Bible, Evangelism, God's Will, Judgment, Scripture, Witnessing

THE DAY HAS ARRIVED

ZEPHANIAH 1:14

“The great day of the LORD is near, near and coming very quickly; listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly.”

Those famous words of the mother, “You just wait til your father gets home.” For most children that meant that dad would be the one to deal out the discipline. That could range from a spanking to grounding. But the wait…that was the worst part. If you did something early in the day, you had all day to wait.

Zephaniah is restating those words of Joel 2:31 about the great and terrible day of the Lord. This “day” wasn’t a one-time event. God’s judgment fell on numerous days against His children because of their disobedience and rebellion. A day of the Lord meant chastisement. It meant correction. But we have to remember it was all done in love.

APPLICATION

As believers in Christ, we do not fear a day of the Lord. Our sins have been paid for by His Son, Jesus. We walk in covenant relationship with Him knowing that we are forgiven and free. But this freedom does not give us the liberty to live as we want. We still have to follow His commands.

The day of the Lord is coming for millions, though. All those who are not in Christ will face a judgment for their sins. And when He returns, it will be too late. No second chances. No reprieves. So, we must be His instruments to spread the good news to all we encounter. He is still using people to spread His message.

While we can be content in our relationship with Jesus, we cannot let others die without it. There are so many all around the world who will die today and spend eternity in darkness. How can you and I change that? Pray! Pray for believers all over the world to speak out and be bold. We can all do that.

Lord, I know You will return one day to take us home. Help us spread the word far and wide before that day.

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Bible, Direction, Evangelism, Fishing, Obedience, Scripture, Service, Witnessing

WHAT ARE YOU FISHING FOR?

HABAKKUK 1:15

The Chaldeans bring all of them up with a hook, drag them away with their net, and gather them together in their fishing net. Therefore, they rejoice and are joyful.”

I love to fish, especially for large-mouth bass. Anyone who has read my blogs in the past is aware of this. I don’t get to fish as much as I used to, but I love it. Fishing is fun and exciting (especially if you are catching fish). It relieves stress for me. I could be happy whether I am catching a lot of fish or not. But I am always looking for a bite with every cast.

The Chaldeans were not literally using fishhooks and nets to gather the people of Israel. Habakkuk is using that imagery because it is one the people could relate to. They had all seen fishermen at work. They saw how they rejoiced when they had a big catch. The Chaldeans, Habakkuk says, will react the same. They will rejoice at their victory over Israel.

APPLICATION

What are you fishing for? I don’t mean you are using a pole or rod and reel. I am asking if you are fishing for souls. Jesus told His would-be disciples what He would do for them. He tells these fishermen He will change their lives if they will follow Him. Look at this story from Matthew 4.

“18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

Jesus is calling us just like He called Peter, Andrew, James and John. We may not be mending nets, but we are busy with other things. He tells us to lay down those busy things and follow Him in doing the better things. Will you cast your net today into the waters Jesus is directing you? There are souls to be saved.

Lord, I know You are calling me to fish for men, not fish. Show me where to cast my net today.

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Bible, Calling, Evangelism, Gospel, Scripture, Witnessing

A CALL TO THE NATIONS

MICAH 4:2

“Many nations will come and say, ‘Come and let’s go up to the mountain of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob, so that He may teach us about His ways, and that we may walk in His paths.’ For from Zion will go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

I have been privileged to travel to many nations to teach and preach about the Lord Jesus Christ. In many of these nations I have trained pastors and other church leaders how to present the Gospel and how to make disciples. What a joy to see the Gospel spread far and wide.

Micah prophesies here of the end times when nations will return to the Lord. In the days of Micah, the people already knew of some of the vastness of our globe, but they had no idea just how big the world was. But they still could envision the throngs of people from all over coming to Jerusalem, to the “mountain of the LORD.” A little hope is given.

APPLICATION

We have a role in this end-time prophesy. We are to share with all who will listen about what Jesus has done. We will have a part in seeing these nations return to Him. You do not have to pack up and travel to some remote village. In our day, we can zoom around the world by computer, literally using Zoom. It is an amazing tool.

Covid shut down the world, but at the same time it opened it up. There were more sermons posted online than ever before. There were more live streamed church services than ever before. I have a friend in a small town in Kenya who is still streaming their church services each Sunday. His messages are traveling around the world.

But this all starts with our own Jerusalem. We need to be busy sharing with our neighbors and friends. We can change the world one person at a time. Will you join me today by sharing with at least one person about Jesus?

Father, I praise You for allowing me the privilege to share Jesus with all I meet.

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Cleansing, Confrontation, Deception, Despair, Destruction, Evangelism, Gospel, Integrity, Leading, Scripture, Witnessing

DISHONEST GAIN

MICAH 3:10

“Who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with malice.”

In one of my earliest ministry experiences, I worked with a person who was in leadership on the campus where I served. That person would take gifts meant for the children we served and take them home for their grandchildren. They would also take pool chemicals purchased for the campus to use in their own pool a home. Dishonest gain!

Micah continues his prophecies against the leaders of Israel and Judah. They had made their way to the top by stepping all over the “little people.” The poor and less fortunate were used by these leaders so they could gain more wealth and prestige. It did not matter who they hurt to get ahead.

APPLICATION

There is nothing much worse than someone who will take advantage or steal from the poor. They must not have a conscience. Wickedness pours out of them. They do not care who they use, as long as they get what they want. We believers should be able to spot those individuals a mile off.

