November 27, 2018

Today you should read: Micah 3

Leadership guru, John Maxwell, said, “Good leadership isn’t about advancing yourself. It’s about advancing your team.” As we step into Micah 3, Micah is essentially saying the same thing. The leaders of Israel have spent too long advancing their own interest instead of the interests of others. Chapter 3 continues the denunciation of Israel’s leaders, “who hate good and love evil” (v 2a).

 Among the criticized leaders are wealthy rulers and deceitful prophets. The wealthy take advantage of people at every turn (1–4, 11a), while the prophets sell hope for money (5–7, 11b). Standing in opposition is the prophet, Micah. He says of himself in verse 8, “On the other hand I am filled with power—With the Spirit of the Lord—And with justice and courage to make known to Jacob and his rebellious act, even to Israel his sin.” In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would fill certain people at particular times—we see in 3:8 that Micah was one of those people at one of those times. By the Spirit’s power he was able to stand in stark contrast to the leaders of his day, with justice, courage, and bold rebuke.

Thankfully, believers today are indwelled with the same Spirit that Micah had. We must have the courage to stand for truth, justice, mercy, and integrity, leaning on the Spirit to supply our weaknesses. It’s easy to be tempted when our world is so corrupt and we see so little fruit from our efforts. However, God has called us to be faithful.

The challenge comes when we judge our character by the world. I’m reminded of the story of the man who was called in to talk to his son’s principal because his son was stealing school pens and paper. The man responded, “I don’t know why he would steal, I can get as much as he wants from my office.” The standard of justice is not set by our co-workers, it is set by a perfectly righteous and holy God. Most of us think, “I don’t take advantage of people,” yet we are willing to cut corners both personally and professionally. There is hardly an instance when cutting corners is not robbing someone of something.  

For those of us called as leaders, basically all of us, we must remember what Uncle Ben told Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Your responsibility as a leader must be to elevate everyone around you—not only yourself. Responsibility equals servanthood, and the more of it you have, the less “rights” you possess. God does not grant leadership responsibility for you to fulfill your idols. Instead, leadership is a platform from which you leverage every area of your life to point people to Christ. Because our world has a shortage of godly leaders, when one steps up, they usually stand out. That level of influence can shape the landscape of eternity in a big way, all you need to do is be filled with power—With the Spirit of the Lord—And with justice and courage.

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

November 26, 2018

Today you should read: Micah 2

Anytime a passage of scripture opens with a “woe”, get ready to experience conviction. There are lots of “woes” in the Bible, all of which give us stern warnings on godliness, obedience, and sin. Today’s passage, Micah 2, is no exception. Here’s what it says:

Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil on their beds!
When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in the power of their hand. (Micah 2:1 ESV)

You might be wondering, “What will happen if we devise wickedness and evil?” Where is the retribution in this “woe”? Well, God gives us some pretty stern words:

Therefore thus says the LORD: behold, against this family I am devising disaster, from which you cannot remove your necks, and you shall not walk haughtily, for it will be a time of disaster. In that day they shall take up a taunt song against you and moan bitterly, and say, “We are utterly ruined; he changes the portion of my people; how he removes it from me! To an apostate he allots our fields.” (Micah 2:3-4 ESV)

This passage spoke specifically about those mistreating God’s people and God’s holy land. The rest of the passage speaks of the foolishness of those in Israel. They were allowing false teachers to preach messages contrary to the Lord’s law. God was displeased, and yet in verses 12-13, we see God’s awesome promise to gather Israel once again.

Alright… so back to the “woe”. What is the lesson learned today? The first thing we learn ties in with the overarching truth of the Bible: God is holy. Never forget it. He is set apart. He is pure. If He wasn’t pure, how could He offer this “woe”? Secondly: God’s holiness demands holiness. We are supposed to be like Him. We must avoid “devising wickedness” at all costs. We must life above reproach.

The reality is, though, that none of us is perfect. While we may think we are good people, we all fall short of God’s glory. Even the most “Christian” of us miss His mark. Today, be grateful that you are clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Be thankful that while you are guilty of this “woe”, you serve a God of second chances.

By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor

November 24, 2018

Today you should read: Micah 1

Today we’re beginning our study of Micah! Before we go any further, check out this video from the Bible Project.

Micah, a prophet of the Lord, delivers God’s message to the people of Israel and Judah. He lets the people know that it is “The Sovereign Lord [who] is making accusations against you;” (v.2).

The Lord lets the people know that he is coming with judgment because of “the rebellion of Israel” (v. 5). How had Israel rebelled against the Lord? Throughout the book of Micah, we will see Israel’s rebellion in two major ways: idolatry and injustice.

We see in verse 7 that Israel has been engaging in idol worship because the Lord promises to smash their carved images. In the next chapter, we will read how Israel’s wealthy were taking advantage of the poor. We must understand that these sins of idolatry and injustice weren’t just mistakes made by Israel & Judah; this was rebellion.

Israel was failing to obey God and all of the Law by failing to love the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4-6) and to love their neighbor (Leviticus 19:18). This was a complete disregard for every command of God. Israel was failing at what Jesus said was the greatest (and second greatest) commandment.

Because of their (500 year long) rebellion, God promised to bring destruction to Israel and Judah, and for their “little ones” to “be exiled to distant lands.” This would be the Babylonians who would capture those in Judah and take them away.

What can we take from today’s reading?

We must take the command to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves seriously. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Because we have been loved so greatly, we can love God and others extravagantly. What do we do in response to God’s love for us?

“…the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

What are some practical ways we can obey God’s command in Micah 6:8?

By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice

April 18, 2012

Today you should read: Micah 7

What is hope? Hope is the promise of a new day… it’s what keeps us from quitting, from giving up, what motivates us to keep on keeping on. Hope is the opposite of despair (where we’ve found Micah in the last six chapters).

If we have anything at all – it’s hope. That’s what God gives us… Hope to the hopeless…

Meditate on these verses…

LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. Psalm 10:17

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Psalm 71:5

The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe. Proverbs 18:10

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2

The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” Lamentations 3:22-24

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-5

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of  the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

In chapter seven, Micah’s misery has turned to hope!

As for me, I look to the LORD for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. (verse 7)

For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. (verse 8)

The LORD will bring me into the light, and I will see his righteousness. (verse 9)

I don’t know where this finds you today… maybe at the top of your game, or maybe in the valley of discouragement.

Either way, look to God. He’s your hope and He’s faithful – so very faithful. You can trust Him!

You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised. (verse 20)

Posted by: Tim Parsons