His Heart Breaks With Love for You


Hosea 9:1-14:9

“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? … My heart is torn within Me, and My compassion overflows.” Hosea 11:8

Today we finished reading the book of Hosea, a book about the fierce love and jealousy of a Creator God. He is a God who longs for YOU with the ferocity of a bear who has had her cubs taken away. (Hosea 13:8)

I recently got to experience a taste of the jealousy of God, it is an AMAZING thing… and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get to experience even a full ounce of it. I was considering staying late at work instead of coming home to do my devotions and writing before the kids got home from school. His words were firm, few, simple, and undeniable;

“Don’t. You. Dare.”

I didn’t stay late.

When I got home I was hit full force with a jealous Heavenly husband who had waited long enough for me to arrive and satisfy His desire for intimacy with me. He read me the riot act! And it was glorious!!! :D All this time, I’ve been throwing fits like a spoiled child about having to go to work and missing spending time with Him when all the while never stopping to think about how HE felt about the whole situation. And I love that He took the time to explain it to me.

What I’m doing away from my writing desk is important for my growth and spiritual well being, not to mention helpful for my family finances and social networking. It’s His will for me to be there. But that doesn’t mean that HE isn’t missing me just as much if not more than I’m missing Him! I’d never stopped to think about that, not even for a second. He made it VERY clear that my time at work is important, HOWEVER, so is my time with Him. And that if I am to ever stay after work at the cost of spending alone time with Jesus, well it had BETTER be under HIS orders and not just because I want the extra money or because someone has made me feel guilty for not staying and I was too spineless to tell them, “No.”

God’s authority surpasses that of a store manager, CEO, head of a household, president, king, you name it! His will is for us to submit to the authorities placed over us, but never at the cost of our spiritual growth and intimate time with Him! There are plenty of hours in the day to work and get things done. Everyone has been given the same twenty-four hours to work with – what we do with it is up to us. And like Hosea 10:12 says, “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love.” When we plant seeds of righteousness by spending time with Jesus – the supplier of our righteousness – we will reap a harvest of love that will overflow and overtake us in a journey that was created just for us.

Our God is a jealous God, He is jealous for YOU. He is jealous for time with you, alone and uninterrupted time where you can get stark naked honest with Him and yourself and come to a new place of awakening and intimacy in your relationship with Him. He wants a relationship with you like you would not believe. He longs for you like a stumbling wanderer longs for a drink of water in the blistering desert sun. And He doesn’t want you for your body, or your abilities. He doesn’t want you for your title or your paycheck. He simply wants YOU. He wants to touch that person you are deep down inside that is weak and frail and raw. He wants to coax that person out from the shadows and rub healing balm on the spirit of your ailments. He wants to strip away the hurt and the pain and bring you to a higher high than you’ve ever achieved on your own. He wants YOU, naked and unashamed of your nakedness. He is Creator God; He created that nakedness without shame. He created that weakness in you that’s in need of His strength to complete you. You’ll never find anyone who will love you the way that He does. His heart is torn over your absence from His presence, yet He would never force you to come to Him. He is, after all, a gentleman. He is soft and understanding; slow to anger and quick to forgive. And abounding in love for Y.O.U.! He has not, and He will not ever let you go because He can’t.

He ADORES you!

when I thought my foot slips your steadfast love o LORD held me up when the cares of my heart are many your consolations cheer my soul Psalm 94 18

Categories: 365 Life, Hosea, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Spread the Love


Hosea 3:1-8:14

“My people are being destroyed because they don’t know Me.” Hosea 4:6

Now friends, this is not like my normal posts. However, I’m feeling pretty strongly that I am supposed to share this story with you. More than anything, I just want this little boy to feel special and for his parents to know that God cares for them.

You can read all about it here on Kristen Lamb’s blog.

Thanks for reading today, and every day guys. :D You’re the best!

Categories: 365 Life, Hosea, Season 3 | 2 Comments

Rain


Hebrews 12:3-13:25 & Hosea 1:1-2:23

“I will be faithful to you and make you Mine, and you will finally know Me as the LORD. In that day, I will answer,” says the LORD, “I will answer the sky as it pleads for clouds. And the sky will answer the earth with rain. Then the earth will answer thirsty cries of the grain, the grapevine and the olive trees. And they in turn will answer, ‘Jezreel’ – God plants!” At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved’. And to those I called, ‘Not My people.’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ And they will reply, ‘You are our God!'” Hosea 2:20-23

Lord, thank You for the glorious symphony that is rain dancing on the leaves, drumming on the deck and clapping on the tin. Thank You for the authoritative peals of majestic thunder as You pronounce Your name above all names.

