Accountability, Bible, Confession, Faith, Forgiveness, Gospel, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

PREPARE TO MEET YOUR GOD

AMOS 4:12

“‘Therefore so I will do to you, Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, Israel.’”

Anytime you prepare to meet someone, don’t you do things to get ready? Usually, you get cleaned up and maybe clean your house. Depending on who the person is you may prepare a big meal and invite your friends. You see, preparing to meet someone takes preparation.

Israel had not prepared to meet their God. They had been living rebellious and sinful lives and weren’t ready to meet Him. Somehow, they had forgotten God had been with them from long ago. They had lost sight of that. Now, God tells them to prepare to meet Him. This was not going to be a pleasant meeting.

APPLICATION

Now, let me ask you a question. Are you prepared to meet your God? There are only two possible answers to that question. You are either ready or you’re not. And there is only one way to be ready. You have to turn to God, confess your sins to Him and ask for forgiveness. You must accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Savior.

That’s how you prepare to meet your God. And guess what. God can’t wait to meet you – right there. The very moment you turn to Him He comes running to you. He has been looking forward to this meeting for a long time. He has longed to meet with you one on one. Isn’t that incredible?

I am so glad I made that decision back in 1977. I knew about God long before that, but I didn’t have a face-to-face meeting until then. I didn’t have to go looking for Him. I just had to prepare to meet Him, and He was there. Wow! I didn’t deserve it, but I got to meet with the Maker of the Universe. So can you.

Father God, I am humbled that You wanted to meet with me. Help me introduce others to You so they can have their own person meeting with You.

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Bible, Blameless, Confession, Forgiveness, Judgment, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

THE STENCH OF DEATH

AMOS 4:10

“‘I sent a plague among you as in Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses, and I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the LORD.”

I don’t know if you have ever smelled a dead carcass our not, but it is awful. Often, when I am in the woods hunting, I will run across a dead dear or other animal. I can smell it long before I see it. The stench can be overwhelming, depending on how long it’s been there. It’s not a good smell.

The Lord’s judgment on Israel included death, death to their soldiers and livestock. Here in verse 10 of chapter 4, Amos speaks for the Lord recounting those deaths. The phrase “the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils” is so descriptive. That smell does stick in your nose. Even that smell did not drive the Israelites back to Him.

APPLICATION

Our sins smell just as retched in God’s nostrils. The stench of our sins rise up to heaven. We can’t cover them up with a scented candle or a matchstick. The smell of our sins covers us until we wash them off in confession. And there is nothing that can remove them except the blood of Christ.

That may sound kind of silly. How can blood, which has its own smell, wash away the smell of our sins? Because this isn’t just some plain, ordinary blood. As it says in 1 Peter 1:19, “but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” That’s the difference. His blood is pure. Only His blood can wash that stench off.

I am so thankful I have surrendered my life to Him and allowed that unblemished, spotless Lamb’s blood cleanse me. I can walk stench free because of Him. I don’t have to worry about how I smell. My sins are forgiven. I know who to come to when I need to confess. How do you smell today?

O Father, I praise You for sending Your Son, on this special day to rid this world of this stench of sin. Help me point others towards His blood.

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Abiding, Accountability, Affection, Affliction, Bible, Confession, Direction, Disciplemaking, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Repentance, Scripture

CLEAN TEETH

AMOS 4:6

“‘But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places; yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the LORD.”

I honestly do not like getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist. I don’t mind brushing my teeth and even occasionally flossing them (not really, lol). But the twice-a-year cleanings are not something I look forward to. My hygienist is great, and my dentist is too. It’s just the scraping (and flossing) are not fun.

God was not giving the Israelites a teeth cleaning like I get. He had punished them through withholding food in an attempt to get them to return to Him. Your teeth don’t get too dirty when there is nothing to eat. But this didn’t work with them. They were so tied to their sinful ways that even that did not bring them back.

APPLICATION

What has the Lord done in your life in an attempt to bring you back to Him? Think hard about that. God will allow things in our life to draw us back. Some of those things are not pleasant. He may allow sickness. He may allow a loss of a job. Listen, there is nothing that God will not do to bring us back once we have strayed.

But what He won’t do is force us back. We have to return on our own. We have to choose to come back to Him with a repentant spirit. We have to acknowledge our sin and confess it to Him. He needs to see that we want to be up under His guidance once again.

