Accountability, Belief, Bible, Conceit, Deceit, Denial, Direction, Following, God's Will, Judgment, Scripture, Surrender

DEVIOUS THOUGHTS 

NAHUM 1:9 

“Whatever you devise against the LORD, He will make a complete end of it. Distress will not rise up twice.” 

I have known a few people in my life who have literally shaken their fists at God. They have decided to live their lives as if He does not exist. They refuse to acknowledge Him and may even seek to mislead others. They are, in a sense, making or devising plans against God and His people.  

These people have lived for centuries. Nahum saw them in Nineveh. In fact, their king thought his success against Israel was due to his own strength and power. He quickly forgot that He was only the vessel God had used to punish Israel. As Nahum attests, God “will make a complete end of it.” No one can escape His judgment. 

APPLICATION 

Are you devising plans against God? Of course not, Carl. I would never make plans against Him. Listen, dear heart, when we do not yield to Him, we are in fact devising plans against Him. We are saying that we know better than Him. We believe our way is better.  

Our devious plans against God’s will for our lives will not succeed. When will we realize that? Sure, we may see some initial success, but it will not last. There is no eternal reward for our temporal plans. However, when we submit to Him, His plans will lead us directly into eternity. Now, that is a plan. 

Looking back at my life, I can see moments when the trajectory of my life turned toward my own selfish desires. My devious plans included choosing to do what I wanted to do, even though the Spirit within was saying something different. Hindsight is always 20/20, but God’s foresight is as well. Trust His plans. 

Lord, thank You for having the perfect plan for my life. Help to surrender to Your will. 

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Bible, Bitterness, Boasting, Conceit, Eternity, God's Will, Humility, Scripture, Witnessing

DISDAIN

MICAH 4:11

“‘And now many nations have been assembled against you who say, “Let her be defiled, and let our eyes gloat over Zion!”’”

I need to ask you a tough question. Have you ever looked with disdain on someone? You may ask, Carl, what does that mean? Well, let me explain. Disdain is the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect. It is having contempt for that person or thing.

That was the feeling that the surrounding nations had for Israel. She (Israel) was just a piece of ground that was in their way. They saw the Israelites as beneath them. Of course, we know this feeling carried down through the ages. Everyone around them was always trying to defeat them. The Lord is simply reminding them of this.

APPLICATION

We have no right to ever look at anyone with disdain. Everyone needs Jesus. It does not matter what a person’s socioeconomic status is. It does not matter their race or ethnicity. No one should see others as beneath them. We are all in need of grace, and there is only one place to get it – Jesus.

As I travel over the globe, I get a chance to meet some incredible people. I am traveling, the Lord willing, to Burundi and Tanzania next month. I have never been to these two countries. I know I will meet a lot of people in these countries who need Jesus. Others I meet will know the Lord and are probably living for Him much better than I am. I want to learn from both groups of people.

We are in a lost world that is in need of a Savior, whether they know it or not. We cannot waste time looking down on someone. That person has a soul that will spend eternity somewhere. It is our mission as believers to try to reach them for the kingdom. So, the next time you start to think you are better than someone else, think again. The King is above us all.

I am not worthy to call You my Father, but I forever grateful You call me Your son.

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Accountability, Bible, Conceit, Deceit, Godliness, Guilt, Integrity, Modeling, Scripture, Truth

LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE

MICAH 2:11

“‘If someone walking after wind and falsehood had lied and said, “I will prophesy to you about wine and liquor,” he would become a prophet to this people.’”

We probably all remember the childhood rant, “Liar, liar, pants on fire.” We would say that to people we caught lying about something. There is nothing good about lying. It always leads to a bad end. We find ourselves lying about the lie we just told, and then we get confused about what we said. It is a never-ending circle of lies.

These lying prophets lied for one purpose – to satisfy the ears of the people. They prophesied health and wealth. They prophesied nothing but good times. When God says they prophesied “about wine and liquor,” He is saying they are telling the people that the land will be plentiful, and they will enjoy the fruit of the vine. They found out differently.

