Affection, Affliction, Bible, Brokenness, Comfort, Discipline, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Healing, Modeling, Punishment, Redemption, Repentance, Scripture

FIRST AID

HOSEA 6:1

“Come, let’s return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.”

I taught first aid for years. In the classes I taught how to bandage wounds and stabilize broken limbs. I actually enjoyed teaching these skills because I knew I was preparing the students to help someone who possibly couldn’t help themselves. What a great skill to have.

In this chapter 6 of Hosea, the people are responding to the Lord. They realize their need to return to Him. They recognize that He has punished them. They say He had torn them and wounded them. But they also know He will heal them and bandage them.

APPLICATION

Has the Lord torn you? Has He wounded you? And how did you respond? Most of us do not respond too well when chastised. I know I don’t. It’s hard to receive criticism or rebuke. But when it’s the Lord doing the rebuking, we need to listen. He only corrects us to bring us closer to Him. Don’t you want that?

Punishment is so much more bearable when we know the person doing the punishing loves us. How much does God love us? He sent His Son to die for us. That is a powerful love. That’s an eternal love. The next time you feel the Lord correcting you, look into His eyes and know how much He loves you.

The Lord just might use your correction to point someone else toward Him, if you respond well. As others watch you react, you have the opportunity to show them Jesus. A lot of people have never seen that before. Will you accept His healing and His bandages? Then show them to others so they can see what He has done for you.

I am healed because of You. You are the source of all my healing. Praise You, Jesus.

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Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Bible, Choices, Following, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Scripture, Stumble

WEAK ANKLES

HOSEA 5:5

“Moreover, the pride of Israel testifies against him, and Israel and Ephraim stumble in their wrongdoing; Judah also has stumbled with them.”

When I was a sophomore in high school, I broke my left ankle at football camp. I had won a starting position as center and was determined to not miss that season. I didn’t treat my injured ankle as the doctor suggested and actually ended up doing more harm to it. That ankle has been sprained a number of times since because it was weakened due to my own stupidity.

Israel, Ephraim and Judah stumbled due to their own stupidity. You see, the word “stumble” means to be weak in the ankles. When you are weak in your ankles, you can’t walk too well. When you are weak in your spiritual ankles, you can’t walk with God well. That’s what happened to Israel, Ephraim and Judah. They had injured their own spiritual walk through their choices.

APPLICATION

How do you keep your ankles strong? I am talking about your spiritual ankles. How do you do that? As with any body part, you have to exercise them to keep them strong. You can’t just sit around and expect to have strong ankles. You have to walk. And you have to walk correctly. If you walk incorrectly, you can damage your walk. But if you walk as He walked, you will have strong ankles.

I suffer from neuropathy in both of my feet. This has been progressing ever since I had chemotherapy in the Fall of 2019 and early Winter 2020. The numbness and pain have progressed up past my ankles. I can’t go for a walk right now because of the pain in my feet, toes and ankles. That is frustrating.

But the physical pain and numbness in my feet and ankles do not affect my spiritual ankles. I have to accept this side effect of my chemotherapy. I have no choice. I will probably have to live with it for the rest of my life. That’s okay. God has allowed it for a reason. It’s now part of my spiritual walk. How are your spiritual ankles?

Lord, strengthen my ankles so I can walk with You. I want to walk with You daily.

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Accountability, Affliction, Bible, Blasphemy, Condemnation, Deception, Following, Forgiveness, Idols, Judgment, Obedience, Persecution, Punishment, Scripture

CARRIED BY THE WIND

HOSEA 4:19

“The wind wraps them in its wings, and they will be put to shame because of their sacrifices.”

The wind truly is amazing. We can’t see the wind, but we can see its effect. Gentle breezes over a lake are so peaceful, but you don’t want to be on that same lake if the winds get violent. I have had the displeasure of living through several hurricanes and tornadoes. No fun! Wind can be good, but it can also do a lot of damage.

Just ask the Israelites. They are being carried off to exile as if by an invisible wind. The nefarious forces that have swooped in like the wind are going to carry them away because of their disobedience and lack of faithfulness to our God. They never saw it coming before it was too late. Just like a tornado appears out of seemingly nowhere, they are wrapped up in the winds of exile.

