Amos 1:6 Selling Communities

This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Gaza, even for four, I will not relent. Because she took captive whole communities and sold them to Edom,” Amos 1:6

Amos starts out with the words of God against various towns and nations. Each of these are for capturing cities and selling the people and community to other nations. For each one it is listed as for three to four sins God was willing to not relent and bring on the judgment against them. It was a prophecy of destruction against nations that sin against God.

Even though, as a whole, slavery has been abolished across the world, there are many places that still allow it or have it occur on a very wide spread basis. People are bought and sold into various types of slavery all over the world, even in America. Most people will agree that slavery is wrong and should be done away with.

There is, however, another type of slavery that people are sold into on a regular basis, that most people don’t even recognize as slavery. It is slavery into sinful practice and ways.

Stores and bars populate most towns promoting getting drunk. Movie theaters push movies that promote sex, drugs, and every type of sin known to man as worth seeing and doing. Books are published promoting every type of sin there is as something good for a person. Television promotes sinful lifestyles as being acceptable and good. Musicians sing songs pushing sin. Pornography promotes free sex, immorality and lust.

All of these things are taking whole communities into captivity, selling them into slavery of sin. People are captivated by the sin promoted by others. While most people look at these things a freedom and rights, it is sin. Although the world states that a person has the freedom and right to sin, it is still wrong and there is a price to pay–life.

As a believer, you must not be caught up in these things. You must be careful that you are not one of those promoting sin in any shape, size or fashion.

Take captive your thoughts and focus them on God and His ways. Promote Jesus in this world and be His slave. Allow only God to be your master and not the things of this world. In this way God will not have to bring judgment upon you.

I pray today that you will only be captured by God; that you will only be a slave to Jesus; that you will not be guilty of enslaving others into sin; and that you will be a light of Jesus to this world.

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Joel 3:14 The Valley Of Decision

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. Joel 3:14

Joel is telling the people that God is getting ready to pour out judgment against the nations. The nations that crushed Israel will have to pay for their sins. The destruction of the nations will be great and it will be a time of great turmoil. Many will be in a place of making  decision. They will have to choose who they will follow–God or some idol.

Every day people have to make decisions. Billions of decisions are made daily in every nation around the world. Some decisions are made after a lot of careful thinking, while others are made by instinct or experience, using very little thought.

When a person walks into a dark room at night, it takes very little to decide to turn on the light in order to see. As a person drives down the road, it takes very little to decide to stay on his own side of the road.

Other decision such as what to wear to work, planning a meal for the family, which movie to go watch, and what to do on a day off from work take a little more thought in making the decision.

More challenging decisions that require a lot of thought and planning are some such as choosing whether to move or not, which job to accept to work at, how much money can be spent and how much should be saved, and whether to get married to someone or not.

Life is full of decisions. One that every person must make is whether to follow Jesus or not in their life. Right now, for many, that does not seem to be an important, pressing choice to make. However, the day of the Lord is near and it needs to be made.

You do not know if you have tomorrow, or even the next second to live. You have to make the choice now as to whether you will follow Jesus or not. As you go through your day, you will be offered choices to sin against God or to follow Him. Only you can make that choice. And that choice has to be made over and over again and again.

You are in a valley of decision.

What are you going to decide today? Follow or reject?

I pray today that you will make the choice to follow Jesus; that you will choose to turn from all sin; that you will choose to be a witness for Jesus; and that you will decide to build the kingdom of God.

Ezekiel 48:35 The Lord Is There

“The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE.” Ezekiel 48:35

The very last chapter of the book of Ezekiel is a description of the size and dimensions of a new city. This will be the city of God that will last forever. It is where God will dwell with His people and its gates are one for each of the tribes of Israel.

Each city in the world is usually known for something. Los Angeles is known for trolleys, hills, and Hollywood. New York is known for Broadway, the Big Apple, and the Bronx. San Antonio is known for the Alamo and the various missions. Berlin is known for the wall. Rome is known for the Catholic church and the pope. Amsterdam is known for tulips and drugs. Paris is known for art and the waterways. Each one has some things that they are known for that are good, while some things are bad.

Every person who lives on this earth has something that they are known for also. When a person’s name is mentioned, a thought comes to other people’s minds who know that person. Some good things are that the person is generous, or a good singer, or funny, or caring, or a hard worker, or some other thing that brings a smile to others.

Others do not bring a smile to people’s faces when their name is mentioned. They are known for lying, stealing, drugs, cheating and the list goes on also.

As a believer in Jesus, you should be known for something also. When your name is mentioned, it should cause people to think of you as they will talk about the new city–The Lord Is There.

When you accepted Jesus as your Savior and repented of your sins, God made His home in you. He is there to dwell with you forever.

By your actions and words, people will know that God is there with you. They will see His love shining through. They will see His blessings pouring in and through you.  However, this can only happen if you allow God to work in and through you.

As people look at you, what do they see? Do they see just another person, like everyone else?

Or do they see where God dwells?

I pray today that you will allow God to live in you; that you will allow God to work through you; that God will shine in your life; and that people will see Jesus in you.

Ezekiel 31:10-11 Being Cast Aside

” ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because the great cedar towered over the thick foliage, and because it was proud of its height, I gave it into the hands of the rulers of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside,’ ” Ezekiel 31:10-11

God had been claiming judgment upon the nation of Egypt. He had raised Egypt up to be a great nation, one of the most powerful nations upon the earth. The Pharaoh had chosen to claim all the power for himself, as though it was his own doing. He claimed he was a god. Therefore God was going to break Egypt down.

God points the people to look at Assyria, whom God had raised up to be a really great nation. Yet, when pride got in the way of the king, God also tore the nation back down. They were destroyed because of their wickedness.

