Abiding, Bible, Demons, Prayer, Promises, Scripture, Storms, Trials, Trust

THE FLOOD

NAHUM 1:8

“But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of its site, and will pursue His enemies into darkness.”

I have never had to go through a flood, although I know plenty of people who have. I even have a friend who has helped many flood victims during a Disaster Relief deployment. Most victims describe the feeling of hopelessness as they could do nothing to stop the rising waters.

That is probably how God’s enemies feel. There is no escape. The demons who rebel against our Lord know God is too powerful to fight against. The Bible says they believe and tremble (James 2:19). He is an “overflowing flood” which covers all.

APPLICATION

Is your head above water? Can you see a lifeboat? Feeling overwhelmed with life can feel like a flood. Things keep coming and coming and coming. I have known people who cannot seem to catch a break. They go from crisis to crisis. They are literally drowning in misery. Is there no end?

Our peace does not come from being rescued from the floods. Our peace comes in the midst of it. God is our peace. Even when He allows tragedies and trials, those things that try to drown us, there is peace. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us He will not tempt us beyond what we can bear. There is always a way out.

Our struggles in life are not meant to drown us. They are meant to strengthen us, and not just for ourselves. We share our trials to show others going through the same thing so they too can find faith in their floodwaters. And we do not just throw them a life vest. We jump in the waters with them as the Lord leads. That is our calling as believers.

O Lord, flood my heart with compassion and goodness from above.

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Belief, Bible, Miracles, Scripture, Trials, Trust

MIRACLE SHOW 

MICAH 7:15 

“‘As in the days when you went out from the land of Egypt, I will show you miracles.’” 

I have a couple of friends who are illusionists. They do not like the name “magician” because they will quickly tell you that nothing they do is magic. It is all an illusion. One, in particular, is extremely good. He literally blows my mind each time I see him perform. I know there is an explanation for what he is doing, but I cannot figure it out. 

God did not perform illusions when He set the Hebrew children free from captivity in Egypt. Everything He did was a miracle, doable only by Him. Even when the magicians in Egypt tried to replicate God’s miracles before Pharoah, they fell short. God is reminding Micah’s audience of these feats of years ago. He was still in the miracle working business. 

APPLICATION 

Are you ready for a miracle? I am. In fact, I know I have experienced miracles in my life. I am not talking about pillars of fire or anything like that. I am talking about the everyday miracles of salvation, of physical healings and other things we tend to explain away with human reasoning. 

The problem with us today is we do not think God can still do miracles. We believe they all ended way back in Biblical times. But I have seen the miracle of a transformed life. I know God can do anything He chooses to do at any time He chooses to do it. He may just choose to do one in your life, if you believe. 

It is not magic. It is not some man behind the curtain pulling levers like in The Wizard of Oz. No! God is still in power and will work miracles in our lives when He knows we are ready to receive them. He has healed me twice from a terminal disease. I believe in miracles. Do you? 

I believe in You, O Lord. I believe You can still work miracles in my life and in the life of others today. 

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Bible, Destruction, Redemption, Restoration, Scripture, Trials

DEMOLITION

MICAH 5:11

“‘I will also eliminate the cities of your land and tear down all your fortifications.’”

Some years ago, in a town where I lived, there was a restaurant that had a rat problem. They trapped them, fumigated them and tried every conceivable method to get rid of those rats. Nothing worked. They eventually had to tear down the restaurant, find the underground nest and exterminate them. Then they rebuilt the restaurant which is still standing today.

God says here in verse 11 of Micah 5 that He is going to tear down the cities and their walls. You need to understand something about this. Cities and walls represented a place of evil and rebellion. That is where the idolatry ran rampant. God had already told the people that Jerusalem would be destroyed. Sometimes God has to tear down in order to build back up.

APPLICATION 

Let me ask you something. What areas in your life need demolition? Is there a part of your daily living that must be completely torn down so you can grow in Christ? I will not name anything here. You know what you must give up. Those walls and structures in my life have changed over the years. Now, I battle the issues of time and energy.

We all have stuff in our lives that need to be tossed out. When we moved to our current home back in 2014, we threw away or gave away about three pickup trucks full of stuff we had collected over the years. It was time to discard, to downsize, to purge. Why had we held on to these things so long?

