Bible, Blessing, Comfort, Death, Encouragement, Heaven, Hell, Joy, Life, Promises, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

ON THE THIRD DAY

HOSEA 6:2

“He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him.”

We just celebrated Easter a couple of weeks ago. I have always loved Easter. I loved the Easter baskets, hiding and finding the Easter eggs and I especially loved Easter lunch after church. Of course, the older I got the more I understood about Easter and the importance of the resurrection on the third day. We truly have something to celebrate.

I just love the words in today’s verse. I had forgotten these words were spoken here in Hosea. Hosea was prophesying about the Messiah here. Jesus was revived, and He was raised up on the third day. These Israelites were placing their hope in a resurrection from Jehovah God. We do the same.

APPLICATION

So, if you are a believer in Christ, you have hope in the resurrection Christ. His shed blood on Calvary covers our sins, but His resurrection gives us eternal life. There is nothing else into which we put our hope. There is nothing else that can give us eternity. We will be changed into a glorified body and live forever with our God.

Sadly, some people don’t believe in that. They think when we die, we just die. Our lives end. There is nothing beyond the grave. How depressing! The fact is our lives are just beginning at death. Death is just a portal into our eternal home. If we love Jesus and have given our lives to Him, then that home is heaven. If we have not done that, then that eternal home is hell. Either way, we have an eternal destiny.

I don’t know about you, but I am glad I have secured my room in my mansion in the heaven. I will be happy with the closet in the mansion, honestly. Just to be in the presence of my God is good enough for me. How about you? Have you punched your ticket for heaven? Are you ready? Are you longing for your heavenly home?

O Father, I long for heaven. But while I am here, let me be about Your business.

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Abiding, Bible, Blessing, Comfort, Encouragement, Giving, Inspirational, Life, Perseverance, Promises, Scripture

THE EARTH SINGS

HOSEA 2:22

“And the earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine, and to the oil, and they will respond to Jezreel.”

I grew up in farm country in South Georgia. When I say “farm country” I mean that. My small hometown economy revolved around the farms that surrounded us. I loved seeing all those crops in the fields. It seemed to inspire life. Fields of corn, tomatoes, watermelons and etc. It did appear that the earth was singing.

Hosea 2:22 gives a similar picture. Grain, new wine and oil were about life during the time of Hosea. Everyone depended on the health of the harvest. When it was good, everyone celebrated. It was a festive time. When it was not, worry set in. They didn’t have the elaborate food economy we have today. It was literally hand to mouth.

APPLICATION

So, how does this apply to us today? We need to celebrate the life that the Lord has given us. Each day with Him brings new hope. We can face anything if we know He is with us. We do want the grain, new wine and oil, just like the Israelites. We may not call it that, but we live to celebrate new life.

What do you do, then, when things aren’t going so well? Do you pout and complain? Be honest – you probably do. But we shouldn’t. Even in the lean times, God is still on His throne. He is still with us. We can rest assured that He has not forgotten us and will once again bring in the harvest times.

What are you celebrating today? You can celebrate the fact that Jesus died for your sins. He hung on that cross to bear the sins of the whole world. He rose from that grave and ascended to His heavenly Father. He sits on His right hand interceding for you right now. Now, that’s worth celebrating.

Father, I praise You for giving me life. I praise You for promising life even on the darkest of days.

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Affection, Betrothed, Bible, Blessing, Calling, Compassion, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Intimacy, Love, Modeling, Passion, Promises, Relationships, Scripture

MY BETROTHED

HOSEA 2:19

“I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in favor and in compassion,”

Have you ever been betrothed? Here in the U.S. we would call it being engaged. When I asked my wife to marry me, we became engaged to be married. Ours was a short courtship. We only dated about two and half months before we were married. Hey, when you see a good thing… lol.

I love the image Hosea uses here. God betroths us to Him. That word literally means to pay the price and so gain the right of possession. When a dowry was given, the couple became betrothed. But look how He betrothed Israel (and us) – in righteousness and in justice, in favor and in compassion. Wow! Now, that’s a betrothal.

