Abiding, Accountability, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Discipline, Faith, God's Will, Judgment, Restoration, Scripture

NO LONGER

NAHUM 1:12

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Though they are at full strength and so they are many, so also they will be cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no longer.’”

I had to have a test one time to determine if my nerve endings were affected by my Amyloidosis (the disease I have). I will not go into all the details of this test, but suffice it to say, it hurt. And it took a long time. I did not think it would ever end. Finally, the technician doing the test said, “Okay, Mr. Willis, we’re done now. The test is over.” What sweet words!

Nahum is telling Israel that the one He had used to afflict them would afflict them no longer. Their time of suffering had ended. Don’t you know those were sweet words to them, as well? On top of that, the ones who had afflicted them were going to get what was coming to them.

APPLICATION

Are you in a time of affliction right now? This too shall pass. Let me encourage you to not look on your affliction as affliction. Look on it as purification. See it as a testing to make you more like Jesus as you learn to trust your Father in the midst of the storm. I do not know what you are going through. I do not know the source of your trial. But I know the One who does.

There is not a trial that has ever afflicted one person that God is not aware. Some of those trials He has brought on to bring that person to Him. Other trials He has simply allowed. All of them are meant to make us better, not bitter. It all depends on how we surrender in the midst of the affliction.

I have shared numerous times in my blogs about the afflictions I have been through physically. I will hasten to say that I do not want to repeat any of them. However, I also know that God used them all to strengthen me and make me into the image He wants to produce in me. Let Him refine you today.

O God, Redeemer of my soul, make me what You want to make me. I am clay in Your hands.

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Bible, Blessing, Encouragement, Eternity, Glory, Heaven, Inspirational, Joy, Light, Promises, Salvation, Scripture

A SIGHT TO BEHOLD 

MICAH 7:9 

“I will endure the rage of the LORD because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me out to the light, and I will look at His righteousness.” 

I remember the day I married my wife. I remember seeing her appear in the doorway of the sanctuary. It was the first time I had seen her in her wedding dress. She was beautiful. I watched her as she walked down the aisle, knowing that in a matter of minutes, we would be married. Joy was bubbling over. 

Micah seems to share a similar joy in knowing the LORD would bring him out to the light and he could look at His righteousness. Micah knows he is not worthy of such a sight, but the LORD has forgiven him of his sins and pleaded his case. Wow! What a sight to behold. 

APPLICATION 

One day we will see Jesus. Can you imagine? We all have a picture in our minds of what that will be like, but none of them come close to the actual. Jesus’ presence before us will be the culmination of our spiritual journey. We will be safely in His arms for eternity. 

I have had the privilege to see some magnificent sights – the flight of thousands of pink flamingos in Kenya, the sun rising out of the Atlantic Ocean, the birth of my children. Those are just a few. But none will compare to the sight of my Lord. Just like Micah, He has pleaded my case and has executed justice for me. 

I have been given the promise of eternity with my Lord. It will be a place that is lit by His radiance. The glory of God will be everywhere! I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to eternity. I am looking forward to seeing my Jesus. Are you? 

Thank You Lord, for the promise of eternal life with You. I cannot wait to see Your face.  

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Accountability, Advocate, Bible, Blessing, Confession, End Times, Judgment, Rapture, Scripture

THE DAY OF VISITATION 

MICAH 7:4 

“The best of them is like a thorn bush, the most upright like a thorn hedge. The day when you post your watchmen, your punishment is coming. Then their confusion will occur.” 

Don’t you love it when family comes to visit? I do. I enjoy reconnecting with loved ones. My wife and I have always lived away from family. So, when the opportunities were there for visits, we looked forward to them. Those were good visitations. 

The “day of visitation” in the Bible meant several things. Listen to Isaiah 10, verse 3. “And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?” This is the same message Micah is giving. God is here. And when He comes, things happen. 

APPLICATION 

Jesus is coming again. There is no doubt about that. When? No one knows, not even Jesus. One day (and it could be soon), the Father will turn to His Son, seated at His right hand in the heavenlies, and say, “Go get Your bride.” Then Jesus will come and take up the Church. 

When He comes the next time, it will be in judgment. He will come to judge the earth and all who are still dwelling there. The evil one will be dealt with. All things will be set straight to prepare for the new heaven and new earth. 

This is not a cliff note version of the end times. I just want you to see that when God visits, things happen. And the most important visit He will ever make in your life is when you accept His Son Jesus as Savior. Have you done that? If not, prepare for His visit! 

Lord, I know You are coming again. In the meantime, use me to lead many to You so they can experience Your presence in their lives. 

