Abiding, Bible, Choices, Conceit, Confession, Deceit, Eternity, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Opponents, Scripture, Security

FALSE SECURITY

OBADIAH 3

“The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, the one who lives in the clefts of the rock, on the height of his dwelling place, who says in his heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?’”

I love to deer hunt here in Tennessee. Methods of hunting deer vary from state to state, but here in Tennessee, people mainly hunt from deer stands on trees or in ground blinds. I like to use the tree stands, specifically my ladder stands. However, when I climb those stands to reach my perch above the ground, I always use my safety harness. I can’t risk feeling safe up there without it.

The Edomites had a false sense of security solely because of where they lived. They had built homes in the hills and had carved a city out of the sandstone. They felt they were indestructible up there, having repelled many invasions. But God is above all and can administer justice from above. As the Lord says here, “Who will bring me down to earth?”  No one.

APPLICATION

Are you “too big for your britches”? Have you developed a false sense of security? God has a way of humbling us. He wants us to know that only He can give us true security and that only in the name of Jesus. He is the only one who makes us secure eternally.

What other kind of security do you want? Financial? That can be gone in a second. Physical? Believe me, that can leave you instantly. Socially? Friends will desert you. Only Jesus can truly make you secure. His blood on Calvary was shed to secure all mankind eternally. All we have to do is turn to Him and confess our sins and proclaim Him as Lord.

I am thankful I have made that decision. Have you? If not, do that today. If you have, who do you know who needs that kind of security? Go to them today and share the most amazing story ever told. They may just respond and join us for eternity.

I know You have me in the palms of Your hands. You hold me safe and secure.

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Abiding, Bible, Blessing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Fruit, Holy Spirit

SUPERABUNDANCE

AMOS 9:13

“‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when the plowman will overtake the reaper, and the one who treads grapes will overtake him who sows the seed; when the mountains will drip grape juice, and all the hills will come apart.’”

Once, when I had a garden, we grew some green beans in a raised bed. The bed was about 5’x10’. That one bed produced well over 40 quarts of beans for the winter, not counting what we ate during the summer and early fall. It produced superabundantly.

Amos is describing such a scene, but even bigger. God is saying here that He is going to bless Israel so that there will be no time in between the harvest and the seed time. The crops will be so massive that they will keep right on producing right up to the time to plant the seed again. Wow! That’s not how it is supposed to happen.

APPLICATION

How are your crops? Are you producing a meager harvest or one that is overflowing? We could all use some Miracle Grow, couldn’t we? For some of us, our harvest is anemic. If we had to live on what we are producing, we would starve to death. We all need to pay more attention to our harvest.

We nourish our harvest through the watering of the Word. Only the Word can produce the fruit we long to distribute. The Word shows us how to yield ourselves to the Spirit, so His fruit overflows in our lives into the lives of others.

Don’t forget that any fruit we produce is for the benefit of others. We don’t eat our own fruit. The love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self-control we produce is directed toward others in the name of Jesus. It’s kind of like when I shared some of my bounty from my garden with others. The joy I received from doing that was all the payment I needed.

Thank You, Lord, for the superabundance of gifts You have given me. Direct me to those to whom I am to share.

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Cheates, Commands, Consequences, Deceit, Deception, Double-minded, Forgiveness, Greed, Holy Spirit, Lying, Repentance, Scripture

CHEATERS

AMOS 8:5

“saying, ‘When will the new moon be over, so that we may sell grain; and the Sabbath, so that we may open the wheat market, to make the ephah smaller and the shekel bigger, and to cheat with dishonest scales,’”

Everyone hates a cheater (well, most everyone). Don’t you hate it when you buy something only to find out it’s not as advertised? Just watch some late-night television to see some of those ads. A cheater only wants to line their pockets with ill gotten gain, with no regard to the person they have cheated.

Amos warns the Israelites of this practice in today’s verse. He describes them to the last detail. They kept the festivals and the Sabbath, but only in practice. Their hearts were far from God. Look what they did. They made their ephah a little smaller and their money the wrong weight. Even though they were warned about this in the Torah (Dy 25:13-15), they still did it.