Jehovah of Might.

Thank You for the flash of lightning that punctuates the sky with Your brilliance, the splash of a single drop’s impact as it permeates the surface of a gathering puddle. Thank You for the sploosh of a car’s tires ripping across the glistening pavement and the drone of the flow of life cascading from the downspout. Lord, I love how You made the raindrops pop when they hit the hard-packed earth. Flowered faces bow as their petals fill with this nectar of life. The glittering green grass bounces under the sudden weight and release of the drops from their hands causing them to wave their palms in praise of You. There are circles of dry earth under tables and chairs sitting silent and unused. The thunder rolls from cloud to cloud singing the song of the rain – He is LORD!

The saturated fall air thrills as it trickles up the spine and down the arms in a chill that exits through bumps on skin making hair stand on end to Your presence. Lord, thank You for the excuse to gleefully run through the rain to Your waiting embrace. Oh Your waiting embrace! How it thrills and spills over my heart. I love how You hold my heart when You hold my hand, and how You hold my hand when You hold my heart. Great is Your love and Your patience! Great is Your wisdom and solace. You are great!

Lord, thank You for ink that flows from pen-tips like rivulets of Your love. May it never cease its torrent of words, YOUR words, through my soul and my hands. Thank You for loving me too much to allow me to stay who I wasn’t. Thank You for teaching me to love others enough to say, ‘No.’ And to love myself enough to spend the time to learn at Your knee that I’m worth receiving a ‘no’ from; that I’m worth standing up for. My life, my writing, my calling, my time with You – they’re worth celebrating and protecting and sharing.

Lord, thank You for the way that You love me. Oh! How You love me! Thank You for the symphony of a thunderstorm as an accompaniment to My praise to my God, THE GOD ALMIGHTY. My creator, my Father, my brother, my husband, my lover, my confidante, my friend, my healer, my protector, my provider, my song, my strength, my hope, my promise, my seal, my teacher, my lesson, my inspiration, my leader, my help, my lion and my lamb. You are my rock and my pillow, my rest and my sword, my armor and my robe, my comfort and my conviction, my hurt and my healing. You are my GOD!

You are my alpha and omega, my beginning and my end. You are my refuge and my fortress, you are my home. You are my light and direction in dark places. You are my breath and my life. You are my blood and my design. You are my savior and my king, my God you are my everything! You are my definition, you are my source, you are my lifter – You are my course. You are my garden, You are my joy. You are my Beloved – Mary’s baby boy. You are my innocence and my righteousness. You are my justification and my cleansing. You are my passion and my delight. You are my God in the deepest of nights.

You are God, strong and sensitive; tall, light and handsome. You are God and I am not and I thank You for that! I am thankful that because You are God, I don’t have to be. I Thank You that because You are my provider and protector I don’t have to be afraid. Lord, help me to not be afraid! Please! Lord, lead us in the way that we should go and help us to fearlessly follow You all the days of our lives, in Jesus’ name!

Lord, thank You for the decadence of a moment truly savored and frozen in time. Thank You for the raindrops tracing lines through the sky and misting the view. Thank You for a warm cats purr in the lap and the remnants of a salty chocolate treat in teeth to lick for time to come. Thank You for the fading thunder as it warns of a storm’s departure. Thank You for the warmth and familiarity of a favored sweatshirt and the trickle of the drops as they slow their downward dance – always earth bound, never up. Thank You for the brilliance of sun as it rounds the horizon in the ever-growing stillness as the symphony ceases – Rain.

Categories: 365 Life, Hebrews, Hosea, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Sunday SHMILY


Hebrews 9:1-12:2

Hebrews 9:12-14 NLT

“With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.” Hebrews 9:12-14
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A kiss!
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Categories: 365 Life, Hebrews, Season 3, SHMILY! | Leave a comment

With Open Ears We Hear…


Hebrews 3:1-8:13

“Today when you hear His voice don’t harden your hearts.” Hebrews 3:7-8 & 15 & 4:7

“It’s a new day, a new chapter, a new page, a blank slate to write the story of your life upon. The Word today says to listen to My voice and not to harden your heart, so open your ears to hear and your heart to receive My word for your troubles today.