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Blessing, Comfort, Following, God's Will, Judgment, Scripture

A LONGING 

MICAH 7:1 

“Woe to me! For I am like harvests of summer fruit, like gleanings of grapes. There is not a cluster of grapes left to eat, nor an early fig, which I crave.” 

When I travel, I get a longing for home about the end of the first week. I can just feel the warmth of my own bed at home. I can taste a big glass of sweet, iced tea. Those longings do not go away until I reach home and can fulfill them. You have probably experienced similar longings. 

Here, at the beginning of chapter 7, Micah in voicing some of his longings in the face of the judgment of God. He compares his longing for the Lord’s comfort to the longings of a harvest, both grapes and figs. They both bring pleasure, as does the presence of the Lord. 

APPLICATION 

What are you longing for? If it is for the things of this world, that longing may be met, but it will be a fleeting pleasure. We are to long for the presence of the Lord with more passion than we have for other things. Those other things will not last. They are not meant to. 

But the presence of God in our lives will last for eternity. Did you get that? You can pursue and obtain only one thing that will truly last. If that is true (and it is), why do we spend so much time in pursuit of other things. 2 Peter 4:2 says it well. “As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” 

Examine your longings today. Do they match up with God’s Word and His will for your life. All those things you strive to obtain need to be seen in view of what will give God the most glory. By doing that, you please the Father.  

O Lord, You have given me so much to be thankful for. Help me to strive for only those things that give You pleasure. 

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blessing, Modeling, Obedience, Sin, Treasures

ARE YOU STILL DOING THAT?

MICAH 6:10

“‘Is there still a person in the wicked house, along with treasures of wickedness, and a short measure that is cursed?’”

Bad habits are hard to break. I remember back before I came to Christ, I had lots of bad habits (I do not need to name them all here, lol). One of them was smoking. It took me about six months to quit that habit. It was so addictive that to this day if I smell a cigarette, I want one. Oh, the devil knows our triggers.

The Lord is saying through Micah in today’s verse, “Are you still doing that? Are you still doing those wicked things?” The “short measure” meant they kept coming up short, even though they were bringing in “treasures of wickedness.” Proverbs 13:11 says, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers it little by little makes it grow.”

APPLICATION

I have never been, nor will I probably ever be rich, at least not in the eyes of the world. My family has never lacked for anything because the Lord has supplied our needs. He has even given us some of our wants. I had a bass boat for a while and really enjoyed it.

My point is when we are living for the Lord, He supplies our needs. He knows exactly what we need each day. Being our heavenly Father, He also likes to bless us with things. What father does not like to do that for his children? There is nothing wrong with having things, as long as those things do not become your focus.

The people of Israel, just like us, had shifted their focus to their treasures. That was all that mattered. Their sins were ripe with that desire. We cannot sit back and point our fingers at them. We do the same thing. Take a few minutes today and look over what the Lord has given you. Give Him praise for all He has done.

Lord, I am not worthy of Your blessings in my life. I am truly a rich man, full of Your mercy.

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

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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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, Advocate, Belief, Bible, Blessing, Covenant, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Power, Relationships, Scripture

NOT BY MY MIGHT

MICAH 5:13

“‘I will eliminate your carved images and your memorial stones from among you, so that you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands.’”

I loved my dad. He could fix just about anything. I learned so much from him about that kind of stuff. I watched and learned. He involved my brother and I in the projects so we could learn to do it ourselves one day. But when he started having some heart issues and was struggling with my mom’s health, he came to the end of his rope and finally admitted to God that he “could not fix this.” Then he gave his heart to Christ at 80 years old.

God is saying in verse 13 that there was nothing they had created by the works of their hands that could save them. Those carved images of wood and stone would not do anything to help them. Those memorial stones they had set up meant nothing. Only their faith and belief in Him mattered. They had to return to Him.

APPLICATION

Well, this application is pretty much in your face, right? What are you trying to prove to God by continuing to try to do it all on your own? I know people who have said, “I do not need your God. I am fine on my own.” That may sound noble, but it is really foolish. Self-reliance leads to self-destruction.

Zechariah 4:6 says, “Then he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of armies.’” That is the key right there. It is only by the leading of the Holy Spirit that we can accomplish anything. Isaiah said something similar in 26:12. “…all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” It has never been about what we can do for God. It is only about what He can do in and through us.

I am thankful that God broke me of my self-reliance years ago. Going through two stem cell transplants will cause you to rely on others and especially Him. I could do nothing. I was weak physically, spiritually and emotionally during those times. But He showed me His strength. Do you know that today?

O Father of heaven and earth, You care enough for me to invest Your time and Spirit in me. You have made me Your own.

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