Do Something.

Mummy and I talk almost every weekend. We chat about everything and anything pretty much; but invariably, she always brings me up to speed with her thoughts about what’s happening back home. The main topic of our conversation usually is the godlessness in society and the resulting corruption and crime. Many times, she tells me she cannot believe that this is the same country in which she was raised. She has seen morals and values decay. In her words, “There is no reverence for God, and everyone seems to be doing what he wants.”

In reality, we can say that about any country today. One way or another, we see deterioration of values and morals. Crime, violence, corruption, and injustice are widespread. For many of us, it looks like the world we live in is spiraling out of control! We may be asking God, “Where are You? How long before You do something? Will evil continue to prevail?”

We are not alone in our thoughts and our cries to the Lord about: immorality, modern day slavery, violence, murder, disregard for life, persecution of Christians, corruption, injustice, ISIS, and evil. In the seventh century BC, the prophet Habakkuk cried out to the Lord, too. He saw the wickedness, injustice, evil, idolatry, corruption, and indifference to God’s law in the nation—the same things we see today. He was perplexed, questioning why God was doing nothing about the moral and spiritual decay among the people.

As far as Habakkuk was concerned, God’s very name was at stake. In the prophet’s mind, God should have already intervened. Though he was praying, it was as if God was not hearing Him.

2 How long, O Lord, must I call for help?
But you do not listen!
“Violence is everywhere!” I cry,
but you do not come to save.
Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
who love to argue and fight.
The law has become paralyzed,
and there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous,
so that justice has become perverted.

For Habakkuk, things were not changing the way he thought they should or the way that would be consistent with who he knew God to be. So, he concluded that God was doing nothing.

Have you ever been there? Maybe you are there now. In your mind, you believe God is doing nothing to effect change in the world or in your circumstances. You watch the news and see:

  • people being forced out of their countries by extremists
  • refugee camps overflowing with people who have nowhere to turn
  • Christians executed by terrorists
  • the unborn murdered and their body parts sold while no one is held accountable
  • people being gunned down while going about their lives
  • politicians lying for power

Or maybe you have been crying out about your marriage, infertility, illness, joblessness, debt, a wayward child, divorce, or broken family relationships. You wonder if and when God will do something.

Here is good news: God is on His throne! He is control of all things, and He is always at work in the world and in the life of His people. In answer to Habakkuk’s questions God says:

“Look around at the nations;
look and be amazed!
For I am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn’t believe
even if someone told you about it.” (Habakkuk 1:5)

The Lord was working, but His work would take Habakkuk by surprise! In Habakkuk 1:5-11; 2:2-19, God tells Habakkuk how He was going accomplish His purposes: He would raise up the ruthless Babylonians to judge His own people. This answer only further confused the prophet. How could God use the sinful Babylonians to judge His own people? The Babylonians were worse than the God’s people.

Habakkuk’s response—even in the midst of his confusion—was to go up to his watch tower and seek and wait upon the Lord. Habakkuk did not have to understand or trust the details of God’s plan. He knew he could trust God’s word, His leadership, and His sovereignty (Habakkuk 3:16-19).

Beloved, weary, wrestling, and doubting, the Lord is at work in this world and in our lives for His purposes. His plans are perfect because He is perfect. He is holy and just. We may not understand His work. We may not be able see clearly with human eyes what He is doing. But be encouraged: He hears our cries and sees our plight, even when it doesn’t feel that way to us. Like Habakkuk, let us, in faith, continue to seek, trust, and wait upon the Lord. He will make all things beautiful in His time. He is doing a work we wouldn’t believe!

 

Blessings,

Karen

End of the week ramblings!!

Hey there,

So I decided to record some of what I was thinking as I sat with the Lord yesterday and read through Jeremiah 11. I am in awe of the Lord, and I thank Him for His Word. I pray you are encouraged as you listen.  Have a great weekend. Be encouraged!

 

 

I would love to hear your thoughts. Shoot me a comment. Talk soon.

