Affection, Affliction, Bible, Comfort, Confession, Disciplemaking, Holy Spirit, Obedience, Scripture, Shame

ASHAMED

HOSEA 10:6

The thing itself will be brought to Assyria as a gift of tribute to King Jareb; Ephraim will be seized with shame, and Israel will be ashamed of its own plan.”

I can remember as a child getting caught doing something wrong (we won’t go into exactly what that was, lol) and feeling shame. I was ashamed because I knew the right thing to do but chose the wrong thing. Hanging my head and not making eye contact. Hearing my mom or dad say how disappointed they were in my decision. Shame is not something you want to hang on to.

Ephraim was ashamed. Israel was ashamed. They knew what God expected but chose to go their own way. When what they loved (idols and pagan altars) was carried away with them into exile, then they felt the shame of their sin.

APPLICATION

Shame can be a great motivator to return to the Lord. Now, we can’t stay there. Once we have confessed our sin and made things right with the Lord, He does not want us to wallow in our shame. We have been made clean. There is no reason to stay in shame or guilt. Have you done that?

Many people feel so ashamed that they don’t think the Lord can forgive them. They think their sins are too big. We have to let them know just how big our God is. He can forgive whatever they have done. All they have to do is come to Jesus. They just have to confess Him as Lord and Savior and believe in His name. We have to give them that message.

I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit convicts me of my sins. He won’t let me get away anything. The moment I sin He is in my business reminding me that I am a child of God and sin has no place in my life. Am I perfect? Not in any way. But I have a perfect Savior who pushes me to live holy. How about you?

Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank You, Lord, for making me whole. Thank You, Lord, for giving to me Thy great salvation so rich and free.

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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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Abiding, Alone, Bible, Comfort, Deceit, Devil, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Holy Spirit, Judgment, Leading, Lies, Punishment, Righteousness, Satan, Scripture

WANDERERS

HOSEA 9:17

“My God will reject them because they have not listened to Him; and they will be wanderers among the nations.”

Sometimes it’s nice to just wander. I have always wanted to take a trip with no plans, just get in the car and drive and stop when I wanted to. That would be fun. But I would not want to wander around lost. That can be frightening and dangerous. I am thankful for Google Maps, for that very reason.

Part of God’s punishment for Israel was they were destined to be wanderers. Do you realize they stayed wanderers for generations? The nation of Israel vanished off the face of the earth for a while. In 1948 they became a nation again, and that was due to the extreme persecution of the Holocaust. Wandering is no fun when it is God’s judgment.

APPLICATION

Have you been wandering away from the Lord? What direction are you headed? Listen, stop and turn towards Him. Your wanderings will only get you nowhere. And nowhere is exactly where Satan wants you. He doesn’t want you near the Lord. He doesn’t want you being led by Him. The devil wants to drag you around and confuse you.

But, if you turn to Jesus, He will cease your wandering. He will lead you into green pastures and by quiet streams. And even when He leads you into the valley of the shadow of death, He will not leave you. His rod and His staff will comfort you. You can read the rest of this in Psalm 23. Trust the Shepherd to stop your wandering.

I have to be truthful here. I have wandered. There have been times in my Christian walk when I have left the Lord’s path. I decided to go my own way. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t leave me alone. He drew me back to the Lord’s path. His path is safe. His path, though not necessarily smooth, will guide me straight to Him. Will you join me?

Father, I trust Your leading. Guide me in Your paths of righteousness today.

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Belief, Bible, Child Raising, Disciplemaking, Evangelism, God's Will, Gospel, Grandchildren, Mentoring, Parenting, Praise, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture, Witnessing

LOST CHILDREN

HOSEA 9:12

“Though they bring up their children, yet I will bereave them of their children until not a person is left. Yes, woe to them indeed when I depart from them!”

My wife and I have a little girl in heaven. Cathleen Marie only lived six hours. She was born and died on September 11, 1987. There’s not much more sorrowful than to lose a child. The pain can seem intolerable. You feel deserted. You feel hollow. Praise God, we knew Him then to get us through that dark valley.

The people of Israel were going to experience that pain. Their children would be taken away from them. Some of them would be killed by their invaders. Others would be carried off into exile as slaves, separated from their parents. All of this because of the nation’s disobedience and betrayal to their Lord.

APPLICATION

No one wants to lose a child, physically or spiritually. Our main job as parents is to lead our child to Christ and then disciple them to walk with Him. All our efforts in child raising should point to that. Do you agree? Anything else is really superfluous. You are not always going to be around, so they need to know how to live in this world.

Perhaps your children are grown. Do You have grandchildren? How about kids in your church or neighborhood? Whatever your situation, you have an opportunity to invest in the lives of children. While they are young we have the chance to teach them the Word of God and how to apply that to their lives.

I don’t want to see a child lost to this world. I will do all I can to point them to Jesus. Nothing gives me more joy than to see a little one give their heart and lives to Him. How about you? Will you join me in reaching out to the children in your circle of influence? Talk to their parents. Talk to the children. Share Jesus with them today.Father, I love to tell the story to everyone, but especially children. Lord, allow me to see Your children come to You.

