Abiding, Allegiance, Battles, Bible, Commands, Enemies, Judgment, Leading

UNDER SIEGE

MICAH 5:1

“Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; they have laid siege against us; with a rod they will strike the judge of Israel on the cheek.”

I recently read this great book by David Hosaflook about Marin Barleti’s first-hand account of the siege of Shkodra. It was a detailed description of the horrors of the siege. The assault on that city was a terrible loss of life and property. Reading about the way, however, the people of Shkodra fought was inspiring.

Now, the Lord tells the people that the siege is coming. They knew about sieges. They had faced them before. They could only imagine how bad it would get, but this was their own doing. They had dishonored their God and had to face the consequences.

APPLICATION

Sometimes in our lives we feel we are under siege. It seems the whole world has gathered its forces against us and is battering down the front door. Bills pile up. The car breaks down. Your child gets suspended from school. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

In times like these, we must do as the Lord told the people – we must muster our troops. What does that mean? We look to our commander. No troops are effective without a leader. We have one in Jesus Christ. He knows the best defense. He knows the best offense. He will guide us through these hard times, if we will let Him.

I have gone through my share of hard times, some harder than others. I have not always looked to my commander. At times, I have tried to muster my own troops and lead myself. That usually ended with another defeat. But when I looked to Jesus and rested in Him, I got through that battle. You can too if you will just look to Him.

I am grateful for Your Son, Jesus, leading me in my hardest times. He is forever faithful.

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Cleansing, Confrontation, Deception, Despair, Destruction, Evangelism, Gospel, Integrity, Leading, Scripture, Witnessing

DISHONEST GAIN

MICAH 3:10

“Who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with malice.”

In one of my earliest ministry experiences, I worked with a person who was in leadership on the campus where I served. That person would take gifts meant for the children we served and take them home for their grandchildren. They would also take pool chemicals purchased for the campus to use in their own pool a home. Dishonest gain!

Micah continues his prophecies against the leaders of Israel and Judah. They had made their way to the top by stepping all over the “little people.” The poor and less fortunate were used by these leaders so they could gain more wealth and prestige. It did not matter who they hurt to get ahead.

APPLICATION

There is nothing much worse than someone who will take advantage or steal from the poor. They must not have a conscience. Wickedness pours out of them. They do not care who they use, as long as they get what they want. We believers should be able to spot those individuals a mile off.

So, how do we deal with people like that? Just like Jesus. What did He do? He loved them (He even died for them), but He did not join in with them. He dealt with the Pharisees and Sadducees often. Many of these got their positions by these very means – using others. Jesus knew that. He confronted them of their sins. But He still loved them.

Loving someone like that is hard, but we are called to do just that. How else will they hear and see the Gospel. They may spurn your words. They may even threaten you. That is okay. You have planted the seed which can grow later. It is our calling to spread the good news to everyone. Will you do that today? Who knows that person just might repent and come to Christ because of a word you shared?

Thank You, Lord, for cleansing me of my selfishness. Give me a love for the unlovable so they can hear Your message of forgiveness.

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Advocate, Bible, Calling, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Leading

IMPACT A NATION

MICAH 1:1

“The word of the LORD which came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and which he saw regarding Samaria and Jerusalem.”

How can we, as mere citizens, impact a nation for Christ? We often complain and moan about what the elected officials are doing. So, how do we change that? I have friends who have served or are serving in some elected position. I pray for them. I pray for God’s wisdom as they make decisions. I also pray for those elected officials whom I did not vote for. I pray that, too, will make decisions based on godly advice.

As we begin this study in Micah, we notice in verse one that Micah had influence over three kings of Judah. That’s a lot of opportunities. It’s interesting that while Jotham and Hezekiah were known as good leaders and good men, Ahaz took a different trek. He was an evil man and a very poor leader. But through the reign of all three of these men, Micah prophesied to Samaria and Judah. His heart was for his country and his God.

APPLICATION

We have opportunities every day to impact our communities for Christ. How is that possible? One, by praying for our leaders. Two, by sharing Jesus with those around us. They may have ways to impact your city that you are not even aware of. And three, by being the best leader you can be when given the chance.

Many of us will never lead. We are followers. That’s okay. We can’t all be chiefs, as they say. We need some Indians, lol. But we all can lead our families. We can lead in our churches. We can ask the Lord for leadership opportunities. If you want to change a culture for Christ, our men must be taught to lead and lead well. They need to know the tools so they can lead.

I am serving now with a ministry called Every Man A Warrior (EMAW), the Men’s ministry of Trans World Radio (TWR). Our goals are to help men walk with God, succeed in life and multiply spiritually. We want to build men who can lead other men and change our world for Jesus. Will you pray for us as we strive to do that? Check out our website at www.everymanawarrior.com. You can take a look at my ministry site at www.twr.org/carl-willis.

