The prophet and the prostitute

betroth
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“When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: ‘Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry, And children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.’” – Hosea 1:2

Hosea had kept himself a pure and faithful prophet unto God.  Yet, God one day spoke something which I am confident was not what Hosea wanted to hear; nor could this virgin prophet ever grasp what God was about to command him to do: to go marry a prostitute.

I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to be in Hosea’s shoes and on the receiving end of that directive.  Hosea, a virgin, who I am sure was saving himself for his wife who would be as pure as he was, and have that long-awaited moment of mutually-innocent consummation, instead was to trade in his virginity to a whore.

My New Spirit-Filled Life Bible expounds of this most unusual request “when God directed Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman, He was calling this faithful prophet to be a living illustration of His love for His people.  Similarly, He calls us to exhibit unconditional love to the world around us.  Hosea reveals God’s loving heart.  God’s desire to bless His people far outshines the darkness of their sin.  The Lord puts a premium value on His relationship with us.  Let us seek faithfully to return that love with obedience” (© 2002. Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

Not only did God command Hosea to marry Gomer, the Prostitute, but God also told Hosea to love her.  Imagine with me if you can, God basically says to Hosea “Hosea, I know you are saving yourself for a beautiful wholesome woman, but I have other plans for you.  I want you to marry a whore.  But I don’t want you to just marry her, I want you to love her with all of your heart (Hosea 3:1).  Even though she will continue to sleep with other men for money, I want you to love her and treat her with the same love you would have given to the woman of purity that you thought you would marry.”

My brothers and sisters, I have to tell you that as I am writing this message, I am stupefied, amazed, baffled, blown away, and outdone by how much God loves us.  As unfaithful as we are, God still loves us with a pure love and with a love which makes us pure, as He faithfully searches the streets to take us back over and over again.  Don’t you dare let anyone tell you that God isn’t a God of love, because that is a lie from the pit of hell!  That is exactly what the devil would have you believe because he the biggest whore with no one who will take him back!

The name “Hosea” actually means “deliverer” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).  And God said to Hosea “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans” (Hosea 3:1).

Many nights, Hosea would have to endure the sheer and utter shame and embarrassment of collecting his wife from another man’s bed.  Hosea endured the ridicule of his wife’s clients as he searched the streets night after night, and sometimes having to even pay one of the men to be able to take his wife and stop her from engaging in this act!  He even had to endure the mockery of his own wife, who would shake her defiant fist in her husband’s faithful face while saying “I won’t stop Hosea.  I am going out again tomorrow to lay up with other men.”

The Hebrew word for “go” as used in this verse, is comprised of the two words “yalak” (yaw-lak) and “owd” (ode), which mean “to go continually, to go again and again, go repeatedly, carry, bear” (Strong’s).  So it is with God concerning us.  Night after night, our Loving Father gets up from His mighty throne, searches for us, and comes to collect us from our adultery.  Whatever we place above our Heavenly Father, whatever or whoever we love more than our God, whatever we are willing to use to compromise our relationship with the One who constantly makes us pure, is the trick we have chosen to turn that causes us to cheat on the Father.

It grieves the heart of God when His children want to debate what they should or shouldn’t do based on splitting hairs: “well, it isn’t in the New Testament, so we don’t have to do it.  No, Jesus did away with that.  We are under grace now, so we don’t have to do this anymore, as that was Old Testament.”  My brothers and sisters, we should be motivated by a much higher calling and a more powerful, compelling, and liberating reason to be obedient to the Father: His Love and His willingness to carry our shame and nail it to the Cross.

The mere thought of our Father, who is so pure and holy, who constantly endures the ridicule of the world by scouring the streets night after night, looking for us to take us back home in the midst of our carousing because of His great love for us, should be all the motivation we need to do right by Him and for Him.

Hosea’s life was a living sermon of God’s immense, unfailing, and tireless love and devotion for His unfaithful people.  Shouldn’t ours be too?

Father, thank you for your undying, unfailing, amazing, and immeasurable love for us.  Even when we are unfaithful to you, because of your great love toward us, you still search for us night after night, collect us, and take us home.  We have no words, Most Holy Father, on how such a magnificent and Holy God can continue to endure the ridicule of the world and love a people who can’t even comprehend what that means.  “Thank you, Father” is all we can muster to an incomprehensible God, who dared to love a people such as us.  Thank you for giving us your heart, Most Loving Father.  Take our hearts and do a new work in them, so that we no longer wander, we no longer cheat, and we arrive at and always stay with our first love, which is You, Most Amazing God.  In Jesus Name, we pray and we thank you for breaking our wandering and turning our hearts permanently toward you.  Amen and Amen.

