Affection, Apologies, Betrayal, Bible, Bitterness, Confrontation, Deceit, Enemies, Family, Forgiveness, God's Will, Love, Modeling, Relationships

HOW DARE YOU

OBADIAH 11

“‘On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth, and foreigners entered his gate and cast lots for Jerusalem—You too were as one of them.’”

I recently heard about the arrest and prosecution of a church secretary who had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars over a two decade period. She had literally stolen from her church family. Someone they thought could be trusted was lured to the other side and was enticed to sin against her church family and God.

Edom had done the same, but even worse. Instead of coming to the defense of their family (Jacob), they actually took part in the ransacking of that nation. They turned their backs on family for the lure of riches. Now God was judging them for this. How dare they do this!

APPLICATION

We must stay connected with family, whether that be our earthly, biological families or our spiritual family. Family is important. Those bonds are special. There’s a Greek word that is used only once in Romans 12:10. It’s translated as “be devoted” but it is really an adjective. It comes from two Greek words for love – philos and storges. It is a brotherly love to family.

Philos is the brotherly love word. Philadelphia gets its name from the same root word. Storges is the word for family. Are you practicing this family love today? Is there a rift in your family bonds? We both know the cause of that – sin. It may be on your part or someone else’s. Either way, it is a sin which needs to be dealt with.

May I encourage you today to rectify any issues in your families – earthly or spiritual? Time is short, beloved. We need to treat each day as if it is our last. Don’t waste time on petty arguments and dissensions. Lay them all at His feet today.

You are the Master Peace Maker. Use Your Holy Spirit to repair any relationships in my life today.

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Abiding, Bible, Choices, Conceit, Confession, Deceit, Eternity, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Opponents, Scripture, Security

FALSE SECURITY

OBADIAH 3

“The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, the one who lives in the clefts of the rock, on the height of his dwelling place, who says in his heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?’”

I love to deer hunt here in Tennessee. Methods of hunting deer vary from state to state, but here in Tennessee, people mainly hunt from deer stands on trees or in ground blinds. I like to use the tree stands, specifically my ladder stands. However, when I climb those stands to reach my perch above the ground, I always use my safety harness. I can’t risk feeling safe up there without it.

The Edomites had a false sense of security solely because of where they lived. They had built homes in the hills and had carved a city out of the sandstone. They felt they were indestructible up there, having repelled many invasions. But God is above all and can administer justice from above. As the Lord says here, “Who will bring me down to earth?”  No one.

APPLICATION

Are you “too big for your britches”? Have you developed a false sense of security? God has a way of humbling us. He wants us to know that only He can give us true security and that only in the name of Jesus. He is the only one who makes us secure eternally.

What other kind of security do you want? Financial? That can be gone in a second. Physical? Believe me, that can leave you instantly. Socially? Friends will desert you. Only Jesus can truly make you secure. His blood on Calvary was shed to secure all mankind eternally. All we have to do is turn to Him and confess our sins and proclaim Him as Lord.

I am thankful I have made that decision. Have you? If not, do that today. If you have, who do you know who needs that kind of security? Go to them today and share the most amazing story ever told. They may just respond and join us for eternity.

I know You have me in the palms of Your hands. You hold me safe and secure.

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Bible, Conceit, Confession, Deceit, Exhortation, Humility, Justice, Modeling, Pride, Sacrifice, Salvation, Scripture

AFTER PRIDE COMES THE FALL

OBADIAH 2

“Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you are greatly despised.”

We all know that being prideful and boastful isn’t good. In fact, Proverbs 18:12 says, “Before destruction the heart of the man is haughty, but humility goes before honor.” I love that verse. When I am tempted to get cocky, I am reminded by the Holy Spirit of that verse. That’s one of the benefits of scripture memorization.

Albert Barnes says this about today’s verse. “God tells Edom what, amid its pride, it was in itself, ‘despicable;’ what it would thereafter be, ‘despised’.” That was Edom’s problem. They were a prideful lot who looked down on their brother’s fall. God could not and would not let that go.

