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HOSEA 5:8

“Blow the horn in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah. Sound an alarm at Beth-aven: ‘Behind you, Benjamin!’”

I have never had to run from an enemy, but I can imagine the fear that must be in your mind when you find yourself being chased by someone who is intent on harming you. I love watching old westerns. I have seen many a cowboy being chased by a band of Indians. That’s the picture I have in my head as I read today’s verse.

Hosea is pronouncing judgment on the tribes of Israel. He tells them to blow the shophar, the horn they would blow to sound the alarm. He tells them to blow the trumpet which would be used to prepare for battle. And then he tells Benjamin to look behind them. The enemy was that close. That must have been a fearful sight.

APPLICATION

Who is chasing you? I will tell you. Satan is chasing you. He and his army of demons are always trying to chase us down and defeat us. He is always ready to attack. He is always looking for an opportune time, as it says in Luke 4:13. He is looking for a crack in our defenses, a small hole to establish that foothold.

But thanks be to God, we have a Savior who has already defeated him. His battle plans will not succeed. All we have to do is remain firmly grounded in Christ. We have to stay in His Word and surrendered to His Will. Oh, is that all, Carl? That’s not so easy. I didn’t say it was. But it is possible.

How do I know it is possible? Because God said so. The Lord will never ask us to do anything that is not possible through Him. We do not have to worry about the advancing attacks of Satan if we stay firmly in the grip of Jesus. Yes, Satan is real and wants to do us harm. But Satan can only do what God allows. Remain in Jesus. There is no safer place.

I will rest in Your arms, O Lord. I know I am safe there and no harm can come to me.

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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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Advice, Advocate, Battles, Courage, Enemies, Following, God's Will, Modeling, Obedience, Protection, Safety, Scripture, Soldiers, Victors

NOT BY FORCE

HOSEA 1:7

“But I will take pity on the house of Judah and save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, sword, battle, horses, or horsemen.”

Sometimes we have to fight to defend ourselves. Our enemies are bent on destroying us. The United States has been at war with terrorism since 2001, twenty years. We have fought wars in Vietnam, Korea, all over Europe and on and on. Sometimes war is required to obtain peace.

But not in this situation. Hosea is prophesying about the coming defeat of Assyria at the hand of God. The Assyrian arm had come to defeat Judah while Hezekiah was king. Do you remember what happened? God defeated 185,000 troops in one night. Hezekiah didn’t lift one sword or bow. Not a single man in Judah fought. God did it.

APPLICATION

Now, let’s apply that. So many times we want to fight others when God simply wants us to sit back and let Him defend us. We are quick to snap back when reviled. We may even want to get physical when we have been harmed. We get testy in traffic. But God still fights our battles. One of my favorite verses now is Exodus 14:14. It reads, “The LORD will fight for you, while you keep silent.” Isn’t that great?

How do you do that? By biting your tongue? No, I think the Lord wants us to get silent in prayer. It’s really hard to be upset and mad at someone when you are praying for them. Those individuals may need Jesus, and if you retaliate you could drive them further away from Christ. They may be a believer who is not walking with Christ right now. Your job is preserve the peace.

So, what do you do when you are faced with a fight? You go to God. You talk to Him. You listen to what He says in His Word. You may very well have to defend yourself, but you do it in a way that still honors the Lord. He will give you the words to say and the actions to take. Remember it is His battle after all.

I will submit to Your guidance, O Lord, when I am faced by my enemies. I will trust Your battle plan.

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THE DEVIL’S WORLD

1 JOHN 5:19

“We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

Look around you. The world is a mess. Poverty, disease, racism, hatred and myriad of other horrible things are global. John tells us why right here in today’s verse. He says, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Is it any wonder why the world is in the shape it is?

So, what do we do? Hide and avoid it? No! We are of God. And if we are of God, we have so much more power. That power enables us to withstand any attack by Satan. His power is limited, and he knows it. Satan can’t stand that. He cannot destroy the world, but God has given him limited power over it. He wants to make us as miserable as possible. Don’t let him.

APPLICATION

The world, therefore, can be a scary place for our children. We can’t isolate them forever from its horrors. They will experience them through all kinds of ways. Even video games can expose them to it. Some parents try to put blinders on their kids and hide them away from the real world. Now, don’t get me wrong. We don’t need to expose them to it ourselves. But we need to prepare them.

How do we do that? By making sure they belong to the Lord. We have to spend all the time we can pouring Jesus all over them. We read them His Word. We teach them to study it for themselves. We pray with them. We teach them to pray. We live godly lives before them so they will follow our example. We teach them to live in the power of God, so the power of Satan will have no effect. That’s teaching them to walk in victory.

Are you walking that way? Or are you cringing in fear of what the devil might do? That’s no way to live. If you are a child of God, you have to live that way. God is not wringing His hands over what the devil might do. Neither should you. He has him right where He wants him. Trust God to handle the evil one. He always has.

I will walk in victory in an evil world. There is nothing that can come against me that You do not allow. It trust You in every step I take.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Confession, Confidence, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Victors

DO YOU WANT TO WIN?

1 JOHN 5:5

“Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

The world tells us we have to believe in ourselves in order to succeed. Now, that is important. You have to have self-confidence. You need to believe you can do it. If you are part of a team, you have to believe in your teammates. That is so important to win.

But here in today’s verse, John tells us if we want to overcome the world, we have to have faith in Jesus. That’s it. No matter what the world may throw at us, if we have faith in Jesus, we will overcome. Now, listen carefully. Our overcoming may look different than what the world thinks overcoming is. That’s okay. We know how it all ends, don’t we?

