I Will Go After My Lovers

I’m devoting the next few weeks to working on a project that’s going to demand most of my mental energy. So apart from the usual Mon-Fri Checkout which will continue, I won’t be writing an additional daily article. Instead, I’m going to post a series of daily devotionals on Hosea that I wrote a few years ago.


“I will go after my lovers” (Hosea 2:5).

God’s “I will” is always coming into conflict with our “I will.” Instead of, “Not my will, but your will be done,” we assert, “Not your will, but my will be done.” Instead of asking God, “What will you have me to do?” we, as it were, look God in the eye and wonder, “What will I have you to do?”

Hosea’s repeated re-assertion of the “I will of God” was rendered necessary by the daringly disobedient “I will” of Israel. Here, Hosea portrays Israel as a wife with a perfect husband. He lovingly brings her home all she needs. He opens the door and puts bread, water, wool, flax, oil, and drink on the table. She takes all these gifts and packs them away in her cupboards. But then she walks straight past her loving husband without so much as a “thank you,” and walks out the door, saying, “I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.”

Israel took the loving gifts and ignored the loving Giver. Worse, she attributed the loving gifts to the enemies and opponents of the loving Giver. And then, as if that was not bad enough, she turned her back on the loving Giver, and went to praise and party with “lovers” who were actually enemies not only of herself but also of the loving Giver.

Confused believer, surely you must confess that you have reenacted this scene many times in your life. The Lord has been a perfect Husband to you and has richly blessed you in His love. But, instead of saying “I will go after my Lover,” you have said, “I will go after my lovers.” You have taken His gifts and ignored Him.

How many times have you bypassed opportunities to worship and pray in order to go after worldly pastimes and pleasures? Are these your lovers? What has TV ever done for your soul? Did sport die for you? Does music ever live to make intercession for you? Does your investment portfolio love you with an everlasting love? Have your friends laid down their lives for you? Turn away from what is turning you away from Christ. Resolve by His grace, “I will go after my Lover.”


I Will Avenge

I’m devoting the next few weeks to working on a project that’s going to demand most of my mental energy. So apart from the usual Mon-Fri Checkout which will continue, I won’t be writing an additional daily article. Instead, I’m going to post a series of daily devotionals on Hosea that I wrote a few years ago.


“I will avenge” (Hosea 1:4).

The “I will” of God dominates the book of Hosea. The phrase appears over seventy times in fourteen chapters. A few times, it appears in the negative “I will not,” and tells us what God will not do. Mostly it is stated positively and tells us what God will do to and for His people.

There are two main classes of “I will” statements in Hosea. The first class is judgmental and reveals God’s resolute determination to chastise His erring people. The second and largest class is redemptive and reveals God’s emphatic determination to restore His chastised people to the fullest possible experience of His love.

God’s people need both of these divine “I wills” in their lives. Both are rooted in God’s love, both reveal God’s love, and both result in God’s love being shed abroad in the heart. Without the “I will avenge,” we would become complacent and cold. Without the “I will allure,” we would give in and give up. Sometimes we need to hear the solemn “I will avenge.” Sometimes we need to hear the soothing “I will allure.” The Christian’s life oscillates between these two poles. Indeed, it might be said that we are constantly experiencing either “I will allure” or “I will avenge.”

Here, Hosea is promising God’s vengeance on Israel for King Jehu’s brutal role in Ahab’s gruesome death at Jezreel (2 Kings 9 –10). Though Jehu had obeyed God’s commission to execute, he had displayed trickery, butchery, and hypocrisy in doing so. And, in calling his child by the name of this site of murderous bloodlust, Hosea was reminding Israel that though this event had happened over a hundred years previously, it had still not been repented of, that the attitudes behind it were still prevalent in the land, and that God would chastise them for this.

Christian friend, are you experiencing the “I will avenge” of God? Are you under the rod of His anger? Are you mystified as to why? Could it be that there is a specific sin, perhaps committed many years ago, which you have not honestly faced up to and repented of? Or are some of the sinful attitudes behind such a sin still lingering and still poisoning your soul? If so, then be thankful for the “I will avenge” of God. Mercifully, He will not leave you to perish or pine away in your sin.


