Bible, Favor, God's Will, Goodness, Praise, Promises, Relationships, Reward, Salvation, Scripture, Truth

TRUTH AND FAVOR 

MICAH 7:20 

“You will give truth to Jacob and favor to Abraham, which You swore to our forefathers from the days of old.” 

I like receiving gifts. Don’t you? I mean, come on, who doesn’t? But I really like receiving gifts that include things I need. I am at the age now that I really do not want many things. So, I am hard to buy for. When my family gets me a gift, it is usually something I have specifically told them I could use. 

Look at these two gifts that God gives Jacob and Abraham. The Hebrew word for “truth” can mean steadfastness, faithfulness and truth. The word contains so much more than what we consider truth. Then He gives favor. That Hebrew word is key to God’s covenant relationship with Abraham and the whole nation of Israel. It can also be translated as loving-kindness. 

APPLICATION

Oh, to have God’s truth and favor. Wait a second! I do! When we come to Christ, we receive both of these to their fullest extent. God’s truth is found for us in His word. God’s favor is celebrated through our covenant relationship with Him through Jesus. We receive the same gifts as Jacob and Abraham. 

Now, listen carefully. Both of these gifts are given for a purpose. God does not give us gifts to hoard and keep to ourselves. Oh no. These gifts are given to share. We share God’s truth with people everywhere. We introduce others to the covenant relationship we have in Christ. 

I am not worthy of these gifts from God. Neither are you. But God gives liberally to His children. The very moment you ask Christ into your heart, these gifts arrive. Hallelujah! Who can help but praise Him for these beautiful gifts. 

Thank You, Father, for giving me truth and favor, just like Jacob and Abraham. 

(This is my last blog on Micah. I will start the book of Nahum tomorrow.)  

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Bible, Covenant, Forgiveness, Mercy, Relationships, Restoration, Scripture

DELIGHTING IN MERCY 

MICAH 7:18 

“Who is a God like You, who pardons wrongdoing and passes over a rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.” 

Do you remember the childhood game “Mercy”? Two people would stand facing each other and lace their fingers on both hands together, palm to palm. Then one would try to bend the other’s hands back and cause them to cry “Mercy!” Only then would the one who was winning would let go. 

God does not dispense mercy that way. Micah tells us that He delights in mercy. That word “delight” literally means “to be pleased with.” It pleases God’s heart to show mercy to us. He is not trying to catch us doing bad stuff so He can zap us. Micah says He pardons wrongdoings and passes over rebellious acts. What an awesome God we serve. 

APPLICATION 

Are you crying out for mercy? Mercy is given to us by God to enable us to deal with the stuff we are going through. His mercy, in effect, soothes the suffering soul. If you are desirous of God’s mercy today, cry out to Him. He wants to show you mercy. 

Most of us blame God for our predicaments. We do dumb things that we know are not pleasing to God, and then we cry out for deliverance. Let me say that God forgives all sins (except the sin of refusing the Spirit), but often there are consequences for those sins. 

My God delights in showing mercy. That is good to know. His compassions never fail. They are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). I cannot use up God’s mercy. He does not tire of showing mercy to His children. Come to Him today and receive His tender mercy in your life. 

Your mercy is new in my life every day. I thank You, Lord, for being such a merciful God.  

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Bible, Darkness, Light, Relationships, Scripture

MY LIGHT 

MICAH 7:8 

“Do not rejoice over me, enemy of mine. Though I fall I will rise; though I live in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.” 

I was traveling recently and put my cap light in one of the pouches in my backpack. I did not know it, but the button got pressed and my light was beaming through the side of my backpack. This Is a rechargeable light, and the red blinking light indicated it was about to go out. 

Micah knows that whatever may come his way, “the LORD is a light” to him. I love the imagery Micah uses. Though he may fall, he will rise. Though he may have to live in darkness, God is his light. That kind of mindset is rare. Most folks just see the darkness. 

