I don’t understand why, but many of us enjoy seeing others become frightened. Some of the funniest videos I’ve seen are of grown men getting scared and screaming like little girls. It may be fun to see others get scared, but living in fear is nothing to laugh about. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, […]
From the writings of the prophet, Habakkuk, we learn of God’s judgment upon His people.
The Lord’s words are recorded in Chapters 1 and 2. Well-known promises are interspersed between God’s judgment and Habakkuk’s response in Chapter 3.
“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.
“For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea.”
“But the Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.
O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid:
O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years,
in the midst of the years make known;
in wrath remember mercy.”
And, as God’s people, in this generation, let us remember the source and the joy of our salvation. Neither are derived from good health, prosperity or anything of this world.
In times of adversity, we must consider what God is saying to each of us. We cannot point the finger at others. Let us use this opportunity to search our hearts, and in faith and repentance “humble ourselves before God and men.” (Andrew Murray, Humility)
Gracious Father, God and ruler of heaven and earth, give us wisdom and grace to turn our hearts to you. Revive your work in us and make us witnesses of your mercy ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Scripture Tunes ~ Habukkuk 3:17-18
MORE POWERFUL THAN
our very breath.
“IN HIM WE LIVE AND BREATHE AND HAVE OUR BEING.”
“AND WE ARE IN HIM WHO IS TRUE, IN HIS SON JESUS CHRIST.
HE IS THE TRUE GOD AND ETERNAL LIFE.”
1 John 5:20
Dear Father, interweave between my human thoughts the truths and the authority of Your Word. I thank you and praise you that Your Words are Spirit and Life to me. In Jesus’ precious and powerful name Amen
A timely post from Bill Sweeney’s Unshakable Hope
Be encouraged as you read.
We retrieved our computer two days ago after it was in repair for a week. We (the elderly) learned yesterday that we should not venture from home (after I had been to the grocery store for daily essentials).
With the widespread fear, we sense the need to share our reasons for not being anxious. How can we help others remain hopeful and at peace during these times.
We cannot be out and about but having the means of posting on this blog, we can offer what the Lord has given us. Sustaining us for over eighty years, Jerry and I are privileged ~ blessed ~ to know the presence and power of our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ and His Spirit every day.
Considering the fear many seem to have, we see three possibilities for us as God’s people.
- We may never get the coronavirus.
- We may have the virus and survive it.
- We may die from it and be ushered into the presence of our Lord forever.
Non-believers do not have this hope of God’s grace but this is a good time for us to share the gospel.
For those who might benefit from reading something of our experience of God’s grace and share this with others, we have a free Ebook on Amazon, plus other books available. First Things that Last Forever speaks of Jesus’ teachings of things that are eternal.
Gracious Father, thank you that you never leave us nor forsake us, caring for us and providing for all our needs. Give us spiritual wisdom and understanding for such a time as this. Enable us to reach out to others with the good news of life through Jesus Christ, your Son, in whose name I pray~ for your glory, our peace, and joy. Amen.
Paul’s last voyage was not a pleasant one. From Caesarea he was being sent to Rome as a prisoner to be tried before Caesar. The storm encountered was causing the ship to break apart as it ran upon the rocks near the beach of Malta.
Before running aground, where the bow stuck and the stem was being broken by the surf, the prisoners could have escaped by throwing out the anchor and letting down the lifeboat. This could have been Paul’s chance to avoid being carried to Rome. But, he knew what was happening was within God’s plans for him.
The following night, after Paul was arrested, “the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.” Acts 23:11
Then, during the storm, Paul stood to encourage all who are in the ship, “Take heart for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, Do not be afraid Paul, your must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you. So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island.” Acts 27:22-26
Paul trusted God’s plan for him; he trusted His Word, and he was obedient to the will of God. His was the example of the obedience of faith he preached in the gospel to the Roman Christians.
God’s plans for us may be that we go through the storms and waves of this world. The relationship we are in may break up, and seemingly all hope is lost, but in faith, we must stay in the ship. Our relationship with God may encounter upheavals; our fellowship with other believers may run aground, but we are called to obedience to stay in the ship and endure through the entire course, even if that means that we are heading toward the end of this life.
Paul survived his last voyage with other prisoners and soldiers. Undoubtedly, they were non-believers, not knowing the promises or power of God to save His people. Paul is the example for us, even in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation to shine as lights in the darkness.