Lean on Me when you’re not strong. I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.

“I know life is not easy, I never said that it would be. You are walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, does that sound easy to you? Yet you walk through it in good company; for I am with you every step of the way. Keep walking, for goodness sake, don’t stop and set up camp there! Lean on Me when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.

It’s critical that you bear in mind that it is NOT the Valley of Death. It’s the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I have removed the fear of death, hell has no sting – I took it; at the tip of a spear and the hammering of some nails. I took death, drank it down in heaping gulps and conquered it so completely that only the shadow of it remains.

I have won. Death has lost. Period. End of story. Buh bye, see ya later. There is no other ending, this is it. Just Me – Jesus – victorious over the Enemy of humanity. I did that for you so that you could face days like today and continue to choose to live through them. I know, your life’s not all sunshine, rainbows and puppy dogs. But in all honesty, if it was, you still wouldn’t be happy. Admit it; you know that’s the Truth. So, into every life a little rain must fall, and with it comes growth. My Beloved, your strength has enlarged with each trial. Don’t give up. Continue striving with your best effort; keep working toward that elusive goal. You may not reach it today, and it may not come to fruition tomorrow either. But although the vision may tarry, wait (and work) patiently toward it in My will. For it will surely take place and it will not be delayed.

Why do you doubt the beauty of My work? Why do you doubt it’s power and importance? You know the power of these words, why are you not sharing them with others? Why are you afraid? Why are you afraid of people? They can not hurt you if you don’t let them! Their opinion of My words shouldn’t matter to you! I commissioned you to deliver messages, how they receive them is not of your concern. Do you understand Me? Look at Me. They should NOT concern you. Your job is to deliver the message. Period. Leave the rest up to Me. OK?”

Categories: 365 Life, Hebrews, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Transference


Haggai 1:1-2:23 & Hebrews 1:1-2:18

“Long ago God spoke many times in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son.” Hebrews 1:1-2

It’s always so fun to read two books in one day and see what they have in common with one another and what kinds of links we can find that sew the two of them seamlessly together into one large book – the Bible.

Today I was not disappointed in my search for a link. It came in the first verse of the first chapter of the second book! I couldn’t have missed it if I had tried. Long ago God spoke through prophets, but now, in this new era, He has spoken through Jesus – the Word of God.

The first thing I need to point out to you is that this verse is a pivotal point for my message today. God uses Jesus to convey messages to us; yes in His words, but also in His actions. Jesus is our example of the New Covenant.

So, first things first, my verse from Haggai. (Spoken, I would like to add, through a prophet’s mouth.)

“‘If one of you is carrying some meat from a holy sacrifice in his robes and his robe happens to brush against some bread or stew, wine or olive oil, or any other kind of food, will it also become holy?’ The priests replied, ‘No.’ Then Haggai asked, ‘If someone becomes ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person and then touches any of these foods, will the food be defiled?’ And the priests answered, ‘Yes.'” Haggai 2:12-13

Through this verse we can learn a lot about the transference of holiness. Let’s start with the meat and the foods. The meat is from a holy sacrifice, making it holy, or clean. The foods however, are not anything special, they’re not from a sacrifice or anything like that so they are neutral on the holiness scale. They are neither holy nor profane, clean or unclean. If the robe holding the holy meat touches the food, no transference is made. Still with me? I hope so!

A dead person’s body is considered an unclean thing, anyone who touches it then becomes unclean as well. There is a transference of uncleanness from the body to the person who touched the body. So if that person then touches the neutral food, the food becomes unclean as well. There IS transference in this case.

So in summary, back then, transference only worked from the bottom up not the other way around. The things that were holy didn’t make the neutral or unclean things holy when they touched. It was the things that were unclean that made the neutral and holy things unclean when they touched.

Now. Let’s look to Jesus and how things changed when He came on the scene shall we?

