Accountability, Advice, Bible, Compassion, Covenant, Grace, Promises, Scripture

PROMISES, PROMISES

MICAH 2:12

“‘I will certainly assemble all of you, Jacob, I will certainly gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together like sheep in the fold; like a flock in the midst of its pasture they will be noisy with people.’”

One thing I have been really trying to do is not make promises I cannot keep. There is nothing quite as bad as a broken promise. Parents do it all the time, don’t they? They promise their children things they have no intention doing. I have seen the faces of children whose parent did not show up for a visit which was schedule and promised. That hurts so bad.

Not God! When He makes a promise, He will keep it. Here in today’s verse, He promises to return the people of Israel to their land. He even says, “they will be noisy with people.” In other words, there will not be just a few. He will return a hoard of people, enough to make some noise. What a great promise.

APPLICATION

Do not make false promises to anyone, including God. We have all heard people promise God the moon if He would just get them out of the problem they are in. God, if You will get me out of this fix I am in, I will go to church every Sunday. And when that problem passes, they soon forget that vow.

I remember when I was about 15, I was in a bad car wreck. Oh, I was so thankful to survive. I made God all kinds of promises. That lasted a few months, and then I was back to my old lifestyle, which was not godly. God still showed me grace and never stopped pursuing me. At age 16, I accepted Christ as my Savior.

The Bible speaks to making vows. It says in James 5:12, “Now above allmy brothersdo not sweareither by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. Your ‘yes’ must beyes,’ and your ‘no’ must be ‘no,’ so that you won’t fall under judgment.” That is pretty clear. So, be careful as you make promises today.

Lord, I know I can depend on Your promises when all others fail.

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Bible, Blessing, Gifts, Grace, Scripture

LEFT OUT 

MICAH 2:5 

“‘Therefore, you will have no one applying a measuring line for you by lot in the assembly of the LORD.’” 

Some people think they deserve to be included, no matter who they are or what they have done. Our culture today has people thinking they deserve everything. No one wants to work, but they want all the benefits. Some even think they have the right to take from someone else just because they need it. 

The people to whom Micah is prophesying have turned their backs on the Lord but think they should still be blessed. They will not be part of the remnant which the Lord promises to return to the land. They don’t deserve it. God will not bless the unrepentant. 

APPLICATION 

We don’t deserve grace. It is a true gift from God. In fact, one definition of grace I have heard is “Grace is getting something from God that we don’t deserve.” Have you ever thought about how blessed you are to have God’s grace? I have. In fact, just about every day I think about it. 

Instead of going around thinking about the things you “deserve,” why not concentrate on what you have? When you do that, you are more likely to share with others. You are more grateful. You are better stewards of your possessions. You realize all you have belongs to Him anyway. 

The older I get, the less I want. My wife and I have become more contented. Things just don’t get us all flustered like they used to. We have learned (after all these years) to trust Him. He has proven Himself time and time again. We know Romans 8:28 is true (Look it up). Are you content today? I pray you are. 

I am forever grateful to You, dear Lord. You are so faithful to meet all my needs each day. 

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Accountability, Bible, Confession, Deceit, Evil, Forgiveness, Grace, Redemption, Repentance, Scripture

WRONGDOINGS

MICAH 1:5

“All this is due to the wrongdoing of Jacob and the sins of the house of Israel. What is the wrongdoing of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? What is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?

I have to admit something to you today. Are you ready? I am not perfect. I know, you are shocked and will probably never read my blog again. Lol. We are all imperfect and prone to sin. My wrongdoings are the result of my own rebellious acts against a holy God. In fact, that Hebrew word for “wrongdoing” in today’s verse means exactly that – rebellion, rebellious act.

Israel and Judah had rebelled against God. Samaria, the capital of Israel set up by Jeroboam, was the center of their idolatry. Horrible things had happened there due to their pagan sacrifices. Jerusalem was not much better. As the capital of Judah and the original center of all Israel, it should have maintained God’s laws. It did not. The kings had allowed pagan worship in their holy city, even in the temple itself.

APPLICATION

What have you allowed in the center of your life? Our wrongdoings stem from allowing sin to enter our life and take root. We invite them in purposely or sometimes by accident. Either way, sin enters and before you know it, you are knee deep in sinful behavior.

