Bible, Gospel, Scripture

PLEAD YOUR CASE

MICAH 6:1

“Hear now what the LORD is saying, ‘Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.’”

I can still recall how I felt the first half of my senior year in high school. I had received Christ as my Savior the summer before, so my whole focus changed in school. I began studying and did very well. Most of my teachers thought I was cheating because of the vast difference in my grades. I had to constantly plead with them that I was not cheating. It took them 3-4 months before they actually believed me. I knew what I was saying was true. They just did not believe it.

As we begin chapter 6 of Micah, the Lord is telling Micah to go plead his case before the people. Some scholars say this indicates that Micah was being hesitant proclaiming the message. Perhaps he got tired of saying it over and over again, and no one was listening and responding. God tells him to continue, to “let the hills hear your voice.”

APPLICATION

We have to continue to share the Gospel with a lost and dying world. They may have turned up their noses or even verbally told us to stop, but we must keep going. The Lord has not, nor will He ever stop, loving you. He is constantly giving you grace and mercy. Should we not do the same to those around us?

The Lord has given us a message to share. It is the greatest story ever told. It is a message full of joy and promise. He has the capacity to heal all wounds and repair relationships. This story of grace, fulfilled by our Savior, can make the most hideous sinner a saint. It is a miracle story.

I am thankful that people took the time to tell me the story. I am so appreciative of several people in my childhood who spent their time teaching me the Word. All those Sundays going to Sunday School planted seeds in me that finally sprouted on July 31, 1977. I need to share that fruit with others. How about you?

O God, I cannot thank You enough for my salvation. Give me opportunities today to tell others about it.

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Angels, Belief, Bible, Born, Compassion, Covenant, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Gospel, Hope, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

LABOR PAINS

MICAH 5:3

“Therefore, He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth. Then the remainder of His kinsmen will return to the sons of Israel.”

I vividly remember my wife’s labor pains with our first child. She was in labor for quite a while. Her doctor kept her comfortable for as long as possible. When the contractions got closer, he knew it was time to move her to the delivery room. She almost broke my finger squeezing it so hard (note to my male readers: If you are in that position, take off your wedding ring BEFORE she starts squeezing, lol).

“Until the time when she who is in labor has given birth” refers to the Virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus. It is prophesied here. But the prophecy does not stop there. It goes on to say, “the remainder kinsmen will return.” How glorious! God promises redemption after the coming of His Son.

APPLICATION

The long-awaited Savior was born to a virgin. Salvation has come. Why have so many people been blinded to this fact? Why have they spurned this incredible news? I know people who just cannot wrap their heads around the fact that salvation is free and for everyone. They either think they cannot earn it or that it is meant for only certain people.

It is our job to spread the good news of Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection. We need to tell the whole story. The Christmas story is nice, but it was only the beginning of Christ’s story. Mangers and shepherds, angels and wise men make it a memorable event. But that empty tomb tells it all.

I am so thankful that God told us way back in the Old Testament His plan. It should come of no surprise. I am secure in my faith because of what He did through Jesus. I did nothing to earn it and can do nothing to lose it. My salvation comes from Him. Do you know that today?

Away in a manger…Thank You, Lord, for sending Your Son, promised so long ago.

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Accountability, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Condemnation, Consequences, Devil, Enemies, Forgiveness, God's Will, Gospel, Judgment, Scripture

GOD’S TOOLS

MICAH 4:12

“‘But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, and they do not understand His plan; for He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.’”

I am reminded of the illustration of how God can use anyone. There was an elderly widow who had a very mean and ungodly landlord. He would often ridicule her faith and spurred any witness the widow gave. One day he overheard her praying to the Lord for groceries, as she was short on food. He said to himself that he would go buy her groceries, put them at her door and when she found them and praised her God (as he knew she would), he would swoop in and tell her off.

Well, it happened that way. She opened her door, found the groceries and immediately started praising God. The landlord came from around the corner and said, “Hah, your God didn’t give you those, I did. Hah!” The widow looked at him with tears in her eyes and said, “Oh yes, He did. He just used the devil to do it.”

You see the pagan nations around Israel thought they were doing as they pleased against Israel. They did not realize they were only being used by God to execute judgment against them. God would (and did) judge them also for their pride and contempt against His people. The phase about the sheaves is interesting. You see, it does not matter the number of sheaves that must be harvested because in the end, they must all be cut down. So must the enemies of Israel.

