Accountability, Bible, Commands, Consequences, Counsel, Encouragement, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Scripture, Truth

A WICKED COUNSELOR

NAHUM 1:11

“From you has gone out one who plotted evil against the LORD, a wicked counselor.”

In our lifetimes, we are going to receive some wrong counsel. Friends who think they know best will offer advice that they are sure is the best for you. You may even receive some advice that you know is not from God because it goes against what His Word says. You have to be careful from whom you receive pearls of wisdom.

Nahum states it plainly. There is bad counsel coming from Nineveh. Listen to what Isaiah said about this in Isaiah 10:5. “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation,…” The nation God used to judge Israel thought it had done this on their own. Pride, once again, raises its ugly head.

APPLICATION

How do you know you are receiving good counsel, godly counsel? Simple, measure it against God’s Word. Does it agree with what God says? If it doesn’t, leave it alone. My rule has been if I know it’s bad, don’t do it. If I’m not sure, don’t do it. That has kept me out of a lot of tight jams.

A word of warning – people will think you are crazy for basing your decisions on an ancient book. Come on, Carl, times have changed. It’s 2022, not 1962. I don’t care if it’s 2050. God’s Word is timeless, and its truths eternal. I will never go wrong by choosing to live by it.

God’s counsel, through His Word and His Spirit, will never steer you wrong. It may not make perfect sense all the time but just trust it. It will see you through. I truly believe every problem we face in life can be solved simply by trusting His Word. Try it today.

Your Word is faithful. I will turn to it as my counsel.

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Accountability, Attention, Bible, Choices, Commands, Confidence, God's Will, Listening, Scripture, Wisdom

SOUND WISDOM

MICAH 6:9

“The voice of the LORD will call to the city—and it is sound wisdom to fear Your name: ‘Hear, you tribe. Who has designated its time?’”

My dad was a wise man. He always gave me good advice. Even before he was a believer, I could trust what he said to be true. And once he came to Christ, his wisdom increased because then he had true wisdom. The wisdom of the world does not always match up to the wisdom from God. I miss my wise dad.

In today’s verse, Micah is giving the word of the Lord and says, “and it is sound wisdom to fear Your name.” I like this other translation that reads, “and the man of wisdom shall see thy name.” You see, only the wise can truly recognize the Lord’s voice. Those who are wise according to God’s principles are given that ability to hear Him.

APPLICATION

I want to be known as a wise man. That does not mean I have to grow a long beard and sit on a mountain tip dispensing a secret knowledge. No! Being wise in God’s eyes means listening to Him and doing what He says. It means relying on His Word to direct me in all my decisions. It means recognizing that outside of God, I have no wisdom.

I get asked a lot for my “opinion” on things. My opinion does not mean much. However, my wisdom based on God’s Word can carry a lot of weight. That “weight” is solely dependent on the Word of God. I am helpless without His wisdom. I gladly admit that it is my crutch.

I have been told by some people that religion is just a crutch for people. My relationship with Jesus is so much more than a crutch, but He is One that I will willingly lean on. In fact, I dare not walk anywhere without Him. I know my flesh too well. I pray I can be that wise man who hears the Lord when He calls. His is the only voice I should be tuned in to. How about you?

Lord, I want to hear Your voice and do exactly what You say each and every day.

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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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Abiding, Accountability, Allegiance, Battles, Bible, Commands, Confrontation, Deceit, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Obedience, Rebellion, Scripture

YOU CAN’T OUTFOX GOD

MICAH 6:5

“My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab planned and what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, so that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD.”

Be sure your sins will find you out. We have probably all heard that quote (It comes from Numbers 32:23). We try to hide our sins, don’t we? We can hide them for a while from people around us, but we cannot hide them from the all-seeing eye of God. He knows our most intimate secrets, including our sins. We cannot outfox Him.

Balak thought he could do an end-a-round on God. He knew the people of Israel were a mighty force and thought if he could just get a curse on them, it might improve his chances to defeat them. Wrong! That curse bounced right back in his face as a blessing. What was meant to encourage his troops served to put even more fear into them. God is reminding His people of that here in Micah.

APPLICATION

We are so much better off if we will just seek God’s will and do it rather than trying to sneak around. When we finally realize that God’s will for our lives is all about blessing us, we can rest in Him. Now, that does not mean we will not have some hard times. However, even in those there are blessings if we look hard enough.

