The Book of HOSEA

My grandmother was a frugal woman. When she visited our home when we were children she would make a cup of tea and the entire week she was at her house there would sit that one lonely tea bag on a saucer, begging someone to throw it away. It was so used up it barely had any tea left in it.  She was the only one who drank tea so it was not like anyone else would use it. It wasn’t until later on in life when I studied the Great Depression that I came to realize her foresight in not wasting money. Then there’s my college roommate who received a Poinsettia for Christmas. The plant thrived until one day in March we mentioned it was looking a little rugged. Our deck resembled a plant cemetery as my roommates big heart just would not let her give up on that plant. It had a streak of green on a limb and she earnestly watered it believing for a comeback. That same tenacity was in her heart for people, broken and dehydrated in need of God’s love.

When we read Hosea this month these two women came to mind. There was just something tenacious in them that displayed to me that they were not swayed by others opinions or whims. Their persistence was contagious. I think Hosea was such a man. His name means salvation so he must have had some understanding early on that “quitter” would not be in his vocabulary.

It is one thing to test a man with a quiz, a job, even ones health but to get in his face and mess with his family is really above and beyond. God would not waste these lessons or his pain as Hosea was led, even called to marry and then search after the town whore. The shame, the embarrassment, the slander must have been unbearable. What self-respecting preacher would go against all norms to do such a thing?

Someone who’s sold out.

Someone not living for themselves.

Someone who knew they could trust the heart of God.

This book messes with our minds because it seems out of God’s will to do such a thing yet God calls Hosea to obey Him rather than sacrifice to Him. With Daniel we saw moral courage and career success –  his pathway we can emulate. But how does one model after Hosea? How does one give God access to rip apart ones very heart to touch a family? That’s a whole new level of torture. A prophet rejected by the one who intimately knew him best. A groom turned away by his closest love – his bride.


This, Yahweh says, is what my people have done to Me.


The self-righteousness in me does not like the grace for Gomer. I think Hosea could have done better and his wife did not deserve the second chance. I wrestled with this for a while but then I had a conversation with some friends about God’s desire for us and what He expects from us. We will mess up. We will have days that we will regret. We will set our affections on lesser things. We will get discouraged, not just because we are human but because at our core we are weak and sinful. Will God turn His face on us then? Will God forsake me when I am weak, depraved, messed up? Someone told me that “mature Christians”  should no longer go through those things. I almost believed it — until I remembered what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:8, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.”  I think Paul was pretty mature and yet he had bad, awful days. That did not however mean God turned away from him. Resist the urge to think all his struggles were spiritual ones, the guy was human and subject to the same emotions and trials that we go through today.

God still loves us when we are weak, miserable, sinful and weary. If His grace is not stronger than our sin, we would be without hope. If His grace and mercy were dependent on our actions or holiness or maturity we would all certainly be doomed for eternity. Those who rest on their maturity or strength may feel confident today but tomorrow… when the sun doesn’t shine, when the bills don’t get paid, when things don’t go as expected will their hope dim? I believe that’s why our righteousness must fully be dependent on the blood of Jesus which remains FULL STRENGTH. The song, The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power” comes to mind.  A favorite hymns says, our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.”  The notion that we have to be “strong or perfect” seems to suggest that we are not in need of a blood that cleanses or sets free. No wonder sinners struggle to fit in churches today – it can feel like a group of “mature” believers rather than scoundrels in need of grace. Can you hear the difference? We don’t reach perfection; we succumb to the everlasting love of a God who changes us as we continually enter His grace. Everything flows from that one central relationship – pretty important.

When we read Hosea we don’t stand in the place of righteous Hosea, wealthy elite who condescends to his wayward wife. WE are the skanky, double-minded, divided heart woman who leaves, embarrasses and destroys her family. Any hint of idolatry and we land in that camp. This book stirs our hearts to consider our waywardness, our turning away in even the slightest decision. We are confronted with our decisions to reject or choose God and His ways. It should remind us of a God who longs to bring us rest and bring us back into His heart and home.

Like my grandma with her little tea bag, Hosea was a re-cycler. He saw down the road and he saw value where others couldn’t. He just couldn’t throw Gomer away. Like my roommate he was just determined that there was a glimmer of hope for new life. Against all odds, when everyone else would have thrown in the towel, he clung to his greatest value. Or I should say the One he valued.  I like that poster that says an oak tree was once just a little nut that held his ground. Broken, disparaged Hosea was just a byword, a scorned lover who couldn’t accept reality –if you asked the locals, but to God …. and all those watching for eternity onward, he was a man who received the answer to his prayer. H got to see the realization of hope planted in God. That’s incredible. I want a love like that! I want to love like that!  GOD loves like that.

While studying Hosea we also were studying Rosh Hashanah. It is a time of reflection and confession before God. It begins the ten days of awe when we search our hearts and renew our commitment to Christ. One of the foundations for this festival is making a choice to serve God and give Him our whole hearts. We choose to make Christ our King. We choose to remember God. We choose to seek Him and denounce all other gods and affections. God is a jealous God. These seasonal festivals remind us to renew our love for Yahweh. It stirred my heart to consider that message and Hosea at the same time. We were inspired to learn that the Shofar is blown to alert people to the time and alarm of the hour. God breathed his RUACH into Adam. We now become that shofar – we are the voice alerting the nations that Messiah is calling. We can be the vessels, holy and set apart to announce His coming. God stands waiting to see if we are willing to be His faithful Bride, His shofar, His love.

Will you choose God afresh today – make HIM the King of your heart? Will your renounce all other gods and affections? Our passions will only find their rest in God; our lives will only find their purpose in the Creator.

As you wrestle with the message of Hosea and Gomer, may you find peace and true Love. When you don’t? May you rest in the absolute guarantee that He is waiting for you, longing for you and yes still loving you, not because of what YOU say or do but because of who HE IS. When we are unfaithful, He remains faithful. Unchanging, constant, beneficent, faithful, persistent.  THAT is amazing love.

These next days of awe… purify our hearts Lord, we return to YOU, our husband and lover of our souls.



It is the name for a book dedicated to describing the exiles in Babylon and how Gods people lived out their lives in a pagan culture. The first six books are about what happened to Daniel in his day. It alerts us to a special calling, a special focus on God and a life that altered history. There was a cause and effect in Daniels life – he earnestly sought God and God supernaturally delivered him. The second part of Daniel is dedicated to the prophetic revelations he had for the King and ultimately how those revelations explain  eternity and things to come.

Daniels’ name means     “God is my judge”.

Judgement runs rampant in the USA today. We judge politicians, presidents, women and men, voters and anyone within our reach. It seems a little odd when actors who merely act out lines given to them by others, come out with huge opinions on anything happening in the government.  I don’t understand how reading lines for a Charmin commercial makes one proficient in foreign policy or vetting a Supreme Court justice. Instead of pastors and psychologists and scientists voicing their research or concerns, we have people that merely read lines telling us what is the preferred way to live. Daniel had studied every discipline possible, every religion and political persuasion of his day possible, yet still stayed true to the One True God.