APPLICATION 

Where are you doing today? Are you living in darkness with seemingly no hope? God is your light. He can shine on the path you need to take. Have you fallen down and do not seem to be able to get up? God can lift you. There is no hole too deep for God. There is darkness which His light cannot penetrate. 

And because He does those things, we should shine our light. If you are a believer, you have a light. The brightness of that light is not up to you. It is God’s light. But we can sure try to dull it, can’t we? 

The Lord has brought me through some dark times. I have never needed to check His batteries. His light always shines. It is never dull or in need of replacement. His light is always available through the Spirit that reigns in us. 

Lord, I do not deserve Your light. Shine on me. 

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Accountability, Affection, Bible, Family, Forgiveness, Relationships, Scripture

ENEMIES WITHIN 

MICAH 7:6 

“For son disavows father, daughter rises up against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a person’s enemies are the people of his own household.” 

This is a rough verse. Family squabbles are hard on everyone. The divorce rate is just as high for Christian couples as they are for unbelievers. That’s shocking. We have the answer. Sibling rivalries rise when going through a will. In-laws are challenging at times. 

It’s as if Micah looked into the 21st century and read our headlines. Solomon said it best when he said there was nothing new under the sun. Families fought back then, and they fight now. These were dog-eat-dog days for the people back then, and families were no exception. Everyone looked out for themselves. 

APPLICATION 

So, how do we apply this verse to our lives for today? We stop the fights within! When something starts up, we go to our knees together. It is really hard to fight with someone on your knees. Prayer does change things, but we have to let it. 

Let me ask you a tough question. Does Micah 7:6 fit your family? If it does, make it right. Go to the person you are at odds with and pray. Seek forgiveness and reconciliation. I know that takes two but do your part. That’s all the Lord can ask. 

My dad and his sister did not talk for years because of a financial squabble. She was the only sister he had, but he would not even mention her name. They finally settled the problem in their later years, but it was never the same. Don’t waste time with your family over temporal issues. Make it right today. 

Father, forgive me for anything I may have done to cause a schism in my family. 

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Hearing, Listening, Relationships, Sanctification, Scripture

ANSWER ME

MICAH 6:3

“My people, what have I done to you, and how have I wearied you? Answer Me.

I have mentioned before that I spent over three decades working with children and youth in the Child Welfare system. Give me a kid that is vocal and shouting rather than one that will not talk. Even when caught in the act of disobeying, these children will most often not respond to questions. Passive-aggressive is one term used for them.

The people God had chosen to love were acting that way. They had been caught in their sins, and now they were refusing to confess them and talk to their God. Unlike me, God is extremely patient. Psalm 103:8 say He is compassionate and gracious. He just wants to hear from them.

APPLICATION

Do you hear the Lord speaking to you? If you are a believer, the Holy Spirit who indwells you speaks for the Father. He is drawing you towards Him. He is speaking. Will you not talk back? Carl, that is plain crazy. I am not going to talk out loud to Him. Why not? He is as real as you and I.

I love to pray out loud. It helps me clarify what I am saying. It reduces distractions for me. And when I talk to the Lord, guess what? He almost always talks back. Not in an audible voice, but in my spirit. You may ask, How do you know that is the Lord? Because the words line up with His Word.

Now, there have been times when I did not want to answer God when He talked to me. In those times I was not living as I should. I was rationalizing my sins. I was simply resting in my salvation but not living to be sanctified. There is a big difference. Oh, how wonderful to hear His voice. The next time you hear it, answer Him.

Speak Lord, and I will answer. I love to carry on conversations with You.

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Abiding, Advocate, Belief, Bible, Blessing, Covenant, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Power, Relationships, Scripture

NOT BY MY MIGHT

MICAH 5:13

“‘I will eliminate your carved images and your memorial stones from among you, so that you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands.’”

I loved my dad. He could fix just about anything. I learned so much from him about that kind of stuff. I watched and learned. He involved my brother and I in the projects so we could learn to do it ourselves one day. But when he started having some heart issues and was struggling with my mom’s health, he came to the end of his rope and finally admitted to God that he “could not fix this.” Then he gave his heart to Christ at 80 years old.

God is saying in verse 13 that there was nothing they had created by the works of their hands that could save them. Those carved images of wood and stone would not do anything to help them. Those memorial stones they had set up meant nothing. Only their faith and belief in Him mattered. They had to return to Him.

APPLICATION

Well, this application is pretty much in your face, right? What are you trying to prove to God by continuing to try to do it all on your own? I know people who have said, “I do not need your God. I am fine on my own.” That may sound noble, but it is really foolish. Self-reliance leads to self-destruction.

Zechariah 4:6 says, “Then he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of armies.’” That is the key right there. It is only by the leading of the Holy Spirit that we can accomplish anything. Isaiah said something similar in 26:12. “…all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” It has never been about what we can do for God. It is only about what He can do in and through us.

I am thankful that God broke me of my self-reliance years ago. Going through two stem cell transplants will cause you to rely on others and especially Him. I could do nothing. I was weak physically, spiritually and emotionally during those times. But He showed me His strength. Do you know that today?

O Father of heaven and earth, You care enough for me to invest Your time and Spirit in me. You have made me Your own.

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Abuse, Accused, Bible, Blameless, Devil, Encouragement, Eternity, Evil, Humility, Mockery, Relationships, Satan, Scripture

MOCKING

MICAH 2:4

“‘On that day they will take up against you a song of mocking and utter a song of mourning and say, “We are completely destroyed! He exchanges the share of my people; how He removes it from me! To the apostate He apportions our fields.”’”

Being mocked is not fun, is it? Remember as a child someone repeating every word you said. Little brothers and little sisters were really bad about that. “Leave me alone” and the echo would come back, “Leave me alone.” “Mom, tell her to leave me alone.” Again, “Mom, tell her to leave me alone.”

Today’s verse shows that happening to God’s people by the pagan enemies who would defeat them. They would actually mock their mourning and cries out to God. Defeated and demoralized. Defeated and publicly humiliated. How low could they go. Pretty low it seemed.

APPLICATION

Has this happened to you? Have your enemies mocked you? Probably not, but it could happen. So, what is worse than that? I will tell you. Standing before a holy God and answering not for your sins. If our sins aren’t under the blood, if we are saved by the blood of the Lamb, we will not only be humiliated, but we will also be eternally separated from God.

You cannot get much lower than that. Listen to me, if you are a believer today, Satan will mock you when you are down. He will whisper those accusations against you. Remember that your sins were paid for at Calvary. That does not give you a free reign to sin. Not in the least. But it does give you the answer to Satan’s mocking.

We can literally tell Satan to flee. James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” It does not get much better than that. You have the power through the Holy Spirit to put Satan in his place – hell. That is not where you belong and that is not where you are going. You have an eternal home guaranteed for you in heaven. Doesn’t that excite you today?

Father, it does not matter what the devil says. I know I am yours and forever will be.

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Attention, Boasting, Commands, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony

REVEALED

JONAH 1:9

“So he said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.’”

I met with a young man recently for the first time. We had only briefly met earlier at a local restaurant, so I did not know anything about him. When we met, I asked him to share his background with me. Why? So, I could get to know him a little better. I needed to understand where he had come from.

After lots were cast and Jonah had been questioned by the sailors as to who he was, Jonah finally begins to reveal himself to them. He said, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and dry land.” In other words, Jonah was saying he knew who was behind this storm. That was not welcomed news.

APPLICATION

Have you been revealed? Do others know anything about you. After my new friend shared his background with me recently, I felt like I knew him better. I understood where he was coming from. With that information, I could help direct him in the right direction, perhaps.

