VIDEO Lawlessness in America and the Book of Habakkuk – The Importance of Walls

Lawlessness in America and the Book of Habakkuk

Oct 15, 2017

Topical teaching on Habakkuk CH 1 verses 1-5 at Calvary Chapel in Kaneohe Hawaii with assistant Pastor Mac.

https://ontheedgeagain.wordpress.com/2017/10/15/lawlessness-in-america-and-the-book-of-habakkuk/


The Importance of Walls

Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls. Proverbs 25:28

Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem that lay in ruins during Israel’s Babylonian captivity. When he heard a report that the gates and walls were in ruins, he wept and called out to God for help (Nehemiah 1:5-11). King Artaxerxes granted permission for Nehemiah to return and rebuild the walls around Jerusalem.

The importance of city walls in the ancient world cannot be overstated. A wall in disrepair could be easily breached; a broken-down wall allowed enemies ready access to a city and its population. King Solomon used walls as a metaphor for a certain part of human behavior. He didn’t compare walls to love, joy, peace, or other godly traits. Instead, he said walls around cities are the equivalent of self-control in a person’s life. As walls protect a city from harm, so self-control protects people.

Think of all the harm that could have come to an ancient city whose walls were broken down. Now consider the same dangers on a personal level. Self-control, enabled by the Spirit, is part of your spiritual and moral protection (Galatians 5:22-23).

It is impossible to be a follower of Jesus without giving diligent attention in our lives to the grace of self-control.  Jerry Bridges

Exceedingly Better

He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 1 Chronicles 17:12

My birthday is the day after my mother’s. As an adolescent, I would scramble to think of a gift that delighted my mom yet fit in my budget. She always received my purchases with appreciation, and on the following day, my birthday, she would present her gift to me. Without fail, her gift vastly outshone mine. Her intention wasn’t to diminish what I’d given her; she simply gave generously from her resources, which far exceeded my own.

My desire to give to my mother reminds me of David’s wish to build a home for God. Struck by the contrast between his palace and the tent where God revealed Himself, David longed to build God a temple. Instead of granting David’s wish to give, God responded by giving David an exceedingly better gift. God promised that not only would one of David’s children (Solomon) build the temple (1 Chron. 17:11), but that He would build David a house, a dynasty. That promise began with Solomon but found its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, whose throne was indeed “established forever” (v. 12). David wanted to give from his finite resources, but God promised something infinite.

God’s gift to us in Jesus Christ exceeds all gifts.

Like David, may we always be moved to give to God out of gratitude and love. And may we always see how much more abundantly He has given to us in Jesus.

Father God, I thank You for Your astounding gift to me in Jesus Christ. Your love overwhelms me.

God’s gift to us in Jesus Christ exceeds all gifts.

By Kirsten Holmberg 

Investing in Eternity

Matthew 28:18-20

The Christian life is an active life—one dedicated to working, serving, sharing, and helping. Too often we think that being a believer simply means showing up for church each Sunday morning and dropping something into the offering plate. That’s a good habit, but if it’s the sum of your commitment, you’ve missed the mark.

There is a call that the Lord put on everyone who would follow Him—namely, He’s called us to go into the world and make disciples. You may say, “Well, that applies just to missionaries and ministers, right?” No. Teaching others about the Savior is the responsibility of all who claim the name of Jesus.

Just look at the first word of Matthew 28:19. What does Jesus say? His charge to us is “Go!” In today’s terms, He’s saying, “Get out of your comfort zone. Go love someone who’s different than you. Get up, look at the world around you, and tell someone about Me.”

This is not a suggestion. Nor is it a word to only a handful of believers. If you’ve been saved by the blood of Christ, then Jesus is talking to you!

Making disciples doesn’t mean you must quit your job and become a full-time missionary to some remote region. But you could walk outside, knock on a neighbor’s door, and demonstrate the love of Christ to that person. You don’t need a show-stopping sermon to minister to others; you simply need a willing, open heart.

