how he died in his folly-scary thought for my boys, but right now I am trusting Him with their hearts and pressing into Him for their hearts!! So when I sense His absence I need to go to His Word for I will find the water of His presence for my thirsty soul..and while I have been failing in my desire to memorize the whole book of Habakkuk…just this morsel to memorize is bringing life in this desert. 

      1. Dee-so life giving. Yes..we are and God has it..Lately I have been hit from all sides..financial-house pmt went up, car insurance went up due to E who is driving now-and other needs for my boys but our income isn’t going up.  🙂 This on top of my boys, my health, etc. These memory verses in Habakkuk help bend me not to my circumstances but to him. YET…Oh wait..I am seeing something in the passage..not sure if this is a quickening or not but oh my…It just hit me and it is SO encouraging..I’ll note below.

  29. To memorize, I will write out a line each day in my journal until I can say I all  by heart.
    Prayer request – My friend woke up Sunday at lake Okoboji in severe pain. They flew him to NKC hospital and have found a large mass in his abdomen. They are doing a full body scan today as they think its lymphoma. His name is Justin and he has a 1 year old little boy.

    1. Natalie, saying a prayer for your friend, Justin, right now.

    2. Just seeing this. Praying for Justin and his family.

    3. Praying Natelie

    4. Oh Natalie–praying now. So sorry–praying for the family too.
      It’s so good to see you here again, and hear you talk about your sweet little one!

  30. Praying for Justin…

  31. 4. Why should we rejoice according to these passages?
    The cause of my rejoicing, is God—He is the focus. Rejoice in all God has done for me, and rejoice that God will use our suffering to refine me.
    5. How can suffering produce endurance?
    Endurance is the ability to keep pressing in difficulty. If I let it, suffering will give us strength to keep pressing on, to continue to endure—but only if my focus is on God and not circumstance.
    6. And endurance produce character?
    Continually standing firm under difficulty, trusting in God and not circumstance, will shape my heart, my character, to be more like Christ.
    7. And character produce hope?
    As I become more like Christ, my eyes are fixed on the eternal, not the temporal. I see like He sees. I hope not in my circumstances changing, but the fact that He has already fought and won the only battle that could ever kill me. I hope in my promised Home. 

  32. These verses from James also come to mind with our study this week: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

  33. 5. How can suffering produce endurance?
    I am a walker, not a runner. (I would dearly love to be a runner, though!) I start by being able to walk a mile at a brisk pace, then increase to two miles, then three, then maybe even four. I know that if I were to start a running program, I would build up gradually. Strength and endurance are increased as we stick with the exercise program, at least a few days a week, over the long run. I can’t expect to gain endurance if I am sporadic. And, I know that the endurance needed for a long walk or run is different than an all-out short sprint. It seems to me that life is a very long walk, or run (like a marathon). We need endurance to make it to the finish. I was recently listening to a sermon on the radio where the pastor said that unfortunately in the Christian life, many start out well but finish poorly. Perhaps some of that has to do with how we respond to suffering. Sometimes all you can do during a hard time is to endure it. You ask for His help, His strength, His comforting presence. As Elisabeth Eliot said, sometimes you just have to “do the next thing”. When He brings you through it, you may be surprised to find that you really did make it, and now you have some experience to draw on the next time.

  34. Even though so many others have answered question number 2, I’m gonna give it a try. 
    Summarize Habakkuk 3:17-19
    Even if I’m staring starvation and dehydration in the face, I will still be glad I am saved by God and I will trust Him. I know He will make me strong and sure footed like the deer and will take me to new high places. Hey Maestro! Cue the violins. 

    1. I smiled at your creative and emotive summary.   I love orchestra music on the heights!   

  35. As for memorizing, I’m going to take Twila’s advice and write out the scripture verse by verse each day. I also will write it on my bathroom mirror and kitchen chalkboard for added reminders. 

  36. Thanks for praying! Memorizing  .  The PET scan lit up the mass in his abdomen/pelvis. Thankfully this was the only lit up area meaning whatever it is, it is confined to this one spot. After the biopsy results are back they will do a bone marrow biopsy to determine staging.
    It was the Lords perfect timing to have me Memorize Hab 3:17-19 this week!

