Accountability, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Consequences, Devil, Enemies, Freedom, Judgment, Rescue, Satan, Scripture

CAPTIVE

AMOS 4:3

“‘You will go out through holes in the walls, one in front of the other, and you will be hurled to Harmon,’ declares the LORD.”

I have never been held captive. I can’t imagine what that feels like. I have read first person accounts of that and marveled at that person’s stamina and faith to survive. But to be torn from your home and carried off as a prisoner would certainly be horrible. God has promised, however, to see us through any trial.

Israel is facing captivity. The Lord is telling them here that they will be led out of their cities through the holes in the walls that were made by their captors. They will be lead like cattle, one in front of the other, to their place of captivity. They will go from luxury to slavery.

APPLICATION

If you are not a believer in Jesus, you are being held captive by your enemy, the devil. The sad thing is you may not even realize it. As long as you are not walking with Christ, you are walking with him. He may even treat you kindly here on earth because he knows he will have you for eternity.

But God rescues us from our captor through Jesus. Jesus conquered death and the grave for you. His blood paid the price for your freedom. You can be set free through Him. And the best part is that it is free. You just have to ask for it. If you haven’t done that today, will you?

I am thankful the chains of sin have been broken. We are no longer held down by Satan’s grip. The moment we said yes to Jesus, we were made free. The jail doors were opened. We now walk with the One who set us free. Remember – we walk from victory, not towards it. The battle has already been won. Praise Jesus!

Lord, You are the one who set me free from the power and penalty of sin in my life. Thank You for saving me.

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Advocate, Battles, Bible, Deceit, Devil, Fighting, Oppression, Protection, Satan, Scripture

OPPRESSERS

AMOS 4:1

“Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, who exploit the poor, who oppress the needy, and say to their husbands, ‘Bring now, that we may drink!’”

Some people just like to put others down. They make themselves feel better by making others feel bad. I don’t understand that kind of thinking. Shouldn’t it be just the opposite? Shouldn’t we feel better about ourselves when we help others feel better about themselves?

In this verse today Amos turns his attention to those who oppress the poor and needy. He calls to them to make sure they are listening. I love what he calls them – cows of Bashan. That is not exactly a flattering term, is it? How would you like to be called that?

There is one out there who is the master of oppression – Satan. He will send his demons to oppress us and try to keep us down. He loves to see God’s children oppressed. He loves to see us out of the fight. While he nor his demons can possess us, he can sure oppress us.

APPLICATION

Recently, I was in Kenya with a friend. We had just visited a location the previous day and seen the Lord do a work in the lives of some people. The next morning this friend mentioned he had felt an oppression on him that night and couldn’t understand why. I reminded him of Satan’s desire to do that very thing, especially after we had seen such a victory the day before.

I don’t want to scare you today talking about this, but it’s real. We are in a spiritual battle every day. Satan is real. You cannot just pretend he is not out there, and he will go away. And he will use everything in his arsenal to try to tear us down. Don’t let him. Stand strong. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

I am so thankful that I have all power needed to defeat Satan or his demons, as long as I rely on Your power and not my own.

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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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Advocate, Battles, Belief, Bible, Caregiver, Destruction, Devil, Rescue, Satan, Scripture

PIECES

AMOS 3:12

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Just as the shepherd snatches from the lion’s mouth a couple of legs or a piece of an ear, so will the sons of Israel living in Samaria be snatched away— with the corner of a bed and the cover of a couch!’”

I have a missionary friend in Columbia who had a close encounter with an anaconda. They were walking near the river with their dog when the anaconda struck. It grabbed their dog and went back into the river. Without thinking, my friend jumped in, grabbed the snake by the tail and drug it out. Then his wife pulled their dog from its mouth as my friend killed it with a machete. Wow! They got more than pieces back.

But shepherds would often jump in to rescue a sheep or lamb that had been grabbed by a lion or wolf. In this case, they only retrieved pieces as the wild animal tore it apart. Amos is comparing Israel to that. They will be snatched away, piece by piece, little by little. Only a remnant will escape.

APPLICATION

Is your life in pieces? Sometimes we feel we are being torn into pieces. The world is harsh. The devil loves to tear us down, to tear us into pieces. If you are a child of God, the devil has no right to you. You belong to God. When we sin and fall into Satan’s grasp, be sure the Lord can rescue you.

How soon He rescues you is really up to you. As believers we should be running from sin. But occasionally we fall right into a trap laid by Satan. Call out instantly. Call out loudly, knowing your Savior is listening and will respond. He can restore your “pieces.” He wants all of you.

I am so thankful for a Shepherd who is watching over me. He guards me as I graze and guides me along His path. I want to stay close to Him to avoid those dangerous places that can cause me to fall. I need Him and am not ashamed to say so. He is my Lord. He is my Shepherd.

Thank You Lord for leading me. Thank You Lord for protecting me.

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Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Commands, Deception, Devil, Disciplemaking, Holiness, Obedience, Protection, Satan, Scripture

TRAPS

Amos 3:5

“Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground when there is no device in it? Does a trap spring up from the earth when it captures nothing at all?”

