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.

Standard
Battles, Bible, Drought, Encouragement, Trust

DRY 

NAHUM 1:4 

“He rebukes the sea and dries it up; He dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither, the blossoms of Lebanon wither.” 

When it has not rained for some time, it gets dry. I have seen crops in the field reduced to nothing but dry, crackly branches. I remember walking through a corn field one time during one of those droughts and grabbing the leaves on the stalks. They crumbled in my hands. 

Nahum teaches us in today’s verse that God’s power is extreme. He can dry up seas and rivers. He can cause the fields and blossoms to wither. Bashan and Carmel represented beauty and richness. All that would be gone. God would wipe it all away and leave only dryness and dust. 

APPLICATION 

So many people complain about their dry, withered lives. They point their finger at God and say He is to blame. Nothing could be further from the truth. God promises to care for His children. He will not leave them destitute.  But when we reject our source of truth, we can expect dryness. 

If I go all day without drinking some kind of fluid, especially water, what will happen? My mouth gets dry. My lips start to stick together. I have trouble swallowing or even talking. Moisture is needed. God is that for our soul. He keeps us full of His life-giving water through the Word of God.  

Jesus told us if we drink from Him, we would never be thirsty again. So why do we blame God when we spiritually dry? It is not His fault. We are ones who have resisted. We are the ones who refuse the cup of water from the Giver of Life. Don’t blame Him for your parched tongue. Reach out and find Him. 

O Father, You are so good to me. All praise goes to You. Teach me to be more grateful for all you give. 

Standard
Abiding, Bible, Covenant, Persecution, Scripture, Storms, Trust

BENEATH GOD’S FEET 

NAHUM 1:3 

“The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In the gale and the storm is His way, and clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” 

Walking around in Africa during the dry season can get your shoes awfully dusty. The simplest, smallest step stirs up whirlwinds of dust that cover your shoes. You can wipe them off, but the next step produces the same dust cloud. I usually wait until the end of the day and then clean them for the next day. 

Notice, Nahum did not say God’s feet got dusty. He said the dust is beneath His feet. There is not a part of God that could be called dirty or dusty. But God will stir up gales and storms here on earth to display His power and anger to those who come against Him. Nahum is warning them – a storm is coming. 

APPLICATION 

Now, today’s verse may be a challenge for us. What can we take from this verse and apply to our lives? Is there something in this verse that strikes you? For me, it is the last phrase – “clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” That comforts me. Why? Because no matter how fierce the storm, God is above it. 

Everything that is over our heads is under His feet. It does not matter what it is. He is above it. Financial crisis – He is above it. Health concerns – He is above it. Persecution – He is above it. There is not one, solitary thing in your life that God cannot handle. He is above all things. 

I am thankful the Lord is walking on the clouds of dust. I wish I had that capability. But wait! I do! I am in Christ, and He is in me. If He is above it, I am above it. He carries me in His bosom and leads me through these hard times. How incredible is that? 

Cloud Walker, show me Your power in the storms. Hold my hand and see me through. 

Standard
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. 

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Belief, Bible, Scripture, Security, Trust

TRUST NO ONE

MICAH 7:5

“Do not trust in a neighbor; do not have confidence in a close friend. Guard your lips from her who lies in your arms.”

Those who remember the show “X Files” remember the statement that was made often. “Trust No One.” In this show about extraterrestrial lives cloaked in secrecy by the government, Fox Mulder, led investigations each week into appearances. If you like that sort of thing, you might enjoy this show.

Micah lived long before Fox Mulder, but his words are the same – trust no one. Well, he actually said, “Do not trust in a neighbor.” The lives of the individuals Micah were addressing were so unreliable and untrustworthy that he admonished them to not put trust in them. There was only one who was and is truly trustworthy.

In whom do you trust? I trust my wife without any doubts. She trusts me the same. But we are not perfect, and we can get things confused sometimes. When I travel, I try to stay in contact with her each day, not to check in, but to let her know she is on my mind. My loyalty to her is what has built our trust.

