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

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.

Standard
Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Commands, Consequences, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Judgment, Repentance, Scripture, Surrender

LIONS’ PREY

Amos 3:4

“Does a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey? Does a young lion growl from his den unless he has captured something?

It is so interesting that this verse came up today. Just yesterday I was on a safari in Nakuru, Kenya. We saw all kinds of animals, most of them lions’ prey. We saw warthogs, antelopes, impalas, giraffes, water bucks, African water buffalo and many more animals. We even saw several dead animals, which could have been lion kills. But we did not see any lions. They are sneaky like that.

Amos is continuing his parable usage in verse 4. He asks two logical questions. Does a lion roar when he has no prey and does a lion growl unless he has captured something? Anyone hearing these words from Amos would know the answer immediately. Of course not. But I bet you they are not getting what Amos is hinting at. Does God do anything unless there is a reason? Does God bring judgment unless judgment is deserved? Of course not.

APPLICATION

How do you answer those questions? Have you argued with God before about His correction in your life? Do you really think you are above the righteousness of God? We all shun correction. I know I did as a child. To be honest, I still do as an adult. No one likes to be told they are wrong. But God has that right in all of our lives, especially the lives of His children.

What do you need to be corrected about? We all have something. Today, give that up to the Lord. Ask Him to take that burden away and accept from Him whatever consequence you might have. You may be thinking Well Carl, I’m a Christian, so I don’t have to worry about consequences. All my sins are forgiven. Yes, your sins are forgiven, but even after salvation, when we sin, we can receive consequences for our disobedience. Just accept them.

As I said, I have never liked to be told I’m wrong. But I have learned to listen to the Holy Spirit who corrects me and convicts me when I sin. The more I read God’s Word and the more I let it sink into my life, the more sensitive I am to sin. I just don’t like to sin. I want to walk holy. I want to think holy. I want to talk holy. That is only possible as I accept the correction of the Lord through the Holy Spirit. Will you do the same?

Lord, we love You and thank You for correcting us. We may not like the process, but we love the end result – a closer walk with You.

Standard
Abiding, Battles, Bible, Devil, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Modeling, Protection, Rescue, Scripture

THE STREAK

Amos 2:16

“’Even the bravest among the warriors will flee naked on that day,’” declares the LORD.”

Back in the 70’s there was a phenomenon called streaking that caught up a generation of young people. These streakers would strip off their clothes and run across a ball field or a basketball court or any other public venue where they could get attention. They had no reason for doing this except to simply run naked and shock people. There was even a song written about it by Ray Stevens called “The Streak.”

There was nothing funny about the streaking mentioned in today’s verse. These brave warriors of Israel would be running naked due to fear. The Lord declared it, so it must be so. He was telling the nation of Israel over these last several verses that their judgment was here. Not even the bravest warriors could stand up to Him or those He may send to carry out the judgment.

APPLICATION

I can hear you now, Well, Carl, I am not going to be streaking anywhere. I hope that’s true, lol. No one wants to see that. But how often do we flee from our battles naked? We go into our daily walk undressed. Ephesians 6:10 tells us pretty clearly that we should put on the full amour of God. That’s head to toe coverage. We are in a battle every day and we cannot go in naked. If we do, the same thing that happened to those warriors in today’s verse will happen to us.

Just how naked are you? If you don’t put on the full armor of God, you are naked. You can’t go in partially dressed. You can’t pick and choose which part of the armor you want to wear today. You have to do put it all on or you are open to attack. You might as well be naked. I hope you understand that. It’s the full armor.

I like to start with the girding part – the truth. Then the breastplate of righteousness. My feet are shod with the gospel of peace. I am wearing my helmet of salvation. I have my shield of faith and my sword – the Word of God. With that protection, I can face the flaming arrows of the evil one. I can defend my faith and walk securely. So are you streaking or preparing for battle? It’s your choice but choose wisely.

O God, I praise You for giving me the garments to wear. I know I am protected by Your armor.

Standard
Obedience, Bible, Scripture, Promises, Rescue, Healing, Freedom, Destruction, Advocate, Abiding, Failures

A RUT

AMOS 2:13

“‘Behold, I am making a rut in the ground beneath you, just as a wagon makes a rut when filled with sheaves.’”