Check out

Blogs

4 Ways to Reach a Child’s Heart by Richard Phillips | Ligonier Ministries Blog
Rick Phillips says a godly father plants four good things in the hearts of his children.

  • The seeds of his own faith in Christ.
  • A longing for truth and goodness.
  • His hopes and dreams for the godly man or woman the child will become.
  • His own confidence that the child has all the gifting and capacity needed to serve God faithfully in whatever way God may genuinely call

The Two Words Fathers Should Say to Their Children | Joe Carter
Here are three ways your own spiritual habits can be used as a model for your children:”

Orlando Shooting: Jihadist Terror Blamed on Innocent Christians | National Review
David French: “American Christians are responsible for things they don’t believe. Sharia-observant Muslims, by contrast, aren’t responsible for the things they do believe.”

Seven Deadly Progressive Education Myths – The Federalist
Here are six of them:

  • Learning facts interferes with developing understanding
  • Teacher-led instruction is passive
  • Because of 21st-century changes in technology and in the economy, students must be taught differently
  • We should teach “transferable skills” such as critical thinking rather than content knowledge
  • Projects and activities are the best way for students to learn;
  • Teaching knowledge is indoctrination.

“To Do” vs. “To Be” – Biblical Woman
What does a “To Be” list look like? This article doesn’t really get off first base in terms of application but its core point is an excellent insight that we can all develop further

“It’s Going to be an Issue.” Biola and Religious Liberty
Biola University, located in Southern California and one of the country’s most well-known and prestigious evangelical colleges, now finds itself arguing for its right to be evangelical. The state legislature is seeking to amend a non-discrimination law which would stipulate that the only schools that can be granted religious exemptions to the non-discrimination statutes are schools that exist for the training of pastors and theological educators.

Don’t Get Surprised by Burnout | HBR
Love your work? You’re at much greater risk of burnout. 

Kindle Books

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.

Inerrancy and the Gospels by Vern Poythress $2.99.

The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C S Lewis by Alan Jacobs $1.99.

How to Read the Bible Through the Jesus Lens by Michael Williams $2.99.

Video

This Girl With Down Syndrome Just Graduated High School with 3.7 GPA


Why are Women more Anxious than Men?

Brain and Behavior Journal recently published a research paper about anxiety in the adult population which looked at about a thousand other anxiety studies. They defined anxiety disorder as “excess worry, hyperarousal, and fear that is counterproductive and debilitating.” Some of the findings include:

  • In America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorder, costing the United States $42 billion a year.
  • Less attention research, and funding has been devoted to anxiety compared with depression.
  • Four out of every 100 people experience anxiety around the world.
  • There is a growing link between anxiety disorder and opioid addiction.
  • Untreated anxiety has been associated with significant personal and societal costs such as frequent primary and acute care visits, decreased work productivity, unemployment, and impaired social relationships.
  • Globally, women and young adults (under 35) are suffering the most with women almost twice as likely as men to experience anxiety.
  • Suggested reasons for the gender gap include pregnancy, differences in brain chemistry and hormonal fluctuations, or how men and women tend to cope with stress differently.

Here are some further reasons why I think women have twice as much anxiety than men:

  • More and more women are working outside the home AND managing the home and the kids (constant multi-tasking), whereas men tend to have a much more singular focus on their work.
  • Media and social media pressure upon women to live up to unattainable standards of appearance.
  • Lack of community and generational family support for young mothers.
  • The Paradox of Choice.
  • Women have more relationships than men, get more involved in friends’ lives,  and feel more empathy with people.
  • The increase in single motherhood.
  • More married women bearing the burden of being the primary provider for the family.
  • The hook-up culture which seems to psychologically impact women more than men. See What has our hook-up culture done to women?
  • Woman admit to anxiety more than men do.
  • Perhaps most of all: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children” (Gen. 3:16). There’s something about the whole child-bearing, child-rearing process that multiplies anxiety for women.

Some of the books I recommend for dealing with anxiety are below (use the latter two with discretion). These are followed by links to about sixty online articles I’ve collected over the years on this subject.