Blessings.

Karen

When the Enemy Strikes

Then the Rabshekah stood up and called out loudly in Hebrew, the common language, “Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria! Don’t listen to Hezekiah’s lies. He can’t save you. And don’t pay any attention to Hezekiah’s pious sermons telling you to lean on God, telling you ‘God will save us, depend on it. God won’t let this city fall to the king of Assyria.’

 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah. Listen to the king of Assyria’s offer: ‘Make peace with me. Come and join me. Everyone will end up with a good life, with plenty of land and water, and eventually something far better. I’ll turn you loose in wide open spaces, with more than enough fertile and productive land for everyone.’ Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you with his lies, ‘God will save us.’ Has that ever happened? Has any god in history ever gotten the best of the king of Assyria? Look around you. Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? The gods of Sepharvaim? Did the gods do anything for Samaria? Name one god that has ever saved its countries from me. So what makes you think that God could save Jerusalem from me?’ ” (Isaiah 36:13-20, The Message)


 

In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Judah was invaded by Assyria (2 Kings 18-19, Isaiah 36-37). The Assyrians were the big bad enemy in the region, capturing the surrounding nations. They were kicking butts and taking names. But, Hezekiah would not surrender to the King of Assyria, Sennacherib.

 

The Assyrian strategy was the use of fear tactics. They struck fear into the hearts of the Judeans hoping to send them running for cover.

 

The Assyrians mocked the Judeans: they questioned King Hezekiah’s confidence, his trust in God, and his alliance with Egypt. They teased; they insulted; and they sowed seeds of doubt. They told the Judeans that their King was not trustworthy and that he could not save them. They questioned the power, ability, and might of the God of Israel. The Assyrian strategy was not only to leave the Judeans scared but discouraged and hopeless so that they had to turn to the plans of the enemy.

 

Sound familiar?

Don’t trust the Lord…

You can’t …

God won’t…

God can’t…

It’s useless…

 

The Assyrians offered the Judeans hope in an attractive alternative—what they could provide—land, food, prosperity, provision, safety, deliverance, stability, ease.

 

Isn’t this what the enemy does in our lives?

 

He uses our life circumstances to shake our faith, to make us doubt God, to make us choose to not trust in God’s promises, to make us question whether God is big enough to meet our needs or powerful enough to deliver us from what we face.

 

He wants us to believe the lie that his good is better than God’s best.

 

  • Single woman, he wants you to give up waiting on the Lord and give in to dating and marrying the unbeliever, all in the hope that one day you can lead him to Christ.
  • Married woman with the challenging marriage, the enemy would prefer you to fix the issue with divorce than for you to trust the Lord on your knees fighting for your marriage.
  • Ladies, he wants us to wallow in our insecurities and find our validation in accolades, good grades, a friend’s opinion, a certain position, prominence, and status, instead of standing on the truth of who God has said we are.
  • Ladies, he would love nothing more than to see us live in fear and not trust and live the way the Lord intended for us—free in Christ.

 

Whatever it is and wherever you find yourself, the enemy’s schemes have always been the same: he attempts to defeat us with lies, fear, and doubt. The enemy comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. That has always been his strategy because he is a LIAR. He wants us to believe that the LORD Jesus is:

  • not enough
  • not faithful
  • not gracious
  • not dependable
  • not trustworthy

 

In Isaiah 36:21, the Judean response to the Assyrian jeering was silence and prayer. The Judeans had a great leader in Hezekiah. He did right before the Lord. He removed the places of idol worship; He trusted the Lord, and he did not depart from worshipping Him (2 Kings 18).  In Isaiah 37:1, when Hezekiah heard what the Assyrians were doing to his people, he went into the house of the Lord, sent his men to the prophet of the Lord, and prayed.  Hezekiah led his people in trusting the Lord, and he trusted the Lord to deliver him and his people.

 

Like Hezekiah, we must reject the enemy and trust the Lord.

