Dear First Pres, 


   It's hard to imagine that as I was finishing my sermon about the biblical vision of the future from Habakkuk 2:14 in the first service, Devin Kelley was running into a filled sanctuary in Sutherland Springs, TX and unleashing such violence and evil on the women, men, and children worshipping there. What he did is almost unimaginable. But since we live in a time when this kind of violence is so prevalent, it's not completely unimaginable ... but I wish it were.
   So, what does that mean about the words we read from Habakkuk? Has God forgotten his promise to Habakkuk who came complaining about the evil of his time? Will the earth really be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea?
   I've actually found incredible comfort this week in the words of Habakkuk from Sunday's sermon, and not just verse 14. I encourage you to read Habakkuk 2 again today. In God's response to Habakkuk's complaint you'll hear God's clear judgment against the kind of evil that was let loose in Devin Kelley on Sunday. God is not unconcerned with this kind of violence. He hates it. It will not go unfettered forever. The day will come when God will wipe the earth of it. Praise be to God. Surely the day will come, through Christ the King, that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, and that will be a very good day for all who are found righteous in Christ. Though Habakkuk 2 is filled with "woe," it is meant to be a great encouragement for those who are praying for God's Kingdom to come. And nowhere in the passage is the encouragement more positive than in 2:14, "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." It's the promised action of the Lord.
   But until then, how shall we live? Last night, during WednesdayNights @ FPC, the men's group studied Mark 5. It includes the story of Jesus bringing Jairus' daughter back to life. When Jairus approaches Jesus and falls at his feet, his daughter is on the brink of death. By the time Jesus finally gets to Jairus' house, the girl is dead. Still, in verse 36, Jesus turns to Jairus, who just heard that his daughter was gone, and says, "Don't be afraid; just believe." This is how we should live. We need not be afraid; rather, we need to have faith - faith that God can and will do what He has promised, faith that fills us with Christian hope, and faith that compels us to live as God's salt and light in the world. Habbakuk 2:4 says it this way, "the righteous shall live by faith."
   Beloved, when the world seems to be deteriorating around you, remember that through Christ the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. And, remember God's call on your life through Christ: Don't be afraid; just believe.
   I'll see you Sunday when we will continue to explore the biblical vision for the future.