Abiding, Bible, Destruction, Eternity, Salvation, Scripture

THE END OF THINGS

ZEPHANIAH 2:14

“Flocks will lie down in her midst, all animals that range in herds; both the pelican and the hedgehog will spend their nights in the tops of her pillars; birds will sing in the window, devastation will be on the threshold; for He has uncovered the cedar work.”

I like movies that have the hero stopping an end of the world plot by the villain. There are a lot of those kinds of movies out there. Usually, it comes down to the last second to save mankind. The hero risks everything to accomplish his mission. But in the end, he is successful (and usually gets the girl, lol). That ending is happy, right?

Not so with the destruction of Nineveh and Assyria who Zephaniah is describing here in verse 14 of chapter 2. Their destruction will be so complete that the animals will live in their cities. They will sleep in the fallen caps of the pillars that held up their impressive homes and buildings. And among all that destruction, the birds will still sing. Total destruction and a return to the wild.

APPLICATION

How do we apply a verse like this to our lives? Remember, every word of Scripture is inspired by God and given to us for instruction. So, what does this mean to us? Nothing we can accomplish on this earth will remain. Nothing we build will withstand God’s final judgment on earth. All the wealth we obtain will get us nowhere.

The only thing that will last is our relationship with God. Our eternal destiny rests in the decision we make concerning Him. Jesus tells us in John 14:6 “…‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.’” There is no other way. You cannot earn your way to the Father. You cannot get there through anything you do here. You must go through Jesus.

I pray you have made that decision. I pray you are resting in that decision if you have made it. As believers, we know everything we have here really belongs to Him. We hold it all very loosely in our hands. But we hold tightly to Him. Why? Because He is our hero. He has already defeated the villain of our spiritual lives. We know the ending. Jesus is triumphant. Amen? Amen!

I hold my success and all I have accomplished in my hands and offer it all to You, Lord.

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Choices, Christ's Return, Darkness, Eternity, Kingdom, Kings, Majesty, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

CHARIOTS OF SALVATION

HABAKKUK 3:8

“Did the LORD rage against the rivers, or was Your anger against the rivers, or was Your rage against the sea, that You rode on Your horses, on Your chariots of salvation?”

All throughout Scripture we see imagery of God with water. In creation, He separated the waters above and the waters below. Then He caused land to appear which further separated the waters on earth. We see Him part the Red Sea and the Jordan River. We see Him gush forth waters from a rock in the wilderness. Water and God have a presence in the Bible that cannot be ignored.

So, it is no wonder that Habakkuk uses that same imagery in his book. But we see something here that is unique. We see the “chariots of salvation.” I can just picture what Habakkuk is describing. God swoops down and rescues His people as if He is riding a chariot. The waters of the Red Sea parting and the flow of Jordan walled up reflect the presence of God moving through and saving His people.

APPLICATION

God is still rescuing us. This is done now through His Son, Jesus Christ. Christ didn’t ride through Israel on a chariot. No, He walked and once rode a donkey’s colt. He didn’t come as a ruling king, but rather as a lowly baby in a manger. He lived in Nazareth, the lowliest of the villages in Galilee.

But one day He will return as Judge and King. He will come to reign supremely. And we will reign with Him as joint heirs of His kingdom. Won’t that be a glorious day? But you first have to acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior. Even though you don’t see a chariot of salvation, you can be assured that He reigns.

As we come closer to Christmas day and prepare to celebrate, don’t forget the saving power of God is as strong today as it ever was. God is still rescuing us from a dark and somber world. He wants us to rejoice with Him that His Son paid the ultimate price. He has truly ridden that chariot of salvation for us.

Open my eyes that I may see Your salvation to the world more clearly. Use me to reach out to those who need to hear.

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Eternity, Loyalty, Promises, Relationships, Scripture

DISAPPEARING ACT

NAHUM 3:17

“Your courtiers are like the migratory locust. Your officials are like a swarm of locusts settling in the stone shelters on a cold day. The sun rises and they flee, and the place where they are is not known.”

Who doesn’t love a good disappearing act?! I can still remember David Copperfield making a Boeing 747 disappear. That plane is probably still wandering somewhere, lol. We all know that the plane didn’t really disappear, but the illusion was breath taking.

Nineveh would soon disappear, just like the locusts as soon as the sun rises. During the cool nights, they piled on top of each other to stay warm. They were a mass of wiggly insects. Nineveh compares the army of Nineveh in that same fashion. They were so numerous they resembled this horde of locusts at night.

APPLICATION

Unlike the strength of Nineveh that disappeared never to return, our Lord will never disappear. He is with us forever. He remains by our side through this life. Then we will reign with Him forever in the eternal. He will never, never disappear.

I worked with a lot of children during my 30+ years in the Child Welfare system. Many of them had disappearing parents. Mom or dad or both deserted them. The damage done to those precious children would break your heart. I am so grateful for parents who were present in my life all the way up to the time of their homegoing. And one day we will be reunited.

