Reading Through the Bible - HABAKKUK

Some Books of the Bible are very short and this is one of the shortest. 


35th book of the OT 
35th book of the Bible

What is it?

The Book of Habakkuk is one of the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament.

Who Wrote it?

The Prophet Habakkuk  

How does it start?

It starts with a question from the prophet Habakkuk to God ch. 1 v.2-4    

Haggai is crying out to God about justice

How Long is it?

It has only 3 chapters.

What does it contain?

It covers
  •  2 questions from Habakkuk to God and God's reply,
  •  a prayer by Habakkuk
  •  God's comparison between the proud and the just in ch. 2v4

  •  God's proclamation on the wicked
but even through the judgement of the wicked there is always hope for the world.

When was it written?

It covers the period of 615 - 605 BC.

Prophecies come true in the period 608 - 598 BC

Why was it written?

It is to encourage people to turn to God and rely on Him to do what is right though prayer and praise.

The Overview Bible  tells us the following

"Habakkuk pleads with God to stop the injustice and violence in Judah, but is surprised to find that God will use the even more violent Babylonians to do so."


"Teach Sunday School" tells us the following

"The Prophecy is in response to heartfelt prayer and has been an encouragement to people to cry out in times of trouble."

What format does this book take?

The Overview Bible  tells us the following

  1. Habakkuk asks when God will judge Judah (Hab 1:1–4)
  2. God will judge Judah with the Chaldeans (Hab 1:5–11)
  3. Habakkuk asks why God would use the wicked Chaleans (Hab 1:12–17)
  4. God pronounces judgment on the Chaldeans (Hab 2)
  5. Habakkuk responds with a song of worship (Hab 3)

How does it end?

With a Hymn of Faith in ch. 3 v 17-19
where we get the very well known passage acknowledging that we can trust God through everything.




10 Bible Verses of Encouragement about Forgiveness

We all need encouragement and the best place to go is to the Bible.

In this blog Post I have tried to gather some Bible passages or Bible verses which will encourage us all around the topic of Forgiveness.

I do believe that we should not just grab a verse and read it on its own but we should always lift our bibles and read a passage of scripture to make sure that we know the real meaning and context of each of the verses we are putting our trust in. 

I pray that you will do the same and only use this list to guide you as to where you may find help.

So here are 10 Bible verses or short passages for us to turn to in times when we are concerned about forgiveness.

1.   1 John 1 v 9     

Starting at the beginning with what we need to be sure of - the fact that He is the one who is willing to forgive our sins


cleanse us from them


we also have a part to play - we must confess our sins.


2.   Daniel 9 v 9

Daniel did not have the benefit of the New Testament and the narrative of Jesus about His Father but yet he still knew what a forgiving God we have, regardless of how sinful we are.

"To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him." 

3.   Isaiah 1 v 18

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.

God is so gracious to explain to us that even though we are so sinful compared to our Holy God He still has made a way for us to be changed.

4.   Isaiah 43 v 25  

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions

 for My own sake;

And I will not remember your sins.

We cannot get rid of our sin but God will.

Then he actually comforts us by telling us He will not remember them - in other words He will not hold them against us afterwards.

5.   Psalm 103 v 10-14

10.  He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

We do not get what we deserve

11.  For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;

God's mercy is greater than we can even imagine

12.  As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

There is no getting these sins back because of His forgiveness

13.  As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.

Fear (awe) of God brings our the tender mercy of our God

14.  For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

God made us so no-one can know us better than He can

Are we deserving of any of this forgiveness?

No but God gave Jesus in our place so that He can forgive us when we turn to Him. 

6.   Ephesians 1 v 7

In our previous verse we saw the effect of God's mercy on our forgiveness now we see His grace.

7.   Acts 10 v 43

It's not a complicated process to apply for the forgiveness of God, we simply have to believe

this is where faith comes into the process.

8.   Isaiah 53 v 5-6

We have seen the mercy and the grace of God to bring about our forgiveness.

Then we saw the faith we need to have and now we see the hope we have in this Saviour 

but none of this is to be taken lightly because our Saviour took such a heavy burden that belonged to us.

9.   Matthew 6 v 14-15

Forgiveness is not just something that God does for us.

We must remember that once we have faith in God and become new creations we have the responsibility of taking on the commands of God and so we need to love others as He does and be ready to forgive them.

