Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Gospel, Listening, Obedience, Prophesy, Scripture

La la la la la

MICAH 2:6

“‘“Do not prophesy,” so they prophesy. But if they do not prophesy about these things, insults will not be turned back.’”

When we were children and we did not want to hear what someone was saying, we would stick our fingers in our ears and say, “La la la la la.” We just did not want to hear it. What would the person do who was telling us what we did not want to hear? One of two things – they would say it louder or stop talking.

The people of Israel did not want to hear what Micah (or any other prophet) was saying. They may have stuck their fingers in their ears. We do not know. It says here there that they said, “Do not prophesy.” In the Hebrew this was a very blunt statement. Kind of like “Shut your mouth.” Hmmm. Does that still happen today?

APPLICATION

Today, people get mad at the preacher if he starts stepping on their toes during a sermon. How dare that preacher say those things to me. Who does he think he is? There is a passage in Malachi 2:6-7 that says, “6 True instruction was in his mouth and injustice was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and justice, and he turned many back from wrongdoing. 7 For the lips of a priest should maintain knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of armies.”

Look at the last part of that verse – “for he is the messenger of the LORD of armies.” That is who is speaking here in Micah – a messenger of the LORD of armies. Today’s preachers/teachers have the same responsibility. And if they are preaching God’s Word correctly, we need to listen. We need to stop putting our fingers in our ears and saying, “La la la la la.” We should do what it says in Malachi – “seek instruction from his mouth.”

I have preached hundreds of sermons in my ministry career. Perhaps thousands – I have not kept count. I know some of those sermons were preached out of my flesh and not from the Lord. That is why I am so careful now to only preach what the Lord gives me. I stick to His Word. Check out whoever you are listening to. Make sure what they say aligns with what God says. And if it does – follow.

O Father, I want to hear Your message from Your spokesman. I want to hear the truth of Your Word.

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Bible, Blessing, Contentment, Coveting, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Encouragement, Gifts, God's Will, Greed, Inheritance, Jealousy, Modeling, Scripture, Seeking

COVETING

MICAH 2:2

“They covet fields, so they seize them; and houses, so they take them. They exploit a man and his house, a person and his inheritance.

I was sitting with my wife the other night in our family room. I looked around at our home. It’s a nice two-story townhouse with plenty of room, more than we need now. I turned to her and said, “We are so blessed, you know? Just look where we live. God has given us so many blessings.”

These people Micah is confronting with God’s message are coveters. What does that mean? It means they desired these things greatly, so much so that they stole them. They even lied and devised ways to steal a man’s inheritance, thus robbing his children as well. These were unscrupulous people.

APPLICATION

I did not tell you where I live to make you covetous, but I am sure some people would look at where I live and covet it. To be honest, I do not deserve it. God provided this home for us. As I drive around my city of Chattanooga, TN, there are many far beautiful homes than mine. I do not have a covetous bone in my body for those homes. I am content where I am and so grateful.

That is what I want you to see in today’s verse. These people were not grateful at all for what they had. They wanted more and more. Are you that way? Are you not content? Paul tells us in Philippians 4:12, “I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” That should be our heart each and every day.

O Lord, thank You for all the blessings in my life. I am content with what I have and forever grateful. 

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Accountability, Accused, Altars, Belief, Bible, Confession, Destruction, Disciplemaking, Idols, Judgment, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

WHERE DOES SIN BEGIN?

MICAH 1:13

“Harness the chariot to the team of horses, you inhabitant of Lachish—she was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion — because in you were found the rebellious acts of Israel.”

Do you remember your first introduction to sin? Do you remember when you committed your first sin? Probably not. Most of us were too small to remember our terrible twos, snatching a toy from someone else. Since the fall of Adam, we are born with that sin nature. No one has to teach us to sin. We, however, do have to be taught how not to sin.

Lachish was known as the initiator of idol worship to Judah. It had already begun in Israel (the Northern kingdom). Perhaps because of their trade in chariots and horses they were introduced to them by pagan nations. Lachish was known for its fast horses and chariots. Micah tells them they had better get in those chariots and harness their fastest horses if they hope to escape.

APPLICATION

Listen, brothers and sisters. I don’t care how fast you run; you cannot escape the wrath of God. There is not a plane, train or automobile fast enough. You could travel to another planet and still not escape it. There is only one way – that is through the blood of Jesus.

