Allegiance, Belief, Bible, Faith, Righteousness, Scripture, Trust

THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL LIVE BY FAITH

HABAKKUK 2:4

“‘Behold, as for the impudent one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous one will live by his faith.’”

When I read today’s verse, my mind immediately went to Ephesians 2:8-9. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves. It is a gift from God, not as a result of works, so that no man can boast.” It is only by His grace and through the faith He has given me – no other way. That is how I must live.

God points out to Habakkuk a contrast between those who are puffed up (the impudent one) whose pride is his god to those righteous who simply live by faith. One commentator said this regarding this faith. “By this faith in God, each righteous person begins to live piously, righteously, holy, peacefully and divinely, and advances therein, since in every tribulation and misery, by this faith and hope in God he sustains, strengthens, and increases this life of the soul.”

APPLICATION

Paul says it well in Galatians 2:20 (which happens to be my life verse). “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Only my faith in Jesus gives me the strength and power to live in this fallen world.

But God promises to be with us in that faith exercise. He gives us the faith to have faith. Confused? Don’t be. Faith is a gift from God. By receiving that gift of faith at salvation, we are able to grow in our faith more and more each day. Faith breeds more faith.

My faith has been tested many times. But each time I have come out stronger than I went in. My faith has been strengthened. I am able to face harder things because of that. Did I like that? Heck, no. I had rather sit in a bass boat and chunk lures at large mouth bass. But God has other plans. He wants to grow me more and more into the image of His Son. He wants the same for you. Have faith.

Have faith in God, He’s on His throne;
Have faith in God, He watches o’er His own;
He cannot fail, He must prevail;
Have faith in God, have faith in God.

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Abiding, Allegiance, Battles, Belief, Bible, Courage, Defeat, Enemies, God's Will, Opponents, Promises, Rescue, Scripture

LIONS’ DEN

NAHUM 2:11

“Where is the den of the lions and the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion, lioness, and lion’s cub went with nothing to disturb them?”

I love going to the zoo. We have a small one here in Chattanooga, TN where I live. Almost any zoo has “the king of the jungle” – the African lion. These beasts are huge. It is hard to really understand how big they are until you see one in person. A full-grown male lion does not have many threats. They rule the jungle or African plain.

That is the analogy Nahum is using in today’s verse. Nineveh had devoured all its enemies. None seemed able to stand against it. So, that is why it is so appalling that Nineveh is so desolate and defeated. Nahum is asking, “Where is the den of lions”? All their fierceness was gone. They were defeated.

APPLICATION

I want you to know that as a child of the King, your enemies will not stand. They will all bow before Him. They may appear to be triumphant right now, but their day will come. You may not see it in your lifetime, but it will come. No enemy of our King will remain.

How do I know that? Because His Word says it. Romans 14:11 says, “For it is written: ‘AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, TO ME EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, AND EVERY TONGUE WILL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.’” If God’s Word says it, that settles it. It will be just as He has said. Do you believe that?

I know I can trust Him when He says something. I believe all my enemies will bow, just as I will. I will bow willingly. They will bow because they know they are defeated. Oh, how sweet to know in Whom I can trust.

I praise You, O God, for Your faithfulness to all generations.

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Agreement, Allegiance, Allies, Battles, Bible, Christianity, Devil, Enemies, God's Will, Modeling, Opponents, Scripture

A SHIELD

NAHUM 2:3

“The shields of his warriors are dyed red, the warriors are dressed in scarlet, the chariots are fitted with flashing steel when he is prepared to march, and the juniper spears are brandished.”

I love to watch football (American football), especially college football. I love to watch the team working as one to achieve a goal – to score on their opponent or to prevent their opponent from scoring on them. A lot of this occurs on the line of scrimmage. Young men forming a line of defense have to work together as one.

The English translation above says “shields,” but the actual Hebrew word is singular – “shield.” That makes a difference. Nahum is saying that “the shield of His warriors” is one. They move as one. They attack as one. They are no longer fighting alone against their enemies. They have become a unified force under the banner of Jehovah.

APPLICATION

This should send a message to us, not about fighting, but about standing together. Christians are so divided today. We segregate ourselves between denominations. We divide our churches by race. We cannot fight our common enemy if we stay divided. We must become one.

