Day 13. An Ill Wind Blows No Good ~ even for Habakkuk

As part of the Welcome to My World challenge, I am first answering this week’s question:

If there were no limitations, which country would you most like to vist?

I certainly would not like to visit the dusty Sahara desert. No! my choice is beautiful Switzerland.


 Habakkuk 1:9 NIrV

“All of them are ready to destroy others. Their huge armies advance like a wind out of the desert. They gather prisoners like sand.”

Shirl and I were once walking on the beach with my daughter and son-in-law who were with us on a short holiday. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a dreadful wind sprung up. We had to walk for quite a distance before reaching the safety of the car park. The sand got in our eyes, stung our cheeks, stuck to our lips and matted our hair. We were walking bent over, hanging onto each other, in an effort not to get blown over. It was a truly horrible experience. 

  • Can you remember a similar occasion? Perhaps at the beach, or somewhere else, when the wind suddenly sprung up? What do you remember about that time?

Port Elizabeth, or Gqeberha as it has been recently renamed, is known as The Windy City. It is common knowledge that you go to our beaches in the morning, because very often, by afternoon the wind usually springs up and the unpleasant beach sand begins to blown at you and on you.

Several alarming factors emerge from our key verse:

1.  Chaldean purpose – An Ill Wind of Violence & Destruction.

  • Can you recall a recent incident where the initial peaceful actions of those involved ended up in violence and destruction? What actually happened?

The above version of Habakkuk 1:9 speaks of  the Chaldean desire to ‘destroy’.  Yet another version uses the word ‘oppress’.  But most versions state they came for ‘violence’.

One thing is certain the objective of the Chaldeans was to get all that they could through violent means.

In the same way a major area of Judah’s sin was also that of ‘violence’ (Habakkuk 1:3-4). Moreover violence would be her punishment.

2. Facial Evidence

“The set of their faces is forwards;” (Verse 9  ASV)

  • Do you find it difficult to hide your feelings?
  • How do others detect when you are angry?

It is easy to detect when someone is fiercely angry, their faces show it. The faces of the attacking Chaldeans would appear so stern and fierce. Their very looks would cause the Judaens to  become fearful and their courage to wilt in absolute terror.

What ill wind has hit your life? Jesus stills all life's storms. Click To Tweet

3. An Ill Wind from the Desert

As plants shrivel up and wither away, when blasted by a hot desert wind, so too the Judaens would wilt before the impending attack of the Chaldean army.

Our text states “Their huge armies advance like a wind out of the desert”. Mention of the “desert wind” is reference to an ill wind – an unpleasant wind. We have a saying, “it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” The Chaldeans were an ill wind that would certainly do Judah no good.

  • Can you think of someone you might describe as an ‘ill wind’? (Don’t mention names if you’re in a group!) What makes you feel that way?

We all probably know someone whom we could label an ‘ill wind’. Just to see them coming prompts one to turn and go in the opposite direction, to cross over to the other side of the street, or to take refuge in the nearest building. They are usually gossipers and trouble makers. Yet they are surely nothing like the Chaldeans! And perhaps God will use them in our lives to teach us a lesson.

  • Is there perhaps something the Lord would have you do to help such an ‘ill wind’ in your life?

4. Defenceless captives

The picture created in this verse is of just how easily the Chaldeans would take vast numbers of prisoners. In the same way as one might stoop down and scoop up a handful of sand they would scoop up numerous captives. How helpless these poor people must have been.

  • What causes you to feel helpless today? Leave your answer in a comment below

There are folk who through circumstances have become captive to someone or something.

  • Do you know of someone who falls into that category? And can you think of a way you can help them?

Ask the Lord to reveal what, if anything, you can do to set them free.

Think about this:

Jesus assures us through the words of the prophet Isaiah that:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners.”

Isaiah 61:1 NASB

P.S. If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.

Day 12. Swift Leopards, Eagles, and Horses

 

As part of the Welcome to My World challenge, I am first answering this week’s question:

What is your favourite type of scenery?

As an artist who enjoys oil painting  my preferance is either mountains or seascapes.

On one occasion I did paint a lion but have never tackled, leopards, eagles or horses.

.

Habakkuk 1:8 ESV

‘Their horses are swifter than leopards, more fierce than the evening wolves; their horsemen press proudly on.
Their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swift to devour.’

