Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Reflecting over the year 2010, I look at it as a year of growth with my Savior. I am so thankful for the experience, although I would not want to walk through the experience again. Last year was a real struggle in my workplace, while at home we were reeling from my husband's diagnosis of MS. Yet, I find it's reflection filled with the sweet aroma of Christ.
Just before the year 2010 began, my Lord knew what was needed before I even asked. My sister, Joyce, invited me to attend a few conferences with her and the women from her church. One of those conferences featured Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, and Priscilla Shirer. That conference, coupled with direction of the Holy Spirit, changed my outlook on what was yet to come. Rather than letting fear and man direct my paths, I allowed God to pull me closer to Him.
Funny, most of us want to walk closer to God. Yet, most of us won't get off our behind to do anything about it. This requires prayer, time in the word, and the risk of looking foolish. I am soooo thankful for the journey.This year, I am excited about a new adventure; memorizing two scriptures a month with the Siesta Scripture Memory Team! I am going to memorize 24 (or more) scriptures this coming year.
Follow the link ( http://www.lproof.org/MediaFiles/PDF/SMT2011SpiralNotebook.pdf ) and print the pdf file to begin your spiral notebook and log your scriptures.
This will be your ticket to a Beth Moore/Living Proof conference designed especially for the group! Find more information at http://blog.lproof.org/ . I am looking forward to starting this journey!
I don't know what else the upcoming year may bring, but I know whose going to be there with me every step of the way.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Then an awesome answer came flying in when I was visiting Beth Moore's Blog. Instead of memorizing a verse for the year I will be memorizing two verses a month. That means my treasure of verses will be a whopping 24 verses this year! The goal is bigger, yet really just as simple!
If you would like to jump on this bandwagon, you will first want to invest in a spiral journal. You can purchase one at your local discount store or order the cute one pictured below. The cost for this one is $5 with shipping and handling at
To be honest, I am really excited about this new adventure! Connie Smiley, my dear friend, has memorized more scripture than any one I know. This will be a small comparison, yet a good step in the right direction. Wahooo!!! I can hardly wait for the first month of verses. For more information, read Beth's blog at
I hope you can join in on the fun. We can do it!
Friday, November 26, 2010
At the beginning of our final week, our study begins with the familiar story of Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego. The boys felt no need to follow the law, even to the point of death by a fiery furnace. To top it off, their faith was soooo built, the boys didn't even fear the outcome! It is my belief the boys knew their God so well, they fully trusted Him to do what was best. Hmmmm,...
It was also noted that our desire to "fit-in" can actually take us where we don't want to go. Another hmmmm....
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Isn't it interesting to notice this verse simply points to the future...not the past. Have we made room for God and what He has planned for our future or are we holding on the pieces of the past? Where do I place my comfort?
Deuteronomy 6:23 He brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that He promised an oath to our forefathers.
The road to the promise land may be rough; but He is there leading the way. It isn't by our own power and strength, but through the faithfulness of our God. Persevere and don't look back!
Ruth 1:16 Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. You can't embrace the future and leave opportunities to return to the past! It's all or nothing!!!
Ruth 2:12 May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord; the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.
I have enjoyed and grown from this study. Amazing that it ends with how my own new adventure began...with the study of Ruth. A good reminder that what I left behind needs to stay behind.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Today I took my son and a couple of his friends to lunch. During lunch, we were discussing our various church homes and one of the boys said he thought we all had the church tradition of singing before preaching a backward ritual. Interested in what he meant, I asked him to explain. He feels that when we get to church is when our mind is the most alert (hmmmm, this is what they tell us teachers is what happens when students arrive to class) and that the preacher should share the message when we are most apt to let it sink in. He continued his thoughts by saying that singing would then pump you up to send you out.
After hearing what he had to say, his friends at the table started laughing and making fun of the idea. It got quiet when I explained that sometimes we get stuck in a routine and his idea was really pretty good. What if we pulled out of the old routine, give it some fresh perspective?
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Sun Stand Still, Part 1: A New Way To Pray
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Gen 30:1 Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, "Give me children, or else I die."
