Hosea 14:1-9

14 Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.
    Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you
    and return to the Lord.
Say to him:
    “Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
    that we may offer the fruit of our lips.
Assyria cannot save us;
    we will not mount warhorses.
We will never again say ‘Our gods’
    to what our own hands have made,
    for in you the fatherless find compassion.”

“I will heal their waywardness
    and love them freely,
    for my anger has turned away from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
    he will blossom like a lily.
Like a cedar of Lebanon
    he will send down his roots;
    his young shoots will grow.
His splendor will be like an olive tree,
    his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
People will dwell again in his shade;
    they will flourish like the grain,
they will blossom like the vine—
    Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols?
    I will answer him and care for him.
I am like a flourishing juniper;
    your fruitfulness comes from me.”

Who is wise? Let them realize these things.
    Who is discerning? Let them understand.
The ways of the Lord are right;
    the righteous walk in them,
    but the rebellious stumble in them.
(Hosea 14:1-9 NIV)

Previously in chapter 13, we saw the time of judgment had come upon Israel because of their sin and unrepentant heart toward the Lord.

In today’s text, the final chapter of Hosea, we see Hosea’s last call to repentance and God’s promises if Israel will return to Him.

In verses 1-3, Hosea issues a call to repentance and offers a sample prayer of contrition.  This prayer of repentance has three simple points:

  • No seeking after foreign allies for aid and protection (Assyria)
  • No trying to save themselves via military might (horses)
  • No more creation and worship of idols (“our gods”)

In verses 4-7, we see God’s promises to receive them back, to love them, and bless them if they will repent and turn from their wicked ways.

The Lord ends His promise in verse 8 with a tender word to Israel, reminding them that He alone is their source of provision and blessing.  The Lord does not heap all the sins of the people on them in these final thoughts.  Instead, these are words of grace, mercy, and most of all, love.

Finally, Hosea says that the wise and discerning will take God up on His offer, while the rebellious will stumble and fall over it (v. 9).  The choice is up to them (and us).

This was not a prayer to avoid the impending catastrophe and destruction of Israel; rather, it was a prayer to restore a relationship that transcends any circumstance.

The book of Hosea begins and ends with the message of God’s love and mercy, illustrated through Hosea’s marriage and God’s covenant relationship with Israel.  If people will say “in God the fatherless find compassion” (v. 3e), then the Lord will say “I will love them freely” (v. 4b).

God’s love will not and cannot die.  Despite our worst offenses and best efforts as humans to ignore God’s love (or minimize it), God’s love remains unconditional and everlasting.

Why is it so hard to accept what God has already given us, thinking we must find love or earn love on our own?

As we recognize and admit we are spiritual orphans (fatherless) in this world, the Lord, our Father, says to us, “I will love you freely.”

May we live in this reality and accept God’s unconditional love today.



Hosea 13:1-16

13 When Ephraim spoke, people trembled;
    he was exalted in Israel.
    But he became guilty of Baal worship and died.
Now they sin more and more;
    they make idols for themselves from their silver,
cleverly fashioned images,
    all of them the work of craftsmen.
It is said of these people,
    “They offer human sacrifices!
    They kiss calf-idols!”
Therefore they will be like the morning mist,
    like the early dew that disappears,
    like chaff swirling from a threshing floor,
    like smoke escaping through a window.

“But I have been the Lord your God
    ever since you came out of Egypt.
You shall acknowledge no God but me,
    no Savior except me.
I cared for you in the wilderness,
    in the land of burning heat.
When I fed them, they were satisfied;
    when they were satisfied, they became proud;
    then they forgot me.
So I will be like a lion to them,
    like a leopard I will lurk by the path.
Like a bear robbed of her cubs,
    I will attack them and rip them open;
like a lion I will devour them—
    a wild animal will tear them apart.

“You are destroyed, Israel,
    because you are against me, against your helper.
10 Where is your king, that he may save you?
    Where are your rulers in all your towns,
of whom you said,
    ‘Give me a king and princes’?
11 So in my anger I gave you a king,
    and in my wrath I took him away.
12 The guilt of Ephraim is stored up,
    his sins are kept on record.
13 Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him,
    but he is a child without wisdom;
when the time arrives,
    he doesn’t have the sense to come out of the womb.

14 “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave;
    I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, are your plagues?
    Where, O grave, is your destruction?

