KEEPING YOUR EYE ON THE GOAL…


Philippians 3:12-16 – “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.” NASB

 
There are two ways that one can go through life.  You can go through life looking forward, fixed on the prize, goal, or destination or you can constantly be looking back playing the “what if” game and wondering second-guessing, and questioning.  One way leads to an assured victory the other way has a great propensity for failure. 
 
Recently I sat with some old friends from my early days, and they began reminiscing about some of the antics that we pulled during our youth and for a brief moment, we all began to live those times again.  The laughter was there, the memories vivid, and even some of the feelings of those things came back when suddenly the Holy Spirit stopped me and reminded me of a passage that caused me to change the topic. 
 
He said, Luke 9:62 – “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” NASB Then He also spoke to my spirit, 2 Peter 2:22 – “…A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” NASB He asked me, “Do you want to reminisce on sinful things and possibly create a longing to go back, or do you want to keep your eye on the ultimate prize in Me?”
 
The answer was obvious!  The things we were reminiscing about involved drinking and mischief.  They were times of our youth when we were young, wild, and free (so to speak).  We were invincible and 10 feet tall and bulletproof!  We danced to our own drummer and resisted and rebelled against the status quo and were constantly stepping outside the acceptable into those things that would cause raised eyebrows among the older generation. 
 
Most just called that period “sowing wild oats” but it was not a spiritually positive time of my life and not something that I wanted to get back into my mind or spirit.  So as gently and inoffensive as I could I moved the subject to some of the times when we were more in step with what was considered normal and acceptable and began to tell how my life changed after Vietnam and I came to know the Lord. 
 
The reminiscing about times when we were heading down paths that were not spiritually productive became a time of deep introspection and reflection on how our lives had changed and mostly for the better over the years as we had grown and matured.  Each of us confessed that we would be very disturbed had our children done the same things we did.
 
It is important to keep your eye on the goal.  If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?  If you don’t know your objective how will you know when you have achieved it?  If you don’t know what is required how will you know what to do to be prepared? 
 
Focus, in everything, is important but in spiritual things it is critical.  We Must keep our “Eyes on Jesus” lest we turn aside and become sidetracked and lose our way.  He will walk beside us, provide the Holy Spirit to be our very efficient and capable guide through this maze called life and lead us to that Higher Calling and enable us to Attain the Prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus!  So my dear friend, don’t let the little issues sidetrack you.
 
May God bless you as you go through your day in Him!  Blessings!

THE LORD IS…


Psalms 23:1-6 – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” NKJV

Some time back I was troubled in my spirit most of the night, some of it was from physical pain but most of it was in my spirit, and could not sleep.  I arose and spent some time in prayer and meditating before beginning my day.  As I mused on the Lord, He began to speak to me about Psalm 23 and this is what I heard in my spirit:

  1. THE LORD IS…   Not has “is”.  Not does “is’.  Not might be “is”.  The Lord IS “my” shepherd.  He is the one watching over my soul and caring for me.  No other person, power, or entity – THE LORD!  I’ve heard people say for all my life, “Well you’ve got to look out for old number one, meaning themselves.”  My take, since becoming a Christian is that “old number one” is THE LORD and He is to be sought above and before everything else including self, family, church, job, relationship, etc.  HE IS!
  • BECAUSE HE IS…  I shall not be in Lack!  He is my provider and as David declared in Psalms 37:25-26 – “I have been young, and now am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. 26 He is ever merciful and lends, and his descendants are blessed.” NKJV

Paul echoed that sentiment in Philippians 4:19-20 – “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” NKJV Jesus confirmed this in Matthew 7:7-9 – “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” NKJV Therefore, if He Is then among the things He Is, is “my supply.”

  • THE PROCESS OF HIS CARE AND KEEPING…
  • Causes me to rest in Green (plenteous) Pastures.
  • Directs me to Still (refreshing) waters for nourishment to quench my thirst, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
  • Guides me in Righteous Paths.
  • Guards Me against all enemies (Foreign and Domestic or External and Internal).
  • Even in the Face of Death, He gives a Calm Assurance.
  • He provides not only Grace but the Anointing to accomplish His purposes.
  • I walk the Abundant Life filled with His Goodness & His Mercy.
  • I spend my entire days with my Permanent Residence in His Presence.