Father, let me be an influencer rather than someone who is influenced by others. I want to see lives change for Christ.

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Advice, Belief, Bible, Direction, Following, God's Will, Judgment, Leading, Obedience, Repentance, Restoration, Scripture

GOING EAST

JONAH 4:5

“Then Jonah left the city and sat down east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade, until he could see what would happen in the city.”

I know people who are directionally challenged. They could not tell you which way was east if their life depended on it. On a recent trip I made to Albania, I got out my trusty phone compass to identify which direction east was so I could watch for the next morning’s sunrise. I had made a lot of turns that day and was a bit confused on the direction. I like that little compass.

In Scripture, going east is used to show men moving away from God. Going east represents the world. Going west represents holiness. Jonah went east (away from God). He had probably waited the forty days of his prophecy and then went out to see what would happen. He still seemed to have hope that God would strike Nineveh for their sins, even though they had repented.

APPLICATION

What direction are you going? East or west? Are you moving away from God or towards Him? Let me tell you something. Going east does not solve anything. We need to always be moving west towards God. Now, I do not mean we need to literally move west. I am speaking symbolically here.

Many times, something bad happens and we withdraw from God. We do not understand His actions or lack of action. For instance, the recent school shooting in Texas has people both crying out to God and blaming God. God did not cause that shooting. Get that out of your head. God has no part of evil. But evil exists in this world. We must cling to God in the presence of evil and trust Him to get us through these kinds of tragedies.

I choose west. I choose to move towards God, no matter the ramifications. I know I can trust Him. I know He knows what is best for me. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will trust Him. Will you join me on my westward journey?

I will move towards You, Lord. Westward I will go!

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Allies, Alone, Battles, Bible, Consequences, Deception, Enemies, Friends, Leading, Scripture

ALLIES

OBADIAH 7

“All the people allied with you will send you to the border, and the people at peace with you will deceive you and overpower you. They who eat your bread will set an ambush for you. (There is no understanding in him.)”

Don’t you just hate it when someone is betrayed by “friends”? It’s one thing for your enemies to attack you. But when so called allies turn their back on you, that’s hard. I am fortunate to say that has never happened to me (yet). I believe I can trust all my friends to have my back, if needed.

Poor Edom – they were betrayed by allies who knew them well. When push came to shove, the bailed on Edom and chose their own safety. Not only did they betray them, but they gave up many of their secrets to help the enemy. That’s like sticking in the knife and turning it. Not good.

APPLICATION

Who are the friends you can depend on? I serve now with a ministry called Every Man A Warrior. We teach men how to walk with God, succeed in life and multiply spiritually. One aspect of that training is teaching the need to have allies, guys in their corner. We know you can’t do this life alone.

It is beautiful when you see these groups of allies come together for one of their own. No betrayal. No turncoats. All coming together to give aid to one of their brothers. Whether it be a physical, emotional or spiritual need, these allies come together.

On the flip side, I’ve seen men try to do this on their own. What happens? They usually fall flat on their face. They are fine until they face that first hurdle and then wham! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down he has a friend to help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.” Be that ally today for someone else. You will need them yourself one day.

Father, You made us to need each other. Surround me with godly men who can help me navigate this life.

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Advice, Bible, Calling, Commands, Direction, Leading

THAT’S NOT WHAT I AM

AMOS 7:14

“Then Amos replied to Amaziah, ‘I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs.’”

Have you ever been mistaken for someone or something you’re not? It can happen to any of us. How do you respond? Do you immediately correct them, or do you play along for a bit? I like to play along. I like to string them along. I am just that way.

But not Amos. He corrects Amaziah quickly. He tells him that he was just minding his own business, tending his herds and fig trees. Then God called him to prophesy. And now that He has, he has to do it.

APPLICATION

You may not feel like you are worthy of God’s calling, but you are. God calls those who are available and willing to be used. I believe every one of us who have been called as His child has been given a very specific purpose. God wants us to fulfill it. It’s our purpose, not someone else’s.

Now, let me ask you a question. What is your calling? What has God called you to do? God has given you the skills or will give you the skills to do exactly what He has called you to do. Do you think for a second Amos felt qualified?

You may have heard it said before – God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called. That’s who you are. You are called, and He will qualify you. He promises that. The question is will you allow Him to use you. He wants to and will.

I am willing, Lord. Qualify me!

