Abiding, Belief, Bible, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Examples, Following, Hypocrisy, Intimacy, Testimony

ROCK PILES

HOSEA 12:11 

“Is there injustice in Gilead? Certainly, they are worthless. In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls, yes, their altars are like stone heaps beside the furrows of a field.” 

Here where I live in Eastern Tennessee, it is not uncommon to pass a field where years earlier a farmer had cleared that field of rocks so he could cultivate the soil. Some of those rock piles are decades old. Those rocks were in the way of the task and had to be removed. The pile meant nothing, except maybe a source of stone to be used elsewhere on the farm. 

But here in today’s verse we see the stone heaps being used for altars. In a similar way, stones were removed from their fields. But they made them into altars, going directly against the word of God. Their sacrifices on these piles of rock meant nothing. They thought they were being religious, but they were, in fact, being sacrilegious in their actions. 

APPLICATION 

We often do “religious” stuff to make ourselves feel better. How many of us pray out of habit without any true communication with the Lord? People attend church because they are supposed to. They don’t go to worship as much as they go to be seen and check the box for the week. We may feel better by doing those things, but that is not the point. 

What is the point? The point is this – we have to come to God in Spirit and in Truth. We have to come to Him worshipping, not to worship. We pray to hear from Him, not to tell Him things. When our motives change our heart changes. We can experience a true relationship with the Lord. We can stop building rock piles. 

I desire the deeper things of God, don’t you? I want to know Him more each and every day. I want to know Christ so well that when I see Him face to face in glory, it will be just another day. Now, I know that day will be like none other, but you get my point. Make your faith real today. Stop playing religion.  

Father, I want to know You in a way in which I have never known You. Show me Yourself. 

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Abiding, Advice, Appeasement, Bible, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Hypocrisy, Inspirational, Modeling, Offering, Sacrifice, Testimony

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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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blasphemy, Condemnation, Denial, Forgiveness, Hypocrisy, Infidelity, Judgment, Lies, Satan, Scripture, Sin, Victors

WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE GOOSE…

HOSEA 4:14

“I will not punish your daughters when they play the prostitute, or your brides when they commit adultery, because the men themselves slip away with the prostitutes and offer sacrifices with temple prostitutes; So, the people without understanding are ruined.”

You probably have heard the expression “What is good for the goose is good for the gander.” That sounds good, doesn’t it? But not always. If both parties are going to get punished, I would prefer to not be the gander, lol. I would hope that I could learn from others’ mistakes and avoid them.

That’s not what happened in Israel. In fact, God has given them up to their sins. The verse sounds like the women are being forgiven. No! God is allowing them to continue in their adultery. The men are doing the same. When God gives you up, that’s a bad thing. Don’t you think?

APPLICATION

So, how do we deal with this verse? We need to confess our sins and live our lives honoring the Lord. We cannot live like the world and pretend there are no consequences. The Lord may not hold us accountable immediately, but every sin has consequences sooner or later.

Now, listen to me. As believers we should never chase sin. After salvation, sin chases us. We have to decide if we want to stop and let it catch us. But we need to remember that in Christ, we have power over sin. We are free in Jesus. Don’t believe the lies of the devil. He will try to convince you that you just can’t help it.

I choose today to live in victory. There is nothing more freeing than knowing that. When we surrender daily to the Lord and walk in the light of His Word, we have victory. Hallelujah! I refuse to be defeated. Jesus has defeated the devil. Don’t forget that.

I praise Your name, Jesus. Thank You for defeating the devil and putting him in his place. I walk today victorious.

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Accountability, Bible, Choices, Condemnation, Direction, Forgetting, Hypocrisy, Infidelity, Judgment, Lawlessness, Obedience, Punishment, Scripture

NO DEVOTION

HOSEA 4:10

“They will eat, but not have enough; They will play the prostitute, but not increase, because they gave up devoting themselves to the LORD.”

I have been devoted to a lot of things in life. I was devoted to football when I was in high school. I loved the game. Truth be known, I loved to hit people. I did everything the coach asked of me. But as soon as high school ended that devotion ended. There was no future in it for me.

Israel gave up devoting themselves to the Lord and reaped the consequences. Their resources would not be enough. No matter how much they had, it would fall short. Hosea said they played the prostitute. They had sinned and deserted the Lord. God cannot bless that kind of behavior. Israel was judged for this.

APPLICATION

What happens to us when we stop devoting ourselves to Him? The same thing. God will cease blessing us. We may not “play the prostitute,” but sin is sin. Anything can lead us away from the Lord. What in your life is doing that? If it replaces the time you spend with the Lord, it is sin. If it becomes your first love, it is sin.

Devotion to anything besides the Lord will only lead you down the wrong road. Our Lord expects obedience, but He won’t make us obey. We have to choose to obey Him. We have to choose to devote ourselves to Him. And when we do, He is there to bless and lead us. He rewards our devotion.