APPLICATION

Application is always important when we look at a verse or passage of Scripture. Why else read it? Here, the application is clear. Tell the truth! Do not lie to people. Even bad news is better told than lying to cover it up. People need to know the truth, no matter how hard it might be.

But let’s think about that for a second. You also need to “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15) We should never use the truth to hurt someone else. Some of us remember the line from “A Few Good Men.” Jack Nicholson said to Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth!” Be tender when you speak truth to others. There is never any reason to be harsh in truth telling.

I am thankful that my God is truthful. He is truth and nothing but the truth. I can always depend on Him to tell me the truth. I discover His truth from His Word. Jesus tells us, “the truth shall set us free.” (John 8:32) We all want the truth. Will you accept it today?

I am so glad You only speak truth to me, Lord. I know Your truth will remain.

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Bible, Boasting, Conceit, Exalting, Humility, Scripture, Stubbornness

WALKING RIGHT 

MICAH 2:3 

“Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘Behold, I am planning against this family a catastrophe from which you cannot remove your necks; and you will not walk haughtily, for it will be an evil time.’” 

I have to admit something. Sometimes I can get a little haughty or arrogant. I jokingly say most mornings when I get up and look in the mirror, “Well, it happened again last night.” That’s when my wife would ask, “What happened?” I reply, “I got better looking. It’s just the Willis curse.” LOL 

The people of Israel and Judah were walking haughtily. That means to be too big for your britches (according to local Southern colloquialisms). That Hebrew word for “haughtily” only occurs right here in Micah 2:3. It comes from the Hebrew word rum which means high and lifted up. Get the picture? They were walking around with their noses up in the air. Stuck up people. 

APPLICATION 

Have you known people like that? Unfortunately, I have. They are not much fun to be around. They look down their noses at you. I have even known Christians who acted that way. That is no way for a believer to live. We have to be better than that. Remember, God said He would humble the exalted and exalt the humble. Even the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar said this about proud people. “He is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Daniel 4:37) 

I want to encourage you today to humble yourself before a holy God. Go to Him on bended knee and ask Him to show you the pride in your life. He will gladly point this out because pride (in this sense) is not the kind of character He wants to build in you. 

I said earlier that I can be proud sometimes. When I start to get puffed up, my sweet wife reminds me of who I am in Christ. The Holy Spirit kicks in and reminds me that my place in the kingdom is solely dependent on my Savior, not my abilities and genius. I want to serve as His humble servant. Will you bow with me today? 

God, forgive me when I try to exalt myself. Remind me to sit at the end of the table waiting to be asked to sit in the place of honor. 

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Abiding, Bible, Choices, Conceit, Confession, Deceit, Eternity, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Opponents, Scripture, Security

FALSE SECURITY

OBADIAH 3

“The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, the one who lives in the clefts of the rock, on the height of his dwelling place, who says in his heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?’”

I love to deer hunt here in Tennessee. Methods of hunting deer vary from state to state, but here in Tennessee, people mainly hunt from deer stands on trees or in ground blinds. I like to use the tree stands, specifically my ladder stands. However, when I climb those stands to reach my perch above the ground, I always use my safety harness. I can’t risk feeling safe up there without it.

The Edomites had a false sense of security solely because of where they lived. They had built homes in the hills and had carved a city out of the sandstone. They felt they were indestructible up there, having repelled many invasions. But God is above all and can administer justice from above. As the Lord says here, “Who will bring me down to earth?”  No one.

APPLICATION

Are you “too big for your britches”? Have you developed a false sense of security? God has a way of humbling us. He wants us to know that only He can give us true security and that only in the name of Jesus. He is the only one who makes us secure eternally.

What other kind of security do you want? Financial? That can be gone in a second. Physical? Believe me, that can leave you instantly. Socially? Friends will desert you. Only Jesus can truly make you secure. His blood on Calvary was shed to secure all mankind eternally. All we have to do is turn to Him and confess our sins and proclaim Him as Lord.

I am thankful I have made that decision. Have you? If not, do that today. If you have, who do you know who needs that kind of security? Go to them today and share the most amazing story ever told. They may just respond and join us for eternity.

I know You have me in the palms of Your hands. You hold me safe and secure.

