Abiding, Bible, Calling, Destruction, Disciplemaking, Idols, Sanctification, Scripture

GOT TO GET THE ROOT

MICAH 5:14

“‘I will uproot your Asherim from among you and destroy your cities.’”

Weeds are a result of the fall of man in the garden of Eden. Before the fall, plants had no “enemies.” Weeds had no purpose. But since then, weeds have plagued farmers and gardeners alike. To get rid of the weeds, you have to get the root. If you just break it off, it continues to grow and spread. You have to really dig deep.

God is going to uproot any Asherim (wooden images of the Phoenician goddess) and destroy (totally exterminate, demolish) their cities. Any place that held an idol was going to be purged. God was going to flatten the surface from any corrupting influence for His people.

APPLICATION 

Idols still exist today. They are all around us. I have said it before, but it deserves repeating. Anything that comes before your relationship with God can be an idol. Anything! God wants and desires first place in your life. He is the only one deserving of that.

Being in the ministry sometimes blurs that line. I think I have been pretty good about protecting my family and keeping them before my ministry. There have been times when the “ox was in the ditch” and I had to work longer hours, but for the most part I tried my best to keep them before my ministry.

But the line gets blurred between my relationship with God and my ministry. They are not one in the same. My ministry is my calling to share the Gospel and disciple men into disciple makers. But I cannot do either of those effectively if I am not abiding in the Vine. That abiding must come first, followed by my family and then my ministry. Take a minute and evaluate your priorities. Do you have something on the shelf above God? If so, take it down a notch or two.

Praise You, O God, for reminding me of Your place in my life. You should always be on the top shelf.

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Modeling, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Bible, Scripture, Following, Blessing, Power, Advocate, Relationships, Abiding, Belief, Covenant

NOT BY MY MIGHT

MICAH 5:13

“‘I will eliminate your carved images and your memorial stones from among you, so that you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands.’”

I loved my dad. He could fix just about anything. I learned so much from him about that kind of stuff. I watched and learned. He involved my brother and I in the projects so we could learn to do it ourselves one day. But when he started having some heart issues and was struggling with my mom’s health, he came to the end of his rope and finally admitted to God that he “could not fix this.” Then he gave his heart to Christ at 80 years old.

God is saying in verse 13 that there was nothing they had created by the works of their hands that could save them. Those carved images of wood and stone would not do anything to help them. Those memorial stones they had set up meant nothing. Only their faith and belief in Him mattered. They had to return to Him.

APPLICATION

Well, this application is pretty much in your face, right? What are you trying to prove to God by continuing to try to do it all on your own? I know people who have said, “I do not need your God. I am fine on my own.” That may sound noble, but it is really foolish. Self-reliance leads to self-destruction.

Zechariah 4:6 says, “Then he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of armies.’” That is the key right there. It is only by the leading of the Holy Spirit that we can accomplish anything. Isaiah said something similar in 26:12. “…all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” It has never been about what we can do for God. It is only about what He can do in and through us.

I am thankful that God broke me of my self-reliance years ago. Going through two stem cell transplants will cause you to rely on others and especially Him. I could do nothing. I was weak physically, spiritually and emotionally during those times. But He showed me His strength. Do you know that today?

O Father of heaven and earth, You care enough for me to invest Your time and Spirit in me. You have made me Your own.

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Allegiance, Battles, Belief, Bible, Blasphemy, Darkness, Devil, Evil, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Idols, Satan, Scripture

SORCERY FORBIDDEN

MICAH 5:12

“‘I will eliminate sorceries from your hand, and you will have no fortune-tellers.’”

I will never forget the evening when I lived in Lakeland, FL when my wife and I decided to go to the local outdoor mall. It was new to Lakeland and had become a major evening and weekend destination because of the shops, restaurants and entertainment. We were walking along, and while my wife looked in one shop, I decided to step into this store that caught my attention. As I walked in, a chill ran up my spine. All I saw was occultic images and products. I ran out of that store as fast as I could. Such darkness.

