Disciplemaking, Advice, Obedience, Commands, Bible, Scripture, Satan, Deception, Holiness, Devil, Accountability, Protection, Abiding

TRAPS

Amos 3:5

“Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground when there is no device in it? Does a trap spring up from the earth when it captures nothing at all?”

As a young boy, as most boys I’m sure, I made a lot of traps to catch rabbits, birds, just about anything. There was something awesome about laying that trap out and sitting back to watch it catch something. Most of the time, I caught nothing. But occasionally, I would get lucky and catch a bird or a rabbit. All those traps had a device that caused it to be tripped. Once tripped, the trap would snap shut, capturing whatever had tripped it.

Amos’ imagery here is great. The first question could have said, “Do you think all those things that have happened to you were by accident? I am the one who tripped those traps.” And the second question gives us the picture of a spring trap that once tripped would almost seem to jump up to catch the prey. Any Israelite with any experience in trapping would understand these words clearly. Israel has sprung the trap and is now caught.

APPLICATION

We all tend to spring traps from time to time. But those traps are only sprung by us when we aren’t walking with Jesus. If we are being consistent in our walk and are living holy lives before Him, those traps aren’t there. But…when we are living footloose and fancy free, we had better be aware of the traps that are set to catch us. Satan loves to catch us and hold us captive so we can’t be used by the Father.

The trouble with these traps is you can’t get out by yourself. You need help from someone else. Do you have someone you can call on when you step into a trap? We all need that. You may want to hide the fact that you are in a trap. Sooner or later, others will know. Call on a friend now (Ecc. 4:9-10).

I am so thankful for the vision the Lord gives me to avoid those traps set by Satan and others. I am thankful that, if by chance I step in one, I have brothers in Christ who will come to my aid. I couldn’t do it without them. Every Man A Warrior has given me an army of men who would come running to my aid. For that I am so thankful. Check it out at everymanawarrior.com.

Lord, we praise You for keeping us out of the traps set by the evil one. I know I can walk safely as long as I abide in You.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Commands, Consequences, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Judgment, Repentance, Scripture, Surrender

LIONS’ PREY

Amos 3:4

“Does a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey? Does a young lion growl from his den unless he has captured something?

It is so interesting that this verse came up today. Just yesterday I was on a safari in Nakuru, Kenya. We saw all kinds of animals, most of them lions’ prey. We saw warthogs, antelopes, impalas, giraffes, water bucks, African water buffalo and many more animals. We even saw several dead animals, which could have been lion kills. But we did not see any lions. They are sneaky like that.

Amos is continuing his parable usage in verse 4. He asks two logical questions. Does a lion roar when he has no prey and does a lion growl unless he has captured something? Anyone hearing these words from Amos would know the answer immediately. Of course not. But I bet you they are not getting what Amos is hinting at. Does God do anything unless there is a reason? Does God bring judgment unless judgment is deserved? Of course not.

APPLICATION

How do you answer those questions? Have you argued with God before about His correction in your life? Do you really think you are above the righteousness of God? We all shun correction. I know I did as a child. To be honest, I still do as an adult. No one likes to be told they are wrong. But God has that right in all of our lives, especially the lives of His children.

What do you need to be corrected about? We all have something. Today, give that up to the Lord. Ask Him to take that burden away and accept from Him whatever consequence you might have. You may be thinking Well Carl, I’m a Christian, so I don’t have to worry about consequences. All my sins are forgiven. Yes, your sins are forgiven, but even after salvation, when we sin, we can receive consequences for our disobedience. Just accept them.

As I said, I have never liked to be told I’m wrong. But I have learned to listen to the Holy Spirit who corrects me and convicts me when I sin. The more I read God’s Word and the more I let it sink into my life, the more sensitive I am to sin. I just don’t like to sin. I want to walk holy. I want to think holy. I want to talk holy. That is only possible as I accept the correction of the Lord through the Holy Spirit. Will you do the same?

Lord, we love You and thank You for correcting us. We may not like the process, but we love the end result – a closer walk with You.

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Abiding, Affection, Bible, Comfort, Encouragement, Gentleness, Intimacy, Obedience, Relationships

WALKING WITH GOD

Amos 3:3

“Do two people walk together unless they have agreed to meet?”

I was sixteen years old when I started my walk with Christ. I had been in church all my life, but I had never surrendered my life to Him. I did all the church stuff, including singing in the choir and going on church trips. But I did not know Jesus until I gave my whole self to Him and saw myself as a sinner. My walk began July 31, 1977 and has not stopped since then. There have been some bumps in the road, but He has been faithful.