APPLICATION

Do you feel betrothed? Are you living your life as the betrothed of God? Oh, you should be. Look at who you are betrothed to. The God of the universe. The Creator of all things. The Beginning and the End. Jehovah God. I could go on and on and on.

People get excited about celebrities. They dream about being married to one. But these are finite, fallible people who will let you down. Look at how many celebrity marriages fail. Our betrothal to Almighty God will never fail. We are His betrothed forever!

Doesn’t that excite you? It does me. There is nothing that can separate me from Him. When God betroths us, that means we are His bride from now throughout eternity. Don’t you want to know your betrothed better? I sure do.

Lord, thank You for making me Your betrothed. You did purchase me with a price – Your Son. Amen.

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Bible, Blessing, Comfort, Compassion, Encouragement, God's Will, Inspirational, Promises, Relationships, Scripture

A PROMISE IS A PROMISE

HOSEA 1:10

“Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or counted; and in the place where it is said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ it will be said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God.’”

Sometimes making a promise can come back to bite you. Have you ever made a flippant promise to your child or to a friend, never dreaming that you would have to produce what you promised? Too many of us have done that. We should learn a lesson from that. Once you make a promise, you should keep it.

Well, God is a promise keeper. He had promised Abraham generations earlier that his offspring would be like the sand of the sea. Although Israel now deserves punishment, that promise is still true. God would restore the remnant. Those who were penitent and remorseful would be made into a great nation. We actually can see that promise being fulfilled today.

APPLICATION

Look at the last phrase of this verse. It says God said to them, “You are the sons of the living God.” Notice it says “living God.” Do you understand this? Only a living God can keep promises. Our God is living and active. He wants to keep His promises. He wants to see us blessed.

What are the promises He has made you? He has promised you, as a believer, to live with Him in eternity. Do you get that? You will live with Him forever. He has promised to love and protect you. Just like the promises He made Abraham, His promises are true. His word is true. Believe Him.

The next time you make a promise think about His promises. Think about how true He is to His promises. Make the commitment to keep yours. Remember you are representing Him. Promises should be carefully made and then kept. I know the Lord is pleased when we represent Him well by keeping our promises – just like Him.

Thank You for being a promise keeper, O God. I will rest in Your words.

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Advice, Asking, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confidence, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faith, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Parenting, Prayer, Promises, Relationships, Scripture

ASK WITH CONFIDENCE

1 JOHN 5:14 

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 

I remember a few times in my life when I asked for a raise. Have you ever done that? It can be a scary thing, can’t it? You’re not sure how your boss is going to take it. He may get mad or irritated by you for asking. Or he may grant your request. I have found that if you ask with confidence and boldness, you are more than likely going to get some kind of raise. 

I love that John uses the word “confidence” here in reference to prayer. That is the same word that the writer of Hebrews uses in Hebrews 4:16 referring to how we approach the throne of God in prayer. We do it with boldness because of whose we are in Christ. John tells us something similar in John 14:6. “Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete.” Ask! 

APPLICATION 

Most children don’t have a problem asking for things, do they? They may bug you and bug you about something until you finally give in and get it for them. I am not talking about that. We need to teach our children how to ask with boldness, with confidence. That word “confidence” means to speak out with resolve, with sureness. That’s how we want our children to ask, not timidly and fearful. 

But what do they need to ask for? Simple. John tells us. “Anything according to His will.” If we teach our children to ask the Lord to bless them according to His will, the Lord is quick to answer. He wants His will done in our lives. He wants to see us walking with Him. He is pleased when we ask for His will to be done. Teach your children that way of asking. 

Maybe you are stuck in the old pattern of asking what pleases yourself. You are wondering why God won’t answer your prayers. Well, that’s simple, too. God is trying to direct you towards His will. He could answer your prayers the way you ask, but you would not like the results. God knows best. Ask with confidence but ask according to His will. Then watch what happens. It will amaze you. 

I come before You to ask You to give me the wisdom to walk in Your light. I want to live in such a way that others are drawn to You.  

