Abiding, Bible, Conviction, Correction, Corruption, Discipline, Passion, Scripture

RISING EARLY

ZEPHANIAH 3:7

“‘I said, “You will certainly revere Me, you will accept discipline.” So her dwelling will not be eliminated in accordance with everything that I have stipulated for her. Instead, they were eager to corrupt all their deeds.’”

I am typically an early riser. Sleeping to 6 a.m. is late for me. Normally I am up between 4:30 and 5:30 most days. I just can’t sleep late. The first thing I do after getting dressed is head upstairs to my office and have my Quiet Time. I love spending the first moments of my day in prayer and then in the Word. It sets me on the right course for the day.

In today’s verse the Lord is rebuking those in Jerusalem for doing just the opposite. “They were eager” is better translated “they rose early.” The got up early to corrupt all their deeds. The word “corrupt” actually means “to put to ruin.” Wow! They got up early to mess stuff up. Hmmm. Sounds like the world today, doesn’t it?

APPLICATION

I pray you have the Lord on your mind when you arise. Psalm 3:5 says, “I lie down and sleep; I awake again because the Lord sustains me.” Isn’t that awesome? Even while I am sleeping, the Lord is ready to wake me up and sustain me. Why shouldn’t we have Him on our minds first thing?

Don’t wake up and think What can I get away with today. As believers, we are to strive to be holy as He is holy. He commands that. And if God commands something of us, it is possible. He will never ask you to do something which He will not enable you to do. Do you believe that? You should. So, don’t succumb to the schemes of the evil one. He wants to lead you astray.

My practice of getting up early and having my Quiet Time is a skill I have developed. It wasn’t something I just started doing. I had to discipline myself to do it. Every Man A Warrior helped me to do that. Check it out at everymanawarrior.com. This material was written for men, but women are also taking advantage of the skills it helps develop. Welcome to the journey.

Father, I long to please You. I do not want to do those things anymore that feed my flesh. I want to feed my spirit.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Conviction, Correction, Forgiveness, Guilt, Judgment, Messages, Scripture

GETTING PERS0NAL

ZEPHANIAH 1:4

“‘So I will stretch out My hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will eliminate the remnant of Baal from this place, and the names of the idolatrous priests along with the other priests.’”

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who was complaining about people? You may actually agree with them and name a few people you have issues with. But then that person begins to name things about you that bother them. Whoa, wait a minute. Now they are getting personal. They are meddling too much, right?

I am sure those who heard Zephaniah’s message agreed with the first few verses, but now he’s getting personal. Now he is naming Judah and Jerusalem. But Zephaniah isn’t pulling any punches because he is delivering God’s message to the people. He is calling a spade a spade. Those in Judah and Jerusalem who have bowed to Baal and all those priests will be eliminated.

APPLICATION

How do you handle your Pastor’s sermons? As long as he is preaching on someone else’s sins, he’s fine. But when he starts naming yours, well…that’s a different story. How dare he get personal. How did he know about that sin? Was he watching me? Who told him about that?

I have preached a lot of sermons in my ministry, but I have never preached one pointed at one person. No one has divulged a sin of someone I needed to nail from the pulpit. But there have been numerous times when people came up to me after a message and told me how I had really spoken to them that day about their life. God’s Word will penetrate the hardest heart.

If you are a Pastor or have the ear of your Pastor, tell them to just preach the Word. Don’t get fancy with all your eloquence. Just preach the Truth. Let it convict those who hear the message and draw them to point of repentance. Our job is to simply deliver the message, like Zephaniah. It isn’t to judge.

Father, thank You for entrusting me with Your Truth. Help me deliver it faithfully.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Correction, Following, God's Will, Judgment, Love, Obedience, Scripture

THE ROD OF GOD 

MICAH 7:14 

“Shepherd Your people with Your scepter, the flock of Your possession which lives by itself in the woodland, in the midst of a fruitful field. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.” 

I grew up in the days of good old fashioned “whoopings.” My parents believed Proverbs 13:24. “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children will be careful to discipline them.” My spankings were never abusive. There is never any excuse for that. I knew my parents were trying to steer me in the right direction. 

This “scepter” mentioned in today’s verse could also be translated as “rod” or “correction.” It was a tool of chastisement. God used his corrective judgment to steer His children to repentance and renewed relationship. And He would direct them back to the first pastures in their land, Bashan and Gilead, the place of their beginnings as a nation. 

APPLICATION 

Has God gotten out His rod for you? Perhaps He is trying to steer you in the right direction. You know, it is much easier to live godly if we respond to that rod quickly. When we rebel and stiffen our necks, we can expect that correction to get a little tougher. God will bring you back home. 

I was a thick-headed child, at times. I knew certain things would get me in trouble and a sure whipping. Fighting with my brother was one of them. But we fought all the time. It was nothing serious, but mom didn’t allow it in the house. Sure enough, dad would come home and tear us up for not listening to our mom. 

I do not like the rod of God on me. I had much rather feel His warm embrace. Hadn’t you? So, as I live my life centered on His Word, I feel that embrace. Awww! That is much better than the rod.  

Lord, I am thankful that You love me enough to use Your rod of correction when I have strayed. 

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