Yesterday, we read how Leah, Rachel's sister, desperately wanted to be loved by Jacob. Yet, Jacob loved Rachel. Rachel has the love of Jacob, yet...
Gen 30: 22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb. So she conceived and bore a son and said, "God has taken away my reproach." She named him Joseph, saying, "May the LORD give me another son."
and still it wasn't enough...she stole idols from her father's house...
Gen 31: 34-35 Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel's saddle, and she sat on them. And Laban felt through all the tent but did not find them. She said to her father, "Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is upon me " So he searched but did not find the household idols.
When would it ever be enough? Rachel was beautiful, loved by her husband, bore children, ...now stole gods from her father's house. What are the longing of your heart? Do they compare with the greatness that only God can give?
Genesis 29:30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years. Now the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, "Because the LORD has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me."
Desperate for Jacob's love...Leah continued in her quest to please Jacob, desperate to win his love.
Gen 30: 20 Then Leah said, "God has endowed me with a good gift; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons." So she named him Zebulun.
Desperate to offer something to win Jacob's love...I feel her pain. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you desperately wanted to win someone's approval, love, or friendship? This hole, vacuum, or ache deep inside...can be filled in our relationship with God. Opps! Do I really think that someone else can meet my needs better than the God who created me? Better than the Savior that gave His life for me?
James 4:1-10 (NAS) What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"? But He gives a greater grace Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
This lesson...WOW! When you are involved in a quarrel...be it with your spouse, your friend, a family member...; are you asking him/her to read your mind? Are you asking that person to be considerate of your thoughts and feelings? Are you asking that person to love you no matter what you do? Are you asking them to behave in a way that you want them to (controlling their behavior)? Are trying to be God? or... are you wanting them to be God?
These questions penetrate my heart. Have I put my marital relationships, my family relationships, my Christian relationships on a test that can't be passed? There is only one who can meet the test of a perfect soul mate...that's the one who gave His life for my soul! Putting anyone else in that place might be considered idolatry. OUCH!
Earthly relationships can't take the place of our Heavenly relationship! Have you ever considered this? Honestly, until today...I hadn't really put it in perspective!
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Last weekend, a group of women and young girls traveled from our home town to Mt. Home First Baptist Church for the Beth Moore Tele-Conference. This experience, for me, was again life changing.
The topic for the day surrounded the verse ..."she opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tounge is the law of kindness" Prov 31:26.
To end the conference, we shared a commissioning statement. For those who would like a reminder of what was said....
My Dear Sister,
Your God has called you, to use that mouth of yours, for His great glory.
Don’t just add to the noise. Become a real woman who opens her mouth with wisdom.
God wants the Law of Kindness on your tongue and the love of Christ in your heart.
Kindness is not a weakness! When you’re wearing down, head to Christ and His people
And let them build you back up.
His yoke is KIND. Make sure it’s the only yoke you wear.
It’s time to go our separate ways but we’ll all meet up again at the glorious epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Until then, let the One who led you here lead you on with cords of kindness. Now, get out there and build a welcoming fire in a cold world. Live by the Law of Kindness!
I love you guys. I really do.
Monday, September 20, 2010
2 Chronicles 16:9"For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His...
This week's lesson was a real eye opener.
Genesis 3:4-5 The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate." (the bold/italics are mine)
To be honest, have fallen for some of the same lies. For example, visiting the home of friends I may find their home design a "delight to the eyes" and "desirable". Upon arriving home, I am put out with my own home, or the mess at home, or the fact we don't have this or that. The same can happen when going to church. I may see someone that I admire and want to be more like; yet I pick up on the outward things. For example, desiring the same stuff...same Bible translation, type of clothing, style of shoes, etc.
I am not saying that desires are bad. For example, food is good and Eve pointed out that the tree was good for food. It was also a delight to the eyes and desirable. Yet, a good thing can go too far. God told them (Adam and Eve) not to eat of this tree but they could eat of all the other trees. Yet, she found herself desiring the one thing she wasn't suppose to have.
