Saturday, April 23, 2016

John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. Mark 1:6

Since I was a child, I thought of John the Baptist as a pretty strange fellow. The description of him always included the fact that he lived off bugs and what he could find in nature, like honey, and that his dress was not exactly fashionable. He was an oddball, even for those times. But it was this lifestyle of selflessness that made him a better spokesman for God. The prophets were not all strange in their times, but many were. Ezekiel and Haggai were know for doing some very strange things during their tenures. Holy, meaning set apart for spiritual purposes, would be a fair description of the man who pointed the way directly to Jesus.

Jesus talked about John's wardrobe in another passage. Did you expect him to dress in fine linen?

Let's consider that his ministry was one of calling people to repentance and forgiveness. That has been the call of God since Adam and Eve hid in the garden. And believe it or not, even his wardrobe proclaimed that message.

But first let's consider those terms, repentance and forgiveness.

To repent is to turn around. Do a 180. Go back to where you came from. John, like God in the garden calling Adam to come out of hiding, called the people back to a right relationship with Jesus.

What did John wear? The same thing that Adam and Eve wore. Many agree that he actually wore the skin of the animal and not a woven garment, and that would be in keeping with the pictures every Sunday School child brings home. If it was woven, it was itchy and scratchy, more like a burlap sack. It would not have been made from the soft undercoat, for that was for the rich man. If it was woven, it would represent the constant irritation of sin in our lives. It promises some warmth to the body, but irritates the soul. But I rather think that John was covered as Adam and Eve were covered, with the skin of another animal.

Forgiveness of sins...the other message of John.

Something had to die. Sin has to be covered, according to scripture. In this case, a camel skin was the covering. It would only take one animal to cover John and would make the cloak for sleeping under the stars. But it had to be dead for John to use it. And that is how God covered the shame for the first sinners. When God finally got them to quit running away, He covered them at the price of another life. And ultimately with the life of His Son.

Even the leather belt was made from the hide of another animal. It was needed to hold things in place and to keep it with him even in the desert heat of the day. There was no linen, no softness, no comfort in his covering. It was being clothed in the death of another, just as God prescribed in Genesis. It was a foretelling of the ministry that this Jesus he was pointing to would have to provide to cover our sins from the eyes of a Holy God.

John proclaimed Christ crucified in his wardrobe. Humble, uncomfortable, and prophetic. The wardrobe gained him the attention he needed for a time to fulfill the role God had for him on this earth. I wonder how beautiful the robes are he is wearing now.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wisdom of a Master Workman Proverbs 8:31

Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; and I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, Rejoicing in the world, His earth, and having my delight in the sons of men. Proverbs 8:31

As I write, thousands of people are gathered in Paducah, Kentucky, for one of the premiere quilt shows in the country. This show is so important to the quilt world that the national quilt museum is located in the city. In it are the winning quilts of that all-important show. The winner is paid $10,000 for their quilt, and the masterpiece is then displayed forever to the world. This year's winner will have the satisfaction of knowing that her masterpiece will be admired for generations to come. Quilting fads may come and go, but these quilts will show the standard of excellence in design and workmanship that come with crafting and award-winning showstopper.

And thus is Wisdom. The verse in Proverbs speaks of God's wisdom in His creative process of making the earth and all that is in it, the people and all that was pleasing to the eye and the soul.

When I think of just the human body, it is a marvel. I am married to a nurse. After 25 years in Medical Intensive Care and 7 in Interventional Radiology, he can regale you with stories of diseases and body parts gone amiss, most of which you never thought about. Who knows about enzymes, germs with names as long as your arms, and syndromes where the chain-effects of cell breakdown can cause illness or death. Whoever designed 2 germ cells to produce millions of different body parts from one fertilized cell had to know what He was doing or the whole thing dies.

And that person can live in the rest of world! He can use plants that are especially designed to nourish the body. Most of them are a delight to the palette if they are good for us, and rejected due to their nastiness if they are poisonous. That is wisdom. The air we breathe, the miracle of water, the covering of skin, the design of all has to be just perfect for life to exist. And it is perfect, thought out perfectly in detail. The need for light and darkness, sleep and rest, exercise and is all a miracle. The beauty of mountains, the pleasure of beaches, the colors of a sunset sky...why do we respond to these things? We are not machines, but feeling, emotional, self-conscious humans.

