Allegiance, Allies, Battles, Bible, Choices, Consequences, Enemies, God's Will, Scripture, Truth

BE CAREFUL OF YOUR ALLIES

ZEPHANIAH 2:12

“‘You also, Ethiopians, will be slain by My sword.’”

In the ministry I am a part of, Every Man A Warrior, we speak a lot about the importance of having allies. Men need men in their lives to hold them accountable and also to encourage them to walk with God. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, he has a friend who can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.”

The Ethiopians’ error was in choosing the wrong ally. They allied with Egypt against God’s people. They may not have invaded on their own, but they were part of the army that did. God speaks against them in Isaiah and Ezekiel. Their destruction was prophesied. However, they did not heed any of the warnings. They persisted in their hostilities toward Israel.

APPLICATION

We must be careful who we choose as allies. What may appear to be a good idea can prove to be a disaster. Many a person has lost fortunes due to partnering with a dishonest man. Promises made were not kept. Lies were told to get them to join in. Not everything that glitter is gold, right?

The same holds true for us in our spiritual walk with Christ. Not every church out there is teaching the truth. Not every preacher is living what he is preaching. Not every “Christian” brother or sister is a true believer. We must check these things by the Word of God. Through it, God will show us truth from error.

I have several men I consider my allies. Some are my partners in our ministry. I trust these men completely. I know they have my back. More importantly, I know they will call me out if I am wandering from the truth. I need that. You need that. Do you have allies? Do you have people in your life who will confront you if needed? If you don’t, get some. You don’t want to walk this path alone.

Lord, I know the strands of cord are strongest when they are woven together. Give me allies who will make me stronger.

Standard
Bible, Deceit, Deception, Scripture, Truth

SUPERSTITION

ZEPHANIAH 1:9

“‘And on that day I will punish all who leap on the temple threshold, who fill the house of their lord with violence and deceit.’”

Are you superstitious? Do you cross yourself if a black cat crosses in front of you? Do you eat greens on New Years? People have all sorts of superstitions. Most of these were handed down through parents or family members. Sadly, none of these superstitions are true. None of them can affect you. So, why do we do them?

It is believed that Zephaniah was referring to the superstition of not treading on the temple threshold which came from Ashdod when the people would not walk on the threshold of the temple of Dagon. Isn’t it funny how things get passed down? These same people, it is said, fills the Lord’s house with violence and deceit.

APPLICATION

Superstitions are not based on truth, only fables or old wives’ tales. As believers in Christ, we should not have any part of these beliefs. Our hope is only in Christ. He is the one who shows us all truth because He is truth. Anything that points to anything else is not proper for us.

Now, you may think I am nitpicking. Maybe I am, but if we believe these superstitions, it opens the door to other unbeliefs. We are susceptible to falsehoods disguised as meaningless superstitions. All we need to know can be found in His Word. It is the only source of truth and the only thing we can rely on.

Jesus tells us that the truth shall set us free. Do you want to be free from all those manmade superstitions you have believed for so long? Let His truth set you free. Allow His truth to cleanse your mind and purify your heart. Then you can walk in freedom.

I will believe only in Your truth, O God. All else is falsehood.

Standard
Accountability, Allegiance, Belief, Bible, Idols, Scripture, Truth, Worship

SPEECHLESS

HABAKKUK 2:18

“‘What benefit is a carved image when its maker has carved it, or a cast metal image, a teacher of falsehood? For its maker trusts in his own handiwork when he fashions speechless idols.’”

My wife and I are opposites when it comes to morning conversations. I am a morning talker, and she is not. After her second cup of coffee, then she’s ready. By then, I am ready for a nap, lol. I am not often accused of being speechless. I guess that’s okay for a preacher, right?

God is telling Habakkuk to remind the people of the hopelessness of their false gods. Carved images don’t answer prayers. Carved images can’t even hear their prayers. Think how foolish it is to make something and then pray to it. But the idol worship of Habakkuk’s day was full of such practices.