APPLICATION

When we see the wicked triumph over good, just remember God’s principles have not changed. He will still judge the wicked. We may not live to see it done, but it will happen. They just think they are getting away with it now. One day, they will face Him and have to answer for their unbelief and wicked ways. It is not our place to judge them.

Now, to be honest, that is hard for me. When I see people live in such wicked, ungodly ways, I want to call them out. I must confess any wrong motives about that to the Lord. I do not have the right to judge anyone. I know that, but sometimes my spirit gets offended at their actions.

Instead, I need to act more like Jesus. He knew the actions of the Pharisees and Sadducees was abhorrent to His Father. He knew their motives and their very thoughts. Yet, He still came to die for them as well. He loved them as much as they let Him. We should do the same. Will you choose to love someone today who truly needs a Savior?

O Lord, it is hard to love some people. Help me love them with Your love.

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Bible, Calling, Evangelism, Gospel, Scripture, Witnessing

A CALL TO THE NATIONS

MICAH 4:2

“Many nations will come and say, ‘Come and let’s go up to the mountain of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob, so that He may teach us about His ways, and that we may walk in His paths.’ For from Zion will go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

I have been privileged to travel to many nations to teach and preach about the Lord Jesus Christ. In many of these nations I have trained pastors and other church leaders how to present the Gospel and how to make disciples. What a joy to see the Gospel spread far and wide.

Micah prophesies here of the end times when nations will return to the Lord. In the days of Micah, the people already knew of some of the vastness of our globe, but they had no idea just how big the world was. But they still could envision the throngs of people from all over coming to Jerusalem, to the “mountain of the LORD.” A little hope is given.

APPLICATION

We have a role in this end-time prophesy. We are to share with all who will listen about what Jesus has done. We will have a part in seeing these nations return to Him. You do not have to pack up and travel to some remote village. In our day, we can zoom around the world by computer, literally using Zoom. It is an amazing tool.

Covid shut down the world, but at the same time it opened it up. There were more sermons posted online than ever before. There were more live streamed church services than ever before. I have a friend in a small town in Kenya who is still streaming their church services each Sunday. His messages are traveling around the world.

But this all starts with our own Jerusalem. We need to be busy sharing with our neighbors and friends. We can change the world one person at a time. Will you join me today by sharing with at least one person about Jesus?

Father, I praise You for allowing me the privilege to share Jesus with all I meet.

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DISHONEST GAIN

MICAH 3:10

“Who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with malice.”

In one of my earliest ministry experiences, I worked with a person who was in leadership on the campus where I served. That person would take gifts meant for the children we served and take them home for their grandchildren. They would also take pool chemicals purchased for the campus to use in their own pool a home. Dishonest gain!

Micah continues his prophecies against the leaders of Israel and Judah. They had made their way to the top by stepping all over the “little people.” The poor and less fortunate were used by these leaders so they could gain more wealth and prestige. It did not matter who they hurt to get ahead.

APPLICATION

There is nothing much worse than someone who will take advantage or steal from the poor. They must not have a conscience. Wickedness pours out of them. They do not care who they use, as long as they get what they want. We believers should be able to spot those individuals a mile off.

So, how do we deal with people like that? Just like Jesus. What did He do? He loved them (He even died for them), but He did not join in with them. He dealt with the Pharisees and Sadducees often. Many of these got their positions by these very means – using others. Jesus knew that. He confronted them of their sins. But He still loved them.

Loving someone like that is hard, but we are called to do just that. How else will they hear and see the Gospel. They may spurn your words. They may even threaten you. That is okay. You have planted the seed which can grow later. It is our calling to spread the good news to everyone. Will you do that today? Who knows that person just might repent and come to Christ because of a word you shared?

Thank You, Lord, for cleansing me of my selfishness. Give me a love for the unlovable so they can hear Your message of forgiveness.

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Altars, Bible, Darkness, Evil, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Idols, Modeling, Scripture

IN THE MIDST OF EVIL

MICAH 3:3

“Who eat the flesh of my people, strip off their skin from them, smash their bones, and chop them up as for the pot, and as meat in a cauldron!”

