The Before and After Story…

Hosea 1-4 Hosea’s marriage to the prostitute Gomer is a real-life picture of how God feels about His people’s rejection of Him. He is an example of what an obedient child of the living God does— even when he does not understand—therefore, we must take note.

Hosea was to find a prostitute and marry her. So, he went to the dump and found Gomer gathering garbage; he redeemed her and married her lavishing upon her riches untold, just as God did for us.

Yet, even with all those precious gifts, Gomer, walked away from Hosea and returned to the dump where the   “pimp”/Satan found her and promised what he could not deliver. Gomer/Israel saw with her eyes but not her heart. She heard with her ears but failed to recall:  “I chose you out of many peoples and redeemed you for one reason: I loved you.

The Living God has a message for us in this story. Just as God promised restoration to Gomer and Israel, He promises restoration to us. God wants a people to be a sweet aroma of Christ to the lost and dying world.  As Hosea paid the price for her redemption,  Christ paid our redemption price willingly out of love. 

God has paid the price for your redemption because He wants you to know He loves you and has redeemed you with the blood of Christ.   Will you be like Gomer or Hosea?

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Finishing out 2019

Revlation JesusIt is fitting as we draw to a close this year to finish our daily reading in the Book of the Revelation. As we leave this year may we consider that the focus is always the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. As John fittingly wrote: Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud, and blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it, because the time is near!

John’s message is again “grace and peace” from the faithful witness, the firstborn from among the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth; from the one who loved and loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood.

When we began in January of 2019 we began at the beginning and now we are here at the end and yet it is the beginning once again. God revealed His plan in Genesis and now we see that the plan was always about His Son, Jesus Christ and His work as Redeemer for the sin that started us down that path drawing us to the redemption for our sin.  He stands in the midst of the golden lampstands dressed in his royal kingly garments and one day “we will be like him because we will see him just as he is.”[ 1John 3] as he returns in the clouds. He is the Alpha and Omega, the one who is, and who was and who is still to come. He was revealed to take away sins so that we who accept him may have confidence and not shrink away from in shame when he comes back.

Are you prepared to meet him and hear the voice of the archangel with the trump of God?  Encourage one another with these words.

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The Kingdom Mindset

ImageLong ago I thought I had learned what a mindset is but then again…we all need a refresher course once in a while. So today while gathering my thoughts for Matthew 7 I was struck with this phrase: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is wise.” It was an aha moment. It is not just being busy about the doing, I must have the mindset to hear and then to apply. I then remembered the words in Revelation these words which are repeated over and over: “blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it,” So not only will one be wise but also blessed if they hear and then obey/do.

Remember the book “Secret Garden” with its intrigue and wonderful imagery? Matthew 7 is much like a secret garden. Jesus walks us down the paths of life sharing the beauty of one whose mindset is keyed into righteous kingdom living. As Jesus teaches he uses several illustrations which would be familiar sights to the listeners to not only garner their attention but also as a visual reminder when they meet these same examples in their daily life. For example: beams of wood, doors and knocking, gates—both wide and narrow, paths that are smooth and paths that are filled with pebbles, sheep and wolves, healthy vs unhealthy trees, foundations of homes—rocks or sand, rain and wind. The point of his teaching was to show those who wish to follow Him must consider the cost and the path they want to follow. One path leads to destruction, the other to blessing…the “aha moment.”  If we  hear his words and do them we will be wise as opposed to those who hear but reject. The rejecters are like the fools of Proverbs.

In essence Jesus is giving us these four kingdom principles/paths:

(a) Seeing yourself first before you “open mouth-insert foot” in your criticism of another. Therefore, remove your own speck or beam before you judge another.  

(b) Knowing when to share the holy gospel message and when to walk away—there will be dogs and hogs who knowingly choose to trample, bite, devour and those who enjoy wallowing in the mud rather than accept the holy message of redemption. Therefore, be discerning.

( c) Pray with a kingdom focus in mind: asking, seeking, knocking. Answers come to those who are willing step out and begin at the beginning: asking. God is the Father of Lights in whom is no variableness of turning and He gives good gifts to those who ask. Trust Him for this.

 (c) Applying the Golden Rule as a basis of life—in other words have the “Law of Kingdom Choices” mentality. Dwell on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise. [Phil 4:8] Whatever we focus on will be the guiding principle of how we respond to others and they in turn to us.  

As Jesus taught this chapter the crowds were rapt with attention and so should I be. My mindset should be focused on His words and His teaching…but often my mind wanders. He is the true Messiah with the words of life and I must make the choice to listen, heed, and obey if I want to be wise and also to blessed. The beginning point for me is the asking, seeking, knocking.

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