This is what the Lord is cutting out of the land. No sorcery or fortune telling would be allowed. These were based in the pagan idolatry of the land, the very thing the Lord had warned the people of when they came into the Promised Land. Nothing had changed. These evil practices were still around and were now going to be purged. Evil was evil then and still is now.

APPLICATION

So many Christians today dabble in the occult, thinking it is frivolous or meaningless. Satan loves for us to believe that. I am not saying that a demon is going jump out of the Ouija board and tackle you to the ground, but the devil has a way to hook us into this stuff. Tarot cards and astrology are still listed in God’s eyes as sorcery and fortune-telling. That has not changed.

If you are into these things or have been in the past, let me urge you to put them down and confess that as sin. Renounce any allegiance you had to these items and get rid of them. Burn them if you can. Does this all sound extreme? You bet. Our battle with the forces of darkness is real and extreme. You must have your armor on and be free from any form of darkness.

Once you do that and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, He will make you very sensitive to these things. You will be able to recognize any form of idolatry. God wants you and me to walk in holiness, free from the entanglements of evil. Walking free is so much easier than dragging around a chain of darkness.

O Father, thank You for protecting me from evil. I know You have my back at all times.

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Bible, Destruction, Redemption, Restoration, Scripture, Trials

DEMOLITION

MICAH 5:11

“‘I will also eliminate the cities of your land and tear down all your fortifications.’”

Some years ago, in a town where I lived, there was a restaurant that had a rat problem. They trapped them, fumigated them and tried every conceivable method to get rid of those rats. Nothing worked. They eventually had to tear down the restaurant, find the underground nest and exterminate them. Then they rebuilt the restaurant which is still standing today.

God says here in verse 11 of Micah 5 that He is going to tear down the cities and their walls. You need to understand something about this. Cities and walls represented a place of evil and rebellion. That is where the idolatry ran rampant. God had already told the people that Jerusalem would be destroyed. Sometimes God has to tear down in order to build back up.

APPLICATION 

Let me ask you something. What areas in your life need demolition? Is there a part of your daily living that must be completely torn down so you can grow in Christ? I will not name anything here. You know what you must give up. Those walls and structures in my life have changed over the years. Now, I battle the issues of time and energy.

We all have stuff in our lives that need to be tossed out. When we moved to our current home back in 2014, we threw away or gave away about three pickup trucks full of stuff we had collected over the years. It was time to discard, to downsize, to purge. Why had we held on to these things so long?

When we allow the Lord to destroy all those things that keep us back from being fully immersed in Christ, He can build something beautiful. We cannot see that until we do the demolition. Take a moment today to look at your life. What do you have in it right now that is coming between you and your growth in the Lord? Will you lay it down?

Lord, bring in Your bulldozer and level anything in my life that is in the way of Your perfect architecture.

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Abiding, Bible, Dependence, Rescue, Scripture, Trials

GUESS I’M WALKING

MICAH 5:10

“‘And it will be on that day,’ declares the LORD, ‘That I will eliminate your horses from among you and destroy your chariots.’”

There is not much more aggravating that a broken-down car. You are on the highway going somewhere, and your car or truck decides to quit. Mind you, I am not talking about just running out of gas (I’ve been guilty of that). I mean broken, not running, steam coming out from under the hood. You are not going anywhere. Your ride is gone. Hmm, sounds like our verse today.

Through the prophet Micah, the Lord is telling His people He is going to remove those things they had formerly relied on. They did not need them anymore. He was with them. He would fight their battles. God does not need horses and chariots. He wields the lightning bolts of heaven. He can throw hail stones down to earth to defeat their enemies. He is telling them to stand watch the hand of God.

APPLICATION

Oh, my friends, God is still saying that today. Do not rely on a medical miracle to save your life. Doctors only treat. They do not heal. That is God’s business. God is still bigger than anything we can come up with. We tend to think we can handle it. We can fix it. Especially us men. We are very bad about that.

But there are some things that we just cannot fix, and the sooner we figure that out, the better. If God allows your health to suffer, He has a bigger plan for you. If God takes you out of your comfort zone, allow Him to direct you. God is still doing great and mighty things.

