Accountability, Accused, Belief, Bible, Cleansing, Commitment, Faith, Forgiveness, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

EVERY KNEE WILL BOW

ZEPHANIAH 2:11

“The LORD will be terrifying to them, for He will starve all the gods of the earth; and all the coastlands of the nations will bow down to Him, everyone from his own place.”

I can still remember when I came to Christ. I was raised in church and even got baptized at eight, but I did not bow to Christ until I was sixteen. While singing a song, Christ spoke to me clearly and showed me my sins. That night I bowed to Him and gave my life to Him. I was proud and egotistical, but I knew I was lost and in need of salvation.

Zephaniah tells us in 2:11 that all “the nations will bow down to Him. The Hebrew word here for “bow down” is shachah which means to bow down, crouch, fall down flat, humbly beseech, do reverence, worship. Do you get the picture? One day, Zephaniah says, they will all worship Him. That holds true today. Everyone will bow one day before the Lord. No exceptions.

APPLICATION

If this prophecy is true (and it is), then we need to be busy spreading the good news. Philippians 2:10-11 says, “10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Sounds a little bit like Zephaniah, doesn’t it?

We all know people who are just like I was at sixteen. They are too proud to admit they need a Savior. They think they can handle things on their own. But it is not about that. It’s about realizing we will all answer for our sins one day. Without Christ in your life, you will not have the right answer. Without Christ there is no escaping God’s wrath.

But praise be to God, with Christ, we have the answer. Our answer to God is “I am Your child. I belong to You because of the blood of Your Son. He paid the price for me.” Is that your answer today? Have you bowed down to Him? Have you seen your sins and realized your need for a Savior? If not, do that today. He is waiting.

I bow before You today, O God. I worship You.

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Accused, Belief, Bible, Consequences, Deliverance, Faith, God's Will, Holiness, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

INSTEAD OF THIS, YOU GET THAT

ZEPHANIAH 2:10

“This they will have in return for their arrogance, because they have taunted and boasted against the people of the LORD of armies.”

The old payback – no one wants that. Right? If you have ever done something to harm someone who has the ability to get you back, you are constantly looking over your shoulder. Siblings are great at that. They will plot until just the right time and then nail you. I’ve known people who waited for years to strike back and get their vengeance.

Of course, God is not getting vengeance on the Moabites and Ammonites. He is simply giving them what they deserve according to His judgment on them. In return for their violence against His people, they will be judged. Instead of blessings, they have incurred His wrath. If they had only yielded to Him. But instead, they rebelled and now are suffering the consequences.

APPLICATION

God is still in the reward business. If we turn to Jesus and confess Him as Lord and Savior, then He rewards us by giving us eternal life. Instead of His wrath, we get blessings. If we do not come to Jesus, we will be judged by a holy God and be found lacking. Nothing we have done or could do will earn us a place in glory.

It’s really pretty simple. I think that is the problem. People don’t believe it’s that easy to get saved. They think they have to do something. All God asks of us is to confess our sins, believe in His Son and surrender to His Will. Who do you know who needs to do that? Can you lead them into a saving knowledge of Jesus today and help them escape the wrath to come?

I could list a number of verses about salvation here, but I would prefer that you look them up. Just do a Google search on salvation verses. You will get dozens and dozens. If you are not a believer, let the Word convict you and lead you to Him. If you are a believer, share these verses with someone who needs them. Praise God for His mercy and grace.

I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You. Oh my soul rejoice.

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Belief, Bible, Choices, Consequences, Destruction, Faith, God's Will, Judgment, Salvation, Scripture

THE RESULTS OF UNBELIEF

Zephaniah 2:4

“For Gaza will be abandoned, and Ashkelon will become a desolation; the inhabitants of Ashdod will be driven out at noon, and Ekron will be uprooted.”

Choices have consequences. I remember dealing with a troubled young man one time at one of the children’s homes where I served. I told him after a particularly heated episode, “You can make your own choices, but you can’t choose your consequences.” Years later I ran into this young man, now an adult, married with two children. He told me he never forgot those words, and they had guided him ever since that day.

