Bible, Blessing, Encouragement, Eternity, Glory, Heaven, Inspirational, Joy, Light, Promises, Salvation, Scripture

A SIGHT TO BEHOLD 

MICAH 7:9 

“I will endure the rage of the LORD because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me out to the light, and I will look at His righteousness.” 

I remember the day I married my wife. I remember seeing her appear in the doorway of the sanctuary. It was the first time I had seen her in her wedding dress. She was beautiful. I watched her as she walked down the aisle, knowing that in a matter of minutes, we would be married. Joy was bubbling over. 

Micah seems to share a similar joy in knowing the LORD would bring him out to the light and he could look at His righteousness. Micah knows he is not worthy of such a sight, but the LORD has forgiven him of his sins and pleaded his case. Wow! What a sight to behold. 

APPLICATION 

One day we will see Jesus. Can you imagine? We all have a picture in our minds of what that will be like, but none of them come close to the actual. Jesus’ presence before us will be the culmination of our spiritual journey. We will be safely in His arms for eternity. 

I have had the privilege to see some magnificent sights – the flight of thousands of pink flamingos in Kenya, the sun rising out of the Atlantic Ocean, the birth of my children. Those are just a few. But none will compare to the sight of my Lord. Just like Micah, He has pleaded my case and has executed justice for me. 

I have been given the promise of eternity with my Lord. It will be a place that is lit by His radiance. The glory of God will be everywhere! I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to eternity. I am looking forward to seeing my Jesus. Are you? 

Thank You Lord, for the promise of eternal life with You. I cannot wait to see Your face.  

Standard
Accountability, Battles, Bible, Cleansing, Confession, Deception, Devil, Eternity, Forgiveness, God's Will, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Mercy, Scripture

SELF-JUSTIFICATION

MICAH 6:2

“Listen, you mountains, to the indictment by the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth, because the LORD has a case against His people; and He will dispute with Israel.”

Boy, we love to justify our sins, don’t we? We can blame everyone and everything for sinning. I know I have done that. I sin against God by being unkind to my wife, but I blame her. I get angry or upset in traffic, but it is the other driver’s fault. We just cannot take the blame ourselves, can we?

This “case” God has against His people is exactly that. He is basically asking them what He has done to cause their sinful behavior. They see His goodness yet respond with rebellion. I am reminded of Jesus’ response in John 10:32. “Jesus answered them, ‘I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?’”

APPLICATION

What excuses are you giving God right now for your sins. You say, What sins, Carl? I am not a bad person. Well, we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). You cannot blame God or anyone else for your sin. Well, the devil made me do it. Nope, not true. He may have offered up that morsel, but you gobbled it down.

We have no one to blame for our sins but ourselves. Our flesh is so wicked. If it is left unchecked, it will wreck our world before and after we are saved. When you come to Christ and accept Him, He cleanses you of all your sins. But He does not take away that propensity in our flesh to sin. That has to be dealt with by our submission to the Holy Spirit daily.

Until we reach glory, sin will be an issue. I attended a funeral of a dear friend recently. His life was put on display at the service. His son spoke and shared what a godly influence his dad had on his life. But that man was prone to sin even up to the point of death. When his spirit was taken to glory, he began his sinless perfection in Christ. Glory, hallelujah! Praise be to Jesus. One day we will have the same. Until then, live holy lives.

Father, help me live each day abhorring what is evil and clinging to what is holy.

Standard
Abiding, Belief, Bible, Eternity, God's Will, Heaven, Hell, Salvation, Scripture

FOREVER

MICAH 4:7

“‘I will make those who limp a remnant, and those who have strayed a mighty nation, and the LORD will reign over them on Mount Zion from now on and forever.’”

When we make our wedding vows to one another, we promise to love and protect the rest of our lives. That may seem like a long time, but it really isn’t. I have known couples who have been married 65 and 70 years. That is practically unheard of nowadays. But as long as that is, it is not forever.

The Hebrew word for “forever” used here in today’s verse is olam. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines it as “vanishing point; generally, time out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity.” That is how long the LORD will reign. We, with our finite minds, cannot comprehend what forever really means. We just know it is a long, long time.

APPLICATION

Are you prepared to spend eternity with God? I sure hope so. The alternative is to spend eternity somewhere else – hell. Yes, hell is a very real place with real torment. We also cannot comprehend just how horrible it will be. Movies and human descriptions fall far short. The most horrible thing about hell will be the eternal separation from God.

But there is good news. That is not necessary. Jesus died for our sins to ransom us from the grips of hell. When we surrender our lives to Him and accept Him as Lord and Savior, we forever (there’s that word again) escape the horrors of hell. We will be welcomed into the loving arms of Jesus and will reign with Him forever.

That word keeps popping up, doesn’t it? Forever! I am prepared. I punched that ticket way back in 1977. I am sealed and protected by the Holy Spirit that lives in me. I desire the same for you and everyone I know. Actually, I desire that for everyone – period. Will you join me in making that known to all you know? Together we can reap a harvest.

