“I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.

No one comes to the Father

except through Me”

John 14:6

Pastors Noreen & Henry  Kevern

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Hosea, A Story Of God’s Love and Judgment and Redemption (4)

Woe to them, because they have strayed from Me! Destruction to them because they have rebelled against Me! I long to redeem them but they speak about Me falsely. They do not cry out to Me from their hearts but wail in their beds. Hosea 7:13-14

O woe is me! Why has God done this to me? Why has God allowed my child, my spouse, my parent, my friend to die? Why do I not have enough money? Why is there war? Why is there hate? Why, why, why? Why do we cry out to the LORD? Why do we blame God for all the things that are wrong? Why do we expect God to fix things or stop things from happening? Why do we ignore God? Why do we believe the lies of the devil? Why is it so easy to forget God? Why do we expect God to fix things that we have broken? O the questions, the questions! There are so many questions we ask and God has so many questions for us. The reason we humans have so many questions is that we have been playing the blame game since the beginning of creation when Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, the devil, and neither one of them took responsibility for their own actions. Instead of Adam speaking up and telling the serpent that what God said was a bit different from what the devil said. Adam sat there and let Eve take the first bite of the apple and when she offered it to him, he took the second bite. Adam could have spoken up and avoided the fall of humankind. By eating the fruit, their eyes were open. Our lives would have been so different had Adam and Eve listened to God instead of the devil. God asks the question, Why did you want to leave a life of having everything to having to toil and woe? God gave humankind the Garden of Eden and humans coveted more and lost Eden. And so the blame game began. When God called to Adam and Eve in the garden after they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, they hid because they realized they were naked. They realized that they did what God had told them not to do and they knew that God would punish them. Just as our children hide when they do something wrong and they blame it on Not I, It Wasn’t Me, or I Don’t Know. How I searched for those three in my house when my children were little! Henry and I always told our children that they should tell us the truth no matter what. We told them there would be more consequences for lying then for telling the truth. And in reality, our children did tell the truth more often than not. If they broke something, we were more concerned that they were not hurt. Things can be replaced but our children cannot. But there was this cherub ceramic wall hanging I had. Poor thing, it had been glued together so often and put back on the wall; the paint covering the cracks could not hide the truth. Not one of our children would own up to what happened to that cherub. One day when we came home, she was no longer there. And those three interlopers-Not I, It wasn’t Me and I Don’t Know were behind it. We knew it was all 4 of them playing ball in the house but they did not own up to it until they were adults. But we have forgiven our children. They were all under 12 when my cherub disappeared. We as humans still do the same with God. We think if we patch up and paint over the truth that God will not see. As Adam and Eve made clothes out of leaves to cover their sin, so we humans continue to do so. But God does know everything that we do. As our parent, He wants us to tell Him the truth instead of trying to cover it up or blame it on someone or something else. But we have forgotten that God calls us to repent of our sins. When we accept Jesus as our LORD and Savior, we are to confess our sins and learn to not sin any longer. When the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, He convicts us of our sins. If we are still sinning, then we do not have the Spirit nature and are living in the flesh nature. Let’s look at the fruits of the Spirit for a moment. In Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, perseverance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. These fruits are given to us as we learn and follow the way of the LORD. In other words, if we are following Jesus, if we are walking in His way, His truth, and His life, our lives would be overflowing with these fruits of our living and abiding in the LORD. Let’s look at love. Jesus told us to love one another as He loves us. But what is love? Some believe that love means we let those we love do whatever they want if it makes them happy. But that is not love. Love is described beautifully by Paul in 1st Corinthians 13:4-8: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. Paul is talking about what God sees as love. God is patient with us, always putting before us His love and what He desires our lives to be. He gave us free will and He gave us a desire to come to Him and follow Him and those two things are in conflict with each other. Free will is the flesh nature and the desire to follow God is the Spirit nature. And so we get to choose to accept God’s Spirit nature and His will or we can choose the flesh nature which is where the devil rules; God’s love is not selfish love. His Story, the Bible, has laid out before us how He and humans have lived in conflict and in peace with each other. There are many instances of the people choosing to follow God and there are many more instances of people following Satan. As our parent, God punished His people for their sins, but always made a way for them to return to Him and begin again. What a love story, God loving us even though we sin; God always putting a way back to Him even as we sin; God punishing us as we deserve but always loving and wanting us to return to Him. And when all else failed because humans love the flesh nature, God came down to earth Himself as a man, Jesus Christ. Even before we were born, God died for our sins. Now that’s real love. As Christians we are to be patient with one another; when our loved ones sin, we are to point out their sins and to teach them to repent of their sins. Please do not give me the Judge and you shall be judged quote. This is why I teach that you should read your Bible and read before and after any one phrase. Satan knows the Bible better than you do. He uses your lack of knowledge of the Scriptures to trick you. Yes, Jesus said, “Judge and you shall be judged” (Matthew 7:1) but He continues on in verses 3-5: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother.” We have to examine ourselves and remove all that is not of God. We need to be life-long learners of the LORD’ Word, living a life of following the way of the LORD. Once we search ourselves then we are able to help others to walk in the way of the LORD. If we do not teach what sin is, how then will we know what sin