Accountability, Battles, Bible, Choices, Evil, Purity, Sacrifice, Scripture

WHAT A DISGRACE

HABAKKUK 2:16

“‘You will be filled with disgrace rather than honor. Drink, you yourself, and expose your own foreskin! The cup in the LORD’S right hand will come around to you, and utter disgrace will come upon your glory.’”

Too many men have fallen into disgrace in the recent years through moral indiscretions, bad choices and just plain being dumb. My first thought when I hear these stories is where were the godly men in their lives holding them accountable. Where were their friends?

God continues in verse 16 with this most recent woe. Here He is warning the Chaldeans of their own self-imposed disgrace. Their shame knew no low. Drunkenness, nudity and immoral behaviors ran deep in their lifestyles. They did not recognize the holiness of God or care that He had warned them of justice.

APPLICATION

Before you start pointing fingers at them, take a look at yourself. You may not live a disgraceful, public life, but how about your private thoughts? How about that secret sin you have hidden away (or so you think)? As believers, we are to live holy lives (check out 2 Peter 3:14). Our actions are to be above reproach.

I know you are probably thinking that your “little sin” isn’t hurting anyone. It’s all yours. It’s not anyone’s business. But our sins do not live in isolation. Sooner or later all those sins affect those closest to you. That secret porn addiction is harming your relationship with your spouse. That second or third glance at someone plants ideas in your mind that will come back to haunt you.

Christ has the answer. Amputation! Don’t get alarmed. I am not talking about any bodily maiming. But I am meaning that you have to take drastic action to rid yourself of these enticements. He has given you the power to do it through His Holy Spirit. Lean into Him. He is there. Listen to Him and obey.

Purify my mind today, O Lord. Cleanse me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

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Abuse, Bible, Darkness, Evil, Flesh, Holiness, Justice, Purity, Scripture

DEBAUCHERY

HABAKKUK 2:15

“‘Woe to him who makes his neighbor drink; to you who mix in your venom even to make your neighbors drunk, so as to look at their genitalia!’”

I have read too many case files of child abuse. Just when I thought I had heard it all, I would get another case with even darker sins exposed. Actions taken against children anger me. To see their innocence robbed of them makes me scream for justice. One day all those perpetrators will receive their just reward.

The third woe has begun, and this one is against such abuse of others. Getting others drunk in order to leer at their nakedness or even abuse them was abhorrent to God. These Chaldeans were a wicked bunch of people and used their power over their enemies to abuse them.

APPLICATION

You are probably not going to carry out such actions on another person. At least I hope you wouldn’t. But we can be just as sinful in our minds. Jesus told us to even look at a woman with lust in our hearts is a sin. That goes for women looking at men as well. You may not be getting them drunk and abusing them, but you are sinning against them just as much.

How do you protect yourself from such base desires of the flesh? By filling your mind with His Word. The more of His Word we have memorized and studied, the more weapons we have to fight off those evil desires of the heart. It takes discipline and effort to memorize Scripture, but the payoff is one hundred fold.

Why don’t you make a plan to start memorizing one verse a week? That’s not hard to do if you are determined to do it. There are many tools you can use, including some pretty, cool Bible apps to help. As you begin to do this, you will find those impure thoughts become less and less because your mind is flooded with pure things. Give it a try.

Fill my mind with Your Words, O Lord. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight.

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Bible, Consequences, Discipline, Evil, God's Will, Modeling, Scripture

SCHEMERS

HABAKKUK 2:9

“‘Woe to him who makes evil profit for his household, to put his nest on high, to be saved from the hand of catastrophe!’”

Some people will stop at nothing to advance their own schemes and plans. All they care about is themselves and their family. Sometimes even the family falls prey to the schemes. It may seem they are getting away with it. They are not. They will face retribution at the hand of God one day.

God is still blasting the Chaldeans in verse 9. All those Chaldeans who are making “evil profit” will get what is coming to them. They think they are going to escape the coming catastrophe, but they won’t. God’s long reach of justice will catch up to them.

APPLICATION

There is nothing wrong with making a profit. The world economy depends on that. Businesses make profits so they can hire employees and expand their business. But to make evil profits is against all that is good. God cannot and will not bless any business or the owners who are harming others to line their own pockets.

There are hundreds of verses about money in the Bible. Do a word search for yourself. You might be amazed. God does not disapprove of us having money. He wants to bless us. Just don’t let your desire for money bring you to ruin.

I know His Word says that the love of money is the root of evil. Use it. Pursue it. Just don’t let it become your sole aim in life. Paul goes on in that passage to say those who are eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grieves (1 Timothy 6:10). Don’t be a schemer!

Father, save me from worldly lusts of money. Show me how to use it wisely and obediently.

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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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Advice, Affliction, Answers, Bible, Despair, Evil, Looking, Scripture

I CAN’T STAND IT!!!