APPLICATION

We may not have to worry about exile (notice I said “may not”), but we certainly have to be concerned about not being loyal to our heavenly Father. The same God who judged Israel and Judah judges us today. As a believer in Christ, your sins have already been judged. But don’t think that gives you the freedom to live as you want. We have commands to obey.

So, is God this ruthless, uncaring God who only wants to be obeyed? Of course, not. He loves us and wants us to want to obey Him. He won’t force us into submission. He desires that we willingly follow Him. That’s the way He operates.

But He still holds us accountable for following or not following His law. While we are under grace through Jesus, there are still expectations for holy living which the Lord places on us. He has given us these guidelines to follow to draw us closer to Him. Will you follow them today?

O God, I know You expect certain behaviors from me. Forgive me when I fall short. I do desire to follow You.

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Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Bible, Darkness, Deceit, Deception, Judgment, Lies, Light, Obedience, Punishment, Satan, Scripture, Sin

STUMBLING

HOSEA 4:5

“So you will stumble by day, and the prophet also will stumble with you by night; And I will destroy your mother.”

Have you ever stumbled in the dark? Without a good light it is so easy. Since my chemotherapy I have developed pretty severe neuropathy in my feet. I can stumble so easily without shoes. I have to be very careful, whether I am walking in the dark or in the light. Stumbling is a real possibility.

Hosea is not referring to that kind of stumbling. He is talking about a spiritual stumbling. The Israelites had closed their eyes to God and were stumbling everywhere. Even the priests were stumbling. God warns them, through Hosea, that He was going to destroy their mother, referring to Jerusalem. That happened in the midst of their stumbling.

APPLICATION

How can you prevent spiritually stumbling? Just like physical stumbling, a good source of light can prevent most accidents. We have to keep the light of the Word shining brightly in our lives. That means we have to study it daily. You cannot get by with just an occasional quiet time. You need the equivalent of a million lumens shining on you daily.

The light of the Word exposes the darkness. It lets you see the approaching enemy. The beam of His Word points out the dangers lurking in your path, set by the devil, that could bring you down. But when you shine the light on the path, God directs each step you take.

I know I need a daily dose of God’s Word to keep me walking safely. It is amazing how clear your path becomes when you are seeing it through the lense of God’s Word. God’s Word always clarifies. Stop the stumbling.

Lord, keep my feet safe. Shine Your light on my path so I can avoid the devil’s snares.

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Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Bible, Blessing, Choices, Commands, Encouragement, Following, Forgiveness, Gifts, God's Will, Obedience, Scripture, Trust

LOST BLESSINGS

HOSEA 2:9

“Therefore, I will take back My grain at harvest time and My new wine in its season. I will also take away My wool and My flax that I gave to cover her nakedness.”

I have this vision about heaven. Now, hear my clearly. This is my vision. I am NOT saying this is biblical. It’s just my thought. I have this vision of getting to heaven and seeing this huge box with my name on it. When I ask what’s in it, I’m told that it contains all the blessings that were meant for me that I never asked for. Wouldn’t that be awful?

Israel suffered in that way time and time again. They repeatedly turned their back on God, and He withheld His blessings. He cannot bless disobedience. It goes against everything He is. But He stands ready to bless when we return to Him. Israel eventually did return and reaped the blessings.

APPLICATION

What blessings do you think you are missing? What disobedience in your life is thwarting God from pouring His blessings on you? Perhaps it’s withholding your tithes and offerings. Maybe it’s seeking other loyalties besides Him. Don’t you want to be blessed?

Let me ask you something. Do you really think anything you can gain in this world will outweigh God’s blessings? I don’t think so. There is nothing in this world that can compare. Everything we gain in this world is temporal. God’s blessings are eternal. Even the material gains He may send your way come with eternal lessons. Those blessings build our faith and trust in Him.

Today, ask yourself if you want to live life pursuing worldly things or the blessings of God. Just say yes to Him today. Ask Him what He would have you do today. He has a plan. But He won’t force you to do anything. It’s your choice. What will it be?

God, I want to please You. I want to honor You in all I do. I know You want to bless me, and I want to receive those blessings which draw me closer to You.

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Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Contentment, Destruction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Flesh, Following, Godliness, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Obedience, Repentance, Scripture

ON SECOND THOUGHT

HOSEA 2:7

“And she will pursue her lovers, but she will not reach them; and she will seek them, but will not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband, because it was better for me then than now!’”

We often have second thoughts about things. We buy a car that we wish we hadn’t. We quit a job hastily. We do things sometimes that we regret. We wish we could go back and do it again. I’ve done that. You probably have, too. Am I right?

In this real life analogy of Gomer and Hosea and God and Israel, we see this. The verse is pretty clear. In Israel’s case, they were always turning from God and then when judgment fell, they would cry out for deliverance. They wanted to come home. Isn’t that just like us today?

APPLICATION

Why do we do that? Why do we turn from what we know to be truth? It’s our flesh. It is strong. Left to its on device, it will lead us down a path of destruction. It will lead us right over the cliff. The only way to combat that fleshly pull and tug is to wrap ourselves in the Word. The sword of the Spirit can defend us.

Now, before you say that is too hard, let me remind you that you are not doing this alone. Several years ago, I embarked on a new way to combat my flesh. Memorizing and meditating on the Word is the key. I never realized the power of memorizing Scripture in this spiritual battle we are in. Those verses I have memorized and meditate on daily protect me from my own flesh.

Aren’t you tired of running and returning? Aren’t you sick of the consequences of your sins? You will never be sinless this side of eternity, but you can pursue a holy life. As you chase after righteousness and godliness, He discloses more and more of Himself to you.

Father, I want more of You so I can stop this lure of the flesh. I want to die to myself and live for You.

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Advice, Affliction, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Encouragement, Enemies, Lies, Mentoring, Opponents, Parenting, Scripture, The World

WORLD TALK

1 JOHN 4:5

They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.”

I have had the privilege to travel some. The strange thing about traveling to other countries – they all have different accents and often different language. Of course, I don’t think I have an accent at all, lol. I have dear friends in Uganda and Kenya. We’ve known each other for years now, but when I am there, I have to change the way I talk, or they can’t understand me. They hear me, but they can’t understand what I am saying.

John is saying that those who are of the world talk different. They sound different. They speak a whole different language than us. Do you know why? Because of their world view. When we see things differently, we talk differently. I honestly cannot understand some people. Oh, I understand their words, but I do not understand what they are saying. It just doesn’t make sense.

APPLICATION

Our children are going to face this issue. Hopefully, you are teaching them to have a biblical world view. That is going to clash with others. It is just a matter of time. Adults and kids alike will challenge them. They may even face persecution in school because of their world view. That’s okay. Support them. If need be, defend them.

We have to teach our children to hold fast. The world speaks a different language. The world will not agree with your child’s language about the world and God. If our children can learn to defend their faith at an early age, they will be prepared for a lifetime.

Are you being challenged by your speech because of your world view? If you aren’t, maybe you aren’t making your view known. Why not? Are you afraid of persecution? Are you afraid for your job? Don’t you think the God of the universe is big enough to take care of you. God is the one who fights our battles. Trust Him. Will you do that?

Lord God, I confess sometimes I avoid speaking up for fear of ridicule or being shamed. Forgive me for not being more bold in Your name.

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Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Enemies, Evil, Following, Gossip, Mentoring, Opponents, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture

MOCKERS WILL COME

2 PETER 3:3

“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,” 

Peter makes it plain. Mockers will come. To get technical, the verb used here in the Greek is future indicative. That means that it is a fact that they will come at some point. There is no doubt. We have seen that for decades and are seeing it today everywhere. If you believe the Word of God is THE truth, you are made fun of and ridiculed.

The word “mockers” or “mocking” comes from the word which means to play as a child. So, these mockers are actually acting like children. Just because they don’t like what the Word says, they make fun of it, just like a child will do to another child. So, keep that in mind when you encounter one of these mockers. Their childish words mean nothing.

APPLICATION

Oh, what a verse for kids, especially since we just discussed the meaning of that word “mockers.” The next time you hear your children or their friends mocking each other, pull them aside and read them this verse and explain the meaning. I didn’t mention the last phrase of the verse, but it can come into play here when you discuss it with your kids.

Mockers mock because they want to pursue their own “lusts.” They want what they want when they want it. All that matters are their own desires. Basically, they just want their own way, and if anyone gets in their way, they are going to run them over. They did it back then and are still doing it today.

Have you been mocked lately? No? Well, maybe you haven’t been living much different than the world. Ouch, that’s harsh isn’t it? I’m not trying to be mean. But if the world doesn’t see us as different, why not? We should stand out like a sore thumb in our world today. And when they ask why, we should be ready to tell them why we are different. Be willing to be mocked today. Remember, those words are just childish words. We have the real Words of life.

Thank You, Lord, for Your Word. Thank You for giving me the courage to stand up against those who would ridicule and mock You.

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Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Deception, Destruction, Devil, Following, Freedom, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Persecution, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

TRUE ESCAPE

2 PETER 2:20

“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.”

We’ve all seen the suspense movie where the characters are being chased and finally escape. We all breathe a sigh of relief and then out of nowhere the villain reappears and catches them. They were so close. They had broken free. If only they had kept moving. We see it so clearly when it’s someone else, don’t we?

Peter is talking about that very thing here. People throw off the worldly lusts and desires and for a short time they live right. Now, this verse is NOT saying they are believers who have backslidden. A knowledge of Christ is not the same as knowing Christ as your Savior. Without that saving knowledge, what do they do? They return to the world, much like a meth addict quickly returns to the meth.

APPLICATION

How do you make application of this for yourself or your children? Have you and your children ever caught butterflies in a net? How do you catch them? Do you snatch them out the air or while they are on the flower? It is much easier to catch them while they are enjoying the flower nectar. Once they are entangled in the net, they can’t escape.

Explain to your kids that sin works the same way. The devil attracts us with stuff our flesh craves. Once we taste it, we keep going back for more. Before you know it, we are trapped. The more we go back, they more we are hooked. There is only one way out – Jesus.

Do you find yourself looking for an escape? He’s right in front of you. He’s waiting for you to stop struggling and allow Him to guide you to freedom. Let Him take your hand. Let Him take you in His arms. There is an escape. There is peace.

Oh Lord, I long for freedom from the desires of my flesh. Cleanse my thoughts today. Purify my mind so I can follow you.

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Advice, Affliction, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Devil, Encouragement, Evil, Greed, Mentoring, Parenting, Persecution, Satan, Scripture, Shame

DON’T BE BAITED

2 PETER 2:14

“having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children;”

Anyone who knows me knows I love to fish and hunt. Heck, I just love the outdoors. If you want to catch fish, you have to know what they are eating. Their menu changes with the seasons and conditions of the water. Use the wrong bait, and you won’t catch much. Use the right bait, and you have a better chance of catching fish that day.

The Greek word translated as “enticing” is exactly that word – bait. It’s only used three times in the New Testament. It’s used twice here in 2 Peter (2:14 and 2:18) and in James 1:14. All three times it used in a negative context. Bait hides the hook. Bait lures us into traps. But catch what Peter says. They entice “unstable souls.” This literally means people who don’t have a staff to lean on. They are ungrounded, unsteady, not dependable.

APPLICATION

So, how do we protect ourselves against being baited? How do we protect our kids? We get grounded in the Word. When we are in the Word daily and seeking God’s face, we can easily recognize those baited hooks. We can see the traps that are being laid for us. We have to be alert at all times, though, because the devil can get very creative.

What does that mean? The devil won’t come at you or your children the same way every time. He knows we can “wise up” and see him coming. So, he will disguise his traps. They may even look okay. Ask yourself and teach your kids to ask themselves one question. Will this action I am about to take bring glory to God. If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure,” run as fast as you can. Back up and take a hard look. Don’t be baited.

Have you fallen for the bait and now you sit there with a hook in your mouth? You may feel shame and regret. Listen! Turn to Jesus. He is the ultimate hook remover. He can forgive you and set you back on the right path. You may have a scar from that hook mark, but it will serve to remind you, not of your sin, but of the forgiving power of Jesus. Amen?

Forgive me, Father, for falling victim to Satan’s lures. Keep my eyes on You. I know You will never lead me toward defeat.

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