Our problem is we do not see it. We westerners are especially blind to God’s little miracles. I speak as one who did not see them for decades. Even as a minister, I did not recognize the spiritual side of life as much as I should have. Sure, I knew God was there and was working. But wow, He is still doing some miraculous things in our midst. Open your eyes. Rely on Him.

Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes to Your handiwork in my life. Help me share that vision with others.

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Abuse, Accused, Advocate, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Confrontation, Devil, Distress, Encouragement, Enemies, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Rescue, Satan, Scripture

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE 

MICAH 5:9 

“Your hand will be lifted up against your adversaries, and all your enemies will be eliminated.” 

The title today is a saying I have heard all my life. Do you recognize it? Picture a tight squeeze that will not let up. You feel pressed from all sides. There is no relief. You do not know how much longer you can go on. Your body is crying out for the pressure to ease up. 

That is the word used here today for “adversaries.” In the Hebrew it means a tight squeeze. In other words, that is the feeling you get when you face adversaries. Of course, Micah tells the people here that their hands will be raised up against those adversaries and they will eliminate or destroy them. Whew! Relief! 

APPLICATION 

I am reminded of 1 Peter 5:8. “Be of sober spirit, keep on the alert, for your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” This adversary is relentless. He never gives up. He is relentless in his pursuit of us. He wants to destroy us. 

I was sharing with a dear brother recently that very fact. He was very aware of it and had been feeling the teeth of this ravaging spirit. Our defense? The Word of God, just like Jesus. We must answer the devil charge after charge with the Word. It is our Sword of the Spirit. 

Most days I am successful at warding off this adversary. I am prayed up and read up. But there are other days when I let my guard down for just a milli-second. In He swoops with fangs exposed going for my jugular. That Is why we all must be of sober spirit and on the alert. We do have victory over our adversaries when we are clinging to Jesus. 

O God, my Savior, I cling to You. I know only through You can I walk in victory each day. 

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Calling, Encouragement, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

REBUKE

MICAH 5:8

“The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, among many peoples like a lion among the animals of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which, if he passes through, tramples and tears, and there is no one who can rescue.”

No one likes to be rebuked or corrected. Well, at least I do not. I had much rather receive praise for something. Hadn’t you? I remember my high school football coaches rebuking me for a missed block or missed tackle. Their words were not so kind. They wanted to get my attention and correct my actions. It usually worked.

Micah told us in the last verse that the remnant would be like dewdrops. Not so much in this verse. Here the remnant is compared to a lion which “tramples and tears.” The remnant would be firm and strict in their exhortation to the sinners. This was no time to be gentle. A fierceness was needed.

APPLICATION

There is a time to be low key and soft-spoken. And there is a time to be direct. We are in that direct time, I believe. Time is running out. Christ could appear anytime. We need to share with everyone we can about the encroaching judgment.

I know, I know. People may get offended. Better to be offended and saved that unoffended and spend eternity in hell. I am not saying we should grab people by the collar and beat them with a big, black Bible. But I am saying we need to be bold in our witness without fear of being ridiculed.

The risk of being bold is that we may turn some people off. That is not our goal. Our goal is to turn them on to Jesus. I need to live what I preach. It does no good to preach Jesus and live like the devil. So, my sharing moves me to live more holy. I want others to see Jesus in me. I do not want them to simply hear my words. Will you share Him with someone today?

Lord, give me the courage and the boldness to witness to those around me today.

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Bible, Blessing, Compassion, Covenant, Encouragement, Eternity, Following, God's Will, Goodness, Hope, Remnant, Salvation, Scripture

DEW DROPS

MICAH 5:7

“Then the remnant of Jacob will be among many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on vegetation that do not wait for man, or delay for mankind.”

I went fishing early in the morning recently. I took my son and granddaughter. Of course, the grass was wet from the dew that had fallen during the night. In fact, it was very wet. My granddaughter is only 4 years old, so the wet grass got her little jeans wet, even though she was wearing rain boots. She didn’t care too much for that (but she loved the fishing).

The remnant of Jacob is compared to the dew that falls from heaven. They shall bring refreshing moisture to a parched land. All hope was gone when the people had been taken into captivity, but the Lord, through Micah, promises a remnant will return. And through that remnant, salvation shall come.