Swift Moving Devastation

As I compile this study the nation is reeling at the devastation caused by the recent fires on the slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. Swift-moving fires have totally destroyed the University of Cape Town’s main library with its contents of valuable books and documents. It has also destroyed the nearby popular tearoom adjacent to Rhodes Memorial, as well as the city’s historic Mostert’s Mill. University students and many residents living in suburbs adjoining the mountain had to be evacuated until the fires were finally brought under control three days later. 

  • What is your reaction to such devastation?
  • How would you react to a news flash of an impending disaster approaching your place of residence?

This was the type of message the prophet Habakkuk received from God.

Horses Swift on their Feet

  • Have you ever attended a local annual horserace such as the Durban July?
  • If not, have you perhaps seen a horse race on television?

As you’ll know, horses are speedy animals. And the Chaldean horsemen were known for their swift and courageous attacks.

When referring to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah said, “his chariots come like a whirlwind, his horses are swifter than eagles” (Jeremiah 4:13).

God's judgement is likened to leopards and eagles swooping on their prey. Click To Tweet

Swift Leopards

The prophet emphasizes the speed of the Chaldean war horses by comparing them with the leopard, one of the fastest of all quadrupeds to attack its prey. He also compares them with the eagle that swoops down on its prey with amazing speed.

World-shattering disasters often strike suddenly like a raging fire, a train smash, an earthquake, a dam break….

  • What others can you think of?

During the early months of 2020, the world was completely taken aback at how swift the Coronavirus spread. More than a year later, the statistics of  cases and deaths worldwide remain mind blowing.

  • What world shattering events alarm you most?

Despite this worldwide pandemic, there are many who believe that this is all a conspiracy perpetrated by world government leaders. That somehow all the governments of the world have united in one belief. 

  • Is this not a bit hard to believe? Oh, that all the governments would unite over world hunger, nuclear weapons, women and child abuse. What others can you think of?  

Evening Wolves – Swift and Vicious

The evening wolves tended to fast during the day and prowl in the night for food. The wolf has an amazingly sharp eyesight, even in the dark. Aelian, a Roman author and teacher, is quoted as saying, “The wolf is a very fleet animal; and, besides, it can see by night, even when there is no moonlight.” (Adam Clark Bible Commentary)

The term evening wolves underlines the ferocious nature of Judah’s enemy. Like wolves, Babylon’s mighty army displayed extraordinary stamina and ferocity as it attacked in order to gain the spoils of victory. 

Several other prophets speak of God exercising judgement on sinful mankind via animals attacking swiftly or birds of prey swooping down. (Deuteronomy 28:49; Jeremiah 48:40; Jeremiah 49:22; Lamentations 4:19. Zephaniah 3:3) 

In Jeremiah we read “That is why lions from the forest will kill them; wolves from the desert will tear them to pieces, and leopards will prowl through their towns. If those people go out, they will be torn apart because their sins are numerous and time after time they have turned from God.” (Jeremiah 5:6 GNB)

Swift Judgement

God’s judgement on sinful mankind is not a pretty picture.

  • Are you afraid that God might strike you down suddenly because of your sin?
  • Do you at times feel feel so overwhelmed, so weak and powerless to resist sin?.

The bad news is that God could indeed wipe us all out in a millisecond. We certainly deserve it.

BUT the good news is that Jesus Christ stepped up on our behalf. He took our sin on His own shoulders when He went to the cross. As long as we are in a right relationship with Jesus, God will not punish us as we deserve. 

David was conscious of the magnitude of his sin, yet he knew God to be a forgiving God and so he could confidently write, “Our terrible sins get us down, but you forgive us.”  (Psalm 65:3 CEV)

Spend some time now acknowledging your guilt and sin, but thanking God for His promise of forgiveness through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ.

P.S. If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.

 

Day 11. A Fearsome Future – But the Lord is Present

As part of the Welcome to My World challenge, I am first answering this week’s question:

What NEW thing have you learned this last week?

As I contunue this series of studies I am learning new things each week.

You will notice that this week for the first time the image below also appears on my facebook notification thanks to advice of  Shirl, my editor.

Habakkuk 1:7 CEV

‘How fearsome and frightening. Their only laws and rules are the ones they make up.’

People, Cover, Cry, Desperate

God’s Fearsome Message

As we saw last session, the Lord’s response to Habakkuk was that He intended to punish the people of Judah and He would be using the Chaldeans to do it. This was a surprise to the people as well as to Habakkuk. Surprised because the Chaldeans (Babylonians) were a wicked people who worshiped false gods. Why would God use such people to discipline His people?

