Advocate, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Faith, Faithfulness, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture, Victors

FORGOTTEN VICTORIES

AMOS 2:9

“‘Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, though his height was like the height of cedars and he was as strong as the oaks; I also destroyed his fruit above and his roots below.’”

I am a University of Georgia Bulldog fan. I went to school there from 1978 to 1982. So, I cheer loud and strong for the Red and Black whenever I get a chance. But as excited as I get about our football victories, I couldn’t tell you the exact dates and times of each victory. Sure, some of them stand out, but most fade into my memory. Forgotten victories.

The Israelites had forgotten how God had destroyed their enemies as they entered the Promised Land so many years earlier. In just one example, the Lord reminds them of the Amorites, of which dwelt the Rephaim who were giants in height. Their size alone brought fear out of men. But Jehovah destroyed them for the Hebrew children. Forgotten victories.

APPLICATION

How many victories has God done in your life for you to quickly forget them? Perhaps you had a bill you couldn’t pay, and God provided for you. Maybe you had a health scare from which God delivered you. Your child was sick with fever, and you prayed all night long. Do I need to go on? Forgotten victories.

The Lord does so many things for us in our daily battles. We forget how faithful He is despite out unfaithfulness. He delivers us when we don’t deserve delivering. He defends us from our adversary, the devil, when we have faltered in our faith. Every victory we have in life can be traced back to our Deliverer. As a child of the King, our victories all belong to Him. Forgotten victories.

Don’t let your life be filled with forgotten victories. Make a log of them. Write them down. Keep track of them. Not for bragging purposes but for celebration purposes. I recently rang the bell at my Oncologist’s office indicating I am in remission from a disease I have. That victory belongs to God. He was the One who healed me. Remembered victory!

O Lord, I praise You for every victory in my life. The battle belongs to You.

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Accountability, Affection, Bible, Blessing, Comfort, Commands, Compassion, God's Will, Goodness, Idols, Kindness, Ministry, Scripture

OTHERS’ THINGS

AMOS 2:8

“‘And on garments seized as pledges they stretch out beside every altar, and in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined.’”

My dad had one rule about borrowed tools. If you borrow it, take it back. If it’s borrowed, get it back. My dad had a shop full of tools, and when he died eight years ago, they were still there. My brother, nephews, son and other family members got all the tools they wanted, and they were still tools left. That’s because of the “borrowed” tool rule. They were always in the right place.

The Lord had a command against keeping the garments of the poor that had been given as pledges of debt. Those garments were to be returned at night since they most likely were the poor’s means of keeping warm. Here the Lord rebukes them for keeping them and stretching them out at altars. They also mockingly drank the wine received as payment in their places of worship, further reveling in their idolatry.

APPLICATION

Well, I can hear us now. We don’t take other people’s clothes and wine. This doesn’t apply to us. Don’t forget that every word of God’s Word is inspired. So, it always relates to us in some manner. These Israelites saw others in need and turned their heads. They knew God’s command and still did it. Don’t we do the same? Don’t we see others who are cold and thirsty and turn our heads?

Now, I know we can’t meet the need of every person. But we can meet the need of one. It’s coming into winter here in Tennessee where I live. I see the homeless just about every day and wonder how they stay warm. I wonder if they have enough to eat or drink. And what do I do about it? Very little. I may hand out a bag of food or something, but that’s about it. Many of these I see choose to live this way. I realize that. But that doesn’t lessen my responsibility.

How about you? What can you do about it? I bet you see the same people in your town. People who just need a little help. Don’t wait on someone else to step up. Get your church involved. Ask around and get others involved. Even a little group can make an impact on one person’s life.

Thank You, Father, for blessing me to be able to bless others. Open my eyes to those around me who need a helping hand.

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Accountability, Bible, Commands, Confession, Consequences, Deception, Discipline, Evil, Flesh, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Perversion, Scripture, Sin

PERVERSION

AMOS 2:7

“‘These who trample the head of the helpless to the dust of the earth also divert the way of the humble; and a man and his father resort to the same girl so as to profane My holy name.’”

Sin by any other name is still sin. I know I have called my sins things like “my rights” or “just my personality.” Listen, anything that goes against what the Lord commands is sin, plain and simple. Anything that seeks my will over His is sin. Anything that belittles another is sin. I could go on, but you get the picture. We call our sins other things to disguise them and feel better about them.

