Hosea 1-3 tells the the story of Gomer – a very adulterous woman who had a husband (Hosea) who loved her regardless. Hosea 1:2 (NIV) states, “When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD.” Gomer had three children named: Jezreel (God Scatters), Lo-Ruhamah (Not Loved) and Lo-Ammi (Not My People). Hosea even questioned his paternity for two of these children because of Gomer’s unfaithfulness. This woman simply would not stop. She had many lovers and continued to be unfaithful. Yet Hosea, her husband, remained by her side with much love and faithfulness. Hosea felt so much grief because of his wife’s ways. Hosea felt so betrayed and tried to talk to her but she simply ignored him. The voice of God came to Hosea saying, “”Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes (Hosea 3:1 NIV).” Hosea had almost given up! But he did as God told him to do. In Hosea 2:19 (NIV) Hosea tells Gomer, “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.” He kept loving Gomer. The word of the Lord transformed Hosea’s children: Lo-Ruhamah became “Ruhamah” (Loved) and Lo-Ammi became Ammi (My People).
I was so touched after reading and studying this story. This story portrayed God’s jealousy toward the people of Israel. Israel had turned away from God and refused to turn back. Can you imagine how deeply God’s heart was broken? Israel’s men indulged in many displeasing acts such as cheating the poor and believing in idols. There was simply no peace in Israel. Yet, God continued to love the people of Israel. Even though the people of Israel abandoned God, He remained faithful to them. God still remains faithful to us today. We fail daily but Gods’ love for us never fails. God never gives up on us. Yes, there are times when we make bad decisions and we feel suffer horrible consequences; but we learn from those bad decisions. It is not God who leaves us alone; we leave Him. This story can apply to every area of our lives because in every area, God’s love is there. God’s love never ever fails us.
In the Bible, the Corinthians had an issue going on in their church. A man was having an affair with his stepmother. Now, the church totally ignored the situation. Yet Paul reminded the church that they had an obligation to follow God’s commandments regarding principles. Such a known act going on in the church could possibly have a negative effect on other believers. God’s commandments indicated that this man should be thrown out of church in hopes that it drives him to repentance. Now when I first read this, I thought, “How can they throw somebody out of church like that?” But then I looked at it from Paul’s point of view. The church should follow all of God’s commandments and such displeasing acts (that are known) shouldn’t be upheld in church (God’s house). If dismissing someone from church for that kind of behavior will aid in helping that individual to realize the wrong then so be it. I can understand it. It is called TOUGH LOVE. Sometimes, it takes tough love to get us all right.
When I had problems with one of my children, I had to practice tough love. People downright ridiculed me and despised me to the fullest but I had to do it. Everyone in my family seemed to have been against me. Everyone on my child’s side of the family despised me but still, I had to do it. No one stood by my side but my mate. He kept telling me that everything would work out and I just had to trust and believe. He told me that things would get worse before they got better and they did but I hung in there. Today, my child is a much better person. Now, my child’s temper is still like a rocking chair but she doesn’t practice it in my home anymore. I think that temper only jumps out and those who stir it up in my child. So I am praying on that right now. But tough love worked in both of our favor. As a parent, it is hard to practice tough love but situations call for you to do it. With the church, I know it can be hard for any pastor or minister to decide to dismiss someone from church but God’s commandments should be upheld. Perhaps this is the reason why the devil is attacking churches everywhere. If TOUGH LOVE is what it takes to get people right then TOUGH LOVE it is. Believe it or not, TOUGH LOVE is effective. –S.L.M.
1 Corinthians 5:5 (NIV) “ hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.”
When you have been released from the prison of turmoil and moved in with peace, your life can function at its best. At least, my life does. It is not perfect but I have some peace in my mind. Actually, I have become quite overprotective of my peace. I am careful of how I present myself in front of others. I am careful of who I allow to get my close to me. I am careful of even the things I watch on TV and the music I listen to. I am simply careful. At work, I do as such – I work. I laugh and try to make the best of each day. Some days are harder than others but I do my best in making it the best. Attitudes do rise up and all coworkers sometimes have one. I have learned that it is best to simply stay prayed up. Pray that you don’t retaliate against the attitude and pray for them. At home, I indulge myself in my children. I ensure homework is done and make it a little fun, I involve them in cooking dinner at times and we watch movies together. Yes, I miss out on a lot “adult” shows but that is fine with me because I have grown to love watching the kiddie shows with my children. Sometimes, they get so tickled at things and that brightens the light of my soul. In my relationship, I definitely weed out any drama. No hearsay for me at all. What God wants me to know, He will show it to me. By the time people tell you things about your mate, there will be too many lies that really don’t add up. You will be broke up, shook up and teared up for no reason at all. Yes, there are times that things may be true but forgive me….. I would rather for God to show it to me. I don’t question anything He shows or tells me. This is how I protect my peace. I don’t want anybody or anything coming around trying to strip it away from me. It took me a very long time to get to this peaceful place and I call this place my home and I am overprotective of my home! Turmoil is like a thief in both the day and night time. I make sure my mind and my heart stays locked in God. If my mind and heart aren’t right, then nothing else will be right in my life. So yes, I am VERY OVERPROTECTIVE of my peace. IT MEANS TOO MUCH TO ME! –S.L.M.