So, what prevents that? Is it pride or arrogance? Is it our church traditions? Some of these divisions are over minor doctrinal disagreements that do not really have an effect on our salvation. Paul says in Romans 12:4-5 “4 For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another.”

What part are you? How can you help unify the body of Christ? The ministry I am serving in now, Every Man A Warrior (www.everymanawarrior.com), cuts across denominational lines. We have leaders in 58 countries and in all 50 states in the U.S. And guess what? We are all not Southern Baptists. Nor are we all Methodists. We are all believers in Christ who want to see our culture changed by changing the hearts of men. Will you join us in unifying the body of Christ worldwide?

Help me hold Your shield, Lord, as I face our enemies.

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Abiding, Allegiance, Bible, Bondslaves, Demons, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Enemies, Following, Obedience, Scripture

GIVE IT YOUR ALL 

MICAH 7:16 

“Nations will see and be ashamed of all their might. They will put their hand on their mouth, their ears will be deaf.” 

I shall never forget football drills and the coach screaming at us, “I want 110% out of you men. Don’t slack off.” I gave it my all. I played hard. I knew when I was giving it my all and when I was not. The coach could tell, too. I would miss blocking assignments or a tackle.  

Micah is now addressing the people again after God has spoken. Here he is showing us that we will always face opposition. The enemies of Israel gave their all against them but failed. The word “all” means whole or complete. In other words, they were all in. But they found out their might was no match for the might of God.  

APPPLICATION 

Are you giving your all to Him today? I am not asking if you are working non-stop for Jesus without taking any breaths. No, I mean are you all in? Does Jesus have all of you? So many of us think we can just say a prayer and go about our business as if nothing has happened. That is not the case. 

I promise you that the enemies of the cross are all in after us. They are giving it their all to try to bring us down. But their “all” is no match for us if we are all in for Christ. It is His power that will defeat them, not our power. I can make you another promise. Christ is all in for you. 

Look at what He did for you. He died a horrible death on the cross for your salvation. You cannot get much more “all in” than that. His love for you cost Him everything. He gave His life to ransom your soul. He deserves your all. Give it to Him today. 

All to Jesus, I surrender. All to Him I freely give. 

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Allegiance, Bible, Choices, Covenant, Devil, Faith, Following, God's Will, Scripture

BUT AS FOR ME 

MICAH 7:7 

“But as for me, I will be on the watch for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” 

Have you ever had to make a stand about something? Maybe it was a personal conviction or perhaps it was a doctrinal issue. I remember my senior year in high school when I had to take a stand. The years before had been filled with ungodly activities and behaviors. When I became a believer, I had to say “no” to those things. It cost me some friendships. 

Micah is taking a stand. “But as for me.” In other words, you may choose another path, but I am taking God’s side. Joshua had said the same words when he said, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) These words are powerful and strong. They leave no room for compromise. 

APPLICATION 

The world is constantly testing our allegiance to Christ. The devil entices us to compromise just a little. That is all it takes – just a little. A little here, a little there. Before you know it, you have gone a long way from the truth and find it hard to get back. 

Hold firm today, my brothers and sisters. Choose today whom to obey. Paul said it so well in Romans 6:16. “Do you not know that the one to whom you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of that same one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” Death or righteousness! 

I choose righteousness. Sure, that may mean I have to give up some of these earthly pleasures. I may choose to give rather than receive. I have to remember that as a believer, this world is not my home. I am a citizen of heaven and I want to represent it well. Will you join me?  

I will choose You, O Lord. I know You will hear me.

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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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Abiding, Accountability, Allegiance, Battles, Bible, Commands, Confrontation, Deceit, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Obedience, Rebellion, Scripture

YOU CAN’T OUTFOX GOD

MICAH 6:5

“My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab planned and what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, so that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD.”

Be sure your sins will find you out. We have probably all heard that quote (It comes from Numbers 32:23). We try to hide our sins, don’t we? We can hide them for a while from people around us, but we cannot hide them from the all-seeing eye of God. He knows our most intimate secrets, including our sins. We cannot outfox Him.

Balak thought he could do an end-a-round on God. He knew the people of Israel were a mighty force and thought if he could just get a curse on them, it might improve his chances to defeat them. Wrong! That curse bounced right back in his face as a blessing. What was meant to encourage his troops served to put even more fear into them. God is reminding His people of that here in Micah.