What can you do right now to make disciples? Think about the steps you can take today to respond to God’s call on your life.

Godly Pursuit

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good: seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” (Psalm 34:11-15)

This is a marvelous list of righteous behavior traits. David is known as a man who had a heart for God. It is passages like these words in song that reveal his love for his Creator.

If we want to enjoy the blessings of our Lord, if we desire His fellowship and His hand on our efforts, if we are to maintain confidence in our relationship with the One in whom is “no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5), then we must “walk in the light, as he is in the light” (1 John 1:7).

This is such a simple concept, yet it is at the root of much of the conflict in the Christian life. So many today appear to desire the approval of the world’s philosophy or its adherents, attempting to compromise the clear messages of the Word of God with the views and lifestyles of the wicked.

Note the action terms: “desire” life; “love” your time as a child of the King; “keep” your tongue from evil talk; “depart” from evil behavior; “do good: seek peace, and pursue it.” Simple enough to understand, far more difficult to execute consistently. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8). HMM III

Adapted from Treasures in the Psalms, Henry M. Morris III, 350

Those that seek me early shall find me

Proverbs 8:1-21

In this chapter we hear again the pleadings of heavenly wisdom in the person of the Son of God. Let us not be careless when God himself expostulates with us.

Proverbs 8:4

Everywhere, in his word, in providence, by his ministers, and by his Spirit, the Incarnate Wisdom still calls to men. Especially in this land of Bibles and of Sabbaths, the Lord Jesus is everywhere heard pleading with old and young, gentle and simple, that they would consider and turn unto him.

Proverbs 8:5

Jesus invites the foolish to come to him. How condescending is he in this, for the teachers of old sought wise men for pupils, and few masters now-a-days would invite fools to their schools. Jesus is meek and lowly in heart, he condescends to men of low estate, and is ready to be the teacher of the simple. None need stay away from him because of their ignorance; it should even be a reason for coming to him. But some will enquire, Is his teaching worth hearing? Therefore he says—

Proverbs 8:6, 7

But does he speak the truth? He does, and he adds

Proverbs 8:8, 9

All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.

But can we understand his teaching? Can poor men comprehend him? Can little children receive his teaching? Yes, his words are simplicity itself.

Proverbs 8:10

Soul-saving knowledge is beyond all price.

Proverbs 8:11, 12

Eternal Wisdom found out the witty invention of the Cross. The plan of salvation by a substitute is the very summit of wisdom: let us give diligence to obtain an interest in it.

Proverbs 8:13

And what God hates, we must also hate with all our heart.

Proverbs 8:14-17

This is a portion of meat for the children of our families. Let boys and girls lay hold upon it, and go to Jesus in reliance upon this promise.

Proverbs 8:18, 19

Nothing can be so useful, so valuable, so really good for us as to know Christ and to be found in him.

Proverbs 8:20

In the Via Media, the middle way, which is the path of safety.

Proverbs 8:21

They shall be truly rich in grace, even if their earthly goods be few, and they shall be infinitely rich in the world to come, where there is a kingdom for the very least of them.

 

If our ways by thee be order’d,

And thy name by us confess’d,

Then thy presence shall go with us,

And thy peace shall give us rest.

 

If in all the eye be single,

Clean the hands, and pure the breast,

Then thy presence shall go with us,

And thy guidance give us rest.

 

Challenges in Town, Out of Town, and in the Sea!

2 Corinthians 11:26

Many years ago, I visited a city in the north of Russia where we were scheduled to hold a large evangelistic camapaign to reach the lost. We had been broadcasting our television programs in that region for many years; now we were coming to put the sickle into the harvest field and to reap souls for the Kingdom of God.

When our team arrived, we discovered that there was immense opposition to our arrival in that city. The religious leaders of the city were furious that we were coming to that region to preach. Their opposition was so hostile that they printed pamphlets and brochures filled with derogatory fabrications about us and then distributed them by the thousands throughout the city.

