Uncategorized

HE’S GOT TIME

Hosea 5:15 “I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”

DO YOU?

Wow!  Have you ever thought about the fact that God has ALL the time of eternity to wait for us to repent?  Just like He said through Hosea to Israel, He “will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face.  Isn’t that a scary thought?  It is to me.  I don’t want God to go away.  I want Him close.

But so many of us are just plain happy to have God “not in our business.”  We think we are better off that way.  But in our affliction we will earnestly seek Him – eventually.  I promise you.  It may be days, weeks, months or years, but we WILL repent one day.  We ALL will.  There is no doubt!

TEACHING MOMENT

How many times have you said to your child, “If you will just be honest with me, it will go easier on you”?  You want them to repent and make things right.  You just want them to “confess.”  You don’t want to “afflict” them, right?  Neither does the Lord.  He wants us to come to Him humbly and repentant.  He wants to hear those words, “I am guilty.  Please forgive me.”

It is so important for us to teach our children the importance of repentance.  God is NOT going to let things slide, unlike many parents do.  Yep, I said that. We let things slide sometimes because we just don’t want to deal with it.  But God will deal with it.  So our kids need to learn that – NOW.

Are you “dealing” with it?  Are you confessing?  Are you right with Him?  The Lord wants to restore the relationship with you.  But that takes a conversation which must begin with confession.  Do that and watch the Lord respond.

Father, You want to hear us confess.  So, forgive me.  Cleanse me.  Make me whole again.  I need Your cleansing power in my life afresh and new.  Thank You for restoring me to fellowship with You.

Standard
Uncategorized

COMING HOME

Hosea 3:5 “Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.”

THEY WILL RETURN

This verse reminds me of the prodigal son story.  I am sure he came trembling home to his father.  And his father welcomed him home.  You know the story, right?  But here in Hosea, the Lord is talking about Israel returning to Him after turning their backs on Him.  He still loves them.  He redeems them again, illustrated by Hosea buying back his WIFE from harlotry.  What a picture!

We read this and are amazed.  How could Hosea even want his wife back after she had left him and went back to prostituting?  I don’t know of a man who would.  Hosea probably didn’t want to, but God was using him as a living illustration to the nation.  Don’t be shocked!  We do the same thing.  We go after the world and leave God out.  We can always justify it, but we do it.

TEACHING MOMENT

I am not asking you to try to explain to little Johnnie and Susie what is meant by “harlotry.”  When they are old enough you can do that.  The point to make to them is how we all decide to go after the world and its pleasures.  We think we know what is best for us, but we don’t.  We think we want to be free from relationships that stifle us, but we don’t.

Your children are going to want to leave home one day.  They may go through a rebellious streak.  They may even seemingly abandon their faith.  You can’t give up on them.  Just like Hosea redeemed his wife, the Lord can redeem that child and bring them back home.  You have to believe that.

But how about you?  Are you pursuing “harlotry”?  Are you trying to shake off the shackles you think are on you?  Are you trying to be free of restrictions?  Stop it!  The only reason the Lord would ever restrict you is to protect you.  Trust Him!  He knows and will always know what is best for you.

Father, thank You for restricting my movements at times.  I know that is for my good.  I want to be “home” with You.  Thank You for redeeming me through Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Standard
Uncategorized

NOW THAT’S BRIGHT

Revelation 21:23 “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” 

WILL YOU TURN ON THAT LIGHT?

Have you ever entered a room that was dark and struggled to find the light switch?  We probably have all done that at some point.  Of course, in my house I know where all the light switches are and can find them in the pitch dark.  Can you imagine the new Jerusalem that will be lit by the glory of the Lord?  No light switch needed.

No more stumbling around in the dark.  No more dimly lit rooms.  Only the brilliance of God shining all around.  And we won’t be facing a glaring, eye piercing light.  This light will be radiating from God Himself which will beg us to behold it.  No need for sunglasses here.  Good thing because I can’t keep a pair.  Lol

TEACHING MOMENT

This could be a fun verse to read to your child and then illustrate.  Find the darkest room of your house.  That could be a closet or a bathroom without any windows.  Cover the door jamb with a towel.  Make sure it is pitch black.  Then strike a match and see how it lights the room.  Then keep adding light (flashlight, lantern, closet light, etc.) until the whole room is radiating with light.

Then explain that a “bright” as these lights seem, they are all extinguishable.  Start turning them off one by one until all is dark again.  Contrast that with the light from God’s glory that will NEVER go out.  What a great picture of God’s brilliance that we will get to experience one day.  I can’t wait.

Are you walking around in the darkness or in the light?  Are your eyes looking down so you won’t trip or looking up to behold the King of Glory?  Even now, God wants to shine His light on you. He wants to light your path so you don’t stumble or fall.  Let Him be the light in your life today.

Father of lights, I give You all the praise for Your brilliance and luster.  You are the One who lights my world.  You are the One who illuminates my soul.

Standard
Uncategorized

WE WIN!

Revelation 17:14 “‘These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.’”

IT’S GOOD TO KNOW THE ENDING

How many times have you recorded a sports event only to find out the score before you get to watch it?  While it may be good to know you won beforehand, it kind of ruins the suspense of watching the game, doesn’t it?  That happened to me recently. Knowing the final score before you watch the game really takes the fun out of watching it.

In the book of Revelation we have the privilege of seeing the “final score” before the end.  We win!  Jesus will overcome!  The devil will be defeated once and for all.  Why?  “Because He is Lord of lords and King of kings.”  Enough said.

TEACHING MOMENT

Why don’t you try this with your kids?  Give them a game to play, but before they start playing tell them you have already decided who is going to win.  What do you think they will say?  I am sure little Johnny will be thrilled if he is the one picked to win.  But if you tell him he is losing to his little sister, that might be a different story.

