Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hosea and Gomer

Hosea is one of those books that most of us know from the song of the books of the Old Testament, but have never really studied. Just a minor prophet whose book comes right after Daniel. But the book is packed with amazing truth. Just the first chapter should be enough to knock you off your feet.

First thing God said to Hosea was to go marry a prostitute. He also said to have kids with this prostitute, for "...the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD." (vs. 2) Regardless of how weird and, quite frankly, confusing this analogy was to Hosea, he obeyed. Went and found Gomer, got hitched, and had a son. God spoke to Hosea and told him to name his son Jezreel. "I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel." (vs. 4-5). Hosea then has a daughter, whom God says to call Lo-ruhama (which means "no mercy"), because God will cease to have mercy on Israel but will have mercy on Judah and save them, though not by horses and swords. Hosea has another son, whom he is to name Lo-ammi (meaning "not my people.") God says that Israel is not his people, nor is He their God.
The next part is so good that I'm not going to try to summarize it, but I'll give it to you raw.

"Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' it shall be said to them, 'Children of the living God.' And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel." (vs. 10-11)

As is made perfectly clear throughout the chapter, this is not a story about divine matchmaking and christenings. The analogy, while simple enough, is absolutely mind-blowing.

Hosea represents God. Gomer, the whoring wife, is Israel (and, by extension, us.) The king of the universe (who, by the way, made us) decided to pour himself into human beings. You have to wonder why. Like Gomer, we're prostitutes by nature. Money, pleasure, other humans, materials, and any number of things seduce us with little to no trouble. We say we want to please God one moment and stab him in the back the next. Here's the fantastic, awesome, unbelievable part. God knew we would do what we do before he chose us, and took us anyway. He hasn't abandoned us since he chose us, despite the constant betrayal and slighting of divine love. And, in the passage above, he makes a promise once again of the Messiah. We, the strayed, who completely deserve to be thrown bodily from the courts of the Almighty, who had sinned so greatly that we could no longer be the people of God, got something even better. Notice that he doesn't tell them they can come back to being his people, but that he will make them his children. That should make you stagger. God loves us, the prostitutes, enough to call us back to him, to let us back in when we come crawling to the door after yet another affair with the world, to shed his blood in order to make us sons and daughters of the Most High King. What hope, what help, what love!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Mrs. Mays has told us more than once about the piece of paper she has over her computer monitor, which reads, "Do you want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans." It's a funny little saying, but it's also packed with truth. And my weekend was a perfect example.
the prediction of over a foot of snow had rather bothered me during the week, because I definitely wanted to go to rehearsal. I figured that, if the weather man proved not to be a fink this time, I wouldn't have any rehearsal at all. Probably didn't have the best of attitudes about the prospect of missing rehearsal. But, God was king enough to let us rehearse quite a bit on Thursday night. No co-op on Friday morning because of the snow. That made me good and happy, because I hadn't managed to fully interpret the George Herbert poem, wasn't sure yet whether I had Holy Sonnet 10 down, and hadn't gotten through quite a lot of my history. But, also because of the snow, there was no rehearsal. That was manageable, because I'd rehearsed a lot the day before. Saturday came, and I realised that I hadn't gotten anybody to hook up the converter box for the TV, and the Super Bowl was a mere day away. So I chatted Kylie, in the hopes that we'd be able to hop over to the Smith's to watch the game. They graciously said yes, and I planned on another very fun Bowl with them. Then, at about 11 pm or so, I got a voicemail from Kylie. "Hey, it's me. Um... Kiera's sort of sick, so I don't know if you guys still want to come over. Let me know." Greaaatttt! That's just what I always wanted, people to get sick right before the Super Bowl. (Further complaints on my part, I'm sure.) Kylie called me on Sunday morning to tell me that Kiera was no longer sick, so we could come over. Happy as a clam, I told Mom and went to my room for something. I heard the echo of Mrs. Mays' paper in my head. "Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans." I wasn't sure whether God was laughing, but He certainly made His point. He's in charge, not I. My plans, even when they happen to be good ones, fall apart at the slightest happenings.

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit" - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. what is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16, ESV)

This passage says that what I was doing, assuming that my plans would go as planned and getting mad when things didn't go my way, was arrogant. I wanted to be in charge, and how dare the universe not revolve around me? I wanted to be God. Let's be people who humbly submit to God's will, even when it isn't what we would want.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A cripple

Long time no write, eh? Sorry about that; school's been a bit busy here for the writers of OWU. Hopefully we'll be able to write more frequently in the future.

About to change gears. Get ready for an abrupt switch, because I don't feel like thinking up a nice transition at the moment. And no, this isn't a Christmas post, strictly speaking.

