Complaints 

Micah 6:3-4
“O My people, what have I done to you? And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me. For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.”

It is not uncommon to hear people complain. If the sun is out, we find it to be too hot, if the clouds fill in, we complain that it is muggy, overcast or dreary. We often sound like Goldilocks, who thought things were too hot, too cold, too hard or too soft. When things pass from being uncomfortable to unmanageable, it is common for our complaints to turn against God. We accuse Him of being unfair, distant, uninvolved or even unloving. Like the disciples in the boat, we think God is asleep and does not care about the storm we are currently enduring. Micah draws our attention to a different grievance; this passage reveals the complaint God has against His people.

“For the Lord has a complaint against His people, And He will contend with Israel.”

After declaring that He has a complaint, God asks them to consider what He has done, and questions why they would reject Him. He reminds them of how they were delivered from bondage and carried through the wilderness. When we face the obstacles of life that cause us to question the character and the promises of God, it is a good idea to look back at what He has accomplished for us. Like Israel, we were in bondage and without any hope of rescue. They were enslaved in Egypt and forced to serve a harsh task master, while living under the fear of death. We were enslaved to sin and its consequences. We lived separated from God, and under the penalty of the curse of sin. In that condition, we not only lived in this life without the benefits of knowing God, but we were also on course to live eternally separated from God. It was at the cross that Jesus paid our debt and made our redemption possible.

When difficulty strikes, we need to look back at what God has accomplished for us and allow His Word to direct our thoughts, rather than our circumstances. Circumstances and emotions are very poor guides. Since they are always changing, they do very little to provide stability in life. Instead, we should look at the unchanging promises of God to guide us when our circumstances are difficult and our emotions are crying out.

Pastor Jim

 

Standing Out 

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 of old, From everlasting.”

Several years ago I went to Orlando International Airport to pick up a young man whom I had never met. We had talked numerous times on the phone, but had not yet met in person. Before making the hundred mile drive to an airport that has almost thirty five million customers every year, I wanted to be sure I’d be able to pick my friend out of the hundred thousand people milling about. I asked him how I would recognize him. He responded by telling me, he had blond hair and was six feet, six inches tall. A few hours later, I walked into the airport and found him among the masses. Two characteristics were enough to distinguish him from the crowd.

Ever since the fall of man, God began promising to send a savior into the world, to restore mankind back to God. In order to distinguish the promised one from all others, certain details were given regarding his birth, life, character, and death. All of these details were designed so He would be easily recognizable among the masses. Here, Micah gives one such detail. He declares that the promised Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. This promise alone vastly decreases the possibilities as to who the Messiah is, since Bethlehem was a relatively small city, and even today does not produce a large percentage of the world’s births. This, coupled with prophecies that tell of the timing of His coming, the genealogy of the Messiah, the role He will play in humanity, and the descriptions given of his death and resurrection, makes it easy to pick Jesus out among the many who claim to know the way to God.

Clearly God wants us to know Him. The question we want to ask ourselves is whether or not you have believed in Christ as Savior, and had your sins forgiven. If not, take time right now to pray and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sin, come into your life, and help you live for Him.

Pastor Jim

 

Fully Charged 

Micah 3:8
“But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, aneed of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”

Two things caused Micah to stand out from the false prophets who filled the pulpits of ancient Israel. First, he had received a message from God and second he was energized by the Spirit of God. These are as necessary today as they have ever been. If we want to effectively serve the Lord, we need a message from God and the power to deliver it. The question to ask is, where will I find these things?

Micah’s message came from two places. First, it was found in the pages of God’s Word. He could scan the scrolls and see what was being proclaimed in the pulpits and practiced by the people, were a violation to God’s written Word. Second, his message came by direct revelation, requiring him to learn to hear the voice of God. We will not hear new messages from God, but we do need to learn to sit quietly and hear Him apply His Word to our lives and circumstances. Jesus said His sheep will hear His voice (John 10:27).

