O Lord, How Long Shall I Cry
Habakkuk 1:2

The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw. 
O Lord, how long shall I cry,
And You will not hear?
Even cry out to You, “Violence!”
And You will not save. 

Why do You show me iniquity,
And cause me to see trouble?
For plundering and violence are before me;
There is strife, and contention arises. 

Therefore the law is powerless,
And justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
Therefore perverse judgment proceeds. (Habakkuk 1:1–4)

     There has been much discussion about the Title of this OT Prophetic Book.  The vast majority of Scholars seem to come to the conclusion (and rightly so, it seems) that the book takes its name from its author and possibly means “one who embraces” (1:1; 3:1). 
    Habakkuk 3:1 applies the title of Prophet to Habakkuk just as verse 1 here does.  It records what has been commonly called “The Prophet’s Prayer”. 

3 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on Shigionoth.

    BTW, a “Shigionoth” is a passionate or even wild song having rapid changes of rhythm.  Its’ use (in Chapters 1 & 3) lends a sense of emotion to what the Prophet is proclaiming.  An emotion that, upon consideration of what the Books is saying is well justified and even truly necessary.  By the end of the prophecy, this name becomes appropriate as the prophet clings to God regardless of his confusion about God’s plans for his people.

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  24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.  (1 Peter 2:24.)

     The relation of God and sin is a question that many people seem to “love” asking.  Why did God allow sin to enter the world and not prevent it?  How can God judge sin and sinners for something that He allowed to happen, and did nothing, even though a solution was well-within His capability?  Many, in our modern world, take a condemning tone toward our Lord and seem to be charging Him with evil when the begin to speak of these issues.  I think the best and most logical conclusion at which to arrive in this matters is to remember that men are, because of our relationship to Adam, recipients of the curse God placed on Adam and all of his descendants.  As a result, all men, every one of them (according to Romans and 2), has a “bent” toward sin, a knowledge of God and their accountability to Him, and thus, a natural rebelliousness as a part of His natural thinking and feeling.  Additionally, men are given, dramatically, to their own views and opinions.  They are really not, unless drawn by God’s Holy Spirit, not interested in hearing anything spiritual other than what they already think or are persuaded concerning.

What About God and Sin?
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     My dear wife's mom passed away on Saturday and I want to put up a tribute to her that I came up with to honor her...
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 “As in water face answers to face, so the heart of man to man.”  (Proverbs 27:19)

     Solomon is famous for the word pictures that he uses to drive home the idea, often profound, that he wants his readers to grasp.  These pictures are almost always common and easily visualized, but quite fully and dramatically drive home his point for us.  
      Here, we see one of the more obvious ones for us to consider - that of a man looking at his face in a brook or stream and seeing his own face “looking back” at him versus the personal and inner workings of a mans’ heart that cannot be readily or obviously discerned by another man, even (by implication) one that is close to him and can readily see the one that is the subject of the statement. 

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How Should the Believer Think  of Himself in Christ?
John 15:1-11

15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 

 - This is the last of Jesus’ seven
I am sayings in this Gospel. 
True contrasts Jesus with OT Israel, reinforcing John’s theme that Jesus is the true Israel. 
  - The
vinedresser refers back to Isaiah’s first vineyard song, where God is depicted as tending his vineyard, only to be rewarded with wild grapes (Isa. 5:1–7; cf. Ps. 80:8–9). 
  - Isaiah 5:1–7 - God’s Disappointing Vineyard

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  • Proverbs 14:15
    “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looks well to his going.” - Prov. 14:15 (Cf. ver. 8; 4:26; 6:1).

         In many times and areas throughout history the idea of “simplicity” has been seen to be almost a virtue and a quality to be cultivated.  But, interestingly, Solomon did not see it as such.  Here in Proverbs 14:15 he lays out a contrast between what he calls “simplicity” and what he calls “prudence”.  The word used for “simple” here is very close to the idea of sincerity and often refers to one who is open and/or honest or direct and without hypocrisy.  Now, that does not seem at all negative to us - but the tendency of the definition, in Solomon’s time (nor in centuries after Solomon wrote this) was to apply it to the uneducated, inexperienced or unsophisticated and easily deceived or taken in by those sought to do so.  In our more modern times, we might see this as applied to those have grown up, for instance and into “country” boys (not meant as they mean it on television).  
          Biblically, simplicity is associated with ideas like 

    -     integrity (2 Sam. 15:11), 
    -     without evil (Rom. 16:18), 
    -     generosity (Rom. 12:8), 
    -     a life of devotion to God (2 Cor. 1:12), and 
    -     simply believing the gospel truth (2 Cor. 11:3). 

          God is said to “preserve” the simple (Ps. 116:6). Proverbs is filled with sayings about the simple, both good and bad (Proverbs 1:22; 14:15, 18; 21:11).  As he uses this word in other places (see above) to speak of very positive traits, we must think that, in this instance he likely has those “good” character issue taken to an extreme that put the possessor in some danger of suffering some lack for their presence.  This seems to use here in this verse where “simple” idea is contrasted with “prudence”. We can’t believe that Solomon is unaware of the true meaning of the word “simple”, but that he has some specific application in mind, and we see that application momentarily when he contrasts it with the concept of “prudence”. 

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 Proverbs 14:10
The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.” - Proverbs 14:10.

