Category Archives: Hosea

Hosea 11-13; Matthew 19

I think long on following Jesus. The verses today speak of following (and not following).

Precious God, a Father, and His tenderness. As a parent fondly remembering their youngest years and treasuring my own children, I read of His love:

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and I called my son out of Egypt.
But the more I called to him,
    the farther he moved from me,
offering sacrifices to the images of Baal
    and burning incense to idols.
I myself taught Israel how to walk,
    leading him along by the hand.
But he doesn’t know or even care
    that it was I who took care of him.
I led Israel along
    with my ropes of kindness and love.
I lifted the yoke from his neck,
    and I myself stooped to feed him. (Hosea 11:1-4, NLT, emphasis added)

In Matthew, the children come to Jesus, brought by their parents.

13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” 15 And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left. (Matthew 19:13-15, NLT)

A rich man searches for the kingdom’s entrance, and Jesus tells him:

21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” (Matthew 19:21-24, NLT)

I read on. God makes the impossible possible. All of it. Everything. Everything is possible.

25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.

26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

27 Then Peter said to him, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?”

28 Jesus replied, “I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then. (Matthew 19:25-30, NLT)

Father God, you call me out of captivity, and from that freedom I have everything to gain–more than what I leave behind. When I read of your tender love, I am reminded of who I am in your sight because of Jesus. The things that hurt me hold me down like a heavy yoke–can’t I give it all up to follow you? I list it all like an inventory, and I give it to you, for your sake. Please help me to discern the things I should focus on, but first, You.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Kings 21; Hebrews 3; Hosea 14; Psalm 139

It finally happened – my daughter is getting married. Could not be more excited – today they are looking at wedding dresses and I get to stay home and hold the fort.  Not sure what the rest of the world’s dads go through in these moments but I am thrilled for one thing – they have both come together to declare their future home to be centred by their relationship with God.

 He built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put my name.” – 2 Kings 21:4   NRSV

I remember how my wife and I, we started our journey at 21 and 22, could only survive our first five years because of the confidence and pride we had in Jesus.

 Christ, however, was faithful over God’s[f] house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm[g] the confidence and the pride that belong to hope. – Hebrews 3:6   NRSV

We tithed when it seemed no one else was, we served and I think this was where we learned what boundaries looked like and we loved.  But all of that came from within, from the Holy Spirit.

O Ephraim, what have I[e] to do with idols?
    It is I who answer and look after you.[f]
I am like an evergreen cypress;
    your faithfulness[g] comes from me. – Hosea 14:8   NRSV

We found ourselves more willing to be vulnerable than most because we knew we were in the palm of God’s hand.  In that secure place, He made Himself known to us.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. – Psalm 139:1   NRSV

Not sure if you are familiar with, My Heart, Christ’s Home The story impacted me as I took the Navigator 2:7 course.  I still have a few rooms left to give to Jesus and I am working on one right now.  It is my prayer for my daughter and her fiance and for you and I, that our home is Christ’s home first and then the rest will follow.

Lord, my heart is your home. Many times I forget, even during the day.  I know I remember each morning that I wake, but let me remember all day so that others looking and watching how I live can see that you are a member of my family and my home.  I love you so much for loving me.  May my gift of love back to you be the time we spend each day together.  Amen

evanlaar

 

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2 Kings 20; Hebrews 2; Hosea 13; Psalms 137,138

As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.” Psalms 138:3 NLT

“Because he is my Father, I do not wonder if his plans for me are good, if he’ll come through like he should.” (I Am No Victim, Kristene DiMarco). I’ve been listening to this song a lot. I wish I could say that I always believe it. How quickly I can forget his faithfulness. Even after all my pleads and prayers and cries to him. But, he is so good. He will show up in unexpected ways to remind me 0f his constant care.

What are mere mortals that you should think about them, or son of man that you should care for him? Yet for a little while you were made lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them authority over all things.” Hebrews 2:6-8 NLT

My son was telling me how excited he was to serve at the banquet that night. We walked through the corn maze and all I could think about was my already aching feet. Jesus served others, he said…he washed others feet. Later that evening as we poured water for the guests, my thoughts turned outward. Oh, how easy it is to get caught up in my own restlessness. It’s when I step out in faith in my weakness, that God shows himself strong. He sustains me.

The Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud. Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. The Lord will work out his plans for my life-for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” Psalms 138:6-8 NLT

David knew that the Lord was with him in the midst of his troubles.

When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly… “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you, and three days from now you will get out of bed and go to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria.” 2 Kings 20:1-6 NLT

The Lord knew that David and Hezekiah had hearts who sought after him.

I have been the Lord your God ever since I brought you out of Egypt. You must acknowledge no God but me, for there is no other savior. I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot me.” Hosea 13:4-6 NLT

Dear Father, I want to have a grateful heart. Thank you for your provision in my life. I love you. Amen.

I give thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods.” Psalms 138:1 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Kings14; 2 Timothy 4; Hosea 7; Psalm 120-122

Our Lord is a realist, I think. He sees me in my humanity and vanity and isn’t coy about pointing out my issues. Even the way I look on the outside doesn’t escape His scrutiny. Take His description of the waning pride of Israel when He says, “Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it,” (Hosea 7:9). As a woman, I take pride in keeping my gray hairs covered, yet in between the heroic effort of my stylist, those pesky, course sprigs pop up without my knowing. I let down my vigilant watch.

So it was with the people God is admonishing in Hosea. How does it happen that I, too, so easily lose sight of my goal to live in humility and submission? Of course, pride is the first offender that comes to mind. Like Amaziah in 2 Kings 14, I have experienced success only to bite off more than I can chew on my next quest. If not careful, I’m meddling in another’s business, thinking that I have all the knowledge, education, or savvy to solve their problems. For example, I was confronted by a co-worker who asked about a software problem. At least that is what my prideful heart heard. Instead, she merely wanted to know why I chose to enter a certain date. So I spent 15 minutes patronizing her before it dawned on me what she was asking. Her agitation disguised as patience was later revealed through the employee grapevine.

A second offender is associating with ‘yes men;’ that is I prefer to be with people who agree with me on most things. Not listening to divergent opinions dulls my mind and dooms me to being bored mostly with myself. Even worse, loss of perspective can lead me to stray from the truth. The Apostle Paul urged Timothy to be watchful against a similar problem. 2 Timothy 4:3-5 says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

What is comforting to me is to know that I do not have to dwell in my own chaos.  I can seek God as in Psalm 121:1, 2, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills – From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” When my eyes are on God, my peace returns, and my perspective is guided by love for Him and love for my neighbors (that is, everyone God brings to my small sphere of influence). Like the Psalmist, I return to praying for the peace of others. “’May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your wall, Prosperity within your palaces.’ For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, ‘Peace be within you.’ Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.”

Lord let my prayers be answered even as I bow this graying crown in honor of Your beauty, Your goodness, and Your great love for us all. Guide me to do good and to lean not on my own understanding. Help me to live in humility and curiosity for Your perfect ways. Through Christ my Lord, I pray.

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture quoted is from The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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2 Kings 10; 2 Timothy 1; Hosea 2; Psalm 119:97-120

Trusting in God can be easier when there are fewer choices. The people of Israel abandon their Creator God who led them through the desert for a god who offers false promises of fertility and abundance. Before long, they blend in with the culture; name alone distinguishes them from their neighbors. Baal is chosen over Jehovah.

In a zeal, Jehu takes up the sword and wipes out Baal worship only to later turn away from the Lord to pursue other gods. The cycle is repeated over and over again. Israel has this way of wandering from God when given half a chance. And what does God say of his people?

“She didn’t not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished upon her silver and gold that they used for Baal.”  Hosea 2:8

Longing for his people, God is a patient, forgiving lover:

“Therefore, I will now allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. From there I will give her her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she shall respond as in the days of her youth, as when she came out of the land of Egypt. On that day, says the Lord you will call me, ‘My husband,’ and no longer will you call me, ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baal from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more….And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.” Hosea 2:14-17…19,20.

This cycle of belief and disbelief is exhausting. At least the Israelites embraced their false gods openly and honestly. Me, my heart sneaks away under cover and sometimes, I don’t even realize how or where my heart has wandered. That’s irrelevant to God, He pursues. His Holy Spirit claims ownership of my heart. He is there to strengthen and fan into flame even the slightest flicker of faith. Read Paul’s words to Timothy:

“For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through he laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:6-7.

