Bible, Commands, Commitment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Inspirational, Mercy, Modeling, Obedience, Scripture, Waiting

WAITING ON GOD

HOSEA 12:6

“So as for you, return to your God, maintain kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually.”

Don’t you hate to wait? I sure do. I am bad about going to a fast food place (don’t judge, lol) and driving straight through if there are more than two or three cars in line. I used to hate to wait at red lights, but I’ve learned to work on my memory verses while doing that. So, reading this verse bothered me a little. I don’t want to wait continually.

Hosea tells them to do three things – return, maintain and wait. Look at the order. They had to return to God first. They couldn’t do the second and third things unless that happened first. And once they did, he told them to maintain kindness (mercy) and justice. Then the waiting starts. God required them to preserve mercy and justice until He responded.

APPLICATION

What are you waiting on? Have you prayed this lately? “Dear God, I am so tired of waiting on You. Why won’t you answer my prayers?” We’ve all prayed that at one time or another. Waiting is hard. We feel like we are wasting time. We have so much to do and waiting on God just doesn’t fit our schedule.

Well, let me ask you this. Have you returned to God? Are you maintaining kindness and justice? If you do those things, you will be able to wait. How? You will be so busy preserving kindness and justice, you will totally forget about the waiting. And the more you do that, the closer you will grow towards God.

We have to remember this. God is always on time. If we remember this, then we should know that waiting is His plan for us. He will do what He is going to at just the right time. Waiting is good if we understand His plan is to make us more like Him. Isn’t that something you want? I sure do.

Waiting on You, Lord, is alright by me. I trust Your timing.

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Abiding, Advice, Bible, Commands, Commitment, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Scripture

HUNGUP

HOSEA 11:7

So My people are determined to turn from Me. Though they call them to the One on high, none at all exalts Him.

There are some things that I can really be hung up about. Fishing is one. I love to fish. There are times when all I can think about is catching that big one. I can spend hours at the lake, pond or river casting and casting, just hoping to land one that I can talk about. I have to be careful, though, to not get too hung up on fishing. There are more important things out there.

Why am I talking about getting hung up? Because the Hebrew word translated “determined” in today’s verse means just that. The people of Israel were hung up on turning from God. They were dead set on not following His commands. They were bent that way due to their flesh and were not going to obey. Sound familiar?

APPLICATION

Are you that way? Being “hung up” on something is not a bad thing, if the thing you are hung up on is in God’s will.  It’s okay to be hung up on reading the Word or praying. It’s okay to be hung up on sharing the Gospel with the lost. But when you get so hung up on something that you forget to ask the Lord about it, you need to back off.

What are you “hung up” about? Family? That can become a problem. Money? That can certainly lead you wrong. Being happy? What’s that got to do with anything? Check out your hang ups. You may just need to loosen the line a bit and take the hook out for a while (to borrow some fishing jargon).

I am hung up on Jesus. I just want to please Him. I figure if I concentrate on that He will take care of the rest. Jesus likes us being hung up on Him. He can handle it. He can use that. How about putting all your hang ups down and just hang on to Him?

Jesus, I am hung up on You. I want nothing more than to please You in my words and deeds.

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Abiding, Accountability, Bible, Commitment, Completeness, Disciplemaking, Following, Fruit, Glory, Harvest, Life, Modeling, Scripture, Surrender

IT LOOKS GOOD, BUT…

HOSEA 10:1

“Israel is a luxuriant vine; He produces fruit for himself. The more his fruit, the more altars he made; the richer his land, the better he made the memorial stones.”

My dad always had about three grape vines in our yard. They were muscadine vines. Every year we would pick those grapes and make jelly. My dad loved his jelly. But also, every year we had to cut back those vines so they could produce grapes and not just vines and leaves. A leafy vine is pretty but not very productive.

Today’s verse, at first glance, is confusing. It sounds like Israel is a good vine. But it actually means leafy and pretty, but not productive. And even when they did appear productive, they squandered their blessings on other gods, not Jehovah. Israel was not acknowledging their bounty as coming from the Lord.

APPLICATION

Your blessings are from above. You need to acknowledge that as a believer. And when you do acknowledge that, you need to give Him all the praise. It’s not about you. It’s all about Him. So, why do we try to toot our own horn? Why do we try to claim credit for it?