Revealing ourselves is difficult. It is especially dangerous when we aren’t sure how we will be affected. We open ourselves up to ridicule and shame. But we have to remember that Jesus revealed Himself even though He knew what the result would be. No one has ever revealed themselves as clearly as Christ.

I am pretty picky as to whom I reveal myself. Trust is not something I give away easily. It has to be earned. That can be earned quickly, as with this new friend I just made. Or it may take some time. But revealing myself is something I must do. That draws others to Jesus. Would you reveal yourself to someone today and share how the Lord has led you?

I am forever grateful, Lord, for You revealing Yourself to me. Help me to do the same for others.

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Bible, Boasting, Commands, Compassion, Consequences, Enemies, Envy, Loyalty, Mercy, Protection, Rejoicing, Relationships, Scripture

NO GLOATING

OBADIAH 12

“Do not gloat over your brother’s day, the day of his misfortune. And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah on the day of their destruction; yes, do not boast on the day of their distress.”

I haven’t mentioned that my alma mater, the University of Georgia, won the National Collegiate Football Championship. The only thing better than that is seeing my school’s archrival, the University of Florida, lose. Lol. When they lose and my team wins, I can gloat just a bit. Sorry Gator fans.

God warned Edom to stop their gloating over Judah’s demise. They were actually celebrating the fact that Judah was being defeated by their enemies. They didn’t come to their defense. They were cheering on the nations who were carrying their brothers into exile. That’s kind of messed up.

APPLICATION

Whose demise are you rejoicing over? We still do this today. We watch people we don’t like have troubles, and we inwardly rejoice. What?! Yes! Even believers do this. That’s right. Believers rejoice when others suffer. You don’t believe me? Just listen to the conversations around you.

We have to stop doing that. We have no right to watch someone else suffer, friend or foe, and rejoice. Don’t get me wrong. I believe enemies of the cross should be confronted. If they don’t repent, they will suffer. But I don’t believe the Lord wants to see that. He desires that all be saved. He doesn’t want to see anyone face judgment without Him.

I am so grateful that I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I am filled with His Spirit, so I should see everyone as He does – a sinner in need of a Savior. Will you join me in clarifying our view of others – all others? Let’s link arms and lift up those who have fallen – not look on and gloat.

O Father, forgive me when I have that inner twinge of self-righteousness brought on when I see someone suffer.

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Affection, Apologies, Betrayal, Bible, Bitterness, Confrontation, Deceit, Enemies, Family, Forgiveness, God's Will, Love, Modeling, Relationships

HOW DARE YOU

OBADIAH 11

“‘On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth, and foreigners entered his gate and cast lots for Jerusalem—You too were as one of them.’”

I recently heard about the arrest and prosecution of a church secretary who had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars over a two decade period. She had literally stolen from her church family. Someone they thought could be trusted was lured to the other side and was enticed to sin against her church family and God.

Edom had done the same, but even worse. Instead of coming to the defense of their family (Jacob), they actually took part in the ransacking of that nation. They turned their backs on family for the lure of riches. Now God was judging them for this. How dare they do this!

APPLICATION

We must stay connected with family, whether that be our earthly, biological families or our spiritual family. Family is important. Those bonds are special. There’s a Greek word that is used only once in Romans 12:10. It’s translated as “be devoted” but it is really an adjective. It comes from two Greek words for love – philos and storges. It is a brotherly love to family.

Philos is the brotherly love word. Philadelphia gets its name from the same root word. Storges is the word for family. Are you practicing this family love today? Is there a rift in your family bonds? We both know the cause of that – sin. It may be on your part or someone else’s. Either way, it is a sin which needs to be dealt with.

May I encourage you today to rectify any issues in your families – earthly or spiritual? Time is short, beloved. We need to treat each day as if it is our last. Don’t waste time on petty arguments and dissensions. Lay them all at His feet today.

You are the Master Peace Maker. Use Your Holy Spirit to repair any relationships in my life today.

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