Accountability, Accused, Belief, Bible, Cleansing, Commitment, Faith, Forgiveness, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

EVERY KNEE WILL BOW

ZEPHANIAH 2:11

“The LORD will be terrifying to them, for He will starve all the gods of the earth; and all the coastlands of the nations will bow down to Him, everyone from his own place.”

I can still remember when I came to Christ. I was raised in church and even got baptized at eight, but I did not bow to Christ until I was sixteen. While singing a song, Christ spoke to me clearly and showed me my sins. That night I bowed to Him and gave my life to Him. I was proud and egotistical, but I knew I was lost and in need of salvation.

Zephaniah tells us in 2:11 that all “the nations will bow down to Him. The Hebrew word here for “bow down” is shachah which means to bow down, crouch, fall down flat, humbly beseech, do reverence, worship. Do you get the picture? One day, Zephaniah says, they will all worship Him. That holds true today. Everyone will bow one day before the Lord. No exceptions.

APPLICATION

If this prophecy is true (and it is), then we need to be busy spreading the good news. Philippians 2:10-11 says, “10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Sounds a little bit like Zephaniah, doesn’t it?

We all know people who are just like I was at sixteen. They are too proud to admit they need a Savior. They think they can handle things on their own. But it is not about that. It’s about realizing we will all answer for our sins one day. Without Christ in your life, you will not have the right answer. Without Christ there is no escaping God’s wrath.

But praise be to God, with Christ, we have the answer. Our answer to God is “I am Your child. I belong to You because of the blood of Your Son. He paid the price for me.” Is that your answer today? Have you bowed down to Him? Have you seen your sins and realized your need for a Savior? If not, do that today. He is waiting.

I bow before You today, O God. I worship You.

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Accused, Belief, Bible, Consequences, Deliverance, Faith, God's Will, Holiness, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

INSTEAD OF THIS, YOU GET THAT

ZEPHANIAH 2:10

“This they will have in return for their arrogance, because they have taunted and boasted against the people of the LORD of armies.”

The old payback – no one wants that. Right? If you have ever done something to harm someone who has the ability to get you back, you are constantly looking over your shoulder. Siblings are great at that. They will plot until just the right time and then nail you. I’ve known people who waited for years to strike back and get their vengeance.

Of course, God is not getting vengeance on the Moabites and Ammonites. He is simply giving them what they deserve according to His judgment on them. In return for their violence against His people, they will be judged. Instead of blessings, they have incurred His wrath. If they had only yielded to Him. But instead, they rebelled and now are suffering the consequences.

APPLICATION

God is still in the reward business. If we turn to Jesus and confess Him as Lord and Savior, then He rewards us by giving us eternal life. Instead of His wrath, we get blessings. If we do not come to Jesus, we will be judged by a holy God and be found lacking. Nothing we have done or could do will earn us a place in glory.

It’s really pretty simple. I think that is the problem. People don’t believe it’s that easy to get saved. They think they have to do something. All God asks of us is to confess our sins, believe in His Son and surrender to His Will. Who do you know who needs to do that? Can you lead them into a saving knowledge of Jesus today and help them escape the wrath to come?

I could list a number of verses about salvation here, but I would prefer that you look them up. Just do a Google search on salvation verses. You will get dozens and dozens. If you are not a believer, let the Word convict you and lead you to Him. If you are a believer, share these verses with someone who needs them. Praise God for His mercy and grace.

I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You. Oh my soul rejoice.

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Bible, Modeling, Offering, Redemption, Repentance, Sacrifice, Scripture, Testimony, Worship

OUR SACRIFICE TO GOD

ZEPHANIAH 1:7

“Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near, because the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests.”

As a man of God, I am called to sacrifice for my family. There have been many things that I willingly gave up or decided not to do because of my family. Other things required an action to my sacrifice. I had to choose to do something which was sacrificial in nature. Now, hear me clearly. I have almost never wanted to make a sacrifice that cost me something. But each time I did, it was worth it.