Assyria came in and defeated all of Israel and Judah. God used them as His instrument of wrath to judge His people. God will use whatever necessary to judge us if we are not under the blood of His Son, Jesus. But, oh the power of that blood. It can wash away our vilest sins and make us new again. Because of that blood, God forgives us of all our sins.

Praise God for His eternal blessings. I do not deserve so great a salvation. But thanks be to God, He had a plan to give me that way of escape. I pray you have made that decision to turn your life over to Him. You cannot outrun God. Stop running and allow the transforming power of the blood make you whiter than snow.

O Father, thank You for saving me. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to rescue me.

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Abiding, Accountability, Accused, Affection, Bible, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Judgment, Scripture, Witnessing

JUDGMENT ALL AROUND 

MICAH 1:11 

“Go on your way, inhabitant of Shaphir, in shameful nakedness. The inhabitant of Zaanan does not escape. The mourning of Beth-ezel: ‘He will take from you its support.’” 

People all around us are reaping the consequences of a sinful lifestyle. I am not talking about a sin that you committed by accident. I am referring to lifestyles that are ungodly and rebellious. When we see those Individuals suffer for their wrong, what is our response? 

Shaphir, Zaanan and Beth-ezel were all cities or villages in Judah. They were all guilty of sinning against the Lord, and therefore, they would suffer the wrath of a holy God. That last phrase, “He will take from you its support,” is a frightful message. No one wants to live their lives without God’s support. 

APPLICATION 

If we know judgment is going to fall all around us, how should we respond? We should be about the Father’s business. There are people in our neighborhood who are clueless about the coming judgment of God. There are others who may have heard, but just don’t believe. And there are still others who believe it is coming but just don’t care. What do we do? 

We preach Jesus to them all. We have to believe that His Word will not come back void (Isaiah 55:11). If we are consistent and true to His calling, He will use us to get His message out. The results are totally up to Him. We cannot predict how anyone will respond to the Gospel. 

I want to share with someone every day. I would love to see all my neighbors and friends embrace my Lord. If you are like me, you probably have family members who are going to face judgment one day without Christ. Let’s all commit to reach out to those loved ones with the love of Christ. 

O God, I praise You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to pay the price for my sin so that I will never face that judgment. 

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Bible, Brokenness, Confession, Disciplemaking, Following, Humility, Modeling, Scripture

WALLOW

MICAH 1:10 

“Do not tell it in Gath, do not weep at all. At Beth-le-aphrah roll yourself in the dust in mourning.” 

You have probably seen animals rolling in the dust. They seem to be having such a good time. I’ve seen horses do it. I have even seen elephants in Kenya do it. My uncle was a pig farmer. Let me tell you – pigs are really good at wallowing.  

Micah uses a word for “roll” that is only used twice by Jeremiah and once by Ezekial. In those three other times this word is used, it is used to wallow in ashes. In that culture, throwing dust in the air or putting ashes on your head was a sign of mourning or humility. So, rolling in the dust, covering your whole body in dust would be extreme.  

APPLICATION 

How low can you go? I don’t mean in limbo, lol. I mean, how low can you submit yourself to the Lord. Humility and mourning over our sins are sure signs of our desire to repent and turn to the Lord. Our actions speak louder than words. We can say we repent, but when we take steps to change our behavior, that really speaks. 

The Lord does not expect you to go outside and wallow in the dust. But He does expect you to humble yourself before Him. What can you do to humble yourself? What steps can you take to exhibit humility? How will your life change as a result of this action? 

I know when I humble myself before the Lord, I feel so much safer. I do not feel “less than.” I actually feel “more than.” I feel comforted by my Lord. It seems He holds me closer. I can just picture Him taking me in His arms and giving me a “daddy hug.” I can wallow in His love. 

Thank You, Lord, for holding me close. I want to feel that closeness every day. 

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Advocate, Bible, Calling, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Leading

IMPACT A NATION

MICAH 1:1

“The word of the LORD which came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and which he saw regarding Samaria and Jerusalem.”

