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.

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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. 

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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. 

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Belief, Bible, Confidence, Devil, Encouragement, Heaven, Hell, Holiness, Judgment, Praise, Rapture

HOOKS

AMOS 4:2

“The Lord GOD has sworn by His holiness, ‘For behold, the days are coming upon you when they will take you away with meat hooks, and the last of you with fish hooks.’”

I love to fish. I don’t get to do it as often as I like, but I love it. If you have ever gone fishing, you know you need hooks to catch the fish. Those hooks can be on an artificial bait or used with live bait. But you have to have hooks. And when you catch a fish, you jerk it and bring it to the boat or shore. It’s kind of a violent act, if you think about it.

In the same way, Israel was going to be snatched away. The imagery of the meat hook and the fish hook was one every Israelite could relate to. Because of their rebuke of God’s holiness, their judgment had arrived, and they would be snatched away by other nations – violently and aggressively snatched away.

APPLICATION

We face the same, if we are not children of God. At death, we will be snatched away by the evil one to an eternity of torment. But praise be to God, as children of God, we are protected. We will be snatched away, but into the loving arms of our Lord. If we are alive when He returns, God’s Word says we will be snatched away to meet Him in the air.

Unlike the snatching away that happened to the Israelites, our snatching away won’t involve sharp hooks. Sharp hooks are painful. I know from experience. I’ve had more than one hook stuck in my finger or hand. Our snatching away won’t be painful. It will be peaceful and gentle.

I am so ready to be snatched away. I look forward to our Lord’s return. But my heart aches for those who don’t have this confidence in our Lord. Their snatching will be painful. Will you join me in trying to reach as many as we can for Christ before His return? Let’s help them avoid those hooks.

Thank You Jesus for the promise of Your return and the snatching away I will experience in You.

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Accountability, Advocate, Bible, Consequences, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Heaven, Hell, Judgment, Obedience, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

DECISIONS

JOEL 3:14

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

I have mentioned in this blog site several times that I worked over thirty years in the child welfare field. Most of those years were spent in administration. In those roles I had to supervise staff as well as deal with the children in crisis. Decisions were a daily thing, and sometimes those decisions had to be made quickly and decisively. I didn’t have time to mull it over. Thank the Lord, most of the time I decided correctly.

Here we are in Joel 3:14 at “the valley of decision.” The Hebrew word for “decision” can mean sharp-pointed or strict decision. Of course, Joel says this is “the day of the Lord” which refers to a day of judgment. Also, the word “multitude” has an interesting meaning. It can mean murmur or roar. You can almost hear the crowds of nations gathered around. It was literally a sea of humanity.

APPLICATION

Have you made the most important decision of your life? There is no bigger one than asking Jesus to be your Savior. This decision will not only change your life. It will also change your eternity. Before making that decision, your eternity was set. You were doomed to an eternal hell with no hope, separated from God. But once you make that decision, your new eternity rests in glory, the dwelling place of God.

How many people do you know right now will be facing the “day of the Lord” without that hope of glory? Judgment day is a certain thing. And God’s judgment on that day will be like some of my decisions I had to make – swift and decisive. The difference between His judgment and my decisions is His is always right. He always judges correctly.

Aren’t you glad you know Him? If you do, the day of the Lord holds no fear for you. Your destiny is safely in the hands of Jesus, literally. The scars in Jesus’ hands points to the fact of His death and sacrifice for you. Don’t you want to share that with someone else? Do that today.

I am so thankful, Lord, that judgment day holds no fear for me. I am confident of my place in heaven.

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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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Accountability, Bible, Commands, Confrontation, Courage, Disciplemaking, Eternity, Evangelism, Heaven, Hell, Judgment, Modeling, Scripture, Witnessing

KEEP WATCHING

HOSEA 9:8

“Ephraim was a watchman with my God, a prophet; yet the snare of a bird catcher is in all his ways, and there is only hostility in the house of his God.

Do you remember as a child playing hide and seek? The secret to winning is to find a great hiding place and to stay alert. You can’t just hide and go to sleep. You’re sure to be found. I always liked to hide in a spot that a quick escape route. I had to keep watching for the person looking for me. I didn’t want to be caught off guard.

Israel had been given the task to be His watchman. Not only were they His chosen people, but they were also supposed to warn their neighbors of God’s wrath. They were to tell them about Jehovah. Yet, they had failed. Not only had they fallen into God’s judgment for chasing after pagan gods, they had fully participated with those foreign nations in their idolatry.

APPLICATION

We have the responsibility as believers to share the good news of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible. You know as well as I do that the world is chasing after everything but God. They may not have idols on their mantles, but they are sure worshipping stuff. They have totally forgotten the Creator.

So, we have been tasked by God as a watchman. We have to warn others of the danger of sin. We have to tell them what God expects. We have to show them the love of Jesus so they will turn to Him. That’s our task. Will you accept it? Will you do that today? Think of one person and go to them.

I know it is not easy for some of you to step out and do that. But just think about what you are doing. You are literally giving someone the opportunity to escape hell. You are giving them the chance to embrace heaven. That’s motivation.

Show me those who need to hear Your message, Lord. Give me the boldness to speak out when I know those around me need to hear.

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Accountability, Bible, Christ's Return, Disciplemaking, Eternity, Heaven, Hell, Judgment, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

TOO LATE NOW

HOSEA 9:7

“The days of punishment have come, the days of retribution have come; let Israel know this! The prophet is a fool, the inspired person is insane, because of the grossness of your wrongdoing, and because your hostility is so great.”

I am not a procrastinator by nature. I prefer to do things ahead of time and get them out of the way. I had rather be an hour early somewhere than one minute late. That’s just the way I am wired. But I know other people who will be late to their own funeral. They are never on time and can’t seem to get anything done on time. That would drive me crazy.

The people of Israel had been told by the false prophets that the day of judgment was either way off or wasn’t coming. So, they put off repentance. We have plenty of time to set things right. But Hosea is telling them in today’s verse that the time has come. And it was because of the “grossness of your wrongdoing, and because your hostility is so great.”

APPLICATION

Oh, listen to me today. The time is short. Jesus is returning. It may be today, or it may be five years from now. We don’t know when, but He is coming again. He will rapture His church. He will take His children out of this world before the great tribulation. Where will you be?

I don’t want to be like one of those false prophets who told the people they had plenty of time. No! Get ready. And do it not so much to escape hell, but to enjoy heaven. Come to Jesus now to enjoy the blessings of life. He wants to show you how to live abundantly. He wants to walk with you through this life. That’s worth coming to Him now.

But too many around us are ignoring the signs. They are ignoring the warnings. They truly believe they can live however they wish and still slide into heaven. Heaven will not open its gates to everyone. Only the repentant and those in Christ will enter. We need to spread the message loud and clear to anyone who will hear. Join me today in doing this.

Father, I know the time is approaching when Christ shall call His bride home. I am ready. Help me share with those around me how they too can be a part of Your family.

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Abiding, Accountability, Alone, Bible, Blessing, Choices, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Eternity, Following, Forgiveness, Hell, Obedience, Promises, Repentance, Scripture

OUTCASTS

HOSEA 9:3

“They will not remain in the LORD’S land, but Ephraim will return to Egypt, and in Assyria they will eat unclean food.

There have been a few times in my life when I felt like an outcast, like I wasn’t wanted. I can remember being chosen last at recess for a game. I wasn’t the fastest kid when I was little. I was on the heavy side. So, if there were teams being picked that involved running fast, I was usually one of the last chosen. I hated that feeling.

It’s not the same, but here in Hosea we see that Israel or Ephraim would be cast out of their land. The Lord was not going to allow them to remain there. They would be taken away. I can’t imagine how that must have felt. They would have to leave their homes and their lands and be taken to a strange land as slaves, as exiles. All because they had not obeyed the Lord.

APPLICATION

Oh, listen to me. Without Christ in our lives, we will all be outcasts. We will be cast into hell. We will face eternal punishment for not obeying the Lord. He will hold us accountable for all the sins we have committed. We will not escape His wrath.

But…if we turn to Him in repentance and bow our knee to Jesus, He is quick to adopt us into His family. We will never be cast out. We will inherit His promises. We are heirs of His kingdom. We are commanded to obey, and by doing so He draws us close. So, we have a choice – outcast or drawn close.

I know what I choose. I want to draw close. James 4:8 says, “Come close to God and He will come close to you.” Spending time in the Word daily does that. Hearing His voice as He speaks to me through His precepts pulls me closer each day. I can just hear His still small voice. Can you hear Him?

I love to hear Your voice. I want to be drawn close to You. I praise You!

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Bible, Blessing, Comfort, Death, Encouragement, Heaven, Hell, Joy, Life, Promises, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

ON THE THIRD DAY

HOSEA 6:2

“He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him.”

We just celebrated Easter a couple of weeks ago. I have always loved Easter. I loved the Easter baskets, hiding and finding the Easter eggs and I especially loved Easter lunch after church. Of course, the older I got the more I understood about Easter and the importance of the resurrection on the third day. We truly have something to celebrate.

I just love the words in today’s verse. I had forgotten these words were spoken here in Hosea. Hosea was prophesying about the Messiah here. Jesus was revived, and He was raised up on the third day. These Israelites were placing their hope in a resurrection from Jehovah God. We do the same.

APPLICATION

So, if you are a believer in Christ, you have hope in the resurrection Christ. His shed blood on Calvary covers our sins, but His resurrection gives us eternal life. There is nothing else into which we put our hope. There is nothing else that can give us eternity. We will be changed into a glorified body and live forever with our God.

Sadly, some people don’t believe in that. They think when we die, we just die. Our lives end. There is nothing beyond the grave. How depressing! The fact is our lives are just beginning at death. Death is just a portal into our eternal home. If we love Jesus and have given our lives to Him, then that home is heaven. If we have not done that, then that eternal home is hell. Either way, we have an eternal destiny.

I don’t know about you, but I am glad I have secured my room in my mansion in the heaven. I will be happy with the closet in the mansion, honestly. Just to be in the presence of my God is good enough for me. How about you? Have you punched your ticket for heaven? Are you ready? Are you longing for your heavenly home?

O Father, I long for heaven. But while I am here, let me be about Your business.

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