Accused, Anger, Bible, Blameless, Blessing, Confrontation, Consequences, Encouragement, Gossip, Holy Spirit, Jealousy, Lying

SQUEELER

AMOS 7:10

“Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, ‘Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel; the land is unable to endure all his words.’”

No one likes a tattletale. I can remember growing up with my three siblings. We were constantly tattling on each other, usually to get the monkey off our own back. We figured if we blamed someone else, we could sneak by getting caught ourselves. It seldom worked, lol.

Amaziah runs to Jeroboam and tattles on Amos. But he says something that is completely false. He claims that Amos has conspired against the king hoping to get the king upset about losing his power. This imposter of a priest has no idea what is truth and what is falsehood.

APPLICATION

I bet you have had others tattle on you. I bet you have even had others spread falsehoods about you. It hurts, but what do you do about it? How should you respond? Luke 6:27-28 tells us. It says, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

What? You mean I can’t retaliate? Not according to Jesus. The truth will come out eventually. We have to be willing to endure the sufferings of doing what is right. We know that leads to God’s blessings. To lash out would undermine our witness and tear down the truth.

I am thankful the Lord has taught me that. My flesh would want to get that person back as quickly as possible. But the Spirit within me tells me otherwise. He tells me to love that person. He tells me to pray for that person. He tells me to trust the Father. Do you?

I am so thankful that You are my protector and defender. People may attack me and try to accuse me, but You know the truth.

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Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blameless, Disciplemaking, Following, Integrity, Modeling, Obedience

INTEGRITY

AMOS 5:10

“They hate him who rebukes in the gate, and they despise him who speaks with integrity.”

When I worked for decades in the child welfare field, the one thing I talked about more than anything else was the need to teach the children we served how to have integrity. If one has integrity, all the other areas of their life will be okay. Integrity is crucial for healthy relationships.

However, as Amos points out in today’s verse, people don’t want to hear that. It was true in Amos’ day, and it is true in ours. Being honest about things causes those who are dishonest to be uncomfortable. They don’t like the light of integrity shining on their sins.

APPLICATION

So, should we stop showing integrity because it makes people feel uncomfortable? No way! We have to stand for what is true and right and just, no matter how the world responds. Jesus warned us that the world would hate us. Why should we be surprised when they do?

The only way we can be sure that we are showing integrity is by staying in God’s Word. It is the only trustworthy source to rely on. By living according to it, we can be sure to show integrity in all we do. If we follow Jesus’ example, we are definitely going to do that.

Integrity is so important for we believers to practice. In a world that doesn’t see it much, we need to shine the light of truth. Integrity means owning up to our own mistakes when we make them also. Being vulnerable is risky, but when we do, that may just point someone in the direction of Christ.

Lord, help me show integrity in everything I do. I will mistakes but give me the strength to correct them and make things right.

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Bible, Blameless, Confession, Forgiveness, Judgment, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

THE STENCH OF DEATH

AMOS 4:10

“‘I sent a plague among you as in Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses, and I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the LORD.”

I don’t know if you have ever smelled a dead carcass our not, but it is awful. Often, when I am in the woods hunting, I will run across a dead dear or other animal. I can smell it long before I see it. The stench can be overwhelming, depending on how long it’s been there. It’s not a good smell.

The Lord’s judgment on Israel included death, death to their soldiers and livestock. Here in verse 10 of chapter 4, Amos speaks for the Lord recounting those deaths. The phrase “the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils” is so descriptive. That smell does stick in your nose. Even that smell did not drive the Israelites back to Him.

APPLICATION

Our sins smell just as retched in God’s nostrils. The stench of our sins rise up to heaven. We can’t cover them up with a scented candle or a matchstick. The smell of our sins covers us until we wash them off in confession. And there is nothing that can remove them except the blood of Christ.

That may sound kind of silly. How can blood, which has its own smell, wash away the smell of our sins? Because this isn’t just some plain, ordinary blood. As it says in 1 Peter 1:19, “but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” That’s the difference. His blood is pure. Only His blood can wash that stench off.

