Accountability, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Comfort, Commitment, Discipline, Faithfulness, Giving, Greed, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Praise, Sacrifice, Scripture

WHEN OFFERINGS CEASE

JOEL 1:9

“The grain offering and the drink offering have been cut off from the house of the LORD. The priests mourn, the ministers of the LORD.”

One side effect of the covid crisis that has pillaged our economy is the reduction in giving in many churches. When covid shut down churches in 2020, churches that were surviving week to week just couldn’t hang on financially. A lot of churches closed their doors due to empty pews and empty coffers.

The same thing happened in the days of Joel. When the locusts came and destroyed their agricultural economy, the offerings that were normally brought to the Lord’s house ceased. And when they ceased, the priests went hungry since they depended on these. When offerings cease, many suffer.

APPLICATION

Are you suffering loss today? Have you stopped giving to the Lord because of it? It’s understandable. God doesn’t expect you to give out of nothing. But He will provide. We have to believe that. Have you ever been down to your last bit of food only to have someone stop by with a bag of groceries? That’s God.

God does not desire for His children to suffer. He doesn’t want us to starve. He longs to meet our needs. Just let Him know what that is. He wants us to cry out to Him. You may just be amazed at how He provides. Then you can give Him the glory for His provision in your life.

I never cease to be amazed at how He provides for my family. There have been times when we did not see a way out of a dilemma, but He always came through. Just recently, when I thought we were facing some major car repairs, it turned out to only be a bad battery. You may not see that as a God thing, but I sure do. He wants to do the same for you.

Father, You are so good to me. Even in times of suffering, You provide.

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Accountability, Blessing, Encouragement, Foolishness, Greed, Inheritance, Modeling, Scripture, Testimony

WASTED BLESSING

HOSEA 9:13

“Ephraim, as I have seen, is planted in a pasture like Tyre; but Ephraim is going to bring out his children for slaughter.”

So many people waste their parents’ inheritance. I have seen people scrimp and save for decades to give something to their children, only to see it used up in months, if not weeks. They were blessed by their parents, but they just ignored the sacrifice their parents made for them. How sad is that?

Ephraim had been blessed by Jacob. Remember, Ephraim was one of Joseph’s sons who received the blessing, along with his brother, Manasseh. And when the tribe of Ephraim received their inheritance of the land in the Promised Land, they received a beautiful land. But they abused it. They turned their back on the Lord.

APPLICATION

What blessing are you wasting? Look at your life. Look at all the Lord has done for you. Look at all He has given you. We are so incredibly blessed. Just to have a roof over our heads and food in our stomach is enough. Paul said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:8 “But if we have food and clothes, we will be content with that.”

I want to challenge you to take an inventory of your blessings today. Get out a sheet of paper or grab your laptop or tablet and start listing them. You will be amazed. We overlook the little things like a bed to sleep in or a bathroom to get cleaned up in. How about taking a look in your closet? How many pairs of shoes do you own? Blessing!

I am overwhelmed when I walk into my house each day. I do not deserve it. I am thankful for it and realize it is a gift from God, but I don’t deserve. I don’t want to ever forget the blessings I have received from the Lord. I want to share them with others. I want to pass on the blessings to those who are less fortunate than I am. Let’s do that today.

God, I am so unworthy. I don’t deserve all You have blessed me with, but I am thankful. You are a mighty God, worthy of my praise.

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Accountability, Bible, Confession, Deceit, Deception, Enemies, Following, Greed, Judgment, Lawlessness, Obedience, Scripture, Sin

DON’T STOP SINNING

HOSEA 4:8

“They feed on the sin of My people, and long for their wrongdoing.”

Some people urge people to sin. They want others to participate in the same behavior they are involved in, so they won’t feel so bad. They want to bring people down to their level. When I was saved, I had to choose to not hang out with some of my former friends because I knew their habits (my former ones) would hold me back from growing with Christ.

Hosea is talking about the sinful behavior of the priests. They were actually profiting from the people’s sins, so they didn’t really want them to stop sinning. The more sins, the more they benefitted. So, why would they want to stop this? They were essentially saying, “Keep on sinning. We like the offerings you bring us.”

