Abiding, Belief, Bible, Calling, Commands, Courage, Distractions, Enemies, Fear, God's Will, Gospel, Obedience, Scripture

A LARGE PLACE

JONAH 3:3

“So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk.”

I’ve been to some big cities – New York City, London, Nairobi, Minneapolis. I could go on. Fortunately, I did not have to walk to them. I had a car or another mode of transportation. But you know, I seldom thought about how big those cities were or too much about all the thousands of people in them who needed to hear about Jesus. I usually was on a mission to get something accomplished and didn’t want someone or something to slow me down. I repent of that. That was wrong.

Jonah was now going to Nineveh, that “exceedingly large city.” It was known for its greatness. Even though it was physically great, it was spiritually weak. The gods the Ninevites worshipped were not gods at all. We know that. Jonah knew that. And he was sent to tell them that.

APPLICATION

Now, let’s think about this for a second. Jonah was sent into enemy territory, to one of their greatest cities, and was told to tell them to repent. He probably expected laughter, at the very least. Jonah may have expected to be arrested and perhaps even killed. Why shouldn’t he expect that? No one likes to be told they are sinners.

But Jonah responded in the positive as fast as he had responded in the negative. He “got up and went” as compared to “got up to flee.” He was ready now to deliver God’s message no matter the cost. How about you? Are you willing to risk it all for Jesus? He may call on you to do just that.

I am finally at a point in my life where I really don’t care if people think I am a little crazy about Jesus. I have seen some amazing things in the past few years which have required me to reexamine how I see the Spirit moving. Living that out may put me at odds with some people. That’s okay, as long as I am true to my Savior’s calling. Will you do the same?

Father God, give me a Nineveh! Show me where you want me to be used.

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Accountability, Bible, Boasting, Consequences, Enemies, God's Will, Hatred, Humility, Love, Scripture

REVELRY

OBADIAH 16

“For just as you drank on My holy mountain, all the nations will drink continually. They will drink to the last drop and become as if they had never existed.”

Just recently the Kansas Jayhawks won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship over the UNC Tarheels. Lawrence, Kansas is the home of the Jayhawks. That town went wild celebrating the win. You could describe their celebration as revelry, noisy partying and merrymaking.

This was the scene in Israel when they were overthrown. Their enemies, including Edom, drank and drank, celebrating Israel’s defeat. But God warns them in that last phrase that they too would cease to exist. He said they would, “become as if they had never existed.” All this was because they had sided against their brother.

APPLICATION

There is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating, even partying, if it is not at someone else’s expense. Carl, I would never do that. Oh yeah? Let someone you don’t “care for” get caught doing something bad. Do you celebrate their punishment? Shouldn’t we instead want to try to help them?

This world is full of sinners. Some of them will seek to do us harm or take advantage of us. What would Jesus do if someone did Him wrong? Oh wait, they did. What did He do? He was humble and meek. He never sought to get even (and He could have). He saw their sin and hated it, but He loved the sinner.

Don’t be an Edomite. Don’t revel at someone else’s downfall. What a perfect time to witness to them. When someone is suffering, they are usually open to our comfort from the Lord. Use this opportunity to reach out to them and show them Jesus’ love. You just might see them respond in a way you never dreamed of.

Lord, I ask You to forgive me for reveling in my enemy’s downfall. Help me to reach out to them with the hands of Jesus.

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Bible, Boasting, Commands, Compassion, Consequences, Enemies, Envy, Loyalty, Mercy, Protection, Rejoicing, Relationships, Scripture

NO GLOATING

OBADIAH 12

“Do not gloat over your brother’s day, the day of his misfortune. And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah on the day of their destruction; yes, do not boast on the day of their distress.”

I haven’t mentioned that my alma mater, the University of Georgia, won the National Collegiate Football Championship. The only thing better than that is seeing my school’s archrival, the University of Florida, lose. Lol. When they lose and my team wins, I can gloat just a bit. Sorry Gator fans.

God warned Edom to stop their gloating over Judah’s demise. They were actually celebrating the fact that Judah was being defeated by their enemies. They didn’t come to their defense. They were cheering on the nations who were carrying their brothers into exile. That’s kind of messed up.

APPLICATION

Whose demise are you rejoicing over? We still do this today. We watch people we don’t like have troubles, and we inwardly rejoice. What?! Yes! Even believers do this. That’s right. Believers rejoice when others suffer. You don’t believe me? Just listen to the conversations around you.

