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Sermon 2/26/06 - Return to Him
Hosea 6:1

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Return to Him

Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1)

We have more than our share of wonderful internet friends and we are grateful for each and every one. You’ll be interested in what we have discovered - kind and uplifting words are often likely to come from those who need it most themselves. Here’s what we received recently from “Irish,” our internet buddy, who calls, writes and encourages us:

  • I wish I could still perform my duties in my federal job.

  • I wish I could hold a new born.

  • I wish I could attend a wedding, or

  • Have been able to attend my sister-in-law's memorial without  having to have assistance in walking and the pain my family and relatives had in seeing my frailty.

  • I wish I could give horsy rides to toddlers or give a piggyback ride to a child who has become too tired to walk.

  • I wish I could drive the ten miles to my 80-year old mom's home.

  • Work in my garden during the summer, or

  • Cook a meal without the need to have someone assist me.

  • Bring in wood for the fireplace.

  • Be able to grocery shop without the aid of my friends or family.

  • Not have to park in handicapped parking.

  • I wish I could use the keyboard and mouse on my PC.

  • I wish I could still spell words or properly structure a sentence. I wish there was a cottage industry that I could do.

  • Something to give me the self-esteem I miss from not being able to work.

  • I am blessed I have no cancers yet like my uncles and friends have died from.

  • I am grateful for those who have lifted me up and kept the despair away

  • I am alive and have a large strong family and friends.

Irish thanks “Paul Sutton; Genevieve Douglass-Beckham and Diane Bowles from the AOWAC, Sheila and Henry from the Agent Orange Quilt of Tears, and Rich, her VVA NSO.” And she thanks the Lord. Irish, whose life has been devastated by the effects of the herbicide called “Agent Orange,” continues, “Thank you for being our voice.” The latter expression is interesting. When the Lord commanded you and me to “love one another,” He had in mind that we will be a voice for the one who cannot speak. We are to be eyes for the blind and hearing for the deaf; and a strong arm for those who have no strength. If you have a good mind, it is intended you will help someone who is perhaps less gifted. And if the Lord is in your heart and life, you’ll share Him with a friend.

There are concepts in Scripture difficult for us to comprehend, such as: “In EVERYTHING give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As a people, as the human race, it is hard to imagine always being thankful, but we should be. We ought to be touched by the words of Irish, a fairly young woman who has lost more than most, and yet, at the same time, she is better at carrying out God’s will than we are. For in the midst of her sorrow, her loss, she gives thanks to God for those He sends.

Please notice “our” Scripture verse for today: “Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1). God is not shy about who He is and what He has done. It is true that there are often intermediary agents involved in the trouble that comes upon this world, but God who is all-powerful, says through the prophet Hosea, “It is My responsibility; I did it.”

You have to wonder: who and what would Irish have been, if the troubles we all try to avoid had not limited her life? Or at least I wonder such things. Do you? We are privileged to have friends who are considered “disabled” by this world. Our Associate Pastor in the First Church On The Net is Timothy Howard Burdick, who is blind and has been so since birth. He refers to himself as our “Minister of Abilities.” - Instead of measuring people by what they can-NOT do, he “sees” what others CAN do.

Notice the point of our verse for today - when God takes something away from our lives, He will restore us; giving more in return. As we have seen so often, it is something infinitely better than our lives could have contained otherwise. Irish and Pastor Timothy have lost more than many could endure, but God has enabled them to become people who give. Yes, God has “torn” their lives, but they have also been healed, to lives that bring comfort to others. Yes, He has “stricken” them, but He has also bound them up, enabling them to help in ways they could otherwise have not understood.

Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up,” says the Lord through His prophet (Hosea 6:1). Context is important and these words continue with a clearly “Messianic” reference: “After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up” (Hosea 6:2). Jesus Christ, the Anointed One called “Y’shua HaMashiach” by His followers, would come to this earth. He was to be killed, murdered by the very ones He came to save, and then be buried in a tomb. For a portion of a day, a full day, and then part of a third, He would remain in that place. The heavy stone in front of the door was sealed with the imperial symbol of Rome. Death seemed to silence this Man who shone forth with goodness and hope for the world. But suddenly, He was ALIVE, revealing Himself to His followers; becoming for us “like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the (dry) earth” we call humanity (Hosea 6:3).

Are you parched for more in life? Do you feel “torn” and “stricken” by limitations and cares, to the point where you sometimes don’t even feel like you can go on? The three days have passed and Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is alive: for Irish, for Pastor Timothy, and for you. He has offered Himself and He is “like the rain” for your parched life and mine. Let us offer ourselves to Him, just as He has given Himself for us. It is a contractual relationship. He has given His life for you, and He reasonably expects that you will give your life to Him. The contract was written and sealed in His blood.

Lord, we are thirsty for You. Please be the “rain” in our dry lives – we give ourselves to You, as You have given Yourself for us. Forgive, heal & save us. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
First Church On The Net
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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Friday Study Ministries
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Long Beach, CA 90809-2131 USA

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