Wednesday, July 7, 2010

He's There - You Can Live By Faith

There are some important principals in the last chapters of our book that I want to emphasize so we all can be confident in answering the tough questions of "Lord, Where Are You When Bad Things Happen" and "Why do Bad Things Happen?" The Biblical answers to those 2 questions has provided me with peace and confidence in my God, and has given me great anticipation for this life and the life to come.

"I will walk by faith even when I cannot see because this broken road reveals Your will for me."
Luke 24:13-32 After Christ's resurrection He appeared and spoke to two men on the road to Emmaus. These men were devastated and sad because Jesus had been condemned to death and was crucified - all their hope was gone. Their road was broken. They couldn't see clearly. They expressed their confusion,"But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel." Jesus says to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" He then expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

These men had been expecting an immediate earthly kingdom. They didn't get it - they didn't understand God's plan and purpose in the suffering and death of His son, Jesus Christ by the hands of evil men. They did not understand that it was necessary to enter into His glory and that His suffering, crucifixion, death and resurrection was a necessary part of the plan for them and for all of us to be able to enter the Kingdom of God. They could not see beyond their circumstances to see that God had a far greater eternal plan that far exceeded their earthly plan. The broken road revealed God's will for them, for us.

The same was true of all His followers. After His resurrection they assumed He would stay and set up His Kingdom but God again has bigger and better eternal plans. Acts 1:6-11 "Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, 'Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?' And He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.' Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.'"

Are you getting it? Are you seeing the big picture? God has a better plan than we could even imagine. Remember Habakkuk 1:5, "Look... Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you." God's perfect, beautiful, glorious plan for Christ's suffering and death included you, me, our children and an eternity in Heaven! God's plan for his mourning, despondent followers was to change the world!

God also has a beautiful, glorious plan for the "bad things" that happen to us. Our challenge is to see beyond our earthly circumstances and to trust that God has a far greater eternal purpose. Just as with His disciples, His plan for us includes empowering us through His Holy Spirit to be His witnesses to the end of the earth. We are a part of His plan to touch the world with His love, His comfort, His peace and His salvation.

Kay Arthur states, "To Habakkkuk, God gave the key, the key of all of life, the key to the whole Word of God: The righteous, the just, will live by faith." (Hab. 2:4) The key: Believe God's Word, surrender to it, and live accordingly! Have faith, believe, trust that God has a plan, a glorious plan for all that has happened in your life. You matter to God! You are precious to Him and He will not waste your child's death or your pain and suffering. Jesus said that He came to heal the brokenhearted and to comfort and console all those who mourn. "To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." (Isa.61:1-4) You are a part of this beautiful plan to bring glory to God. Paul stated, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!" (Romans 8:18) You may not be able to say that yet - but I'm certain you will one day.

"I will walk by faith even when I cannot see because this broken road reveals Your will for me." (Jeremy & Melissa Camp)

Monday, June 21, 2010

He's There - Proclaim His Word

Hello Precious Ones!

As I have studied through "Lord Where Are You When Bad Things Happen?" I have prayed and asked the Lord to keep me focused on each of you. What is it that will help you on your journey of grief and also what will equip us to help other's who are suddenly thrust upon this unwelcome path?

Chapter Six holds the one necessary key to abundant life, daily, moment by moment, abundant, joyful life, irregardless of our tragic circumstances. It is the "one thing" that is needed - it is the "one thing" that has carried me and it will carry you.

"Mom, Let's be Mary's today!" I can still hear Melissa's excitement in her voice.

Chapter Six of "Lord Where Are You When Bad Things Happen?" begins with the story of Mary and Martha. I'm sure most of you are familiar with these two sisters. Mary loved to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to His Word while Martha was "distracted with much serving" and complained to Jesus about her sister. "And Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:41-42

"But one thing is needed and Mary has chosen that good part" This phrase has an immediateness to it and it literally means "One thing is a necessity NOW! Mary chose for herself to be a partaker of it, that which is good, useful, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy and excellent!"

Very clearly this one necessary thing was to sit at Jesus' feet and hear His word. This and nothing less, this and nothing more. Mary knew how much her Savior loved her and she responded with adoration and complete devotion. The world around her disappeared as she looked into His face and listened to His Word. Her love for Him made her a willing learner who delighted in His presence and in His precepts.

Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

This is the one thing that has carried me through my darkest valleys - it is the one thing that has given lasting strength, peace and fullness of joy. It is the one thing that continues to add excitement and passion for my life. It is the only thing that is needed and it is needed NOW for each of us. Melissa was able to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with beauty and glory because of her intimate walk with Christ. During the worst of her suffering I would hear her whisper, "Jesus" with love and adoration in her voice and I knew she was seated at His feet - Her favorite place to be. It was a habit in her life - it was and is a habit in my life and it is the ONLY thing needed.

Dearly beloved, remember that Jesus said, "But one thing is needed." Sitting at His feet, listening to His Word is all you need to make it through this life. He is always waiting for you and is willing to listen to your every care, every doubt or every fear. You can ask Him the tough questions as Habakkuk did and He will comfort your soul. Make spending time with Him your number one priority. Many times in our desperate need for help we run to every solution except Christ. Possibly you have tried Grief Share, Compassionate Friends or other grief helps or support groups to get you through. All of these may be good and helpful but do not let them take the place of sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His Word. The solution for us is JESUS and the solution to the dear mom's we will be led to serve is JESUS.

This last week I spent some time with my son-in-law, Jeremy. I am continually blown away at God's amazing work in his life since Melissa's death. Last Tuesday he stepped out on the main stage at the Del Mar Fair and began to sing "Give Me Jesus." Just Jeremy, his keyboard and thousands singing, "you can have all this world, just give me Jesus." It was so powerful. Jesus, just give me Jesus! It's what has powerfully gotten Jeremy through the tragedy of his wife's death, it's what continues to carry me through and it is what will not only sustain you but will give you an abundant life! As Mary chose for herself to be a partaker of that which is good, useful, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy and excellent, so can we!

Let's be Mary's today!

Monday, June 7, 2010

He's There - There's A Purpose In It All

During times of trouble we have learned from Habakkuk to focus on the Sovereignty of God and His Character. Chapter five of our book study introduces us to a third component - There's a Purpose in it all! All three of these components work together to give us a proper perspective of life. So how can we know what God's purpose is? He tells us!

"I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your Name forevermore." Psalm 86:12

"What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." I was musing on this thought while on my sickbed these past couple of weeks. I was totally knocked off my feet. I couldn't do my real estate work that I needed to do to help my husband, I couldn't do my Bible Study and fell behind in getting out my emails, I couldn't go to church, I couldn't serve anyone, I pretty much couldn't do anything except lie in bed, read a little, pray and muse. I was thinking about the people who are bound to a life that doesn't seem to have significance, doesn't seem to fit into the "God has a wonderful plan for your life" formula. Do you ever feel like you have to do something for God in order for your life to have purpose? What if you can't "do something?" does your life lose it's purpose? Have you ever felt like you needed to do something in order to give purpose to your child's death or to give their life meaning?

John 9:2 Now as Jesus passed by , He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him." "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." John 11:3-4

I was thinking about the many times my husband has visited those who were very ill in the hospital. One lady in particular we will never forget. A year or so after Melissa's death Mark was called upon to visit a woman at the very same hospital. She just so happened to be in the same room where Melissa died. She was in despair. She had been in the hospital for a very long time, no one ever came to visit her, she couldn't understand why God kept her alive. She saw no purpose or significance in her life. Mark was able to share with her that her life did have significance and purpose. She was giving glory to God. Even if no one else was watching, God was with her, the angels were watching and were giving glory to God as she persevered. She could be confident that God was using her life for His eternal purposes. He was able to share with her Melissa's story and all the amazing works God had done in that special room. The Lord showed up that day to let a seemingly insignificant person know how special she was to Him and that her life gave Him pleasure and glory!

"to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." Ephesians 3:10-11

Did you know that through the church (Believers), God manifests His glory to all those in the heavenly places? Think about that for a minute. God is showing Himself off to all the angels, all the principalities, all of heaven through our lives! "...there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents." Luke 15:10 Heaven is watching and praising God as they observe God's wisdom manifested in us. Earth is center stage and we, Believers (the Church) are the stars. Whatever God is doing in our lives is for the manifestation of His glory!

