Abiding, Bible, Covenant, Persecution, Scripture, Storms, Trust

BENEATH GOD’S FEET 

NAHUM 1:3 

“The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In the gale and the storm is His way, and clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” 

Walking around in Africa during the dry season can get your shoes awfully dusty. The simplest, smallest step stirs up whirlwinds of dust that cover your shoes. You can wipe them off, but the next step produces the same dust cloud. I usually wait until the end of the day and then clean them for the next day. 

Notice, Nahum did not say God’s feet got dusty. He said the dust is beneath His feet. There is not a part of God that could be called dirty or dusty. But God will stir up gales and storms here on earth to display His power and anger to those who come against Him. Nahum is warning them – a storm is coming. 

APPLICATION 

Now, today’s verse may be a challenge for us. What can we take from this verse and apply to our lives? Is there something in this verse that strikes you? For me, it is the last phrase – “clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” That comforts me. Why? Because no matter how fierce the storm, God is above it. 

Everything that is over our heads is under His feet. It does not matter what it is. He is above it. Financial crisis – He is above it. Health concerns – He is above it. Persecution – He is above it. There is not one, solitary thing in your life that God cannot handle. He is above all things. 

I am thankful the Lord is walking on the clouds of dust. I wish I had that capability. But wait! I do! I am in Christ, and He is in me. If He is above it, I am above it. He carries me in His bosom and leads me through these hard times. How incredible is that? 

Cloud Walker, show me Your power in the storms. Hold my hand and see me through. 

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Abiding, Bible, Darkness, Devil, Evil, Persecution, Satan, Scripture, Victors

VICTORY THROUGH PERSECUTION

MICAH 5:6

“They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod at its entrances; and He will rescue us from the Assyrian when he invades our land, and when he tramples our territory.”

The persecuted church is a real thing. We do not see it much here in the U.S., but it is happening all over the world. Satan thinks he can destroy us. He thinks he can defeat the church and thereby destroy Christ. It is not possible. We have seen time and time again how the church has risen up in the midst of persecution.

Micah says here in today’s verse that although the nations are coming against them, their Chief Shepherd will arise and defeat them. “The land of Nimrod” refers to Babylon, which succeeded Assyria in its persecution of Israel and Judah. But God took the fight to them and defeated them. He will do the same for us.

APPLICATION

The battle belongs to the Lord. We have no power to defeat darkness. It can overwhelm any of us. But thanks be to God, He can defeat the darkest dark. His light can pierce through and enlighten those deep crevices where evil lurks. Our part in the fight is to cling to Him.

Clinging is hard, though. We want to venture out and sling our sword at anything that moves. We are just like the foot soldier. We must wait for our orders. Only then may we go out, in His power, to attack and defend the faith. It is His battle, and we are His vessels.

When I finally realized that the battle, much less the war, was not mine to fight, I was able to rest. It is not up to me. God’s got this! He knows exactly how to defeat the evil one. He will equip us and prepare us, but we must not try to do this on our own. Will you rest in Him today?

Lord, thank You for fighting for me. I will rest in Your capable hands.

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Abiding, Accountability, Devil, Enemies, Exile, Following, God's Will, Judgment, Persecution, Rescue

INTO EXILE

AMOS 5:27

“‘Therefore I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus,’ says the LORD, whose name is the God of armies.”

What does it mean to go into exile? Well, it means to leave your homeland and be carried somewhere else. All through history we have seen that happen when one nation conquered another. This usually followed a war. It was humiliating and disgraceful.

The Israelites were facing this. Their continued disobedience had forced God’s hand. He was through with them (for now). They had to face their judgment. Stripped, beaten and shamed, they were led away to a foreign land by a foreign power.

APPLICATION

You are probably thankful right now that hasn’t happened to you. We have human rights commissions now that try to make sure that isn’t done anymore. But there is more than one kind of exile. You could be in an exiled status due to other things besides war.

We may even choose to exile ourselves. We choose to hide away from others. This is not God’s plan for us. He made us to be part of community. We need others in our lives. The devil loves to get us alone so he can tear us down. Don’t fall for it.

Today I choose to walk with my Savior. I want to stay close to Him. I don’t want to experience exile. I need Him in my life every second of every day. Wherever I go, He is there. As long as I rest in that, there is no exile. Wherever I live, I am in His presence.

Thank You, Lord, for not exiling me. I long to be in Your presence.

