Hosea 11

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called My son. The more they were called,
the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them.
Hosea 11:1-3

and I became to them as one Who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.
Hosea 11:4b

How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me; My compassion grows warm and tender. Hosea 11:8

Admah and Zeboiim are cities like Sodom and Gomorrah…all destroyed by God for the abandonment of the covenant He made with His children. Moses reviewed the covenant, impressing upon the Israelites the relationship they have with their God and why keeping these is vital to life itself.

…the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and wrath—all the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’ Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt, and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom He had not allotted to them. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book, and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.” Deuteronomy 29:23-28

In Hosea 11, God makes promises to His children:

they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
and like doves from the land of Assyria,
and I will return them to their homes, declares the LORD.
Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit,
but Judah still walks with God and is faithful to the Holy One.
Hosea 11:9-12 (starting in the photo of the lion to the words “Holy One.”)

These are promises of what God will NOT do to His people as well as promises that He will fulfill. God so loves His people no matter how, where, why they wander.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.”
Isaiah 49:15-16

Is Ephraim My dear son?
Is he My darling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I do remember him still.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 31:20

This small book of Hosea is so rich with God’s love and so prevalent are the sins of man.

Father God, I pray that I will walk with You in obedience to Your Word. I ask that You hold me near, guiding my steps so that I do not stray. Should I, though, please pull me back, disciplining me to learn the lessons You need me to grasp so that I will remain faithful. I have strayed so far that I did not even know I was lost. I did not know You as I do now, yet I knew enough to feel the shame in my ways. Thank You for Your forgiveness and Your love. I am Yours and want to stay in Your protective arms. Thank You for this book of Hosea for it is showing me Your enduring love for Your children and Your overwhelming desire for them (for me) to turn back to You and want to stay near to You. In the powerful Name of Your Son, I pray. Amen.

Hosea

Graphic: Hosea 11 – http://preachingsource.com/journal/hosea-11-yahwehs-persistent-love/

Graphic: Hosea 11:4 –https://www.flickr.com/photos/wvagent/7995873895/

Graphic: Hosea 11:10 –http://wordoftruthlighthouse.blogspot.com/2015/09/god-said.html

Hosea 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

…over and oveR and ovER and oVER and OVER AGAIN!

God loves…

The children of Israel sin…

Hosea shows the love of God for His children, Israel. He also makes it clear just how far Israel strayed from God, from His commandments, laws and ways. I am reminded how much God loves me even though I strayed from Him again and again throughout my lifetime, especially in those years before knowing Christ as my Lord and Savior. I did not come to know Jesus until I was 45 years old. YET…no matter how often, how far, how deep the bride of Christ meanders from the Truth, the Way, the Life, God continually draws us back to Him.

Oh, God, please forgive me for the ways that I, too, stray from You, from Your Word. Thank You for loving me despite my faults, despite my sin.

And it shall be like people, like priest;
I will punish them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the LORD
to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine,
which take away the understanding.
Hosea 4:9-11

I will return again to My place,
until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face,
and in their distress earnestly seek Me.
Hosea 5:15

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with Me. Hosea 6:6-7

Although I trained and strengthened their arms,
yet they devise evil against Me.
They return, but not upward;
they are like a treacherous bow; their princes shall fall by the sword
because of the insolence of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
Hosea 7:16

For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.
The standing grain has no heads; it shall yield no flour;
if it were to yield, strangers would devour it. Israel is swallowed up;
already they are among the nations as a useless vessel.
Hosea 8:7-8

But they came to Baal-peor
and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame,
and became detestable like the thing they loved.
Hosea 9:10b

You have plowed iniquity;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way
and in the multitude of your warriors, therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle;
mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great evil. At dawn the king of Israel
shall be utterly cut off.
Hosea 10:13-15

…a useless vessel….detestable…utterly cut off… Israel has shown itself weak in the sight of the Lord. He loves them, yet He turns His back upon them until they choose to return to Him wholly. I know God has wondered over me year-upon-year as I lived for myself, dependent on no one but me. I thought all was fine. Upon looking back at my life, I truly was lost. I did not know Jesus Christ. I worshiped false idols, betrayed the One Who created me, looked to my own self for the answers. In the Scriptures from Hosea here, do you see God’s love woven into the lives of His children? into their hearts? how He draws them back even when disciplining? God is so merciful. Even when we stray, He wants us to draw near to Him.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:8-10

