Advocate, Battles, Bible, Deceit, Devil, Fighting, Oppression, Protection, Satan, Scripture

OPPRESSERS

AMOS 4:1

“Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, who exploit the poor, who oppress the needy, and say to their husbands, ‘Bring now, that we may drink!’”

Some people just like to put others down. They make themselves feel better by making others feel bad. I don’t understand that kind of thinking. Shouldn’t it be just the opposite? Shouldn’t we feel better about ourselves when we help others feel better about themselves?

In this verse today Amos turns his attention to those who oppress the poor and needy. He calls to them to make sure they are listening. I love what he calls them – cows of Bashan. That is not exactly a flattering term, is it? How would you like to be called that?

There is one out there who is the master of oppression – Satan. He will send his demons to oppress us and try to keep us down. He loves to see God’s children oppressed. He loves to see us out of the fight. While he nor his demons can possess us, he can sure oppress us.

APPLICATION

Recently, I was in Kenya with a friend. We had just visited a location the previous day and seen the Lord do a work in the lives of some people. The next morning this friend mentioned he had felt an oppression on him that night and couldn’t understand why. I reminded him of Satan’s desire to do that very thing, especially after we had seen such a victory the day before.

I don’t want to scare you today talking about this, but it’s real. We are in a spiritual battle every day. Satan is real. You cannot just pretend he is not out there, and he will go away. And he will use everything in his arsenal to try to tear us down. Don’t let him. Stand strong. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

I am so thankful that I have all power needed to defeat Satan or his demons, as long as I rely on Your power and not my own.

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Abiding, Advocate, Bible, Devil, Fighting, Protection, Safety, Satan, Scripture

THE GOD OF ARMIES

AMOS 3:13

“‘Hear and testify against the house of Jacob,’ declares the Lord GOD, the God of armies.”

I live in the United States of America. We have one of the most, if not the most, powerful armies in the world. We train and equip our army to fight at the highest level. We have competent officers to lead that army wherever it is deployed. I’m proud of our armed forces and am thankful for their service.

However, our army is no match for God’s. I love how Amos describes the Lord God here. He is the God of armies. He has the power to control multiple armies. His armies do His bidding without question. They conquer every foe. Nothing can stand in His way.

APPLICATION

If all that is true, then why in the world do we worry if God is on our side? As children of God, we have the most powerful fighting force imaginable in our corner. Nothing can touch us, unless God allows it. Every day He protects us from the flaming arrows of the evil one, and we are not even aware.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Too many of us walk around defeated when we should be walking in victory. Read the end of the Book. We win! Satan is already a defeated foe. Why fear a foe that is already whipped. Claim the victory that is already yours.

I am thankful my Commander-in-Chief doesn’t change every election cycle. My CIC reigns eternally. He always knows just how to defeat the enemy. I can rest in His protection. Will you do that today? He wants you to experience that perfect peace.

O God, You are my defender. I will run to You for my defense.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Brokenness, Choices, Destruction, Enemies, Faithfulness, Fighting, Humility, Judgment, Obedience, Rescue, Scripture

NOTHING LEFT

AMOS 1:8

“‘I will also eliminate every inhabitant from Ashdod, as well as him who holds the scepter, from Ashkelon; and I will direct My power against Ekron, and the remnant of the Philistines will perish,’ says the Lord GOD.”

Many years ago I served as a Group Leader for a boys’ cottage at a children’s home in Georgia. I took my boys, all 10 of them, to a pizza restaurant in a nearby town that had a pizza buffet. Now, I had ten teenage boys. Can you imagine the destruction they caused to that buffet? In fact, it was so bad the manager asked us to stop eating. Nothing was left!

The Lord is announcing total destruction to the Philistines. Even the remnant will perish. That’s pretty complete. God is thorough. He never does anything half-way. He is promising Israel this enemy will be destroyed in His time and in His way. I can just hear the people rejoicing.

APPLICATION

The Lord is still working that way. Everything He does in our lives is complete. The problem is we get in the way. We try to figure it out ourselves. And God will let us do that. He won’t move in and rescue us unless we seek Him. He is just that way. I guess you could say He is polite.

