Advocate, Bible, Future, Hope, Scripture, Security

A “HOPECOMING” 

MICAH 7:12 

“It will be a day when they will come to you from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, from Egypt even to the Euphrates River, even from sea to sea and mountain to mountain.” 

Right now, here in the U.S. where I live, we have millions of people pouring over our southern border. I am not going to talk about the legality of this or point fingers at who is to blame. I want to look at what is happening. Millions of people are coming to the U.S., most of them in hopes of a better future. They see the U.S. as this great “hope giver.” 

Micah prophesies in today’s verse about a similar immigration to Israel from all over. People would return to Israel, while others would come for the first time. Micah could see the throngs of people pouring over their border. They were seeking more than hope. They were seeking Jehovah, the God of the land. 

APPLICATION 

Ask yourself today what you put your hope in. Is it in the stock market? Don’t fool yourselves. How about your job or source of income? That could change today. Is it your family? Sadly, that can change too. There is no sure thing down here on earth in which to place our hope. 

But…there is the one place we can all place our hope – Jesus Christ. Just like in Micah’s prophesy, people have come to Him from all corners of the earth. People of all languages have made their way to Him to find the fulfillment of life. He is more than hope. He is God, the giver of hope. 

I am so thankful for the hope I have in Jesus. I do not have to worry about my future. It is sure and steadfast in the arms of Jesus. He is my everything. Is He yours? Do you place all your “anxieties on Him because He cares for you”? (1 Peter 5:7). He can give you all the hope you need. 

I hope only in You, Lord. Your promises never fail.

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Bible, Blessing, Compassion, Covenant, Encouragement, Eternity, Following, God's Will, Goodness, Hope, Remnant, Salvation, Scripture

DEW DROPS

MICAH 5:7

“Then the remnant of Jacob will be among many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on vegetation that do not wait for man, or delay for mankind.”

I went fishing early in the morning recently. I took my son and granddaughter. Of course, the grass was wet from the dew that had fallen during the night. In fact, it was very wet. My granddaughter is only 4 years old, so the wet grass got her little jeans wet, even though she was wearing rain boots. She didn’t care too much for that (but she loved the fishing).

The remnant of Jacob is compared to the dew that falls from heaven. They shall bring refreshing moisture to a parched land. All hope was gone when the people had been taken into captivity, but the Lord, through Micah, promises a remnant will return. And through that remnant, salvation shall come.

APPLICATION

Isn’t it funny how God orchestrates things? The people of Israel and Judah were taken in and out of captivity during those years of judgment. All the while, God’s plan of salvation was waiting to be implemented. The Law could not give what the people really needed. He had to show them the helplessness of their efforts in the Law.

Through Judah, Christ came as a baby in a manger. The Lion of Judah was born weak as a lamb. But His life on earth came like that remnant to give hope. This hope will last for eternity, unlike the hope from the remnant. This plan for man’s salvation is eternal.

Are you secure in Christ? Do you know Him as your personal Lord and Savior? That is the only way to find the hope you need. I am thankful for the dewdrops from heaven that I receive each morning as I study His Word and pray. They remind me how blessed I am in Jesus.

Father God, thank You for dewdrops that are sent to remind me of Your faithfulness.

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LABOR PAINS

MICAH 5:3

“Therefore, He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth. Then the remainder of His kinsmen will return to the sons of Israel.”

I vividly remember my wife’s labor pains with our first child. She was in labor for quite a while. Her doctor kept her comfortable for as long as possible. When the contractions got closer, he knew it was time to move her to the delivery room. She almost broke my finger squeezing it so hard (note to my male readers: If you are in that position, take off your wedding ring BEFORE she starts squeezing, lol).

“Until the time when she who is in labor has given birth” refers to the Virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus. It is prophesied here. But the prophecy does not stop there. It goes on to say, “the remainder kinsmen will return.” How glorious! God promises redemption after the coming of His Son.

APPLICATION

The long-awaited Savior was born to a virgin. Salvation has come. Why have so many people been blinded to this fact? Why have they spurned this incredible news? I know people who just cannot wrap their heads around the fact that salvation is free and for everyone. They either think they cannot earn it or that it is meant for only certain people.

It is our job to spread the good news of Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection. We need to tell the whole story. The Christmas story is nice, but it was only the beginning of Christ’s story. Mangers and shepherds, angels and wise men make it a memorable event. But that empty tomb tells it all.