Imagine with me for a moment what it would feel like to be torn from your family and placed in a home where they believed opposite of how you believed. What would it be like to stop hearing scripture and start chanting occultic phrases? What if your school changed and you were immersed in the doctrines of the land?  Would you resist or accept the teaching? Daniels wisdom shows  that his parents had prepared him well as he gracefully navigated his new circumstances. What a tactful diplomat he had become and just in time! What would it feel like to radically change your drinking and eating habits, how you exercise, what clothes you wear? When I discussed this with my children they said,  “it’s similar to going from private to public school, a new neighborhood in a different zip code.” We discussed different traditions, styles and how religion impacts that. They could identify with Daniel more than I realized. Change is something that takes place when you step out in faith and can uproot quite a bit in your life. Sometimes these changes shake your body, your faith, and your beliefs. What shook loose in Daniels life, allowed him to focus on that which was rooted and grounded in him – his faith.

Not to pry into your life or business, but what would God have to shake loose for instability to fall to the ground? When all is stripped away will God find a heart of worship?  What would need to spin out of control for you to start letting God direct your steps? What would need to get taken or lost for you to reconnect with that which is eternal?

After reading Daniel, my husband, a former submarine sailor showed us videos of submarines preparing to go to sea. Everything must be secured or it will come loose when they get underway. Securing things before the journey makes for smooth sailing. A good sailor prepares for the journey by tying up loose ends. Prepare, secure, submerge  … dive, dive, dive! 

There is a shaking coming for our country, or so some  say. We are not promised tomorrow so there may be a shaking coming in our health, churches and family. Which of these are God initiated, enemy initiated or part of an ultimate plan? Many times in scripture God states that He caused these things to occur – until all that remains is Him, us and some doggone grit to last until the next day. God promises throughout Daniel that He is with us IN our trials. God promises to give us joy and rest IN our dilemmas. God promises to walk into crisis with us and stay  …until His will is complete. 

Our family postured our hearts to follow Jesus Christ with renewed passion about 3 years ago. It has been an adventure ever since. What was left behind was a bit of apathy, some depression, a rut or two and a whole lot of comfort. What has been taken up is a sense of purpose, focus on Heavenly things, and a core commitment to stay together as a family. We attempt to posture our hearts to seek and obey the Living God. (Right here, I’ll raise a hallelujah! Practicing, not perfect.)  All this was taking place while we were taking excess to the thrift store, digging ditches for the small cloud in the sky and making shifts of priorities to follow God’s heart). I think that was a pretty good exchange. People’s opinions did not alter the outcome. God remains this September — Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipotent – my guess is that HE will remain the same in each month thereafter as well and yes beyond.

Daniel had to be circumspect and tactful while serving four different kings. (Proverbs 21:1)  HIs wisdom did not come from Maxwell or Harvard but a regimen of prayer.  This man had a daily habit of praying three times a day.  Stronger than vitamins or meals for sure. Hmm?  We can’t ignore that when calculating his success. 

Daniel had to learn a new language (Aramaic)  and multiple leader’s preferences and customs. IN the midst of those fiery trials, he kept up his dietary promise. Break that down further – what Daniel ate was IMPORTANT enough to schedule and plan ahead because it would affect how he lived out his life. Food and faithfulness to pray took precedence over pleasure. Well, that just sounds legalistic sister Renae. Sure, tell that to the kings he served and see if they give a royal scepter what you think or how that played out theologically for Daniels lunch. Exiles don’t get to live wild and loose while they are being persecuted or trained. (Today, sojourners are preparing for their final destination).

Daniel knew he would have to exchange discipline in devotion for results in order to deter dying before dessert. He calculated his obedience and what was required of him to stay true to the One True God. We can’t understand the need for such discipline in our pampered culture but if the day comes when we have to– will we stand or surrender? These folks didn’t just disagree through social media, they gutted their enemies and made people eat their intestines. Will we stand or surrender and how will what we do TODAY impact that? Will we be able to think clearly, live disciplined lives and continue to carry out Gods purposes?

I believe that God paid the cost for Daniel, because he counted the cost for God.  Because Daniel showed up to seek God, God showed up to rescue Daniel.  Extraordinary loyalty to the Lord produced dynamic deliverance for Daniel.

You know the stories in this book – dreams, lions, fiery furnace and handwriting on the wall. Daniel is the best action figure for kids and adults. The difference between him and Marvel characters? Daniel was REAL and did REAL things. See Daniel 2:20-22. What do all of those stories have in common?


God did not leave His boy hanging, He showed up to rescue him and his friends.  In each instance, God appears and shows Himself STRONG. God has a great track record! In each circumstance God was an on time God, displaying His glory and power for Daniel and all those around him to see the greatness of his God. Feed your spirit and listen to He’s an on time God by Dotty Peoples and Deliverance by Zac Williams.

Rehearse your “what if” muscle for a moment. Picture that royal court full of wise men too full of sugary cake to stay awake and seek God. The next morning they can’t discern anything but chocolate. The Guillotine drops – heads roll. Now picture those big ol lions lickin their whiskers. Had God waited another ten minutes – CHOMP! Ever had Daniel Angel rings (extra crispy onion rings)? Everything is crispy on the outside and deep fried but inside – cool and clear.  Picture that cremation ready furnace and the coolest guy in the universe doing the Orange Justice. Had the Angel not shown up; they would have been crispy critters – just like the guys who put them in there! Picture the calligraphy on the wall being written after everyone drank their fill of wine – they might have seen different words and no one  perceive the message. Note it was sober guy who helps them out. I know of some current stories like Daniel that are quite remarkable.  Hanging out with friends like Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah has its benefits. Unsinged and unhinged, they stood firm, declaring Gods’ praise. God still speaks, God still moves, God still delivers.

God doesn’t promise we won’t be shaken but He does promise He will keep us still. God doesn’t promise we won’t go through change but that He will love us still. God doesn’t promise any trials but that He will keep us in the middle of His will. Daniel shows us his passion, God shows us His perseverance.

Our church is just entering in to a month of studying this book and the moral courage of Daniel. Like him we want to be devoted, disciplined and determined. Also like him, we want to be delivered! What if every boy and girl was steadfast in their faith, immovable in their doctrine and committed in their lives? What a difference in our homes, schools, churches and nation that would make!

Take note of what God wants to shake in your life, what He wants to change to make you more like Him. Map it out and remove every hindrance, distraction or circumstance that would keep you from fully obeying His plan for your life. I don’t think these stories were born out of apathetic or regular living. I think they came out of being devoted to God and the struggles of staying strong to His name. When we live counter culture, there is bound to be anger, resentment and retribution. Even in this, God will be present. Even in this, God will MOVE.

Daniel and his friends gave God an out – if He doesn’t show up we will still trust and obey.  Hebrews 11 which had not been written yet talks about God vindicating and blessing people in Heaven. Daniel was not looking for reward but had committed to obedience. That is remarkable, sold out, heated, passionate faith. Faith that looks for genuine sincerity and veracity – not the western brand that is just looking for cheap reward or sloppy grace. The faith comes through trial and testing, being proved.

My prayer for us and for you this month – understand Daniel and the God he served. Then go and live likewise.  Remember, whether you do this or whether you don’t, the lions will still be  growling and licking their whiskers….