Book Recommendations


Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry by Amy Simpson.


Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Edward T. Welch


God’s Attributes: Rest for Life’s Struggles by Brad Hambrick


Anxiety: Anatomy and Cure by Robert W. Kellemen

Living without Worry by Tim Lane.


Anxious for Nothing: God’s Cure for the Cares of Your Soul by John Macarthur. This book addresses anxiety which has purely spiritual causes and are looking for purely spiritual solutions.


The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Dr. Edmund J. Bourne


When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life by Dr. David D. Burns

Article Links

How the Lord Restored Me from Intense Anxiety | Desiring God

Is Worry Making Us Sick? — TIM LANE

A Psychologist Faces Her Own Anxiety | Her.meneutics | Christianitytoday.com

The Upward Call | The Gift of Anxiety

Use Anxiety to Your Advantage | Desiring God

6 Reasons Why Anxiety, Worry, & Fear are Particular Problems for Christians – Ron Edmondson

The Christian Cure for Worry | Gentle Reformation

Instead of Worrying | Tim Witmer

Surprising Facts About Anxiety Disorders – 7 Ways to Cope (Video and Infographic)

Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Personal Responsibility Paradigm | Brad Hambrick

My Favorite Posts on Anxiety | Brad Hambrick

Three Tricks for Dealing with Anxiety In the Moment

Words for the Anxious Soul | Mere Orthodoxy | Christianity, Politics, and Culture

What Anxiety Does to Your Brain and What You Can Do About It

A Gameplan for Combating Worry – Justin Taylor

The Five Minute Antidote for Anxiety

3 simple behaviors that combat anxiety, reduce panic attacks ‹ Christian Mental Health and Mental Illness

The Five Minute Antidote for Anxiety | Musings of a Christian Psychologist

Scriptures to Fight Anxiety | Counseling One Another

Fighting Anxiety | Biblical Counseling Coalition Blogs

A Game Plan for When You Start to Worry – Justin Taylor

How to Overcome Your Worst Fears

How Regular Exercise Can Calm Anxiety

Getting Healthy: What I Was Doing Wrong

The Anatomy of Anxiety | RPM Ministries

A Letter to the Anxious Christian | Gentle Reformation

Stories | The Village Church

Why Three Seminars on Depression-Anxiety? | Brad Hambrick

A Good Word from My Wife — JOETHORN.net

Anxiety and Depression, My Strange Friends | TGC | The Gospel Coalition

What My Anxiety Taught Me About God | RELEVANT Magazine

An Update on Fear | CCEF

Surviving Anxiety – Scott Stossel – The Atlantic

I Suffer From Panic Attacks, But Won’t Let Them Destroy My Life Or Work | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

The secret behind the Bible’s most highlighted verse

Clare De Graaf – The 10 Second Rule – Christian Book Author – Anxiety – is it a sin?

A scientific look at the purpose and effects of anxiety – 22 Words

When New Moms Can’t Stop Worrying | Her.meneutics | Christianitytoday.com

A Father’s Plea | Christian Counseling & Education Foundation

Out of the Ordinary: Anxiety and the Battle for the Mind

More Thoughts on Anxiety | Counseling One Another

Embracing The Thorn That Bleeds You Dry

The Anxiety-Killing Power of Creation

Abys(s)mal Thinking and Christ « Grace Looking Back

Helping The Anxious | joethorn.net

RESOURCES: Anxiety, Fear, Panic | Counseling One Another

Her.meneutics: How God Can Use Your Anxiety for Good

Managing Anxiety and Making Friends | Her.meneutics | Christianitytoday.com

Eight Reasons Why My Anxiety Is Pointless and Foolish – Justin Taylor

Some Thoughts on the Sin of Anxiety | Counseling One Another

NationalJournal.com – The Anxious Generation – Saturday, December 17, 2011

What Good Is “Don’t Worry” in Times Like These? Part 4 | CCEF

How a flash of light to the brain can banish fear | Mail Online

Experiencing the Trinity — JOETHORN.net


Check out

Blog Posts

Help Me Teach the Bible: Justin Taylor and Dane Ortlund on a Bible Teacher’s Library
Nancy Guthrie interviews Crossway’s Justin Taylor and Dane Ortlund about the books they believe are essential for the Bible teacher, publishing projects they’re most pleased to have been a part of, as well as what they’re working on now.