From the very beginning of the Bible leprosy was something that when you got it, your life changed forever. It was a skin eating disease like none other. Someone with leprosy was basically public enemy number one! They were required to wear a special colored coat so that they could be identified from a distance so that people wouldn’t accidentally bump into them. If they were walking anywhere they were required to shout, “Unclean”, as they went so that everyone would know to stay away from them. They were no longer allowed to have ANY physical contact with their family members and were required to live outside the community so that they would keep their disease to themselves. Basically they were treated like a contagious scum of the earth.

Well, in the very beginning of Matthew chapter eight we find a desperate leper at the feet of Jesus:

“Lord,” the man said, “if You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said, “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.

Now my friends, how is this situation different from our first verse from Haggai? The two are like night and day! In the best way!!!

Jesus is clean. According to the old laws and traditions (and modern science’s view on germs) to touch a man with leprosy was to contaminate yourself with the disease. And yet what was the FIRST thing that Jesus did to that man who hadn’t been touched by another human hand since he had contracted the disease? Jesus reached out and touched the unclean, making him clean! Jesus’ holiness was transferred to the unclean man!

I know for many of you this might be a concept that isn’t new to you. But take this opportunity to look at it from a new perspective with me. Jesus is clean. Period. And nothing that He touches can change that. And that’s pretty awesome! But take it a step further, Jesus is in you. His healing power is in YOU. His holiness is in YOU. His righteousness is in YOU. His love is in YOU. His grace is in YOU. Is there someone in your life that you treat like public enemy number one? Or maybe not quite that extreme, but maybe you avoid them like the plague (or leprosy)? Maybe it’s time to reach out and touch them today. Perhaps you’ll transfer a little bit of holiness their way… or vice versa. ;)

Categories: 365 Life, Haggai, Hebrews, Season 3 | 2 Comments

From Glory to Shame and Back Again


Genesis 49:28-50:26 & Habakkuk 1:1-3:19

“Drink from the cup of the LORD’s judgment, and all your glory will be turned into shame.” Habakkuk 2:16

This verse took me by surprise this morning as I was reading. It brought to mind another cup that Jesus mentioned in Luke 22:42 when He was praying on the Mount of Olives just before He went to the cross. He knew what was coming and it was distressing Him greatly so He prayed, “Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.”

The LORD’s cup of judgment would certainly be a cup of suffering would it not? And as Jesus hung naked from the cross His glory was turned to shame with people passing by and spitting on Him and taunting Him saying, “He saved others, let Him save Himself if He is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” The soldiers mocked Him as well, calling out, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” Even one of the criminals who hung beside Him on his own cross said, “So You’re the Messiah, are You? Prove it by saving Yourself – and us, too, while You’re at it!” Luke 23:35, 36 &39

And yet, was that not one of His MOST glorious moments of all? Sure He was utterly humiliated in that moment, and yet He remained filled with the Grace that only God can maintain! I mean, seriously, what was His response to all the mockery and shame, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.” Luke 23:34 Only Jesus in the height of His glory could do something like that. There He was drinking down the Father’s cup of judgment on our behalf and people are mocking Him while He’s doing it. In that moment Jesus was fully human and fully God. He was fully naked and yet still fully clothed in the robe of righteousness that He bestows upon OUR shoulders when we choose Him as our Lord and Savior by accepting the gift He paid for that day on the cross. In that moment every shred of earthy glory was stripped from Him and yet with each lash of the whips His glory shone ever brighter and more glorious! He was utterly humiliated and yet in the process utterly humiliated the Enemy of our souls.

He was so brilliant in that moment, so glorious, that even from a distance of two thousand plus years we have to shade our eyes in order to see it. LORD You are SO BEAUTIFUL! THANK YOU FOR DRINKING THAT CUP!

Categories: 365 Life, Genesis, Habakkuk, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Puppy Dog Eyes & a Firm No


Genesis 46:28-49:27

“We have nothing left to give but our bodies and our land.” Genesis 47:18

Is it just me do some of you feel this way from time to time too? Do you ever feel like you simply have nothing left to give? Like you’ve done everything you could for everyone you could in every way that you could and yet it still wasn’t enough.

My friends, it will never be enough.

