Commands, God's Will, Bible, Scripture, Enemies, Belief, Accused, Allies, Defense

AGAINST YOU

ZEPHANIAH 2:5

“Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, the nation of the Cherethites! The word of the LORD is against you, Canaan, land of the Philistines; and I will eliminate you so that there will be no inhabitant.”

I’ve said before that I don’t think I have any earthly enemies. I try my best to be at peace with all men (Romans 12:18). I don’t like to be in conflict. I won’t run from a fight if faced with it, but I don’t pursue conflict like some people do. I really want to deal with conflict quickly. I don’t want anyone or anything to come against me.

Zephaniah tells the Cherethites and Philistines that “the word of the Lord is against” them. Whoa! That would be horrible. Instead of the word of the Lord coming “to” them, it is against them. Why? Because they were the ones who were against His children. They pursued aggression and hostilities against His chosen people. And for that, God was against them.

APPLICATION

How would you feel if the Lord was against you? Terrified? Fearful? Worried? You should! Hebrews 10:31 tells us “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” To openly rebel against God’s commandments and thumb your nose at Him only invites His wrath. Who would do that?

Unfortunately, many in our world today are doing just that. They scoff at God’s Word. They reject His truths as spelled out in Scripture. They make God into their own image, rather than allowing Him to make them into His. They want God to fit their idea of Him. How preposterous. How ridiculous. How can we even begin to comprehend God?

But God tells us very clearly how to follow Him. He tells us to trust Him. He gives us the faith to believe. Faith is a gift. Once we acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord, He gives us belief in Him. He discloses more and more of Himself to us as we pursue Him. What a great God! He is not against you. He is for you!

O Lord, I am so thankful You are for me. I am grateful for the faith You have given me.

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Accountability, Attention, Belief, Bible, Commands, Faithfulness, Ministry, Power, Scripture

WHEN GOD SAYS, “JUMP”

HABAKKUK 3:6

“He stood and caused the earth to shudder; He looked and caused the nations to jump. Yes, the everlasting mountains were shattered, the ancient hills collapsed. His paths are everlasting.”

You’ve all heard the expression when someone is in charge and wants immediate responses. When they say, “Jump,” you are supposed to ask, “How high?” In other words, don’t question the directive. Just do it. Some parents are that way. Some bosses are that way.

Habakkuk describes God that way. Even the earth and the nations respond to God immediately. Habakkuk tells us the mountains are scattered at His voice. The ancient hills collapse. God’s power is incredible. He can literally cause the universe to change. We would do well to remember that as we interact with the Holy of holies.

APPLICATION

The world today seems to belittle or limit God. Many do not believe He is capable of the miraculous anymore. Those days are gone or so they think. God has shown off in the past but not anymore. Don’t believe that for a second. He is still up to the incredible.

As I travel the globe in my ministry, I hear stories told of the dead being brought back to life. I hear about villages being supernaturally protected from the evil forces who want to destroy them. God is still about the miraculous. He is not done showing the world who He is and what He is capable of.

And the greatest miracle of all is the miracle He does in the life of a sinner who comes to Jesus. He totally cleanses that person of their sins and gives them a new life in Christ. He sets them on His everlasting path towards glory and gives them a new purpose. That’s miraculous!

Father, forgive me when I doubt Your power in my life. I can do nothing without You.

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Accountability, Alone, Bible, Blessing, Boasting, Commands, Sin

SINNING AGAINST YOURSELF

HABAKKUK 2:10

“‘You have planned a shameful thing for your house by bringing many peoples to an end; so you are sinning against yourself.’”

I have to admit that I do not like pain. So, given a choice, I will choose every time to avoid pain. Some of the things people voluntarily do to their bodies amaze me. I do not understand why anyone would willingly let someone hurt them or cause them pain. Not me!

God is still talking in today’s verse. He is addressing the Chaldeans, whom we have described fully in previous blogs. But here God says they are sinning against themselves. They are inflicting themselves with the pain. They are only harming themselves with their actions. However, they were not listening.

