Friday, October 21, 2011

Beyond - Five Minute Friday


Beautiful pots of mums.  Seasonal decorations.  Candles lit.  Wreath on the door.  Every detail imagined prepared.  Every speck of dust removed.  Carpet vacuumed.

Photo Credit:
The girls arrived for food, conversation, and a game.  They eat the scrumptious food prepared.  The house is perfectly decorated to every detail.  Every picture hung.  Every piece of furniture in its place.  The table cloths perfectly arranged.  Hor d'oeuvres ready.

The women clamor in ready to eat.  Ready to talk.  Ready to play. 

The conversation is of football, Halloween costumes, and things lingering on the surface.  There is no smell of anything cooking beyond what we see.

And yet I long to go beyond.  To see inside the hearts.  To see beyond the surface and into the depths of them.  Does this perfectly manicured life truly satisfy?

While everything is beautiful and nothing is wrong with any talk or detail, I wonder as I watch how Jesus is allowed to go beyond the pristine image, beyond what appears to be, into the fullness of broken hearts hidden.

I linger, watch, and wonder if I will ever know their beyond.  I hunger for more.

It all appears the abundant life, and yet it is unlike the abundance Jesus promises.  Is He allowed entrance into every heart chamber?  or is He, unlike me, allowed to see what is really within?


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vlog Day 20: Ruth 3:10-13

A woman of noble character
 A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still dark;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her servant girls.
She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31:10-31

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vlog Day 19: Ruth 3:7-9

ps.  yes, that is my son you occasionally hear in the background defeating sith lords.

Also check out this great song by Mandi Mapes called "Sweet sweet Grace."  It is an amazing song about covering.  {I couldn't find an embed code for it.}

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vlog Day 18: Ruth 3:5-6

 "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission." 1 Timothy 2:11

"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5

A day

I haven't done a real life post lately, so today I'm going to.  I haven't been to bible study in 3 weeks.  My little Doodlebug was sick today and last week I just needed a break.  The day started out well.  I am doing the South Beach Diet and lost 5 pounds in a week, so I was excited about that.  And then I emailed some ladies, and felt pretty good about that.  But that's about the highlights of the day.

And let's be clear, it's not as though the day has really been bad.  It's just been frustrating.  Nothing I've tried to do has worked out very well, from going to the pharmacy to talking on the phone or eating food.  I prayed before the day went in the opposite direction that God would touch and speak directly to me today.  I felt a quietness in my heart and soul, and I wanted to experience His quiet touch in response.  The day is not over, so I am hoping to feel His touch in some way before it is over.  I am a girl, so I'll let you figure out what this means in relevance to this post, but let's just say that the fact that I am a girl has not helped my day today.

The fact that I've been secluded here at home due to cold season doesn't help anything either.  And by secluded I just mean I've not been to bible study and been around other women - a thing that is most vital to my emotional well being and health.  These are the days made of weakness, when sin lurks just underneath the surface, a lack of patience is clear, and I am aware of my limitations and how closely I identify with the human race and not my Savior.  The bible says however that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and in my weakness He is made strong.  In truth a piece of me wants to run into a cave and hide and stay there for a few days, maybe longer, but He tells me to let my light shine.  {Little light comes out of a cave, by the way.}

So instead I write because maybe in my writing He strengthens me and it lights the way for someone else feeling frustration.

An excerpt of one moment of the day:
I wait in carpool line to drop my son off at preschool.  I turn around to unbuckle him, and when I look around I scream an unexpected scared scream because the car in front of me is backing into me, or so I think.  I see the women in the car in front of me react immediately to my scream.  I watch as the car in front drives forward, then a woman gets out and inspects her tail end.  She looked older and already tired from the day.  I roll my window down a little feeling on edge and wait for the woman to speak to me.  The woman inspects the rear of her car and looks at the front of my car.

The woman speaks, "I don't see any damage.  Did we hit?"

I say, "I don't think so, though I screamed because you were backing into me."

"No, I didn't back up.  This is a rental car.  It's a Toyota Prius.  I wasn't backing up.  I mean it's a piece, but I wasn't backing up."  the woman says.

I look at the red, pristine, car in front of her and wonder why it's being a rental car has anything to do with anything, and then I look back to the woman again.

"I mean I was not backing up." she says again.

I look at her, "Well, I didn't feel a bump so I guess we are good," but I began thinking to myself, "Either I was moving or you were backing up and I wasn't moving, was I?"

The woman gets back into her red Prius and moves forward. I move along carpool line as is normal never knowing exactly what just happened.

And I've had a series of these type of interactions today, not really knowing if they are interruptions or divine appointments.  I wait for the Lord to redeem the day knowing that He can and will.

