Repent

Repent… just the word makes people anxious and puts us on guard. But why? Such a strong word… It invokes self examination and awareness. It compels us to self amendment. I rather like it, if I think on it long enough. I have, here lately, been meditating on this word. It was a word given to me during prayer for myself and as a word to speak on. It’s a wonderful word that needs a fair trial. To admit wrong doing and to commit oneself to correction is to set oneself up for a domino effect of blessing! Blessings by way of forgiveness, goodness, self control, and ultimately joy and peace!

It’s hard to hear, though, that we need to repent. Someone else has found us out. It requires humility public admittance of guilt. It also means laying down chains that we have clung to for a time so long we no longer notice the weight. In today’s society, in the secular world, to admit such weakness is to invite judgement, ridicule and risks our reputation. In the days of old, though, repentance was judged much more harshly than ugly words of denouncement. To confess to sins could mean physical harm, or death. Yet, humanity is called to do it, all the same.

Because in our weakness, we find God’s strength. When we commit ourselves to a new way, we find the blessings, the healing, the growth. When the dust settles and whispers hush, and people begin to pay attention and see a change in us is when God’s work is done. Examples are set. Suddenly, our reputation as the sinner we were is dead and gone and we begin to build a new name for ourselves – the person God intended us to be. This is the person that God uses to witness to and save His people and encourages others to accept repentance. We notice in ourselves, too, a new way – a better way of living that we may never had been able to see before.

Yes, God is in repentance. The word is a beautiful, deep, life giving word. It should be embraced, practiced, and preached.

On another note, Friends, I’ve been working on some new material but would also like to know what my readers would like to discuss and read? Please drop a note in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!

All my love,

Bailey

Philippians 1:9-11

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God.”

This passage was brought to my attention and has deeply moved me; because, when I read it, I cannot help but believe it has been prayed over me. I know it has. In turn, it is my prayer for my husband, kids, my parents, my brother’s family, my church, my readers, and my pastor and his family – that our love for Jesus would help us set aside prejudices and that, together, we would seek insight and growth. It’s on my heart that we would be able to clearly discern between fear and doubt and what our God is capable of and what His word tells us is good…. that we would, together, pick out what is vital and dismiss the trivial in our pursuit of righteousness. Finally, that our eyes and hearts, as the body of Christ, would be open to the spiritual.

I add to my prayer that those who read this would make it their prayer, as well, so that the body of believers would join hands in love and rise up in truth for the glory of God. Amen.

A Psalm of Life

Friends! I know all five of you who read this blog have been silently looking for a new post… and I have so many things to share! Do you ever have times, though, when you feel like the Holy Spirit is calling you to just be quiet? Be still? Many thoughts and feelings have been stirring in my heart and mind but when I put the pen to paper, it seems to fall flat…. So, I wait. In the meantime, I’d like to share my all time favorite poem with you. I hope it inspires you like it has me for the past sixteen years:

What the heart of a young man said to the Psalmist:

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
   Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
   Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
   Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Made in His Image

There are many great illustrations to help explain the Holy Trinity. However, I had never heard it like this and it feels like, to me, the way God wanted it to be explained (at least to me). It spoke to me! It made it real to me. It connected me to God in a way I’d never considered.  

In the Old Testament, God created man and woman in his own image. (Genesis 1:26 – “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…). We have all heard this, but have you ever pondered just what part of you is even remotely “like” God? Or if we are all made in His image, how are we all so different? The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God. They make up the Great “I am.” Likewise, we have a physical body, a soul, and our Spirit.  

Our physical body is the likeness of the Son. Jesus was fully human and fully God. He got thirsty, tired, maybe had some aches and pains from all the walking. He had a body.  

We have also been given the gift of a soul. Some call it your “heart.” It’s what allows us to be moved by certain music, connects us to nature, gives us individual personalities, and it is ours to determine the destiny for. This is where free-will comes into play. Our souls feel temptations of the flesh and convictions of the Spirit. It’s what defines our moral compass. Our disciplined decision making on a daily basis determines the health, happiness, and eternal welfare of this gift. We can align it with or differentiate it completely with that of our Spirit. Jesus also had his own soul that allowed him to feel how we feel. He had emotions – empathy, anger, fear, sadness. He faced and overcame temptation. He was able to overcome temptation by aligning his soul with the Spirit of God. 

When we invite the Holy Spirit to live and dwell in us, we add the third element to our being – that “Spirit” part to the Holy Trinity. People spend their entire lives searching to fill voids in their “souls”, their hearts. Those who find Jesus Christ most often acclaim that Christ was the missing piece. It’s the piece that empowers us to step out in faith, reassures our soul when we are desperate, and through which we find peace unexplainable in circumstances that those who don’t know Him feel the deepest levels of hurt and loss. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is what empowers and anoints people to preach the gospel, prophesy, heal, pray bold and powerful prayers in the name of Jesus Christ! 

We are, like God, three in one. We are comprised of these three separate, yet unified elements. A person can ask “How are you, today?” and your physical body may be broken, but your spirit and soul full of joy. Conversely, the physical body could be just fine but the condition of the soul is reluctant. As Christians, we are to align our soul with the Holy Spirit within us. This doesn’t mean our soul won’t have questions but it does mean that we have the power in the name of Jesus Christ to make life altering decisions for the good of our soul. Being made in God’s image is what gives us the purpose to make our work our ministry! To make every encounter we have with this world count for the glory of His Name! 

