Abiding, Belief, Bible, Exalting, Following, God's Will, Light, Scripture

OUT OF SIGHT

JONAH 2:4

“‘So I said, “I have been cast out of Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.”’”

I was up on Lookout Mountain recently. That mountain overlooks the city of Chattanooga, where I live. It’s famous for the “Battle Above the Clouds” in the Civil War. That day I was up there was a perfect day with no clouds and nice temps. I could see the cooling towers of the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant which is about 30 miles away. My sight was not restricted. It was amazing.

Jonah feels as if now he has been cast of God’s sight. Well, I guess so. He was in the belly of a fish in the ocean. Yet Jonah says, “Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.”His vision was never clearer. His position wasn’t the issue. He had opened his eyes.

APPLICATION

Have you had your eyes checked lately? I called this week to get an appointment with my eye doctor and found out my last exam was almost two years ago. It’s no wonder my glasses don’t seem to be working like they used to. My eyes have gotten worse since my last exam, but I wasn’t aware.

We need to check our vision regularly. Now, I am not talking about our physical eyes. I am referring to our spiritual eyes. You have to have the right light (Jesus) in order to see our Lord clearly. He calls us to keep our lenses clean through washing them with the Word.

I am so glad I have a good eye doctor. But I am more thankful for my spiritual eye doctor. He makes sure I am looking at the right things and spending the time necessary sharpening my vision with my Master. How are your eyes?

Father, You have given me two eyes for a reason. I need to focus my sight on You.

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Accountability, Bible, Darkness, Judgment, Light

TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN

AMOS 8:9

“‘And it will come about on that day,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘That I will make the sun go down at noon, and make the earth dark in broad daylight.’”

I have lived through several total eclipses. They are pretty amazing. Of course, now we understand what is happening in the skies. We know the moon passes in front of the sun, blocking the light of the sun temporarily. Even now as an adult, I am amazed by this celestial event.

I can’t imagine what ran through the mind of the Israelites when they heard these words. According to historical documents, an eclipse did occur about 3 years after this prophecy. They didn’t have our Hubble telescope or the scientist to explain what was happening. Surely, the feared the wrath of God had come.

APPLICATION

Will it take a celestial disturbance for you to turn everything over to the Lord? I sure hope not. We don’t need to wait on some miraculous event to stir us to action. Our submission to God should be led by our love and thankfulness for what He has done for us through His Son Jesus.

But mark my words, judgment is coming. Nothing on earth is going to stop it. We have the opportunity to set things right with Him now. That way we have nothing to fear. We will face a reckoning for our works one day, but we will not risk our salvation. That is secure in Christ.

Aren’t you glad that your security is not based on something you have to do? It’s all due to His actions on the cross. He died to make your salvation a sure thing, once you accept Him as your Savior. But don’t wait until the next eclipse to confess and set thing right with Him. He wants to hear from you. Talk to Him today.

Lord, You are so dependable and true. I know I can rest on Your promises.

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Bible, Darkness, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Holy Spirit, Light, Scripture

DARK DAYS

AMOS 5:20

Will the day of the LORD not be darkness instead of light, even gloom with no brightness in it?”

There are a lot of people who suffer from light deprivation in the winter months. As the days get shorter and the daylight is often obscured by winter storms, they sink into a depression cause by this lack of sunlight. I’ve known several people with this, and their moods change drastically. It’s funny how the sun can cause such changes.

Amos reminds Israel that the day of the LORD will be a day of darkness and not light. He even goes on to say it will be gloomy with no brightness. In other words, it will not be a sun shiny day. It won’t be a day to look forward to. They had better prepare themselves and repent.

APPLICATION

I pray for you that you have found the SON that is necessary for light. When we have Jesus as our Savior, it doesn’t matter how physically gloomy the days are. He is the light that shines on us from within. His Holy Spirit gives us the ability to shine His light on others.

Focusing on others other than ourselves can help defeat those gloomy days. We have this powerful, luminous light within us just waiting to be shined on the world. Ask the Lord today how He wants to use the light within you. He does, you know. He is just waiting on you to ask.

I love shining His light on others. It is so exciting to watch how His light transforms their lives. It shows them their sins, first of all, so they can confess those and make things right. Then it shows them the right path to follow, rather than stumbling around in the dark. His light changes things. Won’t you shine it today?

Heavenly sunlight, Heavenly sunlight, flooding my soul with glory divine.

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Accountability, Bible, Christ's Return, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Light

THE DAY OF THE LORD

AMOS 5:18

“Woe to you who are longing for the day of the LORD, for what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light;”

I am 61 years old and have heard about the “day of the LORD” since I was a little boy. When is it coming? Will it ever come? That’s the question many ask. It’s not a new question, as we shall see today in Amos. But we need to be thinking about this day because it is coming one day.

The people of Israel were longing for the day, which Amos rebukes. How dare they, in their present state, long for that day? For them, the day of the LORD would be “darkness and not light.” They weren’t repentant. They were not confessing sin. So, they were in for a rude awakening.