APPLICATION

Why would you ever think about cheating someone? When I was young, my dad’s sister sold a house that my dad and uncle owned to their mother without his knowledge. She was getting house payments from her mother and stepfather for something she didn’t own. She cheated my dad, and it caused a rift between them for years. They did finally make up, but it took many years.

Now, my dad wasn’t a believer back then. He didn’t have the Holy Spirit to guide him toward reconciliation. I am not sure about my aunt. I never had the chance to ask her about her salvation. I pray she knew Jesus. My point is this – if we know the Lord, we won’t cheat others, and we will forgive those who cheat us.

Hmmm, that sounds very familiar. How about this verse? Matthew 6:12 “‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.’” That’s what Jesus taught us in the “Lord’s Prayer.” Have you done that today? Ask Him.

O Father, forgive me. I fall so short of Your commandments.”

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Accountability, Bible, Consequences, Encouragement, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Repentance

HUSH

AMOS 8:3

“‘The songs of the palace will turn to wailing on that day,’ declares the Lord GOD. ‘The corpses will be many; in every place they will throw them out. Hush!’”

I can remember as a child when I was crying that my mama would often say, “Hush now. Don’t cry. It’s going to be okay.” A mom’s soothing words did wonders. My tears would dry up. Then we would talk about why I was crying. She may not have been able to solve the problem, but she listened.

That is not the case here. God is saying, “Hush!” He was quieting their wailing. The deaths of their loved ones could have been prevented. If only Israel had listened and obeyed, this judgment would not have fallen. So, these tears needed to be stopped.

APPLICATION

Is God telling us to dry it up? I don’t think so. But this verse should remind us of the dangers of disobedience. When we bring on ourselves the consequences of sin, we have to acknowledge that. Once we come to the Lord in repentance, He is always there to wipe away our tears and show us another way.

But too many of us remain in our sin, suffering the consequences, and cry because God is not rescuing us. He won’t do that until we come to Him in repentance. God is not going to enable you in your sin. He is not going to condone your sins. But He is quick to forgive when you come to Him.

I am so thankful for forgiveness. I am thankful for conviction from the Holy Spirit. I am thankful for fresh starts. I don’t know about you, but I mess up a lot. I say things that hurt those I love, and I make decisions that I know aren’t the best. But God is there – always – to remind me of who He is and whose I am.

I praise You, Father, for hearing my cries and forgiving me. I want to please You.

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Accused, Anger, Bible, Blameless, Blessing, Confrontation, Consequences, Encouragement, Gossip, Holy Spirit, Jealousy, Lying

SQUEELER

AMOS 7:10

“Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, ‘Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel; the land is unable to endure all his words.’”

No one likes a tattletale. I can remember growing up with my three siblings. We were constantly tattling on each other, usually to get the monkey off our own back. We figured if we blamed someone else, we could sneak by getting caught ourselves. It seldom worked, lol.

Amaziah runs to Jeroboam and tattles on Amos. But he says something that is completely false. He claims that Amos has conspired against the king hoping to get the king upset about losing his power. This imposter of a priest has no idea what is truth and what is falsehood.

APPLICATION

I bet you have had others tattle on you. I bet you have even had others spread falsehoods about you. It hurts, but what do you do about it? How should you respond? Luke 6:27-28 tells us. It says, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

What? You mean I can’t retaliate? Not according to Jesus. The truth will come out eventually. We have to be willing to endure the sufferings of doing what is right. We know that leads to God’s blessings. To lash out would undermine our witness and tear down the truth.

I am thankful the Lord has taught me that. My flesh would want to get that person back as quickly as possible. But the Spirit within me tells me otherwise. He tells me to love that person. He tells me to pray for that person. He tells me to trust the Father. Do you?

I am so thankful that You are my protector and defender. People may attack me and try to accuse me, but You know the truth.

