Tag Archives: Courage

Just Because You Can’t Do It, Doesn’t Mean God Can’t!

2 Jul

Don’t Limit God!

What God has given me for you today pertains to any limitations you have placed on Him regarding yourselves and your abilities. This means in your personal life, as well as, in your ministry.

If you are limiting God this is what you are doing:

1. YOU are placing boundaries around what God can do and what He cannot do. YOU are telling Him that He can go THIS FAR, but no further.
2. YOU are telling God to what extent He can move in your life, YOU are placing restrictions on your vision, your money, your work, your ministry – your life in general.
3. YOU are RESTRICTING God because of the limits you are placing upon Him.
4. Remember, God gave you a FREE WILL. YOU make choices daily. It is not His plan for you to be limited in any way.
5. FAITH is the substance of things unseen.
6. You will see by the examples listed below what limiting God in your life can do.
7. More than likely you SAY just the opposite. But, take a close look to make sure. Ask God IF you are limiting Him and ask Him to show you HOW you are limiting Him.

In Numbers 13 God told Moses to send out 12 men, the leaders of each clan of the children of Israel to check out the land He had given them. Check it out:

 I believe this was one way for God to prepare His people so they could get ready for the job that was before them.
 The Bible identifies the men – they were hand-picked by God. They were the leaders of their clans.
 They saw that the land was full of giants. There was a bountiful supply of fruit. The grapes were so big that two men carried a cluster back home to show their people.
 Then came their report. Out of twelve men, 10 of them were afraid and doubted God. I guess they thought that what God gave them to do wasn’t possible.
 The doubting 10 leaders spread their doubt, unbelief and fear among the people. They were responsible for inevitable punishment of their people.
 There were only two men (Joshua and Caleb) who said “Lets go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with them said “We can’t do it. These men are stronger than we are. Then they said: “The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
 What they were saying was “to those men we looked like grasshoppers, and to US – we looked like grasshoppers. SO – THEY win!” They didn’t even attempt to do what God told them.
 They didn’t even stop to think that God would not have sent them to the land and told them to look it over to scare them out of their wits! He wanted them to prepare. To get ready to take the land that was their inheritance. He had already proven Himself to them and promised to be with them.
 When these leaders went back and gave their people this bad report, what do you think they did?
 It is important that you see the influence you have as a leader.
 Whose report will you believe? God’s – Your’s – Satan’s?
 This is what their people did: “And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!”
 Do you know who God held accountable for all the murmuring? THE LEADERS!
 Joshua and Caleb tried to convince the people that it was a good land, flowing with milk and honey and that they could take it. God would be with them. They begged the people not to rebel against God. But the people stoned them for their good report! Can you imagine! Then the glory of the LORD appeared before the people. Uh Oh!
 This is what God said to Moses: “How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.”
 Moses begged God not to do it. He interceded on behalf of his people.
 So, God pardoned them because of Moses’ prayer, but because those men saw His glory and His miracles and still tempted Him by not listening to what He told them, He denied them the privilege of entering into the promised land. They had to wander in the wilderness until they were all dead.

Only Joshua and Caleb and the younger generation were permitted to leave the desert after 40 years of wandering. Once they reached the promised land, only Joshua and Caleb had faith in God’s promise to give them the land. The other clan leaders let fear and grumbling rob them of the future God had planned for them.

Only Joshua and Caleb trusted God enough to encourage the people to take the land. God honored their faith. Only Joshua and Caleb and the children under 20 years of age were allowed to enter the land God has promised them. All those who doubted God let fear and unbelief rob them of God’s best. Instead, they lived out the remainder of their years living in the desert.

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Everyone Is Watching You!

12 Jun

Let’s get back to Lydia. Lydia was raised as a pagan, worshiping idols, but she knew something was missing. She renounced that and became a proselyte (a new convert). God had prepared her heart and upon meeting with Paul, she became a believer. Clearly, Lydia immediately embraced Jesus and her new-found place in His kingdom. Her heart was filled with joy and gratitude and a desire to share Christ. She also immediately wanted to do her part to further God’s message and to minister to His servants.

How could we possibly know all this through the brief mention of Lydia in the Bible? Scripture does not say all of that. Oh! But it does. All throughout God’s Word we learn of God and His ways. We learn through the examples in stories we read about. From that we can determine that Lydia responded just the way God wanted her to. Lydia had no Scriptures to read. She had not heard the gospel before meeting Paul on that divinely appointed day. She hadn’t heard how God wanted her to behave. What she did have now, that she didn’t have before, was the Holy Spirit of God living in her heart in leading her in the way to go!

Lydia had and not read any self-help books or watched any TV preachers, or even gone to church and sat under Sunday School teachers and Bible study leaders. She “just knew” in her heart what to do by the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. Lydia was also humble, as evidenced by the way she spoke to Paul and Silas in invited them to her home.

Let’s bring this story into the 21st century. We don’t much like being around grumpy, whiny people who are always negative and always complaining. The spirit within us rejects this. There is just something about a joyful, smiling individual who offers encouragement and a positive attitude. Our day is brightened and our hearts changed and uplifted. That’s what God is all about. He is a good God. He has given to us promise after promise throughout His Word. We can learn from the Scripture that loving God and following Him doesn’t promise us a life without trials and tribulations. We may also suffer loss and pain. The good news God has for us is that Jesus came to overcome the world and to make us also overcomers through Him.

God wants us to learn dependence upon Him. He wants us to trust Him and let Him lead us. Our actions and our reactions tell others just how much we love and trust God. We can say it all we want. Our actions may confirm what we say or negate what we say. If you think no one is watching – be aware – everyone is watching.

This doesn’t mean we should do everything we can to make others think more of us or like us more. Actually, that would totally backfire. It may work briefly but in time, it would become obvious. The point is, every life around us is on display, today, in this time, more so than ever. Think about those we see every day and the thoughts that run through our minds as we observe them or listen to them. It doesn’t take long for us to notice things that we like or dislike, or things we agree with or object to. Know that the way we live our lives for Christ becomes clear to those around us. Just be careful not to judge. That is not our place, but God’s.

Let Lydia be an example! Live with an open heart, a humble spirit, the joy of the Lord, a willing and serving heart, and a desire to tell others about God and His love. Lydia was brave, conscientious and hospitable. She had a giving spirit. Lydia had been searching for truth and when she found it she knew in her heart her life was forever changed. She wasted no time opening her heart her life and her home to God’s people.

We can also see through Lydia’s actions that she was wise. Lydia was not presumptuous but humble. She presented herself to the men of God in good taste and in reverence. Lydia was a gracious hostess and not intimidated by these mighty men of God. She was confident, yet respectful in approaching them with an invitation to her home. We can surmise that Lydia was experienced in how to approach people and how to present herself because of her ability as a seller of purple, a much sought after item in those times. But, she did not see herself as inferior to these mighty men of God. Nor did she “get in their face”. She was humble in their presence and wanted to be used by God to do what she could to help them. She started with what she had.

Start with what you have. Don’t wait for something to come along that you perceive to be necessary before you can serve God or His people. He gave you gifts and talents and knowledge that only you have. Let Him use you – just as you are!

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

1 Jun

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 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 . . .

Nothing By Accident

30 May

Continued . . . 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 . . .

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