As I laid in bed doing nothing, I praised God and trusted Him that He was being glorified through my life. I acknowledge that "I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and delivered Himself up for me" (Galatians 2:20) My life is His life and whatever He decides to do with it is His business. I don't have to DO anything except surrender my life for His! He will Do whatever He wills for His glory through me in His perfect timing. The one thing I know is that He will bring glory to Himself through my life because that is God's purpose!! I praised God that Melissa's life gave Him glory and that there was nothing I could do then or now to give her life more meaning, purpose or significance. She was His beautiful workmanship. He had a plan and a purpose for her life and the fulfillment of that is still ongoing. "Only You know Lord whether my life or my death will bring you more glory - so it is silly for me to worry about." (Melissa's journal) How amazing and beautiful to be so secure in God's eternal purposes and plans for our lives.

Just as God's purpose for my child's death was for His greatest glory in her life and in mine so you can be certain that the same is true for you. He obtained the greatest glory through your child's life and death no matter what the circumstances.
One day we will get to see it and we will be AMAZED - blown away I'm sure, by the "depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 'For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor:' 'Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?' For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." Romans 11:33-36

Hang on dear one. Soon and very soon we are going to see The King!

Revelation 4:11 "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created."

He's There- Remember Who He Is

Our last lesson taught us to trust in the sovereignty of God. He is in control. There is nothing that happens without God's permission. That may or may not be of comfort to you depending on your understanding of God's character. I recently met a woman whose son had just died of cancer. She told me that when her son got sick she joined the church, attended prayer meetings, fed the homeless and focused on doing good works, but her son still died. She wept and said, "I guess, I just didn't do enough penance." This dear precious woman understood that God was sovereign, that He was in control and that He alone makes the decision over life and death, but it did not bring her peace or comfort. Why?

"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord . . ." 2 Peter 1:2 The word for "knowledge" in this verse implies a larger, more thorough and intimate knowledge of God. It also means precise and correct knowledge. Our peace, our comfort, our understanding and our stability is completely based on our personal, intimate, precise and correct knowledge of God. The more we really know God the more we know, comprehend and experience His grace and peace.

Jesus said in John 17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." This is a big deal! Knowing God should be and must be our number one priority. It begins with knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. You can not know God without knowing Christ. Our knowledge of Him grows, matures and becomes more intimate as we spend time with Him through reading & studying His Word, through prayer and through faith as we learn to trust Him and believe what He says.

When Habakkuk was confused he rehearsed the character traits of the God he knew intimately. He reminded himself and He reminded God of Who He is. He had an intimate, precise and correct knowledge of God and this gave him peace in the midst of chaos. When that dear mom expressed her "view" of God, I reached out and hugged her and told her how precious she was to the Lord. That He was a God of love, mercy, grace and that He did not require "penance." I told her that the "enemy" was using her view of God as harsh to keep her from the very God that wanted to bring her peace and comfort. She needed The Word and a correct view of God in order to start the journey of healing.

"For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6 (Quoted by Jesus in Matt. 9:13; 12:7)

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives ... to set at liberty those who are oppressed." (Luke 4:18 & Isa. 61:1)

As Paul prayed for us to "increase in the knowledge of God" (Col 1:10) so I pray for each of us to increase in intimacy with precise and correct knowledge of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. May each of us know Him as our Merciful Savior, the Healer of our broken hearts and our Liberator who has freed us to live triumphantly, victoriously and joyously.

"but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 4:18

Monday, May 17, 2010

He's There - He Hasn't Left His Sovereign Throne

This week's chapter is all about the sovereignty of God. I loved this chapter - I love that God is in control of my life, my husband's, my children's, my country, my everything. He is not unaware, uninvolved or uncaring about the events in my life. When everything seems chaotic and out of control, I stop and know that my God who loves me enough to send His son to suffer and die for me, is in absolute control. Everything that comes into my life and yours is "filtered through His fingers of love."

I know that for some this is hard to accept or comprehend. Just as Habakkuk could not understand God's ways - many times we also do not understand. You may question, "If God is in control of all things and He loves me then why did He let this happen?" Habakkuk had similar questions. When he focused on the God he knew intimately and His character He was able to rejoice in the God of his salvation. Why? Because the circumstances of his life did not define his relationship with God. Security and hope were not based on the temporal blessings in this life but on the Lord Himself. The Lord Himself is what gives us the reason for rejoicing.

My daughter Melissa would often write notes to herself. I found this one shortly after she died. It was the counsel to herself as she faced cancer - it became the counsel to me as I faced her death.