Do you know what a rut is? It’s a grave with both ends knocked out. I know, that’s not a very funny joke. I don’t write them. I just repeat them, lol. Seriously, not many people like to be in a rut. It implies you are stuck or traveling is hard. Ruts can break axles on vehicles. Bottom line – ruts aren’t fun.

The Lord tells the Israelites here in verse 13 that He is burdened by them. The weight of their sins is upon Him. He is weary of them. How sad that must have sounded to them. Their God, the One who delivered them, is weary of them. But now God is over it. He is tired of being tired of them. He is going to deal with them appropriately.

APPLICATION                                                              

Do you think our sins burden Jesus? If you are child of God, if you have given your life to Him, then all your sins are forgiven. We have the privilege to walk with Him in victory. Do you think He gets weary of our rebellion and disobedience? I am sure it disappoints Him. He knows we are human and fall short, but He has given us everything we need to live for Him.

Ask yourself if you are living to please the Father today. Or are you in a rut? Do you let the trials of life weigh you down. There’s a line in a hymn that I love. It says, “Burdens are lifted at Calvary.” Do you believe that? I sure do. I know my burdens are lifted by my Master. I want out of the ruts.

So, next time you feel you are in a rut, stop and examine what burdens you are holding on to. You don’t have to. He’s got this. And the beauty is once we give Him our burdens, they really are lifted. God can handle it. We can’t. Let Him have all your burdens (1 Peter 5:7).

I cast all my burdens on You, O Lord. I know You have the ability to take them and lighten my load.

Standard
Accountability, Apologies, Bible, Commands, Condemnation, Evil, Failures, Holiness, Modeling, Prophesy, Repentance, Righteousness, Scripture, Sin

EVIL INFLUENCE

AMOS 2:12

“‘But you made the Nazirites drink wine, and you commanded the prophets, saying, “You shall not prophesy!”’”

Have you ever influenced someone to do evil? It’s not something to be proud of. Unfortunately, before I was a Christian, I did that. I don’t need to say what I did or to whom. Needless to say, I am so sorry for doing that. I have since apologized to those to whom I did that. You see, sin is so easily corruptible.

The Israelites were guilty of doing the same. The Lord says here that they made the Nazirites drink wink, which went against their vow to not let anything from the fruit of the vine touch their lips. They also commanded the prophets to not speak the word of the Lord. They didn’t want to hear it. The Lord rebukes the nation for these acts.

APPLICATION

Why do we do these things? Because we want to look better than others. The Nazirites lived holy lives. That shined light on the Israelites sins. They couldn’t have that. Prophets spoke against their sins. They couldn’t have that either. We are the same way. We don’t want others pointing out our sins. We don’t want others living lives that “show us up.”

However, we are in need of conviction. The Word says we all have sinned. That’s a fact. We need someone to point out our sins. Too many preachers today fail to do that. They gloss over sin. They condone sin. They openly accept the sins of others. That’s too sad. And it’s against what the Lord expects. God expects holy living among His people.

So, what’s it going to be for you? Are you going to influence towards evil or towards holiness? I may not always do the right thing, but it is my prayer that I always point others towards Christ. I pray they see Him in my walk. I pray they hear Him in my speech. May God continue to convict me when I fail Him.

Lord, I am so sorry for the many times I failed You. Continue to use Your Holy Spirit in my life to point me in the right direction.

Standard
Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Calling, Commands, Courage, Disciplemaking, Discipline, God's Will, Holiness, Modeling, Sanctification, Scripture

SEPARATED

AMOS 2:11

“‘Then I raised up some of your sons to be prophets, and some of your young men to be Nazirites. Is this not so, you sons of Israel?’ declares the LORD.”

It seems lately I have been bringing up a lot of my childhood memories in my daily blogs. I am thankful for those memories. Today, I am remembering my daddy’s shop in our backyard. My dad had a great shop with just about every tool needed for any job. It was a collection of tools over decades. But one thing I remember about his tools was he had certain tools for certain jobs. I can still remember picking up some tools in his shop and wondering what in the world it was for. Then he would explain the purpose, maybe only one purpose, and I would understand.

