Seven Truths For A Strong Foundation

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Broken world living contains much mixture - the beautiful with the ugly, the easy with the difficult, the joys with the sorrows, the wonderful with the terrible, the thrilling and exciting with the mundane and downright boring. Walking with God through all of the above refines and purifies our demanding hearts; for in our humanity, we all desire the perfect, the fair, the just, the easy. One day on the other side, we will have it, but not here. Jesus in all his perfection suffered horrible injustice! And so will we (John 16:33).

Just like in the seasons of nature, a tree is battered in some moments and restored with the warmth of the sunshine in others; stretched to capacity as it is bent low in a violent windstorm, but restored to beauty in the gentle rains from above. Our lives are like that - the future unknown, the next moments uncertain, but God is our Rock, the only solid place under our feet when all else is quaking. We know that in our heads, but through our circumstances we are forced to learn that in our hearts. He is the only sure foundation for our time (Isaiah 33:6) - for the insecurities we live with that are lurking in the distance. HE is our only security. Surrendering our lives into his hands is the only way of peace, for He alone holds all things together when they seem to be falling apart all around us (Colossians 1:17 & Psalm 31:14-15 NIV).

In this my 80th year of life with over 50 plus years of walking with Jesus, I have come to some realities to stand firm upon as I have walked through the battering of this fallen world in my day to day circumstances.

1) Emotional healing from the past frees me to live from God’s grace and peace, instead of fear, anxiety and
the need to control.

2) I can’t do life on my own. I don’t even know what it is suppose to look like. My own “pictures of life” are skewed. I am weak, but He is strong in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and 13:4 NIV).

3) Life really is too big for me so I must be desperately, emotionally dependent upon God at all times or fear will take over.

4) Unless I become childlike, not childish, I can’t even see the Kingdom of God, no less live in it. (Children are weak and dependent, trusting on the one who is bigger than them).

5) I will grieve and mourn a lot because this broken world is not what I was created for and not the way I want it to be (Matthew 5:3,4 NIV).

6) Daily surrender and gratitude are absolutely necessary if I’m to live in peace and remain in peace in the midst of it all. (I must look daily with thankfulness for the gifts that come in the midst of the losses).

7) I get the privilege of co-laboring with God in my own uniqueness and for His own purposes, so my life takes on rich meaning even in the midst of the brokenness of daily living.

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Sometimes He Asks You To Get In The Boat

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Jesus was with His disciples after a time of teaching, when He turns and says to them in Mark 4:35: “Hey guys, let’s get in the boat and cross to the other side.” Now one must assume Jesus knew that a storm was brewing, but he asked his friends to get in the boat with him anyway. Verse 37 states: Soon a violent windstorm came up, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was being swamped. But Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him and said, ‘Teacher, don’t You care that we are perishing?’ Then in verse 39 Jesus spoke to the storm and wind - “Silence! Be still! And the wind died down and it was perfectly calm.

Storms of life are never enjoyable. Here in Florida I watch the weather to actually try to avoid them, but eventually they do appear. The disciples were a good picture of what we emotionally deal with when a storm arises. They were fearful and the unknown was disconcerting, so Jesus spoke to their doubt, while exposing their thoughts and concerns. But there was more happening than they may have realized. What did they experience while in the storm? They experienced a miracle and God’s supernatural power they had never seen before, exclaiming: “Who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” They grew in wisdom and understanding and further witness of the Kingdom through their experience in the boat. We want to know God and understand His ways, but to experience Him, He may ask or invite you to get in the boat. The disciples were out of control, but Jesus was right there with them, watching over, guiding, revealing more of Himself to His followers. I’m sure the disciples grew in their faith and trust knowing Jesus was with them, keeping them safe. And the good news is He is still the same today for you and me! Maybe you are in the boat with a storm brewing, or are about to be invited into the boat. There is nothing more peaceful and soothing than gliding along the smooth glass like sea of Galilee on a beautiful day, but if a storm begins to erupt, look for Jesus. He is right there with you preparing to teach you who He is and how much He cares for you. He will comfort, protect, guide you and watch over you. Know that He rides upon your storm and when you agree with Him and look for what He is teaching or revealing, you will sail through and watch Him calm the waters as you grow in wisdom and understanding.

