Disciplemaking, Advice, Obedience, Commands, Bible, Scripture, Satan, Deception, Holiness, Devil, Accountability, Protection, Abiding

TRAPS

Amos 3:5

“Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground when there is no device in it? Does a trap spring up from the earth when it captures nothing at all?”

As a young boy, as most boys I’m sure, I made a lot of traps to catch rabbits, birds, just about anything. There was something awesome about laying that trap out and sitting back to watch it catch something. Most of the time, I caught nothing. But occasionally, I would get lucky and catch a bird or a rabbit. All those traps had a device that caused it to be tripped. Once tripped, the trap would snap shut, capturing whatever had tripped it.

Amos’ imagery here is great. The first question could have said, “Do you think all those things that have happened to you were by accident? I am the one who tripped those traps.” And the second question gives us the picture of a spring trap that once tripped would almost seem to jump up to catch the prey. Any Israelite with any experience in trapping would understand these words clearly. Israel has sprung the trap and is now caught.

APPLICATION

We all tend to spring traps from time to time. But those traps are only sprung by us when we aren’t walking with Jesus. If we are being consistent in our walk and are living holy lives before Him, those traps aren’t there. But…when we are living footloose and fancy free, we had better be aware of the traps that are set to catch us. Satan loves to catch us and hold us captive so we can’t be used by the Father.

The trouble with these traps is you can’t get out by yourself. You need help from someone else. Do you have someone you can call on when you step into a trap? We all need that. You may want to hide the fact that you are in a trap. Sooner or later, others will know. Call on a friend now (Ecc. 4:9-10).

I am so thankful for the vision the Lord gives me to avoid those traps set by Satan and others. I am thankful that, if by chance I step in one, I have brothers in Christ who will come to my aid. I couldn’t do it without them. Every Man A Warrior has given me an army of men who would come running to my aid. For that I am so thankful. Check it out at everymanawarrior.com.

Lord, we praise You for keeping us out of the traps set by the evil one. I know I can walk safely as long as I abide in You.

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Abiding, Affection, Bible, Comfort, Encouragement, Gentleness, Intimacy, Obedience, Relationships

WALKING WITH GOD

Amos 3:3

“Do two people walk together unless they have agreed to meet?”

I was sixteen years old when I started my walk with Christ. I had been in church all my life, but I had never surrendered my life to Him. I did all the church stuff, including singing in the choir and going on church trips. But I did not know Jesus until I gave my whole self to Him and saw myself as a sinner. My walk began July 31, 1977 and has not stopped since then. There have been some bumps in the road, but He has been faithful.

Amos begins a series of parables in verse 3 today. Each one has a message for Israel. This first one speaks of walking with someone. Israel had not been walking with God for quite some time. The parable says that both have to agree. That was the problem. Israel didn’t agree. God was ready to walk with them, but they had shunned Him and disobeyed Him. God could not walk with them like that.

APPLICATION

How’s your walk? Are you running away from God or ahead of Him? Either is bad. Maybe you are refusing to move and are stuck in some sin. I don’t know about you, but when I walk with my wife I like to hold her hand. We don’t do that much right now because of my feet. But walking hand in hand is special to me. God wants to walk with you that way. He desires that closeness.

Are you holding His hand as you walk with Him? Do you want that intimacy? I do. I want to walk with Him feeling His hand in mine. Now, I know that is not physically possible, but it is spiritually. Holding hands requires closeness. Get close to Him. Read His Word. Pray to Him. Spend time with Him. You won’t regret it. His walks are exhilarating.

I mentioned my walk has had some bumps. But God never let go of my hand. He kept picking me up and dusting me off. He put me back on the right path. My walk with Christ has improved over the years. It’s still not perfect. I still stumble. But I have learned to hold tight to my Master’s hand. I trust Him completely. I pray you can as well. Hold tight.

O Jesus, thank You for holding my hand. Thank You for being right beside me all the time.

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Obedience, Bible, Scripture, Promises, Rescue, Healing, Freedom, Destruction, Advocate, Abiding, Failures

A RUT

AMOS 2:13

“‘Behold, I am making a rut in the ground beneath you, just as a wagon makes a rut when filled with sheaves.’”

Do you know what a rut is? It’s a grave with both ends knocked out. I know, that’s not a very funny joke. I don’t write them. I just repeat them, lol. Seriously, not many people like to be in a rut. It implies you are stuck or traveling is hard. Ruts can break axles on vehicles. Bottom line – ruts aren’t fun.

