Accountability, Belief, Bible, Blind, Consequences, Deception, Following, Judgment, Scripture

BLIND LEADING THE BLIND

ZEPHANIAH 1:17

“I will bring distress on mankind so that they will walk like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; and their blood will be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.”

You’ve heard that expression, “the blind leading the blind.” It portrays a pretty, sad picture. I am not using this as a demeaning statement against the blind. Rather, I mean to imply the picture of the uninformed or willfully ignorant person leading others who follow them without verifying what they say. Thus, the statement.

The Lord tells us in today’s verse that those who do not follow Him are like that. They walk about aimlessly as a blind person who has no one to lead them. We know that can be dangerous. They could fall over obstacles. They could injure themselves seriously. Those who choose to walk blindly without the Lord will face judgment.

APPLICATION

Oh, friends, listen! Don’t walk blindly in this dark and dangerous world. Ask the Lord to open your eyes with the truths of His Word. Ask Him to show you the path He wants you to travel. Ask Him to send others into your life who can hold your hand when necessary to traverse those dangerous spots. Open your eyes.

We are all blind before Christ. None of us can see due to the sin that is born in us through the fall of Adam. But just like the scales that fell off of Paul’s eyes when he came to Christ, ask the Lord to remove those things that blind you to truth. God wants to open your eyes. Psalm 119:18 says, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your Law.”

Most days I walk with my eyes open. But other days, I close my eyes to what I know is true just because I want to have my way. I bet you’ve never done that, right? My prayer for you and myself is that we will allow the Lord to open our eyes.

Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me.

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Bible, Deceit, Deception, Scripture, Truth

SUPERSTITION

ZEPHANIAH 1:9

“‘And on that day I will punish all who leap on the temple threshold, who fill the house of their lord with violence and deceit.’”

Are you superstitious? Do you cross yourself if a black cat crosses in front of you? Do you eat greens on New Years? People have all sorts of superstitions. Most of these were handed down through parents or family members. Sadly, none of these superstitions are true. None of them can affect you. So, why do we do them?

It is believed that Zephaniah was referring to the superstition of not treading on the temple threshold which came from Ashdod when the people would not walk on the threshold of the temple of Dagon. Isn’t it funny how things get passed down? These same people, it is said, fills the Lord’s house with violence and deceit.

APPLICATION

Superstitions are not based on truth, only fables or old wives’ tales. As believers in Christ, we should not have any part of these beliefs. Our hope is only in Christ. He is the one who shows us all truth because He is truth. Anything that points to anything else is not proper for us.

Now, you may think I am nitpicking. Maybe I am, but if we believe these superstitions, it opens the door to other unbeliefs. We are susceptible to falsehoods disguised as meaningless superstitions. All we need to know can be found in His Word. It is the only source of truth and the only thing we can rely on.

Jesus tells us that the truth shall set us free. Do you want to be free from all those manmade superstitions you have believed for so long? Let His truth set you free. Allow His truth to cleanse your mind and purify your heart. Then you can walk in freedom.

I will believe only in Your truth, O God. All else is falsehood.

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Bible, Deceit, Deception, Lies, Salvation, Scripture, Truth

FULL OF LIES

NAHUM 3:1

“Woe to the bloody city, completely full of lies and pillage; her prey does not leave.”

I have talked about lying before in one or two of my blogs, but this verse today brings us right back to it. Our world is so full of lies. It lies about what a family is. It lies about how a person should see themselves. It lies about what success really is. The world will not tell you the truth. Don’t look to it to guide you.

Albert Barnes says this about lying. “‘Lie’ includes all falsehood, in word or act, denial of God, hypocrisy; toward man, it speaks of treachery, treacherous dealing, in contrast with open violence or rapine. The whole being of the wicked is one lie, toward God and man; deceiving and deceived; leaving no place for God who is the Truth; seeking through falsehood things which fail.” That pretty much summarizes what Nahum was saying about Nineveh.

APPLICATION

You know it is so easy not to lie. You just tell the truth. But what do you do when everyone around you is not telling the truth by either what they say or how they live? You keep telling the truth. You keep living the truth. You keep pointing to The Truth – Jesus Christ.

Jesus said in John 14:6 that He was the way, and the truth, and the life. If He called Himself the truth that means all other “ways” to God are lies. Don’t believe the lie that we all go to heaven. That’s not how it works. There is only one way – through Jesus.

I am sure you have people in your lives who deny that truth. They truly believe they are okay. They believe as long as they are good to others and really try hard, they will go to heaven when they die. If you care about them, do not let them get by with that. They may get upset if you keep pointing them to Jesus. That’s okay. Better mad and the possibility of them getting saved than not mad and headed straight to hell. Just tell the truth, my friends.

I am so glad that I can live in the truth rather than hide in the lies.

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Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Choices, Consequences, Contentment, Deception, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Modeling, Scripture

THE RIGHT WEIGHT

MICAH 6:11

“‘Can I justify dishonest balances, and a bag of fraudulent weights?’”