Zephaniah begins in verse 4 listing all these nations that surrounded Judah that were rebellious towards God. Look at how he describes their end. They were abandoned, desolate, driven out and uprooted. None of these end results were positive. All these nations suffered God’s wrath. They all were judged by a holy and righteous God.

APPLICATION

I don’t want to be abandoned or desolate or driven out or uprooted. Thanks to Christ, I never will be. Because of the faith I have placed in His saving grace, I will always have God by my side. I will never be desolate. I will never be driven away from Him. I will always be grafted into Him. Those are the results I want and now have.

But so many around us are headed in the same direction as Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ekron. They are headed for disaster. The sad thing is they are not even aware of it. They think they are just fine. It’s all smooth sailing. Tragedy awaits. But we have the answer, don’t we?

Knowing where I am headed makes this life so much easier. I may still face hard times, but He is with me. 2 Timothy 1:12 tells us, “For this reason I also suffer these things; but I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to protect what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” Are you convinced?

Thank You, Lord, for giving me a future and a hope. I rest in You.

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Choices, Confession, Consequences, Denial, Faith, Scripture

DENIERS

ZEPHANIAH 1:6

“‘And those who have turned back from following the LORD, and those who have not sought the LORD nor inquired of Him.’”

It hurts to have someone turn their backs on you and behave as if you didn’t exist. I have had that experience a time or two in my life. It was no fun. Some of those situations were eventually made right, but others were not. To this day, there is a distance that I do not have the ability to fix.

The Lord is still speaking here in verse 6 and is explaining the extent of His judgment. In today’s verse, He is telling us He will eliminate (that verb is found back in verse 4) all the unbelievers, those that have claimed to know Him and turned their backs on Him and those who have never believed. Denying God is a whole lot worse than denying an earthly friend. Denying Him has eternal consequences.

APPLICATION

Denial is not just a river in Egypt. You’ve probably heard that one before. But seriously, denial is serious. I have heard it hundreds of times. God is love and would never send anyone to hell. That is exactly right. He doesn’t. We do it to ourselves by denying His existence. By making that choice, we choose hell.

Fortunately, I have known people who refused to believe most of their lives but accepted Christ before they died. Whew! That’s too close for comfort. We never know when God is going to say, “That’s it!” We need to be ready, right? Are you? Are you sure? Are you sure that you’re sure?

There is no better feeling than knowing you are securely in the arms of Jesus. He will carry you through. Once you know Him, you will never want to leave Him. Once you are sealed by His Holy Spirit, nothing can take you out of His hand. So, don’t be a denier. Don’t be a procrastinator. Come to Jesus!

I am so thankful that You have me in Your hands, Lord. I know I am secure for eternity.

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Abiding, Bible, Faith, Judgment, Scripture, Trust

ALL INCLUSIVE

ZEPHANIAH 1:3

“‘I will remove human and animal life; I will remove the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea, and the ruins along with the wicked; and I will eliminate mankind from the face of the earth,’ declares the LORD.”

Sometimes we pack stuff to go on a trip and mistakenly leave things out. That happened to me recently. I packed my pants, shirts, undershirts and socks. But I left out one important part of my wardrobe. Did you catch it? My underwear! When you pack, you need to pack the entire wardrobe. You have to include it all.

In the previous verse, Zephaniah said the Lord was going to destroy it all. Beginning with today’s verse the Lord begins to list everything included in “all.” All human and animal life will be gone. All birds and fish will disappear. God’s judgment is complete. He says He will not spare anything.

APPLICATION

Man, I am so glad that I won’t have to face God’s wrathful judgment. I will be judged for my works, but my place in heaven is guaranteed by the blood of the Lamb, the blood of His Son, Jesus. All I have belongs to Him. All I am is because of Him. I owe it all to Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:2).

What part of your “all” are you holding back? Are you afraid God is going to take it away from you and not give it back? Anything you give God is in safe hands. He will take your life and work in it every day to improve it. The more you yield to Him, the more He gives back, new and improved.