Cutting Away the Lifeboat
“Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.” Acts 27:32
God is able: and He promises in His Word never to leave us nor forsake us. At times He may have to cut away the ropes of anything that might help us to abandon ship.
His church is that great ship that is often run aground, but He has not forsaken her. Many leave the ship, and often have a difficult time finding it again.
Marriage and family units are vessels that have to bear the storms. Many find these relationships on the rocks, but when we rely on God’s promises, His presence and power as Paul did, we experience His working through the upheavals. He can restore these ships, sometimes to better relationships than they were before.
We may be the only one with faith, courage, and perseverance to stay with the ship, knowing the God to whom we belong and worship. We may be the only light that God chooses to save a whole family from darkness and disaster.
We accept this reality with humility, not pride. It can be a heavy burden for us, but in time it will produce the joy that He intends for us. Wherever we are is where God places us; to testify of Him.
Ask, and it shall be given you;
Seek, and ye shall find;
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
As I have been interceding for Bill and Terry these two weeks, the importance of prayer has again become for me a major interest and calling for another search in God’s Word.
I was led to Jesus’ words instructing us to ask, seek, and knock. His words are not just thrown out to us for a random catch. Every word He spoke ~ every word recorded ~ has infinite meaning. If we want to know the depths of His words, we need to go beneath the surface. If we are to understand the full meaning of His words, we must dig deeper into the whole counsel of the written Word for the heavenly substance contained in them. We must search for the legacy that is ours as His disciples.
Thinking this would be a simple 1-2-3-presentation, I started to search and as usual, discovered more, much more than I anticipated. Again overwhelmed with the treasure of God’s Word, we must break this into three parts: Ask, Seek, and Knock.
As you can tell from the title, His message is to teach us what it means to ASK with the understanding that asking, seeking, and knocking are three forms of the same desire to apprehend and claim what is promised from the Giver of all things.
ASK in the Old Testament
In Hebrew ask ~ shâʼal, shaw-al’ meaning to inquire; by implication, to request; by extension, to demand.
God commands us to ask and He tells us in His Word what we are claim from Him as the Giver. He would not tell us to ask except that He waits to be gracious to us and grant our request. The first references are from the Old Testament.
In Isaiah 45:11 the Lord says “concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”
“Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.”
In Jeremiah we remember the Lord’s counsel.
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16
“They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.” Jeremiah 50:5
ASK in the New Testament
In Greek ask ~aitéō, ahee-teh’-o means to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require
There are two specific things we are to ask for:
The Holy Spirit and Wisdom
The Holy Spirit
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:13
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to His disciples as perhaps the first and most important thing to ask, for it is the Holy Spirit that gave men the words from God and interprets them for us. He is the Spirit of truth and guides us into all truth (John 16:13). He reveals what we are to ask.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5
We ask in faith.
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” James 1:6
We ask and receive because we keep His commandments.
“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
1 John 3:22
We ask according to His will.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” 1 John 5:14
We know what to ask because we abide in Him and His words abide in us. Here, again, the Holy Spirit works through His Word in us.
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7
We ask in Jesus’ name.
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13
The power of the Holy Spirit works in us through our asking and receiving.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us,”
Dear heavenly Father, I ask that you speak through your Holy Spirit to those of your children who have not yet learned what to ask or how to ask. Bring us closer to you in faith and knowledge of your gracious bounty that is ours in Christ. Keep us abiding in your Word, filled with the power of your Spirit to live in obedience to your will for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Related Articles: Jesus’ Words are Not Suggestions
How the Holy Spirit Works
In 2014, at the age of 75, I wrote this hymn as a witness of how, over many years, the Lord brought me to Himself. I set it to a tune to be sung as a solo but I plan to use a familiar tune, instead, so that it can be sung in corporate worship. It is a hymn all true Christians should be able to sing.
I share only the text in this post. I will share the musical version when it is available.
A SINNER’S PRAYER
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:19
1. LORD, be merciful to me, a sinner.
What have I to bring to you?
I am poor, and lost, and helpless;
Show and teach me what is true.
Hear me calling, gracious Father,
I am deaf and cannot see.
I am hopeless; I am dying.
No one here can answer me.
