That's the Book: Habakkuk
I think we need to talk about how to handle bad news. I've sat in a few hospital rooms lately. Again. Friends and family waiting to hear diagnoses, test results and treatment plans. I've talked to people waiting on court decisions, job layoffs, financial crisis and marital tensions. Laws change. People leave. Goodness. You do know in this messed up and dark place we're all going to get bad news at some point? Having a plan for when it comes is critical.
The book of Habakkuk is only three chapters long. In the first chapter, Habakkuk asks God a hard question. WHEN? When are you stopping the horror around us? God answer is to wait. He fully will. God is sending judgment to set right what is wrong.
The second chapter Habakkuk asks another question common to us. WHY? Why are the evil people allowed to overcome God's chosen? God's answer is they won't always. The end game is good.Problem was the time between Habakkuk's question and the promised restoration included a prophecy for great destruction, judgment and heartache. Epic bad news.
Chapter three is a song Habakkuk sings to the Lord. This prophet's response is a gorgeous plan of how to face our hardest days. When I read through this song I saw a good plan of how to handle bad news.
I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled. Habakkuk 3:16
When you get bad news don't be afraid to react. Cry. Yell a Psalm out loud. Call a friend. Pray with all the words- the angry, sad, descriptive, big words. Tell the truth.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us. Habakkuk 3:17a
The waiting. Ugh. Hurts in the tummy. Tightness can't breathe. Waiting. But all the panic, fretting, and worry only makes it worse. The key to getting through bad news is to pause. Patience. My mama says to remember it won't always be this way. Take a walk. Give a hug. Color. Wait patiently.
REJOICE IN THE LORD
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3: 17b -18
Gratitude in everything. It certainly does not take away the sharp pain but thankfulness does make a way forward. It's like breathing through contractions in childbirth. Need a list? Try thanking God for friends, for doctors, for food, for clean water. For grace. Don't let yourself off the task until you can breathe.
KNOW THE SOURCE OF STRENGTH
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19a
Bad news can shake your emotions. It can drastically change your plans. But it can not remove God. Bad news does not delete heaven. It does not change eternity. He is able to carry you through. The path may be steep but God can make your steps steady. The key to bad news? Don't do it alone.
You are going to get more out of the Bible Project's Read Scripture video than whatever new cat video or pop culture dating news was next on your scroll list. Take the time.
That's the Book: Nahum
I'm a mom. I spend a good deal of time pointing out dangers. Don't touch. Don't talk to strangers. Be careful online. Don't eat that. You know. Trying to keep my kids safe.
The prophet Nahum had a three chapter poem message regarding the city of Ninevah. Remember Jonah? The people of Ninevah repented for awhile. 100 years later and they were more violent than ever. God had enough. So Nahum the prophet spoke out predicting their downfall and destruction.
The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The Lord takes vengeance on his foes
and vents his wrath against his enemies.
3 The Lord is slow to anger but great in power;
the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet. Nahum 1:2-3
The fear of the Lord is one of the ideas in the Bible of which people strong opinions. People either point to it as a reason never to believe in God or they try to explain it away.
The explain it away camp frequently define fear as reverential awe. As in I'm so amazed at God's size and ability I will quietly ponder and be grateful.
"Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him." Nahum 1:6
Hmmmm. When I read Nahum I really don't think he was only talking about reverential awe. I think the point is that crossing God and standing against his people is not a good idea. I have a healthy fear. Like the kind that says don't touch a hot stove. Don't cross this line into oncoming traffic. Just back up slowly when you see an electric fence. Fear can keep you safe. I have enough fear of addiction to never touch meth. I have a healthy fear of wrecking my marriage to abide by some tight boundaries. I don't joke about weapons in the airport security line. I don't tease police dogs. I'm sure you don't either. If I were in trouble though I'd be the first to dial 911. Truth is I want the people protecting me to be strong enough to respond.
Here's the hard rub though. This is where the other camp shows up. Who wants to follow a God you have to fear? Scary isn't exactly the idea we want to tell our kids in Sunday School. Hold on though.The God is scary theme forgets to keep the message in context of the whole narrative. God is also love.
The Lord is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him.
Nahum 1: 7
Anyone who is a fan of C.S. Lewis is familiar with the character of Aslan in Narnia. This mighty lion is an allegory for Jesus. Listen to what Mr. Beaver tells Lucy about him.
"Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
The fear of the Lord makes me want to be on the right side of history. On His side of His Story. When you figure out that God is powerful enough to conquer all the things you are scared of then some level of actual fear should attend. He is powerful enough to save you.
