Advocate, Appeasement, Belief, Bible, Discipline, Encouragement, Following, Forgiveness, Grace, Heaven, Mercy, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

FOLLOW THROUGH

JONAH 3:10

“When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their evil way, then God relented of the disaster which He had declared He would bring on them. So He did not do it.

Follow through is a term used in a lot of sports. In golf, it is important to follow through on your swing. That means to not stop halfway through it. In basketball, follow through is applied to your shot of the basketball. Let your arms and hands follow through. And in baseball, follow through is important as a pitcher to get the full action or speed of the ball. Follow through is important.

The people of Nineveh followed through on their acts of humility and repentance. They came to Jehovah God asking for forgiveness, and He granted it. “When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their evil way…” Their follow through of what they said they would do caused the God of the universe to relent “of the disaster which He had declared He would bring on them.” They moved the heart of God.

APPLICATION

Did you know our actions today move God’s heart? When He sees us reaching out to help someone less fortunate, it blesses Him. When He watches us serve our fellow believers in church, He is well pleased. When we give to support a missionary who is serving in some foreign country, God takes that gift and blesses that person.

We don’t do these things to get God to love us, though. That’s not what this is about. God loves us – period. We do all these things because we love Him. We obey the One we love. We want to please Him. We want to see our heavenly Father smile (I’m sure He does). Do all these things just because of all He has done for you.

I learned a long time ago that I can’t outdo or outgive God. I do and I give because I want to express my love for Him. His Son was sent to die on that cross to secure my salvation. God wanted me with Him in heaven. Isn’t that awesome? He wants you there also. If you have never asked Christ into your life to be your Lord and Savior, do that today. Let the journey begin.

Father God, I love You. That’s why I obey You. That’s why I do all that I do in Your name.

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Affection, Alone, Asking, Bible, Confession, Despair, Disciplemaking, Following, God's Will, Mercy, Prayer, Rescue, Scripture

THE PITS

JONAH 2:6

“I descended to the base of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, but You have brought up my life from the pit, LORD my God.

You may have heard the expression, “this is the pits.” But where does that come from? Well, I looked that up. It can refer to armpits which implies body odor, something that is undesirable. It also can refer to someone who is in the depths of despair. That is what I think of when I hear this. Well…Jonah was in the pits.

Remember where he is when he says what we read in today’s verse – the belly of a fish in the depths of the sea. It’s hard to get much lower than that. He was low. He was in despair. Look what he says, though. He says, “You have brought up my life from the pit, LORD my God.” Wait just a minute. He’s still in that fish. But now he realizes no matter the circumstance, God can lift you up from the depths of despair.

APPLICATION

If you are like most people, you have found yourself in “the pits” at some time. How did you manage that? How do you get out of “the pit”? So many of us turn to counselors or doctors for help. They can be very helpful. But so many of us don’t look at the spiritual side of our despair. We are spiritual creatures, as well as physical.

I want to encourage you the next time you find yourself in “that pit” to turn to Jesus. Ask Him why you are feeling the way you are. Ask Him what He would have you do to get out of that low place. He may reveal some hidden sin in your life that needs confessing. He may point you to someone who has gone through what you are going through at the time.

I have had the privilege to share my journey through chemotherapy and stem cell transplants to others who are going through the same thing. Let me tell you – chemo will bring you down into a pit. You need others to encourage you during that time. What have you gone through and what lessons have you learned that you can share with someone today? Do that.

Being in “the pits” is no fun, Father. I thank You that You have lifted me up each time I have called on You.

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY TO ALL THE MOMS OUT THERE READING MY BLOG!!

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Exalting, Following, God's Will, Light, Scripture

OUT OF SIGHT

JONAH 2:4

“‘So I said, “I have been cast out of Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.”’”

I was up on Lookout Mountain recently. That mountain overlooks the city of Chattanooga, where I live. It’s famous for the “Battle Above the Clouds” in the Civil War. That day I was up there was a perfect day with no clouds and nice temps. I could see the cooling towers of the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant which is about 30 miles away. My sight was not restricted. It was amazing.