Father God, I pray that I humbly follow Your ways, Your commandments, Your path for my life. Thank You, Lord, for loving me when I did not. Thank You for guiding my path so that I would meet Jesus. God You are so beautiful. You care for me in the worst of times, the best times, and all the in between times. You are stern, yet gentle. You care so much about the bride of Christ, Your children, that You must discipline us so that we can come to our knees, seeking Your forgiveness. I am so thankful that You sent Your Son, Jesus the Christ to take my sins to the Cross for eternity. You drew me to You and rained Your forgiveness, love, and peace over me. I am grateful and love You for always. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Thanks to:

Graphic: Hosea 4:6 – http://stepintothestory.ca

Graphic: Hosea 5:6 – https://biblepic.com/hosea/5-6.htm

Graphic: Hosea 6:3- https://biblia.com/bible/images/640×480/Ho6.3?extension=png&fallbackOnFailure=false

Graphic: Hosea 7:10 – https://www.pinterest.com/cinnersaved/hosea/

Graphic: Hosea 8:7 – https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/898-hosea-8/

Graphic: Hosea 9:10a – https://calvarydayton.com/sermons/hosea-09_01-11/

Graphic: Hosea 10:12 – https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/hosea-10-12-break-up-your-fallow-ground-it-is-time-to-seek-the-lord-black-4118

God So Loved…Me…You

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Oh! What a promise John 3:16 is! God is Love. He loved His creation so much that He sent His Son…to live amongst His children…to teach and to heal, to love and to die.

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.   This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  1 John 4:9-10

Jesus showed the world that the love of the Father was in Him by loving those He touched, physically and spiritually. Even today, Jesus loves. He loves me and He loves you. The sacrifice that Jesus made over 2,000 years ago still affects us today. He came to save us and draw us to Him so that we will be with Him for eternity. Hallelujah!

The word love in these verses is the word agape:

ἀγαπάω

agapaō

pertaining to people: to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly

pertaining to things: to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

This is one of four Greek words in the Bible which differentiate between the various meanings of love in the New Testament. Agape is the one used most often. It is the kind of love that God has for us and which we are commanded to have for one another. Jesus called us to love.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  
1 John 4:7-8

“Love” appears in the Bible (depending upon the version) between 310 times in the KJV to 551 times in the NIV. No matter what version you are reading, the word “love” is scattered often in the Word of God. God is love and wants us to know that. His Word is beautifully rich with LOVE! I praise You, Father. I praise You.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit.   1 John 4:11-13

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.   If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.   This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  We love because He first loved us.  1 John 4:14-19

I am humbled dearly by the way God drew me to Him and took a hold of my life. I can look back and see years passing while He patiently waited for me to seek His face. Oh, my! I have read these words in John 3 and 1 John 3 many times and sense just a wee bit of how much He loves me. Just a tiny percentage of God’s love for this one creation. He loves us each and all…yes, not just me, but all of us. My heart is overflowing with gratitude that He would do this for me, for you. And then…

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us.  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:5-8

While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me. He did not ignore me or leave me to my own ways and problems. He came to me. He waited at the door until I knocked. He was there for me. And He went to the Cross for me where He was horrifically crucified on that Cross and my name was upon that Cross. My sins took Him there. He did not sin. I did. He did not utter a word, but it is my words and my actions that nailed Him to that Cross.

Father God, thank You for loving me so unconditionally that You sent Your Son to that Cross to die for me. He took my sins with Him. He carried my burden to that Cross. He loves me so that even today, He draws me near to Him so that I can and will know the way to walk each and every moment of this day. Lord, I pray I listen and discern Your way in which I should go. I pray for those around me who do not know You. Oh, how I pray for repentance, for that turning around toward You so that they will be spending eternity with us. Oh, how I pray this, Father God. I thank You for loving me so tenderly and sweetly, Lord. You are such a gift to me each and every day. I lift my hands in praise to You, giving You all the glory, Precious Father. In the powerful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

graphics:   https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/john/

graphics: https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/1_john/

Reflection…Now Through Eternity

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For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

reflection
unclear
vague
imprecise
hazy

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”  John 12:13

triumphal procession
hopeful
King
Messiah

hatred
sin
selfish
shame
guilt
saddened

love
How can He?
He does.
He always will.

forgiveness
I seek
He forgives.

letting go
struggle…lessens…reverts to hard again…
Why?
Because I need Him…yet live in this humanness

He shows me my weak, selfish, independent self
Relinquish…ALL
Letting go to Him

led to the Cross
with Him
harsh, thorns, flogging, brutality, hatred, sorrow, ashamed

I go with Him
crucified with Him
my sins crucified

I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. Galatians 2:20-21

“No purpose”…NO!
He is Love
His Love shines.
He died because He loves us
Salvation
Purpose
Perfect Purpose

The mirror reflects perfectly.
clearly
distinctly
undoubtedly
Reflection for Eternity

