Bible, Consequences, Discipline, Evil, God's Will, Modeling, Scripture

SCHEMERS

HABAKKUK 2:9

“‘Woe to him who makes evil profit for his household, to put his nest on high, to be saved from the hand of catastrophe!’”

Some people will stop at nothing to advance their own schemes and plans. All they care about is themselves and their family. Sometimes even the family falls prey to the schemes. It may seem they are getting away with it. They are not. They will face retribution at the hand of God one day.

God is still blasting the Chaldeans in verse 9. All those Chaldeans who are making “evil profit” will get what is coming to them. They think they are going to escape the coming catastrophe, but they won’t. God’s long reach of justice will catch up to them.

APPLICATION

There is nothing wrong with making a profit. The world economy depends on that. Businesses make profits so they can hire employees and expand their business. But to make evil profits is against all that is good. God cannot and will not bless any business or the owners who are harming others to line their own pockets.

There are hundreds of verses about money in the Bible. Do a word search for yourself. You might be amazed. God does not disapprove of us having money. He wants to bless us. Just don’t let your desire for money bring you to ruin.

I know His Word says that the love of money is the root of evil. Use it. Pursue it. Just don’t let it become your sole aim in life. Paul goes on in that passage to say those who are eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grieves (1 Timothy 6:10). Don’t be a schemer!

Father, save me from worldly lusts of money. Show me how to use it wisely and obediently.

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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, Bible, Confession, Confrontation, Consequences, Forgiveness, Holiness, Judgment, Scripture

FROTHING AT THE MOUTH

NAHUM 1:6

“Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath gushes forth like fire, and the rocks are broken up by Him.”

I had a football coach once who would get so mad that he would actually froth at the mouth. Do you know what that means? It means little pieces of foam appear in the corners of the mouth, and as you speak or yell, you spit white chunks from your lips. Very appealing, lol.

As unappealing as that may be, that is exactly the picture Nahum is describing in today’s verse. The Hebrew word for “indignation” gives us the picture of someone frothing at the mouth in anger and rage. God is fed up with Nineveh, and this time His full wrath will fall on the city.

APPLICATION

Excuse me, but that is not a sight I want to see. Thanks be to God; I never will have to face God’s frothing mouth of wrath. All that was done away with at Calvary. All I will experience is the peaceful, kind smile of my heavenly Father.

Maybe you are afraid today that you are going to face His indignation. Perhaps you are not a believer. If that is the case, you have much to fear. The justice He demands for your sins must be paid. Come to Him today.

Or maybe you are a believer but still think God is out to get you. You think He spends all His time finding new ways to entrap you. That is a lie of the devil. God’s desire is to show you His love through His Son, Jesus. He has paid the price so that you do not have to. Rest in Him today.

O Lord, thanks for rescuing me through Your Son from ever having to witness Your frothing wrath.

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Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Choices, Consequences, Contentment, Deception, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Modeling, Scripture

THE RIGHT WEIGHT

MICAH 6:11

“‘Can I justify dishonest balances, and a bag of fraudulent weights?’”

I have this little hand-held baggage scale. You simply wrap the strap around the baggage handle, pick it up and you get the weight. That is necessary when you are flying somewhere because they have restrictions on how much weight you can have in that bag. Too much, and it costs you more. You cannot cheat the scale.

God watches our actions just as closely. He will not tolerate our deceitfulness. The people would try to cheat others in the market by having those fraudulent weight and scales. He had warned the people about this in Leviticus 19:35-36 where it says, “‘You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight, or volume. You shall have accurate balances, accurate weights, an accurate ephah, and an accurate hin;’”

APPLICATION

I am reminded of a verse in Job when he was vehemently denying any sin in his life that had caused his suffering. Job 31:6 says, “Let Him weigh me with accurate scales, and let God know my integrity.” Can you say that? I sure cannot most days.

I want my life to be weighed and found not lacking. I want my deeds and words to be always just right on God’s scales. I trust His scales to be accurate and true. If He says I am lacking, I am lacking. If He says I am okay, I am okay. He sees me as righteous because of His Son. Jesus has tipped the scales in my favor.

We have a bathroom scale in our home. Most mornings I weigh myself. It is interesting, though. I can weigh myself and then go to the doctor and weigh five more pounds. I think they set their scales five pounds heavier so they can tell us to lose some weight, lol. Truth is my scales are off five pounds. What really matters is my spiritual weight. With Jesus, I will always weigh correctly spiritually. Is that true for you today?

I am forever grateful for the blood that washed away the weight of my sin and made me righteous in Your eyes, Lord.

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Accountability, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Condemnation, Consequences, Devil, Enemies, Forgiveness, God's Will, Gospel, Judgment, Scripture

GOD’S TOOLS

MICAH 4:12

“‘But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, and they do not understand His plan; for He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.’”

