Thursday, October 29, 2020

There is a "Wee Corker" Inside Us All....Lessons from Habakkuk

You could attach a lot of terms of endearment to this one...

Here are a few, I often choose:

Snuggle bunny.

Sweet cheeks.

Little peach.

Sugar bug.



Cutie pie.

Spicy pepper.

But, the one that fits her best (my all-around go-to word, for this extroverted, people-loving, active, smiley, joy-filled little two-year-old grand-treasure), I have borrowed from the shores of Ireland.

She is truly a "wee corker."

I should probably submit her photo (I've plenty to choose from) for Ireland's next updated picture-dictionary.

Let me give you a back-drop for the story to come.

All our family made it home over the last week (well, all but one, who had to work and had a previous commitment he couldn't change in a university competition).

It was a joyful time together, as always is. 

I love just listening to them interact...especially the laughter!

And, together, we celebrated in our oldest daughter's happiness as she was joined in marriage to a fun new addition that will undoubtedly make this group joke and laugh even more than normal. 

Welcome, Todd!

All that to say, we have been on the go. 

So, naps for our "wee corker" were....well, non-existent.

Her schedule "fell off the map" due to time change, as well as, the craziness that abounded in this house when you have a wedding for all, hunting for some, and virtual schooling for many. 

On the very same day, I kind-of "hit the tired-out-wall," so did she.

All she wanted was to come join the fun in the big house (she was staying with her parents in Gramma's little house).

Mama wanted to make the bed first.

So....she did what any two-year-old might to show her frustration............................she bit the bed. 

Mama saw a heart of defiance and let her know that was unacceptable.

So, the wee corker looked mama in the eye, and bent down and bit the bed a second time.

She promptly went into time out.

When the timer went off signaling the end, all she had to do was acknowledge her sin and say, "I'm sorry, mommy, for biting the bed."


No way was she about to do it.

She'd say, "I'm sorry, mommy."

But, not on your life, would she say for what she was sorry.

No sir!

So, she entered in the fight of her life to finally get to a place of submission.

Needless to say, the battle lasted a while.

Mom won. 

But, you'd have thought she had, for when she came back over to join the rest of the family, she was as happy and joyful as could be. 

When asked why she wouldn't just add "for biting the bed" to her "I'm sorry," the wee corker said, "Because I don't want to...."

And, there it is. 

Our want-to is often what drives our behavior. 

And, sadly, our want-to is often in contradiction to the Lord's will.

What "feels" best, the thing we "desire," the stubbornness of our hearts, the defiance and independence of our human nature, it's all part of what puts us in a world of hurt. 

Following our own path often leads to "destruction (Prov. 14:12)."

And, often demanding our own way has a definite repercussion on others, as well.

In this case, our little sassafras' attitude affected the whole bunch of us. 

It definitely affected her mommy and daddy who had to deal with her. 

All they wanted was for their sweet cheeks to line her attitude and behavior up with what was right and good...

They wanted a revival, a renewal, of her spirit that began with humility and ended up bending the knee to their that one day, she wouldn't be a rebellious adult, demanding her own way in a world full of other demanders. 

Whenever someone joins in the howling, making demands for their own want-to, the world about us ends up with chaos. 

We are all touched by it (and not in a good way).

It is this same kind of chaos Habakkuk saw in the people of Judah.

Everyone wanted to do what was "right in their own eyes."

It had been their problem for centuries. 

All Habakkuk wanted was a revival, a renewal of spirit that begins with humility and would end in bending the knee to Almighty God and His righteous ways.

God, however, had other plans...just like our spicy little pepper's parents.

Instead of an immediate revival (which as we've already seen is not lasting, but temporary), there were consequences to face.

Those consequences would not be pleasant.

They would affect everyone. 

But, the Lord had a plan to eliminate the chaos, to stop the crazy cycle of everyone "doing what was right in their own eyes."

They wouldn't like their time-out either.

It would last for years (70 to be exact).

But, they would eventually "return" in humbleness and submission to the Lord.

This is a very simplistic view of Habakkuk's plea and how the Lord would lead His people back to what was right and good...

There is another day coming, when the Lord will bring judgment, for what we have done with His truth, His plan for redemption, and how our lives line up with His will and His way.

What we should desire is not our own "want-to," but His. 

What we should long for is His righteousness in our lives.

For the "way of the Lord is perfect and righteous altogether (Psalm 18:30)..."

