Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Choices, Consequences, Contentment, Deception, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Modeling, Scripture

THE RIGHT WEIGHT

MICAH 6:11

“‘Can I justify dishonest balances, and a bag of fraudulent weights?’”

I have this little hand-held baggage scale. You simply wrap the strap around the baggage handle, pick it up and you get the weight. That is necessary when you are flying somewhere because they have restrictions on how much weight you can have in that bag. Too much, and it costs you more. You cannot cheat the scale.

God watches our actions just as closely. He will not tolerate our deceitfulness. The people would try to cheat others in the market by having those fraudulent weight and scales. He had warned the people about this in Leviticus 19:35-36 where it says, “‘You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight, or volume. You shall have accurate balances, accurate weights, an accurate ephah, and an accurate hin;’”

APPLICATION

I am reminded of a verse in Job when he was vehemently denying any sin in his life that had caused his suffering. Job 31:6 says, “Let Him weigh me with accurate scales, and let God know my integrity.” Can you say that? I sure cannot most days.

I want my life to be weighed and found not lacking. I want my deeds and words to be always just right on God’s scales. I trust His scales to be accurate and true. If He says I am lacking, I am lacking. If He says I am okay, I am okay. He sees me as righteous because of His Son. Jesus has tipped the scales in my favor.

We have a bathroom scale in our home. Most mornings I weigh myself. It is interesting, though. I can weigh myself and then go to the doctor and weigh five more pounds. I think they set their scales five pounds heavier so they can tell us to lose some weight, lol. Truth is my scales are off five pounds. What really matters is my spiritual weight. With Jesus, I will always weigh correctly spiritually. Is that true for you today?

I am forever grateful for the blood that washed away the weight of my sin and made me righteous in Your eyes, Lord.

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Abuse, Accused, Bible, Blameless, Devil, Encouragement, Eternity, Evil, Humility, Mockery, Relationships, Satan, Scripture

MOCKING

MICAH 2:4

“‘On that day they will take up against you a song of mocking and utter a song of mourning and say, “We are completely destroyed! He exchanges the share of my people; how He removes it from me! To the apostate He apportions our fields.”’”

Being mocked is not fun, is it? Remember as a child someone repeating every word you said. Little brothers and little sisters were really bad about that. “Leave me alone” and the echo would come back, “Leave me alone.” “Mom, tell her to leave me alone.” Again, “Mom, tell her to leave me alone.”

Today’s verse shows that happening to God’s people by the pagan enemies who would defeat them. They would actually mock their mourning and cries out to God. Defeated and demoralized. Defeated and publicly humiliated. How low could they go. Pretty low it seemed.

APPLICATION

Has this happened to you? Have your enemies mocked you? Probably not, but it could happen. So, what is worse than that? I will tell you. Standing before a holy God and answering not for your sins. If our sins aren’t under the blood, if we are saved by the blood of the Lamb, we will not only be humiliated, but we will also be eternally separated from God.

You cannot get much lower than that. Listen to me, if you are a believer today, Satan will mock you when you are down. He will whisper those accusations against you. Remember that your sins were paid for at Calvary. That does not give you a free reign to sin. Not in the least. But it does give you the answer to Satan’s mocking.

We can literally tell Satan to flee. James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” It does not get much better than that. You have the power through the Holy Spirit to put Satan in his place – hell. That is not where you belong and that is not where you are going. You have an eternal home guaranteed for you in heaven. Doesn’t that excite you today?

Father, it does not matter what the devil says. I know I am yours and forever will be.

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Blameless, Commands, Condemnation, Confession, Eternity, God's Will, Guilt, Innocent, Scripture, Testimony

CAN I GET A WITNESS?

MICAH 1:2

“Hear, you peoples, all of you; listen carefully, earth and all it contains, and may the Lord GOD be a witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple.”

I have been in a few court trials in my life. Each and every time witnesses were called up front to testify to what they saw or know about the defendant’s innocence or guilt. Each and every time they are asked to swear to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The phrase “so help you God” used to be added to that, but most courts have dropped that now.

Micah is calling for the whole world to listen and bear witness to what the Lord is about to say concerning his chosen people. They are going to be held accountable for their breach of His covenant with them. So, the Lord wants everyone to watch and listen so they will learn what happens to those who do not heed His laws and commands.

APPLICATION

I love that Hebrew word for “listen carefully.” It has the idea of pricked up ears. You know what I mean? Suppose your dog is lying across the room from you sleeping. What happens when you call their name? They raise their head, look in the direction of your voice and their ears stand up. That’s the picture here in this verse.

How do I apply this verse to my life? Easy peasy! I need to listen carefully! That’s it – I’m done, lol. Seriously, we need to prick up our ears and listen when the Lord speaks. He always speaks truth. He wants us to listen carefully so we can learn how to walk closer to Him. He does not mince words. He speaks clearly.

I can get to talking fast sometimes, especially if I am excited about something. My wife will often give me hand signals to slow down. She and I both want the people listening to hear the message clearly. I am so glad I do not have to strain to understand my Lord. He speaks my language, and He speaks distinctly. I have no problem understanding His message to me. The problem lies with me doing what He says. Will you listen to Him today?

Thank You, Lord, for speaking to me. Help me be more attentive to Your words.

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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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