I am reminded of the illustration of how God can use anyone. There was an elderly widow who had a very mean and ungodly landlord. He would often ridicule her faith and spurred any witness the widow gave. One day he overheard her praying to the Lord for groceries, as she was short on food. He said to himself that he would go buy her groceries, put them at her door and when she found them and praised her God (as he knew she would), he would swoop in and tell her off.

Well, it happened that way. She opened her door, found the groceries and immediately started praising God. The landlord came from around the corner and said, “Hah, your God didn’t give you those, I did. Hah!” The widow looked at him with tears in her eyes and said, “Oh yes, He did. He just used the devil to do it.”

You see the pagan nations around Israel thought they were doing as they pleased against Israel. They did not realize they were only being used by God to execute judgment against them. God would (and did) judge them also for their pride and contempt against His people. The phase about the sheaves is interesting. You see, it does not matter the number of sheaves that must be harvested because in the end, they must all be cut down. So must the enemies of Israel.

APPLICATION

When we see the wicked triumph over good, just remember God’s principles have not changed. He will still judge the wicked. We may not live to see it done, but it will happen. They just think they are getting away with it now. One day, they will face Him and have to answer for their unbelief and wicked ways. It is not our place to judge them.

Now, to be honest, that is hard for me. When I see people live in such wicked, ungodly ways, I want to call them out. I must confess any wrong motives about that to the Lord. I do not have the right to judge anyone. I know that, but sometimes my spirit gets offended at their actions.

Instead, I need to act more like Jesus. He knew the actions of the Pharisees and Sadducees was abhorrent to His Father. He knew their motives and their very thoughts. Yet, He still came to die for them as well. He loved them as much as they let Him. We should do the same. Will you choose to love someone today who truly needs a Savior?

O Lord, it is hard to love some people. Help me love them with Your love.

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Affection, Affliction, Allies, Battles, Bible, Christ's Return, Confrontation, Consequences, Destruction, Enemies, Friends, God's Will, Rapture, Scripture

NO MORE WAR

MICAH 4:3

“And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift a sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.”

As I write this blog, war is still raging in Ukraine. When that will end is anyone’s guess. Through the ministry I am a part of, Trans World Radio (TWR), I know of believers on both sides of this war. Many have lost their homes and livelihoods and are struggling. It is heart-breaking to see the destruction of some beautiful cities and villages, not to mention the loss of life.

Micah prophesies, however, that one day there will be no more war. We have all heard this verse quoted over the years. Swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. I love that last phrase – “nation will not lift a sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.” Just think of the billions of dollars that could be redirected towards healthcare, food and clean water. This will be an amazing sight to behold.

APPLICATION

You are probably thinking, Sure, that sounds great, Carl, but we will never see that in our lifetime. You never know. I believe the Lord’s return for His church is imminent. With that event, the end-time clock speeds up – rapture, tribulation years (yes, I am a pre-trib guy), thousand-year reign and then the second coming of Christ.

How do we play a part in this? How about not making war with your neighbors? How about not looking at someone as if they are beneath you? How about extending the olive branch of peace towards someone who has harmed you? We can all help with these things. Peace begins with us.

I am personally not at war with anyone. I do, however, show my prejudices at times, politics and sports, to name a couple. I have to make sure I am not showing myself to others. I need to be showing Jesus at all times. Only He can make the change happen in others.

Lord, we await the day when there will be no more war

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Accused, Bible, Consequences, Deceit, Evil, Modeling, Scripture, Truth

SNAKE BITTEN

MICAH 3:5

“This is what the LORD says concerning the prophets who lead my people astray: ‘When they have something to bite with their teeth, they cry out, “Peace!” But against him who puts nothing in their mouths they declare holy war.’”

I have never been bitten by a snake. Thank goodness. I grew up around them, though. In Southwest Georgia we have rattlesnakes, coral snakes and cotton-mouth moccasins. That last one is the mean one. They will actually come after you. I remember fishing in my uncle’s ponds and having to shoot them as they tried to get in the boat with us. Mean snakes.

The Lord is comparing the false prophets of their day to snakes. The Hebrew word for “bite” is used primarily to describe the serpent’s bite. A serpent’s bite is never good. The people knew that. But these false prophets would latch on and not let go. They attacked those who did not go along with their message and declared “holy war” on them. How dare they not agree?

APPLICATION 

It is human nature to attack people who disagree with us. That does not make it right. In fact, following our human nature seldom leads us to the right thing. Our human nature is sinful, fleshly and only wants to please itself. Whether we are extolling something that is true or false, we want those listening to be in agreement. If they are not, then “off with their heads.” Not literally, lol.

We have probably all known people who act that way. They are really hard to be around, aren’t they? Don’t be that person. Don’t act like they do. Stick with the truth of God’s Word, and you will be fine. The moment you veer off course of that, you are preaching a false narrative.

As I share with others, I try to always be careful that everything I am saying is truthful. I double check stories I may use as an illustration. I double check any statistics I may use also. I do not want to be accused of stretching the truth or an outright falsehood. If others do not agree with the truth, that is between them and the Lord. But I will not be a serpent and bite them. How about you?

