Wednesday, July 22, 2009

God's Faithfulness to the Unfaithful

I finally got back to Hosea 2. It is a prophecy about how God will treat Israel when they have in essence become a harlot by worshiping other gods (note the parallel between this and the prior passage). Take a look at verse 3.
Or I will strip her naked and expose her as on the day when she was born I will also make her like a wilderness,make her like desert land and slay her with thirst.

This is interesting. God seems to have absolutely no mercy. He is going to completely humiliate Israel and basically torment them, and yet if we read further in verse 16 and following, we see God's plan to restore Israel.
It will come about in that day, declares the LORD, that you will call Me Ishi and will no longer call Me Baali.

Here we see a heart of repentance... turning from false gods and turning to Him as the supreme ruler... this is followed by a renewal of relationship with Him in verse 23.
I will sow her for Myself in the land I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, and I will say to those who were not My people, You are My people! And they will say, You are my God!

It is such a blessing that we serve a God who is completely faithful not only to punish us when we stray from Him, but to also bring us to repentance and draw us near to Himself once again. I think if we look at the summary of our lives... we will see this pattern throughout... our unfaithfulness followed by His faithfulness and work to bring us back to Himself. What a blessing!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Grandpa Passed Away

It's been a bit of a rough weekend. We were on our way to visit grandpa and grandma when we received a call that grandpa had a heart attack and died. I am reminded that God is God and I am not. I do not know for sure if he was saved or not. I do know that he definitely knew the gospel... read the New Testament... wasn't against the gospel... etc. This doesn't save him by any means, but I know that it's entirely in God's hands. Honestly, it hasn't completely set in yet. I had a mini-cry last night, but it really doesn't seem real yet. We were very close... and it is just going to take a while for me to really come to grips with the whole thing. We just sang happy birthday to him on the phone the other day... and now he is gone. I didn't talk with him on the phone after we sang because I figured I'd see him the next day. While I think it would have been nice to do so, I don't see any reason to regret it. I was thinking about why people would regret things when people die. I have often heard things like... "I never got a chance to say goodbye." While this is true, I don't see a purpose for having regrets or even wishing for such. God is God! The person is gone and no longer cares about such things! Why do people worry about this stuff? The one thing that I think can be regretted in a healthy way is not sharing the gospel with a person that died without Him. I had an opportunity several years ago to spend a day with grandpa and shared the gospel and talked with him about it all throughout the day. This wasn't the only time he heard the gospel... he heard it continually, so I am completely at peace. I really really really want to see him in heaven someday... and I hope with all my heart that he is there, but I also know that God is God... and He does what is best. I trust Him.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Obedience When God Doesn't Make Sense

I got to spend some time in prayer with a friend this morning. What an incredible blessing. I absolutely love spending time in prayer without distractions. To be completely honest, I was quite exhausted and mostly asleep (like 5:20 am), but it was a great blessing anyways. I read Hosea 1 this evening and it really wants to make me read more, but I decided to take it one chapter at a time for more of his perspective on this whole thing. Take a look at this command from God in verses 2 and 3.
When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD." So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

Up to this point, it doesn't tell us whether or not God had revealed His plans to Hosea. Regardless of if God had revealed His plans to Hosea... I can't even imagine going out and finding a harlot to be my wife... someone walking completely contrary to His ways. This really makes me think. How much do I trust God? If He told me to do something completely radical for His sake, would I be willing to give up my plans and do it? It is a tough question. In my head, I say, Yes! Absolutely!... but when the rubber meets the road, it's not so easy. Rather than jumping into the next few chapters, I am going to try to allow God to work in my heart in the area of complete obedience... regardless of if it fits my plans.

Monday, July 13, 2009

He Does Work

I was reading Zephaniah 1 this evening and had been thinking about how He works in not only my life, but the lives of those around me. I have such a tendency to take the credit that He deserves. When I start to do this, I slowly drift into a very dangerous situation... in my heart, He is not longer the provider of every good and perfect thing... He is no longer the One I am serving... He is no longer the One who gave me the ability to live, move, and breathe... He no longer is the Living God. I lower Him down to someone invisible... that does nothing... that ignores my sin... etc. While I don't sit there and say these things to myself, I find it easy become complacent if I am not continually pursuing full obedience. I loved the reminder in Zephaniah 1:12.
It will come about at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are stagnant in spirit, who say in their hearts, "The LORD will not do good or evil!"

He does see my sin... He will punish it... He does good... and He does harm too! A quick side note, don't be confused by the word evil here. God does not and cannot sin... this is referring to the pouring out of His judgment. He is the Living God!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Today & Isaiah 30

I read Isaiah 30 this morning because I had been thinking of verse 21 the last couple of days.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

In this time of my life, I really don't sense a whole lot of direction as far as work goes. God's Word is full of instructions... and far beyond what I can live up to, but I have a desire for His specific leading. If we look at this passage more in context... verses 1 and 2 summarize it pretty well.
"Woe to the obstinate children," declares the LORD, "to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh's protection, to Egypt's shade for refuge.

I was thinking about how often in my life I am seeking His guidance and when He wants me to be patient and wait on Him, I seek my own way. I don't want to go my own way. I am at a point in life where my decisions really have a huge impact on the rest of my life. While decisions are always important... from birth really... this is a pivotal time of my life. Seeking His will in work, education, relationships, ministry, etc. There are a lot of things to consider right now. I don't want to be a young man carrying out my own plans which are not His. I want to be following exactly His plans. I want to hear that voice behind me every step of the way. He is so faithful... I just need to listen.