Reaping the whirlwind…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Hosea 8

“Set the trumpet  to your mouth!

​​He shall come like an eagle against the house of the LORD,

​​Because they have transgressed My covenant

​​And rebelled against My law.

​​Israel will cry to Me,

​‘​My God, we know You!’

 ​​Israel has rejected the good;

​​The enemy will pursue him.

“They set up kings, but not by Me;

​​They made princes, but I did not acknowledge them.

​​From their silver and gold

​​They made idols for themselves—

​​That they might be cut off.

​​Your calf is rejected, O Samaria!

​​My anger is aroused against them—

​​How long until they attain to innocence?

​​For from Israel is even this:

​​A workman made it, and it is not God;

​​But the calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces.

“They sow the wind,

​​And reap the whirlwind.

​​The stalk has no bud;

​​It shall never produce meal.

​​If it should produce,

​​Aliens would swallow it up.

Israel is swallowed up;

​​Now they are among the Gentiles

​​Like a vessel in which is no pleasure.

For they have gone up to Assyria,

​​Like a wild donkey alone by itself;

​​Ephraim has hired lovers.

 ​​Yes, though they have hired among the nations,

​​Now I will gather them;

​​And they shall sorrow a little,

​​Because of the burden of the king of princes.

 ​​“Because Ephraim has made many altars for sin,

​​They have become for him altars for sinning.

 ​​I have written for him the great things of My law,

​​But they were considered a strange thing.

For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it,

​​But the LORD does not accept them.

​​Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.

​​They shall return to Egypt.

​​“For Israel has forgotten his Maker,

​​And has built temples;

​​Judah also has multiplied fortified cities;

​​But I will send fire upon his cities,

​​And it shall devour his palaces.”

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Hsa&c=8&v=1&t=NKJVP>

Humanity continually strays from their maker.  We place our trust in humanity only to find they are not as strong, or loving, or resourceful as we thought.  Time after time we are hurt, damaged, disappointed and time after time we then seek the face of God.  We ask where is God?  or; How could God allow this…? And all that time it is us, ourselves.  We have sown the wind and are reaping the whirlwind.

“…“They sow the wind,

​​And reap the whirlwind….”

Reaping_The_Whirlwind[1]

Reaping the Whirlwind from God’s Daily Word

“…The stalk has no bud;

​​It shall never produce meal.

​​If it should produce,

​​Aliens would swallow it up…”

Failing crops from Earthy Report

Failing crops from Earthy Report

This does not have to be! We ask God where He is when we are the ones who have left Him!  It is time to seek Him, to learn of Him.  It is time to taste the completeness of life in Him.  Jesus’ birth is remembered and that is good.  Better yet to receive, personally, the gift of life that was given on the cross and through the empty tomb!

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Soft sponge or hard…?

Acts 28:17-31

And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death.  But when the Jews  spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”

Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you.  But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”

So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our  fathers, saying,

            ‘Go to this people and say:

             “Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;

             And seeing you will see, and not perceive;

             For the hearts of this people have grown dull.

             Their ears are hard of hearing,

              And their eyes they have closed,

            Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,

           Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,

            So that I should heal them.” ’

 “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”  And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.

Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

 You will be ever hearing but

    Never understanding

You will be ever seeing but

   Never perceiving.

This is given as a description of a calloused heart in one translation.  Another says hardened and others say gross.  All of these words would describe one who cannot be reached.  Hearts that are closed off, do not respond, do not express emotion or compassion.  It’s as if they have been exposed to the message so frequently without responding that they can no longer sense the tug at their hearts to acknowledge the love that God extends.  We are told over and over how God loves His creation and desires a relationship with us.  We are also told over and over how self-oriented mankind is turning the deaf ear to this message of love.  The deaf ear results in desensitization.  We soon cannot hear it.  God says this is done by choice: “their eyes they have closed,” Looking at the word calloused brings to mind two words; hard and rough.  The soft, gentle, supple nature that draws an invitation to touch has become repulsive inviting rejection.  This is not to end on a depressive note, rather God also states if we choose to listen and see He will heal: “Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” ’

Paul’s response to those from the Jewish community who reacted with callous rejection was to let them know God’s message of love as expressed through the salvation brought to us by Jesus  would still be extended, but now it would be extended  to any who would listen.

Take away is this:  We want to be ever hearing and understanding, ever seeing and perceiving.  We want hearts that respond and receive.  Be immersed in the Word of God, be immersed in His love, let it fill up the sponge of who we are until we cannot hold anymore and it runs out of us onto those around us.  Be soft as the sponge receiving rather than  hard as the sponge refusing the waters of the Spirit.  Fill up and spill out.

