Los Juicios de Dios (Estudio de La Biblia gratuitas)

Nota: Por favor, usar y compartir. Acreditar el enlace a este estudio si la adición de un sitio web o imprimirlo para su distribución. Tendrá que ser capaz de responder con claridad cada pregunta. Los participantes suelen ser capaces de responder a todas ellas si buscan con cuidado las Escrituras.

He estado pensando últimamente sobre los acontecimientos de los últimos días. Teniendo en cuenta el rápido declive moral de Estados Unidos y la longevidad de nuestra nación, pensamientos gire naturalmente al final de los tiempos, cuando Dios tiene su última palabra. Nuestro objetivo en este estudio no es para pasar mucho tiempo en los juicios que los hombres y las mujeres pronuncian de forma individual u oficialmente como un agente del Estado, sino considerar los juicios de Dios; principalmente al final de la edad.

Vamos a empezar con los juicios de Dios sobre los que se han comprometido a servirle.

Ezequiel 9: 1-11 ─ Entonces clamó en mis oídos con gran voz, diciendo: “Traiga cerca de los verdugos de la ciudad, cada uno con su arma destructora en la mano.” 2 Y he aquí que seis varones venían del camino de la puerta de arriba que mira hacia el norte, cada uno con su arma de masacre en la mano, y con ellos había un varón vestido de lino, con un caso de la escritura en su cintura. Y entraron y se pararon junto al altar de bronce. – – –

V.4 Qué otras cuentas bíblica, pasado o futuro se compara esto o contrastar con?

V.6 ¿Por qué el inicio el juicio en el santuario?

9.11 ¿Cuál es el punto de vista del hombre y lo que es de Dios?

Ahora, vamos a ver el juicio de Dios en el aquí y ahora de nuestra vida.

Juan 3: 16-19 ─ Pues Dios amó tanto al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna. 17 Porque no envió Dios a su Hijo al mundo para condenar al mundo, – – –

Juan 5:24 ─ cierto, de cierto os digo, que el que oye mi palabra y cree al que me envió, tiene vida eterna cree. Él no viene a condenación, mas ha pasado de muerte a vida.

¿Cuál es su medio para que evitemos el castigo eterno?

Es el deseo de Dios para traer juicio necesarios en las personas, o para liberarlos y darles vida?

1 Pedro 4:17 ─ Porque es tiempo de que el juicio comience en la familia de Dios; y si primero comienza por nosotros, ¿cuál será el fin de aquellos que no obedecen al evangelio de Dios?

Si bien este versículo mira hacia el futuro, ¿cuál es su mensaje a los creyentes de hoy?

Por último vamos a considerar el futuro juicio de los creyentes y no creyentes. Nos Sill empezar con una nota feliz cuando David tenía el Arca llevó a su ciudad.

1 Crónicas 16: 28-34 ─ Dad a Jehová, oh familias de los pueblos, atribuyen a la gloria y el poder Señor! 29 Dad a Jehová la gloria debida a su nombre; Traed ofrenda, y venid delante de él! Adora al Señor en la hermosura de la santidad; – – –

V.33 ¿Por qué se alegran creación cuando ve su gran juicio anticipado?

¿Cuál debe ser nuestra respuesta a su juicio venidero? ¿Por qué?

2 Corintios 5:10 ─ Porque es necesario que todos nosotros comparezcamos ante el tribunal de Cristo, para que cada uno reciba lo que le corresponde por lo que ha hecho en el cuerpo, sea bueno o malo.

Apocalipsis 20: 10-15 ─ y el diablo que los había engañado fue arrojado al lago de fuego y azufre, donde estaban la bestia y el falso profeta, y serán atormentados día y noche por los siglos de los siglos. 11 Y vi un gran trono blanco y al que estaba sentado sobre él. De su tierra y el cielo huyeron, y no hay lugar – – –

Estos dos pasajes describen que serán juzgados. ¿Quiénes son los diversos destinatarios?

¿Por qué este juicio final tiene que llevarse a cabo?

Hebreos 12.27, 28 ─ Y así como está establecido para los hombres que mueran una sola vez, y después de esto el juicio, – – –

1 Corintios 3: 11-15 ─ Porque nadie puede poner otro fundamento que el que está puesto, el cual es Jesús Cristo.- – –

Cómo trata Dios con sus hijos de manera diferente que a los que lo rechazan? Cómo?

