Ancient Lesson for Modern Times
I am so enjoying my study of the book of Hosea. His message was for ancient Israel but could have been written for our country today. Yesterday my research inspired me to write the poem When – about judgment and wrath, warning and choices. Today I am focusing on the origins of judgment – God’s love for us. Hosea points out in chapter 11 that we can count the ways God loves us:
- He loves first. (We are loved so much He chose to create us and to make us His children.)
- He loves us when we neglect and disrespect Him.
- He loves us when we abandon Him.
- He doesn’t give up on us – that is love.
- He loves us persistently to get us to return to a relationship with Him.
I think there is a tendency today to preach either love or judgment or wrath. You may get a lesson of judgment and wrath thrown in. The complete story is that everything begins and ends with love – God’s love for us and our love for Him. He lets us choose to love Him.
Where Is God?
I only have to turn on the news or pick up a newspaper to know the state of the world. Terrible things are happening in our schools, churches, businesses, and streets. You hear people ask: “Where is God?”
God is there, even though many don’t want Him in our classrooms, homes, streets, churches or workplaces. We have a choice to fill the empty spaces inside of us, that God-shaped place with things of this world. While we can choose to deny, disrespect, neglect or even attempt to confine, restrain, or limit God to what we can understand. But God is constant, unchanging, steadfast, and patient.
If I did not have my faith, God’s strength to lean on, the travails of this world would defeat me. When I have to deal with unethical vendors or angry, bitter people, I would not be able to do it with a smile or to find words that enable others to stand strong without God. In the past, I have dealt with an unethical Christian trade show group who were paid and turned the bill into collection too. I also dealt with some dynamics with a non-profit group this week where rumors, innuendos, and outright lies were defeated with words of truth.
As Christian business owners or professionals in the business world, how we think, act and react may be the only witness the people in our workplaces have. They may have heard of God and Christ in passing. They may even have stepped inside a church and own a Bible. They may not have met and come to know our Savior, Jesus Christ, or God, our Father in heaven.
When dealing with the unpleasant, the irate, the unethical, or other challenges in your work life. Step back, kneel down and seek the Lord. Ask for the words, the action or the inaction that God would have you use to deal with the situation. Remember:
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, NRSV)
“There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.”” (Acts 14:22, NRSV)
Author: Lea A. Strickland
Copyright © 2016 Lea A. Strickland