How can a person like me stand in front of a quilt of utter beauty and design and weep? What does that? (Yes, I did...I cried, the display of this woman's work was so amazingly perfect). Wisdom.

Wisdom delights in beauty. It appreciates the world in its amazingness. It stands next to the creator and designer and praises His work. It stands in awe of the shared creativity that He chose to instill in man. Even if I don't like something like a song the first time I hear it, I can learn to appreciate it most of the time unless it is evil. I can see bits of wisdom in non-perfect things.

The chapter goes on in Proverbs stating that the wise love life, and the wicked, death. Wisdom sees the things of the earth in these two realities. We are builders or tearers-down. We care for our bodies or we abuse them with destructive things like drugs. We plant flowers and mow grass, or we throw bricks through windows. We share food and contribute to fund-raisers, or we take to the streets and kill our neighbors. You can tell if a city or a country is wise by what you find there. You can tell a Dutch town in Iowa – it is neat as a pin. It is expected to stay that way. There is a pride in beauty and order and respect for one's environment. Then there are the places we see on tv where people burn their own neighborhoods to the ground without though of whose lives and livelihoods they are destroying. Wisdom seeks the good of the neighbor, the good of the community, the betterment of the people and development of security and pleasure in the giving to the world around it.

Love wisdom. Stand alongside God and tell Him daily what I good job He did. He gave me medicine for my infection yesterday. I praised Him for that. The cloud formation from a passing storm – amazing in its color of steel blue – I worshiped. The celebration of the people around me – birthdays, weddings, graduations, and other events that spark in us a joy that comes from completion of a task, the following of God's design for structure and order and peace. It is good to praise Him. There is so much the sons of men have been destroying that it can take us down to the pit. But today we can use wisdom to praise Him even for that, as He has planned even the end of this world and designed an even more glorious place for His own. How wise of Him was that?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

White for the harvest John 4

Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. John 4:35

What does this have to say about cloth, you may be asking.
Well, it was the situation they were in. They were looking at a town in Samaria. It was the site of people dressed in white coming from the town to see this Jesus that the woman at the well had told them about. This woman who avoided people was running through town telling people that the Messiah had come and talked to her, of all people. People dressed in white, as that is how they dressed. People who were going to be washed white themselves. They listened to Jesus and begged him to stay for days. Unlike those in the towns where Jesus came from, who sent him away. Like Jerusalem, which he cried over more than once.
So we might be dressed in white, wanting to be clean on the outside, but knowing we are not white on the inside. The woman at the well was not described as far as her apparel. Was she dressed in white? Was she differently dressed because she was an inner-outsider? Everyone knew who she was. After 6 men, I'm sure she was the talk of the town. Had she played the harlot and gotten thrown out of these households? Was she ugly and would take whoever would take her in? Did men reject her time and time again? She didn't seem to have a problem finding another fellow to take her in. It sounded like she was in an affair unmarried at this point, which would have pointed to her being the cause of her own immorality. Jesus didn't sugar-coat her sin. He didn't avoid talking about it. And that avoidance of talking about her sin lead her to talk justifiably about herself. She worshiped as a daughter of Jacob, and she knew that Jesus, a Jew, would reject her for worshiping away from Jerusalem, so she let him judge her on that account. At least it wouldn't hurt as much as being judged for being an adulteress. But this avoidance led Jesus to the opportunity to deal with the heart issue, not just the outward evidence of the sin within.
Jesus was good at seeing the inner person and taking the issue there. And when the heart is dealt with, freedom ensues. So much freedom that a person who would come to the well at times to avoid people would run down the streets telling people that someone pointed out her sin and must be the Messiah! Now that is transformation! That is salvation, and redemption!
How about you and me? Do we go around telling people how Jesus pointed out our sin and saved us? If you can't do that, I ask you to look at your salvation. If you haven't let Jesus deal with your sin, I would ask you if He has given you the living water. If you can't even admit you are a sinner, or were living in a lifestyle of sin before you were saved (yes, you still sin, but it is not your common way any longer), then I ask you to talk to God about that. Those who will not confess their sins will not be saved. Not a long litany of sins. This isn't the confessional in a Catholic church. Good grief, if I was only saved from the sins I could confess outright, I'd be so piled in them I couldn't move. I sin in ways I don't even realize. It is the confess that I am a sinner...a person with inclination to sin, who practices sin, and has no life in me. I am dead in my sin, Paul says in Romans 4,5, and 6. Jesus gives life. Dead seeds stay dead until water permeates them. Water brings life. Jesus offers the living water, and applies it to the seed as needed to make it not only alive, but grow. This life changes everything, including our response to life. We are not ashamed any more. We rejoice that Jesus chose to speak to us, the outcast. And then others dressed in white can overflow the hillsides coming to Him. They can experience Him and be purged of their sins as well.
So look up and see the results of a sinner being saved. It is a curious thing, and a site to behold.