O Lord, keep my fangs pulled. Let me never be one who bites another because of my flesh.

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Accused, Bible, Consequences, Enslavement, Freedom, Rescue, Scripture

JAIL BREAK

MICAH 2:13

“The one who breaks through goes up before them; they break through, pass through the gate, and go out by it. So their king passes on before them, and the LORD at their head.”

There have been so many movies about prisoners breaking out of prison. I think of The Bird Man of Alcatraz. I have seen James Cagney make prison breaks. And who can forget all the Westerns that included breaking out of the Sheriff’s jail? All these have one thing in common – getting free from confinement.

Micah, in today’s verse, is portraying the people of Israel breaking free from their imprisonment. “The one who breaks through” is a reference, according to some scholars, of Christ, Who sets us free from our enslavement to sin. But the last phrase tells it all – “and the Lord at their head.” He is the one responsible for their freedom.

APPLICATION

Are you enslaved today? Romans 6:16 says, “Do you not know that the one to whom you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of that same one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” You see, we are slaves to something.  

I have never been in jail (at least not yet, lol), but I can imagine how I would feel to be confined somewhere that I could not leave. When you are enslaved to sin, there is no escape. You cannot get out of this enslavement by yourself. You do not have the power to break the yoke of sin. But thanks be to God, He sent His Son to set us free.

I love Isaiah 61:1. “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD anointed me to bring good news to the humble; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to captives and freedom to prisoners;” We have a mission to proclaim the good news. We can help point others to the One Who breaks through.

Thank You, Father, for breaking through the walls of sin as I call upon Your name.

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Abiding, Accused, Apologies, Bible, Blessing, Consequences, Forgiveness, God's Will, Scripture, Thoughts, Truth, Understanding

MISUNDERSTANDINGS

JONAH 4:6

“So the LORD God designated a plant, and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head, to relieve him of his discomfort. And Jonah was overjoyed about the plant.”

Don’t you hate it when you have a misunderstanding with someone? They did something, but you took it wrong. Words are exchanged before the real motive is revealed. Then when it is, you feel embarrassed that you overreacted. This happens all the time.

Well…Jonah had a misunderstanding with God about this plant. He was “overjoyed” that God had provided this miraculous, fast-growing plant to give him shade. He mistakenly took that to mean God was favoring him and his actions. God was favoring him, but not for the reason Jonah thought. God wanted Jonah to sit right there and watch Him work according to His plan, not Jonah’s wishes.

APPLICATION

Perhaps you have had a misunderstanding with God. You may think you are God’s gift to mankind. You think He has favored you above everyone else. You would not be wise to think that. God does show us favor, but it is usually not because we have done anything to deserve it. He just loves us.

Or perhaps you think God does not love you because He has not blessed you. Your understanding of God depends on God giving you stuff. God will bless us according to His will. But once again, it is not because of anything we have done.

We all need to have a correct understanding of God. That begins with understanding that without Jesus as our Savior, we are all doomed to eternal destruction. But once we make that all important decision to follow Jesus, we are in God’s family. He will protect and defend us. He will bring us through the hard times. And yes, He will bless us. Aren’t you ready to follow Him today?

I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You. O my soul rejoice.

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Choices, Consequences, Destruction, Eternity, Evangelism, Faith, God's Will, Gospel, Judgment, Promises, Salvation, Scripture

COUNTDOWN

JONAH 3:4

“Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, ‘Forty more days, and Nineveh will be overthrown.’”

No child likes to hear these words from their mother. “Just wait until your Father gets home.” The countdown begins. Knowing what time dad normally arrives home, the child begins to count the hours or minutes until they hear his car or truck pull into the driveway or garage. I don’t necessarily like this approach to child-rearing, but many parents use it.

Jonah was basically telling the Ninevites, “Dad’s coming, and He’s not happy.” Nineveh wasn’t just going to receive a spanking, though. They were going to be overthrown. The Hebrew word here means to overturn or turn over. In other words, life as they knew it was about to change. This is a dire warning. What would they do?

APPLICATION

God still gives us warnings. He may send it through a preacher (like Jonah, minus the fish smell, lol). He may reveal Himself to you in a passage of Scripture. He may speak through a dream. That still happens in many parts of the world where the Gospel has not been shared. I have heard numerous stories of a “man in white” appearing in a dream, giving a message to turn to Jesus.

Whether you heed the warning or not is your decision. Of course, the greatest message we have concerning our eternal doom is revealed in the Bible. That sounds bad. It’s not meant to. But the Word of God points us to a place of repentance and deliverance. And then we receive all the promises of God. He gives us fair warning. It’s spelled out clearly. We just have to believe.

In tomorrow’s blog we will see what the Ninevites do with Jonah’s warning. But I am more concerned with what you will do with it. Have you given your life to Christ? Have you turned over everything to Him? He desires to make you His own. If you have done that, praise the Lord. Now give someone else the warning. Don’t let them perish without a Savior.

God, my Father, You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.

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