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Good morning. And welcome to good news in the morning. My name is Brent
Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church. It is my pleasure
to look at some of life’s challenges, and then bring you some good news in the
This program is
sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 Rideau Ferry, ON K0G1W0.
Or you can find us on the web @ Goodnewsinthemorning.ca
This morning I want to remind you of what God is like. The picture you
will see today is God as a lover.
Music – Our Father 3:03Track 2 – Unlikely Icon – Steve Bell.
This morning I want to tell you the story of Harry and Jesse.
Harry was a 23 year old bachelor. He was eligible, very eligible in
fact. The old ladies in churchthought
he was a good catch. He was stable, grounded, well respected, and just a really
nice guy. In fact he was seen as a leader in his church. He was the genuine
thing. You knew when you talked with him that there was something
authenticabout him and his faith
One day Harry was doing his praying and he heard God say to him, I want
you to marry a party girl.Now this
wasn’t just a feeling or a I think God said this to me. He knew, that he knew
that this was the voice of God.He
argued with God. God you know the kind of wife I have always wanted. Someone
stable, a good friend. I have always found those party girls so flaky. But God
had told him to marry a party girl, and he had long since chosen to follow God
and do whatever he asked.
Well, where do you find a party girl? Harry wasn’t sure, but he figured
a party would be a good place to look. So Harry went out to this party slash
dance slash shindig. Harry kind of stayed on the sidelines.
Right in the middle of the dance floor he spotted Jesse. Jesse had on a
tight light blue dress that showed she had curves in all the right places. She
was dancing up a storm. She was the life of the party.
Harry figured, if I have to marry a party girl, I might as well marry a
good looking party girl. After all God told him - right.
Well he struck up a conversation with Jesse. As it turns out, she was
getting a little tired of the party scene. Harry was for some reason taken with
her; although her comments were often inappropriate and her language was a
little rough.Well they went out for
coffee and one thing lead to another and they eloped.
Well I must say, the people at church the next Sunday were just a little
surprised. And Jesse felt more than just a little out of place too. All her
dresses were just a little too short. Her language was a little rough. She
raised more than a few eyebrows.
Well as time when went on Harry and Jesse had three kids. Each time they
had a child God would speak to Harry and say I want you to call this child this
name: Each name and a specific meaning.
I don’t know if it was the mundane exhaustion of raising three kids, or
the longing for party life she had given up, but she couldn’t handle it at
She left Harry for another man. This man wasn’t a good man. Soon she was
not only sleeping with him, she started to work for him as a prostitute. She
slept with a lot of men. Her new man pimped her out.
This went on for a couple of years. Then God spoke to Harry.He said to him, “Go, show your love to your
wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as
the LORD loves you.”
Well the situation was a little complicated. The pimp was making good
money off Jesse. It wasn’t as if she could just get up a leave. But Harry
negotiated for her. He paid a couple of thousand dollars for her.
He told Jesse, “You are going to live with me for a long time. You are
not to be a prostitute or sleep with any other man, and I will live with you.”
As hard as it is to believe, it seems like the marriage worked out. But
I think there were still some issues.
The story that I just told you was basically the story from the first
three chapters of the Old Testament book of Hosea. It is the story of Hosea and
Why does God put a story like this in the Bible? We are going to reflect on that after this piece of
Hosea was a prophet around 760 BC. It was a prosperous time. Jeroboam II
was king over Northern Israel. He had expanded their territory. . It was a
prosperous time, life was good. There was peace and prosperity in the land.
But although times were good people weren’t. Social and moral conditions
developed that were both wrong and degrading. Side by side with extreme wealth
was extreme poverty. Through dishonest business practices the strong took
advantage of the weak. Those who had wealth felt free to oppress widows and
orphans. and even buy and sell the destitute in public markets. The courts did
little to help the cause of justices.
Religious conditions were no better. Baal worship, an evil religion that
Israel had to purge more than once was back. Sacred prostitution was being practiced with this cult. Different idols were set up over the high places of
The prophet Amos had preceded Hosea in preaching against sin and
idolatry. Now it was Hosea’s turn to preach. He also preached about what would
happen if they didn’t turn back to God.
Well after the reign of Jeroboam II Israel’s political fortunes declined
significantly in accordance with Hosea’s prophecies. They went through a number
of Kings in quick succession and then were over run by the Assyrians in 724 BC.
So at the start and in the middle of this decline God called the people
of Israel through the prophet Hosea, and God used his life as an illustration.
God had called the people of Israel, when they were they nobodies. He
made them something when they were nothing. He made them the people of God when
they people of no reputation. He did what Hosea did to Gomer, or Harry did to
Jesse.He married them.
The picture in the book of Hosea is of God the great lover. He took the
nation of Israel from nothing and made her a great country. But by running
after false gods and turning from the Laws of God and distaining what he had
said, the people of Israel committed adultery against the living God.
Yet by Hosea taking Gomer back as his wife after she had committed
adultery it was a sign to the people of Israel that God still loved her, even
after all she had done. Even though she had prostituted herself by linking up
with other gods the true God still loved her.