In 1993, Arthur Burt, a wise prophet, gave a word of encouragement to Richard and I. It took me some years to understand, because I had yet to encounter a really troubling storm. But this word, encouraged and comforted me as Jesus guided me into the boat over the years. Arthur said: “ Be in turmoil, battles that are peculiar to youth, but God is in the storm. He rides upon it (the storm). If He rides agree with Him and you will not sink. The storms of youth, I haven’t looked at you. The storms of youth, they leave their mark on life. But out of the storm blind unbelief is sure to error and scan His works in vain, God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain.”

Be encouraged and know that blind unbelief will certainly assist you in sinking, but trusting God and His faithfulness, knowing He rides on your life’s storms will bring peace and hope. You will not sink or fail as you trust Him, and He will bring understanding to you and make His plans clear.

In His love,

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Preparation For Pentecost/Shavuot

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Fifty days after Passover, the Apostle Paul planned his travels so he could be in Jerusalem during Shavuot. It was to celebrate God’s faithfulness with the early wheat harvest, which increased the hopefulness for a fall harvest (Sukkot). Later, the Rabbis while searching for historical facts discovered that around the same time during Shavuot, Moses came to Mount Sinai and was given the Law.

The Jews celebrated Shavuot when they received the Torah from God in Exodus 20. The presence and the revelation of God appeared on top of the mountain in the form of fire. Torah or the Word of God was then given to them on tablets of stone. This year in 2019 Shavuot is celebrated on June 8th - 10th.

Pentecost is a Feast of the Lord recognized by believers on Sunday, June 9th, which is mentioned in Acts 2:1. In Acts 2, the presence of God fell upon the believers with tongues of fire as they began to speak in the native language of those who were listening. In the book of Jeremiah 31, he prophesied that the Spirit of God would come upon the believers and the Torah would be written on their hearts, rather than on tablets of stone.

We look forward to celebrating this Feast with Joy and thanksgiving! He has given us His written Word and continues to write His word upon our hearts. This is a time to saturate ourselves with His Word (Law) and Spirit (prayer) as we expect a fresh outpouring of His Spirit.

In His Covenant Love,

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Preparing For Passover

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Leviticus 23 includes Passover and Unleavened Bread, as well as Firstfruits as part of the Lord’s Feasts which we are encouraged to celebrate. The Hebrew word for Passover is “Pesach” meaning “to spring, jump or pass over something.” This refers to God’s deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt which brought freedom. Passover not only typifies redemption, but prophetically it was God’s plan for world redemption by Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb. What a great reason to celebrate!

“And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy,” Ezra 6:22. I have not personally found many Believers who celebrate the Lord’s Feasts, or become excited getting rid of the leaven or yeast in their lives. They believe it may be painful or too hard to give up enjoyable/addicting habits. It may be even worse for some to lay down their mental strongholds so they can receive inner healing.

But Passover cannot start until all leaven is removed. Cleansing the home was part of the preparation. However, cleansing of the home is just the beginning. Believers know that cleansing of the home includes the cleansing of our heart.

In 1st Corinthians 5:7 Paul states: Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, just as you really are unleavened. For Christ the Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.” Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we are already new. His death and resurrection has removed the leaven in our life. However, in a practical way, there is still leaven that we must cleanse inside and out from the influence of the world. It is a time of purifying our heart and a time to make a decision to separate our self from anything unclean.

In preparation for this Passover, beginning April 19th through April 27th, let’s cleanse our “house,” get rid of the leaven, and celebrate as we experience His presence, joy and blessings!

