I Will Love Them Freely

“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from him

Hosea 14:4 (NKJV)

In every chapter of Hosea, God is trying to show the Israelites just what He will do if they don’t change their ways. The people of Israel had gotten complacent and cumbersome in their dealings with God.

The Israelites had begun to worship other gods and they had decided that money was the number one goal in life. Not only had they decided that the individual had to be rich and powerful, they had decided that the synagogue must also be the most powerful feature of the Israeli Empire.

A sect of the Empire had already seen the wrong in their ways and had begun to teach a new way of living that was better and far more pleasing to God,  The sect that dared to turn against the synagogue was the Essenes.

The Essenes were teaching how the love of God would change a person and teach them a better way of life. The Essenes were teaching that the rule of the synagogue was over, and money was not to be a power in the Hebrew community.

In 1947, near the shores of the Dead Sea, thee was a cave discovered in the Qumran region. As it turned out there were several caves and close by, they found an archaeological site where it is believed the Essenes had lived.

It was evidenced that at least some of these people were scribes. There were several copies of the book of Isaiah and fragments of others. These books were both biblical and historical (Apocrypha) books.

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.'”

Matthew 3:1-3 (NKJV)

The leader of the Essenes was called “teacher.”  We must remember that this man was a symbol of what was to come. And they were trying to teach the world through their way of living that here was a better way.

When John the Baptist came out of the wilderness, He came from the direction of the Essene village. There is no indication that John the Baptist ever knew the Essenes, though there is a strong likeness between the two ways of life.

The wilderness that is mentioned in the Bible would lead one to feel that John the Baptist did come from the direction of the Essene settlement.

Another big coincidence that would lead to this same thought is that John preached “repent and be baptized.” The Essenes had built a series of pools/bathtubs and every day they came home and cleansed themselves in the pools. This was something that no other part of the world did.

This is an area that a person could learn from if they study hard enough. In the church today, we call this “baptism.”

You Have Played the Harlot

Do not rejoice, O Israel, with joy like other peoples, for you have played the harlot against your God. You have made love for hire on every threshing floor.

Hosea 9:1 (NKJV)

I love westerns. If you watch a lot of the westerns that are on television, you will see the recurring theme of the dancehall girls being thrown out of town. All the so-called “good” women of the town; seemed to enjoy the opportunity to call those women, “harlots.”

Harlot: a person given to low conduct; a rogue; a cheat; a rascal.

I noticed that most of the time, the women being thrown out of town were not that different from the women doing the throwing.

We see the same situations today. Just because someone dresses differently, maybe talks different, maybe their skin is a different color. None of this is a reason to throw someone out of the United States, out of our community, out of our church. If we did this, who would be left?

We would not be able to allow travelers from another country, travelers from another state, no one from the next town over, no one outside our family. Who would be allowed to come to our country and spend their money? Who would be allowed to visit our church and who would be good enough to visit our home?

John 3:16 tells us that God loves the “world,” not just those we think are good people. We don’t even qualify as good people by our definition. Does this mean that we don’t even qualify as someone that God would love? If we go by our definition, then no. If we use God’s standards, we do.

I think we should let God be the judge.

What does it mean to “Play the Harlot?” Simple, anyone who pretends to be a Christian and still believes they can continue to sin against God have turned to the God of lust and have no part in God’s plan.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15 (NKJV)

When we are saved and join the church, we become a part of the body of Christ. When this happens, we are also part of the family of God. God becomes our “Heavenly Father.” As any father would do, God begins to shape us and mold us to “look like Christ.”

God doesn’t use punishment or bribery to shape us. God uses His word (2 Tim. 3:16-17) to equip us to be “like Christ.”

If we study God’s word as we should, God is able to teach us the things we need to know and use as we Grow in Christ. If we do other things and allow them to distract us, then we are playing the harlot against God.

You can call them Idols or false gods or whatever you want to call them, however, they make you a harlot because you cheated on God. You used the time you needed to study God’s word to enjoy an idol and in doing so, you worshiped a false God.

In my sermons and teachings, I have found that if I say there is no sin allow after salvation, the ones who try to be the best Christians verbally attack me an fight for their right to sin. Those who don’t profess to be Christians never say a word.