They were notorious for their violence, their vast numbers, the bravery of their army and the overwhelming victories they had gained. The mere mention of their name spread terror wherever they went.

  • Are there circumstances that have thrown you into a state of terror? What are they?
  • What about those circumstances causes you the greatest concern?

When we find ourselves confronted by fearful concerns we need to remember Jehovah-Shammah, ‘the Lord is present’.

Despite the fearful things which may seem to lie ahead of us in the future we are reminded of Jehovah Shammah - The Lord is present. Click To Tweet

A Fearsome Enemy

These pagan Chaldeans certainly would not be guided by the laws of God, but instead by their own precepts. Therefore they would act according to their desires and pleasure. The Judaens knew that no one would be able to successfully oppose them. They could expect no mercy or pity from such a lawless and arrogant enemy.

The mere sight of the Chaldean army advancing brought feelings of apprehension and fear to both the prophet and the people of Judah.

  • What do you fear most as a Christian?

The cause of our apprehension and fear is often an unseen enemy, like the COVID-19 virus which we may contract with no initial obvious symptoms. And then suddenly, unexpectedly, we may display symptoms of the virus and become extremely ill.

  • What do you fear most about this Covid-19 pandemic?

Who Causes Us to Feel Fear?

The bad news that whilst Judah had a visual enemy, we all also face an unseen adversary: Satan. He attacks us through our minds, focussing in on the unexpected circumstances of life. He is quick to prompt us to say and act in ways which do not glorify our Lord. Furthermore, he lures us through enticing prospects so we may find it all too easy to fall into temptation and sin.

Praise the Lord—the good news is, our enemy is a defeated foe, defeated at Calvary.

Paul reminds us that, “In him (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7 ESV)

Confidence for Those who feel Afraid

By contrast to Habakkuk’s fearsome message for Judah in the above verse, the prophet Isaiah brings the following positive assurance.  “Tell fearful souls, Courage! Take heart! GOD is here, right here, on his way to put things right And redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!” (Isaiah 35:4 MSG)

  • In these days of Covid-19 many are fearsome of what the future may hold, how can we come alongside and give them hope for the future?

Please spend some time now praying for anyone known to you who is facing a fearsome future.

P.S. If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout our time together

Day 10: Judgement is Bad News, but there’s also Good!

As part of the Welcome to My World challenge, I am first answering this week’s question:

“Who was the last person you spoke to? And what was the topic?”

I spoke to Shirl and asked her to read through this post, to make sure I had crossed all my t’s and dotted all my i’s! I am really enjoying this, my first dive into the blogging pool, but I still need my editor on hand!

So now, after that short Easter post, we return to the next  verse in our study:

Habakkuk 1:6 CEV

‘I am sending the Babylonians. They are fierce and cruel—
marching across the land, conquering cities and towns.’

Judgement on Judah

  • Can you think of a situation where wrongdoers appear to be free from judgement of their actions? Unfortunately, in the land where I live, this would be an easy question to answer! But what can you think of?

God informed Habakkuk that He would deal with the situation so quickly and amazingly that the prophet would be taken aback (verse 5). He went on to state that He intended to use the evil Babylonians (Chaldeans) to punish Judah.

The mighty Chaldeans ruled Babylon from 625 to 539 B.C.

Habakkuk’s probable expectation was that God would rescue Judah from the impending invasion by the Chaldeans. That made sense. Then God would surely pass judgement on that evil nation for its horrific expansion programme.

Habakkuk was not ready for God’s answer.

Unfair judgement?

God often begins His judgement on sin with the people of God. God desires our salvation from sin and will use whatever means is necessary to achieve that goal, and what will be best for us in the long run.

  • Do you think it is fair when someone is condemned for the evil actions of another?  Why or why not?
  • Do you recall a time in your childhood when you were wrongly punished for something a sibling or friend did?
  • What about the other way around? Was your sibling or friend ever punished for something you did? Did you own up?
  • Can you think of a recent situation in which a wrongdoer got off scot-free while the innocent party got punished?
    • How do you think the situation should have been handled?

God has good reasons for his long-suffering towards bad men, and the rebukes of good men. Click To Tweet

God’s Judgement

Matthew Henry in his commentary on this section of Habakkuk states, “The servants of the Lord are deeply afflicted by seeing ungodliness and violence prevail.