Maybe you’re one of those “leafy” Christians. You appear to be productive for the Lord, but you have no fruit. You look like a healthy Christian, but there is nothing in your life that points back to Jesus. You are all show and no go. You are missing out on the blessings He wants to bestow on you. He longs to show you how to be productive and bear fruit. But you must let Him in.

I have come to realize in my latter years that anything good in me is just Jesus. Anything I produce is for His glory and for the benefit of others. It has nothing to do with me. I am nothing outside of Christ. He deserves all the praise for any fruit in my life. I truly believe that. I don’t want any credit. It all belongs to Him.

Lord, I praise You for giving the opportunity to serve You and others. Help me be a productive believer for Your sake.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Commitment, Deception, Disciplemaking, Faithfulness, Following, Foolishness, Inspirational, Obedience, Perfection, Scripture, Surrender

PANCAKES

HOSEA 7:8

Ephraim is himself thrown about with the nations; Ephraim has become a round loaf not turned over.”

I love pancakes, those golden brown, circular cakes from heaven. I love to put fruit in mine (blueberries, bananas, coconut). I have made pancakes for decades. My little girl loved them, too. But you have to cook them correctly for them to be good. You have to learn when to flip them on the skillet and cook the other side as well or they are no good. They are worthless.

Ephraim is being compared to a pancake in today’s verse. That round loaf was called an uggah, which literally means disc cake. It was cooked over coals and if not flipped, it would be burned on one side and doughy on the other. Ephraim was compared to this worthless, half-cooked uggah. Not very appetizing and certainly not good to eat.

APPLICATION

We were all like that, before Christ. Our life was centered on ourselves. We didn’t follow the Lord. We didn’t even know we were being scorched on one side like an unflipped pancake. We were destined for the trash can. Our lives, before Jesus enters our hearts, had no real meaning, especially nothing eternal. And we were clueless.

But once Christ enters our lives, everything changes. You see, when we surrender to Him, He watches over us, just like we watch over that cooking pancake. We know when to flip it to bring it to perfection. Jesus knows when to “flip” us to bring us to perfection. But notice something – it requires heat to cook that pancake. Jesus will also apply heat to us to bring us to that point of perfection. I bet you never thought of yourself as a pancake before.

There are worse things to be compared to. Pancakes are warm and delicious, especially after you drizzle a little pancake syrup on them. Man, I’m getting hungry just writing this, lol. The next time you eat pancakes, think about Hosea 7:8. It might just change the way you see breakfast and your life.

Lord, I trust You to “flip” me when it’s time. I know You are watching the heat You are applying to make me more like You.

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Advice, Bible, Calling, Commitment, Following, Inspirational, Obedience, Prayer, Scripture, Surrender

NO CALLS

HOSEA 7:7

All of them are hot like an oven, and they consume their rulers; All their kings have fallen. None of them calls on Me.”

It is so hard when you are expecting a call to go for days with nothing. Crickets! Silence! Perhaps it’s a call from a potential employer after a great interview. You are just waiting and waiting. Maybe it’s a call from a loved one. They are traveling and promised you a call upon their arrival. But nothing. That’s so hard.

God is crying out here in this verse. “None of them calls on Me.” Now, God doesn’t get His feelings hurt. He’s not worried about a missed call. No! He is just stating a fact. None of these people, who claim to know Him, are calling out to Him. They have forsaken Him.

APPLICATION

God wants you to call out to Him. He, in fact, bends His ear towards you. He longs to hear your voice. He wants to hear your outcries for His direction and guidance. So, why don’t we call on Him. We seem to be saying to Him, “Hey God, I’ve got this. I’ll let you know when I need You.” Are you kidding me? Seriously?

As sad as that may seem, that seems to be our response. Don’t you think He wants to be involved in your life? Call out to Him. Let Him know how you are feeling. Tell Him what you need. Of course, He already knows all of this, but He wants to hear it from you.

I can’t imagine not crying out to Him daily. I need Him in my life. There are times when I try to “do it on my own” only to cry out to God later. But at least I’m crying out. And God always answers. I never get a busy signal or His voicemail. That’s a promise. He is always ready to answer my call. He’ll answer yours too.

