Category Archives: Micah

Micah 1-4; Psalm 10; Matthew 24

That very first sin, in the garden, they were faced with a choice. At first, it kinda looked like a choice between disobedience and obedience. Or maybe it was doubt over trust. Or maybe it was power over relationship. Maybe it was all of those things, but as I’ve thought on that this week, it was (insert the sin or desire) over relationship (in that case, with God).

I’ve watched that same thing play itself out in a variety of ways throughout my life. Popularity vs. relationship. Lust vs. relationship. Pride vs. relationship. Greed vs. relationship. Addiction vs. relationship.

Micah 1-4 is a list of accusation against a nation and their wickedness. Because they chose evil, unbelief, disobedience over relationship. Psalm 10 takes a look at a heart.

For they brag about their evil desires;
    they praise the greedy and curse the Lord.

The wicked are too proud to seek God.
    They seem to think that God is dead.
Yet they succeed in everything they do.
    They do not see your punishment awaiting them.
    They sneer at all their enemies.
They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us!
    We will be free of trouble forever!”

Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats.
Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues. (Psalm 10:3-7, NLT)

If you’ve ever been on the relationship side of being ditched, you know the sting of sin. But when it’s man vs. God, it’s man choosing an idol over God, and that idol goes by many names. It is temporary, powerless, empty.

Those choices can be defining, life altering, eternal.

 

Though the nations around us follow their idols,
    we will follow the Lord our God forever and ever. (Micah 4:5, NLT)

Every day, a choice.

As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” (Matthew 24:1-2, NLT)

This life, this world, they are so very temporary.

Live kingdom focused.

45 “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 47 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 48 But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ 49 and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 50 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, 51 and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24:45-51, NLT).

Lord, the choices I make, the words I say, the actions I take, they tell a story, and whether intended or not, the story they tell will show my heart. But truly, importantly, I hope those choices show you–my strength in weakness, my hope in grief, my faith in what seems futile. You are just. You are sovereign.

Courtney (66books365)

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I Chronicles 26, 27, 2 Peter 1, Micah 4, Luke 13

Do you sometimes look for the exceptions in Scripture? That is, does a phrase or description cause you to pause and wonder? I’m studying the Word for the nth time and still surprised by what I missed all those other times. I don’t always approach Scripture with an agenda. I’m not always looking for an answer to prayer or searching for my life’s purpose. When reading the Bible, my curiosity catches a word or phrase and I am bound to circle context and content until I find relevance. For relevance are what all Scripture offers.

Take the many lists of fathers and sons in Chronicles. What pops out to me is the phrase after introducing the eight sons of Obed-Edom – “…for God blessed him,” (I Chron. 26:4-5) What to make of that; are we not blessed who have few or no sons? Or is it that Obed-Edom was blessed because his sons would be tasked with heavy responsibility in the kingdom of God?

“Also Hosah, of the children of Merari, had sons: Shri the first (for though he was not the firstborn, his father made him the first,” (I Chron. 26:10). This is yet another example in Scripture where a firstborn lost his heritage to a younger son. Depending on where you stand politically, you might herald this as a great triumph for the last being first. Another might decry, “Unfair!” as Lucy says on A Charlie Brown Christmas, “All I want is what I have coming to me; all I want is my fair share!”

“To Shuppim and Hosah the lot came out…watchman opposite watchman,” (I Chron. 26:16). Ominous, isn’t it? There is this perpetual need for watchmen; the eyes facing out, backs forming a barrier between the unknown dangers without and the trusting protected ones within. Who are our wathcmen?

“Also Jehonathan, David’s uncle, was a counselor, a wise man, a scribe…” (I Chron. 27: 32). Keeping family who know you best in your inner circle can mean accountability and practicality; uncomfortable at times but grounding when needed.

And this much debated truth – God chose holy men to be His spokesmen. “…knowing this first that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,” (II Peter 1:20). Thus, the source of all Scripture is God Himself. How reassuring! When I veer off, Scripture draws me back to God’s truth.

“Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord…He shall teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’” (Micah 4:2)

Talk about getting grounded! I am reminded not to be fooled or led astray by the automatic negative thoughts that lead to disturbed emotions and unthinkable behaviors toward others.