But listen, don’t depend on your smarts. Humble yourself and turn to Him. He will still ask you to be a part of what He wants to do in your life, but let Him lead. That’s hard for a lot of us, especially us men. We want to take charge. Lay it down. He will complete it if we will let Him. He will see it through.

I know the Lord will complete me, if I let Him. I have to come to the end of myself. When I do, He is there. And the finished product He produces is always better than what I could do. There is no comparison. So, why do I try to do it myself? I don’t know. I am still learning. I learn everyday.

I will lay my desires down, Lord, and let You lead. I know it always best when I do.

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Advocate, Battles, Bible, Consequences, Encouragement, Enemies, Fighting, Judgment, Protection, Scripture

ALL OF THEM

AMOS 1:6

“This is what the LORD says: ‘For three offenses of Gaza, and for four, I will not revoke its punishment, because they led into exile an entire population to turn them over to Edom.’”

We recently had a battle with “sugar” ants. Those are the little, tiny ants you can hardly see, but they get everywhere. We had them in our pantry, on our kitchen counters and even in our bathroom. My wife sprayed and wiped them away. We had our pest control guy come out and spray. Still those little things kept showing up. We tried out best and finally we got rid of them. We exiled them all, lol.

The Lord turns His attention to the next enemy of Israel, and Israel cheered. Gaza was a hated enemy. Gaza was at the southern most part of the land of the Philistines, just before you hit the desert. They came into Israel, took its people captive and sold them to another bitter enemy, Edom. They left no one. They took them all. For that, God says, I will not ease up my punishment.

APPLICATION

Now, how can we apply this verse to our lives. After all, isn’t that why we read His Word? Why did God punish Gaza? Because they came against His people. If that was true back then, don’t you think that is true today? God still deals with our enemies. But look at what the verse tells us. Gaza still took the people and sold them. Bad things still happened to His children. It was later that God is going to issue punishment on Gaza.

Our enemies may seem to be getting away with hurting us. Don’t doubt our God’s resolve. He is totally aware of everything that is happening to you. He will deal with everyone who comes against you. But remember, He is allowing that for a purpose. He is trying to make you more like Jesus.

I am thankful for the Lord’s protection. I am thankful for His still, small voice in my ear telling me everything is going to be okay. I am thankful for His gentle embrace when I am feeling low. He is there. He is always there. I have learned to trust Him. Have you?

Father, I know You will deal with my enemies in Your time. I trust You.

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Affliction, Battles, Bible, Courage, Devil, Enemies, Fighting, Grace, Protection

THE TRAP IS SET

JOEL 3:11

Hurry and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather yourselves there. Bring down, LORD, Your warriors.

Do you remember hiding from your friends outside when you were growing up, only to spring out of your hiding place and scaring them? I sure do. We would play in the woods around my house and in the bushes in the yard. I have even been known to make sounds to draw them in. Boy, I loved scaring them. I know, it sounds mean. But it was all in fun.

Not so much in today’s verse. Joel is calling in all the enemies of Judah. He wanted them to come close. And when they were all there, surrounding Judah, he calls on God to send down His warriors to destroy them. Essentially the net was cast, and they were all caught. Only then did they realize they were in trouble.

APPLICATION

Have you ever felt like the net was cast on you? The devil will lure you in with the temptations of the world. He will tempt you to come closer and closer until…snap! Then you are caught in a snare of sin. You feel there is no escape. You feel helpless.

Stop that! When you sense the devil is drawing you away from the safety of Jesus, stop. Retreat back to where you know you have protection. Put your armor on. Submit to God and then you can tell the devil to flee. He can’t lure you in because you belong to someone mightier and stronger.

I am so glad I belong to my Master. There are no nets strong enough to capture me. I am a warrior of the King. Satan has no power over me. Amen? You have the same power. You just have to walk in it. You’ve heard it said that we walk from victory, not to victory. We are already victorious. Hallelujah!

Thank You, Lord, for protecting me. You draw my enemies in to destroy them.

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Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Devil, Enemies, Faithfulness, Fighting, Protection, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

PREPARE FOR BATTLE

JOEL 3:10

Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak man say, “I am a warrior.”