    1. Thanks for the update, Natalie.  continued prayers for Justin and his loved ones. 

  37. Rebecca:   Thanks for answering my question about Keller.  I couldn’t reply above.  I’m so old school, I don’t have a smart phone or any other listening device, but I do download his sermons on my laptop and carry it around my house!  Thinking I need to join the ipod generation one of these days.  

    1. lol Wanda-I can relate..I used to not like Tech..but I kind of like it now, yet I see how distracting it can be to keep up with all the new changes. Glad you have a laptop. :)) 

    2. Oh my gosh Wanda! You definitely need to come into the 21 st century with technology ?. It would make your spiritual life so much easier! I can just envision you cleaning your house carrying around your laptop! Lol! I say get yourself a smart phone so you can take pics at the upcoming wedding, listen to Keller, listen to music anywhere, and do your bible study as you clean the house ?. Plus you could insert these little smilies too! Very productive indeed.

      1. I have to laugh at your comment about taking photos on a phone.  You have no idea of the 10’s of thousands of photos I take yearly with a real camera!  I’m a bit of a photography nerd.   (understatement!)  I do think I’ll get a small camera again, so I can carry it in a purse though.  I’m a purist when it comes to photos!   Phone cameras are great to upload immediately, but that’s not usually my priority with pics.  🙂   Oh…..I did fail on the smiley though.  ha!    I think I will probably live out my days preferring books to online books.  I carry a book with me literally everywhere I go.  Never without a source of nurturing.   But in this day, I DO realize there are benefits to plugging in.  I just still prefer to resist as long as I can!!  Nothing more satisfying to me than to hold a book in my hands!  

  38. 6. And endurance produce character?
    I think it was Keller in a sermon who said that suffering will either make you bitter or better. So, I’d better pay attention to how I’m enduring. I can endure with resentment and bitterness and it will slowly shape my character. I can endure relying on God to help me find things to be thankful for, trying to learn and grow through the suffering, and focusing on how the trial is helping me to be closer to Him. I believe character is shaped over many years and we may not even notice the changes in ourselves, but often other people say something to us and that makes us aware.
    Yesterday I was pondering this “rejoicing” in suffering….I thought of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, of Him being so sorrowful and troubled, of Him asking God if this cup could be taken away, of Him being in great agony while He prayed, sweating. I know that Hebrews tells us that it was “the joy set before Him” that made Him endure the Cross, but I don’t see that joy in that snapshot of His life. I see anguish, turmoil, of not wanting to have to go to the Cross. I think verses like these about rejoicing in suffering have always made me feel like it’s some superhuman feat to accomplish – but I can’t do it. Reading about what Jesus went through makes me feel like I have permission to feel the same way. In His human-ness, Jesus felt the press of the weight of suffering. I can take comfort that He knows, He understands. God understands when I say can’t You just take this away, make it stop?

  39. Do you ever wish you could take back what you said? This happens to me often. This morning, after reading Jakie’s comments, is just the most recent time. I am thankful for your comments about adult children. It has given me much to think and pray about. 

    1. Jean,   I’m glad you drew me back to (almost) the very beginning of this blog’s comments to see the new comments there.  I’m not sure what you wish you could take back, but I find both yours and Jackie’s comments helpful.   I so truly believe that, just as God made every one of us unique individuals; so do every one of us experience Him in different ways.  No two stories are alike.  No two adult children’s faith journey are alike.  Wilderness for many.  But in so many different ways.  We must continue to pray for each other….. and our families.  

