Abiding, Battles, Bible, Devil, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Modeling, Protection, Rescue, Scripture

THE STREAK

Amos 2:16

“’Even the bravest among the warriors will flee naked on that day,’” declares the LORD.”

Back in the 70’s there was a phenomenon called streaking that caught up a generation of young people. These streakers would strip off their clothes and run across a ball field or a basketball court or any other public venue where they could get attention. They had no reason for doing this except to simply run naked and shock people. There was even a song written about it by Ray Stevens called “The Streak.”

There was nothing funny about the streaking mentioned in today’s verse. These brave warriors of Israel would be running naked due to fear. The Lord declared it, so it must be so. He was telling the nation of Israel over these last several verses that their judgment was here. Not even the bravest warriors could stand up to Him or those He may send to carry out the judgment.

APPLICATION

I can hear you now, Well, Carl, I am not going to be streaking anywhere. I hope that’s true, lol. No one wants to see that. But how often do we flee from our battles naked? We go into our daily walk undressed. Ephesians 6:10 tells us pretty clearly that we should put on the full amour of God. That’s head to toe coverage. We are in a battle every day and we cannot go in naked. If we do, the same thing that happened to those warriors in today’s verse will happen to us.

Just how naked are you? If you don’t put on the full armor of God, you are naked. You can’t go in partially dressed. You can’t pick and choose which part of the armor you want to wear today. You have to do put it all on or you are open to attack. You might as well be naked. I hope you understand that. It’s the full armor.

I like to start with the girding part – the truth. Then the breastplate of righteousness. My feet are shod with the gospel of peace. I am wearing my helmet of salvation. I have my shield of faith and my sword – the Word of God. With that protection, I can face the flaming arrows of the evil one. I can defend my faith and walk securely. So are you streaking or preparing for battle? It’s your choice but choose wisely.

O God, I praise You for giving me the garments to wear. I know I am protected by Your armor.

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Accountability, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Confrontation, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Leading, Ministry, Redemption

ARCHER

Amos 2:15

“’The one who grasps the bow will not stand his ground, the swift of foot will not escape, nor will the one who rides the horse save his life.'”

A friend of mine has a son who is an incredible archer. He has won just about every state and national title shooting a basic recurve bow. He has accomplished so much in such a short time. But one thing about an archer is they must be able to stand still. You can’t be moving around and be precise. My friend’s son is precise. He knows how to stand still and shoot straight.

I noticed in today’s verse that the Lord points out the fact the archer must stand his ground. He must stand firm, even when the battle is headed his way, even when the enemies arrows are falling all around him. In order to hit the target, the archer has to stand firm. Then he has to aim at the target to hit it. The Lord is saying here that they no longer will be able to do that

APPLICATION

Standing firm is critical to fighting our spiritual battles. We have to face our enemy head on. 1 Peter 5:9 tells us to stand firm and resist the devil. Paul tells us in Ephesians to stand firm and put on the full armor of God. All through the Bible we are told to stand firm. It must be pretty important. So, why aren’t we doing that?

We, myself included, tend to limp around when it comes to spiritual warfare. So many believers are scared of the subject. But listen to me, you have to stand firm, draw back your bow and trust God with the rest. We may not be skilled with a bow, but we can sure stand firm and ask the Lord to guide the arrow. He will, you know.

I am so thankful for a God that understands my need and prepares me for battle. I do not want to be like that archer who will not stand his ground.

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DEFEAT

Amos 2:14

“’Refuge will be lost from the swift, and the strong will not strengthen his power, nor the warrior save his life.'”

I remember a football game I played in high school. We played a team that was way out of league. This team has us down 50 to 0 at halftime. Every time they touched the ball they scored. We couldn’t stop them. As hard as we tried, they were just bigger and better than us. It was a pretty hopeless feeling at halftime knowing we had to go back out and play the rest of the game.

The Lord is reminding the Israelites that nothing within them was going to rescue them from His judgments. The swift, the strong and the warrior were helpless, about as helpless as I felt in that locker room at halftime. God’s judgment was sure and certain. Their swiftness, strength and battle skills were no match for Him. It as time they learned that.

APPLICATION

Have you ever felt this helpless? During those time, what do you do? The beautiful thing about being a Christian is we have no reason for feeling that way. If we are following the Lord and relying on His Word, we know it’s not about us. Our potential skills don’t matter. All that matters is following Him. He will give us the swiftness, strength and fighting skills we need. We just have to ask.