When deciding to do what she wanted to do instead, she walked away from God's plan and developed her own plan. Ouch! Much like Sarah did when she decided to giver Hagar to her husband so she could have a child. Let's stick with the plan! To know the plan is to know God. Sounds good to me!!! After all, He provides all my needs!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
1 Samuel 1:27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. Running to the one who can truly answer your prayers is a much better choice than taking matters into your own hands. Unlike Sarah, Hannah didn't choose to take matters into her own hands but she cried out to God for answers.
I really believe that God places us in places that he wants us. Hannah had very little choice but to look up or walk defiantly into the face of sin. Unlike Sarah, the choice she made was to wait upon the Lord. Hannah had a child with no baggage to bear; Sarah son also had a half brother, due to Sarah's impatience.
Look to Christ as our protector, our creator, our healer, our peace...our everything. He will make our paths straight.
Genesis 16:2 "..The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her."
I have read this passage several times...yet today with a new lens. Sarah knew good and well the Lord promised her a child. Sarah also knew that up until this time, God "kept" her from having children. Yet, for some reason, she felt it was OK to go ahead and try to have children in spite of God's plans. She was going to get the child HER own way.
Wanting something so much you willfully scheme to undermine God's will for you...YIKES! and Sarah used an Egyptian girl to do this. The same children that put the Israelites under bondage...the same people God saved the Israelites from...There are so many red flags here. How could Sarah do this?
Who are you trying to build your life through? Sarah tried to do this herself since she felt God wasn't going to give her what she wanted. She even used someone that she came to despise. The plan...well it didn't turn out the way she thought it would. Her dream now comes with a price.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
(1 Samuel 8:19-20) But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."
Have you ever wanted to be like everyone else? Have you ever felt as if you might be different and simply want to fit in? I'm sure our kids feel this on a daily basis as they go to school. As adults, you may feel this way at your job, or maybe even in your church. Yet, God tells us we are going to be different. (1 Peter 2:9) But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Have you ever been in a place where you willfully wanted to walk away from who you are in Christ just to fit in? I know that I have...and thankfully, today, I am forgiven!
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Isn't God's Word amazing!? This scripture reminds me how important the central part of my being actually is. My heart guides my thoughts, my actions, my dreams,...it guides my everything. False idols that I've placed in my life are entangled with my heart and I've allowed that...not only let it happen but helped it to happen. These idols will not be easy to let go of...it's going to take supernatural intervention. I need my Savior to help me let it go.
Letting go of the false gods in our life is only the beginning of what we are to study throughout the next 8 weeks. This means, it's going to take some work...remember that Satan wants to keep that stronghold in our life. He will lie, cheat, steal...whatever it takes to stay there and to keep God from being glorified.
Meanwhile, once those things have been properly placed in our lives (we can't be totally rid of what God created for good but we've made into a god...like food, a job, etc.) we need to need to realize this Spring Cleaning has a reason, a purpose so-to-speak. We are making room for Him to be God in our life! Isn't that what it's all about!
I'm excited about it; aren't you!
A good example is social networking. How much time do you spend checking your favorite social network? Does it take time away from your priorities? Has it become your priority? Do you think about it more than you think of the things of God? How much of your time is devoted to "it"?
Of course, nothing is wrong with social networking...I'm not saying that. "It",or whatever else you may be thing of, inadvertently becomes your god when you end up allowing it a place in your life that actually belongs to God. Your time, your money, your shelter...do you rely on these things to bring you what God wants to bring? He is my comforter, not food. God is my provider, not me. God is my strength, not someone else. The list goes on and on.
What is my motive in where I spend my time and resources? Am I spending time/resources for God's glory or my own glory? Do I depend on "it" to bring me happiness and/or comfort? Something to ponder, today. What do you find in your life that you have replaced God with?
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Have you ever found yourself in a place where you could do nothing else but give it to God? That's where the Israelites found themselves under the power of Pharaoh.
Yet, I wonder if that's exactly where He wants me to be; at the feet of my Savior!
I have taken time to list several times in my life where I felt powerless and could do nothing but cry out for my Savior. There are several that come to mind; one recent experience was when I came home from having hip replacement surgery. I had to have lots of help at home and our eight year old daughter became ill just the day after I got home. Within days, she was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with ecoli/huss. I couldn't be with her, I couldn't take care of her; my husband was there and her aunts were there...yet all I could do was pray. I am certain, that was exactly where He wanted me to be.