May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thes 3:16)
Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
Jesus has made it possible for us to go directly to God for forgiveness. But confessing our sins to each other still has an important place in the life of the church. (1) If we have sinned against an individual, we must ask him or her to forgive us. (2) If our sin has affected the church, we must confess it publicly. (3) If we need loving support as we struggle with a sin, we should confess that sin to those who are able to provide that support. (4) If, after confessing a private sin to God, we still don’t feel his forgiveness, we may wish to confess that sin to a fellow believer and hear him or her assure us of God’s pardon. In Christ’s kingdom, every believer is a priest to other believers (1 Peter 2:9).
The Christian’s most powerful resource is communion with God through prayer. The results are often greater than we thought were possible. Some people see prayer as a last resort to be tried when all else fails. This approach is backward. Prayer should come first. Because God’s power is infinitely greater than ours, it only makes sense to rely on it—especially because God encourages us to do so.
Pray for someone on the prayer list at your church or someone in your neighborhood. You might make an appointment to pray in person as James suggests. If you do, consider taking someone with you—a pastor or an elder at your church.
When it doesn’t seem like we have much in life, we have to learn to just work with what we have. When we take care of the little that we have, God blesses us with MORE. I am thankful to have a stable job that allows me to make ends meet. I am thankful for my children, my parents, my siblings and my mate. I am simply thankful. Sometimes, turmoil can come in and shake your stability. Stability and peace aids in helping you to appreciate what you have in life. Simply shake turmoil back with prayer. Never cease in praying. When the peace of God pours into your life, pointless things are what they are – POINTLESS. Just embrace that peace of mind and be content with what you have until God deems that you are ready for more. – S.L.M.
As I look back over my life just briefly, I realize how much I have grown….how much I have learning….how my heart has transformed from being weak to strong…..and how much I have grown to depend on the Lord. In spite of my shortcomings that I still have, I have come a long way. Today, I just give God thanks. I couldn’t have made it this far without Him working with my heart.
Single parenting – it keeps me strong. It keeps me going when I want to quit. My kids are my everything. We still have our ups and downs but THEY ARE MY EVERYTHING. Demands hit really hard this time of year when school is about to start again. School clothes/uniforms and shoes…..school supplies….school fees…..keeping the bills at home paid…and of course, maintaining my sanity are all priorities on my list. This year, I had to be smart and make it official to start early. I know the “tax-free” shopping weekend is popular but for me, coupons and starting early worked better for me! Coupons…YES! I love them and thank God for coupons! School starts back August 14 and the kids are near completion with the biggest needs out of the way. If it were not for Our Precious God above, I would be a basket case! I would literally be functioning at the lowest capacity in life when it comes to the needs of my children. But because of God, I can provide for them. I can meet their needs. And I can’t thank Him enough. God comes through even when stress and worry tends to creep in. Each day I put forward an effort to diminish stress and worry for I know that God will always make a way for both me and my children.
For some reason, my thoughts are stuck in the area of marriage. Perhaps, God has placed my thoughts there for a reason. I think to myself, “Am I ready for marriage?” Of course not!” Then I think, “Do you I want to get married again?” Sure but not at this time. I am still a work in progress. I don’t know where God will lead me and to be honest, I am not rushing Him. It took me a very long time to embrace myself. I have through the motions of getting in hurtful relationships because I was lonely and desperate to have a man in my life. I have gone through the motions of shacking with a man who did nothing but bring me down and made my struggle harder. When I came through these motions, I still had that desire to have someone to call my “man” and this is who I claimed to be “in love” with. In reality, I wasn’t in love with him, I was only in love with the IDEA of being in love. I can struggle alone. I can love my myself. I did major soul searching and started out on a road that I didn’t know where I would end up. I found God along the way and I ended up finding MYSELF – a person who was so lost…a person who ended up in hurtful situations because of loneliness and desperation…..a person who was too needy. When I found my true self, I asked God to work on me. I asked forgiveness and made that effort to change. God transformed me. I am not saying that I am 100% but I am no longer 5%. God used many situations and people to pull that loneliness and desperation from me and He restored me with confidence in myself and dependence in Him. I am much stronger and wiser because of that journey I chose to take. I have a sense of confidence that enables me to face struggles alone and I have GOD – who allows me to endure these struggles. I have my standards to a higher level because I deserve that much. God has blessed me to be able to handle my business as a single mother and His Word keeps me from being alone in regards to companionship. I still face difficulties in some areas but I hold my head high. And yes, God is still working on me. I have faith that God is also working on the man He has for me. This man will keep God first in his life. This man will respect my heart, body and mind. This man will understand that shacking, for me, is not an option. This man will love me enough to wait because I am worth it. This man and myself will KNOW when God says it is time to unite as ONE. I feel this is why it is so important to keep God first in relationships. God lets us know who, when, where and why. He is just that kind of God!