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Bible, Conceit, Confession, Deceit, Exhortation, Humility, Justice, Modeling, Pride, Sacrifice, Salvation, Scripture

AFTER PRIDE COMES THE FALL

OBADIAH 2

“Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you are greatly despised.”

We all know that being prideful and boastful isn’t good. In fact, Proverbs 18:12 says, “Before destruction the heart of the man is haughty, but humility goes before honor.” I love that verse. When I am tempted to get cocky, I am reminded by the Holy Spirit of that verse. That’s one of the benefits of scripture memorization.

Albert Barnes says this about today’s verse. “God tells Edom what, amid its pride, it was in itself, ‘despicable;’ what it would thereafter be, ‘despised’.” That was Edom’s problem. They were a prideful lot who looked down on their brother’s fall. God could not and would not let that go.

APPLICATION

Do you suffer from pride and arrogance? It’s easy to get that way if we are not careful. We begin to think that what we have is all our doing. We forget what the Lord has done for us. Thinking that way is dangerous. It sets us up for a fall.

Whenever you begin to get full of pride, let the Holy Spirit convict you and draw you back to Jesus’ feet. There is no room for pride there. When our minds are focused on Him, we are reminded of His sacrifice for us. Just think of our lowly estate before the cross.

I am so thankful that all I am is because of Him. I am nothing outside of Christ. He makes me whole. He makes me righteous. He makes me…everything I am. I have no room for pride. I know in whom I have believed.

Father, I praise You for keeping me humble. I know my place is at the foot of the cross, bowing before You.

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Abuse, Apologies, Bible, Conceit, Condemnation, Guilt, Judgment

FLIP FLOPS

AMOS 8:6

“So as to buy the helpless for money, and the needy for a pair of sandals, and that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?”

I remember getting my first pair of flip flops. You know those shoes that just have a place that fits between your big toe and your second toe and is usually made of rubber. I loved those flip flops. I loved the way they sounded when you walked in them. That distinctive flip flop, flip flop could be heard all around. One thing about those shoes, though. The cheap rubber ones didn’t last very long. They weren’t worth very much.

I don’t know why, but that’s the image I got when I read this verse today. The rich and powerful people in Israel were treating the poor and needy like a cheap pair of flip flops. Use them and them throw them away. They looked down on them and really abused them. This was another reason God was judging them.

APPLICATION

I pray you would never treat someone like a cheap pair of flip flops. It’s demeaning and cruel. But people do it all the time. Even people in the church can be guilty of this. People in positions of power can take advantage of those who serve under them. Instead of shepherding them, they abuse them.

We need to see everyone through God’s eyes. He sent His Son to die for every single person we encounter. There is not a soul on planet earth who wasn’t the object of God’s love when Jesus came to save us. If God values them that much, shouldn’t we do the same.

The older I get the more I see the sins of my life. I have been guilty of looking down on others. It may be in jest to begin with, but it can rapidly become a serious thing. I have asked the Lord to forgive me for those actions in the past. Will you do the same? Ask Him to reveal your sins to you. He will and then make them right.

O Lord, my God! I beg Your forgiveness for every belittling one of Your creations. Help me see others as You see them.

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Bible, Brokenness, Conceit, Deception, Humility, Scripture

HUMBLED

AMOS 3:11

Therefore, this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘An enemy, one surrounding the land, will take down your fortifications from you, and your citadels will be looted.’”

I remember when I was a freshman in high school an incident that humbled me. I was pretty big for my age and was often called up to practice with the varsity if they were short on guys to conduct a full scrimmage. One day I had an incredible practice and was embarrassing a couple of seniors. They decided to issue some humble pie. The two of them crushed me on the next play and said, “Remember your place, freshman.”

God is humbling Israel by allowing an enemy to crush them. They had lifted themselves up to a place they thought they deserved. When God says “will take down your…”, that implies haughtiness. One thing God will not tolerate is pride in self. Israel learned a hard lesson.

APPLICATION

Now, there is nothing wrong with being proud of the right things. But pride in self is not one of them. Have you shown that kind of proudful talking and strutting? You know what I mean? You made a better grade than someone else on a test, so you make a point of rubbing that in. You see someone on the street and think you are better than them.

