Sale Rack 

Hosea 3:2
“So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley.”

At first glance, Hosea’s story seems to be a unique one. He was instructed to marry a woman who was involved in prostitution. We have three choices as to exactly what this means. Either she was currently a prostitute, had been one, or God knew she would become one. My personal opinion is, she had a promiscuous past, but had come to the Lord and been delivered, only to fall back into her previous lifestyle. At this point in the story, her life has been reduced to that of a common slave being sold on the bargain rack.

While most of us have not been delivered out of her particular sin, Gomer’s story is actually quite common. Over the years, I have seen many who, after an earth-shattering conversion, that impacted the lives of friends and family, found themselves falling back into the very sins, from which they had been freed.

Hebrews 11 warns of the dangers of easily besetting sins. The best way to guard against falling, is to be sure to remain abiding in Christ. The closer we walk in fellowship with the Lord, the farther we will remove ourselves from the sins that tend to easily trip us up.

Fortunately, the story does not end with Gomer in prostitution. We find her once again redeemed and restored to her husband. No matter how far you have fallen, remember, God wants you back. He loves you and wants to set you free from sin, and restore your relationship with Him.

Pastor Jim

 

The Economy 

1 Peter 1:18-19
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

One day, Jesus was sitting with His disciples watching events transpire at the Temple. As they looked on, He drew their attention to a woman who approached the tithe box, she inserted two small copper coins worth almost nothing. Her actions prompted a comment from Jesus, who informed the disciples that she had given more than all others, because she gave from her poverty, while they gave from their wealth. In doing so, Jesus revealed a very important principle within the economy of God; the value of a gift is determined by what it cost the giver.

This basic economic principle helps to shed light on the comments Peter makes regarding our redemption. To be redeemed is to be purchased. It was a word that would be used to speak of a person being purchased out of slavery. Peter is using it to describe our salvation. We who were once slaves of sin, have been redeemed from the curse, and brought into a right standing with God. Peter explains that the blood of Christ is the only currency with that kind of purchasing power.

He tells us silver and gold did not redeem us. If God would have used a billion dollar block of gold to redeem us, we would each be able to put a dollar value upon ourselves. We could say, “I am worth one billion dollars to God.” At first, that might seem like a lot, until we realize, it costs nothing for God to create more gold. If His supply ran short, He could speak galaxies of gold into existence. No, we were purchased with something of much greater value than precious metals; we have been redeemed with the blood of Christ. Anything else given to provide for our atonement, could have been replaced. God gave up the one thing, of the highest value, in order to save: He gave His only begotten Son.

The next time you are feeling like you don’t matter too much, don’t look around at how others view you, or even within, at how you feel about yourself. Instead, look back at the cross, and see how valuable you are to God, that He would purchase you with the blood of His Son. Then look up to the Throne and offer yourself to Him as a living sacrifice.

Pastor Jim

 

Hope 

Job 19:25-26
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God”

Sometimes, the only comfort for the difficulties we face, is knowing where we are ultimately going. The sorrow Job faced could not be eased by the joys of this life. His only hope was to look beyond the boundaries of the temporal, into the glories of the eternal. Whatever we are facing today, if we have received Christ, we can be sure there is a day coming when we shall see God. Then, all the pains of this life will be consumed with the glories of eternity. Job reminds us of a few important truths that should keep us going during our darkest hours.

First, Job declares, our Redeemer lives. The grand message of Scripture is, Christ died for the ungodly. While we were yet sinners, the Son of God laid His life down for us. His death was substitutionary, meaning He died in our place. It was there, on the cross, where Jesus bore the penalty for sin so we might be forgiven. We know death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him. On the third day, He rose from the dead, conquering sin, death and hell. He ultimately ascended to the right hand of God the Father, where He lives to intercede for us and await our arrival.

Second, Job declares we will one day see God. So much of the difficulty we face, comes about because sin has marred our ability to see God. Everything we know about Him is found in the pages of His Word. However, we struggle to believe much of Old Testament, because we look at Him through the lens of personal experience, pain and loss. We wonder how a God of love could allow us to go through so much suffering. Isn’t it wonderful to know, a day is coming when the veil will be removed, and we will see Him face to face. All the questions which plague us will be answered, and we will know, as we are known.

Whatever you are facing, understand it will one day run its course, and we will stand together before the throne of Grace. On that day, rewards will be given revealing how we trusted Him through the times of trial. Until that day, we should seek to get to know Christ and share Him with others.

Pastor Jim

 

Reflection

Genesis 48:15-16
“God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has fed me all my life long to this day,
The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil…”

2015/01/img_1370.jpgAs the book of Genesis unwinds, we find Jacob getting very close to the end of his life. He knows, just about the only thing left is his departure. While he may not have a whole lot of life in front of him, he does have decades to look back upon. As he reflects upon his life, it is easy for him to see how the hand of God was with him all the way. As he looks back, he focuses upon two things.

First, he recalls how God provided for him. There were times in his life when he had next to nothing and other times when he lived with abundance. There were even times when it looked like he would lose all he had worked so hard to attain, yet in each of the seasons of life, he found God had been faithful to provide for him and his family.

Second, he reflects upon the grace of God. Like all of us, Jacob had a life of highs and lows. There were times when his life was a beautiful example of a believer, and other times when his life was marked by lack of trust and living for self. No matter what had transpired, when he looked back, Jacob could see the hand of God redeeming him. I have to believe, one of the highlights in his life, was to have his relationship with Esau restored, by the grace of God.

Whatever you are facing, why not look back and reflect upon the hand of God caring for you through the years. If there are things that are left unredeemed, take some time to ask Him to repair that which is broken.

Pastor Jim