All the things mentioned in verse 7 today were sins against a holy God. The rich were trampling the helpless for the dust they had put on their heads in mourning. They were diverting the meek and humble away from God. A father was marrying his son’s widow and vice versa. And father and son were perhaps visiting the same temple prostitute. All abominations in the eyes of God. But Israel was blind to them.

APPLICATION

What perversions do you have in your life right now? Most of us would quickly deny we had any perversions. Those are only the gross sins, right? Wrong. Any sin against God is perverse. They all go against His holiness. So, let me ask you that question another way. What sin(s) do you have right now that God would see as against His holiness? Now, that changes everything, doesn’t it?

I want to encourage you to confess those “perversions” right now. Ask the Lord to reveal to your eyes the sins you have not confessed to Him. Take the time to evaluate your lifestyle. Are there things you are doing on a daily basis that bring your faith into question? Are you compromising your testimony to achieve something? The Lord will show you what you need to confess, if you will just ask.

Staying “confessed up” is the key for me. The Holy Spirit is quick to convict me. If He’s too busy, my wife is always available. Lol. Seriously though, I am thankful for a wife that will not hesitate to call me out on my sin. That’s special. I love her for it. I pray you have someone in your life who will do the same. If not, find someone.

Your conviction in my life is precious, O Lord. I want You to keep my accountable for my sin.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Confession, Deceit, Exalting, Foreknowledge, Judgment, Scripture

FINALLY

AMOS 2:6

“This is what the LORD says: ‘For three offenses of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke its punishment, because they sell the righteous for money, and the needy for a pair of sandals.’”

Has anyone ever been talking to you about “someone” and you thought they were really talking about you? They were saying things like Well someone was saying the other day that I had said this. You recollect saying something, but you are not quite sure. The two of you keep talking and the truth finally comes out.

Well, that’s what just happened in Amos. He has been prophesying to Israel about all these other nations, and now has dropped the bombshell. He is really here to prophesy against Israel for all they’ve done. Can you imagine their shock when they heard him say, “for three offenses of Israel, and for four”? They probably yelled, “Now wait a minute, Amos. You were doing so good.”

APPLICATION

The point of today’s verse for me is don’t be too cruel about the sins of others because we all have plenty of our own. In fact, we do the same things the Israelites were doing. We sell the righteous for money and the need for a pair of sandals. Well, wait a minute, Carl. I’ve never done that. Well, you may have never “sold” anyone, but you may have taken advantage of someone to make yourself look better.

It’s just human nature to want to come out on top. We don’t want to be pushed down and made to look lower than others. So, we do whatever we can to look better than them. But what does the Lord want us to do? He wants us to lower ourselves, to humble ourselves. He said the last shall be first and the first shall be last. He lived humbly before others. Today find a way to do that.

I don’t like to be humbled. For me, it’s much better to humble myself. I have found when I do that and try to lift others up, then I am doing what the Lord wants. Serving others is humbling at times. At others, it is exalting. Just ask the Lord what He would have you do. I bet it will be a humbling experience for you. Father, don’t let me look on the sins of others. Let me only see my sin and the need I have to repent.

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Calling, Confession, Consequences, Disciplemaking, Forgiveness, God's Will, Punishment, Repentance, Scripture

PUNISHMENT IS SURE

AMOS 2:5

“‘So I will send fire upon Judah, and it will consume the citadels of Jerusalem.’”

When I was in the eighth grade, many moons ago, my homeroom teacher, who was also my junior varsity football coach, would call me and another student, who was also one of his players, up to the front of the room. He would give us both one swat with his paddle and say, “You’re both going to do something today to deserve this. Consider your punishment rendered.” I’m not sure that could be done today, lol.

Judah’s punishment was sure. The Lord uses the same language He used for Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon and Moab. Just because Judah was His daughter, they did not escape His wrath. Why? Why didn’t God show them so preferential treatment? Why didn’t He let them off with a lighter punishment? Because He is just, and His judgments are justified.

APPLICATION

The same applies for us. Some people think that just because they have asked Christ to be their Savior, they can do anything they want and escape the consequences. Sure, those sins are forgiven, but all sins have consequences, either here or later. Of course, if we are Christians, we should be running from sin, not going towards it.

