Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hosea and Gomer

From the beginning of Hosea's account, the very subject he addresses is infused with the uncomfortable theme of sexual debauchery. Nevertheless, reading it through the lense of spiritual context helps to bring a richness to the text that transcends the nature of the content. Teaching the passages of Hosea would require honesty, and a brave approach from beginning to end, because of the truth contained in this prophet of God's message. One of the most provocative portions for me stands out in the juxtaposition of Chapter 2, 4-5 and verses 14, 19-20,23 - 
  “Bring charges against your mother, bring charges; For she is not My wife, nor am I her Husband! Let her put away her harlotries from her sight, And her adulteries from between her breasts; Lest I strip her naked And expose her, as in the day she was born, And make her like a wilderness, And set her like a dry land, And slay her with thirst. “I will not have mercy on her children, For they are the children of harlotry. For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has behaved shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my linen, My oil and my drink.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her. “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 had been obedient to marry Gomer because of His love for God, not necessarily out of a true love for Gomer, yet, at the end of it all, this has shifted. The words he uses to explain what transpired is full of emotion, righteous anger, tenderness and surrender, which is a beautiful picture of God's adoration toward His children. Hosea promises a betrothal of faithfulness that I am quite certain Gomer had never experienced, and, I dare say, it was also likely did not feel worthy of it either. God is divine and He loves us just because. To know that before redemption, we were slaves to sin, prostitutes of the flesh, God could have, with all justification, left us there. Nevertheless, just as Hosea bought Gomer off the auction block "with fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley" (3:2) God bought us back too, except our debt was forgiven at a much steeper price - His only Son's blood - definitely a love I had never known before, and I am certain I am not worthy of. 
When I read how the Lord said to Hosea, “Go again, love a woman who  is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of  the  pagans.
I cannot help but recall this verse from the Psalms, "He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me." (18:19) The fact that His love for His children is so complete is the most provocative thing of all - shockingly wonderful ! 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Bible Tells Me So...

I'm really bad about letting my voicemail get full, so, tonite, as I was emptying it out, I listened to ones that I had saved several months back. As I listened to a familiar voice, it struck me that the only truth I can count on is Jesus loves me, beyond that, life is a risky business. Nonetheless, it's a beautiful adventure of trusting that He is "faithful to establish, strengthen and guard us from the evil one," (2 Thess. 3:3) and that He has "fashioned all of our days." (Ps. 139:16b) "Why should I worry, why should I fear - when the very same Jesus is always near...," especially when stepping out on faith with an open heart? Hurt and disappointments; mistakes and sadness are just as much a part of this life as joy and love, and excitement and peace are. Learning to trust Him with my heart and life is a process. I'm sure thankful that everyone of His promises are Yes and Amen in Christ Jesus - I can count on them, cause the Bible tells me so.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I love the Word of God, it is so full of treasures. We could never have enough time to seek them all out - they are too vast. But when we do seek, we are promised that we will find. Let me explain. As I was going though my Bible study today, the author encouraged us to take one of the verses from the readings and personalize it. When I came across Acts 11:23-24, I began writing it out  (inserting my name in key parts) and man, did it ever make my soul wiggle with conviction and excitement. How many times had I heard sermons preached about "the encourager," Barnabas - too many to recount; but today, those verses became priceless jewels to my heart. Barnabas testimony became very real to me because I have seen the grace of God, and I long to be an encourager for Christ like he was. I pray to grow, and become a woman of deep faith and full of the Holy Spirit, a woman with a testimony that makes a difference, leading people to look to Jesus. I am not always the student of the Word that I should be, nevertheless, He is always the faithful provider of truth, forgiveness and grace when I seek Him. As I encourage all of us to be in His word, I am reminded that it is our Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom, (Luke 12:32) and His word is where wisdom and direction are found. (James 1:5, Prov. 3:5-6) So, let's go hunt some treasure, shall we?


When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man full of the Holy Ghost and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. (Acts 11:23‭-‬24)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Spending time ...

I woke up this morning at 4:30 and was unable to fall back to sleep; so, I got up, thinking maybe there was something the LORD needed to say. I have tons of resources, and usually, I pick one up and it fits my day; however, this morning wasn't starting off that way. As I opened my Bible I thought, "I don't know what to read Lord, I'm kinda lost for direction." Do you ever have those 'lean' times where you find that not all quiet times are full of deep insight and buckets of tears? Well, I have, and He is teaching me that sometimes, it's simply about spending time with Him, allowing yourself to read and enjoy the beauty of His words,  finding yourself within the struggles and joys of the people who have lived it all before you. He will always "guide me with [His] counsel, there is none upon the earth that I desire besides [Him.] (Psalm 73:24-25) Often He isn't in the wind or the earthquake or fire, He is in the still small voice, and those times that we believe to be lean, are in fact, more full of His presence than we realize. (I Kings 19)


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Thank You!

Thank you for the rain - it nourishes the ground and calms my spirit.
Thank you for my memories, they keep me grounded and thankful.
Thank you for my church - they are stuck with me forever ;-)
Thank you for the honesty and encouragement of friends - iron sharpens iron
Thank you for surprise packages in the mail - they make my heart smile!
Thank you for tears - they wash out the soul's sadness.
Thank you for the detour of heartbreak - it leads you to the place you are supposed to be.
Thank you for knowing me and planning me a great future - I'm looking forward to it!
Thank you for dying for me -  with each stripe, each wound, you conquered death and hell for me.

Thank you for old restored barns - they remind me you make old things new !
 Thank you for your Relentless Grace - I am a debtor set free.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

It's Only Cold for a Second

And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord , the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.” And as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the  edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan. (Joshua 3:5, 13-13, 15, 17)

I stood at the edge of the water today, and I couldn't help but think of Joshua and the children of Israel, standing on the banks of the Jordan River - facing one more obstacle, and expecting a miracle. God was standing ready to redirect the waters of Jordan, to stop the currents and allow His children to walk through. I believe what moved me the most today was that because of Joshua's faithfulness to listen to God and the priests' willingness to act in faith the miracle was enacted. As I moved my feet closer to the edge of the water,  I thought about how little God asks of me; and yet, I still struggle to walk out in faith sometimes. He nugdes me to take such tiny steps, so why do I find myself doubting and hesitating? Our obedient faith, like the priests', has the potential to touch lives, encourage them, and engage the throne room of Heaven. This should be all we need to motivate us - this realization that He uses us to help others reach their destination - remembering, He's waiting, ready to perform miracles, we only need to dip our toes in the edge of the water. It's only cold for a second.