I mentor men who have an addiction to pornography. That sin did not just happen. It began at some point by being exposed to it. That may have been their own choice, or it could have been done by someone else. This “wrongdoing” is hard to shake. It gets all kind of reactions from people, but it is no worse than other “wrongdoings.”

I pray today that if you have allowed a “wrongdoing” in your life, you will repent of it. Our rebellion against our Lord will not go away until we confess it as sin, turn from it and walk with the Lord. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Aren’t you glad that is true today? I sure am.

O God, Savior of mankind, I praise You today for the forgiveness You offer me for my wrongdoings.

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Affliction, Belief, Bible, Choices, Comfort, Death, Deception, God's Will, Grace, Healing, Hope, Scripture

JUST LET ME DIE

JONAH 4:3

“‘So now, LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.’”

Unfortunately, I have heard those words from too many people. I remember a young lady that was on my caseload at a children’s home who tried to kill herself. I was called to the cottage to find that she had cut her wrists. We quickly bandage them, applied pressure and took off for the hospital. She kept saying all the way there that she just wanted to die. “Just let me die.” Fortunately, she did not and worked out the issues that led her to this decision.

Jonah wanted to die for two reasons. The first was because he just could not stand the idea that Nineveh was saved. He wanted them dead. He had rather die than see that. Secondly, Jonah did not want to see his own country suffer under the hands of these Assyrians. He had just as soon die than see that. Life simply was not worth living, or so it seemed.

APPLICATION

I pray you never feel this way. I pray you never feel so hopeless that taking your life seems the only option. God has so much for you. I am reminded of Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “‘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.’” That is still true today.

When all seems lost, turn to Jesus. When troubles and trials flood your days, turn to Jesus. He can soothe any wound. He can heal any broken heart. But you have to ask Him. He will not intervene where He is not wanted. But the very second you make that first step towards Him, He is there with a warm and kind embrace.

Trusting Jesus with your life is more than just an eternal decision. It is a daily decision. He longs to guide and direct us. He does not want to see us stray off the narrow road. But He will let us. We are not tied to Him and drug along. Run up beside Him today and grab His hand. He will gladly hold yours.

Oh Father, for the thousands of souls out there today who have no hope, will You send someone in their lives today to share Jesus?

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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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Advocate, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Grace, Mercy, Praise, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

WAVES

JONAH 2:3

“‘For You threw me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the current flowed around me. All Your breakers and waves passed over me.’”

My mom loved the beach. In fact, she convinced my dad, who was no fan of beach life, to buy a small place on the Gulf of Mexico. My mom loved to “jump the waves.” She would not get her hair wet or go in too deep. But she loved to walk in the water and feel the waves break against her body.

Jonah felt the waves and breakers as they passed over him. He seems to quote from Psalm 42:7. “Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.” There is no escape. Only God’s mercy is sparing his life. Jonah is calling on God as he recognizes His power over him.

APPLICATION

Have you tried to “jump the waves” lately? You may get lucky to begin with, but eventually you tire and the waves get you. You cannot keep up with the current that is pushing against you. You need a rescuer, someone who is strong and powerful. You cannot rescue yourself.

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as the ultimate lifeguard. He is always looking out for our safety. He flies the red flags when He knows there is danger around you. He flies the green flags when it is safe to swim. He has the ability to plunge into the oceans of despair that may entangle you and set you free.

I have known a lot of people who worked as lifeguards. They all had to know how to rescue someone if they were drowning. That might have involved using a hook to pull someone to the side of a pool or throwing a life saving device to someone in the lake or ocean. Jesus has all the tools necessary to rescue us. Has He rescued you?

Father, I am so thankful Jesus tossed me a ring of safety. I am now safe in His arms.

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Advocate, Battles, Bible, Brokenness, Darkness, Destruction, Devil, Grace, Horror, Rebellion, Rescue, Safety, Scripture, Storms

BREAKING UP

JONAH 1:4

“However, the LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea, so that the ship was about to break up.”

I lived in Florida for about eight years and witnessed the destructive power of hurricanes on several occasions. Those storms can literally destroy a city. I have seen homes obliterated. I have seen neighborhoods so damaged you could not tell where the streets were. It is horrifying.

