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HE’S COMING IN THE CLOUDS

27 Jul

Revelation 1:7 “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him. . . So it is to be. Amen”

The Future

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The future?! – Today it’s difficult to consider the future because we are so focused on the craziness of today. We are being boxed in in ways we are unaccustomed to, and we’ve lost some of the freedoms we have taken for granted.
I don’t know about you but, my attention has been drawn to the soon coming of Jesus more than ever. It’s an event that is kind of scary to think about because we don’t fully understand it. Actually, it’s a subject most of us have heard about as long as we can remember. We’ve seen so many wild and incorrect (false) “prophecies” that we have kind of pushed the coming of Christ aside, usually thinking we’ve got plenty of time.I certainly don’t claim to know when Jesus is coming – nor does anyone – if they claim they do they are false prophets. God’s Word tells us no man knows. BUT –

Signs Of The Last Days

Scripture does teach us how to recognize the signs of the end of the world as we know it – the rapture and the tribulation. I have asked God to help me to share what I can to cause people to be more aware of the soon coming of Christ. I don’t want to be guilty of having any of my loved ones ask why I didn’t tell them.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

2 Peter 3:3-4 “Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

clouds dark dramatic heaven

Photo by Adam Kontor on Pexels.com

Matthew 24:42-44 “Therefore, STAY AWAKE, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. . .”

The best way, of course, to secure your future, is by asking the Lord Jesus to come into your heart and to forgive you of your sins. It’s really that simple. He never intended it to be difficult for you and me. That’s why He, Himself, did all the suffering and gave His life on the cross, so it would be easier for us.
I can’t explain it, but I can tell you there is nothing greater on this earth than having the creator of Heaven and Earth as a friend, closer than a brother, closer than a friend, closer than a husband. No one, no thing, no circumstance can bring you the peace, the satisfaction, the completeness that He can.
I’m a very long way from being good, or right, or “spiritually correct” – I’m just an ordinary, person, having made (and still do) mistakes, bad decisions, bad attitudes, etc, etc. However; I can witness that God loves me in spite of myself and my wrongs. His Word promises that He has forgiven my sins, past, present and future! It’s not about me (or you) – it’s about Him.
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Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Ask Him into your heart today. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn ou prayer. Just acknowledge that you have sinned, you are a sinner (I am, too), and ask Him to come into your heart. HE WILL!  AT THAT VERY MOMENT! Then, ask Him to help you where you need help. You might not even know what help you need, but He knows you better than you know yourself and He will begin to walk with you daily and help you.

Jesus is coming soon, He gave us Scriptures of things to watch for, and we are seeing them take place.

Don’t Be Left Behind

Don’t be left behind. Say this prayer and mean it with all your heart:

“Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner. I ask you now to come into my heart and to forgive all my sins. Help me to learn more about you and to live my life for you. Even though I don’t know how, I trust you to teach me. Thank you, Jesus. Amen”
That’s it. You now are now “born again” – now, it’s just one day at a time. He will help you. He will speak to your heart and it might take a little while, but you will come to know Him more and more.

Questions?

Submit any questions you might have – I will do my best to answer them.

crop field under rainbow and cloudy skies at dayime

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

 

Go Ye Into ALL the World

25 Feb

Mark 16:15 – After Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples He said to them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”  

Matthew 25:36-40 – Jesus said, “I was naked AND YOU CLOTHED ME. I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” After He said that the righteous wanted to know WHEN did we do that? And King Jesus answered them this way – “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

A little over three years ago I was introduced to Brenda and Harry McDaniel, as “someone I needed to connect with because she has a sewing ministry!” (I own a local alterations/sewing business.) That opened a door to a purpose God had planned for me, and for them.

Their ministry – “And U Clothed Me” is a non-profit organization created by God through Brenda and Harry to clothe the children in Uganda. They went a few times with other ministries — and then —God called them (and began to prepare them) to go and live there for six months and set up a sewing center to teach the women (and men) how to sew so that when they returned to the United States, the people could earn a living by making and selling clothes themselves! What a challenge! Brenda and Harry answered the call and began to follow through in obedience to God. They left EVERYTHING behind – EVERYTHING! AndUClothedMe2

Brenda and Harry departed Houston on the first of January, 2020, and took over 2,000 dresses, shorts, and T-shirts – All made by supporters of the ministry. They did their part – let’s now do ours!AndUClothedMe1

AND U CLOTHED ME  – SEWING CENTER

After their arrival, they began seeking to follow through in renting a sewing center and making arrangements for someone to run it when they return home. Grace Church has supported them by purchasing 10 sewing machines (pedal type) to get them off the ground. (Thank you, Mike Acosta, for your help in making this happen)

