Forgiveness, Heaven, Encouragement, Prayer, God's Will, Bible, Scripture, Confession, Accountability, Hearing, Advocate, Listening, Belief, Brokenness

UNANSWERED PRAYERS 

MICAH 3:4 

“Then they will cry out to the LORD, but He will not answer them. Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time because they have practiced evil deeds.” 

I have heard this so much during my ministry years. God just doesn’t hear me or answer my prayers. Why doesn’t He answer? Our God is always listening to our prayers. However, before He can answer us, we must submit to His authority. We must come to Him in confession. Oh, how He wants to answer. 

The people Micah was talking to were asking the same question. They kept crying out to God to rescue them. They had not taken the most critical step towards answered prayers. They had not repented of their sins. Their sins were serving as a roadblock to heaven. Their sins were bouncing off the gates up there. God heard them, but He could not answer them until they came to Him in repentance. 

APPLICATION 

Now, hear me! I am NOT saying that all unanswered prayers are because of sin in your life. In fact, I believe that a believer’s prayers are ALWAYS answered. Sometimes God says Yes. Other times He says No. Then often He says Not now My child. But He is always listening. He hears our cries. 

If you have lost friends who are blaming God for their unanswered prayers, ask them if they have surrendered their lives to Him first. They may not even know how to go about asking Jesus to be their Savior and Lord. What a privilege it is for us to lead them to the throne of grace. 

I have a couple of prayers that I pray daily. I pray other prayers weekly or monthly. Then finally I have prayers that I pray on occasion for those special requests of friends. But I pray. I love to pray. I love to know that my Lord is interceding at the right hand of His Father each time I pray. I know when I open my mouth to voice my prayers, my Father in heaven bends His ear and listens. Call on Him today. 

Father, thank You for listening to all my feeble attempts of prayer. I know You are careful to do Your perfect Will in each and every requests I make. 

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Abuse, Accused, Bible, Confession, Forgiveness, Greed, Stealing

ROBE STEALER 

MICAH 2:8 

“‘Recently My people have arisen as an enemy—you strip the robe off the garment from unsuspecting passers-by, from those returned from war.’” 

Some people do not care about others at all. They will steal from them without any concern. When I worked at a children’s home once, we had a problem with people coming onto our campus on Sundays while we were all gone to church and stealing stuff from us. Stealing from a ministry caring for children is pretty low. 

Micah is telling them the Lord’s words about their thievery. They were even stealing the outer garments (which were used also at night for covering) from peaceable people. These people who were the victims were trying to walk with God and please Him. These thieves didn’t care. They saw the garment and took it. That’s why God is leveling His judgment against them. 

APPLICATION 

I am sure you have never done anything like that. If you have, I pray you will ask for forgiveness right now. That’s right – stop reading and get on your knees. God has not forgotten that sin, which was really against Him. You may have forgotten, but He has not. 

In fact, we read about this in Psalm 51. Verse 2 through 4a says, “2 Wash me thoroughly from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my wrongdoings, and my sin is constantly before me. 4 Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight,” 

If those verses describe you, spend some extended time in prayer asking the God of the universe, who gave His only Son to die for you, to forgive you and cleanse you. I always feel better physically after a bath. A spiritual bath also makes us feel better. Try it. 

Thank You, Lord, for protecting me from those who would take from me from a callous heart. 

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Accountability, Accused, Altars, Belief, Bible, Confession, Destruction, Disciplemaking, Idols, Judgment, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

WHERE DOES SIN BEGIN?

MICAH 1:13

“Harness the chariot to the team of horses, you inhabitant of Lachish—she was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion — because in you were found the rebellious acts of Israel.”

Do you remember your first introduction to sin? Do you remember when you committed your first sin? Probably not. Most of us were too small to remember our terrible twos, snatching a toy from someone else. Since the fall of Adam, we are born with that sin nature. No one has to teach us to sin. We, however, do have to be taught how not to sin.

Lachish was known as the initiator of idol worship to Judah. It had already begun in Israel (the Northern kingdom). Perhaps because of their trade in chariots and horses they were introduced to them by pagan nations. Lachish was known for its fast horses and chariots. Micah tells them they had better get in those chariots and harness their fastest horses if they hope to escape.

APPLICATION

Listen, brothers and sisters. I don’t care how fast you run; you cannot escape the wrath of God. There is not a plane, train or automobile fast enough. You could travel to another planet and still not escape it. There is only one way – that is through the blood of Jesus.

Assyria came in and defeated all of Israel and Judah. God used them as His instrument of wrath to judge His people. God will use whatever necessary to judge us if we are not under the blood of His Son, Jesus. But, oh the power of that blood. It can wash away our vilest sins and make us new again. Because of that blood, God forgives us of all our sins.

Praise God for His eternal blessings. I do not deserve so great a salvation. But thanks be to God, He had a plan to give me that way of escape. I pray you have made that decision to turn your life over to Him. You cannot outrun God. Stop running and allow the transforming power of the blood make you whiter than snow.