The Lord tells the Israelites here in verse 13 that He is burdened by them. The weight of their sins is upon Him. He is weary of them. How sad that must have sounded to them. Their God, the One who delivered them, is weary of them. But now God is over it. He is tired of being tired of them. He is going to deal with them appropriately.

APPLICATION                                                              

Do you think our sins burden Jesus? If you are child of God, if you have given your life to Him, then all your sins are forgiven. We have the privilege to walk with Him in victory. Do you think He gets weary of our rebellion and disobedience? I am sure it disappoints Him. He knows we are human and fall short, but He has given us everything we need to live for Him.

Ask yourself if you are living to please the Father today. Or are you in a rut? Do you let the trials of life weigh you down. There’s a line in a hymn that I love. It says, “Burdens are lifted at Calvary.” Do you believe that? I sure do. I know my burdens are lifted by my Master. I want out of the ruts.

So, next time you feel you are in a rut, stop and examine what burdens you are holding on to. You don’t have to. He’s got this. And the beauty is once we give Him our burdens, they really are lifted. God can handle it. We can’t. Let Him have all your burdens (1 Peter 5:7).

I cast all my burdens on You, O Lord. I know You have the ability to take them and lighten my load.

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Bible, Blessing, Contentment, Faithfulness, Gifts, God's Will, Godliness, Holy Spirit, Obedience

FORGOTTEN POSSESSIONS

AMOS 2:10

“‘And it was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you in the wilderness for forty years so that you might take possession of the land of the Amorite.’”

Isn’t it wonderful to uncover a lost possession? My family has moved a good bit through my over four decades in ministry. Sometimes, in the process of backing, one of my kids would exclaim, “Look what I found.” Something they knew they owned, but had misplaced, was uncovered in the packing or unpacking process. It was always theirs, just wasn’t in their physical possession.

The Lord is reminding Israel of their possessions. He had given them the land of the Amorites. It was a gift from Him to them many years previously. It wasn’t something they had purchased or won on their own. It was Him who had ridded the land of the Amorites and gave it to them just as He had promised. After the long journey through the wilderness, He had given them the land. But they had forgotten.

APPLICATION

Do you have lost possessions? I bet you do. But more importantly, let me ask you this question. What possessions do you have in Christ that you aren’t utilizing? I was talking to some friends just recently about that. Why do so many Christians walk around defeated? Why do we act as if we can’t live holy lives?

God has given us everything we need to live for Him. Just take a look in Galatians 5 at the fruit of the Spirit. With all those blessings, we have no excuse for not living for Him. We have no excuse for not living victoriously. Sure, life can be hard sometimes. But do you think that surprises God? Of course, not. He gave us all we need to handle ever situation.

I am thankful for the Lord’s blessings in my life. I am thankful He has provided me with all I need. I just have to claim it. I just have to walk in it. I just have to… How about you? Don’t forget your possessions.

I am blessed beyond measure because of You, O Lord. Help me “tap” into all the possessions You have given me.

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Accountability, Advocate, Bible, Commands, Consequences, Crowns, Judgment, Obedience, Scripture

THERE GOES THE JUDGE

AMOS 2:3

“‘I will also eliminate the judge from her midst and slay all her leaders with him,’ says the LORD.”

When I was a child there was a comedian named Flip Wilson. He had one character he played that was a judge. Whenever he walked on to the set he would cry out, “Here comes the judge! Here comes the judge!” It was a pretty, funny character, and he played it well.

In Amos 2:3 the Lord is saying just the opposite. He is saying, “There goes the judge! There goes the judge!” He was taking out not only the kings and princes, but He was eliminating all rulers in Moab. There will be no one to lead what was left of their people. He wanted them to know that there was only one King and Ruler – Jehovah!

APPLICATION

Who is the ruler of your life? If it is anyone but God, you have chosen the wrong ruler. So many of our young people today are rebelling against any authority in their lives. They seem to think they don’t need anyone to rule over them. They rebel against their parents, teachers, coaches, etc.

But before we point our fingers at them and shake out head, we are no better. We rebel against God in our lives. We rebel against our bosses (don’t tell me you don’t in some way). We need people to lead us. We need a ruler. God is that ruler. Bow down.

I am thankful for God being my King. I bow before Him daily. Do I serve Him as I should? Not always. But He is still my King. I acknowledge that. I want to be under Him. As long as I do, I am under His protection. He protects those who stay close, but you have to stay close. Does that mean you don’t interact with the world? Of course, not. But it does mean you live by your King’s rules and not the world’s.

