Accountability, Bible, Commands, Consequences, Counsel, Encouragement, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Scripture, Truth

A WICKED COUNSELOR

NAHUM 1:11

“From you has gone out one who plotted evil against the LORD, a wicked counselor.”

In our lifetimes, we are going to receive some wrong counsel. Friends who think they know best will offer advice that they are sure is the best for you. You may even receive some advice that you know is not from God because it goes against what His Word says. You have to be careful from whom you receive pearls of wisdom.

Nahum states it plainly. There is bad counsel coming from Nineveh. Listen to what Isaiah said about this in Isaiah 10:5. “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation,…” The nation God used to judge Israel thought it had done this on their own. Pride, once again, raises its ugly head.

APPLICATION

How do you know you are receiving good counsel, godly counsel? Simple, measure it against God’s Word. Does it agree with what God says? If it doesn’t, leave it alone. My rule has been if I know it’s bad, don’t do it. If I’m not sure, don’t do it. That has kept me out of a lot of tight jams.

A word of warning – people will think you are crazy for basing your decisions on an ancient book. Come on, Carl, times have changed. It’s 2022, not 1962. I don’t care if it’s 2050. God’s Word is timeless, and its truths eternal. I will never go wrong by choosing to live by it.

God’s counsel, through His Word and His Spirit, will never steer you wrong. It may not make perfect sense all the time but just trust it. It will see you through. I truly believe every problem we face in life can be solved simply by trusting His Word. Try it today.

Your Word is faithful. I will turn to it as my counsel.

Standard
Bible, Favor, God's Will, Goodness, Praise, Promises, Relationships, Reward, Salvation, Scripture, Truth

TRUTH AND FAVOR 

MICAH 7:20 

“You will give truth to Jacob and favor to Abraham, which You swore to our forefathers from the days of old.” 

I like receiving gifts. Don’t you? I mean, come on, who doesn’t? But I really like receiving gifts that include things I need. I am at the age now that I really do not want many things. So, I am hard to buy for. When my family gets me a gift, it is usually something I have specifically told them I could use. 

Look at these two gifts that God gives Jacob and Abraham. The Hebrew word for “truth” can mean steadfastness, faithfulness and truth. The word contains so much more than what we consider truth. Then He gives favor. That Hebrew word is key to God’s covenant relationship with Abraham and the whole nation of Israel. It can also be translated as loving-kindness. 

APPLICATION

Oh, to have God’s truth and favor. Wait a second! I do! When we come to Christ, we receive both of these to their fullest extent. God’s truth is found for us in His word. God’s favor is celebrated through our covenant relationship with Him through Jesus. We receive the same gifts as Jacob and Abraham. 

Now, listen carefully. Both of these gifts are given for a purpose. God does not give us gifts to hoard and keep to ourselves. Oh no. These gifts are given to share. We share God’s truth with people everywhere. We introduce others to the covenant relationship we have in Christ. 

I am not worthy of these gifts from God. Neither are you. But God gives liberally to His children. The very moment you ask Christ into your heart, these gifts arrive. Hallelujah! Who can help but praise Him for these beautiful gifts. 

Thank You, Father, for giving me truth and favor, just like Jacob and Abraham. 

(This is my last blog on Micah. I will start the book of Nahum tomorrow.)  

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
Accountability, Bible, Disciplemaking, Judgment, Truth

WISHFUL THINKING 

MICAH 3:11 

“Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD, saying, ‘Is the LORD not in our midst? Catastrophe will not come upon us.’” 

Have you ever wanted something which you know is totally out of your reach? You mention it to a friend and they say, “Wishful thinking.” In other words, you don’t have a chance of getting that. They kind of brought you back to reality. 

The leaders and priests to whom Micah is talking were doing just that. They thought just because they said something, it was going to come true. After all, weren’t they God’s chosen people? But they were perverting God’s message. No, really, they were saying it was God’s message, but it wasn’t. 

APPLICATION 

We must speak truth at all times. It is so important for we believers to be above reproach. We need to speak God’s Word, no matter how harsh. Now, we are told to do that in love. Of course. That just makes sense. But so many Christians forget that. 

Many Christians don’t want to tell someone the truth for fear it might hurt someone’s feelings. Let me ask you a question. Is it better to risk that or to not speak up and watch someone die and go to hell? That question may be harsher than some of you reading can handle. Sorry about that, but it is the truth. 

I have seen it happen so many times when people would not speak up and the person moves away or even dies before they are confronted. Do not let the fear of rejection deter you from telling the truth. You do not want to live to regret that decision. 

O Lord, thank for loving me and for also pointing out my need for a Savior. 

Standard
Accused, Bible, Consequences, Deceit, Evil, Modeling, Scripture, Truth

SNAKE BITTEN

MICAH 3:5

“This is what the LORD says concerning the prophets who lead my people astray: ‘When they have something to bite with their teeth, they cry out, “Peace!” But against him who puts nothing in their mouths they declare holy war.’”

I have never been bitten by a snake. Thank goodness. I grew up around them, though. In Southwest Georgia we have rattlesnakes, coral snakes and cotton-mouth moccasins. That last one is the mean one. They will actually come after you. I remember fishing in my uncle’s ponds and having to shoot them as they tried to get in the boat with us. Mean snakes.

The Lord is comparing the false prophets of their day to snakes. The Hebrew word for “bite” is used primarily to describe the serpent’s bite. A serpent’s bite is never good. The people knew that. But these false prophets would latch on and not let go. They attacked those who did not go along with their message and declared “holy war” on them. How dare they not agree?

APPLICATION 

It is human nature to attack people who disagree with us. That does not make it right. In fact, following our human nature seldom leads us to the right thing. Our human nature is sinful, fleshly and only wants to please itself. Whether we are extolling something that is true or false, we want those listening to be in agreement. If they are not, then “off with their heads.” Not literally, lol.

We have probably all known people who act that way. They are really hard to be around, aren’t they? Don’t be that person. Don’t act like they do. Stick with the truth of God’s Word, and you will be fine. The moment you veer off course of that, you are preaching a false narrative.

As I share with others, I try to always be careful that everything I am saying is truthful. I double check stories I may use as an illustration. I double check any statistics I may use also. I do not want to be accused of stretching the truth or an outright falsehood. If others do not agree with the truth, that is between them and the Lord. But I will not be a serpent and bite them. How about you?

O Lord, keep my fangs pulled. Let me never be one who bites another because of my flesh.

Standard
Accountability, Bible, Conceit, Deceit, Godliness, Guilt, Integrity, Modeling, Scripture, Truth

LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE

MICAH 2:11

“‘If someone walking after wind and falsehood had lied and said, “I will prophesy to you about wine and liquor,” he would become a prophet to this people.’”

We probably all remember the childhood rant, “Liar, liar, pants on fire.” We would say that to people we caught lying about something. There is nothing good about lying. It always leads to a bad end. We find ourselves lying about the lie we just told, and then we get confused about what we said. It is a never-ending circle of lies.

These lying prophets lied for one purpose – to satisfy the ears of the people. They prophesied health and wealth. They prophesied nothing but good times. When God says they prophesied “about wine and liquor,” He is saying they are telling the people that the land will be plentiful, and they will enjoy the fruit of the vine. They found out differently.

APPLICATION

Application is always important when we look at a verse or passage of Scripture. Why else read it? Here, the application is clear. Tell the truth! Do not lie to people. Even bad news is better told than lying to cover it up. People need to know the truth, no matter how hard it might be.

But let’s think about that for a second. You also need to “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15) We should never use the truth to hurt someone else. Some of us remember the line from “A Few Good Men.” Jack Nicholson said to Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth!” Be tender when you speak truth to others. There is never any reason to be harsh in truth telling.

I am thankful that my God is truthful. He is truth and nothing but the truth. I can always depend on Him to tell me the truth. I discover His truth from His Word. Jesus tells us, “the truth shall set us free.” (John 8:32) We all want the truth. Will you accept it today?

I am so glad You only speak truth to me, Lord. I know Your truth will remain.

Standard
Abiding, Accused, Apologies, Bible, Blessing, Consequences, Forgiveness, God's Will, Scripture, Thoughts, Truth, Understanding

MISUNDERSTANDINGS

JONAH 4:6

“So the LORD God designated a plant, and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head, to relieve him of his discomfort. And Jonah was overjoyed about the plant.”

Don’t you hate it when you have a misunderstanding with someone? They did something, but you took it wrong. Words are exchanged before the real motive is revealed. Then when it is, you feel embarrassed that you overreacted. This happens all the time.

Well…Jonah had a misunderstanding with God about this plant. He was “overjoyed” that God had provided this miraculous, fast-growing plant to give him shade. He mistakenly took that to mean God was favoring him and his actions. God was favoring him, but not for the reason Jonah thought. God wanted Jonah to sit right there and watch Him work according to His plan, not Jonah’s wishes.

APPLICATION

Perhaps you have had a misunderstanding with God. You may think you are God’s gift to mankind. You think He has favored you above everyone else. You would not be wise to think that. God does show us favor, but it is usually not because we have done anything to deserve it. He just loves us.

Or perhaps you think God does not love you because He has not blessed you. Your understanding of God depends on God giving you stuff. God will bless us according to His will. But once again, it is not because of anything we have done.

We all need to have a correct understanding of God. That begins with understanding that without Jesus as our Savior, we are all doomed to eternal destruction. But once we make that all important decision to follow Jesus, we are in God’s family. He will protect and defend us. He will bring us through the hard times. And yes, He will bless us. Aren’t you ready to follow Him today?

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

Standard
Abiding, Bible, Choices, Deceit, Lies, Truth

HALF TRUTHS

AMOS 7:11

“For this is what Amos says: ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.’”

