Advice, Comfort, Direction, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Knowledge, Listening, Obedience, Scripture

IGNORED

HOSEA 8:12

“Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My Law,

they are regarded as a strange thing.”

I hate being ignored. It doesn’t matter if it’s an in person thing or someone’s lack of returning a text or phone call. Being ignored is irritating and can be down right hurtful. I try to return phone calls the same day or the very next day at the latest. I truly try to acknowledge people, whether I want to or not (to be honest). Everyone deserves that.

Israel had basically ignored God. Look what Hosea wrote in today’s verse. God had given them ten thousand precepts, but they ignored them. They treated them as strange or as not applicable to them. God was trying to guide them with His Law. They wanted nothing to do with it. They wanted to do what they wanted to do. And look where it landed them – in exile, defeated by a foreign power.

APPLICATION

God is trying to guide us today with His Word. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. There are over 23,000 verses. There are between 750,000 and 800,000 words, depending on the translation you use. Why would God spend all that time inspiring so many writers to write His Word if He didn’t want us to live by it?

Did you know if you read three chapters a day you can read the entire Bible in a year? I know people who read through it three or four times in a year. I have personally read through it 34 times, every year since 1986. And guess what? Every year I find verses that I have never read. They seem to come out of nowhere. It’s like God had been saving them for me. The Bible is truly inexhaustible.

Will you join me in studying His Word? Get a Bible, if you don’t have one, and start reading. And before you read, ask the Lord to disclose to you what He wants. Let Him point you in the direction He wants you to go. You will never regret spending more time in His Word.

I love Your precepts, Lord. I want to live by them each day. Forgive me for slighting Your Word.

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Abiding, Belief, Bible, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, Following, Idols, Knowledge, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony

I KNOW YOU

HOSEA 8:2

“They cry out to Me ‘My God, we of Israel know You!’”

I bet you’ve been in a crowd before and recognized someone. You know you know them, but you just can’t place their name. You can even remember where you met them. Their name, however, escapes you. So, what do you do? What do you say when they walk up and call you by name? If you are like me, I say, “Hey, it’s so good to see you again.” I purposely leave their name out of the conversation.

That’s not really knowing someone, is it? The people of Israel claimed to know God. Hey, they even knew His name. But they did not really know Him. They failed to recognize His commands. They ignored His guidance. They chased after other gods. If they had really known Jehovah God, I mean really known Him, they would have followed Him.

APPLICATION

So, do you know Him? Do you really know Him? If you do, you know He is a jealous God. He won’t tolerate us chasing after idols, whatever those are. He wants us to know Him. God isn’t this mysterious spirit hovering over the universe that dissipates every time we look His way. He wants to be discovered by us. The question is do we want to know Him.

If you really want to know Him, then you have to spend time with Him. You have to dig into His Word. You have to make Him a priority. And when you do, He unveils Himself. He says, “Here I am. Come closer. Get to know me.” You discover what He is really all about. Now you can say you know Him.

I want to know Him deeply. I want to experience Him in ways I have never experienced Him before. I want to be just like Him. Don’t you? Don’t you want that? I want to be loving, faithful, compassionate and forgiving. I want all those things. I pray you do, too. Let’s get to know Him together. Ready?

Oh, I want to know You more, deep within my soul I want to know you. Oh, I want to know You, to feel your heart and know Your mind. Looking in Your eyes, stirs up within me cries that say I want to know You, oh, I want to know You, more.

Steve Green

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Holiness, Knowledge, Remembering, Scripture

BUT I DID NOT KNOW

HOSEA 7:9

Strangers devour his strength, yet he does not know it; gray hairs also are sprinkled on him, yet he does not know it.

It’s not unusual for someone to use ignorance as an excuse. Well, I didn’t know. No one told me. I am sure you have heard that before. But you have probably also heard that ignorance is no excuse. We can’t use that excuse in most situations. You may get by once or twice, but that excuse gets old very quick.

Ephraim, Hosea says, doesn’t know his strength is being devoured. He doesn’t even know his hair is getting gray. Wow! Ephraim seemed to have his head stuck in the sand, ignoring all that was going on around him. But that did not excuse his sin. That did not pass the Lord’s smell test. Ephraim knew what the Lord expected.

APPLICATION

It is so important for us, as believers, to be aware of how we live our lives. We need to know who is prowling around trying to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). We need to know how to respond to situations. We need to know God’s Word and how to apply it to our lives. Simply put, we need to know stuff.

So, how do you get to know stuff? Well, it depends on what you want to know. To know more about living holy, you have to spend time in the Word and in prayer. How much time? How much time do you have? I am not implying you need to spend every minute of the day in the Bible. But I am saying we could all spend more time devouring His words. Don’t you agree?

As for me, I don’t want to ever be caught not knowing something I should know. I want to dig deep. I want to walk closely. I long to be so in tune with the Lord, that my every decision, my every thought is in perfect alignment with His Will. Don’t you want that, as well?

