Advice, Betrayal, Bible, Denial, Foolishness, Judgment, Lies, Modeling, Obedience, Respect, Scripture, Surrender

NOSE THUMBER

HOSEA 10:3

“Certainly now they will say, ‘We have no king, for we do not revere the LORD. As for the king, what can he do for us?’”

I have known a few people who thumbed their nose at God. I had a coworker once who wanted nothing to do with God or me. I was the Chaplain at a children’s home, so I represented God to him. He really didn’t like me because of that. He was constantly speaking badly about our chapel services and ridiculed the decisions the children were making. He did not revere the Lord.

Israel did not revere the Lord. They had no respect for their king either. They had lost all their allegiance to anyone except themselves, and that was failing. So, they were also thumbing their noses at God. He wasn’t doing what they wanted, so they were done with Him. They wanted God to serve them, to meet all their needs. Anything less was useless to them.

APPLICATION

What is your view of God? You may expect God to meet all your needs when you want Him to. You may think the Lord is kind of like Santa Claus. And when He doesn’t “perform” you put Him aside. That is not the way God works. He is not on your timetable.

But, oh listen to me. God wants to work in your life. He has such grand plans for you and me. We have to lay down our plans and allow Him to work in and through us. We will never know the heights to which He can take us unless we lay down our own self made plans. Will you do that today?

I am still learning how to lay down my plans. I am a planner and there are times when I get tired of waiting on God. Don’t judge me. I am sure you have done that. But when I do wait on Him, His plan makes so much better sense. You would think I would have learned this by now. Keep me in your prayers, and I will pray for you, too.

Father, I don’t want to ever caste You aside. You are the center of all I do. I want to honor You.

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Accountability, Blessing, Encouragement, Foolishness, Greed, Inheritance, Modeling, Scripture, Testimony

WASTED BLESSING

HOSEA 9:13

“Ephraim, as I have seen, is planted in a pasture like Tyre; but Ephraim is going to bring out his children for slaughter.”

So many people waste their parents’ inheritance. I have seen people scrimp and save for decades to give something to their children, only to see it used up in months, if not weeks. They were blessed by their parents, but they just ignored the sacrifice their parents made for them. How sad is that?

Ephraim had been blessed by Jacob. Remember, Ephraim was one of Joseph’s sons who received the blessing, along with his brother, Manasseh. And when the tribe of Ephraim received their inheritance of the land in the Promised Land, they received a beautiful land. But they abused it. They turned their back on the Lord.

APPLICATION

What blessing are you wasting? Look at your life. Look at all the Lord has done for you. Look at all He has given you. We are so incredibly blessed. Just to have a roof over our heads and food in our stomach is enough. Paul said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:8 “But if we have food and clothes, we will be content with that.”

I want to challenge you to take an inventory of your blessings today. Get out a sheet of paper or grab your laptop or tablet and start listing them. You will be amazed. We overlook the little things like a bed to sleep in or a bathroom to get cleaned up in. How about taking a look in your closet? How many pairs of shoes do you own? Blessing!

I am overwhelmed when I walk into my house each day. I do not deserve it. I am thankful for it and realize it is a gift from God, but I don’t deserve. I don’t want to ever forget the blessings I have received from the Lord. I want to share them with others. I want to pass on the blessings to those who are less fortunate than I am. Let’s do that today.

God, I am so unworthy. I don’t deserve all You have blessed me with, but I am thankful. You are a mighty God, worthy of my praise.

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Accountability, Betrayal, Bible, Choices, Deceit, Foolishness, God's Will, Judgment, Obedience, Rebuke, Scripture, Sin

DON’T BET ON IT

HOSEA 9:2

“Threshing floor and wine press will not feed them, and the new wine will fail them.”

Back in 2008 our economy went through a downturn. A lot of people lost a lot of money in those months. In fact, my wife and I lost about one third of our retirement funds. It happened quickly. It was unexpected. Funds we thought would be there in years to come year were gone almost overnight.

Israel thought their harvest and wine would be there for them to enjoy. After all, they had worked for those harvests. They had produced that wine. Why wouldn’t it be there for them to enjoy? They really thought they could do as they pleased and still be blessed by God. Not so!

APPLICATION

Are you betting on your future? Are you relying on what you’ve achieved or on God? We put so much energy in planning for our future. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s smart to plan ahead. But we can’t leave God out of the equation. He has to be part of what we are planning. God may have plans for you that you can’t even begin to imagine.

So, how do you plan for your future? You start on your knees. You ask the Lord what He would have you do. This goes for your money, as well. Don’t you think the Lord wants you to be provided for? Of course, He does. He doesn’t want to see His children struggle unless…. Perhaps He wants to use you to show others how to depend on Him. Perhaps He wants to use you to be that example of faith that can only we experienced as we go through trials and hardships. But He still loves you and wants what is best for you.

My future is in the Lord’s hands. Stepping out at sixty years old and starting to raise support for a new ministry is not something I planned. But He has led me to do just that. It’s an exciting adventure. I can’t wait to see what He does in and through me in the months and years to come. I can’t count on the threshing floor or winepress. God has other plans, and I’m all in.