RenaeRoche 2019


When our son was little we took him bowling. He could barely hold the ball and there were a few times when he would try to lift it up and throw it like a basketball. We are grateful for the manager of the alley who gave us grace! At our  Bowling alley they have something called bumper guards that go inside the gutters to prevent the ball from going astray and keep the ball centered  so the likelihood of it going toward the pins is greater. When our son got his first couple strikes he was elated. He jumped; hollered and screamed with delight: “I did it, I did it!” We smiled and let him celebrate which brought us great joy. No one to this day ever said, “Well, we put those guards in place.” We never called the alley and said, “His success was because we used bumper guards.” It was just something parents did so the child could train and “feel” success. If he had insisted we take them off, if he had decided those guards were “legalistic” or for children, we would have removed them. We really enjoyed seeing him accomplish his goal and  celebrate those wins. 

In The Old Testament, God put “guards” in place and His people ignored them. God sent prophets to remind them but they ignored Him. Not only were they missing out on the “wins” but they were getting out of their lanes and bonking other people on the head – their games/sins turned lethal. They ignored Gods boundaries and precepts as if they were too old to need such lame guidelines.

Ezekiel – the strengthening prophet came along and ministered as a priest. He knew God and he knew God’s word. His main task was to comfort Israel. Hmm? Comfort looks very different in this book than in our western mindset. Caution brings comfort? How?  One day God put a huge sign in the sky to get Ezekiel’s attention. It was an amber light. The Bible doesn’t say yellow which is a natural color it says amber which is seen in fossilized resin from a tree – something that has become hardened. There was fire in the sky and this peculiar color was indicative of something that had been melted. He sees this color in the sky and God starts to teach him to warn those people, to caution them that danger is ahead if they do not turn from their wicked ways. Their biggest offense? Following after Him with tepid hearts – doing things in a perfunctory way.

Perfunctory – (of an action or gesture) carried out with a minimum of effort or reflection. That is the dictionary definition. When Josiah found the book of the law and reformation came, it did not last long and people fell into perfunctory obedience. Their hearts were somewhere else. This grieved Gods heart – their tepid affections towards Him and the Sabbath. The prophets shared with the people this grief over their “perfunctory affections” yet it did not move them to change their ways. They were too “mature” and adult to use bumper guards.

Ezekiel, whose name means “the one who strengthens”, had a mom, dad (Buzi), and wife but no kids. Ezekiel’s contemporary friend and prophet was Jeremiah. That would be a difficult coffee buddy if there ever was one. “Hey buddy lets go to Kingbucks and have a latte – doom, gloom and destruction will be delayed at least a day or so, let’s commiserate.” How would you encourage a fellow prophet like that when you were hearing the same thing? Wouldn’t you just pray and hope that one of you was wrong or potentially a bit depressed? It seemed like a perspective problem – until the prophecies started coming to pass!  Jerusalem – fallen, Judah, fallen. Nations, fallen. He wanted Israel to be Great Again but the fake news  from the prophets around him was too intense. So God sent a sign….

Ezekiel warned the family, his neighbors and then the people that judgement was coming. First he warned his family and  relatives and then he went to his neighbors,  … judgement was on the way!  Then he started warning other nations- seven of them! Long before television, cellphones or YouTube, Ezekiel was seeing in multi color, 3D cinema. The devil gets described and showcased as a big distraction. God goes higher and brighter revealing HIMSELF and His glory so we are reminded who to follow rather than the shiny thing that lures. The graphic visuals and the heavy prophetic warnings make this book rated at least PG13 if not R. We tried using it for devotional material but had to stop because it was not age appropriate.  It was tough reading – until the last couple of chapters.

So, what was Ezekiel warning them about? Unrest – political, religious and international turmoil. Like our day, secular and spiritual leaders were fighting and the atmosphere was one of distrust and anger. There was immorality – sexual alliances, improprieties and unfair business practices. Also, like our day. The acts themselves grieved God but the ensuing cover-ups, triangular relationships and problems, muddied the waters beyond repair. Then there was the apostasy – the people were syncretistic and God fearers only in name. So much for reformation! It was a joke and short- lived because it focused on peoples new actions vs. Gods tried and true guidelines (ways). Re forming something is not making it  different but refreshing and returning it to how it was originally designed – new in Gods plan.

 “Look what we’ve experienced or done!”  the focus immediately went back to themselves. so subtle but telling. Once the people found out how to live (God’s laws and precepts) in Josiah’s day they could have held onto their new knowledge and lifestyles but instead their rituals (and love)  became perfunctory. Kind Ezekiel tried to warn them. Kind God gave them consequences to prevent total, permanent death.

I remember one of our church leaders sharing with us his ride to church one night. It was past sunset and as he rounded the corner all of the street lights came on. His daughter knew he had keys to the church and was going in early to set up. “Daddy, thank you for turning all the lights in the city on.” She was aware her dad could do BIG things so just assumed he could turn on the church and city lights – all for her viewing enjoyment. Ezekiel points us to his vision in the sky – a wheel within a wheel. It lifted his eyes above all the hatred, sin and chaos. Their Temple (church), the place of God, had been destroyed. To a desperate, weary group of people exiled to Babylon, they needed to know their God was not destroyed also, that He was able to cross state lines. This God was not bound by geography even though they were kicked out of their country. This was a move-able God who went with them. The king could take their homes, their temple, the idols – but he could not remove their God who reigned in the heavenlies. No scaffold, drone or missile can reach where God dwells. That speaks to Sovereignty. Where does God live? Anyplace He wants to! Does He want to live where you dwell? 

A local church here has a sign that signs, “You don’t have to ever fear the waves when your lifeguard walks on the water.” Ezekiel points out to the leaders then and the hearers now that God is BIGGER than their dilemmas, can see from many different angles and goes with them. That’s huge! The connecting thought is that if this God sees us, then He can also help us in the midst of our turmoil, unrest, immorality and apostasy. If we read this book right, God has done this before, it’s part of His resume. He is LORD over our relationships, nations and everything that happens under His watchful eye. Go Fish and their song “our God is so big, so strong and so mighty” could be Ezekiel’s theme.

True revival comes when we look up to see a Holy BIG God and rightly see ourselves in reference to Him. The overflow of that revelation in action, is when Revival begins. – R.Roche

While doing research for this blog I read an article on the origin of traffic lights by R.J Wilson. It shares some fascinating things about color. It points out that John Peake invented the system for the railroad originally. Did you know that 70 percent of people in San Francisco disobeyed the early light system to their own demise? Folks just don’t like to follow rules or even suggestions. Without rules in place it created chaos. Those lights were for prevention and protection. They needed to create gas lights so the people could travel at night. There were explosions. Yellow was added later on because people needed to learn to YIELD before the danger occurred. Who were these people trying to redirect their lives? The people did not want to give up their freedom to drive anywhere they wanted, however they wanted. The system involved the entire police force until people got the point that there was a time to go, a time to slow down and a time to stop!  When the idea caught on the police went back to policing the city instead of enforcing traffic. Ezekiel came to be God’s proverbial traffic light – God’s amber light on earth. “SLOW DOWN, DANGER IS COMING!”

