Evangelism, God's Will, Eternity, Bible, Scripture, Faith, Promises, Salvation, Gospel, Judgment, Accountability, Destruction, Choices, Belief, Consequences

COUNTDOWN

JONAH 3:4

“Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, ‘Forty more days, and Nineveh will be overthrown.’”

No child likes to hear these words from their mother. “Just wait until your Father gets home.” The countdown begins. Knowing what time dad normally arrives home, the child begins to count the hours or minutes until they hear his car or truck pull into the driveway or garage. I don’t necessarily like this approach to child-rearing, but many parents use it.

Jonah was basically telling the Ninevites, “Dad’s coming, and He’s not happy.” Nineveh wasn’t just going to receive a spanking, though. They were going to be overthrown. The Hebrew word here means to overturn or turn over. In other words, life as they knew it was about to change. This is a dire warning. What would they do?

APPLICATION

God still gives us warnings. He may send it through a preacher (like Jonah, minus the fish smell, lol). He may reveal Himself to you in a passage of Scripture. He may speak through a dream. That still happens in many parts of the world where the Gospel has not been shared. I have heard numerous stories of a “man in white” appearing in a dream, giving a message to turn to Jesus.

Whether you heed the warning or not is your decision. Of course, the greatest message we have concerning our eternal doom is revealed in the Bible. That sounds bad. It’s not meant to. But the Word of God points us to a place of repentance and deliverance. And then we receive all the promises of God. He gives us fair warning. It’s spelled out clearly. We just have to believe.

In tomorrow’s blog we will see what the Ninevites do with Jonah’s warning. But I am more concerned with what you will do with it. Have you given your life to Christ? Have you turned over everything to Him? He desires to make you His own. If you have done that, praise the Lord. Now give someone else the warning. Don’t let them perish without a Savior.

God, my Father, You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.

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REFUGEES

OBADIAH 14

“Do not stand at the crossroads to eliminate their survivors; and do not hand over their refugees on the day of their distress.”

Man, we have all seen the flood of refugees from Ukraine these past few weeks. People are fleeing a war-ravaged land seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Poland, in particular, has welcomed hundreds of thousands. People of all ages, women, children and the elderly are leaving their homes behind to find a safe place to live.

God warned Edom to treat the refugees from Israel (their brothers) with care. They should not mistreat them in any way. They were to not hand them over to their enemies or kill any trying to escape. God cares for those seeking refuge in times of trouble.

APPLICATION

I love Psalm 62:8 which says, “Trust in the Lord, you people; pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.” We are all refugees. We have all left our earthly home to move to that heavenly abode. We seek refuge in the God of the universe. He welcomes all.

A refugee forsakes all to find a new home. They may leave behind homes, businesses, cars, boats – everything. Their hope is in that place they are headed. They are seeking somewhere to call home. We are just the same. We are seeking that home with God.

I am so thankful that my permanent residence is already prepared for me in Glory. I may have a home here on earth, but my permanent dwelling place awaits me. I will make that journey one day and never return. I am ready. Are you?

Take me home, Lord, whenever You are ready. The longer I stay here, the more I long for home.

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FALSE SECURITY

OBADIAH 3

“The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, the one who lives in the clefts of the rock, on the height of his dwelling place, who says in his heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?’”

I love to deer hunt here in Tennessee. Methods of hunting deer vary from state to state, but here in Tennessee, people mainly hunt from deer stands on trees or in ground blinds. I like to use the tree stands, specifically my ladder stands. However, when I climb those stands to reach my perch above the ground, I always use my safety harness. I can’t risk feeling safe up there without it.

The Edomites had a false sense of security solely because of where they lived. They had built homes in the hills and had carved a city out of the sandstone. They felt they were indestructible up there, having repelled many invasions. But God is above all and can administer justice from above. As the Lord says here, “Who will bring me down to earth?”  No one.

APPLICATION

Are you “too big for your britches”? Have you developed a false sense of security? God has a way of humbling us. He wants us to know that only He can give us true security and that only in the name of Jesus. He is the only one who makes us secure eternally.

What other kind of security do you want? Financial? That can be gone in a second. Physical? Believe me, that can leave you instantly. Socially? Friends will desert you. Only Jesus can truly make you secure. His blood on Calvary was shed to secure all mankind eternally. All we have to do is turn to Him and confess our sins and proclaim Him as Lord.

I am thankful I have made that decision. Have you? If not, do that today. If you have, who do you know who needs that kind of security? Go to them today and share the most amazing story ever told. They may just respond and join us for eternity.

I know You have me in the palms of Your hands. You hold me safe and secure.

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INCLUSION

AMOS 9:12

“‘So that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name,’ declares the LORD who does this.”

Today we hear a lot about inclusion. No one is to be left out, even if it means lowering the standards that have been set. No one should be excluded because of their gender or sexual preference. Inclusion has become a means in which anyone can claim anything and demand entrance into any place.