I’ve never been to war. I’ve only had two fistfights in my life (both in high school before I came to Christ). So, the concept of gearing up for combat is foreign to me. I have known several men who bravely fought for our country. I respect them all. Their courage is admirable. They each had to prepare themselves for war, including getting the right arsenal.

Joel is telling the Judeans to get ready. Take whatever you have and make weapons. Plowshares into swords and pruning hooks into spears. They had to have weapons to fight the enemy when they arrived. This passage may sound familiar. It’s the exact opposite of what you will read in Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3. Take a minute and read those passages. But Joel is preparing for war, not peace.

APPLICATION

Are you prepared to fight the battles that are before you? Do you have the weapons you need? If you are a believer in Christ, you have everything you need to battle your adversary, the devil. God’s Word is the sword to wield. Your faith is the shield to protect you from his fiery darts. Your helmet of salvation guards your mind from any thoughts he might throw your way.

You see, you have the weapons. The question is are you ready to fight. The devil comes out each day with one goal – to defeat us. He wants to lay us out. He cannot stand it when we read the Bible and pray. He hates it when we share our faith with others. He will try anything to stop that. Don’t let him. Fight back.

I have learned lately just how determined he is. He has thrown all sorts of things in my path to try to discourage me. He wants me to lie down and quit. He cannot take away my salvation, but he can sure take me out of the fight – if I let him. But I won’t! Will you join me in the fight?

I am ready to follow You, Lord, wherever You lead. I trust You as my Commander in Chief.

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Abiding, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Darkness, Destruction, Fighting, Flesh, Following, Obedience, Perseverance, Scripture, Surrender

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SEE

JOEL 2:4

“Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; and like war horses, so they run.”

Sometimes things take on the shape of other things. Clouds can look like a rabbit. Shadows can appear to represent an image of a person. In the fog things can look very different. You have to look closely sometimes to make out what you are really seeing. After all, your eyes can play tricks on you.

Theodoret, a Bishop in Syria, once said while describing the locusts he observed there, “You will find it exceedingly like that of a horse.” Whence the Arabs, of old and to this day , say, ‘In the locust, slight as it is, is the nature of ten of the larger animals, the face of a horse, the eyes of an elephant, the neck of abull, the horns of a deer, the chest of a lion, the belly of a scorpion, the wings of an eagle, the thighs of a camel, the feet of an ostrich, the tail of a serpent.’” (Barnes’ Commentary of Joel). This is what Joel is talking about here in today’s verse.

APPLICATION

You are probably wondering how in the world we can get any application for our lives from this verse. What do locusts or how they look relate to me? Will you give a little room to make this application? After all, every word of the Bible is inspired, right?

God allows these “hordes of locusts” into our lives sometimes. He allows them to come in and seemingly destroy everything in sight. But you have to remember that if God allows it, it is always to make us more like His Son. Those locusts may look terrifying. We may be shaken at the very sight of them. However, in Christ we have the strength and power to face any horde sent our way.

I don’t like hordes of anything attacking me or my loved ones. I want to fight back. I think I can defend myself. But God whispers to me to back off and let Him do the defending. If you are facing “hordes of locusts” right now, stop fighting so hard. Lay down your feeble weapons and allow the Lord to defend you. He has the power to do great and mighty things in and through us.

I thank You for coming to my defense when I am under attack. When all else falls apart, I know You can be depended on.

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Accountability, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Comfort, Commitment, Confession, Drought, Fighting, Judgment

ALL DRIED UP

JOEL 1:17

“The seeds have dried up under their shovels; the storehouses have become desolate, the grain silos are ruined, because the grain has dried up.”

Drought can ruin things. Not only does it destroy the crops in the fields, it destroys hopes for future crops. When the seed doesn’t get the required moisture it goes into a stress that affects its ability to germinate. If it can’t germinate, it can’t produce new crops. Do you see where this is going? Crops are affected for months and years later.

The long term effect on Judah from their disobedience to Jehovah was the drying up of the people. Their rebellious hearts had literally dried up the faith of the nation, resulting in people seeking other gods. They disregarded God’s commands in favor of offering sacrifices to pagan gods. So, God dried them up.