As a young boy, as most boys I’m sure, I made a lot of traps to catch rabbits, birds, just about anything. There was something awesome about laying that trap out and sitting back to watch it catch something. Most of the time, I caught nothing. But occasionally, I would get lucky and catch a bird or a rabbit. All those traps had a device that caused it to be tripped. Once tripped, the trap would snap shut, capturing whatever had tripped it.

Amos’ imagery here is great. The first question could have said, “Do you think all those things that have happened to you were by accident? I am the one who tripped those traps.” And the second question gives us the picture of a spring trap that once tripped would almost seem to jump up to catch the prey. Any Israelite with any experience in trapping would understand these words clearly. Israel has sprung the trap and is now caught.

APPLICATION

We all tend to spring traps from time to time. But those traps are only sprung by us when we aren’t walking with Jesus. If we are being consistent in our walk and are living holy lives before Him, those traps aren’t there. But…when we are living footloose and fancy free, we had better be aware of the traps that are set to catch us. Satan loves to catch us and hold us captive so we can’t be used by the Father.

The trouble with these traps is you can’t get out by yourself. You need help from someone else. Do you have someone you can call on when you step into a trap? We all need that. You may want to hide the fact that you are in a trap. Sooner or later, others will know. Call on a friend now (Ecc. 4:9-10).

I am so thankful for the vision the Lord gives me to avoid those traps set by Satan and others. I am thankful that, if by chance I step in one, I have brothers in Christ who will come to my aid. I couldn’t do it without them. Every Man A Warrior has given me an army of men who would come running to my aid. For that I am so thankful. Check it out at everymanawarrior.com.

Lord, we praise You for keeping us out of the traps set by the evil one. I know I can walk safely as long as I abide in You.

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Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Devil, Enemies, Faithfulness, Fighting, Protection, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

PREPARE FOR BATTLE

JOEL 3:10

Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak man say, “I am a warrior.”

I’ve never been to war. I’ve only had two fistfights in my life (both in high school before I came to Christ). So, the concept of gearing up for combat is foreign to me. I have known several men who bravely fought for our country. I respect them all. Their courage is admirable. They each had to prepare themselves for war, including getting the right arsenal.

Joel is telling the Judeans to get ready. Take whatever you have and make weapons. Plowshares into swords and pruning hooks into spears. They had to have weapons to fight the enemy when they arrived. This passage may sound familiar. It’s the exact opposite of what you will read in Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3. Take a minute and read those passages. But Joel is preparing for war, not peace.

APPLICATION

Are you prepared to fight the battles that are before you? Do you have the weapons you need? If you are a believer in Christ, you have everything you need to battle your adversary, the devil. God’s Word is the sword to wield. Your faith is the shield to protect you from his fiery darts. Your helmet of salvation guards your mind from any thoughts he might throw your way.

You see, you have the weapons. The question is are you ready to fight. The devil comes out each day with one goal – to defeat us. He wants to lay us out. He cannot stand it when we read the Bible and pray. He hates it when we share our faith with others. He will try anything to stop that. Don’t let him. Fight back.

I have learned lately just how determined he is. He has thrown all sorts of things in my path to try to discourage me. He wants me to lie down and quit. He cannot take away my salvation, but he can sure take me out of the fight – if I let him. But I won’t! Will you join me in the fight?

I am ready to follow You, Lord, wherever You lead. I trust You as my Commander in Chief.

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Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Following, Opponents, Protection, Satan, Scripture, Soldiers

TIME FOR WAR

JOEL 3:9

Proclaim this among the nations:

Prepare for holy war; stir up the warriors!

Have all the soldiers come forward, have them come up!

The United States just ended their longest war in history. We finally withdrew from Afghanistan after twenty years. Many say we should have never gone to war. That can be debated. The fact is we went and were there for twenty long years. In a way, this was also a holy war. We were fighting to protect our nation and our way of living from a group of people who are determined to destroy us. Their religion calls for the termination of all “infidels.”

So, in a way, we can relate to this verse today. Joel is calling for Judah to prepare for battle. A day is coming when they will be fighting a holy war against the nations. Judah, which is part of the nation of Israel today, has been preparing for war since that day. They are still preparing today. Every young person in Israel has to serve a period of time in the military. They are prepared.

APPLICATION

The question I have for us today is: Are we? Are we prepared to fight a holy war? Now, I don’t mean a physical war with physical weapons, even though that may be required one day. I mean, do we have the divine weapons in our arsenal to fight the battles we face every day against Satan? That is a holy war we fight every day, and if we aren’t armed properly, Satan will eat our lunch.

You need to read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 today. It will remind you that you do indeed have the weapons you need to fight the battle. But with any weapon, you first have to pick it up and then you have to know how to wield it. That takes practice. That takes time. I am glad you are reading this devotional blog today, but don’t let this be your quiet time. Let this inspire you to dig deeper in your quiet time.

I write this blog as part of my quiet time each day, but I also try to dig deeper in another passage. I need to know all I can to fight the battle. I spend time every day memorizing and reviewing passages. I want to keep my mind sharp when I need to recall a passage to protect my thoughts. It’s a battle, folks, each and every day. Don’t forget that.

