I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. 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.” Hosea 2:6-7
Dear Lord Jesus, I’ve praised you for the fall foliage of western North Carolina, the panoramic wonder of Cape Town, South Africa, everything about Switzerland, the Eden-like echoes in Butchart Gardens on Victoria Island, and the azure blue waters kissing the sugar white beaches of Destin, Florida. But today, I praise you for the gift of thornbushes.
Jesus, you love us so much that when we love you less, you come after us with tenacity and uncomfortable providences. You are unrelenting in your commitment to rescue our hearts from illusions, mirages, broken cisterns, idols, and wannabe lovers. I wish you didn’t have to be, but I am grateful you are so doggedly committed to us.
O blessed and beloved thornbushes, ever block my path when I begin chasing after lesser gods and other lovers. Hedge me in like a formidable fortress. When I set my GPS for an affair of any kind, cause me to lose my bearings and my way. Frustrate my every attempt to look for more, or settle for less, than Jesus.
Lord Jesus, that you are jealous for …
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. 1:3-7
Heavenly Father, today we need a fresh supply of persevering grace, for the “all kinds of trials” of life are sapping our spirits and weighing us down. We need to be reassured that you are refining our faith and not just ignoring us. Many of us feel tired, weary and disillusioned. However, because the gospel is true, giving up, bucking up or just pulling up our boot straps is not the way forward. You give us a much better way—a new and living way.
Though, unlike many of our brothers and sisters in Jesus, most of us didn’t go to sleep hungry or thirsty last night; we didn’t hear and fear gunfire echoing through our neighborhoods; there’s …