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Are You A Background Person?

3 Jun

I can’t get Ruth out of my mind. There is so much hope and encouragement in her story. Ruth’s story makes it clear that God has a plan for all of us. Ruth was a “background” person. She wasn’t particularly special to anyone but God. She didn’t hold any notable positions or move up the ladder of success. She didn’t do anything to get the attention of those around her – except – just be herself!

We don’t need to promote ourselves to any kind of special position in order to be used of God. I’m just taken with the fact that Ruth had an entire book of the Bible dedicated to her and she didn’t part the Red Sea, or build an ark — see what I mean? Ruth just humbled herself and took steps to do the honorable thing. God had a plan – He had a future planned for her even after it appeared she lost everything!

Notice that God sent someone into Ruth’s life that could disciple her. She would have done the same for Orpah (the other daughter-in-law). They each had the opportunity to be blessed by God. However; Orpah chose to remain in the pagan world she knew. She couldn’t let go of the things she was comfortable with. This is a clear example of how God gives us all the opportunity to be blessed by him. It is our choice – He gave us the choice – a free will.

I don’t think this means that God gives us only one chance. I believe that He sends many of His disciples our way over our lifetime. God is a good God. He wants the best for us. We can’t blame Him for things that go wrong when we make bad choices.

His Word, the Bible, has already been written. The principles are set. The Scriptures are given to us for example. The people written about are like us. Through our reading of them we learn about God and His ways. His Word is new every day. It is alive and progressive! It is not old and out of date.

As you read the Bible, God helps you to understand it. You will read something that “jumps” off the page and speaks to your heart – it will be just what you need. I believe it is vital to our lives, especially in today’s world.

Some of His promises are conditional. His offer of salvation is to everyone, but in order to receive His perfect will for our lives we have to develop a personal relationship with Him and seek to make the right choices. To be able to make the right choices we need to know what He says in His Scripture. We need to spend time talking to Him and then listening with our hearts to His leading.

We won’t become perfect. We will still make mistakes. The difference is that if we are seeking to know God and seeking His will for our lives, He will see to it that all things work together for our good.

Notice how Ruth, after she chose to go with God – through Naomi – God began to open doors for her to see that she came into the blessings He had in store for her. She just lived out her life. She listened to godly counsel from Naomi and God led her to a renewed life.

Ruth struggled along the way. She had to make many choices to be obedient to the one God had put in her path to help her. It took courage, and faith. Ruth may not have even known she was using her faith. We all use our faith – either in God or in something else. The point is, she continued to make wise choices. She continued to humble herself.

I don’t know how long it took for all this to take place. The important thing is that she didn’t give up. She lived her life day by day and God led her out of the wilderness and into a life of His love and blessings.

I hope you, the reader, can see in Ruth’s story that God is truly no respecter of persons and that His goodness and favor depend so much on our choice to follow Him.

He is merciful to us. He is long-suffering – He waits for us to turn to Him. Just knowing about Him is not enough. We must really know Him. It won’t happen over night. It takes a lifetime. He is an amazing God, so amazing. The more you get to know Him, the more you want to know Him. It doesn’t get old or boring. In my opinion, God is the only thing in my life that is fresh and new every morning – I can’t wait to see what He is going to do next.

Of this I am certain, God has never failed me. Oh, there are many things that don’t go like I want them to. I’ve had many failures in life – made some very bad choices. But, as long as I continue to serve Him and seek Him, He turns everything into good for me. Even when things go opposite to what I think I want, in time I see that God knew best all along. My Momma used to say “God is so smart”! He truly is. He knows our hearts and our longings more than even we do. Trust Him. Give your heart to Him wholeheartedly. You won’t be disappointed.

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God Doesn’t Wait For Us To Get Things In Order Before Blessing Us!

31 May

Continued. . .

How difficult to imagine a young woman going to the threshing floor late night, hiding herself from everyone. Then, making her way to Boaz uncovering his feet and lying there and covering herself up. Ruth’s instructions from Naomi were to lie there until Boaz told her what to do. It’s hard to imagine what must’ve been going through Ruth’s mind. She once again proved herself notable, brave and dedicated to a woman of God because of God’s incredible love flowing from within Naomi.

