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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Accountability, Accused, Battles, Bible, Choices, Consequences, Direction, God's Will, Obedience, Safety, Scripture

SPLISH, SPLASH

JONAH 1:15

“So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.”

Have you ever thrown someone into a pool? You know how kids can play. I can remember picking up someone and chunking them, kicking and screaming. It was all in play. No one was intended to be hurt. We laughed and usually did it again.

This was not the case with Jonah. He did not kick and scream. In fact, he probably laid down on the deck of the ship very calmly as the sailors picked him up and threw him in. Can you just see the sailors’ face when the sea stopped raging? They probably instantly went to the side of the ship and looked for Jonah. But he was not there.

APPLICATION

Maybe you’re kicking and screaming right now as God tries to throw you into the deep end of the pool. Does God do that? He certainly does. Most of us don’t go willingly. We may not kick and scream, but we sure argue with God, don’t we? We have all kinds of reasons why His won’t make sense.

I have been thrown into the “deep end” many times. You think I would have learned to go in myself. But no, I am hard-headed. I guess that is why I can relate to Jonah so well. There have been times when God gave me a clear direction, but I went the other direction.

Splash! There I went! Deep end! But I found when I got in that the water was just fine. I did not drown. In fact, I got stronger by learning to swim there. I could not rely on my own strength. I had to have His power to survive. So, I swam and got stronger. Are you still wearing floaties on your arms or are you allowing God to strengthen you in the “deep end?”

Father, Your Will often confuses me. But I know I can trust it because it’s Your Will and not mine.

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Abiding, Accountability, Accused, Bible, Consequences, Forgiveness, God's Will, Punishment, Redemption, Repentance, Scripture

TAKING THE BLAME

JONAH 1:12

“And he said to them, ‘Pick me up and hurl me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, because I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.’”

No one likes to take the blame for anything, whether they have done it or not. Accepting the blame for stuff goes against our very nature. We don’t want to be judged and ridiculed. It’s better to lie and let someone else get the blame. That’s just the way we are.

Jonah, however, accepts the blame. He says, “because I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.” Doesn’t that sound noble? But I think Jonah had another motive. See what he tells them to do. “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea.” I believe he wanted to die rather than go to Nineveh. Not so noble.

APPLICATION

What have you done that you failed to take the blame for? Come on, be honest. We’ve all done it. Isn’t it time to make that right? But don’t use the same motive as Jonah. You need to face the consequences. That’s what God expects. Own up to it.

But our flesh rebels against that. We think if we’re not caught, it’s all good. Not so. Not taking blame for the wrong you have done is sin. There, I said it. Now confess it as sin and seek the Lord’s forgiveness. Jonah didn’t do that in today’s verse. He owned up to it, but he didn’t confess it.

I am so glad I have a compassionate God who loves me unconditionally. Psalm 103:8 says, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.” Oh, how sweet are those words. I depend on them. In fact, Psalm 62 says so. “My salvation and my honor depend on God. Aren’t you glad we can depend on Him to make all things right?

I love You, Lord. I know I can do nothing unless You are working in and through me.

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Accountability, Bible, Boasting, Consequences, Enemies, God's Will, Hatred, Humility, Love, Scripture

REVELRY

OBADIAH 16

“For just as you drank on My holy mountain, all the nations will drink continually. They will drink to the last drop and become as if they had never existed.”

Just recently the Kansas Jayhawks won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship over the UNC Tarheels. Lawrence, Kansas is the home of the Jayhawks. That town went wild celebrating the win. You could describe their celebration as revelry, noisy partying and merrymaking.

This was the scene in Israel when they were overthrown. Their enemies, including Edom, drank and drank, celebrating Israel’s defeat. But God warns them in that last phrase that they too would cease to exist. He said they would, “become as if they had never existed.” All this was because they had sided against their brother.

APPLICATION

There is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating, even partying, if it is not at someone else’s expense. Carl, I would never do that. Oh yeah? Let someone you don’t “care for” get caught doing something bad. Do you celebrate their punishment? Shouldn’t we instead want to try to help them?

This world is full of sinners. Some of them will seek to do us harm or take advantage of us. What would Jesus do if someone did Him wrong? Oh wait, they did. What did He do? He was humble and meek. He never sought to get even (and He could have). He saw their sin and hated it, but He loved the sinner.

Don’t be an Edomite. Don’t revel at someone else’s downfall. What a perfect time to witness to them. When someone is suffering, they are usually open to our comfort from the Lord. Use this opportunity to reach out to them and show them Jesus’ love. You just might see them respond in a way you never dreamed of.

Lord, I ask You to forgive me for reveling in my enemy’s downfall. Help me to reach out to them with the hands of Jesus.

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Accountability, Accused, Anxiety, Bible, Consequences, Death, Fear, Forgiveness, Judgment, Scripture

HERE IT COMES

OBADIAH 15

“For the day of the LORD is near for all the nations. Just as you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.

Doomsday! You know you can’t avoid it. The weight of it is excruciating. The dreaded bathroom scales. No one wants to step on that thing. Am I right? I am currently on ANOTHER diet, lol. I need to shed some pounds that have creeped on over the winter.

That dreaded moment is nothing in comparison with what was headed Edom’s way. “The day of the LORD” was commonly known as a day of judgment. Obadiah poured out those words, which were very similar to the prophet Joel, when he said in Joel 3:7, ‘thy reward shall return upon thine own head.’ Edom knew exactly what Obadiah meant! Doomsday!