I have experienced evil in my lifetime – pure evil. It is not a comfortable feeling. I remember many years ago, back in 1985, I had the opportunity to visit Liberia on a mission trip with a couple of friends. We went to several villages with the local missionary to do medical missions and share the Gospel. One village we approached had this huge cottonwood tree on the edge of the village, from which were hung all kinds of animal bones. We were told this was the local witchdoctor’s altar. You could just feel the evil all around.

Micah continues the description of those who were leading the people in evil. These people were totally disarmed and helpless. Their flesh, skin and bones were chopped up for the pot, not literally, but figuratively. They were just food for the leaders, people to be exploited and preyed upon. Pure evil.

APPLICATION

I pray you never encounter evil like I experienced or what Micah is describing. I am afraid our world is becoming more evil by the day. The Word of God is scoffed at. The principles taught in the Bible about marriage, life and godly living are ridiculed and considered old-fashioned. The biblical worldview we believers strive to live by is scorned.

How do you survive this? By relying on the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a pledge I recite as part of the Every Man A Warrior (www.everymanawarrior.com) disciple making curriculum. It is called the manhood commitment. It says:

Created by God in His image to be a bearer of destiny in social and spiritual leadership, I will be a man who, abiding in Jesus Christ and relying on the power of the Holy Spirt –  rejects passivity (the silence of Adam); accepts responsibility to obey God’s will, do God’s work, and love God’s woman; leads courageously through direction, protection and provision based on God’s principles, not my passions; serves humbly giving life to others, not taking life from them; and invests eternally, making disciplemakers.

Ladies, you can adapt that to fit you, as well. But that is how we fight the evil in this world. We abide in Christ and rely on the Holy Spirit. We reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously, serve humbly and invest eternally. That is my passion. Try that today in your life and just see what happens.

I shall fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff comfort me.

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La la la la la

MICAH 2:6

“‘“Do not prophesy,” so they prophesy. But if they do not prophesy about these things, insults will not be turned back.’”

When we were children and we did not want to hear what someone was saying, we would stick our fingers in our ears and say, “La la la la la.” We just did not want to hear it. What would the person do who was telling us what we did not want to hear? One of two things – they would say it louder or stop talking.

The people of Israel did not want to hear what Micah (or any other prophet) was saying. They may have stuck their fingers in their ears. We do not know. It says here there that they said, “Do not prophesy.” In the Hebrew this was a very blunt statement. Kind of like “Shut your mouth.” Hmmm. Does that still happen today?

APPLICATION

Today, people get mad at the preacher if he starts stepping on their toes during a sermon. How dare that preacher say those things to me. Who does he think he is? There is a passage in Malachi 2:6-7 that says, “6 True instruction was in his mouth and injustice was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and justice, and he turned many back from wrongdoing. 7 For the lips of a priest should maintain knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of armies.”

Look at the last part of that verse – “for he is the messenger of the LORD of armies.” That is who is speaking here in Micah – a messenger of the LORD of armies. Today’s preachers/teachers have the same responsibility. And if they are preaching God’s Word correctly, we need to listen. We need to stop putting our fingers in our ears and saying, “La la la la la.” We should do what it says in Malachi – “seek instruction from his mouth.”

I have preached hundreds of sermons in my ministry career. Perhaps thousands – I have not kept count. I know some of those sermons were preached out of my flesh and not from the Lord. That is why I am so careful now to only preach what the Lord gives me. I stick to His Word. Check out whoever you are listening to. Make sure what they say aligns with what God says. And if it does – follow.

O Father, I want to hear Your message from Your spokesman. I want to hear the truth of Your Word.

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Accountability, Belief, Bible, Choices, Consequences, Destruction, Eternity, Evangelism, Faith, God's Will, Gospel, Judgment, Promises, Salvation, Scripture

COUNTDOWN

JONAH 3:4

“Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, ‘Forty more days, and Nineveh will be overthrown.’”

No child likes to hear these words from their mother. “Just wait until your Father gets home.” The countdown begins. Knowing what time dad normally arrives home, the child begins to count the hours or minutes until they hear his car or truck pull into the driveway or garage. I don’t necessarily like this approach to child-rearing, but many parents use it.