Now, here me clearly. We devote ourselves to Him not for what we can get out of it. We devote ourselves to Him out of love for Him. His love draws us to this point of devotion if we will only yield to it. His love will never lead us to anything but devotion.

I have devoted myself to You, O Lord. My devotion is based on my love for Your love.

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Accountability, Advice, Belief, Bible, Confession, Direction, Fellowship, Following, God's Will, Hypocrisy, Inspirational, Obedience, Punishment, Rejection, Scripture, Sin, Worship

THE PARTY’S OVER

HOSEA 2:11

“I will also put an end to all her joy, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her festivals.”

I’ll never forget when I came to Christ. Before I did, I was kind of a party guy. I grew up in the 70’s when drugs were big. I got caught up in that scene and liked to party with my friends. But…when Christ came into my life, I gave up all of that. I didn’t want that anymore. My friends I had at the time thought I was crazy for giving up that party scene. I knew better. Still do today.

God also took away the “parties” from the Israelites but in a different way. He couldn’t tolerate their false worship anymore. By leading them into exile, they were not allowed to celebrate the festivals. They had the right “parties” but were abusing them. God desires our worship, but He won’t accept false worship.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you a question. What are you worshipping? I worshipped partying in my young life. I discovered true worship in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Are you going through the motions of worship? Do you do the “church thing” expecting that to suffice for your spiritual life? It won’t. You’re not fooling God. He knows your heart.

So, when are you going to seek Him in spirit and truth? Are any of these questions hitting home with you? Well, let me tell you a secret. They hit home with me, too. I have to constantly reflect on my worship. I want to make sure my worship is always pointed heavenward. I want my worship to be glorifying God. Anything else is just as bad as the Israelites.

Will you join me in true worship? Oh, how the Lord loves that. He loves to see His children honoring Him. He longs for our fellowship. Begin today. Stop what you are doing and spend some time worshipping Him. He is listening.

I worship You, O God. My heart is lifted before You today.

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Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Hatred, Hypocrisy, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Scripture, Testimony

LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE

1 JOHN 4:20

“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

Have you ever heard that saying “Liar, Liar, pants on fire”? We would say it as kids, right? When we knew someone was lying, we would call them out. No one likes to be called a liar. There is one sure fire way of not – don’t lie. Just tell the truth. Easy peasy, problem solved. Lol

John calls us out in today’s verse. If we say we love God and hate our brother, we don’t love God. John says we are a liar. John doesn’t beat around the bush. He calls them like he sees them. Notice he says “brother.” Now, who is that referring to? Just our saved brothers? How about our sisters? How about the lost? I believe John is referring to all people. After all, God has created them all in His image. How could we not love them?

APPLICATION

You may have the occasion to hear your child say I just hate so and so. If you hear that, nip it in the bud. I mean, deal with it quickly. Hate has no room in the vocabulary of a believer, except to say we hate sin. Our children need to be taught that early. They may not like some people as much as others. That’s natural, but hate doesn’t belong.

Teaching them to love requires time. All people deserve love. We are God’s instruments of love to others, especially the lost. When we love them, we are showing them what He has done in our lives. Our love becomes an avenue on which they can travel to find Jesus. Have you ever thought about that? Love them so they can love Him.

I grew up in South Georgia during a time when racism was the norm. I still recall the names some people used to refer to people who had a different skin color than themselves. It went both ways. And those same people would be sitting in the church pew on Sunday morning singing and talking about God’s love. God forgive us for our disobedience. Will you love like Jesus? Will you love your “brother”?

I choose to love, Father. I will see others as You see them. They are, after all, made in Your image. We are all in need of a Savior.

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Abiding, Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Exhortation, Faithfulness, Following, Hypocrisy, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Righteousness, Scripture, Self-control, Shame, Testimony

ASHAMED

1 JOHN 2:28

“Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”

Have you ever been caught red-handed doing something you knew was wrong? Don’t answer that, lol. Well, I have. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say I will never forget it. My dad caught me one night up town doing some stuff I shouldn’t have been doing. He was not a happy camper, to say the least. And it wasn’t just that I was in trouble. I could see the disappointment on his face.

That’s what John is talking about in today’s verse. We need to stay close to Christ daily and walk with Him. So, when He appears (and it could be any day), we aren’t caught off guard and feel ashamed at what He finds us doing. That doesn’t mean we have to be in a perpetual kneeling position with our hands folded in prayer. But we should be about His business.

APPLICATION

Okay, you are going to catch your children doing stuff. Our granddaughter was caught recently coloring on the walls downstairs. She thought her masterpiece was so beautiful until she found out that was a no-no. I am not sure she felt ashamed, but she soon realized this was not acceptable. Your children are going to do stuff and get caught, too.

That is a perfect time to read them this verse. Unlike you, God sees all. There is nowhere they can hide to do things He won’t know about. This is especially important as they get older and spend more and more time out of your sight. They need to know God is aware. He is not waiting to zap them, but He is watching. We want them to please Him in their actions and decisions.

