Accountability, Bible, Brokenness, Deception, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Judgment, Knowledge

NOT VERY WISE

OBADIAH 8

“‘Will I not on that day,’ declares the LORD, ‘eliminate wise men from Edom, and understanding from the mountain of Esau?’”

We’ve all made unwise decisions. Some of those decisions can prove to be costly. Buying a car that is not very dependable, but it was cheap. That’s a great example. Other unwise decisions may not be as costly, but they can still have long term effects on our life and the lives of others. Wisdom, however, can affect others just as much, if we rely on the Lord for this.

Edom was known for being people of wisdom. There are several passages in the Old Testament that refer to Esau or men of the East and mentions their wisdom. The Lord is saying here that He will take all that away. Their wisdom, which may have been legendary, had not proven to be wise in the eyes of God and could not prevent their judgment.

APPLICATION

Is that you? Do you think your wisdom is above God? I pray that is not the case. I pray that you will acknowledge that any wisdom you have will never be enough to satisfy the Lord. He does not care how wise you are if you aren’t following Him. The simplest minded individual will be wise when they turn their lives over to Him.

If you have been one of those people who think you are too smart for God, stop today and confess that as sin. Come to Him humbly and ask the Lord to teach. The Psalmist says, “Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness.” That should be our heart cry.

I will readily admit that I am not the smartest person in the room. But I have fallen into that trap of trying to outthink God. There are times when I tell God “I’ve got this,” only to find out I didn’t. I know my wisdom all comes from Him. Praise His name.

God of all wisdom, fill me with Your words that I may walk confidently.

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Allies, Alone, Battles, Bible, Consequences, Deception, Enemies, Friends, Leading, Scripture

ALLIES

OBADIAH 7

“All the people allied with you will send you to the border, and the people at peace with you will deceive you and overpower you. They who eat your bread will set an ambush for you. (There is no understanding in him.)”

Don’t you just hate it when someone is betrayed by “friends”? It’s one thing for your enemies to attack you. But when so called allies turn their back on you, that’s hard. I am fortunate to say that has never happened to me (yet). I believe I can trust all my friends to have my back, if needed.

Poor Edom – they were betrayed by allies who knew them well. When push came to shove, the bailed on Edom and chose their own safety. Not only did they betray them, but they gave up many of their secrets to help the enemy. That’s like sticking in the knife and turning it. Not good.

APPLICATION

Who are the friends you can depend on? I serve now with a ministry called Every Man A Warrior. We teach men how to walk with God, succeed in life and multiply spiritually. One aspect of that training is teaching the need to have allies, guys in their corner. We know you can’t do this life alone.

It is beautiful when you see these groups of allies come together for one of their own. No betrayal. No turncoats. All coming together to give aid to one of their brothers. Whether it be a physical, emotional or spiritual need, these allies come together.

On the flip side, I’ve seen men try to do this on their own. What happens? They usually fall flat on their face. They are fine until they face that first hurdle and then wham! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down he has a friend to help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.” Be that ally today for someone else. You will need them yourself one day.

Father, You made us to need each other. Surround me with godly men who can help me navigate this life.

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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, 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, Alone, Battles, Bible, Deception, Direction, Dreams, Following, Hope, Leading, Scripture

NON-THING

AMOS 6:13

“You who rejoice in Lodebar, and say, ‘Have we not by our own strength taken Karnaim for ourselves?’”

Sometimes we place our hopes and dreams in things that are impossible. Everyone tells us that. But we just don’t believe it. We are sure we can accomplish this on our own. We haven’t prayed about it, but we are sure God will bless it. Been there – done that. This usually doesn’t end well.

Israel was rejoicing in nothing. Actually, that should read non-thing. That’s what Lodebar means. It was a non-thing compared to God. Their idols were non-things. And they also claimed they had taken ahold of the horn – that’s what Karnaim means. Their strength was obtained on their own, they thought. What a rude awakening they had coming.

APPLICATION

Everything we have and have done is because of the Lord. He gives and takes away. He restores and tears down. It is He who has made us and not we ourselves, right? So, why do we continue to try to do things on our own? Why do we insist on going it alone?

Our flesh is strong, especially among us men. We think we can “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.” While that mentality works in the world’s eyes, it doesn’t so much in the spiritual realm. We can do nothing without the power of the Holy Spirit. Read John 15:4-8. That will give you a good picture of what I am talking about.