God’s will is not accomplished through my ability to get things done and done right. It’s by His grace, power and purpose that the work is completed. This is great news to this  Type A personality who quickly fatigues. I can rest in God’s sufficiency for “I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.” 2 Timothy 1:12.

Lord, you are my hiding place and shield. My hope is in the truth of your word, not in my efforts or abilities. I long to love you with my whole heart,  yet know that I get distracted. Holy Spirit, have your way in and through me and let me rest in your all sufficiency. Thank you that your love never lets me go. Amen.

Kathy

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Hosea 11-13; Matthew 19

13Then the people brought their little children to Jesus so that he could put his hands on them and pray for them. When his followers saw this, they told the people to stop bringing their children to Jesus. 14But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are like these children.” 15After Jesus put his hands on the children, he left there. Matthew 19:13-15

10I will call for my people like a lion calling for its young. My children will come and follow me. They will hurry to me from the west. 11They will come swiftly like birds from a captivity like Egypt was, and like doves from Assyria. I will settle them again in their homes,” says the Lord. Hosea 11:10-11

As a mother, it is impossible to read the Bible without the parental perspective. As my primary mission field has shifted from the vast world around me to the more intimate face to face, down on my knees teaching of my children, it has become even more important to understand God’s love and His grace.

I often think about the things I know I must teach my kids about God. The most important, of course is the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus and His resurrection, the payment of the penalty of sin and the redemption of mankind. A close second, is God’s desire for us to come to Him.

God didn’t create mankind without purpose. He created us because He greatly desires community and relationship. He wanted children, created in His own image, to love, care for, connect with forever. He desires to walk with every person side by side in the cool of the day. He wants everyone to feel free to come to Him in our joy, in our sorrow, in our weakness and desperation, in our strength, our humility, our anger, our hopelessness, our gratitude, our worship…He wants us to come whether or not we have something to offer. He wants us to come with our needs and with our wealth.

I think about my own children, despite the moments when they “fight” for their independence, my preschoolers need me. When they come to me, it gives me the opportunity to meet their physical needs and it also allows me to connect with them, to show them love, to show them another skill that they’ll need in life, to build them up. They come to me with simple faith, knowing that I’ll give them what they need.

Though I have my moments, I am a very good mother; God is an even better parent. When I approach Him with that same child-like faith that my children have when they come to me, God will take care of me. He will bless me. He will heal me. He will love me.

Yesappa, Thank You for always being there with Your arms wide open, waiting for me to come and jump into your embrace. Thank You for calling me to come to You. Help me to remember to turn to You first in all circumstances. Make my faith in You be like a little child’s. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

 

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Hosea 7-10; Matthew 18

I said, “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you. But you have cultivated wickedness and harvested a thriving crop of sins.” Hosea 10:12&13 NLT

Day after day, I kept walking past my little garden of weeds. I was trying to avoid them, but I saw them every time I walked in and out of the house. In the heat wave of summer, pulling weeds is the last thing that I wanted to do. Pretending like they weren’t there seemed easier. I finally reached the point when I couldn’t take how chaotic they looked. Pulling them was tough, sweaty work. And even harder because I waited so long. But, I felt this sense of relief when I was done. Isn’t that how it is in my own life? I dwell on something or avoid it. But, its slowly overtaking my mind where I can’t think of anything else. It affects how I relate to God and others.

What am I cultivating?

I pray that I would pursue Jesus and ask him what is means for me to have  a healthy mind, body and soul. So that I can finish the work that he has called me to do. Sometimes it easier to pretend, than to be vulnerable…or try and cover up the mess in my heart. But, God knows and loves me anyway. He desires good for me, even in the midst of pain. Maybe he is calling me to humility, like a little child.

About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:1&2 NLT

Thank you Father, that You work in and through my weakness. That you are not afraid of it. That you always meet me where I am. I pray that your fruits would be evident in my life. And that I wouldn’t shy away from the difficult things, but look to you for the courage to face them. Even if it means, facing things in myself that I don’t like. I know that all things are possible with you. I am grateful that I have victory in you. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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