Well, God was the first to introduce inclusion to the world, but He had a different definition of the word. He meant it as a means to include everyone in His salvation plan. James, at the Jerusalem council quotes this passage. He says in Acts 15:17,

“‘“SO THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD, AND ALL THE GENTILES WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME,”’”

APPLICATION

I am so glad my heavenly Father decided His plan included the Gentiles. I am so thankful He extended His salvation to a young man in Southwest Georgia who had no clue he even needed to be saved. He gave me an eternal salvation and the promise to live with Him forever.

How about you? Have you heard His calling on your life? Have you surrendered your all to Him? He is just waiting. His plan is all inclusive (better than any all inclusive vacation you will ever experience). If you are a believer, then invite others to join you. They will not be disappointed.

Inclusion can be a good thing if we practice what God meant by it. He wants to accept everyone, as far as it relates to salvation. All can come to Him. He wants to use us to help with that. So, we have to get rid of any views that would prevent us from reaching out to a lost and dying world. Do that today.

I am thankful You included me in Your plans for mankind. I am thankful that I can be called by Your name.

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BLOWS FROM ABOVE

AMOS 9:1

“I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and He said, ‘Strike the pillar capitals so that the thresholds will shake and break them on the heads of them all! Then I will put to death the rest of them with the sword; they will not have a fugitive who will flee, nor a survivor who will escape.’”

Anyone knows when you are engaging your enemy you always want the high ground. That gives you a better view of the enemy’s moves and you can better defend yourself. Also, when you strike, you strike from above. Being above your target can give you an edge in the fight.

God is standing in Amos’ vision and tells His Angel of the Lord to strike the place of worship that Jeroboam had built. Strike it from above. Crush it and anyone who is there worshipping. God was done with this façade of worship. He wanted it done away with.

APPLICATION

I don’t think you want to feel God’s blows from above, do you? Well, if you are in Christ, you have nothing to fear. That’s not how God treats His children. He may discipline you, but it will always be in love and to draw you to Him.

But for those who are not in Christ, they have no idea what is coming. They will be judged one day, and they will feel those blows from God. He will crush them and send them to their eternal punishment.

There is a person on television right now who claims to be an atheist. He has done a commercial to talk about his atheist group. Just because he doesn’t believe in God, doesn’t make God not exist. But he closes his commercial by stating that he is okay with burning in hell. He has no idea. We should all pray that all these who claim such nonsense will come to their senses and realize there is a God who loves them so much.

God, I am so thankful I don’t have to fear Your blows from above. I am safe in the arms of Jesus.

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I SWEAR

AMOS 8:14

As for those who swear by the guilt of Samaria, and say, ‘As your god lives, Dan,’ and, ‘As the way of Beersheba lives,’ they will fall and not rise again.’”

My mama didn’t allow any swearing in her house. If one of us said, “I swear,” she would wear us out. We weren’t allowed to say, “My God!” She had a high respect and awe of God and didn’t allow her children to say or do anything that went against that.

The Israelites were warned by Moses and Joshua not to swear by any other God besides Jehovah. This “guilt of Samaria” probably referred to the calf that was there and was worshipped by the people. “The way of Beersheba” more than likely referred to the avenue of their idols they had set up. God despised this and held them accountable for their idol worship.

APPLICATION

We still make vows and swear by God. When I married, I made vows to my wife before God. When I go to court and have to testify, I am asked to raise my hand and vow to tell the truth. Swearing to God isn’t bad. Swearing to another god is a different story. That still isn’t okay with God.

You are probably thinking I would never do that. I would never swear to another god. You may not do that consciously. But have you ever put something above God in priority? Have you chosen something of the world above something that has eternal value?

We swear in all kinds of ways. We can’t allow ourselves to get sidetracked or out of focus. Satan loves to get our eyes off what is eternal and onto the temporal. We can become so obsessed with worldly things that we totally forget what is important, what is righteous, what is pure. Take a step back today and evaluate what you put first in your life.

Lord, keep me on the straight and narrow. Help me to focus on the eternal things.

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WELL, YOU ASKED FOR IT

AMOS 7:17

“Therefore, this is what the LORD says: ‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, your sons and your daughters will fall by the sword, your land will be parceled up by a measuring line, and you yourself will die upon unclean soil. Furthermore, Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.’”

Do you remember as a child saying the words of the blog title to someone? Maybe they had been pestering you and had ignored your warnings to leave you alone (every big brother or sister can relate to that). After several warnings, you say those words and then let them have it.

Well, Amos is kind of saying that to Amaziah. He had been prophesying to Israel and appealing to them only to be ignored and even ridiculed. So, he unleashes with both barrels. Just read those words in verse 17 again. Those are harsh words. I certainly would not have wanted to hear them spoken to me.

APPLICATION

So, how does this verse relate to us? No one is going to do those things to us today. Well, at least I sure hope not. You may be thinking those words only apply to these Israelites back during these days. But remember – every word of God’s Word can be applied to our lives today.