In verse 7 of Zephaniah 1 we see the prophet declaring that God is the one who prepares the sacrifice. God had rejected man’s sacrifices of bulls and sheep because they were not given as true sacrifices. They were merely an action the people did out of tradition. There was no true sacrifice from the people. So, now He is preparing the sacrifice. Through judgment He is consecrating His people.

APPLICATION

Romans 12:1 tells us, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Our sacrifice to God is not a bull or sheep. Our sacrifice to God is ourselves. And as with any sacrifice, we must be put on the altar, dead to ourselves.

The altar of God had a point on each corner where the sacrifice could be tied down so it would not slip off the altar as it was burning. I know I need to tie myself down each time I offer myself to Him. I am usually not a willing sacrifice. I go kicking and screaming. But just as the sacrifice that was given correctly and burned on the altar gave a sweet aroma to God, our willing sacrifice of ourselves puts a sweet scent in the air to God.

What part of you have you not sacrificed to God? What are you holding back? He demands it all. A partial sacrifice is not a sacrifice. He demands a complete and whole sacrifice of yourself. Will you offer it to Him today? Will you lay yourself own on the altar of God and allow Him to raise you back up?

I offer myself today, Lord, as a willing, living and holy sacrifice to You.

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Judgment, Lawlessness, Modeling, Redemption, Scripture

NUMB

HABAKKUK 1:4

“Therefore, the Law is ignored, and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out confused.”

I am not a legalist, but I believe in obeying the law. I have to admit that the one law I consistently break is the speed limit laws. I typically drive a little over the speed limit on highways or interstates. I don’t have an excuse for it. I just do it. But what do I do when I see a police car? I immediately tap my brake and slow down. Why? Because I know I am breaking the Law. I have become numb to it.

Habakkuk describes the non-law-abiding attitude of the people this way. The word he uses which is translated as “ignored” is the Hebrew word pug. It literally means to be numb. People had become numb to the Law of God due to their constant sinning. The wicked were influencing all to their way of living and thinking.

APPLICATION

Our world today is no different. The wicked have strongly influenced everyone. Media is constantly pushing their worldview on believers. If we don’t agree with them, we are told we are intolerant and racist. They say we don’t understand that times have changed.

God’s Word has not changed. Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” It is eternal. God is not “woke.” He is just and holy. He will not stand by as we continue to undermine and try to destroy what His Word says. Just like in Habakkuk’s day, judgment will fall for many.

Wow, Carl, that’s kind of harsh. Well, yes! God’s Word is blunt about sin. Yes, we can all receive forgiveness through Jesus. But if anyone does not turn to Him, he will be judged harshly. It is all so avoidable. Just come to Him today. He is ready with open arms.

I am so thankful, Lord, that You sent Your Son to rescue me from the penalty of sin. Help me live an obedient life (even obeying the speed limit).

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Bible, Death, Eternity, Heaven, Hell, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

DEAD BODIES

NAHUM 3:3

“Horsemen charging, swords flashing, spears gleaming, many killed, a mass of corpses, and there is no end to the dead bodies-they stumble over the dead bodies!”

Pretty morbid title, huh? Hey, I’m just following the text. Blame Nahum, lol. I have had the privilege (yes, I said the privilege) to stand beside a lot of families as they ushered their loved ones into the hereafter. I have done my share of funerals. Some are easier than others. Those in which you know the dearly beloved were Christians were easy. Their dead body was just that – a dead body. They were not there.

Nahum continues his description of the vision God had shown him of the certain destruction of Nineveh. His statement “there is no end to the dead bodies-they stumble over the dead bodies” gives a very vivid picture of what was to come. Those who heard this message had to be disturbed.

APPLICATION

So, where will you spend eternity? We will all leave this body behind and will depart somewhere. We will either be with Jesus in heaven or will spend eternity in hell. Even though our bodies will be left behind, our spirits will live forever. The good news is we can determine where that will be.

As I write this blog, I am attending a Men’s Retreat on a mountain near Chattanooga. I witnessed this morning several men give their lives to Christ. Their eternal fate is set. They will live with Jesus. Many of them immediately followed that decision with baptism. They wanted all to know where they were going one day.