Father, thank You that You are always ready to hear me. I know You are listening and are ready to intercede on my behalf.

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Accountability, Bible, Calling, Commands, Commitment, Examples, Following, Life, Modeling, Obedience, Scripture, Testimony

INFAMY

HOSEA 6:9

“And as a band of robbers lie in wait for a person, so a band of priests murder on the way to Shechem; certainly they have committed an act of infamy.”

On December 7, 1941 Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, bringing the U.S. into World War II. Our President then was Franklin D. Roosevelt. He made a speech that day that used the word “infamy.” Here is a link to that famous speech – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xd8MpR-5Ko

Infamy means something that is well known for a bad quality. Hosea compares the priests to that. They are well known for their bad qualities. He actually compared them to a band of robbers. He says they murder on their way to Shechem. Not high praise for religious leaders. Truly they had committed acts of infamy.

APPLICATION

What do you want to be known for? I doubt it is for things like the priests did. Who wants that? But have you given it any real thought? What will your legacy be? When you make your journey to your eternal home, what will your family and friends say about yet? Better yet, what will unbelievers say about you?

Think about for a second. We should have the desire to leave this world marked by our presence. There should be some lasting impact on those around us. I don’t mean we meant anything. What I mean is our life should be so full of Jesus that we leave His mark wherever we go. Our legacy is Jesus. Our impact is the cross.

Can you see that? We need to make every day about impacting one person for Jesus. Maybe it’s a waitress at a restaurant we are eating at. Perhaps it’s the lawn guy who comes each week to mow your lawn. Maybe it’s that neighbor across the street who no one on your street really talks to. We need to be the feet of Jesus today.

Open my eyes, Lord, to those around me who need a Savior. I want to leave Your imprint on their lives.

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Accountability, Advice, Agreement, Appeasement, Bible, Commands, Commitment, Encouragement, Following, Lawlessness, Obedience, Relationships, Scripture

VIOLATED

HOSEA 6:7

“But like Adam they have violated the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously with Me.”

What does it mean to violate something? Simply put, it means to break or fail to comply with a rule or agreement. I don’t know about you, but I have been a violator all my life. I broke the rules of my childhood home. I break the speed limit quite often. And I have broken God’s commands more times than I want to admit.

Israel was a rule breaker. They knew what God’s Word said, but they continued to break it. And just like us, they thought they could get by breaking the rules. After all, they were God’s chosen people. They had a special status. God wouldn’t hold them to all those rules and commands. They were His favorites.

APPLICATION

Rules are rules for a reason. God established His commands to help guide us and protect us. He expects us to follow them.  But why do we follow them? Do we follow them to appease Him? Do we obey them so He will love us? Listen carefully. We obey His commands because we love Him.

God could simply make us obey. He is all powerful, after all. He could force us to follow all His commands like some mind numb robots. But He has given us free will. We have the freedom to be a violator or a follower. It’s really that simple. What will you be?

I want to be a follower. I know I fall short many times, but my heart is to do what is right. God knows our motives. He knows if we are rebellious or just slipped up. We are born with a sin nature that will be with us until we go to heaven. But the Holy Spirit can give us the power and wisdom to make the right choices if we will just listen to Him. Will you?

Thank You, Father, for giving me Your commands to follow. I know they are given to help me live in a way that honors You.

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Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Bosses, Brokenness, Commitment, Compassion, Devout, Disciplemaking, Faithfulness, Following, God's Will, Loyalty, Obedience, Relationships, Scripture

LOYALTY

HOSEA 6:6

“For I desire loyalty rather than sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

I’ll never forget getting called into my boss’ office one time. He called me down and before I could even sit down in a chair, he lit into me. He had a list of accusations against me, things I had supposedly done to undermine his authority. This lasted about thirty minutes. When he finished, I asked if I could respond. He said I could, so told him I hadn’t done any of those things. None of them were true.

Loyalty is important. God demands it. He demanded it of the Israelites, and He requires it of us, His children. We can act like the Israelites and make our sacrifices (giving our tithes, serving in the nursery, helping the homeless), but unless we are loyal to Him, He rejects those sacrifices. Just as the burnt sacrifices that smoldered on the altar, our acts of service are just smoldering ashes.