    2. Jean – I could not help but feel terrible that my post made you feel like taking back your comments…..I went back and re-read both of our comments and I’m not quite sure what exactly it was that led you to feel that way.  🙁   I was truly just dovetailing off Susan’s comments (and Wanda’s as well) about adult children, yes, but mostly about questions about the whole subject of salvation and those who preach publicly that you can just quickly “pray the prayer” and then feel confident in your salvation come what may……and I do connect with that so very much in terms of my own adult children – as well as my OWN experience at the age of 12 “praying the prayer” just to check it off the list so to speak!  The church I attended as a child and teenager sounds oh so much like your description of your own experience of legalism and the do’s and don’ts above all.  Soooo sad and empty.  Boy, was I ever excited to read of how you stayed and found that some of your friends at your church were walking the same path as you were!  The whole idea that you painted a picture of , of working out the salvation that God has worked into us – in COMMUNITY – is such a lovely and right thing.  It blessed me greatly to read it….so please don’t censure yourself at all!  Those words were so very life giving!  

  40. Wanda and Jackie, I’ll reply to both at the same time. First, I’m truly sorry for making you feel badly, Jackie. It wasn’t my intent. What you said about fruit really made sense. Honestly, I really want to wholeheartedly believe what I said in my comment about my son. However, when I am reminded of the fig tree that doesn’t bare fruit, it scares me. Just because I feel like he’s saved doesn’t make it so. We are talking about his eternal destiny. I’ve got to keep that in mind and Continue in prayer. I guess I’m torn because deep in my heart I want him to look and act like my old stereotypical Christian from my early Christian walk. ick! 
    My study bible has a really interesting note about fruit from Galatians 5:22-23 that I hang onto when it comes to this son. It says the fruit of the spirit is love. And love is manifested in joy, peace, patience,kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I like to think about how you might describe the fruit of any other tree like a peach tree. You might say the fruit of the peach tree is a peach and a peach has soft, fuzzy skin, the fruit is sweet and juicy, etc. Anyway, when I think of this son, he really does have love for people. its just that i dont see him doing the typical things other church going Christians do. He loves people at school and work and in the coffee shop. so, that’s why I guess I explained about the legalism I experienced in my early years because I’m still struggling with it. I’m still thankful for what Jackie said because it reminds me we can’t stop praying for each other. It’s really important. And I realize this post may not make a lot of sense but it’s because I’m conflicted inside. Thanks for reading and thoughtfully commenting. It’s very helpful. 

    1. Jean.…..I think we would likely all three (and more here) be on the same page, if we could sit around a table and interchange in person!  The ways you just described your feelings and what you see and what you expected……I could have written that too.  Not sure how old your kids are, but my two who have walked away from Christianity are in their early 30’s now.  So it’s been about a 15 year journey that I’ve been on.  What is interesting to me, lately, is that our oldest son has been staying with us quite a bit this summer as he got a job closer to us.  It’s giving us a chance to have more time to just connect and feel more comfortable with each other again. LONG story.  It isn’t always easy, but I am grateful for this opportunity to spend more time with him and his wife.  It’s probably the first time I’ve felt that she and I could have a more easy going and deeper relationship.  (baby steps here.   they’ve been married 6 years and dated a few before that).  What has struck me is the many ways they DO exemplify the gospel an living the way Jesus and Paul taught us. For example, I’ve memorized Romans 12:9-21 this month (challenge from church!)  and I see them in this passage……’don’t be proud.  be willing to associate with those of low position.  If your enemy is hungry, feed him……if he is thirsty, give him something to drink…..’   They might chalk it up to good will or ‘love’ but they know that those are lessons from Jesus.  They know the source of where their core values come from.   (they were both raised in Christian homes and churches).  That said, the ‘upfront’ issues they address and convictions they hold often look very different (from the expected ‘church’ outcome  and are in some ways  oppositional to the gospel.   People are so complicated, aren’t they?? !!  But, I do have to thank God and cling to those glimpses of Him in their lives.  I think there is a slow but somehow steady work in their lives. 