I am so thankful I have surrendered my life to Him and allowed that unblemished, spotless Lamb’s blood cleanse me. I can walk stench free because of Him. I don’t have to worry about how I smell. My sins are forgiven. I know who to come to when I need to confess. How do you smell today?

O Father, I praise You for sending Your Son, on this special day to rid this world of this stench of sin. Help me point others towards His blood.

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Accountability, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Blameless, Choices, Confession, Enemies, God's Will, Salvation, Scripture

WIPED OUT

JOEL 3:19

Egypt will become a wasteland, and Edom will become a desolate wilderness, because of the violence done to the sons of Judah, in whose land they have shed innocent blood.

I love movies where the bad guys get it. That may sound bad. Sorry! But I love for right to triumph. I like to see the righteous win. This world has way too much bad stuff happening. It seems that evil is winning all the time. I don’t have to go into details. You know what I am talking about. So, when I can see things end right in a movie, that pleases me.

God defended the innocent. He wiped out Egypt and Edom for their crimes against Judah. They had done violence against them and now it was payback time. But it was the Lord God who did the repaying. His vengeance is always right. When He judges it is always just. And Egypt and Edom were found guilty.

APPLICATION

Which side of right and wrong are you on? Well Carl, I wouldn’t be reading a devotional if I was on the wrong side. Oh really? Are you sure about that? A lot of people are doing religious stuff but are still on the wrong side. They are pretending. They present themselves as righteous but are living unholy lives. There lives are not surrendered to Jesus. They are just going through the motions.

I am not saying that is you. I just want you to examine yourself. Are you totally surrendered to Jesus? Does He have your heart 100 percent? When given a choice, do you choose the things of the world or the things of Christ? Christ is our Master, and we must obey Him in all things. We must choose what is right according to His Word no matter the cost.

Right and wrong. Good and evil. The choice has been around since creation. Most days I choose what is right and good. Other days I fall victim to my flesh and choose the wrong thing. I am thankful that my heart belongs to Jesus, and His Spirit convicts me and draws me back. I do not have to fear being wiped out by God. He has already wiped out my sins.

O Lord, I am thankful You have wiped out my sins. Forgive me when I fall short.

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Accountability, Advocate, Bible, Blameless, Guilt, Hope, Judgment, Promises, Scripture, Submission

THE JUDGE SITS

JOEL 3:12

Let the nations be awakened and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.

I have a friend who is a judge. I’ve been to his court a lot. I don’t mind going to his court because he’s my friend and I am never in trouble when I’m there. He does, however, have to sit in judgment on others. He has to hear their case and then make a decision. He’s a fair judge, but he is also a firm one.

The judge of all the nations will one day sit in judgment over all. Joel is predicting that in today’s verse. One day, Jehovah will judge every single person on whether they know His Son. Many will claim they were too busy or were confused. Excuses won’t work then. When the judge sits in judgment, truth will reign.

APPLICATION

When you face your final judgment, how do you think it’s going to go? Are you fearful of what God will find in your life? If you are a believer in Christ, judgment has already been passed on your sins. They are forgiven. If you are not a believer, you have much to fear. There is no way you will talk your way out of His perfect sentence.

But there’s no reason to even have to worry about that. All that’s required is a surrender to His will. He wants each of us to live in such a way our future is foretold. When we are walking with Christ, our future is secure. I pray you have that assurance in your life right now. If not, stop and make things right.

Way back in 1977 I gave my life to the Master. He has my back. There is nothing I can do to loosen His grip on me. When I face my Maker at judgment, all He will judge is my works. My guilt, due to my sins, has already been removed. Oh, the joy of that confidence.

Lord, I am so thankful I don’t have to fear Your judgment. My sins are forgiven at Calvary.

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Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Cleansing, Consequences, Disciplemaking, Flesh, Forgiveness, Grace, Hell, Judgment, Punishment, Salvation, Scripture

YOUR JUST DESSERTS

JOEL 3:7

behold, I am going to stir them up from the place where you have sold them, and return your retribution on your head.

Sometimes people get just what they deserve. You may have heard that expression, “just desserts.” It means to get what’s coming to you. Now, to be honest, my flesh loves to see that happen. But I know Christ in me desires for others to repent and avoid the punishment of sin – kind of like Nineveh did when they heard Jonah’s message.