We find LIFE ABUNDANT in Jesus, following after Him (John 10:10)...

...and, if we're going to "adult well" as Jesus-followers, we start with bending the knee of our hearts in humility and surrender. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

What's the Condition of Your Heart? Twelve Days Til Election Day...

As I write, there are twelve days til Election Day.

Some of us have already mailed in our ballots.

This. This is a privilege. 

An honor.

We have the founding fathers to thank.

Great minds, who felt led by God...

To give us a government of the people, for the people, by the people.

And this was to be One Nation, Under God....UNABLE TO BE DIVIDED!

Wouldn't heads be shaking and hearts shattered if we could go back in time and give a report of this day to those who 


Shed blood




Wrestled through words

Sacrificed time, lives, and energy...

So we could have something better than what they once knew...

These gave us a constitution that protected freedoms...

And a military to guard the very same. 

The Lord gives us a voice in this great nation.

AND, even though this constitution came down through the pens of founding fathers; 

It was God's plan that's been in motion.

It still is.

He doesn't need us, as people...

But, oh, how He wants us.

No matter what happens on voting day, or what is written on a ballot, His plan will prevail.

This doesn't mean we stop exercising our rights or silencing our voice.

The rights we have are His sweet gift of grace to us.

But, whoever sits as President...

Whoever is in charge of Senate, or of the House, or who sits on the Supreme Court...

Well, the Lord God has appointed that man, or woman.

And His plans will prevail. 


In this I have GREAT PEACE.

No matter what the immediate future holds within our government, the Lord is still governing the world.

It's His World, after all...

And the little book of Habakkuk reminds me that the mystery of His ways can't be explained. 

Habakkuk reminds me God works on His own time table.

I'm reminded that even when the Lord seems to be absent, He is working behind the scenes....He's completely in this big thing called PROVIDENCE.

Sometimes He brings great blessing....

Sometimes He brings acts of judgment....

In the end 'bad folks don't get away with causing pain to His people...'

...and, His people don't get away with injustice. 

In the end, He will use all things for our good and His glory...

As I'm studying this little book, I'm reminded that God takes the very, very hard - maybe, especially, the very, very hard - and wants to use every circumstance to draw all of us to tuck us gently under the shelter of His wings...

As I'm studying, I'm reminded that the world is filled with sinners...

But, there is a WORD OF HOPE for all of us who turn to Him...

There is the HOPE of HIM who died for us all...leading to our so-great-a-salvation!

There is the HOPE of HEAVEN-to-come...

A place with perfect government...

A place of joy and not sorrow...

A place of light and no darkness...

A place of love and no hate...

A place of peace and no chaos...

A place that greatly resembles the order of the world that God originally created....


Before we wanted our own way...

Before we thought we could do government better...

Before we took matters into our own hands...

Before we stepped out from under His care...


In Habakkuk, I'm at peace because the Lord, our God, MY GOD, is from everlasting to everlasting (Habakkuk 1:12).

He is HOLY (Habakkuk 1:12).

He is still true to His promises (Habakkuk 1:12).

And He is our ROCK (Habakkuk 1:12)...

our place of REFUGE...

our security...

And He simply says to His followers, "Wait (Habakkuk 2:3)..."

"Live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4)..."

And, in remembering all this, and not looking about me: not at election results, or the possibilities of a failing economy, or a crippling pandemic, or cancer that consumes lives, or marriages that fall apart, or prodigal children, or evil running rampant....

I will....



I will....


I will...


These are my choices.

My want-to out of a heart of obedience to the God I just described...

So....let's take some deep breaths.

Let's follow Habakkuk's lead.

Let's set an example, oh, followers-of-Jesus.

That we may be lights in a dark world...

Let's be Phil 2:14-15 people!!!

No matter the outcome of a 2020 election.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Finding the Word of the Lord in the House of the Lord....and, Another Lesson from Coyotes


A couple weeks back as I was studying the habits of coyotes (previous blogpost linked here), I discovered another little tidbit I found interesting.

The coyote has always played a prominent role in Native American folklore, where he has been depicted as a "trickster," who uses deception to rebel against social conventions. In more recent years, in Anglo-American culture, the coyote is seen as cowardly and untrustworthy.

Me thinks the two actually may be two sides of the same coin.

Deceivers are often so, simply because they are cowardly (and need to go along with the crowd), and therefore, unable to be trusted.

Tuck that information away...I'll come back to it.