We want our lives to be problem free. We want that bed of roses. Life is just not that way. Some people have it easier than others. That is true. But that does not diminish the fact that a loving God cares for you and wants what is best for your life. You just have to surrender to His will.

I wish my life was problem free. I still have to fight this disease I have (Amyloidosis). There is no cure for it, only treatments. But I am thankful for the doctors, hospitals and other medical team members who have served me so well. I am thankful for the opportunities it has given me to minister to others going through the same treatments. There is no end-a-round here. I have to trust my Great Physician in the process. How about you?

Father God, help me to trust You even in the hardest times and not try to hide my sins and acts of disobedience. I want to walk in the light with You.

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Abiding, Allegiance, Battles, Bible, Commands, Enemies, Judgment, Leading

UNDER SIEGE

MICAH 5:1

“Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; they have laid siege against us; with a rod they will strike the judge of Israel on the cheek.”

I recently read this great book by David Hosaflook about Marin Barleti’s first-hand account of the siege of Shkodra. It was a detailed description of the horrors of the siege. The assault on that city was a terrible loss of life and property. Reading about the way, however, the people of Shkodra fought was inspiring.

Now, the Lord tells the people that the siege is coming. They knew about sieges. They had faced them before. They could only imagine how bad it would get, but this was their own doing. They had dishonored their God and had to face the consequences.

APPLICATION

Sometimes in our lives we feel we are under siege. It seems the whole world has gathered its forces against us and is battering down the front door. Bills pile up. The car breaks down. Your child gets suspended from school. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

In times like these, we must do as the Lord told the people – we must muster our troops. What does that mean? We look to our commander. No troops are effective without a leader. We have one in Jesus Christ. He knows the best defense. He knows the best offense. He will guide us through these hard times, if we will let Him.

I have gone through my share of hard times, some harder than others. I have not always looked to my commander. At times, I have tried to muster my own troops and lead myself. That usually ended with another defeat. But when I looked to Jesus and rested in Him, I got through that battle. You can too if you will just look to Him.

I am grateful for Your Son, Jesus, leading me in my hardest times. He is forever faithful.

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Bible, Blessing, Commands, Confidence, Courage, Exhortation, Godliness, Holy Spirit, Justice, Power, Scripture

FILLED WITH POWER 

MICAH 3:8 

“On the other hand, I am filled with power—with the Spirit of the LORD—and with justice and courage to make known to Jacob his rebellious act, and to Israel his sin.  

I can’t help but think about Tim the Toolman Taylor. That was a character on a sitcom that was popular back in the 90’s. In fact, “Home Improvement” ran for eight seasons from 1991 to 1999. Tim was always trying to get more “power” in his tools or equipment, usually with disastrous results. That is not the power referred to here in today’s verse. 

When I looked up the Hebrew word used here, I did a double take. It said, “a lizard.” What? As I read further, I found out it was used to refer to power and strength. It is the word used to describe Samson’s secret strength in Judges 16. That “secret” has not changed. True power is from God, as Micah goes on to say, “with the Spirit of the Lord.”  

APPLICATION 

When we think about powerful people, we seldom think about godly people. We see people who control others as powerful. Their positions appear to give them power. The way they lord themselves over others gives them power, or so it seems. But is that really power? 

Micah tells us that real power is only sourced by God. It is His Spirit that indwells us. And look at what it fills us with power for – to make known “to Jacob his rebellious act and to Israel his sin.” I know what you are thinking. How can I do that? The Jacob and Israel Micah is referring to are long gone. You are right, but you can tell others. He will give you the justice and courage to do it. 

Don’t you want that kind of power? You can have it. You just have to yield to Him and let Him fill you with that power that comes through His Spirit. He promises to seal you with that Holy Spirit. It is the stamp of approval from a holy God that you are worthy of His love. 

Fill me with Your power, Lord. Send it to me so I can execute Your Will on this earth. 

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Abiding, Bible, Commands, Darkness, Devil, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Light, Modeling, Satan, Scripture

LIGHTS OUT

MICAH 3:6

“Therefore it will be night for you—without vision, and darkness for you—without divination. The sun will go down on the prophets, and the day will become dark over them.”

Several times in my life I have had to deal with the loss of electrical power. We are spoiled in the U.S. with electricity that we take for granted. Everything we do seems to depend on it – how we cook, wash our clothes, heat our water and entertain ourselves. So, when the lights go out, it gets out attention.

