Habakkuk 3:17-18
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

It is not uncommon today, to hear messages in the church making it sound as though walking with Jesus will mean we will no longer face difficulty, and our life will be filled with increase. This teaching is referred to as “prosperity doctrine”, and while catchy, it is clearly not Biblical. The saints of old did not expect to walk through life without trial, difficulty or opposition. Instead, they expected that in he midst of whatever life threw at them, they would find help, comfort, consolation and strength from the Lord. Perhaps no one more clearly expresses this than the prophet, Habakuk. He paints the darkest picture a farmer could ever imagine and declares, in spite of it all, he would continue to rejoice in the God of his salvation.

Clearly, the prophet considered life to be much more than the temporal successes or failures we experience here. He looked beyond the hardships of life into the face of eternity, and celebrated the fact that a day would come when this life would reach its end and he would be face to face with the God of salvation. Often, we lose sight of God because we are focused only upon the here and now. We forget, the real reason Christ came was not to make this life better, but to prepare us for the life to come. The trials and triumphs we experience here are only truly understandable when we keep in mind, we will soon be standing in eternity.

If we are only following the Lord in hopes of larger flocks and crops, we are on a course   destined for disappointment. We are certain to become disillusioned the first time we face a trial, or come up against a hardship that is designed to get our eyes on eternity. Instead of looking to Jesus to make you more successful, look to Him to make you more holy.

Pastor Jim


Misguided Theology 

Habakkuk 1:13
“You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?”

Habakkuk struggled to understand what was happening in his life, because his theology did not allow for the wicked to prosper and the righteous to suffer. His definition of holiness meant that those he considered to be wicked, could never prosper above the righteous. The prophet is not alone in the struggle to reconcile life experiences with what we think to be true of God.
A few years ago, I had a conversation with a young lady who had developed the idea that it is the desire of God to heal everyone, and if a person is not healed, it must be because they either have sin in their life or they do not have enough faith. Her theology of healing was not developed from Scripture, but from her understanding of love. When I confronted her with passages where godly people like Paul and Timothy both encountered illness without healing, she ignored them and expressed that, if she as a parent had he ability to heal her child she would, and that God loves His children more than we do ours. It was her misguided theology of healing that made it difficult to reconcile the love of God with personal suffering. The fact is, God does allow His children to endure hardships that will draw us nearer to Him, perfect holiness within us, and develop a longing in our hearts for heaven.

If you are facing difficulties that are unsettling to your faith, it may be that it is time to look into the Scriptures and make sure your faith is resting on the sure foundation of the promises of God, rather than a doctrine that has been developed out of personal experience or desire.

Pastor Jim


Stand Watch

Habakkuk 2:1
“I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,

And what I will answer when I am corrected.”

IMG_1235.JPGEven for those who have committed themselves and their ways to the Lord, life can be tricky. We face difficulties that create confusion in our lives, and even darken our view of God. Hymn writer Edward Mote wrote of times when darkness veils God’s lovely face. Habakkuk was experiencing one of those times. The conditions of life were causing him confusion, and he did not know how to reconcile what he was experiencing, with what he knew to be true of God. He writes this book to explain what he did in his trying times and what he learned from the Lord.

First, let’s notice how Habakkuk responded when life confused him. We read, he set himself in rampart to watch. This is a reference to the job of a watchman. In ancient times, cities were protected by high walls and guarded night and day by watchmen. Their job was to keep their eyes focused on the horizon for anyone who might be a threat to the well- being of the city. Habakkuk declared, he would set watch spiritually, and wait for instruction from the Lord. He expected to hear from God and to be corrected by Him. Learning to wait on the Lord is an important part of our relationship with God. We must understand that He wants to instruct us, but also wants to use the time to teach us to trust and listen. Waiting on the Lord is not a passive activity, but should include prayer, reading the Word, receiving counsel from godly friends, and keeping our eyes open for ways to be used by the Lord.

Second, notice that God answered Habakkuk. He instructed the prophet to write down the message he was about to receive. This message was not for the prophet alone, but for every generation that would follow him. His message was both simple and profound. God explained that in the midst of confusion, the just must live by faith.

There are two theologically-filled words in God’s statement. The word ‘just’ refers to the person who has had their sins forgiven and is a relationship with God. This happens today, when we trust Christ as our Savior and Lord. The second is the word ‘faith’. This word means to trust. Habakkuk is being told, the solution to his confusion will be found in trusting in the person, promises, and ways of God.

Whatever you might be facing, keep in mind, God is forever faithful. He may allow things into our lives we would never choose for ourselves, not because of a lack of love for us, but as an expression of His unending love. One day, our trying time will come to an end. Until then, let’s sets ourselves in ramparts and wait upon the Lord.

Pastor Jim