I am so thankful that God told us way back in the Old Testament His plan. It should come of no surprise. I am secure in my faith because of what He did through Jesus. I did nothing to earn it and can do nothing to lose it. My salvation comes from Him. Do you know that today?

Away in a manger…Thank You, Lord, for sending Your Son, promised so long ago.

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Advocate, Belief, Bible, Hope, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

O BETHLEHEM

MICAH 5:2

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

“Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above
While mortals sleep the angels keep their watch of wondering love
Oh morning stars together, proclaim thy holy birth.
And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.”

Bethlehem Ephrathah, of course, is known for the prophetic birthplace of Jesus. What you may not know is that this little town was one of the smallest of the smallest in Judah. It was not considered in many of the numberings, but was ridiculed because of its low position in the rank of towns, cities and villages. That is the town chosen by God to bring forth His Son into the world. Of course, it was. Jesus was to come for all, even the lowest of the low

APPLICATION

Never think that you are too low for Jesus. He came for everyone. I was recently in a meeting where we discussed the escape and recapture of four inmates from our county jail. One man said repeatedly that we must remember that those men also need Jesus. How true.

You may be going through a hard time right now and not feel you are salvageable. Not true. That is a lie from the pit of hell. Satan wants to keep us confused about our position in Christ. If you are a believer, you are a child of the King. If you are not a believer, the King awaits you. He welcomes you into His court.

I am thankful for the assurance I have of my salvation. I am thankful that Jesus came two centuries ago into a lowly village named Bethlehem (house of bread). He was indeed the bread of life sent to rescue me and you. Embrace Him today.

“And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.”

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BEAT TO PIECES 

MICAH 4:13 

“‘Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hoofs bronze, so that you may pulverize many peoples, and dedicate to the LORD their unjust, and their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.’” 

Have you ever beaten anything to smithereens (that is a good ole Southern word)? That is the same idea as the word “pulverize” here in today’s verse. I can remember taking one of my dad’s hammers outside and crushing rocks with it. I would pound those things, so they were just dust. Ah, childhood memories! Lol 

The Lord is telling Israel that one day they will pulverize their enemies. They will be defeated and blown away like chaff. They will be totally destroyed. This was welcome news since they were on the other end of that timeline, being defeated themselves. But the day was coming when He would restore them. 

APPLICATION 

Maybe you are feeling pulverized right now. Perhaps the weight of the world seems to be on your shoulders. You cannot get rid of that beaten down attitude. I have good news. The Lord of all creation knows exactly where you are and how to get you out of that spot. We must remember that Satan wants us to feel that way. When we are down, we usually are not about the Father’s business. 

I only know one way to get rid of that feeling – time with Jesus. As you spend time in the Word and in prayer, that dark cloud seems to lift. Jesus tells us to cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Suffering is not all bad. I know that sounds too spiritual for you. But believe me, it is true. 

I have learned to bring all my cares to Him each day. When I am faced with a difficult decision or things do not seem to be going well, I pause and pray. I listen for His voice. Psalm 118:5 says, “From my distress I called upon the Lord; The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.”  Let Him set you there also. 

Father, thank You that You hear my cries for help. When I am in distress, I know I have Your ear.  

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JUST LET ME DIE

JONAH 4:3

“‘So now, LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.’”

Unfortunately, I have heard those words from too many people. I remember a young lady that was on my caseload at a children’s home who tried to kill herself. I was called to the cottage to find that she had cut her wrists. We quickly bandage them, applied pressure and took off for the hospital. She kept saying all the way there that she just wanted to die. “Just let me die.” Fortunately, she did not and worked out the issues that led her to this decision.

Jonah wanted to die for two reasons. The first was because he just could not stand the idea that Nineveh was saved. He wanted them dead. He had rather die than see that. Secondly, Jonah did not want to see his own country suffer under the hands of these Assyrians. He had just as soon die than see that. Life simply was not worth living, or so it seemed.

APPLICATION

I pray you never feel this way. I pray you never feel so hopeless that taking your life seems the only option. God has so much for you. I am reminded of Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” That is still true today.

When all seems lost, turn to Jesus. When troubles and trials flood your days, turn to Jesus. He can soothe any wound. He can heal any broken heart. But you have to ask Him. He will not intervene where He is not wanted. But the very second you make that first step towards Him, He is there with a warm and kind embrace.

Trusting Jesus with your life is more than just an eternal decision. It is a daily decision. He longs to guide and direct us. He does not want to see us stray off the narrow road. But He will let us. We are not tied to Him and drug along. Run up beside Him today and grab His hand. He will gladly hold yours.