We all know the story of David out of the Bible. Goliath, Saul, Jonathon, Bathsheba... those are the stories that normally come to mind when his name is mentioned. I think one story that's frequently overlooked is that of Mephibosheth, and it's jam packed with grace and foreshadowing.
The story of Mephibosheth (what a name!) is found in II Samuel 9. His background is found in chapter 4 of the same book. He was the son of Jonathon, son of Saul. He was five when the news came that Jonathon had been killed in battle, and Saul had been murdered. (He actually killed himself; a man wanting some glory told David that he had killed him. See II Sam. 2) Upon hearing the news of these deaths, Mephibosheth's nurse flips out. She takes the young prince and runs, and accidentally drops him, making him lame in both his feet.
Fast forward a few years. David has been anointed and crowned king of Israel and Judah, and defeated many of the surrounding nations. He apparently in all this remembers Saul and Jonathon, because he asks whether there's anybody alive from Sauls' house. Take a look for yourself (bit of a long passage, but it's good.)

And David said, "Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?" Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?" And he said, "I am your servant." And the king said, "Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?" Ziba said to the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet." The king said to him, "Where is he?" And Ziba said to the king, "He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar." Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, "Mephibosheth!" And he answered, "Behold, I am your servant." And David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always." And he paid homage and said, "What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?" Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, "All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table." ... So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons. ... And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants. So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet. (II Sam. 9:1-13)

Notice David's grace here. Remember that Saul tried to kill him multiple times, regardless of promises to spare David's life. Saul was a king who did not always fear God. David could well have disposed of Mephibosheth without a qualm. Why did he have pity on Mephibosheth? Why did he even ask whether any of Saul's relatives were alive? The answer is in the text: "I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan..."
This story would be pretty cool if it consisted only of a king being nice to a random crippled prince from an opposing dynasty. But there's more to it than that. This story is a huge red arrow pointing straight to Calvary.
We are spiritual cripples by nature. We're lost in our sins, separated from God. We are of a lineage that doesn't make us look so great. The human race has murdered, stolen, adulterated, lied, cheated, idolized, coveted, and that's just a start to the list. Yet the King calls us into his court, and tells us that we can sit at his table. Why? We're absolutely not worthy. We deserve death and hell, eternal condemnation. So why on earth would God let us into his family? "I will show you kindness for the sake of my son Jesus." God's favour toward us is not a result of anything we have done, but the result of the righteousness of Another which is credited to us.

Now, like I said earlier, this isn't strictly a Christmas post. That is, there's no manger, no star, no angels shouting their heads off. But this is the reason that Christmas is celebrated. There wouldn't be such a big fuss over Christmas if Jesus was just a good moral teacher. We celebrate His birth because of the love He showed us in laying down His life for wicked sinners, for cripples.
Happy Christmas everyone!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Hey Everybody, I just wanted to address the topic of contentment. Contentment is something we all struggle with at times, and I think it would be an appropriate topic for this post. Whether it's your grades, the part you got in a play (or if you got in at all), your friends, your body- everyone struggles with contentment sometime in some area.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and hope." Jeremiah 29:11

A lot of times we have questions about why things are happening to us. Why didn't I get a good grade? Why didn't I get that part? Why don't I have a lot of friends? It's not fair!

Everything that happens, happens for a reason. God has a plan- and it will ultimately work out for the good of those who love him.

The thought of 'Why is this happening to me?' is often influenced by the thought that we deserve more. That we deserve to have everything go exactly the way we want it to.

But when you think of it, that's absolutely ridiculous. We don't deserve anything, we turned away from God. And even though we don't deserve life, God gave it to us anyway- along with so many other blessings.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing- we may be content with that." 1 Timothy 6:6-8

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in every and any situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13

"Keep your lives free from the want of money and be content with what you have, because God has said 'Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you'. So we say with confidence 'The LORD is my helper. What can mortal man do to me?' " Hebrews 13:5-6

Such truth found in God's word. I'd advise you to talk to your parents about where you may struggle with contentment. I'd also like to ask you all if you would pray for me in this area. I would love to pray with/for any of you. :)

We have so much. Can we not be content with all the blessings?

In His Grace,


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lean on Me

Yes, that's the title of a song (and old song, but given that I'm posting you probably knew that.) But it's something way more important, too.
Let's start from the top, shall we?
I'm taking a biology course at Frederick Community College. Bio 101. It's a college level science course and I haven't finished high school biology. So, as you can imagine, this course is not a cake-walk. The class is also after school (starts at 5) so my brain is normally pretty tired by the time I get there. So this past Tuesday I was sitting at my lab table, trying to understand a really basic chart that the prof. gave us for our lab worksheet. I sat there and stared at it for a while. I was trying to do the lab, or even to totally understand what we were doing for the lab, and my brain simply wouldn't take it all in. I was so frustrated that I could've cried (and that doesn't happen very often.) I got out of class and went down to the library to try to set up tutoring, and there was nobody at the desk. "Go figure." I met my mom outside, and she handed me the keys to the car (she had to go inside for something, and didn't want me to be stuck standing in the parking lot.) So I unlocked the car, tossed my backpack into the back seat, flopped into the front seat, slapped the keys into the ignition, and turned the radio on to 91.9. Anything to keep my brain off of biology and school.
The middle of Stephen Curtis Chapman's "Be Still" came through the radio waves.

