Abiding, Allegiance, Battles, Belief, Bible, Courage, Defeat, Enemies, God's Will, Opponents, Promises, Rescue, Scripture

LIONS’ DEN

NAHUM 2:11

“Where is the den of the lions and the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion, lioness, and lion’s cub went with nothing to disturb them?”

I love going to the zoo. We have a small one here in Chattanooga, TN where I live. Almost any zoo has “the king of the jungle” – the African lion. These beasts are huge. It is hard to really understand how big they are until you see one in person. A full-grown male lion does not have many threats. They rule the jungle or African plain.

That is the analogy Nahum is using in today’s verse. Nineveh had devoured all its enemies. None seemed able to stand against it. So, that is why it is so appalling that Nineveh is so desolate and defeated. Nahum is asking, “Where is the den of lions”? All their fierceness was gone. They were defeated.

APPLICATION

I want you to know that as a child of the King, your enemies will not stand. They will all bow before Him. They may appear to be triumphant right now, but their day will come. You may not see it in your lifetime, but it will come. No enemy of our King will remain.

How do I know that? Because His Word says it. Romans 14:11 says, “For it is written: ‘AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, TO ME EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, AND EVERY TONGUE WILL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.’” If God’s Word says it, that settles it. It will be just as He has said. Do you believe that?

I know I can trust Him when He says something. I believe all my enemies will bow, just as I will. I will bow willingly. They will bow because they know they are defeated. Oh, how sweet to know in Whom I can trust.

I praise You, O God, for Your faithfulness to all generations.

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Agreement, Allegiance, Allies, Battles, Bible, Christianity, Devil, Enemies, God's Will, Modeling, Opponents, Scripture

A SHIELD

NAHUM 2:3

“The shields of his warriors are dyed red, the warriors are dressed in scarlet, the chariots are fitted with flashing steel when he is prepared to march, and the juniper spears are brandished.”

I love to watch football (American football), especially college football. I love to watch the team working as one to achieve a goal – to score on their opponent or to prevent their opponent from scoring on them. A lot of this occurs on the line of scrimmage. Young men forming a line of defense have to work together as one.

The English translation above says “shields,” but the actual Hebrew word is singular – “shield.” That makes a difference. Nahum is saying that “the shield of His warriors” is one. They move as one. They attack as one. They are no longer fighting alone against their enemies. They have become a unified force under the banner of Jehovah.

APPLICATION

This should send a message to us, not about fighting, but about standing together. Christians are so divided today. We segregate ourselves between denominations. We divide our churches by race. We cannot fight our common enemy if we stay divided. We must become one.

So, what prevents that? Is it pride or arrogance? Is it our church traditions? Some of these divisions are over minor doctrinal disagreements that do not really have an effect on our salvation. Paul says in Romans 12:4-5 “4 For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another.”

What part are you? How can you help unify the body of Christ? The ministry I am serving in now, Every Man A Warrior (www.everymanawarrior.com), cuts across denominational lines. We have leaders in 58 countries and in all 50 states in the U.S. And guess what? We are all not Southern Baptists. Nor are we all Methodists. We are all believers in Christ who want to see our culture changed by changing the hearts of men. Will you join us in unifying the body of Christ worldwide?

Help me hold Your shield, Lord, as I face our enemies.

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FALSE SECURITY

OBADIAH 3

“The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, the one who lives in the clefts of the rock, on the height of his dwelling place, who says in his heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?’”

I love to deer hunt here in Tennessee. Methods of hunting deer vary from state to state, but here in Tennessee, people mainly hunt from deer stands on trees or in ground blinds. I like to use the tree stands, specifically my ladder stands. However, when I climb those stands to reach my perch above the ground, I always use my safety harness. I can’t risk feeling safe up there without it.

The Edomites had a false sense of security solely because of where they lived. They had built homes in the hills and had carved a city out of the sandstone. They felt they were indestructible up there, having repelled many invasions. But God is above all and can administer justice from above. As the Lord says here, “Who will bring me down to earth?”  No one.

