This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'” Zechariah 8:23
During the time that the Israelites were in captivity, God held His hand against them. Once they had served the set time for being in captivity and turned their hearts back to God, He gave them His favor. Just as much as He was against them, He was now for them, building them back up. His Spirit would be with them so much that people would come a grab them, wanting to be with them, because they heard that God was with them.
When a person has been very successful at something, many people want to be around that person. They want some of that success to rub off on them. This is especially true when the person has been financially successful. People will talk about the wealth of someone or the business success of a person. For most people it is amazing and they want to be a part of it.
As Jesus walked on this earth, people talked about what He was doing. They could see that God was with Him. Crowds gathered around wherever He went. Before He left, He told that the disciples that they would do even greater things than He did.
Some of those things that He said they would do is shown in the book of Acts. Prison doors were opened, the dead were raised, and healings occurred with just a shadow. These are just the physical things. Letters were written that are distributed around the world to this day. Jesus never wrote one letter.
When people talk about you, what do they have to say? As they look at your life and watch you, what are they seeing?
You have God’s Holy Spirit available to you all the time. He is there to do mighty works in and through you. When Jesus is lifted up and shown to the world, He will draw men and women to Him. People will run to you wanting to know what you have. They will see that God is with you and they will want to have some of Him also.
What are people saying about you today?
I pray today that you will allow God’s Spirit to live in you; that you will allow God to work through you; that you will allow God to use you in small and great ways; and that God will draw people to Jesus through you.
This is what the LORD says to Israel: “Seek me and live;” Amos 5:4
Israel had chosen to follow after other gods, refusing to follow God. The result of following those other gods was that God was going to bring death and destruction upon the people of Israel. Even though they sought life among the other gods, all they would find is death. God tells them to seek Him out and they will live, they fill find life.
Although there are many people who attempt or actually commit suicide, most people want to live. Event those who commit suicide have a part of them that want to live, it is just they do not want to live with the pain or trouble that is in their life.
Everywhere people are searching for life. Most people are searching for it in things, other people, or actions. Some think that they find life in accumulating more and more things, cars, sex, houses, bank accounts, drugs, alcohol and more. Each of these things are dead in themselves and cannot give any life.
Others seek life in excitement and adventure. They will travel around the world, ride on thrill rides, participate in dangerous thrilling extreme sports and more. Again with these, each of them are dead in and of themselves. None of these can bring about any life in a person.
Then there are some who seek life in actions or helping others. Many people help the homeless, the abused, the sick, those in prison, and others. They feel that doing something good will bring them the satisfaction of life that people desire and want. While none of these are necessarily bad, they are just actions, and there is no true life in it. The actions are done to humans who cannot provide true life.
The only way you can find a true life that is worth living is in seeking God. God provided life for every human being through Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. Apart from Jesus, you will die, you will not have life. It may seem like a good life for a while, but in the end, without Jesus, you will die.
Do not be like the Israelites and reject seeking God first. Put God first in your life and seek only Him. Then He will give you life and that life abundantly.
I pray today that you will only seek Jesus; that you will know life in Jesus; that you will not seek life in the things and people of this world; and that God will pour out the abundant life worth living upon you.
Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” Hosea 14:2
Despite Israel prostituting themselves against God, rejecting Him and following false gods and idols, Hosea puts out a plea for them to go before God and ask for forgiveness. As they are to go, they are told to bring words with them to be able to offer the fruit of their lips.
In this world it is easy for a person to fall away from God. For just a few hours, may twice a week, a person is around many other believers. The rest of the time, most people are in this world among many more non-believers, or those who claim to believe, but do not live the life of a believer.
Most believers, do not completely walk away from God and totally reject Him, however, many do step away for a time to follow some sin. There are some that feel once they have done this multiple times, that God will reject them and that there is no longer any hope for them.
People of this world will forgive to a point, but if a person continues to do wrong, most will give up on that person forever. God does not work in the same way. He is waiting there for every person to come and seek forgiveness. God wants to forgive every person. It is what His heart is longing for. He thrives on forgiving and giving live.
No matter what you have done, no matter how bad it is, God is always waiting right there to forgive you. In order for Him to forgive you, you must ask for it. You must go before Him, repent of the sin and ask Him to forgive you.
Once God has forgiven you of any sin, you must offer the fruit of your lips. This is offering Him thanks, praise and worship. Give Him the honor and glory that is due Him. He did not have to forgive you. He had the right to destroy you, but He didn’t. Give Him praise with your lips. Praise Him directly and tell everyone what God has done for you and what He can do for them.
Return to God today.
I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will return to Jesus; that you will seek forgiveness from God; that you will accept His forgiveness; and that you will give God praise all the time.
