Accountability, Affection, Bible, Family, Forgiveness, Relationships, Scripture

ENEMIES WITHIN 

MICAH 7:6 

“For son disavows father, daughter rises up against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a person’s enemies are the people of his own household.” 

This is a rough verse. Family squabbles are hard on everyone. The divorce rate is just as high for Christian couples as they are for unbelievers. That’s shocking. We have the answer. Sibling rivalries rise when going through a will. In-laws are challenging at times. 

It’s as if Micah looked into the 21st century and read our headlines. Solomon said it best when he said there was nothing new under the sun. Families fought back then, and they fight now. These were dog-eat-dog days for the people back then, and families were no exception. Everyone looked out for themselves. 

APPLICATION 

So, how do we apply this verse to our lives for today? We stop the fights within! When something starts up, we go to our knees together. It is really hard to fight with someone on your knees. Prayer does change things, but we have to let it. 

Let me ask you a tough question. Does Micah 7:6 fit your family? If it does, make it right. Go to the person you are at odds with and pray. Seek forgiveness and reconciliation. I know that takes two but do your part. That’s all the Lord can ask. 

My dad and his sister did not talk for years because of a financial squabble. She was the only sister he had, but he would not even mention her name. They finally settled the problem in their later years, but it was never the same. Don’t waste time with your family over temporal issues. Make it right today. 

Father, forgive me for anything I may have done to cause a schism in my family. 

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Advocate, Affection, Belief, Bible, Darkness, Despair, Encouragement, Scripture, Tears

WHY DO YOU CRY?

MICAH 4:9

“‘Now, why do you cry out loudly? Is there no king among you, or has your counselor perished, that agony has gripped you like a woman in childbirth?’”

Nothing is more disturbing for a parent than to see their child cry and not know the reason. We want to soothe them. We want to stop the tears, but they keep coming. This is especially true when they are very young and cannot communicate the reason. We usually figure it out after much trial and error.

Micah is asking the same question for the Lord. “Why do you cry out loudly?” He tells them there is no reason to cry. Even in their deepest valleys, their king is still there. He has not left them. Their counselor is not dead. He is very much alive. And even though the pain is real, this too shall end with much joy, just like a woman’s pain in childbirth ends with the joy of seeing that child for the first time.

APPLICATION

We do the same thing. When we go through a trial or a tough time, we often wonder where God is. We want to blame Him for our suffering. We even think He is trying to hurt us or cause us harm. Nothing could be further from the truth. God has not gone anywhere. He is still right there on His throne.

God allows us to go through trials to build our faith. It is never to tear us down. Some trials are harder than others – the loss of a loved one, a terminal disease. But no matter how hard the trial, God is still there. Our King still reigns. Nothing nor nobody has knocked Him off His throne.

Going through trials time after time allows us to build that faith that can move mountains. We begin to believe that God can sustain us through the darkest moments of our life. And then we can use that knowledge that we have gained to help others when they go through them. Paul tells us this in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. Take a look at that today.

Thank You, Lord, for always being right there. In the moments of my deepest woes, You are there.

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Abiding, Advocate, Affection, Affliction, Bible, Blessing, Compassion, Redemption, Restoration, Scripture

COME UNTO ME

MICAH 4:6

“‘On that day,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will assemble those who limp and gather the scattered, those whom I have afflicted.’”

I have several friends who work in the medical field. Some are doctors and others are nurses, nurse practitioners or medical assistants. No matter their role, they are all there to care for their patients the best they can. I am fortunate to know these individuals, but more importantly to know they are motivated by the love of Christ to do what they do.

The Lord said through Micah that He would bring back to Him those who have been made lame and those who have been scattered. Those whom He punished will be restored. He will bring them home. He will renew His covenant with them and show them the love of a Father.

APPLICATION

I cannot help but remember the times I had to discipline my children as they were growing up. Disciplining them did not reduce my love for them. It was, in fact, an act of love. Now, they did not understand that at the time. They did not appreciate the old adage “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.”

I tried each time I had to discipline them to also talk about why I had to do it. Prayer was often a part of that time. My one goal in discipline was to restore them back into a relationship that had been affected by their disobedience. Their willful decisions to disobey me or their mom had to be addressed.

I am so thankful God does the same. I know He loves me, but I do not like the discipline He gives me. In fact, the author of Hebrews says that in Hebrews 12:11. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it will produce righteousness and peace for those who are trained by it.” That says it pretty plainly, doesn’t it?

Thank You, Lord, for loving me enough to discipline me. Help me to receive it as it is intended.

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Affection, Affliction, Allies, Battles, Bible, Christ's Return, Confrontation, Consequences, Destruction, Enemies, Friends, God's Will, Rapture, Scripture

NO MORE WAR

MICAH 4:3

“And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift a sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.”

As I write this blog, war is still raging in Ukraine. When that will end is anyone’s guess. Through the ministry I am a part of, Trans World Radio (TWR), I know of believers on both sides of this war. Many have lost their homes and livelihoods and are struggling. It is heart-breaking to see the destruction of some beautiful cities and villages, not to mention the loss of life.

Micah prophesies, however, that one day there will be no more war. We have all heard this verse quoted over the years. Swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. I love that last phrase – “nation will not lift a sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.” Just think of the billions of dollars that could be redirected towards healthcare, food and clean water. This will be an amazing sight to behold.

APPLICATION

You are probably thinking, Sure, that sounds great, Carl, but we will never see that in our lifetime. You never know. I believe the Lord’s return for His church is imminent. With that event, the end-time clock speeds up – rapture, tribulation years (yes, I am a pre-trib guy), thousand-year reign and then the second coming of Christ.

How do we play a part in this? How about not making war with your neighbors? How about not looking at someone as if they are beneath you? How about extending the olive branch of peace towards someone who has harmed you? We can all help with these things. Peace begins with us.

I am personally not at war with anyone. I do, however, show my prejudices at times, politics and sports, to name a couple. I have to make sure I am not showing myself to others. I need to be showing Jesus at all times. Only He can make the change happen in others.

Lord, we await the day when there will be no more war

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Abiding, Advocate, Affection, Battles, Belief, Bible, Compassion, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Righteousness, Scripture

WOULD GOD DO THIS? 

MICAH 2:7 

“‘Is it being said, house of Jacob: “Is the Spirit of the LORD impatient? Are these His works?” Do My words not do good for the one walking rightly?’” 

As a pastor and a minister of the Gospel, I have been asked many times why God would allow the death of a loved one or a mass killing. I have also been asked by others why God would allow them to get cancer. I do not have answers to all these questions. I can only point them to Christ. I know He has all the answers. 

The Israelites were asking these questions. Would God really do this? Is God really behind this? God answers through Micah with the last phrase of this verse. “Do My words not do good for the one walking rightly?” That is a punch in the mouth, isn’t it? The Hebrew word for “rightly” could be translated uprightly or straight. 

APPLICATION 

You may be one of those people who have questioned God. You may not understand why He has allowed something horrible in your life. Let me tell you something. I understand that. My wife and I lost a little girl, Cathleen, back in 1987. She only lived about six hours. That was hard. There were questions, but God healed our hearts. 

I have also gone through two, count them, two stem cell transplants for treatment of a disease I have. That was not easy either. I prayed to die a couple of times, but God healed me. I am healthier today than I have been in probably a dozen years. As I said earlier, I do not have all the answers, but I do know the One who does. 

I want to encourage you today to lean into Jesus during those hard times. Do not worry about leaning too heavily on Him. He can carry the load. 1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Do you believe that? Then trust Him. 

O Father, I do not understand all You are doing in my life. I understand You are in control, so I will allow You to lead. 

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Abiding, Accountability, Accused, Affection, Bible, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Judgment, Scripture, Witnessing

JUDGMENT ALL AROUND 

MICAH 1:11 

“Go on your way, inhabitant of Shaphir, in shameful nakedness. The inhabitant of Zaanan does not escape. The mourning of Beth-ezel: ‘He will take from you its support.’” 