Don’t you just love it when someone tells half the truth? That really irritates me. Sorry. It’s one thing to lie, but telling those half-truths are just as bad, maybe worse. Why? Because half-truths lead people away from the truth. They think they are hearing the truth but are only getting part of the story.

That is exactly what we have in verse 11. Amaziah, the “priest” installed by Jeroboam, was relating to the king what Amos had said. The problem is he was distorting Amos’ message. For one thing, Amos always said “thus saith the Lord.” He never implied any of his words were his own. Then Amaziah tells an outright lie. Amos never said Jeroboam would die by the sword. Sure, he did say they would be led into exile, but he also said if they repented, they would live. Half-truths are whole lies.

APPLICATION

I think the application is pretty clear, don’t you? Tell the truth. Don’t distort the message. Be clear when you deliver God’s message, which is His Word. Enough said. I could go on and on, but I don’t need to. Don’t lie.

Lying just leads us into more and more sin. It cascades into an unstoppable waterfall of lies. The truth is much easier to remember and tell. And who is the truth? Jesus. Just preach Jesus.

I struggle at times with this. I have to watch myself. I have to stay connected with the Spirit. I want to make sure that every word out of my mouth is the truth and nothing else. How about you? How do you handle the temptation to lie?

The truth is You, Lord. I am thankful You are always true!

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Belief, Bible, Confession, Deceit, Devil, God's Will, Guilt, Heaven, Lying, Mercy, Promises, Redemption, Satan, Scripture, Truth

LYING ABOUT GOD

HOSEA 7:13

Woe to them, for they have strayed from Me! Destruction is theirs, for they have rebelled against Me! I would redeem them, but they have spoken lies against Me.”

When you read my title for the blog today you may have thought that to be a strange title. Who, after all, lies about God? Oh, don’t get me started. Look all around you. There are people everywhere who are lying about God. They say He accepts all kinds of lifestyles – nope. They say He will accept everyone into heaven – nope. Some even say He doesn’t really exist – nope.

God would love to redeem Ephraim. He would love to extend His mercy and grace, but they are lying about Him. They are refusing to acknowledge His power of creation and them. They are not bowing to His total control over their circumstances and are thereby lying about Him. God will not redeem the unrepentant.

APPLICATION

When is the last time you have lied about God? Oh Carl, I have never lied about God. Oh really? Have you never questioned His power to save you from a situation? Have you never believed Satan’s whispers that God was too busy for your prayers? You may call my words a little harsh. You may not see that as lying about God. But anytime we don’t recognize His power we are basically calling Him a liar. We don’t believe He will do what He says He will do.

He says He will always love us and see us through the storms of life. He says He will rescue us from Satan’s barrages against us. He promises us that He is always listening to hear our prayers and to intercede according to His perfect will. You can believe these things about our holy God. He will always come through. To believe anything else is to believe a lie.

I may get accused of lying about a lot of things, but I do not want to ever be accused of lying about God. I want to always trust His Word and believe exactly what it says. If God says it, that settles it. There is no questioning Him. Praise be to God for His unshakeable truths.

I love knowing that You can always be trusted, Lord. Every word out of Your mouth is truth.

Standard
Advice, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Elders, Encouragement, Friends, Mentoring, Parenting, Relationships, Scripture, Truth

YOUR NAME IS KNOWN

3 JOHN 1

“The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.”

I have a lot of friends. I say that, not to brag, but to make a point. A lot of people know me by my name. If my name is mentioned to them, they can say they know me. If they see my name in the paper, they would recognize it. In other words, a lot of people truly know me. I am glad for that and try to make a good impression.

I bet you Gaius never thought that his name would be known by people in 2021. We really don’t know who this Gaius was. There are three men named Gaius mentioned in the Scriptures (Acts 19:29, Acts 20:4 and Romans 16:23/1 Corinthians 1:15). It could possibly be the Gaius mentioned in Acts 20:4. Who he was isn’t as important as that he was. He was a kind Christian friend of John. That we know.

APPLICATION

Ask your child how they want to be known. Do they want others to remember them? For what should they be known? Our kids might want to be known for their athletic prowess. Perhaps they want to be known for their good grades. Most everyone wants to be known by others for something. No one wants to be forgettable.

However, we should be teaching our children to be known for their loyalty and commitment to Christ. In this day and age, that will really stand out. Even in Christian circles that will stand out. If our children are known for standing for Christ, people will remember their name. After all, we don’t want them to be known for who they are. Jesus will give them a whole new idea behind being known. Let Jesus show them the correct way to be known.

Are you concerned about being known? Gaius wasn’t. He was only doing what Christ told him. He was being a true friend to John. We see that in today’s verse. John loved him. That speaks volumes. Will you allow the Lord to use you today to be a true friend to someone? You never know who may remember you.

Father, I pray for opportunities to come alongside others for the cause of Christ. Let me be a Gaius to a John today.

Standard