So, how do we deal with people like that? Just like Jesus. What did He do? He loved them (He even died for them), but He did not join in with them. He dealt with the Pharisees and Sadducees often. Many of these got their positions by these very means – using others. Jesus knew that. He confronted them of their sins. But He still loved them.

Loving someone like that is hard, but we are called to do just that. How else will they hear and see the Gospel. They may spurn your words. They may even threaten you. That is okay. You have planted the seed which can grow later. It is our calling to spread the good news to everyone. Will you do that today? Who knows that person just might repent and come to Christ because of a word you shared?

Thank You, Lord, for cleansing me of my selfishness. Give me a love for the unlovable so they can hear Your message of forgiveness.

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

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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Belief, Bible, Choices, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Fear, Power, Praise, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony

NOW I BELIEVE

JONAH 1:16

“Then the men became extremely afraid of the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.”

Sometimes seeing is believing. For instance, try to explain to someone who has never seen the ocean what it is. It’s more than a large body of water. It has its own ecosystem with fish and clams and shrimp. It has waves (they may ask what a wave is) that break on the shore. Explain that, lol.

These sailors were now seeing the power of God in the stillness of the sea. They saw His power in the storm, but this stillness was supernatural. The storm stopped when they threw Jonah overboard. His words had come true. They worshipped Jehovah God right there on the deck of the ship and probably offered a sacrifice as they made those vows. They now belonged to Him.

APPLICATION

Many times, we never see the result of our witness. We plant seeds and leave, only to have someone else come along and water and perhaps reap the harvest. Jonah never saw the change in the sailors’ lives. He was swimming for his life. Hmmm, that applies to us today.

In the midst of our trials, we are so often so busy trying to survive that we forget others are watching us. They are observing how we handle this trial. Does our speech match our deeds? Is our walk matching our talk?

Don’t forget that. People are watching to see if your words become true. I am not saying you are a prophet, lol. I am saying that you need to speak truth at all times. Then you are to make sure you are walking in that truth. The people who are watching you are looking for glimpses of Jesus, whom you proclaim. Can they see Him?

O God, my Savior, You may throw me in a raging sea only for the benefit of someone else so they can see Your power. Use me Lord.

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Attention, Boasting, Commands, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony

REVEALED

JONAH 1:9

“So he said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.’”

I met with a young man recently for the first time. We had only briefly met earlier at a local restaurant, so I did not know anything about him. When we met, I asked him to share his background with me. Why? So, I could get to know him a little better. I needed to understand where he had come from.

After lots were cast and Jonah had been questioned by the sailors as to who he was, Jonah finally begins to reveal himself to them. He said, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and dry land.” In other words, Jonah was saying he knew who was behind this storm. That was not welcomed news.

APPLICATION

Have you been revealed? Do others know anything about you. After my new friend shared his background with me recently, I felt like I knew him better. I understood where he was coming from. With that information, I could help direct him in the right direction, perhaps.

Revealing ourselves is difficult. It is especially dangerous when we aren’t sure how we will be affected. We open ourselves up to ridicule and shame. But we have to remember that Jesus revealed Himself even though He knew what the result would be. No one has ever revealed themselves as clearly as Christ.

I am pretty picky as to whom I reveal myself. Trust is not something I give away easily. It has to be earned. That can be earned quickly, as with this new friend I just made. Or it may take some time. But revealing myself is something I must do. That draws others to Jesus. Would you reveal yourself to someone today and share how the Lord has led you?

I am forever grateful, Lord, for You revealing Yourself to me. Help me to do the same for others.

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Accountability, Bible, Calling, Confrontation, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Gospel, Judgment, Listening, Obedience, Repentance

REPENT

JONAH 1:2

“Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry out against it, because their wickedness has come up before Me.”

Many years ago, while moving from South Carolina to Mississippi, I was following my wife through the hills of northern Alabama. She had our infant daughter in the car with her, while I was following in the moving truck with our four-year-old son. She was falling asleep and weaving all over the road. In the truck I could not get her attention by flashing my lights or honking my horn. I just knew I was going to watch her drive off the road and down the hill. I was trying to save her, but she wouldn’t listen. (She did finally wake up).

God tells Jonah to go tell the Ninevites how to get saved. He was sending Jonah on a specific mission to a specific people. God had seen “their wickedness” and decided it was time to take action. He wanted to give them the chance to be forgiven and come to Him.

APPLICATION

Are you trying to get someone’s attention about God? Some people are like my wife in that car. They can’t seem to hear the cries from God for them to come to Him. They are locked on to their own path and nothing is going to deter them. They don’t even know they are about to drive off a cliff.

Others God knows are just ripe for the harvest. He has already prepared their hearts. That’s why sometimes it is so easy to lead someone to Christ. They are like the Ninevites – eager to know the truth.

Boy, I am so glad I heard the words of the Lord. I am thankful He has caused me to turn towards Him and receive salvation. I am trying to be more mindful of those opportunities to share the Gospel. I’m not judged by their response. I am judged by God only by my decision to be obedient. How about you?

Thank You, Lord, for saving me and giving the opportunity to share with others.

Check out our ministry site at www.twr.org/carl-willis

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Bible, Calling, Choices, Covenant, Disciplemaking, Eternity, Evangelism, God's Will, Heaven, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

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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