APPLICATION

Are you “too big for your britches”? Have you developed a false sense of security? God has a way of humbling us. He wants us to know that only He can give us true security and that only in the name of Jesus. He is the only one who makes us secure eternally.

What other kind of security do you want? Financial? That can be gone in a second. Physical? Believe me, that can leave you instantly. Socially? Friends will desert you. Only Jesus can truly make you secure. His blood on Calvary was shed to secure all mankind eternally. All we have to do is turn to Him and confess our sins and proclaim Him as Lord.

I am thankful I have made that decision. Have you? If not, do that today. If you have, who do you know who needs that kind of security? Go to them today and share the most amazing story ever told. They may just respond and join us for eternity.

I know You have me in the palms of Your hands. You hold me safe and secure.

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Accountability, Battles, Bible, Enemies, Hope, Judgment, Opponents, Punishment, Scripture, Suffering

IN HIS CROSSHAIRS

AMOS 1:3

“This is what the LORD says: ‘For three offenses of Damascus, and for four, I will not revoke its punishment, because they threshed Gilead with iron sledges.’”

For you non-hunters reading my blog, the phrase “in His crosshairs” is a hunting term. It means you have your target in your sight. You are focused completely on the target you are aiming at. You may have other targets around, but at the moment, only this target is of importance. You have it right where you want it.

Damascus is the first of many targets the Lord had in His crosshairs. Of course, the audience that is hearing this from Amos is delighted he is talking about Damascus. They were an enemy of Israel. The Lord does judge our enemies in His perfect timing. Because of the way they had treated Gilead, they would be punished.

APPLICATION

Are there people in your life who are “threshing” you? Their treatment of you is harsh and unrelenting. They seem to get joy in seeing you hurt and suffering. Take courage, my brother. Have hope, my sister. The Lord is not blind to this. Remember that everything that touches us as believers has to go through His hands first. He is completely aware of what is happening.

We have to trust that if He is allowing these things in our lives, He is using them to make us more like His Son. He is allowing the “threshing” to knock off the chaff and reveal the pure grain underneath. The chaff has to be removed. It will be blown away revealing the grain underneath. Whatever is happening right now in your life, remember that God is aware.

I want my enemies zapped right now, don’t you? I want to see them pay for what they have done to me. That’s only human. Ah, therein lies the problem. We need to be concerned with the spiritual, not the flesh. As children of God, we trust Him to execute His judgment perfectly in His time. And He will. Trust Him.

As I see the “Damascus” in my life, I want relief. But Lord I trust You to teach me with whatever instrument You choose.

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Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Following, Opponents, Protection, Satan, Scripture, Soldiers

TIME FOR WAR

JOEL 3:9

Proclaim this among the nations:

Prepare for holy war; stir up the warriors!

Have all the soldiers come forward, have them come up!

The United States just ended their longest war in history. We finally withdrew from Afghanistan after twenty years. Many say we should have never gone to war. That can be debated. The fact is we went and were there for twenty long years. In a way, this was also a holy war. We were fighting to protect our nation and our way of living from a group of people who are determined to destroy us. Their religion calls for the termination of all “infidels.”

So, in a way, we can relate to this verse today. Joel is calling for Judah to prepare for battle. A day is coming when they will be fighting a holy war against the nations. Judah, which is part of the nation of Israel today, has been preparing for war since that day. They are still preparing today. Every young person in Israel has to serve a period of time in the military. They are prepared.

APPLICATION

The question I have for us today is: Are we? Are we prepared to fight a holy war? Now, I don’t mean a physical war with physical weapons, even though that may be required one day. I mean, do we have the divine weapons in our arsenal to fight the battles we face every day against Satan? That is a holy war we fight every day, and if we aren’t armed properly, Satan will eat our lunch.

You need to read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 today. It will remind you that you do indeed have the weapons you need to fight the battle. But with any weapon, you first have to pick it up and then you have to know how to wield it. That takes practice. That takes time. I am glad you are reading this devotional blog today, but don’t let this be your quiet time. Let this inspire you to dig deeper in your quiet time.