I know that there are times we will all find ourselves in similar situations...times when all we can do is cry out to Him. Yet, what better place could we be than at the feet of Jesus!?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject!
The Israelites were in Egypt because of the famine...many years prior, Joseph saved his family from the famine while working with the king. Yet, Joseph's legacy was no longer remembered. Pharaoh was intimidated by the increasing Israelite population. Was there something the Israelites did to cause this calamity? No! Not at first! They were under the oppression of Pharaoh due to nothing they did themselves. Yet later, after God brought them out from under the power of Pharaoh, they forgot the Lord their God and worshipped other gods. uggghhhhh
Are you up against something in your own life that has put itself in a position over you...a position it was never meant to hold. I know that this can come in any and all forms. Let's look at "food" for example. In-and-of itself, food is something we all need. Yet, when we look to food to make us happy, cure our depression, provide comfort (you get the idea), we have allowed it a place it should never have taken. God is my comforter, my healer, my all-in-all; not food.
You may find yourself under the power of other things, as well. Maybe you find yourself addicted to alcohol or tv. You may be consumed with anger or jealousy. This may have come on subtly...slowly...under no apparent pressure. Yet, it's really there and has taken over. It dictates your time, your happiness, your peace; you can't find release. It could be your job!
Today is a good day to identify the things (gods) that have power over you and ask God to bring you out from the storm! You can't really do this without Him!
Friday, September 3, 2010
* What do I have my heart set on?
* What motivates me?
* Who or what masters or rules me?
* Where do I place my trust?
* Who do I fear or serve?
* Where do I spend the majority of my time? (Where is my priority?)
Exodus 20: 1-3...God gives Moses the Ten Commandments:
1Then God spoke all these words, saying,
2"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3"You shall have no other gods before Me
Wow, why haven't I noticed this before...the first commandment is telling us we are to have no other gods before Him. It seems to me that is must be first because it's important. If we place God as first and only, the rest should simply fall into place.
At this point, I think it would be a great idea to write a letter to God in the front of you study book. Be honest with yourself and God; tell Him what you desire out of this study.
As you begin to grow closer to God through the next eight weeks, it is my earnest prayer that you hear His voice and heed His instructions. Trust Him to walk you through one day at a time. The journey is worth it!
If you were to title what God has laid on your heart today, what would your title say?
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I am so excited to begin another Bible Study and draw closer to our God, aren't you! If you haven't got your book yet, you can order one from Kelly Minter's site (click on her name in the list on the right hand side of the blog) or LifeWay carries them. There's a LifeWay in Springfield or you can order from them on-line.
We are excited to begin this study on "Confronting Our Modern-day Idols". I hope you will join us for this eight week study! We start this week!!!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Yesterday morning, I had no idea how our day was going to roll out. We had lots to do; things we needed to do and things we wanted to do. It simply wasn't going to be possible to do it all, so I decided to adjust and move with the flow. We needed to prioritize, JD needed school supplies and school starts next week. Today would be the only day we had to do this together (although....separate might be the preferred choice, lol.)
Sunday, August 1, 2010
This study has really been a study of hope, hasn't it? I love how Kelly Minter wrote about it, a study "about a Moabites who loved the God of Israel, who packed up her belongings to the care of a woman who wasn't blood and who didn't want her, who risked her life in the fields, who risked her life on the threshing floor, who drew the eyes of a noble man, married him, bore a son, and then placed the baby on the breast of the mother in-law she so desperately loved. Ruth." (p. 160)
Yet, the entire lineage of Christ is compiled of many stories of love, trust, and obedience. From the blood line of Abraham through Tamar, through Ruth, David and Bathsheba, and on to gives us a Savior. This blood line isn't perfect or majestic, but it's beautiful in the eyes of God.
What was the most memorable moment of this study for you?
