Bible, Evangelism, God's Will, Judgment, Scripture, Witnessing

THE DAY HAS ARRIVED

ZEPHANIAH 1:14

“The great day of the LORD is near, near and coming very quickly; listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly.”

Those famous words of the mother, “You just wait til your father gets home.” For most children that meant that dad would be the one to deal out the discipline. That could range from a spanking to grounding. But the wait…that was the worst part. If you did something early in the day, you had all day to wait.

Zephaniah is restating those words of Joel 2:31 about the great and terrible day of the Lord. This “day” wasn’t a one-time event. God’s judgment fell on numerous days against His children because of their disobedience and rebellion. A day of the Lord meant chastisement. It meant correction. But we have to remember it was all done in love.

APPLICATION

As believers in Christ, we do not fear a day of the Lord. Our sins have been paid for by His Son, Jesus. We walk in covenant relationship with Him knowing that we are forgiven and free. But this freedom does not give us the liberty to live as we want. We still have to follow His commands.

The day of the Lord is coming for millions, though. All those who are not in Christ will face a judgment for their sins. And when He returns, it will be too late. No second chances. No reprieves. So, we must be His instruments to spread the good news to all we encounter. He is still using people to spread His message.

While we can be content in our relationship with Jesus, we cannot let others die without it. There are so many all around the world who will die today and spend eternity in darkness. How can you and I change that? Pray! Pray for believers all over the world to speak out and be bold. We can all do that.

Lord, I know You will return one day to take us home. Help us spread the word far and wide before that day.

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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!

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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! 

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Baptism, Bible, Disciplemaking, Guard, Obedience, Scripture, Witnessing

STANDING GUARD

HABAKKUK 2:1

“I will stand at my guard post and station myself on the watchtower; and I will keep watch to see what He will say to me, and how I may reply when I am reprimanded.”

Have you ever been waiting for a message to arrive? Maybe it was a phone call or a letter. Perhaps it was some other type of communication (we only have about a billion types now). The anticipation is excruciating, isn’t it? I remember waiting for my college admission letter. When that envelope arrived, I knew it would be either good news or bad news, but at least now I had the letter.

Habakkuk says here at the beginning of chapter 2 that he will wait on the message from God. He knows his calling as a prophet requires him to deliver the news to the people, whether it is good news or bad news. He is simply the messenger, but he must wait on God’s message. He can’t just make up his own message and pretend it is from God. He waits in obedience.

APPLICATION

God has a message for us to deliver. We don’t have to wait as Habakkuk did. We already have it. It is the story of His Son who came to give us life. We have the best news story of the centuries. For some it will be the news they have been waiting for. For others it will be the death nail in their coffin of disobedience.

Regardless of how others respond, we are commanded, just like Habakkuk, to deliver the message we have been given. The question is whether or not we will be obedient to our calling as believers. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 is pretty simply – go make disciples, baptize them and teach them. It’s not complicated. You don’t need a seminary degree to do it. Just do it.

We can all improve in this area of evangelism. I believe with all my heart that time is getting short. That’s not a prophetic statement. It’s just my personal belief. So, I need to be more diligent at sharing with others. You need to join me. Time is wasting. We are the watchmen on the wall.

I will deliver the message Lord. The rest is up to You.

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Bible, Direction, Evangelism, Fishing, Obedience, Scripture, Service, Witnessing

WHAT ARE YOU FISHING FOR?

HABAKKUK 1:15

The Chaldeans bring all of them up with a hook, drag them away with their net, and gather them together in their fishing net. Therefore, they rejoice and are joyful.”

I love to fish, especially for large-mouth bass. Anyone who has read my blogs in the past is aware of this. I don’t get to fish as much as I used to, but I love it. Fishing is fun and exciting (especially if you are catching fish). It relieves stress for me. I could be happy whether I am catching a lot of fish or not. But I am always looking for a bite with every cast.

The Chaldeans were not literally using fishhooks and nets to gather the people of Israel. Habakkuk is using that imagery because it is one the people could relate to. They had all seen fishermen at work. They saw how they rejoiced when they had a big catch. The Chaldeans, Habakkuk says, will react the same. They will rejoice at their victory over Israel.

APPLICATION

What are you fishing for? I don’t mean you are using a pole or rod and reel. I am asking if you are fishing for souls. Jesus told His would-be disciples what He would do for them. He tells these fishermen He will change their lives if they will follow Him. Look at this story from Matthew 4.

“18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

Jesus is calling us just like He called Peter, Andrew, James and John. We may not be mending nets, but we are busy with other things. He tells us to lay down those busy things and follow Him in doing the better things. Will you cast your net today into the waters Jesus is directing you? There are souls to be saved.

Lord, I know You are calling me to fish for men, not fish. Show me where to cast my net today.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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