Amos begins a series of parables in verse 3 today. Each one has a message for Israel. This first one speaks of walking with someone. Israel had not been walking with God for quite some time. The parable says that both have to agree. That was the problem. Israel didn’t agree. God was ready to walk with them, but they had shunned Him and disobeyed Him. God could not walk with them like that.

APPLICATION

How’s your walk? Are you running away from God or ahead of Him? Either is bad. Maybe you are refusing to move and are stuck in some sin. I don’t know about you, but when I walk with my wife I like to hold her hand. We don’t do that much right now because of my feet. But walking hand in hand is special to me. God wants to walk with you that way. He desires that closeness.

Are you holding His hand as you walk with Him? Do you want that intimacy? I do. I want to walk with Him feeling His hand in mine. Now, I know that is not physically possible, but it is spiritually. Holding hands requires closeness. Get close to Him. Read His Word. Pray to Him. Spend time with Him. You won’t regret it. His walks are exhilarating.

I mentioned my walk has had some bumps. But God never let go of my hand. He kept picking me up and dusting me off. He put me back on the right path. My walk with Christ has improved over the years. It’s still not perfect. I still stumble. But I have learned to hold tight to my Master’s hand. I trust Him completely. I pray you can as well. Hold tight.

O Jesus, thank You for holding my hand. Thank You for being right beside me all the time.

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Abiding, Bible, Busyness, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Hearing

Hear ye, Hear ye

Amos 3:1

Hear this word which the LORD has spoken against you, sons of Israel, against the entire family which He brought up from the land of Egypt:

The older I get the more hard of hearing I get. I used to blame it on selective hearing. But I have noticed in the past couple of years that I have lost a lot of hearing in my left ear. It’s not so bad yet that I need a hearing aid, but I know that is probably coming down the road. It is kind of convenient when my wife asks me to take out the trash. I can always say I didn’t hear her, lol.

The Lord wanted the sons of Israel to hear what He was about to tell them. He wanted their attention. He wanted the entire family to hear Him, not just certain people. This word from the Lord was for the entire nation, and He did not want them to miss one word. Listen up, Israel. Pay attention!

APPLICATION

Are you listening to the Lord today? He is talking to you. He has a plan for your life. But if you aren’t listening, you will miss the message. We get so busy with our stuff that we tune out the voice of God. Where do you hear that voice? In His Word. In your prayer time. When you are meditating on Him and His goodness. God still speaks, but you have to be listening.

Well, Carl, I’ve been a Christian for 30 years and I’ve never heard the Lord. Well, what have your been doing? God has probably been screaming at you but just haven’t heard the voice. Why? Because your ears are not in tune to hear Him. Does God try to hide His voice? Of course, not. He wants you to hear from Him. So, listen closely. God is speaking,

Sometimes when I tell people I have heard from God, I get strange looks. Some think I’m crazy while others think I am super spiritual. Neither is true. I miss God’s voice sometimes. When I do, it is because I have become so busy that my mind and heart weren’t clear. Or I was harboring ill feelings towards someone. I want to hear from Him daily. So, I have to keep myself tuned in. How about you?

Lord, I praise You for speaking to me in some of my darkest moments. I praise You for Your still, small voice.

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Abiding, Battles, Bible, Devil, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Modeling, Protection, Rescue, Scripture

THE STREAK

Amos 2:16

“’Even the bravest among the warriors will flee naked on that day,’” declares the LORD.”

Back in the 70’s there was a phenomenon called streaking that caught up a generation of young people. These streakers would strip off their clothes and run across a ball field or a basketball court or any other public venue where they could get attention. They had no reason for doing this except to simply run naked and shock people. There was even a song written about it by Ray Stevens called “The Streak.”

There was nothing funny about the streaking mentioned in today’s verse. These brave warriors of Israel would be running naked due to fear. The Lord declared it, so it must be so. He was telling the nation of Israel over these last several verses that their judgment was here. Not even the bravest warriors could stand up to Him or those He may send to carry out the judgment.

APPLICATION

I can hear you now, Well, Carl, I am not going to be streaking anywhere. I hope that’s true, lol. No one wants to see that. But how often do we flee from our battles naked? We go into our daily walk undressed. Ephesians 6:10 tells us pretty clearly that we should put on the full amour of God. That’s head to toe coverage. We are in a battle every day and we cannot go in naked. If we do, the same thing that happened to those warriors in today’s verse will happen to us.

Just how naked are you? If you don’t put on the full armor of God, you are naked. You can’t go in partially dressed. You can’t pick and choose which part of the armor you want to wear today. You have to do put it all on or you are open to attack. You might as well be naked. I hope you understand that. It’s the full armor.

