Follow by Email

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

God's Faithful, How About You?
It's interesting that almost every book of the Old Testament I've read, I've encountered the same theme: God is faithful even when we are not. But it doesn't stop there. It's not just that He is faithful; it's that He does whatever it takes to bring us back. God pursues us even when we slam the door in His face. He is relentless in His quest to bring us back to Him. It's incredible!

Hosea's marriage to Gomer the harlot is the perfect example for us believers. It's a parallel comparison of God's pursuit of the Israelites. Hosea represented God's role as the relentless pursuer who kept bringing Gomer back to himself, even though she'd been unfaithful to Hosea and had left him to go back to her prostitution. The Israelites represent Gomer the harlot.They have gone after other gods, despite how good God had been to them. The same with Hosea. Hosea treated Gomer well, but for some unknown reason that we are not told, she chose to leave him for her old life. Although the entire book of Hosea is about God's love for His people, there's one part I wanted to focus on.

Israel has left God and gone back to the foreign gods, whom Israel falsely believed gave them the good things they had in life. They didn't realize that it was actually God who had cared for them the whole time, even while they were in sin. Because they believe in a lie and are deceived, God devises a plan to bring them back,

. . . and went after her lovers
and forgot me, declares the LORD,
"Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth . . .

And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me 'My Husband,'

Hosea 2:13b-16

God loved them so much, he wouldn't give up on them. He wouldn't let go. He knew that his effort would pay off. Isn't it a beautiful picture for us? Whenever we feel like we've blown it and can't come to God for forgiveness, He's actually pursuing us to come back to Him. He desires for us to come back, in spite of our sin. Nothing you can do as a believer can push you back so far that God doesn't want you back. His love is unconditional and unlike any other's love. God will never go back on His promise to be faithful. He will be faithful to you even when you are not. Shouldn't His boundless love
compel you to run to Him? So, what are you waiting for?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Reminder of God's Forgiveness and Love
The book of Jeremiah tells an incredible story of love from God for His people, Israel. Most people look at this book as a judgment from God upon Israel, and rightly so, but there's so much more to it. In the beginning, God presents his case to Israel, and gives them all the reason why they shouldn't have ever have abandoned Him.

"What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless? They did not say, 'Where is the LORD who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?' And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things, but when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination . . ." Jeremiah 2:5-7

"Have you not brought this upon yourself by forsaking the LORD your God, when He led you in the way? And now what do you gain by going to Egypt to drink the waters of the Nile? Or what do you gain by going to Assyria to drink the waters of the Euphrates?" Jeremiah 2:17-18

There are so many reasons why the Israelites shouldn't have abandoned God. God establishes a case to show how good He was to them, to show that His future actions in punishing them are justified,

"for my people have committed two evils: they have forsake me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water." Jeremiah 2:13

"Yet my people have forgotten me days without number." Jeremiah 2:32

but not only that, to show His great love for them that even though they have sought out people and things that cannot save them, He still wanted them back.

" 'Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD, I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God . . . and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD." Jeremiah 3:12-13

What's even more incredible is that not only does God want them back, all He requires of them is that they just repent. All they need to do is ask for forgiveness from God, acknowledging the wrong they have done to Him and just come back. That's it. It's so easy. Instead, they refused these simple terms.

What I found most interested was how relatable this passage was to us today as Christians. We are God's people, if we are saved, and sometimes we tend to falter in our spiritual life. We might neglect reading or praying, and all of a sudden we've become just like the Israelites, forgetting our God for days and days. But yet even when we've done wrong, God calls to us and reminds us that all we have to do is repent and He will take us back. We don't have to think that it will take years before God will accept us again. It's not a process; it's an immediate event. Once we repent, we're right with God. Sometimes I think we as Christians tend to think that "coming back to God" is a process that takes months and maybe years, but that's not true. It's an immediate transition graciously given to us by God and a staunch reminder not to be like the Israelites who ignored God's call, bringing misery and death upon themselves.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Remember the Single Parents

It's very difficult to put yourself in someone's shoes when you have no idea what it's like to be in their shoes or don't even stop to think about it. I never really thought about how hard single parents have it, until I listened to a message by John MacArthur, in which he read a letter aloud to his congregation. The letter was from a single mother whose circumstances left her without an involved and working husband, so she was forced to work full-time and juggle the handful of children she had. The single mother was exhausted from work, only to become more exhausted by the demands of her children, their need to be fed, paid attention to, and helped with homework. This mother realized her children were struggling with the new situation. They were acting out because they lacked the specialized attention they used to receive, and their mom had no way to give them the time they needed. Not only that, going to work everyday was a struggle for her, because her role had always been a stay-at-home mom. She reached out for help from her church, and they wouldn't give it to her. I felt so sad for her. There are many single parents today in our church who for whatever reason are going through life alone. It's our duty as the body of Christ to help each of those single parents out. We don't do what that lady's church did in action and say as James 2:15-16 says, "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you tells him, 'Go in peace; stay warm and well fed,' but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that?" We must not only remember to pray for the single parents, but also take action to help them out in a practical way. There are many simple ways to help them out, and I've come up with a few:

1.) Offer to babysit, for free- Not every single parent will accept your offer, but it's worth a shot. Perhaps the single mom or dad is working late unexpectedly; now they know they can call you for help. Maybe it's just much easier to run errands without having to load up all of the kids, and single parents need a break, because they don't have that regular break couples get when they switch off watching the kids. In no way does this mean that you should let someone take advantage of your help. If you see that happening, you will have to be firm with the individual to stop it.

2.) Make a meal for the family- Single parents really don't have time to cook a meal. Most likely they will rely on pre-made meals. Offer to make dinner for them.

3.) Offer to help out with the kids and their homework once a week.- Maybe one of the kids is struggling in a particular subject, but a tutor is not something that the parent can afford at the moment. Your free intervention will be a blessing! And if they don't need a tutor but have questions about homework, at least the parent gets a break from that, even if it's once out of the week!

4.) Give practical gifts- Most single parents struggle to provide for their family. Gift cards for groceries or even buying groceries are a great way to help out the family. Gift cards might be something you choose to do anonymously, but either way, it will be greatly appreciated.

5.) Offer to maintain the lawn as needed- If you have a single mom within your church, it's more than likely she doesn't have the time to do this, and paying someone to do so is an unnecessary expense. Form a group from your church to take turns mowing the lawn on a weekly basis to ensure that there's one less thing she needs to worry about.

6.) Ask if there's any way you can help out- Hopefully the single parent will divulge and let you know what is needed. There are probably other things they need help with that would be a huge blessing.

Encourage them when you can as well! Check up on them regularly. Ask how they're doing. Give them Scripture verses and write notes letting them know you're praying for them. Single parents need encouragement and help as they parent alone. Got any more tips? Post them below!