O God, I am so glad You have given me divine weapons to demolish strongholds. I am thankful I can learn Your Word to fight off my enemy.

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Abiding, Advocate, Angels, Battles, Bible, Demons, Devil, Fighting, Holy Spirit, Opponents, Satan, Scripture

WORTHLESS DEFENSES

HOSEA 10:14

An uproar will arise among your people, and all your fortresses will be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were slaughtered with their children.”

If you have read very many of my blogs, you know I love to hunt. The area I hunt here in Tennessee has black bears. Now they aren’t known to be very dangerous, as long as you stay away from a mama bear and her cubs. But I always want to be prepared in case I run into one. I know if a bear really wants to hurt me, he will. I am no match for a bear. My best defenses fall short.

Hosea was reminding Israel of the Assyrian conquest of Beth-arbel. Any defenses they may have mustered on their own couldn’t hold them off. I am reminded, however, of the ONE angel that killed 185,000 Assyrians another time. Our defenses are worthless, but God has the power and resources to conquer all our enemies, if we will trust Him.

APPLICATION

Enemies come from all angles and directions. Satan scouts us out to find our weak spots and will send his demons to target those areas. Men, are you prone to look at pictures you shouldn’t? Be assured Satan will give you lots of opportunities. Ladies, do you gossip too much? Old Satan loves to whisper in your ear the latest juicy news to spread. Only by surrendering to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis will you overcome these temptations. Only God’s defenses are strong enough for victory.

I am just too old to try to fight these battles on my own. I know I need Jesus every day, or I will be whipped. I bet you are the same. Aren’t you tired of battling on your own? Step back and let the Lord fight for you. He will, you know. And when the victory is won, He gets all the glory.

Victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever! Thank You for the victory I have in Your Son, Jesus Christ.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Busyness, Commands, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Satan, Scripture

TAKE MY YOKE

HOSEA 10:11

Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, and I passed over her lovely neck; I will harness Ephraim, Judah will plow, Jacob will harrow for himself.”

I have never used a yoke and harness on an ox or horse. I have in my front yard a seed and fertilizer spreader that is meant to be used with an animal pulling it. It’s probably 150 years old, but it just sits there in my yard idle. It hasn’t been used in decades. It’s not much use except for a yard decoration.

Hosea tells us in this verse that God had harnessed and placed His yoke on both Judah and Israel. They had been trained to pull for Him. In fact, Hosea says Ephraim loves to thresh. That’s an image of threshing grain unmuzzled so they could enjoy the grain they were crushing. But we know they both rebelled in the end.

APPLICATION

What has the Lord “trained” you to do? Are you in His harness and yoke? Are you pulling for Him? If you aren’t, you are pulling for the devil. You can only pull for one master. Don’t you know that? Carl, I’m not in anyone’s harness. I’m free. Yes, you are. You are free to serve either master, but you will serve one or the other.

God only calls us to do tasks that are good and productive. We shouldn’t be wasting our time doing things that don’t really matter. Fruitless, unproductive, time-wasting activities bring no glory to the Father. After all, that is our purpose – to bring glory to Him. Ask yourself if the things you are so busy doing are doing that.

The older I get the more precious time becomes. It seems the days get shorter and shorter. I don’t want to waste my time not pulling for my Lord. I want to wear His harness proudly. I want to pull for Him boldly. I want to please the One who has done so much for me. Don’t you?

Thanks for placing Your yoke around my neck. When I get tired remind me who I am pulling for.

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Abiding, Alone, Bible, Comfort, Deceit, Devil, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Leading, Lies, Punishment, Righteousness, Satan, Scripture

WANDERERS

HOSEA 9:17

“My God will reject them because they have not listened to Him; and they will be wanderers among the nations.”

Sometimes it’s nice to just wander. I have always wanted to take a trip with no plans, just get in the car and drive and stop when I wanted to. That would be fun. But I would not want to wander around lost. That can be frightening and dangerous. I am thankful for Google Maps, for that very reason.

Part of God’s punishment for Israel was they were destined to be wanderers. Do you realize they stayed wanderers for generations? The nation of Israel vanished off the face of the earth for a while. In 1948 they became a nation again, and that was due to the extreme persecution of the Holocaust. Wandering is no fun when it is God’s judgment.

APPLICATION

Have you been wandering away from the Lord? What direction are you headed? Listen, stop and turn towards Him. Your wanderings will only get you nowhere. And nowhere is exactly where Satan wants you. He doesn’t want you near the Lord. He doesn’t want you being led by Him. The devil wants to drag you around and confuse you.

But, if you turn to Jesus, He will cease your wandering. He will lead you into green pastures and by quiet streams. And even when He leads you into the valley of the shadow of death, He will not leave you. His rod and His staff will comfort you. You can read the rest of this in Psalm 23. Trust the Shepherd to stop your wandering.

I have to be truthful here. I have wandered. There have been times in my Christian walk when I have left the Lord’s path. I decided to go my own way. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t leave me alone. He drew me back to the Lord’s path. His path is safe. His path, though not necessarily smooth, will guide me straight to Him. Will you join me?

Father, I trust Your leading. Guide me in Your paths of righteousness today.

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