Believers are people in process. Though regenerated with renewed minds and hearts for God, the undertow of the flesh is still with us in the mortal body. Some old habits or reflexes give way to grace immediately, but others stubbornly cling to us like mud splatter. These dishonor God, grieve the Spirit, wound our conscience, and can sideline us as effective servants of Christ. I call these “habits from Hell.” This brief series addresses some of the more common ties that need to be broken, offering perspectives and practices that by grace will bring about victory.
Habukkuk is like Job in the sense of a perplexity. How could a holy God allow injustice and lawlessness to run rampant without doing anything—a question we all have from time to time. When the Lord revealed to him that judgment was en route through the Chaldeans (Babylonians), the prophet’s reaction shifts to another ground: This was a case, it seems, of the worse punishing the bad. The cure is worse than the disease. The Chaldeans were more wicked than Judah. The Lord then reveals to Habakkuk his puzzle is beside the point. Really there are only two classes of people. The proud whose souls with their evil lusts displease God (and who will be judged) and the righteous who walk with Him in faith and who will saved on the basis of faith. It doesn’t matter whom God uses to judge whom, but Habakkuk can rest easy knowing that the Chaldeans will not get a free pass. The conclusion of the book is Habakkuk’s prayer for the Lord in the midst of severity to remember mercy, a psalm of praise for His historic care for His people in majestic manifestations of His power, and a firm resolution to trust in God and His character in good times and in bad. What a timely message for our day!
The core message of the prophet Haggai is that God is a holy God who expects His people to treat Him as such. That starts with putting first things first in the Lord’s scale of priorities. God will honor those who honor Him and will treat as unholy those who don’t. The historical situation of the returned exiles exemplifies the message.
Prayer is an essential spiritual discipline, as vital to our spiritual health and Christian endeavors, as proper nutrition is to the physical body. Without it sooner or later the spiritual health breaks down. Prayerlessness is powerlessness.
Now prayer is not some kind of magic, as though a power in itself. Prayer is only powerful when we lift up to God holy hands. In that case, as James says, the prayers of a righteous man accomplish much. In essence prayer comes down simply to the habit of worshipful petition that pleases God since it exhibits a spirit of humility and dependence that honors Him. For those reasons we ought to study and practice it.
The Psalms comprise perhaps the most generally beloved literature in all of God’s word. The reason for that is not a puzzle. The psalms, many penned by King David, are so personal and addressed to God “out of the pits” where, at one time or another (or better yet many times) all of us believers […]
Penned by Luke, the author of the third gospel, which recounts the beginning of the ministry of our Lord Jesus, the book of Acts is the sequel, narrating the continuation of His ministry through His chosen apostles. It describes the birth of the church and the fulfillment of the OT promise of the outpouring of the […]
Following Jesus is our conviction, our passion and our vision. That is what we are all about. But sometimes it helps a lot to flesh that out a bit, because following Jesus, which is the reflex of an honest-to-God faith, is really a pretty radical thing. In this short series of four messages, Pastor Jim […]