However, right here in Joel 3:7, God is telling the nations that they are going to receive the consequences for their sins. They have done evil to His children. Now it’s their turn to suffer for their actions. Yes, they had been used by Him to accomplish the judgment upon Judah, but they took it too far. They became haughty. God will now issue His judgment on them.

APPLICATION

So, the lesson for us is to not get too excited when we see someone else get punished for something they have done. We could just as easily be getting ours. None of us are innocent. We have all done things for which we deserved to be punished. So, we shouldn’t enjoy the punishment of others. In fact, we should do all we can to try to help them.

Of course, the ultimate punishment is the eternal judgment of God. As believers in Christ, our punishment has already been paid for by Christ. But think of the billions of people out there who are going to die and go to hell without hearing the gospel. We need to do all we can to advance the kingdom while there’s still time. What can you do today to help someone avoid their “just desserts”?

I am so thankful for my salvation. I know all the deeds I committed that earned me a place in hell. But because of the saving power of Jesus, my record was washed clean. Surely, He has cleansed me with hyssop and washed me whiter than snow. I want others to experience what I have experienced. Don’t you?

Father, I am so thankful I am not getting my just desserts when it comes to my sins. Thank You for cleansing my soul.

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Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Confession, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Guilt, Prayer, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony

UNDENIABLE

HOSEA 13:12

The guilt of Ephraim is wrapped up; his sin is stored up.”

You have probably heard the expression “Be sure your sins will find you out.” It’s true! Sooner or later (and later could be eternity), our sins will be exposed. Without divulging my sins to you, I can assure you that has been true in my life. Times when I thought my indiscretions were hidden proved to be false hopes. They always emerge and hopefully lead to confession.

Ephraim could not hide their sins against a holy God. The guilt of their sins was wrapped tight around them. They could not escape. It is interesting that the Hebrew word for “guilt” here is avon. It can mean guilt and iniquity, but it can also mean the punishment of iniquity. Their sins had bound them tightly. They could not deny their guilt.

APPLICATION

Are you guilty? Guilt is a tiresome thing. When we feel guilty, we can’t be confident in anything we do. We feel unworthy and even ashamed. As believers we aren’t meant to walk around with guilt. Our sins are forgiven. We need to walk in victory. Satan loves to keep us feeling “less than” so he can have his way with us.

Don’t fall for it. When you sin (and you will), confess that as soon as you can. Immediately go to Jesus and tell Him all about it. We shouldn’t be seeking out sin. That’s not right either. But when we fall, we get back up, dust ourselves off and go to the altar. When we are all confessed up, the guilt melts away. We walk in freedom.

I like that feeling. I can still remember going to the little prayer room we had at my home church in Pelham. It was always open, and I would slip in there quite often to spend time in prayer. After an extended time in prayer, confessing my sins, I would walk out feeling like I had just taken a shower. I felt clean and refreshed. If you haven’t done that lately, may I encourage you  to spend some extra time in prayer. You won’t regret it.

I walk in victory today, Lord, because of Your shed blood. I am guilt free because of You.

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Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Judgment, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

GOD REMEMBERS

HOSEA 9:9

“They are deeply depraved as in the days of Gibeah; He will remember their guilt, He will punish their sins.”

My memory isn’t what it used to be. I have gone through chemotherapy a couple of times and now suffer with what is known as “chemobrain.” Some people don’t think that is real, but believe me, it is. I have to make a lot of lists now to get things done. I want to remember things but can’t.

God, however, remembers our sins. Hosea says so right here in today’s verse. He couldn’t forget the sins of Israel because they hadn’t repented. Their unconfessed sins were before Him. He had to hold them accountable. Hosea says “He will punish their sins.” They is true for us, unless…

APPLICATION

When we come to Jesus and admit we are sinners, when we confess those sins and ask for forgiveness, God forgives them. And not only does He forgive them, He choses to forget them. They are remembered no more. Psalm 103: says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Isn’t that incredible? The God of the universe choses to remove our sins from us and from His recollection. Our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus. He remembers our sins no more because of His Son. They are wiped away. Isn’t that worth sharing? Isn’t that something that the lost need to hear?

