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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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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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FORGETFUL

HOSEA 4:6

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Since you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the Law of your God, I also will forget your children.”

Have you ever heard the term “memory like an elephant”? Have you ever wondered what that means? I have, so I looked it up. Scientists have determined through multiple tests that elephants can remember other elephants they met only briefly decades earlier. It’s pretty amazing. Google “elephants’ memory” and you can find dozens of articles about this.

Why am I talking about remembering (and elephants)? Because the Israelites had forgotten. They had forgotten all they knew about God. They were living as if He didn’t exist. We know the results of that. God is not pleased. In fact, Hosea tells us if we forget Him, He will forget us. Now, we know God is not forgetful, but He will stop remembering these sinful Israelites.

APPLICATION

God desires for us to draw close to Him and know Him. When we choose to walk away from what we know is true, it breaks His heart. He will not protect us if we are willfully sinning against Him. He is holy. That would be against His very nature. He must maintain who He is. After all, He is God.

But we show our ignorance and lack of knowledge when we turn towards the world and away from Him. He is the only true source of wisdom. He is the only one who is worthy of our attention and praise. God is not trying to make us guess at who He is or what He expects. He fully discloses Himself to all who desire it.

So, what are you going to do today? Do you want to know Him more fully? Just ask Him. Do you want to go deep with God? Make the first step. He will meet you right there. Lack of knowledge of God is entirely our fault. He is not holding anything back. We just have to want it. Do you?

God, my Father, I want to know You fully. I want to learn all I can about You and how to share that with others.

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JUST LIKE HIM

1 JOHN 3:2

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”

Don’t you love it when your children put on your shoes or clothes and pretend to be you? It is so cute. In those days they totally admire you. They want to be just like you. You probably have pictures somewhere of them doing that. Precious memories.

Listen – we should be doing the same thing as it relates to God. We should be trying every day to be just like Him. John is telling us in this verse that our ability to do that depends on our vision of Him. Huh? Yes, we shall see Him one day fully, but we can see Him daily now. His Word shows us how to live. His Word directs our thoughts and actions.

APPLICATION

Break out some of those pictures of your kids I mentioned earlier. Or even better, find some of you doing the same thing. Your kids will get a kick out of that. If you have young children, do it now. Play dress up. Let them put on your shoes and clothes. Then read them this verse and talk about what we just discussed.

Explain to your kids the importance of walking in God’s shoes. Unlike yours, His will fit. He molds them especially for your journey. Unlike your pants or dress, His clothes will fit you just right. He doesn’t want you tripping or falling. He desires each of your steps to be unobstructed.

Are you struggling to be like Him? Maybe you are trying too hard. Stop trying to figure out how to be like Him and let Him be Himself through you. That is a lot easier. He knows how to be God. You don’t. But guess what – the more you do this, the more you look like Him.

Father, make me to look just like You. I want others to see Jesus in me – not me.

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WORDS OF WISDOM

2 PETER 3:2

“that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.”

Do you remember any of your parents’ “words of wisdom”? You know, words like “Look both ways before you cross the road” and “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Of course, you can remember those. You probably have a bunch of others you can recall and have probably repeated to your children.

Peter isn’t referring to those kinds of words. He is referring to prophecies about Christ and His commands to us. In fact, the Greek word for “remember” means to actively remember. In other words, don’t forget them, keep reciting, keep remembering.

APPLICATION

Ask your children if they recall some of your “words of wisdom.” You may get a little tickled at their remembrance of your guidelines. Give them some slack but clarify your words. You will get a tickle later on when you hear those words come out of their mouths when they have children.

Most importantly, take them to the real words of wisdom. Make sure they are learning from His Word each and every day. Challenge your whole family to memorize the Word. Memorization allows you to “actively remember” those words of wisdom. Wherever you go, you will have those words with you.

Are you actively remembering the words of the prophets and Jesus? I pray you are. There is no other way to successfully navigate the world we are in today. The world’s wisdom will lead you in all the wrong directions. But God’s Word will always lead you in the RIGHT direction. Words of wisdom – listen carefully.

