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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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A RUT

AMOS 2:13

“‘Behold, I am making a rut in the ground beneath you, just as a wagon makes a rut when filled with sheaves.’”

Do you know what a rut is? It’s a grave with both ends knocked out. I know, that’s not a very funny joke. I don’t write them. I just repeat them, lol. Seriously, not many people like to be in a rut. It implies you are stuck or traveling is hard. Ruts can break axles on vehicles. Bottom line – ruts aren’t fun.

The Lord tells the Israelites here in verse 13 that He is burdened by them. The weight of their sins is upon Him. He is weary of them. How sad that must have sounded to them. Their God, the One who delivered them, is weary of them. But now God is over it. He is tired of being tired of them. He is going to deal with them appropriately.

APPLICATION                                                              

Do you think our sins burden Jesus? If you are child of God, if you have given your life to Him, then all your sins are forgiven. We have the privilege to walk with Him in victory. Do you think He gets weary of our rebellion and disobedience? I am sure it disappoints Him. He knows we are human and fall short, but He has given us everything we need to live for Him.

Ask yourself if you are living to please the Father today. Or are you in a rut? Do you let the trials of life weigh you down. There’s a line in a hymn that I love. It says, “Burdens are lifted at Calvary.” Do you believe that? I sure do. I know my burdens are lifted by my Master. I want out of the ruts.

So, next time you feel you are in a rut, stop and examine what burdens you are holding on to. You don’t have to. He’s got this. And the beauty is once we give Him our burdens, they really are lifted. God can handle it. We can’t. Let Him have all your burdens (1 Peter 5:7).

I cast all my burdens on You, O Lord. I know You have the ability to take them and lighten my load.

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NO HOMEPLACE

AMOS 1:15

“‘Their king will go into exile, he and his princes together,’ says the LORD.”

My family moved a lot during my ministry. In fact, my wife and children have moved five times. We know each move was directed by the Lord. The events leading up to our decision to move were not our own making. Only God could have done it. But all those moves can leave you feeling homeless. Thankfully, we have settled in Chattanooga, TN. That is our home. Now, God may move us again, but it will always be home for us.

Amos ends his prophecy against Ammon by prophesying the royal family’s exile. Do you know what that means? They would be taken out of their palaces, their homes, and placed in another country which the conquering army had defeated. Wherever they were placed, it wouldn’t be home. They will lose everything that is familiar.

APPLICATION

Have you lost your familiar place? Do you feel homeless? I want to remind you of something. If you are believer, you don’t belong here anyway. This world is not our home. We are citizens of heaven. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, and when it is time, He will take us home.

But while you are here, where do you belong? Wherever God has placed you. My wife and I tried to make everyplace we lived home. Some places were easier than others, but we really tried to make it home. Home is where your family is. Don’t be bitter or angry about where you are. Accept your placing as from God.

God has a master plan for our lives. I will never understand it this side of glory. But I trust His wisdom. I know He will never place me anywhere that is not meant to make me more like Him. The people I meet there and the experiences I have are heaven-made. God has allowed each and every interaction for a reason. The journey is exciting. Embrace it.

Father, I trust that You know what is best for me. I will go along for the journey.

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FRESH MORNING DEW

HOSEA 14:5

I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like the lily, and he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon.”

Have you ever wondered where the morning dew comes from? It’s pretty amazing that seemingly out of nowhere water vapors in the air condense on surfaces to form these droplets of water we call dew. But why? Some people actually collect this morning dew and drink it. They claim it has true medicinal properties that aid the body. Perhaps it does. I don’t know. I just know it is a miracle of our God who created this event in nature.

Why all the discussion about dew? Hosea compares God to the morning dew. He says God will use the dew to refresh the lily and help the cedars grow. Just like He gives nourishment to these plants, He will nourish Israel spiritually. Without nourishment, the lily would die. Without the deep root, the cedar would perish. So would Israel without the life-giving nourishment of the Lord.

APPLICATION

You must have food and water to survive. I have seen the effects of those being withheld from someone. It is not a pretty picture. Here in America, where I live, most people have access to plenty of food and clean water. That’s not the case all over the world. One area I visit in Kenya has suffered droughts for years, resulting in lack of clean water and the decimation of their crops and livestock.

But just as serious for us is our spiritual source of “water” and “food.” We must go to the well of the Word daily to receive our nourishment. Without it, we dry up and die spiritually. The beauty of the Word is it never runs dry. We can drink and eat from it daily and share it with others, and it is still full of all we need the next day. It’s like the dew which returns day after day.

I am thankful for the fresh dew each morning. The next time I see those droplets of dew on the leaves or on my windshield, I am going to be reminded of the dew of Israel, my Lord and God. His refreshing Spirit gives me the power to face each new day. He revives my soul. I pray you will allow Him to revive you as well.