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Abiding, Bible, Blessing, Disciplemaking, Fruit, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Scripture, Testimony

SPOILED FRUIT

HOSEA 9:10

“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your forefathers as the earliest fruit on the fig tree in its first season. But they came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame, and they became as detestable as that which they loved.”

My Grandma Carter had a fig tree in her yard in South Georgia. When I was a little boy, I loved to pick those ripe figs from that tree and eat them right there. I can still see that tree and those luscious, large figs. I would pick one, split is open and enjoy the sweetness of the fruit. Man, I love figs.

Israel was a sweet fruit on the tongue of God. He loved them. They were supposed to be that way. But they chose to chase after other gods and became detestable. They weren’t good for anything. Spoiled fruit isn’t worth picking. Spoiled fruit can’t be used. Israel became “uneatable.”

APPLICATION

Is that what you want to be like? I doubt it. But unless we walk with God and live for Him, we become that way. God delights in us. He wants to use us. But He can’t use spoiled fruit. He demands the first fruits. He expects us to produce good fruit. He expects us to be good fruit.

Take a minute and examine your walk with Him. Are you a fruit worth picking? Now, I am not calling you fruity. But I am asking you if you are useable. Does your fruit bring delight to those around you? Do they desire to be around you and learn from you? Or are you spewing out rotten fruit that no one wants to see, smell or taste?

I want others to come to my tree and pick my fruit. After all, any fruit I produce through the power of the Holy Spirit is for the benefit of others. A fig tree doesn’t eat its own figs, does it? I grape vine doesn’t drink its own wine, does it? Of course, not. We are “fruity” for others, not ourselves. So, start being fruity for Jesus. Share the sweetness of your fruit with others.

I know I must abide in the Vine to produce fruit. I want to produce fruit to honor You, Lord.

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Accountability, Bible, Blameless, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Judgment, Redemption, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

GOD REMEMBERS

HOSEA 9:9

“They are deeply depraved as in the days of Gibeah; He will remember their guilt, He will punish their sins.”

My memory isn’t what it used to be. I have gone through chemotherapy a couple of times and now suffer with what is known as “chemobrain.” Some people don’t think that is real, but believe me, it is. I have to make a lot of lists now to get things done. I want to remember things but can’t.

God, however, remembers our sins. Hosea says so right here in today’s verse. He couldn’t forget the sins of Israel because they hadn’t repented. Their unconfessed sins were before Him. He had to hold them accountable. Hosea says “He will punish their sins.” They is true for us, unless…

APPLICATION

When we come to Jesus and admit we are sinners, when we confess those sins and ask for forgiveness, God forgives them. And not only does He forgive them, He choses to forget them. They are remembered no more. Psalm 103: says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Isn’t that incredible? The God of the universe choses to remove our sins from us and from His recollection. Our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus. He remembers our sins no more because of His Son. They are wiped away. Isn’t that worth sharing? Isn’t that something that the lost need to hear?

You and I can walk in freedom from sin because of the power of His forgiveness. I don’t have to feel guilty from past sins. I can walk in power over sin because of His Spirit who lives within me. I am no longer under the threat of damnation because of the shed blood of the Lamb. That is shouting ground. Amen?

I am so thankful for Your forgetfulness, Father. You have washed me clean by the blood of the Lamb, Your Son, Jesus Christ.

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KEEP WATCHING

HOSEA 9:8

“Ephraim was a watchman with my God, a prophet; yet the snare of a bird catcher is in all his ways, and there is only hostility in the house of his God.

Do you remember as a child playing hide and seek? The secret to winning is to find a great hiding place and to stay alert. You can’t just hide and go to sleep. You’re sure to be found. I always liked to hide in a spot that a quick escape route. I had to keep watching for the person looking for me. I didn’t want to be caught off guard.

Israel had been given the task to be His watchman. Not only were they His chosen people, but they were also supposed to warn their neighbors of God’s wrath. They were to tell them about Jehovah. Yet, they had failed. Not only had they fallen into God’s judgment for chasing after pagan gods, they had fully participated with those foreign nations in their idolatry.

APPLICATION

We have the responsibility as believers to share the good news of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible. You know as well as I do that the world is chasing after everything but God. They may not have idols on their mantles, but they are sure worshipping stuff. They have totally forgotten the Creator.

So, we have been tasked by God as a watchman. We have to warn others of the danger of sin. We have to tell them what God expects. We have to show them the love of Jesus so they will turn to Him. That’s our task. Will you accept it? Will you do that today? Think of one person and go to them.

I know it is not easy for some of you to step out and do that. But just think about what you are doing. You are literally giving someone the opportunity to escape hell. You are giving them the chance to embrace heaven. That’s motivation.

Show me those who need to hear Your message, Lord. Give me the boldness to speak out when I know those around me need to hear.

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Accountability, Bible, Christ's Return, Disciplemaking, Eternity, Heaven, Hell, Judgment, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture

TOO LATE NOW

HOSEA 9:7

“The days of punishment have come, the days of retribution have come; let Israel know this! The prophet is a fool, the inspired person is insane, because of the grossness of your wrongdoing, and because your hostility is so great.”