That is the picture of what it is like to serve The God Who Is!  It is the picture of the Normal Christian Life!  Most think it is the abnormal and unusual Christian Life that I have described but according to the Bible, it is the Norman Christian Life serving The God Who Is!  Therefore, I urge you to allow the Holy Spirit to immerse you into that life today and learn to live in His Abundant Life and Presence daily.

Blessings as you enter your day on the rest of your journey! 

THE OLD RUGGED CROSS MADE THE DIFFERENCE…


Galatians 2:20-21 – “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” NASB
 
I can go through my memory banks and recall a number of things that dramatically impacted my life, my thinking, my attitude, and my way of living but I can think of none that have impacted me more than THE CROSS! 
 
The Cross is more than a symbol to me it is the beginning point of my “spiritual walk” with Christ.  It is the beginning point of life for me.  When Jesus hung on the cross and cried “It is finished” in John 19:30 that signified that He had done all that was, required to satisfy Divine Justice and had reclaimed the birthright of humanity from the devil. 
 
He had paid the Full Penalty for Sin and now through His shed blood on the Cross would open the door for “whosoever will” to come from darkness into the light, from sin to salvation, from bondage to freedom.  He paid a debt He did not owe so that I could go free, pardoned of my sin!  The Cross is a treasure!  Paul identified its value in 1 Corinthians 1:18 when he declared: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  NKJV
 
The writer of Hebrews tells us:  Hebrews 9:22 – “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” NKJV. At the Cross, the debt was paid in full by the precious blood of the Lamb of God.  At the altar, we gain access to the pardon that was purchased there.  As we allow Christ to live in our hearts and live His life through us, we walk in liberty and freedom that the world cannot comprehend nor imagine.  No wonder Hebrews declares: “A how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”  Hebrews 2:3 NASB
 
It is the cry of my heart to walk in the fullness of Him who loved me and learn to live as Paul described:  Philippians 3:10-11 – “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 so that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” NASB Nothing less will suffice.  Nothing less will satisfy.  Nothing less will enable us to see this world transformed by His Grace!  Truly, the Old Rugged Cross made a difference in my life and for it, I am eternally grateful.
 
May God bless you richly as you conclude your week and get ready to enjoy a long weekend!  Blessings abundantly, be safe!

WHAT IS PERFECT PEACE?


Isaiah 26:3-4 – “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. 4 ” Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” NASB

In considering this passage I find it interesting to look at the Hebrew “in perfect peace” [Shaalowm] = “peace, peace” i.e. – {peace upon peace -all kinds of prosperity-happiness in this world and the world to come.”  It depicts the ultimate of peace, calmness of the mind, body, soul, and spirit.  It is an absolute steadfast assurance.  It is a rock-solid ability to stand in the face of anything and everything. 

It is more than being steadfast it is being concreted in with a sure foundation.  It is something that will weather all the storms of life.  Perfect Peace!  How many have known this type of peace for more than brief moments in their lives?

Of course, there is a key to having this peace:

  1. You must have a Steadfast Mind.  Your mind cannot be fixed on the Lord, seeking Him first at one moment and in fret-land and worry city the next.  You must be consistent, constant, continual, committed, and consecrated.  You must become like Jesus when His face was set like a flint determined that He would move on to the next point of mission and ministry.  There must be a fixation of the heart and mind upon the Lord.  “Seek first the Kingdom…. Seek second the Kingdom… Seek third the Kingdom…. But seek the Kingdom of God.”
  2. You must Trust Him.  Not a mental assent and a verbal assertion that you trust Him but a demonstrated life that says, “God is my source, my strength, my sustenance, my life, my foundation, my core.”  Without Him, I can do nothing, but through Him, I can do all things.  If He says it, I believe it and it is forever settled in my heart, mind, spirit, and soul.  He does not, cannot, and will not lie, therefore Case Closed! 
  3. Remember that our God is an Everlasting Rock.  Nothing can move Him, overcome Him, defeat Him, change Him, or usurp His authority or power.  He Is GOD!  He is “I AM, THAT I AM!”