But what about those low times? I know we shouldn’t have them, but be honest, most of us face them. Do you think the Lord wants you wallowing in self-pity and guilt? No, He wants us walking in victory. There js literally no power on earth that can keep us down if we surrendered to Him. Whatever you are facing today, let it go. He is there.

I am a child of the King. He is in control. I simply follow His marching orders. Right now that means moving into full-time missions work with Every Man A Warrior. In about one month that will happen. This is a path I would have never taken ten years ago. But God has reminded me that it is not about me. It’s all about Him. That’s the secret.

Father, remind me daily that it’s not my power. It is totally Yours. I am Yours to use as You see fit.

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Obedience, Bible, Scripture, Promises, Rescue, Healing, Freedom, Destruction, Advocate, Abiding, Failures

A RUT

AMOS 2:13

“‘Behold, I am making a rut in the ground beneath you, just as a wagon makes a rut when filled with sheaves.’”

Do you know what a rut is? It’s a grave with both ends knocked out. I know, that’s not a very funny joke. I don’t write them. I just repeat them, lol. Seriously, not many people like to be in a rut. It implies you are stuck or traveling is hard. Ruts can break axles on vehicles. Bottom line – ruts aren’t fun.

The Lord tells the Israelites here in verse 13 that He is burdened by them. The weight of their sins is upon Him. He is weary of them. How sad that must have sounded to them. Their God, the One who delivered them, is weary of them. But now God is over it. He is tired of being tired of them. He is going to deal with them appropriately.

APPLICATION                                                              

Do you think our sins burden Jesus? If you are child of God, if you have given your life to Him, then all your sins are forgiven. We have the privilege to walk with Him in victory. Do you think He gets weary of our rebellion and disobedience? I am sure it disappoints Him. He knows we are human and fall short, but He has given us everything we need to live for Him.

Ask yourself if you are living to please the Father today. Or are you in a rut? Do you let the trials of life weigh you down. There’s a line in a hymn that I love. It says, “Burdens are lifted at Calvary.” Do you believe that? I sure do. I know my burdens are lifted by my Master. I want out of the ruts.

So, next time you feel you are in a rut, stop and examine what burdens you are holding on to. You don’t have to. He’s got this. And the beauty is once we give Him our burdens, they really are lifted. God can handle it. We can’t. Let Him have all your burdens (1 Peter 5:7).

I cast all my burdens on You, O Lord. I know You have the ability to take them and lighten my load.

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Accountability, Apologies, Bible, Commands, Condemnation, Evil, Failures, Holiness, Modeling, Prophesy, Repentance, Righteousness, Scripture, Sin

EVIL INFLUENCE

AMOS 2:12

“‘But you made the Nazirites drink wine, and you commanded the prophets, saying, “You shall not prophesy!”’”

Have you ever influenced someone to do evil? It’s not something to be proud of. Unfortunately, before I was a Christian, I did that. I don’t need to say what I did or to whom. Needless to say, I am so sorry for doing that. I have since apologized to those to whom I did that. You see, sin is so easily corruptible.

The Israelites were guilty of doing the same. The Lord says here that they made the Nazirites drink wink, which went against their vow to not let anything from the fruit of the vine touch their lips. They also commanded the prophets to not speak the word of the Lord. They didn’t want to hear it. The Lord rebukes the nation for these acts.

APPLICATION

Why do we do these things? Because we want to look better than others. The Nazirites lived holy lives. That shined light on the Israelites sins. They couldn’t have that. Prophets spoke against their sins. They couldn’t have that either. We are the same way. We don’t want others pointing out our sins. We don’t want others living lives that “show us up.”

However, we are in need of conviction. The Word says we all have sinned. That’s a fact. We need someone to point out our sins. Too many preachers today fail to do that. They gloss over sin. They condone sin. They openly accept the sins of others. That’s too sad. And it’s against what the Lord expects. God expects holy living among His people.

So, what’s it going to be for you? Are you going to influence towards evil or towards holiness? I may not always do the right thing, but it is my prayer that I always point others towards Christ. I pray they see Him in my walk. I pray they hear Him in my speech. May God continue to convict me when I fail Him.

Lord, I am so sorry for the many times I failed You. Continue to use Your Holy Spirit in my life to point me in the right direction.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Calling, Commands, Courage, Disciplemaking, Discipline, God's Will, Holiness, Modeling, Sanctification, Scripture

SEPARATED

AMOS 2:11

“‘Then I raised up some of your sons to be prophets, and some of your young men to be Nazirites. Is this not so, you sons of Israel?’ declares the LORD.”

