Hosea 3:1 Love As God Loves

The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” Hosea 3:1

Hosea’s wife had been unfaithful to him and went off to be with other men. God tells him to accept her back and still love her. He takes it even further with telling Hosea to love her in the same way that He loved the Israelites, who had chosen to follow other gods.

Marriage is one area that people will often talk about unfaithfulness. One spouse becomes unsatisfied with the other and goes out seeking where that one can find love from another. As that occurs, anger and revenge usually builds up, the relationship is often destroyed and trust is lost. The spouse that was faithful, usually tell the other one that the marriage is over and will not be loved again.

People in the church are often guilty of this same unfaithfulness to God and to others. Loyal friends stab a friend in the back, striving to look better or raise higher. Hurting gossip is spread, damaging a person’s reputation or life. Turning the back on a friend in need. Telling lies behind a person’s back.

Each of these things and many more can happen, causing great pain and anger. Most people will reject a person who has done this, and refuse to have anything to do with that person. There is no forgiveness or love shown, because of the pain and anger.

Yet, God tells His people to love as He loved. God loved so much that He sent His Son to die for a people who rejected Him and did not want Him. He loved you before you even knew about Him or accepted Him.

God also loved you when you rejected Him. Think of the times when you went against God and followed this world or your own ways. Even then, God still loved you.

In this same way, you must be willing to love those who have hurt you and rejected you. Show God’s eternal perfect love to everyone around you, not just those who are faithful. It is through this love that others can learn of God’s true love. Love as God loves you.

I pray today that you will know God’s love for you and others; that you will show God’s love to others; that you will trust God in the pain others put you through; and that you will be His witness to this dying and hurting world.

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Hosea 2:7 Chasing False Love

She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.’ Hosea 2:7

Hosea’s wife was representative of the nation of Israel and Hosea represented God to the nation of Israel. She would chase after other lovers, refusing to stay loyal to her husband. He loved her regardless of what she had done wrong. For a time she would chase after other lovers, but never be able to catch them or be satisfied. Eventually she will return to her husband realizing what she had in him.

All over there are marriages that are breaking up because of one spouse searching for love in other people. They refuse to stay faithful to their spouse. The other spouse often gives up on them and gets a divorce because of their unfaithfulness.

There are people who have started to follow Jesus and go to church every week, read the Bible and appear to grow in Him. It appears to be going good, until they look back at the ways of this world and get lured in by it. They see, what appears to be the good life, in the world and begin to follow it. This is a prostitution against God, going after other lovers.

As a person chases after these other false loves, usually they cannot catch them. Chasing after fame, fortune, satisfaction, fulfillment and life, when not chasing after God, will always leave a person empty and catching nothing.

Some of these people will realize what they had in the beginning and turn back to God. They will turn from the false loves back to the one true love.

If you are one of those who have turned their back on God and chased after false loves, you need to know that God is the only one who has the perfect true love for you. He loved you before this earth was formed, before time began. He provided life for you for all eternity.

Stop chasing afer the false loves that this world is trying to offer. They will leave you empty and dead. Chase after God, He is the perfect one for you and loves you more than any other. He is always there waiting for you.

I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will be faithful to God; that you will know God’s faithfulness to you; and that God will strengthen you to stop chasing the false loves of this world.

Hosea 1:8-9 Called Not His People

After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” Hosea 1:8-9

God had Hosea marry a woman who was a prostitute to point out the sin of Israel. The nation had prostituted themselves against God. Her second child to be born was called L0-Ammi by God. With giving this name God was telling the people that they were not His people anymore and He was no longer their God.

The people of Israel had been chosen by God and were always considered His people, His nation. However, when the people had chosen to follow idols and reject God, He turned His back on them. God rejected them as His people for a time.

Most people would be willing to say that they reject the idea of prostitution and would not have any part of it. Yet, they are doing the very same thing with God on a daily basis. Churches have many people who attend just to look good or to do their weekly duty. They are not there to serve and worship God.

During the week, their hearts and minds are on anything but God. They are running hard after the things of this world. They are serving themselves and the gods of this world, lust, passion, greed, selfishness, pride, fame, fortune, and much more. On Sundays they may claim to be a believer, but their hearts are far from it.

Israel had been living in this same way, and so God had rejected them, for a time. He refused to call them His people because they had turned away from Him.

If you call God your God, then you must serve and worship Him alone. You cannot allow yourself to run after other gods and put God on the side. God will not share Himself with another god of any type.

