And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding…

…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I’ve heard a cancer patient talk about how difficult it was when she was waiting to hear back about whether it would be a serious cancer or not. It was a rough month of waiting and not knowing. Then she realized this: that the result that came back did not matter, but if she would receive whatever news with the peace of God, having trusted his goodness in either scenario, that was what mattered, and what she had to cultivate.

Coming from November 11th, Remembrance Day here in Canada, and the associated stories of soldiers told by family members who remember God’s faithfulness in narrowly saving this soldier or bringing that soldier home despite the odds, it remains that more still were not spared the bullet and were not brought home safely. What of God’s faithfulness to their family? As such, it is essential to cultivate a thankfulness and remembrance of God’s faithfulness in all circumstances, to not reduce God to being powerful only when He is granting our desires against all odds, but to see Him as mighty to accomplish His good, pleasing and perfect will even through everything that is not so pleasant.

This is still beyond my understanding.

Found it on the Web 18.09.12

I’ve wondered for a while if I’m allowed to do this. Tim Challies has an A La Carte post he does where he amalgamates interesting things from the web into a post, by providing links and a little blurb. These cover theology and beyond. I wasn’t sure if I should do this because often the things I’d want to post are just things he’s posted already. (Spell “redundant” for me please.) However, I’ve started to read a bit more far and wide, so I think it’s about time to give this a try, if only for the sake of organizing all these extra ideas I’m putting into my head.

On the gospel, expressed in the idea of 3, 2, and 1. Clearly expressed and the most logical I have heard thus far, perhaps because this way of presenting it is novel to me and not full of over-used phrases.
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/48734715]

On our responses to times in our life when we thought we were walking with and following God’s will on the road to blessing, but end up in a mess. How should we perceive these events?
http://www.ccef.org/blog/when-god-pulls-rug-out

On the wrong way to be faithful – the notion of “I must try harder” which is hopelessly oriented towards self-achievement.
http://www.ccef.org/blog/what-christians-really-believe-i-must-try-harder

On the criteria for baptism of children. A well-reasoned discussion that gives good points to extrapolate to understanding what conditions should be met for an adult baptism.
http://www.challies.com/articles/when-should-my-children-be-baptized

On solid advice for youth ministry.
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/08/10/some-advice-for-youth-ministers/

On the right way to “wait” for those who are single. “I Don’t Wait Anymore” also inspired another post.
http://gracefortheroad.com/2012/02/03/idontwait/
http://www.boundlessline.org/2012/09/what-are-you-waiting-for.html

On observing the responses to the anti-Islam video from the Muslim world. Consider the premise of Islam as a religion compared to Christianity: the effects of valuing honour versus valuing humility.
http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-mocking-of-muhammad-and-condemning-of-christ

—–

On 20 things that are useful to know for those in their 20s.
http://theburiedlife.tumblr.com/post/24011465597/20-things-i-should-have-known-at-20

On the magic of photography and the lapse of time, juxtaposed.
http://dearphotograph.com/

Hosea, the prophet

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

[This is a little piece of art I googled, just because people like to see images.]

As one of the lesser-read books of the Bible, Hosea shocks within the first two verses.

2 When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.”

It then alludes to God’s provision of salvation by verse 7.

7 Yet I will show love to the house of Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but by the LORD their God.”

The first chapter concludes on the bizarreness of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

9 Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi, [c] for you are not my people, and I am not your God.

10 “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’

The Book of Hosea uses the ‘adulterous woman’ in chapter 2 as another version of the ‘prodigal son’.

7 She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’

Note the similarity to the following extracts from Luke 15:11-32.

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.13″Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’

Hosea recounts why God loves us and wants us to be with him and how this is possible: it is because of and through God’s righteousness, justice, love, compassion, and faithfulness. Because of what God does, we acknowledge him.

19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you [with] righteousness and justice,
[with] love and compassion.

20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD.

There are many more interesting things to note in Hosea, but I will only note three more. A reference in Chapter 6 – although it takes some allegorical reading (thanks, Augustine) – cannot refrain from shouting out JESUS, who rose on the third day…

2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.

Chapter 10 also echoes the Eden narrative.

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…

Finally, I’ll end this post with an accurate illustration in chapter 13 of careless human nature and how quickly we forget our benefactor in our limited ‘personal’ focus.

4 “But I am the LORD your God,
who brought you out of Egypt.
You shall acknowledge no God but me,
no Savior except me.

5 I cared for you in the desert,
in the land of burning heat.

6 When I fed them, they were satisfied;
when they were satisfied, they became proud;
then they forgot me.

Hopefully this inspires your interest in reading Hosea in its entirety (plus other parts of scripture).