Explain to them that the devil already knows he is going to lose.  He knows he can’t win. That’s why he is so mad all the time and determined to bring down as many of us as he can.  And we believers are already rejoicing because we know we are going to win and nothing can defeat us.

So are you a winner or loser?  Do you have your hope placed in Jesus, Who will overcome?  Or are you still anxious about the end result?  We have no reason to worry, if we are in Christ.  There is NO WAY Satan can win.  We have the victory in our pocket, but we must trust the Lord to fight for us.

My Savior and Lord, thank you for guaranteeing my victory in Christ.  Thank You for the assurance of Christ’s lordship.  He is my hope and peace.  He is my Strong Deliverer.

Standard
Uncategorized

SWEET OR BITTER

Revelation 10:10 “I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.”

BUT THAT DOESN’T AGREE WITH ME

This passage here in Revelation reminds us of Ezekiel 3:3 when he ate the scroll that tasted like honey.  The only difference is with John it turned bitter.  It didn’t agree with his stomach.  Let me ask you something.  When something doesn’t agree with your stomach, what usually happens?  That’s right, you throw up.  I know, I know.  That’s disgusting.  But I believe that is what John was supposed to do.  He was supposed to “throw up” the words of the book so others would hear them.

Think about it.  We read the Word of God today, and it is sweet to our hearts and ears.  We enjoy our quiet times and devotions.  But do you ever “throw up” those words on others?  Do you share the sweetness with others?  Maybe the Lord needs to make the Word bitter in YOUR stomach.  We need to warn the people today just as much as John needed to back then.

TEACHING MOMENT

Why don’t you give your children an assignment this week?  Give them a Bible verse to memorize and then have them keep record of how many times they share that verse with someone else.  Set a goal of 5 or 10 people.  If necessary, make a list of people they want to share it with.

Teaching our children to share the Word will embolden them to be a mouthpiece for the Lord.  The earlier we do that, the more “normal” it will seem.  Sure, we need to teach them to hide the Word in their hearts, but they also need to reveal it to others.

Are you hiding or revealing?  Who have you shared the Word with this week?  “Well Carl, I’ve been busy with all the holidays and stuff.”  Hogwash!  Get out there.  Share the truth of the Word with at least one person today.  I am sure you know someone who needs to be encouraged.

My Lord God, You are the Living Word.  Give me the boldness and power to share it with others.  Help me seek those who need to hear from You.

Standard
Uncategorized

HE IS WORTHY

Revelation 5:12 “‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’”

WORSHIP THE LAMB

Do you remember this scene in heaven?  If not, go back and read the whole chapter.  John is crying because no one is there to open and read from the book.  But the Lion of Judah steps forward.  The slain Lamb of God takes the book, and all begin to worship Him.  They ALL recognize Him as the ONLY one worthy to take and read from that book.

Our world today does not have that awe and fear of God anymore.  Most people laugh at the idea of a Holy God.  Most people today do not recognize His worthiness.  They scoff at God and mock His name.  But that does not change the fact that one day all will bow before Him.

TEACHING MOMENT

This passage today would be a great passage to act out with your kids.  Read it to them and then gather some costumes and make a set.  When kids can visual something it becomes more real to them.  Heaven is too abstract for most people to comprehend.  Putting something in front of them to represent it can help them to conceptualize what is going on in the Word.

I particularly like imagery of Jesus being called the Lion of Judah and then the Lamb steps forth.  That’s a pretty big contrast – a lion and a lamb.  Take some time to explain the strength of the lion and the gentleness of the lamb.  Lions are imposing creatures.  Lambs are not.  Lions are protectors of their tribe.  Lambs are the sacrifice.

Aren’t you glad Jesus is both?  Aren’t you glad Jesus stands firm and advocates on your behalf?  And aren’t you glad Jesus sacrificed Himself on God’s altar for you?  Only He is worthy, because of who He is, to take that holy book and open it in heaven.  No one, not even the highest archangel, has the right.  Only One – Jesus!

Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to be the Lion and the Lamb.  Thank You He has the power and the meekness required to fulfill Your demands.  I am forever grateful.

Standard
Uncategorized

I WANT TO BE FIRST

Revelation 1:8 “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”

LINE LEADER

The church where I serve has a Preschool that serves children 3 months through Pre-K.  It is fascinating to watch those 2, 3 and 4 year olds.  Anyone who doesn’t believe we are born sinners should work one day in a Preschool.  They would quickly change their tune.  Lol.

I enjoy watching them when they are lined up to go somewhere.  They all want to be first in line.  They will push and shove and do whatever it takes (when the teacher isn’t looking) to get to that most coveted spot in the line.  They are ALL going to the same place, but for some reason being first is better.

TEACHING MOMENT

Our verse today tells us that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega (first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), the beginning and the end.  He always has been and always will be.  He is ALWAYS first in line, or at least He should be.  We must teach our children this timeless truth.  When we allow Jesus to be first in our lives (in His rightful place), He will lead us safely to our destination.

The next time you see Gertrude or Elrod pushing and shoving in line somewhere, take a moment and share this verse.  Say, “Why don’t we let Jesus be first in line today?  Who is being like Jesus right now?”  Christ first – ALWAYS

Are you allowing Christ to guide you?  Have you given Him first place in your life?  Is He the head of the line in your life?  Those are all good questions for us.  We need to examine ourselves daily.  It is so easy to jump in front of Christ.  We may not even realize we are doing it sometimes.  But Christ promises to always be with us.  Just look at who He is – “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Father God, thank You for being first in my life.  Thank You that You will always be with me.  Help me to line up behind You and allow You to lead me daily.

Standard