Accountability, Accused, Battles, Bible, Choices, Consequences, Direction, God's Will, Obedience, Safety, Scripture

SPLISH, SPLASH

JONAH 1:15

“So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.”

Have you ever thrown someone into a pool? You know how kids can play. I can remember picking up someone and chunking them, kicking and screaming. It was all in play. No one was intended to be hurt. We laughed and usually did it again.

This was not the case with Jonah. He did not kick and scream. In fact, he probably laid down on the deck of the ship very calmly as the sailors picked him up and threw him in. Can you just see the sailors’ face when the sea stopped raging? They probably instantly went to the side of the ship and looked for Jonah. But he was not there.

APPLICATION

Maybe you’re kicking and screaming right now as God tries to throw you into the deep end of the pool. Does God do that? He certainly does. Most of us don’t go willingly. We may not kick and scream, but we sure argue with God, don’t we? We have all kinds of reasons why His won’t make sense.

I have been thrown into the “deep end” many times. You think I would have learned to go in myself. But no, I am hard-headed. I guess that is why I can relate to Jonah so well. There have been times when God gave me a clear direction, but I went the other direction.

Splash! There I went! Deep end! But I found when I got in that the water was just fine. I did not drown. In fact, I got stronger by learning to swim there. I could not rely on my own strength. I had to have His power to survive. So, I swam and got stronger. Are you still wearing floaties on your arms or are you allowing God to strengthen you in the “deep end?”

Father, Your Will often confuses me. But I know I can trust it because it’s Your Will and not mine.

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Abiding, Accountability, Accused, Bible, Consequences, Forgiveness, God's Will, Punishment, Redemption, Repentance, Scripture

TAKING THE BLAME

JONAH 1:12

“And he said to them, ‘Pick me up and hurl me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, because I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.’”

No one likes to take the blame for anything, whether they have done it or not. Accepting the blame for stuff goes against our very nature. We don’t want to be judged and ridiculed. It’s better to lie and let someone else get the blame. That’s just the way we are.

Jonah, however, accepts the blame. He says, “because I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.” Doesn’t that sound noble? But I think Jonah had another motive. See what he tells them to do. “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea.” I believe he wanted to die rather than go to Nineveh. Not so noble.

APPLICATION

What have you done that you failed to take the blame for? Come on, be honest. We’ve all done it. Isn’t it time to make that right? But don’t use the same motive as Jonah. You need to face the consequences. That’s what God expects. Own up to it.

But our flesh rebels against that. We think if we’re not caught, it’s all good. Not so. Not taking blame for the wrong you have done is sin. There, I said it. Now confess it as sin and seek the Lord’s forgiveness. Jonah didn’t do that in today’s verse. He owned up to it, but he didn’t confess it.

I am so glad I have a compassionate God who loves me unconditionally. Psalm 103:8 says, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.” Oh, how sweet are those words. I depend on them. In fact, Psalm 62 says so. “My salvation and my honor depend on God. Aren’t you glad we can depend on Him to make all things right?

I love You, Lord. I know I can do nothing unless You are working in and through me.

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Accountability, Accused, Anxiety, Bible, Consequences, Death, Fear, Forgiveness, Judgment, Scripture

HERE IT COMES

OBADIAH 15

“For the day of the LORD is near for all the nations. Just as you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.

Doomsday! You know you can’t avoid it. The weight of it is excruciating. The dreaded bathroom scales. No one wants to step on that thing. Am I right? I am currently on ANOTHER diet, lol. I need to shed some pounds that have creeped on over the winter.

That dreaded moment is nothing in comparison with what was headed Edom’s way. “The day of the LORD” was commonly known as a day of judgment. Obadiah poured out those words, which were very similar to the prophet Joel, when he said in Joel 3:7, ‘thy reward shall return upon thine own head.’ Edom knew exactly what Obadiah meant! Doomsday!

APPLICATION

What are you dreading right now? Are you dreading death? How about the end of the world? Those are both definites. They are going to happen. I hope that doesn’t scare you. That’s not my intention. Fear can motivate you, if it is the right kind of fear. The fear of the Lord is a good thing. Let me explain.

The fear of the Lord is a reverence for His holiness. The fear of the Lord leads me to bow down before Him in awe of His presence. The Lord does not scare me. In fact, it is just the opposite. The thought of the Lord spurs me on to holy living.

I don’t fear the Lord in a negative way because He’s my Father. He’s my Protector. He’s my Shield and Buckler. He carries me in His arms when I am too weak to walk. He soothes me when I am anxious. There is nothing to dread! I welcome Him.

O sweet Lord, You comfort me beyond anything I could ever ask or think.

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Abiding, Accountability, Accused, Bible, Bosses, Death, Deceit, Deception, Denial, Evangelism, God's Will, Scripture

SELF-DECEPTION

AMOS 9:10

“All the sinners of My people will die by the sword, those who say, ‘The catastrophe will not overtake or confront us.’”

You have probably seen a picture of an ostrich with its head stuck in the sand pretending there was no danger. Pretending doesn’t make it true. People ignore warning lights on the dash of their cars in hopes it will stop lighting up. But ignoring the warning light won’t fix the problem.

The people of Israel were ignoring the coming judgment. They didn’t believe the catastrophe would “overtake or confront” them. They seemed to think they were exempt from God’s wrath. But they found out the hard way that they weren’t.

APPLICATION

Are you ignoring any warning signs in your life? When I was in between my first and second stem cell transplants, I got very good at reading my bloodwork from the labs. I knew over a year before the doctor recognized that my disease was returning. I could see the warning signs.

I wish I was as good about recognizing the warning signs in my spiritual life. Often, God flashes me the warning lights about something, but I ignore them. I am certain they will go off by themselves. But you just can’t ignore those warnings.

I have finally learned to stay close to Him (John 15:4-8) so that I can know when I need to make things right. Sometimes I get so involved in ministry that I forget who I am serving. That’s sad. You think I would know better, but I don’t.

God, help me as I help others. I want to be like a You.

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Cheates, Commands, Consequences, Deceit, Deception, Double-minded, Forgiveness, Greed, Holy Spirit, Lying, Repentance, Scripture

CHEATERS

AMOS 8:5

“saying, ‘When will the new moon be over, so that we may sell grain; and the Sabbath, so that we may open the wheat market, to make the ephah smaller and the shekel bigger, and to cheat with dishonest scales,’”

Everyone hates a cheater (well, most everyone). Don’t you hate it when you buy something only to find out it’s not as advertised? Just watch some late-night television to see some of those ads. A cheater only wants to line their pockets with ill gotten gain, with no regard to the person they have cheated.

Amos warns the Israelites of this practice in today’s verse. He describes them to the last detail. They kept the festivals and the Sabbath, but only in practice. Their hearts were far from God. Look what they did. They made their ephah a little smaller and their money the wrong weight. Even though they were warned about this in the Torah (Dy 25:13-15), they still did it.

APPLICATION

Why would you ever think about cheating someone? When I was young, my dad’s sister sold a house that my dad and uncle owned to their mother without his knowledge. She was getting house payments from her mother and stepfather for something she didn’t own. She cheated my dad, and it caused a rift between them for years. They did finally make up, but it took many years.

Now, my dad wasn’t a believer back then. He didn’t have the Holy Spirit to guide him toward reconciliation. I am not sure about my aunt. I never had the chance to ask her about her salvation. I pray she knew Jesus. My point is this – if we know the Lord, we won’t cheat others, and we will forgive those who cheat us.

Hmmm, that sounds very familiar. How about this verse? Matthew 6:12 “‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.’” That’s what Jesus taught us in the “Lord’s Prayer.” Have you done that today? Ask Him.

O Father, forgive me. I fall so short of Your commandments.”

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Consequences, Eternity, Judgment

WELL, YOU ASKED FOR IT

AMOS 7:17

“Therefore, this is what the LORD says: ‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, your sons and your daughters will fall by the sword, your land will be parceled up by a measuring line, and you yourself will die upon unclean soil. Furthermore, Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.’”

Do you remember as a child saying the words of the blog title to someone? Maybe they had been pestering you and had ignored your warnings to leave you alone (every big brother or sister can relate to that). After several warnings, you say those words and then let them have it.