People all around us are reaping the consequences of a sinful lifestyle. I am not talking about a sin that you committed by accident. I am referring to lifestyles that are ungodly and rebellious. When we see those Individuals suffer for their wrong, what is our response? 

Shaphir, Zaanan and Beth-ezel were all cities or villages in Judah. They were all guilty of sinning against the Lord, and therefore, they would suffer the wrath of a holy God. That last phrase, “He will take from you its support,” is a frightful message. No one wants to live their lives without God’s support. 

APPLICATION 

If we know judgment is going to fall all around us, how should we respond? We should be about the Father’s business. There are people in our neighborhood who are clueless about the coming judgment of God. There are others who may have heard, but just don’t believe. And there are still others who believe it is coming but just don’t care. What do we do? 

We preach Jesus to them all. We have to believe that His Word will not come back void (Isaiah 55:11). If we are consistent and true to His calling, He will use us to get His message out. The results are totally up to Him. We cannot predict how anyone will respond to the Gospel. 

I want to share with someone every day. I would love to see all my neighbors and friends embrace my Lord. If you are like me, you probably have family members who are going to face judgment one day without Christ. Let’s all commit to reach out to those loved ones with the love of Christ. 

O God, I praise You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to pay the price for my sin so that I will never face that judgment. 

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Advocate, Affection, Bible, Brokenness, Comfort, Compassion, Despair, Grief, Holy Spirit, Mourning

HOW TO MOURN 

MICAH 1:8 

“Because of this I must mourn and wail, I must go barefoot and naked; I must do mourning like the jackals, and a mourning like the ostriches.” 

I have been to a lot of funerals throughout my ministry. Some of those who were grieving were really upset at the funeral. I have experienced some extreme mournings during those services. I have seen people hold onto the casket of their loved ones and just wail and moan. I have seen others fall on the floor sobbing uncontrollably. Everyone mourns differently. 

When I looked at today’s verse in the Hebrew, I discovered something interesting. The four words – mourn, wail, do mourning and mourning – are four different Hebrew words. They each describe the action differently. Look it up yourself. Why would the Holy Spirit lead Micah to use four different words to describe this? I believe it is because one word just can’t express our emotions. Micah is mourning and mourning greatly. 

APPLICATION 

Mourning is an important part of our lives. When we lose a loved one or a pet, we naturally feel empty. I am reminded of a passage from 1 Timothy 4. Verse 13 says, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as indeed the rest of mankind do, who have no hope.” 

Aren’t you glad our mourning isn’t based on earthly guidelines? God is with us in our deepest grief. He holds us tenderly as we weep and mourn. He understands. He created our tears. When we can’t find the words to pray, the Holy Spirit groans for us. 

I have grieved over the loss of a child, a dad and a mom. Other relatives have gone on to their heavenly reward. With each one I grieved differently. Just as Micah used different words to describe his grief, no one word could explain mine. Those are the times when I just rested in Jesus. Words were not necessary. Rest in Him today. 

Father of compassion and God of all comfort, I praise You for the words You give during our times of grief. 

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Affection, Bible, Blessing, Compassion, Covenant, Destruction, Distractions, Encouragement, Family, Flesh, Gifts, Holy Spirit, Scripture

MISPLACED COMPASSION

JONAH 4:10

“Then the LORD said, ‘You had compassion on the plant, for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight.’”

As a believer, I struggle with people who have more compassion for a sea turtle nest than an unborn child. They will fight to defend that spot on the beach where the turtle will lay its eggs but demand the right to choose to end the life in the womb. Misplaced compassion, in my view.

Jonah was accused by God of a similar misplaced compassion. Jonah was more upset about the dead plant that gave him shade than the tens of thousands of lives that had been facing destruction from God. His thoughts were not on them. He was thinking more of himself.

APPLICATION

Ouch! Isn’t that the same with us? We are so self-centered that we totally ignore the needs of others. If we are believers, if we are following Christ, then we have to have our eternal eyes turned on. We have to see the world around us and do all we can to share the good news with them.