He goes on to say, “We should long to remove to the world where holiness and love reign for ever, and no violence shall be before us. God has good reasons for his long-suffering towards bad men, and the rebukes of good men.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

The news media these days is full of violence and atrocities taking place all over the world. Therefore we can readily identify with Matthew Henry’s commentary that as the children of God our longing is for heaven, the place where “holiness and love reign for ever, and no violence shall be before us.”

  • What might God’s reasons be for not taking action against bad people?
  • Sometimes it feels as if He doesn’t notice those of us who are trying to do good. Why do you think that might be?
  • Can you think of someone you regard as a good person who seems to be going through a very difficult time at the moment?
    • Is there something you can do to ease their burden?

Why God reserves judgement

“The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.” (2 Peter 3:9 CEV)

Read that verse again, several times.

We do feel that it is unfair for the righteous to suffer while those who are living ungodly lifestyles seem to be getting off scot-free.  That’s the bad news. But the good news, as we read in 2 Peter 3:9, is that God is patient. And He wants everyone to turn from sin and not be lost.

That means the bad guys!

And it definitely means you and me—’cos we’re the good guys, right?

The Lord’s desire is for everyone to turn from sin and be saved through faith in Christ.

Can you think of someone who is, at this point, rejecting salvation, and is in need of saving? Don’t share publicly, but make a note of that person,  and make him or her a prayer project.

 

P.S. If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout our time together

Day 09 – The stones will cry out in praise

As part of the Welcome to My World challenge, I am first answering this week’s question:

What one thought would you most like to share with us in regards to Easter?

I am overwhelmed by the amazing love of God for me that took Jesus Christ God’s Son to die on a cross as the substitute for my sin. Amazing love how can it be that Jesus Christ should die for me.

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday and this coming weekend we shall be focusing on Jesus death and resurrection. With this in mind we are going to jump ahead in our study to Habakkuk 2:11 

Habakkuk 2:11 NIV

“The stones of the wall will cry out, and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.”

A wall of stones

It would appear Habakkuk’s words in the above verse actually refer to the ancient practice of building walls with three layers of stone followed by a layer of timber. (See 1 Kings 6:36) But the buildings erected in this way were more often than not from the spoils of conquered nations.

So these words are particularly suitable here, because the walls and timbers of the city of Babylon were specifically the product of the hard labour of Babylonian slaves. In effect the stones and the timber were a witness to the cruelty of the Chaldeans.

The stones will testify against you

  • Can you recall an occasion in the bible when this did happen?

A wall cried out when God condemned Belshazzar by writing the words “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN” upon the wall while he and his courtiers were feasting. So Daniel was called upon to interpreted these words. His interpretation was, ‘God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.’ (Daniel 5:1,26-28 NIV)

  •  What means might God use to highlight any wrongdoing on our part?

Stones echo back praise

  • Do you recall Jesus using similar words to those in Habakkuk?
  • In which gospel do we find this comment?

On what we refer to as Palm Sunday. Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey in fulfilment of the prophecy of Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9) . There the crowd welcomed Him, chanting, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” But the Pharisees took exception to this and demanded, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” So Jesus responded with that familiar phrase, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones wi cry out.” (Luke 19:38-40)

The reaction of the crowds to the coming of the “Son of David…the king who comes in the name of the Lord” was one of uninhibited, spontaneous worship. 

God welcomes spontaneous, sincere praise.

  • How spontaneous is your praise of God? 
  • Does the reaction of others perhaps inhibit your praise?

Stones will praise Jesus

But the only ones who were not infected by the joy of the occasion were the conservative, ritualistic religious leaders, who did not approve of these `goings on’ and it was to them that Jesus said, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.

Jesus, the Son of God welcomed these `goings on’ and made it abundantly clear that if man chose to remain silent, nature would burst forth into praise. 

  • Have you noticed how many of the psalms speak of nature participating in praising God?
  • Does a particular psalm come to mind?

Isaiah prophesied that “all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)

On that wonderful day in Jerusalem the praise of Jesus’ disciples, the crowd, and the children was not bottled up, but allowed to explode in a release of their emotions – they waved palm branches, they placed them on the road to form a carpet, they did the same with their outer garments, and they shouted out words of praise, so that.even the children were caught up in the spirit of praise,

But this brought consternation to the chief priests and the teachers of the law, who demanded, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” To which Jesus simply responded, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Psalm 100:2 NIV Click To Tweet

More reason to praise than stones

You and I have even more  reason to praise the Lord. Palm Sunday was the prelude to Jesus going on to Calvary on our behalf to die for our sins.