I did my research on this post. Much credit goes to these great posts from some of my favorite voices.
Andy Stanley: The Beginning of Wisdom READ HERE
John Piper: The Goodness of God and the Fear of God. READ HERE
Liz Curtis Higgs: Fear Can Be a Good Thing READ HERE
JoHannah Reardon: What does it mean to fear God? READ HERE
The team at The Bible Project helps me to think through where these minor prophets fit in the major story. It may help you to watch and learn.
That's the Book: Micah
Last week my mama felt sick. Doubled over pain, nothing fixes it kind of sick. Tuesday morning she ended up in the hospital being prepped for an emergency appendectomy. Surgery isn't fun. Hospitals are difficult places to spend a week. The doctors who read the report and diagnosis her situation weren't doing so to be mean. They saved her life.
Micah was a prophet whose message was primarily to the leaders of Israel. The political, religious and economic leaders were breaking the rules of commerce outlined in the covenant God gave the people. As a result, the poor people were being cheated and abused. The whole country was sick. God was not impressed and sent Micah with a diagnosis. Personally I like Micah. He speaks my second language. Sarcasm.
"If a liar and deceiver comes and says, "I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,' that would be just the prophet for this people!" Micah 2:11
Can't you see him? I think Micah probably got the same kind of pushback from his peers that a prophet with a message about sin would have today in Las Vegas....or on twitter. A laugh and a sneer. In Micah's day there were false prophets being paid to tell people only what they wanted to hear.
We have that too. Our society excels at distraction, at self medication, at delusion. We are not so good at the diagnosis bit. Truth is we have a pride problem. A greed problem. We've got a rebellion problem. Recognize any of these symptoms? Laziness? Cruelty? Despair? It's a sin thing.
Beware a church or blogger or author who preaches a gospel without repentance. It's like telling someone on a sinking ship there is no need to worry about life boats. You know my mom? Imagine the doctor had been afraid to tell the truth. If he had reviewed the charts, had diagnosed her condition and then handed her a pain killer with a big smile and said "Don't worry! Nothing is wrong! Those symptoms are just society making you feel bad. Cover it up, ignore it. You're good". She would have died. End of story.
Before Jesus, I can tell you I was lost, blind, drowning, shackled. Pride, bitterness, selfishness, unfaithfulness. Find any list of symptoms in the Bible, I was on it. I covered up with a to do list, with control, with food, with detached daydreams. Any sin I skipped was mostly a lack of opportunity. I am so grateful for the people who told me how to be rescued rather than trying to convince me nothing needed to change. I'm forever grateful for Jesus. The savior.
Micah also has one of my favorite prophecies about the promised Messiah. Think Baby Jesus in the manger. And consider this was heaven's darling poured out for you. His origin is from the very beginning. God had a plan.
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." Micah 5:2
Just following a list of rules doesn't fix the heart. Last week I attended a local Celebrate Recovery group to hear a friend give her story. (Think AA with Jesus. You can find info HERE). I was so encouraged by the kindness in the room. By the honesty and hope. A good program to move through your stuff can help. Micah didn't just address the illness of Israel. He prescribed a good rehab program.
"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:7-8
Want me to break that down? Here are some practical things I think about as I consider this well loved verse.
How I live matters. Not because of a list of rules. Because it shows the condition of my heart. Because it greatly impacts people around me. Acting justly requires me to not cheat. To watch and address my bias. To build bridges and ask tough questions. To love whom God loves. (Hint....He loves everyone).
Where my heart lives matters. Our pastor yesterday said that in order to have God hear us we must forgive others. He said when we harbor a heart of hate or bitterness we cut ourselves off from God. It's because God is full of love and mercy and grace. So we have nothing in common with him when we hate. You want to get better? Love mercy. Cheer on the ones doing the work of forgiveness. Not the ones being vengeful. Give second chances. Smile at people in courthouses and on work crew. Give grace. Let it go.
When I go on a walk with my spouse or my kids it forces me to slow down and breathe. I listen better on a walk. Fewer distractions. Bigger perspective. Walking humbly with God means the same thing. Space to listen. It involve taking the focus off me and mine mine mine. It means less of me and more of him.
When I left the hospital after my mom's surgery I was grateful. For doctors, for hospitals, for clean water, for medication. I felt the same way when I walked out of the Celebrate Recovery meeting. Grateful. For grace, for salvation, for the cross, for forgiveness. For community and truth. I was grateful for God.