In considering this passage last night and this morning as I prayed my heart began to cry out and say, “Lord, I’ve known that place and I want to make my “permanent dwelling in that place in you.”  I don’t know what it will take but it is the passion of my heart.  I want to be a living epistle, known and read among men demonstrating you!  Therefore, I set my heart to attaining Perfect Peace all the time!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  May the Lord bless you as you see your week wind down and the weekend looming on the horizon!  May the richest and best of the blessings of the Lord overflow into your lives on this and every day!

THE IMPORTANCE OF GODLY PARENTS…


1 Samuel 1:24-28 – “Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the LORD. 27 For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 Therefore I also have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD.” So they worshiped the LORD there.”  NKJV

The words leap off the page at me when I read, “…as long as he lives, he shall be lent to the LORD.”  Imagine a mother whose heart was so heavy that she had no children and her fervent prayer resulted in a prophetic word and a miraculous work of God to provide her that child, a son, she had so desire.  Now, imagine that mother being willing to totally dedicate that son to God and giving him physically as well as spiritually to the LORD. 

I have had people tell me they thought less of Hannah because she gave up the child but remember her vow in v.11, “…O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”   Her vow was her covenant with God and the life that was produced in Samuel is nothing short of extraordinary.

She kept him in the early formative years of his life before taking him to Eli, the priest.  That calls to mind the words of Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Her vow indicated that Samuel would act and serve as a Levite but would be raised as a Nazarite or one who willing dedicates himself to God. This was signifying that he would be totally dedicated to God and I am convinced that is the message she conveyed to him in those formative years. 

She taught him God’s covenant and instilled in him the importance of keeping vows made to God and in pursuing God’s purposes in life. She taught him through her words and actions that God was supreme above all things.  Then when she takes him to Eli he has been saturated with the Word of God, Prayers, and the impact that his godly mother would have the rest of his days.

Of course, that is only one side of the equation for we dare not omit personal responsibility and personal commitment.  Samuel could have resisted and rebelled, but he didn’t.  He didn’t because the method and message of his mother resonated in his heart.  She had kindled in him a desire to serve God and while I’m sure that her leaving him with the priest was somewhat traumatic or would have been for most children.  I’m sure her heart was torn from her chest as she walked away.  I’m equally sure that God saw both their hearts and through His Spirit, Power, and Love provided a balm of peace in their hearts.  Samuel had to decide to fulfill the vow of his mother and he did.

Would Samuel have become the mighty prophet of God and man of the hour had she not made that vow and kept it?  Probably not.  Would Samuel have become a strong pillar in Israel had his mother not instilled in him from his birth the purpose of his life and the purpose of God?  Probably not. I cannot emphasize the value and importance of godly parents in raising children.  One of the most significant problems in our world today, especially in America, is the lack of two-parent homes and the lack of godly parenting.  Thank God for those who view their role and responsibility as parents as a ministry and mandate from God to fulfill the first part of Proverbs 22:6 so that the latter part can become a sure reality. 

If you have children, they are your responsibility, and you are accountable to God for the training and example they receive.  You are their role model, not Hollywood, Athletes, or Entertainers.  You Are!  Your value in the shaping of their lives is almost incalculable.

God bless you as you fulfill your purposes for this day in Jesus!

FAITH & OBEDIENCE – Our Part and God’s Part…


Numbers 23:19 – “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”  NKJV

I love the story of Balak and Balaam.  Balak was paying Balaam to curse Israel and each time Balaam would stand to do what he was being paid to do the Lord would put a blessing in his mouth.  This infuriated Balak and finally, Balaam uttered the words of our text. 

Remember when Saul, the King disobeyed the directive of Samuel the prophet in 1 Samuel.  I love Samuel’s way of approaching issues.  Saul had defeated the Amalekites and Agag their king and rather than being obedient he spared the king and took his livestock for spoil contrary to God’s directive through the prophet.  Samuel showed up and Saul gloated about his great victory and his obedience to God’s directive.  Samuel, looked around and asked, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”  Simply, “Saul if you had been truly obedient I wouldn’t be hearing this.” 

