Belief And Unbelief

BELIEF AND DISBELIEF

“Now, they will say, “We have no king.  What can he do for us?”  They speak mere words, with worthless oaths they make covenants; and judgment sprouts like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field.”  Hosea 10:3-4

            God’s people have arrived at a place where they have no confidence in Him anymore.  They believe Him to be powerless.  Anytime I cease to see the vastness of God, the issue at hand is not about a God who has grown anemic.  It is about me and how the enemy has deceived me, through my adversity, about who God really is.  Somewhere along the path, I have given up on prayer.  I have fallen into the black hole of unbelief.  I am on a dead end street, traveling at high speeds, not knowing that a crash is ahead.

            Here’s how it works.  Continue reading “Belief And Unbelief”

Grafted In To Share The Fruit

GRAFTED IN TO SHARE THE FRUIT

Israel is a luxuriant vine; He produces fruit for himself.  Hosea 10:1

            When God chooses to bless me, it is not so I can fill my barns with grain and sit on the pile and admire it.  It is not so I can sit and enjoy the feeling of grain running through my fingers.  It is not so I can make my home into a museum.  Blessings are mine to hold loosely.  They are a reminder to praise the One who gives.  They are mine to pass on. Whatever has been entrusted to me is ultimately for the purposing of blessing others.

  •     God has taken me through some storms.  The experiences through good and evil have trained me in the ways of wisdom.  Is this so I can become self-impressed over how much I know?  No, wisdom is to be shared.
  •      God has taken me through some losses.  Growing up in an emotionally reserved home, I am still learning learned how to grieve and ultimately rest in God’s arms.  Is this so I can enjoy His comfort and keep it to myself?  No, comfort is to be shared.
  •      God has allowed betrayal to mark my path.  I am learning to make forgiveness a lifestyle.  Is this to be my solitary experience?  No, lessons of forgiveness are to be modeled with humility.  Continue reading “Grafted In To Share The Fruit”

Praying For Those Who Have Forgotten God

PRAYING FOR THOSE WHO HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD

Give them, O Lord – what wilt Thou give?  Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.  Hosea 9:14

            When a person walks with God, it is easy to become bitter over someone nearby who is lukewarm in his faith.  There is a fine line between being sad over their condition and becoming angry.  At that point, pride can slip in and set up stronghold territory.   Continue reading “Praying For Those Who Have Forgotten God”

Trying To Be Too Nice

TRYING TO BE TOO NICE

Let Israel know this!  The prophet is a fool, the inspired man is demented because of the grossness of your iniquity and because your hostility is so great.  Ephraim was a watchman with my God, a prophet; yet the snare of a bird catcher is in all his ways.  Hosea 9:7-8

            Listen to this passage from THE MESSAGE.  Did Israel bluster, “The prophet is crazy!  The ‘man of the Spirit’ is nuts!”?  Think again.  Because of your great guilt, you’re in big trouble.  The prophet is looking out for Ephraim, working under God’s orders.  But everyone is trying to trip him up.  He’s hated right in God’s house, of all places.

            I’m writing to the prophets; those of you who speak the word of the Lord faithfully.  Perhaps you’re paying a price.  When those you preach to are in prosperity, they repel a message that calls for repentance and cross-bearing.  It seems that unless there is tribulation, the ears of most listeners are closed.  Jesus predicted this.

            Be courageous.  Continue reading “Trying To Be Too Nice”

Beating My Head Against The Wall

BEATING MY HEAD AGAINST THE WALL

Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up, they will bear no fruit. Hosea 9:16

            One of the major reasons Israel went after idols like Ashtoreth and Baal was because those gods were thought to bring fertility.  God reminded them the He was Lord over the womb, that in their disobedience, He would turn their fruitfulness into barrenness.

Have you ever known a time when you beat your head against the wall in frustration?  Technically, according to the strategies offered by people who have achieved some measure of success, you’ve done it all right.  You’ve gotten the right education, moved to the right place, made friends with those in high places, gotten your resume in tiptop shape, made sure your name was spoken in the right circles, and yet….open doors still alluded you.  Powerlessness washed over you, then anger, then a sense of futility. Continue reading “Beating My Head Against The Wall”

THE SWEETNESS OF THE BREAD

Their bread will be like mourners’ bread; all who eat of it will be defiled. For their bread will be for themselves alone; it will not enter the house of the Lord.  Hosea 9:4

            Life is a gift.  Every day is a clean, twenty-four hour slate upon which we can write with our lives, yet sometimes we curse the gift of time.  If it’s Monday, we can yearn for the following weekend.  If it’s winter, we long for summer.  Let life be miserable enough and we will wish for death itself.  This is to eat of the bread of mourners.

          When my own sin leads me into Egypt, I must watch myself eat foreign bread to live.  The bread is tasteless on my tongue and it only manages to enable me to live another meaningless day in an existence I despise. Continue reading “”

Drinking A New Wine

DRINKING A NEW WINE

You have made love for hire on every threshing floor. The threshing floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her.  Hosea 9:2

    Have you ever been so desperate for a breakthrough that you did everything you could to manufacture it yourself through whatever means you thought it might come to you?  Israel was so hungry for blessing and prosperity again that they practiced idolatry on the threshing floor, the place where they processed grain.  They really believed it would help the harvest.  Not only was it sinful, it was superstitious.  God cursed it.  He will not share His glory with anyone, especially with some sinful ritual.

    What is it that eludes you today?  More money?  Continue reading “Drinking A New Wine”