"But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me." Micah 7:7
Let me speak some truth today to you. If you are in pain, don't ignore it. If you look around and see your life causing grief and oppression to others, get help. Don't cover it up with sex, or medication, or food. I know it's hard to poke around and open those doors. I know it's scary and painful. But if you don't the consequences can kill you. And I know a way to get better.
"Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance. You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the debts of the sea." Micah 7:18-19
Such a beautiful song. Zach Williams, Chain Breaker.
Yup. Another one from the Bible Project. These are great overviews. Read it and learn. Show your friends who think the Bible has nothing to do with their lives. Show your kids.
This is my favorite weighty justice book. If you want to move your faith out of the pew and into the streets where God wants it read this book. Be warned though. Your life may change. If you want a copy from Amazon click on the book. If you see me on a regular basis, ask and you can borrow my copy.
That's the Book: Jonah
I thought about writing this post as another bed time story to my daughters. But they already know the story of Jonah and the Whale. I think almost everyone; church goers or not; know this story.
God tells Jonah to go tell the evil people in the neighboring country of Nineveh to repent. Jonah runs away from God's request.
"The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me". But Jonah ran away from the Lord..." Jonah 1:2-3a
Jonah ends up being swallowed by a whale. Odd. But my refusels to obey what God has told me have landed me in some strange circumstances so I relate. Jonah sits through a three day time out in the belly of the whale. Jonah is deposited on a nearby beach. Fairly nasty way to survive drowning.
"And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land." Jonah 3:1-3
Jonah decides to listen to God.
"Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: "Go to the great city of Ninevah and proclaim to it the message I give you. Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh." Jonah 3:1-3
The classic moral we tell our kids is to listen to God the first time and avoid great heartache.
End of Story.
Or is it?
Do you know what happens next?
The people of Ninevah listen to the prophet and repent. And then Jonah gets mad because they don't get punished.
We skip that bit in the bedtime story.
Sometimes when I read a book I flip to the end and read the last chapter and then go back and begin at the start. It drives my husband crazy. He says it ruins the suspense. But I love to know how a story ends up right from the start. I work through the book and watch the characters develop as they drive to the ending. The book of Jonah is one of the times when I think it's helpful. Try reading this book through the lens of Jonah's own confession about why he ran from God.
"When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, "Isn't this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." Jonah 3:11- 4:2
Oh my. He didn't run because of fear. He ran because He knew God would likely forgive. These people were the sworn enemies of Israel. Jonah didn't want God's grace for his enemies. So he kept the Word of the Lord to himself. Yikes.
While sitting in the belly of the whale Jonah prays to God. This line shouts out and I want to tell Jonah to pay attention to his own prayer because he's going to need it when he finally hits the city.
"Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God's love for them." Jonah 2:8
Jonah's worthless idol was his bias, fear and hatred of the people of Ninevah. Not that they may not have deserved it. Frequently our anger is truly justified by the violent or unfair actions of others. However. It was still a worthless idol. And the cause of focusing on an idol is to damage ourselves. When I focus on my rights and anger and bitterness I turn from God's love.
My word. I do this. Come on Mindy! Eyes off my pitiful goals and idols and hatred. Turn my eyes to Jesus. It's the only way to get my needs REALLY met.
So from the depths of the whale Jonah promises to obey. And God saves him. Grace. And yet we know cause we read the last chapter....Jonah still gets angry when God gives grace to the people of Nineveh.
Do you watch the news? Anger abounds. From everyone. Politician and pulpits. Poor and Rich. Near and Far. Posturing and pleas. Anger. Dripping, shouting, thick. Yuck. We're so focused on our anger that we are refusing the grace for ourselves that God is extending. God had a question for Jonah that applies to us as well.
"But the Lord replied, "Is it right for you to be angry?" Jonah 4:3
Is it right for you to be angry? Have you been forgiven? I have. I've let people down, I've lied. I've been crass and cruel. But all that is gone because I asked.
What Jonah knew about God is still true. He is gracious and compassionate. Slow to anger. Abounding in love.
Here's the kicker. Want to know where Ninevah would be located on the modern day map? Just outside Mosul in modern-day northern Iraq. My guess is God's grace extends to the people there too.
His grace is for everyone. The people in your family. Even the mean ones. The people in jail. The people on the corner. In the pew and in the bar. God loves them all. What I wonder about my own heart is this. Do I want the good news for everyone? Or do I want some people to never hear the truth? Am I willing to offer words of the opportunity to difficult people, to people I disagree with, to people who hate me? Or do I tend to run and try and escape?