APPLICATION

You probably don’t have carved images sitting around your house. Maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps you do. Sometimes, believers go to another country and buy a trinket that they think is cute, not knowing it is some idol sold to worship a false god. That’s only inviting evil spirits into your home. Be careful of that.

But this verse isn’t about us doing that. Instead, it is about us worshipping anything other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He should be the only object of our worship. Nothing else is real. Anything we put on a pedestal intended to bring us happiness will fail us. Simply put, don’t waste your time.

I will commit to worshipping the one true God. How about you? Will you join me this Christmas season in spreading the good news of a God who loved the world so much that He gave His only Son to die for it? The world needs Jesus so badly. What better time than now to spread the true meaning of Christmas?

You are the only true God. There is none beside You. There is none like You.

Standard
Accountability, Bible, Holy Spirit, Missionaries, Scripture, Service, Truth, Witnessing

SLEEPING ON THE JOB

NAHUM 3:18

“Your shepherds are sleeping, O king of Assyria; your officers are lying down. Your people are scattered on the mountains.”

I have had a couple of jobs that required me to work the night shift (10 or 11 pm until 6 or 7 am). Those shifts can be tough if you are not used to them. I was never a regular on those shifts, so it was hard to stay awake unless I stayed busy. If I sat still, I was a goner – snooze city.

Nineveh’s shepherds and officers were slumbering, according to Nahum. They were sleeping on the job. They were nowhere to be found when it came to fighting or resisting the enemy. So, the people were scattered on the mountains. They fled! There was no one to protect them.

APPLICATION

Don’t be accused of sleeping on the job when it comes to Jesus. Time is short, and we need to be spreading the word. But so many Christians are asleep when it comes to being bold with their witness. They leave all that up to the “paid” Christians. You know, the preachers or evangelists or missionaries.

Surely, God doesn’t expect every believer to be proclaiming the message of truth. Well, I don’t see Jesus singling out any one person when He said, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” He didn’t say, “Peter, you go!” He didn’t name anyone. It applies to us all.

I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to witnessing. It has to be a conscious effort on my part. I pray each day for the Holy Spirit to open a door of opportunity with someone I cross paths with. I want to be ready at all times. Will you join me? Wake up.

Lead me, Lord, to a place each day where I can share Jesus with someone.

Standard
Bible, Deceit, Deception, Lies, Salvation, Scripture, Truth

FULL OF LIES

NAHUM 3:1

“Woe to the bloody city, completely full of lies and pillage; her prey does not leave.”

I have talked about lying before in one or two of my blogs, but this verse today brings us right back to it. Our world is so full of lies. It lies about what a family is. It lies about how a person should see themselves. It lies about what success really is. The world will not tell you the truth. Don’t look to it to guide you.

Albert Barnes says this about lying. “‘Lie’ includes all falsehood, in word or act, denial of God, hypocrisy; toward man, it speaks of treachery, treacherous dealing, in contrast with open violence or rapine. The whole being of the wicked is one lie, toward God and man; deceiving and deceived; leaving no place for God who is the Truth; seeking through falsehood things which fail.” That pretty much summarizes what Nahum was saying about Nineveh.

APPLICATION

You know it is so easy not to lie. You just tell the truth. But what do you do when everyone around you is not telling the truth by either what they say or how they live? You keep telling the truth. You keep living the truth. You keep pointing to The Truth – Jesus Christ.

Jesus said in John 14:6 that He was the way, and the truth, and the life. If He called Himself the truth that means all other “ways” to God are lies. Don’t believe the lie that we all go to heaven. That’s not how it works. There is only one way – through Jesus.

I am sure you have people in your lives who deny that truth. They truly believe they are okay. They believe as long as they are good to others and really try hard, they will go to heaven when they die. If you care about them, do not let them get by with that. They may get upset if you keep pointing them to Jesus. That’s okay. Better mad and the possibility of them getting saved than not mad and headed straight to hell. Just tell the truth, my friends.

I am so glad that I can live in the truth rather than hide in the lies.

Standard
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