Brenda and Harry have rented an apartment and will be in Uganda for four more months. If you like to be a partner in what God is doing, you can:

Sewing Center Logo

Make a deductible donation in one of the following ways:

 

Excerpts From Brenda and Harry

  • I have been requested to give an update on Sewing Center progress. (We are still waiting on red tape items to be cleared) – hoping to have everything cleared in a month.)
  • Funds that have been promised for the sewing machines – that process has started. Once the money arrives, we will purchase 10 machines. (We have an instructor lined up that will continue classes while we are in the USA.)
  • We are anticipating funds to get started on the painting, cabinetry and additional supplies.
  • This is a huge undertaking and we cherish your prayers and support BUT GOD -Nothing is too hard for Him!

 

Following is list of current and reoccurring needs – if you want to support this ministry. 

Matthew 10:41 “If you receive a prophet (one who proclaims the Word and Truth of God) YOU will be given the SAME REWARD as a prophet!”  NLT This means – even though we are not with Brenda and Harry physically, in doing our part to support them, we will receive the same reward from God as they do! That is a wonderful promise from God! Please prayerfully consider helping in one of these ways – Brenda and Harry are doing their part – let us do ours! (This is a non-profit organization)

Monthly Expenses:

  • Rent $100
  • Teacher salary $165
  • Electricity

Start-up Supplies for Sewing Center  – 12 Sewing Machines – ALREADY DONATED

  • Sewing Machine for teacher $91
  • Paint $82
  • Cabinetry $435 – materials & labor,
  • White board, markers, eraser –
  • 11 Stools
  • Lighting (Researching now)
  • 3 Large Scissors
  • 11 Seam Rippers
  • Machine Oil
  • 12 Tape Measures
  • Thread $10

Ongoing Need For Supplies

Fabric $30 per 6 yds
Small Scissors $12/Pr – Per Student/Per Semester
Large Scissors $5 (Periodically)
Seam ripper $10 (Per Semester)
Tape measure $12 ( Per Semester)

 

 

Let Go And Step Forward

1 Jan

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Are You In A Rut?

Charles Stanley says, “A rut is an open-ended grave!” God’s people who became slaves in Egypt prayed many years to be free. God eventually sent Moses to set them free. After a long battle with the Pharoah and all the plagues they were finally free after hundreds of years of slavery. It didn’t take long for them to begin to complain and blame Moses for leading them out of Egypt. They even said they would have been better off to stay in Egypt! Making bricks out of jay and mud! Being beaten regularly! In chains much of the time! It’s hard to imagine that however; we do the very same thing. Our situations are not quite so drastic but, just the same, we are in bondage. We desire things to be different but aren’t willing to let go, and step forward.

Change Is Not A Bad Word

Comfort. The word itself brings a sort of peaceful state – briefly. To some of us the word “change” is far removed from the word “comfort.”  We get really comfortable in our ruts (our open-ended graves). We lie to ourselves that we are safe there. The truth is we are in circumstances that we are familiar with, afraid to step out into the unknown. Imagine how many things in life that have possibly passed us by because we were “too comfortable” to step beyond the boundaries we set for ourselves!

Let me assure you, God won’t always force you out of your comfort zone. What He will do is invite you to trust Him enough to know you better than you know yourself, and to lead you into a far greater place – always better – always forward – always progressing.

It Takes Faith

The Scriptures tell us that faith is the substance of things hoped for. . .the evidence of things unseen. . . Hebrews 11:1

The problem is that sometimes our faith is not in God. It’s in ourselves, or our friends/loved ones, or our job, etc. We wait until we think we have a sure knowledge of what to do and where we are going.  The Bible, the Word of God, tells us to walk by faith, not by sight. . . So, that means we are to walk each day not by what we see, but as God leads us (by faith).

How do we do that? We talk to God in prayer. We read the Bible. We acknowledge that He knows what’s around the corner – we don’t. It’s about relationship. Our relationship with God, our Father.

Maybe it sounds complicated but it isn’t. It’s a matter of not being moved by your emotions, your reasoning, what your friends and family say, but by prayer.

God sees and knows our hearts (Psalm 139), He knows whether we really want to do his bidding or if we have no intention of waiting on Him. As we step out, God begins to direct us. We have choices in front of us. If we truly want to do His will, we will STOP, when we sense that tiny red flag jumping up inside of us. To ignore it means we’ve decided to do it our way. BUT, if we really want to do it God’s way, and in doing so make a wrong decision, He will give us a way out.

He sees our hearts, so He knows what our motives are, ie, He knows if we are making a decision because we really don’t know what’s best, or if we are just determined to do it how we want to. We can’t fool Him. He is merciful and wants to teach us how to hear Him.