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Abiding, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Inspirational, Invisible, Love, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Promises, Relationships, Scripture, Testimony, Witnessing

IS GOD INVISIBLE?

1 JOHN 4:12

“No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”

When I first read this verse, it seemed like the first part had nothing to do with the second part. What has God not being seen to do with God abiding in us and His love? But then it hit me. Of course, we can’t see God, but we can see God when His love, which abides in us, is shown to others.

John talks about loving one another and God abiding in us a lot. So, he is not confused in this verse. All these thoughts in this verse go together. If we want people to see God, we have to love them. We have to show them how He abides in us and how His love is perfected in us.

APPLICATION

How do your kids know you love them? Do they read about it in some book? Do you just talk about it? No, they see how you love them by how you treat them, how you talk to them, how you express that love when they are the most unloveable. We teach our kids about our love for them by expressing that love.

I’m a hugger. I love to hug people. The hardest part about this covid-19 pandemic is not being able to do that. But you can hug your own kids. Express your love. Take every opportunity you have to do that. Kids need to be touched. They need to be cuddled. Do all that in Jesus’ name. Every time you hug them, ask them if they know who loves them more than mommy and daddy. Tell them just how much God loves them.

Who do you need to show God’s love to today? Maybe you have a neighbor who is struggling right now due to isolation in this pandemic. Find a way to express God’s love to them. Maybe a coworker is going through a hard time at work. Express God’s love to them. Remember, they can’t see God, but they can sure see God in you.

I may be the only Jesus someone sees today, Lord. Help me love them as You do. I want them to see You in me.

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Appeasement, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Cleansing, Confession, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Salvation, Scripture, Sin

THE ULTIMATE APPEASEMENT

1 JOHN 4:10

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Have you ever angered someone so badly that you had no clue how to make it right? I have. In the past, I have searched and searched how to seek forgiveness. Most of the time I have received that, but only after true remorse. I don’t want to ever intentionally harm someone. But it happens sometimes.

Aren’t you glad that God took the initiative to provide the means for forgiveness for us? We could have never satisfied His wrath. There is nothing we could do on our own. But…by the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus Christ provided the ultimate appeasement. He satisfied an angry God (His Father) for us. Wow!

APPLICATION

I bet your children know when you are angry at them. They can usually tell when dad or mom are about to blow. They may push it to the last straw, but most kids know when to stop pushing. But do they know how to make things right with you? What do you expect from them? Ask them that. Ask them if they know how to appease you. They will probably say Huh? Then explain.

You are seeking to train them how to seek forgiveness from the Father. Take them to today’s verse. Explain that word “propitiation.” They need to understand how important it is to our Christian faith. In fact, we would have no faith without it. Yet that word only appears twice in the Scripture. The other time is in 1 John 2.2. Christ died for them to satisfy the requirements of forgiveness God had established. Only Jesus could do it, and He did it for them.

Do you realize the depth of this? Christ died for you. He gave His life to satisfy the price of sin in your life. And all you have to do is claim that forgiveness. I pray you have, but if you haven’t, do it right now. Ask Jesus into your life to be your Savior and Lord. Confess your sins to Him. Acknowledge His death, burial and resurrection. Then welcome His Holy Spirit into your life. It’s that simple.

Lord, I praise You for sending Your Son to die for me to satisfy the price which I could never pay. I am eternally grateful.

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Abiding, Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Inspirational, Love, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Scripture

OH, THE SPIRIT

1 JOHN 3:24

“The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”

I tried to think of a cute introduction to today’s devotional, but I couldn’t. This verse is just too in your face. It’s all about abiding in Him and He in us. John wrote all about this in His gospel. Take a minute and read John 15 if you haven’t in a while.

But then John adds that last phrase that just blesses my heart. He says, “by the Spirit whom He has given us.” That should bless your socks off if you’re a believer. Look at that gift. Jesus gives us His Spirit. He is the one who confirms Jesus is abiding in us. You see, the Spirit is the seal of His presence. It’s His guarantee and pledge. Abiding is a sure thing with the Spirit in us.