I don’t know about you, but that fires me up on the inside! Makes my soul dance, if you will… This momma’s body might feel tired, but my spirit finds rest in Jesus Christ, my soul is joyful and excited for days ahead. I feel closer to God than ever before because I finally realize what that enigma of an “image” is! I hope that my passion is conveyed in this message and it lights that fire inside of you, too. If you are missing the third link to your being, I invite you to ask the Holy Spirit to come dwell in you. Feel free to message me. In Jesus’ Name. 

Don’t Judge Me.

Why is it that we always assume people are judging us? As if people really think that much about us outside of any day to day conversation we may have had with them. We have a growing epidemic in our society that is so prideful that we (falsely) criticize others for “judging” us when truly, it is our heart being convicted by the truth they have shared.

Maybe, instead of judging the hearts of others we should take a long, deep look into our own hearts and determine if the uncomfortable feeling we have is truly because someone has made a wrongful assumption about our character, or if it is because we know we have made some sort of “mistake” but are too prideful to own it.

Whatever one’s opinion on the subject, it is worth the self-evaluation to determine if our anger or hurt stems from a friend who as spoken truth into our area of growth. Proverbs 27:6 tells us “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

On the other hand, as a friend who was been on the receiving end of some just criticism, we should be careful that the words we speak are bathed in grace. As my pastor once said, “Truth without grace is mean. Grace without truth is meaningless. Truth with grace is medicine.”

It is never easy to hear that our inadequacies are obvious to other people. If we are wise, we will consider the words from those that have proven themselves worthy of their role in our life. (Proverbs 28:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.) If we are true friends, we are considerate of the feelings of others and offer instruction out of love and aide. Is this not the whole basis for the church? To spur each other on in love to pursue what is good, righteous, and life giving? Let us all, then, be devoted to loving others and loving truth.

Your Hobby, Your Ministry

1st Peter 4:10 tells us “Each one of us should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

A few of us are able (both financially and with afforded time) to pursue hobbies. Whatever your hobby is, make it your ministry. When we take seemingly meaningless “fun” and assign it the same purpose God would use it for, suddenly, it adds value to our lives and to the lives of others.

Matthew 25: 14-30 speaks of the parable of talents. To paraphrase, a master entrusts three servants with different amounts of talents. The servants who grew their talents were entrusted with more. The last servant, though, hid his talent out of fear and his talent was taken from him. This parable is one I often remind myself of as I step out in faith to pursue music (singing and guitar) in my thirties. It reminds me of a couple things: 1) That no one is given more than they are able to handle by way of their gifts. 2) I am supposed to keep at it for whatever appointed time God has for my music. To be ready for my master to see if I steward well what He has entrusted to me.

Maybe your hobby is your main ministry. Thank God for the extra income to support what fulfills you but make no mistake – those funds are earned to further your ministry; To witness to a friend (or stranger) on the golf course; to inspire young onlookers when you play the recital; to touch hearts through your song, art, or craft, to bless families with your sewing skills, carpentry talents, and on and on.

Some may feel as if they don’t have any special gifts or don’t have time to pursue them. To you, I offer Romans 12:6 to assure you we all have gifts on the inside of us to further the kingdom of heaven.

I encourage you (and pray) today, to go out, share your gift! You are valuable! I pray that you would be a blessing to others because you have been blessed.

Your Work, Your Ministry

Whatever it is that you do, make it your ministry.

Work the window at a fast food place? Make it your ministry.
Clean bathrooms at the airport? Make it your ministry.
Stay at home with small children? Take care of elderly parents? Make it your ministry!
(Write a blog?… you get it!)

Jesus touched peoples’ lives by being an example of love, compassion and humility. You also have the power to bless the lives of others by being kind – and it really is so easy! A simple change in your outlook on your situation or place in life can change (will change!) the way others view their time spent with you in that same place. You are where you are for a reason. God will use you in every area of your life if you allow Him to.

So, work like Jesus is working right there beside you. (He is, you know.) Be His hands and feet. Thank God for the opportunity to witness to the person driving through in a rush, angrily; the opportunity to love and pray for the disgruntled coworker struggling to find purpose in cleaning other peoples’ mess; the young, impressionable hearts you have been given by God to mold; the old minds that need a little grace and a lot of laughter. Thank God because He has given you a position with a purpose.

It isn’t demeaning to clean bathrooms or mop floors. It’s not degrading to flip burgers nor is it beneath you to keep a clean home and cook nutritious meals for your family. Your work is a call in your life. It may not be your idea of a dream job, but you have a job to do nonetheless to influence others in their time with you. Let it be a time spent in the presence of Jesus within you.

(I pray this encourages you, inspires you and gives you the pride in your work that it has given me in mine.)

Welcome to Habakkuk Blog

Hi! and thanks for checking out Habakkuk blog! After working in the corporate world I, like many people often do, found myself longing a more meaningful, slower paced life. For me, that meant a more God and family oriented life. I became a stay at home wife and mother of one incredibly deserving husband and two beautiful children and my calling in life became so very clear – to emulate God’s vision for the family unit to the best of my ability.

Along the way, and as my children become more independent, I’ve felt compelled through prayer to pursue my God given talents and hobbies which include singing, guitar and writing. Feeling compelled by the giant price tag of dance and swim lessons, I decided to try my hand at freelance writing as a means to earn some money to help my kids explore and expound on their own passions.

About nine months ago, I began to feel the need to start journaling – a muscle I had not flexed in many years. About six months later, I found the Habakkuk verse and it spoke to me. I didn’t know I’d be formulating a blog, and I have no idea what God’s plan for this is, but I started to write. Mostly, about what I feel God has put in my heart through His word, the Bible. Then, it was encouraged through the research I have done to start a blog so others can sample my writing. Three months later, and here we are!

I’ve always wanted to write. Here we go!