Well, Amos is kind of saying that to Amaziah. He had been prophesying to Israel and appealing to them only to be ignored and even ridiculed. So, he unleashes with both barrels. Just read those words in verse 17 again. Those are harsh words. I certainly would not have wanted to hear them spoken to me.

APPLICATION

So, how does this verse relate to us? No one is going to do those things to us today. Well, at least I sure hope not. You may be thinking those words only apply to these Israelites back during these days. But remember – every word of God’s Word can be applied to our lives today.

What was Amos telling them? Shape up. Judgment is coming. The same thing can be said to us today. We need to recognize the holiness of God and live according to His standards. Anyone found without Christ will face a judgment far worse. Their judgment will be for eternity.

I am so thankful my eternal destination is set. I know where I am going. I don’t have to fear a damnation judgment. I will be serving my Lord in Glory. It’s going to be an amazing sight to behold. One day – soon!

Lord, please forgive me for the many transgressions in my life. Help me lead a life that points only to You.

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Abiding, Accountability, Accused, Advocate, Bible, Calling, Confrontation, Evangelism, Modeling, Prophesy, Scripture

GET OUT OF TOWN

AMOS 7:12

“Then Amaziah said to Amos, ‘Go, you seer, flee to the land of Judah; and eat bread there and do your prophesying there!’”

I have never been told to leave town. I can’t help but think about the old “Gunsmoke” show with Marshal Matt Dillon. I can still hear him tell the bad guy that he had better leave town now. Matt Dillon had the authority to do that. And if that dude knew what was best for him, he would do it.

Unlike Matt Dillon, Amaziah did not have the authority to tell Amos to leave Israel. He told him to flee to Judah, the southern kingdom. Israel didn’t want to hear Amos’ message from God. Maybe Judah could benefit from his words. Amaziah did not want to be convicted by anything that Amos said.

APPLICATION

Maybe you have been the one to tell someone else to leave or to shut up. Perhaps that person was confronting you about sin in your life, so you asked them to be quiet. Doing that does not minimize your sins. They are still there. The one who really matters, God, knows what you are doing.

Perhaps you feel like telling the preacher to be quiet. He needs to stop meddling in your affairs. How did he know what you have been doing? His message(s) have been aimed directly at you. You just know it. Or maybe God is simply using him to convict you and draw you back to Himself.

I am thankful the Word of God convicts me every day. Today’s verse reminded me that I need to cling closely to my Savior. I want to reside in His presence. And I want to be used by Him to draw others to Jesus. I need to be that voice of truth that others may want to silence (just like Amaziah did with Amos). Will you be used today?

Lord, You are good. All You do is good. Help me imitate You.

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Accused, Anger, Bible, Blameless, Blessing, Confrontation, Consequences, Encouragement, Gossip, Holy Spirit, Jealousy, Lying

SQUEELER

AMOS 7:10

“Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, ‘Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel; the land is unable to endure all his words.’”

No one likes a tattletale. I can remember growing up with my three siblings. We were constantly tattling on each other, usually to get the monkey off our own back. We figured if we blamed someone else, we could sneak by getting caught ourselves. It seldom worked, lol.

Amaziah runs to Jeroboam and tattles on Amos. But he says something that is completely false. He claims that Amos has conspired against the king hoping to get the king upset about losing his power. This imposter of a priest has no idea what is truth and what is falsehood.

APPLICATION

I bet you have had others tattle on you. I bet you have even had others spread falsehoods about you. It hurts, but what do you do about it? How should you respond? Luke 6:27-28 tells us. It says, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

What? You mean I can’t retaliate? Not according to Jesus. The truth will come out eventually. We have to be willing to endure the sufferings of doing what is right. We know that leads to God’s blessings. To lash out would undermine our witness and tear down the truth.

I am thankful the Lord has taught me that. My flesh would want to get that person back as quickly as possible. But the Spirit within me tells me otherwise. He tells me to love that person. He tells me to pray for that person. He tells me to trust the Father. Do you?

I am so thankful that You are my protector and defender. People may attack me and try to accuse me, but You know the truth.

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