Abiding, Bible, Dependence, Rescue, Scripture, Trials

GUESS I’M WALKING

MICAH 5:10

“‘And it will be on that day,’ declares the LORD, ‘That I will eliminate your horses from among you and destroy your chariots.’”

There is not much more aggravating that a broken-down car. You are on the highway going somewhere, and your car or truck decides to quit. Mind you, I am not talking about just running out of gas (I’ve been guilty of that). I mean broken, not running, steam coming out from under the hood. You are not going anywhere. Your ride is gone. Hmm, sounds like our verse today.

Through the prophet Micah, the Lord is telling His people He is going to remove those things they had formerly relied on. They did not need them anymore. He was with them. He would fight their battles. God does not need horses and chariots. He wields the lightning bolts of heaven. He can throw hail stones down to earth to defeat their enemies. He is telling them to stand watch the hand of God.

APPLICATION

Oh, my friends, God is still saying that today. Do not rely on a medical miracle to save your life. Doctors only treat. They do not heal. That is God’s business. God is still bigger than anything we can come up with. We tend to think we can handle it. We can fix it. Especially us men. We are very bad about that.

But there are some things that we just cannot fix, and the sooner we figure that out, the better. If God allows your health to suffer, He has a bigger plan for you. If God takes you out of your comfort zone, allow Him to direct you. God is still doing great and mighty things.

Our problem is we do not see it. We westerners are especially blind to God’s little miracles. I speak as one who did not see them for decades. Even as a minister, I did not recognize the spiritual side of life as much as I should have. Sure, I knew God was there and was working. But wow, He is still doing some miraculous things in our midst. Open your eyes. Rely on Him.

Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes to Your handiwork in my life. Help me share that vision with others.

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Abuse, Accused, Advocate, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Confrontation, Devil, Distress, Encouragement, Enemies, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Rescue, Satan, Scripture

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE 

MICAH 5:9 

“Your hand will be lifted up against your adversaries, and all your enemies will be eliminated.” 

The title today is a saying I have heard all my life. Do you recognize it? Picture a tight squeeze that will not let up. You feel pressed from all sides. There is no relief. You do not know how much longer you can go on. Your body is crying out for the pressure to ease up. 

That is the word used here today for “adversaries.” In the Hebrew it means a tight squeeze. In other words, that is the feeling you get when you face adversaries. Of course, Micah tells the people here that their hands will be raised up against those adversaries and they will eliminate or destroy them. Whew! Relief! 

APPLICATION 

I am reminded of 1 Peter 5:8. “Be of sober spirit, keep on the alert, for your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” This adversary is relentless. He never gives up. He is relentless in his pursuit of us. He wants to destroy us. 

I was sharing with a dear brother recently that very fact. He was very aware of it and had been feeling the teeth of this ravaging spirit. Our defense? The Word of God, just like Jesus. We must answer the devil charge after charge with the Word. It is our Sword of the Spirit. 

Most days I am successful at warding off this adversary. I am prayed up and read up. But there are other days when I let my guard down for just a milli-second. In He swoops with fangs exposed going for my jugular. That Is why we all must be of sober spirit and on the alert. We do have victory over our adversaries when we are clinging to Jesus. 

O God, my Savior, I cling to You. I know only through You can I walk in victory each day. 

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Advocate, Belief, Bible, Hope, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

O BETHLEHEM

MICAH 5:2

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

“Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above
While mortals sleep the angels keep their watch of wondering love
Oh morning stars together, proclaim thy holy birth.
And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.”

Bethlehem Ephrathah, of course, is known for the prophetic birthplace of Jesus. What you may not know is that this little town was one of the smallest of the smallest in Judah. It was not considered in many of the numberings, but was ridiculed because of its low position in the rank of towns, cities and villages. That is the town chosen by God to bring forth His Son into the world. Of course, it was. Jesus was to come for all, even the lowest of the low

APPLICATION

Never think that you are too low for Jesus. He came for everyone. I was recently in a meeting where we discussed the escape and recapture of four inmates from our county jail. One man said repeatedly that we must remember that those men also need Jesus. How true.