God wants us to take pride only in Him. He deserves all the praise and glory, not us. Be very careful of the praise you receive from others. Give all the praise back to Jesus. When someone says how awesome you are, thank them but point them to Jesus.

I used to sing in our church choir. I sang a lot of solos. I love to sing. People would often tell me how great I sang and how they loved to hear me sing. It would have been easy to get the big head and think I was something. But I have learned that I am only able to sing because of Jesus, so He gets all the glory. Will you give Him glory today for any praise you get?

Lord, I give You praise for what You have done in and through me. Any praise I get goes to You.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Conceit, Deceit, Deception, Fighting, Flesh, Perfection, Safety, Scripture

BENT SIGHTS

HOSEA 7:16

They turn, but not upward, they are like a loose bow; their officials will fall by the sword because of the insolence of their tongue. This will be their derision in the land of Egypt.”

If you have read my blogs for any length of time, you know I love to hunt. I normally hunt with a gun, but during archery season, I hunt with a crossbow. I have spent time zeroing in that crossbow. I set up a target at different distances and practice shooting to make sure I can hit what I am shooting at when the time comes. There’s nothing much more frustrating than to have a great weapon and not have it sighted so you can shoot well.

Hosea compares Israel to such a weapon – a loose bow. A loose bow will not shoot the arrow correctly. It will miss its target. It won’t hit what you aim at because the bow is deceiving you. Not only is that frustrating, but it’s also dangerous. If you are facing an enemy, you want to be able to stop them with that bow. If you can’t shoot straight, you’re in trouble.

APPLICATION

Are you a straight shooter? Is your heart aimed toward God? If we aren’t consistent in our quiet times and our prayer lives, we will begin to get off mark. We will begin to target the wrong things. Our aim will be off. Before you know it, we are totally off course. We are pursuing the wrong things. God is no longer in our view. How did that happen?

You see, our sights can be just slightly off and cause us to miss God. It doesn’t take much. Just a little distraction can cause it. Our minds start to drift. We put off our quiet times. We neglect for a few days our time with the Lord. Whamo! We are off. We have to set our sights afresh each day. We have to make sure Satan hasn’t moved in and “tweaked” our sights to make us miss. Be sure your aim is right.

I heard about a golfer this week who had an awful putting experience in his last tournament. Before he played in his next tournament, he was complaining about it. Someone asked him about his putter. It was only then that he noticed his putter was bent. There was no way he could have putted straight with it. Check out your tools and make sure you are aiming correctly.

Father, You are the only true way to measure whether I am shooting straight or not. I depend on You to be my guide.

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Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Rearing, Conceit, Following, Humility, Inspirational, Life, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

HAVE YOU GONE TOO FAR?

2 JOHN 9

“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”

Some people just can’t help themselves. Well actually, they can, but they just choose not to. These people have to be out front. They have to be the ones calling the shots, even if the shots are wrong. I’ve known folks like that. It’s really hard to deal with them. Why? Because their focus is totally on themselves and not on others.

John talks about those people in verse 9 of 2 John. He even says if they go too far, they are not abiding in the teaching of Christ and they don’t have God. Now, that’s pretty harsh, isn’t it? What John doesn’t say but is implied here is there is no humility. You see, you can’t be humble and put yourself out front. And we know that humility is a characteristic Christ showed.

APPLICATION

We are always pushing our kids to excel, aren’t we? We want them to make straight A’s. We want them to be the captain of the ball team. We want… You get the picture. By doing that, we can unintentionally create a monster. We want our kids to do their best, but we don’t want them to put themselves above others in a negative way.

We have to teach our kids how to excel without getting the bighead. They need to know that any achievements they have are the result of God’s blessing in their lives. Sure, they may have worked hard for it, but God gave them the ability. With every triumph, point them back to Jesus. He is the one who gives them the strength and wisdom to achieve great things.

Have you ever gone too far? Have you put yourself over your spouse or work colleagues? If you have done that, confess that as sin and make it right with those whom you have harmed. That’s where the humility comes in. A humble leader can lead armies.

I am so thankful for the way You have gifted me, Lord. I thank You for allowing me to achieve great things for You.

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