With warmest regards,
And in service of the Most High King,

Matthew

 

Jesus is our joy: A special Christmas Message

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(Photo credit: Faith Center, Rockford, Illinois)

“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11

Christmas. This is the day we celebrate the selfless act of a savior, brought forth from the heart of a grieving father over 2,000 years ago.  This is the day we remember, and look upon with profound and inexpressible gratitude, as we reflect on the most prolific, unparalleled, and selfless act of love ever expressed by anyone at anytime.  This is the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

This is the day, beyond 2,000 years ago, when Heaven, for the first time in eternity, went dark.  This is the day when Joy, in the form of Love, agreed to step out of that Divine place in the Holy of Holies, to be born of a virgin, become a man, and die a horrific death to save a people who could not save themselves.  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

This moment in time set in motion the day when God’s only Son would be “oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).  This day would point to the darkest of days, when the Son of man would allow the Father to put upon Him, the shame of the entire world; and pour out His wrath upon this spotless and unblemished Lamb, while He lay dying on the Cross of Calvary.

This marked the day when the Father would grow the tree that His precious Son would hang on, naked between heaven and earth, and die an agonizing death.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

Hebrews 12:2 testifies of the sweet that would be dispersed from the bitter: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  This willing Son so loved the world, that He maintained joy in His heartbroken and nail-pierced hand, so that we too could experience the joy of salvation of being reconciled back to a forgiving Father, through the Risen Savior.

This is the day when the heart of the Creator of the universe would be broken, as this loving Father gave His only begotten Son to be broken for His lost creation.  This would be the day when the very saliva that this Father created in the mouths of an unrepentant creation would use what the Creator created, to spit on His very own Son.  This is the day when this selfless Father would create the cave where His Son’s broken and lifeless body would be laid to rest.  How great is the love of this Father, who gave the most precious treasure He had to get back the most precious treasure that was stolen—His one and only beautiful baby boy, to get back His lost creation.

And with the love of a hopeful Father, this Creator made the very stone that would be rolled away by Heaven itself to welcome home this Treasure from Heaven which has been broken and poured out, so we could be brought back to life, revived, restored, resurrected and made whole by the sacrifice of Love Himself.  “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Christmas points to the greatest love story ever known.  It is a story of a heartbroken Father, who gave up the most precious treasure He had, His Son, Who went willingly, to get back the most precious thing He lost— His creation.  Let us reflect and give thanks on this day, as we “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God” (1 John 3:1).

Jesus is our joy restored because “He Himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins— and not only our sins but the sins of all the world” (1 John 2:2).  For this and so much more, we say “thank you” to the Son who gave up His place in Heaven to become the Savior of the world, that we might have life, and may have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and an amazing New Year, filled to overflowing with the peace and joy of Christ, and the exciting expectation of all things made new, above and beyond what you could ask or imagine for this coming year.  I pray that the love, joy, peace, forgiveness, healing, and restoration of the Savior flow into you, and fill you to overflowing on this day and every day.  Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Family!

And thank You, most loving, merciful, and Holy Father, for sacrificing Your precious and first-born Son for us, that we may live.  And thank you Jesus, for dying for us, and becoming our joy.  Happy Birthday, most beloved and precious Son—our Savior of the world!

With warmest regards,
And in service of the Most High King,

Matthew

The first fruit of faith: A Thanksgiving Message

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“[Abraham] who against hope believed in hope.” –Romans 4:18a

Abraham was called by God as the Father of many nations, and the father of faith (Genesis 15:5, Romans 4:16). The name “Abraham,” in the Hebrew is Abraham (pr. Ab-raw-hawm), meaning “father of a multitude;” and this is the same Abraham whose name in the Greek , Abraam (pr. Ab-rah-am), means “Patriarch” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines a “patriarch” as “one of the scripture founders of the human race, a man who is father or founder, the oldest member or representative of a group.”

What the Lord gave to me concerning Abraham is that he was a first fruit offering of faith to us by God. Faith paved the way to the greater gift, the greatest First Fruit offering of Salvation, Jesus Christ. In Old Testament times, people gave the first of what they grew or raised (crops and livestock) as a burnt offering to God, because the first was often the best, and it was guaranteed income. Giving away these first fruits demonstrated a reverence that God deserves our best fruit of our labor because He gives us His best; and our Father has earned our trust, as He is proven faithful to supply all of our need; thus the term “first fruits.” This still holds true today: we should give God the first hour of our day, the first day of our week, and return to Him the first tenth of our income.