I will praise You forever and ever, Lord. I look forward to spending eternity with You.

Standard
Abiding, Advocate, Allegiance, Bible, Blessing, Commitment, Eternity, Heaven

AS FOR US

MICAH 4:5

“Though all the peoples walk, each in the name of his god, as for us, we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.”

We all have to choose our allegiance to something. Even though I was born in the U.S. and am a citizen by birth, I still swear my allegiance to my country. It is not perfect, but I love it. If called on to defend it, I would not hesitate. When our national anthem is played and I see our American flag waving in the breeze, my heart swells with proud. I have chosen this country as my own.

Micah is declaring that the people of God will swear their allegiance to the LORD their God and walk in His name. They had for too long sworn a false allegiance. They said they loved God but welcomed in the pagan gods. They were not true and loyal to Jehovah. All that has changed now, and Micah writes words that ring similar to the ones we hear Joshua say in the last part of Joshua 24:15 – “but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

APPLICATION

To whom does your heart belong? When we come to Christ and surrender our lives to Him, we must give Him all our heart. He deserves our utmost devotion and praise, no matter what our current circumstances may be. He is a watchful king who protects His citizens.

As His children, we are citizens of heaven already. The U-Haul truck just hasn’t showed up yet to move us home. As a citizen of heaven, I need to be thinking about it as I speak to people. I need to invite as many as I can to join me there. We want to pack that place, even though there will be room for everyone who surrenders to Christ.

Some people preach that there are many ways to reach our heavenly home. There is only one – Jesus Christ. Only He can usher us into the kingdom one day. Only He shed His blood to ransom our souls. Only He died, was buried and rose again the third day. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

I can’t wait to see my heavenly home, Lord. I know You have been preparing it just for me.

Standard
Accountability, Advocate, Belief, Bible, Brokenness, Confession, Encouragement, Forgiveness, God's Will, Hearing, Heaven, Listening, Prayer, Scripture

UNANSWERED PRAYERS 

MICAH 3:4 

“Then they will cry out to the LORD, but He will not answer them. Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time because they have practiced evil deeds.” 

I have heard this so much during my ministry years. God just doesn’t hear me or answer my prayers. Why doesn’t He answer? Our God is always listening to our prayers. However, before He can answer us, we must submit to His authority. We must come to Him in confession. Oh, how He wants to answer. 

The people Micah was talking to were asking the same question. They kept crying out to God to rescue them. They had not taken the most critical step towards answered prayers. They had not repented of their sins. Their sins were serving as a roadblock to heaven. Their sins were bouncing off the gates up there. God heard them, but He could not answer them until they came to Him in repentance. 

APPLICATION 

Now, hear me! I am NOT saying that all unanswered prayers are because of sin in your life. In fact, I believe that a believer’s prayers are ALWAYS answered. Sometimes God says Yes. Other times He says No. Then often He says Not now My child. But He is always listening. He hears our cries. 

If you have lost friends who are blaming God for their unanswered prayers, ask them if they have surrendered their lives to Him first. They may not even know how to go about asking Jesus to be their Savior and Lord. What a privilege it is for us to lead them to the throne of grace. 

I have a couple of prayers that I pray daily. I pray other prayers weekly or monthly. Then finally I have prayers that I pray on occasion for those special requests of friends. But I pray. I love to pray. I love to know that my Lord is interceding at the right hand of His Father each time I pray. I know when I open my mouth to voice my prayers, my Father in heaven bends His ear and listens. Call on Him today. 

Father, thank You for listening to all my feeble attempts of prayer. I know You are careful to do Your perfect Will in each and every requests I make. 

Standard
Affliction, Battles, Bible, Brokenness, Darkness, Death, Despair, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Grief, Heaven, Mourning, Satan, Scripture

THE ENEMY APPROACHES

MICAH 1:15

“Moreover, I will bring on you the one who takes possession, you inhabitant of Mareshah. The glory of Israel will enter Adullam.”

In times of distress the enemy will attack. I just woke up to discover a dear brother in the ministry lost his sweet, precious wife last night. She died suddenly, leaving a gapping hole in my brother’s chest. We are praying for him, but most especially praying protection over him from the enemy’s attack. We know Satan loves to attack us when we are down.

Assyria was attacking Israel and Judah. “The one who takes possession” refers to the enemy invader. God was allowing the enemy to attack in order to judge His chosen people. He was striving to bring them back to Him, even if it meant severe judgment. But God had not broken His covenant with them. Israel (all 12 tribes) was still His child.

APPLICATION

Our spiritual enemy is powerful and very well armed. He loves to catch us unawares and unprotected. Sudden losses in our lives can shatter us emotionally. When we are in these places, the devil will whisper in our ears that God does not love us, that He does not care about us. Do not believe those lies.

That is why it is so important to cover yourself in God’s Word. Only His Word can get you through those times. This morning, the first passage that came to my mind was 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

My dear brother will be okay. He will get through this. Why? Because I know he loves Jesus and loves His Word which is filled with the promises of God. He knows the Father loves him dearly. He may not understand why He took his bride home now, but he will – eventually. Be on guard my brothers and sisters.