In His Covenant Love,

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Don't Miss Your Visitation

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Almost everyone has expectations of God. You hope, you pray, you trust and sometimes great things happen. But it also seems at times, like He is not listening or responding to your need. You may feel your answer hasn’t come or He just doesn’t care. Maybe you are praying for relief from a challenge or health issue -maybe you are asking Him to help you with finances or work. Whatever your need, He will come and help you, but He may come to you in a way you don’t expect.

Luke chapter one tells the story of Mary. She experienced a visitation, but to her surprise is was to conceive a child. I’m sure Mary had many needs in her life, but when the angel of the Lord came to her, he spoke of heaven’s desire for her not her own needs. How did she respond? We are given a divine model, an example if you will, of how God desires for us to respond in Mary. She is a picture of surrender and humility as she speaks in Luke 1:38: “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.”

When God visits He comes to you with purpose and favor. How did the angel greet Mary? In Luke 1:28 the angel declared: “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” The word favored #5487 in the concordance is defined as “highly favored, given honor.” She was also encouraged that she was not alone - God was with her!

God will always equip you and supply all that He requires. He is pleased when you surrender to Him in humility and obedience to His request. When you choose to surrender to His plan and purpose, He will infuse you with His grace and favor, and He will bless you, your life and family and the work He assigns to you.

God gave favor to Mary for the following:
1) God wanted to bring something great into Mary’s life and into the world.
2) God’s way of doing this was unexpected and unusual. It did not fit into the culture.
3) There was a price Mary was willing to pay in accepting God’s plan for her life, family, relationships,
cultural acceptance, finances, even her good name in the city.
4) Mary had a choice whether to receive or reject what the angel brought to her - What God desired for
her life.
5) Mary chose to trust God.

Like Mary, there is a price that may include suffering and sacrifice, but the blessing of surrender to His desire will overtake the challenge and sacrifice that may accompany your visitation. A difficult lesson to learn as a believer is that happiness really has nothing to do with blessedness. Happiness relates more to being lucky, and the Lord never promised pure happiness, good luck or even favorable circumstances. The disciples are perfect examples of the challenges in the life of a believer and overcomer. God desires to bless, and His blessedness results in His indwelling, resulting in peace and contentment no matter what the circumstances may be.

James 5:11 translated in the Zodiates Bible states this verse should be translated: “Behold, we recognize those who endured as blessed;” that is to say, receiving His indwelling, and in God finding full satisfaction in spite of their suffering. Apostle Paul often spoke of the maturing process in learning to be content whether you have gain or are in lack (Philippians 4). If you look for material gain or acknowledgement from man to feel successful, you may miss your visitation and the future God desires for you.

Father, may we find favor with You, and in our surrender and choice to obey, may You bless each one with Your presence and grace, knowing that You Lord dwell within; causing us to be fully satisfied in You, knowing You are with us whatever our circumstances or life journey. Help us see with Spirit eyes what your plans are so we do not miss Your visitations.

In His Love,

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Marriage - Our Living Example of Covenant

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One of the main aspects of understanding covenant is giving. Many marriage books today include ways of negotiating with your spouse so each can get what they want, rather than the idea of loving and giving to each other. One fear is: “If I give to them unconditionally, they will take advantage of me and I will become a doormat that they run over.” There is no way that I can address all the Christian cultural ideas that have been accepted throughout the years. Dr. Skip Moen wrote a book I highly recommend titled “Guardian Angel,” which addresses some of the cultural strongholds and what the original purpose for the helpmate (ezer in Hebrew). A few of his thoughts are also paraphrased below.

Even in Genesis man is suppose to rule, but this rule is to be compassionate, never exploiting the relationship. It includes stewardship, care, nurturing and protection. It is similar to a shepherd. Ruling is not suppose to be domination by force or the law. In Genesis 2:24 man is told to detach from precious protectors and providers and to cling (dagaq in Hebrew) to their spouse. It means a close affection and loyalty. An example is how Israel clings to God. Obviously this assumes first that the husband has an intimate relationship with the Lord and easily transfers that same closeness to his “Ezer.”