Jonah was basically telling the Ninevites, “Dad’s coming, and He’s not happy.” Nineveh wasn’t just going to receive a spanking, though. They were going to be overthrown. The Hebrew word here means to overturn or turn over. In other words, life as they knew it was about to change. This is a dire warning. What would they do?

APPLICATION

God still gives us warnings. He may send it through a preacher (like Jonah, minus the fish smell, lol). He may reveal Himself to you in a passage of Scripture. He may speak through a dream. That still happens in many parts of the world where the Gospel has not been shared. I have heard numerous stories of a “man in white” appearing in a dream, giving a message to turn to Jesus.

Whether you heed the warning or not is your decision. Of course, the greatest message we have concerning our eternal doom is revealed in the Bible. That sounds bad. It’s not meant to. But the Word of God points us to a place of repentance and deliverance. And then we receive all the promises of God. He gives us fair warning. It’s spelled out clearly. We just have to believe.

In tomorrow’s blog we will see what the Ninevites do with Jonah’s warning. But I am more concerned with what you will do with it. Have you given your life to Christ? Have you turned over everything to Him? He desires to make you His own. If you have done that, praise the Lord. Now give someone else the warning. Don’t let them perish without a Savior.

God, my Father, You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Calling, Commands, Courage, Distractions, Enemies, Fear, God's Will, Gospel, Obedience, Scripture

A LARGE PLACE

JONAH 3:3

“So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk.”

I’ve been to some big cities – New York City, London, Nairobi, Minneapolis. I could go on. Fortunately, I did not have to walk to them. I had a car or another mode of transportation. But you know, I seldom thought about how big those cities were or too much about all the thousands of people in them who needed to hear about Jesus. I usually was on a mission to get something accomplished and didn’t want someone or something to slow me down. I repent of that. That was wrong.

Jonah was now going to Nineveh, that “exceedingly large city.” It was known for its greatness. Even though it was physically great, it was spiritually weak. The gods the Ninevites worshipped were not gods at all. We know that. Jonah knew that. And he was sent to tell them that.

APPLICATION

Now, let’s think about this for a second. Jonah was sent into enemy territory, to one of their greatest cities, and was told to tell them to repent. He probably expected laughter, at the very least. Jonah may have expected to be arrested and perhaps even killed. Why shouldn’t he expect that? No one likes to be told they are sinners.

But Jonah responded in the positive as fast as he had responded in the negative. He “got up and went” as compared to “got up to flee.” He was ready now to deliver God’s message no matter the cost. How about you? Are you willing to risk it all for Jesus? He may call on you to do just that.

I am finally at a point in my life where I really don’t care if people think I am a little crazy about Jesus. I have seen some amazing things in the past few years which have required me to reexamine how I see the Spirit moving. Living that out may put me at odds with some people. That’s okay, as long as I am true to my Savior’s calling. Will you do the same?

Father God, give me a Nineveh! Show me where you want me to be used.

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PROCLAIM

JONAH 3:2

“‘Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.’”

Whenever I have a sermon to prepare, I spend as much time praying about the passage as I do studying the passage. I want to make sure I am hearing from the Lord as to what He would have me say. I can come up with a sermon. That’s not a problem. But I want to speak His message, not mine.

The Hebrew text could be translated “preach to it the preaching.” In fact, the Hebrew word translated as “proclamation” is only used one time in the OT – right here. Why is that? I always wonder that. I believe the Lord wants us to take a good look at His message to Jonah. Notice how His message differed a little from the first time. “Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry out against it, because their wickedness has come up before Me.” The Lord, I think, wanted Jonah to get to Nineveh and then He would reveal His message.

APPLICATION

What is the message the Lord has given you today? To whom do you need to go and proclaim it? As I write this blog, I am in Norway preparing to take part in a men’s conference. Our main speaker is always sensitive to receiving “downloads” from God. He wants to make sure what he is speaking is from Him.

Right now, he is still waiting on his luggage to get here. That’s a distraction. He is aware of that. So, we are gathering in few minutes to pray for clarity of thought and message. When we get that message from the Lord, the devil does not want us to deliver it and will do everything he can to distract us. Don’t let that happen.

Receiving God’s message is sweet. Hearing His voice and knowing it is Him is precious. But sweeter still is delivering that message and seeing people come to Christ. It is His message, not yours. It is His results, not yours.

Let me hear Your message clearly, Lord. I want to speak only Your words to others.

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