I write this blog as part of my quiet time each day, but I also try to dig deeper in another passage. I need to know all I can to fight the battle. I spend time every day memorizing and reviewing passages. I want to keep my mind sharp when I need to recall a passage to protect my thoughts. It’s a battle, folks, each and every day. Don’t forget that.

O God, I am so glad You have given me divine weapons to demolish strongholds. I am thankful I can learn Your Word to fight off my enemy.

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Advocate, Bible, Consequences, Enemies, Judgment, Opponents, Punishment, Scripture

THE JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS

JOEL 3:2

“I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.”

Way back in 1985 I visited my sister in Chattanooga. I was living in Dalton at the time. On the way to see her at the hospital where she had just had surgery, I had a car wreck. It wasn’t anything serious, but I got a ticket and had to appear in traffic court. When I went to court, I spent the whole morning listening to dozens of drunk driving cases. When I finally stood before the judge, he hardly looked at me. He started rattling off about how I shouldn’t drink and drive. The officer who was there with me, told him I had not been drinking. Without batting an eye, he pronounced judgment on me.

I am so thankful the Lord does not pronounce judgment on us that way. Here in Joel 3:2, the Lord is pronouncing judgment upon all the nations that had conquered Judea. He used them to judge Judea, but they had gone beyond in their abuse of Judea. They had scattered them. In return, God was going to scatter them. I am sure Judeans were thrilled to hear that their enemies were finally going to be judged.

APPLICATION

We will all be judged one day. Believers will be judged for their works here on earth for the cause of Christ. We see that in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 when it talks about our works being either wood, hay or stubble or gold, silver and precious stones. One group will survive the fires of judgment. The other won’t. For believers, that will be our judgment because our sins have already been paid for through Christ.

However, for everyone else, they will face the Great White Throne judgment talked about in Scripture. That will be a quick judgment. If you haven’t accepted Christ as your Savior, you are judged guilty of your sins and sentenced to an eternity away from God in hell. Many people today don’t believe in hell. Let me tell you something. Your disbelief in hell does not lower the temperature there one degree. It’s real and eternal.

I am so thankful that my “fire insurance policy” is paid for and up to date. I don’t say that flippantly. My relationship with Christ is much more than an escape from hell. But it does include that. It’s kind of like one of those rider policies you have on your homeowner’s insurance. I am bought and paid for. You can be too, if you give your life to Him. Do that today.

Father God, I am so thankful You called me to Yourself. I am thankful my judgment is different than those who don’t believe.

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FIRES IN YOUR LIFE

JOEL 1:19

“To You, LORD, I cry out; for fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame has burned up all the trees of the field.

I’ve never been in a forest fire. I’ve only seen them on the tv. They look horrible, scary and extremely dangerous. The men and women who fight them are courageous. They risk their lives to protect someone else’s property and stop the advancing flames. It really doesn’t matter how they started. They will consume anything in their path.

Joel is crying out to God for relief from the fires that were devouring the pastures and trees. Drought had laid the perfect environment for such fires. Drought was brought on my little rain. Little rain was due to God’s judgment on the nation. Do you see the ripple effect?

APPLICATION

What kind of fires are raging in your life right now? You may not be facing actual flames, but the damage is still horrific. Relationship fires can consume trust and loyalty. Fires that erupt in families can lead to divorce and wayward children. How do you fight these kind of flames? What can extinguish them?

It’s lucky that we know someone. Jesus is the living water, so He can put out those flames. Jesus is the peacemaker, so he can douse the fire that is destroying you and those around you. But you have to allow Him access to you. He can’t extinguish flames that He can’t reach.

I don’t like putting out fires in my life. It takes so much energy and time. It is much easier to live without fire and smoke blinding me all the time. Will you let Jesus extinguish your fires? Fires can burn and maim you, if you let them. Put them out.

Put out the fires in my life, Lord. I want to walk free without the threat of flames.

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WORTHLESS DEFENSES

HOSEA 10:14

An uproar will arise among your people, and all your fortresses will be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were slaughtered with their children.”

If you have read very many of my blogs, you know I love to hunt. The area I hunt here in Tennessee has black bears. Now they aren’t known to be very dangerous, as long as you stay away from a mama bear and her cubs. But I always want to be prepared in case I run into one. I know if a bear really wants to hurt me, he will. I am no match for a bear. My best defenses fall short.

