Accused, Bible, Forgiveness, Judgment, Safety, Salvation, Scripture, Security

BOW AND ARROWS

HABAKKUK 3:9

“You removed Your bow from its holder, the arrows of Your word were sworn. Selah. You divided the earth with rivers.”

I have a crossbow which I use to hunt. I have yet to claim a deer with it, but I am ready should the opportunity come. That bow is no good to me if I keep it in its case. It is also no good if I do not load it with a bolt (an arrow for a crossbow). But once I pull it out of its case and load it with a bolt, it is ready to be used.

God’s judgment is pictured here by Habakkuk as an unsheathed bow that has its arrows ready to shoot. God’s word of promise to execute judgment are true, just like His aim. We may not see it coming, much like an arrow shot from a distance. But it is coming, and God never misses His target. “But God will shoot at them with an arrow; Suddenly they will be wounded.” Psalm 64:7

APPLICATION

I do not fear God’s arrows of judgment because I have laid my sins at the foot of the cross. My sins have been paid for by my Savior and Lord. I can walk in victory each day, knowing that there is no need to look over my shoulder fearing God’s wrath. It has been satisfied by the blood of the Lamb.

The enemy will try to insinuate that I am not secure in Christ. He will try to get me to question the power of the cross. All those are lies, told to try to get me off my mission. My mission is to point others to Jesus. I want to see them walk in the same victory I am walking in each day.

How about you? Do you walk in fear or victory? Do you walk as if you are defeated? If you are a child of God, if you have placed your faith in Jesus, there is no need to walk that way. You have been promised a home with Him in eternity. Nothing can change that. You are safe and secure. Walk that way.

Thank You, Lord, for the knowledge that You do execute judgment where necessary, but I am free from judgment because of Christ.

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Belief, Bible, Helplessness, Rescue, Restoration, Safety, Scripture, Security

HELPLESS

HABAKKUK 1:14

Why have You made people like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler over them?”

Feeling helpless is not fun. When I was going through treatment for my disease (Amyloidosis), I had times when I felt completely helpless. When I was at my sickest and not able to hardly walk, I felt helpless. Honestly, I felt deserted by God. I knew it wasn’t true, but that’s how I felt. It was a low time and not one I wish to repeat.

Habakkuk is expressing a similar feeling in today’s verse. The picture God has shown him of the impending judgment of God on His people leaves him feeling kind of helpless. He compares the people to fish that are swept along by the currents of the sea or bugs that simply wander on the ground. Those are not pretty pictures, but it expresses how he feels. Helpless and wandering.

APPLICATION

We have a choice during these times. We can wallow in our helplessness, or we can turn to the only One who can provide our help. I knew, when I was going through my low point, that God was there. I knew He was holding me. He just wasn’t moving as fast as I wanted Him to move. I wanted God to fix me, but I wanted to dictate how He did that. That’s not how it works.

Psalm 108:6 reads, “So that Your beloved may be rescued, save with Your right hand, and answer me!” God’s hand is always reaching out to us. He can restore us. He can rescue us. He can provide that feeling of safety and security so we can cry out with the Psalmist the words of this verse.

There’s a hymn that says, “But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.” Isn’t that the best feeling? No more helplessness because we know who holds us. He is able to keep us. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

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Bible, Fortress, Hiding, Home, Safety, Scripture, Shelter

SEARCHING FOR REFUGE 

NAHUM 3:11 

“You too will become drunk, you will be hidden. You too will search for a refuge from the enemy.” 

We run, and we hide. We run, and we hide. But we can’t hide forever. The problems of life catch up to us. We can retreat to the deepest corners of our mind, but the thoughts still flood us like a tidal wave. There is no escape. Or is there? 

In the prophetic words of Nahum, “You too will search for a refuge from the enemy.” Those to whom Nahum prophesied knew far too well the reality of that statement. There was no refuge strong enough, no fortress with walls thick enough. Nothing on this earth could defend them. 

APPLICATION 

Awww, but there is where we are different. We have a shelter to run to. We have a strong tower to climb in. We are protected by the very One who spoke the world into creation. He has only to speak the word, and all our enemies would be vanquished. He is just waiting for us to come to Him. 

Even though there is a different Hebrew word used for “refuge” in Psalm 62:6-8, I still love to hear these words. “6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my refuge; I will not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my glory rest on God; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. 8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us.” 

Run to Him today. He is indeed your refuge from the enemy, your shelter from the storm. He will hide you in the cleft of the rock. He will put His mighty hand around you to shield you from the attacks of the evil one. He will guard your soul from the onslaught of those thoughts that you are not worthy of His love. You are! 

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock that shadows a dry, thirsty land; He hideth my life in the depths of His love, and covers me there with His hand. 

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Abiding, Bible, Covenant, Promises, Refuge, Safety, Scripture

MY ROCK 

NAHUM 1:7 

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.” 

Can I just say that my wife is my rock? She is steadfast and sure. She stuck right by my side through both of my stem cell transplants. She has moved from state to state with me as the Lord has moved us in our ministry. Packing and unpacking, decorating and painting. She is my place of refuge on this earth. 

The word “stronghold” can be translated as rock. Nahum reminds the believers that God is their fortress, their stronghold. When all breaks loose, and it is going to, they can run to their place of refuge. He will see them through the hard times that are coming. I love how Nahum begins this verse – “The Lord is good.”  

APPLICATION 

I pray the Lord is your rock and place of refuge. As much as I love my wife, she is not my ultimate stronghold. Jesus is. I know He is always there and will always be there. He understands me as no other. When I come to Him and pour out my heart, He is always listening. 

Let’s be honest. We do not always pay attention when people are pouring out their heart to you. Try as you might, your mind can wander. Not Jesus. He is laser focused on you. He knows your needs before you ever voice them. When you are scared and confused, He welcomes you into His arms. 

So run to Him. Let me encourage you to do a word study on the words “stronghold” and “refuge.” Take comfort in this. Look back at the verse. The last phrase says. “He knows those who take refuge in Him.” He knows you by name. I will run to Him. I want to hear Him call my name. 

We praise You, O Lord, for being that steadfast force in our lives. We run to You and are safe. 

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Abiding, Affliction, Bible, Promises, Rest, Safety, Scripture, Surrender

NO REST

MICAH 2:10

“‘Arise and go, for this is no place of rest because of the uncleanness that brings on destruction, a painful destruction.’”

“All rest is wearisome which is not in Thee, O our God.” Albert Barnes said that in his commentary on Micah. Indeed, it is. Recently, I stained and sealed our small back deck. It took me a lot longer than I thought. When I was finished, I was totally exhausted. I am so glad I had a place to rest.

Micah is still delivering God’s words in today’s verse. God is telling them they deserve no rest because they gave no rest. They deserve destruction because they brought on destruction. The land is unclean because of their idolatry, their pagan worship.

APPLICATION

We all need rest. I normally sleep 5-6 hours a night. For me, that is plenty. Others require 8 or more hours (I won’t name any names, lol). So, when God tells the people “this is no place of rest” that must have been quite disturbing. They were in distress. They needed rest, but none would be found in the land. God’s judgment had fallen due to their idolatry.

God can give you rest. You may be weary. You may be worn out. Do not fret. The God who established rest is here. In Him you can experience true rest, rest that will last, eternal rest. I am not saying you will never get tired again (I wish that were true). But in Jesus, you can have the rest that will never end.

I am so thankful I am resting in Christ. Psalm 62:5 says, “Yes, my soul, find rest in God…” Oh, that is a rest I can depend on. When I came in from staining my back deck, I cleaned up (which took a while with all the stain on me, lol) and rested in my recliner. I won’t say I took a nap, but my eyelids shut for a while. As good as that rest was, it did not last. My rest in Christ will.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:5-6)

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Accountability, Accused, Battles, Bible, Choices, Consequences, Direction, God's Will, Obedience, Safety, Scripture

SPLISH, SPLASH

JONAH 1:15

“So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.”

Have you ever thrown someone into a pool? You know how kids can play. I can remember picking up someone and chunking them, kicking and screaming. It was all in play. No one was intended to be hurt. We laughed and usually did it again.

This was not the case with Jonah. He did not kick and scream. In fact, he probably laid down on the deck of the ship very calmly as the sailors picked him up and threw him in. Can you just see the sailors’ face when the sea stopped raging? They probably instantly went to the side of the ship and looked for Jonah. But he was not there.

APPLICATION

Maybe you’re kicking and screaming right now as God tries to throw you into the deep end of the pool. Does God do that? He certainly does. Most of us don’t go willingly. We may not kick and scream, but we sure argue with God, don’t we? We have all kinds of reasons why His won’t make sense.

I have been thrown into the “deep end” many times. You think I would have learned to go in myself. But no, I am hard-headed. I guess that is why I can relate to Jonah so well. There have been times when God gave me a clear direction, but I went the other direction.

Splash! There I went! Deep end! But I found when I got in that the water was just fine. I did not drown. In fact, I got stronger by learning to swim there. I could not rely on my own strength. I had to have His power to survive. So, I swam and got stronger. Are you still wearing floaties on your arms or are you allowing God to strengthen you in the “deep end?”

Father, Your Will often confuses me. But I know I can trust it because it’s Your Will and not mine.

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Abiding, Bible, Disciplemaking, Following, Perseverance, Prayer, Rescue, Safety, Scripture

WHAT DO YOU DO IN A STORM?

JONAH 1:11

“So they said to him, ‘What should we do to you so that the sea will become calm for us?’—for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy.”

Our family lived in Lakeland, Florida for several years and had the grand experience of several hurricanes. It’s funny how you react to those things. For the first storm, we followed all the precautions and had our little hurricane kit ready. By the time we went through our seventh or eighth, we hardly paid them any attention. But storms need to be heeded.

The sailors now know that Jonah is the cause of this storm. His God, Jehovah, has stirred up the waves and wind. So, naturally they assumed Jonah had the answer to quiet the storm. This God of Jonah’s could surely stop it as fast as He started it.

APPLICATION

God will allow storms in our lives to get our attention. How long those storms last depend on our response to Him. Have you been a storm a long time? Maybe you need to stop and look at what God is trying to teach you. Are the winds ripping at you every hour? Turn to Him and ask Him what it is He wants you to do.

There really isn’t any other way to respond to storms in our lives. Remember, everything that touches you as a child of God goes through His hands first. That storm that seems to never cease has passed through His approval. That may sound horrible, but it isn’t. Those storms are meant to drive you to your knees where you are the closest to Him.

It is so true in my life that I never feel as tall spiritually as I do when I’m on my knees. Prayer is like a fresh breath. It invigorates you and energizes you. And when I am in prayer during a storm, I feel His presence. I know He is right there with me. Join me.

I don’t like the storms, Lord, but I trust You in them. I know You have not lost sight of me even in the tallest waves.

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Advocate, Battles, Bible, Brokenness, Darkness, Destruction, Devil, Grace, Horror, Rebellion, Rescue, Safety, Scripture, Storms

BREAKING UP

JONAH 1:4

“However, the LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea, so that the ship was about to break up.”

I lived in Florida for about eight years and witnessed the destructive power of hurricanes on several occasions. Those storms can literally destroy a city. I have seen homes obliterated. I have seen neighborhoods so damaged you could not tell where the streets were. It is horrifying.

I imagine the storm Jonah and his shipmates faced was like a hurricane. When God sends a storm, He does not mess around. I bet they had 20- and 30-foot waves. The pounding of those waves on the hull of the ship was beginning to break apart the ship. They were taking on water and getting scared.

APPLICATION

Have you ever been that scared? It seemed the waves of life were crashing in all around you. You are taking on water. You look around and there are no lifeboats to jump into. You are panicking. All hope is gone.

And then you come to the Master who can still the seas. No storm is so dark that He cannot walk right through it. No waves are too high that He cannot safely navigate. No vessel is so wrecked that He cannot put it back together better than it was before. Call out to Him!

Wow! This picture of Jonah in that ship sure is vivid. We can all relate to it. We have done the same thing. We have run from God and gotten into more trouble. When we flee in the dark, we are apt to get hurt. We, instead, need to head toward the light. Then our path is exposed. Then He will lead us safely home.

The storm-tossed waves of life are out there, Lord. But with You at the helm, there is no fear.

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Abiding, Advocate, Bible, Devil, Fighting, Protection, Safety, Satan, Scripture

THE GOD OF ARMIES

AMOS 3:13

“‘Hear and testify against the house of Jacob,’ declares the Lord GOD, the God of armies.”

I live in the United States of America. We have one of the most, if not the most, powerful armies in the world. We train and equip our army to fight at the highest level. We have competent officers to lead that army wherever it is deployed. I’m proud of our armed forces and am thankful for their service.

However, our army is no match for God’s. I love how Amos describes the Lord God here. He is the God of armies. He has the power to control multiple armies. His armies do His bidding without question. They conquer every foe. Nothing can stand in His way.

APPLICATION

If all that is true, then why in the world do we worry if God is on our side? As children of God, we have the most powerful fighting force imaginable in our corner. Nothing can touch us, unless God allows it. Every day He protects us from the flaming arrows of the evil one, and we are not even aware.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Too many of us walk around defeated when we should be walking in victory. Read the end of the Book. We win! Satan is already a defeated foe. Why fear a foe that is already whipped. Claim the victory that is already yours.

I am thankful my Commander-in-Chief doesn’t change every election cycle. My CIC reigns eternally. He always knows just how to defeat the enemy. I can rest in His protection. Will you do that today? He wants you to experience that perfect peace.

O God, You are my defender. I will run to You for my defense.

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TENDER HANDS

HOSEA 11:11

“They will come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria; and I will settle them in their houses, declares the LORD.”

I can remember as a little boy finding baby birds that had fallen out of their nest. Some didn’t even have their eyes open yet. They were so defenseless. Usually, the mama would be flitting around trying to protect her little ones. I would pick them up so tenderly and, if I could, put them back in their nest. If the nest was too high in the tree, we would try to raise them in a box.

I had this picture in my mind when I read this verse today. God tenderly picked up Israel from Egypt and Assyria and placed them in their land again. They were shaken from their exile. They were dazed and confused, but God reached down with His tender hands and picked them up and loved them.

APPLICATION

Are you dazed and confused? Have you fallen out your nest? God’s tender hands are waiting to pick you up. You need to call out to Him. He doesn’t want to see you on the ground vulnerable to attack. He wants to protect you. But our tender God will not force His love on you. He will not come in uninvited.

Oh, but when you do call out, He is right there. And when you feel His tender hands (and believe me, you can), you just relax and realize that He has you. He will never let you go. He will carry you to your home. He will place you in a place of safety created by Him just for you. Do you want to experience that today?

I know I need His tender hands in my life daily. I love the feel of His hands on my life. I love it because I trust Him. His hands will never crush me. He will not squeeze me into submission. Don’t you love that? I do. Call out to Him today and feel His touch. You won’t ever forget it.

Lord, thank You for Your tender touch. Thank You for picking me up and taking me home.

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