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Sunday

August 5th - Habakkuk's Hairy Questions

Habakkuk's Hairy Questions

(Habakkuk 1 – 3)



Fig Tree

Photographer Unknown


Habakkuk, the Old Testament prophet, appeared on the same around the same time as the major prophet Jeremiah of Judah. Habakkuk’s writings were marked by tough queries. This prophet of God was not afraid to ask the difficult questions of justice, righteousness, divine fairness and more.


We may ponder some of these same issues today, as we await the answers of the Lord.


“Why do You tolerate wrong?”

(Habakkuk 1:3b, NIV)

“Why then do You tolerate the treacherous?
Why are You silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than themselves?”

(Habakkuk 1:13b, NIV)


And how does the Lord answer?


“For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay.”

(Habakkuk 2:3, NIV)


Will we trust Him to hold the truths we cannot fathom? Do we believe He is able to transform trials into triumph?

Here’s a poem the Lord gave me this morning, based on the end of Habakkuk 3. May God bless you and draw you closer to His own heart, as you seek Him.


The Harvest Is Yet to Come


Who will work the land,

If farms refuse to flourish?

How long will we wait?

THE HARVEST IS YET TO COME.

How long will we wait?

If farms refuse to flourish,

Who will work the land?


Bare bark betrays us.

Yellowed leaves hide shrunken bells,

Bounty masked by blues.

YET WE AWAIT HIS HARVEST.

Bounty masked by blues,

Yellowed leaves hide shrunken bells.

Bare bark betrays us.


May we sow the seeds,

Germinated from His heart.

Reach up now to thrive.

HARVEST BEGINS WITHIN US.

Reach up now to thrive.

Germinated from His heart,

May we sow the seeds.


c2009 by Linda Ann Nickerson


Will you pray with me?


Holy Harvester,

Creator of creativity itself,

We long for Your answers.

No questions

are too tall

for You.

We cry out for Your healing

And Your harvest

Among us.

Draw hearts to Yours.

Bring Your justice

And Your mercy

To our world.

We honor You.

Amen.


Posted for a variety of prompts:


AC poetry calls (harvest poems)

Easy Street Prompts (“working the land”)

Haiku Friday (haiku poem/s)

Heads or Tails (“yellow”)

Meme Express (Sunday invitation to Simply Snickers)

Monday Poetry Train (poem/s)

Naisaiku Challenge (Naisaiku poetry)

One Single Impression (“blue”)

Simply Snickers (“bare,” “bark” and “beside”)

Sunday Scribblings (poetry)


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Friday

August 4th - Tempered Testing

Tempered Testing

(Jeremiah 46:1-28; 47:1-7)


Harness the Horses

By Charles Joseph Staniland


Reading through the Old Testament, we may find ourselves stunned to uncover so many examples of the judgment of the Lord. We pore through accounts of God’s anger and woeful stories of wrath.


Today’s Bible readings fit this bill completely, as we learn of the Lord’s words to the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah about the fate of the land of Egypt.


God fairly dared the armies of Egypt to mount up and defy Him.


"Prepare your shields, both large and small,
and march out for battle!

Harness the horses,
mount the steeds!
Take your positions
with helmets on!
Polish your spears,
put on your armor!”

(Jeremiah 46:3-4, NIV)


Of course, the omnipotent God of the universe knew full well that the mightiest armies of the earth stood no chance against His heavenly forces.


Again, as always, the Lord would reign victorious. Before the first arrow left the bow, the Lord had already conquered His enemies. Surely He has vanquished every foe.


What a blessing and comfort it is to belong to the Lord!


While His enemies may be toppled, including those who defy Him willfully, all who seek His face may be spared.

Jeremiah recounted the Lord’s promise to His own people. Although He would surely discipline His own and test them, He would not destroy those who belonged to Him.


"Do not fear, O Jacob my servant;
do not be dismayed, O Israel.
I will surely save you out of a distant place,
your descendants from the land of their exile.
Jacob will again have peace and security,

and no one will make him afraid.

