Bible, Contentment, Peace, Rest, Satisfaction, Scripture

NEVER SATISFIED

HABAKKUK 2:5

“’Furthermore, wine betrays an arrogant man, so that he does not achieve his objective. He enlarges his appetite like Sheol, and he is like death, never satisfied. He also gathers to himself all the nations and collects to himself all the peoples.’”

Some things are never satisfied. Football fans are not satisfied that their team won the championship. They want them to win it every year, and if they don’t, they want to get rid of the coach. Church members want the preacher to preach the perfect sermon every week. If he struggles one week, they start questioning his abilities.

God is still speaking here in verse 5. And He is telling Habakkuk that the wicked man is never satisfied. There is another story I was reminded of when I read this today. God gave the Hebrew children in the wilderness manna from heaven. But they grumbled against it. They tired of God’s miraculous provision and wanted something more.

APPLICATION

Don’t point fingers! We all do the same thing. God meets our needs, but we ask for more. God does a miracle in our life through a healing of us or someone else, and once again we ask for another. Satisfaction in Christ means we are satisfied completely when we receive our salvation. All other things are just the cherry on top of the ice cream. Nice but not necessary.

Paul says is well in Philippians 4:12. “I know how to get along with humble means, 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 goal each and every day – to be content, to be satisfied. Unlike the pagan described in today’s verse, we should not always hunger for more. True contentment in Christ is sweet. There is no pressure, no worries, no strife – just rest. Don’t you want to rest in Him today?

I am satisfied, I am satisfied, I am satisfied with Jesus. But the question comes to me, as I think of Calvary, Is my Master satisfied with me?

Standard
Abiding, Bible, Choices, Contentment, God's Will, Scripture

BIGGER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER

NAHUM 3:16

“You have made your traders more numerous than the stars of heaven—the creeping locust sheds its skin and flies away.

You may have heard the saying “You can tell a man from boys by the size of his toys.” We think bigger is always better. Or in Christian terms “busier is better.” If I just do this for God, He will love me more. If I just serve on this committee at church, people will like me more. If I could just sing on the Praise Team, I would be more spiritual.

Nineveh was the biggest and best in the trade world at that time. Because two rivers converged at Nineveh, it was a major trade route to the sea and beyond. And with all that trade, money flowed. There were many wealthy traders in Nineveh. Wealth brings its on set of temptations – idol worship, prostitution, drugs, etc. Bigger is not always better.

APPLICATION

Are you relying on the “size of your toys” to bring you happiness and contentment? It won’t happen. Oh, for a little while, you will be happy with that new car or truck. You will finally buy your dream home or land that dream job. But the things of this world are fleeting. They will not last.

As believers, our contentment is only in Christ. 1 Timothy 6:6-10 tells us something about contentment. “6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it, either. 8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

Then Paul tells us what to pursue in verse 11. “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” Those are eternal things. Those bring true happiness. Those are things worth chasing after with all the vigor you can muster. Let’s pursue the better over the bigger.

I desire to follow You, Lord, into a deeper relationship filled with righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.”

Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Standard
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. 

Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Standard