God set apart the Nazirites for a purpose. They were the ones called to live holy, unstained lives in the midst of perversion and disobedience. We can think of the stories in the Old Testament that talked about them. One in particular stands out – Samson – who was not true to his calling. He disobeyed the Nazirite vows in so many ways. God still used him, but I wonder if he had been more faithful, what else could he have done for the Lord.

APPLICATION

We are called to be separated from the world also. As believers in Jesus, we are to be different, peculiar, aliens in this land. Sure, we have to live here and interact with others. But our mode of living needs to look different from the world. We need to raise eyebrows. Especially now in our culture, we need to show that it is possible to life “separated.”

How do you do that? Psalm 119:9 tells us. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word.” There is no other way. Only the Word will keep you separated. It teaches us how to walk with Christ daily, still interacting with the world around us like He did, and yet not get stained by the influence of evil.

I am thankful I can walk separate. I am thankful I can live holy. I am thankful for the Word of God that shows me what to do every day. During this week of Thanksgiving, give thanks with a grateful heart for being separated by Christ.

Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy One. Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.

Standard
Advocate, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Faith, Faithfulness, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture, Victors

FORGOTTEN VICTORIES

AMOS 2:9

“‘Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, though his height was like the height of cedars and he was as strong as the oaks; I also destroyed his fruit above and his roots below.’”

I am a University of Georgia Bulldog fan. I went to school there from 1978 to 1982. So, I cheer loud and strong for the Red and Black whenever I get a chance. But as excited as I get about our football victories, I couldn’t tell you the exact dates and times of each victory. Sure, some of them stand out, but most fade into my memory. Forgotten victories.

The Israelites had forgotten how God had destroyed their enemies as they entered the Promised Land so many years earlier. In just one example, the Lord reminds them of the Amorites, of which dwelt the Rephaim who were giants in height. Their size alone brought fear out of men. But Jehovah destroyed them for the Hebrew children. Forgotten victories.

APPLICATION

How many victories has God done in your life for you to quickly forget them? Perhaps you had a bill you couldn’t pay, and God provided for you. Maybe you had a health scare from which God delivered you. Your child was sick with fever, and you prayed all night long. Do I need to go on? Forgotten victories.

The Lord does so many things for us in our daily battles. We forget how faithful He is despite out unfaithfulness. He delivers us when we don’t deserve delivering. He defends us from our adversary, the devil, when we have faltered in our faith. Every victory we have in life can be traced back to our Deliverer. As a child of the King, our victories all belong to Him. Forgotten victories.

Don’t let your life be filled with forgotten victories. Make a log of them. Write them down. Keep track of them. Not for bragging purposes but for celebration purposes. I recently rang the bell at my Oncologist’s office indicating I am in remission from a disease I have. That victory belongs to God. He was the One who healed me. Remembered victory!

O Lord, I praise You for every victory in my life. The battle belongs to You.

Standard
Accountability, Affection, Bible, Blessing, Comfort, Commands, Compassion, God's Will, Goodness, Idols, Kindness, Ministry, Scripture

OTHERS’ THINGS

AMOS 2:8

“‘And on garments seized as pledges they stretch out beside every altar, and in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined.’”

My dad had one rule about borrowed tools. If you borrow it, take it back. If it’s borrowed, get it back. My dad had a shop full of tools, and when he died eight years ago, they were still there. My brother, nephews, son and other family members got all the tools they wanted, and they were still tools left. That’s because of the “borrowed” tool rule. They were always in the right place.

The Lord had a command against keeping the garments of the poor that had been given as pledges of debt. Those garments were to be returned at night since they most likely were the poor’s means of keeping warm. Here the Lord rebukes them for keeping them and stretching them out at altars. They also mockingly drank the wine received as payment in their places of worship, further reveling in their idolatry.

APPLICATION

Well, I can hear us now. We don’t take other people’s clothes and wine. This doesn’t apply to us. Don’t forget that every word of God’s Word is inspired. So, it always relates to us in some manner. These Israelites saw others in need and turned their heads. They knew God’s command and still did it. Don’t we do the same? Don’t we see others who are cold and thirsty and turn our heads?

Now, I know we can’t meet the need of every person. But we can meet the need of one. It’s coming into winter here in Tennessee where I live. I see the homeless just about every day and wonder how they stay warm. I wonder if they have enough to eat or drink. And what do I do about it? Very little. I may hand out a bag of food or something, but that’s about it. Many of these I see choose to live this way. I realize that. But that doesn’t lessen my responsibility.