Music. Jody Cross – As I am- Album Made for you Track
Come with me to the book of James 4
adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred
towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of
5Or do you think Scripture says without reason
that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
6But he gives us more grace. That is why
Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the
7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the
devil, and he will flee from you.
8Come near to God and he will come near to
you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double‑minded.
9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter
to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he
will lift you up.
The book of James was written to Christians that were scattered all over
Asia and Northern Africa. But it is the same metaphor. James calls those
Christians who have chosen to be friends with world, adulterous. It is the
Hosea image. Except it is not with the country of Israel, it is with
I want to walk through this passage quickly so that you can get a sense
of what is going on. When James talks about the world, he is talking about a
system of thought that takes either not thought of God, or sets itself above
When you become friends with the world, you either live independently
from God, or set yourself up as God’s judge.And whenever that happens you become God’s enemy. 4You adulterous people, don't you know that
friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a
friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
But then it goes on to say in verse 5 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason
that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
Essentially what it is saying is God is jealous for us.
Then the passages goes on to talk about the humble and the proud. Pride
in a biblical sense is living independently from God. It is a parallel to being
friends with the world. Humility is dependance on God.
It is the work of the world, it is the work of the devil to get you to
live independently from God. It is his primary work to get you to be and live
proud.6But he gives us more grace. That is why
Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the
7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from
The only way to live in opposition to the world is to live in Submission
to God. For those Christians who have been friends with the world, here is
near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and
purify your hearts, you double‑minded.
9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to
10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
There is a call for repentance. There is a call of turning from sin back
to God. There is a call to grieve over the state of your relationship with God.
here is a call to come before him in repentance.
I don’t care if you grew up in a good family or a bad family, if you
grew up in the respectable part of town, or if you grew up on the wrong side of
the tracks; if you know your own heart, you have this deep down intuition that
your heart is from the wrong side of the tracks.
But just like Hosea and Gomer, if you know the geography of your soul,
you know that God went slumming when he found you.But the weird thing is, it is not just a love
of pity, like one might have for a cute puppy left out in the cold. It is not
the love of condescension, where I reach out to the less fortunate to help me
feel better. (Although God did condescend to meet us - he went slumming in a
world of sin. When you live in heaven, this world is the wrong side of the
tracks, these are the slums)
It is not the love of pity or condescension. It is true love. It is a
passionate love. God loves you. He comes to you and pops the question. Will you
marry me.That is what becoming a
Christian is in a sense. Being married to God. His Spirit, comes into our
Spirit. There is a union.
Some of you know that God has popped the question, will you invite me
into your heart. You have said, I need some time to think about it. He respects
that. But it is hard to understand. It is Harry and Jesse. Hosea and Gomer. The
catch of a life time asking the uncouth, unrefined, person from the wrong
world. In the spiritual world, we are all that. For those of you who are there,
would you say today, I Jesus I want you to come into my life.
Some of you have invited Christ into your life, but you don’t feel like
the spouse of the living God, you feel like somehow he made a mistake. You
can’t see what he sees in you. You can’t understand how he loves you. Tolerates
you maybe, but it can’t be that he loves me you say.
Because of this belief it warps your whole Christian life. You have a
hard time trusting God, because you know your own heart.
This morning, I want you to hear the word of God to you. God says to
you, I love you. I do more than tolerate you. I do more than just accept you. I
deeply truly, honestly love you. My love for you is so far beyond your
comprehension. The more you receive it, the more you will find is there.
There are some of you here this morning, who you have married God, but
you are committing adultery on him. You have set up false gods, or you are
living as if you are not married to him. You are living independently from him.
When this happens, he is hurt, he is displeased. Anyone who truly loves
their spouse would be immensely wounded but the adultery of their spouse, — And
Yet the picture of Gomer is there for you. Not only had she committed
adultery, but she became a prostitute. God called Hosea to take her back. That
is what God wants to do with you.
God loves you.
Lord, I pray for those who have yet to know your love.
You invite them into this deep, honest, intimate relationship with you. I pray
Lord, that today, they will open their hearts up, and say, “Jesus, come into my
heart. I receive you. Forgive me of my sins. I want to be part of your family.”
Lord, and there are those who just can’t believe that
God loves them. God, I proclaim over those people right now, your love, May you
love them deeply, truly and honestly, in a way that they can understand. May
they get it that your love is directed to them. And Lord I pray for those who
are far away from you. They know you, but they’ve turned their back on you.
Lord, would they come back and see your arms open wide to receive them. May
they know your love, as well. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
Thank you, Listeners for your words of
encouragement, and for keeping us in yourprayers.,Keeping this program
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make out a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 , Rideau
Ferry , On. K0G1W0. Or you can give
online by going to goodnewsinthemorning.ca
Alan Churchill, the founding pastor
of this ministry is writing a monthly devotional. Alan is well known for his
spiritual insight and ability to communicate the truth of God. If you would
like to receive this devotional, go to our website at Goodnewsinthemorning.ca
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May you knowJesus Christ personally and profoundly.May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your
heart .And may the heavenly Father
surround you with His constant and abiding and accompanying love
Music All the way my Saviour Leads me. – Event Hymns Track 9 3:46
-Rev. Brent Russett
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