I know from my own life that I cannot achieve one thing without the Lord. Anything I try to achieve on my own will not last. It will become a non-thing, a Lodebar. I cannot take Karnaim, the horn, on my own. It’s only through Jesus that I can find success. He will lead me and give me the strength I need to face life. How about you?

I know I am nothing without You, Lord. You make me what I am, and I am so thankful.

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Abiding, Accountability, Belief, Bible, Deception, Holy Spirit, Idols, Scripture

WRONG PACKING

AMOS 5:26

“You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves.”

Occasionally, I will make a trip somewhere that requires me to carefully pack my luggage. For instance, when I travel overseas, I have a packing list I go by. I can only have so much in a suitcase due to weight restrictions. I don’t want to pack needless items or the wrong things. That list I created sure helps with that.

The Israelites needed a packing list. They had packed away idols and shrines of other gods. One of them was Molech to whom they actually sacrificed their own children. We find in all those wilderness years, they struggled with idolatry. This didn’t stop when they finally arrived in the Promised Land. Wrong gods. They should have never been packed.

APPLICATION

What are you packing? Do you have some idols or wrong gods? Not me, Carl. I would never do that. Are you sure? You see, we often don’t even recognize that we are worshipping something else. But whatever is taking the most attention is what we have deemed as most important.

Some of us worship our jobs. Others bow down to the god of entertainment. Some even worship their families. There is room for only one God. He demands allegiance. He won’t tolerate other gods taking His place. He will call us on that.

I am so thankful that my God is a jealous God. I am thankful He reminds me when I get too enamored with other things. Those other things aren’t necessarily bad things. They just aren’t THE thing that is important. I am still learning to lay things down. I guess I will be learning that until I go to heaven. We can all learn, can’t we?

Father, I am so thankful for Your Spirit in me that points me to You. I bow down to You and acknowledge You as the only true God.

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Bible, Brokenness, Conceit, Deception, Humility, Scripture

HUMBLED

AMOS 3:11

Therefore, this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘An enemy, one surrounding the land, will take down your fortifications from you, and your citadels will be looted.’”

I remember when I was a freshman in high school an incident that humbled me. I was pretty big for my age and was often called up to practice with the varsity if they were short on guys to conduct a full scrimmage. One day I had an incredible practice and was embarrassing a couple of seniors. They decided to issue some humble pie. The two of them crushed me on the next play and said, “Remember your place, freshman.”

God is humbling Israel by allowing an enemy to crush them. They had lifted themselves up to a place they thought they deserved. When God says “will take down your…”, that implies haughtiness. One thing God will not tolerate is pride in self. Israel learned a hard lesson.

APPLICATION

Now, there is nothing wrong with being proud of the right things. But pride in self is not one of them. Have you shown that kind of proudful talking and strutting? You know what I mean? You made a better grade than someone else on a test, so you make a point of rubbing that in. You see someone on the street and think you are better than them.

God wants us to take pride only in Him. He deserves all the praise and glory, not us. Be very careful of the praise you receive from others. Give all the praise back to Jesus. When someone says how awesome you are, thank them but point them to Jesus.

I used to sing in our church choir. I sang a lot of solos. I love to sing. People would often tell me how great I sang and how they loved to hear me sing. It would have been easy to get the big head and think I was something. But I have learned that I am only able to sing because of Jesus, so He gets all the glory. Will you give Him glory today for any praise you get?

Lord, I give You praise for what You have done in and through me. Any praise I get goes to You.

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Accountability, Battles, Bible, Choices, Commands, Confrontation, Deception, Disciplemaking, Double-minded, Following, God's Will, Modeling, Obedience, Scripture, Testimony

DUDLEY DO-RIGHT

AMOS 3:10

“‘But they do not know how to do what is right,’ declares the LORD, ‘these who store up violence and devastation in their citadels.’”

According to Wikipedia “Dudley Do-Right is a dim-witted, but conscientious and cheerful Canadian Mountie who is always trying to catch his nemesis, Snidely Whiplash, and rescue damsel in distress Nell Fenwick, the daughter of his boss Inspector Fenwick, with whom Dudley is deeply infatuated.” I used to watch this cartoon character in the 1960’s. He did right, but it was almost always an accident.

The Lord declares to Israel that they do not know how to do right. Their lifestyles are filled with violence and devastation. How could you not know how to do right? Because they had deserted their Lord and filled their lives with fleshly pursuits. That’s how!

APPLICATION

Do you know how to do right? The better question is do you know right? In our world today, right can change from location to location. What is right in one culture may not be right in another. But God’s right is right wherever you are.

