Abiding, Advocate, Alone, Bible, Confidence, Courage, Covenant, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Idols

ABANDONMENT

JONAH 2:8

“‘Those who are followers of worthless idols abandon their faithfulness,’”

I worked for over 30 years in the child welfare field. In all those years, I saw a lot of children who had been abandoned. Abandonment is not a pretty thing. The feelings of loss and neglect are awful. Those who abandon are thinking only of themselves and not the lives they are affecting.

Jonah draws this analogy in referring to those who have abandoned their faith in favor of worthless idols. Those idols (or really those who peddled them) offered sensual or physical pleasures as part of their worship. The people’s hedonistic tendencies led them to choose those idols over true worship. They walked away from God. They abandoned their faith.

APPLICATION

Have you abandoned your faith? Have you tried to find something else to meet your needs? There is nothing else. Just like Jonah said, those things are “worthless.” They have no true meaning, no eternal purpose. They promise all sorts of things but never deliver. They only enslave.

If you have left your faith or it is weaker than it used to be, return to Him now. He will never abandon you. He will always be there. His love is eternal. His support of you will never end. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”

So, is your heart completely His? If it is, He promises to “strongly support” you. There is no reason to abandon your faith. If you are struggling right now, turn to Jesus. He can carry you through. I pray you will stay close to Him. Do not abandon!

I will stay with You, O Lord. I know You will never abandon me.

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Abuse, Bible, Covenant, Faithfulness, Promises

A HOLY PLACE

OBADIAH 17

“But on Mount Zion there will be those who escape, and it will be holy. And the house of Jacob will possess their property.”

Do you ever feel alone? Do you feel forgotten? I have heard of parents who forgot a child somewhere, only to discover they weren’t with them when they got home. That child could easily feel less valued. Perhaps they were thinking mom or dad didn’t want them anymore. All the situations I am personally aware of turned out okay and the kids were safe. But it can scare a kid.

Even after all the desecration and destruction that took place in Jerusalem, God says it will be holy. A remnant shall possess it. God did not forget about His holy nation. Yes, they rebelled against Him which justified their discipline and exile. But He did not forget about His covenant.

APPLICATION

God has not forgotten you. He loves you. Even when you feel alone, He’s still there. God often allows us to go through times like that to show us just how much He loves us. Perhaps you feel all your friends have left you. There is no one to help. God may be preserving you during this time to maintain a remnant.

Carl, that doesn’t make any sense. Why would God do that? Because God never breaks His covenant with His children. Did you know that? He hasn’t forgotten where you are. He needs you to remain faithful. You are the one He has chosen to remain. You are the seed of the promise.

I know I can rely on His promise. He has great plans for me. I know that. I believe that. My problem is me. I want what I want when I want it. That’s not how God works. He gives us what we need when we need it. He’s never late. He’s always on time. So, don’t fret if you feel alone. He’s got a plan.

Father, when I am all alone, You are there. You know exactly how I am feeling, and You love me through it.

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Abiding, Advocate, Agreement, Bible, Blessing, Commitment, Covenant, Discipline, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Goodness, Home, Reward

NO MORE

AMOS 9:15

“‘I will also plant them on their land, and they will not be uprooted again from their land which I have given them,’ says the LORD your God.

I worked over 30 years with children in the foster care system. Most of these children were removed from their homes due to their parents, not due to anything they had done. Some of the children, however, were placed with us because of their behavior. I had the joy on several occasions to see these families restored. Seeing these children go home made our hard work with them so worth it. Our prayer was always that they would remain with their parents.

God removed Israel from the Promised Land for repeated unrepentance and rebellion. He had to discipline His children. But now He is telling them He would bring them back home to never leave again. That land was theirs. He had promised it and meant for them to keep it. What great news! What a great way to end this book.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you a question. Have you wandered from home? Are you far away from the Master? Maybe you are like that prodigal son who found himself in a pig pen instead of at home with his father. Wherever you are today, stop and take notice. Ask yourself if you are residing with Jesus.

Your physical location is of less importance than your spiritual location. What do I mean by that? You can be in the pit but free in Him. You could be going through the valley of the shadow of death but walking unafraid because of your reliance on the King. The Lord wants us to feel safe. He wants us home.

I can only speak for myself, but I find myself sometimes feeling like I’ve moved to a foreign country spiritually. I go through dry spells and struggle to pray. But when I persevere and stay in the Word, God brings me home. I had always been secure. I just needed reminding whose I am. How about you?

Lord of my life, lead me home. I want to dwell with You in Your Promised Land.