HABAKKUK 1:3

“Why do You make me see disaster, and make me look at destitution? Yes, devastation and violence are before me; strife exists and contention arises.”

Too much of anything is well…too much. Whether that be good or bad! When I was going through my chemotherapy, there were days when all I could see was the misery. On the outside I put on a fairly, brave face. Most people would not have known I was struggling. But on the inside, I was throwing in the towel. I was done. All I felt was bad, with no end in sight.

Habakkuk’s eyes are full of disaster, destitution, devastation, violence, strife and contention. That would depress anyone. He is finding it hard to comprehend this. God had promised blessings to Israel, not curses. God was about to tell him why these things are here. But right now, at this moment, Habakkuk is simply continuing to cry out to God.

Do these words describe your life right now – disaster, destitution, devastation, violence, strife and contention? If so, may I be so bold as to say to you that your eyes are on the wrong thing. When we look and look at all the evil around us, we are mesmerized by it. We can’t stop looking away.

APPLICATION

It’s kind of like if you are in your car and come across an accident. You slow down and look. You don’t want to stop looking. You know it’s not good, but you can’t help it. Sin can captivate us. And suddenly, we are stuck in this pit of disaster, destitution, devastation, violence, strife and contention. We too are screaming at God that we can’t stand it.

I don’t know about you, but I do not want those things in my life. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:8-9a, “8 But now you also, rid yourselves of all of them: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you stripped off the old self with its evil practices,…” If we stop looking at these things, we will soon discover that God has been there all the time, just waiting for us to look His way.

I want to focus my eyes on You, Lord, and not on the things of this world.  

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Abiding, Battles, Bible, Defense, Enemies, Evil, Fortress, Protection, Rescue, Scripture

YOUR RAMPART

NAHUM 3:8

Are you better than No-Amon, which was situated by the canals of the Nile, with water surrounding her, whose rampart was the sea, whose wall consisted of the sea?

I remember as a child building forts with my neighborhood buddies. My best friend was Robert Brooks, and we would play incessantly in his backyard which had this great, big field (at least we thought it was big back then) that went back to the edge of a tract of woods. Oh, the fun we had battling our “enemies” in our forts. We thought we were invincible.

So did Nineveh! They thought they would exist forever. But the high and lofty will fall and so they did. Nahum is referring to the great nation of No-Amon, which was situated in Northern Egypt. This nation ruled the world for a period of time. Their “rampart was the sea.” Their fortress wall on the north was the sea, which they thought protected them. They too fell to an invading nation.

APPLICATION

What is your rampart? Or better yet, who is your rampart? As protected as we think we are, we are no match for the enemy on our own. We need strong walls. We need an army. That is found in the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jesus promises us that at salvation. He will defend us. No force can touch us without His permission.

I don’t know about you, but I can rest in that. The very one who defeated death and the grave has my back. His power trumps any other power. I recently heard about some Jihadist who were planning an attack on a Christian village. Two days in a row, as they were traveling in their caravan of trucks, they had accidents which prevented them from the attack. God is showing His power today.

Praise to the Father of all armies. Praise to His power and might. Praise Him above all others. We know He is in control. Will you rest in Him today? He is your rampart!

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation! Praise to the Lord, who will prosper your work and defend you!

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Accused, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Defeat, Devil, Evil, Power, Scripture, Victors

LED AWAY

NAHUM 2:7

It is set: She is stripped, she is led away, And her slave women are sobbing like the sound of doves, beating their breasts.”

I had a friend, who is now with the Lord, who was captured and was a prisoner of war during World War II. He survived the Bataan Death March in the Philippines that was led by the Japanese. He told me once how hopeless and helpless he felt. I cannot imagine what he went through.

Nahum is describing Nineveh as a woman being led away in captivity – stripped, sobbing, beating their breasts. Hopeless, helpless! When Nineveh was defeated, the surviving inhabitants were led away. Nineveh would never be the same. Rebellion against God never ends well.

APPLICATION

We often feel defeated. We feel hopeless and helpless when the enemy is upon us. When we give in to the attacks, he can rob us of our joy. But we must remember what Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

We are not defeated. We are victorious because of Christ. We are the victors. The war has already been decided, and we are on the winning side. Never forget that. We will face battles in the future, and we may fail at times. But we are not captives.

Aren’t you glad that you are not on a death march? When you  get discouraged, look up. You need allies in your life who can come alongside you during those trying times. Most of all, turn to Jesus, who can take all your pain away. You are NOT DEFEATED!

Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever. He sought me and bought me with His redeeming love.

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Accountability, Bible, Boundaries, Devil, Enemies, Evil, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Praise, Scripture

VILE

NAHUM 1:14 

“The LORD has issued a command concerning you: ‘Your name will no longer be perpetuated. I will eliminate the carved image and the cast metal image from the house of your gods. I will prepare your grave, for you are contemptible.’” 