But we look out for #1. Our needs come first. Our comfort is more important. We think all of that ranks higher than the lost soul we just passed on the street. When will we stop and get our priorities right? Jesus wants us to put others ahead of ourselves. That is what He did, isn’t it?

I am guilty of doing this way too often. I get busy, even busy doing ministry, and sidestep the homeless person on the corner. I avoid eye contact with the guy begging at the intersection. I have plenty to share. I could skip a meal and give that money to a struggling single mom. Would you pray that I am more sensitive to these needs? Would you join me by meeting the needs around you?

Forgive me, Lord, of closing my eyes to the needs around me. Help me seek out someone to help each day.

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Affection, Alone, Asking, Bible, Confession, Despair, Disciplemaking, Following, God's Will, Mercy, Prayer, Rescue, Scripture

THE PITS

JONAH 2:6

“I descended to the base of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, but You have brought up my life from the pit, LORD my God.

You may have heard the expression, “this is the pits.” But where does that come from? Well, I looked that up. It can refer to armpits which implies body odor, something that is undesirable. It also can refer to someone who is in the depths of despair. That is what I think of when I hear this. Well…Jonah was in the pits.

Remember where he is when he says what we read in today’s verse – the belly of a fish in the depths of the sea. It’s hard to get much lower than that. He was low. He was in despair. Look what he says, though. He says, “You have brought up my life from the pit, LORD my God.” Wait just a minute. He’s still in that fish. But now he realizes no matter the circumstance, God can lift you up from the depths of despair.

APPLICATION

If you are like most people, you have found yourself in “the pits” at some time. How did you manage that? How do you get out of “the pit”? So many of us turn to counselors or doctors for help. They can be very helpful. But so many of us don’t look at the spiritual side of our despair. We are spiritual creatures, as well as physical.

I want to encourage you the next time you find yourself in “that pit” to turn to Jesus. Ask Him why you are feeling the way you are. Ask Him what He would have you do to get out of that low place. He may reveal some hidden sin in your life that needs confessing. He may point you to someone who has gone through what you are going through at the time.

I have had the privilege to share my journey through chemotherapy and stem cell transplants to others who are going through the same thing. Let me tell you – chemo will bring you down into a pit. You need others to encourage you during that time. What have you gone through and what lessons have you learned that you can share with someone today? Do that.

Being in “the pits” is no fun, Father. I thank You that You have lifted me up each time I have called on You.

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY TO ALL THE MOMS OUT THERE READING MY BLOG!!

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Advice, Affection, Bible, Bitterness, Christianity, Family, Forgiveness, Modeling, Repentance, Restoration, Scripture

FAMILY REUNION

OBADIAH 20

“And the exiles of this army of the sons of Israel, who are among the Canaanites as far as Zarephath, and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad, will possess the cities of the Negev.”

Do you still have family reunions? My family has been having them for a long, long time. Family reunions give you the chance to see cousins and other relatives you haven’t seen in a while. You catch up on the news and see new members of the family. It’s that common DNA that binds you.

Obadiah is saying in verse 20 that the tribes of Israel are going to come back together. There will no longer be two kingdoms (North and South). Their common history binds them together. They would return and become one. After all the years of fighting, a common exile for each would bring them back as one.

APPLICATION

Is there someone in your family to whom you need to restore fellowship? We all have those members of our family who have broken off from the family. How do you do restore that? You have to focus on what you have in common, not the differences. You may have the same parents, or same uncles or aunts. Look at that.

If you are both believers, you have the most important bound – Jesus. He can heal any broken relationship, even the longest held grudges. But you have to let Him. It takes humility and forgiveness. That is something that should flow from Christians.

Family is tough. I believe most, if not all, families are dysfunctional to a point. None of us are perfect. We have all wronged someone from time to time. We need to make that right. Let me encourage you to do that today. Don’t wait. Time is short.

Lord, I am so glad You didn’t hold all my sins against me after letting me into Your family. You forgave me.

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