APPLICATION

When I mention “the day of the LORD” to you, how do you feel? Are you ready for it? We know through His Word that Jesus will come back for his bride, the church, first. He won’t set foot of earth then. Seven years later He will return and set things right. The day of the LORD will have arrived.

Whether I die before He comes for the church or I return with Him in the air, I am not fearful of the day of the LORD. I know I am not perfect, but I am forgiven. I do my best to stay “confessed up” before Him. So, I don’t fear facing my Lord one day.

My great failure is not taking as many people as possible with me. I know that is the Lord’s desire (the desire that all men be saved). If I am guilty of anything it is not being more forceful about the gospel, not sharing it as freely as possible. Lord, forgive me of that. Are you ready for the day of the LORD? That’s the question.

You will return one day, Lord, as judge and master of all. Help me direct others to Your side in preparation for that day.

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Abiding, Beauty, Bible, Choices, Contentment, Encouragement, Family, God's Will, Heaven, Inspirational, Light, Modeling, Relationships, Scripture

STARS IN THE HEAVENS

AMOS 5:8

“He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and changes deep darkness into morning, who also darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is His name.”

I have never studied the stars or the constellations. But there is just something about going out of town at night, finding a place with very little light and laying down to look at the stars. There are so many! I stumbled across an app for my phone recently called Skyview Lite. Now, I am not endorsing it, but it allows you to find the constellations and planets at night.

God doesn’t need an app or a telescope to find the stars and constellations. He made them. He placed each of them right where He wanted them. He is the one who set our planet in just the right spot from the sun and started its rotation. Amos says the LORD is His name. Indeed, it is.

APPLICATION

Do you realize that the Lord has placed you right where He wants also? I can look back at my years in ministry and see how He orchestrated our moves to prepare me for the next role. Just like Pleiades and Orion, we have all been placed in orbit and connected with others to form human constellations.

What do I mean by that? God placed us in our families. God placed us in our communities. God placed us in our churches. You may say, Carl, I chose where I am living and the church I am attending. Did you seek the Lord in those decisions? If you did and you followed His leading, then He placed you there.

I am thankful for where the Lord has placed me. Is it always perfect? Nope, and you know why? Because my flesh gets in the way. I truly believe if I follow the Lord, He will lead me exactly where He wants me to be, no matter what obstacles I may face. I want to be His bright star shining. Don’t you?

I praise You, Father, for Your wisdom in placing me where You want me to be. Just like the stars, I am to shine and point others to You.

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Abiding, Bible, Commands, Darkness, Direction, Disciplemaking, Flesh, Light, Scripture

LOSS OF LIGHT

JOEL 3:15

The sun and moon have become dark, and the stars have lost their brightness.

I was in my hunting blind one morning recently very early. It was a cloudy morning, so there was no moonlight or stars shining. As I sat there in the pitch black, I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. You could almost feel the darkness. And I thought to myself how trying it must be to be blind and not be able to see. My vision improved with the sunrise. For that I was thankful.

But in this scene which Joel describes, it’s a little different. Sure, the sun and moon will lose their light, and the stars will lose their brightness. But is that because it will be dark, like when Christ was crucified or because the light of God will be so bright that all other lights will be gone? One can speculate which it will be. The point is things will be very different on this day of the Lord.

APPLICATION

In the meantime, we are supposed to be shining our light. As believers, the light of Christ dwells within us. We are not supposed to hide it. Don’t you love that children’s song, This Little Light of Mine? We don’t hide it under a bushel. We don’t let Satan blow it out. We hold it high for the world to see.

Where is your light? Are you drawing others to Christ by your light? Our lights should be doing that. We should also be leading others with our light as we all walk down the path together. Together our lights are brighter. As followers of Christ, we should never have a loss of light. Why? Because He is the source. His light can never be distinguished. Praise the Lord.

I will have to admit that sometimes my light is not as bright as it should be. I let my flesh get in the way, and it dims my light. That’s my fault. That has nothing to do with the source. I confess that as sin. I truly want my light to shine so brightly that the sun, moon and stars seem dim in comparison. How about you?

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

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Alone, Confidence, Darkness, Encouragement, Fear, Judgment, Light, Modeling, Scripture

WHO TURNED THE LIGHTS OUT

JOEL 2:10

“Before them the earth quakes, the heavens tremble, the sun and the moon become dark, and the stars lose their brightness.”

Have you ever been in a room when someone turned off the lights and left you in the dark? It can be frightening, can’t it? One moment you have light and the next you don’t. In one second, you go from seeing well to seeing nothing. In the 21st century we understand how all this works, but in Joel’s day it was a whole different story.

In today’s verse the locusts are described as so thick that they blot out the sun, moon and stars. The sky seems to shake at their presence (the vibration of their wings could cause that). The people of Judah would be in sunlight or moonlight one moment and suddenly darkness. For the people of this time, I am sure it was scary.

APPLICATION

Our Lord makes a reference in Luke 21:25-26 to a similar event. “‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,’” The Lord was saying this in reference to His return one day. I am not saying locust swarms indicate Christ’s return. But even He showed how God will use nature to tell a story.