Do not fear, O Jacob my servant,
for I am with you," declares the Lord.
"Though I completely destroy all the nations
among which I scatter you,
I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you but only with justice
;
I will not let you go entirely unpunished."

(Isaiah 46:27-28, emphasis added)


Why does the Lord discipline His own? Why does He allow troubling times into our lives? Theologians have debated such questions throughout human history.


Could it be that the Lord knows we need to feel a sense of need before we will cry out to Him? Must we be humbled, and perhaps even hurting, before we will fall to our knees?


Will you pray with me?


Mighty Maker and Master,

Wondrous Warrior,

Valiant Victor,

How grateful we are

To belong to You.

You have promised,

In Your time,

To set all things right

And to bring justice

On the earth.

We look to You.

Though You discipline us,

We remain Your.

Even as You rebuke us,

We know Your love.

Draw us ever closer

To Your heart.

Amen.


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Saturday

August 3rd - Knowing and Showing

Knowing and Showing

(2 Kings 23:29-36)

(2 Chronicles 35:20-25; 36:1-5)

(Jeremiah 22:10-17)


Jesus and the Poor Leper

Artist Unknown


The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah spoke directly to the people of God, proclaiming the Word of the Lord. Among the targets of these teachers were priests and religious leaders. Jeremiah exhorted them to honesty, humility and true devotion to the Lord.


The prophet called people to care for others, particularly those in need, even as the Lord Himself cares most tenderly for those who know their state of need.


"’Does it make you a king
to have more and more cedar?
Did not your father have food and drink?
He did what was right and just,
so all went well with him.

He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
and so all went well.

Is that not what it means to know Me?’
declares the Lord.

‘But your eyes and your heart
are set only on dishonest gain,
on shedding innocent blood
and on oppression and extortion.’"

(Jeremiah 22:15-17, NIV, emphasis added)


What does it mean to know the Lord? If we truly know Him, how will our attitudes and our actions reflect the level of intimacy we enjoy with the living God?


Will we build bigger barns, accrue additional assets and find fabulous financial fortune? Or will the Lord’s abundant provision in our lives take a different form altogether?


Will you pray with me?


Jehovah Jireh,

You are the Provider.

You know our every need.

You know the needs of those around us.

Teach us to trust You.

Spur us to serve You.

Reform our hearts,

So they reflect Your heart.

We live to know You.

Amen.


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Wednesday

August 2nd - Regal Readings and Reforms

Regal Readings and Reforms

(2 Kings 22:3-20; 23:1-23, 28; 24:1-19)

(2 Chronicles 34:8-33; 35:1-19, 26-27)


King Josiah Hears the Law

Artist Unknown


Around 620 years before the Advent of Christ, young King Josiah reigned in Jerusalem. The Old Testament prophet called for reforms and for rebuilding of the Temple of the Lord. During the restoration, the builders uncovered the Book of the Law of the Lord, which had come through the patriarch Moses.


When King Josiah saw the Book of the Law of the Lord, he repented of his own unfaithfulness, as well as of the faithlessness of the people. The king ordered that the people be gathered, and he read the Word of the Lord to the entire nation. Then the king called the people to a recommitment to the covenant of the Lord.


This recommitment led to massive reforms within the nation. Idolatrous structures were destroyed. Worship of the living God was restored.


What influence a single faithful leader may hold!


Does this biblical account not spur us to pray for our own political and governmental leaders? Surely the Lord can turn hearts to Himself, even today. What revival might we see in our own time, if our leaders would devote themselves wholeheartedly to serving Jehovah God.


Will you pray with me?


Mighty Master

And God of the universe,

You are the Ruler of all.

You hold the hearts of men

And the reins of all power

In Your mighty hands.

Soften the hearts

Of the world’s leaders,

So that they may come to trust You.

Remind us to pray

For those who hold

Positions of authority

In our nations.

May they devote themselves

To Your glory alone.

Amen.


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