I am so thankful for Your words of wisdom, Lord. I cherish them each day. Help me spread to others Your words.

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PLASTIC WORDS

2 PETER 2:3

“and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

What in the world do I mean by the title for today’s devotion? Well, the Greek word for “false” is plastos from which we get our word “plastic.” It refers to something that is molded to fit someone’s vain imagination. You see, it’s easy to manipulate words to say whatever you want them to say. And people who are greedy won’t hesitate to do that.

It’s interesting that Peter goes on to say that they are not idle or asleep. In other words, these people don’t waste time. They have an agenda. They want to tear down any semblance of truth they find. Nothing will stand in their way. Oh, wait! God will, but we have to trust Him to do just that.

APPLICATION

That’s the application for today. This verse, in and of itself, is not very encouraging. But we know how this all ends. That’s the message we teach our children. No matter how bad things seem and no matter how many people are against us, God is on our side and will be victorious.

The hard part is trusting that. Life can get overwhelming. Crises come and go. Hardships fall upon us. We may see no way out, but how we respond during those times teaches our children volumes. They will remember our courage. They will remember our prayers. Let our enemies mold their words. We have THE Word.

Are you cowering in fear because of those who want to speak evil against you? Stand up and trust the Lord. Your enemy’s words may sound convincing to the world, but you know the truth. Allow the Lord to defend you. He will. And so what if you suffer innocently. Didn’t He?

Father, I will trust You to defend me against fabricated words intended to do me harm. Your truths will win out. I will hold fast to them.

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DID YOU SEE THAT?

2 PETER 1:16

“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” 

You have probably heard the expression, “Believe nothing you hear and half of what you see.” That is true most of the time. Heresay is just that. People like to talk and things get exaggerated or made up along the way. Peter knew that. That’s why is makes his point clear.

I found it interesting that the Greek word for “eyewitnesses” only appears right here. Remember, Peter was an eyewitness of Jesus. He spent three years with Him. Many scholars believe Peter was referring to Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain when he mentions His majesty. That would certainly leave a lasting impact on your life.

APPLICATION

Children need some lasting impressions during their childhood. They need to be eyewitnesses to faith being lived out. We adults tend to shield our children from the difficulties of life. There may be times when that is necessary. But we can also use those experiences to teach invaluable lessons to our children.

When you face your next trial (don’t worry, it’s coming) involve your children as much as you can. Let them know what is going on and engage them in prayer. And when the Lord answers that prayer (and He will) make sure they know it. Celebrate it. Make that a part of your family tradition.

Are you an eyewitness of His majesty? Of course, you are. The moment you encountered Christ and gave Him your heart, you became an eyewitness. And what do eyewitnesses do? They give testimony to what they have seen. Do that today.

I can see You, Lord. You have allowed me to be an eyewitness of Your grace and mercy. I praise You for the privilege.

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REMEMBRANCE

2 PETER 1:15

“And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.”

If you have followed any of my devotionals, you know I love word studies. I find it interesting when words are only used once in Scripture. We have another “one time” use in today’s verse. The phrase “call…to mind” is a Greek word used only here. It refers to a lasting memory, something worthy to be remembered.

Peter is telling us that we need to remember the things he has been teaching us in this letter. The words he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit weren’t meant just for the recipients of that letter. They were meant for us as well. What have you remembered? What will you remember?

APPLICATION

How do you teach your children to remember anything? By repeating your instructions until they get it, by repetition. Living the Christian life isn’t just about going to church on Sundays. It’s so much more. It’s daily driving home the principles of God’s Word to our family.

Dads, can I call you out? It is your responsibility to disciple your children. I don’t mean you have to have a thirty minute devotion every day. Sometimes the best discipling occurs hands on, doing life. You need to show them how to walk with Christ in your everyday life. They learn from watching you. They will “call to mind” those exhibitions of faith.

Will you remember? How can you forget? God is at work all around you. Will you watch and learn? And during those times when all hope seems to be gone, remember what He has done in the past. Call to mind all His acts of grace and mercy. Remember!

Father God, You have blessed me beyond measure. Keep my mind clear to recall all You have done. I will remember.

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