Lord, I don’t want to ever use the excuse that I didn’t know. I want to grow in knowledge of You more and more.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Commitment, Following, God's Will, Knowledge, Obedience, Sin

HE KNOWS

HOSEA 5:3

“I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me; because now, Ephraim, you have been unfaithful, Israel has defiled itself.”

Do you ever really know someone fully? I have been married for over 35 years, but I am still learning things about my wife. I know a lot about her. I know her favorite candy bar is Heath. I know she loves birds and planting flowers each Spring. But she still surprises me with things she loves. I will never fully know her because I can’t know her thoughts.

God knew Ephraim. He knew Israel. He knew them intimately. He knew what they were going to do. He knew their hearts. There was nothing hidden from Him about them. And because He knew them, He would not let them get by with what they were doing.

APPLICATION

This is a good thing to remember about our God. He knows us. He knows everything about us. There is nothing about us that is hidden from Him. Now, that’s a good thing. He knows exactly what we need even before we know we need it. He knows our hurts and our dreams.

So, why do we think we can hide all this from Him? We try to figure it all out for ourselves and then complain when it doesn’t. If we truly believe He knows us so well, why don’t we just cry out to Him and seek His will?

I can rest today knowing that God knows me. I don’t want to try to hide anything from Him. That’s hopeless anyway. I want my life to be an open book. And I know when I open myself up to His Will, there is no limit to what He can do in and through me.

Lord, I lay my life before You to take and do with as You see fit. You know me so much better than I know myself.

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CRITICAL THINKING

1 JOHN 5:20

“And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Do you ever get to thinking about something so intensely that you lose track of time? I’ve done that. The topic becomes so interesting that I could spend hours researching every side angle or story. I look at both sides of the story. I delve into opposing views. And by doing so, I come away with a better understanding of the topic and how to apply it to my life.

That’s the word “understanding” used by John in this verse. And the word “given” is in the Perfect tense which means it happened in the past with lasting results. So, Jesus gave us understanding that will last. He has given us the gift of knowing Him who is true. That truth sets us free. We are in Him, and He is in us. Praise be to God.

APPLICATION

Sometimes the hardest thing to teach our children is why we teach our children. Did I lose you there? Listen. We are so busy teaching our children things that we often forget to teach them why we are teaching them. They need to understand that we are not just teaching them stuff to make us feel better. There is a purpose behind our teaching, right? Do you know that?

We teach them so they can teach others. It’s the 2 Timothy 2:2 principle of passing our knowledge on to the next generation. Without a clear understanding of what we are teaching and why we are teaching, that won’t happen. That’s why rules without reasoning don’t work. Even our children need to experience critical thinking.

Are you doing that? Are you critically thinking about your faith and why you live it? You need to know why you believe what you believe. You need to be able to apologetically defend the faith. I don’t mean you need to be able to argue your points. I mean you need to fully understand it so if you are asked why you believe, you can explain it. Better yet, let the Spirit inside of you do that. He can speak better than any of us. Amen?

Father God, thank You for giving me understanding of You and Your Word. Help me, when asked, to explain my faith to others. Let me be bold and daring when faced with opposing views. 

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KNOW IT ALL

1 JOHN 2:27

“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

Have you ever known someone who knew everything about everything? You couldn’t tell a story without them butting in and finishing it or trying to top it. Name any subject and they would have an opinion. You really couldn’t tell them anything. Those kinds of people are kind of annoying, aren’t they?

You could read this verse and think John is telling us to be like that. You may even think he is shunning education and teachers. I mean, at first glance it appears that way. He actually says, “you have no need for anyone to teach you.” But John is warning us to be careful of who we let influence us. Everything must be in agreement with what the Spirit tells us according to the Word of God.

APPLICATION

This is never more true than today. Our children are constantly being told how naïve and even ignorant they are if they believe in the creation story. After all, science teaches that evolution is reality, right? But what does God’s Word say? Does evolution match up to Genesis 1-3? No, it doesn’t.

Other examples of teachings that go contrary to the teachings of God are abortion and the redefinition of marriage. We have to keep pointing our children to the only true source of knowledge. Only God’s Word gives the wisdom needed to guide us through life. Only God’s Word will always point us in the right direction. There is no other truth.

Let me encourage you today to reexamine your knowledge base. Whom or what do you trust for truth? We have seen in just the past few months the vacillation of scientist on the covid-19 causes and treatments. What one holds as truth, another says is not true. Aren’t you glad that we know THE Truth – Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior?

Father, thank You for sending Your Spirit to be my teacher. I thank You also for sending others into my life to mentor and direct me.

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PERFECT

1 JOHN 2:13

“I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.” 

You may read the title of this devotion and then read the verse and wonder how I got that title. Well, you have to dig a little deeper than the English translation. You have to look at the verbs in the verse and the tenses that were used. Now, hold on. Don’t let me lose you here. Keep reading.

All three verbs John used, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in reference to his audience (fathers, young men and little children) are in the Perfect tense. That Greek verb tense means an action was taken in the past sometime with lasting results. So, that means the fathers and little children knew God and still know God. The young men overcame Satan and have still overcome him.