So, I know when I sin, I must go the Father as quickly as I can and confess that sin to Him. I don’t always do that, and I can feel the barrier building up in my prayer life. Have you felt like your prayers were hitting the ceiling? Perhaps your sins are bouncing them back. Try confessing them to Him right now. If you aren’t aware of them, ask Him to reveal them to you. He will. I promise you will feel that weight come off your shoulders.

My buddy and I certainly did things everyday to deserve those spankings. Why wouldn’t we? Our coach told us they were paid for in advance. That’s not how it works with God. I wish I could go back and correct that coach, but that was almost fifty years ago. I didn’t know the Lord then. I pray he came to a saving knowledge of Jesus himself.

Lord, I praise You for discipling me. It may be painful know, but it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace.

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Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Confession, Consequences, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Scripture

CLOSER TO HOME

AMOS 2:4

“This is what the LORD says: ‘For three offenses of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke its punishment, because they rejected the Law of the LORD and have not kept His statutes; their lies also have led them astray, those which their fathers followed.’”

I have three siblings. I have a brother (who is in heaven now) and two sisters, one older and one younger. You can imagine with the four of us growing up together, there were plenty of times when we got in trouble. I used to love it when my siblings got in trouble, and I didn’t. I especially liked that when I had done the instigating. I thought I had escaped the wrath of mom or dad. Lol

Israel, who is receiving these prophecies from Amos, just leaped about ten feet off the floor when they heard Amos proclaim verse 4 of chapter 2. Judah was their sister, with whom they have been fighting for generations, ever since the kingdom divided. They knew THEY deserved punishment. It was about time. Right? Right!

APPLICATION

But oh, how quickly we forget. We have done the same if not worse things. I knew every time my siblings got caught and I didn’t that my time was coming. I was just as deserving as they were of the punishment that was headed their way. But did I run up to mom or dad and confess my sins? No way. I was free from that – this time.

We can’t do that with God. He knows our every move. Nothing escapes His eyes. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” You see, He is always watching, but He had much rather catch us doing good than doing bad. That’s true with any parent, isn’t it?

I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit in my life who directs me to do good. He quickly convicts me of wrong and sets me back on the right path. I pray you have that same Holy Spirit in your life. If you don’t, surrender to Jesus today, and He will send His Spirit to live within you. You will never be the same!

O God, thank You for not only convicting me but for also catching me doing good. I want to please You.

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Accountability, Advocate, Bible, Commands, Consequences, Crowns, Judgment, Obedience, Scripture

THERE GOES THE JUDGE

AMOS 2:3

“‘I will also eliminate the judge from her midst and slay all her leaders with him,’ says the LORD.”

When I was a child there was a comedian named Flip Wilson. He had one character he played that was a judge. Whenever he walked on to the set he would cry out, “Here comes the judge! Here comes the judge!” It was a pretty, funny character, and he played it well.

In Amos 2:3 the Lord is saying just the opposite. He is saying, “There goes the judge! There goes the judge!” He was taking out not only the kings and princes, but He was eliminating all rulers in Moab. There will be no one to lead what was left of their people. He wanted them to know that there was only one King and Ruler – Jehovah!

APPLICATION

Who is the ruler of your life? If it is anyone but God, you have chosen the wrong ruler. So many of our young people today are rebelling against any authority in their lives. They seem to think they don’t need anyone to rule over them. They rebel against their parents, teachers, coaches, etc.

But before we point our fingers at them and shake out head, we are no better. We rebel against God in our lives. We rebel against our bosses (don’t tell me you don’t in some way). We need people to lead us. We need a ruler. God is that ruler. Bow down.

I am thankful for God being my King. I bow before Him daily. Do I serve Him as I should? Not always. But He is still my King. I acknowledge that. I want to be under Him. As long as I do, I am under His protection. He protects those who stay close, but you have to stay close. Does that mean you don’t interact with the world? Of course, not. But it does mean you live by your King’s rules and not the world’s.

Thank You, Father, for leading me. I know I am not always as obedient as I should be, but I do want to follow You.

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Calling, Courage, Direction, Encouragement

MY END

AMOS 2:2

“‘So I will send fire upon Moab and it will consume the citadels of Kerioth; and Moab will die amid the panic of battle, amid war cries and the sound of a trumpet.’”