APPLICATION

There is no more important thing to teach our children than this truth from today’s verse. Faith in Jesus is the only way to overcome this world. If our children give their hearts to the Lord, He gives them the faith to face whatever the world may throw at them. Will it be easy? No! But through it all, they will be victorious because of Jesus.

So, we must spend whatever time and energy necessary to teach our children what real victory is. We need to share with them every little victory we have. They will learn from that. Small victories lead to bigger victories. Spiritual victories are measured differently than earthly victories. Only in eternity will be see the actual results of these victories in our children’s lives.

Will you believe today? Will you trust Jesus with everything you have? As John tells us, faith produces victories. Faith helps you overcome. You cannot experience true victory apart from the saving knowledge of Jesus. Trust Him. Believe in Him. Experience victory.

Thank You, Lord, for the victories You give me. I know faith in Your Son, Jesus, is the key. I will overcome.

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Bible, Born, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Mentoring, Parenting, Relationships, Salvation, Scripture, Testimony, Victors

VICTORY

1 JOHN 5:4

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

Who doesn’t like to be victorious? We all do. No one wants to lose. It doesn’t matter what we are talking about, we want to win. It could be a ballgame, a test or a health crisis. We all want to come out on the winning side. That’s just natural. We feel better when we win. We feel better about ourselves and even life in general.

John uses a word here in today’s verse twice that means to be victorious. He uses the Greek word nikao, which comes from nike (victory). It’s interesting to me that this word nikao is used 28 times in the New Testament, but 24 times by John. John really liked this word. It must have meant something to him. He must have experienced it and wanted us to experience victory. But don’t miss the point of the last two words in the verse. It’s our faith that makes us victorious, not us.

APPLICATION

The next victory your child has should be celebrated. Even small victories need to be celebrated. You don’t have to go overboard but recognizing those small triumphs are remembered by your child. Some of those victories can have lasting impacts. Don’t miss those opportunities.

But I want you to talk about spiritual victories with them, as well. When they say no to the lure of peer pressure to do something they know is not godly, that’s a victory. When they follow the Lord in believer’s baptism, that’s a victory. When they memorize that passage of Scripture for AWANA, that’s a victory. Celebrate those, too.

What do you need to celebrate today? Maybe you failed today. That’s not the end. Pick yourself up and look towards the next challenge. Victory is within your reach. Now, this is not a name and claim it devotional. Your spiritual victories are tied directly to your faith. Stay in the Word. Pray daily. Let the Lord show you what a real victory looks like.

Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever. That the source of my victory. I know that and will live in it.

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DESTROYED

2 PETER 2:12

“But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,”

When I was a boy, I used to build models. You know, model cars, trucks, boats, etc. I especially like the boats. Do you know why? Because I would build them and then destroy them. Yep, that sounds kind of dumb now, but we thought it was fun. Me and my neighbor buddy would go down to the local pond with our models, some duct tape or glue and firecrackers or M-80’s. We would light the fuses, push those models out in the lake and watch them explode. It was awesome.

My point? These “unreasoning animals” referred to by Peter are intentionally destroying themselves and others by their behaviors and teachings. They are not accidentally doing this. It is done with malice and evil. They do not understand what they are up against and will eventually be held accountable by a holy God.

APPLICATION

How do we protect our children and others from these evil influences? There is really only one way. I have said it hundreds of time and will continue to say it. We have to ground them in the Word of God. Nothing else will thwart the challenges of those who seek to destroy us. It is sharper than any two-edged sword.

Daily devotions, prayer time and application of truths learned are key. Make sure you are not just reading a passage (even though that’s good) and going about your day. Reading the Bible without applying the Bible doesn’t prepare you for these people. Make the Bible real to you. See how it affects your life each day. He gave it to us for a reason.

Are you prepared today to face whatever the Lord allows in your life? If an enemy of the cross comes across your path today, how will you respond? Spend time in prayer now to get ready for the battles that lie ahead. They are on the way. But with the Lord on your side, the outcome is sure. We are victorious.

Father, for those who battle against truth I pray. I pray they will see the error of their ways before it is too late. Help me today to face the challenges You allow with integrity and boldness.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Crowns, Encouragement, Obedience, Parenting, Victors

CROWNED

2 TIMOTHY 2:5 

Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. 

I have a niece named Stephanie. Her name comes from the Greek word here for “win the prize.” You could translate that phrase as “he is not crowned the victor.” By the way, Stephanie wears her crown well. She lives to please the Lord and has a great ministry with her husband who is a pastor. 

In the Greek culture, athletes were crowned with a wreath to signify they were the victor. But just like this verse said, they had to compete according to the rules. If they cheated, it didn’t count. It still doesn’t. We must compete (follow the Lord’s commands) according to the rule. 

APPLICATION 

Rules, rules, rules! I know most kids hate them. But rules are meant to be followed, not broken. If you want your children to be victors in life, teach them now to compete according to the rules. God honors rule followers, not rule breakers. 

Now wait, it’s not about the rules. It’s about following the rule maker. He establishes rules to guide us safely, not handcuff us. That is so important to teach your kids. Rules are their safety net. Don’t touch hot things is a good rule. Don’t play in the street – another good one. God’s commands are the same. They are there to protect and guide. Teach your child to trust them – no, trust Him. 

Are you a rule breaker? You see a rule and try to figure out a way to work around it. Really? Or maybe you are such a ruler follower that you forget about the rule maker. NO! He is the reason. He wants to crown you victor! 

Father, You are the one who shows me how to run the race well. I want to be obedient, not so much for the crown, but to pleas You. I lay any crowns I receive at Your feet. 

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