Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation
Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NKJV)

The verse in context shows that there were those who were complaining that God wasn't acting quickly enough. Habakkuk didn't understand either - he had questions and doubts. But though he began with complaint, he ended with rejoicingChapter 1:2 (NKJV) says, "O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear?" But at the end of the book Habakkuk says, "The LORD God is my strength;He will make my feet like deer’s feet,and He will make me walk on my high hills" (3:19 NKJV). He began by complaining and he ended by rejoicing. What happened between the beginning of the book of Habakkuk and the end? Some might say, "Obviously things must have changed." But did they? Look at chapter 3:17-18 (NKJV):"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines ... yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." The basis of complaining was still there. The very things Habakkuk had complained about - the fig tree wasn't blossoming, there was no fruit, no herd in the stalls - and yet he was rejoicing! He wasn't complaining now. What changed his mind?
We need to see the nature of Habakkuk's complaints:
1) He Complained about God's slowness:
"O Lord, how long shall I cry?" (1:2) Have you ever asked the question: why is God slow? One reason is that God sees the end from the beginning. Knowing how it's going to end up, He is in no hurry. Another reason is that time is on His side. The Bible says, "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8). God is in no hurry. He is patient.
Very often we are glad that God is patient. Aren't there times when we thank Him for being slow to anger and rich in mercy? How would we like it if God stepped in the moment we sinned? The time comes later when we blush and say, "God, I am sorry. I was wrong."
And God says,"I knew you were wrong, but I knew you would eventually see it."
Then we say, "Thank you, Lord, for being so patient with me."

2) Habakkuk complained that God did nothing while injustice thrived:
"Why do You make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?" (1:3) For a long time God didn't answer. He was in silent.
But then, at last, God stepped in. He told Habakkuk that He would send an evil nation, the Chaldeans, to destroy His people. There does come a time when God acts. One after another the prophets all hoped to see the coming of the Messiah, and eventually, after hundreds of years the Messiah came. As Paul put it:"When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, under the law" (Galations 4:4). 
In Chapter 2, there were three things that consoled Habakkuk:
a) He could see that God saw what he saw:
The Lord answered him and said, "Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it." (2:2 NKJV). What a relief to know that God see!
And that is what God said to Moses: "I have surely seen the affliction of my people" (Exodus 3:7). Nothing is more consoling than to know that God sees.

b) Habakkuk knew that though full intervention might not come as soon as he wanted: 
it would nevertheless definitely come (2:3). There is an appointed time. Maybe it's a little longer than we want it to be, but wait for it, it will come. That knowledge gave Habakkuk a good feeling.
c) The understanding that God imputes righteousness to the man or woman who lives by God's faithfulness (2:4). 

There are many things we may not understand and don't know why He haven't stepped in sooner. But we are trusting Him ... We sense that behind the clouds the sun is shinning and God sees us. He says, "I like it when you trust me that way."At the end of the book of Habakkuk the prophet is a changed man. We see his confidence in the strength of the Lord. (3:17-19). Are you looking for the fig tree to give figs before you can praise the Lord? Are you waiting for everything to fit in before you start praising the Lord? If that is so, then turn in your badge now and give up. As Proverbs 24:10 says,"If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!" Here Habakkuk who still had all these complaints but yet said, "I will rejoice"
Nothing changed outwardly. The basis for Habakkuk's complaints was still there, the injustices were still there. Nothing happened to them, but a lot happened to him. Habakkuk was given grace to trace the rainbow through the rain. Habakkuk saw something we all need to see: that grace will always be there to keep us one step ahead of the enemy. At the beginning when he talked about the Babylonians, he said,"Their horses are swifter than leopards" (1:8), but now he says, "God will make my feet like the feet of a deer." (3:19). Whereas horse can run fast, a deer can climb to places a horse cannot reach. As Moses said, " ...your strength will equal your days." (Deuteronomy 33:25). Things may not get better around us - but a lot can happen to us - and that changes everything!
(An extract from Worshiping God - R.T. Kendall)