See if you can answer God's question. Is it right for you to be angry? If not, try Jonah's prayer.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say,"Salvation comes from the Lord.'" Jonah 2:9
The book of Jonah is not a bed time story for little children. It's a massive, gut wrenching mirror to our own souls. Do you need a time out?
Jonah is so much more than just a children's Sunday School story. Check out The Bible Project's walk through for some new insight.
That's the Book: Obadiah
I have car issues. Moldy Starbucks mugs, missing socks, mountains of papers and old french fry kinds of issues. For Valentine's Day my husband bought me a gift card to get the car detailed at a local service shop. Out of a mix of embarrassment and schedule crunches I haven't made it in.
I recognize this is like thinking you have to get your life straight before the local church will let you in. I totally understand. No way am I showing my mess to the car guys. Pride is getting in the way of me getting help.
Pride is dangerous. Pride is also the theme of the short message from Obadiah.
Remember the story of Jacob and Esau? Two brother's who warred over their inheritance? Fast forward Jacob's decedendants became the people of Israel. Esaus' became the people of Edom. Edom was also the country just east of Israel. Brothers. Neighbors.
When Israel was taken into captivity by the Babylonians you'd hope that their neighboring relations would have come to the rescue. Instead, the Edomites caught escaping Judeans and handed them over to their enemies. They also plundered the remaining cities.
The prophet Obadiah has a message for these prideful and vengeful Edomites.
"The pride of your heart has decieved you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, Who can bring me down to the ground?" Obadiah 1:3
This afternoon I was doing some random pickup in the house. I piled all the kid's belongings which were strewn throughout the house into a laundry basket and set it at the top of the stairs for them to deal with and put away. I was gloating a bit that none of the pile was my mess. Rare shocker but true. Mom lecture in full force.
Then I remembered my car.
"You should not gloat over your brother in the day of his misfortune nor rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction, nor boast so much in the day of their trouble." Obadiah 1:12
Listen here. I recognize that catching my kids in a lie or a mess is minor when compared to laughing over a person in misery. But is it? Have you been there? When you laugh at someone else's pain? Or cheer when a rival fails? Ever felt the temptation to rat someone out and laugh as you watch consequences roll? Sigh. Pride and envy and selfishness are ugly. All the time. I can talk a good grace message but do I put it into practice with the people closest to me? Sometimes.
I hauled myself out to the garage and set to work dealing with my junk. Guess what? My laundry basket was more full than the kids. My earlier gloating was a pitiful joke.
"The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head." Obadiah 1:15
Centuries later the promised Messiah preached a similar message. "So in everything, do to others what you want have them do to you, fur this sums up the Law and the Prophets" Matthew 7:12. A concept used in the prophets for judgment and warning Jesus used for blessing. Justice and Grace intertwined again. Truly it sounds like we get to pick. Grace or judgment? What do you want? What do you give?
You see, pride was keeping me from using the gift my husband gave me. Pride was also causing me to boast and puff to my kids about their failings. The enemy of your soul and mine is not creative. He uses pride as trap over and over again. Truth is we're all a mess. Drop the pride. Say you are sorry. Don't gloat over other's failings or misfortune. Give grace. Take the gift.
This little one chapter book made so much more sense after I watched the Bible Project's Read Scripture. I am gonna keep saying it until you start....but you really should watch these!
That's the Book: Micah
Hey! You're here! I'm so impressed. This project is deep in the midst of the minor prophets and some readers have apparently decided to tune out for the next ten weeks. I don't blame them. Who wants to start Monday morning with heavy themes of judgment? The prophets are brutal. It's way more fun to talk about forgiveness. I love talking about the scandelous love of Jesus. These posts on prophets are difficult. Reading about destruction and consequences can be a kick to the head.
Amos was a lowly shepherd who God called to preach judgment to the rich and oppressive leaders of Israel and her neighbors. Centuries later God called shepherds to witness the arrival of the salvation of all mankind. One of my favorite things is when I see a parallel in God's story. Yay for the shepherds.
He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth - the Lord God Almighty is his name. Amos 4:13
Read that verse again. I love it. The high and almighty God reveals his thoughts to us. Crazy wonderful.
For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sings. There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil. Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph. Amos 5:12-15
Ever notice people seem to want justice for everyone else and grace for themselves? God is pretty clear on this one. Hate Evil. Love Good. Maintain Justice.