When we allow the Lord to destroy all those things that keep us back from being fully immersed in Christ, He can build something beautiful. We cannot see that until we do the demolition. Take a moment today to look at your life. What do you have in it right now that is coming between you and your growth in the Lord? Will you lay it down?

Lord, bring in Your bulldozer and level anything in my life that is in the way of Your perfect architecture.

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Abiding, Bible, Dependence, Rescue, Scripture, Trials

GUESS I’M WALKING

MICAH 5:10

“‘And it will be on that day,’ declares the LORD, ‘That I will eliminate your horses from among you and destroy your chariots.’”

There is not much more aggravating that a broken-down car. You are on the highway going somewhere, and your car or truck decides to quit. Mind you, I am not talking about just running out of gas (I’ve been guilty of that). I mean broken, not running, steam coming out from under the hood. You are not going anywhere. Your ride is gone. Hmm, sounds like our verse today.

Through the prophet Micah, the Lord is telling His people He is going to remove those things they had formerly relied on. They did not need them anymore. He was with them. He would fight their battles. God does not need horses and chariots. He wields the lightning bolts of heaven. He can throw hail stones down to earth to defeat their enemies. He is telling them to stand watch the hand of God.

APPLICATION

Oh, my friends, God is still saying that today. Do not rely on a medical miracle to save your life. Doctors only treat. They do not heal. That is God’s business. God is still bigger than anything we can come up with. We tend to think we can handle it. We can fix it. Especially us men. We are very bad about that.

But there are some things that we just cannot fix, and the sooner we figure that out, the better. If God allows your health to suffer, He has a bigger plan for you. If God takes you out of your comfort zone, allow Him to direct you. God is still doing great and mighty things.

Our problem is we do not see it. We westerners are especially blind to God’s little miracles. I speak as one who did not see them for decades. Even as a minister, I did not recognize the spiritual side of life as much as I should have. Sure, I knew God was there and was working. But wow, He is still doing some miraculous things in our midst. Open your eyes. Rely on Him.

Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes to Your handiwork in my life. Help me share that vision with others.

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Affliction, Battles, Bible, Destruction, Devil, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Protection, Scripture, Storms, Trials

YOU’RE IT

JONAH 1:7

“And each man said to his mate, ‘Come, let’s cast lots so that we may find out on whose account this catastrophe has struck us.’ So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.”

I used to hate when we picked teams in elementary school at recess to play a game. Depending on the game, I would get picked early or late. I wasn’t the fastest guy, but I was one biggest. So, if it was a speed game, I was usually picked near the end. I usually felt unlucky and undervalued.

Jonah was picked by lot. The soldiers knew something about this storm they were in was divine. They could read storms, and this one didn’t fit their knowledge. So, they turned to casting lots to choose who was at fault, who had offended their god. They still didn’t understand who this God was who was trying to get Jonah’s attention. God even guided the lots, and they fell on Jonah.

APPLICATION

The Lord may have chosen you to go through a trial right now. He has tapped you on the shoulder and said you’re going in. It’s your turn. You’re it. That doesn’t make God a cruel God. It makes Him a specific God. He doesn’t haphazardly call us into these tough situations.

I just got an email from a friend of mine who serves in another country. His young son was hit by a motorcycle while walking home from school. He had a compound fracture to his femur and many cuts and contusions. Why? Why would God allow this? For some reason, God tapped them on the shoulder and chose them for this trial, knowing that going through it with Him would make them more like His son. (Pray for their son Ian).

Every trial we go through will shape us and mold us into His image. God is not trying to maim us or destroy us. That’s the devil’s game. God allows trials to touch us only to draw us closer. Do you trust a God like that? I do. I’ve been there. I’ve seen how He works. Watch Him work in yours.

Lord, thanks for picking me to show others how You work. I many not like the process, but I do like the end result.

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Abiding, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Cleansing, Compassion, Disciplemaking, Faithfulness, God's Will, Judgment, Trials

SHAKEN BUT NOT STIRRED

AMOS 9:9

“For behold, I am commanding, and I will shake the house of Israel among all nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, but not a pebble will fall to the ground.”

One of the classic statements in the James Bond 007 movie series is when James Bond asks the bartender to make his drink. He always says, “Shaken, not stirred.” Well, for some reason when I read this verse, I thought of that. Strange, I know. But his drink had to be prepared a certain way.

