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God Has Feelings Too (Part 2)

pink rose on white book page
They shall not return to the land of Egypt, but Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates, and devour them because of their own counsels. My people are bent on turning away from me, and though they call out to the Most High, he shall not raise them up at all.  Hosea 11:5-7

The word anthropomorphism means attributing human characteristics to God. That’s what Hosea 11 is, a description of God in human terms.  And the description in the verses above is anger.  You see, God has feelings too.  Our term for that feeling might also be tough love.

Is it OK for God to get angry?  Well, what do you do about sin?  Can God say “so what” to the murder and theft and adultery and inhumanity that characterizes our evening news?  It’s easy to understand how God might be angry about the idolatry of Israel in the eighth century BC.  How much injustice and immorality should God ignore?  But we may miss the point of God’s anger in Hosea 11.  God foretells the siege and deportation, the burned cities and lost lives of the Assyrian invasion.  But is God simply writing off the people he has loved and led?  No.

When every effort of the prophets he sent has been ignored, every warning in drought and crop failure has been lost, God is left with one option: tough love.  The people of Israel that he loves will be led off into captivity by the Assyrian army.  When all else has failed and they cry to God in desperation, he will not heed their empty pleas.  Nothing short of that will call them to repentance.  Israel bet on a political alliance with Egypt rather than seek the intervention of their God, and they would be betrayed, left to face the horror of Assyrian might on their own.

Does God still get angry at our rejection of his will and his love?  No doubt.  But this isn’t our kind of anger, the self-centered desire for vengeance.  God’s anger is the other side of the coin of his love.  God’s anger at sin is balanced with his love for sinners.  The ultimate act of God to recall sinners from their hell-bent rush into wickedness can be letting them experience the consequences of their rebellion against God’s will.  Is there a message in the setbacks and hurt you experience?  Maybe.  Let trials turn your heart to God.  Let problems lead you to seek his help.  Let the consequences of your moral failures bring you to your knees in repentance.

God has feelings too.  His anger teaches us to recognize and reject the lies of our culture and the immorality in our entertainment media.  His anger becomes our anger as we watch friends and loved ones drift into the void of materialism and hedonism.  Like our God, we speak out against what will destroy individual lives and national will.  But more than that, God’s anger against sin, our sin, is his call to repent and return to his forgiving love.  God vented his anger against sin upon his son on Good Friday.  That anger is not our fate.  Love is, thank Jesus.

PRAYER: Forgive us, Lord, for ignoring Your warnings and pursuing the desires of our sinful nature.  Teach us to identify what is false and what is wrong, then lead us to walk away from such sin and seek Your forgiving love.  Heal our nation and recall our loved ones who have strayed, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.


God Has Feelings Too (Part 1)

pink and green flower buds
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.  The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them.  I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who. . . bent down to them and fed them.  Hosea 11:1-4
God can easily become an abstraction – all those “omni” words, like omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, that are taught in confirmation classes.  God is a person, well, three persons in one deity.  The personal nature of God can get lost when we view God as sort of stoic, you know, just ruling the world and sending angels and such.  In Hosea 11 God speaks in the first person, and what we learn is that God has feelings too.
The feeling revealed in the verses above is heartache.  God depicts himself as a father, who rescued his son Israel from slavery in Egypt and raised that child with all the love that could be imagined.  He took Israel by the arms, like a small child, and taught this mob of emancipated slaves how to walk.  He held Israel in his arms to comfort them when they were afraid in the desert, protected them when enemies attacked.  Like a father, he bent down to feed them with manna day after day.  He promised them a wonderful land of their own, and he led them there with kindly forbearance.  When Israel disobeyed, God called them back to himself.  And what did God get for all this love?  They ran away from home and adopted the lifestyle and worship habits of their pagan neighbors.  God was heartbroken.
Has God been any less a father to us?  He calls us his children.  We in America are the best fed people in the world, living in relative safety and blessed materially beyond our needs.  He has opened his heart to us in Scripture and forgiven us no matter how often we’ve strayed.  Maybe though, like Israel, we’ve adopted too much of our pagan culture.  Maybe we’ve taken our God for granted and forgotten him when we get caught up in our little lives.  Do you think God is sometimes heartbroken as we ignore his calls to repent and return?  Does it occur to us that God has feelings too?
To see the heartache of almighty God, look at his Son on the cross.  There God abandoned his only Son in order to save us adopted children.  But when the price of our forgiveness had been paid, God raised his Son from death and assured us that all the heartache we have caused him has been forgiven.  We are still his children.  He still wants to spend eternity with us.  And there we will experience the overwhelming feeling that characterizes our God – love.
PRAYER:  I’m sorry, Lord, for all the times I’ve caused You heartache with my sins and indifference to Your will.  Thank You for Your enduring love and the forgiveness Jesus earned for me.  Shape my feelings with Your own, that I live as Your child now and forever.  Amen.