 

When the enemy strikes, the only one who can deliver us and save us from whatever we face is the Lord.

 

We have the full armor of God at our disposal so that we can stand against the onslaught of the enemy, and we must use it.

 

It is only in putting our confidence in Him, seeking Him, standing on His word, and going to Him in prayer that we will be victorious against fear, doubt, faithlessness, insecurity, discontentment, discouragement—all the things the enemy uses against us.

 

I don’t know where you are today or what the enemy is using against you. But let us go on our knees and seek our Lord in prayer knowing and believing that His strategies, His word, and His plans will never fail. There is NO enemy that can stand against our LORD. Remember, the Assyrians did not win; and neither does the enemy!

 

Would love to hear from you! ‘Til next time…

Karen

The Vase

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father,

We are the clay, and You our potter;

And all of us are the work of Your hand.”

(Isaiah 64:8)

The sun bounced off the surface of the lake, painting the water in a kaleidoscope of colors; in the distance, a bright green field; the cool fall afternoon alive with creative energy. Concealed at the bottom of the stone-stacked staircase, a studio—isolated, quiet—faced the lake and the field. The studio doors were ajar, revealing glimpses of the potter’s wheel, the stool, and the clay. Excitement raced through my body, like a car at the speedway. What would I make? The list was endless: a plate, a bowl, a dish…no, a vase! I joined the huddle of other eager potters-in-the-making to watch the instructor slowly demonstrate the use of the pottery wheel.

I was led to my station. The wheel was lower and smaller than I had envisioned. It was nothing more than a flat disc resting in a tub, which was really a splash guard. On the ground, a pedal was tethered by a cord to the wheel. A tall stool sat nearby, and a small work table held all the tools: a sponge, a basin of water, a needle, a wooden knife, and a cutting wire. I sat down and straddled the wheel, my thighs opening to embrace it, knees pressed in tightly, my pelvis high. I pushed my right foot forward until I found the pedal, and I rested my foot upon it. I pressed down on the pedal as if it was an accelerator; the wheel spun like a gig let loose. I let my foot up; the wheel slowed.

On the small work table, my lump of clay waited. I reached for it. It was dark, cool to the touch, dry and not moist. The clay was shaped into a ball and carried the aroma of earth. With resolve, I grabbed the clay and slapped it down hard on the wheel. Thwack!

Leaning forward and tucking in my elbows, I lay my left palm, then my right, on the clay ball, applying the full strength of upper my body to the task at hand. I pushed down, the clay moving around my fingers as a stream moves around rocks in its path. Using my right hand, I reached into the nearby tub of water, scooped up all that I could hold, and poured it onto my clay, which became silky, smooth, soft, and pliable. I slowly pressed the pedal, and the wheel began to spin faster. I clasped the clay using all my strength, flesh and earth and water becoming one. I scooped up more water and poured it on the clay. Using just enough pressure on the ball, I gently guided it to the center of the disc and removed my hands. The clay was centered on the wheel, and the vase inside it was beckoning.

Using my muddy hands, I formed the clay. With the wheel spinning, I made a hole in the center of the clay by extending my index and middle fingers. As the wheel spun around and around, the hole became bigger, the inside of the vase revealing itself. Slowly, I began to use the other fingers of my hands to expand the hole; the vase was taking shape.

I shifted my hands so that my right palm faced my left and sandwiched the clay. With the wheel still spinning, I moved my hands upward, making the clay form taller and taller. Every full turn of the wheel combined with the upward movement of my hands brought the vase into sharper relief until it finally had its shape. I reached for the knife on the small table trimmed the edges of the vase, like a butcher removing fat from meat. Using a sponge, I smoothed the outside of the vessel to create a fresh canvas upon which I drew designs using a needle. With my index fingers and my thumbs, I squeezed the neck of the vase, almost as if I was strangling it delicately, until it narrowed into a smaller opening. At last, I removed my foot from the pedal; the wheel came to a stop.

The result… a beautiful vase!