Saturday, July 31, 2010
The world may try to appraise your value, but only God knows the true worth of your heart. He can see something inside of you that's bigger than anything you can imagine or dream. Don't let others determine your self worth!
Ruth 4:17-22 The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, "A son has been born to Naomi!" So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David. Now these are the generations of Perez: (A)to Perez was born Hezron, and to Hezron was born Ram, and to Ram, Amminadab, and to Amminadab was born Nahshon, and to Nahshon, Salmon, and to Salmon was born Boaz, and to Boaz, Obed, and to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David.
Again, in Matthew 1:1-6 The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, (C)Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah (Bold print was added by me)
Often times, when reading the Bible I find the genealogy boring and skim right through it. Today, it really stands out!!!! What do these women have in common? An undesirable past that only our loving God could see past. He saw into the hearts of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba and knew their true value. As a matter of fact, the genalogy of Jesus Christ, born in the flesh, flows right through their blood line. These women were an intricate picture of the bigger vision of grace! What a legacy they left behind and what a future their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc beheld because of their faithfulness.
Don't let others determine your self worth! Seek The One who redeeems, The One who has the power to forget the past and cleanse your soul...
What did today's lesson say to you?
Friday, July 30, 2010
Today's lesson brought back soooo many memories of my "Grams". Along with my title, Legacy of the Heart, I felt her photo needed to be posted. That's my grandmother! She wouldn't tell a lie, even a white lie. She raised her children and grandchildren and all of our friends. Instead of eating school lunch, I ate lunch with Grams and later started bringing my friends (who also called her "Grams"). We read books together, our favorites were by Corrie Ten Boom. We cooked together, and watched tv together, she took us to the Dr and took care of us while Mom worked. Agnes Dillon left a beautiful legacy of love.
Today's lesson creates a beautiful background of love and illuminates the importance of our heart. As we know, Samuel was told by God to visit Jesse of Bethlehem (what a coincidence, huh :) Boaz and Elimech were from Bethlehem) because he was to anoint the new king. Samuel knew the king was to be from Jesse's family (Boaz and Ruth's family...isn't that kewl!) God said He would tell Samuel which one it would be after he got there. When Samuel saw Eliab, tall in stature and handsome in appearance, he just knew that's who God had chosen. What a surprise when God told him, "no." God "sees as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearence but the Lord looks at the heart" 1 Samuel 16:7
You know, the opposite can happen. I mean, it could go the other direction give off an appearance of someone who is careless, lazy or gruff, even mean. Have you ever unjustly judged someone? Has someone unjustly judged you? If we are being honest with ourselves, I believe we can answer "Yes" to both of those questions.
The important question might be; What does God see in Me? Am I an unrighetous judge, do I give off aires of someone that is unjust, unloving, cruel, a gossip,etc. Some thoughts to ponder.....
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Ruth 4:16-17 Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him. The women living there said, "Naomi has a son." And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Wow! Who knew? Naomi's grandson was named "Obed". A name that is similar to Obadiah, meaning servant of Yahweh. Yet, Obed simply means "to serve" or "one who serves." I am certain he served in many ways. . .
Ruth 4:15 May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him."
Again, ... blessings spoken from "the women". I like how Kelly put this term, "the women" into perspective. They are the women we all know and love as the church moms, the ones who helped us celebrate birthdays, baptisms, graduations, and came out of the pews to hug us every time they could. They spoke blessings on Naomi...again a lesson on blessings. Sooooo much we can learn in this small book, isn't there?
Ruth 4:14 Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed is he Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel."
Indeed we read on that he did become famous...Obed was the father of Jesse, the father of King David! Oh wow, and we know (as Paul Harvey would say) "the rest of the story." Yes, this is the same line of Mary who became the mother of Jesus. What a blood line indeed! What a legacy!!!
Tell me, what was your aaahhhaaa moment today?
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
This summer, I attended the most exciting wedding. My niece, Erika and her high school sweetheart, Tyler, are beginning the adventure of their lifetime. (By the way, this is one of their wedding pictures...aren't they beautiful?!) Erika is a wonderful christian woman and devoting her life to a ministry she can only dream about at this point. Tyler has been accepted to John Hopkins University, he wants to practice world medicine...going into third world countries to bring about healing in a crazy lost world. The happy couple began this adventure with a lovely outdoor wedding which made friends and family feel like an important part of this momentous occasion.