Thank You, Father, for leading me. I know I am not always as obedient as I should be, but I do want to follow You.

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Accountability, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Destruction, Fire, God's Will, Judgment, Obedience, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

HERE WE GO AGAIN

AMOS 1:10

“‘So I will send fire on the wall of Tyre, and it will consume her citadels.’”

I love American football. I love everything about it. It’s such a great sport. Anyone who has watched the game will notice something. Once a coach discovers a weakness in the other team’s defense, he will continue to exploit it. He will run plays which will allow his team to succeed. Unless the other team makes adjustments, they will certainly lose.

Once again, for the third time, the Lord is raining fire down on His enemies. He attacks the fortified towers or the citadels to show that nothing can hold back the judgment of the Almighty. Tyre’s walls and towers are no match for God. His wrath cannot be contained. They are helpless before Him.

APPLICATION

I pray that you know that you are no match for God. If you choose to fight against Him, you will lose. He knows all. None of your plans to outwit Him will work. No secrets are hidden. Your best decision is to submit to His lordship and accept Jesus as Your Savior.

So many of us fight against Him. We might not call it fighting, but it is. Unless we have surrendered our will to His, we are enemies of God. Until we give our hearts and lives to Jesus, we are pulling for the other side. But the very moment we take that first step toward the Savior, He rushes in to save us. Hallelujah. We simply lay down our desires and allow Him to refresh us.

I am so glad I have done that. I fought Him for years. I thought I was getting by. I thought I was fooling everyone. I said I believed in God, but my behavior said differently. I lived for pleasure and self-fulfillment. When I finally came to the end of myself, He moved in. I was changed instantly. My citadel is Jesus. He is the One who protects and fortifies me. And His walls are impenetrable. I am safe and secure inside His tower of defense. Are you?O God, You are such an awesome God. You are faithful to protect and defend me.

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Abiding, Accountability, Battles, Bible, Covenant, Enemies, Forgiveness, Judgment, Obedience

BROKEN COVENANT

AMOS 1:9

“This is what the LORD says: ‘For three offenses of Tyre, and for four, I will not revoke its punishment, because they turned an entire population over to Edom and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.’”

Sometimes people break their contracts with each other. It could be a business contract or a personal matter. Marriages are contracts, and many of them are broken. No matter what kind of contract it is, all contracts are meant to be kept. But our human side gets in the way. We break them.

The Lord turns His attention now to Tyre, another enemy of Israel. As He begins to state their punishment, Israel is cheering. Amos’ prophecies are getting them all excited because all their enemies are going down. But here He mentions how they had not remembered “the covenant of brotherhood.” They had broken their treaties which had specified how to treat each other.

APPLICATION

What covenants have you made? Have you kept them? I pray you have. But if you have broken one or more, you can make it right. Don’t let anyone tell you different. If you have strayed from your covenant with God, He stands ready to forgive.

The most important covenant ever made was between God and us when He sent His Son die for us. That covenant is everlasting. God will never break it. And He holds us to it. When we accept His Son, He covenants with us. God takes His covenant seriously. We need to do the same. Consider the cost. It cost Him His only Son.

I love the fact that my God has made covenant with me. He pursued me. He loves me. He drew me to Himself, and I responded. I came to Him. He adopted me into His family. I am His forever. Thank You, Lord, for loving me. Thank You for making covenant with me.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Brokenness, Choices, Destruction, Enemies, Faithfulness, Fighting, Humility, Judgment, Obedience, Rescue, Scripture

NOTHING LEFT

AMOS 1:8

“‘I will also eliminate every inhabitant from Ashdod, as well as him who holds the scepter, from Ashkelon; and I will direct My power against Ekron, and the remnant of the Philistines will perish,’ says the Lord GOD.”

Many years ago I served as a Group Leader for a boys’ cottage at a children’s home in Georgia. I took my boys, all 10 of them, to a pizza restaurant in a nearby town that had a pizza buffet. Now, I had ten teenage boys. Can you imagine the destruction they caused to that buffet? In fact, it was so bad the manager asked us to stop eating. Nothing was left!

The Lord is announcing total destruction to the Philistines. Even the remnant will perish. That’s pretty complete. God is thorough. He never does anything half-way. He is promising Israel this enemy will be destroyed in His time and in His way. I can just hear the people rejoicing.

APPLICATION

The Lord is still working that way. Everything He does in our lives is complete. The problem is we get in the way. We try to figure it out ourselves. And God will let us do that. He won’t move in and rescue us unless we seek Him. He is just that way. I guess you could say He is polite.