Nations and people are raised up by God to do great things for Him. The more nations and people do for God, the greater God will allow them to become. However, when either the nation or a person starts to do things for themselves or reject God’s ways, God will cast them aside.

There is no place for sin in God’s kingdom. It was because of sin in the lives of people, that Jesus came to the earth to die upon a cross. He came to remove all the sin from every person.

Sin can show up in the lives of a person in many different ways. All of the ways come down to personal pride and greed. People want things their own way, rather than following the ways of God. Many people want to be the one who is in control, rather than accepting that God is the one who is in control and allowing Him to have that control.

As you look at your life, you may not be living in some massive sinful lifestyle, but are you allowing sin in your life on purpose?

Pride and greed can show up in many different ways in your life, if you allow them to do so. Reject pride and greed and allow God to have all the credit and power. Do not give Him a reason to have to cast you aside and tear you down.

I pray today that God will use you in great ways to build His kingdom; that you will give God all the credit and power for everything in your life; and that you will not allow sin to get in the way of your relationship with God.

Jeremiah 30:22 God’s People

“So you will be my people, and I will be your God.” Jeremiah 30:22

As the people of Judah were being sent into exile in Babylon for punishment, many were thinking that God no longer wanted them. The punishment was going to be very severe and God would seemed to have abandoned them altogether. God did not abandon them completely. He stated that after a time He would restore them. He also told them, while this was occurring, that they would be His people and He would be their God.

Going through life can bring some very troubling times. It may often appear as though God has abandoned a person for life, because of the trials that one is going through. Because of choices that were made, there may be times that God will discipline a person to get him back on track. Other times, it will just be the consequences that God allows because of some poor decisions to walk away from Him.

You may have made one of those bad decisions in your life and you may be going through some discipline right now. It can be painful and feel as though God has left you. The devil and this world will try to tell you God has left you. Your mind may be telling you that God has abandoned you and wants nothing to do with you. It is not true. Never forget that God said He would never leave you, nor forsake you.

Even though you may not be an Israelite, you have become one of God’s children when you accepted Jesus and the work He had done for you. God is always right there to be your God and He wants you to be a part of His family, His people. You were grafted into the vine.

God wants to be your God. He wants you to be one of His people. He has great plans for you, if you are willing to follow Him and allow Him to be God. When you allow God to be the master of your life, He will guide every step you take. Everything that occurs will be for your benefit. God will not do anything that will be there to harm you or destroy you.

Are you trusting God to be your God?

Do you know that you are one of God’s people?

I pray today that you will know God as your God; that you will know that you are one of His people; that you will walk the path God has for you; and that you will obey God in every area of your life.

Isaiah 34:1 Get Near And Listen

Come near, you nations, and listen: pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! Isaiah 34:1

Isaiah is calling all the nations to gather around and listen to what God is saying. God is angry with the nations, because of all the sin that is occurring. Isaiah is pointing to a future time in which God is going to bring out judgment upon all the nations. They will be judged for their sins and destroyed.

That call for the nations to listen has never changed. The time of God’s full judgment upon the nations and the people has yet to fully come. The final, ultimate judgment will be when Jesus returns to take His people home to heaven for all eternity. At that time God will judge every person by what they have done or not done.

Even today, people need to get together and listen to what God has to say. The world tries to say that God does not exist or is silent. Many believers will even say that God is silent and does not really speak to anyone anymore.

When Jesus left the earth, He sent back to the earth His Holy Spirit to be with each believer. God is still speaking today through His Holy Spirit.

What God has to say may be different for each person, but it is still important. He will point out things that need to change in your life, sins that need to be repented of and tossed out. God will also speak to you about what to say when you have an opportunity to be His witness. He will open doors for you to share the gospel message and His love and mercy with those around you.

If you are keeping your ears closed, you will not hear what God is trying to tell you. You will not hear what God is doing in this world. You will not hear how God is doing miracles in the lives of others and in your own life.

Turn off the phone and the music and listen for God to speak. Be willing to be silent for a moment and hear Him. He has great things to tell you, if you will just listen.

I pray today that you will hear God’s voice in your life; that you will follow God’s instructions; that you will be God’s voice to this world; and that God will do great things in and through you.

Romans 15:20 Your Ambition

“It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” Romans 15:20

When Jesus finally got a hold of Paul’s life and turned him around, Paul attempted to speak to the Jews. They refused to listen to him since they were still holding on to the Old Testament laws and ways of doing things. The Christians were nervous of him at first because he was the one who was an extreme persecutor trying to cut out all Christians.

He then chose to speak to the Gentiles. At the time, most Christians were not willing to talk to the Gentiles about Jesus unless they became a Jew first. In today’s verse he said it was his ambition to preach to those who have not heard of Jesus.

No matter where you go in the world, there will always be some people who have not heard about Jesus other than just a name. In the USA most people have at least heard of the name of Jesus, but never have heard who He really is or anything more about Him. In fact, many have only heard His name as a curse word.

As Jesus was leaving the earth He told the disciples to go and preach His message to everyone, everywhere. This means you must make it your ambition to actually go to the people to tell them about Jesus.

What is your heart’s desire? Most people have the ambition of living a good, successful life. Jesus and Paul had the ambition to see everyone saved. Their goal was to let as many people know that God loves them and wants to save them. It was what drove them to do the things they did.

Are you willing to tell others about Jesus? Are willing to seek out those who have never heard about Jesus?

Do not presume that people have heard of Jesus, tell them. Make sure that they have heard of Jesus and had the opportunity to accept or reject Him.

Make it your ambition to tell someone today about Jesus.

I pray today that you will know the love Jesus has for all people; that God will direct your path to those who have not heard of Jesus; that you will be bold in telling others about Jesus; and that God will draw many to Jesus through your words.