Yet, in the background, was a beautiful mom who was determined her daughter would have the best chance at everything life had to give. It began in church...with a devoted relationship to her Lord and Savior. Her mother, (my sister) could have been a bit like Naomi...bitter. You see, Joyce was a single mom for years. She raised her children from babies to teenagers, giving them what she had and even what she wished she had. Joyce was mom and dad, provider and nurturer to two active and beautiful children. Her son, Zack, raced dirt bikes while Erika played softball. Each weekend, Joyce was attending one event or the other while giving no thought to herself. Her children were always dressed nicely and provided for very well, while mom was content just to see her children succeed. There was no time for dating, no time for primping, even very little time for friends.
This all changed one day in a most unexpected way. Zack was having problems at school when Joyce met a teacher who wanted to help Zack and his family. Once he met Zack's mom...well it wasn't long before he was a full fledge member of the family. God was sooooo good, He sent someone who actually understood the values Joyce placed on her family. Then,again, the unexpected happened. John (her husband) underwent surgery on his colon and things didn't go well. He suffered a stroke and other life altering changes occurred in his body. Yes, Joyce could have been bitter...yet she clung to the One Provider who brought her through it all.
As our study begins to close, we read in Ruth 4:14-15 about Naomi. The story didn't end with Ruth and Boaz; it concludes with the riches God bestowed on Naomi. As Joyce sits in a hospital room with John this morning, I can't help but believe God is sooooo good. With each bump in the road that occurs, He reminds us that He is always there.
Who do you know that reminds you of Naomi? I'd love to hear about it!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
There's a whole lot of information in this verse. It would be easy to over look the embedded truths hidden here...yet it was brought to light in our study today. Ruth was married to Naomi's son, Mahlon, for around 10 years and did not bear a child with him. She was widowed, left all she knew, submitted herself to being a foreigner in a distant land while committing herself to taking care of Naomi while taking refuge under the wings of God. Ruth became a gleaner, a maid and now she is a wife again. Yet this time, the LORD opened her womb and gave her the gift of a son. Isn't our God good?!
The gift of a son was also a good social standing. Although we realize that social standing is not something to desire, yet we need to know that our God understands. What else isn't written here, but yet we know (I'm probably jumping way ahead in our study) is the fact that Jesus was born in this blood line! What an incredible way to answer prayer. Ruth was so richly blessed. We saw her blessed abundantly with grain from Boaz, a home with Naomi, and eventually redemption by her kinsman-redeemer. I am so excited for her; aren't you!?
Then the questions arises, "How does this pertain to me?". I find that even when it seems God isn't doing anything...He really is doing a LOT! God doesn't have the same thought process as I do (I am so glad), my mind can't even comprehend His thinking or His ways. Yet, His way is soooo much better. I need to trust Him more!
What about you? What did today's lesson say to you?
Ruth 4:11-12 Then the elders and all those at the gate said, "We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah."
This lesson brought back beautiful memories of a chaplain's wife I met on an Army Post in Hanau, Germany. Her name is Cindy; yet, it's been so long ago that I can no longer remember her last name. Yet, Cindy, amongst homeschooling her beautiful children, supporting her husband, and participating in chapel events...blessed me greatly as a neighbor. During one of our conversations, Cindy told me her ideas of blessing others. She told me we needed to speak blessings on others rather than curse them with gossip. She looked me in the eye (which spoke straight to my soul) and said, "You know we can speak blessings on others, it's isn't just something we do alone during prayer." I remember nodding my head and saying ,"yes" while inwardly thinking..."yea, right". Since then, I didn't give it much thought.
Yet, this lesson brings back that conversation to my mind like it was yesterday; rather than 20 years ago. While looking for a picture to post with this blog, I ran across pictures of Issac blessing Jacob and pictures of Jacob blessing the sons of Joseph. What an added picture to the blessings spoken to Boaz upon the announcement of his upcoming marriage and new responsibilities. After all, it wasn't an easy step for Boaz, it required self-sacrifice on his part. Often times, if we have to give up something we won't take on a new challenge.