I can speak from experience on this one. Unfortunately, I have not always followed the Lord as I should. I have made some huge, wrong decisions in my life that led me on a wayward path. But thanks be to God, He never quit pursuing me. His Holy Spirit kept prompting me and convicting me until I repented and returned. I got tired of clean spiritual teeth. I needed meat to eat. How about you?

Thank You, Lord, for pursuing me. Thank You for drawing me back into Your embrace.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Cleansing, Confession, Deceit, Disciplemaking, Following, Godliness, Holiness, Modeling, Relationships

LEAVEN

AMOS 4:5

“‘Offer a thanksgiving offering also from that which is leavened, and proclaim voluntary offerings, make them known. For so you love to do, you sons of Israel,’ declares the Lord GOD.”

I have been guilty of coming to the Lord with guilty hands. I went through all the motions and appeared from the outside to be doing all the right things. It’s easy to fool others in the church. As long as you attend regularly, give your offering and serve somewhere, people think you are living holy. That is not necessarily true.

Just look at the Israelites. They were offering their sacrifices and making them known. From the outside they appeared to be doing it right. But look closely. They were offering leavened bread in their sacrifices which was clearly forbidden. In Leviticus 2:11 it says, “‘No grain offering, which you bring to the LORD, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven or any honey as an offering by fire to the LORD.’” You see, they knew that but did what was convenient to them.

APPLICATION

I am sure you have never been guilty of that. Of course not, Carl. I am always living right. Yeah, right. We all pretend, don’t we? We don’t want others knowing we are struggling in our faith. We don’t want our friends, especially at church, to know we aren’t living right.

But those are exactly the right people to turn to. If you are not in a small group right now, find one. You need people in your life to whom you can pour out your heart. We all need others in our life to hold us accountable. Doing life with others is what Christ wants for us.

My wife and I are in a small group at church with two other couples. These couples are dear friends to us. We can share just about anything with them. But there is the problem. We should be able to share everything with them. Right? Would you pray for us that we could all share everything, knowing that we have these people in our lives who love us and want what is best for us.

Thank You, Lord, that You hold me to a higher standard. I must live holy before You and offer only the best I have to You.

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Accountability, Bible, Commands, Confession, Direction, Guilt, Modeling, Obedience, Sacrifice, Sanctification, Scripture

SARCASM

AMOS 4:4

“‘Enter Bethel and do wrong; in Gilgal multiply wrongdoing! Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days.’”

I can get very sarcastic at times. In fact, I like sarcasm. That has gotten me in trouble more than a few times. I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t be sarcastic with people who don’t understand or appreciate it. When I have done that, it caused hurt feelings and even anger a few times.

In today’s verse Amos is using a bit of sarcasm. He is telling the Israelites to keep doing the things they have been doing. They had been doing wrong. They had brought their sacrifices and tithes pretending they were doing all that God expected. Just keep on doing what you’re doing Israel.

APPLICATION

Before you start pointing fingers at Israel, are you doing the same? Do you go to church, throw some money in the plate but live like the devil all week long? God doesn’t want our tithes and offerings when we are not being obedient to Him in our daily walk. He had much rather have our obedience.

When we come before Him daily and live obediently God is so pleased. We don’t need to sneak around. God knows what we are doing all the time. Hadn’t you much rather live honestly and uprightly before your Lord? I sure do.

I have learned it is much easier to live openly than try to conceal a hidden sin. With my bad memory I am not good at concealing anything. But I know I can’t. God sees all. So, just live so that His eyes only see holiness and godliness. That’s what He desires.

Father, I praise You for seeing all. I have no reason to hide anything from You.

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Accountability, Bible, Cleansing, Compassion, Confession, Consequences, Direction, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Forgiveness, Holiness, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Redemption, Repentance, Scripture

COME AND SEE

AMOS 3:9

“Proclaim on the citadels in Ashdod and on the citadels in the land of Egypt and say, ‘Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria and see the great panic within her and the oppressions in her midst.’”

I often wonder what people like about a hockey game or a Nascar race. I think they like to see a good fight in the hockey game and good wreck at the race. Either way, people are drawn to disasters. They just can’t seem to stop looking and awing over them. I guess it’s our weird human interest in the events

The Lord, through Amos, is telling the neighboring nations to watch what He is doing in Israel. He has already pronounced their judgment. Now, it’s Israel’s turn. Their judgment will be public for all to see. They had flaunted their sins publicly, so it only seems fit that their punishment should be too.