APPLICATION

We are so much better off if we will just seek God’s will and do it rather than trying to sneak around. When we finally realize that God’s will for our lives is all about blessing us, we can rest in Him. Now, that does not mean we will not have some hard times. However, even in those there are blessings if we look hard enough.

We want our lives to be problem free. We want that bed of roses. Life is just not that way. Some people have it easier than others. That is true. But that does not diminish the fact that a loving God cares for you and wants what is best for your life. You just have to surrender to His will.

I wish my life was problem free. I still have to fight this disease I have (Amyloidosis). There is no cure for it, only treatments. But I am thankful for the doctors, hospitals and other medical team members who have served me so well. I am thankful for the opportunities it has given me to minister to others going through the same treatments. There is no end-a-round here. I have to trust my Great Physician in the process. How about you?

Father God, help me to trust You even in the hardest times and not try to hide my sins and acts of disobedience. I want to walk in the light with You.

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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”)

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Allegiance, Battles, Belief, Bible, Blasphemy, Darkness, Devil, Evil, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Idols, Satan, Scripture

SORCERY FORBIDDEN

MICAH 5:12

“‘I will eliminate sorceries from your hand, and you will have no fortune-tellers.’”

I will never forget the evening when I lived in Lakeland, FL when my wife and I decided to go to the local outdoor mall. It was new to Lakeland and had become a major evening and weekend destination because of the shops, restaurants and entertainment. We were walking along, and while my wife looked in one shop, I decided to step into this store that caught my attention. As I walked in, a chill ran up my spine. All I saw was occultic images and products. I ran out of that store as fast as I could. Such darkness.

This is what the Lord is cutting out of the land. No sorcery or fortune telling would be allowed. These were based in the pagan idolatry of the land, the very thing the Lord had warned the people of when they came into the Promised Land. Nothing had changed. These evil practices were still around and were now going to be purged. Evil was evil then and still is now.

APPLICATION

So many Christians today dabble in the occult, thinking it is frivolous or meaningless. Satan loves for us to believe that. I am not saying that a demon is going jump out of the Ouija board and tackle you to the ground, but the devil has a way to hook us into this stuff. Tarot cards and astrology are still listed in God’s eyes as sorcery and fortune-telling. That has not changed.

If you are into these things or have been in the past, let me urge you to put them down and confess that as sin. Renounce any allegiance you had to these items and get rid of them. Burn them if you can. Does this all sound extreme? You bet. Our battle with the forces of darkness is real and extreme. You must have your armor on and be free from any form of darkness.

Once you do that and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, He will make you very sensitive to these things. You will be able to recognize any form of idolatry. God wants you and me to walk in holiness, free from the entanglements of evil. Walking free is so much easier than dragging around a chain of darkness.

O Father, thank You for protecting me from evil. I know You have my back at all times.

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Abiding, Allegiance, Battles, Bible, Commands, Enemies, Judgment, Leading

UNDER SIEGE

MICAH 5:1

“Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; they have laid siege against us; with a rod they will strike the judge of Israel on the cheek.”

I recently read this great book by David Hosaflook about Marin Barleti’s first-hand account of the siege of Shkodra. It was a detailed description of the horrors of the siege. The assault on that city was a terrible loss of life and property. Reading about the way, however, the people of Shkodra fought was inspiring.

Now, the Lord tells the people that the siege is coming. They knew about sieges. They had faced them before. They could only imagine how bad it would get, but this was their own doing. They had dishonored their God and had to face the consequences.

APPLICATION

Sometimes in our lives we feel we are under siege. It seems the whole world has gathered its forces against us and is battering down the front door. Bills pile up. The car breaks down. Your child gets suspended from school. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

In times like these, we must do as the Lord told the people – we must muster our troops. What does that mean? We look to our commander. No troops are effective without a leader. We have one in Jesus Christ. He knows the best defense. He knows the best offense. He will guide us through these hard times, if we will let Him.

I have gone through my share of hard times, some harder than others. I have not always looked to my commander. At times, I have tried to muster my own troops and lead myself. That usually ended with another defeat. But when I looked to Jesus and rested in Him, I got through that battle. You can too if you will just look to Him.

I am grateful for Your Son, Jesus, leading me in my hardest times. He is forever faithful.

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