Bible, Boasting, Conceit, Humility, Repentance, Scripture

BOAST IN THE LORD

ZEPHANIAH 2:15

“This is the presumptuous city that dwells securely, who says in her heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’ How she has become a desolation, a resting place for animals. Everyone who passes by her will hiss and wave his hand in contempt.

I truly try not to boast about anything. Well, maybe if I kill a 16 point white-tail deer, lol. That is not likely to happen though. But I really try to not boast about myself. I have been accused of that in the past. Thinking back to my pre-Christ days and my early days as a believer, I may have been a little prideful and boasted some. The insolence of youth, right?

Reading verse 15 I am reminded of Jeremiah 9:23-24. “23 ‘This is what the LORD says: “Let no wise man boast of his wisdom, nor let the mighty man boast of his might, nor a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let the one who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises mercy, justice, and righteousness on the earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD.” Nineveh thought they were the cat’s meow. They were prideful and boastful. But they fell. I love the last sentence of the verse. Hissing and waving of hands toward them.

APPLICATION

The application is pretty clear for us. Do not boast of yourself. You may have heard the saying about the turtle on the fence post. He didn’t get there by himself. Neither do we “get anywhere” by ourselves. It is the Lord who moves us. It is the Lord who protects us. It is the Lord who blesses us.

We should always give all the praise to Him, who is worthy of it. If we are blessed to achieve something, give Him the glory. If we are honored for something we have done, give Him the glory. If we are recognized for service we have rendered, give Him the glory. Boast only in Him.

Sometimes when I preach or sing, people come up to me and say how much they enjoyed it. I try to always just point upwards and give Him the glory. I had much rather humble myself and let the Lord exalt me that exalt myself and see the Lord humble me. So, today boast in Him. Point others to Jesus.

Everything I do, Lord, that brings me praise I lay at Your feet. Only You deserve the glory.

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Abuse, Battles, Bible, Enemies, Humility, Modeling, Scripture, Taunting

TAUNTING

ZEPHANIAH 2:8

“‘I have heard the taunting of Moab and the abusive speech of the sons of Ammon, with which they have taunted My people and boasted against their territory.’”

No one likes to be reproached or reviled. Taunting is uncomfortable, isn’t it? In my childhood, I can recall a couple of times when I was taunted by someone. Once on the playground by a class bully. Another time in high school a classmate tried to get me to fight by saying some bad things about me. Taunting is not something God approves of.

Here in Zephaniah, we see the taunting of the Moabites and the Ammonites against God and His chosen people. It reminds me of David and Goliath when Goliath stood and taunted the army of Israel. David rightly pointed out that Goliath wasn’t just taunting and reviling Israel. He was reviling God. All reviling against God’s people is reviling against Him.

APPLICATION

Have you been taunted by someone or made fun of? Maybe someone has made fun of you because of your beliefs. Perhaps you were picked on as a child and have never gotten over those comments. Give it all to God. He can soothe those hurt feelings. Remember, you are His child and created in His image. He made you, and He doesn’t make any junk.

Maybe you are the one taunting others. Maybe you are the bully. Oh, you wouldn’t call yourself a bully, but you say or do things that revile or taunt others. You even do it in jest and try to make it seem like a joke. That does not honor God, and He is not pleased. Ask God to forgive you of that taunting spirit and then ask those whom you have hurt to forgive you.

Whether you are the taunter or the tauntee, we have a lesson to learn here today. God is not pleased with a reviling spirit. He wants us to have peaceable spirits. He desires a humble heart and one that serves others. Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” That’s my new memory verse. Live that today.

Father, forgive me when I have reviled You by taunting others. Give me that servant heart so I can show them honor.

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Bible, Humility, Righteousness, Scripture, Submission

ARE YOU HUMBLE?

ZEPHANIAH 2:3

“Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth who have practiced His ordinances; seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will remain hidden on the day of the LORD’S anger.”

Did you know that the word “humble” or “humility” appears more than one hundred times in the Bible. I guess you could say it’s pretty important. But most of us have no clue what it really means to be humble or to show humility. I don’t see myself as a particularly humble guy. I’ve been called that, but I don’t see it. Does that make me humble, lol?

Zephaniah tells us in verse 3 of chapter 2 the importance of humility. The humble practice the Lord’s ordinances. They seek righteousness. By doing that, he says, “you will remain hidden on the day of the Lord’s anger.” Bowing before a holy God requires such humility. Do you have it?

APPLICATION

The ultimate example of humility, of course, is Jesus. Just look at Philippians 2:5-8. “5 Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross.”

I know what you’re thinking. Sure, Carl. That is all well and good, but He is God. I’m not Jesus. That’s true, but He tells us to be like Him. And if He tells us something to do, then it is possible to do it. He never tells us to do something that He doesn’t equip us for.

Humility requires us to die to our flesh. That’s the hard part. We see others as more important than ourselves. We seek to serve others. Can we do that? Certainly, but only through Christ. Will you humble yourself today? Will you bow before your Lord and allow Him to humble you? Give it a shot. He will reward you.