O Father, thank You for saving me. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to rescue me.

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Bible, Bitterness, Blessing, Confession, Destruction, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Goodness, Submission

BITTERNESS

MICAH 1:12 

“For the inhabitant of Maroth waits for something good, because a disaster has come down from the LORD to the gate of Jerusalem.” 

Some people are just plain bitter. They don’t like anyone or anything. They seem to revel in their bitterness. When someone asks them about it, they say, “Well, that’s just the way I am.” God made me that way.” I don’t think so.  

Why do I mention bitterness? Because “Maroth” which is mentioned in today’s verse, means bitterness. So, you have bitter people expecting something good from God. They didn’t want the God who is good. They only wanted the good things. What happens? Disaster falls upon them. 

Oh, what a lesson for us today. If we walk around bitter all the time because life didn’t turn out like we thought, we cannot expect to receive God’s blessings. God is not in the business of blessing those who are not walking with Him. If we complain about not receiving God’s blessings, we can expect not to receive them. 

APPLICATION 

God is watching us and just waiting to bless us. He wants to bless us. Look around you today at the parents who are constantly giving their kids stuff regardless of their behavior. What do those kids act like? Little hellions! That’s right, I said it.  

God will not allow us to turn out that way because of His actions. Everything He does is perfect and good. He will bless you, but only as you submit to His will and His leadership. Then the blessings flow. Oh, what joy fills the heart of the Father when He blesses His children. Let go of the bitterness. 

Lord, wipe away all bitterness in my life. I want to please You and not just to get the blessings. I do it because I love you. 

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Bible, Brokenness, Confession, Disciplemaking, Following, Humility, Modeling, Scripture

WALLOW

MICAH 1:10 

“Do not tell it in Gath, do not weep at all. At Beth-le-aphrah roll yourself in the dust in mourning.” 

You have probably seen animals rolling in the dust. They seem to be having such a good time. I’ve seen horses do it. I have even seen elephants in Kenya do it. My uncle was a pig farmer. Let me tell you – pigs are really good at wallowing.  

Micah uses a word for “roll” that is only used twice by Jeremiah and once by Ezekial. In those three other times this word is used, it is used to wallow in ashes. In that culture, throwing dust in the air or putting ashes on your head was a sign of mourning or humility. So, rolling in the dust, covering your whole body in dust would be extreme.  

APPLICATION 

How low can you go? I don’t mean in limbo, lol. I mean, how low can you submit yourself to the Lord. Humility and mourning over our sins are sure signs of our desire to repent and turn to the Lord. Our actions speak louder than words. We can say we repent, but when we take steps to change our behavior, that really speaks. 

The Lord does not expect you to go outside and wallow in the dust. But He does expect you to humble yourself before Him. What can you do to humble yourself? What steps can you take to exhibit humility? How will your life change as a result of this action? 

I know when I humble myself before the Lord, I feel so much safer. I do not feel “less than.” I actually feel “more than.” I feel comforted by my Lord. It seems He holds me closer. I can just picture Him taking me in His arms and giving me a “daddy hug.” I can wallow in His love. 

Thank You, Lord, for holding me close. I want to feel that closeness every day. 

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Abiding, Accountability, Apologies, Bible, Confession, Forgiveness, God's Will, Godliness, Guilt, Judgment, Redemption, Scripture, Sin

SIN TRAVELS 

MICAH 1:9 

“For her wound is incurable, for it has come to Judah; it has reached the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.” 

It is unfortunate, but our sin does not just affect us. It has the nasty side effect of infecting other people. I can remember “leaking” my sin on others. Before I came to Christ, my lifestyle was not good. I led others into the same sins I was committing. For that I am forever sorry. I have spoken to most, if not all, of those individuals and asked them to forgive me. 

Israel’s sins made the journey to Judah. They were influenced by their pagan worship. They, in fact, welcomed it. So, now the punishment that was going to fall on Israel would also come upon Judah. Sin is always followed by judgment. It may not happen right away, but it will come. 

APPLICATION 

It just makes sense to not spread your sin. Better yet, just don’t sin. Right? Well, that’s easier said than done, Carl. Oh, how I know. I try every day to avoid sin, but it always seems to find me. It just jumps on me. I am like a sin magnet. My heart is to avoid it and run to God. Most of the time I am successful doing that. But there are times… 

So, when your sin travels down the road and affects someone else, what do you do? One – you ask the Lord to forgive you. Two – you ask the person you affected with your sin to forgive you. Three – you put things into place to help you avoid that situation again. 

We may not be able to avoid all sin, but we can sure do our part to put barriers in front of it. I truly believe we can live lives that honor our Lord without the guilt of sin. If we are seeking Him with all our hearts and spending time with Him each day, the Holy Spirit will lead us in godly living, not sinful behavior. What barriers do you need to build today to protect yourself from that? 

O Lord, I praise You that Your Holy Spirit convicts and guides me. Help me to listen quickly. 