Todos queremos que las recompensas por un trabajo bien hecho, pero de acuerdo a este pasaje en Corintios cuál es nuestra salvación final y la vida eterna basada en si no hemos producido?

Cualquier pensamiento o reflexión final?

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The Judgments of God (free study)

The Judgments of God

Note: Please use and share. Credit the link to this study if adding to a website or printing it for distribution. You will need to be able to clearly answer each question. The participants will usually be able to answer all of them if they carefully search the Scriptures.

I’ve been thinking lately about the events of the last days. Considering America’s rapid moral decline and our nation’s longevity, thoughts naturally turn to the end of time when God has His last word. Our goal in this study is not to spend much time on the judgments that men and women pronounce individually or officially as an agent of the state, but to consider God’s judgments; primarily at the end of the age.

We’ll start with God’s judgments on those who have vowed to serve Him.

Ezekiel 9:1-11 ─ Then he cried in my ears with a loud voice, saying, “Bring near the executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand.” And behold, six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his weapon for slaughter in his hand, and with them was a man clothed in linen, with a writing case at his waist. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. – – –

V.4 What other Biblical accounts, past or future does this compare or contrast with?

V.6 Why does the judgment start in the sanctuary?

9-11 What is man’s viewpoint and what is God’s?

Now, let’s look at God’s judgment in the here and now of our lives.

John 3:16-19 ─  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, – – –

John 5:24 ─ Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

What is His means for us to avoid eternal punishment?

Is God’s desire to bring necessary judgment on people, or to free them and give them life?

1 Peter 4:17 ─ For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

While this verse looks to the future, what is its message to believers today?

Finally let’s consider the future judgment of believers and unbelievers. We sill start on a happy note when David had the Ark brought to his city.

1 Chronicles 16:28-34 ─ Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! 29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; – – –

V.33 Why does creation rejoice when it sees His much anticipated judgment?

What should our response be to His coming judgment? Why?

2 Corinthians 5:10 ─ For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Revelation 20:10-15 ─  and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place – – –

These two passages describe who will be judged. Who are the various recipients?

Why does this final judgment have to take place?

Hebrews 12-27, 28 ─ And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, – – –

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.- – –

Does God deal with His children differently than to those who reject Him? How?

We all want rewards for a job well done, but according to this passage in Corinthians what is our ultimate salvation and eternal life based upon if we have not produced?

Any final thoughts or insights?

God’s Judgement Word Doc

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Psalm Template Study Guide

Here is a study template to study any of the Psalms. I could not find anything helpful on the internet, so I created my own.

Let me know your thoughts!

The blanks after “History:”  etc…  are for the teacher or class to list a few books of the O.T. and N.T. that fit the catagory.

The blanks after “Historical:” etc… are for the teacher to list an example or two from the Psalms that fit each catagory.

Have the class members list these books and read the verses to make the experience more interactive.

The link below is a Word doc for your use (and it is able to be edited, if needed). Please credit this website or castleqwayr for the use of this document and note any changes.

Introduction to the Psalms with Template

 

PsalmTemplate

 

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C.S. Lewis – Thoughts on Liberals (Christian)

cs-lewis

C.S. Lewis said it best when he said that “I really think in our days it is the “undogmatic” and “liberal” people who call themselves Christians that are the most arrogant and intolerant. I expect justice and even courtesy from many atheists and, much more, from your people <Roman Catholics>: Modernists I have to take bitterness and rancour as a matter of course.”

From  Letters Vol 3 April 1951

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C.S. Lewis – Letters on Thoughtful Aging

FirorAging

Please read more from Google Books here: http://tinyurl.com/bf94bhg

Here is another thought from Dr. Lewis from a letter to Sister Penelope CSMV from Aug 16th. 49  The quote is from the Sisters own story:

The simile of Our Lord leading an old man down to age like an old horse brought tears to my eyes. I wish I had thought of it myself – sheer beauty.

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2012 in review – Till We Have Faces (notshaken.wordpress.com)

 

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 18,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

 

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Consuming Fire Study – Hebrews 12:29 (G. MacDonald)

Consuming Fire

Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-14

  • What is burned up?
  • What is the nature of the fire?
  • Is there any way to avoid the full onslaught of that final burn for the believer?

Read 1 Cor. 3:15

  • What would you like to have left after the Big Burn?