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Behold, bless the LORD, All you servants of the LORD,
Who by night stand in the house of the LORD!
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the LORD.
The LORD who made heaven and earth Bless you from Zion!
Psalm 134:1-3 (NKJV)
It is a strange time for adoration to stand in God's house by night, to worship in the depth of sorrow. It is indeed an arduous thing. Yes, and therein lies the blessing; it is the test of perfect faith.In the Bible, night often represents times of trials, testings, tribulations, persecutions ... In our modern days we would easily identify some of these"nights" as times of disappointments when friends fail us, unanswered prayers, sicknesses, lost of jobs, depressions or even bereavements ...
The Psalmist in Psalm 77:6 Said "I Call To Remembrance My Song In The Night." A song in the night is always a song of faith. That is why the Bible stresses that God is a God who gives songs in the night. Songs are therapy and are like vitamins that lift the soul and give it courage to make it through the night. In Psalm 42 where there is a struggle with depression the Psalmist says in verse 8, "By day the Lord directs His love; at night His song is with me." In Job 35:1 we read of God as One "Who gives songs in the night."
Did you know that the only record that Jesus ever sing is in Matthew 26:30 and it was at night in a very stressful situation. Jesus is about to earn His title as the Man of sorrows acquainted with grief. He was heading for the worst and the last night of His life before the cross. The agony of Gethsemane, the anguish of His betrayal, arrest, and illegal condemnation was His agenda for the night, and He knew it. Yet He joins His disciples in a song. A heart filled with song is better prepared to face sorrow. The thing we need to see here is that Jesus lived as a real life on our level. Real life is like that, and Jesus is singing with His disciples now, and in a matter of minutes he will be facing the cross!The other record about people singing in the New Testament is Paul and Silas in Acts 16:25. We read, "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God." They were in the Philippian's jail and fastened in stocks. Not the best position for singing, nor the best atmosphere, but there they were praising God in song!
As Lifestyle Worshipers there are times we will walk through the "desert places" or "valley of the shadow of death". These are times God will give us a song in the night but we must make a choice to sing - to offer Sacrifice of Praise. A song in the night is always a song of faith that night is sure to give way to the light.
Personally the Lord has given me songs in the night like "As A Deer"- Martin Nystrom, "Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord" - Matt Redman ... and many more ... these songs are now more than my favourite songs, nice lyrics or good feels but they are songs that have become personally mine given by the Holy Spirit that have come out of the fiery trials!
Are you in the "fiery furnace" or in the "Lions' den" or in "the valley of the shadow of death"? Let's join the Levites (worshipers) in Psalm 134:1-3 to sing:
Behold, bless the LORD, All you servants of the LORD,
Who by night stand in the house of the LORD!
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the LORD.
The LORD who made heaven and earth Bless you from Zion!
Have A Blessed & Victorious Week! - TPWC

Monday, May 13, 2013


Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:5, 11 & Psalm 43:5 (NIV)

What is one to do when you are faced with the storms (testings, tribulations, trials) of life? Or when you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death(Psalm 23:4)? The answer of the psalmist sounds as strange as the question: Preach to your soul! Take yourself in the hand, look yourself in the eyes, and preach this message: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? HOPE in God, for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalm 42:5,11; 43:5). 

What possible HOPE is there? The psalmist, though in lament, is not in despair. He turns his mind from the disease to the cure, from anguish to remembrance, deliberately recalling to mind God’s grace and faithfulness and covenant vow. He forces himself to think of realities other than his own troubles. It is here that we come to the second element in these two psalms:
Psalm 42 : 1- 4 : the psalmist’s spiritual hunger leads to joyful memories of past worship
Psalm 42 : 6 -9 : which leads to remembrance of the Lord and realizes that God is still in control, still present in steadfast love and still trustworthy!
Psalm 43 : 1 – 4 : the psalmist turns the questions into prayers, seeking God’s vindication and guidance and thereby replaces his darkness and fear into “the joy of the Lord”.

With this “HOPE” the psalmist can say : “ I SHALL YET PRAISE HIM”!
To be able to Praise God In The Storm, there are 2 key elements that a worshiper must do:

a) HOPE in God - To have HOPE you need the element of FAITH. Hebrews 11:1 says "now FAITH is being sure of what we HOPE for .... and you can confidently do so if your FAITH is rooted in His WORD because FAITH comes by hearing and hearing by His WORD (Romans 10:17). And your focus is in the Lord Who is Your Fortress, Your Hiding Place, Your Refuge .... the Author and Perfector of Your FAITH! (Hebrews 12:2)

b) You make a CHOICE to praise Him - We can read of many instances in the book of Psalm where the psalmists tell his soul to bless the Lord in the midst of their "storms":