But listen, don’t depend on your smarts. Humble yourself and turn to Him. He will still ask you to be a part of what He wants to do in your life, but let Him lead. That’s hard for a lot of us, especially us men. We want to take charge. Lay it down. He will complete it if we will let Him. He will see it through.

I know the Lord will complete me, if I let Him. I have to come to the end of myself. When I do, He is there. And the finished product He produces is always better than what I could do. There is no comparison. So, why do I try to do it myself? I don’t know. I am still learning. I learn everyday.

I will lay my desires down, Lord, and let You lead. I know it always best when I do.

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Abiding, Bible, Choices, Confession, Discipline, Holy Spirit, Intimacy, Modeling, Obedience, Scripture, Speech, Testimony

WHERE THE LORD DWELLS

AMOS 1:2

And he said, “The LORD roars from Zion, and from Jerusalem He utters His voice; and the shepherds’ pasture grounds mourn, and the summit of Carmel dries up.”

I have mentioned a lot in my blogs that I grew up in South Georgia. That’s different that Georgia. I grew up so far south that I thought Atlanta, GA was in the northern states. Lol. So when I speak, people know I’m from the South. I have a southern accent that I can’t deny, nor would I. That is where I dwelt.

I love this imagery which Amos uses. The Lord roars from Zion. He dwells in Jerusalem. This is a clear message to the nation of Israel who had set up worship sites in the northern kingdom. No! God dwells in Jerusalem. That is where He chose to dwell. He didn’t change His location. And you can definitely tell where His voice is coming from. The world will know.

APPLICATION

Isn’t it glorious that now He dwells in us? When we receive His Son as our Savior, He immediately indwells us through the person of the Holy Spirit. We become His dwelling place. In 1 Corinthians, Paul reminds us that our bodies of the temple of the Holy Spirit. And our voice should now be His voice. People should know who indwells us by the way we talk.

Our language has to change. We can’t keep talking the same way we talked before we were saved. The words we choose to use have to reflect the one who indwells us. The words we put in print have to tell others that we are different. We can’t use the world’s words anymore. We are different. We are indwelt.

That’s hard sometimes. We slip up and fall back into the old way of talking. We use some of those old words that don’t sound like Jesus. I have had to confess that as sin too many times. I am thankful for a God who can override my tongue. He can choose my words for me when I want to say something different. I want my words to reflect Him and sound like Him. Don’t you?

Father, forgive me when I fail to reflect You in my speech. I truly want others to hear You and not me.

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Abiding, Bible, Calling, Career, Commands, Disciplemaking, Modeling, Obedience, Passion, Salvation, Scripture, Surrender, Teaching, Witnessing

FARMER PROPHET 

AMOS 1:1

“The words of Amos, who was among the sheepherders from Tekoa, which he saw in visions concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.”

I can recall when the Lord called me to full time ministry. I had only been a Christian for a few months. It was in the Fall of 1978. I was in my Senior year of high school. It was almost like my surrender to Him in salvation morphed directly into my calling as a minister. He took out some things I thought  were important and replaced them with a passion to serve in ministry. So, I can relate somewhat to Amos, as we begin this study.

Amos was a farmer. He had sheep and also tended sycamore trees. Out of that unlikely vocation God called him to go prophesy against the nation of Israel. He had not been schooled in the school of prophets. He had been schooled by life. He obviously had a passion and desire for Jehovah, or he wouldn’t have been chosen for the task. God can use any instrument He chooses to accomplish His goals.

APPLICATION

Are you being used by the Lord right now? Perhaps you think He can’t use you. Wrong! Just like Amos, you just have to be available. It doesn’t matter what vocation you are in, the Lord can use you. The Lord doesn’t need more preachers. Now, hear me out. I am not knocking preachers. I am one. But you can reach so many more people in your circle of influence in your vocation, if you are willing.

God plucked Amos right out of the pasture and sent him on a mission. God may select you to do something extraordinary. He is just waiting for you to surrender to His will. Do you trust Him to give you the words? He gave Amos some very bold words. Do you trust Him to direct your path? He will. Just ask Him.

Oh, the things we can do if we are willing. God changed the world with 11 unlikely disciples, mostly uneducated men who had a passion for Jesus. They all laid down their lives for the mission. I often ask myself if I would do the same. I know I can through His power. I want Him to use me to change the world. Will you join me?

O Lord, use me like You did Amos. Give me the same boldness to speak truth in a fallen world.

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