     This is an interesting bit of wisdom from Solomon for which for us to learn and to live our lives in light of.  The “heart”, as virtually always in Proverbs (as well as in the rest of the Books written by Solomon; as well as virtually all of the Poetic books as well) referring to the “inner self.” It can speak of the general inner man, the disposition, one’s inclinations, and is translated as the mind, will and heart, speaking as these same ideas.   
    We would suspect it, in this context, of speaking of the mind as it goes on and speaks of the idea of “knowing”.  Certainly, it could be speaking of emotional knowing, but that does not seem to be the sense of the verse. 

“The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.” - Proverbs 14:10.

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  “Thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation.” — Psalm 91:9

     David is particularly famous for his various statements concerning his trust and the caring of the Lord His God.  Psalm 91 begins with one of his most famous assertions about the safety of abiding in the presence of God.  In this Psalm he puts froth that he is particularly confident of this “place” in God’s care is most secure and trustworthy.  
     This psalm, like the majority in the present Book, is without a title. Jewish tradition, however, ascribed it to Moses—a conclusion which Dr. Kay and others accept as borne out by the facts, especially by the many close resemblances between it and Deut. 32, 33. Other critics, and they are the majority, trace in it a different hand, but regard it as suggested by Ps. 90.
     The subject is the security of the man who thoroughly trusts in God. This subject is worked out by an “antiphonal arrangement” (Cheyne)—the first speaker delivering vers. 1, 2; the second, vers. 3, 4; then the first responding with vers. 5–8; and again the second with vers. 9–13. In conclusion, a third speaker, making himself the mouthpiece of Jehovah, crowns all by declaring the blessings which God himself will bestow upon his faithful ones (vers. 14–16).
     This psalm is, apparently, liturgical, and is “the most vivid of the liturgical psalms” (Cheyne). It has a certain resemblance to the speech of Eliphaz the Temanite in Job 5:17–23, but stands at a higher elevation.
      This Psalm is that from which the Devil dared to tempt our Lord Jesus Christ: let us therefore attend to it, that thus armed, we may be enabled to resist the tempter, not presuming in ourselves, but in Him who before us was tempted, that we might not be overcome when tempted. Temptation to Him was not necessary: the temptation of Christ is our learning, but if we listen to His answers to the devil, in order that, when ourselves are tempted, we may answer in like manner, we are then entering through the gate, as ye have heard it read in the Gospel. For what is to enter by the gate? To enter by Christ, who Himself said, “I am the door:” and to enter through Christ, is to imitate His ways.… He urges us to imitate Him in those works which He could not have done had He not been made Man; for how could He endure sufferings, unless He had become a Man? How could He otherwise have died, been crucified, been humbled? Thus then do thou, when thou sufferest the troubles of this world, which the devil, openly by men, or secretly, as in Job’s case, inflicts; be courageous, be of long suffering; “thou shall dwell under the defence of the Most High,” as this Psalm expresses it: for if thou depart from the help of the Most High, without strength to aid thyself, thou wilt fall.

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21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:21–22)

     I was a prison Chaplain for quite a few years before I came to Pastor the church I am currently serving and had opportunity to visit most of the jails and prisons in the state in which I ministered.  In the time that I served I literally experienced what is portrayed in many TV programs that show and portray so many prison inmates as refusing to admit the truth of their crimes.  They were always victims of someone else, or framed or had suffered from some misunderstanding.  I noted that this was especially truth of those who were serving for murder.  There were a wealth of explanations and descriptions from these which inevitably sought to move the weight of the crime from them to some other culprit.  What was especially surprising and a bit distressing was that this was even so of those who professed to belong to Christ.  Very few of them were willing to take responsibility for what they had done.  Over the years I have come to the conclusion that we, as believers, really do not understand the truth about what Jesus taught murder truly was.  
    Legally and in common thought, most people conceive of murder as physically taking another person’s life. But Jesus’ teaching on murder, I believe, was aimed at a few basic things. 

First, because of the self-righteousness of the culture in which God had placed Him, He desired to shatter the self-righteous complacency of so many Israelites who thought of themselves as good people.
Secondly, He wished to show us that any form of hatred and even anger without adequate cause served as the same as the basis of the actual act.
Thirdly, He wished to cause His listeners/readers to think through just what their thoughts and feelings of hatred and anger was really about.
Fourthly, as Paul said the end of Romans 7 and the beginning of Romans 8, the Law was not design to give escape from the sins that offend God, but rather to make sin recognizable as what it was, an offense and outrage to God’s holy nature.
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  Proverbs 13:23
"Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment” Proverbs 13:23 (ver. 25; 10:3; 12:11).

     Solomon brings to mind what he and will say concerning the causes of poverty in his people.  One of the points that makes in Proverbs is that those causes are, at the very most basic, complex:

·        It can be caused by injustice and oppression (cf. 22:16; 28:3, 15); 
·        By sloth (6:9–11; 28:19); 
·        By God’s punishment on wickedness (10:2–3; 13:25); or 
·        By his mysterious providence (e.g., 22:2).

    The picture here presented to us is of a poor man cultivating a small piece of “fresh land,” which calls for severe labor, as an emigrant who has to make a clearance in the bush.

Prov. 13:23 - Destroyed for Want of Judgment
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