“I will have no compassion,
15     even though he thrives among his brothers.
An east wind from the Lord will come,
    blowing in from the desert;
his spring will fail
    and his well dry up.
His storehouse will be plundered
    of all its treasures.
16 The people of Samaria must bear their guilt,
    because they have rebelled against their God.
They will fall by the sword;
    their little ones will be dashed to the ground,
    their pregnant women ripped open.”
(Hosea 13:1-16 NIV)

In yesterday’s passage, we saw the Lord issue one last call for repentance (Hosea 12:6).  But Israel refused to acknowledge its sin and its need for the Lord.  The northern kingdom marched forward in its deluded self-sufficiency and pride.

In today’s text, the time of judgment has come.  The Lord has warned Israel of the consequences of their sin and has pleaded with them to repent and turn back to Him.  Since Israel has ignored their Heavenly Father, He must now discipline His wayward child to ultimately save the child from self-destruction.

Israel had become proud (v. 1a), and then began Baal worship (v. 1b).  Instead of humbling themselves and turning to the Lord, they increased their worship of other gods.  They also began creating images of these gods, offering human sacrifices to idols and kissing their created images (v. 2).  In the end, these people who participated in the creation and worship of these idols would be swept away just like the morning dew that vanishes when the sun comes up (v. 3).

The Lord reminds Israel that He cared for them across the generations – from leading them out of Egypt to caring for their every need while they were in the desert to giving them the Promised Land (vv. 4-5).  But in the end, they enjoyed what they had been given and forgot the Lord who gave them all the blessings and went their own way (v. 6).

So the Lord will discipline His children.  To get their attention, it will feel like they are being attacked by wild animals.  The Lord will rip apart their way of life, their worship of false idols, and their self-sufficiency (vv. 7-8).

The Lord reminds them that they have no one to blame but themselves.  They have committed spiritual and national suicide because of their sin and unrepentance (v. 9).  The Lord also reminds them that they have no king.  Even if they did have a king, it would not matter, as the nation’s heart was turned against the Lord (vv. 10-11).

The time for discipline is upon Israel, just as the time of labor comes to a pregnant woman (vv. 12-13).  But Israel tries to resist; Solomon’s words from so long ago were right:

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
    but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.
(Proverbs 22:15 NIV)

Despite these horrific predictions, the Lord promises to redeem and restore His people after the discipline ends (v. 14).  But for now, the atrocities of the Assyrians awaits the Israelites because of their sins and their unwillingness to return to the Lord (vv. 15-16).

Today’s text is a grim picture of the consequences of sin, and the holiness of God.  Yet in His holiness, God cares enough to do whatever it takes to bring His children back to Himself.  His character and nature is love – and that means not giving up on His children, even when they are willfully and stubbornly disobedient and set on a self-destructive path.  Sometimes extreme sin requires extreme love.

I believe another big lesson from today’s text is God’s ultimate sovereignty in world affairs.  Many people believe that international events have no ties whatsoever to God; that humanity makes its own history.  Some, on the other extreme, try to bind every international news article to some apocalyptic reference in the Old or New Testament.

But it seems that the Lord’s words through Hosea recorded neither of those extreme views.  Yes, God is ultimately sovereign in world affairs, but He allows people free will to make their own choices.  God instructs anyone who will listen as to what those good choices look like, but will not stop them from choosing what they want, even if it is to their ultimate harm.  There are consequences, both good and bad, for our choices.

Finally, the biggest lesson from today’s text is that the meaning of life cannot be realized apart from God, the giver of life.  No wealth, no power, no army, no nation, no leader can offer security or protection on their own, or even by combining forces.  Without the Lord, the end is the same, and it’s not a pretty picture.

May we look to the Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer, the One worthy of our praise and for our deliverance, in both this world and eternity to come.


Hosea 11:12-12:14

12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
    Israel with deceit.
And Judah is unruly against God,
    even against the faithful Holy One.

12 Ephraim feeds on the wind;
    he pursues the east wind all day
    and multiplies lies and violence.
He makes a treaty with Assyria
    and sends olive oil to Egypt.
The Lord has a charge to bring against Judah;
    he will punish Jacob according to his ways
    and repay him according to his deeds.
In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel;
    as a man he struggled with God.
He struggled with the angel and overcame him;
    he wept and begged for his favor.
He found him at Bethel
    and talked with him there—
the Lord God Almighty,
    the Lord is his name!
But you must return to your God;
    maintain love and justice,
    and wait for your God always.

The merchant uses dishonest scales
    and loves to defraud.
Ephraim boasts,
    “I am very rich; I have become wealthy.
With all my wealth they will not find in me
    any iniquity or sin.”

“I have been the Lord your God
    ever since you came out of Egypt;
I will make you live in tents again,
    as in the days of your appointed festivals.
10 I spoke to the prophets,
    gave them many visions
    and told parables through them.”