Lord, revive me again. Fill my soul with Your song.

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JEHOVAH RAPHA

HOSEA 14:4

I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, because My anger has turned away from them.”

I have been through some challenging physical ailments in the past years. I have gone through two stem cell transplants (2010 and 2020), melanoma surgery on my chest and a brain fistula surgery. To say the least, I have called on Jehovah Rapha a few times. He has come through time and time again.

But Jehovah Rapha heals more than the physical. Here in today’s verse Jehovah is healing them from their apostasy. Do you know what that is? The Hebrew word can mean backsliding or turning back. God’s love will draw them back into a relationship. This is spiritual and relational healing. Isn’t that great?

APPLICATION

What kind of healing do you need? Physical healing? Spiritual? Relational? We are all in need of some kind of healing. What are you waiting for? Jehovah Rapha is still healing people. But we have to understand something about His healing. He heals according to His timetable and according to His will. Sometimes the healing happens later, even in eternity. But He will respond.

Now, I’ve known plenty of people who prayed for physical healing and did not receive it this side of eternity. They were healed in glory. That’s hard for some of us to accept. But it’s the truth. If we yield to Jehovah Rapha, He will always heal us spiritually. That’s not easy for us either. We must die to our own desires and accept the healing.

I want that healing. I want Jehovah Rapha to heal me from my apostasy. I don’t want to back slide or turn away. I want to be following Him always. Don’t you? That’s possible when we surrender. Healing is needed. Healing is wanted. Jehovah Rapha offers it.

Father God, I thank You for healing my heart. I praise You for the gift of healing.

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SPRING RAINS

HOSEA 6:3

“So let’s learn, let’s press on to know the LORD. His appearance is as sure as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, as the spring rain waters the earth.”

When I was a little boy, I loved to play in the rain. Now, I don’t mean the rains that came during the Winter. Those are terrible. It’s cold. You can’t enjoy the rain because you’re freezing. But in the Spring those rains are awesome. Growing up in Southwest Georgia, here in the U.S., Spring is normally pretty warm. So, Spring rains are welcomed.

Hosea describes the Lord like that. He says, “He will come to us like the rain, as the spring rain…” What does a Spring rain do? It refreshes the earth. It brings things back to life. Winter has caused everything to die back. But when those Spring rains begin, the new growth pops out. That’s what God does for us.

APPLICATION

Do you realize we can have the same effect on others? If we are living for Him, we can be like a refreshing Spring rain. The joy of Jesus should be all over us. People should see us and practically run to be near us. They should desire our presence. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Do you know someone you just love to be around because of their sweet spirit? That’s what I’m talking about.

Unfortunately, too many of us are “Negative Nancy” or “Troublesome Tom.” We exude negativity, and people avoid us. Isn’t that a shame? I have to admit that I have slipped into that character from time to time. When I do, the Holy Spirit convicts me. I truly want others to be drawn to the Jesus in me. I really want them to want to be around me and not avoid me.

Would you join me today in being more like Jesus, more like that Spring rain? Would you let the Holy Spirit show out in your life? All it takes is us dying to ourselves. We have to give up our fleshly desires and pursue the Spirit. He is waiting to show Himself. Ah…I can feel the rain now.

I love the feel of You working in and through me. Help me get out of the way, so You can be seen in me.

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FIRST AID

HOSEA 6:1

“Come, let’s return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.”

I taught first aid for years. In the classes I taught how to bandage wounds and stabilize broken limbs. I actually enjoyed teaching these skills because I knew I was preparing the students to help someone who possibly couldn’t help themselves. What a great skill to have.

In this chapter 6 of Hosea, the people are responding to the Lord. They realize their need to return to Him. They recognize that He has punished them. They say He had torn them and wounded them. But they also know He will heal them and bandage them.

APPLICATION

Has the Lord torn you? Has He wounded you? And how did you respond? Most of us do not respond too well when chastised. I know I don’t. It’s hard to receive criticism or rebuke. But when it’s the Lord doing the rebuking, we need to listen. He only corrects us to bring us closer to Him. Don’t you want that?

Punishment is so much more bearable when we know the person doing the punishing loves us. How much does God love us? He sent His Son to die for us. That is a powerful love. That’s an eternal love. The next time you feel the Lord correcting you, look into His eyes and know how much He loves you.

The Lord just might use your correction to point someone else toward Him, if you respond well. As others watch you react, you have the opportunity to show them Jesus. A lot of people have never seen that before. Will you accept His healing and His bandages? Then show them to others so they can see what He has done for you.

I am healed because of You. You are the source of all my healing. Praise You, Jesus.