APPLICATION

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my sins aired out publicly. I want to confess my sins quickly and privately. My sins are against my Lord. Now, if I have sinned against someone else, I should go to them and make that right. But that’s a far cry from telling the world.

So, we need to go to the Lord quickly when we sin. If we continue to live in sin and thumb our nose at God, He will deal with us. We may think we are getting away with it, but we are not. Eventually, He has to deal with our sin. If we are a child of His, He will discipline us. If we are not a believer, the punishment will much harsher.

I choose to fall into His hands for correction. I trust Him to discipline me accordingly. Proverbs 13:24 says, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” The same applies to our holy God. He loves us, so He must discipline us. So, invite His hand in your life.

Father, forgive me when I sin against You and others. I ask You to judge me accordingly and set me back on the right path.

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Accountability, Bible, Confession, Consequences, Discipline, Following, Forgiveness, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Listening, Obedience, Punishment, Repentance, Scripture

PUNISHMENT FOR EVIL

Amos 3:6

If a trumpet is blown in a city, will the people not tremble? If a disaster occurs in a city, has the LORD not brought it about?

I can remember several times when I was disciplined by my dad for disobedience. One in particular stands out. We had a dog who took her puppies in the woods and left them. I went in the woods to find them after being told not to. It was summer, and in South Georgia there was the risk of rattlesnakes and moccasins. When my dad got home from work, he gave me a whooping. I had willfully and decisively disobeyed my parents. That was sin.

The first part of today’s verse is pretty self-explanatory. But the second part may be confusing. This is referring to God’s punishment for sin. The Lord does not cause disasters to harm the innocent. That goes against His whole nature. But He will bring a disaster upon a evil, sinful people. Remember the flood?

APPLICATION

Are you in a position that deserves God’s punishment? Are you willfully sinning against a holy God. Numbers 32:23 is Moses warning the tribes that wanted to stay on the other side of the Jordan. He says,
“But if you do not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure that your sin will find you out.” You’ve probably heard the last part of that verse quoted a lot. That’s where it comes from.

Listen – if we know what to do and don’t do it, that could be a sin of omission. We must choose to follow Jesus. That means making the right choices up front. Sure, we received forgiveness when we sin and confess that to God. But it is so much better to choose to do right first. If I had chosen to obey my parents and not go in the woods that day, I would not have been spanked.

I am thankful for parents who disciplined me. But I am more grateful for a God who will not tolerate my sin. He holds me accountable. He uses His Holy Spirit to convict me and drive me back to Him. I do not always obey. But it is my desire to do so. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. Before getting saved, we chase sin. After we get saved, sin chases us. Don’t let it catch you.

Father God, I thank You for keeping me disciplined and corrected. I can be stubborn and rebellious.

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Accountability, Bible, Commands, Confession, Consequences, Deception, Discipline, Evil, Flesh, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Perversion, Scripture, Sin

PERVERSION

AMOS 2:7

“‘These who trample the head of the helpless to the dust of the earth also divert the way of the humble; and a man and his father resort to the same girl so as to profane My holy name.’”

Sin by any other name is still sin. I know I have called my sins things like “my rights” or “just my personality.” Listen, anything that goes against what the Lord commands is sin, plain and simple. Anything that seeks my will over His is sin. Anything that belittles another is sin. I could go on, but you get the picture. We call our sins other things to disguise them and feel better about them.

All the things mentioned in verse 7 today were sins against a holy God. The rich were trampling the helpless for the dust they had put on their heads in mourning. They were diverting the meek and humble away from God. A father was marrying his son’s widow and vice versa. And father and son were perhaps visiting the same temple prostitute. All abominations in the eyes of God. But Israel was blind to them.

APPLICATION

What perversions do you have in your life right now? Most of us would quickly deny we had any perversions. Those are only the gross sins, right? Wrong. Any sin against God is perverse. They all go against His holiness. So, let me ask you that question another way. What sin(s) do you have right now that God would see as against His holiness? Now, that changes everything, doesn’t it?