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Bible, Calling, Choices, Covenant, Disciplemaking, Eternity, Evangelism, God's Will, Heaven, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

INCLUSION

AMOS 9:12

“‘So that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name,’ declares the LORD who does this.”

Today we hear a lot about inclusion. No one is to be left out, even if it means lowering the standards that have been set. No one should be excluded because of their gender or sexual preference. Inclusion has become a means in which anyone can claim anything and demand entrance into any place.

Well, God was the first to introduce inclusion to the world, but He had a different definition of the word. He meant it as a means to include everyone in His salvation plan. James, at the Jerusalem council quotes this passage. He says in Acts 15:17,

“‘“SO THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD, AND ALL THE GENTILES WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME,”’”

APPLICATION

I am so glad my heavenly Father decided His plan included the Gentiles. I am so thankful He extended His salvation to a young man in Southwest Georgia who had no clue he even needed to be saved. He gave me an eternal salvation and the promise to live with Him forever.

How about you? Have you heard His calling on your life? Have you surrendered your all to Him? He is just waiting. His plan is all inclusive (better than any all inclusive vacation you will ever experience). If you are a believer, then invite others to join you. They will not be disappointed.

Inclusion can be a good thing if we practice what God meant by it. He wants to accept everyone, as far as it relates to salvation. All can come to Him. He wants to use us to help with that. So, we have to get rid of any views that would prevent us from reaching out to a lost and dying world. Do that today.

I am thankful You included me in Your plans for mankind. I am thankful that I can be called by Your name.

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Abiding, Bible, Compassion, Covenant, Disciplemaking, Following, Modeling, Remembering

A HUT

AMOS 9:11

“On that day I will raise up the fallen shelter of David, and wall up its gaps; I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old;”

Growing up in Southwest Georgia was a blessing. Behind my parents’ home was a stretch of woods that went for some distance. The neighborhood boys spent a lot of time in those woods exploring and playing. We even built little huts in the woods of small saplings and vines. They were great places to spend time in during the heat of those Southwest Georgia summer days.

This “shelter” Amos mentions here refers, probably, to the crude huts the Israelites built during the Feast of Tabernacles. They constructed these huts to remind them of their journey through the wilderness and their reliance on God. So, once again, God will build them up for that purpose.

APPLICATION

What reminds you of your reliance on God? Every day I am reminded of that. I suffer from neuropathy in my feet, the result of the chemotherapy I received. Every step I take reminds me of my reliance on Him. I can’t walk without His strength. Most days my feet are just numb and tingling. But some days, there is intense pain.

That pain, though uncomfortable, serves as a reminder of the pain my Savior went through for me. His pain was much more intense. His pain ended in death. It says in Isaiah 61:3 that the pain that brought us peace was upon Him. That is so true. His pain equals my peace.

I am thankful for my neuropathy because it reminds me of the journey I underwent. I have asked God to remove this neuropathy, but for now it remains. As long as I have this reminder, I won’t need to build a hut, lol. What is your reminder of His grace and mercy in your life?

Thank You, Lord, for reminding me each day of all You have done for me.

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Abiding, Accountability, Battles, Bible, Covenant, Enemies, Forgiveness, Judgment, Obedience

BROKEN COVENANT

AMOS 1:9

“This is what the LORD says: ‘For three offenses of Tyre, and for four, I will not revoke its punishment, because they turned an entire population over to Edom and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.’”

Sometimes people break their contracts with each other. It could be a business contract or a personal matter. Marriages are contracts, and many of them are broken. No matter what kind of contract it is, all contracts are meant to be kept. But our human side gets in the way. We break them.

The Lord turns His attention now to Tyre, another enemy of Israel. As He begins to state their punishment, Israel is cheering. Amos’ prophecies are getting them all excited because all their enemies are going down. But here He mentions how they had not remembered “the covenant of brotherhood.” They had broken their treaties which had specified how to treat each other.

APPLICATION

What covenants have you made? Have you kept them? I pray you have. But if you have broken one or more, you can make it right. Don’t let anyone tell you different. If you have strayed from your covenant with God, He stands ready to forgive.

The most important covenant ever made was between God and us when He sent His Son die for us. That covenant is everlasting. God will never break it. And He holds us to it. When we accept His Son, He covenants with us. God takes His covenant seriously. We need to do the same. Consider the cost. It cost Him His only Son.

I love the fact that my God has made covenant with me. He pursued me. He loves me. He drew me to Himself, and I responded. I came to Him. He adopted me into His family. I am His forever. Thank You, Lord, for loving me. Thank You for making covenant with me.

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