APPLICATION

Do you suffer from pride and arrogance? It’s easy to get that way if we are not careful. We begin to think that what we have is all our doing. We forget what the Lord has done for us. Thinking that way is dangerous. It sets us up for a fall.

Whenever you begin to get full of pride, let the Holy Spirit convict you and draw you back to Jesus’ feet. There is no room for pride there. When our minds are focused on Him, we are reminded of His sacrifice for us. Just think of our lowly estate before the cross.

I am so thankful that all I am is because of Him. I am nothing outside of Christ. He makes me whole. He makes me righteous. He makes me…everything I am. I have no room for pride. I know in whom I have believed.

Father, I praise You for keeping me humble. I know my place is at the foot of the cross, bowing before You.

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Abiding, Accountability, Accused, Bible, Bosses, Death, Deceit, Deception, Denial, Evangelism, God's Will, Scripture

SELF-DECEPTION

AMOS 9:10

“All the sinners of My people will die by the sword, those who say, ‘The catastrophe will not overtake or confront us.’”

You have probably seen a picture of an ostrich with its head stuck in the sand pretending there was no danger. Pretending doesn’t make it true. People ignore warning lights on the dash of their cars in hopes it will stop lighting up. But ignoring the warning light won’t fix the problem.

The people of Israel were ignoring the coming judgment. They didn’t believe the catastrophe would “overtake or confront” them. They seemed to think they were exempt from God’s wrath. But they found out the hard way that they weren’t.

APPLICATION

Are you ignoring any warning signs in your life? When I was in between my first and second stem cell transplants, I got very good at reading my bloodwork from the labs. I knew over a year before the doctor recognized that my disease was returning. I could see the warning signs.

I wish I was as good about recognizing the warning signs in my spiritual life. Often, God flashes me the warning lights about something, but I ignore them. I am certain they will go off by themselves. But you just can’t ignore those warnings.

I have finally learned to stay close to Him (John 15:4-8) so that I can know when I need to make things right. Sometimes I get so involved in ministry that I forget who I am serving. That’s sad. You think I would know better, but I don’t.

God, help me as I help others. I want to be like a You.

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Accountability, Angels, Battles, Bible, Deceit, Destruction, Eternity, Following, Idols, Judgment

BLOWS FROM ABOVE

AMOS 9:1

“I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and He said, ‘Strike the pillar capitals so that the thresholds will shake and break them on the heads of them all! Then I will put to death the rest of them with the sword; they will not have a fugitive who will flee, nor a survivor who will escape.’”

Anyone knows when you are engaging your enemy you always want the high ground. That gives you a better view of the enemy’s moves and you can better defend yourself. Also, when you strike, you strike from above. Being above your target can give you an edge in the fight.

God is standing in Amos’ vision and tells His Angel of the Lord to strike the place of worship that Jeroboam had built. Strike it from above. Crush it and anyone who is there worshipping. God was done with this façade of worship. He wanted it done away with.

APPLICATION

I don’t think you want to feel God’s blows from above, do you? Well, if you are in Christ, you have nothing to fear. That’s not how God treats His children. He may discipline you, but it will always be in love and to draw you to Him.

But for those who are not in Christ, they have no idea what is coming. They will be judged one day, and they will feel those blows from God. He will crush them and send them to their eternal punishment.

There is a person on television right now who claims to be an atheist. He has done a commercial to talk about his atheist group. Just because he doesn’t believe in God, doesn’t make God not exist. But he closes his commercial by stating that he is okay with burning in hell. He has no idea. We should all pray that all these who claim such nonsense will come to their senses and realize there is a God who loves them so much.

God, I am so thankful I don’t have to fear Your blows from above. I am safe in the arms of Jesus.

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Asking, Battles, Bible, Consequences, Deceit, Devil, Encouragement, Following, Inheritance, Judgment, Scripture

OUT OF REACH

AMOS 8:12

“People will stagger from sea to sea and from the north even to the east; they will roam about to seek the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.