Jesus debunked false ideas: “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

(Luke 13:4-5)

Lord Jesus, I do not mean to end my wonderings on a seemingly negative note. In fact, I am encouraged by picking out these exceptional verses of Scripture. They remind me of the intense focus you place on speaking to your children from creation to eternity. No matter that I am limited in understanding by my finite, mortal brain. Your Spirit calls to my spirit and I relish in listening, asking for clarification, responding to Your intimate knowing, and surprised repeatedly by Your mysteries. Love You, Lord! Looking forward to the next immersion in Your Word!

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture and commentary quotes from: The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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1 Chronicles 22; 1 Peter 3; Micah 1; Luke 10

I am a 56 year old middle child and I still have an annoying tendency to whine that I don’t get enough attention. And my older sister continues to carry a mantel of authority as she was responsible for looking out for my younger sister and I while our parents were at work. Adult as we are, we still find ourselves slipping into certain roles unwittingly and then laugh about it, if not roll our eyes at one another.

Here’s the thing, God could have easily switched up the birth order, yet I know for a fact that God has used this to develop certain skills and traits. If this small scale pecking order is something that He has used, how does He use the authority structure of governments, marriages, employers, and the like to shape me for his purposes? The very structures put in place that I chafe against end up being tools in the redemptive hands of God.

Peter instructs, “For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution…” 1 Peter 2:13 and then fleshes out what this means in 1 Peter 3.  And yet these imperfect human institutions that may cause us suffering. Peter says that when we submit, we are actually submitting to Jesus (1 Peter 3:22) who is “at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.”  These are difficult words, yet the one who holds all things together is ultimately in control. Do I really believe this? And under what circumstances should I refuse to submit?

Jesus has given believers a different kind of authority that extends beyond human institutions to usher in the kingdom of God. Jesus declared, “I watched Satan fall from heaven, like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless less, do not rejoice at this that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:18

And Peter encourages me to keep my eyes on the one who has everything under him, “Do not fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you and accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” 1Peter 3:13-15.

Do I live as one who believes these passages? Sometimes yes and sometimes, no, but I want to. It’s easy to get hung up on what I what is immediately before me and not see the big picture of God’s truth, but I know that this is where true freedom lies. Like the father of the epileptic, I pray, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief,” Mark 9:24 and then trust God to use the imperfect to mold and make me in his image.

Kathy

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Micah 4, 5; Revelation 11

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,

who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,

from you shall come forth for me

one who is to be ruler in Israel,

whose coming forth is from of old,

from ancient days.

Therefore he shall give them up until the time

when she who is in labor has given birth;

then the rest of his brothers shall return

to the people of Israel.

And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,

in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.

And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great

to the ends of the earth.

And he shall be their peace…Micah 5:2-5a

In a few short days, people all over the world will be celebrating Christmas. Everyone will be celebrating with their own traditions, unique to their families and unique to their cultures. Some will be making merry with the secular folklore of Santa Clause and his reindeer. And some will choose to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.

From the beginning, the coming of Christ was foretold. Throughout the generations the people of Israel anticipated the coming of the Messiah, hoped for the time to come when they would be liberated from the never ending line of oppressors.

Much of Israel imagined that their Messiah would come as a king and slay the enemy in a violent way to make room for his kingdom. Some people would come to realize that He came in a much different way –as a baby who would grow up as the rest of us do and redeem us in a much different way.

Micah was a prophet who spoke to the future of Jesus – the King who would stand up for His people, becoming like a shepherd to lead them to greener pastures, a bringer of peace. Micah’s prophesies gave the people the opportunity to glimpse into Jesus’ life hundreds of years before He was born, before He walked the earth.

God used Micah to encourage His people and give them hope about their coming King. He increased the eagerness of the people for their salvation and gave them something so important for them to look toward.

I think about the anticipation that I experienced over the past 9 months, from the time that I first heard the news that I was pregnant. It was amazing to have the opportunity to carry a child, knowing that he is full of potential and has an exciting destiny, a hope and a future. It was incredible to peek into the depths of my body to see the ultra sound of my little boy, to see his face with 3D imagery, a hint at what he would look like and who he may resemble. And, it was thrilling to finally meet him face to face and begin the process of getting to know who God made him to be.

Though Christ was born over 2000 years ago, I still experience a similar expectation when I read the prophecies about Him. I know that many of them have been fulfilled in His first coming and I look forward to the rest of them being fulfilled in His second coming. I am excited to get to know Him more, to see His face in the midst of my life. And I am glad to be able to experience His peace and know that I can find strength and security in Him.

