Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Wow, Thursday has come around again so quickly this week!! It's a good thing, too, as I have much to be thankful for! Thanks to Lynn for hosting Thankful Thursday again. Be sure to visit the many women who share all their blessings. It's very uplifting!

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“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,and bring her into the wilderness,and speak tenderly to her." Hosea 2:14

I won't be doing a list today. I really just want to share something that has been on my heart for a few days now. For some reason the other day I felt led to browse through the minor prophets. I initially was searching for a specific verse, which I found in Joel, but then I flipped back a few pages to Hosea and read this beautiful verse above.

If you have never read Hosea, I'll give you a quick rundown. The Lord tells the prophet Hosea to marry an adulterous wife. She repeatedly betrays him. At one point, Hosea must even pay to purchase back his own wife. She bears him three children. Think of the humiliation. To be married to someone who, after all you have done for her, spits in your face and cheats on you, turns her back on you. And yet, Hosea picks her up out of the gutter again and again.

Why would the Lord ask one of his servants to marry someone like this? Simply put, to illustrate the depths of his love for us. We are like the adulterous wife. Time and time again we turn our backs on the Lord, choosing our will over his; desiring the pleasures of sin and self-gratification. I've been a Christian for over 20 years now and yet I still struggle with living a life that is completely sold out to God. I want my own way. I want to do what I want to do, even as I tell myself that I know it's not what God wants me to do.

But, dear sisters, regardless of this, God loves us. He picks us up out of the gutters, cleans us up, dresses us up in all the finery and looks upon his bride with love.

Oh, yes, Hosea is quite clear that there will be consequences. God is holy, after all. This is not a license to sin and go on our merry way. We all suffer the consequences of our sin.

But God doesn't stop loving us. He never will. Just like it says in the verse above, he lures us back to himself; speaking tenderly to us; wooing us. You know how it is when you've done something wrong. You are afraid to face the person you've offended - how will they react? How will they treat you? You never have to worry about that with God. With repentance comes forgiveness - complete and total forgiveness.

"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west,so far does he remove our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:11, 12

So today I just am thankful for God's infinite mercy and forgiveness. I am such a weak and broken sinner and so in need of his grace. It is so wonderful to know that when I come to him, I will be met with open arms ready to wrap around me in love, rather than with punishment and rebuke.

If this is something you struggle with accepting, please take some time to read through the book of Hosea. It's not very long, but it is very powerful. You'll find a God of mercy and forgiveness. And you'll find a God who loves you more than you could ever understand.


Denise said...

Be blessed sweet one.

Karen said...

Thanks for the encouraging word. I think I needed that.

ValleyGirl said...

I've always marvelled at that story. (have you read Francine Rivers' interpretation, "Redeeming Love?") What always amazes me is that Hosea never abandoned his calling. I think most men would have decided 'this couldn't possibly be a part of what God's trying to do through me. I'm gonna ditch the bag and move forward with my life.' Obviously, then he wouldn't be an example of God's forgiveness and mercy, but seriously, who -- especially in this day and age -- would believe that was God's plan for their life?

There's some excellent encouragement here, Lori! Great TT post!

Heather said...

Hosea is a great lesson to us - no matter how unloveable and dirty we feel, we still belong to the One True God. Thanks for this wonderful reminder!

Leeann said...

Okay, that was just awesome! Something biblical that was clear and easy to understand. I got that. Thanks, Lori.


zamejias said...

I am truly thankful for God's love. It's just so amazing! Happy TT.

Mama Russell said...

That was truly a great post. I am so glad to have read it today, as I needed to hear those words!
God bless you!

Cheryl said...

I loved your words today. I read the book "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. It is great! It gave me such a better understanding. Hosea is a very good example for us. I am glad you spoke from your heart today. I enjoyed reading! Thanks

Lynn said...

I agree with valleygirl... I too marvel at the depth of love displayed in this story.

Thank you for this post. I delighted to read it. So well written. Love and hugs, Lynn


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