I have this little hand-held baggage scale. You simply wrap the strap around the baggage handle, pick it up and you get the weight. That is necessary when you are flying somewhere because they have restrictions on how much weight you can have in that bag. Too much, and it costs you more. You cannot cheat the scale.

God watches our actions just as closely. He will not tolerate our deceitfulness. The people would try to cheat others in the market by having those fraudulent weight and scales. He had warned the people about this in Leviticus 19:35-36 where it says, “‘You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight, or volume. You shall have accurate balances, accurate weights, an accurate ephah, and an accurate hin;’”

APPLICATION

I am reminded of a verse in Job when he was vehemently denying any sin in his life that had caused his suffering. Job 31:6 says, “Let Him weigh me with accurate scales, and let God know my integrity.” Can you say that? I sure cannot most days.

I want my life to be weighed and found not lacking. I want my deeds and words to be always just right on God’s scales. I trust His scales to be accurate and true. If He says I am lacking, I am lacking. If He says I am okay, I am okay. He sees me as righteous because of His Son. Jesus has tipped the scales in my favor.

We have a bathroom scale in our home. Most mornings I weigh myself. It is interesting, though. I can weigh myself and then go to the doctor and weigh five more pounds. I think they set their scales five pounds heavier so they can tell us to lose some weight, lol. Truth is my scales are off five pounds. What really matters is my spiritual weight. With Jesus, I will always weigh correctly spiritually. Is that true for you today?

I am forever grateful for the blood that washed away the weight of my sin and made me righteous in Your eyes, Lord.

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Abiding, Accountability, Allegiance, Battles, Bible, Commands, Confrontation, Deceit, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Obedience, Rebellion, Scripture

YOU CAN’T OUTFOX GOD

MICAH 6:5

“My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab planned and what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, so that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD.”

Be sure your sins will find you out. We have probably all heard that quote (It comes from Numbers 32:23). We try to hide our sins, don’t we? We can hide them for a while from people around us, but we cannot hide them from the all-seeing eye of God. He knows our most intimate secrets, including our sins. We cannot outfox Him.

Balak thought he could do an end-a-round on God. He knew the people of Israel were a mighty force and thought if he could just get a curse on them, it might improve his chances to defeat them. Wrong! That curse bounced right back in his face as a blessing. What was meant to encourage his troops served to put even more fear into them. God is reminding His people of that here in Micah.

APPLICATION

We are so much better off if we will just seek God’s will and do it rather than trying to sneak around. When we finally realize that God’s will for our lives is all about blessing us, we can rest in Him. Now, that does not mean we will not have some hard times. However, even in those there are blessings if we look hard enough.

We want our lives to be problem free. We want that bed of roses. Life is just not that way. Some people have it easier than others. That is true. But that does not diminish the fact that a loving God cares for you and wants what is best for your life. You just have to surrender to His will.

I wish my life was problem free. I still have to fight this disease I have (Amyloidosis). There is no cure for it, only treatments. But I am thankful for the doctors, hospitals and other medical team members who have served me so well. I am thankful for the opportunities it has given me to minister to others going through the same treatments. There is no end-a-round here. I have to trust my Great Physician in the process. How about you?

Father God, help me to trust You even in the hardest times and not try to hide my sins and acts of disobedience. I want to walk in the light with You.

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Accountability, Battles, Bible, Cleansing, Confession, Deception, Devil, Eternity, Forgiveness, God's Will, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Mercy, Scripture

SELF-JUSTIFICATION

MICAH 6:2

“Listen, you mountains, to the indictment by the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth, because the LORD has a case against His people; and He will dispute with Israel.”

Boy, we love to justify our sins, don’t we? We can blame everyone and everything for sinning. I know I have done that. I sin against God by being unkind to my wife, but I blame her. I get angry or upset in traffic, but it is the other driver’s fault. We just cannot take the blame ourselves, can we?

This “case” God has against His people is exactly that. He is basically asking them what He has done to cause their sinful behavior. They see His goodness yet respond with rebellion. I am reminded of Jesus’ response in John 10:32. “Jesus answered them, ‘I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?’”

APPLICATION

What excuses are you giving God right now for your sins. You say, What sins, Carl? I am not a bad person. Well, we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). You cannot blame God or anyone else for your sin. Well, the devil made me do it. Nope, not true. He may have offered up that morsel, but you gobbled it down.

We have no one to blame for our sins but ourselves. Our flesh is so wicked. If it is left unchecked, it will wreck our world before and after we are saved. When you come to Christ and accept Him, He cleanses you of all your sins. But He does not take away that propensity in our flesh to sin. That has to be dealt with by our submission to the Holy Spirit daily.

