Belief, Bible, Blessing, Christ's Return, Confidence, Contentment, Encouragement, Eternity, Fear, Promises, Rest

I AM NOT AFRAID

MICAH 4:4

“Instead, each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, because the mouth of the LORD of armies has spoken.”

When I was growing up, my friends and I would often dare each other to do something. Sometimes it was approaching a scary looking house and knocking on the door. We had a few houses like that in my hometown. Other times it was to do some stupid physical challenge. We always said, “I’m not afraid.” Of course, inside we were trembling.

Finally, one day we can all say with confidence that we are not afraid. Just like Micah describes here in today’s verse, we can sit under our vine or fig tree (I don’t have either of these, lol) and rest. The LORD of armies has spoken. When God speaks, all is settled.

APPLICATION

Won’t that be great? No more worries. No more problems. All is at rest. That is hard to imagine, isn’t it? We live with issues and problems every day. Some of those are big, like dealing with cancer or the loss of a loved one. Other things are small, like paying that bill or a challenging child. We all have to deal with these kinds of things now.

But one day soon we will have perfect rest. I love to fish (as you who read my blogs regularly or who know me personally can attest). I love to be on the lake or at a pond early in the morning when the water is calm. It is like glass. That kind of peaceful scene will be forever. No more disturbances.

I choose to live in that peace today. I choose to believe my heavenly Father wants me to live that way. He does not desire troubles for me. Just the opposite, He desires peace. Only His peace can provide this for me. His peace gives me peace. Are you living in His peace today?

Thank You for giving me peace today, Lord. I choose to live in it.

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Affection, Affliction, Allies, Battles, Bible, Christ's Return, Confrontation, Consequences, Destruction, Enemies, Friends, God's Will, Rapture, Scripture

NO MORE WAR

MICAH 4:3

“And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift a sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.”

As I write this blog, war is still raging in Ukraine. When that will end is anyone’s guess. Through the ministry I am a part of, Trans World Radio (TWR), I know of believers on both sides of this war. Many have lost their homes and livelihoods and are struggling. It is heart-breaking to see the destruction of some beautiful cities and villages, not to mention the loss of life.

Micah prophesies, however, that one day there will be no more war. We have all heard this verse quoted over the years. Swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. I love that last phrase – “nation will not lift a sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.” Just think of the billions of dollars that could be redirected towards healthcare, food and clean water. This will be an amazing sight to behold.

APPLICATION

You are probably thinking, Sure, that sounds great, Carl, but we will never see that in our lifetime. You never know. I believe the Lord’s return for His church is imminent. With that event, the end-time clock speeds up – rapture, tribulation years (yes, I am a pre-trib guy), thousand-year reign and then the second coming of Christ.

How do we play a part in this? How about not making war with your neighbors? How about not looking at someone as if they are beneath you? How about extending the olive branch of peace towards someone who has harmed you? We can all help with these things. Peace begins with us.

I am personally not at war with anyone. I do, however, show my prejudices at times, politics and sports, to name a couple. I have to make sure I am not showing myself to others. I need to be showing Jesus at all times. Only He can make the change happen in others.

Lord, we await the day when there will be no more war

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Christ's Return, Death, Destruction, Direction, Eternity, Faith, Fire, God's Will, Heaven, Hell, Judgment, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

MELT LIKE WAX 

MICAH 1:4 

“The mountains will melt under Him and the valleys will be split, like wax before the fire, like water poured down a steep place.” 

What kid doesn’t like to watch a melting candle? Watching the flame slowly heat up the wax and cause it to drip is awesome. I remember getting some candles my mom had and lighting them to let the wax drip on my fingers. It was neat to watch it form around them and then get hard again. Wax was fun. 

However, the wax Micah is referring to is not fun. There is nothing fun about it. He is portraying the fiery judgment of the Lord. We all have read about how the earth will be destroyed by fire at the final judgment, right? Listen to Isaiah 66:15. “For behold, the LORD will come in fire, and His chariots like the whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.” 

APPLICATION 

I am not implying that the world is going to end tomorrow in a fire storm. However, I am pointing out that judgment is coming. The Lord will not tolerate the sin of this world. In His holiness He must judge those who are disobedient and rebellious. He has no choice. If he does not do that, His Law and His plan for salvation, Jesus Christ, means nothing. 

So, get ready for melting mountains and valleys. God will judge the high and low. Your position in life means nothing. Everyone will have to bow their knee and profess Jesus as Lord or face eternal flames. 

Wow! This is kind of hard. I do not want to come across as some fire and brimstone preacher. That is not me. I am just telling you what is coming. It was prophesied centuries ago. Are you ready? Is your family ready? If not, make that change today and embrace your salvation. 

O Lord, I praise You for the plan You made to redeem me back to Yourself. Help me lead others to Jesus. 

