Tag Archives: Relationships

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.

 

 

 

 

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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!

Connecting

1 Aug

Driving down a very busy road, I was trying to look at a text. I had driven a couple of miles, through several intersections  looking out the windshield, and back down at my phone.  I eventually snapped  back to the present moment, and realized I hadn’t been 100% attentive to my driving, the traffic, or how far I had traveled. That’s a scary thought.

I believe it’s the same way when someone I am talking to is looking at their phone. They know I am there, they see me, and they hear me – sort of, but their attention is divided, and truthfully, more concentrated on their electronics. Maybe others are better at multi-listening than I am.

We have gotten so infatuated with social media that instead of  looking in the eye of the person we are conversing with, we have to look at the top of their heads as they begin to converse with someone else on their phones or concentrate on whatever else has electronically distracted them. That kind of gives me a complex. I almost feel as though I am intruding .

We are human beings and though social media is wonderful for many reasons, it can also hinder relationships. We need one another. We need face to face interaction. The words we read in black and white are just that – words. We don’t see the expression that goes along with them which might cause us to misunderstand their intent. We don’t  hear the sound of the familiar voices we love or connect on a more personal level. True, we are busy people and there are many advantages to our being able to reach one another immediately through social media, but we also need the personal, one on one time together.

Our church, offers small groups called “Connect Groups”.  There are several small groups, according to attendance with new members joining along the way. I have been a member of my particular small group for a couple of years now. We meet one night a week for about six weeks at a time. We break for a few weeks and then come back together.

Our group facilitators email weekly “Talk It Over” sheets which are the basis for our discussions. We spend a few moments answering the discussion questions. When we meet, we begin our time together with refreshments and general conversation. We then turn to our Talk It Over outlines which begin with a couple of fun questions designed to help us get to know more about one another. We discuss the questions and passages of Scriptures from Pastor’s message on Sunday. It’s a great way to open the door for us to share our personal thoughts on the subject, or to ask questions if we don’t understand something.

There are facilitators for each group, but every member of the group has an opportunity to give their answer to a particular question or to ask about anything they don’t understand. It’s a powerful way of getting to know one another and the Scriptures at the same time. Everyone participates. When the class is over for the evening we leave having a much better understanding of what our Pastor taught us the previous Sunday – and we have fun doing it.

Although we do have great fun, we also share serious moments. We ask questions that have been burning in our hearts, we encourage and pray for one another, and just enjoy our time together. We laugh a lot. Our personalities begin to show as we begin to see one another as who we really are. We are no longer just another person sitting in a church pew on Sunday mornings.

I attended church just over a year  with casual smiles and greetings, but never really getting to know anyone, and leaving as lonely as I came. I was a disconnected member. We all know the feeling. We are alone in a crowd of people – watching others who are obviously part of the inner circle. We feel kind of left out and wish we felt more at ease.  After joining the weekly Connect Group, I  greet true friends on Sunday mornings with something to talk about  – we really know each other.

I’ve heard it said that if we want friendship we have to become a friend. It doesn’t happen instantly, and it’s not up to others, it’s up to us. We have to become a little vulnerable and let others in – let them know who we are.  It requires a small sacrifice of our time and effort.

I’m in my sixty’s – I’ve been a church member for a long, long time. I’ve served on the staff of several churches and led Bible Studies, Ladies Groups, Prayer Meetings, Seminars and many other church events. Connect Groups are not the same. They are unique and personal. I love being able to be a part of my church in this way.

Connecting face to face is important  and vital to us. Nothing will ever replace a friend with skin on talking to us face to face in a room full of mutual friends.

 

I’ll Let God Know When I Need Him

2 Jul

God wants all of you and all of me. Proverbs 3:6 says “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path”. Do you give Him more than a token five or ten minutes of quiet time? Do you acknowledge Him in ALL your ways? That means do you consider what God wants from you each time you make a decision? Or, just when you can’t come up with a solution?

God wants more than our church attendance and our participation on committees, and ministries that are self-serving by putting us in the spotlight. God wants a relationship with us! He has the answers we need. He is faithful.

God wants to be the Lord of our lives. He’s not our indulgent grandfather – too old to really understand the world we live in today. How could we even think that we are too far advanced for our God? Is it because He once used a small boy with a slingshot and three small stones to kill a giant?

Even though we may sometimes have a hard time accepting the fact that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit really are relevant in our modern world,predictions were made in the Bible concerning the marvels we are witnessing today.

There is so much knowledge available to us, at our fingertips. In truth, we’re just too busy – even with good things – to give time to the Lord and let Him guide us in every situation. We know He’s there and we know we can call out to Him when we’ve exhausted all our other resources.

Most of us may be satisfied just knowing God is around when we need Him. Then, if and when we truly get in over our heads, we’ll call out to Him. However; more than likely, we have probably already decided on a course of action. Let’s face it, we think we can manage on our own most of the time. The truth is in the message of one of my favorite songs, “I Can’t Even Walk Without Him Holding My Hand“.

“In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He Shall direct your paths”.
Proverbs 3:6

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