The harvest fields were white, and here Jesus draws the comparison. They were ready to be harvested, brought into the kingdom. Are you dressed in white? Are you ready to be harvested? If you haven't been, I ask you to come to Jesus, talk to Him through reading His Words to you, and see that He is who I, a harvested soul, say He is.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pallet talk John 5

2895. krabattos -- a camp bed 
... 2895 -- a small bed used by the poor; "" () a rude pallet made of thick padded quilt
or mat" (M. Vincent); "a Macedonian word (Lat ) for a bed, pallet, or ... 

Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. John 5:8

This is a well-known story of Jesus healing the man at the pool of Bethesda. For 38 years the man hanged out at the pool hoping to be healed. That's a LONG time. He wasn't able to get into the pool by himself. I imagine he had people take him there and they probably stayed a few days, but then were off to make their livings and take care of their other burdens of life. Him life, however, consisted of laying there, begging for food and help. How did he go to the bathroom? How did he do anything? They must have had a nursing staff or the place would have been a complete stenchy mess. Maybe it was. But Jesus sees a guy laying on a padded quilt of some sort and asks him if he wants to be healed. Dumb question, right? Maybe not. Maybe we get to the rut of life and are afraid to climb out. We can't imagine life any other way. But Jesus gives him only 3 instructions.

    1) Get up. Well, he thinks, if I could do that I wouldn't be laying here. He had to have the faith to stand up, believing that the strength would be there if he would just do it. His legs would have no strength. His back would have no support. His feet and ankles hadn't born weight for at least 38 years. Was Jesus out of his mind?
    2) Take up your pallet. That meant bending over and bearing weight. That meant balance, arms strength, and a strong back.
    3) Walk. With weight, with balance, with strength. Do something he hadn't done for years.

All 3 of these things would require faith. Faith that Jesus knew what He was asking. Faith that he wasn't going to struggle to rise up, look the fool when he fell down, or stagger like a drunk under the weight of his burden. Realistically, he would at best look a fool. He could really hurt himself. But the alternative was to lie there for the rest of his life. He didn't even know this was Jesus! He knew nothing but that he wanted to believe this man that offered him the thing he had wanted all his life. Healing.

We may not have physical infermities. We may be held down by the sickness of soul, the weakness of lack of faith, and knowledge of our limitations. Jesus comes to us and asks if we want to get over it. He tells us to get up. To accept his healing and strength and to stand. Prepare for the next thing. Take up our pallet. Get off our backsides and move on. We aren't going back down except to rest. We are moving on. And walk. Get going. Get on with life. Take the pallet and take it home and put it away. We don't need to lay out in public showing our weakness any more, but walk in the strength, power, balance, and under the direction of the Lord. When we do, Jesus comes and tells us who He is! And when people tell us we aren't supposed to be doing this, we tell them that Jesus told us to! We tell them that Jesus said to walk in his strength and power every day of our lives. That we are to follow His directions and not man-made rules that limit God's power. We have a new life.

There was a wonderful testimony of a Muslim convert to Christianity. He spent his years trying to figure out how to properly worship Allah. When he converted, he had the same concerns. How do you properly worship God? And God's answer was to walk in freedom. There were not chains of ritual and format, hours of the day to bow in worship or certain Sabbath rules to keep. Jesus sends the Spirit so that we can worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. That is every day in every way, with the worship coming from the heart and obedience in heart and not format. He was liberated and rejoicing that his worship was so much more than before! May we get up, no longer depend on the sickbed, and walk in the Spirit as He has commanded so that He may reveal Himself to us in new and glorious ways.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Repairer of the Seams Ezekiel 27

Ezekiel 27:26-27
Your rowers have brought you into great waters; the east wind has broken you in the heart of the seas. Your wealth, your wares, your merchandise, your sailors and your pilots, your repairer of seams, your dealers in merchandise and all your men of war who are in you, with all your company that is in your midst, will fall into the heart of the sea.