I imagine the storm Jonah and his shipmates faced was like a hurricane. When God sends a storm, He does not mess around. I bet they had 20- and 30-foot waves. The pounding of those waves on the hull of the ship was beginning to break apart the ship. They were taking on water and getting scared.

APPLICATION

Have you ever been that scared? It seemed the waves of life were crashing in all around you. You are taking on water. You look around and there are no lifeboats to jump into. You are panicking. All hope is gone.

And then you come to the Master who can still the seas. No storm is so dark that He cannot walk right through it. No waves are too high that He cannot safely navigate. No vessel is so wrecked that He cannot put it back together better than it was before. Call out to Him!

Wow! This picture of Jonah in that ship sure is vivid. We can all relate to it. We have done the same thing. We have run from God and gotten into more trouble. When we flee in the dark, we are apt to get hurt. We, instead, need to head toward the light. Then our path is exposed. Then He will lead us safely home.

The storm-tossed waves of life are out there, Lord. But with You at the helm, there is no fear.

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Accountability, Advocate, Affection, Bible, Calling, Confidence, Encouragement, God's Will, Grace, Judgment, Mercy, Redemption, Remnant

A REMNANT

OBADIAH 5

“If thieves came to you, if robbers by night—Oh how you will be ruined!—Would they not steal only until they had enough? If grape-pickers came to you, would they not leave some gleanings??

My Uncle Hugh Lee was a produce farmer. He grew large fields of tomatoes and cabbages for the market. Every year, at the end of the season, he let us come out and get all we wanted that was left in the fields. My mom canned the tomatoes for winter and cooked up a big mess of cabbage.

Obadiah is using an analogy of common, everyday life to not only let them know what was coming (judgment), but that there would also be a remnant left to return. God was not done with them yet. He still had plans for His chosen nation. They, however, had to deal with the judgment to come.

APPLICATION

You may be going through a hard time right now. You may feel like the Lord has forgotten you and left you to wander. That is not our God. He will never leave us or forsake us. He must discipline us at times, but He will not leave us there. You can trust that truth.

Where are you right now? Do you need assurance? We all do. That’s normal. But if you are in a pit of despair right now, thinking that God has forgotten you, stop. He knows exactly where you are. Call out to Him today. He hears, even from the deepest pit.

I honestly don’t know what I would do if didn’t have the knowledge that God loves me. I don’t understand why He does, but He does. I certainly don’t deserve it. But He has called me His own. If you are in Christ, so are you. So, today, live like it.

From the deepest valley, you hear my voice when I cry to You, O Lord. I know You are there and ready to rescue Your remnant.

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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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Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Cleansing, Consequences, Disciplemaking, Flesh, Forgiveness, Grace, Hell, Judgment, Punishment, Salvation, Scripture

YOUR JUST DESSERTS

JOEL 3:7

behold, I am going to stir them up from the place where you have sold them, and return your retribution on your head.

Sometimes people get just what they deserve. You may have heard that expression, “just desserts.” It means to get what’s coming to you. Now, to be honest, my flesh loves to see that happen. But I know Christ in me desires for others to repent and avoid the punishment of sin – kind of like Nineveh did when they heard Jonah’s message.

However, right here in Joel 3:7, God is telling the nations that they are going to receive the consequences for their sins. They have done evil to His children. Now it’s their turn to suffer for their actions. Yes, they had been used by Him to accomplish the judgment upon Judah, but they took it too far. They became haughty. God will now issue His judgment on them.

APPLICATION

So, the lesson for us is to not get too excited when we see someone else get punished for something they have done. We could just as easily be getting ours. None of us are innocent. We have all done things for which we deserved to be punished. So, we shouldn’t enjoy the punishment of others. In fact, we should do all we can to try to help them.

Of course, the ultimate punishment is the eternal judgment of God. As believers in Christ, our punishment has already been paid for by Christ. But think of the billions of people out there who are going to die and go to hell without hearing the gospel. We need to do all we can to advance the kingdom while there’s still time. What can you do today to help someone avoid their “just desserts”?

I am so thankful for my salvation. I know all the deeds I committed that earned me a place in hell. But because of the saving power of Jesus, my record was washed clean. Surely, He has cleansed me with hyssop and washed me whiter than snow. I want others to experience what I have experienced. Don’t you?

Father, I am so thankful I am not getting my just desserts when it comes to my sins. Thank You for cleansing my soul.

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