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Accountability, Betrayal, Bible, Commands, Devil, Disciplemaking, Failures, Faithfulness, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Rebellion

THE REBELLIOUS

AMOS 7:9

“The high places of Isaac will become deserted, and the sanctuaries of Israel will be in ruins. Then I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”

Were you ever rebellious? Did you rebel against your parents? I have to say I did. In my teenage years, before Christ, I disobeyed my parents time and time again. I lived a lie. I professed one thing but did another. Fortunately, the Lord saw fit to rescue me before I did anything that would have cost me my life.

Jeroboam’s reign began with a rebellion against Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. He split the kingdom by his act. Now, for sure, God used Jeroboam to carry out His plan, but Jeroboam went too far. He constructed idols and places of worship that went against God’s Word. For that he had to be punished. And so it came.

APPLICATION

Seeing the result of Jeroboam’s rebellion, does that make you want to go the straight and narrow? Probably not. If you are like me, my flesh still has a rebellious streak. Left to my own devices, I would choose the opposite of what God desires. But thanks be to God, my flesh has been defeated by the Spirit of God within me.

I am reminded of Romans 6:16 which says, “Do you not know that the one to whom you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of that same one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” It’s really our choice whom we will serve. But we cannot choose the consequences for our rebellious acts.

Just like Jeroboam, our rebellion has costs. I am so thankful for the Spirit of God that leads me to obedience each day. I can walk in victory knowing that my sins are forgiven. I can walk in victory because the price has been paid. I can walk in victory because the devil has already been defeated.

Lord God, I praise You for giving me Your Spirit to live in me. He keeps me on the straight and narrow.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Commands, Destruction, Following, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Modeling, Repentance, Scripture

DEMOLITION

AMOS 6:11

“For behold, the LORD is going to command that the great house be smashed to pieces, and the small house to rubble.”

I can demolish a building as fast as anyone. Taking a sledgehammer and tearing down a cabinet is invigorating, lol. Ripping up an old carpet is rewarding. Demolition has to happen before new construction can begin. It all has a purpose.

Amos tells us in today’s verse that the Lord didn’t discriminate between the wealthy and the poor when it came to judgment. A rich sinner and a poor sinner were treated the same. It did not matter who you were. If you were living disobediently, you were going to be held accountable by God.

APPLICATION

Aren’t you glad God treats us all the same? I am reminded, though, of Psalm 103:10 where the Psalmist says, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our guilty deeds.” Thank goodness. I wouldn’t stand a chance.

God loves us enough to call us on our sin. His Holy Spirit, who indwells us at salvation, convicts us and leads us to the throne of grace. If you are a believer, you cannot remain in your sinful state long. The Holy Spirit doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, He will take the sledgehammer to you.

I want that accountability. I want to be reminded who I belong to. I need that. I know I could never repay the Lord for what He has done for me. I will try to live each day to honor Him and lead others to Him. How about you?

Lord, thank You for convicting me when I fall short. Sometimes I am blind to my sin and need reminding who I represent.

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Accountability, Bible, Commands, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Following, Holiness, Holy Spirit

WHEN THE FUN STOPS

AMOS 6:7

“Therefore, they will now go into exile at the head of the exiles, and the revelry of those who lounge around will come to an end.”

I remember as a teenager, before I came to Christ, participating in some pretty, wild parties. Someone would announce at school about a party taking place at this old, abandoned house in the country. Those parties got real crazy. Often, the sheriff’s office would be called by someone. When they arrived, the party was over.

Very similarly, the Israelites’ party was over. Their “revelry” had come to an end. The sheriff had arrived. Jehovah God said this was enough. And unlike me, who was just sent home, the Israelites were led into exile. Their judgment was tough.

APPLICATION

Are your too busy with your “revelry” to bother with being holy? If you are a believer, you are commanded to live like Jesus, to be holy because He is holy. We don’t think that is possible, so we just ignore that command. We live like we want to and expect God to bless it or at least ignore it.

