Abiding, Belief, Bible, Blessing, Disciplemaking, Glory, God's Will, Kingdom, Scripture

THE LORD’S KINGDOM

OBADIAH 21

“The deliverers will ascend Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esau, and the kingdom will be the LORD’S.”

’m in a new ministry now called Every Man A Warrior. God is doing some amazing things through it around the world. Take a look at https://everymanawarrior.com/us-world.html. But with all the activity, we are determined to make sure it is God’s work and not ours. It’s His ministry to men. We are only the vessels He has chosen to use.

After all the previous 20 verses and all the prophecies against Esau, Obadiah comes back to this. The kingdom belongs to the LORD. No matter what, it will be His. He never lost control of it. He will restore Israel to His kingdom. All will be well.

APPLICATION

It should be comforting to each of us that God truly does have the whole world in His hands. He is the only one who has the power to bring back a nation from judgment. He has the power to give back the land to His children. What do you want today.

We are taught to keep our emotions in check. To that I say,“Bologna!”  If we can’t celebrate with a little emotion, then why celebrate at all. Emotion is a good thing, if it’s not what drives us. We have to come together and praise Him for all He’s done.

Jesus’ whole message centered on the kingdom of God. If we follow Him and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we are part of that kingdom. Welcome to it. Welcome home.

I am thankful, Lord, to be a part of Your kingdom. May Your kingdom come.

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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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WHAT DO YOU SEE?

AMOS 8:2

“And He said, ‘What do you see, Amos?’ And I said, ‘A basket of summer fruit.’ Then the LORD said to me, ‘The end has come for My people Israel. I will not spare them any longer.’”

There are many advantages to getting older. Senior coffee and discounts, senior matinees at the theater, etc. But one disadvantage is your eyesight. Almost everyone has some loss of vision as they age. That plus two stem cell transplants (chemotherapy) have really changed my eyesight. Thank God for glasses, lol.

God wasn’t giving Amos an eye exam. He wasn’t asking him to read the letters and numbers on a chart. The Lord was giving him a message to share with Israel. He wanted to make sure Amos saw clearly what He was telling him. He wanted his hearing of the message to be reinforced by a vision.

APPLICATION

God often shows us things that we just don’t see. Take for instance, a sunrise. How many of them have you seen in your lifetime? But how often do you stop and thank God for seeing another day? God’s message to us is love. He shows us that love in so many ways, but we often fail to see it.

Let me challenge you to do something. Start taking note of “God sightings.” Those are times when you are made aware of God in something or when there is no other explanation for something. Write those down and put them in a box or jar. At the end of the year, read them. You will be amazed.

I see God in my wife, my children, my grandchildren and even in my “grandpups.” God’s creativity in forming each uniquely amazes me. Take a break and people watch. Look at all the faces God has made. It’s really unbelievable. Yet, God never stops creating. I thank God for that today. Yes, God, I see.

I praise You for eyes that can see. Help me see as You do.

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GIBBERISH

AMOS 6:5

“Who improvise to the sound of the harp, and like David have composed songs for themselves,”

I have experienced a lot of different kinds of worship music over the years. Some of it has been extraordinary. Some of it has…well, not been. Worship music is supposed to lead us to the throne. It prepares our heart, in a service, to hear the written Word. It is vital, I think, to the whole process of worship.

You won’t believe what Amos has to say about this. Albert Barnes explains the Hebrew word parat, translated as “improvise.”  “The word, which Amos alone uses in this one place, describes probably a hurried flow of unmeaning, unconsidered words, in which the rhythm of words and music was everything, the sense, nothing;” They were just making noise!

APPLICATION

You don’t have to guess how to you apply this verse. We have to make sure our worship is actually worshipful. It has to be directed to the Lord. It’s not about us. It’s all about Him. We are pointing others to the throne. We are leading others to a more intimate connection through the music.

I sang in choirs for decades. I truly love to sing. It can be easy to get pulled into a performance mode, if all you think about is how you are going to sound. Now, that’s important. I think we should strive for excellence. But it is more about the heart music. When my heart is right with the Lord and I am submitted to His leadership, the music that comes out of me will be sweet in His ears (not necessarily everyone else’s, lol).

I want to challenge you today to sing out. Psalm 33:1-3 says, “Sing for joy in the LORD, you righteous ones; Praise is becoming to the upright. Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.”

O, how I praise You, Lord! Your name is deserving of all our worship.

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IMITATION

AMOS 3:14

“‘For on the day that I punish Israel’s offenses, I will also punish the altars of Bethel; the horns of the altar will be cut off and will fall to the ground.’”