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Abiding, Alone, Battles, Bible, Deception, Direction, Dreams, Following, Hope, Leading, Scripture

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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Battles, Bible, Destruction, Discipline, Encouragement, Following, Leading, Protection, Rescue, Scripture

ROUGH RIDE

AMOS 6:12

“Do horses run on rocks? Or does one plow them with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into poison, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood,”

I’m a member of a hunting lease here in Tennessee. I love going out there to hunt. One section of the lease, which I love to hunt, has become almost inaccessible due to the condition of the road. This road is full of rocks and ruts. Without a four-wheeler or a four-wheel drive truck, you are out of luck.

Amos uses the imagery of horses running on rocks in verse 12. I’m not a horse expert, but even I know that is destructive and harmful to the horse. It will end with broken legs which could lead to death. Get the picture. The Israelites had turned justice and the fruit of righteousness into something destructive and perhaps deadly.

APPLICATION

What have you turned around? We tend to want to see things our own way. We justify our sins. We make excuses for our behavior. We blame it on genetics today. The perversions of the flesh are explained away. That’s the same as riding horseback on rocks.

Why don’t we all simply go the Word and let it guide us? If we would do that, our life would go so much smoother. I am not saying we wouldn’t face challenges. We would. But we would know how to face them and get through them.

I am thankful the Lord has led me to filter all my decisions through His Word. It has a way of directing me. That filter is never going to lead me in a direction that is harmful to me. It will always point me to Jesus, which is exactly where I want to be. So, stop riding on rocks!

Father, Your road may not be free of obstacles, but I know I can trust You to guide me. I do not fear the journey, as long as I am with You.

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Accountability, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Confrontation, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Leading, Ministry, Redemption

ARCHER

Amos 2:15

“’The one who grasps the bow will not stand his ground, the swift of foot will not escape, nor will the one who rides the horse save his life.'”

A friend of mine has a son who is an incredible archer. He has won just about every state and national title shooting a basic recurve bow. He has accomplished so much in such a short time. But one thing about an archer is they must be able to stand still. You can’t be moving around and be precise. My friend’s son is precise. He knows how to stand still and shoot straight.

I noticed in today’s verse that the Lord points out the fact the archer must stand his ground. He must stand firm, even when the battle is headed his way, even when the enemies arrows are falling all around him. In order to hit the target, the archer has to stand firm. Then he has to aim at the target to hit it. The Lord is saying here that they no longer will be able to do that

APPLICATION

Standing firm is critical to fighting our spiritual battles. We have to face our enemy head on. 1 Peter 5:9 tells us to stand firm and resist the devil. Paul tells us in Ephesians to stand firm and put on the full armor of God. All through the Bible we are told to stand firm. It must be pretty important. So, why aren’t we doing that?

We, myself included, tend to limp around when it comes to spiritual warfare. So many believers are scared of the subject. But listen to me, you have to stand firm, draw back your bow and trust God with the rest. We may not be skilled with a bow, but we can sure stand firm and ask the Lord to guide the arrow. He will, you know.

I am so thankful for a God that understands my need and prepares me for battle. I do not want to be like that archer who will not stand his ground.

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Abiding, Alone, Bible, Christ's Return, Consequences, Encouragement, Family, God's Will, Healing, Home, Leading

NO HOMEPLACE

AMOS 1:15

“‘Their king will go into exile, he and his princes together,’ says the LORD.”

My family moved a lot during my ministry. In fact, my wife and children have moved five times. We know each move was directed by the Lord. The events leading up to our decision to move were not our own making. Only God could have done it. But all those moves can leave you feeling homeless. Thankfully, we have settled in Chattanooga, TN. That is our home. Now, God may move us again, but it will always be home for us.

Amos ends his prophecy against Ammon by prophesying the royal family’s exile. Do you know what that means? They would be taken out of their palaces, their homes, and placed in another country which the conquering army had defeated. Wherever they were placed, it wouldn’t be home. They will lose everything that is familiar.

APPLICATION

Have you lost your familiar place? Do you feel homeless? I want to remind you of something. If you are believer, you don’t belong here anyway. This world is not our home. We are citizens of heaven. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, and when it is time, He will take us home.

But while you are here, where do you belong? Wherever God has placed you. My wife and I tried to make everyplace we lived home. Some places were easier than others, but we really tried to make it home. Home is where your family is. Don’t be bitter or angry about where you are. Accept your placing as from God.

God has a master plan for our lives. I will never understand it this side of glory. But I trust His wisdom. I know He will never place me anywhere that is not meant to make me more like Him. The people I meet there and the experiences I have are heaven-made. God has allowed each and every interaction for a reason. The journey is exciting. Embrace it.

Father, I trust that You know what is best for me. I will go along for the journey.

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