11 Is Gilead wicked?
    Its people are worthless!
Do they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal?
    Their altars will be like piles of stones
    on a plowed field.
12 Jacob fled to the country of Aram;
    Israel served to get a wife,
    and to pay for her he tended sheep.
13 The Lord used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt,
    by a prophet he cared for him.
14 But Ephraim has aroused his bitter anger;
    his Lord will leave on him the guilt of his bloodshed
    and will repay him for his contempt.
(Hosea 11:12-12:14 NIV)

Yesterday we looked at the covenant bond between God and Israel portrayed as a parent-child relationship.  While the Lord loved Israel as a parent loves a child, Israel turned its back on the Lord and willfully went its own way.

In today’s passage, the Lord calls out Israel’s lies and deceit and gives one last call to repentance.

In 11:12, The Lord endicts both Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom).  Israel is full of lies and deceit, and Judah is unruly against the Lord.  Starting in verse 1 of chapter 12, Israel is the focus for the majority of today’s text.

The Lord begins by laying out the lies and violence within the land, and the unholy treaties that Israel has made with both Assyria and Egypt (12:1).

The Lord then recalls Israel’s namesake and ancestor, Jacob, who God later renamed Israel (vv. 2-6).  Even his name meant “deceiver” (Genesis 25:26 footnotes).  Even before he was out of his mother’s womb, he was holding on to his brother’s heel.  Throughout his childhood and adult life, Jacob was known as a liar and deceiver.

Only when Jacob met God face-to-face, did he finally recognize the weakness of his character through his lies and deceit, and the power of God’s grace as his strength (vv. 2-5).  The Lord called Israel to follow in Jacob’s footsteps – to repent, seek love and justice, and to wait on the Lord (v. 6).

But Israel had gotten rich by oppressing others and had declared its innocence of any wrongdoing or sin (vv. 7-8).  But the Lord knows their true heart of sin, of oppressing others and deceiving themselves in their self-righteousness.  So what does the Lord do?  He reminds them that He can and will remove this mask of self-righteous behavior and take them back to their humble beginnings, to living in tents (v. 9).

The Lord also reminded the Israelites that He had sent His prophets to them, but the Israelites were so caught up in their web of lies that they could no longer discern the truth, much less obey it (vv. 10-13).

Ultimately, this rejection of truth and delusional belief in their self-made life would bring God’s promised consequences upon Israel (v. 14).

So what can we learn from today’s text?  How does this ancient history lesson apply to us in our life and era?

First, there is still freedom in truth.  Listen to Jesus’ words:

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
(John 8:32 NIV)

And what is the source of truth?  Is it to be found in us, or outside of us?
Again, let’s listen to Jesus’s words on the subject:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6 NIV)

May we pursue truth by following Christ, the embodiment of truth and life.

And how do we follow Christ?  Hosea’s words point us in the right direction:

But you must return to your God;
    maintain love and justice,
    and wait for your God always.
(Hosea 12:6 NIV)

May this be our meditation and focus today.


Hosea 11:1-11

11 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more they were called,
    the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
    and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
    it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
    a little child to the cheek,
    and I bent down to feed them.

“Will they not return to Egypt
    and will not Assyria rule over them
    because they refuse to repent?
A sword will flash in their cities;
    it will devour their false prophets
    and put an end to their plans.
My people are determined to turn from me.
    Even though they call me God Most High,
    I will by no means exalt them.

“How can I give you up, Ephraim?
    How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
    How can I make you like Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me;
    all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger,
    nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man—
    the Holy One among you.
    I will not come against their cities.
10 They will follow the Lord;
    he will roar like a lion.
When he roars,
    his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come from Egypt,
    trembling like sparrows,
    from Assyria, fluttering like doves.
I will settle them in their homes,”
    declares the Lord.
(Hosea 11:1-11 NIV)

In our last time together, we saw how God intended life to be for the Israelites using an agricultural example, how Israel choose the opposite path, and the consequences they were to endure because of their wayward choices.

In today’s text, we see the covenant bond between God and the Israelites described as a parent-child relationship.

To set the stage here, this passage is set as a quasi-court case, with the town fathers sitting at the city gates and acting as wise judges in civil matters.  The Lord is bringing the case against His delinquent son, the nation of Israel.  According to God’s Law, adult children who were irreparably and totally delinquent were to be brought by their parents before the town fathers and held accountable for their sins (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

The Lord, as the parent of the kingdom of Israel, did not bring this delinquent child in an attitude of justice and anger, but out of a broken heart and love for the child.  The Lord presents His case of how He had loved and cared for this child (vv. 1,3,4), and how the child had gone his own way (v. 2) despite repeated pleas to repent and turn back.  But Israel’s continual refusal of God’s love will be its ultimate downfall (vv. 5-7).   Israel will experience the consequences of its choices.

