Accountability, Bible, Blessing, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Gifts, Giving, God's Will, Goodness, Obedience

INDIAN GIVER

HOSEA 13:11

I gave you a king in My anger, and took him away in My wrath.”

Do you remember as a child what we called someone who gave you something and then took it back? We called them an “Indian giver.” That phrase was really offensive to someone (not to mention how offensive it is to Native Americans). To give someone a gift and then demand it back is not very nice.

God had given Israel a king. He gave them Saul after they demanded one. He wasn’t happy about that. Hosea even says He did it in anger. Then after their repeated disobedience, His wrath fell. He sent them into exile. He removed their king, never to return again.

APPLICATION

Let me clarify something. God is NOT an Indian giver. That is not His style. That’s not what He did to Israel. God wants to give good gifts to you. In fact, He is just waiting to bless you. You can’t even begin to imagine how much He wants to bless you. He always has your best in mind. Every gift He gives you is custom made just for you.

So, why aren’t you asking for His blessings? I don’t mean you can just name it and claim or blab it and grab it. No! The problem most of us have with asking for God’s blessings is we aren’t living worthy of those blessings. We pretend to live for Him or we are outright living in sin. How can we expect Him to bless us?

I want His blessings. Therefore, I choose to live in such a way that He is able to bless me. What does that mean? It means I live for Jesus each day by surrendering my will to His. Just like our earthly fathers love to bless their obedient children, God desires the same. I don’t obey in order to be blessed. I obey because I love Him. And when I do, He give His good gifts.

Thank You, Lord, for Your good gifts. Help me live in such a way that Your blessings flow.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Contentment, Encouragement, Faithfulness, God's Will, Inspirational, Life, Obedience, Pride, Scripture, Surrender

PROUD HEART

HOSEA 13:6 

“As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, and as they became satisfied, their heart became proud; therefore, they forgot Me.” 

There is nothing wrong with being satisfied. Being content with things of life can be a good thing. Paul tells us in the New Testament to be content. He said godliness with contentment is great gain. But when we become satisfied with ourselves to the exclusion of God, that is not good. Our soul should always strive for more of Him. 

Israel had become self-satisfied. They had, in fact, become proud of heart. The word “proud” in the Hebrew can have the idea of exalted or puffed up. They didn’t need God anymore. After all, they had everything they needed, or so they thought. Hosea even says they forgot God. How sad! 

APPLICATION 

How do you avoid getting proud and satisfied? You have to acknowledge your need for a holy God. Have you done that? Do you realize how much you need Him in your life? I pray you have. We can accomplish a lot of things in this world. We may even think we have done it on our own. But every blessing you receive as a believer is the direct result of God in your life. 

Not me, Carl. I have worked hard for everything I’ve gotten. God never gave me anything. Oh really? How about the very breath you take? How about your heartbeat? Without those you certainly couldn’t go far. If you will stop and look at all the blessings in your life, you will see the source. He is the one who sends those blessings into your life.  

Without Jesus in my life, I know I am nothing. I owe all I am to Him. I am not worthy of one single thing. But I am a child of the King. Therefore, He sees me as worthy. He counts me as an heir of His kingdom. Of that I am proud – proud to be His.  

O Lord, keep my heart proud only of You. Let my satisfaction come in You alone. 

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Belief, Bible, Blessing, Child Rearing, Compassion, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Giving, God's Will, Inspirational, Praise, Remembering

REMEMBER

HOSEA 12:9

“But I have been the LORD your God since the land of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again, as in the days of the appointed festival.”

Oh, how quick we forget the Lord’s blessings. I have been guilty of that. In the past, I have prayed about a certain thing and received a blessing from the Lord. At the time, I was so full of praise and thankfulness, but as time passed, I forgot about that blessing. I began to take it for granted

Hosea is reminding Israel of their feast of tabernacles, the festival which commemorated their dwelling in tents during their wilderness years. They were reminded of God’s abundant provisions during all those years (water, manna, quail). As the decades had passed, the people had forgotten His blessings.

APPLICATION

Take out a sheet of paper and start listing all the blessings you have received from the Lord this past week. Think about the little things, not just the biggies. Hey, you woke up each day, right? You had food to eat. You had clothes to wear. Just start listing them.

Now think back further. Think about all the blessings He has bestowed on you since your salvation. When you start doing this, it is pretty amazing. How soon we forget. Maybe you could start writing down these blessings as they happen. At the end of each year you could sit down with your family and read through the list and praise Him.