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Accountability, Affliction, Bible, Brokenness, Compassion, Condemnation, Courage, Destruction, Encouragement, Judgment, Persecution, Punishment

TOTAL DEVASTATION

JOEL 1:7

“It has made my vine a waste and my fig tree a stump. It has stripped them bare and hurled them away; their branches have become white.”

Have you ever witnessed total devastation? I’ve seen it a couple of times, both times after severe storms. Most recently I witnessed it in my hometown when we were struck by a tornado. Neighborhoods that had been tree-lined and ornate were left in shambles. Most of the trees were gone or snapped in half. Houses were torn apart and, in some cases, just plain missing. It hurt to see it.

Judah experienced the same thing. In the case of the locusts, they wiped out everything. Even the bark on the trees was eaten. And when the nations came in as part of God’s judgment, they crushed and destroyed buildings and homes, leaving nothing of any value behind.

APPLICATION

If you have ever suffered loss like is described above, you can relate. Whether it is physical loss, like a house, or loss of health from an illness, it is hard to get over it. Do you think the Lord allows losses to punish us or teach us? Actually, every loss we encounter as a believer has gone through the hands of God first. He measures and makes sure it is what we can handle. He would never put more on you than you can handle.

But why do we even have to deal with this? Because He is teaching us to depend on Him. We could lose everything we have, but we still have our Savior. Physical things come and go. Prized possessions will eventually rust or rot away. Our faith only gets stronger. Our faith only grows.

So, as you watch things around you fall apart, remember who it is who holds you close. I can rest in His unshakeable arms. He will sustain and strengthen me. He will protect me and love me. What else could you ask for? He’s got this!

I am so thankful, Lord, to know You have me in Your grip. I am safe and secure.

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Affliction, Battles, Bible, Courage, Destruction, Encouragement, God's Will, Harvest, Judgment, Modeling, Persecution, Scripture, Trouble

LOTS OF BUGS

JOEL 1:4

“What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten; and what the swarming locust has left, the creeping locust has eaten; and what the creeping locust has left, the stripping locust has eaten.”

I was hunting a couple of years ago during the very beginning of the deer season. It was still a little warm outside, so the mosquitos were still around. I got into my blind and got situated. I had applied repellent on my body. I even had a Therma cell unit working which is supposed to get rid of them. But that day nothing scared off those little pests. I eventually had to leave because of them.

Locusts aren’t mosquitos, but they are just as relenting. Joel recalls a severe locust infestation. Four different kinds are mentioned – gnawing, swarming, creeping and stripping. In other words, they left nothing. This would have been devastating for the economy which centered around the wheat and barley harvest. They couldn’t run out to the local supermarket and buy groceries.

APPLICATION

We face seasons like this in our lives. It may not be locusts, but jobs losses or medical issues can wipe us out. It’s strange to me that people who trust God with their eternity can’t trust Him with their paychecks. I used to be one of them. I fretted about everything. I usually didn’t tell anyone. I kept it all inside which is not good.

Are you fretting over something right now? Let God have it. He is big enough to handle anything you are facing. It’s been said that anything over our heads is under His feet. I like that. God stands above and beyond any trouble we encounter. Will you trust Him with your crops today?

Locusts don’t scare me because I don’t live in an area where they are an issue. I have to battle taking back from the Lord what I have laid at His feet. Will you pray with me today that we won’t do that? Once He has it, let Him have it. There is too much work to do for the kingdom to let locusts bother us.

Thank You, Father, for delivering me from the fear and dread of locusts in my life. Help me persevere through any troubles that may come my way.

LOTS OF BUGS

JOEL 1:4

“What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten; and what the swarming locust has left, the creeping locust has eaten; and what the creeping locust has left, the stripping locust has eaten.”

I was hunting a couple of years ago during the very beginning of the deer season. It was still a little warm outside, so the mosquitos were still around. I got into my blind and got situated. I had applied repellent on my body. I even had a Therma cell unit working which is supposed to get rid of them. But that day nothing scared off those little pests. I eventually had to leave because of them.

Locusts aren’t mosquitos, but they are just as relenting. Joel recalls a severe locust infestation. Four different kinds are mentioned – gnawing, swarming, creeping and stripping. In other words, they left nothing. This would have been devastating for the economy which centered around the wheat and barley harvest. They couldn’t run out to the local supermarket and buy groceries.

APPLICATION

We face seasons like this in our lives. It may not be locusts, but jobs losses or medical issues can wipe us out. It’s strange to me that people who trust God with their eternity can’t trust Him with their paychecks. I used to be one of them. I fretted about everything. I usually didn’t tell anyone. I kept it all inside which is not good.