I want to encourage you to confess those “perversions” right now. Ask the Lord to reveal to your eyes the sins you have not confessed to Him. Take the time to evaluate your lifestyle. Are there things you are doing on a daily basis that bring your faith into question? Are you compromising your testimony to achieve something? The Lord will show you what you need to confess, if you will just ask.

Staying “confessed up” is the key for me. The Holy Spirit is quick to convict me. If He’s too busy, my wife is always available. Lol. Seriously though, I am thankful for a wife that will not hesitate to call me out on my sin. That’s special. I love her for it. I pray you have someone in your life who will do the same. If not, find someone.

Your conviction in my life is precious, O Lord. I want You to keep my accountable for my sin.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Confession, Deceit, Exalting, Foreknowledge, Judgment, Scripture

FINALLY

AMOS 2:6

“This is what the LORD says: ‘For three offenses of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke its punishment, because they sell the righteous for money, and the needy for a pair of sandals.’”

Has anyone ever been talking to you about “someone” and you thought they were really talking about you? They were saying things like Well someone was saying the other day that I had said this. You recollect saying something, but you are not quite sure. The two of you keep talking and the truth finally comes out.

Well, that’s what just happened in Amos. He has been prophesying to Israel about all these other nations, and now has dropped the bombshell. He is really here to prophesy against Israel for all they’ve done. Can you imagine their shock when they heard him say, “for three offenses of Israel, and for four”? They probably yelled, “Now wait a minute, Amos. You were doing so good.”

APPLICATION

The point of today’s verse for me is don’t be too cruel about the sins of others because we all have plenty of our own. In fact, we do the same things the Israelites were doing. We sell the righteous for money and the need for a pair of sandals. Well, wait a minute, Carl. I’ve never done that. Well, you may have never “sold” anyone, but you may have taken advantage of someone to make yourself look better.

It’s just human nature to want to come out on top. We don’t want to be pushed down and made to look lower than others. So, we do whatever we can to look better than them. But what does the Lord want us to do? He wants us to lower ourselves, to humble ourselves. He said the last shall be first and the first shall be last. He lived humbly before others. Today find a way to do that.

I don’t like to be humbled. For me, it’s much better to humble myself. I have found when I do that and try to lift others up, then I am doing what the Lord wants. Serving others is humbling at times. At others, it is exalting. Just ask the Lord what He would have you do. I bet it will be a humbling experience for you. Father, don’t let me look on the sins of others. Let me only see my sin and the need I have to repent.

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Calling, Confession, Consequences, Disciplemaking, Forgiveness, God's Will, Punishment, Repentance, Scripture

PUNISHMENT IS SURE

AMOS 2:5

“‘So I will send fire upon Judah, and it will consume the citadels of Jerusalem.’”

When I was in the eighth grade, many moons ago, my homeroom teacher, who was also my junior varsity football coach, would call me and another student, who was also one of his players, up to the front of the room. He would give us both one swat with his paddle and say, “You’re both going to do something today to deserve this. Consider your punishment rendered.” I’m not sure that could be done today, lol.

Judah’s punishment was sure. The Lord uses the same language He used for Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon and Moab. Just because Judah was His daughter, they did not escape His wrath. Why? Why didn’t God show them so preferential treatment? Why didn’t He let them off with a lighter punishment? Because He is just, and His judgments are justified.

APPLICATION

The same applies for us. Some people think that just because they have asked Christ to be their Savior, they can do anything they want and escape the consequences. Sure, those sins are forgiven, but all sins have consequences, either here or later. Of course, if we are Christians, we should be running from sin, not going towards it.

So, I know when I sin, I must go the Father as quickly as I can and confess that sin to Him. I don’t always do that, and I can feel the barrier building up in my prayer life. Have you felt like your prayers were hitting the ceiling? Perhaps your sins are bouncing them back. Try confessing them to Him right now. If you aren’t aware of them, ask Him to reveal them to you. He will. I promise you will feel that weight come off your shoulders.

My buddy and I certainly did things everyday to deserve those spankings. Why wouldn’t we? Our coach told us they were paid for in advance. That’s not how it works with God. I wish I could go back and correct that coach, but that was almost fifty years ago. I didn’t know the Lord then. I pray he came to a saving knowledge of Jesus himself.

Lord, I praise You for discipling me. It may be painful know, but it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace.

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