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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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Darkness, Deception, Double-minded, Evil, Faith, Goodness, Healing, Modeling, Scripture, Testimony

HATE GOOD AND LOVE EVIL

MICAH 3:2

“‘You who hate good and love evil, who tear off their skin from them and their flesh from their bones,’”

Before I came to Christ, I loved doing things that fed my fleshly desires. Honesty time – I loved drugs and alcohol. Now, I would not say I was an addict (since I quit cold turkey once I was saved), but I got high most days somehow. Why did I do that? Because just like the people Micah is talking about in today’s verse, I loved evil, or at least the pleasures it brought my flesh.

The leaders of Israel had come to the point that they loved the evil and hated the good. Why hate the good? Because it pointed out their sin. They did not want that. They tore “off their skin,” which meant they took away from the people their outer goods and protection. Then they tore off “their flesh from their bones.” That meant they destroyed the foundation of these people’s faith. They led them into evil, and the people followed as lambs to the slaughter.

APPLICATION

Have you ever noticed that people who are living in darkness are always trying to drag others along with them? They do not want people around them who are living righteously because the light of Christ will point out their sin. They scatter like cockroaches when the light is turned on when someone mentions Jesus.

We cannot let that stop us from shining the light. We have to live lives above reproach in order to draw them to Christ. We must pray for these who are bound to sin. The Lord desires that “all men be saved.” Shine the light, people.

I am so thankful that the Lord did not leave me in my sin. In the midst of my lies and fleshly lifestyle, God saved me. Have I been perfect since then? No way. I have slipped. I have sinned. But praise be to God that His Holy Spirit will not let me stay there. He convicts me and draws me back to a place of repentance and grace. Where are you today? Do you love good and hate evil or the other way around?

I am reminded, Lord, of Psalm 101:3. “I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part of it.” Help me to live like that every day.

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Affliction, Battles, Bible, Brokenness, Darkness, Death, Despair, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Grief, Heaven, Mourning, Satan, Scripture

THE ENEMY APPROACHES

MICAH 1:15

“Moreover, I will bring on you the one who takes possession, you inhabitant of Mareshah. The glory of Israel will enter Adullam.”

In times of distress the enemy will attack. I just woke up to discover a dear brother in the ministry lost his sweet, precious wife last night. She died suddenly, leaving a gapping hole in my brother’s chest. We are praying for him, but most especially praying protection over him from the enemy’s attack. We know Satan loves to attack us when we are down.

Assyria was attacking Israel and Judah. “The one who takes possession” refers to the enemy invader. God was allowing the enemy to attack in order to judge His chosen people. He was striving to bring them back to Him, even if it meant severe judgment. But God had not broken His covenant with them. Israel (all 12 tribes) was still His child.

APPLICATION

Our spiritual enemy is powerful and very well armed. He loves to catch us unawares and unprotected. Sudden losses in our lives can shatter us emotionally. When we are in these places, the devil will whisper in our ears that God does not love us, that He does not care about us. Do not believe those lies.

That is why it is so important to cover yourself in God’s Word. Only His Word can get you through those times. This morning, the first passage that came to my mind was 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

My dear brother will be okay. He will get through this. Why? Because I know he loves Jesus and loves His Word which is filled with the promises of God. He knows the Father loves him dearly. He may not understand why He took his bride home now, but he will – eventually. Be on guard my brothers and sisters.

Lord, thank You for Your promises. I know they never fail.

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Advice, Anger, Battles, Bible, Bitterness, Darkness, Faith, God's Will, Judgment, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

MAD AT GOD

JONAH 4:1

“But it greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry.”

Have you ever been mad at God? Maybe something didn’t go your way, so you blamed God. Perhaps you got sick and suffered greatly, so you got angry and refused to talk to Him. Maybe you lost a loved one prematurely, so, of course, it’s God’s fault. You are not alone. We’ve all done it at some point, I guess. Even Jonah!

Nineveh repents of their sins, and God spares them. Jonah should have been jumping up and down and claiming a victory for Jehovah. But Jonah didn’t like the Ninevites. He would have been just as happy if they had been wiped off the face of the earth. You know what? I don’t think God was too concerned that He “displeased Jonah.” God was looking at the big picture.

APPLICATION

What application do you see in this passage? One that I see is something a friend of mine used to say. “There is a God and I’m not Him.” I do not know the mind of God. I do not understand why He does the things He does. It is not for me to know. If He wants me to know, He’ll tell me. Until then, I trust His sovereign hand and serve Him.

Another thing I learn is it is okay to get mad at God. God did not strike Jonah dead because of his anger. If He had, Jonah 4:1 would be the end of the book, but it is not. We have ten more verses to see how God handles this anger of Jonah. God knows we are but dust. He understands the limitations of our minds and our mercy. But He will teach Jonah something.

I have to admit that I have been mad a God before. When I went through my chemotherapy in preparation for my second stem cell transplant, I had a few days when I was angry. I didn’t lash out at Him, but I just didn’t talk to Him for a few days. I wanted out of this misery I was in and saw no escape. I knew and believed God could have healed me instantly, if He had wanted to, if that had been His plan. But He chose to leave me in the fire a little longer. I understand now, but back then I didn’t. I learned to talk to Him and just spill my guts. He can handle it. There is nothing you can’t tell Him. Talk to Him today.

I praise You, Father, for not getting angry at my anger towards You. Hold me close and remind me how much You love me.

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Advice, Battles, Bible, Cleansing, Darkness, Promises, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

SEAWEED WRAPS

JONAH 2:5

“‘Water encompassed me to the point of death. The deep flowed around me, seaweed was wrapped around my head.’”

Did you know there are spas that specialize in seaweed wraps? Can you imagine having your body wrapped in seaweed and lying there on a table? I’ve only been to one spa in my life. That was for a massage. It was okay, but not good enough to get me to go back.

I don’t think Jonah would agree that being wrapped in seaweed is a good thing. Here he is in the belly of fish praying to God. He is lying in a pool of seawater and seaweed, and he is not sure of his outcome. Remember that while he is lying there, the fish’s stomach acids are beginning to bleach his skin. He can probably smell those acids. He’s in the dark praying to the only one who can rescue Him.

APPLICATION

We all have stuff “wrapped around” our heads. We find ourselves in the dark, feeling the burn of our circumstances. What do you do? Who do you turn to? Many of us just continue to struggle and fight. We think we can release ourselves. We can “figure it out.” Men, we are the worst. We don’t want to ask for help.

But, just like Jonah, we can’t get out of our circumstances by ourselves. We need a Savior. Jesus is the answer. He has the power to lift us up out of that miry clay. He can remove the seaweed that is wrapped around our head. Stop fighting and turn to Him.

I am thankful the Lord has rescued me. I was deep in the bottom of the barrel. He scrapped me up, cleaned me off and set me on the firm foundation. He can do the same for you. Stop wherever you are today and reach out to Jesus. He is reaching out for you.

How can I say thanks for all You have done for me? I am thankful for my salvation and my life in You.

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