Last week, I mentioned that in researching Judah's history as Habakkuk was writing his little book, I was shocked to find that somewhere along the line, the Word of the Lord got lost in the Temple of the Lord! 

That fact caused no small amount of pondering (previous blogpost linked here).

I also mentioned in closing that I'd fill you in on what happened in response to the Word of the Lord as it was read before the King, and subsequently the people.  

So, here's the rest of the story:

Hilkiah, the high priest, said to Shaphan the secretary to the King, "I have found the Word of the Lord in the house of the Lord." 

So, Shaphan took the book to King Josiah (who is now all of 26 years old - remember he rose to power at age 8) and told him, "Hilkiah, the priest, has given me a book."

And, Josiah asked Shaphan to read the Word of the Lord to him.

I'll pick up the text in 2 Kings 22:11...

When the king heard the words of the Book, he tore his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah, the king's servant saying, "Go inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because we have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.

As the words were read to the King, his heart broke for the people of Judah.

The tearing of his clothes was an outward example of what was happening in Josiah's heart.

His sorrow and his repentance ran deep....

He knew all of Judah was in peril of destruction, for God's wrath burned against them.

He longed to right the wrongs.

To see his people "return to the Lord."

He wanted to know what he could do to fix what seemed unfixable. 

And, so he began a series of religious reforms.

He rid the country of the "high places" (altars of worship to other gods, but not Almighty God).

He removed all shrines.

He tore down monuments.

He rid the country of mediums and necromancers, household gods, and all abominations that were seen in the land of Judah.

More importantly, he reinstated the religious feasts, including the Passover, which had not been kept since the days of the judges who had ruled over Israel (approximately 400 years!!!).

The Scripture says this:

Did you see that last sentence? Read it again, if you didn't read it the first time.


With their mouths, they individually said, "Me, too!"

"I will keep God's commandments."

"I will follow in His ways."

"I will give Him my whole heart."

"I will follow after Him."

But, look at these words from the prophet Jeremiah (3:6-11). This is what REALLY happened: 

Then the Lord said to me in the days of Josiah the King, "Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. I thought, 'After she has done all these things she will return to Me'; but she did not return, and her deceitful sister Judah saw it. 

And, I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, even though I had sent her away and gave her a writ of divorce, yet her deceitful sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.

Because of the lightness of her behavior, she polluted the land, and committed adultery with stones and trees. And...deceitful Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception," declares the Lord. 

"Faithless Israel has proven herself more righteous than deceitful Judah..."

As the Word was read to the people in the House of the Lord, Josiah covenanted with his whole heart to follow after God. 

Josiah's promises were proven with action!!!

True promises are.

But this was not so with the people of Judah - in spite of what their mouths declared, there was nothing but deception in their hearts.

They never meant what they said, and they never truly repented and returned to the Lord.

At least Israel was honest.

She never meant to obey; never said she would. She preferred her current lifestyle.

As a result, Israel was more "righteous" in the long run, than deceitful Judah.

"Faithless Israel has proven herself more righteous than deceitful Judah..."

Judah was nothing more than a pack of howling and yipping coyotes...





Tricksters rebelling against the spiritual social conventions King Josiah reinstated according to the Word of the Lord.

So, in spite of King Josiah's efforts, "still the Lord did not turn from the burning of His great wrath, by which His anger was kindled against Judah..." And the Lord said, "I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel... (2 Kings 23:26-27)"


So, where does this put the people of God today?

Once more I ask....

Are we more like coyotes?

Howling deceitfully?

Yipping in agreement outwardly, but not having a heart to match?

Saying one thing with our mouths, but never intending to follow through?

Not really giving serious attention to the Word of the Lord in the House of the Lord?

And, oh my...may we never make a promise we don't intend to keep - especially to the Lord!!!

I'd far rather be more like Josiah...who history records as being "one of a kind..."

....and, I'd rather be known for turning to the Lord with all my heart, and all my soul, and all my might...

...according to all the Word!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Losing the Word in the Temple....Have We?

I've wrestled with where to start this morning's post, but finally landed here, with this comment regarding the Scriptures - a quote I read this week on a social media post, that has left me aching inside:

Don't miss the part that is underlined, for the rest that surrounds the quote is spiritual and true, but unless we add to those words, direction from the "ancient book," whatever we do for the poor and marginalized is offset and results in nothing but "chasing after the wind."