God is in the heavens and does what He pleases. He is working the best for me eternally. It's not always comfortable or convenient.

You can't fully understand one another's pain unless you have gone throught it. May sorrow but have hope. You can comfort because you've been there and gone through it.

You must understand basic principles so when you don't understand things going on you fall back on what you know of the Lord.

Commit your soul as unto Him your Creator.

Know the Lord has eternal purposes and plans.

Never give up what you know for what you don't!

"My ways are not your ways. My ways are beyond your finding out."

The Lord doesn't owe me any explanations. Can clay say to the potter why have you made me such. Or complain the process hurts?

God wants to bring the greatest value out of your life.

Be wholly, completely open to what God wants you to do. Don't give God limited options.

God knows and understands what you are going through.

Praise the Lord our God who knows and loves us is taking care of us, clothing, feeding and taking care of us.

Melissa - seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Seek first is priority #1. What God has called you to do is the Kingdom and the other things are things. Trust God, Seek God, Devote yourself to God. Seek first His Kingdom. You'll be mindful of Heaven and that will be your treasure.

Eternity is where the focus should be. Everything else is things. Set your mind on things above. Think about sitting in the presence of the Lord forever and all other trials and worries seem to be nothing.

I carry this note in my Bible and read it often. It keeps my vision clear. Not only did God have eternal purposes and plans for Melissa's short life, He also has eternal purposes and plans for my life and yours. The tragedies in our life are a big part in that plan. Eternity is where the focus should be - God is working the best for you eternally! Amen!

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

He's There - Admit Your Sin & Embrace Him

As I was studying through the second chapter of "Lord, Where are You When Bad Things Happen?" I was thinking about what Jesus would be saying to us. I imagined you all sitting in my family room, sharing coffee with me and together we are listening to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ tell us how much He loves us and how precious each one of us is to Him.

"Come to Me, all you who labor (exhausted from burdens or grief) and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Don't you love that? As you work through Habakkuk and Kay Arthur's book I want you to keep in mind who Jesus is. Last week I encouraged you to study the Word of God always in light of the cross where Jesus died, where He took God's wrath and judgment for our sins. Now also study it in light of His character. He is gentle and lowly in heart and gives us rest from our burdens. He doesn't add a heavy yoke, He doesn't increase our burden, He lightens it.

In the second chapter of our study book, Kay poses this question on the first day, "What do you do when you suddenly see sin for what it is - when you suddenly become aware of a holy God who has every right to judge sin in His holy wrath?"

Great question - Let's look at the answer in light of the cross.

Romans 5:8-9 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."

I John 2:1 "My little children, these things I write to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."

Jesus is the answer - He is the only answer!
"Propitiation" means appeasement or satisfaction. The sacrifice of Jesus death on the cross satisfied the demands of God's holiness for the punishment of sin. John 3:16 -18; 36 and many other Scriptures make it clear that we must believe and accept what Christ did for us or else we will one day experience God's wrath. But if we Believe - It is finished!!!

What saves me from God's wrath and judgment is simply faith, simple belief, that Christ died for me. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Eph.2: 8-9) I can't even boast in my repentance for it is Jesus who found me, cleansed me and made me a new creation. (2Cor. 5:17)

So what do we do about the sins we commit since believing in Christ?

1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Colossians 2:6 "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus, so walk in Him."

When we sin, we admit it and by faith we believe that we're forgiven!

The title to chapter two is "He's There - Admit Your Sin and Embrace Him." That is exactly right. So simple really.

I've spent a lot of time on this point because it is crucial in dispelling the teaching that bad things happen to us because of God's judgment and wrath for sins we have committed. That would nullify Christ's work on the cross. My heart just breaks at the thought that a mother might believe that their child died as a punishment.

I pray you will embrace our Lord Jesus and accept His gracious gift of forgiveness. He loves you so much and wants to carry your burdens for you. Just as He did for Habakkuk, He will do for you. He will be your strength, He will make your feet like deer's feet and He will make you walk on your high hills.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lord, Where are You When Bad Things Happen?