I am also grateful that my heavenly Father is always there. I may not always feel that, but that is because I have drifted away. He is still there. Jesus will never disappear on you. He is there, faithful and true, always ready to lend you His hand. Will you take it?

Place your hand in the hand of the Man who stilled the waters. Place your hand in the hand of the Man who calmed the seas.

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Bible, Death, Eternity, Heaven, Hell, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

DEAD BODIES

NAHUM 3:3

“Horsemen charging, swords flashing, spears gleaming, many killed, a mass of corpses, and there is no end to the dead bodies-they stumble over the dead bodies!”

Pretty morbid title, huh? Hey, I’m just following the text. Blame Nahum, lol. I have had the privilege (yes, I said the privilege) to stand beside a lot of families as they ushered their loved ones into the hereafter. I have done my share of funerals. Some are easier than others. Those in which you know the dearly beloved were Christians were easy. Their dead body was just that – a dead body. They were not there.

Nahum continues his description of the vision God had shown him of the certain destruction of Nineveh. His statement “there is no end to the dead bodies-they stumble over the dead bodies” gives a very vivid picture of what was to come. Those who heard this message had to be disturbed.

APPLICATION

So, where will you spend eternity? We will all leave this body behind and will depart somewhere. We will either be with Jesus in heaven or will spend eternity in hell. Even though our bodies will be left behind, our spirits will live forever. The good news is we can determine where that will be.

As I write this blog, I am attending a Men’s Retreat on a mountain near Chattanooga. I witnessed this morning several men give their lives to Christ. Their eternal fate is set. They will live with Jesus. Many of them immediately followed that decision with baptism. They wanted all to know where they were going one day.

Paul tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I look forward to that day. I believe the Lord has much left for me to do for the kingdom, but I am ready for that day. If you ever hear that I have died, don’t mourn my dead body. Rejoice knowing where I am. Will I see you there?

Father, I cannot wait to see Your Glory and spend eternity worshipping You.

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Accountability, Bible, Chaos, Discipline, Eternity, Order, Scripture

CHAOS AND DISORDER

NAHUM 2:4

“The chariots drive wildly in the streets, they rush around in the public squares; their appearance is like torches, they drive back and forth like lightning flashes.”

I prefer things orderly. I would not say I am obsessed by it, but I like things to be put in their place. My parents taught me that. I remember my dad had all his tools displayed on a huge peg board in his shop. Everything hung in place. If you needed something, it was easy to see. Just make sure you put it back in its place, lol.

Nahum is describing a scene of war in which nothing is in order. The chariots “drive wildly” in the streets. They drive back and forth “like lightning flashes” and “like torches.” He is picturing the assault on Nineveh and the chaos that ensued. It almost seems they are fighting without any leaders. That is never good.

APPLICATION

To whom do you look to find order and discipline? Some of us look to ourselves. We think we can do it. Some look to the military to teach them discipline. Still others depend on someone in authority to tell them exactly what to do.

All of those are acceptable sources of order, but none of them are eternal. They will all cease. There is only one source of order and discipline that will last for eternity. That is the Lord Jesus. He gave us the Holy Spirit to live inside of us. He helps guide our steps each day.

Left to my own devices, I would be a mess. I would probably drift into nothingness. I would lay around and mope. But the Holy Spirit in me gives me a purpose for living. That demands I follow His leadership which gives me order and discipline. If there is one thing the Holy Spirit is not, He is not disorderly. Will you let Him direct your steps today?

O Lord, I praise You for keeping me straight. I know I can rely on Your Holy Spirit to guide my steps.

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Bible, Blessing, Encouragement, Eternity, Glory, Heaven, Inspirational, Joy, Light, Promises, Salvation, Scripture

A SIGHT TO BEHOLD 

MICAH 7:9 

“I will endure the rage of the LORD because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me out to the light, and I will look at His righteousness.” 

I remember the day I married my wife. I remember seeing her appear in the doorway of the sanctuary. It was the first time I had seen her in her wedding dress. She was beautiful. I watched her as she walked down the aisle, knowing that in a matter of minutes, we would be married. Joy was bubbling over. 

Micah seems to share a similar joy in knowing the LORD would bring him out to the light and he could look at His righteousness. Micah knows he is not worthy of such a sight, but the LORD has forgiven him of his sins and pleaded his case. Wow! What a sight to behold. 

APPLICATION 

One day we will see Jesus. Can you imagine? We all have a picture in our minds of what that will be like, but none of them come close to the actual. Jesus’ presence before us will be the culmination of our spiritual journey. We will be safely in His arms for eternity. 

I have had the privilege to see some magnificent sights – the flight of thousands of pink flamingos in Kenya, the sun rising out of the Atlantic Ocean, the birth of my children. Those are just a few. But none will compare to the sight of my Lord. Just like Micah, He has pleaded my case and has executed justice for me. 

I have been given the promise of eternity with my Lord. It will be a place that is lit by His radiance. The glory of God will be everywhere! I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to eternity. I am looking forward to seeing my Jesus. Are you? 

