Belief, Danger, Judgment, Repentance, Scripture, Sin

DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!

ZEPHANIAH 2:2

“Before the decree takes effect—the day passes like chaff—before the burning anger of the LORD comes upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger comes upon you.”

When I was a kid, there was a TV series called, “Lost in Space.” In this series there was a robot and a young boy named Will Robinson. Every time there was danger around, the robot would cry out this warning to Will – “Danger, Will Robinson!” Don’t you wish you had a robot to do that for you every time you got near danger spiritually?

Zephaniah continues his urging of the people to repent and gather themselves before “the decree takes effect” or “the burning anger of the Lord comes upon you” or “the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you.” Wow! That was much better than the warning to Will Robinson by the robot. Zephaniah is giving clear warning that God’s judgment is coming.

APPLICATION

All through Scripture we are given warnings about the impending judgment of God. The prophets all warned us. The New Testament writers did as well. And of course, Jesus gave us warning after warning that those who did not come to Him would surely perish (John 3:16). Warning after warning after warning.

So, why don’t people heed the warning. Unbelief! People have stopped believing in sin. They have stopped believing there are consequences for their actions. Live like you want. There are no repercussions. The devil has them all blinded to the truth. He is so good at that.

Aren’t you glad your blinders are off? Aren’t you glad you know the truth? We must now shout out like that robot did to Will Robinson. We must announce, “Danger! Sin has consequences. Turn to Jesus Who can forgive you of your sins.” That isn’t a hard message to give. Tell someone today.

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore…but the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry, from the waters lifted me now safe am I.

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Abiding, Bible, Confession, Repentance, Scripture

GET IT TOGETHER

ZEPHANIAH 2:1

“Gather yourselves together, yes, join together, you nation without shame,”

Have you ever been totally flustered about something? I remember one time I was trying to put a new starter on my 1984 Chevrolet Cavalier station wagon (yea, I owned a station wagon). I got the old one off with no problem, but I could not get the bolts to line up to install the new one. I finally left it and returned the next morning. The bolts instantly lined up. I just had to step away and gather myself.

Zephaniah is telling the people it is time to gather themselves, to get it together. They had for too long been wandering around, thus, the judgment had come. Now it is time to pull together and repent “without shame.” True confession does not cause shame. It removes it.

APPLICATION

I don’t know about you, but I need to “get it together” sometimes. If I am not careful, I can wander into the wilderness. I can get my eyes off of Jesus and onto the world. I can get my priorities all out of whack and pursue the wrong things. I have to get it all back together.

So, how do I do that? Only through prayer and the study of His Word. Nothing else comes close to shifting me back. I can’t rely on other people. I can’t rely on a good self-help book. I can’t mellow out with good music. No! Only the pursuit of Jesus through concentrated time with Him does it. And that must begin with confession and cleansing.

I love to quote Psalm 51:2-4. “2 Wash me thoroughly from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my wrongdoings,

and my sin is constantly before me. 4 Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge.” Will you join me in doing that? Get it together.

Thank You for Your cleansing power in my life, Lord. Because of it, I can walk boldly and courageously.

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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, Apologies, Bible, Confession, Forgiveness, Guilt, Repentance, Scripture

A SECOND WOE

HABAKKUK 2:12

“‘Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed, and founds a town with violence!’”

Any abuse of others to further your own agenda is frowned upon by God. He not only disapproves of it, but He will punish the wrong doers. Unfortunately, in my 40+ years of ministry, I have seen this take place over and over. I have to trust that God will seek His vengeance when His time is right.

The Lord states His second woe against the Chaldeans and states that because they have built their cities large and strong on the backs of others, they will suffer His wrath at the appropriate time. We do not understand why God tarries in His judgment, but we have to be faithful during the times of testing.

APPLICATION

Are there people in your life you have wronged? Have you done them an injustice and you think you are getting away with it? Take note of today’s verse. You have time now to make amends. You can make things right. You can confess your sins and seek forgiveness.

Too many of us, myself included at times, look right past those we have hurt. We either are not aware of the pain we have caused or we are just calloused to it. Jesus tells us to go and make things right with those we have hurt before we bring our offerings to God.

Will you ask the Lord today if there is someone you need to ask for their forgiveness? Go to them and do that. Perhaps you can’t recall anyone you have harmed. Then pray for all those you know who have been harmed by others. Ask the Lord to convict the wrong doer(s) to make things right.

Father, show me my sins against anyone I have hurt unknowingly so that I can confess that and do what is right.

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Accountability, Bible, Confession, Forgiveness, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

YOUR SINS WILL FIND YOU OUT

HABAKKUK 2:8

“‘Since you have looted many nations, all the rest of the peoples will loot you—because of human bloodshed and violence done to the land, to the town and all its inhabitants.’”

When I read today’s verse, I was reminded of Numbers 32:23. This was the story of Moses telling the tribes (Reuben, Gad and Manasseh) who wanted to live on the other side of the Jordan that they needed to keep their word to fight for the other tribes. He told them, “But if you do not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure that your sin will find you out.”

The Chaldeans were ruthless and unforgiving in their conquests of other nations. Their cruelty knew no bounds. So, God tells them here that they would suffer the same fate as all the nations they had conquered. They would face bloodshed and looting. Their chickens were about to come home to roost, as the old saying goes.

APPLICATION

I have committed many sins in my past. To the best of my knowledge, I have confessed those sins and made things right with my Lord and with others. If anyone reading this blog has been hurt by me in the past, please forgive me. I do not want any unconfessed sin to come between me and my heavenly Father.

How about you? Do you have a sin or sins you need to confess right now? They say confession is good for the soul. Indeed, it is. God’s Word will direct you in this confession. If you are a child of the King, all those sins are already forgiven, but He still wants you to clean the slate with Him. He wants to hear you confess those, to say the same thing about that sin that He does. That is what confession is.

I am so thankful the Lord forgives us. I am thankful He doesn’t hold any grudges. I wish more of His children were that way. I know of far too many Christians who struggle with confession and forgiveness. May you make things right with others and with the Lord today.

Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Redeemed, redeemed, His child and forever I am.

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Abiding, Accountability, Affliction, Bible, Choices, Repentance, Restoration, Scripture, Surrender

SANDSTORMS

HABAKKUK 1:9

“All of them come for violence. Their horde of faces moves forward. They gather captives like sand.”

I have mentioned several times in my blog that I grew up in South Georgia. I spent a good bit of time at my Uncle Hugh Lee’s farm where we picked produce and where I worked in the fields with him. In the summers when it got dry, the wind would whip up dirt and just sling it in your eyes. It seemed as if a billion particles of sand were flying through the air.

That’s the picture God is painting for Habakkuk. The Chaldeans will come in swiftly and sweep their captives like sand caught up in a sandstorm. They will be captured and taken away so quickly. That message is one I am sure Habakkuk did not want to deliver to the people, but one that had to be told. There would be no escape from their judgment.

APPLICATION

What is the Lord “whipping up” in your face? What is He trying to get you to see? God does not punish us without warning. We have His Word to direct our decisions and behavior. We, as believers, have His Holy Spirit to convict us and redirect us. But what do we do? We ignore His warnings. We disregard His teachings.

So, we end up under facing God’s judgment. I don’t mean we are going to lose our salvation. No! If you are a believer, you are secure in Christ. But we face those “sandstorms” which God allows in our lives. They are not comfortable. But they are meant to drive us back to Him. We cannot stay in a position of disobedience and please our heavenly Father.

I am thankful that the Lord allows those gritty moments to lead us back to Him. I am thankful He doesn’t just leave us alone. He will not force us to do anything, but He will draw us back to Himself. Choosing to do otherwise will only lead to more heartache and pain. It’s your choice. Do you want sandstorms or gentle breezes?

Lord, bring on Your winds of change in my life. I want to be driven right back in Your arms when I stray.

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Accountability, Accused, Bible, Confession, Forgiveness, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Sin, Surrender

HOPELESS

NAHUM 2:1

“The one who scatters has come up against you. Keep watch over the fortress, watch the road; bind up your waist, summon all your strength.

When you come up against a force that is greater than you, all your defenses are worthless. I played high school football many years ago. I remember vividly playing against a high school from Alabama that was far superior to our small, rural high school. We were overmatched from the start and despite our great efforts, we were trounced.

Nahum turns his attention fully now to Nineveh and its pending destruction. He almost jokingly tells how they can watch the road and bind up their waist. They can summon all their strength, but nothing will prevent God’s judgment falling upon them. They will not be able to resist His power.

APPLICATION

We read this prophecy against Nineveh and point our fingers at them. We think how could they even hope to defend themselves against God. But we do the same. We fight against God daily defending our own actions that we know are not what God desires. But because we think we have the right; we just do it.

There is nothing that gives us the right to do as we want. We are free in Christ to do as we should. That is a big difference. We are just like Nineveh in so many ways. We put up our defenses. These are useless against a holy God. The best thing we can do is surrender and agree with God about our sins.

Confession is just that – saying the same thing about our sin as God is saying. We agree with Him. The problem today in our society is nothing is sin. Sin is an outdated word. To say someone is sinful is being intolerant. God’s standards have not changed. Neither has the way He deals with sin. Confess your sins today and feel His mercy and grace.

Forgive me, Lord. I have sinned against You and Your principles.

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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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Accountability, Bible, Confession, Repentance, Scripture

A HEAVY BURDEN 

NAHUM 1:1 

“The pronouncement of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite:” 

Sometimes you have to deliver a message that is hard and painful for someone else to hear. I will always remember having to tell a young teen girl that her father, her only living parent, had just died. I can still hear her cries of agony. I have delivered similar messages since then, and it has never gotten easy. 

The Hebrew word translated here for “pronouncement” is a heavy word. It sets the stage for what is about to follow. Nahum (whose name means comforter) is not delivering an encouraging message. He is dealing with a Nineveh that has returned to the sins it had repented of when Jonah prophesied to them. God’s mercy will not be the theme of Nahum’s message. 

APPLICATION 

I pray you are not a Nineveh. I pray you are not someone who repents of a sin and then returns to it. I have heard stories of meth addicts who would spend a year in lockup, get clean and upon their release, go right back to the meth. God does not play games with us regarding our confession of sin. He expects, no, He demands a change in behavior. 

You may be saying, “Well Carl, I don’t have that problem. I am squeaky clean.” Oh really? 1 John 1:10 says, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” Listen, we all have sins. God knows we are not perfect. But He does not want us repeating and repeating the same sins. We have to break those strongholds. 

I am thankful the Lord has given me the Holy Spirit who convicts me of my sins. I am thankful that the more I study and memorize His Word, the less I want to sin. Sin is not a lure to me. The Spirit is so much stronger. Will you truly repent today of any sin(s) you have been holding on to? 

Father, You are so good to forgive me. Help me to live to honor that forgiveness. 

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Accountability, Accused, Advocate, Bible, Cleansing, Confession, God's Will, Holiness, Idols, Judgment, Listening, Repentance, Scripture

NO ANSWER

MICAH 3:7

“The seers will be put to shame, and the diviners will be ashamed. Indeed, they will all cover their lips because there is no answer from God.”

You may not remember the days when you called someone on their phone and did not get an answer. This was the days before voicemail or answering machines. You could not leave a message. You just had to keep calling back until you reached them. I wish sometimes that was still the case. Lol

The false prophets (called seers and diviners here) could not hear God speak to them. Why? Because they were not seeking Him. They were living lives that were displeasing to God, so He had shut His mouth. He was not delivering any messages to them. They cried out only because He was delivering His judgment. How sad that they could not have surrendered to His Will, which would have opened up that line of communication again.

APPLICATION

Oh, brothers and sisters, before we cast too many stones at these false prophets, don’t we do the same? We live our lives as we wish and then when we get into trouble and call on God, He is quiet. We get perturbed with Him because He did not answer us. How dare He?

Well…God demands holiness from us. That’s right. He expects us to live according to His laws and commands. He does not expect perfection, but He does want us to strive to be more like Him and less like the world. If we want God to speak, we must stop, repent and listen.

This week there has been a verse on my mind a lot. Psalm 84:11 says, “The Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Did you get that? No good thing does He withhold. But there is a condition – from those who walk uprightly. So, my question to you is – are you walking uprightly today?

O Lord, I do not want to be like one of those false prophets who could not hear Your voice. Speak to me Lord!

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