Wednesday, June 23, 2021

God’s Love for the Unfaithful


“I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy;  I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.” – Hosea 2:19-20

In a day when so many had turned away from God to serve idols and gods of their imagination, God’s love never ended.  His mercy did turn to punishment, but His love endured the pain of having so many of His children turn from Him to worship others. 

I love the way God expresses that He will bring those that have been scattered and taken into captivity back to Him in Hosea 2:21-23. 

“It shall come to pass in that day
That I will answer,” says the Lord;

His silence will break, and He will hear the cries of those who repent.

“I will answer the heavens,
And they shall answer the earth.
The earth shall answer
With grain,
With new wine,
And with oil;

God provides for us in ways that are so simple and common to us that we sometimes overlook how great His method of providing is.   God says that he will answer the heavens.  

Clouds don’t know how to gather themselves together and create rain.  God provides that.  Friend, I cannot think of a single thing on this earth that can live without water.  But we so often forget that it’s God’s design for the clouds to rain.  So the clouds rain down in answer to a dry earth. 

The earth then, out of God’s ability to create life from dry seeds, will answer the clouds and create food that we need to survive.  That food will provide fruit, which produces wine, corn, and even oils for cooking.

“They shall answer Jezreel.
Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth,

Jezreel was Hosea’s first son, whose name meant “God will disperse” or scatter.  This was the time punishment through captivity endured by those who turned from God and worshipped Idols.  But now Jezreel in this chapter brings new meaning.  It means “God sows”.  There’s a difference in scattering seeds and sowing seeds.  Scattering is like the wind blowing them to various places.  But sowing is intentional, as a farmer plants rows of seeds for crops.  The name Jezreel has therefore been redeemed to mean something much greater than scatter.  It’s God’s work to sow.

“And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy;
Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’ 

Hosea’s second child was named La-Ruhamah, which meant “not having obtained mercy”.  And his third child, Lo-Ammi, meant “not my people”.  But now that God’s grace has been extended  they have obtained mercy and become God’s people once again.  And this time the people answer and say “You are my God”.

Backslider is a name often given to those that walk away from church and God.  God does at some point begin the same process He took His people through when they were taken into captivity to Babylon, Egypt, and other countries.  

He will make those that walk away from Him see how rocky that road is.  He will go as far as not giving mercy and extending grace.  He will let you walk away because He doesn’t want you as a slave, but as a son or daughter.  But when you return you are no longer scattered! God will plant you, and once again grant mercy and grace.  He receives back His wayward children with His love unchanged. 

Friends, I’ve been one of those wayward children, and I know this to be true.  You can’t hide from God.  You are His beloved!  If you are like I once was and find you are walking a different road than the one of peace that God laid before you, there’s no time better than the present to return to Jezreel, and let God sow you.




Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Hosea and Gomer


When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.” – Hosea 1:2

No one can fully understand the heart of God. We cannot understand nor explain His thoughts, His ways, or His love.  God is God – and we’re not.  We’re mere humans made by God. 

But the life of Hosea the prophet is one that has intrigued me.  After Jerusalem and Judea had turned their worship over to idols, God chose several prophets to tell what was going to happen as their punishment.  But when it came to Hosea, I believe God wanted him to feel what God felt in His heart towards His children.  Hosea had to experience it all in his own life.

That’s why God asked him to marry a harlot.  His people had turned from loving and worshipping Him to worshipping idols.  They had committed adultery against their God by loving and worshiping idols (Ezekiel 23:37).  Therefore, Hosea was commanded to marry a woman who would soon do the same to Hosea. 

God named Hosea’s children according to the way He felt towards the Israelites as well.  Hosea’s children by Gomer were given names that would cause Hosea to feel God’s heart when he said them. 

The first son was named Jezreel, “God will disperse”.  God scattered the Israelites across many nations and had them taken into captivity.  I don’t know the heart or mind of God, but I do know that seclusion, being separated from others, will cause you to reach out to God more often.  Perhaps the dispersion was intended to break down cult culture, whereby we all agree to agree with each other?  Imagine Hosea calling his son and being reminded that all around him would be scattered.

The second, a daughter, was named Lo-Ruhamah, “not having obtained mercy”.  God’s mercy had run out on the Israelites, but not His love.  The two are not one and the same.  Mercy proceeds punishment when mercy stops bringing repentance. Repentance then comes because love endures the pain of being neglected. 

Hosea has a little more than a year to get used to calling Jezreel by name, scattered, pondering God’s meaning for this on his son.  Then comes a daughter whose name is no mercy.  The Israelites in all their idolatry and turning away from God had run out of mercy.

The third and last child Hosea has by Gomer is a son named Lo-Ammi.  The meaning is a complete dismissal of relation with the Israelites.  Oh friends!  How the thought of not having God by my side is beyond words!  Lo-Ammi means “not my people”.  It would appear that God is turning His back to the people, forgetting His promise to Abraham to raise up more than the stars from His lineage, and the promise to David that his dynasty would be forever.

But that is not the case!  Punishment is for a time.  A time meant to turn the hearts of those He loved back to love Him as their God and Father.  God ends the conversation in Hosea 1 with Hosea by giving him hope for the future, even the future of his first born.