I searched for a man to stand in the gap, but there was none. (Ezekiel 22).

Do you want a sign from God? Do you want a vision, 20/20 vision? See Ezekiel 20:20 and then read Matthew 11:28. Powerful one, two punch. Here’s the amber light for our generation – wait on the Lord and OBEY Him. Comfort comes when we yield to God’s will and God’s ways – peaceful comfort.

Read Ezekiel – it’s hard reading all the judgments, but eventually you will get to the part where Gods glory rises and His glory is displayed. God warned the people in Ezekiel’s day over and over and over again. We like to skim books like these which is kind of like running a yellow light. God is not wanting to quench our fun; He’s waiting to celebrate our success.

Ezekiel calls us back to full force faith – not perfunctory for show practices. Come back to the heart of God, use bumper guards if you need to but come back. He wants to watch you, help you and celebrate YOU.  We come back when we pause, we listen, we hear, we act; we celebrate; not out of obligation or fear but pure love. The final line of this powerful book?   Jehovah Shammah – the LORD is there. His goal all along was to be present among His people, making them secure, safe, comforted. His goal is not judgement, punishment or just rules/boundaries, His goal is fellowship and relationship. God through Ezekiel and through His word today is trying, actively trying to assist, caution, protect and celebrate us. Will we allow or resist this?

Let the Glory of the Lord rise among us, let it shine, let US shine.


FYI: This website has posted weekly but will now to go a monthly post so we have more time to dig into each book of the Bible. You can log on the first of each month or get the Facebook alerts.

                                Jeremiah –  Well Done!

Lamentations – July

This word means the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping. Lament prayer is to persuade God to ACT on behalf of the sufferer.  Last blog I asked if perhaps God spared Jeremiah from what was happening above ground when they threw him in a pit. That’s possible but in this book we learned that while he was in there someone poured water on his head and also threw rocks at him (Lam3:52-54). This was while he was praying for them and the nation. My whole life up to this point could not conceive of such cruelty – especially from religious folks but this year in our political culture and after going thru some things personally I can now see where that would be possible. Poor Jeremiah was just trying to communicate God’s heart and help them understand God’s voice. What a mess! Jeremiah is part of the writings (Ketuvim) section of the Old Testament. There are five chapters or poems of lament.  It laments the period of time when the Babylonian soldiers destroyed Jerusalem, God’s city and the Temple. The people did not realize that God would travel with them so seeing these things destroyed must have felt like God had been destroyed also. Jeremiah tells them throughout Lamentations their true source of HOPE.

For a class assignment I was also reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. It is his account of living in Auschwitz. It is not a book for the squeamish that’s for sure as it details his hope to live and the atrocities around him in the concentration camps. When I hear comparisons to modern day jails to confine people it makes me angry. Intentionally trying to decimate someone is vastly different than trying to protect the population.  Such overreach makes valid arguments (and there are some) not worthy of being heard. The children in Auschwitz were never treated as children but adults and many would throw their bodies at the electric fences to escape the daily fear of the gas chambers and crematoriums.  Keeping order on our borders is not the same as purposeful slaughter of a group of people because of their religious beliefs. It seems like a secondary offense to compare the two. It’s another way to water down what truly happened and change the narrative of history. The lamentations from those camps are still being sung and voiced today. I think that is appropriate and necessary, lest we forget.

All of this stirred in my heart as I read this precious book. During this time frame, we were given a magnet for our fridge that reads:

The Most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity; and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. – Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Lamentations gives us a picture of what Jeremiah endured and what the people faced in the exile. It is heavy reading and makes for tough devotional material – until you get to chapter three:

Yet this I call to mind (remember, reflect, bring into my heart)
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love (Mercy) we are not consumed (destroyed, vanquished),
    for His compassions (tender love, root of this word says it is like a womb that holds a fetus) never fail.   
                           Note the description of God here- that’s the definition of compassion!

                           With this definition, our nation should be in lament and grief.
23 They are new (restoring and refreshing) every morning, (every sunrise);
    great (vast, many, enough) is your faithfulness (truth, fidelity, steadfastness).
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion (award, reward, land);
    therefore I will wait for Him.”  25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him,
    to the one who seeks Him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Jeremiahs secret and certainly Viktor Frankl and others in the Holocaust was to remember God’s past works and to trust in God’s deliverance and love. When we remember, when we recount God’s goodness, when we look forward to His salvation, we have HOPE. Trusting God starts with knowing God. While we may never understand why God does what He does, we can trust His character. Herman Gunkel once said, “If God is predictable then He is a tool of humans.” God retains the holy prerogative to heal and bruise as He chooses and that free will keeps us from being trapped in a robotic world of fate. When we surrender our ultimate destiny to a loving God, we are free to work in His kingdom. What we fear the most – death, is no longer our ultimate fear because we have surrendered to a God we believe makes only righteous decisions. Wrestling with these concepts emboldens us to serve a God who is anything but tame. It also ignites passion in us that the world has rarely seen. According to Luke 18:1, we are invited to pray and even appeal to God for changes in the outcome. He remains unchanging; we connect with His divine will as co-laborers in a divine exchange of mercy, favor and grace.


Steve Leder, a Rabbi in one of the largest synagogues in America wrote a book, “More Beautiful than Before” and it speaks directly to suffering and ministering to people who are in lament. It starts off with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “there is a crack in everything.” It continues with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “Courage is not having the strength to go on, it is going on when you don’t have the strength. The rest of the book is filled with stories and deeply personal revelations of years ministering to those crushed by chronic pain, death and sorrow. It is an excellent resource for ministers and chaplains who grapple with these tough questions every day.  It made Lamentations come alive for me in a new way. Crushed people somehow know how to bring spiritual glue to others, it comes no other way.

The apostle Paul said it this way, 10 “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation (fellowship) in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”  Many want the resurrection before they have entered into the suffering. It’s a grave without a cross experience and it is hollow. My husband noted that the hollow grave culture strives to retire into complacency with the status quo, but the purpose is all self-indulgent. It’s not for the divine purpose of the kingdom.  Big difference. He said his bigger fear is living in complacency and safety. Jeremiah didn’t have to go to Babylon. His foresight through prophecy warned him of what was to come- he went anyway. He had an inkling and a word that things were not going to turn out as he hoped or planned – he went anyway. God was not caught off guard, diminished or forgetful. He knew the plans He had for Jeremiah and His people. I love it when the unchanging God changes things to bring about a holy change for His purposes. His  story is filled with those occurrences.

So, what will we do with this book? Its prescription:

That we continually remember and call to mind the deeds of the Lord.


Its healing solution is that we wait on the Lord and place our hope (grounded in Gods’ track record and fulfilled by His presence and promises) in Christ. Jeremiah wasn’t an ivory tower preacher or television star spouting out platitudes. He wasn’t dressing for success –his linens were buried in dirty rocks, remember? We can look at his life and identify with the call to proclaim God’s heart. We can look at his life and understand that doing so will bring on persecution that may cost our jobs or even our lives. So what!  Our direction and calling do not come from man’s hand but from God’s. Ultimately, as we hope for God and wait on Him, justice will shine like the noonday sun. Eternally, God will be pleased and if that is our ultimate goal, nothing else really matters.


