Accused, Belief, Bible, Consequences, Deliverance, Faith, God's Will, Holiness, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

INSTEAD OF THIS, YOU GET THAT

ZEPHANIAH 2:10

“This they will have in return for their arrogance, because they have taunted and boasted against the people of the LORD of armies.”

The old payback – no one wants that. Right? If you have ever done something to harm someone who has the ability to get you back, you are constantly looking over your shoulder. Siblings are great at that. They will plot until just the right time and then nail you. I’ve known people who waited for years to strike back and get their vengeance.

Of course, God is not getting vengeance on the Moabites and Ammonites. He is simply giving them what they deserve according to His judgment on them. In return for their violence against His people, they will be judged. Instead of blessings, they have incurred His wrath. If they had only yielded to Him. But instead, they rebelled and now are suffering the consequences.

APPLICATION

God is still in the reward business. If we turn to Jesus and confess Him as Lord and Savior, then He rewards us by giving us eternal life. Instead of His wrath, we get blessings. If we do not come to Jesus, we will be judged by a holy God and be found lacking. Nothing we have done or could do will earn us a place in glory.

It’s really pretty simple. I think that is the problem. People don’t believe it’s that easy to get saved. They think they have to do something. All God asks of us is to confess our sins, believe in His Son and surrender to His Will. Who do you know who needs to do that? Can you lead them into a saving knowledge of Jesus today and help them escape the wrath to come?

I could list a number of verses about salvation here, but I would prefer that you look them up. Just do a Google search on salvation verses. You will get dozens and dozens. If you are not a believer, let the Word convict you and lead you to Him. If you are a believer, share these verses with someone who needs them. Praise God for His mercy and grace.

I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You. Oh my soul rejoice.

Standard
Abuse, Bible, Darkness, Evil, Flesh, Holiness, Justice, Purity, Scripture

DEBAUCHERY

HABAKKUK 2:15

“‘Woe to him who makes his neighbor drink; to you who mix in your venom even to make your neighbors drunk, so as to look at their genitalia!’”

I have read too many case files of child abuse. Just when I thought I had heard it all, I would get another case with even darker sins exposed. Actions taken against children anger me. To see their innocence robbed of them makes me scream for justice. One day all those perpetrators will receive their just reward.

The third woe has begun, and this one is against such abuse of others. Getting others drunk in order to leer at their nakedness or even abuse them was abhorrent to God. These Chaldeans were a wicked bunch of people and used their power over their enemies to abuse them.

APPLICATION

You are probably not going to carry out such actions on another person. At least I hope you wouldn’t. But we can be just as sinful in our minds. Jesus told us to even look at a woman with lust in our hearts is a sin. That goes for women looking at men as well. You may not be getting them drunk and abusing them, but you are sinning against them just as much.

How do you protect yourself from such base desires of the flesh? By filling your mind with His Word. The more of His Word we have memorized and studied, the more weapons we have to fight off those evil desires of the heart. It takes discipline and effort to memorize Scripture, but the payoff is one hundred fold.

Why don’t you make a plan to start memorizing one verse a week? That’s not hard to do if you are determined to do it. There are many tools you can use, including some pretty, cool Bible apps to help. As you begin to do this, you will find those impure thoughts become less and less because your mind is flooded with pure things. Give it a try.

Fill my mind with Your Words, O Lord. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight.

Standard
Bible, Direction, Holiness, Purity, Scripture

PURE EYES

HABAKKUK 1:13

Your eyes are too pure to look at evil, and You cannot look at harm favorably. Why do You look favorably at those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?”

When I read this verse today, my thoughts immediately went to Job 31:1. “I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully on a young woman.” I want my eyes to be pure, but ian this world, that’s a pretty hard thing to do. Our eyes are under constant bombardment.

Habakkuk knows God’s eyes are pure. He knows the God of His people cannot stand to look on sin. So, why is He allowing these wicked Chaldeans to come in and defeat them? Why is a holy God using them to judge Israel? Surely, God cannot handle looking on such evil.

APPLICATION

Everywhere we look, evil abounds. This world is constantly throwing evil our way. Any attempt to have holy eyes is a target for the evil one. He uses every conceivable method to divert our eyes off of God and onto the evil.