APPLICATION

I love Psalm 62:5-8. Listen to these words and discover your source of trust. “5 My soul, wait in silence for God alone, for my hope is from Him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my refuge; I will not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my glory rest on God; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. 8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”

What else could you ask for? My fortress, my refuge, my rock and my strength. There is nothing else I can fully really on. I have good friends, but I know I cannot completely rely on them. God is the only One. Will you trust Him today? If you can trust Him with your eternity, certainly you can trust Him for your day.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.

Standard
Abiding, Affliction, Allegiance, Battles, Belief, Bible, Encouragement, Sickness, Suffering, Trust

DOES THE LORD MAKE YOU SICK? 

MICAH 6:13 

“‘So also I will make you sick, striking you down, making  you desolate because of your sins. 

What a title for today’s blog! But the verse called for it. So, let me tell you from personal experience, God does not “make” you sick. He “allows” sickness to come into our lives for various reasons. We will talk about that more in just a minute. I needed to express this thought first, before we went any further. 

God, however, was giving out judgment to a rebellious people. He allowed all kinds of maladies to come on them. They were all for the same purpose. He was trying to draw them back to Him. This verse isn’t very encouraging, is it? But we are going verse by verse, not just seeking out the good verses. 

APPLICATION 

Now, back to this discussion about sickness. Most of you who read my blog regularly have read about my two stem cell transplants (SCT). They were about ten years apart (Nov 2010 and Feb 2020). But you need to know God used those two episodes and everything that followed differently. 

The first SCT was to test my faith to prove me faithful. It was intended to drive me and my family to trust Him more. The second SCT was not about me. He used me to show others how to be faithful. I did not necessarily like being used as an example, but He used me any way. 

Suffering and sickness is never fun. But we have to know as believers that if we are going through it, God has allowed it. He would never allow something to touch you to drive you away. It is always to bring you closer. Believe me, those two SCTs brought me to a sweeter intimacy with Him. I can say now, looking back, that I am grateful He allowed me to be used. Can you say that today? It may be hard at first but just trust Him. 

Lord, You are always there, no matter what I am going through. Yea, though I walk through the shadow of death…” 

Standard
Accountability, Accused, Bible, Lying, Righteousness, Scripture, Trust, Truth

DECEITFUL TONGUE

MICAH 6:12

“‘For the rich people of the city are full of violence, her residents speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.’”

Have you ever heard the expression, “If his lips are moving, he is lying”? I have known a few people like that. Most of the time, they are lying about things that do not matter at all. They just make up stuff to make themselves appear smarter than they are or more important than they are. They just have to appear above others.

The Lord here speaks against such people. He clumps them with violent rich people. Lying and the desire for riches seem to go hand in hand. The Lord is not saying having riches make you violent or deceitful. He is saying it can make you more prone to it.

APPLICATION

I can recall telling my children to just tell me the truth if they had done something wrong. I did not want them getting into the habit of lying to cover up something. I had rather know the truth and deal with that. But if they lied about it, they would be in more trouble with me.

In order to know how to not lie, we have to know the truth. Jesus told us that in John 8:32. “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” Let me tell you something. I had much rather be free than in prison. Hadn’t you? Lies will bind you. Lies will imprison you. You will be trapped by lie upon lie upon lie.

Watch your tongue. James warns us in James 3:6, “And the tongue is a fire, the very world of unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our body’s parts as that which defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” You can’t get much clearer than that.

Will You tame my tongue, O Lord? I want it to speak truth to all.

Standard
Affection, Bible, Blessing, Caregiver, Comfort, Encouragement, Fruit, God's Will, Intimacy, Loyalty, Protection, Relationships, Scripture, Surrender, Trust

OUR CARETAKER

HOSEA 14:8

Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like a luxuriant juniper; from Me comes your fruit.”

Isn’t it nice to have someone who looks after you? When I was growing up, my parents did that. Now, I liked that until I became a teenager. Then, not so much. Lol. I wanted my independence. I didn’t want anyone watching my every move. But my parents continued to do that, even when I went to college. They were always checking on me to make sure I was alright.

God says here, “It is I who answer and look after you.” Through all Ephraim’s rebellion, God was still look watching out for them. Even though there were consequences for their disobedience, God still loved them and wanted what was best for them. He says from Him comes their fruit. God was the source of their blessings.