APPLICATION

How do you show your loyalty to a holy God? How can we prove our heart’s desire is for Him? Listen, brothers and sisters, He knows your heart. He knows your motives. You don’t have to do anything. That is not necessary. All you have to do is surrender. You have to stop trying to please Him and just bow.

When we cease striving, we can start thriving. Hey, I like that. Stop working so hard to justify His love. You just have to bow your will to His, just like Jesus did in the garden. Remember that? Not My will, but Thine be done. That should be our heart cry. That shows our loyalty.

I am tired of trying, aren’t you? I am tired of trying to figure it all out. All I want to do is rest in Him. Guess what? That’s what He wants, too. He wants to take us in His warm embrace and snuggle us. I don’t mean that disrespectfully. He loves us so much. Come to Him today.

I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You, O my soul rejoice.

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IT NEVER LASTS

HOSEA 6:4

“What shall I do with you, Ephraim? What shall I do with you, Judah? For your loyalty is like a morning cloud, and like the dew which goes away early.”

I have been in the woods enough in the early morning to know that the early morning frost on the ground in the Fall doesn’t last long. It is really quite neat to watch the sunbeams hit the ground. As they inch across the landscape with the rising sun, you can watch the frost melt away. Little by little it vanishes.

God compares Ephraim and Judah to the vanishing morning clouds and the dew. They, too, vanish quickly. God knew they were about as loyal. Here one moment and gone the next. Fickle! Always looking for the next best thing. They could not be trusted.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you. Are you dependable? Can the Lord rely on you? When He asks you to do something, will you do it? He requires the same loyalty from us that He required of Ephraim and Judah. He has paid a huge price for our salvation. He gave His only Son to die for us. When we receive that gift, He expects us to be obedient.

What do we do with a disobedient child? We discipline them, of course. Why? To teach them to obey. We don’t pleasure in discipling them, but we know we must. An undisciplined child will be a disobedient adult. Therefore, God will discipline His children.

I never liked discipline. I still don’t. How do you avoid being disciplined? By obeying. I try to obey the Lord, but I am not always successful. Most of the time that disobedience is accidental. Whether the disobedience is accidental or purposeful, I still must be corrected by God. Will you yield to the Lord’s correction? Better yet, will you obey?

I won’t to obey You, Lord. And when I disobey You, I will accept Your discipline. I know You only discipline me to make me more like You.

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Accountability, Advice, Asking, Bible, Commitment, Hope, Judgment, Obedience, Punishment, Rebuke, Scripture

LOOKING IN WRONG PLACES

HOSEA 5:13

“When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his sore, Ephraim then went to Assyria and sent word to King Jareb. But he is unable to heal you, or to cure you of your sore.”

I lose things. It’s just something I deal with. I am really bad about losing pocket knives. I think I know where I put them, but when I go back to find, they are not there. I look in drawers, in pants pockets and in my truck. They just disappear. Not really. I know I have just misplaced them. I can continue to look in the wrong places with the same results – no knife.

Ephraim and Judah looked in the wrong places for help. They turned to pagan kings to rescue them and didn’t find what they were looking for. In fact, they found exactly what they didn’t want. These pagan kings offered persecution rather than help. They gave them exile instead of peace.

APPLICATION

We need to remember where our help comes from. We can pursue help in a multitude of places, but there is only one true and reliable source. We can look towards friends or family. We can go to counselors or pastors. These are all good choices, but they are not Jesus. Only He can guide us correctly every time. His advice is always perfect.

What kind of help are you looking for right now? Are you in need of some wisdom? Go to the Word. The Holy Spirit speaks through God’s Word. Now, I don’t mean to randomly open the Bible and just point your finger at a verse. Do a word search for the area you are seeking wisdom. See what God says about that topic. I promise you there is an answer in there.

I would encourage you to go to a close Christian brother or sister in Christ who holds the Word to a high level, someone who knows the Word and can help you find the answers you need there. Use an online Bible resource like Biblehub.com or Blue Letter Bible. Whatever you do, use His Word.

Lord, I will go to You when I am in need. I will turn to Your Word for wisdom. Thank You for always being there for me.

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