Showing posts from 2015

Remembering and Returning

Even the LORD, the God of hosts, The LORD is His name.
Therefore, return to your God,
Observe kindness and justice,
And wait for your God continually.
                                       Hosea 12:5-6

A key to returning to God is knowing who He is.

Returning to God is not changing location.  God is everywhere and if you are a child of His, you are always with him.  Psalm 139 says Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Or where shall I flee from yur presence?  There is no place we can go where we can get away from Him.  As His child this should bring words of comfort, that we are always safe.  Yet there are times when we want to hide from God.  When we are nurturing a pet sin.  When we are pursuing a lifestyle apart from Him.  When we enjoy His blessings without acknowledging Him.  During those times, in the spiritual sense we are far from the Lord and need to return to Him.  This means we live out His ways, spend time with Him...

Hosea starts by reminding us who God is.  In fact, the …

Sin in Full View

While reading Hosea 7 this morning, Kay Arthur shared some great cross references in her book Finding Hope When Life Seems Dark.  I wanted to share this title to give her credit and not plagiarize.  She is a teacher I return to over and over, as she guides me in going to the word of God and letting the Spirit highlight what His personal word for me is, which in turn prompts me to share on this blog.  Check her inductive study method out! The Israelites (the tribe of Ephraim who was left in the land after the Assyrians captured the other tribes) were stuck in sin and lying to themselves that God couldn’t see it.  What conviction I found with these words this morning as just minutes before doing my study I was playing around with a sin in my mind.  Like a cat toying with a mouse, I was fantasizing about a conversation I could have and if I said this, how would it make me look?  Forgetting of course, that God can see all the things I think and that He cares immensely. Look up each of t…

Lack of Knowledge

Hosea chapter 4 &5 If you want to study along with me, before reading my devotional, read chapters 4 and 5 of Hosea.  Try to summarize in your own words what each chapter is about.  Write down your questions, see if you can answer those after you read my thoughts by cross referencing other verses, reading a commentary, or reading the first three chapters of Hosea. 
Our verse to look at closely today: Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, for the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land.  There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing, and adultery.  They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed.  Therefore the land mourns, and everyone who lives in it languishes along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky, and also the fish of the sea disappear.  My people are destroyed by lack of knowledge   Hosea 4: 1-3; 4b
What are the thinking, actions, and behavi…

Hedges and Walls

I'm starting a study of the minor prophets and hope to share with you some of what I'm gleaning. Hope you are blessed by it!

For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them. Then she shall say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.’ (Hosea 2:5-7 ESV)

Have you ever heard someone say that when God closes a door He opens a window?  Usually that statement is shared a friend  is explaining that if God didn't allow that, He has something different in mind.  Often we assume that when God prevents something from happening He has something bette…

Grace: An Ever Constant Working

Hi blog readers!  It's been so long since I posted.  I apologize if you've missed my posts but know that this space was always meant for me to be a place to share what God is teaching me when He prompts me to share it with others.  Seems like there are seasons when He has more of that planned.  Rest assured I have been hearing Him speak into my life often, but for whatever reason have not felt called to share it.  So don't worry if you don't hear from me regularly; God willing I'll be back with more of what He speaks when He asks me to share it.

Today He asked me to share so here I go...

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.  On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
1 Corinthians 15: 10 ESV

 Let's take this a phrase at a time and break it down, reading it slow to suck out everything we can!

We are what we are by grace.  Do you ever think you are a mis…

Suffering Purifies

Recently I've been going through the letters to the churches in the book of Revelation found in chapters 2 and 3.  This is for us too as though each letter is a word from Jesus, to an angel, and transcribed by the apostle John (Revelation 1: 1-2) and addressed to a single church, the letters end with the phrase "the Spirit says to the churches."  This means that it is news for us even today.

Today I read about Smyrna in Revelation 2: 8-11.  As it is so short, I will post it here.

8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. 9 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander[a]of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the cro…

Way of Escape

Hi blog readers!

Sorry for my extended absence.  I've been doing some new things with women and the Lord and haven't felt His calling to write the past few months as He's had me invested on other things but brought you to mind the last few days so wanted to share some thoughts about dealing with temptation.  Our verse to consider today is:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10: 13

One of the groups I am involved in has been looking closely at what the bible says about our sexuality and how to deal with temptation.  Though a lot of what I am studying is connected to sex, these truths about temptation can be applied to any area we struggle in.  So whatever you area of weakness is, I pray that you will find truth and encouragement today to stay strong and resist!

