Bible, Scripture, Satan, Righteousness, Light, Promises, Blessing, Covenant, Justice

HE DOES NOT FAIL

ZEPHANIAH 3:5

“The LORD is righteous within her; He will do no injustice. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He does not fail. But the criminal knows no shame.”

Time and time again the Lord has shown up for me. I cannot begin to list all of them. I just know that whenever I need Him, He is always there. I am reminded of a passage in Lamentations. 3:22-23 says, “22 The LORD’S acts of mercy indeed do not end, for His compassions do not fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

Even in the midst of the failures of the leaders of Jerusalem (which we looked at in the previous verses), Zephaniah says the Lord is righteous there. He will do no injustice. He shines His light to expose their corruption. He does not fail. For those who were suffering under those corrupt leaders, this had to be encouraging. God is still doing that.

APPLICATION

God never fails. You can take that to the bank, as the saying goes. If there was ever a sure bet, that’s it. Let me quick to say, however, that we cannot put God on our timetable. Sometimes it may seem He is not answering our prayers. Sometimes it may feel He has abandoned us. Not so! Those are just lies of the devil.

I love the book of Joshua. It holds such truth for us today. Joshua 1:9 tells us through God’s own words, “‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.’” Don’t you know Joshua was ready to take on the gates of hell with a water pistol after hearing that.

Because I know the Lord is with me and will never fail me, I can face life’s trials with certainty. That does not mean I enjoy the trials, but I know they are for a purpose. When I go through the dark valleys of every day living, God is right there. He will never, ever fail me. That’s worth shouting about. Yoo Hoo!

Your compassions are new every morning, Lord. You will never fail me or forsake me. 

Standard
Abiding, Bible, Blessing, Caregiver, Confession, Covenant, Forgiveness, Salvation, Scripture

IN HIS CARE

ZEPHANIAH 2:7

“And the coast will be for the remnant of the house of Judah, they will drive sheep to pasture on it. In the houses of Ashkelon they will lie down at evening; for the LORD their God will care for them and restore their fortunes.”

Yesterday, my wife and I had the privilege to have our youngest granddaughter at our house for the day. She is almost five and is full of energy. She never stops, but we love it. We don’t consider caring for her as babysitting. We care for her because we love her and want to spend time with her.

The same holds true for our Lord. Zephaniah reminds his people that God cares for them and wants to “restore their fortunes.” How did God care for them? He removed their enemies. He gave them possessions to meet their needs. He returned what had been taken from them by their enemies. He proved His promises were true.

APPLICATION

We all desire to be cared for, don’t we? Recently, I was sick and needed someone to care for me. I did not call my neighbor or a stranger. I was cared for by the one person who knows me best here on earth. I was cared for by the person I spend a lot of time with. I was cared for by the person who has loved me and has cut covenant with me these past 37 years. My wife cared for me (and by the way, she did an incredible job).

In the same way, God knows you better than anyone and can meet the needs you have even before you know you have them. He wants to bless you and see your “fortunes” restored. What is required of us to receive that blessing? Simply abide in Him. If you are His child, He cares for you. If you are His child, He wants to see you blessed.

That’s the big question, isn’t it? Are you His child? If you are not sure, go to Him now. Make sure of it. If you know you are not in His family, ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord. Confirm that with someone. Talk to a Pastor or another believer. Tell someone. And then watch the way God works in your life as He cares for you. You will be amazed.

Your blessings blow me away, O God. Your tender touch reassures me of Your care.

Standard
Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Covenant, Discipline, God's Will, Judgment, Scripture

ACCOUNTABILITY

ZEPHANIAH 1:8

“‘Then it will come about on the day of the LORD’S sacrifice that I will punish the princes, the king’s sons, and all who clothe themselves with foreign garments.’”

I have been privileged to be a leader in several Christian organizations and churches through my almost 44 years of ministry. I have served with several very good leaders. I have also had the misfortune to serve under some poor or maybe even bad leaders. What made the difference in those leaders? Accountability to God. Good leaders are not afraid of being held accountable to do the right thing.