Saul protested that he did it to bring the livestock to sacrifice to the Lord and the prophet said, “Be quiet!”  He let Saul know that God was not the least bit interested in his justifications for disobedience and in 1 Samuel 15:22 he uttered words that should resonate with us daily, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” 

It reminds me of the story of the pastor struggling about what to do and one of his little ladies said, “Pastor if God tells me to jump through a hole in the wall it is my business to jump and His business to make the hole.”  William Burton McCafferty used to say, “God can pull us through anything if we can stand the pull.”  Obedience is our business making the way where there seems to be no way Gods.  

Paul’s message to the Philippian church is revealed in his declaration in 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” and in 4:19, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.”  It is our responsibility to OBEY!           We do not have to understand it all or even see clearly how it is all going to work out.  We are to OBEY!  That obedience is out of a heart of love and a confidence that God is God and will do what He does and NEVER FAILS!

Let me caution you.  I have tried to jump through some walls I wanted God to tell me to jump through and He had not.  The result was some severe headaches and pains from trying to run through a troop and leap over a wall He had not directed me to do.  However, there have been many times when I knew in my spirit that He had given me a directive and it seemed impossible.  In those times when I leaped, he made the hole, and victory was realized. 

Our problem, too often, is we are not listening to that still small voice of the Spirit of God and going on what we think ought to happen or what we’ve been told ought to happen.  We need to develop ‘spiritual hearing’ and become Obedient in all things and at all times.  It is daunting to see the wall, hear the directive to jump, and see no hole through which to go.  Yet, it is incredibly exhilarating to take a flying leap and suddenly there is a hole for you to go through, a supernatural move of God.

If we can trust Him for our salvation.  If we can believe He created the heavens and the earth.  If we can believe that Jesus died on the Cross for our sins.  If we can believe that He loves us with an everlasting love and it truly is His good pleasure to give us the kingdom.  Why, is it difficult to be obedient?  I need no credit for anything attributed to me as having accomplished in life for all that I am, all that I have, and all that I have done is the result of being Obedient and His moving on my behalf.

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

THE VALUE OF PERSONAL EXPERIENCE…


Judges 2:7 – “So the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD which He had done for Israel.”  NKJV

There was an old country preacher that I knew who often said regarding the presence of God, “It is better felt than telt…”  I love feeling the presence of God and basking in the sunlight of His presence, power, and love.  And, as I reflect on that preacher’s words, I find there is something in it worthy of consideration regarding experience.  I personally, do not want to ever reach the place that I base my relationship with God on an emotional experience, but I never want to discount or discontinue that either.  I long to make my permeant residence In His Presence both Here and in Eternity!

In this passage, there is a realization that is important in life.  I have heard about some of the great revivals of days gone by but did not experience them.  However, I have been in the presence of God and had some incredible experiences, and witnessed some powerful moves of God’s Spirit that lasted long in churches, communities, and people.  I treasure those. 

However, who among us is not cognizant of the fact that historical experiences we did not participate in do not captivate us as those we did?  This passage reveals that so long as Joshua the Moses mentored leader who lead the nation into the Promised Land and the elders who were also eyewitnesses lived GOD Reigned in the hearts of people.  When they died, there were no longer those who had experiential first-hand knowledge of God’s mighty deliverance and fulfilling His promise to bring them to the Land of Milk and Honey.  When experience died there was a gradual erosion of commitment and a turning away or growing cold in dedication.

Every revival of the church lasted until the generation that witnessed and experienced it died and then it began to wane.  The fervor and fire of that revival kept the Church on track pursuing the truth that revival revealed and/or restored but when there were none who had experienced it around those who had heard about it could not embrace it with the same devotion nor feel the same compulsion to comply with the directives of the Spirit of God. 

