Bible, Modeling, Offering, Redemption, Repentance, Sacrifice, Scripture, Testimony, Worship

OUR SACRIFICE TO GOD

ZEPHANIAH 1:7

“Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near, because the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests.”

As a man of God, I am called to sacrifice for my family. There have been many things that I willingly gave up or decided not to do because of my family. Other things required an action to my sacrifice. I had to choose to do something which was sacrificial in nature. Now, hear me clearly. I have almost never wanted to make a sacrifice that cost me something. But each time I did, it was worth it.

In verse 7 of Zephaniah 1 we see the prophet declaring that God is the one who prepares the sacrifice. God had rejected man’s sacrifices of bulls and sheep because they were not given as true sacrifices. They were merely an action the people did out of tradition. There was no true sacrifice from the people. So, now He is preparing the sacrifice. Through judgment He is consecrating His people.

APPLICATION

Romans 12:1 tells us, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Our sacrifice to God is not a bull or sheep. Our sacrifice to God is ourselves. And as with any sacrifice, we must be put on the altar, dead to ourselves.

The altar of God had a point on each corner where the sacrifice could be tied down so it would not slip off the altar as it was burning. I know I need to tie myself down each time I offer myself to Him. I am usually not a willing sacrifice. I go kicking and screaming. But just as the sacrifice that was given correctly and burned on the altar gave a sweet aroma to God, our willing sacrifice of ourselves puts a sweet scent in the air to God.

What part of you have you not sacrificed to God? What are you holding back? He demands it all. A partial sacrifice is not a sacrifice. He demands a complete and whole sacrifice of yourself. Will you offer it to Him today? Will you lay yourself own on the altar of God and allow Him to raise you back up?

I offer myself today, Lord, as a willing, living and holy sacrifice to You.

Standard
Bible, Glory, Light, Majesty, Praise, Radiance, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

RAYS OF LIGHT

HABAKKUK 3:4

His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, and the hiding of His might is there.”

I love to see rays of sunlight when they pierce through the clouds. The sunbeams radiate and brighten a dark day. They seem to come from nowhere, yet they contain such power. I have witnessed them bursting forth on a frosty morning, and as those beams of light hit the frost covered ground, the frost just melted away.

Habakkuk is still in his prayer describing God in all His glory. Now he turns to His light which seems to burst forth from His hands. Don’t miss that. God’s hands are the symbol of His power and might. When God lifts His hands, things happen. There is power in those hands. His brightness burst forth from them.

APPLICATION

John 1:9 tell us, “This was the true Light that, coming into the world, enlightens every person.” That light Habakkuk describes in his prayer was the same light that existed in Christ. He is the light of the world. John tells us He came to enlighten every person. That includes you and me.

So, if His light exists in us through the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t we let it shine? Shouldn’t we take off the covering that is hiding His light. Perhaps by doing so we may lead someone else to that indescribable light that exists only in Jesus. Those who are lost in darkness can find that light.

Most of us know that children’s song, This Little Light of Mine. The second verse is my favorite.

     Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine!

     Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine!

     Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

Will you let your light shine today. Let the radiance of the King of kings shine through you.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!

Standard
Bible, Christianity, Love, Modeling, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

PAYBACK

HABAKKUK 2:17

“‘For the violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and the devastation of its animals by which you terrified them, because of human bloodshed and violence done to the land, to the town and all its inhabitants.’”

Doing harm to others has a way of coming back around and biting you. Too often we think our actions don’t have lasting impact, but they do. When we systematically and consistently mistreat others, people begin to steer clear of us. There is no trust in us because of our reputation.

The Chaldeans had mistreated all they had conquered, including God’s children. God had given them into their hands for a season in order to judge His children. He never gave them the freedom to abuse and misuse them. As was done by them, so shall it be done to them.

APPLICATION

Almost anyone who has attended church for any length of time can quote the “Golden Rule.” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That goes together perfectly with Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:39. “The second is like it, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”’”

Treating others well is a sign of loving Jesus. John tells us in 1 John that the world will know we are believers by the love we show for each other. So, what does it show the world when we mistreat others, especially other believers?

There are some people I had rather not spend too much time with. We just don’t see eye to eye on matters. But that does not give me the excuse to mistreat them. The world is watching. I want all to see Christ’s love in me being made manifest in the way I love others. How about you?

They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. They will know we are Christians by our love! 

Standard
Bible, Glory, Majesty, Praise, Scripture, Testimony

ALL CREATION GROANS

HABAKKUK 2:11

“‘For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the rafter will answer it from the framework.’”

Just the other day, my little sister (whom I affectionally call Nappyhead) and I were talking about her recent drive up to TN from South Georgia. She said, “How can anyone see the beauty of the mountains and rivers and not believe in God?” I agree. Truly, all creation does cry out to Him.

In this last verse before the second woe, God is saying that very thing. All creation cries out to Him. Even the stones and rafters of the buildings cry out to God. Just like the stones and beams are “imprisoned” in the buildings, the prisoners of Chaldea have cried out to God.