Paul tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I look forward to that day. I believe the Lord has much left for me to do for the kingdom, but I am ready for that day. If you ever hear that I have died, don’t mourn my dead body. Rejoice knowing where I am. Will I see you there?

Father, I cannot wait to see Your Glory and spend eternity worshipping You.

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Accountability, Accused, Belief, Bible, Forgiveness, Justice, Love, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Wrath

SHOT ACROSS THE BOW 

NAHUM 1:2 

“A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; the LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies.” 

I love an old warship movie. Watching two goliaths battle it out on the open sea is incredible. Some of the battles the French and English had were historic. They would come up broadside to each other and let the canons roar. One or both ships were probably going down. One may limp away but would be seriously damaged. There were no warning shots across the bow. 

Nahum lets loose with all the canons. God is jealous and avenging. He is avenging and wrathful. He takes vengeance on His enemies. He gives wrath to His enemies. Wow! There was no doubt that Nineveh was in trouble this time. No more Mr. Nice Guy. They had their chance and blew it. 

APPLICATION 

Aren’t you glad our God and Father does not treat us that way? I would be a “dead duck.” No! Our God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. He cares for the wounded and bleeding. He reaches down and brings us up through the healing power of the blood. 

Don’t get me wrong. If you are not a believer, God is wrathful. He will hold you accountable for your sins. But He has given a warning shot across the bow of your life. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for you. He is offering you a way of escape from the wrath to come for all unbelievers. 

I am so thankful God gave me that warning shot. I am thankful He pulled me into His family and made me whole. I am so, so thankful for His Word which guides me daily. I do not have to worry about God’s wrath. I have His peace. Do you? 

Father, I know You demand justice. But Hallelujah! You rescued me that day and gave me a new lease on life. 

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Bible, Confession, Forgetting, Forgiveness, Redemption, Scripture, Seeking

THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA 

MICAH 7:19 

“He will again take pity on us; He will trample on our wrongdoings. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” 

I went fishing recently on lake in Burundi. Well, it wasn’t a serious fishing trip. There were five Burindians and me on a boat with one makeshift pole. (There has to be a joke there) This lake is deep, very deep. We didn’t have the right equipment to fish that deep. We could not catch the fish we wanted. We could not retrieve the fish. 

Micah reminds us today that God forgives our sins (He will trample on our wrongdoings). And then He “cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” You have got to get the picture here. God completely gets rid of our sins. It is us who remember them. We need to trust His actions. 

APPLICATION 

Why do we keep bringing up our past sins? Why do we do the same to others? If we truly repent of our sins, God is faithful to forgive us. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

Do you believe that? Then stop bringing up the past. If you have turned away from the way of the flesh to the way of the Spirit, God will remove those sins. Now, you know if you are a believer, all your sins, past, present and future, are under the blood of Christ. We still need to confess those sins and allow the Lord to remove them. 

I am so thankful that Jesus has set me free from the bondage of sin. I strive daily to live to honor Him. But I am flesh and blood and can slip and sin. I am so thankful to know that I can come to my Lord and receive forgiveness. So can you. Confess those sins today and walk in freedom. 

I don’t know how deep that sea is, but I am sure it is too deep to retrieve those sins. Thank You, Lord. 

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Choices, Disciplemaking, Forgiveness, Fruit, Obedience, Redemption, Scripture

THE FRUIT WE BEAR 

MICAH 7:13 

“And the earth will become a wasteland because of her inhabitants, on account of the fruit of their deeds.” 

I am almost sixty-two years old, and I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. Fortunately, most of them were small and did no harm. Others, however, have left lasting impressions on me and others. I am forgiven and loved by my Savior, but I know that not all the fruit that I have put forth has been good. 

Micah switches from a positive thought in verse 12 to a rather negative one here in verse 13. The fruit of their deeds, their sins against God will cause their land to be a wasteland, to be desolate. In fact, to this day, because of their rejection of Christ, the land of Israel is spiritually desolate, without hope as a nation. 