We have to stop doing that. We have no right to watch someone else suffer, friend or foe, and rejoice. Don’t get me wrong. I believe enemies of the cross should be confronted. If they don’t repent, they will suffer. But I don’t believe the Lord wants to see that. He desires that all be saved. He doesn’t want to see anyone face judgment without Him.

I am so grateful that I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I am filled with His Spirit, so I should see everyone as He does – a sinner in need of a Savior. Will you join me in clarifying our view of others – all others? Let’s link arms and lift up those who have fallen – not look on and gloat.

O Father, forgive me when I have that inner twinge of self-righteousness brought on when I see someone suffer.

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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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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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Accountability, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Enemies, Holiness, Judgment, Modeling, Sanctification, Scripture, Suffering, Surrender, Trials

RISE UP

AMOS 6:14

“‘For behold, I am going to raise up a nation against you, House of Israel,’ declares the LORD God of armies, ‘and they will torment you from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of the Arabah.’”

I have learned from personal experience how God can raise up things in my life to teach me a lesson(s) that I need to learn. Now, hear me clearly. This is how He has worked in my life. I can only speak to that. But I know for a fact that He allowed my health issues to grow me more like Him.

That is always His purpose behind our trials. Amos speaks forth God’s words declaring the coming of a nation that He is sending to bring God’s judgment on Israel. It would a full judgment stretching from the northern most point to the southern most point of the country. God’s judgments are always complete.

APPLICATION

If you are in the middle of a trial right now, thank God. Yes, I said thank Him. Why in the world would you want to do that? Because every trial sent our way is meant to make us more like Jesus. God doesn’t allow trials in our life to toy with us or to just cause havoc. Every single aspect of that trial is orchestrated by Him to make us holy.

You may be ready for the trial to be over. Can God see Himself in you yet? Are you surrendering your all to Him? Do others see God portrayed in your life through this trial? That’s what God is doing. Rest assured – this trial won’t be over until God says so. He doesn’t leave it half done. He will complete it.

So, come on God. Enough already. I’m good enough. Obviously not. Every trial has a beginning and an end. God will bring you to fulfillment. And oh, when He is finished, you will look so much more like Him. You will see later what He was doing in that trial. You may not see it until you get to heaven, but you will. Rest in Him. Trust the process and give Him glory.

You’re still working on me to make me what I ought to be. I know that and am willing to be molded into whatever You want me to be.

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Abiding, Accountability, Devil, Enemies, Exile, Following, God's Will, Judgment, Persecution, Rescue

INTO EXILE

AMOS 5:27

“‘Therefore I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus,’ says the LORD, whose name is the God of armies.”

What does it mean to go into exile? Well, it means to leave your homeland and be carried somewhere else. All through history we have seen that happen when one nation conquered another. This usually followed a war. It was humiliating and disgraceful.

The Israelites were facing this. Their continued disobedience had forced God’s hand. He was through with them (for now). They had to face their judgment. Stripped, beaten and shamed, they were led away to a foreign land by a foreign power.

APPLICATION

You are probably thankful right now that hasn’t happened to you. We have human rights commissions now that try to make sure that isn’t done anymore. But there is more than one kind of exile. You could be in an exiled status due to other things besides war.

We may even choose to exile ourselves. We choose to hide away from others. This is not God’s plan for us. He made us to be part of community. We need others in our lives. The devil loves to get us alone so he can tear us down. Don’t fall for it.

Today I choose to walk with my Savior. I want to stay close to Him. I don’t want to experience exile. I need Him in my life every second of every day. Wherever I go, He is there. As long as I rest in that, there is no exile. Wherever I live, I am in His presence.

Thank You, Lord, for not exiling me. I long to be in Your presence.

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Accountability, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Consequences, Devil, Enemies, Freedom, Judgment, Rescue, Satan, Scripture

CAPTIVE

AMOS 4:3

“‘You will go out through holes in the walls, one in front of the other, and you will be hurled to Harmon,’ declares the LORD.”

I have never been held captive. I can’t imagine what that feels like. I have read first person accounts of that and marveled at that person’s stamina and faith to survive. But to be torn from your home and carried off as a prisoner would certainly be horrible. God has promised, however, to see us through any trial.

Israel is facing captivity. The Lord is telling them here that they will be led out of their cities through the holes in the walls that were made by their captors. They will be lead like cattle, one in front of the other, to their place of captivity. They will go from luxury to slavery.

