17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. –ESV
The passage reminds me of a book I read years ago, and then again recently, and highly recommend: “Prison To Praise” by Merlin Carothers.
Just like the Habakkuk passage, the book testifies about how we need to be praising God no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. How praise can change the very dynamics of our living and bring us closer to our Father. Just like prayer changes things, so does praise.
Here’s my favorite NT scripture with this same message- I Thessalonians 5:17-18:
17 pray without ceasing,
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. –ESV
The greatest example of this teaching that I can think of is Paul and Silas in prison singing praises after being beaten (Acts 16:-40). It was the very worst of circumstances, but praise changed everything. An incredible story that we should take to heart and never forget. Praise the Lord!
On August 21, 2017 millions of Americans viewed a total solar eclipse that started in Oregon and cut a 70 mile wide swath across our nation west to east all the way to South Carolina. It had a unique trajectory that was exclusive to only the U.S. for the first time since the nation’s founding in 1776.
There will be signs in the heavens and on the earth in the last days and one is persuaded to look for some kind of deeper meaning in this natural event. In Biblical times eclipses were looked upon as signs of impending judgment or change. I can remember years ago watching the movie- Apocalypto that featured an eclipse while Mayan priests were sacrificing folks on their pyramid. It was a show stopper as fear gripped the crowd. The closing scenes showed armored Spanish conquistadores in the distance landing on a beach nearby as a chilling portend of coming change. An Actual line in the sands of time.
Nevertheless as our family took in the event on a relative’s farm in Sedalia MO, where we experienced a minute and a half of totality, we found ourselves in awe of God’s creation. In fact everyone we know who saw the total eclipse has remarked about how it was far more of a ‘spiritual’ experience than they had expected.
So was the event a portend of judgment or change in the future for the USA? Nearly all of the prophetic stuff I read looked upon it as a sign of change and almost all positive. Yet when I considered it, all I ever got was that it was a ‘line of demarcation’ – one that we will remember as dividing the time after from that before. Sort of like we Charismatics and Pentecostals look back upon Azusa Street in 1906 as a beginning. But those in San Francisco look upon 1906 in an entirely different light.
Now this week as Houston TX is under water and suffering maybe the worst natural disaster in US history some are coming out of the shadows and calling it judgment. We need to be careful about making such proclamations. What we really need to do is pray for the folks in the midst of that disaster and contribute to the non-profit groups helping the victims.
It will be a time of change for maybe millions of people in Texas and we should pray that it will bring many closer to God and result in positive changes for those who are now suffering some of the worst days of their lives. Lord, inspire your children to rise up in love and unity blessing others in the worst of conditions as a testimony of your love.
There is another solar eclipse coming to America in 2024, this time from north to south. I wonder if we will come to look upon those nearly 7 intervening years as the ‘time between the eclipses’ if we are still around? The words that keep coming to my mind are ‘Hope and Grace.’
A small earthquake shook Southern California 24 years ago and a new move of God surrounding the gift of prophesy and the ministry of the prophetic came forth.
I remember it well since I was at that conference in Anaheim when it all started and I have the tapes and the t-shirt to show for it so to speak. John Wimber was scheduled to speak the first night and he referred to the earthquake as introducing and confirming the new speaker. Then he proceeded to introduce Paul Cain to the 5,000 or so folks attending the conference that was supposed to be about ‘Spiritual Warfare’ but ended up being about the gift of prophecy, the ministry of prophets, and the modern church instead. A shaking followed in the Vineyard Movement.
It doesn’t seem possible but 24 years have come and gone with some incredible highs along with lows and lessons learned the hard way. It was the beginning of what some call ‘The Prophetic Movement’ but no one involved calls it that. It was introduced out here following a small quake but how it has shaken the American Church since then has been anything but small.
Now a major earthquake- ‘The Big One’ is long over due in Southern California and many Christians in the last five years or so have had dreams and visions of it. Most believe that it is just a matter of time -God’s timing. But remember, sometimes what God is doing in the natural reflects something that going on in the spiritual realm just like the small quake did 24 years ago.
Along with the dreams of doom many Christians out here and elsewhere have also seen visions of a new revival or ‘Jesus Movement’ that will shake Southern California once again. This time for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. A major Kingdom event that could end up shaking the whole church.
So what kind of quake is is going to be? Natural or Spiritual or maybe both?
Actually at VCC Laguna Niguel we are preparing for both. Across the street from our church is the huge federal building parking lot which is designated as a site for emergency services and medical care in the event of a major catastrophe in South Orange County, California. Meanwhile, we have a 24,000 square-foot warehouse filled with food and clothing and 2 years ago we were able to send a cargo container with 100,000 bottles of water and other emergency supplies to Japan when the big one along with the tsunami that followed hit there.
But more indicative of what I am really talking about is the mini revival that seems to be going on in that same warehouse. Hundreds have come to Christ in the last year and major miracles and healings continue to happen nearly every time the place is open to the public offering food and clothing to those in need. The expectation is that it is merely a foretaste of what God wants to do Spiritually all across Orange County and Southern California.
I started thinking about this and decided to share some of my thoughts after I read an account in Charisma of a dream that James Goll had where he saw Southern California represented as ‘a womb’ that would bring forth a major revival once more. A birth that is imminent and overdue just like the ‘big one’ in the natural.
Yesterday I had a terrible day at work but when I was complaining to the lord about it he said it was ‘Good’.
I said–but Lord, how can you call this a ‘good’ day—it was one of my worst days in sales that I can remember. Business was so bad that I ended up calling on 3 days worth of customers in 1 day with hardly any sales to show for it. How can that be good?
Then the Lord told me:
1. You could have wasted 3 days and 3 tanks of gas instead of just one.
2. More important you actually listened to me.
Then the Lord reminded me that around noon when I had run through all of the customers that I had originally planned for the day I was ready to quit but listened to His Spirit and kept on going instead and ran through all of the customers that I planned for the next day also.
By then it was 2pm and it started to rain and I was going to call it quits and put the lousy day behind me. After all I had a Bible study project I was working on at home that I wanted to get to. Then came the surprising impression to keep on going.
I kept on going thinking that maybe I would be rewarded with a big sale that would make my day but it never came. Instead I quickly ran through what would normally be another days work and was done by 4pm.
Normally I do 6-8 customer visits a day but this day I did 21 stops with very little in sales to show for it. Each call went rather quickly since business was so terrible for my customers that only a few needed anything at all.
Normally it would have been a discouraging day to say the least. But as I headed home I found myself praising God and being thankful instead.
After all I had saved 2 tanks of gas, gained two days, and had the Lord with me all day. It was a ‘good’ day after all, a very good day indeed. Praise God!
QUOTE: “I feel like I was born again. I will live my life, fixing my eyes only on Jesus on the cross.”—70-year-old Lee Keun-ahn
Lee Keun-ahn who was known as the “Torture Master” in the 1980s because of the inhumane ways he used in extracting information for the North Korean military regime.
Lee went into hiding for 12 years during which he became a Christian and later turned himself in to South Korean authorities and spent seven years in prison where he enrolled in a correspondence seminary school. Now Lee serves as an ordained pastor in South Korea.