How about you? What can you do about it? I bet you see the same people in your town. People who just need a little help. Don’t wait on someone else to step up. Get your church involved. Ask around and get others involved. Even a little group can make an impact on one person’s life.

Thank You, Father, for blessing me to be able to bless others. Open my eyes to those around me who need a helping hand.

Standard
Accountability, Bible, Commands, Confession, Consequences, Deception, Discipline, Evil, Flesh, Godliness, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Modeling, Perversion, Scripture, Sin

PERVERSION

AMOS 2:7

“‘These who trample the head of the helpless to the dust of the earth also divert the way of the humble; and a man and his father resort to the same girl so as to profane My holy name.’”

Sin by any other name is still sin. I know I have called my sins things like “my rights” or “just my personality.” Listen, anything that goes against what the Lord commands is sin, plain and simple. Anything that seeks my will over His is sin. Anything that belittles another is sin. I could go on, but you get the picture. We call our sins other things to disguise them and feel better about them.

All the things mentioned in verse 7 today were sins against a holy God. The rich were trampling the helpless for the dust they had put on their heads in mourning. They were diverting the meek and humble away from God. A father was marrying his son’s widow and vice versa. And father and son were perhaps visiting the same temple prostitute. All abominations in the eyes of God. But Israel was blind to them.

APPLICATION

What perversions do you have in your life right now? Most of us would quickly deny we had any perversions. Those are only the gross sins, right? Wrong. Any sin against God is perverse. They all go against His holiness. So, let me ask you that question another way. What sin(s) do you have right now that God would see as against His holiness? Now, that changes everything, doesn’t it?

I want to encourage you to confess those “perversions” right now. Ask the Lord to reveal to your eyes the sins you have not confessed to Him. Take the time to evaluate your lifestyle. Are there things you are doing on a daily basis that bring your faith into question? Are you compromising your testimony to achieve something? The Lord will show you what you need to confess, if you will just ask.

Staying “confessed up” is the key for me. The Holy Spirit is quick to convict me. If He’s too busy, my wife is always available. Lol. Seriously though, I am thankful for a wife that will not hesitate to call me out on my sin. That’s special. I love her for it. I pray you have someone in your life who will do the same. If not, find someone.

Your conviction in my life is precious, O Lord. I want You to keep my accountable for my sin.

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Bible, Confession, Deceit, Exalting, Foreknowledge, Judgment, Scripture

FINALLY

AMOS 2:6

“This is what the LORD says: ‘For three offenses of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke its punishment, because they sell the righteous for money, and the needy for a pair of sandals.’”

Has anyone ever been talking to you about “someone” and you thought they were really talking about you? They were saying things like Well someone was saying the other day that I had said this. You recollect saying something, but you are not quite sure. The two of you keep talking and the truth finally comes out.

Well, that’s what just happened in Amos. He has been prophesying to Israel about all these other nations, and now has dropped the bombshell. He is really here to prophesy against Israel for all they’ve done. Can you imagine their shock when they heard him say, “for three offenses of Israel, and for four”? They probably yelled, “Now wait a minute, Amos. You were doing so good.”

APPLICATION

The point of today’s verse for me is don’t be too cruel about the sins of others because we all have plenty of our own. In fact, we do the same things the Israelites were doing. We sell the righteous for money and the need for a pair of sandals. Well, wait a minute, Carl. I’ve never done that. Well, you may have never “sold” anyone, but you may have taken advantage of someone to make yourself look better.

It’s just human nature to want to come out on top. We don’t want to be pushed down and made to look lower than others. So, we do whatever we can to look better than them. But what does the Lord want us to do? He wants us to lower ourselves, to humble ourselves. He said the last shall be first and the first shall be last. He lived humbly before others. Today find a way to do that.

I don’t like to be humbled. For me, it’s much better to humble myself. I have found when I do that and try to lift others up, then I am doing what the Lord wants. Serving others is humbling at times. At others, it is exalting. Just ask the Lord what He would have you do. I bet it will be a humbling experience for you. Father, don’t let me look on the sins of others. Let me only see my sin and the need I have to repent.

Standard