Lord, thank You for Your promises. I know they never fail.

Standard
Accountability, Bible, Blasphemy, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Hell, Idols, Scripture

FROM IDOLS TO IDOLS 

MICAH 1:7 

“All of her idols will be crushed, all of her earnings will be burned with fire, and all of her images I will make desolate; for she collected them from a prostitute’s earnings, and to the earnings of a prostitute they will return.” 

Here in the U.S., we don’t think much about religious idols. They just aren’t prevalent. Instead, we make idols out of celebrities or sports figures. We worship the idol of success. We can even make our families our Idols.  

In Micah’s time, however, idols were very prevalent. The Idols which were being worshipped in Israel would be destroyed by the Assyrians. The people would be carted off to slavery in a land that was also filled with idols. Idols, idols, everywhere. All of them were false. All of them were just silver or gold or stone or wood. They had no life. They did not exist. 

APPLICATION 

What do you idolize? Where is most of your time and attention assigned to? Where do you spend your money? Now, I am not talking about the necessities of life like food and clothing. But I am talking about excessive amounts of time at the rec fields instead of investing spiritually with your children. I am talking about taking those weeklong hunting trips instead of spending quality time with your wife. 

We can idolize anything (and we do). None of those things will last. The only thing that will last for eternity is our relationship with the Lord. We need to be spending as much time, if not more, with Jesus as we do in front of the tv.  

I pray you will commit this week to look at your idols and tear them down. Crush them. Throw them away. Love the Lord, your God, will all your heart, soul and mind. Spend the time you need with Jesus until you hear His voice. It’s a sweet voice. He wants to talk to you. 

Thank You, Jesus, for speaking to me each and every time I stop and listen to You. 

Standard
Accountability, Belief, Bible, Christ's Return, Death, Destruction, Direction, Eternity, Faith, Fire, God's Will, Heaven, Hell, Judgment, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

MELT LIKE WAX 

MICAH 1:4 

“The mountains will melt under Him and the valleys will be split, like wax before the fire, like water poured down a steep place.” 

What kid doesn’t like to watch a melting candle? Watching the flame slowly heat up the wax and cause it to drip is awesome. I remember getting some candles my mom had and lighting them to let the wax drip on my fingers. It was neat to watch it form around them and then get hard again. Wax was fun. 

However, the wax Micah is referring to is not fun. There is nothing fun about it. He is portraying the fiery judgment of the Lord. We all have read about how the earth will be destroyed by fire at the final judgment, right? Listen to Isaiah 66:15. “For behold, the LORD will come in fire, and His chariots like the whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.” 

APPLICATION 

I am not implying that the world is going to end tomorrow in a fire storm. However, I am pointing out that judgment is coming. The Lord will not tolerate the sin of this world. In His holiness He must judge those who are disobedient and rebellious. He has no choice. If he does not do that, His Law and His plan for salvation, Jesus Christ, means nothing. 

So, get ready for melting mountains and valleys. God will judge the high and low. Your position in life means nothing. Everyone will have to bow their knee and profess Jesus as Lord or face eternal flames. 

Wow! This is kind of hard. I do not want to come across as some fire and brimstone preacher. That is not me. I am just telling you what is coming. It was prophesied centuries ago. Are you ready? Is your family ready? If not, make that change today and embrace your salvation. 

O Lord, I praise You for the plan You made to redeem me back to Yourself. Help me lead others to Jesus. 

Standard
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.

Standard
Abiding, Advocate, Affection, Bible, Commands, Eternity, Heaven, Hope, Refuge, Scripture

REFUGEES

OBADIAH 14

“Do not stand at the crossroads to eliminate their survivors; and do not hand over their refugees on the day of their distress.”

Man, we have all seen the flood of refugees from Ukraine these past few weeks. People are fleeing a war-ravaged land seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Poland, in particular, has welcomed hundreds of thousands. People of all ages, women, children and the elderly are leaving their homes behind to find a safe place to live.

God warned Edom to treat the refugees from Israel (their brothers) with care. They should not mistreat them in any way. They were to not hand them over to their enemies or kill any trying to escape. God cares for those seeking refuge in times of trouble.

APPLICATION

I love Psalm 62:8 which says, “Trust in the Lord, you people; pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.” We are all refugees. We have all left our earthly home to move to that heavenly abode. We seek refuge in the God of the universe. He welcomes all.

A refugee forsakes all to find a new home. They may leave behind homes, businesses, cars, boats – everything. Their hope is in that place they are headed. They are seeking somewhere to call home. We are just the same. We are seeking that home with God.

I am so thankful that my permanent residence is already prepared for me in Glory. I may have a home here on earth, but my permanent dwelling place awaits me. I will make that journey one day and never return. I am ready. Are you?

Take me home, Lord, whenever You are ready. The longer I stay here, the more I long for home.

Standard