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Saturday

BIBLE READING: Hosea 8-14 DISCUSSION                The book of Hosea has to be studied while understanding the religion of the Canaanites.  Israel was coming back to Palestine being inhabited for over a thousand years.  They learned farming from the people that they did not drive out of the land.  However, Canaanite farming was integrally woven with their spiritual beliefs.  El, Baal, and Dagon were very popular deities in the Canaanite religion along with the female counterparts of Asherah, Astarte, and Anath.  Temples for these gods were open air shrines located in high places with a wooden object to represent the female and a stone to represent the male.  They would often have sacrifices and festivals that would focus on fertility for man, animal, and field.  Ritual fornication and beastiality were quite common.                The Israelites had deeply engrained the idolatry of the Canaanites (Hosea 8:13).  Look at some of the names of their cities: Ishbaal, Baaljada, Meribbaal, etc.…

Friday

BIBLE READING: Hosea 1-7 DISCUSSION                So often in life, we are looking for our purpose.  We ask questions like, “Why am I here?” or “What does God want from me?”  Imagine if you’re Hosea.  You’re God’s prophet.  You’ve seen and heard stories of so many prophets before you and the great things they’ve done.  You wonder what God’s great purpose will be for you.  Then, God tells you, “Go, and take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry.  For the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.” (Hosea 1:2)  If you’re Hosea, what’s your reaction?  “Huh?  You want me to do what!”  So, Hosea goes and gets a wife, Gomer, and has three children whose names are “vengeance” (Jezreel), “no compassion” (Lo-Ruhammah), and “not my people” (Lo-Ammi).  Hosea finds out his purpose in life, in being a prophet for God, is to be an analogy for God’s relationship with His people, and he does it well and serves God in the best way he knows how.                In his bo…

"Time to Clean House"

BIBLE READING: 2 Kings 18. 1-8; 2 Chronicles 29-31; Psalms 48 King Hezekiah is one of the bright spots in a list of evil people who served as king.As he begins his rule, one of the first things he commands to be done is to carry the filth out of the Holy Place of God.The filth he was referring to was the pagan cult objects that had been placed by his predecessors in the sanctuary of the Temple.This was such an abomination to Hezekiah that he ordered at once people to go in and clean house.Not only that, the King reminds them that they were “ministers” of God and could not afford to be found negligent and allow this filth to return.The lesson for us today is pretty clear. How many of us need to clean our house?I am not talking about all of the dusting and vacuuming we might need, I mean removing all of those things from our homes and our lives that might pervert our worship to God.Too many of us have bitterness, anger, jealousy, and lust within our hearts.All of these things are similar…

"Victory Over Death"

BIBLE READING: Isaiah 23-27 The greatest gift that we have today is the complete will of God revealed to us on the printed pages of our Bibles.The Bible contains the greatest love story that has and will ever be told.It tells of the love that God has with His creation; our humanity.Yet just as all good love stories, this one has a tragedy as well.The tragedy happened during the fall of man in Genesis 3.Not only did man sin and separate himself from God, he also began to experience what it means to be human in death. It was from that moment that God began to tell of the coming of the greatest source of love… Jesus Christ. The message of the cross of Jesus is woven into the fibers of every page of Scripture.It doesn’t take long for us to see Jesus within the reading for the day.Isaiah continues his prophesy of the impending doom that is coming to the various nations of the world, but He also offers a message of hope and promise. “And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that …

"God Bless America"

BIBLE READING: Isaiah 18-22 It wasn’t that long ago that you were celebrating our countries independence with hot dogs, stews and fireworks.As we gather every year with family, we too share in some of those same traditions.We celebrate because we feel that the United States is the greatest country in the world and that God has blessed our country since its infancy.God certainly has blessed the United States of America, but He has also blessed China, Great Britain and even North Korea.In fact, every nation of the world can share the same slogan that we feel we may have trademarked.As we continue our readings from Isaiah we learn a good bit about the Sovereignty of God.Sovereignty is not a word that we typically use in our daily vocabulary, yet that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important word.It means “dominion and rule” and as it applies to God, He has complete dominion and rule over every nation that exists, that has existed, and even those that could exist in the future.Does God care what…

"The Goodness & Severity of God"

BIBLE READING: Isaiah 13-17 In recent years there seems to have been a rise of televangelists, ministers and teachers that teach the goodness and love of God.It is hard to argue with them about God’s goodness and love.Yes, God has been very good to us.Yes, God loves us so much He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for us.However, these teachers omit a very important part of their theology of God.Notice Paul’s words to the church at Rome, “…note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.” (Romans 11.22). It is very easy to speak of the goodness and love of God, but very difficult to speak of his severity and judgment.Everyone loves a God that is full of blessings and goodness, yet it is harder to desire a God that is also full of vengeance and punishment.As Paul puts it to the Romans, you can’t have one without the other; both make up God.In…