True praise and worship is the overflow of the love and respect that we have for Jesus and for what He has done –   it is an expression of the joy that He has brought into our hearts.

    Jesus said, “I tell you, if (my disciples do not praise me) the stones will cry out.”

Please share with us what you can do to  make this Easter season a time of deep heartfelt praise to our wonderful Lord.

May you and your loved ones enjoyed a truly blessed Easter weekend as we celebrate our Lord’s sacrificial death and wonderful resurrection.

If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout our time together.

Day 08: Silence is Broken – God Shares a Way

***What was your first thought when you woke up this morning? ***

What a lovely day. Thank you Lord, for the soft gentle showers during the night.

Did you expect something amazing to happen today? Habakkuk did . . .

Habakkuk 1:5 CEV

‘Look and be amazed at what’s happening among the nations! Even if you were told,

you would never believe what’s taking place now.’

The way God breaks the silence.

In response to Habakkuk’s questioning and confusion, God broke His silence, informing him that He was aware of Judah’s sin. Instead of bringing about a renewal in Judah He was sending the “feared and dreaded” Babylonians to exercise His judgment on His people (verse 7).

Charles Swindoll commented, ‘It reminds us that while God may seem silent and uninvolved in our world, He always has a plan to deal with evil and always works out justice . . . eventually.’ (The Bible Teaching ministry of Pastor Chuck Swindoll)

Up until this point in the prophecy Habakkuk had been complaining to God. Here we find God providing an answer to Habakkuk. God will certainly take care of this situation during Habakkuk’s lifetime. He would actually use a pagan nation to punish His people.

  • How do you feel about God using non-believers to discipline His children?
  • Can you think of an occasion when a non-believer responded to some ungodly word or action of yours?
  • How do you respond when a non-believer comments, “I would never have expected that of a Christian.”?

Prayer is often a risky business, God sometimes tells us things that we don’t really want to hear.

'While God may seem silent and uninvolved in our world, He always has a plan.' Charles Swindoll Click To Tweet

God’s way

A preacher once said, ‘He who asks God for light must not complain if the light scorches at times with its fierce and naked heat, and he who asks for guidance must not be surprised if God points him to paths he would rather not tread.’” (Quoted by Sara Maxwell in ‘God Answers’ 2nd June 2013)

God’s ways are certainly not our ways, nor His thoughts as our thoughts, but be assured His ways produce the best possible results.

  • Are you ready to accept the method that God may use to answer your prayers?

God’s way ahead for the nation, for your congregation, for you and I personally, may not be our choice, may not be the easiest way, but it certainly will prove to ultimately be the best way.

  • Are you really ready for God’s answer?
  • What response from God do you fear the most?
    • No answer?
    • Wait a while?
    • Be patient the answer is on the way?
    • Or the guidance to do something that you are afraid of doing?

God knows the best way

Although God’s answer may not be what we had hoped for we can take comfort in the fact that God knows what is best for us and He promises to prosper us in the end.

Eugene Peterson has these words of encouragement, “It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in GOD.” (Proverbs 16:20 MSG)

Very good advice from The Message. Keep trusting even though God’s answer may be unexpected and seem strange.

Share with me how you feel about waiting for God’s answer. What would you like to say to Him, or how can I pray for you? Please leave a comment below.

If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout our time together.

 

Day 07: Disguised Opportunities – Confused spelt with a ‘k’

As part of the Welcome to My World challenge, I am first answering this week’s question:

What does the word WATER make you think of? 

The water crisis in our country at present.

Habakkuk was faced with a major crises facing his country. Read on.

Habakkuk 1:4 NIrV

‘The law can’t do what it’s supposed to do. Fairness never comes out on top. Sinful people surround those who do what is right. So people are never treated fairly.’ 

boy confused

Confused

Johnny was struggling with his homework. One question, in particular, had him stumped. Eventually, he wrote in his homework book, “Boy am I konfused?

The next day when the teacher was going around the classroom checking on their homework she came to Johnny’s desk and saw his answer. “Johnny, you don’t spell confused with a ‘k’!”

Quickly the reply came, “That’s just how confused I am. read more

Day 6: Tough Times, Tough People: Habakkuk, Paul, Us

As part of the Welcome to My World challenge, I am first answering this week’s question:

Q: What do you see as you look out of your window?