APPLICATION

We need the Lord in our lives to give us purpose and power. It is only though His watchful gaze that we are able to do the things we do. Just like His care for Ephraim, He will care for us. But what does that mean? How does God care for us? Does He give us everything we want or desire?

The Lord puts His umbrella of protection over His children. That doesn’t mean we will never suffer. Just the opposite. We may be chosen by Him to suffer. Suffering is a privilege. God only allows suffering on those who can endure it. He will see you through it. His eye is on you constantly. If you believe that, then you know He cares for you.

I know through many situations in my life that the Lord is watching over me. I could name dozens of times in my life when the Lord showed His care for me. It is comforting. It is peaceful. And He does produce His fruit through me. All I have to do is let Him.

Father, thank You for watching over me. I want You to use me however You see fit.

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Bible, Blessing, Choices, Commands, Encouragement, Following, Forgiveness, Gifts, God's Will, Obedience, Scripture, Trust

LOST BLESSINGS

HOSEA 2:9

“Therefore, I will take back My grain at harvest time and My new wine in its season. I will also take away My wool and My flax that I gave to cover her nakedness.”

I have this vision about heaven. Now, hear my clearly. This is my vision. I am NOT saying this is biblical. It’s just my thought. I have this vision of getting to heaven and seeing this huge box with my name on it. When I ask what’s in it, I’m told that it contains all the blessings that were meant for me that I never asked for. Wouldn’t that be awful?

Israel suffered in that way time and time again. They repeatedly turned their back on God, and He withheld His blessings. He cannot bless disobedience. It goes against everything He is. But He stands ready to bless when we return to Him. Israel eventually did return and reaped the blessings.

APPLICATION

What blessings do you think you are missing? What disobedience in your life is thwarting God from pouring His blessings on you? Perhaps it’s withholding your tithes and offerings. Maybe it’s seeking other loyalties besides Him. Don’t you want to be blessed?

Let me ask you something. Do you really think anything you can gain in this world will outweigh God’s blessings? I don’t think so. There is nothing in this world that can compare. Everything we gain in this world is temporal. God’s blessings are eternal. Even the material gains He may send your way come with eternal lessons. Those blessings build our faith and trust in Him.

Today, ask yourself if you want to live life pursuing worldly things or the blessings of God. Just say yes to Him today. Ask Him what He would have you do today. He has a plan. But He won’t force you to do anything. It’s your choice. What will it be?

God, I want to please You. I want to honor You in all I do. I know You want to bless me, and I want to receive those blessings which draw me closer to You.

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Bible, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Obedience, Scripture, Trust

OBEDIENCE

HOSEA 1:3

“So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.” 

So he went. Just like that. God told Hosea to go take a wife whom God knew would not be faithful to him. Hosea believed what God said was true, so he knew she would be faithful. And he still did it. Now, I have to admit – that would be a hard pill to swallow. After all, what man wants to know that?

You see, sometimes God asks us to do things that make no sense. In the logic of the world, it may even seem crazy. Sell your house and all your possessions and move to a foreign country to serve as a missionary? Are you crazy, God? Give up my rights for someone else? No way, Lord. But listen, we have to trust that He knows exactly what is best for us. He sees the end result.

APPLICATION

Trusting the Lord with the big things may seem easy. When we get sick, we quickly pray for healing. When we are faced with a career change, we turn to Him. But how about the little things, the everyday things? Do we trust Him with those? Don’t you think the Lord cares about those things too? Of course, He does. He knows when one hair falls from our heads.

Can you ask the Lord to give you that kind of faith? He will. He wants to. But you have to mean it. He will build in you the kind of faith that Jesus said could move mountains. I want that kind of faith. I want to move pebbles. I know the Lord can do it through me if I will just die to myself and allow Him to live through me.

Start your day tomorrow asking God to teach you to live that way. He’s waiting on you to ask. He’s ready to perform miracles in and through you. But like Hosea, you have to willing to do exactly what He says. Are you?

Lord, give me that kind of faith. I want it. I desire it. I trust You, Lord.

Standard