It should be an outworking of the Spirit of God working in and through us.

We finish with a reminder from the Apostle Paul

10.   Colossians 3 v 13

 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

The most important thing to remember is we must give forgiveness because we have first received forgiveness from the Lord.


Reading Through The Bible - HAGGAI

Some of the Books of the bible are very short and this is one is the second shortest in the Old Testament.    (Shortest is Obadiah)


37th book of the NT 
37th book of the Bible

What is it?

The Book of Haggai is one of the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament.

Who was it written to?

It was spoken to the governor of Judah and the High Priest as mentioned in verse 1.

Who wrote it?

The prophet Haggai spoke it 

How Long is it?

It has only 2 chapters and only 38 verses.

When was it written?

It covers the period of 520 BC.

We know this because it specifically mentions when in the very first verse by referring to the reign of King Darius 

"In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest," 

This book is also linked to the Book of Ezra ch.1-6

Why was it written?

God had a specific message for the leaders & the people to tell them to continue with the restoration of the Temple because they had put rebuilding of their own homes first and then didn't bother about the temple.

He wanted to get their attention for them to "consider their ways" and to make sure they took it seriously he said it at the start of His Word to them in ch.1 v 5 and then repeated himself 2 verses later.

Then when He had their attention in verse 8 God told them:

" the house (temple); and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified,  saith the Lord."

The Overview Bible  tells us the following

"The people have abandoned the work of restoring God’s temple in Jerusalem, and so Haggai takes them to task."


"Teach Sunday School" tells us the following

"Haggai's messages are simple and straightforward.  God tells the people through Haggai to rebuild the temple first.  It would keep them from falling back into errors that had caused the great exile."

What was the result of the message?

The leaders and people listened and took the words to heart v.12 and took action v.14 and they started to rebuild the temple.

The Lord spoke again and again through Haggai in ch. 2 where He spoke of the nations that He would bring to the temple in the future, that He would fill it with glory and that this latter glory would be greater than the former glory. 

What format does this book take?

The Overview Bible  tells us the following

  1. God calls the people to complete the temple (Hag 1:1–11)
  2. The people obey (Hag 1:12–15)
  3. God responds with encouragement and blessing (Hag 2)

My Pastor tells us the following  (see his Bible Study video on Haggai)

The name Haggai means festive so it is something to get excited about.

  1. God challenges the people and they obey Him (Hag 1:1–15)
  2. God deals with the shattered dreams of the people (Hag 2:1–9)
  3. Haggai calls them to a place of  (Hag 2:10–19)
  4. The Future Hope of the Kingdom (Hag 2:20–23)

How does it end?

With encouragement, a personal word to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, saying that God had chosen him.



Another 10 Easy Ideas for Face Timing with Kids - Stuck at Home & Need Help!

Are you stuck in the house?

If you are confined to home

                                      or just a long way away from your grandchildren   

 then you probably need some good ideas for things to do

                            when face timing or on a Zoom call with your grandchildren.

If So  


This is the place to find ANOTHER 10 Easy Ideas that you can do to have fun & interesting Facetime calls or Zoom meetings.

Yes Another 10 easy Ideas 
but you also might like to check out our previous posts

1.   Where's the Rock? 

We do not always have to be indoors to facetime.

We can go outside into the back garden sometimes and do things there that the kids would like to do when they visit.

On Easter Sunday we did a family Zoom Call which included the Banbridge Blacks (Fred & I), the Belfast Blacks (our son and daughter-in-law and the 3 grandchildren), the Malvern Black (our son who lives in England) and the Korean Blacks (really the Yoons - our daughter and son-in-law in South Korea).

I had hidden just 6 small Easter Eggs in two of the rooms and we took some time to walk round the house and do an Easter Egg Hunt for Matthew & Ruby.

In previous years we have done one inside and one outside in the back garden when of course they have been with us.

Another version of this is hiding large stones (possibly even painted ones) in the garden and then let the kids watch as you walk or run round the garden to see who can spot each stone first.


The grandkids could hide stones in their garden and take you out to find them!

2.   Telling a Story

As well as enjoying to read books together we can also tell stories.

Children like to hear about the grown-ups when they were little boys and girls so I knew our grandkids would enjoy short stories about things their dad and uncle Jonathan and auntie Linda did when they were young.

(Some day we need to get uncle Stephen involved to tell them stories of when he was a young boy growing up in South Korea because we don't know those things yet either.)