It had become, to them, theoretical rather than experiential.  Sadly, many identify themselves as Christians in much the same way, theoretical rather than experiential.  We talk about God being able to “do all things” but if we have not witnessed or experienced His miraculous it is, to us, theory and when the chips are down, we cannot stand on the promise with confidence.

I know some who grew up in Church and in homes where there was a fervent dedication to God, prayer was a staple, and the Bible was the guide.  They heard about it from their parents and grandparents but never truly experienced it for themselves and as those who had the experience received their eternal promotion the devotion and practices that kept the fire burning waned and diminished. 

That reminds me of the truth that “You cannot get to heaven on Mama or Papas faith or experience.”  Christianity is a personal experience and relationship, not something that is inherited like property.  Growing up going to church may help you establish some important moral principles and ethics but will not save your soul.  The fact that Mama or Papa had their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life does not automatically inscribe yours there.  It is an individual and personal experience.  “If we (each individual) confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” 

Experience or having a spiritual encounter with God personally is incredibly valuable in helping us to resist temptation and maintain our dedication as we “seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.”   If you do not personally know Jesus, I urge you to go into your prayer closet and call upon Him in repentance and receive His pardon and grace transforming you from darkness unto light.  Jesus has promised that if ANYONE will call upon Him, He will not reject us.  Today is the day of salvation and now is the accepted time.  Experience God for yourself and the Bible will no longer be a theory but reality.

God bless you as you open the door to today with all its problems, promises, and potential.  Have a Great Day!

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT TOMORROW BUT…


Proverbs 27:1 – “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”  NKJV

The gospel song “I don’t know about tomorrow, but I know who holds my hand” has been on my heart and mind for days.  Most of us make plans for the future and sometimes we talk about what we are going to do in the days ahead.  We should take to heart this passage and the wise words of wisdom offered in James 4:13-17 where the apostle instructs us not to boast about the future as though it were dependent upon us.  Our lives are like a vapor and as Job declared we are of few days and our days are filled with difficulty. 

Although we cannot know what tomorrow holds, we can know who holds tomorrow and that is the most important thing.  An important truth in this is doing daily what we know we should and doing it.  It is living life to the full in obedience to the directive of Scripture and the Spirit of God.  It is walking with a clear conscience.  It is savoring each moment of this fleeting thing called life.

I’ve had people say to me, “I wish I knew what tomorrow holds” and each time I’ve suggested that rather than focusing on ‘knowing the unknown’ it is more important to know the one who ‘controls the unknown’.  If I know God and trust Him, then tomorrow will take care of itself and I do not have to spend one second fretting over it.  God promises that He will NEVER leave us, nor will He forsake us and when I read such passages as Psalm 91, I face all my tomorrows and today with complete confidence that I am sheltered safely in the arms of God and that provides perfect peace.

I wake up each day with the declaration, ‘this is the day the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it” and then get out of bed and prepared to experience the day.  I do not endure life I live it.  I do not cope I enjoy life.  My shepherd leads me through all things and to all things and I have complete confidence in His ability to keep me and navigate the troubled waters of life. 

Therefore, as you go into this new day go with a renewed confidence that God is there with you every step of the way and no matter what comes HE IS THERE!   If He is there you have no reason to be anything but thankful, joyous, and anticipatory of the unfolding of this day!  

May God be with you as you go through your day!

THE RIGHT WORD AT THE RIGHT TIME FOR THE RIGHT REASON…


Proverbs 25:11 – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” NKJV

I will never forget when I first began to travel in itinerant ministry as an Evangelist, I went to get some business cards printed and wanted to use this passage on my card.  The man who took my order looked at it and said, “Why would you want to put ‘a word filthy spoken’ on your card?”  I DIDN’T!   I realized quickly how easy it would be for someone to misread the verse and choose another instead. 

However, the passage is a powerful message on speaking ‘right words’ at the ‘right time’ for the ‘right reason’ and for being a man/woman of your word.  My parents and grandparents instilled in me that if you gave your word you gave yourself and it was to be honored.  Both my father and maternal grandfather were men of such integrity that if they gave their word and shook hands it was more binding than any legal contract.  