2. Lord, you said that you would save me
If I trust in you alone.
What is faith; what is believing?
It is your work, not my own.
Hear me crying, dear Lord Jesus;
Hear my pleading; see my tears.
In my sin and in my anguish,
I have struggled through the years.
3. All my trying, all my labor
Are but vanity to you.
I am dust in need of Spirit.
Breathe in me your life anew.
I confess Lord, that I need you.
I repent of all my sin.
By your Spirit, live within me.
Be my strength and be my Friend.
4. Lord, you promised life abundant
When you came and bled and died.
Let me see and hear you clearly —
Jesus Christ, the crucified.
O, I can see you, I can hear you.
You have opened eyes and ears.
You have covered sin and sorrow;
You have banished all my fears.
5. Lord, let this poor, ransomed sinner
Know you, love you, and obey;
With your guidance, daily leading,
Showing me your will and way.
Hear me calling, blessed Redeemer,
In my nights and in my days.
I am helpless, but your grace, Lord,
Will lift these weak lips to praise.
© Fran Rogers 2014
I approach this subject as I do all others concerning the kingdom of God. I am as a sheep led by that great shepherd of the sheep, the Lord Jesus Christ; and also a servant of the one who has saved me from the slaughter. No longer one who leads and teaches, now I see only Him and His teaching; if perhaps documenting for a legacy what I have seen and continue to see of His kingdom here on earth ~ a prelude of that which is promised for eternity.
We refer to the Christian Sabbath as the Lord’s Day since through Christ’s death and His resurrection is the sure hope of a new life and eternity with Him. He established a new day of rest in Himself. He is our Sabbath; He is our eternal rest. He is Lord of the Sabbath; and He established His own day when He rose in victory over sin and death and ascended to the throne with all power in heaven and earth. (Matthew 28:18)
The Lord’s Day and Worship
The Christian Sabbath ~ the Lord’s Day ~ was established for a different worship than the seventh day. The seventh was established under the law, for a day of rest (not for public worship) that was limited until the law of grace was brought to us in Christ. We no longer observe the Sabbath in the letter of the law in fear of the Lord’s wrath, bringing sacrifices of dead animals for atonement. We worship with the law written on our hearts and minds.
How we worship on this day depends on how we view the Lord’s Day. As sheep, recipients of the life of Christ and delivered from the former sabbath we bring our praises and thanksgiving to Him. We see worship on this day as an integral part of private and family worship on other days; a bringing together what we have experienced during the week of His presence and His power of salvation.
The Bridge to Eternal Rest
To know Him, His love for me in His suffering and sacrifice is to love Him. To love Him is to love His day. To understand this day and to see it from His perspective we have to know Him personally, as Lord and Savior; to follow Him through the week to what we know as the eighth day and the first day. The end of the week flows into the Lord’s Day, ending in a perpetual praise and worship; beginning a new week in obedience of faith to Him and His word; and preparing for the next Lord’s Day.
It is His day as He has become our bridge to the eternal sabbath. “The word Sabbath seems to have derived from the verb sabat, meaning to stop, to cease, or to keep. Its theological meaning is rooted in God’s rest following the six days of creation (Genesis 2:2-3).” (The Bible Dictionary)
The fourth commandment means more to the Christian than it did to the Israelites because we see it as the forerunner of the Christian sabbath. It was observed in remembrance of God’s work in creation and His salvation for the Israelites.
They were required to offer bloody sacrifices through the priests offerings for atonement for their sins. Those sacrifices were abolished when Jesus, the Lamb of God was sacrificed once and for all time, for all His people in every generation from every nation.
This is the new day, through His sacrifice, that we remember and keep holy unto Him. God, the Father rested from His work of creation. Jesus Christ, the Son has rested from His work of redemption; and now sits in victory as our merciful and faithful High Priest interceding for us at the right hand of the Father until we are there at rest with them.
We rest in Him and His work now, as the Holy Spirit leads us in a continual worship in preparation for that eternal rest and worship.
“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn
toward the first day of the week,
came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
And, behold, there was a great earthquake:
for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
And the angel answered and said unto the women,
Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.
Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Dear Father, open our eyes to see the living Christ. Let us by your Spirit know you; in obedience of faith worship you in spirit and truth today, and throughout this week know your presence and power. In Jesus name I pray. Amen