Lament, arise, proclaim,

RenaeRoche 2019





Isn’t it weird how the players in these stories become more real as you get older? I feel like Jeremiah is a relative from back in the day. Each time I read this book penned by him I feel like I get to see him just a little bit better, a little closer up.  He was called early on, given visions that no one understood in the moment but would later come to know that God Himself had spoken through him. His prophecies are so spot on and fulfilled, they are mentioned throughout the New Testament. He’s a Biblical prophet and hero, but it wasn’t always like that.

Jeremiah was pretty vocal about his faith. He believed with all of his heart that those who loved God needed to set aside the Sabbath to worship and honor Him. He was glad the Book of the law had been discovered and reformation had come but deeply sad that people were doing rituals from obligation instead of from the heart. He wrote much about the importance of putting God first. Instead of suggesting just people straighten up, he called them to “repent”! That never seems to go over very well I’ve found. Whether it was spelling out judgements or telling people to break up their fallow ground, he was concerned that they would miss God’s heart. Jeremiah did not just have a small vision for his family; he was concerned about an entire nation that was seeking other gods. Wiersbe says he reminds him of Thomas Jefferson who once said, “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

Jeremiah and his writings remind us that God does not look favorably on our sin. When the nations changed gods, as frequently as they changed their togas, it broke God’s heart. When the people followed with lip service and not with their whole hearts it grieved the righteous God. Jeremiah wanted to be faithful to deliver God’s word but probably did not count the cost to him personally. One guy threw him in a pit filled with mud, leaving him there to starve to death. He was accused of being a liar and a manipulator by people convicted of their own shortcomings and sin. The more Jeremiah stood up for God’s law, the more he was hated. His best life was not now, but it was more mature than then.

I love hearing God’s instructions and plans but this time around I identified with this weeping prophet. He didn’t set out to be rejected, he really was trying to follow after God. Things turned out much differently than he planned. He empathized so much with the people he was serving that he kind of lost his own identity and took up God’s, at least long enough to prophesy to them. The more he tried, the less results he got, the less they loved him, the smaller his circle of friends.

While worship should have started in the home and become a source of stability and bonding, the families of Jeremiahs day started accepting and worshipping idols. They were very syncretistic. Not only did it become acceptable but people were promoting it. I never thought I’d see the day where idols were more popular than Jesus but check out the home décor in Target,  Marshalls and that’s what you will find. God is a jealous God and those who serve Him are asked to serve Him alone. How much has crept in when we were unaware? How much has crept into our lives when we were? Like boiling a frog, it happens one degree at a time and no one notices. Jeremiah rebuked those who knew and those who were caught off guard and called them to re-surrender, return and repent to a holy God. He stood his ground and would not get off that topic. Did he miss their slams and innuendos due to mental deficiency or possibly  was he just decidedly going to serve a God that required absolute loyalty?

Though being expelled from the temple, thrown in a pit, depressed, fearful and weary, Jeremiah clung to a God who He believed had all power, authority and answers.  I wonder if Jeremiah was sheltered from fighting while in his mud bath? Sheltered from danger?  Jeremiah was on “papers”, a prisoner and yet God was not hindered from speaking to him even in his darkness. He would foreshadow another prophet that “wept” revealing not only his humanness but the Father’s heart.  My husband noted that God ALWAYS had Jeremiahs best interest in mind, even when circumstances obscured Jeremiahs view.

Jeremiah shows us a range of emotions – anger, fear, depression, sorrow.  He probably questioned why the wicked were prospering, why the bad guys seemed to be winning.  Wiersbe (Be Decisive, p.63) states “God’s reply to Jeremiah, however, wasn’t what he expected. God’s focus was not on the wicked; it was on the servant Jeremiah. As most of us do when we’re suffering Jeremiah was asking, “How can I get out of this?” But he should have been asking, “What can I get out of this?”


 “God’s servants don’t live by explanations; they live by promises.”


“Understanding explanations may satisfy our curiosity and make us smarter people, but laying hold of God’s promises will build our character and make us better servants. “

This wonderful book of the Bible has been quoted thru the years. We all love to land on the text “For I know the plans I have for YOU declares the Lord, plans to prosper, not to harm you.” It feels good, it sounds good, and it looks good on graduation plaques. The context for it however is much more expanded. Speak for God, endure criticism, live for God, get thrown in mud and out of the temple. Messy, exiled, alone. That just doesn’t sound right. No wonder no one wants to model Jeremiah for a business school or ministry success training. “You too can get stabbed in the back for just 19.99- just prophesy to someone who doesn’t want to listen, call now.” Wouldn’t go over well – unless the One you are trying to please is God. Then it works, then it makes sense.

I believe in God and loving Him alone. I believe in family – worshipping together a holy God and bonding over His promises. I believe in a nation that honors God and rejects following other loves. Just writing that feels a bit scary as not everyone agrees with those thoughts and values. I would much rather be celebrated than stoned however I would also rather stand alone than go with the crowd that denies Christ and His power. The one who stands alone for God stands in Good company.

Religion won’t get us into Heaven, nor will following rituals. Remembering God and making Him a priority does not earn us salvation but it does promote joy and satisfaction. Laws and rules don’t gain entrance to the throne but delighting in God through relationship yields eternal results on this earth and in Heaven.  Choosing God’s ways is not easy short term, but brings LIFE and PEACE long term.

Let me know if you hold these values, if your life is postured to repent and love with your whole heart, soul and mind. I could be wrong but I’d rather live under a bridge connected to the One who flung the stars in space than have full access to a Temple where He said He would not dwell. God’s ways are not popular or for the faint-hearted and are often very at odds with our plans for the future.


However, they are best –because God knows best.


11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you seek ME with ALL your heart14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” These Promises that were backed by the ONE who saw and heard everything.

May we be faithful like Jeremiah, faithful to the Word, faithful to the Lord, faithful to God’s process and may God give us the strength to endure, as we carry out His plan.

Renae Roche 2019


I know we aren’t supposed to have favorites but this is mine. This one book nestled in the middle of the Old Testament declares the entire book of the Bible in a nutshell. It’s poetic, prophetic and showcases God’s heart. We believe the main author is Isaiah whose name means – the Lord is salvation. It is the most quoted book in the New Testament. “The Lord is salvation” – not church attendance, tithing, good works or anything we do, it’s Gods’ work in Christ.

