Allegiance, Allies, Battles, Bible, Choices, Consequences, Enemies, God's Will, Scripture, Truth

BE CAREFUL OF YOUR ALLIES

ZEPHANIAH 2:12

“‘You also, Ethiopians, will be slain by My sword.’”

In the ministry I am a part of, Every Man A Warrior, we speak a lot about the importance of having allies. Men need men in their lives to hold them accountable and also to encourage them to walk with God. 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 who can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.”

The Ethiopians’ error was in choosing the wrong ally. They allied with Egypt against God’s people. They may not have invaded on their own, but they were part of the army that did. God speaks against them in Isaiah and Ezekiel. Their destruction was prophesied. However, they did not heed any of the warnings. They persisted in their hostilities toward Israel.

APPLICATION

We must be careful who we choose as allies. What may appear to be a good idea can prove to be a disaster. Many a person has lost fortunes due to partnering with a dishonest man. Promises made were not kept. Lies were told to get them to join in. Not everything that glitter is gold, right?

The same holds true for us in our spiritual walk with Christ. Not every church out there is teaching the truth. Not every preacher is living what he is preaching. Not every “Christian” brother or sister is a true believer. We must check these things by the Word of God. Through it, God will show us truth from error.

I have several men I consider my allies. Some are my partners in our ministry. I trust these men completely. I know they have my back. More importantly, I know they will call me out if I am wandering from the truth. I need that. You need that. Do you have allies? Do you have people in your life who will confront you if needed? If you don’t, get some. You don’t want to walk this path alone.

Lord, I know the strands of cord are strongest when they are woven together. Give me allies who will make me stronger.

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Abuse, Battles, Bible, Enemies, Humility, Modeling, Scripture, Taunting

TAUNTING

ZEPHANIAH 2:8

“‘I have heard the taunting of Moab and the abusive speech of the sons of Ammon, with which they have taunted My people and boasted against their territory.’”

No one likes to be reproached or reviled. Taunting is uncomfortable, isn’t it? In my childhood, I can recall a couple of times when I was taunted by someone. Once on the playground by a class bully. Another time in high school a classmate tried to get me to fight by saying some bad things about me. Taunting is not something God approves of.

Here in Zephaniah, we see the taunting of the Moabites and the Ammonites against God and His chosen people. It reminds me of David and Goliath when Goliath stood and taunted the army of Israel. David rightly pointed out that Goliath wasn’t just taunting and reviling Israel. He was reviling God. All reviling against God’s people is reviling against Him.

APPLICATION

Have you been taunted by someone or made fun of? Maybe someone has made fun of you because of your beliefs. Perhaps you were picked on as a child and have never gotten over those comments. Give it all to God. He can soothe those hurt feelings. Remember, you are His child and created in His image. He made you, and He doesn’t make any junk.

Maybe you are the one taunting others. Maybe you are the bully. Oh, you wouldn’t call yourself a bully, but you say or do things that revile or taunt others. You even do it in jest and try to make it seem like a joke. That does not honor God, and He is not pleased. Ask God to forgive you of that taunting spirit and then ask those whom you have hurt to forgive you.

Whether you are the taunter or the tauntee, we have a lesson to learn here today. God is not pleased with a reviling spirit. He wants us to have peaceable spirits. He desires a humble heart and one that serves others. Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” That’s my new memory verse. Live that today.

Father, forgive me when I have reviled You by taunting others. Give me that servant heart so I can show them honor.

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Accused, Allies, Belief, Bible, Commands, Defense, Enemies, God's Will, Scripture

AGAINST YOU

ZEPHANIAH 2:5

“Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, the nation of the Cherethites! The word of the LORD is against you, Canaan, land of the Philistines; and I will eliminate you so that there will be no inhabitant.”

I’ve said before that I don’t think I have any earthly enemies. I try my best to be at peace with all men (Romans 12:18). I don’t like to be in conflict. I won’t run from a fight if faced with it, but I don’t pursue conflict like some people do. I really want to deal with conflict quickly. I don’t want anyone or anything to come against me.

Zephaniah tells the Cherethites and Philistines that “the word of the Lord is against” them. Whoa! That would be horrible. Instead of the word of the Lord coming “to” them, it is against them. Why? Because they were the ones who were against His children. They pursued aggression and hostilities against His chosen people. And for that, God was against them.