How can we, as mere citizens, impact a nation for Christ? We often complain and moan about what the elected officials are doing. So, how do we change that? I have friends who have served or are serving in some elected position. I pray for them. I pray for God’s wisdom as they make decisions. I also pray for those elected officials whom I did not vote for. I pray that, too, will make decisions based on godly advice.

As we begin this study in Micah, we notice in verse one that Micah had influence over three kings of Judah. That’s a lot of opportunities. It’s interesting that while Jotham and Hezekiah were known as good leaders and good men, Ahaz took a different trek. He was an evil man and a very poor leader. But through the reign of all three of these men, Micah prophesied to Samaria and Judah. His heart was for his country and his God.

APPLICATION

We have opportunities every day to impact our communities for Christ. How is that possible? One, by praying for our leaders. Two, by sharing Jesus with those around us. They may have ways to impact your city that you are not even aware of. And three, by being the best leader you can be when given the chance.

Many of us will never lead. We are followers. That’s okay. We can’t all be chiefs, as they say. We need some Indians, lol. But we all can lead our families. We can lead in our churches. We can ask the Lord for leadership opportunities. If you want to change a culture for Christ, our men must be taught to lead and lead well. They need to know the tools so they can lead.

I am serving now with a ministry called Every Man A Warrior (EMAW), the Men’s ministry of Trans World Radio (TWR). Our goals are to help men walk with God, succeed in life and multiply spiritually. We want to build men who can lead other men and change our world for Jesus. Will you pray for us as we strive to do that? Check out our website at www.everymanawarrior.com. You can take a look at my ministry site at www.twr.org/carl-willis.

Father, let me be an influencer rather than someone who is influenced by others. I want to see lives change for Christ.

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Belief, Bible, Commands, Compassion, Disciplemaking, Eternity, Forgiveness, God's Will, Innocent, Salvation, Scripture, Witnessing

THE INNOCENT

JONAH 4:11

“‘Should I not also have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 people, who do not know the difference between their right hand and their left, as well as many animals?’”

For many, many years I worked with children. Some of those were very young. Young children do not yet understand that their actions have consequences. They do not have the mental capacity to make life altering decisions. They are innocent in so many ways. God does not hold the innocent in the same light as those who know exactly what they are doing.

We see that here in today’s verse. Those 120,000 are referring to those who are innocent of the guilt of Nineveh. This verse reminds me of the passage in Genesis when Abraham asks God if He would spare Sodom and Gomorrah if ten innocent people could be found. Do you remember what He said? He said yes He would. But ten were not found, so He destroyed those cities. God says here, “Shouldn’t I save these 120,000 souls?” He even mentions saving the animals.

APPLICATION

Who have you written off as lost and unredeemable? Anyone? I have to confess that I have done that with a couple of people. I realize I am not God. He is able to do far more than I can even imagine, including saving those people I have marked off. So, what do I do with this knowledge?

First of all, I must pray for those lost individuals. I must claim them for Christ. I must look for every opportunity to be Jesus to them and also to share the good news. I must see them as Jesus  does – someone He loves and wants to come home. I have a responsibility to do that. God expects me to do that.

The next time you say Oh, that person is just too far gone, think about all the saints in the Bible who God redeemed and used for His glory. And think of all of those lives who will spend eternity in eternal damnation without the saving power of Jesus. Let’s be bolder in our witness. Let’s risk ridicule for the sake of the cross.

I want to see everyone as You see them, Lord. Give me eternal eyes.

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Agreement, Anger, Arguing, Bible, Bitterness, Choices, Disciplemaking, Following, God's Will, Obedience, Scripture, Submission, Surrender

ARGUING WITH GOD

JONAH 4:9

“But God said to Jonah, ‘Do you have a good reason to be angry about the plant?’ And he said, ‘I have good reason to be angry, even to the point of death!’”

I have met people who just like to argue. It does not matter what it is about. They just like to argue – the weather, politics, religion, the taste of sweet tea (lol). Some things are worth arguing about. Maybe I should change “argue” to “discuss” here. Either way, some things merit a conversation, but one thing is for sure – you cannot out argue God.

Look at today’s verse again. Jonah is actually arguing with God about his right to be angry. We discussed anger earlier, but here Jonah is once again stating his right to God to be angry about what He has done. Let me ask you a question. Do you think Jonah is going to win this argument? Of course, not. But he has every right to speak up. God is big enough to handle it.