Humble me, Lord. Show me how to live as You did in service to others.

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Bible, Boasting, Humility, Relationships, Scripture, Service, Strength, Works, Worship

THERE IS A GOD AND YOU’RE NOT HIM

HABAKKUK 1:11

“Then they fly along like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, they whose strength is their god.”

Some people have a god complex, meaning they think they are gods of some sort. They think everyone should bow to them and do whatever they ask. They think they can do no wrong. They see themselves as superior, and we should be grateful they even acknowledge our existence.

The Chaldeans made a fatal mistake. They thought their success against Israel was due to their own strength, their own power. They did not realize God was simply using them as His instrument of judgment against Israel to bring them back to Himself. If God calls you guilty, you are guilty. They were and would soon find out.

APPLICATION

Do you suffer from a god complex? I sure hope not. As believers, it is important to know your position in Christ. Yes, we are beloved. Yes, we are the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). But God is on the throne. Jesus is at His right side. They rule heaven and always will. We will not arrive in heaven one day and tell Jesus to move over.

I love what Colossians 2:10 says. “In Him you have been made complete.” Does that mean we are perfect. Not by a long shot. The word “complete” there means to be filled up, to be satisfied. Because of Christ’s sacrifice we have been filled up. Filled up with what? With Him through the Holy Spirit. We lack nothing spiritually anymore.

But we cannot sit idly by and simply dwell in that. We have work to do. I read a quote this week by A.W. Tozer. It said Christ didn’t call us to work. He called us to worship. It is through worship that we are led to work. That is a rough paraphrase, but you get the idea. We are not in charge. God is. Live like it.

Father, I want to acknowledge right now that You are the one and only true God. There is none like. There is none beside you.

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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.

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Bible, God's Will, Gospel, Humility, Life, Pride, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

THE KILL

NAHUM 2:12

“The lion tore enough for his cubs, killed enough prey for his lionesses, and filled his lairs with prey and his dens with torn flesh.”

I was talking to a friend of mine recently who had been on a safari in Tanzania. He was describing all the wildlife he saw, but he was particularly descriptive of the lions. He said they saw a lion pride which has just recently made a kill. The carcass of their prey was very visible. He described this as a gruesome scene.

Nahum uses the same kind of descriptors to paint the picture of what Nineveh used to be. They seemed so sure of themselves. The lion “filled his lairs with prey and his dens with torn flesh.” In other words, Nineveh feasted on the other countries it had defeated and gloated of their success.

APPLICATION

That is not to be our attitude. Humility is a key character of a believer who is walking with Christ. Just as Christ is described in Philippians 2.5-8, we are to live our lives. We have no right to be prideful of anything we have accomplished. We certainly shouldn’t be prideful at the expense of others.

Christians can be just as prideful as unbelievers. I have known pastors who were very prideful of their church numbers and even made their goals and achievements the measuring tool for their success. At the meetings with other pastors, numbers always seemed to come up, sometimes making the other pastors feel uncomfortable.

Unlike the lion who stalks his prey and kills it, we are to prayerfully approach others with the good news of the Gospel and offer them life. We are just the opposite of the lion. We seek others only to help. Is that your attitude today? Do you seek to give life or take life? It is really one or the other.

Thank You for giving me life, Lord. Lead me to others who need it also.

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Appeasement, Bible, Blessing, Commands, Commitment, Contentment, Humility, Judgment, Mercy

WHAT DO YOU WANT, GOD?

MICAH 6:8

“He has told you, mortal one, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is hard to please someone if you do not know what they want. I remember going through the Five and Dime store in my hometown of Pelham, GA trying to find the perfect Mothers’ Day gift for my mom. In the end I got this “very pretty” sand sculpture in this glass vase. My mom probably hated it, but she kept it the rest of her life. It was not about the gift to her. It was all about the giver – me.

God has told us exactly what He wants from us. Three things – to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with Him. Now, if you have not seen this verse before, you can’t say that anymore. You have been told what He wants. It is the same thing He wanted from His children so long ago. And just like us, they spurned Him. They wanted their own thing and their own way.

APPLICATION

So, what do you need to do? To do justice. What does that mean? It means for you to judge appropriately, correctly, righteously rather than based on your own desires or prejudices. But Micah quickly adds “to love kindness.” Some versions say “to love mercy. This is the flip side of justice. Both are necessary and both are a part of God’s character.

Finally, Micah tells us “to walk humbly with our God.” That’s the hard part. The old country song said, “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.” We all think we are doing okay. True humility requires us to put others before ourselves. That is just not the American way.

These things God required then and required now will give us a balanced approach as we seek to serve our King. Will you trust Him in this? If He tells us to do something, we can be sure it is for our good. We may not see it as good at the beginning, but we will eventually. God is going for the long play. Can you?

I place my life in Your hands, Lord, to do with as You please.

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Bible, Bitterness, Boasting, Conceit, Eternity, God's Will, Humility, Scripture, Witnessing

DISDAIN

MICAH 4:11

“‘And now many nations have been assembled against you who say, “Let her be defiled, and let our eyes gloat over Zion!”’”