Yet, back to our thoughts on Boaz and Ruth...the elders spoke blessings on them. How many times have I spoke blessings on others? I pray for them...I have given food, clothing, etc. yet I feel like the Holy Spirit is asking for more...blessings.
What did today's lesson speak to you?
Saturday, July 24, 2010
As a teacher at a new school, one of my biggest concerns is getting to know everyone. Generally, when building relationships, one gathers information about a person, their likes, dislikes, values, dreams, and past history. This information helps us to remember them by name. A name is really important to all of us. When someone meets me for a brief time and remembers my name, I am amazed!
During times of the Old Testament, a name (especially a good name) helped to trace family history and preserve a family name (reputation). In Ruth's case, her kinsman-redeemer would be responsible to help carry on the name of her deceased husband by granting their first son the name of her dead husband. This son would inherit the land and all that belonged Ruth's deceased husband. Preserving Elimelech, Chilion, and Mahlon's heritage was a big responsibility for someone to take.
One of the points to ponder from our lesson today illuminated that fact "we all have a name, history, and a wake of good and bad." Boaz knew Ruth's history...the biggest undesirable mark on her was the heritage as a Moabitess. Yet, he vowed to redeem her. Isn't it amazing, when looking at this story in light of what Jesus did for us? He knows me better than I actually know myself (I have no idea how many hairs are on my head!) He knows things about me that I wouldn't want anyone to know...yet He still died for me. He call me by name!!!!!! Out of all the people on this earth, He knows me by name! That's HUGE!!!!! He chose me, as an individual, and by my name! Isn't that just awesome!!!
In this part of our story on Ruth, we find the need for a kinsman-redeemer. To meet the qualifications, one must be 1) near of kin, a close relative 2) able to redeem and 3) willing to redeem Both these men meet the requirements, yet one happens to be a closer kin than the other. Yet, the one with the most qualifications is not willing to redeem the Moabitess. That qualification so easily become a hindrance to God's blessings. When faced with a cross - road, wouldn't it be a tragic mistake to find you had all the right resources but chose NOT to walk in obedience to The Master's plan?
Obviously, in Ruth's case, it was God's plan for Boaz to marry Ruth. Yet, I wonder if this near kinsman even considered the blessings rather than just considering the cost. The real question might be, "Am I willing to be willing?"
What nuggets of truth did this lesson reveal to you? What was your title for today?
Ruth 4:1-6 Amplified Version
THEN BOAZ went up to the city's gate and sat down there, and behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz had spoken came by. He said to him, Ho! Turn aside and sit down here. So he turned aside and sat down. And Boaz took ten men of the elders of the city and said, Sit down here. And they sat down.
And he said to the kinsman, Naomi, who has returned from the country of Moab, has sold the parcel of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. And I thought to let you hear of it, saying, Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then say so, that I may know; for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I am [next of kin] after you. And he said, I will redeem it.
Then Boaz said, The day you buy the field of Naomi, you must buy also Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the dead man, to restore the name of the dead to his inheritance.
And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest [by marrying a Moabitess] I endanger my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.
As Boaz waits and hopes to marry Ruth, he must first acquire the right to do so. He is second in line. The man who has the right is interested in the land but does not want to risk his inheritance by taking in the Moabitess. I suppose there is always a risk to obedience...yet, I don't think this man even considered asking God for His opinion.
Each morning, I wake up early and create a mental list on what I hope to accomplish that day. Yet, today's study caused me to realize that I am not much different than the "other man" . I don't ask God (my greatest resource) on what I should accomplish that day. He knows what is best for me and my family, He knows what I can successfully accomplish...yet I am still choosing my own path for the daily grind.
When it comes to big decisions, health, etc. it's easy to go to The Master. There are times He calls us to the unusual and it really takes a leap of faith. That's where we meet the crossroads, again. Will you take that leap of faith and risk losing something?
What did today's lesson say to you?