The best barometer for knowing what is right is to ask yourself if this will bring glory to God. If it will, you are pretty safe that it is right. That’s not to say that everything is wrong. But if you live your lives that way, you are sure to do what is right in God’s eyes.

I am thankful for the Word because I know it will always point me in the right direction. It will always show me the right thing to do. I have friends who seldom, if ever, read the Word. Yet they wonder why they have so many troubles. Friends, dig in. Dig deep and discover the “rights” of God’s Word.

Thank You Lord for showing me the right things to do and for leading me in the right direction.

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Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Commands, Deception, Devil, Disciplemaking, Holiness, Obedience, Protection, Satan, Scripture

TRAPS

Amos 3:5

“Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground when there is no device in it? Does a trap spring up from the earth when it captures nothing at all?”

As a young boy, as most boys I’m sure, I made a lot of traps to catch rabbits, birds, just about anything. There was something awesome about laying that trap out and sitting back to watch it catch something. Most of the time, I caught nothing. But occasionally, I would get lucky and catch a bird or a rabbit. All those traps had a device that caused it to be tripped. Once tripped, the trap would snap shut, capturing whatever had tripped it.

Amos’ imagery here is great. The first question could have said, “Do you think all those things that have happened to you were by accident? I am the one who tripped those traps.” And the second question gives us the picture of a spring trap that once tripped would almost seem to jump up to catch the prey. Any Israelite with any experience in trapping would understand these words clearly. Israel has sprung the trap and is now caught.

APPLICATION

We all tend to spring traps from time to time. But those traps are only sprung by us when we aren’t walking with Jesus. If we are being consistent in our walk and are living holy lives before Him, those traps aren’t there. But…when we are living footloose and fancy free, we had better be aware of the traps that are set to catch us. Satan loves to catch us and hold us captive so we can’t be used by the Father.

The trouble with these traps is you can’t get out by yourself. You need help from someone else. Do you have someone you can call on when you step into a trap? We all need that. You may want to hide the fact that you are in a trap. Sooner or later, others will know. Call on a friend now (Ecc. 4:9-10).

I am so thankful for the vision the Lord gives me to avoid those traps set by Satan and others. I am thankful that, if by chance I step in one, I have brothers in Christ who will come to my aid. I couldn’t do it without them. Every Man A Warrior has given me an army of men who would come running to my aid. For that I am so thankful. Check it out at everymanawarrior.com.

Lord, we praise You for keeping us out of the traps set by the evil one. I know I can walk safely as long as I abide in You.

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Accountability, Bible, Commands, Confession, Consequences, Deception, Discipline, Evil, Flesh, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Perversion, Scripture, Sin

PERVERSION

AMOS 2:7

“‘These who trample the head of the helpless to the dust of the earth also divert the way of the humble; and a man and his father resort to the same girl so as to profane My holy name.’”

Sin by any other name is still sin. I know I have called my sins things like “my rights” or “just my personality.” Listen, anything that goes against what the Lord commands is sin, plain and simple. Anything that seeks my will over His is sin. Anything that belittles another is sin. I could go on, but you get the picture. We call our sins other things to disguise them and feel better about them.

All the things mentioned in verse 7 today were sins against a holy God. The rich were trampling the helpless for the dust they had put on their heads in mourning. They were diverting the meek and humble away from God. A father was marrying his son’s widow and vice versa. And father and son were perhaps visiting the same temple prostitute. All abominations in the eyes of God. But Israel was blind to them.

APPLICATION

What perversions do you have in your life right now? Most of us would quickly deny we had any perversions. Those are only the gross sins, right? Wrong. Any sin against God is perverse. They all go against His holiness. So, let me ask you that question another way. What sin(s) do you have right now that God would see as against His holiness? Now, that changes everything, doesn’t it?

I want to encourage you to confess those “perversions” right now. Ask the Lord to reveal to your eyes the sins you have not confessed to Him. Take the time to evaluate your lifestyle. Are there things you are doing on a daily basis that bring your faith into question? Are you compromising your testimony to achieve something? The Lord will show you what you need to confess, if you will just ask.

Staying “confessed up” is the key for me. The Holy Spirit is quick to convict me. If He’s too busy, my wife is always available. Lol. Seriously though, I am thankful for a wife that will not hesitate to call me out on my sin. That’s special. I love her for it. I pray you have someone in your life who will do the same. If not, find someone.

Your conviction in my life is precious, O Lord. I want You to keep my accountable for my sin.

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