APPLICATION

Isn’t it funny how God orchestrates things? The people of Israel and Judah were taken in and out of captivity during those years of judgment. All the while, God’s plan of salvation was waiting to be implemented. The Law could not give what the people really needed. He had to show them the helplessness of their efforts in the Law.

Through Judah, Christ came as a baby in a manger. The Lion of Judah was born weak as a lamb. But His life on earth came like that remnant to give hope. This hope will last for eternity, unlike the hope from the remnant. This plan for man’s salvation is eternal.

Are you secure in Christ? Do you know Him as your personal Lord and Savior? That is the only way to find the hope you need. I am thankful for the dewdrops from heaven that I receive each morning as I study His Word and pray. They remind me how blessed I am in Jesus.

Father God, thank You for dewdrops that are sent to remind me of Your faithfulness.

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Abiding, Bible, Darkness, Devil, Evil, Persecution, Satan, Scripture, Victors

VICTORY THROUGH PERSECUTION

MICAH 5:6

“They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod at its entrances; and He will rescue us from the Assyrian when he invades our land, and when he tramples our territory.”

The persecuted church is a real thing. We do not see it much here in the U.S., but it is happening all over the world. Satan thinks he can destroy us. He thinks he can defeat the church and thereby destroy Christ. It is not possible. We have seen time and time again how the church has risen up in the midst of persecution.

Micah says here in today’s verse that although the nations are coming against them, their Chief Shepherd will arise and defeat them. “The land of Nimrod” refers to Babylon, which succeeded Assyria in its persecution of Israel and Judah. But God took the fight to them and defeated them. He will do the same for us.

APPLICATION

The battle belongs to the Lord. We have no power to defeat darkness. It can overwhelm any of us. But thanks be to God, He can defeat the darkest dark. His light can pierce through and enlighten those deep crevices where evil lurks. Our part in the fight is to cling to Him.

Clinging is hard, though. We want to venture out and sling our sword at anything that moves. We are just like the foot soldier. We must wait for our orders. Only then may we go out, in His power, to attack and defend the faith. It is His battle, and we are His vessels.

When I finally realized that the battle, much less the war, was not mine to fight, I was able to rest. It is not up to me. God’s got this! He knows exactly how to defeat the evil one. He will equip us and prepare us, but we must not try to do this on our own. Will you rest in Him today?

Lord, thank You for fighting for me. I will rest in Your capable hands.

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Abiding, Bible, Comfort, God's Will, Harmony, Peace, Scripture

HE IS OUR PEACE

MICAH 5:5

“This One will be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, when he tramples on our citadels, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight leaders of people.”

I find peace in the outdoors. When I am fishing (whether I am catching anything or not), I am at peace. When I am sitting in a deer stand or ground blind, I am at peace. I find peace in a quiet morning reading God’s Word or a book that can edify my walk with Him.

Micah declares the Messiah will be their peace. He was and still is. “The Assyrian” here represents all the nations that had and would come against the people. They are no match for their Redeemer. The “seven” and “eight” here are interesting. Of course, seven means wholeness and completeness. When coupled with eight, they mean a countless multitude. What a promise.

APPLICATION

In Isaiah 9:6, Christ is called the Prince of Peace. Paul, in Ephesians 2:14, say, “For He Himself is our peace,…” All through both the Old and New Testaments, we see peace. I have said before in my blogs, that peace cannot really be discovered until you are at peace with God. Are you?

Once your peace with God is secured through the acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior, that peace begins to spread. You become a more peaceful person, thus making your other relationships more at peace. It may take some time for that to become your lifestyle, but you learn to rest in Him.

Peaceful may not be the first word used to describe me, but I am surely at peace. I have learned to not sweat the small stuff. I have learned to trust Him with those decisions that are facing me each day. Big ones and small ones, it does not matter. Every decision I make is run by Him, and I allow His peace to be the barometer. If I do not have His peace about a decision, that decision is either no or not now. I wait. Are you at peace today?

Peace like a river, there’ll be peace like a river, peace like a river floods my soul

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