APPLICATION

Luke 19:40 says, “Jesus replied, ‘I tell you, if these stop speaking, the stones will cry out!’” We see the same thing being exclaimed by the Psalmist in Psalm 19:1. “The heavens tell of the glory of God; And their expanse declares the work of His hands.”

As believers, we should not be outdone by creation. We should exclaim loudly how great a God He is and tell all about the great things He has done for us. Proclaim His majesty. Extol His greatness. He is worthy of all our praise. Don’t hold back. Don’t let that rock beat you, lol.

As we enter this Advent season, find a reason each day to proclaim His glory. Tell someone each day about how He has saved you and that He can do the same for them. Join me today in doing that. There is no greater joy than to lead someone to the saving knowledge of Christ.

I will glorify the King of kings. I will glorify the Lamb. I will glorify the Lord of lords, who is the great I AM.

Standard
Affection, Belief, Bible, Commands, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony, Wisdom, Witnessing

WHAT ANIMAL CHARACTER ARE YOU?

HABAKKUK 1:8

“Their horses are faster than leopards, and quicker than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen charge along, their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swooping down to devour.”

My title may sound a little crazy, but there are actually personality tests out there that will designate which animal type you are based on your test scores. Check this one out –

4 Animals Personality Test – Focus on the Family

I think I am a beaver, lol.

Unfortunately, the Chaldeans were not defined by a personality test. They were defined by their ferocity and savagery. God says they are “faster than leopards, and quicker than wolves.” They are horseman who charge and “they fly like an eagle swooping down t devour.” Not a pretty picture if you are the prophet who has to deliver this message to the nation. But there you are. When God speaks, you have to deliver the message.

APPLICATION

I am really not interested in what animal you are. I am more interested in how you treat others. I pray you are not like the Chaldeans, who devoured others. People use the excuse all the time – “Well, that’s just the way I am.” That is no excuse. We are all flesh, and left to that, we are all horrible human beings.

But through Christ, we are changed into a new creature (a new animal, to keep the analogy going). All our old behaviors and habits are nailed to the cross. We are no longer the same. We don’t have that excuse anymore. We are to live as Jesus directed us in Matthew 10:16. “‘Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as wary as serpents, and as innocent as doves.’”

Jesus names four creatures in that verse – sheep, wolves, serpents and doves. Which are you? I pray you aren’t the wolf. Treat others as you want to be treated. React to others as Jesus would. Don’t prey on others. Instead pray for them. One little letter changes the whole meaning, doesn’t it?

O God, You have transformed me into a brand new creature in Christ. Let me live to honor You in all I do.

Standard
Bible, Hope, Obedience, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

WHAT I SAW

HABAKKUK 1:1

“The pronouncement which Habakkuk the prophet saw:”

Have you ever seen anything that you just had to tell someone about? I witnessed both my children being born. I had to tell someone about that. I saw an incredible catch in a football game recently that I immediately had to rewind and then call my wife to see. Some things you just have to tell others about.

Enter Habakkuk. He has seen some things which the Lord has shown him and now he is telling the people about them. He is prophesying the overthrow of Israel by the Chaldeans, a hated group of people. Habakkuk hates the vision, but he has to tell it. The vision is too incredible not to tell. Perhaps the people will repent, and the end result would be different. One could hope, right?

APPLICATION

What has God shown you that you need to tell? If you are a believer, He has shown you salvation. That is definitely something worth sharing. In fact, it is your responsibility to share that with others. You are, in a way, prophesying. You are “telling forth” the good news.

Now, I am not calling you a prophet. But we should do what Habakkuk is doing. We should warn people about the pending judgment by God. All will be judged one day. For the unbeliever, they will face a judgment that will doom them to hell. We should not desire that for anyone. So tell them!

My testimony has been told hundreds of times since I came to Christ back in 1977. It’s been over 45 years, but the story never gets old. God spoke and showed me the way to salvation. I have not lost sight of that path. Did I ever stray? Of course, I have, but He has tenderly and gently led me back to the path. And He tells me everyday to tell others. Let’s do that today.

I love to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.

Standard
Affection, Bible, Comfort, Modeling, Relationships, Scripture, Suffering, Sympathy, Testimony

COMFORT

NAHUM 3:7

“‘And it will come about that all who see you will shrink from you and say, “Nineveh is devastated! Who will have sympathy for her?” Where shall I seek comforters for you?’”

Some people just have no sympathy. They can walk past a hurting child and ignore them. They can look the other way when they see someone in obvious need of help. Our world today is getting less and less sympathetic. It is all about “me.” People do not want to risk getting involved.

The Lord is saying through Nahum that people will do that to Nineveh. They will flee from them in the midst of their destruction. Nineveh, who showed no compassion, will now receive no compassion. There will not be anyone who will come to comfort them.

APPLICATION

My mind immediately goes to 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

We are not to be like the onlookers who passed by Nineveh. We are to reach out and comfort those around us who we see in need. As Paul said above in 2 Corinthians, we are to use the comfort we have received from the Father to comfort them. It is “trickle down” comfort. We share what has been given to us.