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Accountability, Bible, Confession, Deceit, Evil, Forgiveness, Grace, Redemption, Repentance, Scripture

WRONGDOINGS

MICAH 1:5

“All this is due to the wrongdoing of Jacob and the sins of the house of Israel. What is the wrongdoing of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? What is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?

I have to admit something to you today. Are you ready? I am not perfect. I know, you are shocked and will probably never read my blog again. Lol. We are all imperfect and prone to sin. My wrongdoings are the result of my own rebellious acts against a holy God. In fact, that Hebrew word for “wrongdoing” in today’s verse means exactly that – rebellion, rebellious act.

Israel and Judah had rebelled against God. Samaria, the capital of Israel set up by Jeroboam, was the center of their idolatry. Horrible things had happened there due to their pagan sacrifices. Jerusalem was not much better. As the capital of Judah and the original center of all Israel, it should have maintained God’s laws. It did not. The kings had allowed pagan worship in their holy city, even in the temple itself.

APPLICATION

What have you allowed in the center of your life? Our wrongdoings stem from allowing sin to enter our life and take root. We invite them in purposely or sometimes by accident. Either way, sin enters and before you know it, you are knee deep in sinful behavior.

I mentor men who have an addiction to pornography. That sin did not just happen. It began at some point by being exposed to it. That may have been their own choice, or it could have been done by someone else. This “wrongdoing” is hard to shake. It gets all kind of reactions from people, but it is no worse than other “wrongdoings.”

I pray today that if you have allowed a “wrongdoing” in your life, you will repent of it. Our rebellion against our Lord will not go away until we confess it as sin, turn from it and walk with the Lord. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Aren’t you glad that is true today? I sure am.

O God, Savior of mankind, I praise You today for the forgiveness You offer me for my wrongdoings.

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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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Accountability, Anger, Belief, Bible, Confession, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Fellowship, Godliness, Salvation, Scripture

ANGER

JONAH 3:9

“‘Who knows, God may turn and relent, and turn from His burning anger so that we will not perish.’”

I am not an angry man. I seldom get angry. It is my prayer that my anger is only shown in situations where the innocent are treated unfairly. Abortion angers me. Innocent lives are snuffed out, and that breaks my heart. But this blog is not about abortion. It is about anger.

The king of Nineveh recognized God’s burning anger against his kingdom because of their evil ways. He knew God would judge them for this unless they confessed that and turned to Him. Look what he says. He said, “Who knows, God may turn and relent…that we will not perish.” He was asking the Lord to forgive them. By his and his people’s actions, they showed their repentance.

APPLICATION

God is not angry at you. Let me get that straight. He is saddened by your sin. Before you come to Christ, the penalty for your sins is eternal damnation. The good news, though, is that Christ died for those sins. God’s anger has been quenched through the blood of His own Son. Now, He just wants you to trust Him and trust His Word.

It is much like we parents feel when our children disobey us. We did not hate our children because of this. It saddens our hearts when they disobey. We want them to obey us because they love us. We want them to obey us because they want to please us. That’s our heavenly Father. He loves seeing His children do His will.

I am so thankful that the anger of God isn’t an issue for me. I know my sins have been paid for through the blood of the Lamb. His wrath has been abated. I am free to live for Him and through Him. It is my goal each day to live in such a way to honor Him in all I do. I pray that is your goal as well. Ephesians 4:26-27 is a great passage on anger. It reads, “In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil a foothold.” Live by that.

I will not be angry today, Lord. I will trust You to help me control my anger.

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Abiding, Accountability, Attention, Bible, Confession, Discipline, Distress, God's Will, Hearing, Listening, Obedience, Prayer, Scripture

PRAYERS HEARD

JONAH 2:7

“‘While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple.’”

I have heard of some incredible answers to prayer. I am sure you have also. Some of those answered prayers are just about too good to believe. If I had not known the person and situation personally, I would have never believed it. But God has a way of making believers out of unbelievers, doesn’t He?

Don’t forget our scene – Jonah is still in the belly of that fish. He’s been praying to God for the several verses. In the written book we have what may seem to be a short prayer. This prayer may have been given over that three-day period. Here in today’s verse, he is fainting away. I am assuming he must be towards the end of those three days. No water, no food, no light! He is week and feeble, yet he prays, “and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple.” Wow!

APPLICATION

Even in your lowest hour, when you are at your weakest. None of us have been where Jonah was. So, we can surely pray to the Lord. We don’t have seaweed and stuff floating around us. But we may have other things trying to drown out our access to our holy God. We can’t let anything distract us from praying.

God is always listening, no matter where we are. We must not forget that God placed Jonah in the belly of that fish for a reason. He places us in our “fish’s belly” for a reason also. He wants to draw all our attention to Him.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to not learn my lessons in a fish’s belly. I want to walk in obedience and do what the Lord asks me to begin with. I have still got a lot to learn about obedience, but I am trying. I am listening. Are you? Or are you content to wallow around in your “fish’s belly”?

Thank You, Lord, for teaching me obedience. I want to learn quickly and do exactly what You tell me.

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