In verse 8, we see that the Lord’s heart is broken and in great conflict over this delinquent child.  The Lord does not want to give up on this child and see them be destroyed like the evil cities of Admah and Zeboyim (Genesis 14:8, Deuteronomy 29:23).

Thankfully, God’s love is greater than His anger, His love is greater than His Law (v. 9).  There will still be consequences, and the Law must be fulfilled, but God will also redeem His own.  God’s love is central to His very nature and character.  If God were to stop loving, He would cease to be God.

Ultimately, God promises to restore Israel, to put them back in their homes, to bring them out of exile from distant lands (vv. 10-11).

If God can love wayward and perverse Israel in ancient days, how much hope does that give us in our day?

As we look into the New Testament, we see Matthew quote the first verse of today’s passage, Hosea 11:1, in Matthew 2:15.  The Lord had called His chosen children, the Jewish people, out of Egypt; now the Lord was calling His true son, His only son, out of Egypt.

And if we are followers of Jesus Christ, God’s love and adoption as His children is extended to us, His invitation, His call, is to us.

Listen to the Apostle Paul’s words of hope, promise, and blessing:

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
(Galatians 4:4-7 NIV)

May we step into the hope that is present in Christ, and the calling that awaits us.


Hosea 10:9-15

“Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel,
    and there you have remained.
Will not war again overtake
    the evildoers in Gibeah?
10 When I please, I will punish them;
    nations will be gathered against them
    to put them in bonds for their double sin.
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer
    that loves to thresh;
so I will put a yoke
    on her fair neck.
I will drive Ephraim,
    Judah must plow,
    and Jacob must break up the ground.
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,
    reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
    for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
    and showers his righteousness on you.
13 But you have planted wickedness,
    you have reaped evil,
    you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
    and on your many warriors,
14 the roar of battle will rise against your people,
    so that all your fortresses will be devastated—
as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle,
    when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
15 So will it happen to you, Bethel,
    because your wickedness is great.
When that day dawns,
    the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.
(Hosea 10:9-15 NIV)

In our last passage, we saw Hosea’s personal distress over Israel’s sin and waywardness.  Hosea had taken some time out from public ministry; we got to eavesdrop as Hosea shared his laments with a few close friends.

In today’s text, the Lord is speaking through Hosea again, and Hosea is re-engaged in public ministry.

God begins today’s text by recounting Israel’s sin and the coming consequences of their disobedience to the Lord (vv. 9-10).

The Lord then paints a picture of what could have been and should have been if Israel had been living according to God’s plan.  The Lord uses an agricultural analogy to explain life as He intended it to be.

First, Ephraim (Israel) was trained by the Lord to use her strength for good, and she enjoyed it.  Judah would participate in cooperation with Israel – Judah would guide, direct, and prepare the soil  for planting and harvest.  They would then sow good seed by seeking the Lord first and obeying all His commands and statutes.  The Lord would then pour out His showers of blessing that would produce fruit, growth, and eventually an abundant harvest (vv. 11-12).

Instead, Israel chose the opposite.  They used their strength for their own selfish interests, they practiced evil rather than righteousness, and they chased after other foreign idols and ignored the Lord.  Israel’s strength in and dependence on their army would ultimately be their downfall.  Just as the gory fate of Beth Arbel was their history, the same would be true of Bethel (Israel) (vv. 13-15).

Just as the nation of Israel was called as a nation to the purpose of serving the Lord, so we are called to live into our calling from the Lord as well.

Listen to Peter’s reminder to us:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
(1 Peter 2:9 NIV)

May we intentionally live into our calling, not looking inward, but outward and upward.


Christmas in a Word

Christmas is a yearly struggle for me for a lot of reasons.  For the past several years, I have found a way to way to reduce that struggle by focusing on some aspect of the Christmas narrative that captures the true essence and meaning of Christmas.

This year, I have been completely captivated by the telling of the Christmas story in a single word.

It’s a simple word, consisting of four letters.  It’s not a profane word, but it is a common word. You and I use this word in our everyday speech.

Are you ready for the word?




And the context of this word?

God’s name, from Matthew 1:23: Emmanuel, God WITH us.

Stop and meditate on this for a bit.

The same God who created the universe now enters His creation.

  • The Incarnate takes on flesh, bone, and blood
  • The Immortal enters time and space.
  • The King becomes a pauper.
  • The One hoped-for becomes the living hope for all humanity.