Jonah feels as if now he has been cast of God’s sight. Well, I guess so. He was in the belly of a fish in the ocean. Yet Jonah says, “Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.”His vision was never clearer. His position wasn’t the issue. He had opened his eyes.

APPLICATION

Have you had your eyes checked lately? I called this week to get an appointment with my eye doctor and found out my last exam was almost two years ago. It’s no wonder my glasses don’t seem to be working like they used to. My eyes have gotten worse since my last exam, but I wasn’t aware.

We need to check our vision regularly. Now, I am not talking about our physical eyes. I am referring to our spiritual eyes. You have to have the right light (Jesus) in order to see our Lord clearly. He calls us to keep our lenses clean through washing them with the Word.

I am so glad I have a good eye doctor. But I am more thankful for my spiritual eye doctor. He makes sure I am looking at the right things and spending the time necessary sharpening my vision with my Master. How are your eyes?

Father, You have given me two eyes for a reason. I need to focus my sight on You.

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Abiding, Bible, Disciplemaking, Following, Perseverance, Prayer, Rescue, Safety, Scripture

WHAT DO YOU DO IN A STORM?

JONAH 1:11

“So they said to him, ‘What should we do to you so that the sea will become calm for us?’—for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy.”

Our family lived in Lakeland, Florida for several years and had the grand experience of several hurricanes. It’s funny how you react to those things. For the first storm, we followed all the precautions and had our little hurricane kit ready. By the time we went through our seventh or eighth, we hardly paid them any attention. But storms need to be heeded.

The sailors now know that Jonah is the cause of this storm. His God, Jehovah, has stirred up the waves and wind. So, naturally they assumed Jonah had the answer to quiet the storm. This God of Jonah’s could surely stop it as fast as He started it.

APPLICATION

God will allow storms in our lives to get our attention. How long those storms last depend on our response to Him. Have you been a storm a long time? Maybe you need to stop and look at what God is trying to teach you. Are the winds ripping at you every hour? Turn to Him and ask Him what it is He wants you to do.

There really isn’t any other way to respond to storms in our lives. Remember, everything that touches you as a child of God goes through His hands first. That storm that seems to never cease has passed through His approval. That may sound horrible, but it isn’t. Those storms are meant to drive you to your knees where you are the closest to Him.

It is so true in my life that I never feel as tall spiritually as I do when I’m on my knees. Prayer is like a fresh breath. It invigorates you and energizes you. And when I am in prayer during a storm, I feel His presence. I know He is right there with me. Join me.

I don’t like the storms, Lord, but I trust You in them. I know You have not lost sight of me even in the tallest waves.

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Accountability, Following, Foolishness, God's Will, Guilt, Hiding, Judgment, Rebellion, Scripture

THINK I’LL GO SAILING

JONAH 1:3

“But Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship that was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and boarded it to go with them to Tarshish away from the presence of the LORD.”

Have you ever wanted to just run away from a situation? You couldn’t face it anymore. You had to go somewhere, anywhere else. Your present circumstances were unbearable. People were expecting too much from you. You had to have some space. You didn’t care how much it cost you, you had to get away.

Well…Jonah was faced with a situation. God had clearly told him what to do – go to Nineveh and preach His message of repentance. Not Jonah. Not this time. Sure, he loved God, but this was asking too much. The Ninevites? Are you kidding? So he gets on a boat going in the opposite direction. He wanted as much distance as he could get between himself and Nineveh.

APPLICATION

You can run, but you can’t hide. God knows where you are. Running away won’t solve the problem. When you stop, the problem is still there. You may not see it now, but it’s still right where you left it. When will we learn?

Instead of running away, run to Him. He’s waiting with open arms. He is saying, “Come child. Let me carry your burden.” Why don’t you let Him have it? He wants it. He can handle it. Don’t be like Jonah. We’ll see how that ends up in a few days.

The older I get the less I want to run. For one thing, my feet can’t do it anymore. But my spirit now doesn’t want to either. I see no benefit of running from God. I choose to run towards Him. It is a whole lot easier. Why don’t you give it a try today?