    2. Jean, I also thank you for drawing my attention back “up the page” to see Jackie’s reply to me. I also felt that your post was “post-worthy” here and that you shouldn’t worry about having to take something you wrote back. It is very, very hard as moms, and also when we think of other unsaved family members, to separate out our emotions from the plain truth of Scripture. I have found myself praying, for example, that in the case of my one son who is away this summer, that God would bring a mature believer into his life. I realize that I may not be the one who is able to talk to him about God; in fact, often, in the past, he would get irritated with me for “bringing up God”. Yet, I remember one time when we were driving together and I apologized for something and he said to me, “You really think you needed to apologize for that? If more Christians were like you, maybe I’d want to be one.” More than anything I know our children are watching us, and they are very observant. More than anything I believe that us moms being willing to admit when we are wrong makes a huge impact on them. Yet I pray for God to put a believer into the lives of my children – someone they would respect, admire, and who would plant some seeds in their lives.

  41. Memorizing:  I started with the rejoicing verse, because when I start at the beginning I don’t always make it to the end.  I’ve often referred to this passage as the fig tree verses and wanted it to become the rejoicing verses (or maybe the deer feet verses?).  Plus, I was familiar enough with the passage that I think I may have memorized it before.  I figured that if I couldn’t remember the fig tree/olives part, I could always substitute that with “when life seems hopeless.”  But I didn’t want to substitute anything else for the joy.  I was going to take a verse a day, but I got into saying, “I will take joy in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”  And then, I started noticing that when I was frustrated or hurt, I started saying that verse as a response — sorta like “The Little Engine that Could”, but with God rather than myself as the object.  Repeating that verse this week already has helped me pray it for others, too.  Keller’s sermon last week about rejoicing as a discipline soaked in still deeper.  Today was hard, but I did experience joy DURING sorrow.  I guess I expected joy to replace sorrow or to hide sorrow, but now I am understanding that that’s not the way it works.  If I am not experiencing joy during sorrow now, it probably is due to lack of discipline.  In the past, I guess I could have claimed ignorance.  (and I think that will be my take-away this week, maybe even my main take-away for the whole summer: I can’t imagine anything much bigger right now!)

    1. oh Renee, love this post. Thankful you experienced joy IN the sorrow–and I completely relate to wanting/expecting the joy to replace the sorrow–but you are right, it doesn’t. I think it more gives us endurance, maybe hope, in the sorrow. Fixes my eyes upon Jesus so the things of earth grow strangely dim. The Little Engine..made me smile, probably my favorite story as a child and I had forgotten it.  I love your focusing on vs. 18 ““I will take joy in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.” 

    2. I love your logic, Renee.   I would never have thought of doing it that way….but it sounds like it was a good approach.  I kinda forgot about memorizing.  Oops.  I illustrated it the first day…..and I have been memorizing a Romans passage all month, as part of a challenge at church.  OK…..here I go.  Back to the fig tree.  (and I call it that too. But somehow, I have never forgotten that it is from the end of Habakkuk…..I suppose because I first learned it when my brain was young.)

    3. Renee,
      Thank you for this post!   
      Loved this:     And then, I started noticing that when I was frustrated or hurt, I started saying that verse as a response — sorta like “The Little Engine that Could”, but with God rather than myself as the object. 
      And this gem:    I guess I expected joy to replace sorrow or to hide sorrow, but now I am understanding that that’s not the way it works. 
      We truly do need each other.   Grateful for you here tonight.

  42. Pondering this theme of the wilderness.   It is throughout scripture.  Listened to this 25 minute conversation this evening,  with Michael Card and Mart DeHaan as they walked in the windswept, barren desert of Israel:    
    Some things that stood out:
    “More than a few times, hope has died in the wilderness.”
    “There is a sense of disillusionment here.”
    “David knew the wilderness.  For him the desert could also become a place to find peace and safety from the emotional betrayal of a close friend.”  (Psalm 55:12)
    “This wilderness landscape is a parable of hopelessness.”  
    “The wilderness has to do its thing in us.  It has a function – a purpose.  It requires a period of time to teach us the lessons it has to teach us.”  
    “The main lessons we have to learn are in the wilderness.”
    “In these barren, empty moments we can ponder deeply.”
    “Jesus comes out of the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit.   There are treasures there.”