Under the old covenant, God was very selective as to who received the power of the Spirit. Certain individuals, for limited times, were filled with the Spirit. We know both Samson and Saul had the Spirit for a while, and then it was taken from them. In contrast, Joel promised, under the new covenant, the Spirit would be poured out on all flesh without distinction (Joel 2:28). The Spirit is received when you trust Christ for Salvation, but there remains a need for the continual filling with the Spirit of God. Jesus explained that we would receive the Spirit when we ask with persistence.

It is important that we see the need to be used by God to deliver His message to the world. Paul declared that people cannot hear without a preacher (Romans 10:14). Its also critical that we take the time to ask God to give us a message, an opportunity, and the gifting of the Spirit to share Christ with others.

Pastor Jim

 

Prophecy Fulfilled 

Micah 1:13
O inhabitant of Lachish, Harness the chariot to the swift steeds (She was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion), For the transgressions of Israel were found in you.”

Micah prophes’s  specifically about the cause of the fall of the Judaean city of Lachish. Lachish was the second most important city of the Judah. It was located about 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem and was designed as a stronghold to protect the nation against invasions. It was situated on a hill, surrounded by hills and fortified with great walls and gates. This seemingly impenetrable city would suffer a great defeat when, under the leadership of Sennacherib, the Assyrian forces attacked. Micah declares that the cause of their defeat was sin. The inhabitants of Lachish seemed to have introduced many of the sinful practices, rampant in Israel, to the people of Judah. Their sin would be the cause of their fall. It is worth noting,  no high walls or trained army can protect a nation that turns from God.

The fall of the city of Lachish is one of the most documented events in ancient times. Not only do the remains of the ancient city testify of its fall, but we have the biblical narrative, and the reliefs that filled the palace of the Assyrian King. We learn that a great army, armed with soldiers, archers and battering rams, came against Lachish. The soldiers erected siege mounds, enabling the wheeled battering rams to approach the city gates, while the soldiers took cover behind these massive structures. Soon the walls were broken down and the people taken captive. So proud was the Assyrian King of his victory, that he dedicated an entire room of his palace to display the victory in vivid detail. These reliefs can be seen, today, in the British museum. They show Israel being defeated, many of the soldiers being tortured, and the inhabitants being taken before the king to bow in submission. In addition to these, archeologists also found a large pit that served as a massive grave with the remains of over 1,500 bodies.

With vivid detail, the prophecy of Micah, regarding Lachish, came true. The city that introduced idolatry and wickedness to the nation, became the first to fall, and its people suffered greatly. In contrast, at the same time Lachish was falling, the inhabitants of Jerusalem looked to the Lord and repented. Perhaps it is time to take personal inventory of any areas where we might need to turn something over to God.

Pastor Jim

 

I Will Arise

Micah 7:8
“Do not rejoice over me, my enemy;
When I fall, I will arise;
When I sit in darkness,
The Lord will be a light to me.

IMG_1229.JPGI have heard a a lot of exercise mantras designed to motivate behavior. They often read a bit like Micah’s declaration,

“Believe you can and you are half way there,”

“I cannot be stopped,”

“Stop saying I can’t and start saying I will.”

The big difference is, Micah does not claim that the strength to succeed is found within. He realizes if he Is going to rise above his current condition, he will need to rely upon the strength provided by the Lord.

The prophet Daniel was a man who faced big challenges and had even bigger successes. We read his journey began with resolve. He determined he would not allow himself to be pulled down by the world he lived in, nor by the compromise of others. Instead, he purposed in his heart not to defile himself (Daniel 1:8). His success began with determination, but it did not stop there. Later, we read of a different spirit that resided in Daniel. That spirit enabled him to overcome obstacles and accomplish great things. In other words, Daniel was filled with the Spirit of God, and given Heaven’s strength to overcome earth’s obstacles.

If we want our walk with the Lord to succeed, if we want to be people who are no long falling prey to constant wiles of the devil, the secret is found in accessing the power of God, made available through the Spirit. Take time today to ask God to fill you with His Spirit and His accompanying strength. When you face an obstacle, do not rely upon yourself, but pray for strength and see if you too, will rise above.