Oh Father, for the thousands of souls out there today who have no hope, will You send someone in their lives today to share Jesus?

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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.

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RETURN TO FORTUNES

AMOS 9:14

“I will also restore the fortunes of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the desolated cities and live in them; they will also plant vineyards and drink their wine and make gardens and eat their fruit.”

I can’t begin to imagine being ripped from my home and sent off to a foreign land with no hope of escape. The horrors of war are all around us. We are all watching the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. We are all heartbroken at the scenes of children crossing a border into a country that is not their home. What do we do?

Israel had been removed from their land. Now God is promising to restore them after they have been through this trial. The Hebrew text for “I will restore the fortunes” literally could be translated “I will bring back the captives.” So, the Lord is promising not just a return of fortunes but freedom.

APPLICATION

Beloved, listen to me. God knows where you are. He has not lost contact with you. You may feel that way, but He is completely aware of where you have been and where He is sending you. Don’t forget Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”

Rest in Him. Trust that He will restore you. But you must first return to Him. Repentance is required. You cannot expect a holy God to return you without movement on your part. Oh, but when you take that first step towards Him, He rushes to you to restore you.

I have made the decision too many times to trying to wait out God. Let me tell you – that doesn’t work. The eternal, timeless, ageless God literally has all the time in the world. He can outwait you. Don’t waste that precious time. Run to Him now. Enjoy your restoration.

I love You, Lord, and will quickly return to You, not for any fortunes, but to enjoy Your presence.

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ANSWERED PRAYER

AMOS 7:6

“The LORD relented of this. ‘This too shall not be,’ said the Lord GOD.”

How do you see God answering prayers? I have seen Him answer them in all kinds of ways. I have seen people healed from illnesses. I have seen people come to Christ. I have even seen storms diverted. I know my God still answers prayers, even if I don’t always like the answer.

We saw this same action by God back in verse 3. God changed His mind then and changed it again here. He heard Amos cry out for Israel and withheld His hand of judgment again. What does this show about the Lord? I believe it shows He listens to us, even if we repeat ourselves. I believe it shows God’s mercy, even when we deserve judgment.

APPLICATION

God answered Amos’s prayers the same way. He withheld the planned and current judgment. He may answer your prayers in the same way. Then again, He may decide to answer it in a whole different way. The Lord knows what is best for us even when we don’t. We may think we know how we want Him to answer. We just don’t see what lies ahead.

I have prayed for healing for my children, protection on the road and even for our pets. There is really nothing I haven’t prayed for. In my years as a Pastor, I prayed for all kinds of family needs. What a joy to see so many of those prayers answered.

But the most joyous answered prayers are the ones for salvation. When I have the privilege to pray with someone as they accept Christ as their Savior, my heart overflows. That’s a prayer with eternal value. That’s a prayer that will last forever. I praise Him for hearing us and answering according to His Will for our lives and the lives of others.

I know You are still listening, Lord. I know You are working even now to answer my prayers.

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NON-THING

AMOS 6:13

“You who rejoice in Lodebar, and say, ‘Have we not by our own strength taken Karnaim for ourselves?’”

Sometimes we place our hopes and dreams in things that are impossible. Everyone tells us that. But we just don’t believe it. We are sure we can accomplish this on our own. We haven’t prayed about it, but we are sure God will bless it. Been there – done that. This usually doesn’t end well.

Israel was rejoicing in nothing. Actually, that should read non-thing. That’s what Lodebar means. It was a non-thing compared to God. Their idols were non-things. And they also claimed they had taken ahold of the horn – that’s what Karnaim means. Their strength was obtained on their own, they thought. What a rude awakening they had coming.

APPLICATION

Everything we have and have done is because of the Lord. He gives and takes away. He restores and tears down. It is He who has made us and not we ourselves, right? So, why do we continue to try to do things on our own? Why do we insist on going it alone?

Our flesh is strong, especially among us men. We think we can “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.” While that mentality works in the world’s eyes, it doesn’t so much in the spiritual realm. We can do nothing without the power of the Holy Spirit. Read John 15:4-8. That will give you a good picture of what I am talking about.

I know from my own life that I cannot achieve one thing without the Lord. Anything I try to achieve on my own will not last. It will become a non-thing, a Lodebar. I cannot take Karnaim, the horn, on my own. It’s only through Jesus that I can find success. He will lead me and give me the strength I need to face life. How about you?

I know I am nothing without You, Lord. You make me what I am, and I am so thankful.

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