APPLICATION

How would you feel if the Lord was against you? Terrified? Fearful? Worried? You should! Hebrews 10:31 tells us “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” To openly rebel against God’s commandments and thumb your nose at Him only invites His wrath. Who would do that?

Unfortunately, many in our world today are doing just that. They scoff at God’s Word. They reject His truths as spelled out in Scripture. They make God into their own image, rather than allowing Him to make them into His. They want God to fit their idea of Him. How preposterous. How ridiculous. How can we even begin to comprehend God?

But God tells us very clearly how to follow Him. He tells us to trust Him. He gives us the faith to believe. Faith is a gift. Once we acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord, He gives us belief in Him. He discloses more and more of Himself to us as we pursue Him. What a great God! He is not against you. He is for you!

O Lord, I am so thankful You are for me. I am grateful for the faith You have given me.

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Enemies, God's Will, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture, Trust

WAVE RIDER

HABAKKUK 3:15

“You trampled on the sea with Your horses, on the foam of many waters.”

I love to watch the waves as they crest and then break on the beach. The power in each wave is incredible. I have never personally seen twenty or thirty foot waves, but I know people who have. They tell me they are not only powerful but are also terrifying and destructive. Can’t you just picture that?

Habakkuk paints a portrait in today’s verse of God riding the waves, leading the charge against the enemy. Albert Barnes quotes a couple of other Old Testament verses that give the same picture. Isaiah 63:13 says, “who led them in the depths;” and Zechariah 10:11 reads, “And He shall pass through the sea.” Barnes says, “God was literally there.”

APPLICATION

God is still out front defending us. He is riding the waves in our defense. He will drown our enemies the same way He drowned Pharoah’s army in the Red Sea. What seemed to be an obstacle for the Hebrew children became their way of escape and their source of salvation.

We don’t understand the ways of God. We certainly don’t understand them when we are going through hard times or if our very lives seem to be crumbling. But God is at work, in His time. His timing is always perfect. He is never late. When the time is right, He will ride that wave and wash away our enemies.

I don’t begin to say I understand that. I’ve tried and failed. I have come to the conclusion that I have to just trust Him. I know that sounds too spiritual. But it is the truth. We must come to the point that we simply trust Him who has saved us eternally to save us temporally also. If it His will to rescue us here on earth, praise His name. But if He should choose to rescue us by bringing us home eternally, then so be it. It’s really a win-win now, isn’t it?

Lord, I will watch as You ride the waves in my defense and will praise You if You carry me home.

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Affliction, Battles, Bible, Enemies, God's Will, Judgment, Justice, Oppression, Restoration, Scripture

LOOK WHO IS SHAKING NOW

HABAKKUK 3:7          

“I saw the tents of Cushan under distress, the tent curtains of the land of Midian were trembling.”

People who boast and brag about their exploits can get on your last nerve. Am I right? I am not saying that we should feel that way, but it is hard to constantly hear that stuff. It is especially hard when you know they have hurt people in the process. You see the wake of destruction they have left. Yet they brag about it. It makes you wonder sometimes if God knows what they are doing.

Oh, He does. Habakkuk tells us so right here. Cushan and Midian had been thorns in the side of Israel for years. Midian used to raid Israel and leave nothing for the people. They would leave them impoverished. Both of these nations disappear after their defeats. All their successes vanish into thin air. God will have His vengeance on His children’s oppressors in due time.

APPLICATION

Perhaps you are being oppressed by someone right now. You feel there is no escape. You pray and are wondering if God is even hearing you. Oh, child of God, our God never sleeps and never slumbers. He is totally aware of your circumstances and is preparing to answer you in His perfect time.

So why does God allow suffering in our lives at the hands of unrighteous people? All I can tell you is that everything that touches our lives as believers goes through God’s hands first. I do not understand why He allows certain trials in certain people’s lives. I only know I can trust Him to see me through the trials He places in mine.

It is not my place to plot revenge on those who harm me. God will avenge me in due course. I may not be alive when that happens, but He will handle the situation according to His perfect will in my life. Do you believe that? Do you trust Him? Just allow Him to work. He loves you with an everlasting love.