O Lord, I run to You. Take me in Your strong arms.

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Accountability, Bible, Brokenness, Deception, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Judgment, Knowledge

NOT VERY WISE

OBADIAH 8

“‘Will I not on that day,’ declares the LORD, ‘eliminate wise men from Edom, and understanding from the mountain of Esau?’”

We’ve all made unwise decisions. Some of those decisions can prove to be costly. Buying a car that is not very dependable, but it was cheap. That’s a great example. Other unwise decisions may not be as costly, but they can still have long term effects on our life and the lives of others. Wisdom, however, can affect others just as much, if we rely on the Lord for this.

Edom was known for being people of wisdom. There are several passages in the Old Testament that refer to Esau or men of the East and mentions their wisdom. The Lord is saying here that He will take all that away. Their wisdom, which may have been legendary, had not proven to be wise in the eyes of God and could not prevent their judgment.

APPLICATION

Is that you? Do you think your wisdom is above God? I pray that is not the case. I pray that you will acknowledge that any wisdom you have will never be enough to satisfy the Lord. He does not care how wise you are if you aren’t following Him. The simplest minded individual will be wise when they turn their lives over to Him.

If you have been one of those people who think you are too smart for God, stop today and confess that as sin. Come to Him humbly and ask the Lord to teach. The Psalmist says, “Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness.” That should be our heart cry.

I will readily admit that I am not the smartest person in the room. But I have fallen into that trap of trying to outthink God. There are times when I tell God “I’ve got this,” only to find out I didn’t. I know my wisdom all comes from Him. Praise His name.

God of all wisdom, fill me with Your words that I may walk confidently.

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Abiding, Bible, Commands, Devout, Following, Glory, Praise, Reputation, Scripture

WORSHIPPER OF GOD

OBADIAH 1

“The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Lord GOD says concerning Edom—’We have heard a report from the LORD, and a messenger has been sent among the nations saying, “Arise, and let’s go up against her for battle.”’”

I have been in a good many cemeteries in my life. I don’t visit them for pleasure, but rather to pay respect to a friend or loved one. While I am there, I like to read headstones. Some of them tell a story of the one who is buried below. Wouldn’t today’s title be a great epitaph?

As we begin the book of Obadiah today, it is good to know that his name means “servant of Yah.” It could be translated also as “worshipper of God.” We don’t know exactly who this person was, but that doesn’t really matter. His name tells us all we need to know. He loved God. All his tombstone needed to say was Obadiah. Enough said.

APPLICATION

I pray you are known as a worshipper of God, as a servant of God. There is no other better reputation. But many people don’t want to be known as that because it would interfere with how they wanted to live. If you are known as God’s servant, you can’t live like a heathen.

Obadiah gives a prophecy about Edom, describing their demise. So, how does this relate to us? We can learn a lot from these verses as he describes why and how God judged them. Obadiah is a short book, only twenty-one verses. Let me encourage you to read the whole book today. Then we will see what it has for us tomorrow.

But for now, concentrate on being a servant of Yah, a worshipper of God, a Christ follower. If you do that, you will have made your Father in Glory proud. He will be pleased at your worship of Him, who is the only one worthy of worship. Worship the King.

I praise You, O God of the Ages. I worship You above all.

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Accountability, Advocate, Bible, Brokenness, Cleansing, Confession, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Hope, Inspirational, Redemption, Rescue, Scripture

RETURN TO FORTUNES

AMOS 9:14

“I will also restore the fortunes of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the desolated cities and live in them; they will also plant vineyards and drink their wine and make gardens and eat their fruit.”

I can’t begin to imagine being ripped from my home and sent off to a foreign land with no hope of escape. The horrors of war are all around us. We are all watching the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. We are all heartbroken at the scenes of children crossing a border into a country that is not their home. What do we do?

Israel had been removed from their land. Now God is promising to restore them after they have been through this trial. The Hebrew text for “I will restore the fortunes” literally could be translated “I will bring back the captives.” So, the Lord is promising not just a return of fortunes but freedom.