Israel cries out to me, ‘Our God, we acknowledge you!’ But Israel has rejected what is good; an enemy will pursue him. They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval. With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction. Hosea 8:2-4
Israel claimed to acknowledge God and serve Him, yet they rejected His ways. They chose to do their own thing and made idols to worship and follow. All these things led to their destruction.
America for many years, as a nation, claimed to know God and claimed to be under God’s supervision. Over the years more and more people have turned their backs on God. Only recently does the nation as a whole claim that it is no longer a nation under God. The views and actions of the nation as a whole reject God and His ways. They are choosing to worship idols and do their own thing.
Nations are made up of people, so it is the people who guide how the nation as a whole does things. It is the people who choose whether to follow God or not. It is people who allow the leaders to choose to follow God or not.
Each week there are churches filled with people who claim to acknowledge God. They claim to be believers. Yet, in their day-to-day routines, they reject God and refuse to follow His ways. They choose to be rebellious, arrogant, proud, hateful, sinful, drunk, immoral, liars, and any other sin out there, just as the world does. If one was to look at them and the world, he would see nothing different between them.
Claiming to acknowledge God is easy, it is just using a few words to say something. Living that life acknowledging God is different. It requires action to follow the words. It requires a turning away from sin. It requires loving the enemy. It requires being different than the world.
Only you, can know whether you acknowledge God in truth or lies. Where is your heart when it comes to acknowledging God? Is it just something to do because it looks or sounds good? Or are you truly living your life for God?
Seek to know God and follow Him with all of your life, not just in words. Be separate from this world, though in it.
I pray today that you will follow God with all of your heart; that you will not be ashamed of Jesus in this world; that you will reject sin and follow God’s ways; and that you will be a witness of Jesus to this world.
Israel’s arrogance testifies against him, but despite all this he does not return to the LORD his God or search for him. Hosea 7:10
Israel was God’s chosen people. God had personally selected them to be His people and to reveal Himself to the world through them. Since they were God’s chosen people, the people felt that they were extra special and could do whatever they wanted. They felt that they were the best and above all wrong, regardless of what they did. In this process they refused to turn to God or even search for Him.
Being labeled as arrogant is not a term that most people would want to be given. It is a term that is negative in its connotation. Being called arrogant means one is very stuck on himself and thinks that he is the best or better than anyone else. A lot of times people say an arrogant person has his nose stuck up in the air, because he is looking down on everyone else.
Over the years there have been many different famous people who were very arrogant in their words. Sports players, movie stars, singers, and politicians have been labeled or seen as very arrogant. Yet, many of these same people have fallen down and crushed. Often because of someone better than them, others because of some crime that they committed. They feel as though they are so good, that they can do no wrong or will be let off the hook on it.
Sadly, this same type of arrogance occurs in the church, just as it did with Israel. Leaders in the church feel as though they are the best. Individuals in the church carry the label of “Christian” and feel as though they can do no wrong at all.
Many believers have some success in their life, then suddenly stop seeking God, because they feel as though it was all their own work. They become very arrogant.
Take a look at your own life. Who gave you the ability to do what you do? Who opened the doors to allow you to do what you do?
It was not you who gave you all these things, it was God. As you go through your day, each day, seek God and what He wants. Do not allow yourself to think that you did it on your own or that you are the best. Let God have all that glory.
I pray today that you will seek God with all of your heart; that you will allow God to work through you; and that you will know it is by God’s power that you are here.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
This is a set of verses that people love to quote. They love to hear the idea that God wants to prosper them and give them a great future. The problem that is common, is that many people do not look at the context in which these verses are written.
At the time God made this statement, the Israelites were going into exile in Babylon. They were prisoners of war. Their homes and towns were destroyed. They were cast out of their homeland. All their belongings were taken away.
As a person reads this, one may wonder how God is planning to prosper them. Why would He be placing them in exile if He wanted to prosper them?
While the Israelites were in captivity, they would show the love of God, by praying for them. They would work hard and serve the Babylonians as though they were serving God. The challenge was that they would have to do this for seventy years before they would receive the prosperity of their homeland again.
God has plans to prosper you, but those plans may be in the long run, not immediate. It may take time to get to that point. On this earth you may never prosper financially as the world sees prosperity, but you may prosper in peace, joy, contentment, and love. You will know that you have a future that will never come to an end. You will know that someday you will have a mansion with many rooms in heaven on a street of gold.
In order to get all of that, however, you must seek God with all of your heart. You must put His desires first in your life. It is not about you and your prosperity or wealth, but what God wants.
Find Jesus and you will have a hope that is above anything the world can offer or has. You may not see it completely this side of heaven, but it is coming, just like the Israelites had to wait for it.
I pray today that you will know God’s plans for your life; that you will trust God’s timing in your life; that you will know the prosperity God has in store for you; and that you will seek God with all of your heart.