The title of my devotional today is Nahum. It is actually a part of the Twelve Minor Prophets in the Old Testament. It is in contrast to the Book of Jonah’s earlier message to Nineveh. Jonah is about Nineveh repenting and turning toward God from the top down. In Nahum, God said He had enough. No more opportunities for repentance, no options for mercy and no promises of future restoration. This massive city of over one million people would be completely destroyed. Revival was no longer an option. God had given this City over to their sin.
Look with me at some key verses:
“The Lord is slow to anger and great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet” Nahum 1:3.
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into darkness” Nahum 1:7-8.
Enough was enough. God had given plenty of time for this ruthless nation to repent and walk in His ways. God is a just God and will not let sins go unpunished. He is also a loving graceful God who gives people time to repent. Nineveh obviously was all about what they wanted and not what God wanted. I pray often that the Lord does not give our Nation what we deserve. I pray for God fearing men and women to get elected in the election next week. We need godly leaders to influence our leaders in Washington.
I think of the aggressions of Adolph Hitler during the 1930’s and 1940’s as we have been listening on the news about this aggression against Jews in Pennsylvania. In time, world tolerance reached its limit. The Nazi reign of terror was ended by force in World War II.
This morning during our time of prayer I read the first part of Matthew 6 where it focuses on prayer. Leading up to the Lord’s Prayer, our pattern of prayer taught by Jesus Himself, it mentions several times that God sees what is done in secret. It is the secret things that God sees and rewards, not the outward things of our lives. We should not stop doing things that people see, they just need to be fueled by the times we spend out of the spotlight. If only Nineveh would have kept the fires of revival stirred in their hearts.
May God speak to you from this small Minor Prophet written many years ago. Let us rejoice that God has come personally to each one of us and offered Himself as the source of right living in order that we might repent and follow His ways. Rejoice that God makes a way where there seems to be no way. Rejoice that God has given us fellow travelers to pray for and with during difficult times. Rejoice that God sees the small things of life and praise Him that He will cause the small things to multiply and make a big impact on the people around us. Rejoice again I say Rejoice…
Joy in Jesus!
There is a book written by James Garlow called, “Well Versed.” It gives biblical answers to today’s tough issues. One section in it speaks of the question, “Does the Bible speak to the political and social issues of our day?” He poses another question before answering the question, “Can we agree that our nation is in trouble? Let me share his insights as we prepare to vote in just a few weeks.
“There seems to be a strong consensus that our nation has problems – deep problems. No one thinks the massive debt is good. Our national security has people on edge. Waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption are widespread. Civil discourse in governmental bodies is almost gone. There is a strong sense among many that something has gone wrong.
The Bible speaks to every important issue of life. After all, it was God who came up with the idea of government. He established it and has clear principles about every major issue facing our nation or any nation. The Bible even uses the strong metaphor to say of Jesus: ‘The government will be on his shoulders’ (Isaiah 9:6).”
He goes on to talk about separation of church and state. Unfortunately, many ignorant people use that to say that the church is supposed to stay out of the state’s business. That is not at all the intent of that phrase. It is not in the constitution or declaration of independence. It came from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson where he used the phrase, “wall of separation.” It was to assure that the federal government would not intrude into church life (not forcing a certain denomination state church on the people). Nowhere did our founding fathers try to distance the federal government from the basic tenets of Christianity. It was the Bible that they founded our constitution. Now they are deceiving people by distancing themselves from Christianity. They want to erase the history books so their schemes are not seen.
You often hear the argument, “you can’t legislate morality”. The fact is that all laws legislate morality. Laws against murder, perjury (lying under oath), stealing, violating contracts – along with a host of other laws – are all attempts to legislate morality. That is the very nature of laws.
In Galatians 5:1 it says, “It was for freedom that Christ set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Many people interpret that as being bound like a slave, therefore, ridding us of our freedom.
We learn in Genesis 3 that we (yes we) disobeyed the one “Thou shall not” God placed before us and are now living in a fallen world. The world is bitter. The world teaches that freedom is gained by throwing off all restraint; Scripture teaches us that the opposite is true. Human beings forfeited a great deal of freedom in an attempt to gain absolute freedom. The more I read and understand the Word of God, the more I realize that freedom is gained and maintained by adherence to God’s laws. We are called to trust our creator God.
We need to uphold God’s laws and ways. Our government should do the same and not just choose which ones are pertinent. So the bottom line is – it does matter what you believe, who you trust, and that you vote biblical. If you don’t know what is biblical, go to the Bible and find out what is biblical. Stand on the Word of God to determine the issues. When you do, you will be amazed at how many issues become clearer.
Seek God with all your heart today. Take time to find out where He wants you to go and what He wants you to be.
Joy in Jesus!
I love to listen to music. It expresses the beat of my heart. There is nothing in life that compares with walking with the Lord and experiencing his presence. I find songs that express that and I just worship in the moment. A rush of the Spirit fills my soul.