The leaders of Judah had flirted with foreign powers. They had welcomed their idols and pagan worship. They had brought in all kinds of foreign influences which led the nation away from Yahweh. Now it is time to be held accountable. God, the maker of all creation, is now demanding they be judged for these offenses. If only they had “checked in” for often with the Lord, they may have corrected their paths.

APPLICATION

Good leaders seek out accountability. I once had a boss who really just left me alone. He trusted me to do my job, and I did it well. I finally asked him for more regular accountability. I wanted to make sure he was aware of what I was doing and that it lined up with his vision for the ministry. Bad leaders shirk accountability. Ironically, they usually hold their employees to higher level than they do themselves, though.

Let me ask you a question. You may not be a leader in an organization or church, but you will be held accountable for everything you do in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive compensation for his deeds done through the body, in accordance with what he has done, whether good or bad.” Are you ready for that?

I want to encourage you today to bring it all to the table. Uncover every detail. Confess it all to Jesus. Ask Him daily for your battle plan. Let Him direct your path. Then you can be accountable to Him. Knowing that you are in His will helps make sense of life here on earth.

I want to know, Lord, how I’m doing. Tell me and direct me in Your will.

Standard
Bible, Covenant, Promises, Protection, Relationships, Rescue, Scripture, Security, Strength

MY STRENGTH

HABAKKUK 3:19

“The Lord GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like deer’s feet, and has me walk on my high places. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.”

Here we are at the last verse of Habakkuk. This verse is one of the most quoted in the book. If you missed the beginning of the look at Habakkuk, go back to the beginning of my blogs on this awesome book. They began on November 2. That means we have spent 56 days looking at each verse of this wonderful message to us.

Habakkuk closes his message with praise to God. He confesses publicly that the Lord God is his strength. He does not place his trust in the armies of Israel or on some foreign power. He knows God is the only source of strength. He brings in the image of the deer climbing up effortlessly to the high places. He says God does the same for him. And that applies to us as well.

When we are at our lowest, the Lord picks us up. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” When we rely on Him, He can lift us up to the high places. He does it effortlessly. It is no strain for Him, but for us, it’s agony.

APPLICATION

My little granddaughter asked me the other day to throw her high. Now, she’s approaching five years old. When she was a toddler, this was an easy ask. I could throw her multiple times to her glee. But now…that’s not so easy. It is hard for me to do that more than twice. Aren’t you grateful that God does not tire of lifting us up. No matter how many times we fall, we can turn to Him and say, “Father, lift me,” and He does.

I have had to call on Him several times in my life. There have been moments when I did not think I could carry on. That weakness may have been emotional, physical or spiritual. Each time He came to my aid. Each time He “made my feet like deer’s feet and has me walk on my high places.” He will do the same for you.

I want to climb to the highest heights, Father. Lift me up to be with You.

Standard
Abiding, Bible, Covenant, Promises, Refuge, Safety, Scripture

MY ROCK 

NAHUM 1:7 

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.” 

Can I just say that my wife is my rock? She is steadfast and sure. She stuck right by my side through both of my stem cell transplants. She has moved from state to state with me as the Lord has moved us in our ministry. Packing and unpacking, decorating and painting. She is my place of refuge on this earth. 

The word “stronghold” can be translated as rock. Nahum reminds the believers that God is their fortress, their stronghold. When all breaks loose, and it is going to, they can run to their place of refuge. He will see them through the hard times that are coming. I love how Nahum begins this verse – “The Lord is good.”  

APPLICATION 

I pray the Lord is your rock and place of refuge. As much as I love my wife, she is not my ultimate stronghold. Jesus is. I know He is always there and will always be there. He understands me as no other. When I come to Him and pour out my heart, He is always listening. 

Let’s be honest. We do not always pay attention when people are pouring out their heart to you. Try as you might, your mind can wander. Not Jesus. He is laser focused on you. He knows your needs before you ever voice them. When you are scared and confused, He welcomes you into His arms. 

So run to Him. Let me encourage you to do a word study on the words “stronghold” and “refuge.” Take comfort in this. Look back at the verse. The last phrase says. “He knows those who take refuge in Him.” He knows you by name. I will run to Him. I want to hear Him call my name. 

We praise You, O Lord, for being that steadfast force in our lives. We run to You and are safe. 

Standard
Abiding, Bible, Covenant, Persecution, Scripture, Storms, Trust

BENEATH GOD’S FEET 

NAHUM 1:3 

“The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In the gale and the storm is His way, and clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” 

Walking around in Africa during the dry season can get your shoes awfully dusty. The simplest, smallest step stirs up whirlwinds of dust that cover your shoes. You can wipe them off, but the next step produces the same dust cloud. I usually wait until the end of the day and then clean them for the next day. 

Notice, Nahum did not say God’s feet got dusty. He said the dust is beneath His feet. There is not a part of God that could be called dirty or dusty. But God will stir up gales and storms here on earth to display His power and anger to those who come against Him. Nahum is warning them – a storm is coming. 

APPLICATION 

Now, today’s verse may be a challenge for us. What can we take from this verse and apply to our lives? Is there something in this verse that strikes you? For me, it is the last phrase – “clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” That comforts me. Why? Because no matter how fierce the storm, God is above it. 

Everything that is over our heads is under His feet. It does not matter what it is. He is above it. Financial crisis – He is above it. Health concerns – He is above it. Persecution – He is above it. There is not one, solitary thing in your life that God cannot handle. He is above all things. 

I am thankful the Lord is walking on the clouds of dust. I wish I had that capability. But wait! I do! I am in Christ, and He is in me. If He is above it, I am above it. He carries me in His bosom and leads me through these hard times. How incredible is that? 

Cloud Walker, show me Your power in the storms. Hold my hand and see me through. 

Standard
Bible, Covenant, Forgiveness, Mercy, Relationships, Restoration, Scripture

DELIGHTING IN MERCY 

MICAH 7:18 

“Who is a God like You, who pardons wrongdoing and passes over a rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.” 

Do you remember the childhood game “Mercy”? Two people would stand facing each other and lace their fingers on both hands together, palm to palm. Then one would try to bend the other’s hands back and cause them to cry “Mercy!” Only then would the one who was winning would let go. 

God does not dispense mercy that way. Micah tells us that He delights in mercy. That word “delight” literally means “to be pleased with.” It pleases God’s heart to show mercy to us. He is not trying to catch us doing bad stuff so He can zap us. Micah says He pardons wrongdoings and passes over rebellious acts. What an awesome God we serve. 

APPLICATION 

Are you crying out for mercy? Mercy is given to us by God to enable us to deal with the stuff we are going through. His mercy, in effect, soothes the suffering soul. If you are desirous of God’s mercy today, cry out to Him. He wants to show you mercy. 

Most of us blame God for our predicaments. We do dumb things that we know are not pleasing to God, and then we cry out for deliverance. Let me say that God forgives all sins (except the sin of refusing the Spirit), but often there are consequences for those sins. 

My God delights in showing mercy. That is good to know. His compassions never fail. They are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). I cannot use up God’s mercy. He does not tire of showing mercy to His children. Come to Him today and receive His tender mercy in your life. 

Your mercy is new in my life every day. I thank You, Lord, for being such a merciful God.  

Standard
Advocate, Battles, Bible, Covenant, Judgment, Protection, Redemption, Restoration, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

OUR DEFENDER 

MICAH 7:10 

“Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, ‘Where is the LORD your God?’ My eyes will look at her; at that time she will be trampled down like mud of the streets.” 

I like most of the Marvel movies that have come out. They fight against evil forces to save others. Almost always, they seem to be defeated, only to turn the tide on their enemy and come out on top. Those whom they are saving just know their fate is doomed until their hero swoops in to save them. 

God did redeem Israel. Micah prophesied as such. He knew his God would not forsake them. Sure, the nation deserved judgment. They had sinned against Him. But the very ones who were mocking them “Where is the LORD your God” would be judged themselves by a righteous and holy God. 

APPLICATION 

We were defeated by sin. We had no way of escape. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). But God…He sent His only begotten Son into the world to rescue us. Much like the Marvel heroes (but with real supernatural power), Jesus saved us. His method, however, seemed strange. 

Jesus did not descend with a myriad of angels to destroy Satan and his demons. That will come later. Jesus came as a baby to die for us. That made no sense, but often God’s methods do not to us. His plan, which was laid out from the very beginning, was perfect.  

Aren’t you glad God did things the way He did? His ways are always better than our ways. His methodologies, which at times confuse us, never confuse Him. He knows exactly what He is doing. He turned the tide with our enemy then, and He does now.  

O, praise You Lord, for saving my soul. I thank You for redeeming me from the pit and crowning me with love and compassion. 

Standard
Allegiance, Bible, Choices, Covenant, Devil, Faith, Following, God's Will, Scripture

BUT AS FOR ME 

MICAH 7:7 

“But as for me, I will be on the watch for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” 

Have you ever had to make a stand about something? Maybe it was a personal conviction or perhaps it was a doctrinal issue. I remember my senior year in high school when I had to take a stand. The years before had been filled with ungodly activities and behaviors. When I became a believer, I had to say “no” to those things. It cost me some friendships. 

Micah is taking a stand. “But as for me.” In other words, you may choose another path, but I am taking God’s side. Joshua had said the same words when he said, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) These words are powerful and strong. They leave no room for compromise. 

APPLICATION 

The world is constantly testing our allegiance to Christ. The devil entices us to compromise just a little. That is all it takes – just a little. A little here, a little there. Before you know it, you have gone a long way from the truth and find it hard to get back. 

Hold firm today, my brothers and sisters. Choose today whom to obey. Paul said it so well in Romans 6:16. “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?” Death or righteousness! 

I choose righteousness. Sure, that may mean I have to give up some of these earthly pleasures. I may choose to give rather than receive. I have to remember that as a believer, this world is not my home. I am a citizen of heaven and I want to represent it well. Will you join me?  

I will choose You, O Lord. I know You will hear me.

Standard
Abiding, Advocate, Belief, Bible, Blessing, Covenant, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Power, Relationships, Scripture

NOT BY MY MIGHT

MICAH 5:13

“‘I will eliminate your carved images and your memorial stones from among you, so that you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands.’”

I loved my dad. He could fix just about anything. I learned so much from him about that kind of stuff. I watched and learned. He involved my brother and I in the projects so we could learn to do it ourselves one day. But when he started having some heart issues and was struggling with my mom’s health, he came to the end of his rope and finally admitted to God that he “could not fix this.” Then he gave his heart to Christ at 80 years old.

God is saying in verse 13 that there was nothing they had created by the works of their hands that could save them. Those carved images of wood and stone would not do anything to help them. Those memorial stones they had set up meant nothing. Only their faith and belief in Him mattered. They had to return to Him.

APPLICATION

Well, this application is pretty much in your face, right? What are you trying to prove to God by continuing to try to do it all on your own? I know people who have said, “I do not need your God. I am fine on my own.” That may sound noble, but it is really foolish. Self-reliance leads to self-destruction.

Zechariah 4:6 says, “Then he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of armies.’” That is the key right there. It is only by the leading of the Holy Spirit that we can accomplish anything. Isaiah said something similar in 26:12. “…all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” It has never been about what we can do for God. It is only about what He can do in and through us.

I am thankful that God broke me of my self-reliance years ago. Going through two stem cell transplants will cause you to rely on others and especially Him. I could do nothing. I was weak physically, spiritually and emotionally during those times. But He showed me His strength. Do you know that today?

O Father of heaven and earth, You care enough for me to invest Your time and Spirit in me. You have made me Your own.

Standard