Pretentious Churches

PRETENTIOUS CHURCHES

For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces.  Hosea 8:14

            It’s easy to read of Israel’s idolatry and point my finger at them in condemnation.  As soon as I do that, I turn into a Pharisee.  Is it possible that our present day church has forgotten its Maker?  Are we leaning more on palaces and programs than the living Word of God and the Spirit of Jesus?  Has pretension replaced authenticity?

            John Piper has shaped my life spiritually as much as anyone.  I’ve flown to Minneapolis many times to attend his conferences, seminary classes he’s taught, and just to sit and enjoy the worship services at his church.  But I have to admit, the first time I went, I arrived early at the church and thought I had the wrong place.  Continue reading “Pretentious Churches”

The Spiritual Law of Proportions

SPIRITUAL LAW OF PROPORTIONS

They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind.  Hosea 8:7

    The relationship between sowing and reaping is a most interesting dynamic.  The proportions change dramatically between the former and the latter.  We sow one amount but reap another.  The ‘seeds’ of our actions are compounded so that what we reap is an exaggeration of what we sowed. I know this to be true.  Don’t you?

    I have been careless to sow some unrighteous seeds in my lifetime.  Ideas were birthed in private, in my thought life.  No one even knew but me that such thoughts existed.  Eventually, these thoughts germinated, took on a life of their own, and I began to act out what had once been only thoughts.  When I finally reaped the consequences, it seemed that I was living in a firestorm.  “How could this little thing cause so much trouble,” I wondered?   Continue reading “The Spiritual Law of Proportions”

TEARS CAN BE WASTED

They did not cry out to Me with their heart when they wailed upon their beds. Hosea 7:14

    Is God compassionate?  Yes.  Is He moved enough by my pain to alleviate it?  Not always.  Oftentimes, He waits to see what kind of tears I cry.  Before you conclude that I am inferring that God is not compassionate, consider today’s scripture. Continue reading “”

The Key To Redemption

KEY TO REDEMPTION

I would redeem them but they speak lies against me. They do not cry to Me from their heart when they wail on their beds. Hosea 7:13b,14

I want every place of pain in my life to be redeemed, don’t you? I don’t want the tragedies I have suffered to remain tragedies. With God’s supernatural touch, they can be transformed internally. But, there is a qualification for redemption. It’s this. It is cooperative. I must believe, fight for faith, and re-orient my thinking to God’s thoughts. He is then released to work on my behalf. My internal language of prayer must be of a faith vernacular.

How do I cooperate then? Continue reading “The Key To Redemption”

A Bird With A Decision To Make

A BIRD WITH A DECISION TO MAKE

So Ephraim has become like a silly dove, without sense; they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. When they go, I will spread My net over them; I will bring them down like the birds of the sky. I will chastise them in accordance with the proclamation to their assembly. Hosea 7:11-12

When Hosea writes, he is generous with word pictures. He suggests that God’s people have become frantic, like birds without direction. They fly here and there for the next thrill, the next counterfeit nest that will give them a sense of wellbeing. They actually believe that their wanderings can escape God’s notice. If they turn a blind eye to God, then God must turn a blind eye to them, right? God is clear about this falsehood. He is going to spread His net over them. He reminds them, through the mouth of Hosea, that according to all they have been taught, they will be disciplined proportionately.

Why is it that we are tempted to fly to Egypt? Continue reading “A Bird With A Decision To Make”

Self-Awareness

SELF-AWARENESS

Aliens have devoured his strength, but he does not know it; yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it. And the pride of Israel testifies to his face, but they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek Him for all this. Hosea 7:8-10

Self-awareness is one of the keys to success. We must know how others experience us. We must ask God to consistently reveal our blind spots. Otherwise, we will be like these Israelites. They were void of strength but saw themselves as powerful. They were aged and weak but feigned virility. They were proud and spurned their need for God yet believed themselves to be in His favor.

Blind spots are frightening. Have you ever had dinner with a small group and thought, “Boy, he talks a lot, but he doesn’t seem to know it.” Continue reading “Self-Awareness”

Meaningless Suffering

MEANINGLESS SUFFERING

All their kings fall, and none of them calls on me.  Hosea 7:7

The back of humanity groans under the effects of the fall.  All people are suffering but some never call on God.  They cry tears, but only tears looking for relief.  There is no introspection and no lessons learned.  Tragically, just stiffen their resolve to survive somehow.  They shut their heart away for there’s no other choice for them without God. Continue reading “Meaningless Suffering”