Have you ever heard the expression “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”? Sometimes imitation is the ultimate flattery. Traveling overseas I have seen some pretty good imitations of handbags and other expensive items. They were close to the original but not quite.

Jeroboam had built an altar at Bethel for the Northern Kingdom to offer their sacrifices. He did not want them going back to Jerusalem to the temple because he feared their allegiance to him might falter. Here, Amos prophesies that altars destruction. It might have been built to look like the original, but it could never replace it.

APPLICATION

Do you live your Christian life like that? Do you try to live an artificial Christian life? You practice your faith on certain days, but on others you live another life. Your faith may look real, but it’s a poor imitation. There can only be one real life for Christ. You can’t fake it.

So, how do you not fake it? There is really only one way. You have to live each and every day with one purpose. That is to glorify Jesus in all you do. If you do that, your life won’t be imitation. It will be real. It will be genuine. It won’t need to be torn down like Jeroboam’s altar.

I am thankful that I can walk with Him daily. His Spirit guides me as I surrender to His will. I don’t like it sometimes, but I know it is the right thing. My flesh wants to rebel, but my spirit leads me. I have learned the hard way, believe me. Trust Him to lead you each day. You won’t regret it.

I trust You Lord to lead me. Even when I resist, pull me along.

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IT LOOKS GOOD, BUT…

HOSEA 10:1

“Israel is a luxuriant vine; He produces fruit for himself. The more his fruit, the more altars he made; the richer his land, the better he made the memorial stones.”

My dad always had about three grape vines in our yard. They were muscadine vines. Every year we would pick those grapes and make jelly. My dad loved his jelly. But also, every year we had to cut back those vines so they could produce grapes and not just vines and leaves. A leafy vine is pretty but not very productive.

Today’s verse, at first glance, is confusing. It sounds like Israel is a good vine. But it actually means leafy and pretty, but not productive. And even when they did appear productive, they squandered their blessings on other gods, not Jehovah. Israel was not acknowledging their bounty as coming from the Lord.

APPLICATION

Your blessings are from above. You need to acknowledge that as a believer. And when you do acknowledge that, you need to give Him all the praise. It’s not about you. It’s all about Him. So, why do we try to toot our own horn? Why do we try to claim credit for it?

Maybe you’re one of those “leafy” Christians. You appear to be productive for the Lord, but you have no fruit. You look like a healthy Christian, but there is nothing in your life that points back to Jesus. You are all show and no go. You are missing out on the blessings He wants to bestow on you. He longs to show you how to be productive and bear fruit. But you must let Him in.

I have come to realize in my latter years that anything good in me is just Jesus. Anything I produce is for His glory and for the benefit of others. It has nothing to do with me. I am nothing outside of Christ. He deserves all the praise for any fruit in my life. I truly believe that. I don’t want any credit. It all belongs to Him.

Lord, I praise You for giving the opportunity to serve You and others. Help me be a productive believer for Your sake.

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NO TIME TO PARTY

HOSEA 9:1

“Do not rejoice, Israel, with jubilation like the nations! For you have been unfaithful, abandoning your God. You have loved the earnings of unfaithfulness on every threshing floor.”

There is a time to party and a time not to party. All through my life I have experienced moments when celebrating was appropriate like after a huge victory on the football field or the birth of one of my children. But there were other times when celebrating wasn’t right like the death of a loved one or hurting someone’s feelings. You get the picture. You have to know when to party and when not to party.

Israel had everything backwards. They were celebrating the wrong things. They had embraced all the wrong festivals and religious celebrations, which meant they were worshipping the wrong thing. Those gods were no gods. There is only one God, Jehovah. But when the celebrations look inviting, you get pulled in a direction that can cost you dearly. It did Israel.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you what you are celebrating today. Now there is nothing wrong with a party. I can party with the best of them. I love a good party. We need to celebrate but only those things that bring glory to God. You see, our purpose as believers is to bring Him glory, not ourselves.

This time of the year here in the States, we are celebrating a lot of high school and college graduations. In fact, I was at a celebration last night. Nothing wrong with that. But let’s make sure in the celebration that we give Him all the credit. He is the one we need to celebrate. Last night we did that. We pointed people to Jesus and His Word.

Hey, I have an idea. Instead of waiting until Christmas, why don’t you have a Jesus celebration this week. Invite some friends over and have a party for Jesus. Celebrate what He’s done in your lives. Thank Him for saving you. Praise Him for His promises. Now, that’s a party.

Father, I praise You for rescuing me from the pit of darkness. I thank You for who You are in my life. I celebrate You today.