I trust You, Lord, even when I can’t see You working. I know You are there.

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Bible, Darkness, Death, Destruction, Devil, Enemies, Fighting, Satan, Scripture

DEATH AND DESTRUCTION

HABAKKUK 3:5

“Before Him goes plague, and plague comes forth after Him.”

We all have seen scenes of death and destruction in pictures from wars or disease or famine. Those images burn into our minds. They are hard to forget. We feel helpless to do anything to cause any change. Our hearts break for the families of their loved ones caught in such scenarios.

Habakkuk describes the scene here where death and destruction go before God as He conquers all His enemies. He has sent plagues and pestilence. He used hornets and wild animals. Regardless of His instrument, the result was and is the same. His enemies are destroyed. Nothing can stand before Him. We would do well to remember that.

APPLICATION

People today think they can thumb their nose at God and keep on living as they wish. I don’t have to list the abhorrent lifestyles that are being exhibited everywhere, even in churches. Anything goes. There seems to be no moral compass left in the world. The enemy appears to have totally brainwashed society into believing that God has no say in the affairs of men.

But oh how wrong he is! Just like in Habakkuk’s day, God will rise up and defeat all enemies of the cross. We must remain faithful and true. We must continue to share the good news. We have to let our lights shine brightly. Even the smallest light can pierce the darkness. Let it shine.

I refuse to be afraid of those who speak against our Savior. I refuse to allow their disregard for God dampen my passion for Him. I am called to be a soldier of the cross, so I will wield my sword and give my life to advance His kingdom here on earth. I know my God has my back and will be victorious.

Your enemies will scatter, Lord. All You have to do it show up!

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Abiding, Affliction, Bible, Enemies, Hope, Power, Scripture, Security, Strength

THEY’RE COMING

HABAKKUK 2:7

“‘Will your creditors not rise up suddenly, and those who collect from you awaken? Indeed, you will become plunder for them.’”

We have all heard stories from friends who have suffered financial hardships. The creditors start calling and don’t let up. Answering the phone is scary. Even knocks on the door cause fear to enter. Knowing creditors are literally at your door is a frightening thing.

The Lord is telling Habakkuk that these Chaldeans, who think they are so strong and terrible, will be trembling as their enemies fall on them suddenly. They will collapse under the hand of those who they had so cruelly reigned. They will become the plunder. Their “creditors” are going to destroy them.

APPLICATION

Are you living in fear of something? What or who is knocking at your door? If we are not relying on Jesus, we are living dangerously. There is nothing that can protect us outside of Him. He is the only One Who can! He not only knows what is coming. He knew it before they did.

If that doesn’t calm your heart, nothing will. The God of Ages has your back. I do not mean to imply that you won’t go through hard times. We all do. But knowing that the Lord is there to defend you should give you the confidence to forge forward.  I am not trying to paint a rosy, pie-in-the-sky picture. I know this to be true because His Word tells us.

He tells us He will never leave us nor forsake us (Dy 31:6; Heb 13:5). He is our strong tower and the righteous run to Him (Pr 18:10). I could go on and on, but there are literally hundreds of verses that tell us He is there. Trust Him. Let Him defend you.

You are my strong tower, Lord. I will run to You.

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Bible, Captivity, Despair, Devil, Enemies, Evil, Faithfulness, Satan, Scripture, Submission, Surrender, Trust

WILL IT EVER STOP?

HABAKKUK 1:17

“Will they therefore empty their net, and continually slay nations without sparing?”

(This is blog #2500. I cannot believe it. I began these post on January 1, 2016. I am about to finish my 7th year of writing these daily blogs. Please pray for me as I seek the Lord as I write these each day.)

The rise of evil and its spread throughout the world seems to never cease. It just gets worse and worse. Just the moment you think it can’t get any worse, it does. The depth of evil a person will plunge is beyond our imaginations. Will there ever be an end to this? When will God step in and stop it?

That’s the question Habakkuk is asking at the end of Chapter One. God has shown him this vision of the Chaldeans coming in and defeating them. He knows of their ruthlessness. He does not want his people to suffer. He is crying out to God, “When will they stop? Will they ever stop? Haven’t they done enough?”