After arriving in the city, I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the large billboard that had been erected to announce our upcoming campaign. The billboard had a picture of my face on it, and the religious leaders of that city had put ladders up to the billboard, crawled up the ladders, and painted horns on the top of my head to portray me as a devil!

The day our meeting was to begin, I looked out my hotel window and saw these religious leaders, dressed in their flowing gowns, standing on the steps of our rented facility. They were using a sound system to blare out the message that anyone who came to our meetings was in danger of eternal damnation. I’m telling you, the opposition to that campaign was intense.

Because those religious leaders had authority in that city, they were able to get negative articles printed about us in the newspaper and make sure the local city magistrates were also opposed to our message. Suddenly the prices for the auditorium changed as those who controlled the city turned against our meetings and decided to demand that we pay higher prices.

But when it was finally time for the meetings to begin, the religious leaders moved off the steps as we walked right past them into the auditorium. That evening we watched the auditorium fill up with the bold, the brave, and the spiritually hungry of the city who came despite all the attempts that had been made to keep them away. We saw many people come forward to give their lives to Jesus Christ.

When Paul was ministering in his day, he faced similar predicaments in his ministry. This is why he wrote that he and his team were “… in perils in the city…” (2 Corinthians 11:26).

In Perils in the City

Think about it for a moment. How many cities was Paul chased out of during his ministry? You would think a city would be a little more civilized, but some of Paul’s worst confrontations occurred right in the heart of the world’s most advanced and cultured cities.

Paul most often labored in larger metropolitan areas. As an apostle, his primary calling was to establish the Church in every place he went. Therefore, the Holy Spirit usually sent Paul into large population centers, where there were many people and the potential of a huge harvest.

As is true in large cities today, such as New York, London, Moscow and Chicago, there were dangers in the ancient cities that didn’t exist in the smaller towns and villages. Paul faced these challenges courageously with the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m certain some of those challenges were in the financial, political, and religious realms, not to mention the normal stress a person faces when he attempts to do business in a big city.

However, none of these roadblocks ever kept Paul from doing what he was supposed to do. He pressed forward and completed his responsibility in every place to the best of his ability. He was a good soldier of Jesus Christ who kept marching forward, regardless of what the enemy tried to throw at him. But in addition to opposition in the city, Paul also said that he and his team experienced “… perils in the wilderness….”

In Perils in the Wilderness

When Paul writes about his experiences in the wilderness, he uses the word “perils” again (the Greek word kindunos, meaning extremely dangerous) to explain the events he faced in the wilderness. We don’t have any information from the New Testament to alert us as to what Paul is talking about. We can only make assumptions. The word “wilderness” is the Greek word eremia. It describes a remote, isolated location in the middle of nowhere.

Paul’s travels no doubt took him through remote areas where thieves and plunderers could have easily victimized him and his companions. It is very possible that wild beasts confronted them as they walked from place to place. The roads had deep ruts where deadly snakes and venomous scorpions hid.

Just as they faced certain dangers that were unique to the city, Paul and his team also faced dangers unique to the wilderness. Yet Paul faced these challenges with the assurance that God’s power would enable them to conquer each peril successfully.

In Perils in the Sea

In addition to dangers in the city and in the wilderness, Paul tells us that he also faced “… perils in the sea…” (2 Corinthians 11:26).

For the seventh time in this chapter, Paul uses the word “perils” (the Greek word kindunos, meaning extremely dangerous), this time to describe his experiences of traveling by sea. As we’ve already seen, Paul survived three different shipwrecks. Only one of these is recorded in the book of Acts. In addition to the shipwreck Luke tells us about in his account in Acts, Paul encountered two other sea catastrophes during the course of his ministry.