Hosea was reminding Israel of the Assyrian conquest of Beth-arbel. Any defenses they may have mustered on their own couldn’t hold them off. I am reminded, however, of the ONE angel that killed 185,000 Assyrians another time. Our defenses are worthless, but God has the power and resources to conquer all our enemies, if we will trust Him.

APPLICATION

Enemies come from all angles and directions. Satan scouts us out to find our weak spots and will send his demons to target those areas. Men, are you prone to look at pictures you shouldn’t? Be assured Satan will give you lots of opportunities. Ladies, do you gossip too much? Old Satan loves to whisper in your ear the latest juicy news to spread. Only by surrendering to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis will you overcome these temptations. Only God’s defenses are strong enough for victory.

I am just too old to try to fight these battles on my own. I know I need Jesus every day, or I will be whipped. I bet you are the same. Aren’t you tired of battling on your own? Step back and let the Lord fight for you. He will, you know. And when the victory is won, He gets all the glory.

Victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever! Thank You for the victory I have in Your Son, Jesus Christ.

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WILD DONKEYS

HOSEA 8:9

“For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey all alone; Ephraim has paid fees for lovers.”

We have all seen wildlife shows where lions or jackals attack a herd. Have you ever noticed which animal they go after? They attack the young, the weak and the ones who are isolated from the herd. Those animals are easy picking. They lack the protection of the herd.

Hosea compares Israel to a wild donkey that is all alone. They were carried off to Assyria and became a target. Being alone in a foreign land was scary enough but being alone was worse. Assyria carried them there and put them in cities as slaves. They were scattered. They were without their God. They were alone!

APPLICATION

Are you feeling alone? There is no need to feel that way. If you are a believer, you have a family of believers all around you. You need their fellowship and their support. You cannot walk safely on your own. Just like that lone wild donkey, you are a target for the enemy. Satan loves to find a lone believer. His schemes make us easy prey when we are alone.

I belong to a couple of men’s groups that I do life with. They are my allies. They encourage me in my daily walk with Christ and hold me accountable when I fall. They are my brothers. I would not want to even try to live without them. I can tell them anything and know they will hold it confidential.

Having fellow believers around you serves as protection. We can all be on the alert. We can all sound the alarm. When we see a fellow believer all alone, we need to reach out and surround them. They may not know how alone they are and how vulnerable they are. Don’t let them do this alone.

I am so glad I have a family of believers to walk with me, Lord. Help me reach out to those who need others.

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REBUKED

HOSEA 5:2

“And the rebels have gone deep in depravity, but I will discipline all of them.”

There comes a time when wrong doers have to be confronted and put in their place. I worked for over thirty years with children and youth who had been abused and neglected. Some of those children were rebels. They fought against everything we did for them – at least for a while. Their past abuse damaged their ability to receive love and proper affection. We had to discipline them on occasion to point them towards the right path.

God is doing the same here in Hosea. These rebels in Israel had sunk deep in depravity. God said He will discipline all of them. Notice that. He said “all” of them. He couldn’t leave out one rebel. They all had to be disciplined. None would escape. Nothing’s changed! That’s still true today.

APPLICATION

Are you a rebel against the commands of God? Of course, not, Carl. I would never rebel. Really? I ask that question because we are all prone to wander, as the old hymn said. Our flesh wants what it wants when it wants it. We may think our rebellion is too small to be labeled as rebellion. So, how do you know if you’re a rebel?

It’s pretty simple. If you are not following the Lord’s commands that He has laid out in His Word, you are rebelling against Him. Does that sound harsh? It is. You can’t partially follow Him. You can’t have one foot in the world and one foot following Jesus.

Will you join me in confessing our rebellion? We’ve all done it. The good news is He is there ready to forgive our rebellion. He wants to place us where we need to be. He wants us to follow Him. He wants to drive out any spirit of rebellion we may have in our hearts. And through Jesus we can do that.

Father, I confess my rebellion against Your commands. Lead me and direct me each day.

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