A couple days ago, I posted this on FB: 

In case you can't read the comment it says, "ON THIS DAY, Oct 6, 1536, William Tyndale was burned at the stake that we might have this book in our hands in English. I am humbled and grateful. This "ancient book" changes my l life daily and I thank the Lord for t he gift of comfort, guidance, challenge, wisdom, warning, teaching, and even rebuke that it brings. I am better because I have in my hands THE HOLY WORD OF GOD. It is relevant for every matter I face...."

Truly, I am grateful for those who have given EVERYTHING that I can benefit from "this ancient book." 

Back in March of 2017, Bay and I were in Brentwood, England taking a walk through town. We came upon this monument: 

A mere 19 years after Tyndale's execution, a young 19 year old, William Hunter, was burned at the stake in this little community. His crime? Well, he was caught "reading the Bible for himself" in Brentwood Chapel. 

During Tyndale's trial, he made this statement: 

How far we have come, but, I wonder, are we beginning to regress?

Are we beginning to lose appreciation for this incredible gift? 

Do we take for granted the HOLY SCRIPTURES, the Lord has allowed us to have in our hands?

Are we losing the integrity of The Word of the Lord in our lives?

Recent research showed me that many publishers of our Bibles, in recent years, have eliminated the word "holy" from the title. 

Yet, our bibles will always be "set apart words to guide us into set apart living." 

Jesus made it a point to remind us down through the ages that God's Words are exactly for this purpose: 


As I continue to study the background for the little book of Habakkuk, I went back to examine what was happening in Israel and Judah at the time the prophet wrote (approximately 640-615 BC).

Habakkuk and Jeremiah were contemporaries. Both of them spoke words of warning, and prophesied against the nation of Judah. 

At the time, Israel (the Northern Kingdom) had already been given multiple chances of repenting and returning to the Lord, but had blatantly rebelled. 

Judah (the Southern Kingdom) watched as the Assyrians swept in and conquered Israel just as Isaiah had prophesied (and by conquer, I mean horrible destruction and unspeakable atrocities) and carried the people off into captivity. 

I must remind you that the Lord is slow to anger...and equally, if not more, as slow to bring judgment.

Israel had ample time to RETURN to the Lord. 

But, she didn't....

Judah observed all this...

She knew exactly why the Lord allowed the Assyrians to carry Israel away....and, now echoing the same prophetic judgment, as those who warned Israel, she received her own opportunity.

"Return to me..." said the Lord through the prophet Jeremiah.

"Stop listening to deceptive words...."

"Do not put your trust in them..." 

Josiah is King of Judah.

He was eight years old when he came into power. 


As Jeremiah prophesied, Josiah began to make some reforms (by now, he was 26).

He started in the temple, which was in ruins...

First, he sent in a cleaning crew...more than ruins needed to be swept away, the immorality inside God's holy temple was obscene (even some of the temple "priests" had become male prostitutes)!

After that, came a remodeling crew.

In the midst of the REMODEL, one of the workers FOUND the Word of the Lord/the Book of the Law (this is all found in 2 Kings 22 and 23).

Just sit with this a minute.

To find something, means that something was lost....

Simple reasoning concludes:


I am the temple of the Lord....

Those who walk with Jesus, and who have invited Him to rule and reign in their hearts, are HIS TEMPLE, too.

What are we doing with His WORD?

Is it lost in the temple?

Definition of lost - AGAIN, SIT WITH THIS: 

Unable to find one's way...

Very confused, or insecure, or in great difficulty

Not using advantageously, to "waste"

To be defeated

To be broken or destroyed

Ever felt this way? 

In my mind, there is a heart-connection...

If I feel lost, what I often find is that the Word of the Lord has been lost in the temple (me).

If I'm unable to find my way - I need the Word.

When confused, feeling insecure, struggling - I need the Word.

If the enemy gets the upper hand, and I'm finding myself defeated, discouraged, distressed - I need the Word.

And, in times I've been broken, you guessed it - I've needed the Word.

And so I ask: Are we losing the Word of God in the church today? 

I am desperate for the WORD daily....

May it never be "lost" in me!


There's more to this story....I'll tell you what happened when the Word of the Lord was FOUND and given to the people next week. Smile. 


PS. As I look again at the definition of "lost," I see our beloved country. Don't you? We are confused, losing our way, wasting our energy on divisive issues, feeling discouraged and, yes, a bit broken during this craziness of 2020. 

America - we need to find the Word that has been lost to us. That ancient book is still relevant IN EVERY WAY & FOR EVERYTHING today!!!