Transforming Love

When’s the last time you heard a sermon from Haggai? Can’t remember. Not even sure you can pronounce it. Have you ever heard a sermon from Obadiah? Probably not. Even though you think you can say it right.

That gap in our biblical preaching is one reason our church will be walking through the Minor Prophets for the next twelve weeks. The greater reason, however, is that the messages of the Old Testament’s twelve Minor Prophets are completely applicable to life today. There is Major Stuff in the Minor Prophets.

As such, I’m inviting both my blog readers and my church family along. Each Monday or Tuesday, I’ll post an introduction to the following Sunday’s book. We’ll share some background and a few application questions. It’ll prepare us for Sunday, but mores so that we might live a life shaped by God’s changeless truth.

Taking the books in canonical order, we’ll begin today with Hosea.

Melanie had a card given to me before the ceremony on our wedding day. The front of the card read, “Here comes the bride all dressed in white. Here comes the groom...” The verse continued inside, “but Frankly nobody cares about rental boy. It’s all about the babe in the dress.” Still makes me smile. 

I love my wife. She is a righteous babe. In more ways than one. On our wedding day we entered a three-party covenant with one another and God to be faithfully united for life. I married up. Way up. Melanie is God’s grace to me.

Many of you are married too. You know the feeling of being blessed by God and your spouse. But what if God had told you ahead of time that in spite of your marriage covenant your spouse would cheat on you, parent the children of others, and have to be bought back as if a slave? Would you still have married your spouse? Would you still consider your spouse an act of God’s amazing grace?

Obeying God, Hosea the prophet, did just that. His marriage to Gomer was a living parable of the relationship of the Nation of Israel with God. Israel turned to false gods as an adulterous spouse. God continued to love her and call her back even seeking to reconcile. Israel ultimately fell to Assyria by God’s judgment in 722 BC. Chapters 1-3 recount the relationship of Hosea and Gomer. Chapters 4-14 are a collection of speeches from Hosea’s 30 year prophetic career in Israel. The Book of Hosea is a call to repentance and return to the faithful Lord God. It is a call to be transformed by God’s covenant love.

Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them. Hosea 14:9 NIV84

Today, let’s use the two rhetorical questions of the concluding verse of Hosea to apply God’s Word to our lives. 

What does God want me to do in faithfulness to Him?

How can I seek God to better discern His will?

Don’t forget, read the book of Hosea for a better overall understanding, personal reflection, and application of it’s truths. And, as always, feel free to share a comment below, share this post, or subscribe for future posts.

No Limits

What is it about love?

You think you can't love a person any more.

And then you do.

They do something.

They say something.

A good something.

Even a heartbreaking something.

And then you love them more.

Or maybe.

You think something.

You feel something.

Something only within you.

And then you love them more.

What is it about love?

I have a guess.

Love knows no limits.

New Life

My amazing Melanie wrote this.

She's allowing me to share it with you.

Anybody who knows me well knows that I LOVE surprises. A general rule of thumb at our house is that you don't buy me a gift unless it's a surprise. If you have to hint at it or ask about it, you'll just have to save it for another time. (Just ask Aaron about the bicycle story.)


We moved to Lincoln, NE, almost four years ago. If I only knew what surprises God had in store for me here! Friends that I treasure, growth in my marriage, a new little Householder...just to name a few. One of our first surprises was the house that God provided for us, brand-spanking new with not a tree in sight. We wanted a house in an established neighborhood, lots of trees, etc. God had other plans. He placed us here on South 59th Street and has allowed us to love and learn from some wonderful neighbors.

As on most streets with lots of young families, we have seen much new life. I would have to stop and think for a few minutes to count all the babies that have been born in our short time here, but I am amazed each time I see them. Ella, Embrie, Lewis, Will, Owen, Lauren, Jacob, Will, Peter... plus all the toddlers and preschoolers who are growing way too fast.

Last week was a difficult week for me, one that made my mama want to drive fourteen hours with my sister and her two not-so-quiet little girls, one that left my pillow wet, my heart hurting. God, knowing how I love surprises provided for me. Looking out my front door last night there was a full rainbow and out my back window the sun was peeking through the clouds. Today, in the midst of new houses and small trees God reminded me of His great power to bring new life into the most unlikely places. A robin chose to build a nest in our tiny oak tree (Aaron's father's day present last year) in the backyard. Now there are three baby birds peeking out of that nest in that little tree. Three houses down, a bunny chose to burrow down in the new sod of a brand-new lawn with seven baby bunnies!

I praise God for the new life He gives. I am amazed at the places He brings it forth. I am humbled that He has given me renewal in my spirit, peace and joy when it makes absolutely no worldly sense. If we are willing, He will renew us, revive us, breathe new life into weary and tired, apathetic and cynical souls. And the world will marvel at the newness of life in the most unlikely places.


The Blessing of Family

My family's down south. Visiting family & friends. They're having fun. Making memories. Melanie's masterfully managing three kids. John Mark's got a funny, new communicating-something-only-he-understands sound. Mary Elizabeth doesn't care to talk to me on the phone. Seth, thankfully, is keeping me informed beginning with his unique, "Hel-LO, Daddy."

I'm here in Lincoln. Lonely. Missing my wife. I want to hold her long. Missing my kids. I want to play the Wrestle-Daddy-Game. Staying busy, surely, but it's not the same.

Lord, keep them safe.

Lord, bring them home.

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of family.

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure,
and receives favor from the Lord.
Proverbs 18:22, NLT
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.
How happy is the man whose quiver is full of them!
Psalm 127:3 & 5a, NLT



Single. 25. A poor seminarian. Living with my parents. Embarrassing. Slipping a little deeper into debt each month. Disconcerting.

A gracious, anonymous soul paid my way to a missions conference in spirit-lifting Glorieta, New Mexico. Two-thousand plus missionaries & mission-hearted made the registration log a global address book. A glimpse of heaven.

Monday afternoon missions fair. Missionaries with colorful displays visiting with the mission-hearted. Enthusiasm airborne. Smiles lighting the room.

One smile outshone the rest. Bespoken in a sweet southern style with a playful spirit. In scrubs. Taking blood pressures. A missionary nurse. Bouncy, brown hair. Joy-abounding, blue eyes. I nudged a buddy, "I'm going to get my blood pressure checked."

She had a line. No one else did. She did. Was it the blood pressure service? Was it something else? I waited. Nervous. I talked. Gabbed with passersby. Befriended line-mates. Nerves & words go together for me. Then... it was my turn.

She spoke. "What are you doing stealing everyone in my line?" Knew I liked her. Straightforward with a strong dash of ornery. Don't know what I said in reply. Gone dumb.

She touched ME... heart palpitations... to take MY blood pressure... breathe, man, breathe. Acapella the Gaithers with full concert-going-crowd began to sing richly, with feeling, "She touched me, ooooooooh, she touched, and ooooooh, the joy that filled my soooooooo-oul."

Think... be cool... breathe... hearts beating out of my chest... she's touching me-eeee... oh no, if she takes my pulse... I'm busted... it might be kinda high.

"What are you, dead? Your pulse is 48." Thank you, Jesus, for a strong heart. Now, Lord Jesus, about this young-lady...

Got the nerve to ask her to share a meal. Was rejected. She had plans. Got the word that I could come too. Was elated. She was with me. Or I with her. But we were going to spend time together. That night. And I prayed forever.

Returned to my detail-awaiting roommie hours later. Mind abuzz, but only one thing to say, "I'm gonna marry this girl."

Thank you, Father, for the ever-amazing gift of Melanie.

Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Proverbs 31:29

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another. Romans 13:8 

One day can change a life.

One life can change another.