Be willing to reject the gods of this world so that you may serve the one true God. Do not live your life in a way, in which God will have to say that you are not His child or people. Jesus made a way for you, do not reject Him in your day-to-day living. Worship Him and serve Him seven days a week.

I pray today that you will serve and worship God alone; that God will be able to say you are His child; that you will not be rejected by God; and that you will be His witness in this world. 

Ezekiel 16:61-62 God Makes The Atonement

“‘So I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the LORD. Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign LORD.'” Ezekiel 16:61-62

God had just described Israel as being a prostitute. He had made a covenant of marriage with them and they broke the covenant by going out with others. They chose to follow false gods and the ways of the other nations. Since they had chosen to be this way, God chose to destroy their nation and punish them severely.

After a time of punishment, God would then establish a new covenant with them. God would be the one to make the atonement for all of their sins. This would be done by God for them, even when they did not deserve it.

God’s love is perfect, amazing and never-ending. He loves all people, even when they are living in sin. His goal is to have an eternal relationship with each person, however, He cannot have sin in the middle of that relationship.

No person on this earth can get rid of any of the sin that is in his life. Once a person has sinned, it is there for eternity, unless God does something about it. And God has done something about that sin.

Where man fell short, God sent Jesus to do what needed to be done. Jesus was a perfect man, with no sin at all in His life. Yet, He paid the price of death on the cross for sin that He did not commit. This price was for your sins.

Dying on the cross and shedding His blood was the atonement price for your sin. It was initiated by God, not by any person. Because Jesus was perfect, death could not hold Him in the grave. He rose from the grave to take away your sins. The price was paid in full.

As you think about what Jesus did for you, repent of all your sins and accept the atonement paid for them. Do not stay in your old ways of living. Once you realize your sins are removed, strive to live for God. God paid the price, don’t reject Him or ignore what He has done for you.

I pray today that you will know what Jesus did for you; that you will accept the forgiveness Jesus offers you; that God will strengthen you to turn from all sin; and that you will live for God.

A Week Of Firsts

Turning 50

This last week has held two different firsts in my life. The first was that I turned 50. That did not really seem like that much to me. It is just a natural part of life. I have been bald on top since I was 17, so that did not mean much to me. And I have had some grey hair for several years already, nothing new either.

Getting older has never bothered me in any way. I guess having eight wonderful children has kept me young, even though I am getting older and slowing down. I can no longer run as fast, or as long as I used to be able to.

The other first for me this week did have a major impact on me. My oldest daughter got married and I had to be the one to give her away.

I am not one to cry very easy or at every little thing that comes my way. Although there have been movies that have brought tears to my eyes, and I am not ashamed or afraid to cry, when needed.

Over the last few months, since she got engaged, I have been ready for this wedding to happen. I never cried or was sad about it. I was very excited that she was getting married. It never bothered me that she would be leaving the house now, after 23 years.

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However, Saturday, when I began to walk my daughter down the aisle, the emotions started to overwhelm me. It was tears of joy, but tears none-the-less.

One of the things I had to do, as part of the ceremony, was to stand up in front of everyone and pray for her new marriage. She and her husband held hands, the pastor had his hands on them also, and I put my hands on top of hers when I prayed.

I have spoken in front of many people, many times over the years. I have also acted and sang in front of hundreds of people. I have even been the pastor over a wedding and over a funeral. Never once have I been afraid, or unable to speak, till that day.

As I was getting ready to speak, my mind went blank for the first time ever, another first in this past week. What I planned to say completely left me speechless. When I tried to speak, I had to really force the words to come out of my mouth. At that moment, my heart was overwhelmed at what was happening. It was overwhelmed with joy and pride. I also knew the value of the prayer that I was getting ready to pray. It was to be a blessing upon the new marriage.

I knew that the man she was marrying was the one God had for her. If I were to list everything that I would want in a man to marry her, he had it all, and then some. Over the last ten years, I have watched him grow up and become a great man of God. He has a heart to pray for and be a witness to anyone and everyone, anytime and every time. He has a servant’s heart to serve any person in need, no matter the cost to himself. He came from a family that serves God with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths.

My daughter had desired to be married since before she graduated high school. She had continually prayed to God for the one that she was to marry. She constantly asked God where that man was and when would she get him. Although my daughter and her husband had grown up together, for most of that time, they were not together or even considering each other. God, however, was building both of them up to be who each one needed the other to be. They are the perfect helpmates for each other.