 A story comes to mind that I will risk sharing here. It is the night when I was licensed to preach the Gospel. My family was too far away to come so I went to the ceremony with a couple girlfriends from My Bible College. As we drove along I got more nervous. I was greatly concerned that I would never again be able to smoke. Those who struggle with this addiction may sympathize with me but I had never smoked a cigarette. I vowed to God I would not drink and increasingly grew more stricken with the thought that I was dedicating my life to Christ and would lay down forever the “right” to drink as that was the commitment I was making to preach the Gospel. In my young foolish mind I thought serving God was about what I would do, heroically giving God my life. How would I last my whole life without drinking a beer, sipping a margarita?  At first I did not dare share with the others in the car what I was struggling with. I was tempted with things I did not know even existed which should have tipped me off that there was another battle in place. When I discussed this with my friends they were not making the same vows and thought it odd that I was. Kissing came next and I’ll leave that off this website but you get the idea. As we drove through the dark night of Minnesota, I kept counting the cost and focusing on what things I chose to lay down to be used by the Lord. At the time it seemed like such a HUGE sacrifice I was making for the Lord. I worried my life would not be lived to the fullest. I did not realize that salvation is not laying down our lives but taking up HIS life.

On that journey a big semi-truck darted in front of us. We had no choice but to read the words scrawled on the back of that very dirty truck – “He whose mind is stayed on thee will be kept in perfect peace.” The rest of that passage left off the truck states – because s/he trusts in YOU (Isaiah 26:3)  The debate, the struggle, the temptations quickly faded away as I realized I was not leaving behind wonderful things, fun things (or even things I had ever done or tried), I was moving towards something- or more accurately SOMEONE. Peace not only flooded my mind but flooded that car. My mind and spirit went higher than temporary pleasures. “God, I lay down lesser things so I can understand you as the MORE.” I have never regretted that decision. While my license to preach was to commit to the Word and the Body, I also laid down my life and asked God to help me take up HIS. It was a serious commitment for my entire life – not just for a piece of paper from a religious organization. My choice to lay down other freedoms was something I did out of a willing heart – not because any denomination or group asked me to. That choice has led to an increasing hunger for God, taken me around the Globe to witness people coming to Christ, to church meetings where I’ve seen amazing things, to neighborhoods where miracles have happened. I didn’t exchange that for a glass of beer (nor do I fault people that don’t have that same conviction) but I did set apart my life for God to have every second available for His purposes possible. It was a commitment of my heart to let Him sanctify me for His purposes. That’s about relationship- not ministry.

Isaiah gives us the prime example of the Suffering servant. He laid down His life, suffered and was bruised for our iniquities and took on our guilt and shame. My favorite chapter is 53 where we find Jesus was silent, “He opened not His mouth” choosing instead for God to vindicate Him which He did – big time. I have some awesome mentors and teachers that have taught me through the years but this is the best example – Jesus. He laid down His reputation, His rights, His destiny, everything He was or wanted to be and picked up instead — My sin, our sin, their sin. He was in His prime, His ministry was front and center, He was on the fast track and then He lays it ALL down and takes on the sin, shame and punishment of people who clearly did not deserve it. Death seemed like a very unlikely achievement – at the time. Giving up His rightful place in “ministry” for a bunch of scoundrels seemed self-defeating – at the time.  His promotion was nails, blood, sweat and tears. The only flow in His career was blood trickling down an old rugged cross. He didn’t walk a line for graduation; they drug him through the crowd. The marks on his “vessel” were not degrees but nail scarred hands. The only commencement was demons gathering to jeer and scowl. Only Heaven saw angels gathering near to usher this righteous one home.

He didn’t do it for a title – though they put one there instead of His name.  Instead of His day it was Yahweh’s day. He didn’t do it for money – in fact all the money he had was spent and the blood money spilled out in a field like a game. He didn’t do it to look Holy – they criticized and mocked and there was great shame.

I think in the midst of this book, in the midst of Jesus life was more than  just ministry or acclaim – as His head hung down, as his legs went lame, Jesus had a question, like the broken, bloody criminals beside Him, it was the same – where are you God, why have you forsaken ME? That question outlasts and out screams all others. Where are You God when I’ve made You my life, my all? Why am I forsaken when I’ve defended your name? Are my minor sacrifices enough to show you my heart or are you wanting me instead to see YOURS? In the midst of serving God, in the midst of denying all other Gods, what are you asking me to do and where will YOU, and I… be in the end?

What we lay down is not of utmost importance. What we do with our hands and our hearts is not of utmost importance. How we live our days or our lives is not of utmost importance. What brings us peace, in the moment, in the life is our connection with God, knowing He is there, with us each and every day. We receive Your love Lord; You have loved us and will NEVER, EVER go away. THAT bloodied One – took on my sin and shame. ALL my righteousness He covered, yes even my blame. There is nothing I can offer that He has not already done, all my trophies and achievements in His sacrifice, HE HAS WON.

Isaiah is a book that teaches us God’s heart, God’s ways. It predicts the cross and how it works as a SOLUTION for the world’s sin. It also displays God’s son bringing that peace and beauty to a world marred by sin. I brought my bruised heart and weary soul to this book; I dragged near my offenses and grudges. They did not bear any weight after looking into the mirror of this text. One week was not enough to glean all the lessons it affords.

Peace is not what we lay down. Peace is not what we give up. Peace is not what we predict or suppose. Peace is the life of Christ, bridging our lives to the Fathers through the pain and suffering this ONE demonstrated for then and now. His abdication of rights yielded promise, His suffering yielded victory. I want to reject notions of “my” ministry or suffering and take up HIS. The righteousness, holiness… even the government is on His shoulders.

Jesus, we look to You to see Peace, to model Peace, to seek Peace, to receive Peace.

Shalom and Amen, RenaeRoche2019

Song of Songs

I’m not one to put my hubby and I on Facebook. I read a survey one time that said that couples that do that are less happy than those who don’t. the next day this couple who put their whole engagement on a social website got in a fight and the guy murdered his spouse. I told my husband, “we’re going to be together forever.” When he asked me why, I told him that story. I figured if we didn’t put anything up that ensured great success. Lol.  He’s just not a poster kind of guy.

So, in an effort to be romantic I cut up apples one Saturday morning and displayed them on a fancy plate. I read this in Song of Songs and figured it would yield similar results.  “Come here”, I seductively said to my husband. He muttered something about being busy then sat down. Not only was he not interested in my fair apples but emphatically told me he had just had coffee and they would probably curdle his stomach. This was not going well. It certainly did not evoke poetry from my heart. The kids also did not get why they could not have these special cut apples. It was nothing like in the movies at all.

So, after several attempts to reduplicate the lovely book in scripture I confessed my plan. I was thinking he would be touched and then tell me how rosy my checks were and how much like a gazelle I am, blessing his life with my feminine beauty. I think he said something about needing to be at an appointment and thanked me for the gesture. I smiled at him with my shorn like sheep teeth and said “goodbye, my love, adieu.” Clearly I had missed some cues along the way and my Saturday attempt at being provocative had gone unnoticed. I wondered if a special perfume would have aided this little project in some way. I think I heard him tell the kids on his way out to “help mom eat up those apples – she’s acting strange.”

To the romantic, or newly married– this book evokes images of lovemaking and romance. To the seasoned couples we note the godly characteristics and note that faithfulness is much more than fleeting youthful lust. This time when I read this book there was a new appreciation. The favorite word and imperative is;


It means to beckon to come close or near. Won’t you come closer? Just like I wanted to spend time with my husband and have his full attention, God is wanting us to call Him to draw near. Sometimes we ignore Him, sometimes we keep Him at a distance, other times we come close only to flee away at the first hint of distraction. It’s been my prayer this week: “Draw me Lord”. Is it possible for us to actually pray for hunger? Do our prayers help increase that sense of longing for the Lord? `

The passage on shadowing our love –  was awesome. The language of this book is amazing and each verse brings us closer and closer to this beautiful love story. Without the urgency though, to come closer, without the bidding to not run away… it just would not be the same.