God was preparing Israel for something. Certainly, they had to face the coming judgment, but God wasn’t done with them yet. He promises that not one pebble (or grain) would be lost. He would preserve the nation, even though it might mean exile into a foreign country. He would keep them safe.

APPLICATION

I once watched a woman in Liberia pound and then sift rice. She pounded the rice grain in her large pestle and then poured the crushed grain into a large, flat, wicker platter. She would shake the grain so that the chaff (the husk that had been pounded away) was blown away by the breeze. It was a fascinating thing for me to watch.

That reminded me of a passage in 2 Corinthians 9:8-9 which says, “8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed;” God’s got our backs, even when we feel He doesn’t.

I am thankful (usually after the fact) for God’s discipline. I don’t particularly enjoy that process, but I know He is making me into a better man, a better husband, a better father and grandfather. I want to be better so that I can point others to Jesus. Will you submit to the pestle and mortar of God today?

I thank You, Lord, even though the process may be painful. I am confident You are shaping me into something more like Jesus. 

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Accountability, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Enemies, Holiness, Judgment, Modeling, Sanctification, Scripture, Suffering, Surrender, Trials

RISE UP

AMOS 6:14

“‘For behold, I am going to raise up a nation against you, House of Israel,’ declares the LORD God of armies, ‘and they will torment you from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of the Arabah.’”

I have learned from personal experience how God can raise up things in my life to teach me a lesson(s) that I need to learn. Now, hear me clearly. This is how He has worked in my life. I can only speak to that. But I know for a fact that He allowed my health issues to grow me more like Him.

That is always His purpose behind our trials. Amos speaks forth God’s words declaring the coming of a nation that He is sending to bring God’s judgment on Israel. It would a full judgment stretching from the northern most point to the southern most point of the country. God’s judgments are always complete.

APPLICATION

If you are in the middle of a trial right now, thank God. Yes, I said thank Him. Why in the world would you want to do that? Because every trial sent our way is meant to make us more like Jesus. God doesn’t allow trials in our life to toy with us or to just cause havoc. Every single aspect of that trial is orchestrated by Him to make us holy.

You may be ready for the trial to be over. Can God see Himself in you yet? Are you surrendering your all to Him? Do others see God portrayed in your life through this trial? That’s what God is doing. Rest assured – this trial won’t be over until God says so. He doesn’t leave it half done. He will complete it.

So, come on God. Enough already. I’m good enough. Obviously not. Every trial has a beginning and an end. God will bring you to fulfillment. And oh, when He is finished, you will look so much more like Him. You will see later what He was doing in that trial. You may not see it until you get to heaven, but you will. Rest in Him. Trust the process and give Him glory.

You’re still working on me to make me what I ought to be. I know that and am willing to be molded into whatever You want me to be.

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Abiding, Advice, Battles, Bible, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Modeling, Perseverance, Scripture, Trials

PALE FACES

JOEL 2:6

“Before them the people are in anguish; all faces turn pale.”

Some people are paler than others. That’s just a fact, right? But others can become super pale when frightened or in pain. Have you ever heard the expression “you look as pale as a ghost”? Now, that’s pretty pale. I have visited people in the hospital who looked like that. They looked as pale as the sheets on their bed.

The Hebrew words for the phrase “turn pale” literally mean drained of color. The people were in so much pain, so much anguish, they were drained of color. They were writhing in pain. The locust swarms that had come upon them had them to this point. They could see all their crops and produce being annihilated, and they were helpless to do anything about it.

APPLICATION

So, what do you do when this happens? What do you do when you find yourself in anguish? There’s only one thing to do. You turn to Jesus. We live in a fallen world. We have to deal with that. And sometimes the Lord allows things in our lives that will drive us to Him. We may not understand at the time, but He is there with us.

The next time you find yourself in one of these situations, stop and ask the Lord what He is trying to teach you. What lesson does He want you to learn? When we approach these times like that, we can learn so much about ourselves and Christ. I am not even pretending these times are fun. They are not. But they are times to grow.

I can truly say I hated every time like this I have faced. No one likes going through hard times. But I can also say that I have always learned going through them. I have also learned that the quicker I submit to the Lord and allow Him to teach me, the sooner I can feel His warm embrace in the process. The trial may still continue, but now I know what it’s about.

Lord, show me the purpose of the hard times in my life. Teach me to trust You and grow me into what You would have me be.

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