What are you sneaking around doing right now? Anything? Don’t be doing those things. Stop it. You are not fooling God. He knows. He wants you to walk hand in hand with Him all the time. If you are doing that, there is no room for mischief. Right?

I want to honor You, Lord, in all my steps. Help me make the decisions daily that bring You glory. Forgive me when I fail You.

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Accountability, Affection, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Following, Hypocrisy, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Satan, Scripture, Testimony

DO NOT LOVE

1 JOHN 2:15


“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

We are told that we need to love everyone, right? We talk about all the things we love – apple pie, beach trips, music, etc. But John is drawing a line here on what we should not love. It is pretty simple really. Don’t love this world. But what is wrong with loving the things that bring us pleasure and enjoyment?

Anything that takes our focus off of Jesus can lead us down a slippery slope. I love hunting and fishing, but if that ever started redirecting my devotion off of Jesus, it would be sin for me. The problem for many of us is the world is so alluring. We can so easily be distracted. We have to guard our hearts and minds and stay focused on Him.

APPLICATION

Try this. The next time your children sit down to do some homework, go into the room where they are and turn on the television or radio to something you know they like. Maybe start playing their favorite video game. Watch how quickly they get off track and either start watching you or listening to what you are listening to.

When you notice this has happened, make your point. First, apologize for distracting them. Then read them this verse. Explain to them how the world does the same thing to us in our walk with Christ. Satan, the prince of this world, will use whatever he can to get our minds off of Christ, just like you did getting their minds off of their homework.

What distracts you? Where is your focus? What do you love? Jesus has to be your first love. He has to be your focus. You can’t love this world and love Him supremely. But you have to decide. Jesus won’t make you love Him. He is worthy of it, though. Don’t you think?

I will love You above all else, Lord. There is nothing or anything more deserving of my love. Thank You for loving me.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Confession, Darkness, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Harmony, Hypocrisy, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Surrender

ARE YOU A HATER?

1 JOHN 2:9

“The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.”

People can say anything. They can claim to love others but just watch how they treat them. The word “hate” seems to imply a horrible action. But did you know the Greek word here can actually mean to love less. Now wait a minute, Carl. That seems a little harsh. Oh really? Do you think Jesus loves them less than you? He loves them all.

John tells us that if we hate, we are still in the darkness. We are walking in the darkness. We are stumbling. What happens when you stumble in the darkness? You hurt yourself. You could break your toe or leg or worse. It’s the same when we hate. We hurt ourselves.

APPLICATION

If your child hasn’t said it yet, they will. They will come home saying they hate someone for something they have done. I am sure you correct them for that. Try sharing this verse with them. Let them see what God says about hate. Ask them if they want to be in the darkness. I bet they don’t.

There are going to be people we don’t like in life. That’s just the truth. So, what do we do? We pray for those individuals. We ask the Lord to give us His love for them. Is that easy? No! It’s impossible by ourselves. But with Christ in us, we can do anything, including loving those we do not like.

Are you tired of stubbing your toe in the darkness because you refuse to stop hating? Come to the light. Stay in the light. Let Jesus direct your path, especially when others are trying to block it. Love them anyway. Jesus does.

Oh Father, I fall so short in this area. I can always justify my hate, but Your Word convicts me. Thank You.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Deceit, Deception, Disciplemaking, Faithfulness, Following, Hypocrisy, Lies, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Opponents, Parenting, Praise, Scripture, Truth

WALK THE TALK

1 JOHN 2:4

“The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;”

When I was in high school, I played football. I loved the game. I loved hitting people. I know that sounds bad, but on the field it was great. One thing I learned about football. Don’t let your mouth get in front of your action. If you said you could take out the other player, then you had better do it. You had to earn the right to run your mouth.

Now, before you think I’m some awful guy, that’s just part of the game. You have to get inside your opponent’s head. John is pointing out something for us today in this verse. Those who say they are a Christian but live differently are just trying to get in our heads. They are trying to convince us their lifestyle of Christianity is okay. We have to stick to the Word. They must keep His commandments.

APPLICATION

Our children can get easily confused today by watching how the world defines their love for God. Marriage has been “redefined” contrary to biblical standards. People live one way all week but profess allegiance to Christ on Sundays. This can confuse little ones. Heck, it can confuse adults as well.

Oh, please listen to this, if you forget everything else. You, as mom and dad, have to live consistent. They have to see you living out the Christ life daily. If you say one thing and do another, you are not discipling your children well. The old saying Do as I say, not as I do, is not a good one to follow. Walk the talk.

How are you walking? Does it match your talk? Are you singing praises to the Father on Sundays and living praises to the devil? Ouch! Did that hurt? Did that offend? Well, good. It is the Father’s desire to be with you daily. He doesn’t take days off from you. You shouldn’t take days off from Him, either.

Lord, help me consistent in my walk. I never want my actions to cause someone else to stumble.

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