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THE LORD KNOWS HOW

2 PETER 2:9

then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,” 

God is our deliverer. When will we get that through our thick skulls? I am talking to myself here, as well. I can forget God’s faithfulness at times and start wringing my hands. I may find myself in a predicament and begin to fret. I am so glad Peter wrote these words – “the Lord knows how.”

Aren’t those words comforting? It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again – Everything over our heads is under His feet. God just knows how to rescue us. But look what it says – “the godly.” That Greek word is only used three times in the New Testament. Once referring to Cornelius, the Roman Centurion who sent for Peter. The second time it is in reference to one of Cornelius’ soldiers. And the third time is here in 2 Peter. It can be translated as devout.

APPLICATION

So, if we want the Lord to rescue us and our children, we need to work on that devout thing. How do we do that? Being devout sounds like you have to be in full-time ministry or something. But it’s not. It just means you strive to live for the Lord in all you do. Are you doing that? Are you modeling that for your children?

What better legacy to leave your children than to be seen and known as a devout Christian? What better joy could you have than see your children living devout lives. It is not impossible. It is not reserved for the “super godly.” NO! It is within the possibility of every believer to live sold out lives for Christ.

What are you doing to prepare yourself for that kind of living? Are you in the Word daily? Are you spending time in prayer for others? Our “devoutness” is really a residual effect of spending time with the Lord. You absorb His glory. You soak in His holiness, thus making you devout. It’s nothing you can do on your own.

I am so thankful for the osmosis process of godliness. I know the more time I spend with You, Lord, the more godly I will be.

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BROUGHT ALONG TO HEAR

2 PETER 1:18

“and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

Peter had the privilege, along with James and John, to see Jesus transfigured on the mountain and to hear God’s voice from heaven. Can you imagine being there? It must have been quite the scene. They were overwhelmed. They saw Jesus in all His glory for a moment.

But I want you to see something in this verse. The phrase “when we were with Him” could be translated “when we were brought along with Him.” Do you see the difference? Jesus intentionally brought Peter, James and John along so they could witness this and hear from God directly. It was no mistake. Jesus wasn’t surprised by this. He knew what was going to happen.

APPLICATION

Have you ever brought your children along with you to see something so they would not forget it? I remember I used to take my son with me to watch the deer crossing the road to feed. It was a special time for us. One night we got to see an albino doe and her piebald fawn. You had to be there to appreciate it. Words wouldn’t describe it.

You need to invite your children to experience holy moments. Spending time in prayer with your children is one such moment. It’s a chance for them to hear you talk to the Father. Who knows, maybe the Father will choose that moment to talk to them. Wouldn’t that be fabulous? But they have to be there.

Have you missed hearing God’s voice because you weren’t “in the moment”? God is always ready to speak. Our problem is we aren’t always ready or willing to listen. Hearing God’s voice can change your life. Are you ready to listen?

Speak Lord! I want to hear Your voice.

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REJOICE IN SUFFERING

1 PETER 4:13

“but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”

What a happy verse! You are probably saying Carl, are you crazy? Let me explain. You have to understand the words used in this verse. For instance, the Greek word for “share” is koinóneó. It’s the word we associate with fellowshipping. That’s usually a happy time.

And the Greek for “rejoicing” comes for the same root word for joy and grace. How happy is that? Finally, the Greek word for “exultation” has the idea of leaping for joy. Now, you can’t tell me that’s not happy. You see, the word that throws us in this verse is “sufferings.” You don’t see that as happy. But Peter is telling us here that we should rejoice in those times.

APPLICATION

The next time your children get overjoyed about something, read them this verse. Ask them if they have ever been happy about suffering. I bet they say no. Ask them if they think it is even possible to be happy (to rejoice) in suffering. This is a really hard concept to understand, especially for children.

Explain to them the key part of this verse is “at the revelation of His glory.” When Christ is fully revealed in all His glory, whether that be while we are still alive or after we have long been in heaven, we will rejoice. Get your kids to act out that word exultation (leaping for joy).  Measure how high they can jump for joy. Make it a game. Then make sure they know that jumping off the ground doesn’t really measure their joy. That’s a heart thing that only God can measure.

Are you jumping for joy? Do you rejoice in your times of suffering? I don’t mean your self-induced sufferings. I mean those sufferings on behalf of Christ. When we suffer for Christ, our hearts should leap for joy knowing we are being counted worthy of His sufferings. Amen?

No one likes to suffer, Lord, me included. But I will suffer for You when I am called upon to do so. I will consider it an honor to suffer in Your name.

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