Pastor Jim

 

Peace On Earth

Micah 4:3
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

IMG_1225.JPGAs we approach Christmas day, we cannot help but be reminded of the great promise surrounding the birth of Christ. The prophet Isaiah declared the Messiah would be a prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6) . The angels filled the skies with exuberant praise as they sang, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace toward men” (Luke 2:14). Later, we read that kings came from distant lands to crown the young Child, as heaven’s gift and earth’s highest king (Matthew 2:1-2, 11).

It seems quite striking to note, Christ’s life appeared to be marked by anything but peace. Hundreds of children were murdered on the day of his birth, his family was forced to flee to Egypt to escape the tyranny of King Herod (Matthew 2). By all accounts, it seems Jesus lost his father at an early age, and grew up in poverty. Once His ministry began, he faced constant conflict from spiritual forces, religious leaders, and even infighting among His own disciples. As much as his life was marked by turmoil, his death was more so. He was betrayed, arrested, beaten, condemned and killed. Even after his body lay lifeless in the tomb, people still fought over Him, and a band of soldiers guarded the burial site of Christ.

Over the last two thousand years, the world has known very little peace. The history of humanity is a history of war. Rome fought to keep the appearance of peace within the Empire, while leaders vied with one another for power, and external forces sought to overthrow the kingdom. Battles, conflicts, invasions and wars have been going on around the world ever since. Some of you are old enough to have lived through WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and a continual conflict we call the war on terror. Mixed in with all of this are, social conflicts, including school shootings, and constant occurrences of domestic violence. One has to wonder, “Where is the peace is that was promised?”

Let’s keep two vital things in mind when we considered the peace Jesus promised. First, it is an inner peace that is greater than any circumstance we will ever face. Jesus was a realist who declared, in this world we will face conflict, but He would give us a peace that, apart from Him, we could never find (John 16:33). Paul called it a peace that surpasses understanding and works as a guard on the heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). As long as men live in rebellion against God, the world will be marked by conflict, war, hate, corruption and violence, but in the midst of the chaos, the child of God is promised a heavenly peace.

Micah declared that one day, this peace will rule well beyond the heart of the child of God. The same Christ who was born in a barn outside of Bethlehem, will one day return in glory and reign in peace. When heaven’s King sits on earth’s throne, the world will finally experience the peace that God intends. Weapons of warfare will be discarded, and energies once spent on developing implements of war, will be given to agriculture.

Oh, how our hearts long for the day when Christ will come and reign. Demonstrations, taking place around the globe, remind us that God has created us for peace. Scripture tells us, this peace will only be found when we allow Christ to sit, first on the throne of our hearts, and finally upon earth’s throne, at His return.

Pastor Jim

 

Fully Charged

Micah 3:8
“But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord,
And of justice and might,
To declare to Jacob his transgression
And to Israel his sin.”

Two things caused Micah to stand out from the false prophets who filled the pulpits of ancient Israel. First, he had received a message from God and second he was energized by the Spirit of God. These are as necessary today as they have ever been. If we want to effectively serve the Lord, we need a message from God and the power to deliver it. The question to ask is, where will I find these things?

Micah’s message came from two places. First, it was found in the pages of God’s Word. He could scan the scrolls and see what was being proclaimed in the pulpits, and practiced by the people, were a violation to God’s written Word. Second, his message came by direct revelation, requiring him to learn to hear the voice of God. We will not hear new messages from God, but we do need to learn to sit quietly and hear Him apply His Word to our lives and circumstances. Jesus said His sheep will hear His voice (John 10:27).

Under the old covenant, God was very selective as to who received the power of the Spirit. Certain individuals, for limited times, were filled with the Spirit. We know both Samson and Saul had the Spirit for a while, and then it was taken from them. In contrast, Joel promised, under the new covenant, the Spirit would be poured out on all flesh without distinction (Joel 2:28). The Spirit is received when you trust Christ for Salvation, but there remains a need for the continual filling with the Spirit of God. Jesus explained that we would receive the Spirit when we ask with persistence.

It is important that we see the need to be used by God to deliver His message to the world. Paul declared that people cannot hear without a preacher (Romans 10:14). It s also critical that we take the time to ask God to give us a message, an opportunity, and the gifting of the Spirit to share Christ with others.

Pastor Jim

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