Thankfully, we can rely on God’s eyes remaining holy. Yes, He used the Chaldeans to judge Israel. He was doing that to bring them back to Himself. It wasn’t to drive them further away. God will not shield our eyes from evil just to make our lives easier. That is not how He works.

God will steer our eyes toward the holy, but we are in total control of what we choose to look at. We can choose to peer into the abyss of sin or into the heavenlies. What holds more promise. His Word directs our eyes. Our time with God reading His Word and praying points our vision.

Keep my gaze on the holy things, Lord. I only want what is holy to come into my view.

Standard
Awe, Bible, Holiness, Reverence, Sanctification, Scripture, Worship

MY HOLY ONE

HABAKKUK 1:12

“Are You not from time everlasting, LORD, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. You, LORD, have appointed them to deliver judgment; and You, O Rock, have destined them to punish.”

I don’t hold many things as holy. The Bible, of course, is holy. I consider baptism and communion as holy events. I even know some holy people. What does that mean – to be holy? That word in the Greek means to be set apart for a specific purpose. But let’s take a look at the word Habakkuk uses here. It might surprise you.

This title given to God here is one commonly used by another prophet, Isaiah. Just look at some of the times it is used by him. Isaiah 1:4; 5:19, 24; 6:3; 10:20; 12:6; 17:7; 29:19; 30:11-12, 15; 31:1. Wow! And that is only a few. Do you get the picture. This title is important. The Hebrew word means sacred. Habakkuk wants to start by addressing God in holiness and awe.

APPLICATION

We have lost that sense of awe when addressing God. In the attempt to make Him personal, which He is, we have forgotten that He is also a holy God, deserving of all our reverence and worship. How we show that I believe is important. Why? Because the world is watching us.

You would be hard pressed to find a preacher in an U.S. pulpit wearing a suit and tie today. But that same preacher will don that attire when conducting a funeral. Why? We are showing respect in the wrong places. Now, let me quickly say that what you wear to church does not make you holy. But how you present yourself to others, I think, shows Who you hold as holy.

Some churches on Sunday mornings could pass for night clubs with the decibel level of the music and the darkness of the rooms. I know I am meddling today. But I so desire for us to return to a spirit of holiness and reverence for our God. Don’t allow the world’s influence to creep into your worship. Stay holy!

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. I want to cry holy.

Standard
Bible, Devil, Holiness, Humility, Pride, Satan, Scripture

STUCK ON THEMSELVES

HABAKKUK 1:7

“They are terrifying and feared; their justice and authority originate with themselves.”

I have known a few people in my lifetime that you could describe as “stuck on themselves.” As the saying goes, “Their nose is so stuck up in the air, if they got caught outside during a rainstorm, they would drown.” I don’t want to be that way. I had rather be seen as a humble man, not seeking attention for myself.

The Chaldeans, however, were a proud, ferocious people. They believed the sun and moon rose and set in them. They were powerful and demanding. They were ruthless to those they conquered. God would use them, but just like the devil, He would only give them so much chain to run on.

APPLICATION

Two of the new verses I have been memorizing have to do with humility (1 Peter 5:5-6). 1 Peter 5:5b says, “For God is opposed to the proud, but will give grace to the humble.” I prefer God’s grace over His opposition, don’t you? I do not want to face an irate God over my arrogance and pride. That will not end well.

If you are struggling with pride, just look at the middle letter – I. It’s the same middle letter you will find in the word sin. Hmmm. I don’t think that is a coincidence. Pride is what caused Lucifer to lose his heavenly position. Pride is what sent Nebuchadnezzar into the fields eating grass for seven years. Pride is what led Samson to reveal the source of his strength to Delilah.

Would you join me today in denouncing any pride in your life? “Therefore humble yourself under the mighty hand of God so that He may exalt you at the proper time.” Oh, to fall into God’s hands in this manner. He is comforting. He is consoling. He is loving. Come to Him.

Oh, Lord, I desire to humble myself under Your hand so that You may exalt me when You are ready.

