Commands, Bible, Mercy, Contentment, Humility, Blessing, Judgment, Commitment, Appeasement

WHAT DO YOU WANT, GOD?

MICAH 6:8

“He has told you, mortal one, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is hard to please someone if you do not know what they want. I remember going through the Five and Dime store in my hometown of Pelham, GA trying to find the perfect Mothers’ Day gift for my mom. In the end I got this “very pretty” sand sculpture in this glass vase. My mom probably hated it, but she kept it the rest of her life. It was not about the gift to her. It was all about the giver – me.

God has told us exactly what He wants from us. Three things – to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with Him. Now, if you have not seen this verse before, you can’t say that anymore. You have been told what He wants. It is the same thing He wanted from His children so long ago. And just like us, they spurned Him. They wanted their own thing and their own way.

APPLICATION

So, what do you need to do? To do justice. What does that mean? It means for you to judge appropriately, correctly, righteously rather than based on your own desires or prejudices. But Micah quickly adds “to love kindness.” Some versions say “to love mercy. This is the flip side of justice. Both are necessary and both are a part of God’s character.

Finally, Micah tells us “to walk humbly with our God.” That’s the hard part. The old country song said, “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.” We all think we are doing okay. True humility requires us to put others before ourselves. That is just not the American way.

These things God required then and required now will give us a balanced approach as we seek to serve our King. Will you trust Him in this? If He tells us to do something, we can be sure it is for our good. We may not see it as good at the beginning, but we will eventually. God is going for the long play. Can you?

I place my life in Your hands, Lord, to do with as You please.

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Bible, Blessing, Choices, Gifts, Giving, Offering, Sacrifice, Scripture

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?

MICAH 6:7

“Does the LORD take pleasure in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give Him my firstborn for my wrongdoings, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

How much do you give to the Lord? Now, I am not asking you to divulge the exact amount. That is between you and the Lord. But have you ever asked yourself how much is enough? Our giving has fluctuated over the years. Some years were more than others. Most years, when I tally it all up, I am surprised we gave as much as we did. God surely made up the difference.

Micah keeps throwing out the questions. Thousands of rams? Ten thousand rivers of oil? Our firstborn? What does God want from me? How much is enough? Does He want it all? When will He stop asking? Micah is building to a point here. We will see that in tomorrow’s blog. He does, however, get our minds to ask the same questions.

APPLICATION

I have friends who are capable of giving tens of thousands of dollars. Some could even give millions. I have other friends who can only give a little. Which is greater in God’s eyes? It does not depend on the amount. It depends completely on the heart of the giver (I mentioned this in yesterday’s blog).

I am reminded of the story in the New Testament when Jesus witnessed the widow give her offering at the temple. We find that in Luke 21:1-4. “1 Now He looked up and saw the wealthy putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 And He saw a poor widow putting in two lepta coins.  3 He said, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 4 for they all contributed to the offering from their surplus; but she, from her poverty, put in all that she had to live on.’”

I challenged you yesterday on your giving. I do not need to do that again today. Today, I want to praise you for your obedience in giving. I am trusting that you will follow the Lord’s stirring. And when you give, find that peace that only He can give you as you obey Him.

Take my offerings, Lord, and multiply them to reach the masses.

You can give to my ministry at www.twr.org/carl-willis

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Bible, Blessing, Gifts, Giving, God's Will, Promises, Sacrifice

WHAT’S IN YOUR HANDS?

MICAH 6:6

“With what shall I come to the LORD and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves?”

Do you remember making little crafts for your mom or dad in Vacation Bible School or Sunday School? Oh, how proud we were of those little projects. We made sure they made it home, and we made such fanfare of presenting them to them. We held them in our hands and placed them safely into the hands of mom or dad.

Micah asks the question here as if the people are concerned what they should bring to the Lord. They knew what the Law prescribed as acceptable offerings, but was that enough? Whatever they were to bring to Him would certainly not be enough to make up for their hardness of heart. You see, it is not about the offering as much as it is about the heart of the one giving it.

This is not a blog about tithing or giving our resources to the Lord. Now, that is important. Churches and ministries could not carry on the work of the Gospel without our gifts. The purpose of this blog is to ask you to examine your own reason for giving. Why do you give? Why do you give to the ministries or people you have chosen?

APPLICATION

I am a missionary of Trans World Radio (TWR). The ministry I serve is Every Man A Warrior (EMAW), which is the Men’s Ministry of TWR. TWR, EMAW and I depend on people like you to give to us. Your gifts allow us to do what God has called us to do. But I want to ask you to make sure you give to only what the Lord directs you. And when you give, give sacrificially, knowing the Lord will bless you.

