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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Appeasement, Bible, Blessing, Commands, Commitment, Contentment, Humility, Judgment, Mercy

WHAT DO YOU WANT, GOD?

MICAH 6:8

“He has told you, mortal one, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is hard to please someone if you do not know what they want. I remember going through the Five and Dime store in my hometown of Pelham, GA trying to find the perfect Mothers’ Day gift for my mom. In the end I got this “very pretty” sand sculpture in this glass vase. My mom probably hated it, but she kept it the rest of her life. It was not about the gift to her. It was all about the giver – me.

God has told us exactly what He wants from us. Three things – to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with Him. Now, if you have not seen this verse before, you can’t say that anymore. You have been told what He wants. It is the same thing He wanted from His children so long ago. And just like us, they spurned Him. They wanted their own thing and their own way.

APPLICATION

So, what do you need to do? To do justice. What does that mean? It means for you to judge appropriately, correctly, righteously rather than based on your own desires or prejudices. But Micah quickly adds “to love kindness.” Some versions say “to love mercy. This is the flip side of justice. Both are necessary and both are a part of God’s character.

Finally, Micah tells us “to walk humbly with our God.” That’s the hard part. The old country song said, “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.” We all think we are doing okay. True humility requires us to put others before ourselves. That is just not the American way.

These things God required then and required now will give us a balanced approach as we seek to serve our King. Will you trust Him in this? If He tells us to do something, we can be sure it is for our good. We may not see it as good at the beginning, but we will eventually. God is going for the long play. Can you?

I place my life in Your hands, Lord, to do with as You please.

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Belief, Bible, Blessing, Christ's Return, Confidence, Contentment, Encouragement, Eternity, Fear, Promises, Rest

I AM NOT AFRAID

MICAH 4:4

“Instead, each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, because the mouth of the LORD of armies has spoken.”

When I was growing up, my friends and I would often dare each other to do something. Sometimes it was approaching a scary looking house and knocking on the door. We had a few houses like that in my hometown. Other times it was to do some stupid physical challenge. We always said, “I’m not afraid.” Of course, inside we were trembling.

Finally, one day we can all say with confidence that we are not afraid. Just like Micah describes here in today’s verse, we can sit under our vine or fig tree (I don’t have either of these, lol) and rest. The LORD of armies has spoken. When God speaks, all is settled.

APPLICATION

Won’t that be great? No more worries. No more problems. All is at rest. That is hard to imagine, isn’t it? We live with issues and problems every day. Some of those are big, like dealing with cancer or the loss of a loved one. Other things are small, like paying that bill or a challenging child. We all have to deal with these kinds of things now.

But one day soon we will have perfect rest. I love to fish (as you who read my blogs regularly or who know me personally can attest). I love to be on the lake or at a pond early in the morning when the water is calm. It is like glass. That kind of peaceful scene will be forever. No more disturbances.

I choose to live in that peace today. I choose to believe my heavenly Father wants me to live that way. He does not desire troubles for me. Just the opposite, He desires peace. Only His peace can provide this for me. His peace gives me peace. Are you living in His peace today?

Thank You for giving me peace today, Lord. I choose to live in it.

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Bible, Blessing, Contentment, Coveting, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Encouragement, Gifts, God's Will, Greed, Inheritance, Jealousy, Modeling, Scripture, Seeking

COVETING

MICAH 2:2

“They covet fields, so they seize them; and houses, so they take them. They exploit a man and his house, a person and his inheritance.

I was sitting with my wife the other night in our family room. I looked around at our home. It’s a nice two-story townhouse with plenty of room, more than we need now. I turned to her and said, “We are so blessed, you know? Just look where we live. God has given us so many blessings.”

These people Micah is confronting with God’s message are coveters. What does that mean? It means they desired these things greatly, so much so that they stole them. They even lied and devised ways to steal a man’s inheritance, thus robbing his children as well. These were unscrupulous people.

APPLICATION

I did not tell you where I live to make you covetous, but I am sure some people would look at where I live and covet it. To be honest, I do not deserve it. God provided this home for us. As I drive around my city of Chattanooga, TN, there are many far beautiful homes than mine. I do not have a covetous bone in my body for those homes. I am content where I am and so grateful.

That is what I want you to see in today’s verse. These people were not grateful at all for what they had. They wanted more and more. Are you that way? Are you not content? Paul tells us in Philippians 4:12, “I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” That should be our heart each and every day.

O Lord, thank You for all the blessings in my life. I am content with what I have and forever grateful. 