From George MacDonald – Unpublished Sermons: Our God is a consuming Fire

Nothing is inexorable but love. Love which will yield to prayer is imperfect and poor. Nor is it then the love that yields, but its alloy. For if at the voice of entreaty love conquers displeasure, it is love asserting itself, not love yielding its claims. It is not love that grants a boon unwillingly; still less is it love that answers a prayer to the wrong and hurt of him who prays. Love is one, and love is changeless.

For love loves unto purity. Love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds. Where loveliness is incomplete, and love cannot love its fill of loving, it spends itself to make more lovely, that it may love more; it strives for perfection, even that itself may be perfected–not in itself, but in the object. As it was love that first created humanity, so even human love, in proportion to its divinity, will go on creating the beautiful for its own outpouring. There is nothing eternal but that which loves and can be loved, and love is ever climbing towards the consummation when such shall be the universe, imperishable, divine.

Therefore all that is not beautiful in the beloved, all that comes between and is not of love’s kind, must be destroyed.

Read Hebrews 12:14-17

  • Why is holiness important?
  • What does holiness look like in a community of believers?
  • What appears in its place when it is absent?

Read Heb 12:18-24

  • What are the signs of God’s presence in this Old Testament event?
  • How is His presence manifest to us today?
  • Are we promised or expect things to go easier on us?

The symbol of the consuming fire would seem to have been suggested to the writer by the fire that burned on the mountain of the old law. That fire was part of the revelation of God there made to the Israelites. Nor was it the first instance of such a revelation. The symbol of God’s presence, before which Moses had to put off his shoes, and to which it was not safe for him to draw near, was a fire that did not consume the bush in which it burned. Both revelations were of terror.

Read Heb 12:25-27

  • How is the Hebrew people’s experience and ours related?
  • Will He shake us?
  • Why?

He will shake heaven and earth, that only the unshakeable may remain, (verse 27): he is a consuming fire, that only that which cannot be consumed may stand forth eternal. It is the nature of God, so terribly pure that it destroys all that is not pure as fire, which demands like purity in our worship. He will have purity. It is not that the fire will burn us if we do not worship thus; but that the fire will burn us until we worship thus; yea, will go on burning within us after all that is foreign to it has yielded to its force, no longer with pain and consuming, but as the highest consciousness of life, the presence of God.

Read Heb 12:28, 29

  • What is the importance of worship in these verses?
  • What does His fire devour?
  • So what’s the big deal?

For, when we say that God is Love, do we teach men that their fear of him is groundless? No. As much as they fear will come upon them, possibly far more. But there is something beyond their fear,–a divine fate which they cannot withstand, because it works along with the human individuality which the divine individuality has created in them. The wrath will consume what they call themselves; so that the selves God made shall appear, coming out with tenfold consciousness of being, and bringing with them all that made the blessedness of the life the men tried to lead without God. They will know that now first are they fully themselves. The avaricious, weary, selfish, suspicious old man shall have passed away. The young, ever young self, will remain. That which they thought themselves shall have vanished: that which they felt themselves, though they misjudged their own feelings, shall remain– remain glorified in repentant hope. For that which cannot be shaken shall remain. That which is immortal in God shall remain in man. The death that is in them shall be consumed.

  • Do you think there is a difference in what we call ourselves and the person that will appear?
  • Are what we are now all that will ever be?

The man who loves God, and is not yet pure, courts the burning of God. Nor is it always torture. The fire shows itself sometimes only as light–still it will be fire of purifying. The consuming fire is just the original, the active form of Purity,–that which makes pure, that which is indeed Love, the creative energy of God. Without purity there can be as no creation so no persistence. That which is not pure is corruptible, and corruption cannot inherit incorruption.

  • Do you want God to burn you deep within?
  • How is it experienced in your life and your neighbors?

The man whose deeds are evil, fears the burning. But the burning will not come the less that he fears it or denies it. Escape is hopeless. For Love is inexorable. Our God is a consuming fire. He shall not come out till he has paid the uttermost farthing.

  • What of ourselves will survive and what will be removed?