God still demands obedience. He may not lead us into a physical exile to another country by a conquering horde, but He may lead us into a spiritual exile until we come to our senses. Now, don’t mishear me. God is not intent on punishing us just because we disobeyed. He disciplines us to draw us to Himself.

I know if the Holy Spirit didn’t get my attention every day, I would be drawn into the life of revelry. Who doesn’t like a party? Who wouldn’t rather do as they please? But because of my love for my Savior, I follow Him. I don’t do it to escape punishment. I do it simply because I love Him. How about you?

Lord God, You are so patient and kind towards me. Please forgive me when I stray and draw me back.

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Accountability, Bible, Commitment, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Encouragement, Holy Spirit, Idols, Praise, Prayer, Scripture, Surrender

SPECIAL VESSELS

AMOS 6:6

“Who drink wine from sacred bowls while they anoint themselves with the finest of oils — yet they have not grieved over the collapse of Joseph.”

I’ve got a favorite coffee mug. I’ve had it since 1982. Yep, that’s 40 years. I bought it at a pottery shop in N.C. It holds the heat of my coffee great. I love how it feels in my hand. I have no idea how it has survived this long, but I am careful to not drop it or crack it. I bet you have one too.

The problem Amos points out here again points to the idolatry the Israelites were practicing. They were using the sacred bowls of the temple, reserved only for use there, to drink from during their idol worship. They were possibly using the special oils reserved for the sacrifices on themselves because they smelled good. They were abusing God’s special items and didn’t seem to care. They showed the same lack of concern as Joseph’s brothers when they dumped him in that well.

APPLICATION

Let me give you an analogy right now. We are God’s holy vessels. 1 Corinthians 6:9 says so. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” As vessels of the Holy Spirit, we belong to God. But what do we do? We abuse these vessels.

I am as guilty as the next person of doing this. I eat things I shouldn’t eat. I don’t exercise like I should. I could do so much more to keep this vessel in good shape. But you can be the healthiest person in the world and still not be a holy vessel. Our holiness doesn’t come from our perfect physical condition. Our holiness only comes from complete surrender the Lord. That’s the kind of vessel He is desiring to use.

How do you become that kind of vessel? By spending time with Him. You have to pray and read His Word. You need to spend more time on your knees praying than doing pushups. You need to raise your hands in praise more than lifting weights. Yes, continue to treat your physical body with respect. But more importantly, exercise your spirit.

Forgive me, Lord, for not caring for this vessel better. Help me to realize just what I am “housing” as a temple of the Holy Spirit.

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Abiding, Accountability, Belief, Bible, Deception, Holy Spirit, Idols, Scripture

WRONG PACKING

AMOS 5:26

“You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves.”

Occasionally, I will make a trip somewhere that requires me to carefully pack my luggage. For instance, when I travel overseas, I have a packing list I go by. I can only have so much in a suitcase due to weight restrictions. I don’t want to pack needless items or the wrong things. That list I created sure helps with that.

The Israelites needed a packing list. They had packed away idols and shrines of other gods. One of them was Molech to whom they actually sacrificed their own children. We find in all those wilderness years, they struggled with idolatry. This didn’t stop when they finally arrived in the Promised Land. Wrong gods. They should have never been packed.

APPLICATION

What are you packing? Do you have some idols or wrong gods? Not me, Carl. I would never do that. Are you sure? You see, we often don’t even recognize that we are worshipping something else. But whatever is taking the most attention is what we have deemed as most important.

Some of us worship our jobs. Others bow down to the god of entertainment. Some even worship their families. There is room for only one God. He demands allegiance. He won’t tolerate other gods taking His place. He will call us on that.

I am so thankful that my God is a jealous God. I am thankful He reminds me when I get too enamored with other things. Those other things aren’t necessarily bad things. They just aren’t THE thing that is important. I am still learning to lay things down. I guess I will be learning that until I go to heaven. We can all learn, can’t we?

Father, I am so thankful for Your Spirit in me that points me to You. I bow down to You and acknowledge You as the only true God.

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