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Accountability, Bible, Christ's Return, Commands, Creation, God's Will, Judgment, Obedience, Salvation, Scripture, Witnessing

THE FOUR ELEMENTS

JONAH 4:8

“And when the sun came up God designated a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint, and he begged with all his soul to die, saying, ‘Death is better to me than life!’”

Can you name the four basic elements of matter? No, this is not a science test. They are earth, water, air and fire. Now, we all know Who created these elements, don’t we? The Supreme Creator of all creation spoke these into existence thousands of years ago (that’s right, I said thousands, not millions). He controlled them then and does now.

Do you realize God used all four of these, plus a few created things, to speak to Jonah? He used the sea (water) and the fish, the plant (earth), the scorching east wind (air) and the sun (fire). I wonder if God was trying to send Jonah a message about just Who He was. There was nothing that God could not and would not use to accomplish His Will.

APPLICATION

God is sending us messages today through all of these. The Word says that all of creation will moan as the day nears for His Son to return. Man, have we seen the earth moan in the past few years? There has been a dramatic increase in earthquakes, storms, weather extremes, etc. The scientific community explains these away as global warming or some other theory. Did you know there have been 10 earthquakes in the past three days measuring 5.5 or greater?

God is trying to get our attention just as He did Jonah. We read this story about Jonah and easily point fingers and judge. But we are just as guilty. What was God trying to show Jonah? That He was a merciful God who desires that all come to Him. We are just as unwilling to share the good news as Jonah. We may not run to Tarshish and board a ship, but we sit idly by while the earth tumbles into eternity.

Do not wait for the earth, air, fire or water to send you the message. Pick up your copy of God’s Word and go share the good news with a lost and dying world. Tell your neighbors. Tell your waitress at the restaurant. Tell everyone you meet that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives, if only they will turn to Him.

I love to tell the story. It will be my theme in glory. To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

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Accountability, Bible, Christ's Return, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Light

THE DAY OF THE LORD

AMOS 5:18

“Woe to you who are longing for the day of the LORD, for what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light;”

I am 61 years old and have heard about the “day of the LORD” since I was a little boy. When is it coming? Will it ever come? That’s the question many ask. It’s not a new question, as we shall see today in Amos. But we need to be thinking about this day because it is coming one day.

The people of Israel were longing for the day, which Amos rebukes. How dare they, in their present state, long for that day? For them, the day of the LORD would be “darkness and not light.” They weren’t repentant. They were not confessing sin. So, they were in for a rude awakening.

APPLICATION

When I mention “the day of the LORD” to you, how do you feel? Are you ready for it? We know through His Word that Jesus will come back for his bride, the church, first. He won’t set foot of earth then. Seven years later He will return and set things right. The day of the LORD will have arrived.

Whether I die before He comes for the church or I return with Him in the air, I am not fearful of the day of the LORD. I know I am not perfect, but I am forgiven. I do my best to stay “confessed up” before Him. So, I don’t fear facing my Lord one day.

My great failure is not taking as many people as possible with me. I know that is the Lord’s desire (the desire that all men be saved). If I am guilty of anything it is not being more forceful about the gospel, not sharing it as freely as possible. Lord, forgive me of that. Are you ready for the day of the LORD? That’s the question.

You will return one day, Lord, as judge and master of all. Help me direct others to Your side in preparation for that day.

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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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Accountability, Bible, Christ's Return, Darkness, Forgiveness, Heaven, Inspirational, Repentance

TOTAL ECLIPSE

JOEL 2:31

“‘The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.’”

I have seen a number of eclipses. They are so cool. I remember the last one I saw. My wife and I went to our church parking lot. We had on some special glasses that were being handed out everywhere. When the sun disappears in the middle of the day, it’s kind of strange, isn’t it?  When there’s a total eclipse, it is very unusual. The darkness creeps in and then back out again.

Joel is describing the heavens on that day of the Lord. There will be warnings. This day of the Lord will be a day of judgment. Joel is warning the Judeans to turn to the Lord. They need to repent. Can you imagine how they responded to these signs in the sky? They didn’t know what we know about astronomy. These signs in the sky would be terrifying.

APPLICATION

Do you respond well to signs? When you’re driving on a mountain road and you see the curve signs, do you ignore them? What would happen? You would drive right off the mountain road. Crashing off a mountain road doesn’t sound very safe. But the sign was there. You just ignored it.

God warns us and warns us. He is simply trying to keep us safe. But the great thing about God is He won’t force us to do anything. We have to choose to follow. Hmmm. That sounds too easy. But it’s not, is it? Surrender is hard. It can be painful. But it is worth it.

Signs in the sky don’t happen every day. If you’re waiting for that, you may be too late. Oh, but there are warnings. They are all listed in His Word. You have to read it to see them. Will you do that? He is giving us a message. He loves you and wants you to be ready when all these things happen. Are you?