Psalm 7:17 - I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness andwill sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High!
Psalm 9:1 & 2 - I will praise You, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High
Psalm 16:7 - I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel;My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
Psalm 18:49 - Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O lord; I will sing praises to Your name. 
Psalm 30:1 -I will exalt You, O Lord, for You lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Psalm 31:7 - I will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
Psalm 34:1 - I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.
Psalm 52:9 - I will praise You forever for what you have done; in Your name Iwill hope, for your name is good, I will praise You in the presence of Your saints.
*Psalm 54:6 - I will sacrifice a freewill offering to You; I will praise Your name, O Lord for it is good,
*Psalm 59:16 - But I will sing of Your strength in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
I can show you more ... but some of my favorites are found in Psalm 103: 1-2 and Psalm 104:1. Here we find king David literally telling his soul - "PRAISE THE LORD, O MY SOUL ...!"
‘Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.’ (Psalm 42:5) When we are ‘down’, we need to address and rebuke our soul (mind, emotions and will). We must command ourselves to put our hope (certain assurance that whatever happens, God is in control) and, despite the difficult situation, still praise Him who is our Saviour and our God. Psalm 42 : 5, 11; 43:5 (NIV)
Today are you in the midst of a storm? Is your soul cast down? Like to share with you this powerful song "Praise You In The Storm - by Casting Crowns". May you take comfort from Psalm 121:1 - " I lift my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Monday, May 06, 2013


By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name
Hebrews 13:15

As believers, we are called upon to offer to God a CONTINUAL sacrifice. Aren't we glad that instead of presenting in the morning and evening a sacrifice of lambs and on certain holy days bringing bullocks and sheep to be slain, we are to present to God the sacrifice of praise?Firstly, how do we offer this sacrifice CONTINUALLY? “By him therefore…” at the very threshold of all offering of sacrifice to God, we begin with Christ. We cannot go a step without Jesus. The High Priest of our profession meets us at the sanctuary door. We place our sacrifices into His hands, so that He may present them for us. Without a Mediator we can make no advance to God. We are to offer CONTINUAL sacrifice looking to Jesus.
Let us offer sacrifice of praise to God continually …” that is to say, without ceasing. Let us make an analogy to that which says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and say, “Praise without ceasing.”We are to praise the Lord our God, not only in this place or that place, but in every place; not only when we are in a happy frame of mind, but even when we are downcast and troubled. The perfumed smoke from the altar of incense is rise toward heaven both day and night, from beginning of the year to the year’s end. Not only when we are in the assembly of the saints are we to praise God, but when we are called to pass through “valley of the shadow of death”. Psalm 34:1 – “Bless the Lord at all times.” Offer the sacrifice of praise to God not just alone in your secret chamber, which is fragrant with the perfume of your communion with God, but in the field, there in the street, and in the hurry and noise of the exchange.
This CONTINUAL sacrifice of praise is to be natural. It is called “the fruit of our lips”. These lips of ours must produce fruit. Our words are leaves – how soon they wither! However, the praise of God is the fruit that can be stored up and presented to the Lord. Fruit is a natural product. It grows without force, the free outcome of the plant (on condition that we stay abide in the VINE – John 15:1-8). So let praise grow out of your lips as it’s own sweet will. Let it be as natural to you, as regenerated men and women, to praise God as it seems to be natural to profane men to blaspheme His sacred name.
Last but not least, I want to recommend this blessed exercise of praise – “to offer the sacrifice of praise to God CONTINUALLY,” because in so doing, you will discover your reason for being. Every creature is happiest when it is doing what it is made for. An eagle would die in the water, even as a fish that is made to swim perishes on the river’s bank. Christians are made to glorify God. We are never in our element until we are praising Him. The happiest moments you have ever spent were those in which you lost sight of everything inferior and bowed before J-H-V-H’s throne with reverent joy and blissful praise. I can say it is so with me, and I do not doubt it is so with you. When your whole soul is full of praise, you have at last reached the goal at which your heart is aiming. Your ship is now in full sail. Your life moves on smoothly and safely. This is the groove along which it was made to slide. Your new nature was fashioned for the praise of God, and it finds rest in doing so. Keep to this work. Do not degrade yourself by less divine employment.
(an extract from – Spurgeon on Praise – the joy and rewards of praising God)