APPLICATION

Beloved, listen to me. God knows where you are. He has not lost contact with you. You may feel that way, but He is completely aware of where you have been and where He is sending you. Don’t forget Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”

Rest in Him. Trust that He will restore you. But you must first return to Him. Repentance is required. You cannot expect a holy God to return you without movement on your part. Oh, but when you take that first step towards Him, He rushes to you to restore you.

I have made the decision too many times to trying to wait out God. Let me tell you – that doesn’t work. The eternal, timeless, ageless God literally has all the time in the world. He can outwait you. Don’t waste that precious time. Run to Him now. Enjoy your restoration.

I love You, Lord, and will quickly return to You, not for any fortunes, but to enjoy Your presence.

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A HUT

AMOS 9:11

“On that day I will raise up the fallen shelter of David, and wall up its gaps; I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old;”

Growing up in Southwest Georgia was a blessing. Behind my parents’ home was a stretch of woods that went for some distance. The neighborhood boys spent a lot of time in those woods exploring and playing. We even built little huts in the woods of small saplings and vines. They were great places to spend time in during the heat of those Southwest Georgia summer days.

This “shelter” Amos mentions here refers, probably, to the crude huts the Israelites built during the Feast of Tabernacles. They constructed these huts to remind them of their journey through the wilderness and their reliance on God. So, once again, God will build them up for that purpose.

APPLICATION

What reminds you of your reliance on God? Every day I am reminded of that. I suffer from neuropathy in my feet, the result of the chemotherapy I received. Every step I take reminds me of my reliance on Him. I can’t walk without His strength. Most days my feet are just numb and tingling. But some days, there is intense pain.

That pain, though uncomfortable, serves as a reminder of the pain my Savior went through for me. His pain was much more intense. His pain ended in death. It says in Isaiah 61:3 that the pain that brought us peace was upon Him. That is so true. His pain equals my peace.

I am thankful for my neuropathy because it reminds me of the journey I underwent. I have asked God to remove this neuropathy, but for now it remains. As long as I have this reminder, I won’t need to build a hut, lol. What is your reminder of His grace and mercy in your life?

Thank You, Lord, for reminding me each day of all You have done for me.

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ONE TOUCH

AMOS 9:5

“The Lord GOD of armies, the One who touches the land so that it quakes, and all those who live in it mourn, and all of it rises up like the Nile and subsides like the Nile of Egypt;”

One touch can make all the difference. Do you remember the poem and the song about the touch of the master’s hand? There was an old violin that wound up at an auction. It looked beat up and useless. The bid started very low, like around $5.00. The auctioneer couldn’t get any bids at all. Then an old man walked up and asked to see the violin. He took it in his hands, plucked some strings and adjusted them for a minute. Then he took the bow in his hands and began to play this magnificent tune. When he finished, he laid it down and walked back to his seat. The auctioneer began the bids again. This time he started at $1 million dollars. The bidders protested, wanting to know what caused the great increase. He said, “It’s simple. The touch of the master’s hand.”

God’s touch can be like that. He can create something out of nothing. He can touch and heal. He can touch someone and cause them to shift the course of their life. But He can also touch and destroy. He can flip His little finger and cause earthquakes and landslides. God’s touch is powerful. Unfortunately, here in Amos 9:5 His touch is judging the world.

APPLICATION

What side of His touch do you want to be on? I know which side I choose. I have experienced His touch is so many ways. He touched me and saved me. He touched me and restored my health in 2010. He did it again in 2020. But He has also touched me and corrected me.

No one likes to be corrected, least of all me. I don’t like it. I believe I am right most of the time. That gets me into trouble. Each and every time, He is there to touch me and put me back on the right path.

What kind of touch do you prefer? Come to Him today and ask for that gentle touch of your Redeemer. Come to Him and let Him touch you so that you are about His business and not your own. One touch – that’s all it takes.

Gentle Savior, touch me today. Heal me and cleanse me.

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