Sometimes a fear of giving the wife too much power can cause Christian husbands to begin to quote scriptures to make sure they don’t lose their authority. “I’m the head of the household and I will make all final decisions!” In covenant relationships there is a mutual submission that takes place; a giving to one another. It becomes defacto authority which develops from a decision to place myself under the direction of another, because I recognize the right of the other to be my lord, and it is in my best self interest to submit to that authority.

Dejure authority is based on the law. For instance, a policeman has the authority to give us a ticket if we are speeding and the authority comes from the municipal law. However, if the husband has any authority at all, it is based on defacto, and the wife recognizes or grants him authority, and it is in her best interest to submit. Jesus’ entire ministry is based on defacto authority. He doesn’t command us to repent or we go to prison. He invites us to recognize His right to rule, to submit to Him because it is our duty and in our best interest to submit to His authority in the covenant relationship. We volunteer to grant Him authority over our life.

When you love your spouse, you are free to love. No one is forcing you to love them. It’s voluntary. But it does not mean we have no obligations. Imagine no expectations, no commitment and no mutual covenant. Would you call that love? What if your children ignored your requests or directions? It’s the same with God. If we love Him we keep His Torah; not because we have to, but because of love and we desire to please Him. God is delighted when we love Him by obeying and submit to Him.

Ephesians 5:24-25 is a good example of covenant giving. “But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Since God uses the marriage covenant as an earthly example of His covenant with His people, let’s remember that it is our obligation to give our love to our spouse as we give that same love to the Father. It is our joy and privilege to be able to lay our life down and please our Father, and do the same with our spouse in the marriage covenant!

In His Covenant Love,

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Patience and Perseverance Brings Life

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When you choose to walk in a covenantal relationship with God He imparts HIs Gifts of the Spirit to you as He brings forth His Fruit of the Spirit. As you experience the mixture of life, joy as well as trials, God is continually at work maturing you to look more like Him. Galatians 5:22 explains the divine fruit as the following: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. Just like tending a garden, watching over the growth and maturation of His fruit in your life takes time.

I’ve been reflecting lately on all the wonders and truths God has shown me and entrusted to me over the years. His program for character development has at times been very challenging, especially learning what patience looks like to Him. We find Jesus in Luke 21 giving instructions to His followers, and in verse 19 He states: “By your endurance you will gain your lives.” The word endurance is found in the concordance #5278 as Hupomeno; meaning to remain under, to endure or sustain a load of miseries, adversities, persecutions or provocations in faith and patience toward things or circumstances. What Jesus is implying here is that things are going to get tough. Life is not going to always be sweet and it is important for you to develop your gift of endurance and patience to run and finish your race.

As a child, patience is waiting for Christmas or a birthday; even the end of school for summer vacation to commence. Patience may appear as a dream of finishing school, getting a drivers license or attending college or tech schools. Times seems to pass slowly as you look forward to these life markers. Then you may dream of finding a spouse, getting married and working in a great job, or making money to buy a house or car. You wait, and wait, and wait some more. After working for many years, you dream of retirement, travel, financial stability. In all your life experiences you learn to wait, learning patience, endurance, perseverance, knowing fulfillment will come some day. You may then find yourself care taking aging parents, or trusting for healing in your body, finances, relationships or children. More patience, enduring, waiting, waiting, waiting. Now by waiting, I mean actively waiting. Life doesn’t stand still. Life rolls along, but those hopes or desires and expectations remain as we patiently and diligently live each day. Ecclesiastes reminds us in 3:1-8 there is a season for everything under heaven. Recognizing your season of life will help you grow in patience and peace as well as understanding.

Patience is often one of the most difficult fruit to develop. When we acquire the ability to wait, we then reflect more of His peace. Learning patience in God’s time is certainly not like the world’s time. Healing may come as an instant miracle or it may arrive after much perseverance. Finances may instantaneously appear if you win the lottery or an inheritance, or it may take a lifetime to acquire and save. Jesus and His disciples taught His followers the importance of learning to be patient and endure. They knew it was important for their souls, as well as mental and spiritual health. “By your patient endurance you will gain your lives (possess your soul)”, Luke 21:19. “But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved,” Matthew 24:13. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let patience have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” James 1:1-4.