    1. Wow Nila..I love this.

  43. 7. And character produce hope?
    As we persevere through suffering and trials with endurance, as God shapes and molds our characters, we come through with hope….now the way I’m seeing this is kind of in two ways. Renee in her above post tells how she has been using the memorized passage this week, repeating the part about choosing to rejoice in God her Savior in response to sorrow. I will say that in and of myself, I don’t have the character that produces hope. But I found a clue when Renee said “with God rather than myself as the object” (the opposite of The Little Engine That Could….I think I can….I think I can….) My hope is not in thinking that “I can”, but HE CAN. Focusing on God’s character produces hope.

  44. 8. If you studied the Song of Songs with us, how was the wilderness a gift to the bride? (Hint: How did she come out of it?)
    I think the gift was that being in the wilderness made her long for Him, made her seek after Him. She ached in her heart in His absence. (“My heart sank at his departure.” SOS 5:6) She came up out of the wilderness leaning on Him. Intimacy between the two of them was restored. As in Renee’s words in the opening, in the wilderness the things of this earth grow strangely dim. We get a vision of Him that overshadows everything else.

  45. Okay…so…I may be complicating this passage, or He may have quickened me. I am seeing that maybe this isn’t only talking about if we ‘lose everything’ sustenance wise, etc..but I have found in wilderness times the loss or challenge of the physical leads me there but I go there because I have forgotten Him in my distress.. My vineyard is dry..yet He takes me into the wilderness and allures me.

    So when I meditate on this in Habakkuk:  Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food. I thought of Song of Songs and I thought of spiritual dryness…because for me that is THE dynamic in desert times along with physical loss-and He allures me to desire Him above my circumstances..For the battle isn’t against flesh and blood but against satan who is the fox in my vineyard telling me lies…BUT My heart lept with Song of Songs: The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!'” “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely.”
    satan clearly has only been given enough rope to hang himself. 🙂 God will  finish the work He started in us. He doesn’t say He might, rather He will. So don’t get discouraged in wilderness times, rather cling to Him and remember He will allure you tenderly speaking to you. He will be your strength regardless of your circumstances. (I am speaking  to myself here too.)
    O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely.” 15“Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyardsare in blossom.”

    1. I am late responding to this but it is so true, Rebecca, that sometimes wilderness times are our own doing. “I go there because I have forgotten Him in my distress,” as you say. Truly, “Satan … is the fox in my vineyard telling me lies”. 
      Satan’s lies can be strong delusions, leading us deep into spiritual wilderness; but, oh praise the Lord, He never leaves us or forsakes me, but follows us and leads us out, as we turn to Him, cling to Him and lean on his arm. Oh, Lord, take me into whatever wilderness You need me to be so that I can hear your voice and truly KNOW that Your voice is the sweetest voice that there is.
      Also, Rebecca, I don’t know which translation you used but “the secret place of the steep pathway” from Song of Songs but it is a phrase worth pondering and it reminds me very much of “the secret place of the most High” from Psalm 91 in KJV where it says “1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” 

  46. One thing I know about myself is that I can be wishy washy. I think I know somethin until someone else speaks and then I’m unsure again. I’m thankful for this forum to share thoughts and to be encouraged and taught by so many wise counselors. 
    i saw this on Facebook and thought of our study. This family of farmers singing hymns in their empty silo. I don’t know why it’s empty, perhaps that’s normal for this time of year, but I thought it was perfect for us. Habakkuk might say, “though the silo is empty, I will sing of the Lord, my Savior and Friend.” I hope you like it. 

  47. I’m afraid I am going to bog out on all of you this week.   I had been hanging in here, and I have got my memorization in hand, but I have not done the listening yet and won’t get to do so.   Today is finally the day I mentioned way back weeks ago — today is our 50th Wedding Anniversary.   Our daughters have worked themselves to the bone preparing a party for us with about 75 friends and family.    However, as far as this blog is concerned, today is a loss!    Sorry about that — will try to jump back in for the coming week.  

    1. Deanna–HAPPY 50th to you and your husband! What a testimony! So happy for you to have your children celebrate with you! Blessings to you both!

    2. Congratulations, Deanna! Hope you had a wonderful celebration.