Are you fretting over something right now? Let God have it. He is big enough to handle anything you are facing. It’s been said that anything over our heads is under His feet. I like that. God stands above and beyond any trouble we encounter. Will you trust Him with your crops today?

Locusts don’t scare me because I don’t live in an area where they are an issue. I have to battle taking back from the Lord what I have laid at His feet. Will you pray with me today that we won’t do that? Once He has it, let Him have it. There is too much work to do for the kingdom to let locusts bother us.

Thank You, Father, for delivering me from the fear and dread of locusts in my life. Help me persevere through any troubles that may come my way.

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Accountability, Affliction, Bible, Blasphemy, Condemnation, Deception, Following, Forgiveness, Idols, Judgment, Obedience, Persecution, Punishment, Scripture

CARRIED BY THE WIND

HOSEA 4:19

“The wind wraps them in its wings, and they will be put to shame because of their sacrifices.”

The wind truly is amazing. We can’t see the wind, but we can see its effect. Gentle breezes over a lake are so peaceful, but you don’t want to be on that same lake if the winds get violent. I have had the displeasure of living through several hurricanes and tornadoes. No fun! Wind can be good, but it can also do a lot of damage.

Just ask the Israelites. They are being carried off to exile as if by an invisible wind. The nefarious forces that have swooped in like the wind are going to carry them away because of their disobedience and lack of faithfulness to our God. They never saw it coming before it was too late. Just like a tornado appears out of seemingly nowhere, they are wrapped up in the winds of exile.

APPLICATION

We may not have to worry about exile (notice I said “may not”), but we certainly have to be concerned about not being loyal to our heavenly Father. The same God who judged Israel and Judah judges us today. As a believer in Christ, your sins have already been judged. But don’t think that gives you the freedom to live as you want. We have commands to obey.

So, is God this ruthless, uncaring God who only wants to be obeyed? Of course, not. He loves us and wants us to want to obey Him. He won’t force us into submission. He desires that we willingly follow Him. That’s the way He operates.

But He still holds us accountable for following or not following His law. While we are under grace through Jesus, there are still expectations for holy living which the Lord places on us. He has given us these guidelines to follow to draw us closer to Him. Will you follow them today?

O God, I know You expect certain behaviors from me. Forgive me when I fall short. I do desire to follow You.

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Advocate, Anxiety, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Devil, Encouragement, Fighting, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Satan, Scripture, Surrender

GUARD YOURSELF

1 JOHN 3:7

“Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;”

When I was in Jr. High and High school, I played football (American football). I always loved the game. But there was one drill I didn’t care too much for. It was called “Bull in the Woods.” Let me explain it. One person would be put in the center of a ring of other players who were numbered off. The coach would then call a number and the player with that number would run toward the guy in the center and hit him. So, your job in the middle was turn and face that player and take on the hit.

The problem began when the coach would call multiple numbers, especially if they were from opposite sides of the circle. It became impossible to face every attack. They would eventually wear you down. That’s exactly what Satan does. He keeps coming at you from all directions. John is saying in today’s verse to be watchful for those attacks. Remember Jesus has your back.

APPLICATION

You can play this out with your kids. Try this twist on it. Get some pool noodles or something soft and get around one of your children. Blindfold them so they can’t see you. Give them a pool noodle to defend themselves and give everyone else one as well.  Then let the fun begin. Now, keep it safe. No head shots and no jabbing with the noodle. If someone starts hitting too hard, stop the game.

Explain to them after everyone has had a turn how Satan does the same to us. Unless we keep our eyes on Jesus and our minds focused on His Word, we are just as defenseless as they were in the game. Ask them how it felt not seeing where the next “strike” might come from. It can be scary. But praise be to God, we have no reason to fear. Jesus is the one who guards and protects us. We just have to surrender.

Are you tired of swinging your pool noodle at an invisible foe? Stop swinging and start living under Jesus. Let Him be the one who defends you. He is more than capable. We think we can handle it, but we can’t. Satan is too crafty. He can outfox any of us by ourself. But he is no match for Jesus.

Lord, I trust You in my battles. I will stand with You and trust You to defend me.

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Antichrist, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Christ's Return, Courage, Darkness, Encouragement, Fear, Inspirational, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture

THE LAST HOUR

1 JOHN 2:18

“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”

Picture yourself at a ball game. Your team is behind and the clock is ticking. You have the ball and are driving towards the end zone (yes, this is a football analogy, lol). Just before the clock hits zero the ball is snapped to the quarterback who makes an incredible pass into the end zone for a game winning catch to his receiver. You cheer and yell. Your team has won.