Psalm 101.3 says “I will not look on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do. I will have no part in it.” That should be our attitude towards anything that is vile. But what does that mean? It’s the last word used in today’s verse – contemptible. It means to be cursed or despised. If it is not godly, have no part in it. 

Nahum tells the Assyrians that their time was up. The Lord is going to wipe them away like crumbs from a table. “Your name will no longer be perpetuated…I will prepare your grave.” Those are pretty harsh words. God meant business. He had used them as His battering ram against Israel to judge them, but they had taken it too far. 

APPLICATION 

Today we are bombarded with the vile. All around us are worldly, ungodly things that try to lure us into a lifestyle that is abhorrent to God. Movies, television and commercials all attempt to point us toward a lifestyle that is anything but embracing a Christian viewpoint. 

So, what do we do? We cannot live outside this world – at least not yet. While we are here, we must insulate ourselves with the Word of God. Only His Word can give us the protection we need against the evil one. His flaming arrows are always trying to find their mark against us. 

I am thankful that God has given me the desire to memorize and meditate on His Word. I know my quiver is always full of His Word to defend myself. The Spirit within me is quick to point out those things that offend it. Rely on Him to guard your heart and mind in your daily battles. 

I dedicate my life to honoring You, O Father. You are worthy of my praise and allegiance. 

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Accountability, Bible, Devil, Discipline, Evil, God's Will, Judgment, Obedience, Satan, Scripture

AMBIDEXTROUS 

MICAH 7:3 

“As for evil, both hands do it well. The leader asks for a bribe, also the judge, and the great one speaks the capricious desire of his soul; so they plot it together.” 

I have known a few people in my life who were ambidextrous. That means they could do things with both hands equally well. Switch hitters in baseball have that trait. I have known artists who could draw or paint with either hand. It is a rare ability. I do good to use one hand. 

These individuals Micah is talking about were ambidextrously evil. Their whole focus was on doing what was bad. Micah calls out these leaders and judges who were doing this. One version of this verse translates the last phrase as “they wrap it up.” This evil was done purposely and with planning.  

APPLICATION 

What is (are) your hand(s) doing? Are you a one-handed or a two-handed sinner? Do you sin on purpose? Do you choose to do evil? Those are tough questions, I know. But, just as Micah called out the people, I feel I need to call us out on this. I know so many believers who choose to live in sin and think it is okay. 

Listen to me, God is still a holy and righteous God who demands obedience. He will not force us. That is not His nature. However, He will hold us accountable for our actions. I have said this before, but it bears repeating. Before we are saved, we chase sin. After we are saved, sin chases us. 

I know the old devil is going to throw his best pitches against me every day. He wants to trip me up. He wants to sideline me. I have to know what my hands are doing – good or evil. I strive to choose good every day. Am I perfect? Far from it! But I will use my hands to do good every chance I get. 

Father, forgive me when my hands do evil. Give me the strength to fight against the evil one. 

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Allegiance, Battles, Belief, Bible, Blasphemy, Darkness, Devil, Evil, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Idols, Satan, Scripture

SORCERY FORBIDDEN

MICAH 5:12

“‘I will eliminate sorceries from your hand, and you will have no fortune-tellers.’”

I will never forget the evening when I lived in Lakeland, FL when my wife and I decided to go to the local outdoor mall. It was new to Lakeland and had become a major evening and weekend destination because of the shops, restaurants and entertainment. We were walking along, and while my wife looked in one shop, I decided to step into this store that caught my attention. As I walked in, a chill ran up my spine. All I saw was occultic images and products. I ran out of that store as fast as I could. Such darkness.

This is what the Lord is cutting out of the land. No sorcery or fortune telling would be allowed. These were based in the pagan idolatry of the land, the very thing the Lord had warned the people of when they came into the Promised Land. Nothing had changed. These evil practices were still around and were now going to be purged. Evil was evil then and still is now.

APPLICATION

So many Christians today dabble in the occult, thinking it is frivolous or meaningless. Satan loves for us to believe that. I am not saying that a demon is going jump out of the Ouija board and tackle you to the ground, but the devil has a way to hook us into this stuff. Tarot cards and astrology are still listed in God’s eyes as sorcery and fortune-telling. That has not changed.

If you are into these things or have been in the past, let me urge you to put them down and confess that as sin. Renounce any allegiance you had to these items and get rid of them. Burn them if you can. Does this all sound extreme? You bet. Our battle with the forces of darkness is real and extreme. You must have your armor on and be free from any form of darkness.

Once you do that and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, He will make you very sensitive to these things. You will be able to recognize any form of idolatry. God wants you and me to walk in holiness, free from the entanglements of evil. Walking free is so much easier than dragging around a chain of darkness.

O Father, thank You for protecting me from evil. I know You have my back at all times.

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