Hearing God

Scripture tells us that we hear God! Yes! You do!

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

I didn’t say it, Jesus did. It takes time with Him in prayer, Bible reading, etc. As we begin to grow in Him, it’s like meeting a new friend. You don’t always recognize their voice at first, but as you get to know them, you recognize their voice right away. If you are a born again believer in Jesus Christ, you are His friend and you will come to know His voice. The more you listen, the more familiar it becomes. You will begin to decipher the differences between your inner voices and His.

HIS is the one to follow.

 

It’s All About Motive – What Is Yours?

10 Dec

It’s Been a Long Time

I haven’t written in a while, and God has been dealing with me about that!  I’ve been caught up in so much “stuff” that I have neglected to make the time for my regular posts. For that I have asked God to forgive me.cloudsrainbow-abigail-keenan

We each have gifts from Him and we have them so that we might minister to one another. He intends for us to help one another. When we don’t yield to His call, someone needing that help might not receive what God intended. I get so much inspiration from Him that causes my heart yearn for more of His presence; and, one of the ways I grow closer to Him is to obey His commands.

All that being said – I’ve had several issues lately that have confronted me, requiring that I make choices – difficult choices. It’s just easier to procrastinate – like Scarlet O’Hara from Gone With The Wind, when she said something like “Fiddle Dee Dee – I’ll think about that tomorrow!” Well, too many of my tomorrows have passed. I can just see God with His arms folded across His chest and tapping His foot, waiting for me to do what He has directed me to do (well, you know what I mean).

So! It’s time for confrontation – don’t you just hate confrontation? I’ve noticed that as I grow older – (which is one thing, regrettably, I can’t put off until tomorrow), I can’t multi-task like I  used to. Actually, it’s hard for me to single-task sometimes!!

One of My Favorites

Motive is one of my favorite subjects, mainly because I struggle with it a lot. God made us who we are, giving us the gifts He determined would fit with our personalities and our testimonies. The following Scriptures always bring me peace. What a comfort to know how much God loves me. Whenever I feel alone, or sad, or upset, or any other emotion – any uncontrollable event, I read His Word on it as follows:

  • “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I stand; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down. You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”  Psalm 139: 1-6 NIV

Meditate on these verses. This promise from God is declaring to us that he knows every single thing we do and say, and why we do it and say it. When the Scripture declares that he hems us in it means He is watching every single thing that happens to us and He is guarding over us.

  • I am a tailor, a seamstress. I have hemmed thousands of dresses and pants, so let me tell you exactly what it means to be hemmed in. There is a bottom to dresses and pants (Duh!). If they are not hemmed they can unravel. A hem means that the bottom edge is sewn with a clean edging and then folded up inside the garment and sewn in place. The hem can be a tiny 1/8″ to several inches deep. That section inside the the folded hem is a tunnel locked in place. It gives the garment a clean, finished look and makes the garment the correct length. Nothing is easily getting inside that hem. This was actually a method used in days of old for women to hide things of value. 

So what is MOTIVE?

I’ve taken all the “personality” and “gifts” tests over the years which help me understand some of the ways God uses me (some of the motives for doing what I do.) More importantly, I’ve learned through just living life day to day – making some good choices and some not so good. According to all the “surveys” I have the gift of prophecy (declaring God’s truth), faith (believing God’s Word), and Encouragement (helping others to see just what God’s promises are for them , to give them hope when they need it most).

  • Motive – defined by Webster is – “a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.”

I learned most about my incorrect motives by mistakes I’ve made in my life. Had I been more faithful in studying God’s Word I could have possible avoided many of those mistakes. Mind you, I didn’t know I was making the mistakes – until thing went wrong.

  • Getting to the main point, our motives are not always obvious to us. Scripture tells us “Our hearts are more deceitful than ALL things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” KJV

Just meditate on that for a bit. Don’t read it negatively, read it as a warning from God.  Read it so that you will know HE is the answer. HE alone can show you the way.

  • “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” NIV

I have a saying – “Is it a good thing or a God thing?” A good thing (which may seem good to you, but isn’t from God) is not the same as a God thing. For one thing, it’s hard to get out of “so called ‘good things’ if they aren’t God things! AND, if it’s not a God thing, it’s going to take us the long way around to the fullness God has for us. It’s probably also going to take us into some real hardship. (Ask me  how I know.)

Born Into Sin

We were born into sin. It is only the blood of Jesus Christ that makes us clean. So! How can we expect to make proper decisions unless we first consult God, our Father? He sees our hearts. We’re not hiding anything from Him. He’s not looking the other way. He’s also not waiting for us to make a mistake so He can punish us. He loves us more than we love our own children. Selah, pause, and calmly think about that. He wants us to avoid pitfalls. He wants to spare us the pain. It’s our choices, many times, that bring the pain.

As Christians, we can sometimes be harder on ourselves than even God is. He spoke to my heart one time and clearly said, “If you will let me set your goals you can reach them.” I was always failing at the goals I had set for myself.

It’s okay to check your heart (your motives). If I am not sure of a thing I pray. I ask God to show me what my motives are. I judge myself. I test my motives against Scripture and what I know to be right. If I’m not sure, I wait. Yep. Wait – one of the things we hate doing the most. Most of the time, as I pray, God will speak to my heart and lead me to the answers I am seeking. It’s God we must please, not ourselves or others.

What Are Your God Given Gifts? Your Motives?

If you haven’t studied about the gifts in the Bible, it will answer many questions for you. There are different kinds of gifts. There are “motivational” gifts (the reason we do what we do – the thing that motivates us) – ministry gifts, and other gifts to learn about.

What’s The Purpose?

That’s what this article is about – purpose. There is much too much for me to continue in this post. It’s already way long. So let’s consider this “continued” . . .

Our Reasonings Or God’s Secrets?

20 Jun

photo-1436228625646-f30c3e8447b0There are differences in imaginations, reasonings and the secret things of God. Do you know the difference?

Dan 2:22-23   22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you. . .NIV

When adversity and/or great tribulation comes our way – suddenly and unexpected at times – our first reactions will speak loudly of what we believe about God and how much we trust Him.

2 Cor 10:3-5   For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  NKJV

At times, circumstances arise for which we have no control and no knowledge of how to handle them or cope with them.  Our imaginations begin to run wild. We begin to let the events play over and over in our minds. We lose our composure and our emotions are completely unstable. Our peace goes out the window. Confusion sets in and we find it difficult to focus on any one thing. We find ourselves in the midst of a dreadful storm. The waves are high all around us, the water is rough and our boat is being tossed uncontrollably.  We have to do something, but what? This is where our reasoning comes in.

I found myself in similar circumstances recently.  I am a child of God. I serve Him and walk with Him daily.  I know His Word teaches me to keep my mind stayed on Him and He will keep me in perfect peace.

Isa 26:33 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. NKJV

Keeping our minds stayed on God during trying times is a deliberate action on our part. It is not always an automatic response on our part.  Walking with God doesn’t come naturally to us, as does walking in the flesh. It always comes down to choice. It is never easy, as we determine what easy means. The difficulty lies in giving all of it to God. Easy to say, hard to do. The struggle within us is almost unbearable at times.  While God is telling us to be still and trust Him,  the turmoil within us is screaming for us to do something quickly!

Our faith and trust in God is tested in these life events.  As we walk with God, on a daily basis, constantly acknowledging Him and seeking Him, we being to be more aware of His presence. At times, we feel that He isn’t nearby, that He is far away and we are alone in our situation. The way we “feel” doesn’t determine the truth. Jesus IS the truth and He is THE WAY. What that means is HE is the one we focus on during these trying times. Only He can guide us to the answers we seek. As we begin to develop our relationship with Him and turn to Him in all things, from the smallest action to the most important, the faster we can  overcome our own reasonings and imaginations.

Ps 119:105-107  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. 107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word. NIVP

119:108-109  108 Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws. 109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.  NIV

Picture a lamp at your feet in the darkness. It lights up only a small portion of what is ahead of you. We can’t see what is ahead or around the corner. We can only see where the next step is. That is how to follow God daily; especially in the midst of trials and tribulations. We should grab our lamp and let God lead. Otherwise, we will stumble and fall in the darkness. Of course, we can get back up and stumble some more. Or, we can pick up God’s lamp (His Word, His guidance) and avoid the pitfalls.

God has the answers. He IS the solution. His timing is perfect. He knows the way we take.  He knows the pitfalls. Why not take His hand and “The Lamp” and let Him show us the way?

Merriam Webster’s Definition of “Reason” (ing)  

  1. a (1) :  the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways :  intelligence (2) :  proper exercise of the mind (3) :  sanityb :  the sum of the intellectual powers

  2. 3archaic :  treatment that affords satisfaction

This is what faith is:

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

As God’s children, we don’t live and walk by what we see. The circumstances can change. We can change our minds or make wrong decisions. God is the ONE who IS the Way.

When trials come (and they will)  God wants us to run to Him FIRST, not last. He alone knows what we should do. We can’t expect Him to bless our decisions if He is not in them.  He wants our love and our friendship.  Do we want it as much as He does? Or would we rather stumble around in the dark hoping we miss the pitfalls? He leaves the choice to us.

 

 

 

 

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

30 Sep

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

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 . . .

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.

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.

 

 

 

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