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Based on Week (or Session) Three:
1. Turn to p.68 and review the first segment “For Discussion”: Describe a time when you were overcome by a man’s kindness. In keeping with the example of Ruth and Boaz, try to think in terms of an unexpected kindness.
2. Read Ruth 2:19-20 and review the climactic revelation in this Book of the Bible. After you read those two Scriptures, turn to p.85 and review the first couple of sentences of the paragraph in the middle of the page as follows: “It’s interesting that up to this point Naomi knew she had a kinsman-redeemer named Boaz but had no idea Ruth knew him; Ruth knew Boaz but didn’t know he was a kinsman redeemer. Suddenly these two pieces of information collided to potentially change the course of history.” Our divinely ordained collisions may not change the course of human history but they certainly change the course of our own personal history. Can any of you think of a time when God orchestrated an encounter or experience where you (or perhaps both/all parties involved) could say, “Only God could have known”? If so, share it. These would be really cool to hear in your blog comments so consider sharing one of the most meaningful examples.
Based on Week (or Session) Four:
3. Turn to p.95 and, if willing, share your answers to the “Personal Response” section at the very bottom of the page: “Describe a time when you’d done everything you could do and then had to wait for someone else’s response.”
4. Turn to p.108 and review the answer to the question in the middle of the page: “What did Boaz promise to do if the nearer relative chose not to redeem Ruth?” Then, share your responses to the discussion portion just below it where we were challenged to put ourselves in Ruth’s place. What kinds of feelings and thought processes would you have had in her exact situation?
Don’t conclude this portion of the Bible study without one of you reading the final paragraph on p.108 aloud to the rest of the group. (“If Ruth slept at all that night…) Those of you going solo can simply read it again and let it go even deeper.
5. Ask if one person wants to share a brand new insight she’s gained from this study regarding Christ as her Redeemer. (For those of you going solo, consider that I’m asking each of you the question.)
For our next gathering in two weeks, do Weeks (or Sessions) Five and Six. In other words, let’s finish up! And while we’re at it, Sisters, LET’S FINISH STRONG! You will feel such joy in your soul if you’ll see this to the last page. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if just as many women signed in at the end as in the beginning? Let’s make our goal 100%, Sisters!
For those of you joining in on the meals, consider the recipes on pages 88-89. The Grilled Chicken Salad with Strawberries sounds perfect for summer. Lord, have mercy on us, so does the pie!
(This has been copy/pasted from the Siesta Summer Bible Study Blog)
Monday, July 19, 2010
Yet, knowing this; are you actually willing to spend time at His feet? You may be saying "yes" but when it comes to actually doing it, your actions say "no". Each day, as we rise to work, raise a family, or take care of family and/or community members, where does our supply of love, patience, wisdom, and revelation come from? There is an endless supply when we fuel up at His feet! This means meditating on the written Word, spending time in focused prayer, as well as listening and waiting on Him ... learning His voice.For the past year and a half, I have got up earlier than the rest of my family, to spend time in scripture and pray. I have to admit, prayer time is harder...and I wish I knew why. Sometimes it helps to write out prayer in a journal.
What does your time with The Redeemer look like? I would love to read about it; I'm sure others would learn from you as well.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Ruth 3:11 My daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.
What a woman! Yet, she was still soooooo much like you and me. Don't you feel it? Even though she was afraid, she still moved, not paralyzed by her fear. I believe we've all found ourselves in a situation that's scary...not knowing what the future holds. When we look up to Our Redeemer...I know He is the one who molds us, builds our confidence, and makes us a "woman of noble character".
(Remember to pause the player at the bottom of the page before starting the video.)
I'd love for you to share... What did Our Redeemer speak to your heart today?
Thursday, July 15, 2010
If laying out your love and feelings to someone seems vulnerable to you...how vulnerable can it be to lay it all out to our God?
When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man, and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet.
Ruth consistenly shows us her determination. She left all she knew to be with Naomi, she again...took a great risk to lay out her feelings to Boaz. All her apprehensive fears and anxieties from loss of a husband, homeland, etc. were laid down at his feet. A place of surrender....
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Matthew 11:28-30 28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
What keeps you from total surrender?