Standard
Accountability, Bible, Confession, Confrontation, Consequences, Forgiveness, Holiness, Judgment, Scripture

FROTHING AT THE MOUTH

NAHUM 1:6

“Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath gushes forth like fire, and the rocks are broken up by Him.”

I had a football coach once who would get so mad that he would actually froth at the mouth. Do you know what that means? It means little pieces of foam appear in the corners of the mouth, and as you speak or yell, you spit white chunks from your lips. Very appealing, lol.

As unappealing as that may be, that is exactly the picture Nahum is describing in today’s verse. The Hebrew word for “indignation” gives us the picture of someone frothing at the mouth in anger and rage. God is fed up with Nineveh, and this time His full wrath will fall on the city.

APPLICATION

Excuse me, but that is not a sight I want to see. Thanks be to God; I never will have to face God’s frothing mouth of wrath. All that was done away with at Calvary. All I will experience is the peaceful, kind smile of my heavenly Father.

Maybe you are afraid today that you are going to face His indignation. Perhaps you are not a believer. If that is the case, you have much to fear. The justice He demands for your sins must be paid. Come to Him today.

Or maybe you are a believer but still think God is out to get you. You think He spends all His time finding new ways to entrap you. That is a lie of the devil. God’s desire is to show you His love through His Son, Jesus. He has paid the price so that you do not have to. Rest in Him today.

O Lord, thanks for rescuing me through Your Son from ever having to witness Your frothing wrath.

Standard
Anger, Battles, Bible, Choices, Compassion, God's Will, Holiness, Judgment, Scripture

GOOD ANGER?

MICAH 5:15

“‘And I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath on the nations which have not obeyed.’”

All our lives we are told to not get angry. When our favorite toy is broken by our sibling, do not get angry. When the car breaks down for the umpteenth time, do not get angry. When our friend stabs us in the back, do not get angry. So, why do we see God getting angry at the people of Israel and that is okay?

God’s anger is not our anger. Our anger is birthed out of sin and rage. His out of love. Our anger comes from our unchecked emotions. His out of love. Our anger comes from a desire to get even. His out of love. God’s anger in verse 15 today is due to His holiness. He cannot and will not tolerate sinful actions. Here His anger is directed towards those unruly nations who have oppressed His children. God’s anger is unreproachable.

APPLICATION

We do not have God’s discretion or patience. We lash out in anger and then justify it. We claim we have the right to be angry. Ephesians 4:26-27 comes to mind. “In your anger, do not sin and do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil a foothold.”

My wife and I decided to never go to bed angry. That has led to many sleepless nights. Lol. Just kidding. We do try to do that, but to be honest, we have gone to bed angry. Guess what? That anger does not disappear as you sleep. In fact, it can cause a very restless night.

I believe all conflicts among believers is due to either one or both individuals living out of their flesh rather than the Spirit. There is no situation too big for God to solve. When He says to not get angry, He is not talking about anger over seeing the righteous suffer or children being abused. He is referring to our flesh inspired anger toward each other. That anger must be defeated through our surrender to His Spirit in our lives. Look at your anger today. At whom is it direction? From where does it come?

Oh Father, I am thankful Your wrath over my sin has been taken care of by the blood of Your precious Son.

Standard
Allegiance, Battles, Belief, Bible, Blasphemy, Darkness, Devil, Evil, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Idols, Satan, Scripture

SORCERY FORBIDDEN

MICAH 5:12

“‘I will eliminate sorceries from your hand, and you will have no fortune-tellers.’”

I will never forget the evening when I lived in Lakeland, FL when my wife and I decided to go to the local outdoor mall. It was new to Lakeland and had become a major evening and weekend destination because of the shops, restaurants and entertainment. We were walking along, and while my wife looked in one shop, I decided to step into this store that caught my attention. As I walked in, a chill ran up my spine. All I saw was occultic images and products. I ran out of that store as fast as I could. Such darkness.

This is what the Lord is cutting out of the land. No sorcery or fortune telling would be allowed. These were based in the pagan idolatry of the land, the very thing the Lord had warned the people of when they came into the Promised Land. Nothing had changed. These evil practices were still around and were now going to be purged. Evil was evil then and still is now.

APPLICATION

So many Christians today dabble in the occult, thinking it is frivolous or meaningless. Satan loves for us to believe that. I am not saying that a demon is going jump out of the Ouija board and tackle you to the ground, but the devil has a way to hook us into this stuff. Tarot cards and astrology are still listed in God’s eyes as sorcery and fortune-telling. That has not changed.

If you are into these things or have been in the past, let me urge you to put them down and confess that as sin. Renounce any allegiance you had to these items and get rid of them. Burn them if you can. Does this all sound extreme? You bet. Our battle with the forces of darkness is real and extreme. You must have your armor on and be free from any form of darkness.

Once you do that and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, He will make you very sensitive to these things. You will be able to recognize any form of idolatry. God wants you and me to walk in holiness, free from the entanglements of evil. Walking free is so much easier than dragging around a chain of darkness.

O Father, thank You for protecting me from evil. I know You have my back at all times.

Standard
Accountability, Accused, Advocate, Bible, Cleansing, Confession, God's Will, Holiness, Idols, Judgment, Listening, Repentance, Scripture

NO ANSWER

MICAH 3:7

“The seers will be put to shame, and the diviners will be ashamed. Indeed, they will all cover their lips because there is no answer from God.”

You may not remember the days when you called someone on their phone and did not get an answer. This was the days before voicemail or answering machines. You could not leave a message. You just had to keep calling back until you reached them. I wish sometimes that was still the case. Lol

The false prophets (called seers and diviners here) could not hear God speak to them. Why? Because they were not seeking Him. They were living lives that were displeasing to God, so He had shut His mouth. He was not delivering any messages to them. They cried out only because He was delivering His judgment. How sad that they could not have surrendered to His Will, which would have opened up that line of communication again.

APPLICATION

Oh, brothers and sisters, before we cast too many stones at these false prophets, don’t we do the same? We live our lives as we wish and then when we get into trouble and call on God, He is quiet. We get perturbed with Him because He did not answer us. How dare He?

Well…God demands holiness from us. That’s right. He expects us to live according to His laws and commands. He does not expect perfection, but He does want us to strive to be more like Him and less like the world. If we want God to speak, we must stop, repent and listen.

This week there has been a verse on my mind a lot. Psalm 84:11 says, “The Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Did you get that? No good thing does He withhold. But there is a condition – from those who walk uprightly. So, my question to you is – are you walking uprightly today?

O Lord, I do not want to be like one of those false prophets who could not hear Your voice. Speak to me Lord!

Standard
Accused, Bible, Comfort, Dreams, Goodness, Holiness, Inspirational

DREAMING OF SIN

MICAH 2:1

“Woe to those who devise wrongdoing, who practice evil on their beds! When morning comes, they do it, because it is in the power of their hands.

I do not dream a lot. I do have a few, though, that stick in my head. I have dreamt of falling and find myself jerking awake. I have also dreamt about trips I have made. Before Christ I would dream about sinful stuff. That is the thought behind today’s verse.

The audience receiving Micah’s message were accused of even dreaming about sin, dreaming about how they could practice evil. And a first light, they would do it. Wow! They had abused a holy sanctuary of the bed with their sinful thoughts and desires. They had not allowed that place to be a place of peace and rest, but rather a place of chaos and rebellion.

APPLICATION

I have a friend who practices HWLW. That stands for His Word Last Word. He meditates on a passage of Scripture, usually one he is in the process of memorizing, right before bed. That way the last thing on his mind is the Word of God. He swears that gives him peaceful nights and dreams.

Another friend will place his memorization verse pack next to his bed. Just before he goes to sleep, he will review some verses. The Word of God is the last thing on his mind also. He wants God’s Word to permeate his life, even his sleep. I have not asked him how he sleeps, but I bet it’s good.

How are you sleeping at night? Are you having bad dreams? Try HWLW. Let God’s Word be the last thing on your mind. Often, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I will either start praying or start quoting verses in my head. Before I know it, I am back to sleep. God’s Word can be better than a sleeping pill. Put it to the test and see.

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

Standard