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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I Chronicles 28, 2 Peter 2, Micah 5, & Psalm 106

Watch Bethlehem!

 I Chronicles 28:20 “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God – my God – will be will you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.”

2 Peter 2:7 “…and delivered righteousness Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)…”

Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from old, From everlasting.”

Psalm 106: 1 “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

Some days I find myself in turmoil from competing emotions – love/fear, hope/despondency, belief/practicality…and I wonder when or IF God will do anything about my concerns.

My eyes are on the circumstances and the people about me.  My thoughts are racing from rationalizing to judging, from deserving punishment to pleading for mercy, from expectancy to acceptance of disappointment.  Too often, I crash and burn, screaming “I’m done!”

Doesn’t God hear me?  How much more can I bear? These raging wonderings result in quiet despair, and I settle into heaviness.  Why?  Do I not know that my God is with me?  When did I lower my eyes from the heavens and drag my weakened mind through thorny paths of lost hope?  Like Lot, I stand helpless, tormented.  All I can pray is “Have mercy on me, oh God.”

And every time – no, I mean it, – EVERY time – I look to The Savior, born in a manger, Who not only died for the world, but died for me, and Who was resurrected and now lives and rules and intercedes for me.  I lift my eyes to the heavens and wait.  I watch. I remember to expect the goodness of the Lord.

Then I chide myself and say “Why are you discouraged?  Your God will never forsake you and never leave you.”  I know this.  And then He comes – EVERY time.

Watch Bethlehem!  

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1 Chronicles 22; 1 Peter 3; Micah 1; Luke 10

It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from within you – the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God. 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NCV)

Every day (yes, even in India), I am bombarded with images of male and female models who project what the world values as beautiful. The men are well dressed, muscular, a trace of 5 o’clock shadow, eyes staring dreamily at something on the unseen horizon, a flirty smile on their lips. The women, more often than not, are adolescent girls exposing stick thin figures and ample cleavage in barely-there fashions with come-hither expressions painted on their faces.

The world’s definition of beauty has always left me feeling inadequate, falling just short of the perceived ideal. Even though I did some local modeling while in high school, I still always felt too dumpy, too fat, not enough this, not enough that.

Throughout the years, I have experienced times where I looked at myself and liked what I saw in the mirror. My positive self-esteem strengthened by my understanding that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and being unique is appreciated. I have also experienced times when I was unhappy with my reflection, especially after being a veteran of childbirth. Though I love my daughters immeasurably, getting to know my post-pregnancy body has sometimes been a less than pleasurable encounter.

In the movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”, Andie (played by Kate Hudson) is going to a gala event with Barry (played by Matthew McConaughey). She steps out of her apartment building in a stunning gold dress, walks to the edge of the steps and turns a 360 in front of Barry who is standing at the bottom of the stairs on the sidewalk. He is awed by her outer beauty.

A few years ago, while I was in the midst of a self-image struggle, God showed me a picture similar to this scene. Dressed in a gorgeous red gown, I walk out of the building, walk to the edge of the step and slowly twirl around. Jesus, standing near the road, looks at me with awe. God whispered in my ear, “You are beautiful. You’re covered in the blood of Christ. You are made perfect in me.”

“Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42 (NCV)

Beauty isn’t simply skin deep. It isn’t about how I dress up or accessorize; it isn’t about wearing the latest trends or having the latest hairstyle.

Choosing Jesus made me beautiful. My beauty is found in my character, in my spirit. It originates inside of me and radiates to the outside. Being beautiful is about Christ in me and the fruits produced as a result of our relationship. Being beautiful is about what I do with that harvest.

The beauty the world prizes will fade – aging is inevitable. But, my inner beauty, the beauty that is precious to God and ultimately treasured by those around me, will never be taken away. It will only grow more beautiful because of Jesus.

Yesappa, Thank You for loving me. Thank You for proving my value and worth when You died for me on the cross and covered me with Your blood. Thank You for making me beautiful. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Micah 6, Micah 7, Acts 22

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8

 Do not trust in a friend; Do not put your confidence in a companion; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household. Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. Micah 5-7

 A great light from heaven shone around me. And heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’   Acts 22:6-8

Read at – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Micah%206,7;%20Acts%2022&version=NKJV

 Micah 6          “the Lord … will contend” –  “O My people, what have I done to you?  And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me.” – I redeemed you from the house of bondage; That you may know the righteousness of the Lord.”