Until we reach glory, sin will be an issue. I attended a funeral of a dear friend recently. His life was put on display at the service. His son spoke and shared what a godly influence his dad had on his life. But that man was prone to sin even up to the point of death. When his spirit was taken to glory, he began his sinless perfection in Christ. Glory, hallelujah! Praise be to Jesus. One day we will have the same. Until then, live holy lives.

Father, help me live each day abhorring what is evil and clinging to what is holy.

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Cleansing, Confrontation, Deception, Despair, Destruction, Evangelism, Gospel, Integrity, Leading, Scripture, Witnessing

DISHONEST GAIN

MICAH 3:10

“Who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with malice.”

In one of my earliest ministry experiences, I worked with a person who was in leadership on the campus where I served. That person would take gifts meant for the children we served and take them home for their grandchildren. They would also take pool chemicals purchased for the campus to use in their own pool a home. Dishonest gain!

Micah continues his prophecies against the leaders of Israel and Judah. They had made their way to the top by stepping all over the “little people.” The poor and less fortunate were used by these leaders so they could gain more wealth and prestige. It did not matter who they hurt to get ahead.

APPLICATION

There is nothing much worse than someone who will take advantage or steal from the poor. They must not have a conscience. Wickedness pours out of them. They do not care who they use, as long as they get what they want. We believers should be able to spot those individuals a mile off.

So, how do we deal with people like that? Just like Jesus. What did He do? He loved them (He even died for them), but He did not join in with them. He dealt with the Pharisees and Sadducees often. Many of these got their positions by these very means – using others. Jesus knew that. He confronted them of their sins. But He still loved them.

Loving someone like that is hard, but we are called to do just that. How else will they hear and see the Gospel. They may spurn your words. They may even threaten you. That is okay. You have planted the seed which can grow later. It is our calling to spread the good news to everyone. Will you do that today? Who knows that person just might repent and come to Christ because of a word you shared?

Thank You, Lord, for cleansing me of my selfishness. Give me a love for the unlovable so they can hear Your message of forgiveness.

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Accountability, Bible, Deceit, Deception, Listening, Perversion, Scripture

TWISTED

MICAH 3:9 

“Now hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who despise justice and twist everything that is straight,” 

I have a small deck on the back of my house. I mentioned in a previous blog that I had recently stained and sealed it. In the process of doing that I discovered that one of the posts that supports the deck has twisted over the years. I was not living in this house when the deck was built, but I am sure the builder did not put up a twisted post. Since it was built in 1998, this post has twisted. It will have to be watched to avoid damage to the rest of the deck. 

The “heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel” had twisted the Word. They did this over the years, slowly perverting God’s message to the people. They may have started right, but inserted their own words into the message, deceiving the people from the truth.  

APPLICATION 

We have to be so aware of the preachers and teachers we listen to. We should check what they say with God’s Word to ensure it matches. Any straying from that needs to be rejected. Unfortunately, there are a lot of those kinds of preachers and teachers out there today.  

As we share God’s truths with others, be careful to stay with what He says. Your opinions are not necessarily from God. Check those before you share them. The last thing you want to do is “twist” the message.  

Whenever I preach, I check myself. Handling the Word of God is so serious. We are told as teachers that we are held to a higher standard. James tells us this in James 3:1. “Do not become teachers in large numbers, my brothers, since you know that we who are teachers will incur a stricter judgment.” That warning should be enough for any of us. 

Father, help me to correctly handle Your Word as I share it with others. 

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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, Belief, Bible, Choices, Comfort, Death, Deception, God's Will, Grace, Healing, Hope, Scripture

JUST LET ME DIE

JONAH 4:3

“‘So now, LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.’”

Unfortunately, I have heard those words from too many people. I remember a young lady that was on my caseload at a children’s home who tried to kill herself. I was called to the cottage to find that she had cut her wrists. We quickly bandage them, applied pressure and took off for the hospital. She kept saying all the way there that she just wanted to die. “Just let me die.” Fortunately, she did not and worked out the issues that led her to this decision.

Jonah wanted to die for two reasons. The first was because he just could not stand the idea that Nineveh was saved. He wanted them dead. He had rather die than see that. Secondly, Jonah did not want to see his own country suffer under the hands of these Assyrians. He had just as soon die than see that. Life simply was not worth living, or so it seemed.

APPLICATION

I pray you never feel this way. I pray you never feel so hopeless that taking your life seems the only option. God has so much for you. I am reminded of Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” That is still true today.

When all seems lost, turn to Jesus. When troubles and trials flood your days, turn to Jesus. He can soothe any wound. He can heal any broken heart. But you have to ask Him. He will not intervene where He is not wanted. But the very second you make that first step towards Him, He is there with a warm and kind embrace.

Trusting Jesus with your life is more than just an eternal decision. It is a daily decision. He longs to guide and direct us. He does not want to see us stray off the narrow road. But He will let us. We are not tied to Him and drug along. Run up beside Him today and grab His hand. He will gladly hold yours.

Oh Father, for the thousands of souls out there today who have no hope, will You send someone in their lives today to share Jesus?

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