Every week as I prep for the That's the Book post I start by reading through the book and highlighting verses that shout out to my heart. This week as I read along I felt sick when I hit this one. It so reminded me of my country, my people.
"You lie on beds adorned with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end." Amos 6:4-7
Luxury but no justice? Violence for the smallest and weakest in our culture. Power and greed abound. Wine by the bowlful and the finest lotion but no grieving over the ruin around. See? Massive kick to the head.
Truth is, sometimes I need a heavy dose of truth to help correct my course. And as I remember to keep it in context of the whole biblical narrative I'm encouraged. The time I'm spending reading the prophets is only increasing my love of God. Grace is only truly appreciated when justice is what is due. And justice is what is due. But grace is what I've been given. How about you?
One of my good friends told me last night she's learned so much from these videos. ME TOO! I love how this one explains that true worship always leaves to love, righteousness and justice. Watch and learn.
That's the Book: Joel
I help with the preschool every Sunday morning. The littlest members of our church crack me up. They also cause me to really think about why I believe what I do and why in the world they should care. This morning, one of the other teachers and I were talking about discussing issues in our culture with our kids. What and when should we talk about some of the more sensitive matters of faith? It's tempting to shelter and hide and shush tough questions.
The little three chapter book of Joel has some advice.
"Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors? Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation." Joel 1:2-3
So. Questions for you. Has anything like this ever happened in your days? Have people been this lonely? This angry? This hopeless? Have children been sold into slavery for perverse pleasure? Have thousands starved? Have holy things been treated with such disdain? Do you think perhaps we might want to have some important talks with our children?
Maybe this sort of talk?
Even now, declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:12-13
Such gorgeous words of hope. The Lord wants our hearts. He is gracious. He is abounding in love. This morning we talked to the preschoolers about how God is their shepherd. How he can supply all their needs. How he wants them to follow his voice. How when they are afraid they can run to his arms. Important conversations.
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls. Joel 2:32
Are there things you should be telling your kids? Take courage and start the conversation.
Three chapters of powerful words. As always, so much better in context. The Bible Project again provides a useful overview of how this little book's structure helps explain its significance. Watch and learn.
That's the Book: Hosea
I spent two hours in the grocery story and seven hours in the kitchen over the weekend. This is NOT my normal. I'll probably stay out of the kitchen entirely now until Thanksgiving. I blew my quoto out in one fancy dinner party and one "easy" cooking class. The class had been billed as a way to fill your freezer with great meals in no time at all. At one point I was wrestling with a whole chicken trying to separate it into the various separate parts and was wondering how this was easier than purchasing the $5 precooked Costco rotissery chicken. I signed up for this class to get to know my neighbors. The things we go through for love. This was silly and fun. Sometimes love drags us places we do not want to go.
Hosea was a prophet to the people of Israel. He went through great hardship for love.
"When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, "Go marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord". Hosea 1:2
Can you even imagine? When I read through the stories of the prophets my heart breaks for their humanity. For the pain they went through to be faithful to the call of God. Then each time I consider what the story means to me and I see the truth. I'm exactly like the people of Israel. Wandering, ungrateful, whiney, stubborn.
"The Lord said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods.." Hosea 3:1
God did more than any prophet. The painful story of Hosea is a hint to the love story that Jesus poured out on the cross. For while I was still lost and broken and an enemy Christ died for me. While I was unfaithful he loved me.
The whole book of Hosea is a love story. Hosea repeatedly chases down his wayward wife and trys to win her heart. God continues to use this powerful life story to woo the hearts of his people. The messages are gorgeous.
"For I desire mercy, not sacrifice and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6
God's message is all about heart. The rules are secondary. Important only because they protect and reflect the heart.
"Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you." Hosea 10:12
I am printing this verse up and putting it on my mirror. For there are parts of my heart that are hard, are unplowed, are dead. My guess is you may have those spots too. This verse is all about growth and spring and life. Write it on your soul. For this is what God wants for you.
"But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always." Hosea 12:6
Patience dear ones. Some of you are in the midst of hardship. God's message is to hold on. Maintain love and justice. Wait. The one who loves your soul will not leave you. For while you were still in the enemy camp his heart was for you. He loved you first. And now? He's preparing a banquet table. His word is the bread of life. Hungry? Come on in. He's the best chef I know.
If you've never read Redeeming Love you really must. Buy it today. Read it. You'll see the love of God for you in a while new way. This is a beautiful, captivating retelling of the book of Hosea.
They do it again. Interesting, entertaining and helpful. The Bible Project is a great tool. Check it out today.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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