If the man resists the burning of God, the consuming fire of Love, a terrible doom awaits him, and its day will come. He shall be cast into the outer darkness who hates the fire of God. What sick dismay shall then seize upon him! For let a man think and care ever so little about God, he does not therefore exist without God. God is here with him, upholding, warming, delighting, teaching him–making life a good thing to him. God gives him himself, though he knows it not. But when God withdraws from a man as far as that can be without the man’s ceasing to be; when the man feels himself abandoned, hanging in a ceaseless vertigo of existence upon the verge of the gulf of his being, without support, without refuge, without aim, without end–for the soul has no weapons wherewith to destroy herself–with no inbreathing of joy, with nothing to make life good;–then will he listen in agony for the faintest sound of life from the closed door; then, if the moan of suffering humanity ever reaches the ear of the outcast of darkness, he will be ready to rush into the very heart of the Consuming Fire to know life once more, to change this terror of sick negation, of unspeakable death, for that region of painful hope. Imagination cannot mislead us into too much horror of being without God–that one living death.

  • Can a person ultimately refuse the God offered consuming fire of love?

As for us, now will we come to thee, our Consuming Fire. And thou wilt not burn us more than we can bear. But thou wilt burn us. And although thou seem to slay us, yet will we trust in thee even for that which thou hast not spoken, if by any means at length we may attain unto the blessedness of those who have not seen and yet have believed.

Heb 10:32-39 (NIV)

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,

“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”

38 And,

“But my righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”

39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

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C.S. Lewis: Love, Marriage & Biblical Headship (a letter to a lady)

Read whole letter to Mary Neylan here: http://tinyurl.com/7my76fs

“The modern tradition is that the proper reason for marrying is the state described as ‘being in love’. Now I have nothing to say against ‘being in love’: but the idea that this is or ought to be the exclusive reason or that it can ever be by itself an adequate basis seems to be simply moonshine.

In the first place, many ages, many cultures, and many individuals don’t experience it – and Christianity is for all men, not simply for modern Western Europeans. Secondly, it often unites most unsuitable people. Thirdly, is it not usually transitory? Doesn’t the modern emphasis on ‘love’ lead people either into divorce or into misery, because when that emotion dies down they conclude that their marriage is a ‘failure’, though in fact they have just reached the point at which real marriage begins…

[Lewis then goes on to list 3 reasons for marriage: offspring, sexual temptation and ‘the firm’]…The third reason gives the thing that matters far more than ‘being in love’ and will last and increase, between good people long after ‘love’ in the popular sense is only as a memory of childhood – the partnership, the loyalty to ‘the firm’, the composite creature…

Now the second reason involves the whole Christian view of sex. It is all contained in Christ‘s saying that two shall be ‘one flesh’. He says nothing about two ‘who married for love’: the mere fact of marriage at all – however it came about – sets up the ‘one flesh’. There is a terrible comment on this in I Cor VI 16 ‘he that is joined to a harlot is one flesh’. You see? Apparently, if Christianity is true, the mere fact of sexual intercourse sets up between human beings a relation which has, so to speak, transcendental repercussions – some eternal relation is established whether they like it or not.

This sounds very odd. But is it? After all, if there is an eternal world and if our world is its manifestation, then you would expect bits of it to ‘stick through’ into ours. We are like children pulling the levers of a vast machine of which most is concealed. We see a few little wheels that buzz round on this side when we start it up – but what glorious or frightful processes we are initiating in there, we don’t know.”

Please dear reader, you really must read whole letter to Mary Neylan here: http://tinyurl.com/7my76fs

Joy’s Cancer Returns

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George MacDonald – Doubt

I’m copying this quote from CS LewisGeorge MacDonald Anthology.

152. Doubt

To deny the existence of God may …. involve less unbelief than the smallest yielding to doubt of His goodness. I say yielding; for a man may be haunted with doubts, and only grow thereby in faith. Doubts are the messengers of the Living One to the honest. They are the first knock at our door of things that are not yet, but have to be, understood ….Doubt must precede every deeper assurance; for uncertainties are what we first see when we look into a region hitherto unknown, unexplored, unannexed. (from Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, The Voice of Job.)

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Habakkuk – An Old Testament Study (Life of Faith)

This study has two conclusions and can be formatted easily for a two week study with a different conclusion each time. Some of the outline and content ideas were from Hampton Keathley IV, Sam Middlebrook (The King Institute) and a reworking of Bob Deffinbaugh’s study for Conclusion 2. The facilitator likely should copy and paste into a Word document to leave more space after questions or for aesthetic reasons. Let me know if you like the study and how you used it. It is free to use, but I do like to get your thoughts and maybe send some credit my way.   