I don’t know about you but I’ve thought of myself as a giver. This for the most part is a really good thing. Except I’m learning it isn’t ALWAYS a good thing. You see, there comes a point when you’ve given all you have to give. And if you continue giving after your reserves are gone then the recipient ends up getting nothing and you’re left with a negative balance. Sometimes the kindest thing to do is to say, “No”. Even when it’s hard.
Chocolate is bad for dogs to eat, but this little dog sure does LOVE it!
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He begs until we’re blue in the face if we’re eating something chocolate. HE thinks he wants it. But what he doesn’t realize is that it’s not healthy for him to have it. So the most loving thing for us to do is look him straight in those puppy dog eyes and firmly say, “no”. It’s not easy and it’s not fun but it’s what’s best for everyone involved.
There are times when we have nothing left to give and someone comes to us with those puppy dog eyes and appeals to the squishy part in us that wants to give in and give them exactly what they’re asking for. And there ARE times when that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do. But then there are other times when a firm, “no” is the best answer for everyone involved.

Huh. And I guess that’s all I have to give you today. I wasn’t expecting that. LOL. But now I’m literally sitting here just staring at the screen with no words in my head to write. I love you my friends! Have a glorious day in the LORD today! :D

Categories: 365 Life, Genesis, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Regaining the Things We Risk


Genesis 43:1-46:27

“But if I must lose all my children, so be it.” Genesis 43:14

When I read that phrase this morning I read it with foreknowledge of what was about to happen to Jacob. I read it knowing that he would not only regain the children he was risking to Egypt, he would also regain the son he lost many years before and had been mourning since. Yet at the time that Jacob spoke those words, all he could see was the risk. He had already “buried” one son, his favorite son. And now he was risking all the rest of them in the hopes that they *might* come back with enough grain to keep them alive for a little while longer.

The situation reminded me of Abraham standing on the top of the mountain, knife in upheld hand poised to kill his only promised son. He was risking it all to trust God and to obey Him. And because of his obedience he, and his ancestors including Jacob and all his sons, gained so much more in the process.

Two Saturdays ago God called me to trust Him and exercise my backbone a bit. It involved a pretty big risk to our finances, but I knew that obedience (and a stronger backbone) would be worth whatever risk God was calling me to take. The next day during worship at church He spoke to my heart. He knew that I was concerned about the money I was giving up by being obedient to Him and in that moment of surrender and praise He said, “I will DOUBLE the money you would have gotten because you obeyed Me.”

Sometimes there are seasons in our lives where Jesus calls us to simply trust Him. It’s not usually very easy and it’s rarely an enjoyable experience, but it ALWAYS pays off big time in the end. Abraham not only got his son back, he gained an even larger inheritance for him in the process of trusting God and obeying His command. Jacob not only got the eleven sons he sent to Egypt, he got Joseph back from the supposed grave and they lived in a land of plenty and wanted for nothing during the worst famine in years. Jesus surrendered His own life in obedience to the Father and ended up with not only His own life, but all of ours in the process!

My friend, your obedience is heavily rewarded in the kingdom of Heaven! Often times the very thing God is calling you to risk is the very thing you will regain in the end, and much more besides. Isaac asked Abraham as they were climbing the mountain, “Father, where is the sacrificial lamb?” And Abraham replied, “God will provide the lamb.” There are times in our lives when God calls us to ram our heads into a brick wall. When those times come we’ve just got to run with all our might expecting a hole to appear when we get there.

Categories: 365 Life, Choose: Fear or Faith, Genesis, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Sunday SHMILY

 

 

090514_2132_StrengthinA1.jpgGenesis 40:1-42:38

“he was quickly brought from the prison” Genesis 41:14

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image the heart is hard to see in this picture, let me zoom it in for you.

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check out the bubbles in this almond milk I used to make zucchini butterscotch pancakes! They turned out REALLY really well and were sooooo yummmmmyy!!!!!

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image Apparently God was happy that I was making them because I got a LOT of smiles out of them!

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God celebrated with us last night when we ate at Pizza Hut after the derby where Sean came in sixth place in the class above where he normally runs! :D We were THRILLED! And since he was the highest finisher in the group he usually runs with he bought dinner for everyone. This was his fourth run with this car. Of those four runs he placed “in the money” and received a trophy in three of them!!! To say I’m proud of him and his ability to build a tough car is an understatement. WAY TO GO SEAN!!!!!

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Categories: 365 Life, Genesis, Season 3, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

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