It was their bond!  They considered someone who broke their word of the basest sort of person.  I recall once making a pledge for a small amount of money but being in school I had no means to accumulate the extra money short of a miracle from God.  I told my father about my pledge and he wrote me a check and told me that next time not to make a commitment I was not sure I could keep.  I tried to explain that I would get the money somehow, but he would have none of it because I had given my word and the due date on the pledge was at hand.  In his mind, if I did not meet the ‘faith promise’ I was breaking my word and that would tarnish both my name and reputation and he could not abide that.

I have found this passage relevant in situations where a ‘calming word’ at the right moment diffused a potentially volatile situation and brought peace.  I’ve seen it when a ‘wise word’ was offered that prevented a life from being shipwrecked by a terrible decision.  I’ve seen it when an ‘encouraging word’ was given and a heart was rescued out of despondency and depression.  A ‘right word’ at the ‘right time’ for the ‘right reason’ is truly like an apple of gold in a setting of silver.  It is not only beautiful but a treasure!

We each should carefully measure our words and allow the Holy Spirit to set a guard at our mouths so that when we speak, we speak light into darkness and life into death.  So, as you go through your day go with the knowledge and confidence that God will give you the right words to say at the right time no matter the situation.

Blessings be upon you abundantly today is my prayer!

RUTH’S COVENANT WITH NAOMI…


Ruth 1:16-17 – “16 But Ruth said:

“Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.  17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.”  NKJV

The incredible power of devotion and faithfulness is seen in the Book of Ruth in both Ruth and Boaz.  However, for it to have reached the place that Boaz could take Ruth as a wife, there had to be the commitment of Ruth in making Covenant with Naomi.  Ruth’s husband was dead and Naomi had no other sons and no prospect of having sons that could marry Ruth and raise up seed in the name of his brother.  Ruth was released by Naomi as was Orpah but Ruth refused to desert her mother-in-law and her covenant vows are seen in these verses.

Naomi was moved by Ruth’s commitment and selflessness but more importantly, God took note of her heart which produced her actions.  When they returned to Bethlehem they were destitute and among their relatives was a rich man named Boaz and Ruth requested Naomi’s permission to go to his field to glean so they could eat. 

There is no evidence that Ruth had a plan to get Boaz to marry her.  She was seeking to care for her mother-in-law.  It was the custom of the Jews to allow strangers to gather the corners of the fields and even glean the trampled down grain so when Ruth came to the field the workers honored the custom and allowed her to glean.  Boaz took note of her and upon inquiry realized who she was and was, no doubt, moved by her devotion to Naomi.  He invited her to continue day by day gleaning in his fields and instructed the workers to drop handfuls on purpose for her so that she would be sure to have a goodly amount to sell and for Naomi and her to eat.

When Ruth reported what had transpired to Naomi, her mother-in-law sensed the heart of God and knew the Law of the Kinsman-Redeemer so she encouraged Ruth to return with specific instructions.  Her willingness to comply and her demonstrated virtue moved the heart of Boaz as God worked His plan looking down the road to the Christ being born.  Boaz sought to protect her reputation and took action to approach the Near Kinsman to enact the Kinsman-Redeemer rights.  The Near Kinsman declined for personal reasons allowing Boaz to fulfill the role and duty required by the Law.

Ruth and Boaz had a son.  The child was named Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David from whose line Christ was born.  In the life of Ruth and Boaz, we get a picture of the Kinsman-Redeemer Jesus and in the Book of Revelation Five, we find one of the elders told John that there is one that has earned the right to open the scroll in heaven and that one is Jesus our Kinsman-Redeemer. He, Jesus, has redeemed us, is redeeming us, and will redeem us in the Last Days and seal forever our eternal place with Him in glory.

Two thoughts I want to leave you with.  One, the heart of a servant can clearly be seen in Ruth and the servant’s heart was rewarded by God.  Two, it was not enough just to serve but Ruth cut a covenant with Naomi, and God is a Covenant Making and Covenant Keeping God and honors His covenant forever.  Ruth, in my mind, gives us a picture of what we should be and can be in Christ!

God bless you as you embark on today’s leg of your life’s journey