As a Christian, I have no desire to sin. I enjoy my status as part of Christ. I also enjoy the fact that I am also a part of God. That’s what most Christians don’t realize. If we have the Holy Spirit of God living in us (John 14:17) then we are part of God and God is part of us. We have the perfect unity and have become one person in Christ.

What about you? Have you become a child of God who lives God’s word every day, or “do you fight for your right to sin and “play the harlot?”

Just Like the Love of the Lord

Then the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.”

Hosea 3:1 (NKJV)

When I was in the Navy, I was the Chief Master at Arms of the ship (the Sheriff). One of my responsibilities was to assist the Chaplain while at sea. There were resources I has access to that the Chaplain didn’t.

While at sea, there is one thing that can take down a ship faster and more completely than a bomb or torpedo. This terrible thing is “bad morale.” Bad Morale is a virus that can spread through a ship faster than the plague and is twice as damaging.

Within two weeks after a ship deploys, the “Dear John” letters begin. Both the Chaplain and I had access to the Group Chaplain and the Group master at Arms, it was faster to call them instead of sending correspondence. However, we had to remember that they were helping hundreds of ships where we were helping a few.

Early on I saw the necessity of getting acquainted with all the people at the different agencies I would need to encounter for assistance for my men and women in the fleet. You see, “Dear John letters” don’t just come to the men. By the way, they are called “dear Joanne letters.”

For the chaplain and I, it was even worse than for the individuals. Because you get so close to the people themselves, each of the letters hurts you individually. In a few days they begin to add up. I can somewhat know how God must have felt.

God was doing everything He could for the Children of Israel, and they betrayed Him with idol gods. The people the chaplain and I were helping were experiencing the same betrayal. They had loved their mate with all their heart and as soon as they were out of sight, their mate turned to someone else.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Romans 6:1-2 (NKJV)

Today there is a wicked group of teachers and preachers who advocate sin after salvation. These people use just a part of a sentence as their only reference for this action. A portion of Romans 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” These same teachers and preachers conveniently omit the last half of the 25th verse where Paul tells us that these were the sins committed beforehand, the sins committed “before salvation.” Yes, before salvation we were all sinners.

In all my years of teaching, I have never heard but one person say they had never sinned. Unfortunately, I had to prove her wrong for her own good. Am I perfect? By no means, I simply don’t sin every day like some say they do.

How can we help people become better Christians? Do we make them study more, lecture them on their sins, bring them before the church counsel, how do we teach others not to sin? We do what Jesus did. We set the example for all to see. We let them watch us as we show them how not to sin.

Our largest and best ministry is to live a life that will be an example for all to see.

To the Lord My God

In every book he wrote, Paul condemned sin after salvation because he knew the rules and restrictions of being a good Christian.
You Must Be Born Again!

And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments.

Daniel 9:4 (NKJV)

Bruce Summers was an ordinary man that tried to do the right thing all the time. One day Bruce bought some property in the city and then he decided to build a house on the property.  When he bought the house, there were some conditions given to him because of where the property was located.

When he went to apply for the permits he needed, there was a problem about the location of the property. Since Bruce was from the country, he did not understand some of the city’s rules and regulations.

Since the land was in the center of the Commercial District, Bruce could not build a single-family home. The building had to be a multi-family dwelling. The best solution would be an apartment building.

Bruce tried to fight the system, but it was no use. In the end he had to sell the property to a company that wanted to build a business complex.

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.

John 3:3-8 (NKJV)

There are many people today that try to force their way into Christianity. They find a congregation that will give them a one- or two-week study course and let them join the church. They feel that will make them a Christian. All that makes them is a member of that congregation.

To be born again, you must first get rid of your sinful nature. To do that you must pour out all your sins to God. Remove those sins from your heart and cleanse your heart with prayer. Then you must replace the sin with the truth of God’s word.

Christianity is not some congregation or association you join; those are the things satan wants you to listen to. Christianity is a way of life. This life is attained by following and obeying the life lessons contained in the bible.

Just like Bruce didn’t bother to learn the restrictions of the land he bought, most people don’t study the bible and they never learn the guidelines of being a Christian. We must walk with God and that means walking without sin. We must look like Christ. Christ lived His life without sin.

In every book he wrote, Paul condemned sin after salvation because he knew the rules and restrictions of being a good Christian.

You Must Be Born Again!!