Triple Surprise

At this moment I’m listening to Shawn Bolz and I highly recommend you listen to this! When I heard Deuteronomy I knew I wanted to include it in this post AND THEN, Shawn shared two more verses. Here are the verses and the Shawn Bolz video:

Deuteronomy 8:18

Ephesians 3:20

Habakkuk 2:2

You may notice that The Message translation adds a verse. My best guess is that Eugene Peterson felt those verses need to be linked. I hope you also like the way Shawn Bolz reads the verses as I do.

Press On, Sisters & Brothers, Press On.

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Keep Going

Tonight I’m very tired. I’ve blogged on and off for around 15 years and this will be the first time that I’ve blogged every day for an entire month.

When you’re tempted to quit or accept less than your best you can call on God for help. As you practice this it becomes more familiar. You can sense that you’ve “been here before”.

One way I’ve been practicing keeping going or pressing on is at The Fire & Glory Outpouring. At least a half dozen times I’ve been there when I was really, really tired and I’ve found that you can still stand up to worship. (Sometimes I’ll sit and in a little while I find that I have more energy to stand up again or at least continue worshiping without falling asleep!)

In fact, I’m tired enough right now that I can’t quite remember where I was going with this. As I write I’m listening to an audio program titled “Developing Your Seer Anointing” by Jerame Nelson.

What I’m experiencing more and more is that listening to audio like this or christian music that I really like helps me persevere. So you can make choices to help you keep going.

On the other hand, if you give up at the first sign of resistance or if you make a habit of saying “I’m too tired” to continue, you can become familiar with how it feels to simply give up.

Sooner or later you will say to yourself (something like) “I’ve been here before. I know what this is.”

If you want to say that about perseverance (instead of saying it about giving up), please remember that you can always ask God for help to keep going. Always!

***
Ephesians 6:13-18 The Message (MSG)

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
***

God bless you!

Bold Belief

Here’s another quick post for your edification. What do you feel is an important message in this passage?

***
Mark 2:2-5 The Message (MSG)

A Paraplegic
2 1-5 After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home. A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word. They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. When they weren’t able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, “Son, I forgive your sins.”
***

God bless you!

Habakkuk For Me & You 4

Today is the final day of Habakkuk which I started four days ago by sharing Eugene Peterson’s commentary section. Here’s Chapter 3:

***
Habakkuk 3 The Message (MSG)

God Racing on the Crest of the Waves
3 1-2 A prayer of the prophet Habakkuk, with orchestra:

God, I’ve heard what our ancestors say about you,
and I’m stopped in my tracks, down on my knees.
Do among us what you did among them.
Work among us as you worked among them.
And as you bring judgment, as you surely must,
remember mercy.
3-7 God’s on his way again,
retracing the old salvation route,
Coming up from the south through Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.
Skies are blazing with his splendor,
his praises sounding through the earth,
His cloud-brightness like dawn, exploding, spreading,
forked-lightning shooting from his hand—
what power hidden in that fist!
Plague marches before him,
pestilence at his heels!
He stops. He shakes Earth.
He looks around. Nations tremble.
The age-old mountains fall to pieces;
ancient hills collapse like a spent balloon.
The paths God takes are older
than the oldest mountains and hills.
I saw everyone worried, in a panic:
Old wilderness adversaries,
Cushan and Midian, were terrified,
hoping he wouldn’t notice them.
8-16 God, is it River you’re mad at?
Angry at old River?
Were you raging at Sea when you rode
horse and chariot through to salvation?
You unfurled your bow
and let loose a volley of arrows.
You split Earth with rivers.
Mountains saw what was coming.
They twisted in pain.
Flood Waters poured in.
Ocean roared and reared huge waves.
Sun and Moon stopped in their tracks.
Your flashing arrows stopped them,
your lightning-strike spears impaled them.
Angry, you stomped through Earth.
Furious, you crushed the godless nations.
You were out to save your people,
to save your specially chosen people.
You beat the stuffing
out of King Wicked,
Stripped him naked
from head to toe,
Set his severed head on his own spear
and blew away his army.
Scattered they were to the four winds—
and ended up food for the sharks!
You galloped through the Sea on your horses,
racing on the crest of the waves.
When I heard it, my stomach did flips.
I stammered and stuttered.
My bones turned to water.
I staggered and stumbled.
I sit back and wait for Doomsday
to descend on our attackers.
17-19 Though the cherry trees don’t blossom
and the strawberries don’t ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I’m singing joyful praise to God.
I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I’m king of the mountain!
(For congregational use, with a full orchestra.)
***

God bless you!

