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Entries in Hosea (3)

Wednesday
Jan282009

Taking diligent heed

One of my favorite Precept Upon Precept (PUP) Bible studies was on the book of Joshua. Go figure! Who knew it contained such practical and applicable tips for living? Oh, the Word of God has treasures to be mined! But think about it. Here God's people were going into the land that God had promised them. A land of milk and honey - yes! But also a land with giants, gods and hostile to God. I love the sub-title given to this PUP study. It was something like "possessing your possessions" or "learning to possess your possessions." Here on this earth, if I am ever going to possess what is mine in Christ Jesus, then practical and applicable tips are certainly needed! One of the "tips" that pricked my heart then and now is Joshua 23:11. It says: "... take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God." Okay. So, what does diligent heed look like?

We used to live in a house that was built in the late 1800's. One of the previous owners had planted gardens and I became passionate about gardening. But, beautiful gardens don't just happen. No, they take a lot of work! Each week I would spend hours and hours weeding, watering, feeding and tending those gardens. Each season certain things would have to be done to prepare the gardens for the next season. It was only a few months each year when the snow was on the ground that I didn't need to HEED those gardens. If I didn't "take heed" on a regular basis those gardens could get out of hand very quickly. During the growing season? Forget about it. I would have to "take diligent heed. " God has once again reminded me that I need to take that same diligent heed of myself - of my heart. If I don't the things of this world will come in a crowd out and choke my love of the Lord. Doesn't it seem strange that I would have to weed, water, feed and tend after my heart like that in order to love the Lord my God? With as glorious as He is and after all He has done for me, you would think it be natural to love God with all of my heart. No so. In fact, God says that when I stop giving heed to the Lord that's exactly when I start playing the harlot (Hosea 4:10).

Yes, I finally finished my PUP study of Hosea. God has used the truths from Hosea to remind me of just how easily I can forget Him. God says this in Hosea 13:6: "As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, and being satisfied, their heart became proud; Therefore they forgot Me." You know why I gave up gardening? I lost my passion for it. I no longer wanted to spend the hours necessary to take diligent heed of gardens. Compared to other things that came into my life, gardening lost its value. Actually, I gave up gardening to spend more time with and serving God. But, I have to wonder. Could I give up God that easily? Unless I take diligent heed I know I could - I know I have.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. “Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Deuteronomy 6:5-12

Saturday
Dec272008

Painting pictures of Eqypt

I don't want you to think that I obsess about "playing the harlot" 365 days a year. But, I'm still studying the book of Hosea so what can I say? The truths from this precious book leave me scratching my head. How could God's people EVER want to return to Eygpt? How could they turn and keep turning from a God who loves them so much and went to such great lenghts to save them? Why would they want what Egypt has to offer when the Almighty God has promised them so very much? The truths from Hosea also hit home. I know I have done and am capable of doing the very same thing. I can quickly and easily begin to "paint picture of Egypt in my mind." Reminds me of a song by Sara Groves (see below).

Maybe it's not such a bad thing to remember the days (actually years) I played the harlot. Maybe in remembering, I'll never return to Egypt (so to speak). Oh, God forbid. As I read through chapter 11 of Hosea today, I was struck with the emotions expressed by the Almighty God. He says things like..."I took them in My arms, I bent down, How can I give you up, How can I surrender you, My heart is turned over within Me, my compassions are kindled." He says all of this in the context of their turning from Him and to Egypt. WOW. My human mind has a hard time grasping God's love. But, the truths from Hosea assure me that God's covenant of love with me will NEVER let me go. Double WOW.

Jeremiah 31:3 is true and I CAN personalize it. So can you! "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness."

Sunday
Nov162008

Hershey "High"

Did you know that when you get within a mile or so of Hershey, PA you can actually smell chocolate? Upon arriving at the Hershey Lodge last Thursday, I was given a Hershey chocolate bar and it seemed that everywhere I turned chocolate appeared. 4 kisses on the night stand each evening, a chocolate bar on the morning tray with my oatmeal, and a box of almond Hershey bars as a welcome! The bathroom soap smelled of chocolate and even the sheets had Hershey kiss designs on them! But, my "high" wasn't from all the chocolate. It was from from being in a room of 3,000+ women who were hungry for the word of God and where over 150 accepted Christ. SWEET!

A couple of weeks ago I started studying Hosea with a kindred spirit. So, passages from Hosea and my recent "Playing the harlot" blogs were fresh on my heart when I arrived in chocolate world. And, God decided to use the weekend to even dig deeper into my heart. No, not by testing me with so much chocolate, but by using His word!

Kay Arthur started her first session with declaring truth had stumbled in the streets (Isaiah 59:14-20). My role for the weekend was to stay close to her side, take notes, learn and assist her in anyway I could. When she "stumbled" across the stage she got every one's attention and I almost had a heart attack. Then, I realized she was illustrating this verse! Truth HAS stumbled in the streets and truth is lacking. From there she went to Hosea 4:6 and Isaiah 5:13. Both reminders that God's people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge and that we have rejected knowledge. I have resembled these verses. Each session was more powerful than the next but the verse of the weekend for me was Jeremiah 2:11-13. It says....Has a nation changed gods when they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, and shudder, be very desolate, declares the Lord. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold not water. I don't think I'd ever seen verse 11 before. My people have changed THEIR glory for that which does not profit. Every time I play the harlot that's what I do and why oh why would I change my glory for that which does not profit? I forget what I know. I go by what I see, feel....and not by faith. God spoke such wonderful truths into my heart this weekend and I rejoice...Stepping out - walking by faith not sight!

What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! Psalm 8:4-5