God gave to us the first fruit of faith, which then would prepare the way and usher in the Savior of the world. 2 Timothy 3:15 hails that we are made “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” We must have faith to accept the Savior. This same faith was required in order for Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, to be able to say to the angel of the Lord “let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). It was Mary’s faith, the faith planted by Abraham, that opened her womb and allowed God’s Holy Spirit to impregnate her with Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of man.

It was God’s faith in Mary which sent an angel to her, garnering her consent to carry the Savior of the World. Faith was required to create the space and usher in the incarnation of God, as the Savior of all humanity. This couldn’t be just any kind of faith, my brother. This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill, off the shelf, everyday faith, my sister. This was a very special and very rare concentrated and pure type of faith. This was the only brand of faith that could call forth the Savior. This was the first fruit faith, which was established approximately 2,000 years earlier through our father of faith, Abraham.

This is the kind of faith that Abraham had: the ‘hope against hope’ kind of faith. The Greek word for “against” as used in this verse is para (pr. par-ah), which means “more than, past.” God had woven “more than” faith into Abraham’s spiritual DNA, the kind of faith that comes from the Ancient of Days, the original potent stuff from the past, from before time began. The original faith that, when God spoke, the world was created and everything in it. We serve a “more than enough” God; a God who is the Ancient of Days, and is the same God yesterday, today, and forever. We are made in the Image of a God who is faithful, a Father full of faith (John 6:1-13, Daniel 7:22, Hebrews 13:8).

This “hope,” the elpis (pr. el-pece), is “to anticipate with pleasure, expectation, confidence, faith.” Abraham “believed” (pisteuo, pr. pist-yoo-o), meaning to “entrust one’s spiritual well-being to Christ.” The Savior wouldn’t arrive to earth for almost 2,000 years; but Abraham knew the Son of God was on His way, and that he needed to prepare and roll out the red carpet, woven with the fabric of first fruit faith! Nothing less would do or could do!

We, as sons and daughters of the Most High God, are the seed of Abraham; and therefore entitled to the blessing of Abraham, as contained in the Abrahamic covenant that God established with him and through him to all believers. God carves out this covenant in Genesis 12:1-3, and consecrates it in Genesis 22:16-18, where He declares “and [God] said: ‘By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—  blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.’”

The Hebrew word for “blessed” as God decreed upon every descent of Abraham is barak (pr. baw-rak), meaning “to bless God as an act of adoration; and visa-verse, God blesses man as a benefit.” We have much to be Thankful for today. We serve a God, who loves us so much, that He gave us one man to sacrifice his only beloved son in his heart, so that He could then painfully sacrifice His only begotten Son on a cross; so we could not only be saved and reconciled back to a heart-broken Father, but so that we also could be blessed abundantly through the gift of the first fruit of faith.

Give thanks to the Father of all fathers, by offering your first fruit of faith back to Him, because God offered us His very best—His first fruit of faith, which ushered in His First Fruit of Salvation.

Happy Thanksgiving, family. I wish you a safe, happy, healthy, and abundantly blessed Thanksgiving filled to overflowing with God’s best. Let the love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and kindness of the Father of all fathers fill you and your loved ones to overflowing.

Father, Happy Thanksgiving. We love You so very much. And we thank You for giving us Your very best. Help us to give You back our very best all the time, because You are certainly worth it. We celebrate You, Father God, our Big Brother and Savior Jesus, and Uncle Holy Spirit, with praise and thanksgiving. In Jesus Name, we thank You that we are thankful this day and every day. Amen and Amen.

With warmest regards,
And in service of the Most High King,

Matthew

(c) 2016.

A Declaration over this Nation’s 2016 Election

Father God, I decree and declare that during this 2016 election cycle, the misled minority will not be the majority vote. I decree and declare that the irresponsible will not determine the responsible outcome of this election. I decree and declare that the hostage takers will be forced to relinquish their ungodly grip. I decree and declare that because of You, people will vote according to Your Will, and not man’s will. I decree and declare that You will act on the cries of Your righteous sons and daughters; and therefore, You will hand pick the next President of these United Sates of America in response to the cries of the righteous. I decree and declare that righteousness will once again rule America, thereby destroying the perversions that have infected, sickened, and crippled this great nation. I make this declaration in the Matchless Name of Jesus Christ, Who is Lord over all! Amen and Amen.

 

2016: The year to arise

Genesis 2 7
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The Lord dropped this word in my spirit some months ago, during the advent of the Jewish New Year (5776, tav-shin-ayin-vav). “Vav” is the 6th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Six also represents the number of man.

Genesis 1:26-31 reveals this truth: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’

And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.  Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food’; and it was so.  Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

If one looks at this Hebrew letter (see diagram below), it abstractly resembles a human being. The Lord pointed out to me that the figure faces to the left. In Biblical terms, facing left indicates God’s strength or ability demonstrated through man (Judges 3:20-21, 20:16, Ira Milligan, Understanding the Dreams You Dream). The Great I AM is going to position His righteous sons and daughters facing left for 2016.

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(Photo credit: Hebrew4Christians.com)

God said to my spirit so clearly: “2015 was a year where much wickedness was allowed to rule this nation, where the carnal man (the flesh and un-surrendered soul) were given a voice, and allowed to wreak havoc upon the earth. But no more! I am putting My foot down. I am breaking the back of the enemy! I, The Lord God Almighty, will make the carnal man fall, and cause the spirit man, who I created in My Image, to awaken and to arise! I will call out the Joshuas, the Jonahs, the Noahs, the Esthers, and the Naomis to rise in this new season. I will cause a revival such as the world has never seen before, none since the days of Pentecost! I am choosing the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and I, The Lord God Almighty, am choosing the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised I have chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in My presence” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

 

Webster defines the word “arise” as “to begin at a source, to get up.” God is taking us back to Genesis for 2016, family, where “in the beginning” is where it began. He is commanding our carnal man to sit down, and causing the spirit man of every born-again believer to arise, in His Image, and step into the original plan and purpose He spoke into each and every one of us before He laid the foundation of the world.

The Prophet Isaiah calls the light to shine into the darkness as it illuminates “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1-2).

Be encouraged, my brothers and sisters. God is going to shine upon this nation, His nation, like never before in this New Year! It is time for you to arise.

God bless you.

With warmest regards,
And in service of the Most High King,

Matthew

God deemed marriage as “good”

“Wives submit to your husbands…” (Ephesians 5:22a).

The devil tries to pervert what God deemed good.  Satan cannot create anything, so he tries to counterfeit what God has created.  Why would God give us anything that wouldn’t be good?  And our Perfect Father gave us marriage, which He deemed “good.”

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(Photo credit: thedisciplestongue.com)

The word “submit,” as commanded by God, gets a bad rap by both men and women, and husbands and wives, because of a lack of understanding.  Men twist and abuse its meaning, and women reject it. But my wife and me, along with some of our in-laws, did a study on its original meaning back over Thanksgiving, which blew us away.  This rich revelation has been rolling around in my spirit ever since.

The original Greek word for submit, as used in this context is hupotasso, which actually means to “get under and lift up”  (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). Wow! In order for you to get under something and lift it up, you must be more powerful than that which you are attempting to lift!  And with every Godly wife (key word—Godly), they are endued with this special kind of power through God’s Holy Spirit!  A Godly wife is a lifter of her husband.

And what about the rest of this paragraph that the fellas like to omit?  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…” (Ephesians 5:25). Husbands are also endued with power from on High, and that is the love of Christ we are to pour into and over our wives selflessly and unconditionally.

So both are equally powerful, and yet more powerful in different ways.  “The two become one” because they complement one another, and are completed in Christ, as God intended.  They are not two halves who complete a whole; but rather two imperfect “wholes” that are joined together and infused with God’s Holy Spirit as one.

Eve was made from Adam’s rib, not so he could dominate over her, but that the two would be equal as human beings and as a married couple, with each having separate but equal roles.

Remember, when God said that Adam needed a helper (of equal or greater value), there was no house to clean, children to raise, or chores to do in the Garden of Eden (Ken Nair, “Discovering the Mind of a Woman”).

Eve was made from Adam’s side, not from his head to dominate him, and not from his feet to be trampled upon; but from his side as an equal co-ruler with him. God gave us marriage to make us more Christ-like.  And He gave us wives as helpers, in a similar manner that Jesus gave us His Holy Spirit as our Helper.  To this extent, we must treat our wives with the same care and sensitivity that we do God’s Holy Spirit.

Let us always remember what God deemed good is indeed good.  And if we perceive it as anything less, then it’s either our lack of understanding, or because we bought the counterfeit lie of the devil, who wants to keep us from experiencing God’s best.

God bless you, family.

With warmest regards,
And in service of the Most High King,

Matthew