I am thankful that my blessings are promised through You. I will love and serve You because I know You will walk with me through the hardest times.

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Alone, Bible, Deception, Devil, Foolishness, Judgment, Loyalty, Obedience, Opponents, Satan, Scripture, Slaves

WILD DONKEYS

HOSEA 8:9

“For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey all alone; Ephraim has paid fees for lovers.”

We have all seen wildlife shows where lions or jackals attack a herd. Have you ever noticed which animal they go after? They attack the young, the weak and the ones who are isolated from the herd. Those animals are easy picking. They lack the protection of the herd.

Hosea compares Israel to a wild donkey that is all alone. They were carried off to Assyria and became a target. Being alone in a foreign land was scary enough but being alone was worse. Assyria carried them there and put them in cities as slaves. They were scattered. They were without their God. They were alone!

APPLICATION

Are you feeling alone? There is no need to feel that way. If you are a believer, you have a family of believers all around you. You need their fellowship and their support. You cannot walk safely on your own. Just like that lone wild donkey, you are a target for the enemy. Satan loves to find a lone believer. His schemes make us easy prey when we are alone.

I belong to a couple of men’s groups that I do life with. They are my allies. They encourage me in my daily walk with Christ and hold me accountable when I fall. They are my brothers. I would not want to even try to live without them. I can tell them anything and know they will hold it confidential.

Having fellow believers around you serves as protection. We can all be on the alert. We can all sound the alarm. When we see a fellow believer all alone, we need to reach out and surround them. They may not know how alone they are and how vulnerable they are. Don’t let them do this alone.

I am so glad I have a family of believers to walk with me, Lord. Help me reach out to those who need others.

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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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Accountability, Battles, Bible, Brokenness, Choices, Deceit, Disciplemaking, Evil, Foolishness, Forgiveness, God's Will, Gospel, Holiness, Modeling, Obedience, Scripture, Testimony

DRUNKENNESS

HOSEA 7:5

“On the day of our king, the officials became sick with the heat of wine; He stretched out his hand with scoffers,”

I have known a few drunks in my lifetime. These individuals were so addicted to alcohol, they couldn’t function in everyday life. They couldn’t hold a job. They had lost their right to drive. They were in and out of jail for public intoxication. Their life was a mess, all because of their appetite for drink.

Hosea is talking about that in today’s verse. The officials and even the king drank to excess. They became sick they drank so much. And to make matters worse, they teamed up with the scoffers. Who are they? They were the individuals who scoffed or scorned at God. They mocked Him and encouraged others to do the same.

APPLICATION

How do we avoid this? Avoid drunkenness. This is not a blog to debate if Christians can drink or not. I’m not going down that road. But there is no reason for a believer to become drunk. We know where that leads. It leads to no good. When we are in that condition we can’t represent Christ, which is our calling.

We should also avoid associating with those who mock and ridicule the things of Christ. In most drinking situations Christ will not be glorified. Isn’t that our purpose? If we can’t do that where we are, something’s wrong. Our actions and attitude should always point to Him.

I haven’t always lived up to that. There have been times when I have failed. I have not represented Christ well. I have asked for forgiveness for that. I truly want to please Him in all I do. My goal is to do that every day. So, my prayer each day is to keep me focused on Him and sharing the good news of the gospel to whomever will listen.

Lord, keep my heart in tune with Yours. I want to walk in such a way that I never bring shame on Your name.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Choices, Evil, Foolishness, Infidelity, Judgment, Lies, Obedience, Scripture

WOW!

HOSEA 4:11

“Infidelity, wine, and new wine take away the understanding.”

Can you think of a time when you let your poor decisions lead you into a messy situation? I will have to admit that in my B.C. (Before Christ) days I made plenty of stupid decisions based on emotion or unrestrained passion. Emotions and passion are good things when they are leading us in the right direction – towards God. But when they are pointed in the wrong direction – well…

Hosea says is pretty clearly, doesn’t he? Infidelity and wine will lead us astray. The people of Israel had allowed their indulgences to replace their love for Jehovah God. Hosea even says it took away their understanding. Understanding of what? Of what was important. Of their understanding of God. Of His love.

APPLICATION

Is anything influencing your decisions right now away from the Lord? It may not be infidelity or wine, but it could be something else. What is it? Before you make a decision about anything do you seek the Lord’s direction? That’s the only safe way of making any decision.

Does that mean any decision? I’m not talking about what kind of jelly to put on your toast. But I am talking about other seemingly mundane ones. Don’t you think the Lord cares about the little stuff? Of course, he does. We can’t afford to let anything influence our decisions that could possibly lead us away from our own understanding of our loving God.

Why not start each day asking the Lord for direction? Ask Him to guard your eyes and ears. Ask Him to protect your every step. He is listening and waiting to hear your plea. He will show you exactly what to do in His time. Do you believe Him? Then do it.

I don’t want to make a decision without Your guidance, Lord. Protect me from making any decision that leads me away from You.

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Advice, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Darkness, Deceit, Deception, Devil, Foolishness, Lies, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Satan, Scripture, Testimony

HATE BLINDS

1 JOHN 2:11

“But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

There is probably not a better verse for today than this one. So much hate. So much darkness. You see, hate blinds us to what is true. The devil loves that. He loves to keep us hating each other. When we hate, we literally can’t see straight. We only see what we want to see.

It was no different back in the day of John. The early church was not exempt from these feelings. Yes, that’s right. Even the early church, to whom John was writing, faced these same issues. Hate has been around since Satan’s fall from heaven. He hates God and anyone who loves Him. He will do anything to blind us with his hate.

APPLICATION

Ask your children what they hate. Notice I said “what” not “who.” I hate brussel sprouts. I hate spinach. We can hate things. That’s really okay. I hate abortion. I am sure God does too. I hate sin. We all should. It does nothing good in this world.

But get your kid’s list of “hates.” Ask them why they hate these things. They are going to hear this word a lot in their life, so they need to understand the strength of that word. They should, however, never use that word in conjunction with a person. No one deserves to be hated. God loves all.

Who do you hate? Don’t answer that. Your answer should be no one. If you do, confess that as sin right now. Ask the Lord to forgive you for that hate. Ask Him to forgive you of walking in darkness. Ask Him to forgive you for following the devil rather than Him. Do that now. He is listening.

Forgive me, Lord, for any feelings of hatred I harbor against others. I know that is sin and displeases You. I want to walk in the Light.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deception, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Foolishness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Redemption, Testimony

MESSED UP

TITUS 3:11

“knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”

We have two Greek words in this verse that are only used here. First, we have “perverted.” Now, this word isn’t what you think. We all have our image of a pervert. No, this word is more like corrupt, to be turned inside out. They are just doing things all wrong. The other word used once is “self-condemned.” And it means just that. By his own actions he condemns himself. He knows what he’s doing is wrong and still does it. This is that factious man mentioned in verse 10.

Do you know someone like that? We are to pray for them, but we are not to hang out with them. You may have heard the expression, “If you lie with dogs, you’re going to get fleas.” Well, Paul is warning us here that these people have no intention to live right. Therefore, we have to keep a safe distance. We still pray for them and love them. But we just can’t be associated with them until they repent.

APPLICATIONS

I pray your children never become that kind of person. How do you prevent that? Your part is setting the environment for God to draw them. Prayer time is key. We teach our kids to pray and explain to them why we pray. We let them in on our prayers, especially when we see God answer them.

We teach them God’s Word and let it permeate their minds. We make sure they see the importance of the Word in our own lives. We make our decisions as a family based on God’s Word. Then when they respond to the Lord, we disciple them and help them grow. That will go a long way towards protecting them.

I also pray that you aren’t living a life that is self-condemning. Are you? Are you doing things you know aren’t pleasing the Father? Stop! Repent. Come back to Him. We can justify just about anything. We will even find Scriptures to justify our positions. Do not be “perverted” or “self-condemned.” Come to Jesus.

I thank You for rescuing me from myself. I am dangerous left to my own desires. But You have put a new heart within me, and it beats for You.

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Advice, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Foolishness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture, Testimony

FOOLISH THINKING

2 TIMOTHY 3:9

“But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.”

I find it rather curious how this Greek word for “folly” is used here. It is only used one other time in the New Testament and that is in Luke 6:11 when the religious leaders “lose their minds in rage” when Jesus heals the man with then withered hand on the Sabbath. Then we have the same word used here to describe Jannes and Jambres. They must have been quite a pair to observe in Pharaoh’s court.

The point is this – foolishness is not hard to spot. When someone gets so upset they can’t think straight, that is folly. Have you ever been that upset about something? Before reacting, stop, count to ten (or twenty or thirty), pray, then speak or do something. In this day of electronic communication, write the text, but then delete it.

APPLICATION

Wow! This is important to teach our children. Holding their tongues and keeping their heads is so important. Some kids are naturally wired that way and it takes a lot to get them to respond. Others, well, let’s just say they are ready for a fight if the shoe drops just right. Those are the ones we need to drill this into. Foolishness never accomplishes anything. Foolish words, foolish deeds, foolish thoughts – none of them.

And no one wants to be thought of as or called a fool. So, how do you prevent that? By being more like Christ. Christ is as anti-fool as it is possible to be. He never loses His mind. He never says words He wishes He could take back. He never did something that He shouldn’t. Teach your children to think and act like Jesus and they will never be foolish.

We all get tempted to “act the fool” sometimes. But I have found if I am bathing myself in prayer and in His Word, those moments are fewer and fewer. If I let myself just self-contemplate, I can get “foolish.” I let my rationale and wisdom get in the way. I have no wisdom outside of Christ. He is my fool guard. How about you?

Father of all wisdom, guard me from folly. Keep my eyes on your purpose and calling on my life. I praise You!

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