Bible, Darkness, Death, Destruction, Devil, Enemies, Fighting, Satan, Scripture

DEATH AND DESTRUCTION

HABAKKUK 3:5

“Before Him goes plague, and plague comes forth after Him.”

We all have seen scenes of death and destruction in pictures from wars or disease or famine. Those images burn into our minds. They are hard to forget. We feel helpless to do anything to cause any change. Our hearts break for the families of their loved ones caught in such scenarios.

Habakkuk describes the scene here where death and destruction go before God as He conquers all His enemies. He has sent plagues and pestilence. He used hornets and wild animals. Regardless of His instrument, the result was and is the same. His enemies are destroyed. Nothing can stand before Him. We would do well to remember that.

APPLICATION

People today think they can thumb their nose at God and keep on living as they wish. I don’t have to list the abhorrent lifestyles that are being exhibited everywhere, even in churches. Anything goes. There seems to be no moral compass left in the world. The enemy appears to have totally brainwashed society into believing that God has no say in the affairs of men.

But oh how wrong he is! Just like in Habakkuk’s day, God will rise up and defeat all enemies of the cross. We must remain faithful and true. We must continue to share the good news. We have to let our lights shine brightly. Even the smallest light can pierce the darkness. Let it shine.

I refuse to be afraid of those who speak against our Savior. I refuse to allow their disregard for God dampen my passion for Him. I am called to be a soldier of the cross, so I will wield my sword and give my life to advance His kingdom here on earth. I know my God has my back and will be victorious.

Your enemies will scatter, Lord. All You have to do it show up!

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Bible, Captivity, Despair, Devil, Enemies, Evil, Faithfulness, Satan, Scripture, Submission, Surrender, Trust

WILL IT EVER STOP?

HABAKKUK 1:17

“Will they therefore empty their net, and continually slay nations without sparing?”

(This is blog #2500. I cannot believe it. I began these post on January 1, 2016. I am about to finish my 7th year of writing these daily blogs. Please pray for me as I seek the Lord as I write these each day.)

The rise of evil and its spread throughout the world seems to never cease. It just gets worse and worse. Just the moment you think it can’t get any worse, it does. The depth of evil a person will plunge is beyond our imaginations. Will there ever be an end to this? When will God step in and stop it?

That’s the question Habakkuk is asking at the end of Chapter One. God has shown him this vision of the Chaldeans coming in and defeating them. He knows of their ruthlessness. He does not want his people to suffer. He is crying out to God, “When will they stop? Will they ever stop? Haven’t they done enough?”

APPLICATION

You may have been under spiritual attack from the evil one and have cried out the same as Habakkuk. “Lord, when will it end? I can’t take much more of this.” Trials come in all shapes and sizes. Some last a long time and others are over quickly. It is those that linger that truly test us.

We must remember, though, that God will not put on us more than we can handle with His help. We surely cannot handle it on our own, but as we submit and surrender to Him, we can get through whatever it is we face. There may still be dark days as you trust Him, but we are assured of His faithfulness.

I have faced these challenges. I have shared about some of them in my blog posts of the past. Suffice it to say, I have learned these lessons the hard way. There have been times when I entered a trial fully trusting. Then there are other times I went in kicking and screaming. But through them all I have found my Lord to be right there with me, sustaining and nurturing me. Will you rest in Him in the midst of your struggles?

Father, in Your strong hands I place myself. Do with me as You see fit.

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Bible, Devil, Holiness, Humility, Pride, Satan, Scripture

STUCK ON THEMSELVES

HABAKKUK 1:7

“They are terrifying and feared; their justice and authority originate with themselves.”

I have known a few people in my lifetime that you could describe as “stuck on themselves.” As the saying goes, “Their nose is so stuck up in the air, if they got caught outside during a rainstorm, they would drown.” I don’t want to be that way. I had rather be seen as a humble man, not seeking attention for myself.

The Chaldeans, however, were a proud, ferocious people. They believed the sun and moon rose and set in them. They were powerful and demanding. They were ruthless to those they conquered. God would use them, but just like the devil, He would only give them so much chain to run on.

APPLICATION

Two of the new verses I have been memorizing have to do with humility (1 Peter 5:5-6). 1 Peter 5:5b says, “For God is opposed to the proud, but will give grace to the humble.” I prefer God’s grace over His opposition, don’t you? I do not want to face an irate God over my arrogance and pride. That will not end well.

If you are struggling with pride, just look at the middle letter – I. It’s the same middle letter you will find in the word sin. Hmmm. I don’t think that is a coincidence. Pride is what caused Lucifer to lose his heavenly position. Pride is what sent Nebuchadnezzar into the fields eating grass for seven years. Pride is what led Samson to reveal the source of his strength to Delilah.

Would you join me today in denouncing any pride in your life? “Therefore humble yourself under the mighty hand of God so that He may exalt you at the proper time.” Oh, to fall into God’s hands in this manner. He is comforting. He is consoling. He is loving. Come to Him.

Oh, Lord, I desire to humble myself under Your hand so that You may exalt me when You are ready.

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Battles, Bible, Destruction, Devil, Enemies, Fighting, Fire, Protection, Satan, Scripture

BOLT THE DOOR

NAHUM 3:13

“Behold, your people are women in your midst! The gates of your land are opened wide to your enemies; fire consumes your gate bars.”

I grew up in an era when we did not worry too much about locked doors. The 60s and early 70’s did not warrant it. I cannot even recall if my grandma’s house had a bolt on it. I am sure the doors were locked at times, but it was not a huge concern. I lived in a small town with little crime.

Nahum tells Nineveh that their gate bars will be burned. This was a common practice in those days. The enemy would build a fire on the outside of the gate which would ignite the sun-dried wooden gate. This would burn the wooden bar on the inside or after burning for a while the iron or brass bar would simply fall off. The city was now wide open for invasion.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you something. What is barring your gate against the enemy? We cannot depend on any man-made protection against the enemy. He will set fire to your self-constructed methods. They will burst into flames. You will then be vulnerable to his attacks.

The Word of God is the only “bar” that can keep those gates shut. So many men have opened the gate to pornography, which will burn your house down. But with the Word of God as your  “bar” of protection, you can defend yourself. Better yet – the Word defends you. You have the ability to quench those flames that are set against you.

I try to keep my gates shut tight with His Word. My daily Quiet Times are key to that. Spending time with the Lord is my fortification. The water of the Word is my fire brigade. All I have to do is recall those Scriptures that pertain to the fire. That means you have to spend time in the Word. Are you? Is the Word your “bar”?

I know my gates are barred with Your Word, Lord. Help me show others how to bar their own gates, too.

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Accused, Affection, Anxiety, Bible, Blessing, Compassion, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Love, Relationships, Satan, Scripture, Security

YOU’RE WORTHLESS

NAHUM 3:6

“‘I will throw filth on you and declare you worthless, and set you up as a spectacle.’”

I have known so many people who were told time and time again that they are worthless. Demeaning words spoken by mean people. Words meant to belittle and beat down others. It is the saddest when these words are directed at children. Their little faces are stricken. Their spirits scarred by harsh and undeserving words.

Nahum is sharing the words of the Lord towards Nineveh in today’s verse. These are harsh words from the Lord but remember who they are directed towards. Nineveh was an evil city which was part of an evil nation. They were godless and unrepentant. In the economy of God, they were worthless. God was indeed using them as an example to others.

APPLICATION

In contrast, God tells us we are highly valued. We are His treasure, the apple of His eye. He loves us with an uncompromising love. We can do nothing to cause Him to stop loving us. We may disappoint Him, but we can never do anything where He would declare us worthless.

If you are hearing those words, they are not from the Lord. They are from the evil one who wants to tear you down. He doesn’t want you to feel loved. He wants you to feel worthless and of no value. Do not believe those words. They are lies straight from the pit of hell.

As a child of the Father, you are loved. Walk in that love. Believe that love. Share that love. And as you do that, you will truly know the love of Jesus. It will envelope you. It will lift you on those days when the devil is whispering those lies to you. Remember that Jesus loves you with an everlasting love. Hallelujah!

I celebrate You, Lord. I am so thankful for Your love that will never fade.

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Battles, Bible, Devil, Enemies, Faith, Protection, Satan, Scripture, Victors

THE APPROACHING ENEMY

NAHUM 3:2

“The sound of the whip, the sound of the roar of the wheel, galloping horses and bounding chariots!”

I have never seen a chariot race. Chariots are not used very much anymore. But one of my favorite, all-time movies is Ben Hur. There is this classic chariot race near the end of the movie which is intense. Ben Hur, played by the late Charlton Heston, defeats his enemy in the arena. I just love that movie.

Nahum foresees the approaching enemy of Nineveh. He can envision their chariots racing down upon the city. He uses some words intentionally that, when read or said out loud, have rough “r” sounds: רעשׁ ra‛ash (roar), דהר dâhar (galloping), מרקדה meraqēdâh (bounding). You could almost hear the noises as Nahum said this.

APPLICATION

Who is our enemy? How can we know when he is approaching? 1 Peter 5:8-9 tell us. “8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 So resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brothers and sisters who are in the world.”

We are at war, beloved. The enemy has his sights set on us. He knows he has lost the war, but he will settle for some victories in some battles in our lives. When I hear of families being torn apart, I see the enemy at work. He wants to destroy the church (the bride of Christ) and attempts to do that by destroying Christian families from within.

I pray you are praying for your family daily. I pray you are praying God’s hedge of protection over them. Without His protection, we are vulnerable. Be alert. Stay focused. Pray without ceasing. With Jesus all things are possible. We walk in victory. Don’t forget that.

Thank You, Lord, for watching over me. Help me stay under the umbrella of Your protection.

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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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Accountability, Bible, Devil, Discipline, Evil, God's Will, Judgment, Obedience, Satan, Scripture

AMBIDEXTROUS 

MICAH 7:3 

“As for evil, both hands do it well. The leader asks for a bribe, also the judge, and the great one speaks the capricious desire of his soul; so they plot it together.” 

I have known a few people in my life who were ambidextrous. That means they could do things with both hands equally well. Switch hitters in baseball have that trait. I have known artists who could draw or paint with either hand. It is a rare ability. I do good to use one hand. 

These individuals Micah is talking about were ambidextrously evil. Their whole focus was on doing what was bad. Micah calls out these leaders and judges who were doing this. One version of this verse translates the last phrase as “they wrap it up.” This evil was done purposely and with planning.  

APPLICATION 

What is (are) your hand(s) doing? Are you a one-handed or a two-handed sinner? Do you sin on purpose? Do you choose to do evil? Those are tough questions, I know. But, just as Micah called out the people, I feel I need to call us out on this. I know so many believers who choose to live in sin and think it is okay. 

Listen to me, God is still a holy and righteous God who demands obedience. He will not force us. That is not His nature. However, He will hold us accountable for our actions. I have said this before, but it bears repeating. Before we are saved, we chase sin. After we are saved, sin chases us. 

I know the old devil is going to throw his best pitches against me every day. He wants to trip me up. He wants to sideline me. I have to know what my hands are doing – good or evil. I strive to choose good every day. Am I perfect? Far from it! But I will use my hands to do good every chance I get. 

Father, forgive me when my hands do evil. Give me the strength to fight against the evil one. 

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Allegiance, Battles, Belief, Bible, Blasphemy, Darkness, Devil, Evil, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Idols, Satan, Scripture

SORCERY FORBIDDEN

MICAH 5:12

“‘I will eliminate sorceries from your hand, and you will have no fortune-tellers.’”

I will never forget the evening when I lived in Lakeland, FL when my wife and I decided to go to the local outdoor mall. It was new to Lakeland and had become a major evening and weekend destination because of the shops, restaurants and entertainment. We were walking along, and while my wife looked in one shop, I decided to step into this store that caught my attention. As I walked in, a chill ran up my spine. All I saw was occultic images and products. I ran out of that store as fast as I could. Such darkness.

This is what the Lord is cutting out of the land. No sorcery or fortune telling would be allowed. These were based in the pagan idolatry of the land, the very thing the Lord had warned the people of when they came into the Promised Land. Nothing had changed. These evil practices were still around and were now going to be purged. Evil was evil then and still is now.

APPLICATION

So many Christians today dabble in the occult, thinking it is frivolous or meaningless. Satan loves for us to believe that. I am not saying that a demon is going jump out of the Ouija board and tackle you to the ground, but the devil has a way to hook us into this stuff. Tarot cards and astrology are still listed in God’s eyes as sorcery and fortune-telling. That has not changed.

If you are into these things or have been in the past, let me urge you to put them down and confess that as sin. Renounce any allegiance you had to these items and get rid of them. Burn them if you can. Does this all sound extreme? You bet. Our battle with the forces of darkness is real and extreme. You must have your armor on and be free from any form of darkness.

Once you do that and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, He will make you very sensitive to these things. You will be able to recognize any form of idolatry. God wants you and me to walk in holiness, free from the entanglements of evil. Walking free is so much easier than dragging around a chain of darkness.

O Father, thank You for protecting me from evil. I know You have my back at all times.

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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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