There is the reference to the repairer of seams in the NASB version. Other versions refer to shiprights and builders. But we will go with the repairer of seams. Also mentioned in 27: 9, the old men and the wise were repairing the seams in the boat or the sails, knowing that if the weak spots were not repaired, the whole thing was going down. And we all know that the same thing can happen with cloth.

There are 3 types of seam failures. I just finished repairing 2 antique quilts for a lady. They showed each types of failure. One form is where the stitching thread breaks. This is actually the easiest to repair. The thing holding the 2 pieces of cloth together breaks, but the fabric itself is not damaged. The line is usually obvious where the repair can be made. We just need another thread that will hold things together. These failures usually come because of stress on the seam when the quality of the thread is bad. Like our lives, we can have stresses that pull on the fabric of our lives. That which is not of God is weak and the strain makes us snap. The seam slowly begins opening up, and without repair, will continue to enlarge a hole in our lives. Sometimes other seams may have to be opened up to lay flat the one that needs to be repaired, and then the opened seam can be sewn shut and if done well, no one will ever see that there was ever a problem. God is like that. He can take the place of the old, brittle beliefs and notions of our lives and replace them with His strength when the things of the world cannot hold up. He can handle it. He might have to do some unsewing to fix the problem, but He can repair all of our holes.

Then there is the shallow seam. The thread was sewn too closely to the edge of the fabric and the stress placed on it causes the edge of the seam to unravel. This is a much more serious problem. That thread which is to hold things together is right and true, but misplaced. That quarter or 5/8 inch seam was not sewn correctly and leaves a weak spot which eventually can be breached. Sewing on the original line again will accomplish nothing.The solution here can be more tricky. If the seam was supposed to be deep, taking the regular seam around the weakness can solve the problem. But if the seam was narrow to start with, placing the original seam can be just as hazardous as it has just become a narrow seam like the one that unraveled. Whole pieces may have to be picked out and replaced, and then requilted. This process is far more time consuming, and unless you have kept pieces of the original fabric, it will be hard to make the piece look right. The patches may be obvious, but at least the quilt is still useful. We can be like this. We are inconsistent. We run life out of alignment and a little too close to the edge. And we fray and unravel. If this is an occasional problem, the repairs are sometimes easy and sometimes obvious, but we can be fixed and used. If the seam was consistently shallow, there is nothing that can be done to strengthen the seams. Some fabric may be able to be salvaged and used in another quilt, but this piece is only good for sitting around. Any stress will pull it apart. Repairs are futile.

And then there is the worst failure. That of rot. These quilts were from close to the turn of the century, and there is a characteristic of most quilts from that era. The black fabric disintegrates. It rots away. There are parts of it there, or there are shapes that show that there was fabric there once, but it is gone now. The batting is exposed, the fabrics around it make it obvious that something was supposed to be there, was once there, and has not held up over time. If there was little of the offending fabric in the overall quilt, new patches can be appliqued into place. Sometimes old fabric can be salvaged from another quilt or fabric collection, but more often than not we don't have that available. Reproductions or close matches can be put into the holes. But if enough of the quilt was made with fabrics that were inherently flawed, like the chemicals used to dye fabric black back then, the quilt will become worthless and unrepairable. It might be set aside sadly, folded as a memory, but it will not be able to be used for its intended purpose. But if there were only a few pieces used, the holes can be filled with time and different fabric and a lot of patience.

These quilts were examples of that. One's edges had been used and abused to the point that I had to cut a whole row of blocks off and rebind it. The center of the quilt, away from the edges, was in quite good shape. The other seams and patches that had worn down were patched. Seams were repaired. Useable fabric from the cut off portion was salvaged from the cut off edge and used to replace rotted or abused spots in the quilt. With the new binding, that quilt became useable again. The second one had more of a disintegration problem. There was need for far more patching, more applique over rotting pieces. The edges had to be rebound as well, but the quality and age of the fabric showed that it was not original to the quilt. There were far more narrow seams where the patches frayed. It was a work that I wanted to save, but the more I patched, the more I realized just how fragile this work was. It was returned to the owner with a note that this piece had to be handled with care not not hung up or used. It was just for show and memories. There were seams that couldn't be patched, but were not serious enough to deal with or were so tenuous that working on them would probably cause more harm. I really began wondering if it was worth my time and her money to have taken this second piece on. And that is how it is with some broken lives. We question God for investing in them when it seems He will get no real reward for all of His trouble.