APPLICATION

If you are not a believer in Jesus, you are being held captive by your enemy, the devil. The sad thing is you may not even realize it. As long as you are not walking with Christ, you are walking with him. He may even treat you kindly here on earth because he knows he will have you for eternity.

But God rescues us from our captor through Jesus. Jesus conquered death and the grave for you. His blood paid the price for your freedom. You can be set free through Him. And the best part is that it is free. You just have to ask for it. If you haven’t done that today, will you?

I am thankful the chains of sin have been broken. We are no longer held down by Satan’s grip. The moment we said yes to Jesus, we were made free. The jail doors were opened. We now walk with the One who set us free. Remember – we walk from victory, not towards it. The battle has already been won. Praise Jesus!

Lord, You are the one who set me free from the power and penalty of sin in my life. Thank You for saving me.

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Advocate, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Faith, Faithfulness, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture, Victors

FORGOTTEN VICTORIES

AMOS 2:9

“‘Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, though his height was like the height of cedars and he was as strong as the oaks; I also destroyed his fruit above and his roots below.’”

I am a University of Georgia Bulldog fan. I went to school there from 1978 to 1982. So, I cheer loud and strong for the Red and Black whenever I get a chance. But as excited as I get about our football victories, I couldn’t tell you the exact dates and times of each victory. Sure, some of them stand out, but most fade into my memory. Forgotten victories.

The Israelites had forgotten how God had destroyed their enemies as they entered the Promised Land so many years earlier. In just one example, the Lord reminds them of the Amorites, of which dwelt the Rephaim who were giants in height. Their size alone brought fear out of men. But Jehovah destroyed them for the Hebrew children. Forgotten victories.

APPLICATION

How many victories has God done in your life for you to quickly forget them? Perhaps you had a bill you couldn’t pay, and God provided for you. Maybe you had a health scare from which God delivered you. Your child was sick with fever, and you prayed all night long. Do I need to go on? Forgotten victories.

The Lord does so many things for us in our daily battles. We forget how faithful He is despite out unfaithfulness. He delivers us when we don’t deserve delivering. He defends us from our adversary, the devil, when we have faltered in our faith. Every victory we have in life can be traced back to our Deliverer. As a child of the King, our victories all belong to Him. Forgotten victories.

Don’t let your life be filled with forgotten victories. Make a log of them. Write them down. Keep track of them. Not for bragging purposes but for celebration purposes. I recently rang the bell at my Oncologist’s office indicating I am in remission from a disease I have. That victory belongs to God. He was the One who healed me. Remembered victory!

O Lord, I praise You for every victory in my life. The battle belongs to You.

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Advice, Battles, Bible, Enemies, Examples, Forgiveness, God's Will, Holiness, Inspirational, Witnessing

HATED ENEMIES

AMOS 1:13

“This is what the LORD says: ‘For three offenses of the sons of Ammon, and for four, I will not revoke its punishment, because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to enlarge their borders.’”

My dad lived through World War II. He was too young to fight, having been born in 1929. But everyone of his generation was invested in the war effort. He told us about the rationing of food and other supplies during this time. He was only a young teen, but he remembered it well. He especially remembered the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He didn’t like the Japanese. In fact, you could probably say he hated them.

Ammon was a despised enemy of Israel. So, when Amos turns his prophecies towards them, they were elated. Ammonites were the descendants of Lot’s younger daughter and himself. They were dispossessed by the 2 ½ tribes of Israel (Reuben, Gad and the ½ tribe of Manasseh) generations earlier. These people hated Israel to the point that they vowed genocide. They even killed the unborn babies of their captives. Cruel!

APPLICATION

Back to my dad’s story. He hated the Japanese until… His grandson (my brother’s oldest son) married a young lady who is from Okinawa. At first my dad did not like that. But then they had their first child, my parents’ first great grandchild. He fell in love with that child. And then they had their second child, a little girl, he really fell in love. It’s funny how children can change our hearts.

Is there someone you need to change your heart about? Maybe there’s a work colleague that you don’t like for really no reason. Reach out to them. Find out more about their life. God loves them just as much as He loves you. There may be a neighbor with whom you have battled with about something. Forgive them. Go to them. Make things right for the cause of Christ.

People are hard to live with sometimes. But God has placed us here on this earth to live with people. He expects us to live in such a way to draw others to Him (1 Peter 2:12). Be the shining example for others of Christ. We don’t know what others are going through until we reach out and talk. Be Jesus to someone else today.

I am so thankful that someone reached out to me to share the love of Christ. Help me, Lord, reach out to someone today.

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