It seems lately I have been bringing up a lot of my childhood memories in my daily blogs. I am thankful for those memories. Today, I am remembering my daddy’s shop in our backyard. My dad had a great shop with just about every tool needed for any job. It was a collection of tools over decades. But one thing I remember about his tools was he had certain tools for certain jobs. I can still remember picking up some tools in his shop and wondering what in the world it was for. Then he would explain the purpose, maybe only one purpose, and I would understand.

God set apart the Nazirites for a purpose. They were the ones called to live holy, unstained lives in the midst of perversion and disobedience. We can think of the stories in the Old Testament that talked about them. One in particular stands out – Samson – who was not true to his calling. He disobeyed the Nazirite vows in so many ways. God still used him, but I wonder if he had been more faithful, what else could he have done for the Lord.

APPLICATION

We are called to be separated from the world also. As believers in Jesus, we are to be different, peculiar, aliens in this land. Sure, we have to live here and interact with others. But our mode of living needs to look different from the world. We need to raise eyebrows. Especially now in our culture, we need to show that it is possible to life “separated.”

How do you do that? Psalm 119:9 tells us. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word.” There is no other way. Only the Word will keep you separated. It teaches us how to walk with Christ daily, still interacting with the world around us like He did, and yet not get stained by the influence of evil.

I am thankful I can walk separate. I am thankful I can live holy. I am thankful for the Word of God that shows me what to do every day. During this week of Thanksgiving, give thanks with a grateful heart for being separated by Christ.

Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy One. Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.

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FORGOTTEN POSSESSIONS

AMOS 2:10

“‘And it was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you in the wilderness for forty years so that you might take possession of the land of the Amorite.’”

Isn’t it wonderful to uncover a lost possession? My family has moved a good bit through my over four decades in ministry. Sometimes, in the process of backing, one of my kids would exclaim, “Look what I found.” Something they knew they owned, but had misplaced, was uncovered in the packing or unpacking process. It was always theirs, just wasn’t in their physical possession.

The Lord is reminding Israel of their possessions. He had given them the land of the Amorites. It was a gift from Him to them many years previously. It wasn’t something they had purchased or won on their own. It was Him who had ridded the land of the Amorites and gave it to them just as He had promised. After the long journey through the wilderness, He had given them the land. But they had forgotten.

APPLICATION

Do you have lost possessions? I bet you do. But more importantly, let me ask you this question. What possessions do you have in Christ that you aren’t utilizing? I was talking to some friends just recently about that. Why do so many Christians walk around defeated? Why do we act as if we can’t live holy lives?

God has given us everything we need to live for Him. Just take a look in Galatians 5 at the fruit of the Spirit. With all those blessings, we have no excuse for not living for Him. We have no excuse for not living victoriously. Sure, life can be hard sometimes. But do you think that surprises God? Of course, not. He gave us all we need to handle ever situation.

I am thankful for the Lord’s blessings in my life. I am thankful He has provided me with all I need. I just have to claim it. I just have to walk in it. I just have to… How about you? Don’t forget your possessions.

I am blessed beyond measure because of You, O Lord. Help me “tap” into all the possessions You have given me.

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Advocate, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Faith, Faithfulness, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture, Victors

FORGOTTEN VICTORIES

AMOS 2:9

“‘Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, though his height was like the height of cedars and he was as strong as the oaks; I also destroyed his fruit above and his roots below.’”

I am a University of Georgia Bulldog fan. I went to school there from 1978 to 1982. So, I cheer loud and strong for the Red and Black whenever I get a chance. But as excited as I get about our football victories, I couldn’t tell you the exact dates and times of each victory. Sure, some of them stand out, but most fade into my memory. Forgotten victories.

The Israelites had forgotten how God had destroyed their enemies as they entered the Promised Land so many years earlier. In just one example, the Lord reminds them of the Amorites, of which dwelt the Rephaim who were giants in height. Their size alone brought fear out of men. But Jehovah destroyed them for the Hebrew children. Forgotten victories.

APPLICATION

How many victories has God done in your life for you to quickly forget them? Perhaps you had a bill you couldn’t pay, and God provided for you. Maybe you had a health scare from which God delivered you. Your child was sick with fever, and you prayed all night long. Do I need to go on? Forgotten victories.