I like to start with the girding part – the truth. Then the breastplate of righteousness. My feet are shod with the gospel of peace. I am wearing my helmet of salvation. I have my shield of faith and my sword – the Word of God. With that protection, I can face the flaming arrows of the evil one. I can defend my faith and walk securely. So are you streaking or preparing for battle? It’s your choice but choose wisely.

O God, I praise You for giving me the garments to wear. I know I am protected by Your armor.

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Accountability, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Confrontation, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Leading, Ministry, Redemption

ARCHER

Amos 2:15

“’The one who grasps the bow will not stand his ground, the swift of foot will not escape, nor will the one who rides the horse save his life.'”

A friend of mine has a son who is an incredible archer. He has won just about every state and national title shooting a basic recurve bow. He has accomplished so much in such a short time. But one thing about an archer is they must be able to stand still. You can’t be moving around and be precise. My friend’s son is precise. He knows how to stand still and shoot straight.

I noticed in today’s verse that the Lord points out the fact the archer must stand his ground. He must stand firm, even when the battle is headed his way, even when the enemies arrows are falling all around him. In order to hit the target, the archer has to stand firm. Then he has to aim at the target to hit it. The Lord is saying here that they no longer will be able to do that

APPLICATION

Standing firm is critical to fighting our spiritual battles. We have to face our enemy head on. 1 Peter 5:9 tells us to stand firm and resist the devil. Paul tells us in Ephesians to stand firm and put on the full armor of God. All through the Bible we are told to stand firm. It must be pretty important. So, why aren’t we doing that?

We, myself included, tend to limp around when it comes to spiritual warfare. So many believers are scared of the subject. But listen to me, you have to stand firm, draw back your bow and trust God with the rest. We may not be skilled with a bow, but we can sure stand firm and ask the Lord to guide the arrow. He will, you know.

I am so thankful for a God that understands my need and prepares me for battle. I do not want to be like that archer who will not stand his ground.

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Obedience, Bible, Scripture, Promises, Rescue, Healing, Freedom, Destruction, Advocate, Abiding, Failures

A RUT

AMOS 2:13

“‘Behold, I am making a rut in the ground beneath you, just as a wagon makes a rut when filled with sheaves.’”

Do you know what a rut is? It’s a grave with both ends knocked out. I know, that’s not a very funny joke. I don’t write them. I just repeat them, lol. Seriously, not many people like to be in a rut. It implies you are stuck or traveling is hard. Ruts can break axles on vehicles. Bottom line – ruts aren’t fun.

The Lord tells the Israelites here in verse 13 that He is burdened by them. The weight of their sins is upon Him. He is weary of them. How sad that must have sounded to them. Their God, the One who delivered them, is weary of them. But now God is over it. He is tired of being tired of them. He is going to deal with them appropriately.

APPLICATION                                                              

Do you think our sins burden Jesus? If you are child of God, if you have given your life to Him, then all your sins are forgiven. We have the privilege to walk with Him in victory. Do you think He gets weary of our rebellion and disobedience? I am sure it disappoints Him. He knows we are human and fall short, but He has given us everything we need to live for Him.

Ask yourself if you are living to please the Father today. Or are you in a rut? Do you let the trials of life weigh you down. There’s a line in a hymn that I love. It says, “Burdens are lifted at Calvary.” Do you believe that? I sure do. I know my burdens are lifted by my Master. I want out of the ruts.

So, next time you feel you are in a rut, stop and examine what burdens you are holding on to. You don’t have to. He’s got this. And the beauty is once we give Him our burdens, they really are lifted. God can handle it. We can’t. Let Him have all your burdens (1 Peter 5:7).

I cast all my burdens on You, O Lord. I know You have the ability to take them and lighten my load.

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Accountability, Apologies, Bible, Commands, Condemnation, Evil, Failures, Holiness, Modeling, Prophesy, Repentance, Righteousness, Scripture, Sin

EVIL INFLUENCE

AMOS 2:12

“‘But you made the Nazirites drink wine, and you commanded the prophets, saying, “You shall not prophesy!”’”

Have you ever influenced someone to do evil? It’s not something to be proud of. Unfortunately, before I was a Christian, I did that. I don’t need to say what I did or to whom. Needless to say, I am so sorry for doing that. I have since apologized to those to whom I did that. You see, sin is so easily corruptible.

The Israelites were guilty of doing the same. The Lord says here that they made the Nazirites drink wink, which went against their vow to not let anything from the fruit of the vine touch their lips. They also commanded the prophets to not speak the word of the Lord. They didn’t want to hear it. The Lord rebukes the nation for these acts.