I am not a procrastinator by nature. I prefer to do things ahead of time and get them out of the way. I had rather be an hour early somewhere than one minute late. That’s just the way I am wired. But I know other people who will be late to their own funeral. They are never on time and can’t seem to get anything done on time. That would drive me crazy.

The people of Israel had been told by the false prophets that the day of judgment was either way off or wasn’t coming. So, they put off repentance. We have plenty of time to set things right. But Hosea is telling them in today’s verse that the time has come. And it was because of the “grossness of your wrongdoing, and because your hostility is so great.”

APPLICATION

Oh, listen to me today. The time is short. Jesus is returning. It may be today, or it may be five years from now. We don’t know when, but He is coming again. He will rapture His church. He will take His children out of this world before the great tribulation. Where will you be?

I don’t want to be like one of those false prophets who told the people they had plenty of time. No! Get ready. And do it not so much to escape hell, but to enjoy heaven. Come to Jesus now to enjoy the blessings of life. He wants to show you how to live abundantly. He wants to walk with you through this life. That’s worth coming to Him now.

But too many around us are ignoring the signs. They are ignoring the warnings. They truly believe they can live however they wish and still slide into heaven. Heaven will not open its gates to everyone. Only the repentant and those in Christ will enter. We need to spread the message loud and clear to anyone who will hear. Join me today in doing this.

Father, I know the time is approaching when Christ shall call His bride home. I am ready. Help me share with those around me how they too can be a part of Your family.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Commands, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Examples, Following, God's Will, Modeling, Obedience, Praise, Scripture, Worship

THE LORD’S DAY

HOSEA 9:5

“What will you do on the day of the appointed festival and on the day of the feast of the LORD?”

I had a drug problem as a child. I was drug to church every Sunday, lol. Now, I may have said that in jest, but the truth was every Sunday I was in church. It was just where we were on Sunday mornings. We were in Sunday School at 9:45 and worship at 11:00. It was the expected thing to do, and we did it. Sunday was the Lord’s day.

Sadly, the Israelites had forsaken the Lord’s festivals in exchange for the worship of other gods. They even combined some of the holy festivals with pagan worship. God, through Hosea, was asking them where they are. His chosen people had forsaken Him. They didn’t have time for Him. He was not a priority.

APPLICATION

We are seeing the same thing today. Covid has gotten a lot of people out of church. Many are content to remain at home and channel surf until they find a preacher they like. Others are content to live stream the service into their home. Going to church has become unimportant. Coming together with other believers to worship and praise our King is not a priority.

Church isn’t out of style. I am afraid we have become complacent. We are allowing the world to dictate our behaviors. Now, I am not talking about not attending while the pandemic was rampant. Most of us took precautions during that time. But that time as passed. Vaccines have been taken. The severe threat has come and gone. It’s time to return.

Don’t let the Lord ask you where you are on Sundays. Sure, you can worship God anywhere (I hear that a lot). But we need each other. We desire community. We grow stronger with other believers in our lives. You can’t do that in front of the tv or computer. If you are one of those who has become comfortable at home, I want to encourage you today to return to the Lord’s house. He wants you there. And others need you there.

Let us not forsake the assembling of the body of Christ, Lord. Remind us how important it is to be together in worship.

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UNCLEAN BREAD

HOSEA 9:4

“They will not pour out drink offerings of wine to the LORD, nor will their sacrifices please Him. Their bread will be to them like mourners’ bread; All who eat it will be defiled, because their bread will be for themselves alone; It will not enter the house of the LORD.”

Have you ever grabbed the bread out of the panty and made an awesome sandwich only to discover that the bread was molded? I’ve done that a couple of times, so I try to examine the slices I pull out before I assemble my sandwich. Even then, if I don’t have my glasses on, I can miss some mold on the edge. Not very appetizing.

Hosea is comparing their sacrifices, specifically their bread sacrifices, to bread that is unclean. It is not acceptable to God. In fact, when they were taken into exile, they were told not to offer any sacrifices. Their drink offerings and burnt sacrifices were unpleasing to Him. They didn’t have the right motives behind them.

APPLICATION

The same applies to us today. Our sacrifices to God (not animal sacrifices or drink offerings) have to be given with the right heart. We can give thousands of dollars to the church, but if we do it grudgingly, we have not offered the right offering to Him. We can sacrifice time to the kingdom, but if it is done out of guilt, that too is not pleasing.

We give because of our love for the Lord. We offer our sacrifices of praise because of all He has done for us. Examine why you offer any offerings, tithes or sacrifices of any type. If they aren’t offered in the spirit of devotion and love, don’t bother. God is not pleased. You are no different than the Israelite.

I want my gifts to the Lord to be given to honor and give glory to Him. I want to pray over each and every gift I give, whether that be my time or my money. I want all my offerings to be a sweet aroma in the nostrils of God. How about you?

\I offer myself and all I give to You to honor You, Lord. I want You to know the smell of my offerings and recognize them immediately.

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