The truth is there are signs all around us of Christ’s imminent return. So many prophecies have been fulfilled. It seems the world is teetering on the edge. Are you looking for Him? Are you aware of what is going on in our world that is preparing for that glorious day? You should be.

I believe He is coming soon. That may prove to be wrong. That’s okay. I am not building a bunker to hide in. I am okay with whatever happens because my trust is in Him, not the news. But I truly believe it’s near. I am okay with that as well. If the sun and moon are blotted out, I am trusting Him. Are you?

I will trust in the one who is my light. Though the sun and the moon fall, I will trust in Jesus.

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Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Bible, Darkness, Deceit, Deception, Judgment, Lies, Light, Obedience, Punishment, Satan, Scripture, Sin

STUMBLING

HOSEA 4:5

“So you will stumble by day, and the prophet also will stumble with you by night; And I will destroy your mother.”

Have you ever stumbled in the dark? Without a good light it is so easy. Since my chemotherapy I have developed pretty severe neuropathy in my feet. I can stumble so easily without shoes. I have to be very careful, whether I am walking in the dark or in the light. Stumbling is a real possibility.

Hosea is not referring to that kind of stumbling. He is talking about a spiritual stumbling. The Israelites had closed their eyes to God and were stumbling everywhere. Even the priests were stumbling. God warns them, through Hosea, that He was going to destroy their mother, referring to Jerusalem. That happened in the midst of their stumbling.

APPLICATION

How can you prevent spiritually stumbling? Just like physical stumbling, a good source of light can prevent most accidents. We have to keep the light of the Word shining brightly in our lives. That means we have to study it daily. You cannot get by with just an occasional quiet time. You need the equivalent of a million lumens shining on you daily.

The light of the Word exposes the darkness. It lets you see the approaching enemy. The beam of His Word points out the dangers lurking in your path, set by the devil, that could bring you down. But when you shine the light on the path, God directs each step you take.

I know I need a daily dose of God’s Word to keep me walking safely. It is amazing how clear your path becomes when you are seeing it through the lense of God’s Word. God’s Word always clarifies. Stop the stumbling.

Lord, keep my feet safe. Shine Your light on my path so I can avoid the devil’s snares.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faith, God's Will, Gospel, Light, Love, Manifested, Mentoring, Parenting, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

ILLUMINATED

1 JOHN 4:9

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”

How many of you have a nativity scene you set up outside? We had one growing up that I loved. It was life size and was lit up with spotlights. We even had an angel hanging on wire above the manger. It was so cool. I always loved it.

But my aunt and uncle had one that was lit from the inside. It had this awesome glow. Don’t get me wrong. I loved ours more. But their nativity had this awesome look because it was glowing instead of being lit from the outside. Hmmm, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

APPLICATION

The word “manifested” means to illuminate, to make known, to make plain in open view. Try this with your kids. Get some candles and light them. Cover them with different things like a box, a flowerpot and a glass. Let them tell you which candle can be seen. Of course, the only one is through the glass. The others are covered up.

Talk about the verse. God’s love is illuminated through us when we accept His Son as our Savior. John even partially quotes John 3:16, which he wrote. John knew Jesus personally. He knew He had been sent by His Father to indwell us. Our kids need to understand that. Jesus was sent to save us from ourselves, from our sins, from the world, from Satan. And when He lives in us, His light will shine. Our job is to get out of the way and let it shine.

Are you shining for Him? Are you letting His light illuminate your life? He wants you to shine for Him by loving others. Why? Because He sent His Son for us. If Jesus lives in you, you have the light of the world in you. Isn’t that amazing? Why wouldn’t you let the light shine through your love for others?

Lord, I praise You for illuminating me. You have given me the ability to love others. Help me do that daily.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Confession, Darkness, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Harmony, Hypocrisy, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Surrender

ARE YOU A HATER?

1 JOHN 2:9

“The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.”

People can say anything. They can claim to love others but just watch how they treat them. The word “hate” seems to imply a horrible action. But did you know the Greek word here can actually mean to love less. Now wait a minute, Carl. That seems a little harsh. Oh really? Do you think Jesus loves them less than you? He loves them all.

John tells us that if we hate, we are still in the darkness. We are walking in the darkness. We are stumbling. What happens when you stumble in the darkness? You hurt yourself. You could break your toe or leg or worse. It’s the same when we hate. We hurt ourselves.

APPLICATION

If your child hasn’t said it yet, they will. They will come home saying they hate someone for something they have done. I am sure you correct them for that. Try sharing this verse with them. Let them see what God says about hate. Ask them if they want to be in the darkness. I bet they don’t.

There are going to be people we don’t like in life. That’s just the truth. So, what do we do? We pray for those individuals. We ask the Lord to give us His love for them. Is that easy? No! It’s impossible by ourselves. But with Christ in us, we can do anything, including loving those we do not like.

Are you tired of stubbing your toe in the darkness because you refuse to stop hating? Come to the light. Stay in the light. Let Jesus direct your path, especially when others are trying to block it. Love them anyway. Jesus does.

Oh Father, I fall so short in this area. I can always justify my hate, but Your Word convicts me. Thank You.

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