APPLICATION

Why do we do these things? Because we want to look better than others. The Nazirites lived holy lives. That shined light on the Israelites sins. They couldn’t have that. Prophets spoke against their sins. They couldn’t have that either. We are the same way. We don’t want others pointing out our sins. We don’t want others living lives that “show us up.”

However, we are in need of conviction. The Word says we all have sinned. That’s a fact. We need someone to point out our sins. Too many preachers today fail to do that. They gloss over sin. They condone sin. They openly accept the sins of others. That’s too sad. And it’s against what the Lord expects. God expects holy living among His people.

So, what’s it going to be for you? Are you going to influence towards evil or towards holiness? I may not always do the right thing, but it is my prayer that I always point others towards Christ. I pray they see Him in my walk. I pray they hear Him in my speech. May God continue to convict me when I fail Him.

Lord, I am so sorry for the many times I failed You. Continue to use Your Holy Spirit in my life to point me in the right direction.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Calling, Commands, Courage, Disciplemaking, Discipline, God's Will, Holiness, Modeling, Sanctification, Scripture

SEPARATED

AMOS 2:11

“‘Then I raised up some of your sons to be prophets, and some of your young men to be Nazirites. Is this not so, you sons of Israel?’ declares the LORD.”

It seems lately I have been bringing up a lot of my childhood memories in my daily blogs. I am thankful for those memories. Today, I am remembering my daddy’s shop in our backyard. My dad had a great shop with just about every tool needed for any job. It was a collection of tools over decades. But one thing I remember about his tools was he had certain tools for certain jobs. I can still remember picking up some tools in his shop and wondering what in the world it was for. Then he would explain the purpose, maybe only one purpose, and I would understand.

God set apart the Nazirites for a purpose. They were the ones called to live holy, unstained lives in the midst of perversion and disobedience. We can think of the stories in the Old Testament that talked about them. One in particular stands out – Samson – who was not true to his calling. He disobeyed the Nazirite vows in so many ways. God still used him, but I wonder if he had been more faithful, what else could he have done for the Lord.

APPLICATION

We are called to be separated from the world also. As believers in Jesus, we are to be different, peculiar, aliens in this land. Sure, we have to live here and interact with others. But our mode of living needs to look different from the world. We need to raise eyebrows. Especially now in our culture, we need to show that it is possible to life “separated.”

How do you do that? Psalm 119:9 tells us. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word.” There is no other way. Only the Word will keep you separated. It teaches us how to walk with Christ daily, still interacting with the world around us like He did, and yet not get stained by the influence of evil.

I am thankful I can walk separate. I am thankful I can live holy. I am thankful for the Word of God that shows me what to do every day. During this week of Thanksgiving, give thanks with a grateful heart for being separated by Christ.

Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy One. Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.

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Bible, Blessing, Contentment, Faithfulness, Gifts, God's Will, Godliness, Holy Spirit, Obedience

FORGOTTEN POSSESSIONS

AMOS 2:10

“‘And it was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you in the wilderness for forty years so that you might take possession of the land of the Amorite.’”

Isn’t it wonderful to uncover a lost possession? My family has moved a good bit through my over four decades in ministry. Sometimes, in the process of backing, one of my kids would exclaim, “Look what I found.” Something they knew they owned, but had misplaced, was uncovered in the packing or unpacking process. It was always theirs, just wasn’t in their physical possession.

The Lord is reminding Israel of their possessions. He had given them the land of the Amorites. It was a gift from Him to them many years previously. It wasn’t something they had purchased or won on their own. It was Him who had ridded the land of the Amorites and gave it to them just as He had promised. After the long journey through the wilderness, He had given them the land. But they had forgotten.

APPLICATION

Do you have lost possessions? I bet you do. But more importantly, let me ask you this question. What possessions do you have in Christ that you aren’t utilizing? I was talking to some friends just recently about that. Why do so many Christians walk around defeated? Why do we act as if we can’t live holy lives?

God has given us everything we need to live for Him. Just take a look in Galatians 5 at the fruit of the Spirit. With all those blessings, we have no excuse for not living for Him. We have no excuse for not living victoriously. Sure, life can be hard sometimes. But do you think that surprises God? Of course, not. He gave us all we need to handle ever situation.

I am thankful for the Lord’s blessings in my life. I am thankful He has provided me with all I need. I just have to claim it. I just have to walk in it. I just have to… How about you? Don’t forget your possessions.

I am blessed beyond measure because of You, O Lord. Help me “tap” into all the possessions You have given me.

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