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Bible, Contentment, Hatred, Holiness

NO LOVE HERE

AMOS 6:8

“The Lord GOD has sworn by Himself, the LORD God of armies has declared: ‘I loathe the arrogance of Jacob, and detest his citadels; Therefore I will give up the city and all it contains.’”

To loathe and detest something requires someone to really, really not like it. I loathe brussel sprouts. I detest sauerkraut. I’ve tried them both and have vowed they will never pass my lips again. Lol

But God is stating here that He loathes and detests. I thought God was all about love. How could He loathe anything? That word “loathe” is only used right here in the whole Bible. It has the idea of someone puffing their mouth at something in disgust. And the word “detest” literally just means hate. God loathes and detests anything that is not holy, and their arrogance and pride led Him to this point.

APPLICATION

I pray you only loathe and detest those things that are not holy. Otherwise, your heart is just not right. There is no room in the heart of a believer for hate. It just doesn’t belong there. You should never hate another person. We may hate their actions, but the person is redeemable.

I just got back from seeing one of my many doctors I see on a regular basis. After examining me, she said rather boldly, “You’re fixable.” That was great news. I wanted to tell someone. And then I thought about how that applies to all of us spiritually.

Before Christ, I was riddled with sin and saw no way out. After believing Satan’s lies for so long, I turned my heart to Jesus. He fixed me. He gave me a new life. He promised me eternity. Wow! I was lost but now I’m found. I was blind but now I see. Fixed – just like that.

Father, I am so thankful You called me as Your own. I desire to rid myself of anything that is not holy.

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Abiding, Bible, Blessing, Contentment, Modeling, Scripture

IN THE LAP OF LUXURY

AMOS 6:4

“Those who lie on beds of ivory, and lounge around on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the midst of the fattened cattle,”

I have never lived in luxury, compared to the “rich and famous.” I don’t drive a luxury vehicle. I don’t eat caviar and drink fine wine. I don’t consider myself wealthy. However, compared to most of the world, I would appear that way. Living luxuriously is very relative, depending on where you live in this world.

In Israel, during this time of Amos, though, there were those who were flaunting their wealth. They lived in luxury while the poor suffered. This image of beds of ivory and eating lambs may have been a little exaggeration by Amos, but he was trying to get a point across. Wealth and privilege mean nothing in the eyes of God.

APPLICATION

Look at how you are living right now. You have heard it said, “Waste not, want not.” Living frugally is not a sin. My wife and I have been “purging” our home of things that we have not used in years. We have kept so much stuff through the years and are just ready to part with it. We are sure others can use these items more than we can.

Most of these “purgings” go to one our local thrift shops, where the sale of these items can be turned into services to those who are less fortunate than we are. Other items have been given to individuals directly. The older we get the less stuff need around our house.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with nice things. There is nothing wrong with being wealthy. I am thankful for those whom God has blessed with wealth. Just don’t let what you have become who you are. There is so much more in life than that.

I praise You Father for the blessings of this life. Lead me to share those with others as You direct.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Contentment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, God's Will, Modeling

LOOK ALL AROUND

AMOS 6:2

“Go over to Calneh and look, and go from there to Hamath the great, then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are they better than these kingdoms, or is their territory greater than yours?”

One advantage of living here in Tennessee is the breathtaking views we have in our mountains. Now, I know our mountains aren’t the Rockies or the Alps, but we love them. There are some vistas from which you can see in all directions for miles. I just love taking all of that in.

Amos is telling Israel to look to the north, east and west at the great cities around them. Calneh, Hamath and Gath were all great cities at different points in their history. Do a study on them. They had some amazing accomplishments. But Amos is telling them they all failed. You can’t place your hope in your own accomplishments.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you something. What is the greatest thing you have achieved in your lifetime? Was it a job? How about a construction project? We all measure our success by what we do or plan to do. We think by making a mark on the world in our career or in our community, we will be remembered.

All those things we do may be great, but they are not eternal. There is nothing in this world we can take with us. Look all around at your life – nothing is going with you. The only true accomplishments we have that we will go with us are the ones we lead to Jesus. They will be there with us. Praise God.

I am so thankful God does not measure my success or competence by what I have done or will do. He only measures me in Christ. He wants me to become more and more like His son. That is the true measure of success. Forget my Calnehs, Hamaths and Gaths. They won’t last. Only Jesus will.

O Lord, You are faithful to bring me through. I praise You for Your faithfulness to me.

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Abiding, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Consequences, Contentment, Discipline, Following, Protection, Salvation, Scripture

TRUSTWORTHY

AMOS 6:1

“Woe to those who are carefree in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria, the dignitaries of the foremost of nations, to whom the house of Israel comes.”