Patience, endurance, perseverance, whatever you choose, is foundational in a believer’s journey with God. We as children are not always very patient, but in surrendering to God’s plans and understanding the season you may be in, you will find greater peace as you learn to bow to His hands molding you into a new person and becoming more like Him. Oswald Chambers wrote in his ageless devotional, My Utmost For His Highest: “God gives us a vision, and then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into shape of that vision. It is in the valley that so many of us give up and faint. Every God-given vision will become real if we will only have patience.”

A few thoughts to help you as you practice the skill of patient endurance: 1) Realize God is not in a hurry. He has given you eternity. He changes you the most in the difficult places. I have prayers 10 years and counting as well as prophetic words 30 years and waiting. Know that He hears your cries and will perform His work in your life in His perfect time. 2) When waiting seems unbearable, ask God if there is something for you to learn or do in the situation. Ask Him to give you clarity and understanding. 3) Find peace and comfort in His love for you knowing He works all things for your good. He is changing you as you endure. 4) Plan a time each day to quiet yourself and simply rest or talk with Him. Tell Him how you feel, knowing that He is listening and in time will respond as He sets things in order.

Father, thank You that You love us so much that You allow difficult times in life to cause us to grow and mature as You mold us to be more like You. Thank You for Your divine impartation and intervention in our lives, guiding us, teaching and changing us. Help us to learn to trust You more, knowing that You desire for us to prosper and be in health, as You teach our souls to prosper (3 John 1:2). ”Let us not become weary of doing what is good, for at the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” ( Galatians 6:9). Thank you Father!

In His Love,

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Share Lovingkindness During The Race

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Lovingkindness or mercy is an English word defining “hesed” in the Old Testament. Hesed is a term that is included in covenant language describing relationships between people that reflect generosity or compassion that comes from love. When our relationship with God is broken, He works at renewing it, because He loves what He has created; even when we have rejected His sovereignty and try to control our own destiny. He restrains His anger and does not give up on us. Hesed has many meanings and it is difficult to define as an English expression. in His kingdom, hesed is relational, reciprocal and active.

Within the English culture when someone receives a gift, after saying “Thank you” the gratitude turns to a reciprocal gift or way of giving. In the New Testament it works this way also. God gives to us by His love and we respond as a disciple ready to give to Him. In the Old Testament it is based on hesed and in the New Testament it is called grace. Grace can be defined as: God doing something for us, by His love, that we cannot do for ourself. In other words, it describes one aspect of God’s incredible character.

In the midst of giving hesed or lovingkindness to others, you can still experience battles such as: the good fight of faith, wrestling with the enemy, and the war of denying self. Through it all, the author of Hebrews encourages us: Let us run with endurance the race that is put before us.” The word “race” is an easier way to identify the challenges of life we all face.

As we encounter various battles as we run the race, He still wants His character (hesed-mercy-grace) to be extended to His people, identifying His kingdom. We first are obligated to give to God because of His continuous gift of grace to us, and then reciprocate our giving and love to others. Regardless what we encounter in the race, let’s continue to extend lovingkindness or hesed to Him and to others!

In His Covenant Love,

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Get Wisdom And Understanding!

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Discernment. Logic. Reasoning skills. These were all important concepts to help develop language skills in our students, during my tenure as a Speech-Language Therapist. It was important for students to not only learn their vocabulary and sentence development, but to also acquire the ability to weigh and rightly discern situations to make quality decisions. It is still important in life to gain understanding. Life works more smoothly when we have knowledge. In Proverbs we find the timeless words of wise men and Rabbi’s who taught on the ways to conduct one’s life. Some have described Proverbs as “Wisdom Literature.” We find in chapter 4 suggestions for a better less painful plan to life in the author’s wise and fatherly instruction: “Pay attention, hear intelligently and gain or recognize understanding to live life well.” He states: “Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, and give attention that you may gain understanding, for I give you sound teaching; Do not abandon my instruction…. Keep my precepts and live. Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!…Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; Love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding. Prize her and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty.”