APPLICATION

If you think about it, a lot of our actions have lasting results. Do you want your children’s actions to have good results or bad results? Simple question with an equally simple answer. Of course, you want good results. No one wants their children to fail or leave a disaster in their wake. How do you help them accomplish those good results?

The only sure way is to teach them make every decision based on God’s Word. If they bathe their decisions in prayer and allow Him to guide them, then the results aren’t up to them. They are up to God. We know that anything He does is perfect. There you have it – perfect results. We just have to get out of the way.

Are you wrestling with a decision right now and worried about the consequences of that decision? Let the Lord have it. Ask Him what will give Him glory. If you do that, you are placing your trust in the One who manages the cosmos. I think He can handle your problem. Don’t you?

I will allow You to perfect my decisions through Your perfect Will. I know You always want what is best for me.

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HOW DO YOU KNOW?

1 JOHN 2:3

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

I get asked a lot by people how they can be sure they are saved. They want a firm reassurance that they can rest on. Well, here is one way. John states it pretty clearly. He says, “By this we know that we have come to know Him.” Both times that word “know” is used it refers to a knowledge gained through experience. You know it because you have experienced it.

Then John goes on to say how we will know – by keeping God’s commandments. Simple enough, right? If you have given your heart to Jesus and are following His commands, you know the Lord. You obey out of love. You don’t obey to be loved. Keeping God’s commandments is just a natural result of knowing Him.

APPLICATION

Do your children obey you? Now, come on. Be honest. Do they obey you all the time? Probably not. Do they trust that what you ask them to do is for their good? Most children do. But why? Because they know you. They have grown up with you. You have been there through all their challenges. You have been there in the good times and bad times. You know them and they know you.

Explain this to your son or daughter the next time you have to discuss a “rule” with them. It is just like obeying the Father. He has known them even before they were born. He knows them completely. He has fashioned His plan for their lives for their good. He has written His Word to guide them towards perfection. They simply have to believe and follow Him.

Doesn’t that all sound easy? Well, we both know it isn’t. In fact, it’s impossible – by ourselves. But when we surrender to the Lord and bow before Him, all those challenges become opportunities to trust Him. All those hard times become times for growth.

Lord, I’m thankful You have given me Your commandments to follow. I know I can trust them to lead me where You want me to go. I trust Your Word.

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TELLING TIME

2 PETER 3:8

“But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” 

It seems we are always in a hurry. Hustle here and hustle there. We actually seem to think we can squeeze more minutes into the day, but the last time I checked there are still only 1,440 of them. We can rush and scurry around like we can get more done, but we really can’t.

Peter makes a point here by stating, “do not let this one fact escape your notice.” He doesn’t want us to miss this. He actually uses the same word back in verse five. And what is this spectacular truth? God tells time different than us. That’s it. God doesn’t dwell in a twenty-four day. So, sit back and relax.

APPLICATION

Do you remember teaching your children to tell time? Nowadays it is a little easier with the digital clocks. But teaching them with an analog clock is a little harder. There’s the big, short hand for the hour, the big, long hand for the minutes and the sweeping hand for the seconds. It takes a little bit more teaching to get them to catch on.

What a great time to teach them about God’s time. Explain to them how He can see the past, present and future all at once. He doesn’t need a wristwatch or wall clock. He made time by putting the sun in the sky and setting the earth to spin at just the right speed for a twenty-four hour day. Amazing.

Can you trust God’s timing in your life? He is at work, even when you don’t know it. And His timing is impeccable. He is always perfect in His timing. I once heard a joke about a man who wanted to ask God for a favor. He said, “God, I know to You a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. I know money is nothing to you. Shoot, to you a penny is like a million dollars. Could You send me a penny?” God quickly answered back, “Give me a second.”

O Lord, I don’t want a penny. I don’t want an extra day. I just want to please You each day I live.

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YOU KNOW BETTER THAN THAT

2 PETER 2:21

“For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.”

Did your mom or dad ever say, “Young man (or young lady), you know better than that”? Why did they say that? Because you had obviously been taught something which you had now disobeyed. You knew the rule, but didn’t care. Peter is telling us something similar to that in this verse.

These individuals he is writing about here had heard the “way of righteousness” and “the holy commandment.” They knew the right choice to make. But they turned away. They turned their backs on the right choice. And because of that, Peter says they have no excuse. They can’t say they didn’t know.

APPLICATION

I bet your children break the rules from time to time, don’t they? I haven’t met a perfect child yet (contrary to what some grandparents think, lol). They have been taught not to steal and lie, right? If there were no rules, how do you think your children would act? I think we all know the answer to that.

Rules are given for a reason. Without rules, anarchy erupts. We’re seeing that right now on the streets throughout our country. The beautiful thing about the gospel is it writes the “rules” on our heart. Jesus fills us with the desire to obey Him. Your children need to hear that. And when they obey Him, they obey you.

So, are you hearing what the Lord would have you to do and turning the other way? Maybe you have never asked Christ to be your Savior even though You believe He is just that. Maybe you are a believer, but you live like the world. Turn to Him today. Let Him live in and through you.

Father, forgive me when I turn from You. I want to follow You each day and live for You.

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