Nothing is much more frustrating than not being able to find something. Recently I misplaced a metal box in which I keep our important documents. I knew where I had last seen it, but it wasn’t there. Of course, like most men, I thought my wife had moved it. Low and behold, it was right where I put it – in my closet on the floor.

I found my box, but the Israelites would not find the word of God. The Lord said through Amos that they would look “from sea to sea and from the north even to the east;…but they will not find it.” That “it” isn’t in the text, but it refers to the word of God. They just couldn’t find it or hear it. How sad!

APPLICATION

Lost and found! In the church where I served there is a box of lost items. We keep these items for a period of time, and if they are not claimed within a few months, we donate them to a charity. Some people have lost the Word of God and don’t even know it. They go on with life without contemplating the significance of their loss.

The Word of God is so important for our Christian walk. We can’t navigate the trials of this life without it. You can’t wait until you need it to pull it out and think that’s going to work. You need to equip yourself with the Word through memorization and meditation, so you can combat the evil one on a daily basis.

I am thankful for the verses I have memorized. I desire so much more. I wish I could just download the entire Bible to a memory chip in my brain. That’s not possible (yet). But I can work diligently at memorizing so I will always have a portion of God’s Word available to me. Is that true for you?

Father God, I praise You for Your Word. I need it every day in my life in order to face the trials that come my way.

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Cheates, Commands, Consequences, Deceit, Deception, Double-minded, Forgiveness, Greed, Holy Spirit, Lying, Repentance, Scripture

CHEATERS

AMOS 8:5

“saying, ‘When will the new moon be over, so that we may sell grain; and the Sabbath, so that we may open the wheat market, to make the ephah smaller and the shekel bigger, and to cheat with dishonest scales,’”

Everyone hates a cheater (well, most everyone). Don’t you hate it when you buy something only to find out it’s not as advertised? Just watch some late-night television to see some of those ads. A cheater only wants to line their pockets with ill gotten gain, with no regard to the person they have cheated.

Amos warns the Israelites of this practice in today’s verse. He describes them to the last detail. They kept the festivals and the Sabbath, but only in practice. Their hearts were far from God. Look what they did. They made their ephah a little smaller and their money the wrong weight. Even though they were warned about this in the Torah (Dy 25:13-15), they still did it.

APPLICATION

Why would you ever think about cheating someone? When I was young, my dad’s sister sold a house that my dad and uncle owned to their mother without his knowledge. She was getting house payments from her mother and stepfather for something she didn’t own. She cheated my dad, and it caused a rift between them for years. They did finally make up, but it took many years.

Now, my dad wasn’t a believer back then. He didn’t have the Holy Spirit to guide him toward reconciliation. I am not sure about my aunt. I never had the chance to ask her about her salvation. I pray she knew Jesus. My point is this – if we know the Lord, we won’t cheat others, and we will forgive those who cheat us.

Hmmm, that sounds very familiar. How about this verse? Matthew 6:12 “‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.’” That’s what Jesus taught us in the “Lord’s Prayer.” Have you done that today? Ask Him.

O Father, forgive me. I fall so short of Your commandments.”

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Abiding, Bible, Choices, Deceit, Lies, Truth

HALF TRUTHS

AMOS 7:11

“For this is what Amos says: ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.’”

Don’t you just love it when someone tells half the truth? That really irritates me. Sorry. It’s one thing to lie, but telling those half-truths are just as bad, maybe worse. Why? Because half-truths lead people away from the truth. They think they are hearing the truth but are only getting part of the story.

That is exactly what we have in verse 11. Amaziah, the “priest” installed by Jeroboam, was relating to the king what Amos had said. The problem is he was distorting Amos’ message. For one thing, Amos always said “thus saith the Lord.” He never implied any of his words were his own. Then Amaziah tells an outright lie. Amos never said Jeroboam would die by the sword. Sure, he did say they would be led into exile, but he also said if they repented, they would live. Half-truths are whole lies.