APPLICATION

What are you dreading right now? Are you dreading death? How about the end of the world? Those are both definites. They are going to happen. I hope that doesn’t scare you. That’s not my intention. Fear can motivate you, if it is the right kind of fear. The fear of the Lord is a good thing. Let me explain.

The fear of the Lord is a reverence for His holiness. The fear of the Lord leads me to bow down before Him in awe of His presence. The Lord does not scare me. In fact, it is just the opposite. The thought of the Lord spurs me on to holy living.

I don’t fear the Lord in a negative way because He’s my Father. He’s my Protector. He’s my Shield and Buckler. He carries me in His arms when I am too weak to walk. He soothes me when I am anxious. There is nothing to dread! I welcome Him.

O sweet Lord, You comfort me beyond anything I could ever ask or think.

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Bible, Boasting, Commands, Compassion, Consequences, Enemies, Envy, Loyalty, Mercy, Protection, Rejoicing, Relationships, Scripture

NO GLOATING

OBADIAH 12

“Do not gloat over your brother’s day, the day of his misfortune. And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah on the day of their destruction; yes, do not boast on the day of their distress.”

I haven’t mentioned that my alma mater, the University of Georgia, won the National Collegiate Football Championship. The only thing better than that is seeing my school’s archrival, the University of Florida, lose. Lol. When they lose and my team wins, I can gloat just a bit. Sorry Gator fans.

God warned Edom to stop their gloating over Judah’s demise. They were actually celebrating the fact that Judah was being defeated by their enemies. They didn’t come to their defense. They were cheering on the nations who were carrying their brothers into exile. That’s kind of messed up.

APPLICATION

Whose demise are you rejoicing over? We still do this today. We watch people we don’t like have troubles, and we inwardly rejoice. What?! Yes! Even believers do this. That’s right. Believers rejoice when others suffer. You don’t believe me? Just listen to the conversations around you.

We have to stop doing that. We have no right to watch someone else suffer, friend or foe, and rejoice. Don’t get me wrong. I believe enemies of the cross should be confronted. If they don’t repent, they will suffer. But I don’t believe the Lord wants to see that. He desires that all be saved. He doesn’t want to see anyone face judgment without Him.

I am so grateful that I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I am filled with His Spirit, so I should see everyone as He does – a sinner in need of a Savior. Will you join me in clarifying our view of others – all others? Let’s link arms and lift up those who have fallen – not look on and gloat.

O Father, forgive me when I have that inner twinge of self-righteousness brought on when I see someone suffer.

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Allies, Alone, Battles, Bible, Consequences, Deception, Enemies, Friends, Leading, Scripture

ALLIES

OBADIAH 7

“All the people allied with you will send you to the border, and the people at peace with you will deceive you and overpower you. They who eat your bread will set an ambush for you. (There is no understanding in him.)”

Don’t you just hate it when someone is betrayed by “friends”? It’s one thing for your enemies to attack you. But when so called allies turn their back on you, that’s hard. I am fortunate to say that has never happened to me (yet). I believe I can trust all my friends to have my back, if needed.

Poor Edom – they were betrayed by allies who knew them well. When push came to shove, the bailed on Edom and chose their own safety. Not only did they betray them, but they gave up many of their secrets to help the enemy. That’s like sticking in the knife and turning it. Not good.

APPLICATION

Who are the friends you can depend on? I serve now with a ministry called Every Man A Warrior. We teach men how to walk with God, succeed in life and multiply spiritually. One aspect of that training is teaching the need to have allies, guys in their corner. We know you can’t do this life alone.

It is beautiful when you see these groups of allies come together for one of their own. No betrayal. No turncoats. All coming together to give aid to one of their brothers. Whether it be a physical, emotional or spiritual need, these allies come together.

On the flip side, I’ve seen men try to do this on their own. What happens? They usually fall flat on their face. They are fine until they face that first hurdle and then wham! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down he has a friend to help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.” Be that ally today for someone else. You will need them yourself one day.

Father, You made us to need each other. Surround me with godly men who can help me navigate this life.

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Accountability, Advice, Agreement, Apologies, Bible, Consequences, Devout, Discipline, Examples, God's Will, Judgment, Modeling, Promises, Testimony

PROMISES MADE, PROMISES KEPT

AMOS 9:8

“‘Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom, and I will eliminate it from the face of the earth; nevertheless, I will not totally eliminate the house of Jacob,’ declares the LORD.”

Are you a good promise keeper? We have all broken promises at some point in our lives. It may have been a small, minor promise, but it was still a promise. I try not to make promises I can’t keep. I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

Failure was and never will be an option for our God. He had made a promise to Abraham, the grandfather of Jacob. He promised him a land, a son and a nation. Now, as the nation of Israel was deserting Him and facing judgment, God reminds them of that promise. Jacob (also known as Israel) would be remembered and not totally destroyed.

APPLICATION

Let me encourage you today to keep your promises. Maybe you only promised your child an ice cream cone. Go get it. Maybe you promised your spouse a weekend away. Go! Maybe your promise is more serious like your wedding vows. Those must be kept.

Whatever promise you made, keep it. A vow made should be a vow kept. After all, as a believer, you are representing your Savior. How you keep promises reflects on Him. I think if we understood that fully, there would be fewer promises broken.

Aren’t you glad God keeps His promises? One of my newest, favorite verses is found in Joshua. Joshua 21:45 says, “Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” You can take God’s promises to the bank. They are for sure.

Lord God, I am so thankful Your promises are true and faithful. I rest knowing I can count on You.

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