Commissioned…

Acts 22:11-21

And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.

 “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there,  came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.  For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.  And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

“Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You.  And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’”

 Paul received his assignment and was faithful to complete it.  God has his chosen ones, to do his will, and we are to be a witness to all of what we have seen and heard.  We are commissioned to share what we receive with those who will listen.  God has his chosen who need to hear what he has for them.  It is not his will that any should perish, it is our responsibility to share the word for how can they receive if they cannot hear it.  We who receive are his messengers, messengers not of what we were but of what he can do, the change and love he can bring into their lives.

Ask, receive…joy

John 16:17-24

Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.”

 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’?  Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.  A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

 Birthing something new involves pain of various degrees: a sense the labor and pain will never end,  fear can be a factor for those in it for the first time, regret for being involved in the process.  Once the new has been revealed, whether it is a child or anything else, the labor and all it entailed is forgotten.  It wasn’t taken away, it still existed but the joy of the baby erases the pain, labor, fear and regret.  Jesus relates this to the birth of the new covenant.  There was all of this: pain, labor, fear, regret and more but with His resurrection, with the knowledge of what He was bringing to the world came joy that covered it all.  While we are in the process of working for the kingdom of God, he promises us we will receive anything we ask of the Father in His name.  He also promises a time when we will no longer ask him for anything.  What will make the difference?  We will have received and our joy will be complete.  The birth will have taken place, the new will have been revealed.  Can this be applied to many different situations?  Absolutely.  And we can move forward in the knowledge He leads, we can ask and will receive and there will come a day when our joy will be complete.

The Lamb…

John 1:35-42

Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.  And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.  Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?”

They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”

 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).

 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).  And he brought him to Jesus.

Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).

 John again testifies that Jesus is the Lamb of God.  This prompts two of his disciples to turn and follow Jesus and the process of choosing disciples begins.  Jesus draws the attention of two, one of which acknowledge him as the Messiah, the Christ.  Lamb, one intended for sacrifice, provided by God for our benefit.  With the introduction of sin, came the sentence of death.  Blood carries our life in the physical and when its flow is interrupted, death occurs, first cell by cell until the whole being has ceased to live.  This life source was required to cover the sin that brought death to God’s creation.  That cover allows us to return to the life originally intended at creation.  Christ’s blood, shed for us as a lamb’s was shed, covers our sin, eternally.  His life’s blood gave back eternity to his creation.  His life’s blood covered our sins.  He conquered death and nullified its curse on humanity.  We receive that gift of life when we acknowledge our part in the sin curse, receive his gift to us and then live as if we have begun our eternal walk with the God who created us.  We have begun our walk…

Let the children come…

Luke 18:15-17

 One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

 Luke treats this passage briefly.  It’s message is simple; receive the Word of God like a child, teach/receive the children, for this is what the kingdom of God is like.  This is the way into the kingdom.  Anyone who has taught small children knows how easily they accept the Word of God.  Their defenses are not yet in place, doubts do not crowd their thinking.  They are easy targets for manipulation as a result and Jesus warns elsewhere of taking advantage of their vulnerability.    Teach the children the Word of God, don’t keep it from them.  Watch how easily they accept its principles.  Watch how easily they solve conflict through prayer and words from the Word of God.  Learn from them as we teach them; learn how to receive, apply and love God’s Word.

Peace, not fear…

Luke 2:8-20

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

 “…they were filled with fear. …” an event outside their normal everyday experience produces fear.  …“Fear not,”… a saying told to Zechariah, Mary and now these.  When we face unusual situations we are not to allow fear to rule.  “…peace among those with whom he is pleased!…”  This passage begins with a fearful event ends with a blessing of peace, a peace that is qualified by a standard, “among those  with whom he is pleased.” We can take note of this and apply it to our everyday life.  When events come our way that have the initial response of causing fear we can hear the Word of God saying “Fear not.”  We can speak that to the fear and expect it to leave for we strive to be among those with whom He is pleased, and we can have His peace within the stressful situation.

 The shepherds shared the message received, the experience.  Mary listened, received, hid in her heart and pondered/reflected.  We can follow the pattern we see here.  We can read God’s Word, listen to His voice, receive the message, hide it in our heart, put it to memory, and ponder/reflect upon what we have received.  Just as the message impacted the shepherds and all they told, we can share what we receive and the Word of God will continue to impact others.  We can put into action 2 Chronicles 7:14  -“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land,” and remove fear from the present day events, receive the promise in the scripture, His peace, reflect upon it and share it with others.  Our prayers will impact our world.