One thi…

Critical Comments

If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself.  You might be needing forgiveness before the day is out.  Galatians 6:2 MSG
Really into the Message translation this year...such a fresh and unique way to hear God's word in a way that speaks to me differently.  
I am susceptible to being critical to others.  I judge them in my heart for making different choices than mine.  In part I suppose it's because I have always felt this need to make my own worthiness and have elevated how I think and act to be the "right way."  When you make yourself your God then you have to put all other ways down for yours to be supreme.  When you aren't supreme, you lose worth.  Thus all the ways that aren't mine are wrong, which really isn't true, but it helps me maintain some sort of imaginary significance.  
When reading this morning, God showed me a few things.  First that often what I take for another's sin, is not sin, bu…

Unfolding Grace

Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace.  2 Corinthians 4:16  MSG

Have you ever done origami?  If you get one of those step-by-step unfolding books they can be really  hard to understand.  Though it goes a step at a time, the drawings are two dimensional and it's hard to tell the direction to fold, even with clear illustrations.  It's often puzzling how what you are doing will create the picture you see in the long run.

In this verse in 2 Corinthians, Paul describes the Christian life as one big folding puzzle.  On the outside, it's hard to know what God is doing.  It is sometimes impossible to imagine how the circumstances surrounding your life will lead to a beautiful outcome.  Yet because of grace, His well chosen, meticulous work has purpose to create in us something we can see as it unfolds daily.  Yet the Creator has a big picture in mind…

An Interruptable Life

Put God in charge of your work, then what you've planned will take place.  Proverbs 16:3 MSG

When I read this I laughed because moments before reading it I was hoping today's verse (this year instead of reading through the bible I am selecting devotional plans from YouVersion and reading their verse of the day) would give me something to chew on.  Then I read this and was so grateful that God has answered me.  What a reminder of what a personal God He is.  It is probable because the desire to have Him flood my work with His presence and truth today came from His spirit speaking and prepping me for how to walk with Him today.  He is the author and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2); He will bring His work in our lives to pass.

So this one speaks right to the heart because I am a planner.  I fill up our calendar with social events, decide what I'm making in advance before I go grocery shopping--I've even made dinner reservations at restaurants for a trip that is happe…

Deceitful Hearts

And the Valentine's theme continues...not purposefully...just reading what God is showing and seeing what He has to say.

The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.  But I, GOD, serach the heart and examine the mind.  I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things.  I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.  Jeremiah 17:10.

According to this verse, to be lead by our heart is a dangerous thing.  It is not full of light, showing you the way.  In fact it fools and tricks you.  Why is that?  Don't people recommend to follow your heart.  According to this verse that would be a foolish thing to do.  For one, the sin nature is there, making your feelings selfish and biased.  The other problem is the heart only knows one perspective: yours.  It doesn't have the benefit of eternal existence, holy thinking, and all knowledge like God's guidance.  To us it's an unsolvable puzzle.

So God comes in as the exp…

Friendship with God

“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.    John 15:11-15 MSG

Today is Valentine's Day.  Being an elementary school teacher, it is common in my world that the emphasis is on love expressed through friendship and not romance.  Reading the above verse this morning reminded me about the friendship we have with God.  Here are some things I notice in regards to how this friendship with God works:

He wants joy to come out of a friendship with Him.  This joy comes from growing as a person into your full potential because you spend time …

Moses Turns Aside

2 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.
3 And Moses said, "I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned."
4 When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am."
Exodus 3:2-4

In reading the story of Moses this afternoon, I noticed something I hadn't before.  When replaying the narrative in my mind, I'd always thought that God just speaks to Moses from the bush.  If you reread verse three carefully, you'll see that before God spoke, Moses chose to turn aside.  God had sent an angel to speak to Moses on His behalf.  Moses saw the angle as a burning fire.  The interesting thing to Moses wasn't that the bush was on fire, but that it wasn't being consumed.  Something mystical and divine was occuring.

God set up the encounter bu…

What We Bring

In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lordhad regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:4-7
Abel brought his best, and what God had commanded
Cain brought what He wanted.
Reading this morning I realized I do that all the time.  I figure in some way if I bring something to God it is good enough.  It shows I'm thinking of Him, right?  
But it's not worship.
God wants worship.  It says in His word that He seeks worshipers (John 4:23).  Worshiping something isn't doing the bare minimum.  That is fulfilling a duty or obligatio…