I need to ask you a tough question. Have you ever looked with disdain on someone? You may ask, Carl, what does that mean? Well, let me explain. Disdain is the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect. It is having contempt for that person or thing.

That was the feeling that the surrounding nations had for Israel. She (Israel) was just a piece of ground that was in their way. They saw the Israelites as beneath them. Of course, we know this feeling carried down through the ages. Everyone around them was always trying to defeat them. The Lord is simply reminding them of this.

APPLICATION

We have no right to ever look at anyone with disdain. Everyone needs Jesus. It does not matter what a person’s socioeconomic status is. It does not matter their race or ethnicity. No one should see others as beneath them. We are all in need of grace, and there is only one place to get it – Jesus.

As I travel over the globe, I get a chance to meet some incredible people. I am traveling, the Lord willing, to Burundi and Tanzania next month. I have never been to these two countries. I know I will meet a lot of people in these countries who need Jesus. Others I meet will know the Lord and are probably living for Him much better than I am. I want to learn from both groups of people.

We are in a lost world that is in need of a Savior, whether they know it or not. We cannot waste time looking down on someone. That person has a soul that will spend eternity somewhere. It is our mission as believers to try to reach them for the kingdom. So, the next time you start to think you are better than someone else, think again. The King is above us all.

I am not worthy to call You my Father, but I forever grateful You call me Your son.

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Bible, Calling, Direction, Disciplemaking, Exalting, Humility, Modeling, Scripture

HIGH PLACES

MICAH 4:8

“‘As for you, tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you it will come—yes, the former dominion will come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.’”

High places have been used time and time again to make announcements. Politicians take to stages to make speeches. Pastors climb into elevated rostrums to deliver their messages. High places give us visibility and allow our messages to be heard more easily.

It only makes sense that these two sites mentioned by the Lord here in Micah 4:8 are both high places. The “tower of the flock” is the Tower of Adel near Bethlehem. It is the spot where supposedly the shepherds received the message from the angels of the birth of Christ. The “hill of the daughter of Zion” refers to Ophel which is a high place on the south side of Jerusalem which was prophesied as the place the Messiah would appear.

APPLICATION

Okay, Carl, enough with the geography lesson. What does this mean for us? I am glad you asked. When we think of a high place, what does that require us to do? We have to look up. The shepherds looked up to see the angels. We have to look up to see Ophel, if we are in Jerusalem. Keep looking up!

Albert Barnes has this to say about these two sites. “Both then are images of lowliness. The lonely Shepherd tower, for Bethlehem, the birthplace of David; Ophel for Jerusalem, of which it was yet but an outlying part, and deriving its value probably as an outwork of the temple. Both symbols anticipate the fuller prophecy of the littleness, which shall become great in God.”

The lowly baby, born in a manger, became the Savior of the world. He was the long-awaited Messiah. His kingdom is not of this world, but His greatness exceeds them all. God will also lift us up if we humble ourselves. If we make ourselves lowly, He will exalt us. Allow the Lord to set you on a high place, so the message he has given you can be heard.

Thank You, Lord, for setting me up so others can hear. Let me never see myself as exalted, but only allow You to exalt me when I humble myself.

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Abuse, Accused, Bible, Blameless, Devil, Encouragement, Eternity, Evil, Humility, Mockery, Relationships, Satan, Scripture

MOCKING

MICAH 2:4

“‘On that day they will take up against you a song of mocking and utter a song of mourning and say, “We are completely destroyed! He exchanges the share of my people; how He removes it from me! To the apostate He apportions our fields.”’”

Being mocked is not fun, is it? Remember as a child someone repeating every word you said. Little brothers and little sisters were really bad about that. “Leave me alone” and the echo would come back, “Leave me alone.” “Mom, tell her to leave me alone.” Again, “Mom, tell her to leave me alone.”

Today’s verse shows that happening to God’s people by the pagan enemies who would defeat them. They would actually mock their mourning and cries out to God. Defeated and demoralized. Defeated and publicly humiliated. How low could they go. Pretty low it seemed.

APPLICATION

Has this happened to you? Have your enemies mocked you? Probably not, but it could happen. So, what is worse than that? I will tell you. Standing before a holy God and answering not for your sins. If our sins aren’t under the blood, if we are saved by the blood of the Lamb, we will not only be humiliated, but we will also be eternally separated from God.

You cannot get much lower than that. Listen to me, if you are a believer today, Satan will mock you when you are down. He will whisper those accusations against you. Remember that your sins were paid for at Calvary. That does not give you a free reign to sin. Not in the least. But it does give you the answer to Satan’s mocking.

We can literally tell Satan to flee. James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” It does not get much better than that. You have the power through the Holy Spirit to put Satan in his place – hell. That is not where you belong and that is not where you are going. You have an eternal home guaranteed for you in heaven. Doesn’t that excite you today?

Father, it does not matter what the devil says. I know I am yours and forever will be.

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