I want to encourage you today to give it all to Him. Every smidgeon of your being needs to be placed in His capable hands. Everything! And when you place it there, leave it there. Trust Him! If you start taking things back, you will never experience that peace that only come through Him.

Only trust Him, only trust Him, only trust Him now!

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Allegiance, Belief, Bible, Faith, Righteousness, Scripture, Trust

THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL LIVE BY FAITH

HABAKKUK 2:4

“‘Behold, as for the impudent one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous one will live by his faith.’”

When I read today’s verse, my mind immediately went to Ephesians 2:8-9. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves. It is a gift from God, not as a result of works, so that no man can boast.” It is only by His grace and through the faith He has given me – no other way. That is how I must live.

God points out to Habakkuk a contrast between those who are puffed up (the impudent one) whose pride is his god to those righteous who simply live by faith. One commentator said this regarding this faith. “By this faith in God, each righteous person begins to live piously, righteously, holy, peacefully and divinely, and advances therein, since in every tribulation and misery, by this faith and hope in God he sustains, strengthens, and increases this life of the soul.”

APPLICATION

Paul says it well in Galatians 2:20 (which happens to be my life verse). “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Only my faith in Jesus gives me the strength and power to live in this fallen world.

But God promises to be with us in that faith exercise. He gives us the faith to have faith. Confused? Don’t be. Faith is a gift from God. By receiving that gift of faith at salvation, we are able to grow in our faith more and more each day. Faith breeds more faith.

My faith has been tested many times. But each time I have come out stronger than I went in. My faith has been strengthened. I am able to face harder things because of that. Did I like that? Heck, no. I had rather sit in a bass boat and chunk lures at large mouth bass. But God has other plans. He wants to grow me more and more into the image of His Son. He wants the same for you. Have faith.

Have faith in God, He’s on His throne;
Have faith in God, He watches o’er His own;
He cannot fail, He must prevail;
Have faith in God, have faith in God.

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Battles, Bible, Devil, Enemies, Faith, Protection, Satan, Scripture, Victors

THE APPROACHING ENEMY

NAHUM 3:2

“The sound of the whip, the sound of the roar of the wheel, galloping horses and bounding chariots!”

I have never seen a chariot race. Chariots are not used very much anymore. But one of my favorite, all-time movies is Ben Hur. There is this classic chariot race near the end of the movie which is intense. Ben Hur, played by the late Charlton Heston, defeats his enemy in the arena. I just love that movie.

Nahum foresees the approaching enemy of Nineveh. He can envision their chariots racing down upon the city. He uses some words intentionally that, when read or said out loud, have rough “r” sounds: רעשׁ ra‛ash (roar), דהר dâhar (galloping), מרקדה meraqēdâh (bounding). You could almost hear the noises as Nahum said this.

APPLICATION

Who is our enemy? How can we know when he is approaching? 1 Peter 5:8-9 tell us. “8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 So resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brothers and sisters who are in the world.”

We are at war, beloved. The enemy has his sights set on us. He knows he has lost the war, but he will settle for some victories in some battles in our lives. When I hear of families being torn apart, I see the enemy at work. He wants to destroy the church (the bride of Christ) and attempts to do that by destroying Christian families from within.

I pray you are praying for your family daily. I pray you are praying God’s hedge of protection over them. Without His protection, we are vulnerable. Be alert. Stay focused. Pray without ceasing. With Jesus all things are possible. We walk in victory. Don’t forget that.

Thank You, Lord, for watching over me. Help me stay under the umbrella of Your protection.

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Abiding, Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Caregiver, Comfort, Dependence, Faith, Promises, Protection, Salvation, Scripture

IN TIMES LIKE THESE

NAHUM 2:10

“She is emptied! Yes, she is desolate and waste! Hearts are melting and knees wobbling! Also trembling is in the entire body, and all their faces have become pale!”

A couple of years ago, when I was going through treatment for my Amyloidosis, I got very weak. I was deathly ill. I had fainting spells and lost a lot of weight because I could not keep anything down I ate. My face was pale. My knees were wobbly. I felt as if my heart was melting. I guess you could say I could relate to the description in today’s verse.