There are several ministries which I support in our giving. I know each one personally and give to them because I know their mission and values. I do not have a lot to give (I am a donor-supported missionary after all, lol), but I find a peace in giving what the Lord tells me to give. Sometimes, He stretches me with that. Every time I am blessed by being obedient. Will you do that today?

Thank You, Father, for inviting me to give to You. I want my gifts and offerings to bless Your name.

You can give to my ministry at www.twr.org/carl-willis

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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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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Hearing, Listening, Relationships, Sanctification, Scripture

ANSWER ME

MICAH 6:3

“My people, what have I done to you, and how have I wearied you? Answer Me.

I have mentioned before that I spent over three decades working with children and youth in the Child Welfare system. Give me a kid that is vocal and shouting rather than one that will not talk. Even when caught in the act of disobeying, these children will most often not respond to questions. Passive-aggressive is one term used for them.

The people God had chosen to love were acting that way. They had been caught in their sins, and now they were refusing to confess them and talk to their God. Unlike me, God is extremely patient. Psalm 103:8 say He is compassionate and gracious. He just wants to hear from them.

APPLICATION

Do you hear the Lord speaking to you? If you are a believer, the Holy Spirit who indwells you speaks for the Father. He is drawing you towards Him. He is speaking. Will you not talk back? Carl, that is plain crazy. I am not going to talk out loud to Him. Why not? He is as real as you and I.

I love to pray out loud. It helps me clarify what I am saying. It reduces distractions for me. And when I talk to the Lord, guess what? He almost always talks back. Not in an audible voice, but in my spirit. You may ask, How do you know that is the Lord? Because the words line up with His Word.

Now, there have been times when I did not want to answer God when He talked to me. In those times I was not living as I should. I was rationalizing my sins. I was simply resting in my salvation but not living to be sanctified. There is a big difference. Oh, how wonderful to hear His voice. The next time you hear it, answer Him.

Speak Lord, and I will answer. I love to carry on conversations with You.

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Accountability, Battles, Bible, Cleansing, Confession, Deception, Devil, Eternity, Forgiveness, God's Will, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Mercy, Scripture

SELF-JUSTIFICATION

MICAH 6:2

“Listen, you mountains, to the indictment by the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth, because the LORD has a case against His people; and He will dispute with Israel.”

Boy, we love to justify our sins, don’t we? We can blame everyone and everything for sinning. I know I have done that. I sin against God by being unkind to my wife, but I blame her. I get angry or upset in traffic, but it is the other driver’s fault. We just cannot take the blame ourselves, can we?

This “case” God has against His people is exactly that. He is basically asking them what He has done to cause their sinful behavior. They see His goodness yet respond with rebellion. I am reminded of Jesus’ response in John 10:32. “Jesus answered them, ‘I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?’”

APPLICATION

What excuses are you giving God right now for your sins. You say, What sins, Carl? I am not a bad person. Well, we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). You cannot blame God or anyone else for your sin. Well, the devil made me do it. Nope, not true. He may have offered up that morsel, but you gobbled it down.

We have no one to blame for our sins but ourselves. Our flesh is so wicked. If it is left unchecked, it will wreck our world before and after we are saved. When you come to Christ and accept Him, He cleanses you of all your sins. But He does not take away that propensity in our flesh to sin. That has to be dealt with by our submission to the Holy Spirit daily.

Until we reach glory, sin will be an issue. I attended a funeral of a dear friend recently. His life was put on display at the service. His son spoke and shared what a godly influence his dad had on his life. But that man was prone to sin even up to the point of death. When his spirit was taken to glory, he began his sinless perfection in Christ. Glory, hallelujah! Praise be to Jesus. One day we will have the same. Until then, live holy lives.

Father, help me live each day abhorring what is evil and clinging to what is holy.

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Bible, Gospel, Scripture

PLEAD YOUR CASE

MICAH 6:1

“Hear now what the LORD is saying, ‘Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.’”

I can still recall how I felt the first half of my senior year in high school. I had received Christ as my Savior the summer before, so my whole focus changed in school. I began studying and did very well. Most of my teachers thought I was cheating because of the vast difference in my grades. I had to constantly plead with them that I was not cheating. It took them 3-4 months before they actually believed me. I knew what I was saying was true. They just did not believe it.