I believe that is what Psalm 120-134 is all about. They are called songs of ascent. It is believed that people would sing them on their way to the Jewish Festivals. Jerusalem is on a high hill so all roads were uphill. These songs were used to express worship and love for God. Look at the themes:
Psalm 120: God’s presence during distress; Psalm 121: Joyful praise to the Lord; Psalm 122: Prayer for Jerusalem; Psalm 123: Patience for God’s mercy; Psalm 124: Help comes from the Lord ; Psalm 125: Prayer for God’s blessing upon His people; Psalm 126: The Lord has done great things; Psalm 127: God’s blessing on man’s efforts; Psalm 128: Joy for those who follow God’s ways; Psalm 129: A cry for help to the Lord; Psalm 130: A prayer of repentance; Psalm 131: Surrender as a child to the Lord; Psalm 132: God’s sovereign plan for His people; Psalm 133: Praise of brotherly fellowship and unity; Psalm 134: Praise to God in His temple.
When you place God above all things, it is choosing to see life through the lens of the Holy Spirit. From time to time we need to be reminded of the Truths found only in a life of faith in a mighty God. Worship with me as I give a sampling of the power of these Psalms:
“The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life” (Psalm 127:1).
“As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy”(Psalm 123:2).
“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore” (Psalm 125:2).
“When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them’” (Psalm 126:1-2). “But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me” (Psalm 131:2).
I pray your heart has been encouraged this morning. God is faithful to the very end. May you be filled with the presence of the Holy as you seek to glorify the Name of Jesus today in all of your endeavors.
I am looking forward to worshipping together with you as we express to the Lord His place in our lives. I love coming together with many generations singing the same song and walking in the unity of the Spirit.
Joy in Jesus!
Conquerors are not born, they are made. Many men want to be a conqueror but too many are waiting for it to happen on its own. It has to be intentional in order for it to happen. I have never heard anyone come up to me and say, “Pastor Mike, I was just going along and from nowhere, this Spirit came over me and I have been set free to live like I have never lived before.” No, it happens when you have been seeking the Lord with all your heart and you intentionally hungered for more. Many people give up too early. They get tired or distracted.
Consider how intentional Jesus was. He was a man of prayer. He prayed because He was intentional at only doing what the Father said. I know what you are thinking. He was Jesus and I am not. Correct! But you can have Jesus living inside of you – the One who rose from the grave and lives in power. So do you know what that means? We have no excuse. Too many times we blame it on our schedule or our circumstances. News flash – we are the ones in control of our schedule. There is nothing that can get in the way of intentionally living for Christ.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:10-13
As a church, we have been intentional in ministering to our men in this sex saturated culture we live in. Next week we will begin our seventh conqueror group. God is helping us to be more intentional, helping us to see the schemes of the enemy, and helping us to know how to use the tools we have at our fingertips. We are forming an army of strong men for God.
This weekend several of our men are intentionally getting away to seek the Lord and commit to purity in this impure world. Pray for our men. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17. There is going to be a lot of sharpening going on. Pray for the Lord to speak deeply into the lives of our men.
May the Lord help you to see where He is leading you today and may we be willing to trust and follow Him to the ends of the earth.
Joy in Jesus!
Have you ever watched Wheel of Fortune? I know several people spend time trying to figure out the puzzle before the contestants do on the television. There is one more thing that many people do while watching this show. They imagine what it would be like to win the money that many win. In other words, they imagine themselves becoming rich. Ok, I don’t mean millionaires, but having more money to pay off bills or take a trip. How about the show, “Want to be a Millionaire?”
Can I tell you that you don’t have to imagine what it would be like to be rich? You already are. We are rich if we have clothes on our back, a place to live, and the list goes on. If you are a child of God, you are rich beyond description. We have all been given a treasure that will make the winnings on Wheel of Fortune and Want to Be a Millionaire look like Monopoly money. You are a spiritual billionaire! There is one catch though. You have to learn how to tap into these vast resources in order to fully realize it.
In Colossians 3:16, the apostle Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”Let’s look a little deeper at the word “richly” in this verse. It comes from the Greek word plousios, a very old Greek word that describes: incredible abundance, extreme wealth, enormous affluence, great prosperity, and immense riches. Paul uses this word in Colossians 3:16 to let us know that if we will receive the Word of God in the right way – if we give it a warm reception and make if feel at home in our lives, it will enrich us spiritually. So this simply means that we are spiritual billionaires.
I know what you are thinking, “Pastor Mike, you are really stretching this one. To compare it to being a billionaire?” Read on and see what Paul tells us it produces in us if we allow it to.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” Colossians 3:16. (NKJV)
This describes people so full of the Word of God that their entire being is affected. Their hearts are full of joy; their minds are flooded with wisdom and understanding; and their mouths are singing songs to the Lord. This describes people who have struck it rich. It enriches you with wisdom, gifts, and the power you need for today. It fills you so much that it naturally comes spilling out and encouraging people in the faith along the way. When the Word of God dwells in you richly, there’s always a song of rejoicing in your heart. It spills out so much that it can actually bring life to those around you.
Paul is painting a picture of what the Word of God will produce in you if you allow it to take residence in you and become a vital part of your life. So if you are tired of feeling spiritually weak and worn out with nothing to offer, then don’t take another step without making the decision to let God’s Word play a more important role in your life.
Here is another way to say Colossians 3:16:
“Let the Word of God dwell in you richly! Throw open the floodgates, roll out the red carpet, and give it a grand reception! If you’ll let the Word of God dwell in your in this way, it will produce an amazing amount of spiritual wealth in your life to all God to breathe life into the faintest of hearts – even yours!”
Won’t you join me tonight for our final service with Stephen Manley? The service starts at 6:30pm. Come at 5:30pm and enjoy a delicious taco salad for supper. Let’s keep seeking the heart of God and we seek to know Him more.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene