God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t!

30 Aug

(This is a re-print from May of last year).

Ruth didn’t know the God of Abraham or that she needed Him. God was working on other situations in the background that would eventually involve Ruth. She was completely unaware that God even existed and certainly didn’t know of God’s plans for her future. She was born into a pagan family, raised to worship idols. Ruth was doomed to a life headed for eternal destruction – unknown to her. A man named Elimelech came into Ruth’s life, by God’s providential will.

Elimelech lived in the promised land of God. A drought caused him to mortgage his land, leave his kinsmen, his friends and his country and move with his wife, Naomi and their two sons from Bethlehem to Moab. He was trying to provide for and protect them, but shortly after Elimelech moved his family to Moab he died, leaving Naomi and her sons alone in a strange land.

Naomi should have taken her sons and gone back to their homeland at that time. Instead she stayed in Moab and eventually her sons disobeyed God’s commands and married pagan women named Ruth and Orpah, who served idols. After only a few years of marriage, both young men died, leaving their mother, Naomi, and their heathen wives, Ruth and Orpah alone.

Naomi had lost everything except her two daughters-in-law. Since she had nothing left and did not know what difficulties she might face when she returned to her homeland of Judah, she prepared to leave Moab. Naomi called Ruth and Orpah to her side and encouraged them to return to their families. She was trying to protect the young women, but neither of them wanted to leave her. It was evident that Naomi was very loving and kind and that Ruth and Orpah must have experienced and learned of the love of God through her and through their husbands.

It’s hard to imagine a daughter-in-law loving her mother-in-law so much that she would be willing to leave all she knew, including her own mother and other family members. Ruth was so drawn by God’s love through Naomi that she hungered for more. She knew that she would not find that same love from her people.

This is a beautiful portrayal about how the love of God draws men to Himself. The love of Jesus shines through God’s children and draws others to Him. Their hearts begin to yearn for Him. They want to give up everything else to follow Him.

Ruth had experienced a taste of God’s love through Naomi and did not want to go back to her old life. On the other hand, Orpah had the same opportunity. She loved Naomi. She struggled with letting go, but Orpah wasn’t willing to give up her old life or leave her idols and the sinful ways of her people. She could not let go. Her flesh had a strong hold on her.

We can identify with Orpah. She was not unlike us. She loved her family – Moab was all she knew. It was comfortable to Orpah. It was familiar. Although she was torn in her decision, she was unable to let go of her past. She couldn’t step into the unknown. Orpah made a wrong choice. It was a choice that more than likely condemned her. But the choice was hers. We can identify with why she did it. We face hard decisions every day. Will we go with God or go back to what is comfortable?

Letting go of all we are familiar with – stepping into the unknown – that is what faith is.

• Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. NIV

This story is continued – Check back in a few days to see what God had in store for Ruth. Remember, she doesn’t yet know God – she doesn’t know she is actually right in the middle of His will for her life.

God Knows Where You Are Going Even If You Don’t – Part 3

30 Sep photo-1436228625646-f30c3e8447b0

Boaz, The Son of a Harlot, Ruth, a Pagan – Brought Together by God and Became Part of the Lineage of Jesus Christ! 

Continued . . .

How great is our God! He took ordinary people – sinners – saved them and turned their lives around and made them part of the lineage of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and King!

So, we find Ruth under the blanket, at the feet of a strange man. She did not sleep, she waited. It must have seemed a long time to Ruth. Finally, Boaz was startled and woke up! He asked who was there. Ruth replied, giving her name, and announcing she was his servant girl. She requested that he spread his cover over her. She told him she was a relative and reminded him that he was supposed to take care of her. The more we learn about Ruth, the braver she seems to get! Obedience certainly takes courage.

“Boaz was an older man, possibly a leader in the city. Naomi was certain that he would do the right thing and redeem her as was the custom of the day. If there was anything improper about this action, the fault must lie upon Naomi. . who knew or should know, the laws of Israel better than Ruth. It is true that Boaz, being near of kin to Naomi’s oldest son, and then nearest of all now alive, was obliged by the divine law to marry the widow of Mahlon, who was the eldest son of Elimelech, and was dead. Her coming to lie down at his feet, when he was asleep had such an appearance of evil. . . It is dangerous to bring the spark and tinder together; she (Naomi) knew Boaz to be not only an old man, but a grave sober man, a virtuous and religious man, and one that feared God.” (Bible Commentary)

Just imagine what God can do with one so dedicated and obedient. Here we are today, a couple of thousand years later, reading about a young woman born into a pagan land, submitting herself to one of God’s own and reaping such a mighty reward, here on this earth, in her lifetime – -God’s grace – His mercy – His blessing! Amazing!

Boaz blessed her! Wow! He realized Ruth was once again being obedient to Naomi by being there. He told Ruth he thought this was the greatest kindness that she had shown Naomi even from the beginning. Boaz was so intuitive. He told Ruth of his respect for her because she had not sought after a husband to marry, either rich or poor. Even more amazing, Boaz told Ruth he would do all she asked. He went so far as to tell her that all the people in their town knew she was a good woman. Then he then told Ruth that there was another kinsmen who was a closer relative than he. This meant there was a problem. Well, isn’t that the way life is?

This was an open door for doubt and unbelief to come in. We all face this in our daily lives. Many give up at this point and begin to murmur and complain. But, we can look back at how the path God had prepared for Ruth and know that He is still in control. His plan is still in operation. This is just a slight detour.

Boaz told Ruth not to be afraid. He told her of his plan to go to the other relative to see if he would take care of Ruth and if he refused, Boaz would do it. He then told her to stay there until morning. Ruth slept at his feet, not at his side, and got up just before daylight while it was still too dark for anyone to recognize her. “But as soon as the day broke, that she had light to go home by, she got away, before one could know another, that, if she were saying, yet she might not be known to be abroad soul unseasonably. She was not shy of being known to be a gleaner in the field, nor ashamed of that mark at her poverty. But she would not willingly be known to be a night walker, for her virtue was her greatest honor, and that what she most valued”. (Bible Commentary)

Ruth returned to her mother-in-law and told her what happened. Naomi advised Ruth to “wait”. She said that Boaz would not rest until he took care of the matter. And, as Naomi predicted, Boaz went to the city gate and waited there until the other close relative passed by. Boaz invited him to come and talk. He also gathered ten of the older leaders of the city as witnesses and told them about Naomi’s return to Bethlehem from Moab. He told the men that Naomi wanted to sell the piece of land that belonged to their relative, Elimelech. He offered the nearest relative the opportunity to buy the land and asked for an answer. The other relative said he would buy back the land. Goodness, another bump in the road of God’s plan. To be expected – right?

Boaz continued to explain that if he (the nearest relative) purchased the land from Naomi he must marry Ruth, the Moabite. That meant the land would stay in the name of Naomi’s son, which was customary in that day.

This changed everything! The close relative said he could not buy the land because it might interfere with what he could pass on to his own sons. So he told Boaz to buy it himself. Finally!

We all face bumps in the road as we wait upon God. Many times we give up – or take matters into our own hands. We live in a world where most things we want are instant, so waiting on God is not easy for any of us. But, the Scripture tells us that “Good things come to those who wait”.

So, Boaz declared to the older leaders that they were witnesses as to his purchasing from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech and his two sons. He also announced that he was taking Ruth, the Moabite, as his wife so that her property would stay in his name and not be separated from his family. The older leaders testified to their witness of Boaz’s claim and blessed Boaz and Ruth.

So Boaz took Ruth as his wife. They had a son and Naomi was praised by the people of her town. They all gave credit to the faithfulness of Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, who loved her. The child’s name was given to him by the people of the town. They call him Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse and Jesse was the father of David from whom our Lord Jesus descended.

To make this story even more amazing, Boaz was the son of Rahab. Just think about it. Rahab was a harlot. God saved her and blessed her and she became a part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. And Boaz, born to Rahab, a fine man of God married a Moabite woman, called “strange” in that day due to her heritage. Yet, God saved her and brought her together with Boaz. Together they brought forth a son and became a part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. “Ruth is hereby brought in among the ancestors of David and Christ, which was the greatest honor. The genealogy is here drawn from Pharez, through Boaz and Obed, to David, and so leads towards the Messiah, and therefore it is not an endless genealogy”. (Bible Commentary)

Only God – – -only God – – -could bring about such an amazing, miraculous plan. As we were promised in the beginning of this story, “all things worked together to those who loved God. . .”

This is not the end of Ruth’s story – it’s a new beginning!

God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t – Part Two

8 Sep cloudsrainbow-abigail-keenan

Continued from August 30

NOTHING BY ACCIDENT

. . . God prepares our way as we struggle day by day, putting one step in front of the other – sometimes not knowing where life is taking us.

As providence would have it, Ruth decided to go and work in the fields to glean the corn so that she and Naomi could eat. She just happened to select a field owned by a well known kinsman of Naomi’s husband named Boaz. One day Boaz saw Ruth gleaning in his field and asked the worker over his servants who she was. When the worker told Boaz it was Ruth, he had already heard what she had done for Naomi. She had proven herself as a notable woman in her deeds – everyone heard about it and then saw it. Boaz recognized that God had recompensed Ruth for all she had done for one of his own and saw that God was rewarding her and covering her with his protection.

Boaz gave instructions to his workers that they were to allow Ruth to continue to glean in his field. He even told them to drop extra corn so that Ruth might pick it up. He commanded them not to rebuke her or send her away. He also ordered them to watch over her and to keep her safe.
Boaz showed much kindness to Ruth for which she was very grateful.

One day, Ruth humbled herself and bowed low before him in thanks and asked him why she had found grace in his eyes. He told her that word had come to him about how she had devoted herself to her mother-in-law since her father-in-law’s death. He also knew she had left her father and her mother and her country to live in a land and people she knew nothing about. Boaz told Ruth that God wanted to repay her for these things and because she had put her trust in God and turned from pagan idols. Then, he told her that he wanted her to stay in his fields, close to his maidens. He wanted to make sure she was protected. This was God’s way of watching over her, again, unknown by Ruth.

When Ruth went home and told Naomi of the day’s events Naomi praised God and told Ruth that Boaz was a near relative who could redeem them. Naomi was a godly, perceptive woman. She wanted to find a home for Ruth and a husband. She wanted Ruth to prosper.

When the harvesting was finished, Boaz went among his workers to the threshing floor where they were winnowing the harvest. There was food and drink and celebrating.

Naomi told Ruth to bathe and perfume herself and change her clothes. She wanted her to put on her best clothes but not to look like a harlot. Naomi then instructed Ruth to go to the threshing floor where Boaz would be eating and drinking. She told Ruth to stay out of sight, not to let anyone see her, but to watch and see where Boaz slept. Ruth was to wait until he fell asleep and then go and lift the covers and lie down at his feet. Naomi told Ruth that Boaz would then tell her what to do. Ruth agreed to do everything Naomi told her.

Once again Ruth proves her courage her respect and complete trust in Naomi. Keep in mind that Ruth was from a foreign land. She knew nothing of the customs of Naomi’s people. God’s love continues to draw this young woman and continues to soften her heart. She was not an Israelite. She was a woman from another land. God had forbidden marriage to the pagan women there. It is even believed by some Bible scholars that Naomi’s sons died an early death because they married against God’s will.

This is an amazing act of God’s mercy and grace. God opens His arms to receive everyone. His love drew a pagan woman to Himself through one of His own. He then completely changed her through her hardships and made her into a virtuous woman, worthy of a good husband, a man of stature and wealth. Incredible!

The picture portrayed here is one of extreme proportions. To summarize, the two sons of Naomi sinned against God by taking foreign wives, forbidden women because of their heritage. Then, one of the very same women turned her heart over to God through her commitment and dedication to Naomi, one of God’s own people. God open the door for Ruth to marry into this godly family. How true it is that God’s ways are so much higher than ours!

To Be Continued . . .

The Rewards of Obedience vs. The Cost of Disobedience

18 May

Obedience Or Rebellion?

1 Sam 15:22-23   22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. 23 Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.” NLT

As God’s children we want to please Him. Our inner struggle is constant though it might not be prominent. There is a undurcurrent within us that we have become accustomed to. I don’t believe it is because we are bad or purposely rebellious. With me it’s more about sometimes not knowing for sure what the right thing is. Of course, many times it is very obvious what is right and what is wrong, but I want to speak to what is buried deep within our hearts at the root of our reasoning.

I have always been a confident person in most areas of my life. Even as a child I was compliant – always wanting to do the right things. To rebel was not in my nature, at least not to the point of being defiant. When I faced decisions that I believed were wrong, I somehow just couldn’t force myself to comply. In the few times I did, I was in constant turmoil until the situation was terminated.

As I am reaching the winter of my life I can see that even though I was unaware of it, God had a plan for me. (He also has one for you!) Here is proof in a few of my favorite Scriptures from Psalms 139, written by King David:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise;you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. . .

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting.  NIV

Notice starting with verse 13 that God created our inmost being – His eyes saw our unformed body and all our days were ordained for us before one of them came to be! Selah – Pause and calmly think of that.

None of us are here by accident. God made us – He created us with a purpose and He knew today, right now, what you and I would be doing at this very moment. – No words can express the emotion for knowing that.

The Rewards of Obedience

It takes us a while to realize there is more to life that “me.” Seriously? It is human nature from the moment we are born into this world. We spend a lifetime struggling with ourselves vs. the good and the bad.

Recently I had an assignment from God. You might ask “How can you be sure it was from God?” I know because He instructed me clearly to do something I have said at least a million times that I would not do! The interesting thing is that He won’t force me to do it. It won’t even hurt me NOT to do it. In fact, it would be easier for me NOT to do it. After all, I could just chalk it up to “not being sure it was God.” Or, I could just stop thinking about it and move on.

Well, I don’t know about you, but God won’t allow me to do that. It’s that deep, small voice that continually woos me. I can make it go away – at least for a little while. Then, I sense it wooing me again. I then begin to get deliberate in praying about it to make sure I haven’t imagined the entire thing.

God is so good about giving us little sign posts along our journey. If we aren’t sensitive to the Spirit we might not recognize them. We might think “It’s only a coincidence.” God gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us and to counsel us and to lead us into truth. We have the choice as to whether we listen and follow His instruction or to just ignore it until it goes away.

God’s Instruction to Me

That brings me to my main point – My obedience to that still, small voice could be a life changing event for a child of God who is seeking desperately to find a solution to a great problem. My attitude, though I didn’t realize it was wrong, kept me from even considering offering my help. The reason? – I didn’t want to get involved. It was all about me and the price I wasn’t willing to pay to obey God. It wouldn’t really have hurt me, except that I would disappoint God by my disobedience.

No, that’s really not all my disobedience would do. God made it clear to me that to be disobedient could rob someone of a complete change in their life – a life free from hell on earth. I know it sounds drastic. In fact, it is.

Could someone else do it? I don’t know. That’s not the issue. The issue is will I choose to obey or not? Maybe I am the only person that could help. The consequences of my disobedience could be amazingly wonderful or disastrously terrible.

Think about that for a moment. I did. It kept me awake all night asking God if He was really asking me to do something I was adamantly opposed to doing. I’ve missed God before. Not always on purpose but because I am always still evolving (really). I’ve also missed Him out of ignorance of the Scripture or misunderstanding. Sometimes I’m just rebellious. Ugh! It’s hard to even say.

I learned from Charles Stanley that when God is speaking to you and you are struggling with what you think He is saying to you that peace will eventually develop and you will know God is leading you. If that peace does not develop, I call that a “red flag.” There isn’t a deadline that God can’t push back or overcome. Don’t look at the deadlines – look to the God who created you and made you for this day.

Send Me – Yes, No or Maybe?

God was searching for someone to send to His people and Isaiah said:

Isa 6:8  8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me !”
NIV

Have you ever said that? I have, however: I recently discovered that many times my “send me” reply is conditional on  my terms. Goodness! God really has a way to slap us on the wrist, doesn’t He?

I’m hoping you can see that our minds and hearts are so full of the busyness of the world that God’s voice doesn’t always make through to our hearts. It isn’t His fault. It has to do with the condition of our hearts and our natural instinct to rebel. Sorry to have to say it.

The Final Outcome

After struggling with myself and trying to determine whether I had simply lost my resolve or if God was actually trying to get through to me, peace began to develop. Let me add, the peace was in my spirit, not in my head. My mind was spinning with many doubts and questions and concerns about something I had been claiming as impossible for me to do for many years.

But, when I opened my heart and let God – He began to use His sweet Holy Spirit to speak to me in His ways by speaking to me of How Jesus would handle the situation and my purpose for being one of His disciples.

The Future? – What does it hold for this situation? – I don’t know. It’s a little scary. But I know the Creator of the Universe. He made me – formed me from a tiny seed planted within my Mother. He had a plan 69 years ago for what I would do this very day. He’s the One I look to, not the situation I dread. Do I have a plan? No. Do I know what the outcome will be or what will happen along the way? No. Am I nuts? – I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

God has proved Himself to me over and over and over. As I heard from Sunday’s message by Pastor Scott Jones at Grace Church, not all of the amazing miracles and things Jesus did while He was on earth were recorded. I can identify with that because my Father God – My Friend, Jesus – and the Sweet Holy Spirit – are constantly present in my life doing things for me that are too many to count.

He is trustworthy – are you?

 

 

Back to Goliath

28 Mar God Is With Us

Continued from last week . . .

1 Sam 17:4-7   4 A champion named Goliath , who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield-bearer went ahead of him.  NIV

In the beginning David didn’t have much of a part to play in the battle that was taking place. He was just there to deliver food to his older brothers. I think it so odd that the war was so close that David could walk the distance to deliver food for his brothers. And, to think – they could actually hear the giant, Goliath, yelling obscenities at them.

David was struggling with the fact that not one soldier was doing anything about this enemy of theirs. He questioned them about it, wondering why someone didn’t shut him up. The truth is that they were all afraid. They had heard of the giant’s reputation. No one had ever survived his attacks. They knew that to fight him meant sure death.

David’s reaction (remember, he was just a boy – not a soldier) was one of great wonder and frustration. He reprimanded the soldiers for allowing this man to dishonor them and God with his taunting. David’s brothers made fun of him and told him he didn’t have a clue about anything because he was just a shepherd boy. They demanded he go back home and leave the Goliath to them.

David didn’t go home. He went out into the desert to pray. As he prayed his faith grew stronger. He went back to where the soldiers were and offered to fight the giant. Of course, they laughed and jeered at him, and  made fun of him. His brothers were embarrassed and even questioned why God had anointed him to be the future King instead of one of them.

David went to Saul, the reigning King, and asked for his permission to confront Goliath. King Saul also denied his request telling him he could now allow such a young boy to be subjected to sure death. David didn’t quit there. He continued to present his case to the King until he was finally given permission to fight Goliath. The other soldiers gathered burial clothes for David and attempted to deliver them to David’s brothers. The brothers were angered and refused the burial garments. Saul tried to persuade David to put on his armor and carry his spear, but David refused. They were too big for him, and too heavy.

Amazing!

God had seen in David a man after His own heart. He knew that David had faith in Him and that he would follow Him in obedience, not looking at circumstances, and not doubting God’s provision and protection. Can we say that about ourselves? At what point would we have given in and given up? Apply this to your situation today. What Goliath are you confronted with – a difficult circumstance – the loss of a job – not enough money – a failed relationship – illness? There are many Goliath’s in our lives. Some we feel confident to face. Others, not so much.

The most amazing part of this story to me is how much negative reaction was happening around David. No one even gave his request to fight Goliath a tiny bit of thought. The had already accepted defeat. They even believed this giant was so big that even God couldn’t stop him!

After warning David again and again, they realized they couldn’t stop him so they just gave in, expecting Goliath to kill him. In the movie, David’s brothers asked him what he was going to do since he wasn’t going to take the King’s weapon? David replied, “I don’t know.” Have you ever been there – said that? I have.

David made his way down the mountainside right into the enemies’ camp. All the while the enemy soldiers were taunting him, laughing at him, and making fun of him. David kept his eyes on Goliath who was also jeering at him and laughing at him. This is what he said to the enemy soldiers:

1 Sam 17:45-47 “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” NIV

David just kept staring at him as he reached down and gathered five stones. As Goliath threw his head back in laughter at David, David released the pebble from his sling which hit Goliath in the forehead and killed him immediately. The soldiers stopped jeering and gasped at what had happened. King Saul’s soldiers, watching from the mountain began to cheer for David’s defeat of the giant.

Back to Our Personal Goliath

This Bible story is more than an “old movie.” This event took place. What some call “Bible Stories” were written down by God’s chosen men, inspired by His Spirit. They were recorded so that we could learn about God and His ways, and so that we could get a better picture of how vital our relationship is to Him AND our obedience.

I have personally faced a few giants in my walk with God. David’s encounter was and is uplifting. He made it a point to trust in God and not in himself. He knew that he, alone, could not win the battle. He wasn’t even sure just how to proceed. What he did know was that God is bigger than any giant we face, but we can’t just wander around in fear, murmuring to ourselves about what we’re going to do. It also doesn’t help to begin accepting and preparing for defeat!

Walking with God is our assurance that we can face any giant – any – with God at our side. We will always be victorious, even if things don’t turn out exactly like we want them to. With God, HE takes the weight of the load off our shoulders, as we put our trust and confidence in Him and as we seek Him for answers – and the most important part  – that we obey as He directs us.

 

 

 

What Is Your Goliath?

22 Mar Desert

Watch Out For The Giants

1 Sam 17:4-7   4 A champion named Goliath , who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.  NIV

I’ve been facing Goliath for several months – circling him with my sling, trying to work up the courage to let God be God, and to trust Him to guide that small stone from my sling to the Goliath that I face. While circling my thoughts run rampant. “What if I miss the target?” “What if I make things worse than they already are?” “Maybe I should just drop this sling and stones and just run.” “There must be another way out.”  Goliath was a giant – he was huge, and scary. His voice thundered and he roared at the soldiers, and they were all afraid. No one had ever escaped this giant. To fight him meant sure death in their eyes.

This story in 1 Samuel describes how we feel when facing the giants we face in our lives today. I have been facing several for months now and have allowed them to beat me down so far that everything seemed hopeless. I admit that reluctantly because now that I have come out of it I am disappointed that I allowed it for so long. It happens slowly – very slowly. That’s why the enemy can beat us down so far. We get our eyes off Jesus and begin to give in to negative thoughts.

How It Happens

Here’s how it happened with me. It wasn’t obvious or intentional. My focus changed gradually to my circumstances and my lack – things I wanted and couldn’t have or make happen. That’s when the reasoning takes over and the doubting. Dread steps in along with fear. Worry takes over working itself up to outright fear.

The trip down wasn’t obvious. Everything seemed to be going along the same as usual – until it wasn’t. I was already praying and doing all I knew to do, thinking I had a handle on everything. I found myself walking around my home asking God what was wrong with me. Depression and lethargy were taking over every moment of my day. This was my Goliath.

So, What Do I Do About It?

I had already been praying and searching for answers – doing all I could to force myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I had been fighting a bad chest cold and cough which was making matters worse. After about six weeks I began to feel better which immediately made my outlook better to begin with.

God seemed to be sitting back and letting me flounder. I’m not blaming Him, I just don’t   understand why it takes so long sometimes for me to get it! But – in the process – I am discovering things about myself that need to be fixed. And, so I did.

A couple of days ago I was watching a very old movie that caught my eye, simply called “Goliath.” I knew the story. It caught my eye because many years ago God had nudged me to read and study about David and Goliath. I was going through some traumatic things and His Word in the Bible is always encouraging.

I had heard the story from childhood and all throughout my adult life. I have read it many times. (Hint: Never assume you already know it all or that God’s Word, even though you might have memorized it, isn’t new every morning.) God’s Word is progressive. It IS new every time you read it.

Back to the movie. At first it didn’t seem very exciting – the scene was in a desert with only sand and rocks and soldiers. Didn’t matter – I was multi-tasking – playing solitaire on my tablet. I looked up every now and then to catch a glimpse of the characters. I especially wanted to see who was cast to play David – the young shepherd boy God had anointed to be the next King. I also wanted to take a look at Goliath to see just how big and mean he looked. He looked about like I suspected. But . . .

David – the young shepherd boy who would one day become King as God had decreed and Samuel had anointed – that was a different story. He wasn’t as I imagined him at all. He truly looked like a young teenage boy.

God Doesn’t Look At Things The Way We Do

Saul’s soldiers were dressed in sharp-looking uniforms with great helmets, shields and swords. The opposing group looked very scary and mean. Goliath was taunting God’s men saying awful things about what he was going to do to them, and his mission was accomplished – they were scared. They had heard of his reputation and knew that no one had every survived his attacks. None of the soldiers would volunteer to fight him.

David just happened to be there to deliver food to his brothers. It’s hard to imagine a war where the men are so close that they can yell at one another, but that’s how it was. David heard Goliath taunting the soldiers of God and couldn’t believe that they were allowing him to do so. After all, he was God’s enemy and David couldn’t understand why Goliath was being allowed to  get away with his taunting and his  threats.

Continued . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accomplish Great Things – Me?

14 Feb

“Accomplish great things – me?” You say, “I’m not Moses. He was a great man of the Bible, and I’m just ordinary.” 

Accomplish God’s Plan For Your Life

You can  accomplish great things with God’s help. It might surprise you to discover that Moses, too, was just an ordinary man. Reading about him in Exodus will shine a light on just how ordinary he was.  He was not a great man. He was just a man who God used to accomplish His will. It is always God we look to, not man. We need God, in all we do and in all we are.

Moses was born after Joseph died and a new king ruled over Egypt. The king decided that the population of Israelites (God’s children)  was growing too fast and he feared that they would become greater than the Egyptians. He also feared that if they became too great they would join the enemies of Egypt and fight against them.

In order to get more control over them, the King decided to set hard taskmaskers over them. God’s people became even more afflicted, but the Israelites were still multiplying. (God has promised to Abraham that his descendants would multiply greatly, and God always keeps His promises.)

The King came up with another plan. He instructed the Hebrew midwives to kill any male child born  to the Hebrew women, but to let the daughters live. The midwives feared God and did not do as the king had commanded them. They told the king that the Hebrew women were “lively and gave birth before the midwives could get to them.”

Since the midwives were obedient to God, He multiplied their numbers even more. So, the Egyptian people were instructed to throw every baby boy born into the river and drown them.

Moses was born at this time in history. His mother hid him successfully as long as she could but the time came when she could no longer keep him hidden. She feared for his life. She  placed him in a basket and sent his sister, Miriam, to place the basket in the river, and to keep an eye on it so she could report back as to what happened to Moses.

In God’s divine plan, the daughter of the Pharaoh was bathing in that very same river at the very same time that little basket floated by. (God’s timing is always perfect and miraculous!) She sent one of her maids to see what was in the basket.  When she saw the baby she knew it was one of the Hebrew children, and she had compassion on him because he was crying.

As another great part of this miracle, Miriam asked the Princess if she would like for her to find someone to nurse the baby. Guess who Miriam took the baby to? – You guessed it – back to Moses’ mother! And, to make that even greater, she paid Moses’ mother to feed him and take care of him until he was old enough to return to the King’s palace. God is just so good. His ways are truly amazing.

Moses Returned To The Palace

The day came when Moses was returned to the Pharaoh’s daughter, and she named him “Moses” saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

I find it so interesting that God had a plan for Moses before he was even born. Even though everything man could do to stop that work from taking place, God would not and could not be stopped. His perfect will for Moses and the children of Israel was set in motion. They needed someone to deliver them from captivity. God heard their prayers and Moses was sent to accomplish that task.

God sent Moses to live in the palace of the King who did all he could to destroy him! What’s even more spectacular to me is that Moses was raised in the King’s palace and learned all of the Egyptian ways. He experienced all the earthly material things of the King himself.

Moses Lacked Faith

Moses had received a great education and all the King had to offer, but he lacked what was most important to a child of God – faith. As he grew older and discovered more about his heritage. One day he made a big mistake – (interestingly, this mistake was used by God to make Moses into the man God wanted him to be from the beginning).

Moses saw an Egyptian man beating one of his Hebrew brothers. He checked to make sure no one was watching, then killed the Egyptian and buried his body in the sand. The next day Moses discovered that his secret had been found out and he fled from the palace in fear that he, too, would be killed when the Pharaoh discovered what he had done.

Moses fled into the desert and dwelt in the land of Midian. There he became a shepherd and took a wife. This was the new life of Moses. He no longer enjoyed the fine life of the king’s palace and his royal duties. He made a big mistake and traded his kingly robes for a shepherd’s robe in the desert.

The Desert

The Desert

A tree in the desert

One hot day in the desert, Moses saw a fire burning in the middle of a bush, but the bush was not consumed.  He decided to take a closer look. He went closer to the bush, burning – but not burning up. When he got close to the bush, and God spoke to him from the middle of that fire! He told Moses to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground.

Do you ever take a closer look when something gets your attention? Or, do you let it pass and continue on your way? As disciples of Christ, it is extremely important for us to acknowledge the whispers of God – the small signs He places in our path to get our attention. Lots of times we just go on our way, oblivious to what God is saying to us. Know this, God is always with us and many times His Spirit gives us signs along the way as encouragement and warnings as to His will for our lives.

Self Doubt

This is the part I like best – God begins to tell Moses that he is now ready – he’s been prepared to do the work he was prepared for. God had taken all of Moses’ rights and wrongs – all of his mistakes. Every event of his life up to that point had prepared him to be the answer of thousands of prayers being sent up from the people of Israel for deliverance.

I don’t think Moses intended to be stubborn. Mostly, he doubted himself. He gave in to doubt, fear, and even unbelief. He doubted whether God could accomplish such a great task using a man like him. He was focusing on himself and what he could do rather than on God and what HE could do.

He questioned God about many things. I don’t think God minds our questions. I believe He would rather us ask Him in prayer and seek His answers in the Bible than to run to friends or other sources. After all, He IS The Way!

Moses offered up to God every excuse he could think of as to why he was the wrong person for the job. God answered his questions. Moses even asked God, “Who am I, that I should go to the Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”  It  makes sense to me that he would ask that question. I certainly would have, and most of you probably would, too.

In the midst of the argument against his assignment, Moses challenged God by asking Him what he would do if the people did not believe him. God assured Moses that He would be with him every step of the way. He also told Moses something key to how God works in us. He asked Moses what it was he held in his hand. Moses had “only” a staff.

God can use what we have, whatever it might be, for His glory. Even if we don’t know how to do what He asks of us, He will see to it that we are prepared for what He calls us to do.

Next Time

In the next blog, I will continue with how God used an ordinary man to do a great work – not a work to bring honor to Moses, but a work to bring honor to God. When God gives us direction – He is responsible for the outcome, if we are obedient.

What is in your hand? Will you argue with God about what He wants from you? Even if you have nothing in your hand and God calls out to you, He will provide what you need.

It’s okay to ask questions, we are instructed to do that in the Bible. Initial doubt and fear are understandable. Give it back to God though. That’s part of His plan for you – not to carry the burden, but to let Him carry it.

Exodus  1-4 The Essential Everyday Bible Commentary NKJV

Check out https://www.biblegateway.com/

CHANGES FOR THIS SITE

21 Jan

So many of you have been faithful followers of TODAY’S WORD FROM GOD for many years. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. I wanted to let you all know that as of today, this site has been migrated and combined with a new blog that God has put on my heart called WRITTEN WITH THE SPIRIT (http://www.writtenwiththespirit.com). The reason for the move is simply for convenience on my part so that I can provide you with more content, and hopefully interact more with you. NOTE: IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY RECEIVING THIS BLOG BY EMAIL YOU WILL NEED TO SIGN UP AGAIN FROM THE NEW SITE.

My plans are to write more often. Hopefully, you will become more active as well by adding your comments, and asking questions. I also plan to include some sort of prayer chain. Stay with me and let’s see what exciting new thing God  has for each of us.

I thank each of you for your loyalty.

All of the previous blogs have been transferred to the new site and your membership is still active.  May God’s blessings be with each one of you.

It would great if you would also  “Like” my new Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/writtenwiththespirit/

Serving The Master Teacher,

Linda Weaver

My Inspiration to Blog

19 Jan

I have been working toward writing more. In that regard, I was “studying” about blogging at The Daily Post – Blogging 101. They requested we submit an article to them as to our inspiration for blogging. Following was my response. Thought I might as well share it with my followers.

What inspires me as a blogger: People – All people, everywhere inspire me to blog. I want all people to know God in heaven, like I do. Not that I’m special. I certainly am not. I’m just the opposite. I’m ordinary. Probably not even ordinary; below ordinary. But, I serve a God who loves me just like I am, warts and all. Really. How do I know this? Because day after day, no matter what goes on in my life, He is there to encourage me and lift me up. He is there to let me know I am special – special to Him. That’s all that really matters to me. It’s all that matters because I’ve tasted so many other things that don’t satisfy.

The one constant in my life, the one person who is always there with an open hand for me to come and sit a while, is Jesus Christ, my Lord. He’s not only my Lord, He’s my friend. It’s not as quirky as it might sound. It is so real. That’s the reason I’m inspired to blog. I want everyone to know that God loves them just exactly as they are and has open arms to welcome them – no requirements other than to acknowledge Him, ask His forgiveness of sins, and accept Him. It’s that simple.

There aren’t a list of rules to follow after that. Simply be. One day at a time. Listen with your heart and your spirit. Listen to your conscience. His burden is easy, His yoke is light. I blog to give hope to everyone who might not have any, and acceptance to those who don’t feel accepted by anyone. This inspiration is constant – never-ending.

Jesus IS The Season

23 Dec photo-1436228625646-f30c3e8447b0

Without Jesus Christ there would be no Christmas! HE IS THE SEASON. We celebrate Christmas every year with all the hustle and bustle of the season. We rush around to decorate, cook, and shop – and shop some more. I’m just as guilty as everyone else. I find myself regretting I can’t buy the things I want to buy or “should” buy for others. Now that I can’t, I realize that I have always invested too much energy on trying to please those on my gift list. I worry that my gifts won’t measure up – if you know what I mean.

Funny how we link our value and the value of others to what we can buy for them – what we can give them. Sadly, as a society, we have gradually pushed Jesus aside, or at least not acknowledged His place – HIS gift of HIS life on the cross for us.

I find myself concerned that I will disappoint those I love if I can’t meet their expectations. How sad that is. I am still paying for Christmases long past and gifts that are now at Goodwill (at best), or completely forgotten – as I’m sure others are.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we worked as hard to make sure we pleased Jesus as much? HE is THE gift of this season, and of every minute of our existence. There is a song I love called “I Can’t Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand”. Do we realize how true that really is?

We want to keep Jesus first, we mean to. This isn’t meant to bring condemnation to anyone at all. I hope just the opposite. I pray that we will realize that the gifts we give to one another don’t show our love to our friends and families like the fruits of the Spirit –  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23.

These are the gifts that continue to give throughout eternity. They never grow old or unnecessary. My Christmas prayer for each of you this season is that you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. All you have to do is invite Him into your heart and life. Approach Him just as you are – no more excuses – no more delay. It’s time – HIS GIFT for you is eternal life – a life of peace and joy unspeakable – even in the midst of hard times. HIS is the ONLY peace that will see you through whatever it is that you need Him for.

Ask Him now to forgive you of every sin – none of them are too great for Him to wipe clean and remember no more. He is so real. He wants to know you and for you to know Him. He wants a personal relationship with you. This is HIS birthday – a gift of your acceptance of Him would please Him more than anything else you can ever do, now or forever more.

It sounds simple; it is. He won’t force it on anyone. He doesn’t expect perfection from us because He knows it’s not possible. That was the reason He gave His life on the cross for us. He just wants our love and acceptance – that is the truest gift of all.

Meditate on the fruits of the Spirit, listed above. These should be the gifts we give to those we love. There is nothing more important, except for the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

If you are ready to receive Him as your gift to Him and to yourself, simply tell Him you are sorry for your sins and ask Him to forgive you. Then, tell Him you accept Him into your life. You might not feel any different. There probably won’t be bells and whistles sounding off. What happens is in your heart and in your spirit. He doesn’t get in a hurry. He will walk with you every moment and will help you know what to do. Just Be. That’s all. Just Be.

Merry CHRISTmas. Happy Birthday Jesus. This is YOUR birthday.

 

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