APPLICATION

Now, teaching abiding can be tricky with kids. How do you get them to understand that the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, actually lives in them once they accept Christ as their Savior? It doesn’t make sense logically, does it? I mean, how does someone live in you?

Children are concrete thinkers, for the most part. There are some things that just can’t be explained in concrete terms. As parents, we have to rest in the knowledge that God is big enough to assure your children the Spirit is there. I have seen children change when they accept Christ. What does that? Or should I say who does that? Simply put – the Spirit. God is capable of changing them from the inside out. Let Him take care of that.

You have to nurture those around you who are believers. You are to encourage them in their walk with Christ. You are to come alongside them when they need help. That’s the Spirit working through you. That’s a sure sign of your abiding. And as you abide, the Spirit makes you aware of those who need you. Rest in Him. He will show you. Enjoy the gift.

I am so thankful for the abiding presence of Your Spirit in my life. I want to tune into Him minute by minute so I don’t miss one opportunity to be used by You.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, God's Will, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Scripture, Surrender

ASK WHATEVER

1 JOHN 3:22

“and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”

Can you imagine asking for whatever you want and getting it? What would you ask for? A new car? Unlimited wealth? We tend to think about material things. I have to admit there are a few things I might ask for.

But John is not talking about that. The disclaimer is in the second part of the verse. He says, “because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” If we are doing that, then we will ask for things that bring Him glory, not satisfy our flesh. If we are obedient to His commands and seek to please Him, all that matters is Jesus.

APPLICATION

We teach our children to be content, don’t we? We don’t want them to be one of those kids in the checkout line screaming because they aren’t allowed to get the candy bar. We have to go so far beyond that, though, in our teaching. It’s not just about the physical wants. Our goal is to teach them to pursue spiritual satisfaction.

Do you realize teaching our children to obey our rules and seek to “please” us is a reflection of what we are teaching them in regards to the Lord? When they learn to obey in the small things, they will learn to obey in the bigger things. Small victories can lead to big victories. We can’t pass on the small things.

Are you struggling to keep His commands and please the Father? You don’t have to, you know. But you do have to decide to surrender. You can’t have it your way and His way. The promise is there – ask whatever we want. But we must be in unity with His Spirit. When we are, there is nothing He will withhold from us. How exciting.

I do not ask to please myself, Lord. I ask only to give You glory. I want all I ask to be in Your Will.

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Advice, Anxiety, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Double-minded, Doubts, Encouragement, Following, God's Will, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Scripture, Trust, Truth

OF THE TRUTH

1 JOHN 3:19

“We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him”

Have you ever had doubts? I mean, really had doubts about something? You think you know what the truth is, but something just keeps bugging you. You can’t seem to put your finger on it. Doubt is a worrying thing, isn’t it? No one wants to feel unsure of themselves. At least, I don’t. I want to be assured that my actions and beliefs are grounded on something solid.

John is telling us here in this verse that we can be assured. How? By relying on the truths of God’s Word. Nothing else is certain. He says it “will assure our heart before Him.” What does that mean? The word “assure” means to be persuaded. But not just any persuasion. It means the Lord persuades the believer to be confident in His preferred-will. It involves obedience, but it is the result of God’s persuasion.

APPLICATION

Have you taught your kids to jump in the water to you? How did you do that? Did you stand way out in the pool or lake and tell them to just run and jump? Of course, not. You did it slowly. You stepped just away from them and had them jump into your arms. Then you backed away a little more, until they were literally diving out into your arms.

You had to persuade them to trust you. The Lord knows the same is true for us as we learn to trust Him. He wants us to teach our children these small truths of trust. As our children learn to trust the Lord in little things, they will begin to trust Him with bigger things. Of course, the biggest thing we trust Him with is our salvation. And if we can trust Him with that, why can’t we trust Him with the other stuff?

What are you holding back from God? What are you not trusting Him with? Let me ask you a question. Are you persuaded that you are in His will right now? Hmmm? The Lord doesn’t want you unstable or unsure in your ways. Lean on Him. Trust Him to guide you in all your days. He will!

Father, forgive me of my doubts. Reassure me today that You are guiding and protecting me. I will trust You! 

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