I have known people who kept a blessing box. They would write down on a slip of paper each time they received some kind of blessing. They would put that slip of paper in a shoe box or something and then pull them all out and read them at the end of the year. If you have kids, get them involved in this. I bet when you reflect back, you will be amazed at just how blessed you are.

Father, You bless me in so many ways. I am sorry I am so ungrateful and forgetful. Forgive me.

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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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Accountability, Betrayal, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deceit, Discipline, Faithfulness, Following, Lies, Obedience, Relationships, Scripture

STILL UNRULY

HOSEA 11:12

Ephraim surrounds Me with lies and the house of Israel with deceit; Judah is still unruly against God, even against the Holy One who is faithful.”

When I worked in children’s homes, it wasn’t unusual for a child or youth to come into the home very unruly and out of control. After a period of time and much love, they would begin to calm down and settle in. But quite often that same child would resort back to their old way of behavior. It seemed they just couldn’t maintain a calm demeaner. Even though the staff was consistent and loved them, they preferred chaos.

Hosea tells us Ephraim, Israel and Judah acted the same way. Even though “the Holy One” was faithful, they rebelled. Lies, deceit and unruliness were how they responded to a faithful Father. They gave way to flesh. They let their old sin nature take over. It didn’t matter how much God loved them, they acted out against Him.

APPLICATION

Now, if you don’t see yourself in today’s verse, well… We are all the same. We know how much the Lord loves us. He sent His Son to die for us. He gave us exactly what we needed – salvation. And we still rebel. We still take Him for granted. Oh, we say the right things. We go to church and throw a few dollars in the offering plate and think we have done enough. We don’t want to obey – just like the Israelites.

Aren’t you tired of living that way? God wants you to surrender to Him. He wants you to yield to His will. Matthew 11:28-30 tells us to come to Him. We are to take His yoke on us. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. Will you trust Him today to lead you in His yoke. Stop the unruliness and yield.

I still battle that sometimes. I even think I am yielded only to discover I’m not. That’s a bit embarrassing, lol. But I truly want to be. I don’t want to rub against the yoke. I want to follow Him in the yoke. I want to learn to walk with the Master. Don’t you?

Oh Lord, I praise You for putting up with my stubbornness. I thank You for Your patience with me.

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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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Accountability, Advice, Altars, Bible, Choices, Destruction, Double-minded, Faithfulness, Idols, Modeling, Obedience, Scripture, Sincerity

GOD THE DESTROYER

HOSEA 10:2

“Their heart is deceitful; now they must suffer for their guilt. The LORD will break down their altars and destroy their memorial stones.”

There is something about tearing something down. I can remember as a boy using my dad’s big sledgehammer. I used to ask my dad if I could swing it when he had to tear apart stuff. Man, when that big hammer hit the wood, it would just splinter that stuff. Tearing down stuff was fun.

But here in today’s verse, the Lord is tearing down some stuff, and He wasn’t having fun. He was angry at Israel’s sin, at the way they had built these altars to their false gods. He was determined to destroy any sign of their idolatry. And He didn’t need a sledgehammer.

APPLICATION

Are there things in your life that you need to tear down? We all have things that we have built up that get between us and God. They may just be small things, but anything between you and the Lord is an idol, a distraction. It must come down. It has to be removed. If you leave it there, it will affect your walk with Him.

Now, you don’t need a sledgehammer to do that. You just need to turn to the Lord. It seems when we prioritize Jesus in our lives, all those other things seem to disappear or take a back seat. The “altars” and “memorial stones” we have placed in our lives have to come down. There is only room for Jesus.

From time to time I have built up “altars” in my life. I have placed too much emphasis on things at the expense of worshipping the Lord. One by one the Lord showed me those “altars” had to come down. As I got rid of them, my love for the Lord grew stronger. Sole devotion to Jesus is what is required. My knee will bow to no one else.

Help me Lord to keep my altars torn down. I desire to worship only You.

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Bible, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, God's Will, Inspirational, Promises, Sacrifice, Scripture

WASTED SACRIFICES

HOSEA 8:13

“As for My sacrificial gifts, they sacrifice the flesh and eat it, but the LORD has taken no delight in them. Now He will remember their guilt, and punish them for their sins; they will return to Egypt.”

Too often our “sacrifices” we make to the Lord are more about us than Him. We think we are making this great sacrifice, but it is really nothing. Our idea of a sacrifice pales in comparison to what Jesus did for us. We aren’t making animal sacrifices anymore, but we can still offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him.