“Yet the number of the children of Israel
Shall be as the sand of the sea,
Which cannot be measured or numbered.
And it shall come to pass
In the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There it shall be said to them,
‘You are sons of the living God.’
Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel
Shall be gathered together,
And appoint for themselves one head;
And they shall come up out of the land,
For great will be the day of Jezreel!” – Hosea 1:10-11

Friends, I want to encourage you.   We look around in our world and it seems that so many have not only turned away from God, but even despise His name.  Yet God’s everlasting love is still there.  Even in a world so bent on sin that murder becomes entertainment, life has become of no value, children are treated as animals, and cult culture has overtaken our minds, God’s love for us has not changed.  His mercy, however, will one day turn to great punishment that is intended to bring us to Him.  Get on that train early!  Life with God is far better than battling against Him.  Be a child of the living God.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

An Excellent Spirit


"Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” - Daniel 6:5

These "men" were the other governors and satraps that were appointed over the land - other than Daniel - who was appointed as one of three governors because "excellent spirit was in him". They wanted to kick Daniel out of the government because they felt threatened by him. King Darius was thinking of making Daniel head of the government.

But NOTHING Daniel did was wrong. They figured out that the only way to find guilt in Daniel was to try to make him sin against God. Imagine being so pure minded, so filled of goodness, so sin-free and guilt-free that your enemies know that the only way to make you fail is to try to make you do something God would be displeased with.

So they ran to the king, I'm thinking out of breath even and say to him "“King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions."

They knew Daniel would not worship an idol. After all that's why God had destroyed his hometown of Judah and allowed he and his people to be taken captive to Babylon. Even though they were his enemies, they knew where Daniel stood when it came to God. King Darius, acting on his own opinion without the counsel of one who had 'an excellent spirit in him', agreed to the law and it was passed.

I think you already know the rest of the story, but allow me to tell it again because I LOVE IT!

So the image was constructed and placed in the city to be worshipped. But every single day, three times a day, facing Judah is his window in public view, Daniel prayed to God. His faithfulness overcame His fear!

Darius was beside himself. He didn't want to harm Daniel, but He had passed the law that would cause Daniels death!

So they put Daniel into a pit filled with lions, covered it with a large stone, and the king put his signet (wax sign of the king) onto the stone. The King was heartbroken, and cried out to Daniel “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.”

Somehow along the way, this idolatrous King had come to believe in God. Maybe it was just Daniel's love and faithfulness to God, maybe it was Daniel's
'excellent spirit' or maybe it was the three thrown into the fire and he looked in and saw a fourth one in the fire, and they were not burned or even singed!

King Darius went home in misery! He fasted. He wouldn't allow musicians nor anyone to comfort him. And he couldn't sleep all night.

The next morning Darius runs to the pit and cries out to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

Now if it had been me, I would have sat there petting my lion friends, and not answered for an hour or so just to make him worry! But that's just me.

Daniel did answer, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”

Of course in no time flat he had men bringing Daniel out of the pit. (No mention as to whether they left the lions in there or what...which I've always wondered about.). Daniel didn't have a scratch! Those little kitty cats were in love with Daniel and the 'excellent spirit' he had too, by the commandment of Almighty GOD!

So what is a King to do after something this miraculous happens? I mean, God could have just killed the king and all those bad boys and delivered Daniel himself. But there was something here for the King to learn, to walk forward with the understanding given from this miracle.

King Darius makes another law, because that's what politicians do! And the law goes like this:

"I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.

For He is the living God,
And steadfast forever;
His kingdom is the one which
shall not be destroyed,
And His dominion shall
endure to the end.
He delivers and rescues,
And He works signs and wonders
In heaven and on earth,
Who has delivered Daniel from
the power of the lions."

There are so many lessons we can learn from this story. What have you learned from it?

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Defiling the Sanctuary – A Message for Young Christians


“When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it—My house—and when you offered My food, the fat and the blood, then they broke My covenant because of all your abominations. And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but you have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you.”- Ezekiel 44:7-8

God has given me a message for young folks this morning.  This is specifically to the Christian youth that have not yet chosen someone to walk through this life with them either as a friend or spouse. 

The above verses were given to the Prophet Ezekiel and spoke of the pre-Christ sanctuary in which they worshipped God.  They had allowed those that were not Christians to enter, to eat, and to do as they pleased.  There was an innermost area that God would dwell and accept their sacrifices for their sins.  They had welcomed them in.

Christian friends, we all know that the Holy Spirit lives within us.  At the time of salvation, His Spirit comes to live in us, creating in us a new heart.  Not a new heart organ that pumps blood, but a new heart that controls our being.  All our actions begin with feelings and thoughts that then work their way into actions.  That is why the Holy Spirit living in our heart is so important to our walk with Christ.  We have a leader inside.

Therefore, we are now God’s sanctuary.  We are his home, the place of His Spirit.  He dwells with us in our innermost being, which is in accord with His words that He would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  What a great God we serve that He would choose not to just sit beside us, hoover over us, or stand behind us - but He wanted to dwell within us and help us through this life with His comfort and guidance! That’s a whole different kind of love than we humans can give. 

With that understood, please read the passage above again, and understand the sanctuary is you. 


The word “defile” in the above passage hit my heart.  It comes from the Hebrew word 'halah' (Strong’s H2490).  It means to profane, pollute, desecrate, make common, violate, wound, pierce, dishonor, and a lot more words along the same theme.    

Young folks, fall in love with the lost - but not their ways.  Jesus said simply  to “love one another even as I have loved you” – and no conditions attached (John 13:34).  But if you become like them, letting them lead you in different directions than the Spirit in you, you will lose your ability to disciple others.  Your light won’t shine like a beacon in the dark world.  You will become like them, defiling your light with shards of darkness.  And the longer you let them lead you, the darker the path will become. 

My young brothers and sisters in Christ, stand strong for who you are and what you believe!  Live based on your convictions, the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  Do not waiver, do not give in, or you will become defiled.  You will have given over that sacred sanctuary and “set others to keep charge” of your heart. 

Written with love for all my young Christian friends, from 16 year old me.  Let your light shine!