This story is truly hard to imagine! However; God’s hand is at work – a God Ruth didn’t know about – a living God. How amazing is His grace! How glorious are His ways! How true are His promises!

In reading the book of Ruth, – a Book of the Bible dedicated to this woman of valor – the outcome of an unfolding plan becomes apparent. A woman named Ruth –ruthless in her character to the point of facing head on the trials and tribulations that confronted her – – refusing to back down – – determined to keep going. What strength! What character! How pleased must God have been!

Think about it – Ruth’s character was so notable that the Holy Spirit inspired an entire book of the Bible to tell her story. She was not wealthy – had no high-ranking job – and she served idols. She seemed insignificant – to herself and to us, had we known her. God didn’t wait for her to “get things in order” before He began to work in her life. He was with her all along. All she had to do was listen to her heart and deny her self-will.

Scripture tells us that God is no respecter of persons. I believe that God does this for each and every one of us – but the decision remains in our hands as to whether we will make good choices or not.

Ruth was not expecting anything or looking for anything as a reward for all she endured. Her motives were pure. She displayed such a heart of purity and selfless love. Ruth was clearly a picture of what blind faith is all about. She had God’s promises, all she had to do was make good choices. A foreign woman from a pagan land – – a land of sinners and idol worshippers, married into the family of God. Wow! That’s all of us! We do absolutely nothing to deserve God’s love and His favor, yet He is faithful.

In Ruth’s mind she probably thought her life had gone as far as it could go. She had already told Naomi she was prepared to follow her to death, even to be buried with her. She didn’t make that promise or declaration lightly. She was steadfast, constant, completely devoted to Naomi.

God had a plan! One particular fact we can see from Ruth’s story is that God finishes what He starts. We can’t see what lies ahead. Like Ruth, we have no idea what God is doing providentially to unfold His plans in our lives.

Ruth now finds herself at the threshing floor, in the dark of night, lying at the feet – – under the covers – -of a man she hardly knows. It is obvious that Boaz must have been an extraordinary man. Otherwise, Ruth could have found herself in a very uncomfortable situation. Bible scholars cannot explain why Naomi instructed Ruth in this manner. But, Naomi has been shown to be a virtuous woman, as well as, a wise woman. We must trust that Naomi may have known more than we are aware of. She knew the character of her kinsmen, Boaz, and was confident that Ruth would be safe.

Ruth was once again submitting herself, without question, to her mother-in-law, Naomi. Her bravery is evident, the faith and honour she bestowed upon Naomi was incredible.

To Be Continue . . .

Let Your Faith Be Seen!

12 Jan

Matthew 9:2 says, “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you'”.

Charles Stanley, in his Life Lessons Bible, notes that it would be hard to “see” faith if it never worked its way out in meaningful action. He said that if our faith does not affect the way we live or ever get noticed by others, then perhaps it is not genuine faith at all.

As I read that in my prayer time this morning, it excited me. Many things came to my mind about faith. For example, many times we feel led by God to do something that may appear strange to others. As they begin to give us “their opinion” we begin to reason and sometimes even allow the words of others to cause us to stumble.

For the record, the word “opinion” is the view of the other person and their view of the worth or of the value of someone or something. And, according to the Thesaurus, another word for opinion is “judgment”. Just sayin’.

This works both ways. Let’s make sure we are not the ones to cause someone to stumble. After all, our opinions are just that – they are our opinions. If we give our opinion we should make sure that the person we are speaking to understands that even though we are giving our opinion on a matter — it is them who is responsible for following God’s direction. We never want to be guilty of overriding God’s direction to someone. That’s a little scary to me.

On the other hand, if we are the one presenting our situation to another about what we believe God is saying to us, we need to leave the consequences to God (another of Charles Stanley’s Life Principles). We can’t know what God is doing in someone’s life. That’s why we are told not to judge others.

I can tell you, I have done some things at God’s leading that have thoroughly convinced others that I may not be of sound mind. But, I have learned to hear the voice of my Lord and Savior and it is Him I want to please. It is important that we share with others and not hide our light under a bushel. God uses us in ways we can’t know. Others are watching and they “see” our faith in action. Then, they “see” when God steps in and takes control.

Let your faith be seen. Don’t be afraid of what others think. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. I think it’s wonderful when we have others praying for us and they become a part of God’s miracle in our lives. This is how we share one another’s burdens. This is how our faith grows.

Keep in mind that even Moses looked like a failure in men’s eyes, even as he was following God’s direction to the letter. Those around him doubted him and what he said. But, then they “saw” his faith through the works of God.

Ask God today to help you show your faith to others. And, ask Him to help you to encourage others and to be careful of any words of doubt you may speak.

Obviously, all things we hear are not from God. But, let’s not be too quick to judge. That’s why we need prayer and God’s Word to speak to our hearts and show us the truth.

What Does Acknowledge God Mean?

4 Jan

Acknowledge God in all you do and He will direct your path. What does that mean exactly?

To me acknowledging God means to keep Him in mind with everything you do. Make it a habit to think of Him often. A conversation with God does not have to be a formal, lengthy discussion each time you pray. Simply keeping Him in the loop is what is important. He cares about everything in our lives. If you don’t think God is concerned with details, take a few minutes to read Exodus 25 & 26. God instructs Moses to have the Israelites bring offerings to Him and to make a sanctuary for Him. He describes in detail, down to the color of yarn for embroidery, and the kind of wood to use, how He wants this accomplished.

I remember long ago when I first read these Scriptures. I actually questioned God about why all the detail was necessary. I was young in the Lord and hadn’t read the Bible much yet. I was truly kind of bored about what I was reading and wanting to get to some more interesting things. As I asked God about this He plainly spoke to my heart that He wanted me to know that He is concerned about the smallest details of my life. Wow! How many times do we neglect to go to God with something because it seems too small?

God is the Master of the Universe, King of Kings, Lord or Lords, yet He cares about me – even the small things that are important to me are important to Him. That is true, unconditional love. God wants us to know that everything about us is important to Him. We can go to Him with anything and everything. We may not have anyone else we can feel that safe with – but we have God.

If you don’t have one, find a place where you can kneel when you need to and just “be” with God. I don’t mean for a formal time of prayer. I mean just a place where you can go, sit or kneel, just feel His presence. Know He is there. Feel safe. Feel loved.

Of course, God is with us everywhere. But, sometimes, I need to stop everything and go to my special place, and just acknowledge that He is there and that I trust Him and love Him and that I need to feel His presence. He is faithful. He always meets me there.

Mind-Sets & Pre-Conceived Ideas

3 Jan

In order to allow God to have His way in our lives we need to ask Him to help free us from our mind-sets and pre-conceived ideas. That is, we already have our minds set about so many things in our lives. We also have pre-conceived ideas about how things are supposed to work out for us.

Remaining “neutral” is what I believe God wants from us. If we already have our minds set on something – how can we clearly hear God when He tells us something completely different? Or, if we have pre-conceived how a matter is going to be, will we even notice when God knocks at our hearts in order to move us into a completely different direction?

Pray about it – ask God to show you about your mind-sets and your pre-conceived ideas. Ask Him to help you to remain in neutral so that you can hear Him, when you ask Him for direction. If you already have your mind made up, it’s like jumping off a cliff and then calling out to God not to let you fall!

Ask first. Listen. Obey. Don’t hesitate. To hesitate is to disobey. Besides, God’s ideas are much better than ours. Give up the control that you hold so tightly to and let God make your life more peaceful. Giving control to Him can take you to a place of freedom you never knew existed. You will love it!

God’s Timing

2 Jan

Time – none of us have enough of it. When we do manage a little “down time” we find ourselves so exhausted that when we try and “do nothing” – quilt knocks at our door.

It’s interesting to me that God’s timing remains constant. He isn’t concerned about man’s deadlines or other legalistic rituals. At times we remind Him that we have an upcoming deadline and just want to make sure He is aware of it. (Well, what can I say?)

I’ve witnessed many times how God brings us right up to the edge (of what seems like a cliff) and then just before “it’s too late” He rescues us. Let me add that in reality God is never too late. He is always on time (remember Lazarus).

Actually, I’ve witnessed times in my life where God “missed a deadline” (mine, of course) because He had a much better plan than I did. Imagine that! He can cause men to overlook rules, regulations and laws on our behalf.

Here’s the catch – God wants us to learn that in order for us to be in His will and receive His best we must forget about our own timing and learn to trust more in His. If a deadline passes us by it’s not because God missed it. Don’t proceed until you have His peace. A deadline is not in God’s vocabulary. And the biggest lesson I think we learn from this is that we need to give God time for His timing – not ours. If we will learn to do this, we will truly learn to walk in the peace that passes understanding and discover that nothing can move us because we know that we know God is in control!

Ask me how I know this!!

 

 

Get To Know God

1 Jan

God wants us to know Him intimately. The way to do that is by spending time with Him. If you’re like me, you’re in a hurry to get your day started because there is so much on your “list” to do. For some reason the things that should be the most important in my daily routine are the things that feel to me like they are taking up “project” time. I’m talking about eating right, exercising, and yes, talking with God.

Goodness! It’s even hard to admit that. I just always have so many things to do and to sit still and eat, or sit still and talk to God and read His Word, or heaven forbid – go outside and walk around the block – well, just sayin’. It’s the fast paced world we live in, I suppose. Or, possibly just bad habits.

I’ve been trying to be more disciplined in these areas. Especially my time with God. For almost 90 days now I have missed only a few quiet times with the Lord. I have gone from feeling pressured to do it to feeling incomplete if I don’t do it. Somehow, God adds time to my day when I spend my first minutes of the day with Him. And, the prayers I’ve seen answered as a result – amazing!

I’m still working on the exercise thing and the eating properly routine. But, I’ll get there. I know I will because when God comes first, all these other things are added – so says His Word.

God Talks Back

31 Dec
Not only is God a good listener, He is a wonderful conversationalist! Many people tell me that God doesn’t talk to them. God tells us in His Holy Bible that His sheep know His voice! If you are a born again Christian, that means you are one of His sheep and you hear His voice.
 
You don’t have to be a seasoned Christian to hear God speak. Some don’t realize God is talking to them. They think it’s their conscious (sometimes it is). Or, they think they just had a great idea. Then, at times, they wonder why they had a particular thought.
 
God’s voice is generally small and quiet. If we are not familiar with His Word (the Bible), we may confuse His communication with other voices we hear. God gave us a conscious and He gave us common sense. He also gave us Christian friends who can offer us their opinion. Then, there is our enemy, satan, whom the Bible tells us comes to steal, kill and destroy. He is quick to feed us bad thoughts and ideas to get us out of God’s will.
 
God gave us His Word so we could learn about Him. He wanted us to know that throughout all of time men and women  have been just like us. Sometimes we obey God’s Word and sometimes we don’t. As we read God’s Word we learn about how God dealt with His people – how He taught them to walk uprightly. We also learn from those stories how God rewards us and yes, how He disciplines us. Sometimes we see how God punished those who rebelled against Him.
 
So, even though we may be a new Christian and have the ability to hear God, we must spend time with Him in prayer and in reading His Word so that we can learn His ways, thus identifying His voice more clearly.
 
If someone gave you a new car – just handed you the keys and said, “It’s all yours!” – You may find yourself in great danger if you tried to drive without some sort of training. If you decided to hop in the car anyway and take your chances, you could get into a lot of trouble – possibly even die. I know that sounds a bit drastic, but we can’t assume every voice we hear is God. We need to spend time getting to know Him. As we do we will learn to discern God’s voice from all the others.
 
Are you willing to give Him some of your time?

What Do You Want Jesus To Do For You?

31 Dec

Let God be your best friend! He is a good listener. He is always there for you; never too busy to listen. I try to sit with God each morning. I find that when I do I actually get more done in my day. It’s like anything else with God – put Him first and “all these other things will be added to you”.

 
I have always loved to write. I have gotten into the habit of writing my prayers. When I do, my mind doesn’t wander to other things. I am focused on my petition to the Lord. This also helps me to remember the things I need to pray for. Another added benefit is that I have the date at the top of my page which helps me even more as I see the prayers that are answered. I make it a habit to be sure and thank God for those answered prayers.
 
Writing your prayers out also helps you to be specific. Jesus said “. . .tell me what you want”. If I mumble something like, “Bless me today” – what am I saying? I think I’m saying “I have my mind on other things and am just trying to get through this prayer”! But, if I say “Lord, I really have a lot of work today, please help me finish it all” – I’m being specific with what I was Jesus to do for me.
 
What do you want Jesus to do for you today?
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