Habakkuk – The Just Shall Live by Faith

A prophet named Habakkuk around the year 600 B.C. wrote this short book located within the Minor Prophets. His name means to “embrace”, as well as being embraced by God. As is usually the case in The Bible, the name has something to do with the message of a book or the person’s work or character. It was likely written during the reign of good king Josiah. Habakkuk probably grew up during the reign of King Josiah and witnessed many of his actions during his reign over Judah. Yet Josiah was the last righteous king to sit on the Judah’s throne. Those that followed him were all wicked. Even though Josiah was righteous, not everything was going well. The prophet is exhausted and overwhelmed by the violence and injustice surrounding him. This was a turbulent time as the balance of power was shifting from Assyria to the Babylonians/Chaldeans after the defeat of Nineveh and Egypt.

The book is presented first as a complaint by Habakkuk, then his question to God/God’s reply, his second question to God/second reply, and then finally a song of praise, hope and joy! God is not indifferent to our cries for help. It is all in His good time and for His glory.

A few major and overlapping themes of the book are:

◊     The spiritual journey of Habakkuk as he travels from severe doubts to overwhelming trust and faith

◊     Exploring of why does God allow evil to exist and does it go unpunished

Theodicy: Apologetical problem of rationalizing God’s goodness/justice in the face of outrageous evil by people, nature or nations

◊     Can a holy God use a wicked people as a tool

◊     The secret of survival when overwhelming national or personal troubles come

Chapter 1:1-4

Habakkuk’s complaint against his people:

◊     Violence – Help! Where are you?

◊     Strife – Injustice!

He starts out sounding more like a lawyer than an O.T. prophet. Assumes that if Babylon prevails, then all Judah will be wiped out.

Chapter 1:5-11

The Lord’s reply:

Hey, check out was it going on with those Babylonians . . . they are coming and they are:

Violent – Cruel – Conquering, yet they have a fatal flaw

Chapter 1:12-2:1

Habakkuk complains against God’s plan:

◊     You are Holy so you will do what is right, right?

◊     They are more evil than us, how can you let them conquer and gloat?

Habakkuk goes back to his watchtower post and waits for God’s answer

Chapter 2:2-20

God’s second answer or reply to Habakkuk

2,3

There is coming a future destruction of Babylon

4,5

Woe to the proud – They are full of arrogance and self-reliance

6-8

Woe to the greedy – The oppressed will rise up and attack

9-11

Woe to the dishonest and violent – Prideful kingdoms will fall because of their wickedness

12-14

Woe  to the violent – God will have the last word and be praised

15-17

Woe to the lovers of pleasure – The cup of drunkenness you have forced on others will be forced on you

18-20

Woe to the idolater – Your fake god cannot save you

Chapter 3 Habakkuk’s prayer, praise and new perspective

The armies of Babylon’s terror have been replaced by God’s proceeding glory, power and judgment. Babylon looked all-powerful, but God is the ultimate conqueror and will crush all others and finally, save His people. He will make our feet steadfast.

3,4  Like Isaiah 6; God’s glory fills the temple

3-7 God is spoken of in the third person

8-15 God is spoken of in the second person

9-13 Habakkuk praises God’s majesty and power

16-19 He promises to wait on the Lord

What is coming is frightening, but his trust is in God.

Conclusion

No matter how terrible the circumstances, people or your life may be, God will guard your footsteps and yes, you will ultimately live in Him and rest.

Hebrews 11:13-16 These all [Old Testament men and women of faith] died in faith without receiving the things promised, but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth. 14 For those who speak in such a way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 In fact, if they had been thinking of the land that they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets. 33 Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained what was promised, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight, 35 and women received back their dead raised to life. But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life. 36 And others experienced mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, sawed apart, murdered with the sword; they went about in sheepskins and goatskins; they were destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (the world was not worthy of them); they wandered in deserts and mountains and caves and openings in the earth. 39 And these all were commended for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised. 40 For God had provided something better for us, so that they would be made perfect together with us.

(1) God may seem to be inactive, but yes, He is involved 1:12

(2) God is holy 1:13

(3) God hears and answers prayers

(4) God sometimes gives unexpected answers to our prayers

(5) God is Just and God is good

(6) The righteous live by faith and faithfulness This means we really believe that God is Good and God is just. And we live accordingly.

(7) The righteous live by faith and God’s faithfulness

What are some situations where you might need to live by faith?