A: Looking out my lounge window, I see a beautiful sunny day with no wind, an unusual situation for Port Elizabeth, known as South Africa’s “Windy City”.

I wonder what Habakkuk saw as he looked around? Let’s read on

Habakkuk 1:3,4 CEV

‘Why do you allow violence, lawlessness, crime, and cruelty to spread everywhere? Laws cannot be enforced; justice is always the loser; criminals crowd  out honest people and twist the laws around.’ 

 “Tough times never last…but tough people do!” Dr. Robert Schuller  

Tough Times

In the opening verses of Habakkuk, we met a man of God, who was finding life tough. He was in despair because the Jews were not living in accordance with the Mosaic law. Yet he dreaded God’s threatened discipline. But he didn’t hesitate to voice his complaints to God about the injustice of the situation. He’d had enough.How about you?

I’m sure finding our locked-down lives tough in many ways. And yet I’ve had it easier than most. How about you? Give each of the following questions some thought. If you’re in a group, spend a few minutes discussing each.

  • What has been the worst aspect of Covid-19 for you? 
  • How do you generally react to the distressing situations that confront you?

In desperation, Habakkuk cried out to God: “God! Where are you?”

  • Have you ever done this? Or felt this way?

Tough People

When God seems to ignore your requests how do you respond?

       Do you

  • keep on praying?
  • stop praying? After all, God doesn’t seem to be listening, so why keep praying?
  • share the problem with a Christian friend?
  • go ahead and try to deal with the situation on your own?

Many of us have been brought up to show a stiff upper lip when life gets difficult.

We’ve been

  • encouraged to hide our feelings
  • to live behind a mask
  • discouraged from being open and honest
  • taught to present a picture of a person who is in complete control.

The result is that when we are in a state of panic, confused, frustrated, really hurting down deep inside and in need of help, we give the impression that everything is okay. So no one helps. Why would they? They don’t know we need it.

Should We Always Be Tough?

In Philippians 1:13, Paul says this: “As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.” Paul was also having a tough time. But notice, he didn’t keep it to himself. The whole palace guard and everyone else knew what he was going through—and why.

When you meet someone and they ask you, “How are you?” what is your stock answer? Do you trot out with the stock answer? “Fine thanks!” Despite the fact that you may not be feeling well, you may be heart-sore, or angry.  Perhaps you’re discouraged or in deep despair. You could be drowning in financial debts. But . . . . “Fine thanks!”

Okay, we all know people that when you ask them how they are, you fervently wish you’d kept your mouth shut! So we need to be selective over whom we spill out our woes to, and even then, be selective about how much we share. Especially in the middle of a shop!

A friend of ours recently was asked by her minister in passing how she was. “Fine thank you!” she responded. Then she realised she really wasn’t fine. She had a major problem, and it related to an area he was involved in. To his surprise, she suddenly turned and said to his retreating back, “Actually, that’s not true. I’m not fine!”

Surprised, the man of God immediately ushered her into his office where he invited her to share her issues with him, and hopefully the matter will now be sorted out. But it would never have been dealt with if she hadn’t been open.

How are you? Really? Pastor Rob suggests a step to recovery based on the book of Habakkuk. Please Retweet. Click To Tweet

First Step to Recovery

That brings us to an important step on the road to recovery from a situation that has thrown your normal pattern of life into turmoil. Be open! We need to honestly admit when we could use an extra prayer or six. 

So –

  • Be honest with yourself. Recognize that you are not totally “fine thanks!”
  • Be honest with God. He already knows your struggles. So talk to Him. Take a leaf out of Habakkuk’s book and tell Him what’s bothering you. Ask for His help—and listen for His response.
  • Be honest with someone you can trust. On more than one occasion, my wife, Shirley, or I have gone to a friend after praying for guidance from the Lord and shared our hurts or confusion. Sometimes they’ve come up with helpful advice. Other times, they’ve just prayed with us. But oh how it helps.  The following well-known phrase is so true:

A problem shared is a problem halved

So . . .

How are you? If you’re not Fine thanks! the first step is, to be honest with yourself. Spend some time considering the question. What’s bothering me?

Now be honest with God. Ask Him if there’s someone you should chat to, or if He has another plan for you. Then follow through.

Finally, if He shows you someone you can trust, pick up that phone and arrange to get together

Without going into details, drop a short answer in the comment section below.

How are you?

I’ll get back to you and if you like, I’ll pray for your need. 

If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout our time together.