What was Amos telling them? Shape up. Judgment is coming. The same thing can be said to us today. We need to recognize the holiness of God and live according to His standards. Anyone found without Christ will face a judgment far worse. Their judgment will be for eternity.

I am so thankful my eternal destination is set. I know where I am going. I don’t have to fear a damnation judgment. I will be serving my Lord in Glory. It’s going to be an amazing sight to behold. One day – soon!

Lord, please forgive me for the many transgressions in my life. Help me lead a life that points only to You.

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DON’T DO THAT HERE

AMOS 7:13

“But do not prophesy at Bethel any longer, for it is a sanctuary of the king and a royal residence.”

Some people can get on your last nerve. Am I right? They have a way of annoying you and don’t even realize it. Some of the things they do aren’t bad. They are just irritating. For instance, someone who hums a lot can push you to your limit. The humming isn’t bad. It just never stops. You want to tell them to go hum someplace else.

Amaziah continues speaking to Amos in verse 13. That’s basically what he says. He tells Amos if he is gong to prophesy, do it someplace else. The king can’t be bothered. What Amos was saying might upset the king, and Amaziah didn’t want to see that. Hmmm, I wonder why.

APPLICATION

We should be so annoying. Let me explain. I don’t really want us to annoy people, but I do want us to continue to talk about Jesus. I want people to see me coming and know they are going to hear something about Jesus. I pray I say it in a way that encourages them and does not drive them away.

Being consistent in our witness is challenging. My circle of influence seems to be around “church folks.” I don’t get much exposure to non-believers. I have to purposely seek out that group. But that is something I need to be more consistent in doing.

My prayer for us today is that we all get busy. I pray we all can be as “annoying” as Amos was to Amaziah. I pray everything we say is true and points to Jesus. I pray the Lord leads people into our lives who need to hear this message of forgiveness and grace. Amen?

Lord, help us reach others with Your Word. Put those in our path today who need this lifegiving word from You.

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A CONSUMING FIRE

AMOS 7:4

“So the Lord GOD showed me, and behold, the Lord GOD was calling to contend with them by fire, and it consumed the great deep and began to consume the farmland.”

I have mentioned I grew up in a rural community. That meant I was surrounded by farmland. Every once in a while, a farmer would burn off his field. It was a controlled burn, but it still was hot and moved fast. I have watched farmers do this and have even helped on occasion. The fire destroyed everything in its path.

Fire is a symbol of God’s judgment. Amos had just stilled God’s hand in verse 3 (God relented). But here, we see God once again sending forth His judgment on the land. And just like that fire that farmer set, His fire will destroy whatever is in its path. His judgment is sure.

APPLICATION

Don’t think for a second that you can escape the fires of God’s judgment. He won’t excuse us. We have been warned. Many live their lives with no fear of eternity. Just because they don’t believe doesn’t make it untrue. God is real! His Word is true! God will have the last word.

And when God’s judgment comes, it will be too late to say, “Hold on God. I was going to get around to accepting Your Son.” Nope, that won’t work. If you are a believer, praise Him for your salvation. If you haven’t made that decision to follow Jesus, do it today.

I do not fear God’s judgment because I know I am secure. I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit and am headed to heaven. But there are many I know that aren’t secure. They haven’t made that decision. Others I know aren’t walking with the Lord. They are living to please the flesh and not the Spirit. Will you join me today in living for His Son? Will you trust Him to secure your eternity?

O God, my Savior, I praise You for the security I have in You. I pray others will come and experience the freedom they can have in You.

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ASHES TO ASHES

AMOS 6:10

“Then one’s uncle, or his undertaker, will lift him up to carry out his bones from the house, and he will say to the one who is in the innermost part of the house, “Is anyone else with you?” And that one will say, “No one.” Then he will answer, “Keep quiet! For the name of the LORD is not to be mentioned.”

My wife and I have decided to be cremated rather than buried. It’s really a matter of choice for everyone. There’s no right or wrong way biblically. In fact, our verse today is one of the few verses that speaks about burning a body.

The Hebrew words in this verse actually mean to burn. “Undertaker” carries that definition. Here’s another reason it is so important to study the Hebrew and Greek text to see the real meaning of the text. This person, whomever it is, is the one who takes up the body and burns it, perhaps so the body wouldn’t be abused by those who had defeated Israel.

APPLICATION

The application today will not be a debate about cremation. As I said, that is an individual decision. My body will mean nothing to me at death. This old shell of flesh will eventually disintegrate anyway. For me and my wife, we have chosen the cremation route. But that’s our choice.

The point Amos is trying to make today is not the mode of getting rid of a body. He is pointing out the real hopelessness the Israelites felt. They couldn’t even mention the name of God. They were so low and depressed they felt it didn’t matter at this point.

Oh, but listen. No matter how low you may be, you can always call on Jesus. He is always there. You can’t get too low for Him. His reach exceeds your depression. And whether you are cremated or buried at death, you will be with Him for eternity. Rest in that. Trust that He is near at all times.

Lord, I am thankful that my eternal resting place is not determined by how my body ends up. I am whole in You.

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