The Lord does so many things for us in our daily battles. We forget how faithful He is despite out unfaithfulness. He delivers us when we don’t deserve delivering. He defends us from our adversary, the devil, when we have faltered in our faith. Every victory we have in life can be traced back to our Deliverer. As a child of the King, our victories all belong to Him. Forgotten victories.

Don’t let your life be filled with forgotten victories. Make a log of them. Write them down. Keep track of them. Not for bragging purposes but for celebration purposes. I recently rang the bell at my Oncologist’s office indicating I am in remission from a disease I have. That victory belongs to God. He was the One who healed me. Remembered victory!

O Lord, I praise You for every victory in my life. The battle belongs to You.

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OTHERS’ THINGS

AMOS 2:8

“‘And on garments seized as pledges they stretch out beside every altar, and in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined.’”

My dad had one rule about borrowed tools. If you borrow it, take it back. If it’s borrowed, get it back. My dad had a shop full of tools, and when he died eight years ago, they were still there. My brother, nephews, son and other family members got all the tools they wanted, and they were still tools left. That’s because of the “borrowed” tool rule. They were always in the right place.

The Lord had a command against keeping the garments of the poor that had been given as pledges of debt. Those garments were to be returned at night since they most likely were the poor’s means of keeping warm. Here the Lord rebukes them for keeping them and stretching them out at altars. They also mockingly drank the wine received as payment in their places of worship, further reveling in their idolatry.

APPLICATION

Well, I can hear us now. We don’t take other people’s clothes and wine. This doesn’t apply to us. Don’t forget that every word of God’s Word is inspired. So, it always relates to us in some manner. These Israelites saw others in need and turned their heads. They knew God’s command and still did it. Don’t we do the same? Don’t we see others who are cold and thirsty and turn our heads?

Now, I know we can’t meet the need of every person. But we can meet the need of one. It’s coming into winter here in Tennessee where I live. I see the homeless just about every day and wonder how they stay warm. I wonder if they have enough to eat or drink. And what do I do about it? Very little. I may hand out a bag of food or something, but that’s about it. Many of these I see choose to live this way. I realize that. But that doesn’t lessen my responsibility.

How about you? What can you do about it? I bet you see the same people in your town. People who just need a little help. Don’t wait on someone else to step up. Get your church involved. Ask around and get others involved. Even a little group can make an impact on one person’s life.

Thank You, Father, for blessing me to be able to bless others. Open my eyes to those around me who need a helping hand.

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Accountability, Bible, Commands, Confession, Consequences, Deception, Discipline, Evil, Flesh, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Perversion, Scripture, Sin

PERVERSION

AMOS 2:7

“‘These who trample the head of the helpless to the dust of the earth also divert the way of the humble; and a man and his father resort to the same girl so as to profane My holy name.’”

Sin by any other name is still sin. I know I have called my sins things like “my rights” or “just my personality.” Listen, anything that goes against what the Lord commands is sin, plain and simple. Anything that seeks my will over His is sin. Anything that belittles another is sin. I could go on, but you get the picture. We call our sins other things to disguise them and feel better about them.

All the things mentioned in verse 7 today were sins against a holy God. The rich were trampling the helpless for the dust they had put on their heads in mourning. They were diverting the meek and humble away from God. A father was marrying his son’s widow and vice versa. And father and son were perhaps visiting the same temple prostitute. All abominations in the eyes of God. But Israel was blind to them.

APPLICATION

What perversions do you have in your life right now? Most of us would quickly deny we had any perversions. Those are only the gross sins, right? Wrong. Any sin against God is perverse. They all go against His holiness. So, let me ask you that question another way. What sin(s) do you have right now that God would see as against His holiness? Now, that changes everything, doesn’t it?

I want to encourage you to confess those “perversions” right now. Ask the Lord to reveal to your eyes the sins you have not confessed to Him. Take the time to evaluate your lifestyle. Are there things you are doing on a daily basis that bring your faith into question? Are you compromising your testimony to achieve something? The Lord will show you what you need to confess, if you will just ask.

Staying “confessed up” is the key for me. The Holy Spirit is quick to convict me. If He’s too busy, my wife is always available. Lol. Seriously though, I am thankful for a wife that will not hesitate to call me out on my sin. That’s special. I love her for it. I pray you have someone in your life who will do the same. If not, find someone.

Your conviction in my life is precious, O Lord. I want You to keep my accountable for my sin.

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