APPLICATION

I think the application is pretty clear, don’t you? Tell the truth. Don’t distort the message. Be clear when you deliver God’s message, which is His Word. Enough said. I could go on and on, but I don’t need to. Don’t lie.

Lying just leads us into more and more sin. It cascades into an unstoppable waterfall of lies. The truth is much easier to remember and tell. And who is the truth? Jesus. Just preach Jesus.

I struggle at times with this. I have to watch myself. I have to stay connected with the Spirit. I want to make sure that every word out of my mouth is the truth and nothing else. How about you? How do you handle the temptation to lie?

The truth is You, Lord. I am thankful You are always true!

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Cleansing, Confession, Deceit, Disciplemaking, Following, Godliness, Holiness, Modeling, Relationships

LEAVEN

AMOS 4:5

“‘Offer a thanksgiving offering also from that which is leavened, and proclaim voluntary offerings, make them known. For so you love to do, you sons of Israel,’ declares the Lord GOD.”

I have been guilty of coming to the Lord with guilty hands. I went through all the motions and appeared from the outside to be doing all the right things. It’s easy to fool others in the church. As long as you attend regularly, give your offering and serve somewhere, people think you are living holy. That is not necessarily true.

Just look at the Israelites. They were offering their sacrifices and making them known. From the outside they appeared to be doing it right. But look closely. They were offering leavened bread in their sacrifices which was clearly forbidden. In Leviticus 2:11 it says, “‘No grain offering, which you bring to the LORD, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven or any honey as an offering by fire to the LORD.’” You see, they knew that but did what was convenient to them.

APPLICATION

I am sure you have never been guilty of that. Of course not, Carl. I am always living right. Yeah, right. We all pretend, don’t we? We don’t want others knowing we are struggling in our faith. We don’t want our friends, especially at church, to know we aren’t living right.

But those are exactly the right people to turn to. If you are not in a small group right now, find one. You need people in your life to whom you can pour out your heart. We all need others in our life to hold us accountable. Doing life with others is what Christ wants for us.

My wife and I are in a small group at church with two other couples. These couples are dear friends to us. We can share just about anything with them. But there is the problem. We should be able to share everything with them. Right? Would you pray for us that we could all share everything, knowing that we have these people in our lives who love us and want what is best for us.

Thank You, Lord, that You hold me to a higher standard. I must live holy before You and offer only the best I have to You.

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OPPRESSERS

AMOS 4:1

“Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, who exploit the poor, who oppress the needy, and say to their husbands, ‘Bring now, that we may drink!’”

Some people just like to put others down. They make themselves feel better by making others feel bad. I don’t understand that kind of thinking. Shouldn’t it be just the opposite? Shouldn’t we feel better about ourselves when we help others feel better about themselves?

In this verse today Amos turns his attention to those who oppress the poor and needy. He calls to them to make sure they are listening. I love what he calls them – cows of Bashan. That is not exactly a flattering term, is it? How would you like to be called that?

There is one out there who is the master of oppression – Satan. He will send his demons to oppress us and try to keep us down. He loves to see God’s children oppressed. He loves to see us out of the fight. While he nor his demons can possess us, he can sure oppress us.

APPLICATION

Recently, I was in Kenya with a friend. We had just visited a location the previous day and seen the Lord do a work in the lives of some people. The next morning this friend mentioned he had felt an oppression on him that night and couldn’t understand why. I reminded him of Satan’s desire to do that very thing, especially after we had seen such a victory the day before.

I don’t want to scare you today talking about this, but it’s real. We are in a spiritual battle every day. Satan is real. You cannot just pretend he is not out there, and he will go away. And he will use everything in his arsenal to try to tear us down. Don’t let him. Stand strong. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

I am so thankful that I have all power needed to defeat Satan or his demons, as long as I rely on Your power and not my own.

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