APPLICATION 

What fruit are you bearing? Well Carl, I think I am doing pretty well. I think my fruit tastes good. Would you make jam with it? Are the deeds you perform for the sake of Christ done out of love for Him or simply out of “duty”? What is your motivation for service? These are questions we should all ask ourselves daily. We should strive to produce only the fruit that gives the glory to God. 

I am reminded of John 15, the chapter that talks about the vine and the branch and the fruit. Verse 8 says, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” All glory must go to Him, not us. Any applause we receive for a deed well done must be redirected to Him. 

When I travel and speak, preach or teach others, I often am thanked and told how much they appreciate it. I feel almost embarrassed because that is not my motivation. My motive is to give Him glory. I want to point others to Jesus, to whom all praise is due. Amen? As you do for Him, point to Him. 

I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You. O my soul rejoice. 

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Advocate, Battles, Bible, Covenant, Judgment, Protection, Redemption, Restoration, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

OUR DEFENDER 

MICAH 7:10 

“Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, ‘Where is the LORD your God?’ My eyes will look at her; at that time she will be trampled down like mud of the streets.” 

I like most of the Marvel movies that have come out. They fight against evil forces to save others. Almost always, they seem to be defeated, only to turn the tide on their enemy and come out on top. Those whom they are saving just know their fate is doomed until their hero swoops in to save them. 

God did redeem Israel. Micah prophesied as such. He knew his God would not forsake them. Sure, the nation deserved judgment. They had sinned against Him. But the very ones who were mocking them “Where is the LORD your God” would be judged themselves by a righteous and holy God. 

APPLICATION 

We were defeated by sin. We had no way of escape. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). But God…He sent His only begotten Son into the world to rescue us. Much like the Marvel heroes (but with real supernatural power), Jesus saved us. His method, however, seemed strange. 

Jesus did not descend with a myriad of angels to destroy Satan and his demons. That will come later. Jesus came as a baby to die for us. That made no sense, but often God’s methods do not to us. His plan, which was laid out from the very beginning, was perfect.  

Aren’t you glad God did things the way He did? His ways are always better than our ways. His methodologies, which at times confuse us, never confuse Him. He knows exactly what He is doing. He turned the tide with our enemy then, and He does now.  

O, praise You Lord, for saving my soul. I thank You for redeeming me from the pit and crowning me with love and compassion. 

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Bible, Destruction, Redemption, Restoration, Scripture, Trials

DEMOLITION

MICAH 5:11

“‘I will also eliminate the cities of your land and tear down all your fortifications.’”

Some years ago, in a town where I lived, there was a restaurant that had a rat problem. They trapped them, fumigated them and tried every conceivable method to get rid of those rats. Nothing worked. They eventually had to tear down the restaurant, find the underground nest and exterminate them. Then they rebuilt the restaurant which is still standing today.

God says here in verse 11 of Micah 5 that He is going to tear down the cities and their walls. You need to understand something about this. Cities and walls represented a place of evil and rebellion. That is where the idolatry ran rampant. God had already told the people that Jerusalem would be destroyed. Sometimes God has to tear down in order to build back up.

APPLICATION 

Let me ask you something. What areas in your life need demolition? Is there a part of your daily living that must be completely torn down so you can grow in Christ? I will not name anything here. You know what you must give up. Those walls and structures in my life have changed over the years. Now, I battle the issues of time and energy.

We all have stuff in our lives that need to be tossed out. When we moved to our current home back in 2014, we threw away or gave away about three pickup trucks full of stuff we had collected over the years. It was time to discard, to downsize, to purge. Why had we held on to these things so long?

When we allow the Lord to destroy all those things that keep us back from being fully immersed in Christ, He can build something beautiful. We cannot see that until we do the demolition. Take a moment today to look at your life. What do you have in it right now that is coming between you and your growth in the Lord? Will you lay it down?

Lord, bring in Your bulldozer and level anything in my life that is in the way of Your perfect architecture.

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