This was the case with these false prophets. The light had been removed by God because of their ceaseless wanderings. They had pretended to represent the Lord in their prophecies, but now the truth is being revealed by God in His judgment. It was as if they were in a dark room with no light, no hope, no future.

APPLICATION

We are meant to be lights to the world. Jesus tells us so. Just look at Matthew 5:14-16. “14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor 15 do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.’”

Do not let your light go dark. Satan loves to throw us into a funk or depression that causes the light of Christ in us to be dimmed. Turn up the flame. Let all see what Christ can do in them. Be the example of a changed life they need to see. When they see the miracle of salvation in you, perhaps the Holy Spirit will tug at their heart to come to Jesus.

I rarely get in a funk, but I was recently. I had some dental work done and was not feeling well. I must admit I wasn’t letting my light shine as it should. I confessed that as sin to the Father and am praying that I will not let future dental work put me in the same mood (I hate going to dentist. Nothing personal against my dentist friends out there). Let your light shine today.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

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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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Advocate, Bible, Calling, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Leading

IMPACT A NATION

MICAH 1:1

“The word of the LORD which came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and which he saw regarding Samaria and Jerusalem.”

How can we, as mere citizens, impact a nation for Christ? We often complain and moan about what the elected officials are doing. So, how do we change that? I have friends who have served or are serving in some elected position. I pray for them. I pray for God’s wisdom as they make decisions. I also pray for those elected officials whom I did not vote for. I pray that, too, will make decisions based on godly advice.

As we begin this study in Micah, we notice in verse one that Micah had influence over three kings of Judah. That’s a lot of opportunities. It’s interesting that while Jotham and Hezekiah were known as good leaders and good men, Ahaz took a different trek. He was an evil man and a very poor leader. But through the reign of all three of these men, Micah prophesied to Samaria and Judah. His heart was for his country and his God.

APPLICATION

We have opportunities every day to impact our communities for Christ. How is that possible? One, by praying for our leaders. Two, by sharing Jesus with those around us. They may have ways to impact your city that you are not even aware of. And three, by being the best leader you can be when given the chance.

Many of us will never lead. We are followers. That’s okay. We can’t all be chiefs, as they say. We need some Indians, lol. But we all can lead our families. We can lead in our churches. We can ask the Lord for leadership opportunities. If you want to change a culture for Christ, our men must be taught to lead and lead well. They need to know the tools so they can lead.

I am serving now with a ministry called Every Man A Warrior (EMAW), the Men’s ministry of Trans World Radio (TWR). Our goals are to help men walk with God, succeed in life and multiply spiritually. We want to build men who can lead other men and change our world for Jesus. Will you pray for us as we strive to do that? Check out our website at www.everymanawarrior.com. You can take a look at my ministry site at www.twr.org/carl-willis.

Father, let me be an influencer rather than someone who is influenced by others. I want to see lives change for Christ.

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THE INNOCENT

JONAH 4:11

“‘Should I not also have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 people, who do not know the difference between their right hand and their left, as well as many animals?’”

For many, many years I worked with children. Some of those were very young. Young children do not yet understand that their actions have consequences. They do not have the mental capacity to make life altering decisions. They are innocent in so many ways. God does not hold the innocent in the same light as those who know exactly what they are doing.

We see that here in today’s verse. Those 120,000 are referring to those who are innocent of the guilt of Nineveh. This verse reminds me of the passage in Genesis when Abraham asks God if He would spare Sodom and Gomorrah if ten innocent people could be found. Do you remember what He said? He said yes He would. But ten were not found, so He destroyed those cities. God says here, “Shouldn’t I save these 120,000 souls?” He even mentions saving the animals.

APPLICATION

Who have you written off as lost and unredeemable? Anyone? I have to confess that I have done that with a couple of people. I realize I am not God. He is able to do far more than I can even imagine, including saving those people I have marked off. So, what do I do with this knowledge?

First of all, I must pray for those lost individuals. I must claim them for Christ. I must look for every opportunity to be Jesus to them and also to share the good news. I must see them as Jesus  does – someone He loves and wants to come home. I have a responsibility to do that. God expects me to do that.

The next time you say Oh, that person is just too far gone, think about all the saints in the Bible who God redeemed and used for His glory. And think of all of those lives who will spend eternity in eternal damnation without the saving power of Jesus. Let’s be bolder in our witness. Let’s risk ridicule for the sake of the cross.

I want to see everyone as You see them, Lord. Give me eternal eyes.

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