How much do we long for our love? Is it youthful zeal like when we first came to Christ? I’ve known my husband for 13 years now and I respect and love him now more than ever. His integrity, wisdom, kindness and character inspire and bless me daily. Although holding his hand still thrills me, the youthful starry eyed girl has transformed into a trusting, grateful spouse. While I don’t often see him as a running buck, he certainly resembles a doting father and faithful partner and that is poetic in my heart. Even though we love each other I still have to come near, beckon him to come close and we have to make sure the other knows we are committed and want to be with each other.

My appeal to you, to myself, to believers everywhere is to call out to God today and everyday – not a  paragraph full but just one little word that will open the Heavens and beckon God near:


Draw me into your presence Lord, into Your courts. Draw me from my sin shame and wretchedness and draw me to your loving side. Draw me to your character, love and Kingdom. Draw me till all that I am is wrapped around all that You are gentle Shepherd.

So, this wordy author leaves you with this longing, holy thought:

Without a call, there can be no response

Without a yearning, there can be no satisfaction.

Your Bridegroom waits for your desire, your passion… what will you say to Him in this moment?

Draw me, draw me after you, draw me into Your chambers Lord.

That is where we want to be, that is where we want to stay.

Draw us… and we will run after you.


Ps. Keep praying this one little word, He loves to answer your prayer!  D R A W

Draw me, draw me Lord and I will run after you      Draw me Lord/ Myron Williams




Ecclesiastes is the title of the book we are studying this week. Its name means an address to an assembly. Solomon, the aged preacher and King is sharing his life of experience and wisdom with us. I love this book and I’m reminded of my choir teacher in High School who had us sing “Remember now they Creator”. It was not popular even back then, yet he taught it and we sang it in the auditorium for graduation. It guided my life and I’m thankful for his courage and wisdom.

Different commentators believe various themes are seen in this book and there is not one common one to share. I will share with you my take on it after studying Sabbath rest. Resting in God is important and a theme throughout the entire Bible. Here we see the man who built God’s house, who labored for Him telling us how to work and live. It is powerful against the backdrop of that message. Consider the following scriptural clusters:

Ecclesiastes    רָאָה  (To enjoy)  ra’ ah (To open eyes, look, gaze, behold)

2:24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 

3:13   And also that every man should eat, drink and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.

5:18-20 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God

8:15   So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.

9:7-10 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. 

After reading this it’s hard to say it was a passing thought. Our puritan minds resist concepts like this because God has often been portrayed as being “no fun” or harsh. In reality, He is warm, loving and compassionate. Enjoyment, rest and delight are His signature. Why do we live as though the opposite is true?

Men, women toil all their lives and give their best to their jobs only to be laid off, fired, replaced. It is a good thing to work as unto the Lord. It is meaningless to make work our goal and serve mammon.

Some people work and never feel the satisfaction of a hard days work. They build a savings, pay bills but laughter, enjoyment and delight are not part of the equation. In all this the gift of God is missing. If hard work is a gift, then enjoyment of that hard work is also a gift. Why do some enjoy, and others detest going to work?

I still believe we are to rest and enjoy God at the beginning of the week, getting saturated and refreshed. When we walk that input into our week in our work it becomes the gift of God as we manage the tithe of time over the next 6 days.

A story comes to mind – the Allegory of the Long Spoons. It was told by Rabbi Haim Roshishok. For space, I am summarizing it:

A bunch of people end up in hell and they are seated after days of not eating at a long banquet table filled with choice food and desserts. They are thrilled and await their serving utensils. When they are handed out they are long spoons. They try to pick up the food only to be disappointed that they cannot maneuver them. The spoons are too long to feed oneself. The event turns into a fight with no one getting fed or satisfied, all angry at one another. They die of starvation. Their lack of cooperation and collaboration blinds them to the others hunger and turns their blessing into death.

The people in Heaven in contrast, happily share their utensils and work together to accomplish what they need to do. They create a pleasant, cooperative environment to work in and that produces health for all. They serve each other with joy, making sure each person gets what they need. Their cooperation insures that each person not only gets fed but enjoys the process and all rejoice together at the wonderful feast set before them.

I like Rabbi Roshishok. His story is paraphrased here but represents a whole lot more than “teamwork makes the dreamwork”. Striving, ambition, beating one another down to get positions, aiming for success while ignoring family or God = is all vanity and meaningless. It doesn’t build God’s kingdom but tears down all hope. In contrast those who remember their Creator, those who enjoy food, drink, life, God and especially their loving wife = now that’s a gift supersized by God Himself.

Stoicism, legalism, rigidity leave us cold and bitter. Hedonism, lust, extreme pleasure leave us shamed, filthy and depressed.

Somewhere in the middle – is hard work, enjoying life and God and rejoicing with others on a similar journey. Solomon would have firsthand knowledge of all of this and in his writings, he points out wisdom that someone who had lived in both extremes could speak to.

I hope today, possibly tomorrow if it’s available to you, that you eat some good grub, drink something refreshing that won’t cause you to sin and that you delight in what God has given you to do for a living. Then on the weekend – chillax a bit. This is the gift of God.

Oh, and if you need help with your long spoon, I’ll be available and maybe in turn you can help me with mine.

Ecclesiastes is not quoted in the New Testament. Possibly because Jesus reinterpreted the “meal” that brings joy and satisfies:

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad (enjoy/rejoice) together.  John 4:34[1]

So glad God is known for His compassion and not just compliance. So glad this is the character of the God we serve.



[1] For full sermon on this scripture see Crossroad Assembly of God Facebook page Sunday 5/26/19.












I love old sayings and adages. Told to us in childhood, they tend to stick and sometimes we mistakenly think they are scripture. My mom used to say, “oh what a web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”  I think my mom was the most honest person I’ve ever known. She just did not have an ounce of fraud in her. Until I grew older and had kids of my own did I realize what a true gift that was in a relationship. Integrity was the foundation for everything she did and that gave us a compass to live by. Another saying she often said was “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” We lived in a city but to me that meant things can change so rely on things that are certain. Then there’s “the early bird gets the worm.” One day I woke up and thought, first off, I don’t want a worm and secondly, I want to sleep in! Then I became a mom….  Little birds need worms. When we started getting up at 5:00 AM that wisdom made a lot of sense. Now in my older years I’m starting to understand the mama wisdom she passed on. Oh, for one more day to be able to thank her for all of her “wisdom”.

