Sunday, September 25, 2016

Full Restoration

I am sure there are people who are ready to give up on America or on their own lives. They see the destruction brought on by sin, and they think that things can never be restored to the way they should be. That is a lie of Satan. God is able to restore what He has destroyed, and He does it graciously and completely. (Joel 2:25) Let's look at the imagery that God inspired the prophet Joel to use and receive hope from it.

The people of Joel's day were very familiar with locusts and the destruction they could bring to the crops of a land. In fact, when there was a plague of locusts, they destroyed everything that was living down to the ground. They left nothing. Joel reminded the people of all of the stages in the life of a locust, and how the locusts were so able to swarm, to crawl over everything living, and to consume it by chewing it all up. This was God's analogy for the army of the enemies that He sent against His people because of their sin. These armies left nothing, and the people felt hopeless.

That is why God sent Joel to assure His people that He was able to restore the "years" the locust had eaten. He was able to bring them fully back to like it was before the attack, so that they lost no money or anything. However, this was all dependent upon the people turning back to God with all of their hearts. I pray that we would absorb this truth and take hope from it, so that we will pray for God to restore the years the locust have eaten in America. I am sure He can do it, but will we truly pray?

Tomorrow, I intend to read Amos 1-3.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

There Is No Savior Besides Me

God is the only one who can save us. We can't save ourselves. There is only one true God, and He is the only savior. (Hosea 13:4) Therefore, there are not many paths that lead to salvation. The only way is God's way. (John 14:6) Jesus Christ is God's way, truth, and life. No one comes to the Father, but through Him.

Just as God had shown Himself to Israel in Egypt, so that they should know Him and not worship other gods, He has shown Himself to all people in one way or another. It is up to us to listen to His Spirit speaking to us and to follow His way, not our own. Many people want to worship other gods and still have salvation. That does not make sense, and it is not possible. There is only One God who created all that is. There is only One God who became a man while being God, too, so He could pay for our sins with His perfect blood. There is only One God who saves us. There is no savior besides Him. I urge you to read His Word, listen to Him, and follow Him as your Savior and Lord.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Joel 1-3.

Friday, September 23, 2016

It Is Time To Seek The Lord

Hosea was calling on God's people to return to Him before He sent destruction on them. (Hosea 10:12,13) They had gone their way too long, and they were reaping the consequences of their sins. Now, he was calling them to sow righteousness, instead of going their way, so they could reap in God's mercy. Does that sound like America to you? It does to me.

We have plowed wickedness in our country for a long time, and now we are reaping the iniquity of riots and murders. We have eaten the fruit of lies, because we have tried to do it our way, not God's way. The only solution is to seek the Lord and sow righteousness again, until God rains righteousness on us. That should be the prayer of all of God's people. Without His help, we have no hope.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Hosea 11-14.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

True Repentance Brings Healing

There is only one solution for sin in the life of a nation or a person. It is true repentance. If we will repent, God will heal what He has torn and bind up what He has strickened. (Hosea 6:1) That is God's promise, and we need to take Him up on it for ourselves and for American.

When we repent, we realize we are sinning and that our sins are separating us from God. We know that continuing to practice that sin will not bring health and satisfaction, but ruin and death. Therefore, we change our actions from the sinful actions to what God says we should do in His Word. We go the other way from the way we had been going. Sinning is going away from God, so when we repent we go toward the Lord, and we do it in faith. We do it because we believe in Him, and we admit He was right all along. We trust Him and His way, instead of our own way. We do all of this recognizing He is Lord, so whatever He says is right, and we must follow His way. When you put all of that together, it is true repentance.

Once we repent, God heals. He saves the Unbelievers when they trust Jesus, and He binds up the wounds of sin. He delivers believers from bondage to sin, and He heals their hurts. However, repentance is vital. Without the change in direction and heart that comes with repentance, we continue down the road to death and/or misery caused by sin.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Hosea 7-10.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Betrothed To God

The Bible has many ways of illustrating our relationship with God as believers. One of the best is that we are married to God. Marriage is to be the closest possible human relationship, in which a man and a woman become one. When we come to know the Lord, we are to be one with Him. We are to be faithful to Him and not worship idols of any kind. If we follow other gods, we are committing spiritual adultery against God. That is what Israel did in Hosea's time. God used Hosea to show His people how much He still loved them, by having Hosea marry a harlot. Then, Hosea told of a time when God would betroth His people to Himself, and they would have the right kind of relationship. (Hosea 2:19.20) We need to see what God said, and remember how we are to relate to God once we know Christ as our Lord.

God desires a righteous relationship with Him, in which we are truthful with Him in all we do and think. He does not want us to try to hide anything from Him. He wants a just relationship, too. He does not want us to take advantage of His goodness and grace. He wants us to be fair with Him in all we do. God wants a relationship of loyalty or lovingkindness, because He is always loyal to us. He wants us to be faithful to our covenant with Him, since He always fulfills His part of the covenant. However, He will extend mercy when we need it, because we will fail at times. However, mainly He wants us to be faithful to Him as He is faithful to us, so that we come to know Him fully. That is what God intends for every believer to experience with Him.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Hosea 4-6.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

How Bright Will You be?

Daniel gives us a glimpse into eternity. Evidently, we will be gloriously radiant like angels when we get our eternal bodies  and live with the Lord in heaven forever. However, some of us will shine more than others. Daniel tells us who the "brightest ones" will be. (Daniel 12:3) Will you be one of these?

The wise will shine like the brightness of the firmament or sky forever. Just think of how bright the sky can be on a clear day. Even when we face away from the sun, the brightness can hurt our human eyes. In heaven our eyes won't hurt, but we will be able to see the wise shining like the sky as a reward for seeking God's wisdom and living by it here in this world.

Also, those who turn many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever. We may not be impressed by this if we live in a big city, but if we have ever been away from the city lights to look at the stars, we know what this is talking about. The shining stars are so glorious. Each one is distinctive. That will be our reward if we have been active in turning people to the Lord in this life.

I know we don't serve the Lord for the rewards, because we do it all in His power. However, this should show us what is important in life and encourage us to be wise and a good witness for Jesus.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Hosea 1-3.

Monday, September 19, 2016

What Will It Take?

Disasters come upon individuals and countries all of the time. When they hit, there is a brief time of reflection and searching for answers. Then, life returns to normal without any lasting changes taking place. We saw this after 9/11 in the USA. I have seen it in the lives of many people who have lost their jobs or homes, gone to jail for crimes they have committed, or lost their families because of sins.   The same thing happened after Judah sinned and Jerusalem was destroyed. Because of that, Daniel was prompted to wonder why no substantial changes had taken place. (Daniel 9:13) We all need to hear what he said.

The disaster had driven Daniel to prayer, and he confessed the sins of his people to the Lord, and he asked God to be able to understand His truth. However, no one else was praying in that way. It did not make sense then, and it still does not make sense now. The natural result of having a disaster should be to confess our sins as we turn away from them, knowing they were the cause of the disaster coming upon us. Then, it should be natural to ask God for understanding, so we can know His truth and live by it. That way, we can avoid disaster again. This does not happen on a large scale because people have hard hearts guided by pride, so they do not see their sins as being serious. Also, they think they know the truth, so why ask God about truth?

Prayers of confession, repentance, and understanding truth must come, if we are to avoid further disasters. However, if people are not praying already, what will it take before those prayers are said?

Tomorrow, I intend to read Daniel 10-12.