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still ; be speechless
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know he is our Father
Come rest your head upon His breast
Listen to the rhythm of His unfailing heart of love
Beating for His little ones, calling each of us to come
Be still.

WHAM. It was like God was looking me right in the eyes, the way you'd do to a little kid when you're explaining something. "Yes, this class is hard. And no, things aren't working out the way you'd planned. But I'm still here. I'm not going to let you go, I'm not going to leave, I'm not going to let you do this on your own. This is part of my plan, and my plans are good."

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" --Jer. 29:11

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." --Prov. 3:5

Ad majorem Dei gloriam!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


This isn't going to be on what you think it's going to be on. I say that because this I'm not going to observe the normal aspects of that magic word, I'm going to take a look at the side we often forget about. I mean we talk about loving each other through not insulting each other, helping each other physically and mentally through holding doors for the ladies and giving up chairs and giving our buddies some tips on their homework, praying for each other and all of these things are important aspects of loving one another. But I've been realizing that I don't always honor my friends when it comes to times when I disagree with them. I mean I try not to go around bashing them with insults on a regular basis, but when it comes to arguing about something (especially the theological); man, I really have trouble holding back my frustration. I have major trouble giving, I often feel like i must never give up because if I do my "philosophy" that i have worked so hard to stand up against theirs will crumble. But that sort of dug in mindset can really destroy my relationships. Cause if you are always on edge making sure that the other guy doesn't catch you off guard with a good argument, there is a level of mistrust that will rise. Abraham Lincoln said "A house divided against itself can not stand." This is especially true in the House of the Lord.

Take my ongoing debate with Andrew about video games, most of the time (thank God) we usually end by coming to the realization that we both believe that Jesus Christ saved us both from our sins and go away with a healthy relationship. But there have been times when I have been VERY frustrated with him over the issue (even though it really is a minor issue and about personal conviction). If I at those times had let my anger feed my relations with him, our friendship might have split and with it other people's relationship. our whole group of friends might have become divided, in turn even the whole ministry as the conflicts added up. And WALA!! You have a divided group in the church. We become immobilized body parts. We can't work together for God's glory because we are to busy arguing over our petty differences.

Unfortunately this is a repeted pattern in the Church, a question arrises as to a certain doctrine, sides are taken to the extreme and a split takes place over a minor doctrine. This doesn't as much apply to the split of Orthodoxy and Prodistancy since that was over Salvation. I am talking more about the split between Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Purtitan and other "dominational churches" which is often taken very seriously. The problem i see here is that we forget we are ONE CHURCH not a bunch of scattered ones. What makes us one church is the fact that, despite our differnce in oppinon on Baptism, Communion, Bible Translation, we are all God's children who believe that Jesus is our savior and have been born again in him. The same principle should be applied to any theological argument. It is good for us to debate yes. But when our debates put a wall between us and our brothers and sisters we should evaluate why we are holding on so tightly to this "truth." We are not God! We are not all knowing! We have a LOT to learn, not just from God but from each other. Let's not look at our differences but rather look at the Lord, in whom we are all the same thing: SAVED CRIMINALS WHO ARE NOW CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD!!!!

I am sorry for being stubborn and I am going to pray God makes me humbler and humbler,

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Heart (thanks part 2)

So the other night I was babysitting, and Dalton who's about three was throwing a temper tantrum because he wasn't allowed to play with the Play Doh. He was screaming and crying and I told him that we have to have a happy heart even when it's hard and he replied to me through heavy heaving sobs "I don't want to have a happy heart! I just want to be sad!" I laughed but then conviction struck. Wow did that sound like me.

"Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

How many times have your parents told you to have a happy heart? My parents still tell me to have a happy heart because I constantly need that reminder. I've had so many times through tears talking to my mom about what's going wrong in my life and what's not going my way and she tells me to be thankful for what I have and to find joy in the Lord. So so SO many times I've replied in self pity, expressing that I just want to be upset. I don't like whats going on, I don't like whats not's going my way and I think that's an excuse not to be thankful for what I do have.

That's SO wrong.

Like I said in the post before, we have so many blessings and it's so easy to look over them. Especially when things don't go our way. The first thing that reminds me of this is the song JOY! From the new Sovereign Grace CD "To Be Like Jesus".

When I am lonely or feeling bad
When things don't go my way
When my heart's broken
And I am sad
And tears won't go away
That's when I turn my eyes to you Jesus!
Joy! You fill me with Joy!
You fill me with Joy
You are always with me
You will always give me Joy!

So simple, but So incredibly true!

Another thing I think about when it comes to Happy Hearts is Madame Blueberry! Yes, that classic veggie tales character. I know this may sound silly to a whole bunch of teenagers but I think it might be a good idea to watch this episode of Veggietales. It's got such a great message, "Because a thankful heart is a happy heart. I'm glad for what I have, that's an easy way to start..."

And I do encourage you to make a list of the blessings in your life. And talk to your parents about where you need to improve in this area.

In His Grace,