Nahum, of course, is describing the condition of the Ninevites. Joel uses a similar description in Joel 2:6. “Before them the people are in anguish; all faces turn pale.” We find this description again in Jeremiah 30:6. “Ask now, and see if a male can give birth. Why do I see every man with his hands on his waist, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale?”

APPLICATION

The application, to me, is clear. We are weak and frail without Jesus. He is the source of our strength. You may think you are strong, but let a trial come your way and you will see what you are made of. Our flesh, in itself, can only bear so much. But it is amazing what we can endure with the help of the Lord.

Perhaps you are going through a very trying time right now in your life. You may be sick or grieving. Whatever it is, Jesus is your strength. Your knees may be wobbly, and your heart may be faint, but Jesus has you. Quit trying to manage it on your own. You can’t, He never said you could. He can and He always said He would (to borrow a quote from a dear brother-in-law).

I am so thankful that both times I went through my stem cell transplants I knew who held me. It was not the doctors or their medical knowledge. It wasn’t the great treatment I received at the hospitals. It wasn’t my wife, as precious as she was through both of those events. It was Jesus. He carried me through. He can carry you, too.

In times like these you need a Savior. In times like these you need an anchor. Be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.

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Abiding, Accountability, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Discipline, Faith, God's Will, Judgment, Restoration, Scripture

NO LONGER

NAHUM 1:12

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Though they are at full strength and so they are many, so also they will be cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no longer.’”

I had to have a test one time to determine if my nerve endings were affected by my Amyloidosis (the disease I have). I will not go into all the details of this test, but suffice it to say, it hurt. And it took a long time. I did not think it would ever end. Finally, the technician doing the test said, “Okay, Mr. Willis, we’re done now. The test is over.” What sweet words!

Nahum is telling Israel that the one He had used to afflict them would afflict them no longer. Their time of suffering had ended. Don’t you know those were sweet words to them, as well? On top of that, the ones who had afflicted them were going to get what was coming to them.

APPLICATION

Are you in a time of affliction right now? This too shall pass. Let me encourage you to not look on your affliction as affliction. Look on it as purification. See it as a testing to make you more like Jesus as you learn to trust your Father in the midst of the storm. I do not know what you are going through. I do not know the source of your trial. But I know the One who does.

There is not a trial that has ever afflicted one person that God is not aware. Some of those trials He has brought on to bring that person to Him. Other trials He has simply allowed. All of them are meant to make us better, not bitter. It all depends on how we surrender in the midst of the affliction.

I have shared numerous times in my blogs about the afflictions I have been through physically. I will hasten to say that I do not want to repeat any of them. However, I also know that God used them all to strengthen me and make me into the image He wants to produce in me. Let Him refine you today.

O God, Redeemer of my soul, make me what You want to make me. I am clay in Your hands.

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Allegiance, Bible, Choices, Covenant, Devil, Faith, Following, God's Will, Scripture

BUT AS FOR ME 

MICAH 7:7 

“But as for me, I will be on the watch for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” 

Have you ever had to make a stand about something? Maybe it was a personal conviction or perhaps it was a doctrinal issue. I remember my senior year in high school when I had to take a stand. The years before had been filled with ungodly activities and behaviors. When I became a believer, I had to say “no” to those things. It cost me some friendships. 

Micah is taking a stand. “But as for me.” In other words, you may choose another path, but I am taking God’s side. Joshua had said the same words when he said, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) These words are powerful and strong. They leave no room for compromise. 

APPLICATION 

The world is constantly testing our allegiance to Christ. The devil entices us to compromise just a little. That is all it takes – just a little. A little here, a little there. Before you know it, you have gone a long way from the truth and find it hard to get back. 

Hold firm today, my brothers and sisters. Choose today whom to obey. Paul said it so well in Romans 6:16. “Do you not know that the one to whom you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of that same one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” Death or righteousness! 

I choose righteousness. Sure, that may mean I have to give up some of these earthly pleasures. I may choose to give rather than receive. I have to remember that as a believer, this world is not my home. I am a citizen of heaven and I want to represent it well. Will you join me?  

I will choose You, O Lord. I know You will hear me.

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