Father God, I know You are sending Your Son soon. I am ready to come home.

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Attention, Belief, Bible, Christ's Return, Dreams, Eternity, God's Will, Prophesy, Visions

PROPHESY

JOEL 2:28

“‘It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters will prophesy, Your old men will have dreams, Your young men will see visions.’”

A lot of people love to study prophesy. Why is that? Because they want to know what’s coming. We are all curious about the future. Attention!! Spoiler alert!! We win! No matter what prophesy you look at, we are winners. Those of us who are in Christ are guaranteed eternal life. That’s better than winning the lottery.

But here in Joel 2:28, we read a verse that is often quoted and preached. God’s Spirit has been poured out on all mankind through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell mankind. We have read a lot lately of sons and daughters, old men and young men having dreams and visions of Christ. Hallelujah! He is near.

APPLICATION

Let me step out on a limb here. I want to ask you a question that you may think is … well, out there. Are you ready? Have you had any dreams and visions lately? Is God speaking to you in this way? God is still talking to us. He speaks to us through His Word. He speaks to us in our prayers. And He still speaks to us in dreams and visions.

Now before you stop reading, let me explain. I am not suggesting that you seek these. God speaks when He is ready. And He doesn’t expect you to start a new church or denomination based on dreams and visions. These come to direct us. I would dare say that the majority of the time these come to us and are meant to be kept private. Just listen to Him.

The Lord has given all the prophesies necessary to lead us toward understanding the future. It really all comes down to trust. Do you trust Him? He may be trying to speak to you right now. He wants to speak into your life. Listen! He wants to whisper in your ear the truths of life. Listen!

O Father, I am listening. Speak to me through Your Word, though my prayers and yes, Lord, even through dreams and visions, if that is what it takes for me to hear Your voice.

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DOOMS DAY

HOSEA 10:15

So it will be done to you at Bethel because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.”

I have often wondered what it would be like to know the day you were going to die. I wonder what I would do on those days leading up to it. Would I quit work and do all the things I have always wanted to do? Or would I continue doing all the things I am presently doing? I don’t fear that day. I am ready for it.

Hosea gave the warning to Israel. “At dawn the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.” Wow! What a warning! Because of their wickedness their kingdom would be destroyed. There was nothing they could do to change that fact. God had spoken. Dooms day was upon them.

APPLICATION

There is coming a day when we all will face our last day. What is your plan for that day? If God is not a part of that plan, you are in a heap of trouble. Let me ask you the question I pondered at the beginning of the devotional. If you knew the day you were going to die, would you change your behavior? Why not change it now?

God wants us to live each day as if it’s our last. We never know when He is going to call us home. We have to be ready. We have to be doing His work until the very end. What has the Lord asked you to do for Him? Do it today. Don’t wait. You may not have another chance. I pray you will not put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

I know the days are drawing to a close. It can’t be too long until the Lord returns. I want to be found doing His work on that day. There are so many people who need to hear about Him. I want to be caught telling someone about Jesus. Don’t you? What better way to enter glory that the words of Jesus on your lips?

I do not know when I will meet You face to face, Lord. But I do know I am looking forward to that day. Help me share that story with many before I come.

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TOO LATE NOW

HOSEA 9:7

“The days of punishment have come, the days of retribution have come; let Israel know this! The prophet is a fool, the inspired person is insane, because of the grossness of your wrongdoing, and because your hostility is so great.”

I am not a procrastinator by nature. I prefer to do things ahead of time and get them out of the way. I had rather be an hour early somewhere than one minute late. That’s just the way I am wired. But I know other people who will be late to their own funeral. They are never on time and can’t seem to get anything done on time. That would drive me crazy.

The people of Israel had been told by the false prophets that the day of judgment was either way off or wasn’t coming. So, they put off repentance. We have plenty of time to set things right. But Hosea is telling them in today’s verse that the time has come. And it was because of the “grossness of your wrongdoing, and because your hostility is so great.”

APPLICATION

Oh, listen to me today. The time is short. Jesus is returning. It may be today, or it may be five years from now. We don’t know when, but He is coming again. He will rapture His church. He will take His children out of this world before the great tribulation. Where will you be?

I don’t want to be like one of those false prophets who told the people they had plenty of time. No! Get ready. And do it not so much to escape hell, but to enjoy heaven. Come to Jesus now to enjoy the blessings of life. He wants to show you how to live abundantly. He wants to walk with you through this life. That’s worth coming to Him now.

But too many around us are ignoring the signs. They are ignoring the warnings. They truly believe they can live however they wish and still slide into heaven. Heaven will not open its gates to everyone. Only the repentant and those in Christ will enter. We need to spread the message loud and clear to anyone who will hear. Join me today in doing this.

Father, I know the time is approaching when Christ shall call His bride home. I am ready. Help me share with those around me how they too can be a part of Your family.

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