is? Paul said that if it was not for the law, he would not have known what to covet means. God’ law teaches us His righteous requirements. His ways are not our ways. As Christians we are to be kind to one another. Kindness means we show God’s goodness and His way. We study the Gospels so we can follow Jesus’ way. And Jesus calls us to repent of our sins and sin no more. We do not envy others because they have something we want but we rejoice because they are blessed. Love does not boast about our own accomplishments or what we have. Love is not proud or prideful, but in love we are proud of our loved ones when they walk in the way of the LORD. Love does not dishonor by doing things that are against God’s way and does not dishonor by teaching or doing things of the flesh nature which is sin and we do not lead others into sin. Love is not self-seeking but seeks for good for others. Love does not seek for self-satisfaction. Love seeks to satisfy God. Love does not become angry easily, and we do not act angrily towards one another. And when we are able to teach others what sin is, when that sinner stops sinning, we do not keep a record of their sins. Love does not rejoice in the devil’s evil and lies, but rejoices in God’s goodness and truth. Love protects from sin, always trusts and hopes in God, love perseveres in all that life brings and love, God’s love, never fails. And so we see that love is the first thing we learn from God. God created us out of love and in His love has been teaching us what is good for us. But humans are selfish, only wanting what we think makes us happy. Woe to those who have strayed from God. In their quest to indulge in every kind of selfishness and sin, they fall further and further from God and if they do not return to God, will end up burning for eternity in hell. Sadly, many people think that if they are doing things that they think are good according to their standards that they will go to heaven when they die. Jesus warns us that we are to repent and sin no more according to God’s standards; that we are to leave the flesh nature and be born again in God’s Spirit. And so love, God’s standard of love, is what we are to live. Jesus told us that not one stroke of the law will be done away with until all is accomplished. When Jesus returns and takes those who have surrendered all to God and have followed His way, His truth and His life, and then the seven years of judgments and torments will come upon all those left behind. Brothers and sisters, take heed, the time of judgments is near. Look to the clouds for His return. God will judge you according to His standards; so repent and surrender to the LORD. God desires that all surrender to Him and follow His way. That is why He gave us the law to teach us what His righteous requirements are. God desires that we follow His way in every area of our lives; when we fall into temptation, not that God is tempting us, but the devil tempts our flesh nature because he wants us to go to hell with him. Sadly many people do not want to know God because they know their lives are not according to God but the devil. Some people think they can say they do not know what God’s righteous requirements are and claim ignorance, but God’s righteous requirements have been known from the beginning. Those who say that if what God requires is not according to their standards then He is not a loving God; many people think that God should just give them what they want. God is our parent and we have to realize that He knows what is best for us; He created us and as His creations, He does know what is best for us. My dear brothers and sisters, sin is going against God. When you choose to live a life of sin, you are following the devil. Sin does not just destroy you but in your sin, you murder others. Abortion murders a human being. Sexual sin is destroying marriages, families and nations, and the devil leads you into these grave sins. God created humans as male and female; to procreate and to rule over the earth and the animals. But the devil has tricked many people into believing that adultery, homosexuality, abortion, coveting, sexual freedom to have sex with whomever we want, selfishness and that if we don’t allow these things, then we are haters and God is not good. Brothers and sisters, these are the lies of the devil. God created male and female; a man shall leave his father and mother, and a woman leave her home and the two shall become one. That is what marriage is; that is how God ordained marriage from the beginning. Satan wants you to believe him and live of life of sin. He wants you to make idols of people, clothes, purses, cars, money, or anything that is more important to you than placing God first in your life. What are you going to say to God when you stand before Him and He asks you, “Why did you murder your unborn child that I gave you?” “Why did you promote murdering unborn children?” “Why did you commit adultery and promote it?” “Why did you think more of your sexual pleasure and less of what I created you for?” “Why did you degrade your bodies by lusting after what I know is not good for you?” “Why did you listen to the devil and not to Me?” I created order, to give you what is good but you listened to the devil who lies to you and tells you that it is okay with God if a man has sex with another man, or a woman with a woman or if you commit adultery because you have fallen out of love with your spouse; that your body is your own and that you can murder your child that you created by having sex; that you don’t need to marry, just because you get pregnant; I do not approve of these things and if you continue, I will have to judge you and I want you to come to Me and repent and not go to hell for eternity. God pleads with you to change and surrender you whole life to Him.  Day by day, we are to come to God and build an ongoing relationship with Him. We come to God to tell about our day, we give Him thanks for all things in our lives, the good things and the bad, we do not come to Him with a laundry list of wants; we come to Him to ask Him to guide us in His will for our lives and to teach us how we are to live. We seek His Word so that we learn what God wants from us and what He does not want us to do, so that we will be able to live with Him in His glory forever. We come to God and thank Him that He loved us first and created us for His purpose. Let us give God what He deserves for His love and faithfulness in continuing to place in our lives His goodness and mercy and let us surrender to God and thank Jesus for dying for us. Choose this day whom you will serve; whether it is the devil and hell, or God and His grace through the cross. Brothers and sisters choose God and serve Him with all that you are. Let His love shine in your lives and grow in being in love with Him. Learn from Him and He will bring you home to live with Him. God loves you and is calling to you. Confess your sins and sin no more; and to learn to walk in the way of the LORD.