Some things can’t be trusted. Believe me! Once while hiking, I came across this wooden bridge that crossed a creek. It had obviously been hand built and was old. I wanted to cross that creek but wasn’t sure about the strength of this old bridge. I was by myself, so I chose to find another place to cross. That old, rickety bridge just didn’t look trustworthy.

Israel was acting carefree and at ease in Zion. They were trusting in the wrong things. They thought Samaria couldn’t be taken. It was the last city to fall to the invaders, but it too fell under God’s judgment. The only thing that is totally trustworthy is God. Everything else is subject to failing. You would think Israel knew that.

APPLICATION

Oh my! This certainly applies to us, doesn’t it? We tend to trust everything else but God. We trust the government. We trust family. We trust our educators. We trust… You get the picture. We want to trust everything else until everything has failed us. Then, as a last resort, we turn to God.

When will WE learn? God should always be our first thought. He is always there. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is the trustworthy one. There is not a problem He can’t solve. He has the answers to each and every trial we face. But we have to trust Him.

That trust begins at salvation. When we place our trust in Him to save our souls, it should continue for our lifetime. Think about it. If we trust Him for eternity, why can’t we trust Him for our daily needs and struggles? Let Him have them today. Place your total trust on Him. He never fails.

Thank You, Father, for Your unfailing love. I know You are always there to catch me when I fall.

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Abiding, Beauty, Bible, Choices, Contentment, Encouragement, Family, God's Will, Heaven, Inspirational, Light, Modeling, Relationships, Scripture

STARS IN THE HEAVENS

AMOS 5:8

“He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and changes deep darkness into morning, who also darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is His name.”

I have never studied the stars or the constellations. But there is just something about going out of town at night, finding a place with very little light and laying down to look at the stars. There are so many! I stumbled across an app for my phone recently called Skyview Lite. Now, I am not endorsing it, but it allows you to find the constellations and planets at night.

God doesn’t need an app or a telescope to find the stars and constellations. He made them. He placed each of them right where He wanted them. He is the one who set our planet in just the right spot from the sun and started its rotation. Amos says the LORD is His name. Indeed, it is.

APPLICATION

Do you realize that the Lord has placed you right where He wants also? I can look back at my years in ministry and see how He orchestrated our moves to prepare me for the next role. Just like Pleiades and Orion, we have all been placed in orbit and connected with others to form human constellations.

What do I mean by that? God placed us in our families. God placed us in our communities. God placed us in our churches. You may say, Carl, I chose where I am living and the church I am attending. Did you seek the Lord in those decisions? If you did and you followed His leading, then He placed you there.

I am thankful for where the Lord has placed me. Is it always perfect? Nope, and you know why? Because my flesh gets in the way. I truly believe if I follow the Lord, He will lead me exactly where He wants me to be, no matter what obstacles I may face. I want to be His bright star shining. Don’t you?

I praise You, Father, for Your wisdom in placing me where You want me to be. Just like the stars, I am to shine and point others to You.

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Bible, Blessing, Contentment, Faithfulness, Gifts, God's Will, Godliness, Holy Spirit, Obedience

FORGOTTEN POSSESSIONS

AMOS 2:10

“‘And it was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you in the wilderness for forty years so that you might take possession of the land of the Amorite.’”

Isn’t it wonderful to uncover a lost possession? My family has moved a good bit through my over four decades in ministry. Sometimes, in the process of backing, one of my kids would exclaim, “Look what I found.” Something they knew they owned, but had misplaced, was uncovered in the packing or unpacking process. It was always theirs, just wasn’t in their physical possession.

The Lord is reminding Israel of their possessions. He had given them the land of the Amorites. It was a gift from Him to them many years previously. It wasn’t something they had purchased or won on their own. It was Him who had ridded the land of the Amorites and gave it to them just as He had promised. After the long journey through the wilderness, He had given them the land. But they had forgotten.

APPLICATION

Do you have lost possessions? I bet you do. But more importantly, let me ask you this question. What possessions do you have in Christ that you aren’t utilizing? I was talking to some friends just recently about that. Why do so many Christians walk around defeated? Why do we act as if we can’t live holy lives?

God has given us everything we need to live for Him. Just take a look in Galatians 5 at the fruit of the Spirit. With all those blessings, we have no excuse for not living for Him. We have no excuse for not living victoriously. Sure, life can be hard sometimes. But do you think that surprises God? Of course, not. He gave us all we need to handle ever situation.

I am thankful for the Lord’s blessings in my life. I am thankful He has provided me with all I need. I just have to claim it. I just have to walk in it. I just have to… How about you? Don’t forget your possessions.

I am blessed beyond measure because of You, O Lord. Help me “tap” into all the possessions You have given me.

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