Abiding, Accountability, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Discipline, Faith, God's Will, Judgment, Restoration, Scripture

NO LONGER

NAHUM 1:12

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Though they are at full strength and so they are many, so also they will be cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no longer.’”

I had to have a test one time to determine if my nerve endings were affected by my Amyloidosis (the disease I have). I will not go into all the details of this test, but suffice it to say, it hurt. And it took a long time. I did not think it would ever end. Finally, the technician doing the test said, “Okay, Mr. Willis, we’re done now. The test is over.” What sweet words!

Nahum is telling Israel that the one He had used to afflict them would afflict them no longer. Their time of suffering had ended. Don’t you know those were sweet words to them, as well? On top of that, the ones who had afflicted them were going to get what was coming to them.

APPLICATION

Are you in a time of affliction right now? This too shall pass. Let me encourage you to not look on your affliction as affliction. Look on it as purification. See it as a testing to make you more like Jesus as you learn to trust your Father in the midst of the storm. I do not know what you are going through. I do not know the source of your trial. But I know the One who does.

There is not a trial that has ever afflicted one person that God is not aware. Some of those trials He has brought on to bring that person to Him. Other trials He has simply allowed. All of them are meant to make us better, not bitter. It all depends on how we surrender in the midst of the affliction.

I have shared numerous times in my blogs about the afflictions I have been through physically. I will hasten to say that I do not want to repeat any of them. However, I also know that God used them all to strengthen me and make me into the image He wants to produce in me. Let Him refine you today.

O God, Redeemer of my soul, make me what You want to make me. I am clay in Your hands.

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Affliction, Hunger, Promises, Scripture, Self-control, Submission, Suffering

NEVER SATISFIED 

MICAH 6:14 

“‘You will eat, but you will not be satisfied, and your filth will be in your midst. You will try to remove valuables for safekeeping, but you will not save it all, and what you do save I will turn over to the sword. 

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and gotten a meal that just did not satisfy you? It may have been too expensive or tasted poor. Perhaps, you had bad service. Whatever the reason, stop and think about how important that meal really is. 

God did not mean the same thing I just mentioned. Their dissatisfaction was God-inflicted. He meant for them to get no pleasure from their food. Maybe He caused them to lose their sense of taste. I did that when I had covid. Maybe they did not have enough to eat. That was probably more likely. 

APPLICATION 

Have you ever been really hungry? I do not mean you just missed a meal, and your tummy is growling. I am talking about real, severe, haven’t eaten for days hungry. I cannot say I have ever really been hungry. I am getting hungry just writing this though, lol. 

Most of us are so spoiled. I know many Westerners are overweight (myself included) and are never satisfied. We think we should have whatever we want. I want to ask you to consider fasting a few days and see what the Lord shows you about hunger.  

This is not intended to be a guilt trip kind of thing. I know from experience how that works. If you are physically able, give it a shot. When those hunger pains hit you, begin to pray. Pray for the hungry all around you. Ask the Lord to speak to you through all that stomach growling. You may just be surprised. 

Father, thank You for providing all my needs. Help me to be more sensitive to those who have legitimate needs and may be hungry. 

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Abiding, Affliction, Allegiance, Battles, Belief, Bible, Encouragement, Sickness, Suffering, Trust

DOES THE LORD MAKE YOU SICK? 

MICAH 6:13 

“‘So also I will make you sick, striking you down, making  you desolate because of your sins. 

What a title for today’s blog! But the verse called for it. So, let me tell you from personal experience, God does not “make” you sick. He “allows” sickness to come into our lives for various reasons. We will talk about that more in just a minute. I needed to express this thought first, before we went any further. 

God, however, was giving out judgment to a rebellious people. He allowed all kinds of maladies to come on them. They were all for the same purpose. He was trying to draw them back to Him. This verse isn’t very encouraging, is it? But we are going verse by verse, not just seeking out the good verses. 

APPLICATION 

Now, back to this discussion about sickness. Most of you who read my blog regularly have read about my two stem cell transplants (SCT). They were about ten years apart (Nov 2010 and Feb 2020). But you need to know God used those two episodes and everything that followed differently. 

The first SCT was to test my faith to prove me faithful. It was intended to drive me and my family to trust Him more. The second SCT was not about me. He used me to show others how to be faithful. I did not necessarily like being used as an example, but He used me any way. 

Suffering and sickness is never fun. But we have to know as believers that if we are going through it, God has allowed it. He would never allow something to touch you to drive you away. It is always to bring you closer. Believe me, those two SCTs brought me to a sweeter intimacy with Him. I can say now, looking back, that I am grateful He allowed me to be used. Can you say that today? It may be hard at first but just trust Him. 

Lord, You are always there, no matter what I am going through. Yea, though I walk through the shadow of death…” 

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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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Affliction, Belief, Bible, Promises, Redemption, Rescue, Scripture

PROMISED REDEMPTION

MICAH 4:10

“‘Writhe and scream, daughter of Zion, like a woman in childbirth; for now you will go out of the city, live in the field, and go to Babylon. There you will be rescued, there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.’”

Knowing there is an end to something gives you hope. I remember going through my chemotherapy sessions. When I knew the date of the last treatment, I had hope of recovering my strength. When I played football in high school, I can recall those horrible drills the coaches put us through. When they yelled, “Last one guys,” we all had hope of the pain ending.

The Lord tells the people they were going to Babylon. But He does not end there. He goes on to say, “There you will be rescued, there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.” Even though they knew they were going to suffer, they also knew a day was coming that would bring redemption.