white and black labeled book selective focus photography
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me.” [Matthew 28:18] 

“Come on, just get it done!” A line we love to use with our children or grandchildren, to get them finally to finish their homework or cleaning or dinner. Finish it, just do it. Thoughts we love to harbor about what other people should be doing. But do we bring the same conviction upon ourselves? 

Jesus said that all authority is his. And he proved it by rising from the dead. He did get it done! He did complete it. Jesus has all the power. And the crazy thing is that Jesus has promised to share. 

Jesus has given his disciples the Holy Spirit, the power to live out everything he’s asked us to do. Often, we are controlled by fear, worry, or laziness, and we give up or fail even to start living out the Christian life. What are your excuses for not living out your faith? Write them down, think about them. Take them to Jesus. Be bold enough to say, “Jesus, here are the reasons why I cannot do what you are asking me.” 

But then read Matthew 28:18-20, and remember Jesus can do anything. Our God can do anything! That means even turning your life around. Maybe he already has. Jesus promised to give us life-changing work- being loving and patient and gracious. Jesus appointed us to make disciples by demonstrating what it means to be a Christian day by day. And Jesus made a promise that he would be with us always.

So come on, just get it done! I believe in you. I know you can do it. Why? You have the power of Jesus on your side. And Jesus can do anything.

Prayer: Jesus, please show us Your power today. May we experience how easy it is for You to give Your love and strength to us, that we may do the things to which You’ve appointed us. In Your name we pray, Amen.



And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” [Luke 23:34]

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t… 
That is how life feels sometimes, right? No matter what decision you make, no matter what you say, no matter what you do, you are in trouble. Guilty. Angering someone. And let’s not forget that we ourselves are pretty good at getting upset, too.

God hates sin. God is light. In him is no darkness. He is the ultimate judge. So, we can only imagine that God, too, sees it this way. To be sure, each and every one of us is damned by our action or inaction. Each of us is damned because we’re human. But more than that, each of us is loved because we’re human. God has the power to judge, and instead chose to pardon. Jesus came to display the judgment of the world in his body, hanging on the cross. That’s where judgment was done, so that we could all live in pardon. In grace.

We are sent to display that pardon in our lives. “Forgive them Jesus. They don’t know what they’re doing.” They are just like me. We receive God’s love and God’s call to love others. Are you withholding a pardon- or need to seek some forgiveness? Take time today; live out that pardon. 

Prayer: Father, help us to experience Your pardon of our sins in Jesus, so that we can live in the freedom of sharing forgiveness with others. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.



And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. [John 1:14]
After a year of limited relationships, people are ready to get back together with others. But if we’re honest with ourselves, there are some people we are happy not to see so often. Some people bother us, irritate us, anger us, frustrate us. Some people judge us, condemn us, dislike us. Let’s be honest. We are not always saddened when some people aren’t present. 
How about God? If God were present, what would that be like? We can imagine being struck with fear, or judgment over all the wrong we’ve done. We are the ones who have probably annoyed, angered, or frustrated God, after all. Wouldn’t we expect God to come at us with anger? Or maybe just want to stay away from us for good?
God is so unpredictable. Instead of pulling away or coming against us in judgment, God did the unthinkable. God came down to us. In love. In weakness. In humility. God sent Jesus, born as a baby, living in human flesh. God not only wants to be present with us; God wants desperately to know us and be known by us. 
Jesus is present with his people. Jesus is present with you. Let’s be honest; we don’t deserve it. But that doesn’t matter. Jesus loves you, and he wants you to know that he is with you, God-with-us, Immanuel. 
Today, no matter who you’re missing (or not missing), you don’t have to miss God. Jesus is always with you, showing you glory. Showing you grace and truth.
Prayer: Jesus, You are God with us. Thank You for being with us, especially when we don’t deserve it. Help us to see You always, and live in Your grace and truth. In Your name we pray, Amen.