I have been both the recipient and giver of comfort in my life. Let me tell you – I had rather give comfort than receive comfort. I am not a good receiver. But, oh the joy I receive when I can give that to others. In a hospital or a funeral home, I can give that which the Father has given me. So can you. 

Father of all comfort, thank You for comforting me with Your Spirit. I can share that now with others.

Standard
Bible, God's Will, Gospel, Humility, Life, Pride, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

THE KILL

NAHUM 2:12

“The lion tore enough for his cubs, killed enough prey for his lionesses, and filled his lairs with prey and his dens with torn flesh.”

I was talking to a friend of mine recently who had been on a safari in Tanzania. He was describing all the wildlife he saw, but he was particularly descriptive of the lions. He said they saw a lion pride which has just recently made a kill. The carcass of their prey was very visible. He described this as a gruesome scene.

Nahum uses the same kind of descriptors to paint the picture of what Nineveh used to be. They seemed so sure of themselves. The lion “filled his lairs with prey and his dens with torn flesh.” In other words, Nineveh feasted on the other countries it had defeated and gloated of their success.

APPLICATION

That is not to be our attitude. Humility is a key character of a believer who is walking with Christ. Just as Christ is described in Philippians 2.5-8, we are to live our lives. We have no right to be prideful of anything we have accomplished. We certainly shouldn’t be prideful at the expense of others.

Christians can be just as prideful as unbelievers. I have known pastors who were very prideful of their church numbers and even made their goals and achievements the measuring tool for their success. At the meetings with other pastors, numbers always seemed to come up, sometimes making the other pastors feel uncomfortable.

Unlike the lion who stalks his prey and kills it, we are to prayerfully approach others with the good news of the Gospel and offer them life. We are just the opposite of the lion. We seek others only to help. Is that your attitude today? Do you seek to give life or take life? It is really one or the other.

Thank You for giving me life, Lord. Lead me to others who need it also.

Standard
Accountability, Bible, Friends, God's Will, Gospel, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

GOOD FEET

NAHUM 1:15

“Behold, on the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace! Celebrate your feasts, Judah, pay your vows. For never again will the wicked one pass through you; he is eliminated completely.”

As I have gotten older my feet are starting to get ugly. Sorry, that’s just the facts. I’ve got this big bunion on my left big toe and my two little toes are starting to turn in. I see this a lot in older people. Their feet are not that pretty. But those feet that are carrying the gospel are beautiful to God, no matter how they look.

Nahum says something here that is used by Paul when he says in Romans 10:15, “But how are they to preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written: “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” Those feet that bring good tidings are celebrated. Who doesn’t want to bring good news?

APPLICATION

How do your feet look? I don’t mean physically. I mean how do they look to God? Are you bringing the good news of Jesus to others? When we come to Christ, we are given the good news to share with others. But we seldom do that. We get stuck in our little Christian circles and don’t reach out to those who are in need of this news.

Let’s get our walking shoes on. Let’s begin sharing with whomever will listen. Let’s spread the news of Jesus to our lost friends. If they are truly our friends, don’t they need to know this? Aren’t you concerned about your lost neighbors? Don’t take on the whole neighborhood at once. Start with one.

I know my feet have been busy lately taking the good news to other parts of the world, but I have neglected those closest to me. Father, forgive me for not using my feet closest to home. I want to walk the good news to every neighbor. Will you join me?

Help me use my feet, Lord, to deliver the good news of Jesus to all who will hear.

Standard
Battles, Bible, Freedom, Praise, Scripture, Sin, Surrender, Testimony

SHACKLES

NAHUM 1:13

“‘So now, I will break his yoke from upon you, and I will tear your shackles to pieces.’”

The first thing that I thought of when I read this verse was the song by Mary Mary called “Shackles.” The chorus says,

“Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just want to praise you
I just want to praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I’m gonna praise you
I’m gonna praise you.”

Nahum is telling the Israelites that God is breaking their shackles of captivity put on them by the Assyrians (Nineveh). He is setting them free. I bet they felt just like Mary Mary. They just wanted to praise Him. Their shackles were real, though. They felt the weight of the chains. They knew how it felt when they fell off.

APPLICATION

What has you shackled right now? It could be a sin that you have not been able to shake off. You pray and pray but return to the cesspool of sin. That stronghold has you shackled with seemingly no escape. You may not have real chains, but it sure feels like it at times.

I have good news for you. God is still in the shackle breaking business. Lift your hands to Him in prayer, shackles and all, and ask Him to break them. Lay out your feet, shackles and all, and watch them fall off as you yield to Him and give Him everything. Until you do that, those shackles will continue to bind you.

Walking without shackles is a lot better than walking with them. You lose that “shackle shuffle” that is so obvious. When people see you walking free, they will ask what happened. That is when you can tell them you story. You can join with Mary Mary in singing,

“Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just want to praise you
I just want to praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I’m gonna praise you
I’m gonna praise you.”

I love You, Lord, and I lift my hands to worship You. O my soul rejoice!

Standard