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As I prayed that prayer of blessing upon them, I knew that God is going to bless their marriage and ministry together. I am looking forward to the ministry that God will do through them, now that they are together in marriage. Both have great ministries of their own, but now together they will work together building God’s kingdom for His glory and honor.

I did pray a blessing over them. God filled me with His overwhelming peace of His Holy Spirit to say the words I prayed. As I prayed, I also had tears of joy welling up in my eyes. Afterwards, my wife was very surprised, because that is not something normal for me.

While I was watching the wedding, and watching it again on video, because it was recorded, I had the same feelings I had when I married my wife 25 years ago. I knew then that my wife was the one God had for me beyond any shadow of doubt. And I still know that to this day with no doubts. As I knew my wife was the one for me, I knew that this man was the one for my daughter. I also know that they will keep God at the center of their lives and their marriage.

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For those who are still single and want to get married, keep your eyes focused on God. He will bring the right person to you at the right time. Wait on His perfect timing.

For those of you who are married, also keep your eyes focused on God. Keep your marriage centered on pleasing God and He will do great things in and through your marriage.

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Staying in the center of God’s will, will always have many firsts in it, but God will strengthen you to do whatever comes your way or make it through whatever comes your way..

 

Jeremiah 2:1-2 Do You Still Have First Love?

The word of the LORD came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the LORD says: “‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown.'” Jeremiah 2:1-2

When a person is in love to the point of getting married, he is usually in head over heels in love with the bride. The bride is also madly in love with the groom at the point of getting married.

Both of them look at each other as the greatest in the world, that there can be no fault in the other. They desire to spend time together, doing anything and everything together. Often the things they do will include doing crazy little things together. All of this is because of love.

The first months together as a married couple will be seen as fully devoted to each other. They will follow each other everywhere one goes, regardless of how hard it is. This is first love devotion.

The sad part is that many marriages do not stay that way. Many, and often within the first year to two years, fall out of that first love for each other. They begin to get discontented with each other. Many begin to wonder what they ever saw in each other and why they loved each other.

God is looking at Israel in these verses and remembering their first love for Him. They started off dedicated to Him and following Him everywhere. Israel had forgotten their first love and dedication to God. The chose to not follow Him any more.

Take a good look at your life. Remember back to when you first chose to follow God. Think of the reasons why you chose to follow God. Think about how much love you had for God and what you would do for Him at that time.

Is that love for God still the same?

Or have you allowed your love for God to fall away?

Many people, like Israel, have chosen to let their crazy love for God to calm down. They are no longer madly in love with God and begin to not follow Him everywhere He goes.

Renew your first love and devotion to God. Make Him first and foremost in your life, and start following Him again through the wilderness of this life.

I pray today that you will remember your first love for God; that you will be dedicated to God; that you will follow God everywhere; and that you will tell others of your love for God.

Isaiah 62:5 God Rejoices Over You

As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5

Isaiah is telling the people that God rejoices over the city of Jerusalem. Even though He had it destroyed for a time, God was in the process of rebuilding it. Jerusalem is portrayed as a bride, and God is seen as the bridegroom, even though God had built Jerusalem.

God was excited at the thought of marrying His bride–Jerusalem, just as a young man is excited and rejoices when he is about to marry his bride.

Jesus expanded the love of God and the term of bride to include more than just the Israelites and Jerusalem. Those terms now include every person who believes in Jesus, which is the church.

In life, many people do not believe that any person, much less God, could possibly love them enough to want to marry them. They see their own faults and cannot believe anyone would want them, including God. People in this world often see themselves as a dirty, worthless, un-loveable person.

Many women see themselves in that way, and often wonder or don’t even believe that someone can really love them, or would want to marry them. There are also many men who feel the same way about themselves. They go through life feeling as though no woman would ever love them enough to marry them.

While this happens in the physical world between men and women, it also happens in the spiritual world with God. People feel God cannot love them or want them because of all the bad things that they have done in their past.

This is not true. Israel had a lot of bad faults and had walked away from God, yet God still loved Israel.

Regardless of what you have done in the past, you can be made clean by the blood of Jesus. You are able to put on the spotless, white robe that He provides.

God made you and knows all your faults, even better than you do, yet, God wants you as His bride. He rejoices over the thought of having you as His bride, just as a young man rejoices over his bride when he is ready to get married.

Look forward to that wedding day in heaven. Rejoice with God as He rejoices with you. Get yourself ready for that wedding.

I pray today that you will allow Jesus to clean up your life; that you will be prepared to be married to God; that you will know God’s great love for you; and that you will rejoice with God in your relationship with Him.