The Israelites were good at offering the sacrifices. Morning and evening, festivals and celebrations. Every time it was required, they would offer the prescribed sacrifice. But it meant nothing. Why? Because God knew their hearts. It says in today’s verse, “the Lord has taken no delight in them.” So, these were wasted sacrifices. They were made with the wrong intentions.

APPLICATION

What are you offering the Lord right now? Most of us offer Him our scraps. If we get time, we will read the Word. If we have some money left over at the end of the month, we will throw a few dollars in the plate. If we… You get the picture. We generally offer the Lord our leftovers when He demands the first fruits.

What is your first fruits? It’s your best. We should think of the Lord first each day. We should think of Him first when we are spending our money. After all, He is the one that gives us that new day and gives us our money. He provides for us. He deserves our best. Take a look at your offerings to Him today.

I want to give Him my very best. Do I always do that? No, and for that I am sorry. I truly desire to do it. But my flesh gets in the way. I don’t die to myself. I don’t surrender my will to His. I am just like the Israelites sometimes. But the Spirit always draws me back. He reminds me of whose I am. He deserves my all every day in every way.

I give You my all today, Lord. You deserve my very best, and I desire to give it to You.

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Scripture, Testimony

HANDMADE

HOSEA 8:6

“For from Israel comes even this! A craftsman made it, so it is not God; assuredly, the calf of Samaria will be broken to pieces.”

There is just something about handmade items. I don’t care if it’s a jar of jelly or piece of furniture. There is usually a quality to those items that you don’t get from mass produced items. I can still taste my mom’s homemade mayhaw jelly. Yum! But sometimes, someone’s homemade products just don’t measure up.

That’s the case with this wretched calf handmade by craftsmen. It could never measure up to God. They may have made it to represent a god, but there is only one true God. This calf was not Him. Hosea says it will be broken to pieces. No idol can stand up to the standard of God. It will literally fall apart. It is no god. And it is not God.

APPLICATION

What are you making with your hands for God? I am not talking about using glue and glitter. I am referring to kingdom work. One of the best things we can make is disciples. In fact, we are commissioned to do just that by our Lord (Matthew 28:18-20). Every disciple we make is truly handmade. We do it one by one. We invest in their lives and teach them how to be a disciple maker.

As we make disciples who make disciples, we are fashioning something that is lasting. It is being built upon God’s Word, which we know will never fail. When we teach them to pour into others, we are building God’s kingdom into future generations. That is a quality handmade product. Don’t you agree?

Nothing gives me much more joy than investing in other men. I love watching them grow in their passion for Jesus. I especially love seeing them grow in their passion to disciple other men. I love knowing I had the privilege to pour into them. In a sense, I have laid my hands on them in the name of Jesus. May He be glorified.

Lord, help me continue to hand make disciples for Your glory. I know disciples made in Your name will last.

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Accountability, Betrayal, Bible, Choices, Commands, Deceit, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Friends, God's Will, Modeling, Obedience, Relationships, Scripture, Service

TURNCOATS

HOSEA 7:15

Although I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they devise evil against Me.”

Betrayal hurts, doesn’t it? If you live long enough, sooner or later, someone will betray you. It could be a friend you thought you could depend on. It might be a spouse who betrays your marital vows. However it happens, it hurts. When you put time and energy into a relationship only to have it squashed by a turncoat, it takes a while to get over that.

Ephraim had turned against God. Hosea says here in verse 15 that God had trained and strengthened them. Remember – God had chosen these people. He had made them a great nation. He had protected them from their enemies. He had enriched their boundaries. And yet, they turned. Not only that, Hosea says they “devise evil” against God. Wow!

APPLICATION

I want to ask you a hard question. Have you ever devised evil against anyone? Have you turned against them and tried to make them hurt? Not me, Carl. I am more spiritual than that. Right! Listen, we may not literally plot to do evil, but we have all had bad feelings toward someone and maybe even rejoiced when they fell on hard times.

As believers, our goal should be to lead others to Jesus at all times. That doesn’t give us the right to have any evil thoughts. When we have feelings, other than godly ones, towards someone, that flies in the face of God. How do you think He feels about that person? He desires them to come to Him. He may be wanting to use you to draw them, and you are refusing. You are fighting against Him. That, in a sense, is devising evil against God.

I want to be on the Lord’s side. Don’t you? I want to serve Him by serving others. I want Him to use me to bring His lost sheep home. May I never be found in conflict with God’s plan for the lost. Serving Him is a joy and pleasure. Won’t you join me?

I desire to remain loyal to You, Lord. I want to be on Your front lines serving Your kingdom.

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