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THE ERASER

1 JOHN 3:5

“You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.”

There was nothing better than a good eraser when I was in grade school. In fact, my mom used to buy us extra erasers. We loved the kind that went on the end of your pencil. You were really cool if you had some kind of cartoon figure eraser. But we also had those big, pink rectangle-shaped erasers. Those could last a long time. Erasers were essential when I was in school.

Jesus is our sin eraser. Because He knew no sin, only He was qualified to be that sin eraser. One definition of the Greek word for “take away” is to sail away. I like that. Our sins simply sail away. They have weighed anchor. They are no longer here. Jesus makes them vanish. How great is that?

APPLICATION

Get your kids to try out some different erasers with different writing instruments. Start out with a sharpie. Have them try to erase it. Then try an ink pen. Finally, give them a pencil. Some marks we make cannot be erased with a plain eraser. They are pretty much permanent.

Ask your children how they erase their own mistakes, their own sins. They may say they ask someone to forgive them. They may say they promise to never do that again. Those are like the sharpie and pen marks. Our efforts to erase our sins just don’t work. Only through Jesus can we get the forgiveness we need. Teach your kids to confess their sins daily. A clean slate is always good.

Does your slate need cleaning? Go the One who can erase all your mistakes. He can forgive you and give you the cleansing you need. All you have to do is confess. That may be a little painful, but it is the only way. Make it right with Him and experience the joy of walking in forgiveness.

Lord, I need Your eraser in my life. I confess to You today the ways I have fallen short. Cleanse me now.

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MAKE YOUR BED

ACTS 9:32-35

“32 Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralyzed. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed.” Immediately he got up. 35 And all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.”

When I read this passage my eye was drawn to that phrase, “make your bed.” I literally laughed out loud. Here’s a guy who has been in his bed for eight years, and the first thing he’s told to do when he gets healed and stands up is to make his bed. Wow! I know a lot of folks who are completely healthy and never make their bed, lol.

I wonder why Peter told him that. Do you think it was a symbolic move? That bed hadn’t been made in eight years. Aeneas lived in it. Making that bed symbolized a finish to the bedridden state. He no longer was confined to that bed. I bet Aeneas did not mind at all making that bed. In fact, I bet he enjoyed standing and seeing it made. He was out of it!

APPLICATION

When our kids come to Christ, they need to be taught that their former life is DONE. They have a new life in Christ. They are no longer paralyzed by sin. They are no longer bedridden by guilt and shame. They are free to walk and stand with Jesus. They can make that bed. Well, don’t tell them that, lol.

Seriously, making our bed sends a signal to the brain. We are no longer sleeping or slumbering. We are awake and about our Father’s business. Teach your kids to make their beds but tell them why they are doing it. It’s not just about making their room look neat. There’s a purpose behind it. It ends one thing and begins another.

Are you a bed maker? I like my bed made each day. Do I do that? Well…to be honest, there are days when my wife and I just pull up the sheet and go about our day. But when the bed is made it looks so nice. I want to begin each day afresh, ready to serve my Master. How about you? Then get up and make your bed.

I am ready to serve You, Lord. I want a fresh start today. I don’t want yesterday’s troubles to follow me into the new day.

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MISPLACED FAITH

ACTS 5:14-16

“14 And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, 15 to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. 16 Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.”

Peter’s reputation as a miracle worker and healer had spread. People were clamoring to get to him to be healed of their diseases or impairments. However, the crowds were so big they couldn’t get close enough. So, they resorted to lying in the streets where Peter might pass with the hope that his shadow might fall on them and heal them.

I must quickly say that there is no evidence this happened. We have no record of anyone being healed by his shadow. Nevertheless, the people believed it could. Strong faith in the wrong thing does not make things right. You may believe passionately in something, only to find out you were passionately wrong.

APPLICATION

One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to redirect your child when you know they are headed in the wrong direction. Your child may have some strong beliefs about some things in our culture. It’s happening more and more. While we want them to hold strongly to their beliefs, we also want those beliefs to be biblically based.

The only way you can redirect them is to go to Scripture. If a belief is not backed up by the Word of God, it’s not a true belief. Now listen to me. Satan loves to disguise his lies with a little truth. This can be so confusing to a young believer. That’s why you, Mom and Dad, must be grounded in the Word and able to show them in Scripture what God says.

Have you taken a good look at your beliefs? Why do you believe what you do? We all need to do a self-check every so often. It is so easy to bring in traditions or church practices and consider them doctrine. Let me encourage you today to reevaluate your beliefs. Check them out with the Word before you start betting your life on them.

Your Word is clear to me, Lord. I will put my trust in what You teach me there and check out other teachings that are put before me.

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