6010e7509075df8876f4d24e105d5922

We love Him, because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Corinthians 13:7

Jesus, Your reflection teaches me.  You love despite my imperfections.  I thank You, Jesus.  You show me joy and sorrow, peace and anguish, love and hatred.  You show me that I am burdened by sin, yet You forgive.  Your Holy Spirit fills me up, taking the place of sin.  You teach me to ask in Your Name.  Your love bears me up.  Your love endures all of me, because You love me.  I wonder why, Lord, but Your love is far greater than my “why.”  Your love is true, filled with hope, for You are God.  I am Your child.  You reflect wholly.. all sides and aspects of me…from the depths of my sin … to the gifts, the love You have bestowed upon this helpless sheep.  May I be wholly dependent upon You, 100%.  May I die to this self completely…Oh! So completely.  One day, when I look into Your face I will know that as I see perfection in You, the reflection from me will be Yours through Eternity.  I pray I do reflect Your light while I sojourn here on this earth.  I love You, LORD.  Amen.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  1 Corinthians 13:12

bwturq sig

The Holy Spirit in Me

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When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Acts 2:1-4 ESV

Oh, LORD, Your Holy Spirit rained on me in Your mighty rushing wind the day I told You I was a sinner…I asked for forgiveness…I wanted Jesus to be my LORD and Savior.  The language I am learning is Your language, LORD,  Your Words.   I know that I hear Your still, small voice.  I have ears to hear the beauty of Your words.  I have eyes to see the words in Your Word and I am able to understand them, little by little.  Your Spirit teaches me.  My heart pounds with thrill at this moment.  You fill me.  I am that house, Your body temple.  You came to live in me.  Thank You.   

I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. Acts 2:17

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Oh, Holy Spirit, You are the living rain pouring out upon me.  You drench me in Your wisdom and knowledge.  You give me what I need at the moment of that need, IF I am ready, willing, and asking for it.  May I seek Your forgiveness, Your comfort, Your love…in all times.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:21

Amen.  Everyone.  I pray they call upon You as I have.  

(For David says concerning him,…) “You have made known to me the paths of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your Presence.” Acts 2:28 

Years before Jesus, David was a man after God’s own heart.  He wanted to be in step with his Father God.  He loved His Father.  He sought forgiveness when he sinned.  He knew he had done wrong in the sight of His God.  He listened.  He delighted in the LORD.  Pentecost is about rejoicing and dancing under the beauty of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Pentecost opens us to newness and community.  Pentecost is change and repentance.  

May my heart be open and ready every day.  

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  Acts 2:36-37

LORD, my heart is repelled from these thoughts.  I am one of them.  I feel their agony and know their wrong.  I refused to accept Jesus as my LORD for many years.  I asked, “What shall I do?”

 “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.”  …“Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”   Acts 2:38-40

Yes, Yes…to repent and be baptized in Your Name, O Christ, for I seek forgiveness of my sins.  I seek You.  I live in a crooked generation.  I am thankful that You saved me, LORD.  I praise You.  The Holy Spirit has led me away and is teaching me and showing me the way.

 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.   Zechariah 4:6

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“…but by My Spirit.”  Yes!  May I trust in You always, LORD.  You guide and love and plan and know the ways in which I should go.  My delight is not in the way I say or I run ahead, nor is it by my strength and power.  I want to trust.  Your Spirit will take me through the wilderness of life, the troubles and trials, the joys and the beauty of Your creation.  May I know Your Spirit deeply. 

And
 they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to 
the breaking of bread and the prayers.  And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.  Acts:2:42-43

...with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.  Acts 2:46-47

 a102c9963ece2b6e0a7cdc7d2e6624fb


LORD, the words that are being ingrained into my heart from these verses are
“devoted” in community.  It is the fellowship of believers that You call us to.  Guide me.  Instruct me.  “Awe” – reverence in looking at Who You are and what You have done.  May no act of mine be none other than the Yours, the Glory of my LORD.  A “glad” heart, a “generous” heart “praising”
God that His Spirit reigns within us–what a beautiful and full array of outcomes of Pentecost.  We serve a Mighty God. 

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  1 Corinthians 12:7

May my every day be to seek You and know You.  May my every day be a day of Pentecost…the mighty rushing wind fills me to overflowing with the peace of Your Kingdom.  May I know the words to speak in each circumstance as You set before me one who needs You,  one who needs forgiveness, one who needs love, a refuge, peace.  Father, guide me and equip me.  In Your Name, I pray.  Amen.

bwturq sig 

 

Rushing wind:  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/06/79/8d/06798da585100dd496568bb2288747d9.jpg

Fire:   https://simonmarsh.org/tag/pentecost

Water:  http://naomirice.weebly.com/uploads/6/9/7/9/69791709/4113466.png

Dove:  http://lovepeaceandharmony.org/

By Way of Clouds

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Moses was a friend of God’s.  God spoke to him face-to-face, intimately.  When Moses returned from the mountain with the Ten Commandments written on the tablets by God, the people were found to be dancing and singing around an idol, a calf made from their gold, melted down and reformed.  God became intensely angered by His people.  Moses was angry as well, yet he wanted reconciliation between God and His people.

Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent.  When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses.  And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door.  Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.  Exodus 33:8-10

For years, I have pondered this sight…of the people seeing the pillar of cloud and standing at their own tent door, worshipping.  They saw God come down and surround the tent with Moses in it.  They knew this pillar of cloud from their past experience…God had led them through the wilderness by the pillar of cloud and stopped them for rest by the pillar of fire.  They understood this and thus they watched and worshipped.  They knew they had done wrong, were sinners, and had not surrendered all to God.  They wanted to be reconciled to God, but knew they could not go directly to God themselves.

Moses was their mediator.

God sees our sin and asks us to lay it down, all of it.  The Israelites may have laid some things down but, as we know, some of those little things (those little things we tend to overlook and not call ‘sins’) stay in our hands with a tight grip.  God wants everything that comes between us and Him.

In the Old Testament, God called His people to give their burdens over to Him:

Cast your burden on the Lord,

and He will sustain you;

He will never permit

the righteous to be moved.  Psalm 55:22

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God sent His Son as the Sacrifice for our sins.  The Blood of Jesus was shed for me and for you. We carry the sinful nature of mankind.  God wants our all in surrender.  We are to cast our burdens upon Him and get under His yoke with Him.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11:29-30

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Jesus is our Mediator, our Intercessor.

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.  1 Timothy 2:3-6

John to the seven churches that are in Asia:  Grace to you and peace from Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of kings on earth.  To Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.  Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen.  Revelation 1:4-7

Father, clouds are with us most days.  May they be a reminder of Your Presence and the Sacrifice You made for us…for me.  May I not forget.  I know I hold sin as if they mean so very little, but they lie between You and me.  They hinder my relationship with You.  I place them at the foot of the Cross and ask for Your forgiveness through Your Son’s shed Blood for me.  Teach me Your ways that I would not sin against You, my Father.  Hold me near, that Your Love will permeate my being and make me whole.  You have not called me to impurity but to holiness and that is my strongest desire, LORD.  May this be so.  May I see a cloud and sense Your Presence in my very life.  I am so very grateful.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

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United with Him

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What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?  May it never be!  How shall we who died to sin still live in it?  Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?  Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.  For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.  Romans 6:1-10 NASB

I laid my sins down, asking forgiveness.  Jesus took my sin to that Cross.  He hung on that cross for me.  I, too, died to that sin when He took it all.  He then rose from the Cross and I rose too… with Jesus.  I wanted to begin anew, and was born again… a new me.   Although the seed of sin is with me always, I am raised with Christ to walk a new life, a life free from that sin by obedience to Him.  This is my resurrected self.  Hallelujah!

Christ lives in me.  I live in union with Him just as two plants, growing closely to one another, grow together, become engrafted.  In Romans 6:5, the phrase “united with Him” reminds me of what I am trying to say here.  “United” is the Greek word symphytos meaning to be planted together, to grow along with….  I am intertwined with the life and death of Jesus Christ because I believe.  Finding definition for this unity I am given in Christ is in word after word: planted together, intertwined, engrafted, grown together, innate, kindred.

As a believer in Christ, I experience, spiritually, the “likeness of His resurrection” and then am raised anew with Him.  Romans 6:10 says that Christ “lives to God”.  As I am united with Him, I, too, am to live to God.  I am called to walk in His ways, in obedience, in love.

LORD, this is something I cannot do alone.  I know that it is impossible… for You are the One Who died for me, taking my sin to the Cross.  I kneel before You and ask You to teach me.  May I stand in intimate fellowship with You so that my new life would be consecrated to You and You Alone.  My word(s) for this year is “set apart”.  Being consecrated is to be set apart for You.  That is my desire.  May I be holy and acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit to You as I learn Your Way.  May I let the world know my gratitude from my countenance, LORD.  May I live with “holy gladness”, “holy boldness”, “cheerful holiness” as I live to God.   I pray in Your Holy Name, Jesus.  Amen.

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photograph: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/1401.html

“holy gladness”, “holy boldness”, “cheerful holiness” from  Charles H. Spurgeon, in “Morning and Evening” August 14th