            Lord God, Maker of the Universe, You are SO Humble!! You are forever nominating Yourself, challenging us to turn to You, the One Who Loves us the Best. You are relentless to me and others, not to let us get more deceived, blind and side tracked away living an Eternal Life with You here and now. 1

The Lord’s voice cries, Hear the rod! Deceitful weights? Spoken lies, Therefore I will also make you sick, making you desolate because of your sins. You shall sow, but not reap.   Micah 6

             You go through greatest lengths to have me “come to my senses”. Lord Jesus, you don’t quit pursuing, even to bring me to the end of myself to realize You are already there waiting for my surrender with Your open arms!! Luke 15:11-32 

Micah 7          Woe is me!  The faithful man has perished from the earth, And there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; … successfully do evil with both hands— The prince asks for gifts, The judge seeks a bribe, And the great man utters his evil desire; So they scheme together. Do not trust in a friend; Do not put your confidence in a companion; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household. 

              Lord, I am in great turmoil. The person I trusted is not trustworthy. The lies and deceit are severe. The effect on my trusting any person is great. Woe is me. My heart is undone. I cannot approach them because of their wrath and defensive posture for revenge. Only You are the God of my salvation in Whom I place my trust.

             Where am I to go when I am betrayed? To You, Lord Jesus Who Never betrays anyone. To my Damascus Road so many years ago and no farther. Great Joy bubbles up by Your Holy Spirit as I consider Your Love and Faithfulness, my LORD. You encountered me that day undeniably Lord Jesus! And You have continued to tangibly affect my life daily since. Oh, The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy.” Psalm 111:7  2

             Father, Your Scriptures are True and Sound; The Sure Rock for my feet, my Reference Point for action, my sole/soul Foundation. The entirety of Your word is truth”Psalm 119:160

             How may I serve one who lies to me? The one who is entrusted into my care, for me to love them in Truth? Lord Jesus, Your Word tells me what to do and how to do it. I will encase myself in Your heart and thoughts to shut out all else. I will love You above all, so that You can bless others without me being a people pleaser. 3 

Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. Micah 7

Acts 22           Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid,

              Saul said, I “taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, …, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.. And when the blood of martyr Stephen was shed, I was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.” Acts 22  Saul was a Religious Terrorist, a hunter and murderer of people who followed Jesus Christ.  

            NO SIN, not murder, blasphemy, lying, cheating, adultery, beating, raping, stealing, mocking or worse IS BEYOND the Hope of the sin-removing Atonement Blood of Jesus Christ. No person is beyond the reach of Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ.  The only person who can block God from forgiving AND removing sin and evil in my own heart and mind is me. The same is for true for you, dear Reader.  4

            If You can save me from the just eternal punishment that I deserve for offending You, Holy God, and also continue the Good work You began in me to bring to completion verse – and fulfill what You have planned for me from the beginning – Then, Lord God please do it for everyone who lies, deceives, and destroys. Dear Reader, please take the step of faith and hope needed for Your life to change and have purpose for eternity with the True Living God.  5

            May the one who betrayed me be renewed in mind and repent in their heart to You, my King. May they testify: When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord,  Because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case And executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness.  Micah 7

Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob And mercy to Abraham, Which You have sworn to our fathers From days of old. Micah 7

The painful effect of someone’s sin on me is Great, dear Father. I shelter myself in Your Truth and Promises!! Alert me to the pain which my sins cause other people, near and far, so I will not sin. Amen Psalm 51

Bible Insights –

1-  Genesis 1; Job 38-42; John 3:15-16; John 4:13-26; Matthew 19:29; John 10:28; John 17:3; Romans 6:23,

2- Psalm 41:9; John 13:21; Luke 22:47-48

3 – Matthew 10:32-39, John 15, Romans12:1-2, Colossians3:23-24  

4 – Isaiah 59:1; John 3:5-21; John 14:6; Matthew 12:15-21; Genesis 22:1-19; Exodus 12:1-30; John 1:29; John 3:15-16; Hebrews 9:11-28

5 Revelation 21:8; Romans 1:18-2:16; Psalm 51; 1 Peter 1:23; Philippians 1:6; Ephesians 2:10; John 8:44; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 12:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:3-21; John 4:1-42; Matthew 4:19; John 15; Psalm 1

Crystal (PsalmThirty4) 

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