We can have intellectual knowledge and still end up with a very difficult life. Is it possible that our society has grown in material wealth but possibly failed in encouraging children and young people to develop their understanding and discernment, while learning to think, communicate and reason for themselves. Even Isaiah 1:18 emphasized the importance to “come and reason together.” Instead of making decisions by cultural norms, familial belief structures, he said-she said, what would happen if we were able to pause, take in and process information and respond more slowly to others and situations; while taking time to gain understanding and perspective and prayerfully seeking the Spirit of Truth who comes with divine wisdom and revelation?

Proverbs 4 closes with further guidance in verses 20-23. “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their whole body. Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Father, Spirit of Truth, please come and help us to gain wisdom, revelation and understanding as we apply heaven’s principles and precepts to our lives, our relationships and decision making. Thank you for transforming our hearts to better align with you and your word. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, will give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. May the eyes of your heart be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. (Eph. 1:17-19a).

In His Love,

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Reading, Writing and Running With Your Vision

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I admit that Habakkuk 2:2 use to be a great motivating biblical scripture to help me accomplish the goals that I set. My paraphrase…”Write the vision, make it plain so that I can run with it” was what I read and declared aloud! My business background helped me to set goals, predict the outcome and challenges, and then follow through with what needed to be done to meet the goal within the timed deadline. The only problem was I didn’t know or expect a lovely wilderness experience where nothing worked, except developing an intimate relationship with the Lord.

The last few weeks of 2018, I began to sense the Lord bringing me back to this scripture in Habakkuk. My argument of course was, “Lord, surely we do not need to write the Vision/New Years resolution for the new year, because everyone breaks them anyway.” However, I did take the opportunity to study (not just read) this Old Testament “Minor” Prophet Habakkuk and what he wrote. Minor simply means his writing was short, not that it wasn’t important. For instance, in Habakkuk 2:4 it says, “But the righteous will live by faith.” Think of how Martin Luther changed society with this incredible verse that Habakkuk wrote!

Now Habakkuk was doing his fair share of complaining about the Chaldeans (Babylonians). He questioned the fairness of God’s management of the world and how evil seems to win out over the righteous. He saw violence, lawbreaking, and injustice going unpunished. By the end of Habakkuk 2 he did conclude that because of God’s holiness, his own questions were not justified.

Part of God’s answer to him in Habakkuk 2:2 was to “Record the vision, and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run.” I started to do a Hebrew word study on some of the English words, knowing it always brings a depth, and many times a totally different meaning to the English word in scripture. The word “vision” (chazown), means to “see, a mental sight, a dream, vision, a revelation, a prophecy.” I realized that God wanted each of us to write what He has spoken to us and make it clear.

The next part was much more than a New Year’s Resolution. The word “read” (quara) means to “proclaim, not just read it.” It was addressed to a specific recipient (us) and intended to elicit a specific response. It was not to the casual reader. It was also to name or declare the sovereignty over the things being named. Not just reading, but meditating and allowing the vision to penetrate your whole being so you may run with it.

The application of this scripture is to write out our words, prophecies, what we sense in prayer, highlighted scriptures, or how He spoke to us when we were journaling. Then, not just read them, but allow them to soak into our spirit. Mediate on them and allow the “vision” to motivate you by His Spirit. In Habakkuk 2:3 it does say: “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.” So if the vision has not yet come to pass, the appointed time will come! Even in his waiting, Habakkuk concluded at the end in 3:18: “Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

I hope you will use the beginning of 2019 to review how God has spoken and communicated His “vision” for you. Allow it to permeate you, so you will be ready to run when the appointed time reveals itself!

In His Covenant Love,


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