One way of doing this would be to show some pics of when their parents were young or of a family outing and tell the story from there.

eg.  we could tell the story of the day we went to the Ark in Vlissingen in the Netherlands

3.   Seek & Find Books 

This type of activity book is great for this type of event.

We have 

"Where's Wally?"


"Old Testament - find the parts of the pictures or find the characters"

Kids love trying to see who can find the things first.

In this I would hold the book and then Grandad could see if he could beat them in finding the items or people.

4.   Ballerinas & Ninjas

This is something our grandkids are very much into at the moment.

We have Matthew showing us his "Ninja Moves"
These are mostly cartwheels now (but started off with forward rolls) with some punching of air thrown in as he runs about.

We also have Ruby showing us her "Ballerina Poses" and then running round the room.
She started off with dainty steps and standing still with arms lifted high but progressed to running steps and trying to stand on tiptoe now.

Then the youngest one Sarah has found a way to join in - she leans over forwards and puts her head on the floor, we guess any day now she will tip on over into a forward roll.

They have so much fun doing this that we just have ask them to show us and then have a good laugh and clap them.

In other words remember what they are interested in that is very active and get them to "show you their moves"

5.   Colour, number, sound, action QUIZ!

This is actually a four-in-one idea but just think about things they might be interested in and it can be used several more times than this.

In the first "10 Easy Ideas for Face Timing with Kids" post I gave suggestions for quizes but this time you can use these new ideas and you can also have the kids use these simple ideas to prepare and be the Quiz Masters.

Colour Quiz:
Get various items they have seen before (of different colours) - then describe the item and see if they can remember the colour.

Number Quiz:
Can they remember or guess the number of items you have in certain places - lamps in the living room,  cushions in the sun room,  pictures in the hall,  ornaments on the windowsill?

Sound Quiz:
Do some little recordings of certain noises and then have them guess what made the noise (or who made the noise - Grandpa snoring!)

Action Quiz:
A quick demonstration of something they will have seen you do before without any props.
A bit like charades.

6.   Teach them to draw something.

I'd been learning to draw things to amuse the kids but some of the things I have learnt to draw are easy enough for them to try as they watch me do it.

So just warn their mum or dad that they will need some pencils and paper for this activity.

Here is a picture of the book I had bought to learn from

The birds, fish, rockets and robots are simple for them to start with and of course they will add their own flair to them all.

There is also a site online where you can get more ideas 

7.   Indoor simple exercises and dancing.

Just warn their mum or dad that they will need a bit of space.

Make sure you know what music you want to play.

Now this is good for you and them because we know we need to keep exercising too.

Make up some silly dance moves to go with some of their favourite songs and then have a few laughs.

8.   Indoor Scavenger Hunt.

Make up a list of at least 5 or 7 items - make it an odd number so that there will be a winner.

Have grandpa race against the kids and they can work together or the kids can race against each other or they can all race against each other.

My list below is an example thinking of what I know would be available on the ground floor of the grandkids home so that there is no rushing up or down the stairs

1.  1 blue item
2.  2 cuddly toys
3.  Hair brush
4.  3 crayons or colouring pencils or pens - 1 red, 1 black, 1 blue
5.  a slipper
6.  4 coins
7.  a musical instrument

9.   Guess the family member.

Think of 10 different things that would either describe a certain member of the family or tell something someone did when they were young or think of something one particular person likes and have the kids guess which family member you are talking about.

You can easily reuse this idea just by getting grandpa to do the thinking of the descriptions, or have the kids do it for you to guess.


Print out 5 pictures of different family members and cut them each up into 4 /5 pieces.
Then place one piece down after another and see if they can guess the person after just two or three pieces - keeping the head to the last of course.

10.   Learn a Bible Verse.

There are several ways to do this that will be fun for the kids.

1.  Do it as a rap.
2.  Use puppets.
3.  Dress up as a pirate or an astronaut or anything else and use a silly voice.
4.  Use a whiteboard or chalkboard
5.  Use Word Cards
6.  Use Picture Cards
7.  Make it into a Jigsaw
8.  Sing it

1.  I have done this years ago and I regret it was never taped.
2.  See Video
3.  Our son did this for his church during lockdown - see video
4.  See Video
5.  See Video
6.  Same idea as 5 but with pictures instead of words
7.  Pic
8.  See Video