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Habakkuk For Me & You 3

For a few days I’m simply sharing Habakkuk starting two days ago with Eugene Peterson’s commentary section. Tomorrow I will post something else and finish up with Habakkuk after that. Here’s Chapter 2:

***
Habakkuk 2 The Message (MSG)

2 What’s God going to say to my questions? I’m braced for the worst.
I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon.
I’ll wait to see what God says,
how he’ll answer my complaint.
Full of Self, but Soul-Empty
2-3 And then God answered: “Write this.
Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness
pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
It’s on its way. It will come right on time.
4 “Look at that man, bloated by self-importance—
full of himself but soul-empty.
But the person in right standing before God
through loyal and steady believing
is fully alive, really alive.
5-6 “Note well: Money deceives.
The arrogant rich don’t last.
They are more hungry for wealth
than the grave is for cadavers.
Like death, they always want more,
but the ‘more’ they get is dead bodies.
They are cemeteries filled with dead nations,
graveyards filled with corpses.
Don’t give people like this a second thought.
Soon the whole world will be taunting them:
6-8 “‘Who do you think you are—
getting rich by stealing and extortion?
How long do you think
you can get away with this?’
Indeed, how long before your victims wake up,
stand up and make you the victim?
You’ve plundered nation after nation.
Now you’ll get a taste of your own medicine.
All the survivors are out to plunder you,
a payback for all your murders and massacres.
9-11 “Who do you think you are—
recklessly grabbing and looting,
Living it up, acting like king of the mountain,
acting above it all, above trials and troubles?
You’ve engineered the ruin of your own house.
In ruining others you’ve ruined yourself.
You’ve undermined your foundations,
rotted out your own soul.
The bricks of your house will speak up and accuse you.
The woodwork will step forward with evidence.
12-14 “Who do you think you are—
building a town by murder, a city with crime?
Don’t you know that God-of-the-Angel-Armies
makes sure nothing comes of that but ashes,
Makes sure the harder you work
at that kind of thing, the less you are?
Meanwhile the earth fills up
with awareness of God’s glory
as the waters cover the sea.
15-17 “Who do you think you are—
inviting your neighbors to your drunken parties,
Giving them too much to drink,
roping them into your sexual orgies?
You thought you were having the time of your life.
Wrong! It’s a time of disgrace.
All the time you were drinking,
you were drinking from the cup of God’s wrath.
You’ll wake up holding your throbbing head, hung over—
hung over from Lebanon violence,
Hung over from animal massacres,
hung over from murder and mayhem,
From multiple violations
of place and people.
18-19 “What’s the use of a carved god
so skillfully carved by its sculptor?
What good is a fancy cast god
when all it tells is lies?
What sense does it make to be a pious god-maker
who makes gods that can’t even talk?
Who do you think you are—
saying to a stick of wood, ‘Wake up,’
Or to a dumb stone, ‘Get up’?
Can they teach you anything about anything?
There’s nothing to them but surface.
There’s nothing on the inside.
20 “But oh! God is in his holy Temple!
Quiet everyone—a holy silence. Listen!”
***

God bless you!

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Habakkuk For Me & You 2

For a few days I’m simply sharing Habakkuk starting yesterday with Eugene Peterson’s commentary section. Here’s Chapter 1:

***
Habakkuk 1 The Message (MSG)

Justice Is a Joke

1 1-4 The problem as God gave Habakkuk to see it:

God, how long do I have to cry out for help
before you listen?
How many times do I have to yell, “Help! Murder! Police!”
before you come to the rescue?
Why do you force me to look at evil,
stare trouble in the face day after day?
Anarchy and violence break out,
quarrels and fights all over the place.
Law and order fall to pieces.
Justice is a joke.
The wicked have the righteous hamstrung
and stand justice on its head.
God Says, “Look!”
5-11 “Look around at the godless nations.
Look long and hard. Brace yourself for a shock.
Something’s about to take place
and you’re going to find it hard to believe.
I’m about to raise up Babylonians to punish you,
Babylonians, fierce and ferocious—
World-conquering Babylon,
grabbing up nations right and left,
A dreadful and terrible people,
making up its own rules as it goes.
Their horses run like the wind,
attack like bloodthirsty wolves.
A stampede of galloping horses
thunders out of nowhere.
They descend like vultures
circling in on carrion.
They’re out to kill. Death is on their minds.
They collect victims like squirrels gathering nuts.
They mock kings,
poke fun at generals,
Spit on forts,
and leave them in the dust.
They’ll all be blown away by the wind.
Brazen in sin, they call strength their god.”
Why Is God Silent Now?
12-13 God, you’re from eternity, aren’t you?
Holy God, we aren’t going to die, are we?
God, you chose Babylonians for your judgment work?
Rock-Solid God, you gave them the job of discipline?
But you can’t be serious!
You can’t condone evil!
So why don’t you do something about this?
Why are you silent now?
This outrage! Evil men swallow up the righteous
and you stand around and watch!
14-16 You’re treating men and women
as so many fish in the ocean,
Swimming without direction,
swimming but not getting anywhere.
Then this evil Babylonian arrives and goes fishing.
He pulls in a good catch.
He catches his limit and fills his creel—
a good day of fishing! He’s happy!
He praises his rod and reel,
piles his fishing gear on an altar and worships it!
It’s made his day,
and he’s going to eat well tonight!
17 Are you going to let this go on and on?
Will you let this Babylonian fisherman
Fish like a weekend angler,
killing people as if they’re nothing but fish?
***

God bless you!

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Habakkuk For Me & You

Last night I was at The Fire & Glory Outpouring for the 65th time (tonight will be my 20th time watching from home).

Have I mentioned that I’ve been practicing hearing from Holy Spirit? Last night we had some time devoted to listening for God’s voice.

It’s important to give yourself grace in this process. It takes practice like anything else. I’m not sure about everything, but I’m pretty sure God wanted me to take a look at Habakkuk. So that’s what I did this morning and I feel that God knew exactly what I needed last night/this morning.

Hopefully this will be helpful for you as well. I’ll share a little every day.

Today is the introduction from The Message.

God bless you!

Introduction HABAKKUK

Living by faith is a bewildering venture. We rarely know what’s coming next, and not many things turn out the way we anticipate. It is natural to assume that since I am God’s chosen and beloved, I will get favorable treatment from the God who favors me so extravagantly. It is not unreasonable to expect that from the time that I become his follower, I will be exempt from dead ends, muddy detours, and cruel treatment from the travelers I meet daily who are walking the other direction.

That God-followers don’t get preferential treatment in life always comes as a surprise. But it’s also a surprise to find that there are a few men and women within the Bible who show up alongside us at such moments. The prophet Habakkuk is one of them, and a most welcome companion he is.

Most prophets, most of the time, speak God’s Word to us. They are preachers calling us to listen to God’s words of judgment and salvation, confrontation and comfort. They face us with God as he is, not as we imagine him to be. Most prophets are in-your-face assertive, not given to tact, not diplomatic, as they insist that we pay attention to God.

But Habakkuk speaks our word to God. He gives voice to our bewilderment, articulates our puzzled attempts to make sense of things, faces God with our disappointment with God. He insists that God pay attention to us, and he insists with a prophet’s characteristic no-nonsense bluntness. The circumstance that aroused Habakkuk took place in the seventh century B.C. The prophet realized that God was going to use the godless military machine of Babylon to bring God’s judgment on God’s own people—using a godless nation to punish a godly nation!

It didn’t make sense, and Habakkuk was quick and bold to say so. He dared to voice his feelings that God didn’t know his own God business. Not a day has passed since then that one of us hasn’t picked up and repeated Habakkuk’s bafflement: “God, you don’t seem to make sense!” But this prophet companion who stands at our side does something even more important: He waits and he listens. It is in his waiting and listening—which then turns into his praying—that he found himself inhabiting the large world of God’s sovereignty.

Only there did he eventually realize that the believing-in-God life, the steady trusting-in-God life, is the full life, the only real life. Habakkuk started out exactly where we start out with our puzzled complaints and God-accusations, but he didn’t stay there. He ended up in a world, along with us, where every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (p. 1272). NavPress. Kindle Edition.