But that is our God. He looks fondly on we old quilts and though the world puts no earthly value into us (when you look for value of quilts of that era, they are worth little to nothing on today's market), He sees us as precious, as worth it. He paid for us with the blood of His Son, washed us up, patched our fragile, worn and torn seams and patches, and either uses us or puts us on display as examples of His extreme mercy. And for that, we well up in extreme gratefulness. We will be damaged by this life, but God is our good repairer of the seams, wise in His dealing with us, knowing where we need reseamed, patched, places covered over, or parts cut off to stop the bleeding. He then knows where to put us to display His glory. It may be on the bed, on the wall, or in a case or closet, but we are His precious treasure. And we need to love each other, repairs and all, as fellow possessions of the King. We need not judge each other's frailties...we have enough of our own. Some of our repairs don't show up to those who see us, but we know that we are just as likely to come to need for repair because of what we were originally made of, who sewed us together in the first place, and how closely we were quilted. The workmanship we received was not of our own doing. Pride is foolish as we did not make ourselves. But our Master Repairer mends us all when the use and abuse of life takes its toll.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Rewarded with Purple Clothes Daniel 5

Daniel 5:7 The king called aloud to bring in the conjurers, the Chaldeans and the diviners. The king spoke and said to the wise men of Babylon: Any man who can read this inscription and explain its interpretation to me shall be clothed with purple and have a necklace of gold around his neck, and have authority as third ruler in the kingdom.”

The handwriting on the wall. This is the story of where that phrase came from.

Belshazzar's feast is interuptted by this hand...he had taken the cups from the temple of the Lord and decided to use them in his drunken partying. And God did not take that lightly. There is the hand and the writing that he could not read. He knew it was important and needed to be read, but he had no way of knowing what it was. So he issued this reward for its interpretation. Purple, royal clothes. Third in line for power. Unfortunately for him, that person might be second that very evening, for he did not live through the night. But his wife remembered the story of Daniel interpreting for his father the king, so Daniel was blessed with the opportunity to have another shot at revealing his God to these heathen kings. God was ready to speak, but even the kings knew that someone else more in touch with God had to intercede for them as they did not know this God.

This was not the first time God had his people bear bad news to kings. Joseph had to tell of famine, and Daniel had to tell Belshazzar that God would require his live as he was not worthy to be king because he had seen God's dealings with his father, Nebuchadnezzer. He had gone from powerful to eating grass as an animal, and allowed to return to power, humbled before the God of Daniel. But Belshazzar ignored God's dealings and profaned the temple and the instruments that were holy unto the Lord.

So in a way, he gave away the kingly clothes almost prophetically, for he would not longer be wearing them. Someone more worthy would have them. And that person would be Daniel. Daniel did not seek the glory or privilege, just to speak for God when asked by the king to do so. This is what is now called “speaking truth to power.” You tell powerful people what they don't want to hear. It's the hardest thing for a person to do. He knew that if he told this king what God said it could mean his head, or another trip to the lion's den. But he did not fear to tell Belshazzar the words of God. And God protected him again. Those who stand for the Lord don't always walk away unscathed. Many have spoken truth to power and were killed, imprisoned, or thrown down wells like Jeremiah. But for now God used the instrument of Daniel to make His point to the nation. Often we think we deserve the rewards that come with standing on the Lord's side...but when called to speak for the Lord, we need not worry about the rewards or consequences of that speech. We will be rewarded. The consequences cannot be eternal ones, but just temporary. We, like Abraham, should sometimes refuse the world's rewards so they don't believe that they have provided for us, but God alone.

Sometimes we are rewarded, sometimes we pay dearly, for our stand for the Lord. Like Peter, we ask Jesus when he tells us what we have to pay, what will happen to the other guy. (John 20) And He lovingly tells us to mind our own business. Follow Him. Let Him decide if you will wear royal robes or graveclothes. It doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. We are just to obey, to speak, to reveal the mind of God to those who call upon us to read His writing to them. We can't be afraid to tell them the truth...that they are sinners if we need to...and warn them or comfort them or whatever we are called to speak. Just make sure it is God's Word in God's time. And if your favorite color isn't purple, that's ok. The robes in heaven aren't, for God will not be sharing His kingdom with anyone, for no one will inform Him of anything He doesn't already know. He won't be seeking wise men, but be surrounded by all those made wise by Him.