APPLICATION

Now, before you become too judgmental, let’s look at ourselves. Does our behavior encourage people to sin or repent? Do they see us living in a manner that gives glory to God or ourselves? You see, we are no better than those priests in Hosea’s day if we aren’t doing everything we can to point others to Jesus.

Our lives aren’t our own. The very moment we gave our hearts to Jesus He took over. We live to honor Him. We love to honor Him. We work to honor Him. Do you see a theme here? It’s all about Him, not us. So, let me encourage you to do that.

Today live your life with one purpose – to give Him glory. Instead of encouraging others to sin by your behavior, how about encouraging them to walk with Jesus? Don’t be like the priests. Don’t profit off of someone else’s sin. Don’t rejoice in their sinful behavior. No! Turn them to Jesus.

Lord, help me point others to Jesus in all that I do. Let my every thought and action be done to honor You.

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Advice, Affliction, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Devil, Encouragement, Evil, Greed, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Satan, Scripture, Shame

DON’T BE BAITED

2 PETER 2:14

“having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children;”

Anyone who knows me knows I love to fish and hunt. Heck, I just love the outdoors. If you want to catch fish, you have to know what they are eating. Their menu changes with the seasons and conditions of the water. Use the wrong bait, and you won’t catch much. Use the right bait, and you have a better chance of catching fish that day.

The Greek word translated as “enticing” is exactly that word – bait. It’s only used three times in the New Testament. It’s used twice here in 2 Peter (2:14 and 2:18) and in James 1:14. All three times it used in a negative context. Bait hides the hook. Bait lures us into traps. But catch what Peter says. They entice “unstable souls.” This literally means people who don’t have a staff to lean on. They are ungrounded, unsteady, not dependable.

APPLICATION

So, how do we protect ourselves against being baited? How do we protect our kids? We get grounded in the Word. When we are in the Word daily and seeking God’s face, we can easily recognize those baited hooks. We can see the traps that are being laid for us. We have to be alert at all times, though, because the devil can get very creative.

What does that mean? The devil won’t come at you or your children the same way every time. He knows we can “wise up” and see him coming. So, he will disguise his traps. They may even look okay. Ask yourself and teach your kids to ask themselves one question. Will this action I am about to take bring glory to God. If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure,” run as fast as you can. Back up and take a hard look. Don’t be baited.

Have you fallen for the bait and now you sit there with a hook in your mouth? You may feel shame and regret. Listen! Turn to Jesus. He is the ultimate hook remover. He can forgive you and set you back on the right path. You may have a scar from that hook mark, but it will serve to remind you, not of your sin, but of the forgiving power of Jesus. Amen?

Forgive me, Father, for falling victim to Satan’s lures. Keep my eyes on You. I know You will never lead me toward defeat.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Deceit, Enemies, Greed, Modeling, Parenting, Persecution, Remembering, Scripture

PLASTIC WORDS

2 PETER 2:3

“and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

What in the world do I mean by the title for today’s devotion? Well, the Greek word for “false” is plastos from which we get our word “plastic.” It refers to something that is molded to fit someone’s vain imagination. You see, it’s easy to manipulate words to say whatever you want them to say. And people who are greedy won’t hesitate to do that.

It’s interesting that Peter goes on to say that they are not idle or asleep. In other words, these people don’t waste time. They have an agenda. They want to tear down any semblance of truth they find. Nothing will stand in their way. Oh, wait! God will, but we have to trust Him to do just that.

APPLICATION

That’s the application for today. This verse, in and of itself, is not very encouraging. But we know how this all ends. That’s the message we teach our children. No matter how bad things seem and no matter how many people are against us, God is on our side and will be victorious.

The hard part is trusting that. Life can get overwhelming. Crises come and go. Hardships fall upon us. We may see no way out, but how we respond during those times teaches our children volumes. They will remember our courage. They will remember our prayers. Let our enemies mold their words. We have THE Word.

Are you cowering in fear because of those who want to speak evil against you? Stand up and trust the Lord. Your enemy’s words may sound convincing to the world, but you know the truth. Allow the Lord to defend you. He will. And so what if you suffer innocently. Didn’t He?

Father, I will trust You to defend me against fabricated words intended to do me harm. Your truths will win out. I will hold fast to them.

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