APPLICATION

I agree that we need to learn to submit our wills to His will. There really is not another way to live the Christian life successfully. However, God knows us better than we do. He knows when we question His will what our motive(s) is(are). So, it is okay to “argue” with God, as long as you do not think you are going to win.

We have to keep in mind that His thoughts are way above our thoughts. He sees our life, past, present and future. He could tell us what is coming if He chose to do so. Most of the time, He does not. That means we have to trust Him, even if we disagree with Him. God’s feelings are not hurt by our questions. He is big enough to handle anything we throw at Him.

I am sure you can think of something right now that you would have chosen to handle a different way. I would have chosen to learn about the eternal things of God without going through my last stem cell transplant. But God chose that to teach me. Did I like it? Did I argue a little with God? Yep, sure did. In the end, I submitted to His will. How about you?

Lord, I do not always agree with You, but I know You are right. Help me trust You from the beginning.

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Accountability, Anger, Belief, Bible, Confession, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Fellowship, Godliness, Salvation, Scripture

ANGER

JONAH 3:9

“‘Who knows, God may turn and relent, and turn from His burning anger so that we will not perish.’”

I am not an angry man. I seldom get angry. It is my prayer that my anger is only shown in situations where the innocent are treated unfairly. Abortion angers me. Innocent lives are snuffed out, and that breaks my heart. But this blog is not about abortion. It is about anger.

The king of Nineveh recognized God’s burning anger against his kingdom because of their evil ways. He knew God would judge them for this unless they confessed that and turned to Him. Look what he says. He said, “Who knows, God may turn and relent…that we will not perish.” He was asking the Lord to forgive them. By his and his people’s actions, they showed their repentance.

APPLICATION

God is not angry at you. Let me get that straight. He is saddened by your sin. Before you come to Christ, the penalty for your sins is eternal damnation. The good news, though, is that Christ died for those sins. God’s anger has been quenched through the blood of His own Son. Now, He just wants you to trust Him and trust His Word.

It is much like we parents feel when our children disobey us. We did not hate our children because of this. It saddens our hearts when they disobey. We want them to obey us because they love us. We want them to obey us because they want to please us. That’s our heavenly Father. He loves seeing His children do His will.

I am so thankful that the anger of God isn’t an issue for me. I know my sins have been paid for through the blood of the Lamb. His wrath has been abated. I am free to live for Him and through Him. It is my goal each day to live in such a way to honor Him in all I do. I pray that is your goal as well. Ephesians 4:26-27 is a great passage on anger. It reads, “In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil a foothold.” Live by that.

I will not be angry today, Lord. I will trust You to help me control my anger.

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Abiding, Bible, Commands, Disciplemaking, God's Will, Listening, Obedience

THE SECOND TIME

JONAH 3:1

“Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying,”

My dad was not one to repeat himself. He believed if he told you to do something, you should do it – period. He was not a demanding father, but he was a firm one. He always made sure you knew exactly what he wanted you to do and might even show you how to do it. Then he expected you to get it done.

Jonah should have listened to God the first time. He could have avoided that trip in the sea. But here we are in chapter 3, and we find Jonah hearing again from the LORD. The LORD had not given up on him. He still had a job for him to do. So, He speaks to him the second time.

APPLICATION

The Lord does not give up on us either. He is patient and kind. He is tolerant of our failures. He is right there ready to pick us up and re-instruct. If you are like me (and Jonah), I don’t listen to the Lord the first time every time. I think I can do it better. I think my way makes more sense. But after He tells me the same message four or five times, I finally get it.

Most of the time, the Lord tells us what to do so we can avoid the belly of the fish (trials). But sometimes, He tells us what to do and we still have to go through that trial. He is just preparing us for what is to come. He wants to teach us a truth to apply to what we are about to live.

I can think of several times in my life when that was the situation. I remember quite vividly how the Lord kept drilling in my head to focus on the eternal and not the temporal. This was right before I went through my second stem cell transplant. Living through that will definitely make you focus on the eternal. There were a few times I thought I was closer to heaven than I was to earth. My point? Listen to God. When He speaks to you, do what He says. He kind of knows what He is talking about.

O God, my Savior, You have spoken and I will obey. I want to listen the first time.

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