As one author has said,
“In this season of Advent, presence is the central move of God.”
(Casey Tygrett)

The focal point, the theme of God’s sixty-six love letters to us, what we know as the Bible, is none other than Emmanuel, God with us.

  • Not just ancient history
  • Not just a future promise and a hope
  • But also a present living Reality here in our midst

John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Here is a poem that describes this amazing event of Emmanuel, God With Us:
 “First Coming”

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine. He did not wait

till hearts were pure. In joy he came
to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

-Madeleine L’Engle, from The Ordering of Love: The New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L’Engle


To love someone is to be in their presence, to be with them, and allow ourselves to be loved and be present with them in return.

As you step through the rest of this Christmas season, may your hearts be captivated by the “with-ness” of Emmanuel, God with us, our Living Reality.

May you carve out some time to experience and enjoy the warm embrace of Christ with you.


Hosea 10:1-8

10 Israel was a spreading vine;
    he brought forth fruit for himself.
As his fruit increased,
    he built more altars;
as his land prospered,
    he adorned his sacred stones.
Their heart is deceitful,
    and now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord will demolish their altars
    and destroy their sacred stones.

Then they will say, “We have no king
    because we did not revere the Lord.
But even if we had a king,
    what could he do for us?”
They make many promises,
    take false oaths
    and make agreements;
therefore lawsuits spring up
    like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
The people who live in Samaria fear
    for the calf-idol of Beth Aven.
Its people will mourn over it,
    and so will its idolatrous priests,
those who had rejoiced over its splendor,
    because it is taken from them into exile.
It will be carried to Assyria
    as tribute for the great king.
Ephraim will be disgraced;
    Israel will be ashamed of its foreign alliances.
Samaria’s king will be destroyed,
    swept away like a twig on the surface of the waters.
The high places of wickedness will be destroyed—
    it is the sin of Israel.
Thorns and thistles will grow up
    and cover their altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
    and to the hills, “Fall on us!”
(Hosea 10:1-8 NIV)

In our last passage, we saw the Lord and Hosea have a dialogue about the dysfunction and broken covenant between Israel and God. Despite many warnings and prophets sent to proclaim God’s love for them and tell them the consequences of their attitudes and actions, the people still chose to rebel and sin against the Lord.

In today’s passage, we see Hosea’s continued thoughts toward Israel.  We know these are Hosea’s thoughts and words because the Lord is referred to in third person (v. 2).  While these words are Hosea’s, they are a summary of what the Lord has spoken through him.

Hosea begins by saying that Israel is a growing, productive vine.  But rather than giving God the glory for its growth, it uses the profit from its growth and fruit on itself.  Israel builds more altars to Baal and more temples for self-indulgent prostitution and depravity rather than giving God the glory in His house and caring for the needs of others.

Hosea then laments and notes that the Lord will hold Israel accountable for their attitudes and actions, and will destroy all these altars and places of worship (v. 2).

Hosea then predicts the people’s response to his words of warning; indeed, he had likely heard them many times before, as noted in chapter 9, verse 7, where they called Hosea a fool and told everyone not to listen to him.

So what did the people say this time?  “We don’t have a king because we don’t honor God.  But even if we did have a king, how would that help our situation?  What can a king (or God, for that matter) do for us?” (v. 3, paraphrased).  The people had put God in a box, a very small box.

Hosea notes that the Israelites talk big, but their faith in God is nonexistent, and their misplaced trust in their allies to get them out of this mess will not work, either (v. 4).

In fact, their worst nightmare is about to come true:  their beloved object of worship, a golden calf, is about to be taken from them and carried off to Assyria.  Their object of glory will be removed from their midst.  They will be put to shame, and their leaders will have to eat their prideful words in bitter shame, humility, and failure (vv. 5-6).

Israel will become desolate and the people will be cut off from their supposed allies who are now their captors (v. 7).  When their world and lifestyle implodes, the Israelites will freak out and wish to die rather than give up their way of life (v. 8).  Turning back to the Lord is not even a consideration.

Hosea is not gloating over Israel’s demise, nor is he saying, “I told you so!”.  Rather, likely with tears in his eyes and his heart breaking on the inside, he is warning anyone who will listen about the consequences of the kingdom’s sin, warning them that unless they repent, all this is about to happen.  It’s sunny right now, but a devastating storm is on its way.

May our faith and focus be rooted and grounded in the Lord, where we give Him the glory for all that happens, rather than use God’s blessings for our selfish motives.

May our focus be upward and outward, not inward.