Advocate, Bible, Future, Hope, Scripture, Security

A “HOPECOMING” 

MICAH 7:12 

“It will be a day when they will come to you from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, from Egypt even to the Euphrates River, even from sea to sea and mountain to mountain.” 

Right now, here in the U.S. where I live, we have millions of people pouring over our southern border. I am not going to talk about the legality of this or point fingers at who is to blame. I want to look at what is happening. Millions of people are coming to the U.S., most of them in hopes of a better future. They see the U.S. as this great “hope giver.” 

Micah prophesies in today’s verse about a similar immigration to Israel from all over. People would return to Israel, while others would come for the first time. Micah could see the throngs of people pouring over their border. They were seeking more than hope. They were seeking Jehovah, the God of the land. 

APPLICATION 

Ask yourself today what you put your hope in. Is it in the stock market? Don’t fool yourselves. How about your job or source of income? That could change today. Is it your family? Sadly, that can change too. There is no sure thing down here on earth in which to place our hope. 

But…there is the one place we can all place our hope – Jesus Christ. Just like in Micah’s prophesy, people have come to Him from all corners of the earth. People of all languages have made their way to Him to find the fulfillment of life. He is more than hope. He is God, the giver of hope. 

I am so thankful for the hope I have in Jesus. I do not have to worry about my future. It is sure and steadfast in the arms of Jesus. He is my everything. Is He yours? Do you place all your “anxieties on Him because He cares for you”? (1 Peter 5:7). He can give you all the hope you need. 

I hope only in You, Lord. Your promises never fail.

Standard
Abiding, Advice, Advocate, Belief, Bible, Boundaries, Direction, Disciplemaking, Dreams, Encouragement, God's Will, Scripture

EXPANSION 

MICAH 7:11 

“It will be a day for building your walls. on that day your boundary will be extended.” 

I have a friend in Kenya who pastors a local church. This church began a school a few years ago for the children in their town who were too poor to attend the local schools only because they could not afford the uniforms. This school is expanding, thanks to the gifts of donors. They are eyeing some nearby land to expand so they can build some dorms to house some children who are homeless and are wandering the streets. 

Expansion! Micah prophesies the expansion of the boundaries of Israel. They will rebuild what has been destroyed and live in their land. Building and expanding their nation will take a continued reliance on Jehovah God. Micah is encouraging them to trust Him and believe in His promises. 

APPLICATION 

You are probably saying to yourself Carl, this is all well and good, but how does this apply to me? I am glad you asked. What size box do you have God in? By that I mean, what limitations have you put on how God can work in your life. Most of us do that. We cannot begin to dream of anything more. 

Let me tell you something. You need to think bigger. Now, I am not telling you to start asking for a jet or a bigger home. I am telling you to ask God to expand your circle of influence. Ask Him for greater opportunities to serve. Maybe He wants you to go on a short-term mission trip. Maybe He is calling you into full-time ministry. 

God wants to use us and use us mightily. He wants to see us expand His kingdom. He has great plans for each of us. He desires a willing vessel to use to send His message to others. Will you ask the Lord to expand your boundaries? Trust Him to show you. 

Expand my boundaries today, Lord. Show me how I can influence more people. 

Standard
Advocate, Battles, Bible, Covenant, Judgment, Protection, Redemption, Restoration, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

OUR DEFENDER 

MICAH 7:10 

“Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, ‘Where is the LORD your God?’ My eyes will look at her; at that time she will be trampled down like mud of the streets.” 

I like most of the Marvel movies that have come out. They fight against evil forces to save others. Almost always, they seem to be defeated, only to turn the tide on their enemy and come out on top. Those whom they are saving just know their fate is doomed until their hero swoops in to save them. 

God did redeem Israel. Micah prophesied as such. He knew his God would not forsake them. Sure, the nation deserved judgment. They had sinned against Him. But the very ones who were mocking them “Where is the LORD your God” would be judged themselves by a righteous and holy God. 

APPLICATION 

We were defeated by sin. We had no way of escape. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). But God…He sent His only begotten Son into the world to rescue us. Much like the Marvel heroes (but with real supernatural power), Jesus saved us. His method, however, seemed strange. 

Jesus did not descend with a myriad of angels to destroy Satan and his demons. That will come later. Jesus came as a baby to die for us. That made no sense, but often God’s methods do not to us. His plan, which was laid out from the very beginning, was perfect.  

Aren’t you glad God did things the way He did? His ways are always better than our ways. His methodologies, which at times confuse us, never confuse Him. He knows exactly what He is doing. He turned the tide with our enemy then, and He does now.  

O, praise You Lord, for saving my soul. I thank You for redeeming me from the pit and crowning me with love and compassion. 

Standard
Accountability, Advocate, Bible, Blessing, Confession, End Times, Judgment, Rapture, Scripture

THE DAY OF VISITATION 

MICAH 7:4 

“The best of them is like a thorn bush, the most upright like a thorn hedge. The day when you post your watchmen, your punishment is coming. Then their confusion will occur.” 

Don’t you love it when family comes to visit? I do. I enjoy reconnecting with loved ones. My wife and I have always lived away from family. So, when the opportunities were there for visits, we looked forward to them. Those were good visitations. 

The “day of visitation” in the Bible meant several things. Listen to Isaiah 10, verse 3. “And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?” This is the same message Micah is giving. God is here. And when He comes, things happen. 

APPLICATION 

Jesus is coming again. There is no doubt about that. When? No one knows, not even Jesus. One day (and it could be soon), the Father will turn to His Son, seated at His right hand in the heavenlies, and say, “Go get Your bride.” Then Jesus will come and take up the Church. 

When He comes the next time, it will be in judgment. He will come to judge the earth and all who are still dwelling there. The evil one will be dealt with. All things will be set straight to prepare for the new heaven and new earth. 

This is not a cliff note version of the end times. I just want you to see that when God visits, things happen. And the most important visit He will ever make in your life is when you accept His Son Jesus as Savior. Have you done that? If not, prepare for His visit! 

Lord, I know You are coming again. In the meantime, use me to lead many to You so they can experience Your presence in their lives. 

Standard
Advocate, Allegiance, Bible, Blessing, Coveting, Encouragement, Gifts, God's Will, Inheritance, Promises, Scripture

A REMINDER

MICAH 6:4

“Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

I am just like every other man, I guess. When I do something around the house like vacuuming or emptying the dishwasher, I make a point to tell my wife what I have done. I want to remind her just how good a husband she has, lol. Seriously though, we do that. We have to remind folks of our good deeds, as if that brings us any more honor. It doesn’t.

God, however, is simply reminding His children what He had done for them. They were slaves for 400 years in Egypt, but He sent a deliverer, Moses. He used Moses, Aaron and Miriam – these three siblings – to deliver His people from slavery. Had they really forgotten that. Sure, they repeated the history to themselves and their children, but did they really realize what He had done for them?

APPLICATION

I want you to take a minute to think of all the things God has done for you. You probably thanked Him at the time, but have you done that lately? Go ahead – I’ll wait. Done? Okay, make a list of these things. As you remember them through the day, add them to your list. You may be amazed as you begin to record these just how much God has done for you.

To just name a few in my life: 1) my birth into a good home, 2) my home church who taught me about Jesus, 3) my salvation at age 16, 4) my wife of almost 37 years, 5) my children, 6) my son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and 7) my grandchildren. These are a few of my favorite things, to borrow a line from Julie Andrews.

God has blessed us in so many ways. We tend to forget those things. Let us always be thankful for all He has done for us. It would not hurt us to have a thanksgiving meal more than once per year, huh? Every day should be a thanksgiving day. Thank You, Lord.

“And I’m forever grateful to You. I’m forever grateful for the cross. I’m forever grateful to You that You came to seek and save the lost.” (from the song “I’m Forever Grateful”)

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

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.

Standard
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. 

Standard
Abiding, Advocate, Bible, Comfort, Disciplemaking, Following, Listening, Scripture, Shepherd

OUR SHEPHERD

MICAH 5:4

“And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth.

Have you ever watched a shepherd call his sheep? It is pretty amazing. No matter what they are doing, if they hear his voice, they come (or so I have been told). They do not respond to any other voice, but his. I hope you can view this link. It is a great example of what I am talking about.  Do sheep only obey their Master’s voice? – YouTube

Micah is sharing with the people the rise of the Messiah. He will come and shepherd His flock, if only they will listen. I just love the last phrase of this verse – “because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth.” Look what has happened in the world for the cause of Christ. It has indeed spread to the ends of the earth.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you a question. Do you hear His voice? Do you hear the Shepherd calling you? You know He is. He wants to guide you. He wants to lead you to green pastures. He wants to guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). Will you let Him?

We are just like those dumb sheep sometimes. We wander off near dangerous bluffs. And when Jesus tries to prod us to safety, we rebel and wind up crashing over the side. Then we blame Him for not protecting us. We place ourselves in danger time after time, when all we have to do is listen for His voice.

I have learned that to hear His voice, I must be spending quality time with Him. That involves prayer, meditation and the study of His Word. His Spirit speaks to me through those. And as I spend more time, I have a clear channel to the throne of grace. How sweet it is to hear His voice early in the morning. Are you listening?

Father, speak to me. Guide, guard and graze me.

Standard
Advocate, Belief, Bible, Hope, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

O BETHLEHEM

MICAH 5:2

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

“Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above
While mortals sleep the angels keep their watch of wondering love
Oh morning stars together, proclaim thy holy birth.
And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.”

Bethlehem Ephrathah, of course, is known for the prophetic birthplace of Jesus. What you may not know is that this little town was one of the smallest of the smallest in Judah. It was not considered in many of the numberings, but was ridiculed because of its low position in the rank of towns, cities and villages. That is the town chosen by God to bring forth His Son into the world. Of course, it was. Jesus was to come for all, even the lowest of the low

APPLICATION

Never think that you are too low for Jesus. He came for everyone. I was recently in a meeting where we discussed the escape and recapture of four inmates from our county jail. One man said repeatedly that we must remember that those men also need Jesus. How true.

You may be going through a hard time right now and not feel you are salvageable. Not true. That is a lie from the pit of hell. Satan wants to keep us confused about our position in Christ. If you are a believer, you are a child of the King. If you are not a believer, the King awaits you. He welcomes you into His court.

I am thankful for the assurance I have of my salvation. I am thankful that Jesus came two centuries ago into a lowly village named Bethlehem (house of bread). He was indeed the bread of life sent to rescue me and you. Embrace Him today.

“And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.”

Standard
Advocate, Anxiety, Battles, Bible, Comfort, Courage, Devil, Encouragement, Hope, Rescue, Satan, Scripture

BEAT TO PIECES 

MICAH 4:13 

“‘Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hoofs bronze, so that you may pulverize many peoples, and dedicate to the LORD their unjust, and their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.’” 

Have you ever beaten anything to smithereens (that is a good ole Southern word)? That is the same idea as the word “pulverize” here in today’s verse. I can remember taking one of my dad’s hammers outside and crushing rocks with it. I would pound those things, so they were just dust. Ah, childhood memories! Lol 

The Lord is telling Israel that one day they will pulverize their enemies. They will be defeated and blown away like chaff. They will be totally destroyed. This was welcome news since they were on the other end of that timeline, being defeated themselves. But the day was coming when He would restore them. 

APPLICATION 

Maybe you are feeling pulverized right now. Perhaps the weight of the world seems to be on your shoulders. You cannot get rid of that beaten down attitude. I have good news. The Lord of all creation knows exactly where you are and how to get you out of that spot. We must remember that Satan wants us to feel that way. When we are down, we usually are not about the Father’s business. 

I only know one way to get rid of that feeling – time with Jesus. As you spend time in the Word and in prayer, that dark cloud seems to lift. Jesus tells us to cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Suffering is not all bad. I know that sounds too spiritual for you. But believe me, it is true. 

I have learned to bring all my cares to Him each day. When I am faced with a difficult decision or things do not seem to be going well, I pause and pray. I listen for His voice. Psalm 118:5 says, “From my distress I called upon the Lord; The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.”  Let Him set you there also. 

Father, thank You that You hear my cries for help. When I am in distress, I know I have Your ear.  

Standard