Why do the wicked have it so good?

Do they have it so good?

Why or why not?

When you pray, do you have in your mind the way you want God to answer?

When He answers differently, do you ever think He hasn’t answered at all?

As we now look back on the Book of Habakkuk, how do we explain the prophet’s change of heart?

What happened to Habakkuk between chapter 1 and chapter 3?


Conclusion #2

All history is under God’s control. God being sovereign, is in ultimate control of all things. Nothing happens that catches our God by surprise. Nothing happens that is outside His control. After 9/11 many believers said, “God allowed this to happen, and He is able to use it for good.” I do not pretend to know why tragedy has come upon our nation, nor do I know how God will use it. I do know this with great certainty:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

History follows a divine plan. Yes, history is God’s plan, worked out. History has a specific goal. God’s plan will not be thwarted or altered. God’s plan is a giant gumbo, mixed with calamity, blessing, prosperity and pain. God has chosen to include the evil and hateful acts of men into His eternal plan and it will all finally bring Him glory.

God’s divine plan is often hidden, possibly because we are unable and sometimes unwilling to comprehend it. It is important to note, that the Lord’s plan of salvation through a Messiah was not even clear to the prophets who wrote of His coming (1 Peter 1:10-12). Who would ever have fully understood that God would save sinners by sending His Son, to be rejected by all and crucified as a common criminal Golgotha outside Jerusalem?

God does use the acts of wicked people to complete His will. While God does not approve sin—He will punish all wickedness in the end—His plans cannot be thwarted. He is not limited by only the righteousness of His saints.

History follows “His” timetable. God is not late, even if we often feel that the wait is getting very old and tedious. His delays are a sign of his mercy and patience for all to repent.

II Peter 3:3-4First off, you need to know that in the last days, mockers are going to have a heyday. Reducing everything to the level of their puny feelings, they’ll mock, “So what’s happened to the promise of his Coming? Our ancestors are dead and buried, and everything’s going on just as it has from the first day of creation. Nothing’s changed.”

5-7They conveniently forget that long ago all the galaxies and this very planet were brought into existence out of watery chaos by God’s word. Then God’s word brought the chaos back in a flood that destroyed the world. The current galaxies and earth are fuel for the final fire. God is poised, ready to speak his word again, ready to give the signal for the judgment and destruction of the desecrating skeptics.

8-9Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.

10But when the Day of God’s Judgment does come, it will be unannounced, like a thief. The sky will collapse with a thunderous bang, everything disintegrating in a huge conflagration, earth and all its works exposed to the scrutiny of Judgment.

God’s ways are not our ways. Abraham was told he was to father a great nation, but he then had to wait for 25 years. He would possess the Land of Canaan, but from the Canaanite he would first buy a burial place. Are any of us smart or spiritual enough to fully anticipate how God will accomplish His purposes?

The righteous must live by faith. (Taken in part from: The Just Shall Live by Faith/ A Study By: Bob Deffinbaugh) Since we cannot anticipate how God will accomplish His purposes and promises, and since we most often cannot understand what He is doing, we are obligated to live by faith, if we trust Him for salvation. The Book of Habakkuk had a profound  impact on Martin Luther. As a monk, Luther had become deeply aware of his sin and knew that he fell short of the standards set by God’s law. The words of Habakkuk 2:4 struck the reformer Martin Luther as the key to his problem, but it was some time before he grasped that his sins were forgiven by faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, apart from any works of his own.

Luther’s son wrote:

“As he repeated his prayers on the Lateran staircase, the words of the prophet Habakkuk came suddenly to his mind: ‘The just shall live by faith.’ Thereupon he ceased his prayers, returned to Wittenberg, and took this as the chief foundation of all his doctrine…. Luther himself said of this text, ‘Before those words broke upon my mind I hated God and was angry with him because not content with frightening us sinners by the law and by the miseries of life, he still further increased our torture by the gospel. But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood those words–“The just shall live by faith!” “The just shall live by faith!”–then I felt born again like a new man; I entered through the open doors into the very Paradise of God.”

Having come to faith in Jesus Christ by faith, apart from human works, Luther not only grasped the glorious truth of Habakkuk 2:4, but he rejoiced in the greatness of the God in whom he came to trust. He was then delivered from his fear of divine judgment and able to pen the words of this great hymn:

A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;

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