Today is May 1st. Ten years ago today marks the beginning of my journey in understanding "Lord, Where are You When Bad Things Happen?" After 5 grueling hours of waiting the surgeon called my family and I into a special room - I later referred to this room as the "Bad News" room. There he told us that are precious, beautiful, godly 20 year old daughter Melissa had ovarian cancer and that it had spread throughout her abdomen to her colon and liver. My other two daughters began to cry. Heather was crying out, "Lord, No, No, don't do this!" She buried her face in my lap and wept. My son ran out of the room, out of the hospital and began punching walls. My husband Mark questioned the doctor. Me? The Holy Spirit just took over. I kept repeating over and over again as I stroked Heather's hair, "All God's ways are good and kind, All God's ways are good and kind, All God's ways are good and kind."

The doctor told me that Melissa would not wake up until about 4 am - I would be the one to tell her. "O Lord, How do I do this, what should I say? How do I tell my precious child the 'bad news?'"

Remember how the book of Habakkuk begins? He is burdened, confused and does not understand the bad things around him. What does God say to him? "Look, ... watch - Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you." Wow! God was about to utterly astound me.

Melissa was an amazing woman of God. She loved the Lord Jesus more than anyone I have ever met. Her intimacy with Him, her radical commitment to live her life for His glory no matter what the cost rocked me. She challenged my own 30 year walk with the Lord to new levels of knowing my God. But this day, God was going to take us higher, closer, deeper than ever before.

Melissa was just coming into consciousness. "Mom, how's Miles? Is he ok? Mom, are you fasting for Miles?" Our pastor, Miles McPherson had gone in for surgery on his throat the same day. Her first thoughts, her first words were not concerns for herself but for another. I assured her he was fine and then she slipped back into a deep sleep. I quietly wept throughout the night crying out to God to help me help my child. "Mom", she whispered, "I'm not ready to hear the news yet but are you ok? How is everyone else with the news?" Again, her thoughts and concerns were for me, her family and her friends, not herself. Back to sleep. I am in awe of her peace - no worry, no fear, only love and concern for others. 4am arrives, "Mom, I'm ready." Again the Holy Spirit took over. Gently, preciously, Melissa asked me a few yes, and no questions. Then, "So I have cancer." "Yes, Honey." She absolutely glowed - She was a beautiful girl - but she was more beautiful than I had ever seen her. Honestly, she glowed. How is that possible to glow when you come to grips with that news? Then, her response, "O Mom, that is so great, God is going to do amazing things!"

That day I saw the glory of God. That day I experienced the reality that Jesus Christ isn't just there when bad things happen - He invades every space. In Ephesians 3:19 Paul prays for us "to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." That means "to be so strong spiritually, so compelled by divine love that one is totally dominated by the Lord with nothing left of self." (John MacArthur Study Bible) Look at the Scripture again and the following 2 verses. "to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen" Ephesians 3:19-21 That day Melissa and Mom experienced being filled with the fullness of God - He took over completely. He filled us with His Word, His will, His perspective, His love, his peace, His gentleness, His kindness, His strength, His beauty and His abundance.

Yes, God did and continues to do amazing things. He is still showing me His exceeding and abundant plan through it all. Yes, there is lots more to the story but I'm going to stop here. My purpose in telling this is to encourage you in your quest to answer the question "Lord, Where are You When Bad Things Happen?"

After reading the entirety of Kay Arthur's book this week and studying the first chapter I was burdened thinking about the conclusions someone might come to. Habakkuk is overwhelmed by "bad news", he is distraught and cries out to God for answers. God answers him with more "bad news." God's plan is to judge man's sin and the evil they have brought upon their nation. Bad things happen when you turn from God. Very bad things happen when you lose God's Word. Very, very bad things happen because God "has to" judge sin. Bad things happen because of God's judgment even if you repent as Josiah did. O, my beloved, my prayer for us is that we read and study the Word always in light of the cross where Jesus died, where he took our deserved punishment, where God's wrath and judgment for our sins was poured out on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He paid our penalty in full. He experienced God's wrath and judgment on our behalf. It is finished. Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." John 5:24
Isaiah 61 tells us that Jesus came to "heal the broken hearted", he came to "comfort all who mourn - to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."
I pray that you are assured of Christ's presence and that you will experience His comfort and His great love for you. Just as Habakkuk had questions of "Why?" and "How Long?" I'm sure you have some tough questions to ask the Lord. ASK. Over the next few weeks we will seek Him and He will answer us and I know He will "utterly astound " us.
I'm praying also "that you will know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen"