Abiding, Bible, Choices, Confession, Darkness, Fellowship, Forgiveness, God's Will, Power, Scripture

FROZEN SUN AND MOON

HABAKKUK 3:11

“Sun and moon stood in their lofty places; they went away at the light of Your arrows, at the radiance of Your flashing spear.”

June 21 is normally the longest daylight day of the year where I live. The sun seems to hang in the sky forever. But I cannot imagine the scene in Joshua 10 when the sun literally stood still. “12Then Joshua spoke to the LORD on the day when the LORD turned the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, ‘Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, at the Valley of Aijalon!’ 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the Book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hurry to go down for about a whole day. 14 There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.”

Habakkuk, perhaps, is recalling that story. He knows God has that kind of power. His point in today’s verse is to remind the people of God’s omnipotence. He even holds the sun and moon in His hand and does with them as He wishes. If that is so, then surely, He can handle what they are going through.

APPLICATION

What do you believe? Do you believe God can handle your problems? I told someone this week, “Whatever is over your head is under His feet.” God can and will handle it, in His time. But you must believe. You must trust the God of the universe to carry you through whatever it is you are facing.

My family has been through a lot in the past dozen years. They watched me go through two stem cell transplants for an incurable disease with no guarantee I would pull through. But in the midst of that, we trusted our Lord. We knew whatever happened, He was in control.

The same God who turned His back on His Son and caused the world to go into darkness because of the sin which Jesus took on Him is the same God who will not work in your life as He desires until your sins are confessed and you are in fellowship with Him. Turn to Him today and confess your sins to Him. Let Him wash you clean and work in your life today. Come out of the darkness.

Father, today I bring all my sins and transgressions to You. Forgive me, Lord, and set me back on the right path.

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Choices, Christ's Return, Darkness, Eternity, Kingdom, Kings, Majesty, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

CHARIOTS OF SALVATION

HABAKKUK 3:8

“Did the LORD rage against the rivers, or was Your anger against the rivers, or was Your rage against the sea, that You rode on Your horses, on Your chariots of salvation?”

All throughout Scripture we see imagery of God with water. In creation, He separated the waters above and the waters below. Then He caused land to appear which further separated the waters on earth. We see Him part the Red Sea and the Jordan River. We see Him gush forth waters from a rock in the wilderness. Water and God have a presence in the Bible that cannot be ignored.

So, it is no wonder that Habakkuk uses that same imagery in his book. But we see something here that is unique. We see the “chariots of salvation.” I can just picture what Habakkuk is describing. God swoops down and rescues His people as if He is riding a chariot. The waters of the Red Sea parting and the flow of Jordan walled up reflect the presence of God moving through and saving His people.

APPLICATION

God is still rescuing us. This is done now through His Son, Jesus Christ. Christ didn’t ride through Israel on a chariot. No, He walked and once rode a donkey’s colt. He didn’t come as a ruling king, but rather as a lowly baby in a manger. He lived in Nazareth, the lowliest of the villages in Galilee.

But one day He will return as Judge and King. He will come to reign supremely. And we will reign with Him as joint heirs of His kingdom. Won’t that be a glorious day? But you first have to acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior. Even though you don’t see a chariot of salvation, you can be assured that He reigns.

As we come closer to Christmas day and prepare to celebrate, don’t forget the saving power of God is as strong today as it ever was. God is still rescuing us from a dark and somber world. He wants us to rejoice with Him that His Son paid the ultimate price. He has truly ridden that chariot of salvation for us.

Open my eyes that I may see Your salvation to the world more clearly. Use me to reach out to those who need to hear.

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Bible, Darkness, Death, Destruction, Devil, Enemies, Fighting, Satan, Scripture

DEATH AND DESTRUCTION

HABAKKUK 3:5

“Before Him goes plague, and plague comes forth after Him.”

We all have seen scenes of death and destruction in pictures from wars or disease or famine. Those images burn into our minds. They are hard to forget. We feel helpless to do anything to cause any change. Our hearts break for the families of their loved ones caught in such scenarios.

Habakkuk describes the scene here where death and destruction go before God as He conquers all His enemies. He has sent plagues and pestilence. He used hornets and wild animals. Regardless of His instrument, the result was and is the same. His enemies are destroyed. Nothing can stand before Him. We would do well to remember that.

APPLICATION

People today think they can thumb their nose at God and keep on living as they wish. I don’t have to list the abhorrent lifestyles that are being exhibited everywhere, even in churches. Anything goes. There seems to be no moral compass left in the world. The enemy appears to have totally brainwashed society into believing that God has no say in the affairs of men.

But oh how wrong he is! Just like in Habakkuk’s day, God will rise up and defeat all enemies of the cross. We must remain faithful and true. We must continue to share the good news. We have to let our lights shine brightly. Even the smallest light can pierce the darkness. Let it shine.

I refuse to be afraid of those who speak against our Savior. I refuse to allow their disregard for God dampen my passion for Him. I am called to be a soldier of the cross, so I will wield my sword and give my life to advance His kingdom here on earth. I know my God has my back and will be victorious.

Your enemies will scatter, Lord. All You have to do it show up!

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Abuse, Bible, Darkness, Evil, Flesh, Holiness, Justice, Purity, Scripture

DEBAUCHERY

HABAKKUK 2:15

“‘Woe to him who makes his neighbor drink; to you who mix in your venom even to make your neighbors drunk, so as to look at their genitalia!’”

I have read too many case files of child abuse. Just when I thought I had heard it all, I would get another case with even darker sins exposed. Actions taken against children anger me. To see their innocence robbed of them makes me scream for justice. One day all those perpetrators will receive their just reward.

The third woe has begun, and this one is against such abuse of others. Getting others drunk in order to leer at their nakedness or even abuse them was abhorrent to God. These Chaldeans were a wicked bunch of people and used their power over their enemies to abuse them.

APPLICATION

You are probably not going to carry out such actions on another person. At least I hope you wouldn’t. But we can be just as sinful in our minds. Jesus told us to even look at a woman with lust in our hearts is a sin. That goes for women looking at men as well. You may not be getting them drunk and abusing them, but you are sinning against them just as much.

How do you protect yourself from such base desires of the flesh? By filling your mind with His Word. The more of His Word we have memorized and studied, the more weapons we have to fight off those evil desires of the heart. It takes discipline and effort to memorize Scripture, but the payoff is one hundred fold.

Why don’t you make a plan to start memorizing one verse a week? That’s not hard to do if you are determined to do it. There are many tools you can use, including some pretty, cool Bible apps to help. As you begin to do this, you will find those impure thoughts become less and less because your mind is flooded with pure things. Give it a try.

Fill my mind with Your Words, O Lord. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight.

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Bible, Darkness, Light, Relationships, Scripture

MY LIGHT 

MICAH 7:8 

“Do not rejoice over me, enemy of mine. Though I fall I will rise; though I live in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.” 

I was traveling recently and put my cap light in one of the pouches in my backpack. I did not know it, but the button got pressed and my light was beaming through the side of my backpack. This Is a rechargeable light, and the red blinking light indicated it was about to go out. 

Micah knows that whatever may come his way, “the LORD is a light” to him. I love the imagery Micah uses. Though he may fall, he will rise. Though he may have to live in darkness, God is his light. That kind of mindset is rare. Most folks just see the darkness. 

APPLICATION 

Where are you doing today? Are you living in darkness with seemingly no hope? God is your light. He can shine on the path you need to take. Have you fallen down and do not seem to be able to get up? God can lift you. There is no hole too deep for God. There is darkness which His light cannot penetrate. 

And because He does those things, we should shine our light. If you are a believer, you have a light. The brightness of that light is not up to you. It is God’s light. But we can sure try to dull it, can’t we? 

The Lord has brought me through some dark times. I have never needed to check His batteries. His light always shines. It is never dull or in need of replacement. His light is always available through the Spirit that reigns in us. 

Lord, I do not deserve Your light. Shine on me. 

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Allegiance, Battles, Belief, Bible, Blasphemy, Darkness, Devil, Evil, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Idols, Satan, Scripture

SORCERY FORBIDDEN

MICAH 5:12

“‘I will eliminate sorceries from your hand, and you will have no fortune-tellers.’”

I will never forget the evening when I lived in Lakeland, FL when my wife and I decided to go to the local outdoor mall. It was new to Lakeland and had become a major evening and weekend destination because of the shops, restaurants and entertainment. We were walking along, and while my wife looked in one shop, I decided to step into this store that caught my attention. As I walked in, a chill ran up my spine. All I saw was occultic images and products. I ran out of that store as fast as I could. Such darkness.

This is what the Lord is cutting out of the land. No sorcery or fortune telling would be allowed. These were based in the pagan idolatry of the land, the very thing the Lord had warned the people of when they came into the Promised Land. Nothing had changed. These evil practices were still around and were now going to be purged. Evil was evil then and still is now.

APPLICATION

So many Christians today dabble in the occult, thinking it is frivolous or meaningless. Satan loves for us to believe that. I am not saying that a demon is going jump out of the Ouija board and tackle you to the ground, but the devil has a way to hook us into this stuff. Tarot cards and astrology are still listed in God’s eyes as sorcery and fortune-telling. That has not changed.

If you are into these things or have been in the past, let me urge you to put them down and confess that as sin. Renounce any allegiance you had to these items and get rid of them. Burn them if you can. Does this all sound extreme? You bet. Our battle with the forces of darkness is real and extreme. You must have your armor on and be free from any form of darkness.

Once you do that and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, He will make you very sensitive to these things. You will be able to recognize any form of idolatry. God wants you and me to walk in holiness, free from the entanglements of evil. Walking free is so much easier than dragging around a chain of darkness.

O Father, thank You for protecting me from evil. I know You have my back at all times.

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Abiding, Bible, Darkness, Devil, Evil, Persecution, Satan, Scripture, Victors

VICTORY THROUGH PERSECUTION

MICAH 5:6

“They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod at its entrances; and He will rescue us from the Assyrian when he invades our land, and when he tramples our territory.”

The persecuted church is a real thing. We do not see it much here in the U.S., but it is happening all over the world. Satan thinks he can destroy us. He thinks he can defeat the church and thereby destroy Christ. It is not possible. We have seen time and time again how the church has risen up in the midst of persecution.

Micah says here in today’s verse that although the nations are coming against them, their Chief Shepherd will arise and defeat them. “The land of Nimrod” refers to Babylon, which succeeded Assyria in its persecution of Israel and Judah. But God took the fight to them and defeated them. He will do the same for us.

APPLICATION

The battle belongs to the Lord. We have no power to defeat darkness. It can overwhelm any of us. But thanks be to God, He can defeat the darkest dark. His light can pierce through and enlighten those deep crevices where evil lurks. Our part in the fight is to cling to Him.

Clinging is hard, though. We want to venture out and sling our sword at anything that moves. We are just like the foot soldier. We must wait for our orders. Only then may we go out, in His power, to attack and defend the faith. It is His battle, and we are His vessels.

When I finally realized that the battle, much less the war, was not mine to fight, I was able to rest. It is not up to me. God’s got this! He knows exactly how to defeat the evil one. He will equip us and prepare us, but we must not try to do this on our own. Will you rest in Him today?

Lord, thank You for fighting for me. I will rest in Your capable hands.

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Advocate, Affection, Belief, Bible, Darkness, Despair, Encouragement, Scripture, Tears

WHY DO YOU CRY?

MICAH 4:9

“‘Now, why do you cry out loudly? Is there no king among you, or has your counselor perished, that agony has gripped you like a woman in childbirth?’”

Nothing is more disturbing for a parent than to see their child cry and not know the reason. We want to soothe them. We want to stop the tears, but they keep coming. This is especially true when they are very young and cannot communicate the reason. We usually figure it out after much trial and error.

Micah is asking the same question for the Lord. “Why do you cry out loudly?” He tells them there is no reason to cry. Even in their deepest valleys, their king is still there. He has not left them. Their counselor is not dead. He is very much alive. And even though the pain is real, this too shall end with much joy, just like a woman’s pain in childbirth ends with the joy of seeing that child for the first time.

APPLICATION

We do the same thing. When we go through a trial or a tough time, we often wonder where God is. We want to blame Him for our suffering. We even think He is trying to hurt us or cause us harm. Nothing could be further from the truth. God has not gone anywhere. He is still right there on His throne.

God allows us to go through trials to build our faith. It is never to tear us down. Some trials are harder than others – the loss of a loved one, a terminal disease. But no matter how hard the trial, God is still there. Our King still reigns. Nothing nor nobody has knocked Him off His throne.

Going through trials time after time allows us to build that faith that can move mountains. We begin to believe that God can sustain us through the darkest moments of our life. And then we can use that knowledge that we have gained to help others when they go through them. Paul tells us this in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. Take a look at that today.

Thank You, Lord, for always being right there. In the moments of my deepest woes, You are there.

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Abiding, Bible, Commands, Darkness, Devil, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Light, Modeling, Satan, Scripture

LIGHTS OUT

MICAH 3:6

“Therefore it will be night for you—without vision, and darkness for you—without divination. The sun will go down on the prophets, and the day will become dark over them.”

Several times in my life I have had to deal with the loss of electrical power. We are spoiled in the U.S. with electricity that we take for granted. Everything we do seems to depend on it – how we cook, wash our clothes, heat our water and entertain ourselves. So, when the lights go out, it gets out attention.

This was the case with these false prophets. The light had been removed by God because of their ceaseless wanderings. They had pretended to represent the Lord in their prophecies, but now the truth is being revealed by God in His judgment. It was as if they were in a dark room with no light, no hope, no future.

APPLICATION

We are meant to be lights to the world. Jesus tells us so. Just look at Matthew 5:14-16. “14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor 15 do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.’”

Do not let your light go dark. Satan loves to throw us into a funk or depression that causes the light of Christ in us to be dimmed. Turn up the flame. Let all see what Christ can do in them. Be the example of a changed life they need to see. When they see the miracle of salvation in you, perhaps the Holy Spirit will tug at their heart to come to Jesus.

I rarely get in a funk, but I was recently. I had some dental work done and was not feeling well. I must admit I wasn’t letting my light shine as it should. I confessed that as sin to the Father and am praying that I will not let future dental work put me in the same mood (I hate going to dentist. Nothing personal against my dentist friends out there). Let your light shine today.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

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Altars, Bible, Darkness, Evil, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Idols, Modeling, Scripture

IN THE MIDST OF EVIL

MICAH 3:3

“Who eat the flesh of my people, strip off their skin from them, smash their bones, and chop them up as for the pot, and as meat in a cauldron!”

I have experienced evil in my lifetime – pure evil. It is not a comfortable feeling. I remember many years ago, back in 1985, I had the opportunity to visit Liberia on a mission trip with a couple of friends. We went to several villages with the local missionary to do medical missions and share the Gospel. One village we approached had this huge cottonwood tree on the edge of the village, from which were hung all kinds of animal bones. We were told this was the local witchdoctor’s altar. You could just feel the evil all around.

Micah continues the description of those who were leading the people in evil. These people were totally disarmed and helpless. Their flesh, skin and bones were chopped up for the pot, not literally, but figuratively. They were just food for the leaders, people to be exploited and preyed upon. Pure evil.

APPLICATION

I pray you never encounter evil like I experienced or what Micah is describing. I am afraid our world is becoming more evil by the day. The Word of God is scoffed at. The principles taught in the Bible about marriage, life and godly living are ridiculed and considered old-fashioned. The biblical worldview we believers strive to live by is scorned.

How do you survive this? By relying on the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a pledge I recite as part of the Every Man A Warrior (www.everymanawarrior.com) disciple making curriculum. It is called the manhood commitment. It says:

Created by God in His image to be a bearer of destiny in social and spiritual leadership, I will be a man who, abiding in Jesus Christ and relying on the power of the Holy Spirt –  rejects passivity (the silence of Adam); accepts responsibility to obey God’s will, do God’s work, and love God’s woman; leads courageously through direction, protection and provision based on God’s principles, not my passions; serves humbly giving life to others, not taking life from them; and invests eternally, making disciplemakers.

Ladies, you can adapt that to fit you, as well. But that is how we fight the evil in this world. We abide in Christ and rely on the Holy Spirit. We reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously, serve humbly and invest eternally. That is my passion. Try that today in your life and just see what happens.

I shall fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff comfort me.

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