You and I can walk in freedom from sin because of the power of His forgiveness. I don’t have to feel guilty from past sins. I can walk in power over sin because of His Spirit who lives within me. I am no longer under the threat of damnation because of the shed blood of the Lamb. That is shouting ground. Amen?

I am so thankful for Your forgetfulness, Father. You have washed me clean by the blood of the Lamb, Your Son, Jesus Christ.

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Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Commands, Confession, Encouragement, Following, Forgiveness, Godliness, Holiness, Innocent, Inspirational, Obedience, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

INNOCENT

HOSEA 8:5

“He has rejected your calf, Samaria, saying, ‘My anger burns against them!’ How long will they be incapable of innocence?”

One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament is when Moses had gone up on the mountain to receive the ten commandments. While he was gone the people approached Aaron and demanded an idol to represent the god who led them out of Egypt. Aaron gathers their gold and forms the golden calf. When Moses returns, Aaron claims he just threw the gold into the fire and the calf came out.

In today’s verse, Hosea reminds them of this idolatry. God is angry. They continue to sin. They refuse to repent. He says they are incapable of innocence. Don’t forget the decades and decades of pagan worship. Don’t forget how they had turned their backs on the true God, the one who had led them out of slavery and into the promised land.

APPLICATION

But before you start judging the Israelites, look at your own faith walk. You may not have a golden calf in your living room that you bow down to each day, but are you innocent? I bet not (neither am I, by the way). None of us are. But the Lord calls us to be holy as He is. That is only possible as we bow before Him.

As believers, God’s wrath is satisfied. We don’t have to fear His wrath anymore. However, God is not pleased with our sinful behaviors. When we don’t stay “confessed up,” it affects our relationship with our Lord. He cries out to us, “Return to me.” That’s when we need to fall to our knees, confess our sins, receive His mercy and rise to walk in newness of life.

I don’t want to be accused of a lack of innocence. I want to be bold in my approach to our Lord. I want to come into His presence knowing I am living, to the best of my ability, a holy life, transformed by His Word. I want to hear those words, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” Don’t you?

I know I am declared innocent only because of the blood of Christ. Help me live to honor You.

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Accountability, Battles, Belief, Bible, Blameless, Bondslaves, Busyness, Choices, Cleansing, Commands, Confession, Disciplemaking, Faith, Following, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture

NETTED

HOSEA 7:12

When they go, I will spread My net over them; I will bring them down like the birds of the sky. I will discipline them in accordance with the proclamation to their assembly.

I have never used a net to catch birds, but I have used a cast net to catch fish. There’s quite an art to it. You need to know how to fold it in your hands and swing it just right to cause the net to open as it hits the water. Otherwise, you just have a mess of a net in a wad in the water. When you throw it correctly, you have the potential to catch some bait fish to use later.

The Lord has cast His net over the dove mentioned in verse 11. Ephraim may have thought they could escape capture and judgment just like a dove to quickly fly off and escape. But the Lord’s net it sure. He knows exactly how to throw it. His cast is always perfect. He would hold them down to earth to face the consequences of their sins.

APPLICATION

Oh, be sure, my brothers and sisters, you will not escape the wrath of God. Unless we all turn to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will all face His wrath. We will pay for our sins. We have no excuse. We can’t claim ignorance. We can’t say we were too busy and meant to get to it. No! We will face judgment one day.

But thanks be to God, He has provided a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13) for us. All we have to do is turn to Jesus, admit we are a sinner, believe He is the Son of God who died on that cruel cross for us, was buried and rose again. Then we confess our sins and ask for His shed blood to cover them. Then God extends His loving arms to us and grants us forgiveness and gives us the faith to live obediently to Him.

You have a choice today. You can be a netted dove, caught in your sins, awaiting judgment or you can be set free by the blood of Jesus. Which is it? I am so thankful I am free. I am free to live a life dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life is in His hands. I am secure and protected. What a feeling. I feel just like that dove soaring high in the sky, knowing I am protected by my loving Father. How about you?

I am free because of Jesus’ blood. Thank You, Lord, for cutting loose the net that bound me to my sins.

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