The book of Proverbs is also called the “writings”. Many are written by Solomon, some by another author. There are 30 of these wise sayings that give us moral lines to live by. As a teenager someone told me that if I read one per day that would equal an entire month and when I grew up I would have a system of integrity built into my mind. Year after year I’ve read the Proverbs and I haven’t memorized many of them but every once in a while, when I get in a sticky situation one or two will pop up. Here are a few that I’m especially fond of:

Prov. 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

When you are a child or even a teen that doesn’t make much sense but now looking back at some of the paths I’ve seen people take– it shouts with wisdom. Rather than following God on a trajectory to Heaven, sin can distract, detain and even end a life of promise and blessing. I see tragedies like this every day. Straight paths are a blessing and a life centered on God, even though it has bumps and twists in the road glorifies God. The pathway is paved with blessings and favor, despite difficulties.

Sometimes we think we are doing “wise” things but they aren’t Biblical, just human reasoning. I think of good old family advice too. Once I saw my grandmother making Thanksgiving turkey. She took the bird to the sink and poured in a cup of coffee. When I got older I used the “secret recipe” and added coffee making the flavor of my bird robust. Proudly I shared with grandma that I was following in her tradition and wanted to thank her for passing it on. Grandma was horrified. Grandma had never done that before. Then she realized one year she poured her coffee down the sink only to realize that the sink was empty but holding the thanksgiving bird that was cooling off!  We have a tradition but instead of it being my grandmas secret it is now my secret and mistake. Lol. Other families pass down their “traditions” of holidays, perhaps driving while intoxicated, family fights or feuds. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish what is common sense, what is Biblical and what is absolute nonsense. That’s where Proverbs can help us. Chapter One tells us what they are for and their importance and yet many live day to day without ever getting the gold stored therein:

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
for gaining wisdom and instruction;
    for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
    doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,
    the sayings and riddles of the wise.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.


I’m no longer a teen… but I still needs God’s wisdom and guidance. The more I branch out to seek God’s will and direction, the more these Proverbs will help by bringing understanding.


Lord, open our hearts, minds and spirits to gain Your wisdom and to walk in Your ways. We need Your mind on matters more than ever before. Lead us by Your Spirit, Your word and these Proverbs we pray.






This weekend I went to Hobby Lobby to get something and encountered all kinds of people getting presents for Mother’s day. One particular family stood out – it was a  father and a little boy probably about five years old. The dad was asking his son what he wanted to get his mama. He pronounced boldly, “I would like to get her an owl feeder. Do you think they have owl feeders? ” I wanted to say “go next door to PetSmart and get a couple mice and they’ll come” but I resisted the urge and went on. 


Life is full of options isn’t it? Our moms had a way of pointing towards the better ones such as you can sit and shiver OR you can go put a sweater on.  You can lick that cake batter spoon and get a tummy ache OR you can wait till the cupcakes come out of the oven and have one. Maybe there were bigger decisions she shed some wisdom on like you can fear going to school tomorrow to face that mean ol bully OR you can trust God to make a way of deliverance for you.  You can stay In the dark about God’s will for your life OR you can ask Him for guidance and direction. Life is just full of options we can choose OR we can surrender those choices to the Lords will for His glory.


While reading the book of Psalms this past week I found another OWR – it’s the Hebrew word for light. It looks like this:  אוֹר     OWR

What it means is: Lightening, brightness and serene countenance, happiness, morning dawn, lamp, instruction and teaching. David used this word in Psalm 27 when he was talking about the Lord. He said, “The Lord is my OWR (light) and my salvation. He’s our OR (OWR).

Our family watched Thomas The Disciple after studying this and in that movie, the guard watching Jesus’ tomb sees a bright light in the night that changes his life forever. Though the guard was loyal to the Romans, after encountering that light made a choice to follow Christ. This Light of the world – it illumines our sin and Lord. We can press towards eternity daily. Isaiah talked about those who sat in darkness… have seen a great light!  Oh to embrace that light as being for us, willing to save, shield and illumine our way. People all around the world light candles to join in anticipating Messiah – we eagerly await!

David goes on to write that God is also our salvation (deliverance, aid, rescue, safety, welfare) and strength, the (place or means of safety, protection, refuge, stronghold) of whom shall I be afraid? He goes on to write about his enemies and battles but then boldly proclaims that even in the midst of battles he will be confident.  David, the singer has a much different definition of confident than modern day singer Demi Lovato. He means confidence as putting ones trust not in oneself but in Jehovah, trusting in God, being secure in God and putting His hope in God. Self-confidence is momentary, God-confidence is eternal.

One thing I ask from the Lord,  this only do I seek:  (verb here means to actively, passionately pursue)
that I may dwell (remain, stay) in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty (delight, pleasantness, grace, favor) of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. This isn’t just go to Sunday and hear a couple tunes or even to worship for an hour. This is to Inquire: ponder, reflect, plough, break forth, inspect, admire, consider who God is and what He has done. This PROCESS as a lifestyle brings David great confidence because he intimately knows the God he seeks. He’s getting to know God, reflecting on His goodness, pondering His greatness, enjoying His pleasantness, grace and favor.

Our culture often showcases self-made people, amplifies players and movers and shakers as if that was a sign of success. The song “Bad to the Bone” comes to mind. Those who define themselves and promote themselves seem to rise to the top. Yet David had success and focused on the Lord. Quite the opposite arenas. He wanted to be strong in the Lord – not himself. He knew his real source of strength.

For in the day of trouble
    He will keep me safe in His dwelling;
He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted
    above the enemies who surround me;
at His sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
    I will sing and make music (a whole bunch) to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;                         all imperatives !!!
  be merciful to me and
 answer me.

My heart says of you, “Seek His face!”
    Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide Your face from me,
    do not turn Your servant away in anger;
    You have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
    God my Savior.

I recently lost my dad and several years ago lost my mom . They were wonderful people and gave me a solid foundation in life. They were kind and honest. There absence has left a hole in my heart. One day that was especially filled with grief made me question where God was in all this. I felt kind of orphaned, abandoned. Does God understand this type of pain I wondered? This next verse was especially helpful to me and brought much comfort going into Mothers’ Day:

10 Though my father and mother forsake  (leave or fail) me,
    the Lord will receive me. (Gather, bring up the rear, assemble others around me).

I’m not sure exactly how –but there seems to be a promise there that HE will be our family and provide family for us when we are alone. That’s amazing. I’ve experienced that through our church and also in special encounters along the way. God should get His own day just for that! He’s Worthy of celebration.

11 Teach me Your way, Lord; (cause me to be taught PLEASE — imperative)
   You must lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
    for false witnesses rise up against me, (Slanderers) 
    spouting malicious accusations  (certainly anxiety producing if we allow it).

13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.                         Long-term HOPE

14 WAIT  for the Lord:
 imperative– To eagerly wait, hope for, linger, expect, tarry
    BE                             (Courageous, be of good courage- imperative)
 and He will strengthen your heart.
    and WAIT  for the Lord.         imperative – Double packed twice, really important!

David’s wisdom is poured forth in song and he has given us some great options to the times and trials in our lives. We can fear trials OR we can trust God. We can walk in darkness OWR we can choose the Light. We can be shaky OR we can be confident in God. We can rush around doing our own thing only to fail OR we can WAIT on God and be strengthened.

Good options – choose you this day whom you will serve.

Happy Gods’ Family day! RenaeRoche2019

PS. Bless all of you who celebrate this week and also those who mourn – you WILL be comforted.