Thank You Lord, for the promise of eternal life with You. I cannot wait to see Your face.  

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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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Bible, Blessing, Compassion, Covenant, Encouragement, Eternity, Following, God's Will, Goodness, Hope, Remnant, Salvation, Scripture

DEW DROPS

MICAH 5:7

“Then the remnant of Jacob will be among many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on vegetation that do not wait for man, or delay for mankind.”

I went fishing early in the morning recently. I took my son and granddaughter. Of course, the grass was wet from the dew that had fallen during the night. In fact, it was very wet. My granddaughter is only 4 years old, so the wet grass got her little jeans wet, even though she was wearing rain boots. She didn’t care too much for that (but she loved the fishing).

The remnant of Jacob is compared to the dew that falls from heaven. They shall bring refreshing moisture to a parched land. All hope was gone when the people had been taken into captivity, but the Lord, through Micah, promises a remnant will return. And through that remnant, salvation shall come.

APPLICATION

Isn’t it funny how God orchestrates things? The people of Israel and Judah were taken in and out of captivity during those years of judgment. All the while, God’s plan of salvation was waiting to be implemented. The Law could not give what the people really needed. He had to show them the helplessness of their efforts in the Law.

Through Judah, Christ came as a baby in a manger. The Lion of Judah was born weak as a lamb. But His life on earth came like that remnant to give hope. This hope will last for eternity, unlike the hope from the remnant. This plan for man’s salvation is eternal.

Are you secure in Christ? Do you know Him as your personal Lord and Savior? That is the only way to find the hope you need. I am thankful for the dewdrops from heaven that I receive each morning as I study His Word and pray. They remind me how blessed I am in Jesus.

Father God, thank You for dewdrops that are sent to remind me of Your faithfulness.

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Bible, Bitterness, Boasting, Conceit, Eternity, God's Will, Humility, Scripture, Witnessing

DISDAIN

MICAH 4:11

“‘And now many nations have been assembled against you who say, “Let her be defiled, and let our eyes gloat over Zion!”’”

I need to ask you a tough question. Have you ever looked with disdain on someone? You may ask, Carl, what does that mean? Well, let me explain. Disdain is the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect. It is having contempt for that person or thing.

That was the feeling that the surrounding nations had for Israel. She (Israel) was just a piece of ground that was in their way. They saw the Israelites as beneath them. Of course, we know this feeling carried down through the ages. Everyone around them was always trying to defeat them. The Lord is simply reminding them of this.

APPLICATION

We have no right to ever look at anyone with disdain. Everyone needs Jesus. It does not matter what a person’s socioeconomic status is. It does not matter their race or ethnicity. No one should see others as beneath them. We are all in need of grace, and there is only one place to get it – Jesus.

As I travel over the globe, I get a chance to meet some incredible people. I am traveling, the Lord willing, to Burundi and Tanzania next month. I have never been to these two countries. I know I will meet a lot of people in these countries who need Jesus. Others I meet will know the Lord and are probably living for Him much better than I am. I want to learn from both groups of people.

We are in a lost world that is in need of a Savior, whether they know it or not. We cannot waste time looking down on someone. That person has a soul that will spend eternity somewhere. It is our mission as believers to try to reach them for the kingdom. So, the next time you start to think you are better than someone else, think again. The King is above us all.

I am not worthy to call You my Father, but I forever grateful You call me Your son.

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Eternity, God's Will, Heaven, Hell, Salvation, Scripture

FOREVER

MICAH 4:7

“‘I will make those who limp a remnant, and those who have strayed a mighty nation, and the LORD will reign over them on Mount Zion from now on and forever.’”

When we make our wedding vows to one another, we promise to love and protect the rest of our lives. That may seem like a long time, but it really isn’t. I have known couples who have been married 65 and 70 years. That is practically unheard of nowadays. But as long as that is, it is not forever.

The Hebrew word for “forever” used here in today’s verse is olam. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines it as “vanishing point; generally, time out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity.” That is how long the LORD will reign. We, with our finite minds, cannot comprehend what forever really means. We just know it is a long, long time.

APPLICATION

Are you prepared to spend eternity with God? I sure hope so. The alternative is to spend eternity somewhere else – hell. Yes, hell is a very real place with real torment. We also cannot comprehend just how horrible it will be. Movies and human descriptions fall far short. The most horrible thing about hell will be the eternal separation from God.

But there is good news. That is not necessary. Jesus died for our sins to ransom us from the grips of hell. When we surrender our lives to Him and accept Him as Lord and Savior, we forever (there’s that word again) escape the horrors of hell. We will be welcomed into the loving arms of Jesus and will reign with Him forever.

That word keeps popping up, doesn’t it? Forever! I am prepared. I punched that ticket way back in 1977. I am sealed and protected by the Holy Spirit that lives in me. I desire the same for you and everyone I know. Actually, I desire that for everyone – period. Will you join me in making that known to all you know? Together we can reap a harvest.

I will praise You forever and ever, Lord. I look forward to spending eternity with You.

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