APPLICATION

You may have been under spiritual attack from the evil one and have cried out the same as Habakkuk. “Lord, when will it end? I can’t take much more of this.” Trials come in all shapes and sizes. Some last a long time and others are over quickly. It is those that linger that truly test us.

We must remember, though, that God will not put on us more than we can handle with His help. We surely cannot handle it on our own, but as we submit and surrender to Him, we can get through whatever it is we face. There may still be dark days as you trust Him, but we are assured of His faithfulness.

I have faced these challenges. I have shared about some of them in my blog posts of the past. Suffice it to say, I have learned these lessons the hard way. There have been times when I entered a trial fully trusting. Then there are other times I went in kicking and screaming. But through them all I have found my Lord to be right there with me, sustaining and nurturing me. Will you rest in Him in the midst of your struggles?

Father, in Your strong hands I place myself. Do with me as You see fit.

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Abiding, Accountability, Battles, Bible, Commands, Courage, Defense, Devil, Enemies, Fighting, Scripture

MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS

NAHUM 3:14

“Draw for yourself water for a siege! Strengthen your fortifications! Go into the clay and tread the mortar! Take hold of the brick mold!

I love to watch old war movies. I especially love the battle scenes. I can just hear the ship captain commanding his sailors to man their battle stations. They would all scurry off to whatever position they had been assigned and trained to operate. They were responsible for their area and to back up others around them.

Nahum is sarcastically telling the Ninevites to “man their battle stations.” They were to: 1) get water and supplies to last during the siege 2) strengthen the city walls 3) prepare mortar 4) apply that mortar. You see, Nineveh was used to being the one who did the siege on others. Their walls were not built to withstand a siege. They, in fact, were under siege by their enemies for two years.

APPLICATION

Let me remind you that we are under siege. Yes, every day the enemy is banging on our “walls” and “gates” trying to defeat us. Rest assured; the captain is aware. He tells us to be ready. Put on our armor. Prepare for battle. Strengthen your fortifications through His Word and prayer. Suit up and fight.

That may all sound ominous. Don’t let it scare you. You see, we have a secret weapon – Jesus Christ, our Advocate. He is the one who fights for us. We just must surrender to His lordship over our lives. Just as sailors must obey the orders of their captain, we must obey our Lord. His Word directs us in every order He has for us.

I have made the decision to follow Jesus, no matter what. How about you? Are you a fair-weather follower or will you follow Jesus to very gates of hell, if necessary? He is looking for those kinds of followers. Let’s man our battle stations, friends.

I have decided to follow Jesus; I have decided to follow Jesus; I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back, no turning back.

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Battles, Bible, Destruction, Devil, Enemies, Fighting, Fire, Protection, Satan, Scripture

BOLT THE DOOR

NAHUM 3:13

“Behold, your people are women in your midst! The gates of your land are opened wide to your enemies; fire consumes your gate bars.”

I grew up in an era when we did not worry too much about locked doors. The 60s and early 70’s did not warrant it. I cannot even recall if my grandma’s house had a bolt on it. I am sure the doors were locked at times, but it was not a huge concern. I lived in a small town with little crime.

Nahum tells Nineveh that their gate bars will be burned. This was a common practice in those days. The enemy would build a fire on the outside of the gate which would ignite the sun-dried wooden gate. This would burn the wooden bar on the inside or after burning for a while the iron or brass bar would simply fall off. The city was now wide open for invasion.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you something. What is barring your gate against the enemy? We cannot depend on any man-made protection against the enemy. He will set fire to your self-constructed methods. They will burst into flames. You will then be vulnerable to his attacks.

The Word of God is the only “bar” that can keep those gates shut. So many men have opened the gate to pornography, which will burn your house down. But with the Word of God as your  “bar” of protection, you can defend yourself. Better yet – the Word defends you. You have the ability to quench those flames that are set against you.

I try to keep my gates shut tight with His Word. My daily Quiet Times are key to that. Spending time with the Lord is my fortification. The water of the Word is my fire brigade. All I have to do is recall those Scriptures that pertain to the fire. That means you have to spend time in the Word. Are you? Is the Word your “bar”?

I know my gates are barred with Your Word, Lord. Help me show others how to bar their own gates, too.

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