APPLICATION

Are you dried up? Has your spiritual life hit rock bottom? Perhaps you are in a spiritual drought right now. Your spirit needs the waters of the Spirit to refresh it. There’s no other way to get it than going to the one who is the life giver. He knows exactly when and how to water your spirt.

Look at your life and determine who or what is holding you back. Then lay that at the foot of the cross. Ask the Lord to take those things away from you. Then let the healing rains come. Let His refreshing Word pour over you. We can avoid the seasons of drought in our lives if we submit to His leadership and direction.

I know how I feel when I start to get thirsty. I begin to see everything as a cool drink of water. My body craves it, and the longer I go without it, the harder and harder it gets to survive. My spirit is the same. I need the constant presence of Jesus in my life to make life bearable. He is the living water that can quench any thirst. Come and drink.

Lord, You are the living water. Pour over me.

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Abiding, Advocate, Angels, Battles, Bible, Demons, Devil, Fighting, Holy Spirit, Opponents, Satan, Scripture

WORTHLESS DEFENSES

HOSEA 10:14

An uproar will arise among your people, and all your fortresses will be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were slaughtered with their children.”

If you have read very many of my blogs, you know I love to hunt. The area I hunt here in Tennessee has black bears. Now they aren’t known to be very dangerous, as long as you stay away from a mama bear and her cubs. But I always want to be prepared in case I run into one. I know if a bear really wants to hurt me, he will. I am no match for a bear. My best defenses fall short.

Hosea was reminding Israel of the Assyrian conquest of Beth-arbel. Any defenses they may have mustered on their own couldn’t hold them off. I am reminded, however, of the ONE angel that killed 185,000 Assyrians another time. Our defenses are worthless, but God has the power and resources to conquer all our enemies, if we will trust Him.

APPLICATION

Enemies come from all angles and directions. Satan scouts us out to find our weak spots and will send his demons to target those areas. Men, are you prone to look at pictures you shouldn’t? Be assured Satan will give you lots of opportunities. Ladies, do you gossip too much? Old Satan loves to whisper in your ear the latest juicy news to spread. Only by surrendering to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis will you overcome these temptations. Only God’s defenses are strong enough for victory.

I am just too old to try to fight these battles on my own. I know I need Jesus every day, or I will be whipped. I bet you are the same. Aren’t you tired of battling on your own? Step back and let the Lord fight for you. He will, you know. And when the victory is won, He gets all the glory.

Victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever! Thank You for the victory I have in Your Son, Jesus Christ.

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Accountability, Advice, Battles, Bible, Choices, Commands, Confrontation, Devil, Enemies, Fighting, Flesh, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Satan, Scripture

WARNING! WARNING!

HOSEA 8:1

Put the trumpet to your lips! Like an eagle the enemy comes against the house of the LORD, because they have violated My covenant and rebelled against My Law.”

Picture yourself on the wall of a city. Your job is to watch for any approaching enemies. You have a trumpet to blow to warn the city if danger is sighted. So, when do you blow that trumpet? Do you wait until the enemy is at the gate or do you sound the alarm as soon as you spot them?

Here in Hosea the enemy has come. There is no time for the trumpet to be sounded. Judgment has fallen. God is holding them accountable for their breach of the covenant. They have rebelled against His Law. So, God is using their enemies to judge them.

APPLICATION

We must sound the alarm. In our society today we are surrounded by encroaching enemies. But we remain silent. We don’t warn our brothers and sisters about the danger that is all around us. We may run for cover ourselves, but we leave the rest to fend for themselves.

Who are these enemies? Anyone or anything that goes against God’s Word and His commands for our lives. Anyone or anything that speaks against Jesus is an enemy of the cross. Satan will use all these to try to tear us down. He is on the attack – always. We cannot let up for a second. We must be on guard. We must keep the trumpet in our hands ready to blow.

I am looking. Are you? I’m on the wall. Are you? 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be of sober spirit. Be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” Don’t think for a second he’s got your best interest in mind. He has one goal – to destroy you and other believers. Stand firm and strong.

I will blow the trumpet, Lord. I will sound the alarm. I will stand with You.

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