Seven Secular Resources I Read Every Week – ThomRainer.com
Thom Rainer lists seven secular resources that he reads at least once a week in order to understand the culture and world in which we live and make him a more effective gospel witness.

10 Thoughts on Speaking (and Not) In a Digital World | Kevin DeYoung
Kevin DeYoung thinks aloud about how he decides what to say (and not to say) in the world of social media.

Singled Out | The Exchange
Do single adults in your church receive the “ministry leftovers.”

How Grandparenting Redeemed Our Family | Her.meneutics | ChristianityToday.com
A new trend in grand-parenting.

How to Keep Your Friends When Life Happens | Her.meneutics | ChristianityToday.com
Interview with Wheaton College communication professor and friendship expert, Emily Langan.

Schools that give away condoms see more teen births, not fewer – Vox
Well who would have guessed?

“Access to condoms in school led to a 10 percent increase in teen births. The effects were concentrated in schools that offered condoms with no required counseling. Those schools also saw that gonorrhea rates for women rose following the condom programs.”

Kindle Books

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.

Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance by Tony Dungy $3.99.

The Last Christian on Earth: Discover the Enemy’s Plot to Undermine the Church by Os Guinness $1.99.

The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to our Jobs by Greg Gilbert


Check Out

Blogs

9 Types of Bivocational Ministries | ChuckLawless.com
“I’m convinced we will not win North America and the nations to Christ if we don’t affirm and encourage these roles as well as full-time roles. ”

The Gift of Being Limited | Christine Hoover, For The Church
“I was starting to see what God was trying to say to me:

  • God = limitless goodness and faithfulness
  • Me = limited in every way
  • God-designed limits for me = God’s goodness and faithfulness to me”

Christian, Do You Love God’s Law? | Sinclair Ferguson, Ligonier
“Think again of Ben Crane. Why keep the complex rules of golf? Because you love the game. Something similar, but greater, is true of the believer. Love the Lord, and we will love His law—because it is His. All is rooted in this beautiful biblical simplicity.”

The Dangerous Divide Between Theology and Practicality | Ed Stetzer, The Exchange 
“In many corners of the church today, there’s an unhelpful and unhealthy division between theology and practical ministry. This division is damaging to both the discipline of theology and the practice of ministry because one without the other causes an imbalance.”

Religious War and the Martyrs of Orlando | Rod Dreher, The American Conservative
More proof of the LGBT movement using the mainstream media to blame Orlando on Christians.

New York Times Can’t Figure Out Orlando Terrorist’s Motive | Sean Davis, The Federalist
“In the fantasyland of modern progressive politics, if a boy identifies as a girl, then he’s a girl. But if a gay Muslim registered Democrat identifies as a martyr for the Islamic State, he’s still a Republican.”

Research: Sleep-Deprived Leaders Are Less Inspiring | Christopher M. Barnes, Harvard Business Review
“We found evidence that sleep-deprived leaders tend to be less charismatic (meaning they will have a harder time inspiring their teams), and sleep-deprived team members attribute less charisma to their leaders (meaning that they are more difficult to inspire). This is important because many leaders are sleep deprived most of the time.”

New Book

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.


The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs by Andrew and Rachel Wilson

Kindle Books


Defeating ISIS: Who They Are, How They Fight, What They Believe by Malcolm Nance ($1.99)


Comfort the Grieving: Ministering God’s Grace in Times of Loss by Paul Tautges ($3.99)


The Pastor’s Ministry: Biblical Priorities for Faithful Shepherds by Brian Croft ($3.99)


Rediscovering Discipleship: Making Jesus’ Final Words Our First Work by Robby F. Gallaty ($3.99)


His Loving Law, Our Lasting Legacy: Living the Ten Commandments and Giving Them to Our Children by Jani Ortlund ($9.59)