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“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him… [Israel’s] branches shall spread; his beauty shall be like an olive tree…Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall be revived like grain, and grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.” —Hosea 14:4-7

God doesn’t just forgive us when we repent. He blesses us. He loves us “freely.” We make a mess of our lives. We come to God, sincerely repent, sorry for our stupidity and sin, and He heals and blesses us. That’s the way it works. That’s amazing grace.

When the children of Israel repented, God’s anger melted into love.

He blessed them with a fresh anointing, evidenced by dew, flowers, fragrance, beauty, and shade. He gave them a chance to be revived and nourished back to health and beauty. When someone knocks around in the world, giving themselves away to false gods and sin, they need that refreshing and an opportunity to be renewed.

He also gave them stability. Nothing makes us feel more insecure and unsure of our place in the world than sin. One of Satan’s best tactics is to lure us into unhealthy situations, then strip away our sense of security and love. God longs to restore us to emotional health, secure in His love.

“They shall be revived like grain and grow like a vine…like the wine of Lebanon.” Once we are healed and secure, God gives us new growth, and our lives bear rich and scented fruit like new wine. Our gifts and talents will blossom and bless others. His love will be reflected in our lives!

What a beautiful picture of the heart of God! His desire to nurture, love, and help us grow are all expressed beautifully and with such emotion! How can we not love a God who loves us so much?

“I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and He that is mighty came and in His mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for His great favours…” —St. Patrick, from the Confession of Saint Patrick— 450 A.D.

Pastor Ray Bentley

Love God. Love People. Pastor Ray Bentley lived by those words. His love for the Lord and the people he served was demonstrated every day through his actions, leadership, ministry, teaching, sharing, and caring.

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