As we begin chapter 6 of Micah, the Lord is telling Micah to go plead his case before the people. Some scholars say this indicates that Micah was being hesitant proclaiming the message. Perhaps he got tired of saying it over and over again, and no one was listening and responding. God tells him to continue, to “let the hills hear your voice.”

APPLICATION

We have to continue to share the Gospel with a lost and dying world. They may have turned up their noses or even verbally told us to stop, but we must keep going. The Lord has not, nor will He ever stop, loving you. He is constantly giving you grace and mercy. Should we not do the same to those around us?

The Lord has given us a message to share. It is the greatest story ever told. It is a message full of joy and promise. He has the capacity to heal all wounds and repair relationships. This story of grace, fulfilled by our Savior, can make the most hideous sinner a saint. It is a miracle story.

I am thankful that people took the time to tell me the story. I am so appreciative of several people in my childhood who spent their time teaching me the Word. All those Sundays going to Sunday School planted seeds in me that finally sprouted on July 31, 1977. I need to share that fruit with others. How about you?

O God, I cannot thank You enough for my salvation. Give me opportunities today to tell others about it.

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Anger, Battles, Bible, Choices, Compassion, God's Will, Holiness, Judgment, Scripture

GOOD ANGER?

MICAH 5:15

“‘And I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath on the nations which have not obeyed.’”

All our lives we are told to not get angry. When our favorite toy is broken by our sibling, do not get angry. When the car breaks down for the umpteenth time, do not get angry. When our friend stabs us in the back, do not get angry. So, why do we see God getting angry at the people of Israel and that is okay?

God’s anger is not our anger. Our anger is birthed out of sin and rage. His out of love. Our anger comes from our unchecked emotions. His out of love. Our anger comes from a desire to get even. His out of love. God’s anger in verse 15 today is due to His holiness. He cannot and will not tolerate sinful actions. Here His anger is directed towards those unruly nations who have oppressed His children. God’s anger is unreproachable.

APPLICATION

We do not have God’s discretion or patience. We lash out in anger and then justify it. We claim we have the right to be angry. Ephesians 4:26-27 comes to mind. “In your anger, do not sin and do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil a foothold.”

My wife and I decided to never go to bed angry. That has led to many sleepless nights. Lol. Just kidding. We do try to do that, but to be honest, we have gone to bed angry. Guess what? That anger does not disappear as you sleep. In fact, it can cause a very restless night.

I believe all conflicts among believers is due to either one or both individuals living out of their flesh rather than the Spirit. There is no situation too big for God to solve. When He says to not get angry, He is not talking about anger over seeing the righteous suffer or children being abused. He is referring to our flesh inspired anger toward each other. That anger must be defeated through our surrender to His Spirit in our lives. Look at your anger today. At whom is it direction? From where does it come?

Oh Father, I am thankful Your wrath over my sin has been taken care of by the blood of Your precious Son.

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Abiding, Bible, Calling, Destruction, Disciplemaking, Idols, Sanctification, Scripture

GOT TO GET THE ROOT

MICAH 5:14

“‘I will uproot your Asherim from among you and destroy your cities.’”

Weeds are a result of the fall of man in the garden of Eden. Before the fall, plants had no “enemies.” Weeds had no purpose. But since then, weeds have plagued farmers and gardeners alike. To get rid of the weeds, you have to get the root. If you just break it off, it continues to grow and spread. You have to really dig deep.

God is going to uproot any Asherim (wooden images of the Phoenician goddess) and destroy (totally exterminate, demolish) their cities. Any place that held an idol was going to be purged. God was going to flatten the surface from any corrupting influence for His people.

APPLICATION 

Idols still exist today. They are all around us. I have said it before, but it deserves repeating. Anything that comes before your relationship with God can be an idol. Anything! God wants and desires first place in your life. He is the only one deserving of that.

Being in the ministry sometimes blurs that line. I think I have been pretty good about protecting my family and keeping them before my ministry. There have been times when the “ox was in the ditch” and I had to work longer hours, but for the most part I tried my best to keep them before my ministry.

But the line gets blurred between my relationship with God and my ministry. They are not one in the same. My ministry is my calling to share the Gospel and disciple men into disciple makers. But I cannot do either of those effectively if I am not abiding in the Vine. That abiding must come first, followed by my family and then my ministry. Take a minute and evaluate your priorities. Do you have something on the shelf above God? If so, take it down a notch or two.

Praise You, O God, for reminding me of Your place in my life. You should always be on the top shelf.

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