It's our His feet. And a joyous place that will be.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Drunken Nakedness Habakkuk 2

Woe to you who make your neighbors drink, Who mix in your venom even to make them drink so as to look on their nakedness. You will be filled with disgrace rather than honor. Now you yourself drink and exposed your own nakedness. The cup in the Lord's right hand will come around to you, and utter disgrace will come upon your glory. Habakkuk 2:15-16

Sounds like the bar scene, doesn't it? How many guys urge gals to have another drink, and then slip them a mickey? It happened to a gal I knew in college, and probably to someone you know who went off with someone they did not know and drank with them. It is a sad story for many gals, but all too common. Even a cell phone company is using this scenario as a commercial, the gal waking up in bed to the sounds of an electric toothbrush, grabbing the contract in the bed next to her, and finding out she had signed it. You could tell she barely remembered the night before due to a drink or two.

But it is the ones who use these drinks to take advantage of others that Habakkuk was speaking to. There is nothing new under the sun, people. Wicked folks were using strong drink to take sexual advantage of others since the beginning of time. There are prurient interests in seeing people naked all over. Even the prime-time tv shows are showing more and more skin, pushing the limits of soft-core porn. Colleges are publishing magazines with it. Newsstands carry Cosmo and other things more revealing for wandering eyes.

So those who entice people to shed the covering get one of two responses. The editors of Playboy get accollades and are called artists, while those who post encounters on Facebook get blasted. But both those who take advantage, whether by paying someone to strip down or by force or deception, both will be exposed for what they are sooner or later. Both are lechers, and God will make them drink of the cup that they force on others. They will be put to shame.

Never has that been more sadly true than in the media right now. A Christian family, good, God-fearing people, had a son use women long ago. But the cup has come around to this son. He has been exposed and disgraced. Unfortunately, it has taken the testimony of the whole family down with him. That is how it works. Sadly, the scripture, “Be sure your sin will find you out,” has come to pass. I do not condemn them. Every family has their skeletons in the closet to some degree. We have influence, but not control, over members of our family. We have our own. Drunkenness, abuse, adultery, divorce, debt, suicide, mental illness, illegitimacy...they hang on limbs of our family tree. And I'll bet they hang on most of yours. If not, be eternally grateful! Some of God's closest relationships here on earth were with people who exhibited many of those traits. Noah drank himself naked, David took someone's wife, abused her, and committed adultery. Elijah was suicidal after being chased by Jezebel. Lot committed get the point. It doesn't mean that there were not consequences. Certainly just reading these things makes your opinions of them diminish...tarnish coats the knights in shining armor. It in no way excuses their behavior. IN NO WAY! But God has the ultimate perspective. He knows we are but dust, and in case you don't know it, there is no good use for dust. We throw it out. It is dirty and destructive and can ultimately lead to damage to the surfaces or crevices to which it attaches itself. The very computer you are reading can be brought to an abrupt end by dust in the works. But the question is, are we grieving with this family or relishing the scandal? Are we glad that this son renounced these things years ago and that they were dealt with, or are we feeling pious that no such thing has happened in our home? Are we getting all comfortable with the idea that they didn't bring this to light so they deserve this horror? What if everything that has gone wrong in your family was exposed to the world? How embarrassed would you be if the times you screwed up were put on public display? Every call from the principal? Every scream? Every thought? Every relative? The good news is that repentant people are forgiven even these vices. Jesus took the penalty. But it cost Him plenty.

There will be consequences. There were in Habakkuk's day, and there still are in ours. But God doesn't leave us there. For those who cling to the Lord, He will be their strength and salvation. He will secure their footings once again. Those who continue to sin and not repent, those will be thoroughly destroyed. So we have a choice. Will we be humbled and repent or will we continue to be blind-drunk, placing ourselves in the hands of those who would only use and abuse us? Will we use and abuse others, tricking them into doing things they would not do if they were in control of themselves? Are there sins we need to repent of and renounce before we are humbled publicly?

The cup God hands you, that of destruction and humbling, or of rejoicing, will depend on it.