You may be going through a hard time right now and not feel you are salvageable. Not true. That is a lie from the pit of hell. Satan wants to keep us confused about our position in Christ. If you are a believer, you are a child of the King. If you are not a believer, the King awaits you. He welcomes you into His court.

I am thankful for the assurance I have of my salvation. I am thankful that Jesus came two centuries ago into a lowly village named Bethlehem (house of bread). He was indeed the bread of life sent to rescue me and you. Embrace Him today.

“And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.”

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Advocate, Anxiety, Battles, Bible, Comfort, Courage, Devil, Encouragement, Hope, Rescue, Satan, Scripture

BEAT TO PIECES 

MICAH 4:13 

“‘Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hoofs bronze, so that you may pulverize many peoples, and dedicate to the LORD their unjust, and their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.’” 

Have you ever beaten anything to smithereens (that is a good ole Southern word)? That is the same idea as the word “pulverize” here in today’s verse. I can remember taking one of my dad’s hammers outside and crushing rocks with it. I would pound those things, so they were just dust. Ah, childhood memories! Lol 

The Lord is telling Israel that one day they will pulverize their enemies. They will be defeated and blown away like chaff. They will be totally destroyed. This was welcome news since they were on the other end of that timeline, being defeated themselves. But the day was coming when He would restore them. 

APPLICATION 

Maybe you are feeling pulverized right now. Perhaps the weight of the world seems to be on your shoulders. You cannot get rid of that beaten down attitude. I have good news. The Lord of all creation knows exactly where you are and how to get you out of that spot. We must remember that Satan wants us to feel that way. When we are down, we usually are not about the Father’s business. 

I only know one way to get rid of that feeling – time with Jesus. As you spend time in the Word and in prayer, that dark cloud seems to lift. Jesus tells us to cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Suffering is not all bad. I know that sounds too spiritual for you. But believe me, it is true. 

I have learned to bring all my cares to Him each day. When I am faced with a difficult decision or things do not seem to be going well, I pause and pray. I listen for His voice. Psalm 118:5 says, “From my distress I called upon the Lord; The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.”  Let Him set you there also. 

Father, thank You that You hear my cries for help. When I am in distress, I know I have Your ear.  

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Affliction, Belief, Bible, Promises, Redemption, Rescue, Scripture

PROMISED REDEMPTION

MICAH 4:10

“‘Writhe and scream, daughter of Zion, like a woman in childbirth; for now you will go out of the city, live in the field, and go to Babylon. There you will be rescued, there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.’”

Knowing there is an end to something gives you hope. I remember going through my chemotherapy sessions. When I knew the date of the last treatment, I had hope of recovering my strength. When I played football in high school, I can recall those horrible drills the coaches put us through. When they yelled, “Last one guys,” we all had hope of the pain ending.

The Lord tells the people they were going to Babylon. But He does not end there. He goes on to say, “There you will be rescued, there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.” Even though they knew they were going to suffer, they also knew a day was coming that would bring redemption.

APPLICATION

How appropriate for us today. While we are on this earth, we will suffer hardships. We are promised that. We live in a sinful, fallen world that looks for ways to make the righteous suffer. But…believers in Christ hold out for their promised deliverance from this world. That may come through physical death through which we enter eternity with our Savior. It may come when we are caught up with Him in the air. Either way – we are fully redeemed.

Our goal is to share that good news with as many people as we can while we are here. Those who are suffering without Christ have no hope of redemption. We have that hope to share with them. Don’t you want those you know who are without Christ to join you in eternity?

I love that old hymn, “Redeemed.” The chorus goes like this:

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

Are you going to join me?

For my redemption I shall be forever grateful. Though I do not deserve it, You give it still.

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Accused, Bible, Consequences, Enslavement, Freedom, Rescue, Scripture

JAIL BREAK

MICAH 2:13

“The one who breaks through goes up before them; they break through, pass through the gate, and go out by it. So their king passes on before them, and the LORD at their head.”

There have been so many movies about prisoners breaking out of prison. I think of The Bird Man of Alcatraz. I have seen James Cagney make prison breaks. And who can forget all the Westerns that included breaking out of the Sheriff’s jail? All these have one thing in common – getting free from confinement.

Micah, in today’s verse, is portraying the people of Israel breaking free from their imprisonment. “The one who breaks through” is a reference, according to some scholars, of Christ, Who sets us free from our enslavement to sin. But the last phrase tells it all – “and the Lord at their head.” He is the one responsible for their freedom.

APPLICATION

Are you enslaved today? Romans 6:16 says, “Do you not know that the one to whom you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of that same one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” You see, we are slaves to something.  

I have never been in jail (at least not yet, lol), but I can imagine how I would feel to be confined somewhere that I could not leave. When you are enslaved to sin, there is no escape. You cannot get out of this enslavement by yourself. You do not have the power to break the yoke of sin. But thanks be to God, He sent His Son to set us free.

I love Isaiah 61:1. “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD anointed me to bring good news to the humble; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to captives and freedom to prisoners;” We have a mission to proclaim the good news. We can help point others to the One Who breaks through.

Thank You, Father, for breaking through the walls of sin as I call upon Your name.

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Accountability, Accused, Altars, Belief, Bible, Confession, Destruction, Disciplemaking, Idols, Judgment, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

WHERE DOES SIN BEGIN?

MICAH 1:13

“Harness the chariot to the team of horses, you inhabitant of Lachish—she was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion — because in you were found the rebellious acts of Israel.”

Do you remember your first introduction to sin? Do you remember when you committed your first sin? Probably not. Most of us were too small to remember our terrible twos, snatching a toy from someone else. Since the fall of Adam, we are born with that sin nature. No one has to teach us to sin. We, however, do have to be taught how not to sin.

Lachish was known as the initiator of idol worship to Judah. It had already begun in Israel (the Northern kingdom). Perhaps because of their trade in chariots and horses they were introduced to them by pagan nations. Lachish was known for its fast horses and chariots. Micah tells them they had better get in those chariots and harness their fastest horses if they hope to escape.

APPLICATION

Listen, brothers and sisters. I don’t care how fast you run; you cannot escape the wrath of God. There is not a plane, train or automobile fast enough. You could travel to another planet and still not escape it. There is only one way – that is through the blood of Jesus.

Assyria came in and defeated all of Israel and Judah. God used them as His instrument of wrath to judge His people. God will use whatever necessary to judge us if we are not under the blood of His Son, Jesus. But, oh the power of that blood. It can wash away our vilest sins and make us new again. Because of that blood, God forgives us of all our sins.

Praise God for His eternal blessings. I do not deserve so great a salvation. But thanks be to God, He had a plan to give me that way of escape. I pray you have made that decision to turn your life over to Him. You cannot outrun God. Stop running and allow the transforming power of the blood make you whiter than snow.

O Father, thank You for saving me. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to rescue me.

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Affection, Alone, Asking, Bible, Confession, Despair, Disciplemaking, Following, God's Will, Mercy, Prayer, Rescue, Scripture

THE PITS

JONAH 2:6

“I descended to the base of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, but You have brought up my life from the pit, LORD my God.

You may have heard the expression, “this is the pits.” But where does that come from? Well, I looked that up. It can refer to armpits which implies body odor, something that is undesirable. It also can refer to someone who is in the depths of despair. That is what I think of when I hear this. Well…Jonah was in the pits.

Remember where he is when he says what we read in today’s verse – the belly of a fish in the depths of the sea. It’s hard to get much lower than that. He was low. He was in despair. Look what he says, though. He says, “You have brought up my life from the pit, LORD my God.” Wait just a minute. He’s still in that fish. But now he realizes no matter the circumstance, God can lift you up from the depths of despair.

APPLICATION

If you are like most people, you have found yourself in “the pits” at some time. How did you manage that? How do you get out of “the pit”? So many of us turn to counselors or doctors for help. They can be very helpful. But so many of us don’t look at the spiritual side of our despair. We are spiritual creatures, as well as physical.

I want to encourage you the next time you find yourself in “that pit” to turn to Jesus. Ask Him why you are feeling the way you are. Ask Him what He would have you do to get out of that low place. He may reveal some hidden sin in your life that needs confessing. He may point you to someone who has gone through what you are going through at the time.

I have had the privilege to share my journey through chemotherapy and stem cell transplants to others who are going through the same thing. Let me tell you – chemo will bring you down into a pit. You need others to encourage you during that time. What have you gone through and what lessons have you learned that you can share with someone today? Do that.

Being in “the pits” is no fun, Father. I thank You that You have lifted me up each time I have called on You.

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY TO ALL THE MOMS OUT THERE READING MY BLOG!!

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Advice, Battles, Bible, Cleansing, Darkness, Promises, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

SEAWEED WRAPS

JONAH 2:5

“‘Water encompassed me to the point of death. The deep flowed around me, seaweed was wrapped around my head.’”

Did you know there are spas that specialize in seaweed wraps? Can you imagine having your body wrapped in seaweed and lying there on a table? I’ve only been to one spa in my life. That was for a massage. It was okay, but not good enough to get me to go back.

I don’t think Jonah would agree that being wrapped in seaweed is a good thing. Here he is in the belly of fish praying to God. He is lying in a pool of seawater and seaweed, and he is not sure of his outcome. Remember that while he is lying there, the fish’s stomach acids are beginning to bleach his skin. He can probably smell those acids. He’s in the dark praying to the only one who can rescue Him.

APPLICATION

We all have stuff “wrapped around” our heads. We find ourselves in the dark, feeling the burn of our circumstances. What do you do? Who do you turn to? Many of us just continue to struggle and fight. We think we can release ourselves. We can “figure it out.” Men, we are the worst. We don’t want to ask for help.

But, just like Jonah, we can’t get out of our circumstances by ourselves. We need a Savior. Jesus is the answer. He has the power to lift us up out of that miry clay. He can remove the seaweed that is wrapped around our head. Stop fighting and turn to Him.

I am thankful the Lord has rescued me. I was deep in the bottom of the barrel. He scrapped me up, cleaned me off and set me on the firm foundation. He can do the same for you. Stop wherever you are today and reach out to Jesus. He is reaching out for you.

How can I say thanks for all You have done for me? I am thankful for my salvation and my life in You.

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Advocate, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Grace, Mercy, Praise, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture

WAVES

JONAH 2:3

“‘For You threw me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the current flowed around me. All Your breakers and waves passed over me.’”

My mom loved the beach. In fact, she convinced my dad, who was no fan of beach life, to buy a small place on the Gulf of Mexico. My mom loved to “jump the waves.” She would not get her hair wet or go in too deep. But she loved to walk in the water and feel the waves break against her body.

Jonah felt the waves and breakers as they passed over him. He seems to quote from Psalm 42:7. “Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.” There is no escape. Only God’s mercy is sparing his life. Jonah is calling on God as he recognizes His power over him.

APPLICATION

Have you tried to “jump the waves” lately? You may get lucky to begin with, but eventually you tire and the waves get you. You cannot keep up with the current that is pushing against you. You need a rescuer, someone who is strong and powerful. You cannot rescue yourself.

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as the ultimate lifeguard. He is always looking out for our safety. He flies the red flags when He knows there is danger around you. He flies the green flags when it is safe to swim. He has the ability to plunge into the oceans of despair that may entangle you and set you free.

I have known a lot of people who worked as lifeguards. They all had to know how to rescue someone if they were drowning. That might have involved using a hook to pull someone to the side of a pool or throwing a life saving device to someone in the lake or ocean. Jesus has all the tools necessary to rescue us. Has He rescued you?

Father, I am so thankful Jesus tossed me a ring of safety. I am now safe in His arms.

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