Most people who have been in an airplane crash are hesitant to ever get back on another airplane. It leaves such a mark in one’s mind that the traumatic impact of this memory is hard to overcome. Sea catastrophes in the ancient world were just as dramatic and memorable. It was surely a horrible experience for someone to be adrift at sea, not knowing whether or not he’d survive or be rescued. Paul went through this type of ordeal three separate times.

I’m sure these devilish attacks at sea were designed to put such a fear of sailing in Paul that he would never get back on another ship. But if Paul was going to get to the various places where God had called him to minister, he had no choice. Therefore, he didn’t allow these occurrences to steal his joy or to determine whether or not he obeyed God. Even if it meant he had to get back on another ship and sail through dangerous waters again, he’d do it, if that was required of him in order to successfully fulfill his God-given assignment in life.

Do you understand that you have to be spiritually tough in order to do what God has asked you to do? It takes guts to do the will of God. You have to be totally convinced of what God has told you, or the devil will throw enough blockades in your way to make you turn around and permanently go back home.

Jesus showed this kind of spiritual fortitude. The religious leaders of His day were opposed to Him; the Cross and three days in the grave were before Him. Nevertheless, Jesus moved ahead in the power of the eternal Spirit and obtained our redemption for us (see Hebrews 9:14).

What has God called you to do? Are you committed enough to keep going, regardless of what the enemy throws at you? It’s going to take a solid commitment on your part to do anything significant, so I want to encourage you to take a serious look at your commitment level and make sure you have what it takes to make it to the conclusion you desire.

If you don’t establish a firm commitment in your heart to make it through to the end, then you won’t. So I urge you to take time before God today to thoughtfully examine your true level of commitment to God’s call on your life. Make sure you are absolutely committed to do what God has told you to do!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I know I need to deepen the level of my commitment if I am going to accomplish the vision You have placed in my heart. To complete the task You’ve given me is going to require much of me, for I’m sure that Satan will try to resist Your plan for my life. I will have to stand strong and firm in order to obtain my goal; therefore, Holy Spirit, I am asking You today to show me every place in my spiritual foundation that needs to be fixed, strengthened, or repaired. I want to be completely fit and fully equipped to finish my race and win my prize!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am strong in the Lord. I am strong enough to do anything God will ever tell me to do. The Word of God abides in me, and the power of the Spirit works through me. Therefore, I am well able to overcome the strategies of the enemy. The future is mine because I have the promises of God’s Word and the power of the Spirit on which I can rely.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Would you say that your level of commitment is strong enough to take you all the way to the goal that is in your heart?
  2. If your answer to the above question is no, what do you need to do to upgrade your level of commitment? Would a more regular diet of the Word of God in your life make you stronger?
  3. If you aren’t spending time in the Word of God on a daily basis, is there a reason you haven’t made this a priority? What does that reason reveal about your level of commitment?

 

Squashing A Nasty Little Rumor

There is a nasty little rumor circulating that says “business is a dirty enterprise, but somebody has to do it.” Implied in this line of thinking is the idea that somewhere out there, there is a higher calling. Like there is the “secular” and then there is the “spiritual”. And somehow we can never quite get the two together.

 

The fact is that God loves work and He loves us to work! Let me give you six reasons why:

 

1. God is a worker – Just take a gander at Genesis 1 and 2 in creation. When God finished His creation, He saw that His own work was “good.” (Check out Deuteronomy 11:1-7; Psalm 111)

 

2. Before the fall God created us to be workers: “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formedThe Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:8, 15) (See Genesis 1:26-29)

 

3. Work enables us to meet our family and personal needs: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12)

 

4. Work makes it possible for us to give to others: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” (Ephesians 4:28)

 

5. Work gives us pleasure and reward, thus easing life’s pain: “Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20)

 

6. Work affords us a platform for ministry: “‘Come, follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men.‘” (Matthew 4:19)

 

To catch fish, you have to go where they hang out. Is there a better place to “fish” than where you spend 40 – 60 hours of your week?

 

 

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