APPLICATION

Today’s verse reminded me of 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. “18 Flee sexual immorality. Every other sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought for a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

Did you catch that? “sins against his own body.” Who wants to do that? We need to pursue God with all of our heart. Do not let some people try to influence you to do      evil. It’s not going to affect them a bit, but it could cost you dearly. Do not sin against yourself.

Think of the ways we could possibly do that. Now run the other way. We are told to accept the inevitable. Don’t believe that. Satan will do all he can to put us out of on our own. Who you have as allies determines the outcome. Allow them to point you in the right direction when you seem lost.

I am thankful for the way You direct me and for the fellow brothers You have placed in my life to confront me of sin.

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Affection, Belief, Bible, Commands, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony, Wisdom, Witnessing

WHAT ANIMAL CHARACTER ARE YOU?

HABAKKUK 1:8

“Their horses are faster than leopards, and quicker than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen charge along, their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swooping down to devour.”

My title may sound a little crazy, but there are actually personality tests out there that will designate which animal type you are based on your test scores. Check this one out –

4 Animals Personality Test – Focus on the Family

I think I am a beaver, lol.

Unfortunately, the Chaldeans were not defined by a personality test. They were defined by their ferocity and savagery. God says they are “faster than leopards, and quicker than wolves.” They are horseman who charge and “they fly like an eagle swooping down t devour.” Not a pretty picture if you are the prophet who has to deliver this message to the nation. But there you are. When God speaks, you have to deliver the message.

APPLICATION

I am really not interested in what animal you are. I am more interested in how you treat others. I pray you are not like the Chaldeans, who devoured others. People use the excuse all the time – “Well, that’s just the way I am.” That is no excuse. We are all flesh, and left to that, we are all horrible human beings.

But through Christ, we are changed into a new creature (a new animal, to keep the analogy going). All our old behaviors and habits are nailed to the cross. We are no longer the same. We don’t have that excuse anymore. We are to live as Jesus directed us in Matthew 10:16. “‘Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as wary as serpents, and as innocent as doves.’”

Jesus names four creatures in that verse – sheep, wolves, serpents and doves. Which are you? I pray you aren’t the wolf. Treat others as you want to be treated. React to others as Jesus would. Don’t prey on others. Instead pray for them. One little letter changes the whole meaning, doesn’t it?

O God, You have transformed me into a brand new creature in Christ. Let me live to honor You in all I do.

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Abiding, Accountability, Battles, Bible, Commands, Courage, Defense, Devil, Enemies, Fighting, Scripture

MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS

NAHUM 3:14

“Draw for yourself water for a siege! Strengthen your fortifications! Go into the clay and tread the mortar! Take hold of the brick mold!

I love to watch old war movies. I especially love the battle scenes. I can just hear the ship captain commanding his sailors to man their battle stations. They would all scurry off to whatever position they had been assigned and trained to operate. They were responsible for their area and to back up others around them.

Nahum is sarcastically telling the Ninevites to “man their battle stations.” They were to: 1) get water and supplies to last during the siege 2) strengthen the city walls 3) prepare mortar 4) apply that mortar. You see, Nineveh was used to being the one who did the siege on others. Their walls were not built to withstand a siege. They, in fact, were under siege by their enemies for two years.

APPLICATION

Let me remind you that we are under siege. Yes, every day the enemy is banging on our “walls” and “gates” trying to defeat us. Rest assured; the captain is aware. He tells us to be ready. Put on our armor. Prepare for battle. Strengthen your fortifications through His Word and prayer. Suit up and fight.

That may all sound ominous. Don’t let it scare you. You see, we have a secret weapon – Jesus Christ, our Advocate. He is the one who fights for us. We just must surrender to His lordship over our lives. Just as sailors must obey the orders of their captain, we must obey our Lord. His Word directs us in every order He has for us.

I have made the decision to follow Jesus, no matter what. How about you? Are you a fair-weather follower or will you follow Jesus to very gates of hell, if necessary? He is looking for those kinds of followers. Let’s man our battle stations, friends.

I have decided to follow Jesus; I have decided to follow Jesus; I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back, no turning back.

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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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