APPLICATION

How appropriate for us today. While we are on this earth, we will suffer hardships. We are promised that. We live in a sinful, fallen world that looks for ways to make the righteous suffer. But…believers in Christ hold out for their promised deliverance from this world. That may come through physical death through which we enter eternity with our Savior. It may come when we are caught up with Him in the air. Either way – we are fully redeemed.

Our goal is to share that good news with as many people as we can while we are here. Those who are suffering without Christ have no hope of redemption. We have that hope to share with them. Don’t you want those you know who are without Christ to join you in eternity?

I love that old hymn, “Redeemed.” The chorus goes like this:

Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Redeemed, redeemed His child and forever I am.

Are you going to join me?

For my redemption I shall be forever grateful. Though I do not deserve it, You give it still.

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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, Affliction, Bible, Promises, Rest, Safety, Scripture, Surrender

NO REST

MICAH 2:10

“‘Arise and go, for this is no place of rest because of the uncleanness that brings on destruction, a painful destruction.’”

“All rest is wearisome which is not in Thee, O our God.” Albert Barnes said that in his commentary on Micah. Indeed, it is. Recently, I stained and sealed our small back deck. It took me a lot longer than I thought. When I was finished, I was totally exhausted. I am so glad I had a place to rest.

Micah is still delivering God’s words in today’s verse. God is telling them they deserve no rest because they gave no rest. They deserve destruction because they brought on destruction. The land is unclean because of their idolatry, their pagan worship.

APPLICATION

We all need rest. I normally sleep 5-6 hours a night. For me, that is plenty. Others require 8 or more hours (I won’t name any names, lol). So, when God tells the people “this is no place of rest” that must have been quite disturbing. They were in distress. They needed rest, but none would be found in the land. God’s judgment had fallen due to their idolatry.

God can give you rest. You may be weary. You may be worn out. Do not fret. The God who established rest is here. In Him you can experience true rest, rest that will last, eternal rest. I am not saying you will never get tired again (I wish that were true). But in Jesus, you can have the rest that will never end.

I am so thankful I am resting in Christ. Psalm 62:5 says, “Yes, my soul, find rest in God…” Oh, that is a rest I can depend on. When I came in from staining my back deck, I cleaned up (which took a while with all the stain on me, lol) and rested in my recliner. I won’t say I took a nap, but my eyelids shut for a while. As good as that rest was, it did not last. My rest in Christ will.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:5-6)

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Affliction, Battles, Bible, Brokenness, Darkness, Death, Despair, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Grief, Heaven, Mourning, Satan, Scripture

THE ENEMY APPROACHES

MICAH 1:15

“Moreover, I will bring on you the one who takes possession, you inhabitant of Mareshah. The glory of Israel will enter Adullam.”

In times of distress the enemy will attack. I just woke up to discover a dear brother in the ministry lost his sweet, precious wife last night. She died suddenly, leaving a gapping hole in my brother’s chest. We are praying for him, but most especially praying protection over him from the enemy’s attack. We know Satan loves to attack us when we are down.

Assyria was attacking Israel and Judah. “The one who takes possession” refers to the enemy invader. God was allowing the enemy to attack in order to judge His chosen people. He was striving to bring them back to Him, even if it meant severe judgment. But God had not broken His covenant with them. Israel (all 12 tribes) was still His child.

APPLICATION

Our spiritual enemy is powerful and very well armed. He loves to catch us unawares and unprotected. Sudden losses in our lives can shatter us emotionally. When we are in these places, the devil will whisper in our ears that God does not love us, that He does not care about us. Do not believe those lies.

That is why it is so important to cover yourself in God’s Word. Only His Word can get you through those times. This morning, the first passage that came to my mind was 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

My dear brother will be okay. He will get through this. Why? Because I know he loves Jesus and loves His Word which is filled with the promises of God. He knows the Father loves him dearly. He may not understand why He took his bride home now, but he will – eventually. Be on guard my brothers and sisters.

Lord, thank You for Your promises. I know they never fail.

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Abiding, Affliction, Bible, Destruction, Fire, Foundation, Judgment, Scripture

FOUNDATIONS

MICAH 1:6 

“For I will make Samaria a heap of ruins in the open country, planting places for a vineyard. I will hurl her stones down into the valley and lay bare her foundations.” 

I had the privilege recently to tour some ruins of a Roman bathhouse just outside of Estaban, Albania. When we arrived at the site, I could not see anything. There was a small path leading up from the gravel road past a house and through a small opening. There were some workers that had started clearing the overgrowth on the path. I could have driven right by that spot and never seen the ruins. They had been there for @2000 years but had no real value today. 

Micah is telling the people of Israel that God is about to make Samaria into “a heap of ruins.” The great city which they were so proud of would be reduced to rubble. He would expose the foundations for generations to come, just like those Roman bath house ruins. God’s judgment is real. 

APPLICATION 

On what are you building your foundation? On whom are you resting? If you are building on anything other than Jesus, your walls will crumble. Those stones that were laid 2000 years ago for that Roman bath house were laid bare for all to see. I literally walked on stones that the Roman soldiers walked on. But those stones were good for nothing. They had crumbled through the centuries. 

However, when we build our life on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ, we can withstand all time and trials. No wind or storm or rain or fire can tear down walls built by Jesus. When we set Him down as the chief cornerstone in our life, all the rest of our lives are resting on Him. 

My life has had some challenges. For the sake of time, I will not enumerate them. But at the age of sixteen, I placed my trust in the One who cannot be torn down. He has kept me through all these years. I may have some chipped stones in my building, but my foundation is strong. Praise Jesus! 

Thank You, Lord, for giving me a sure foundation in Jesus Christ. 

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