We are reminded of the prophecy of Balaam in today’s verse. Remember Balaam? He was the prophet with the talking donkey He said, regarding Moab, “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult.” (Numbers 24:17)

The Lord is saying through Amos that the nation of Moab would be destroyed through battle. There would be no peaceful demise. It would be violent. This would reflect what they had done to Israel. Violence invites violence. The Lord was not about to forget their atrocities.

APPLICATION

Our decisions have consequences. When we live as if we are free from the consequences of our actions, we are inviting a harsh end. We may see others living lives devoid of God and think we can get away with it also. But we don’t know the mind of God. We don’t know when He will rain down judgment. It may not happen in this lifetime.

Let me urge you to live each day as if it is your last. How do you want to face the Lord of the universe? Do you want to face Him in a fearful state or one of joy? I recently read an article that listed a couple of dozen last words of atheists. None of them were pleasant. In fact, several of them had words that expressed feelings of torment. They didn’t face God well.

As for me, I can’t wait to see my Lord. Have I done everything perfect down here? No, but it is not about what I have done. It’s all about what He has done in and though me. I am confident in my homegoing because I know His Son, Jesus. Do you? I pray you do or that you will come to know Him today.

I praise You, O Lord, because I know where I am going when I leave this world. Thank You for that assurance.

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Accountability, Bible, Brokenness, Consequences, Forgiveness, Humility, Scripture

BURNING BONES

AMOS 2:1

“This is what the LORD says: ‘For three offenses of Moab, and for four, I will not revoke its punishment, because he burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime.’”

Cremation is a choice many people make for their bodies at death. Some feel that it isn’t biblical. I am not going to get into a debate about that in this blog. You will have to decide that on your own. To burn bones you have to get a pretty hot fire. Today that’s pretty easy, but back in the day of Amos that took great effort.

So, the Lord has turned his attention to Moab, another of Israel’s enemies, because of this decision. Who was Moab? They were the descendants of Lot and his older daughter after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. They were a ruthless bunch, as you can see from today’s verse. God is not going to revoke His punishment due to the actions.

APPLICATION

What have you done offensive against someone? Don’t tell me you haven’t. We all have. God is not pleased with that. We all know that. So, what do we do about that? We confess that as sin and ask God for forgiveness. It really is that simple. But there’s a second part. We also have to go to that person and ask for forgiveness.

That’s the hard part. We don’t want to do that. Why? Because we don’t want to humble ourselves before others. But what did our Savior do? He washed the feet of His disciples as a lowly servant. He even washed the feet of Judas, whom He knew would betray Him. That’s humbling yourself.

No one likes to humble themselves. I certainly don’t. But I know the shortest route to heaven is on my knees. I have to bow before my Lord and confess. I have to go to my neighbor and ask for forgiveness. And then I leave it there. I don’t burn any bones. It’s in the past. Can you do that?

Thank You Lord for convicting me of my sin. Continue to bring me to Your altar.

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Abiding, Alone, Bible, Christ's Return, Consequences, Encouragement, Family, God's Will, Healing, Home, Leading

NO HOMEPLACE

AMOS 1:15

“‘Their king will go into exile, he and his princes together,’ says the LORD.”

My family moved a lot during my ministry. In fact, my wife and children have moved five times. We know each move was directed by the Lord. The events leading up to our decision to move were not our own making. Only God could have done it. But all those moves can leave you feeling homeless. Thankfully, we have settled in Chattanooga, TN. That is our home. Now, God may move us again, but it will always be home for us.

Amos ends his prophecy against Ammon by prophesying the royal family’s exile. Do you know what that means? They would be taken out of their palaces, their homes, and placed in another country which the conquering army had defeated. Wherever they were placed, it wouldn’t be home. They will lose everything that is familiar.

APPLICATION

Have you lost your familiar place? Do you feel homeless? I want to remind you of something. If you are believer, you don’t belong here anyway. This world is not our home. We are citizens of heaven. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, and when it is time, He will take us home.

But while you are here, where do you belong? Wherever God has placed you. My wife and I tried to make everyplace we lived home. Some places were easier than others, but we really tried to make it home. Home is where your family is. Don’t be bitter or angry about where you are. Accept your placing as from God.

God has a master plan for our lives. I will never understand it this side of glory. But I trust His wisdom. I know He will never place me anywhere that is not meant to make me more like Him. The people I meet there and the experiences I have are heaven-made. God has allowed each and every interaction for a reason. The journey is exciting. Embrace it.

Father, I trust that You know what is best for me. I will go along for the journey.

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