We should be doing that very thing regarding the antichrist. We don’t know when he will appear, but it is no matter. We have already won. There is no way we can lose. We’ve already seen the end of the war. Jesus is victorious and there is nothing that the antichrist can do about it.

APPLICATION

Do or did your children play soccer or another sport? Ask them how hard they would have played a game if they knew they were going to win. Some kids may say they would slack off, but I bet most of them would say they would play even harder because they would know the outcome. The game would be much more fun because they already knew they would win.

Explain to them that’s how we should live our lives in Christ. There is no reason to worry about what the enemy does because there is no way he can defeat us. We have the trump card – Jesus. And the best thing about this is our enemy knows he can’t win. That means we are victorious. We just have to keep playing the game. We can’t stop in the middle of the game.

Don’t read today’s verse and start worrying about the antichrist. In fact, be excited about it. Why? Because that just means the Lord’s return is near. Isn’t that great? Keep living daily as if it could be the day of His return. Don’t cower in a corner.

Lord, I welcome Your return. I will not fear the arrival of the antichrist because I know he is toothless.

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Accountability, Advice, Advocate, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Persecution, Scripture

CLOSE CALL

1 JOHN 2:1

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;”

A couple of years ago I was leaving Chattanooga to travel to Nashville for day conference with two other staff members. On the way out of town we were almost smashed by a semi-truck and trailer that hydroplaned right next to us on a curve. I can still give you every detail of that close encounter. Our vehicle was actually trapped in the bend between the semi-tractor and trailer until the tractor smashed into the guard rail and bounced back. That was an extremely close call.

Why do I tell that story? Well, there’s a word in this verse today that actually means close call. It’s the word “advocate.” It is the Greek word parakletos which is made of two Greek words, para (close) and kaleo (call). It can mean a legal advocate qualified to make the judgment because they are close to the situation. That’s Jesus. He is close to our situation, just like He was close to me in my close encounter on the road.

APPLICATION

Who is your child’s best advocate besides Jesus? You are, of course. Well, what does that mean? It doesn’t mean you defend your child’s reckless behavior just because they are your child. It doesn’t mean you attack anyone who comes against your child. No, it means you are close enough to the situation to know what is right and what is wrong. A good lawyer would never go against the law to defend his or her client. No, they use what they know is right to do that.

One of our roles as parents is to be our child’s biggest cheerleaders. We want then to excel in all they do. We should heap tons of praise on them. But we should also call them close and give them the advice needed. Jesus is our advocate, but He won’t excuse our bad behavior anymore than you can with your children.

Aren’t you grateful for our advocate? Go to Him today. He is close. He knows your situation. He can give you the best guidance. Trust it.

I am thankful to have You in my corner. I know You always have my best in mind, no matter the situation.

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Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Deception, Destruction, Devil, Following, Freedom, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

TRUE ESCAPE

2 PETER 2:20

“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.”

We’ve all seen the suspense movie where the characters are being chased and finally escape. We all breathe a sigh of relief and then out of nowhere the villain reappears and catches them. They were so close. They had broken free. If only they had kept moving. We see it so clearly when it’s someone else, don’t we?

Peter is talking about that very thing here. People throw off the worldly lusts and desires and for a short time they live right. Now, this verse is NOT saying they are believers who have backslidden. A knowledge of Christ is not the same as knowing Christ as your Savior. Without that saving knowledge, what do they do? They return to the world, much like a meth addict quickly returns to the meth.

APPLICATION

How do you make application of this for yourself or your children? Have you and your children ever caught butterflies in a net? How do you catch them? Do you snatch them out the air or while they are on the flower? It is much easier to catch them while they are enjoying the flower nectar. Once they are entangled in the net, they can’t escape.

Explain to your kids that sin works the same way. The devil attracts us with stuff our flesh craves. Once we taste it, we keep going back for more. Before you know it, we are trapped. The more we go back, they more we are hooked. There is only one way out – Jesus.

Do you find yourself looking for an escape? He’s right in front of you. He’s waiting for you to stop struggling and allow Him to guide you to freedom. Let Him take your hand. Let Him take you in His arms. There is an escape. There is peace.

Oh Lord, I long for freedom from the desires of my flesh. Cleanse my thoughts today. Purify my mind so I can follow you.

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