Just as I was about to hit publish, an unexpected word of encouragement.  How like the Lord!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 16: Ruth 2:14-23

***Today I will finish Ruth 2 and tomorrow I hope to be back to vlogging."

See Ruth 2:14-23.

Now we see Boaz also offering her bread dipped in wine vinegar and a seat with the harvesters.  She ate until she was full and had some leftover, just like I talked about yesterday.  She can now feed someone else if she chooses with the overage. When He fills us to overflowing, we can feed others with His provision.

Boaz instructs his men not to embarrass her if she picks up in areas where she was really not allowed.  But instead he tells them to pull some of their own stalks out and drop them so that she can glean them.  She continues gleaning until she has 22 liters worth of barley.  Can you imagine?  Sounds like a lot to lug around to me.  She goes back to town at the end of the day to Naomi.  She does choose to feed Naomi with her leftover bread.  Naomi wants to know where Ruth worked and blesses the man who took care of her.  Ruth tells her that she worked for Boaz.  And now, for the first time, Ruth finds out who Boaz is to her and to Naomi.  He is their close relative and kinsman redeemer.  As Ruth talks, Naomi reinforces what Boaz has said to Ruth about working with his girls and says that in another field she would be harmed.  And Ruth continues working there until the end of the harvest season.

This is a really big deal for Naomi to find out that Ruth is working for Boaz - her kinsman redeemer.  Perhaps in her heart she is swirling with the possibilities of what might happen with this situation.  Remember Naomi doubted God's goodness to her, but here is more hopefulness, and she acknowledges God's goodness.  In verse 20 she says, "He has not stopped showing his hesed to the living and the dead."  She planted seeds of doubt in Chapter 1, but God is going to be faithful to plant hope and faith to reap a harvest of blessing.  You see His covenant with His people depends on no one but Himself.

The kinsman-redeemer was to buy back a relative from bondage, to avenge a kinsman's murder, to redeem and object such as land through payment, act as a redeemer for a deceased kinsman as in marry his widow.  This is huge!  I want to shout Hallelujah for Ruth and Naomi, don't you?  But wait, it's gonna get even better!

You may be in a situation of doubt and hopelessness, but if you are His child, God is working it out for your good.  You may be in a situation of desperation, where you have nothing, but He is working it out to provide for you!  He is faithful to His children.  And He is faithful to those who put their trust in Him.  Allow Him to show you to measure of His goodness and send His reviving to you. 

Listen to this song, "Give Reviving" by Chelsey Scott.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 15: Ruth 2:8-13

***Please accept my apologies for the break during a blog series.  Oops.  Today I aim to get back on track and keep blogging through the end of the month.***

So we are in Ruth 2:8-13.

This is the first time that Ruth and Boaz meet.  He tells her to continue gleaning in his field - that it is a safe place to work for her.  Being a foreigner made it dangerous for her to work in the fields because men of ill repute were likely to take advantage of her.  Her position was lower than a servant girl.  But he was making her at least equal to a servant girl, allowing her to glean with the freedom from harm and allowing her to drink from the water jars when thirsty.  He was providing for her needs both of hunger and thirst. 

The Lord  wants us to come to Him hungry and thirsty for Him, and He fills us up to overflowing with more of Him.  If there is only one thing I am known for at the end of my days, I want it to be that I was hungry and thirsty for God and He filled me to overflowing so that others became thirsty for Him too.  I'm not sure I am there yet.  But He is a great provider to the hungry and weak just as Boaz was for Ruth. Psalm 107:9 says, "for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."  But looking to Matthew we see that after Jesus came not only are we to hunger and thirst Him we are to provide for the hungry and thirsty just as Boaz did: "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in" Matthew 25:35.

But also, we see in a Ruth a humility like that of Jesus.  She was lower than a servant girl, but still seeking to do her part.  Hebrews 2:9 says, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death."  She didn't let her position stop her from working and in doing so she was blessed.

We see Ruth asking "why me?" to Boaz, and he explains that she is known for her love of her mother in law in leaving her family in Moab and coming to live in Judah.  Doing this must have been at least as rare then as it is now.  He blesses her and says, "May the LORD repay you for what you have done.  May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."

It is a repeat of the promise that God would cover her as He covers His own people.  Psalm 91:4 says, "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

She thanks him and says he has spoken kindly to her.  The word here for kindly is labe meaning heart.  It means he spoke with great passion and favor toward her.  He was obviously genuine and compassionate toward her, and she acknowledges it.  It also implies courage - perhaps it was courageous of Boaz to act in such a way toward her.  But nonetheless, she is on his heart.

Oh, sweet friends, you too are on His Heart!  He loves you with an everlasting eternal kind of love.  Never ending, never failing!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 10: Ruth 2:1-3

I've been thinking about Ruth and Orpah a lot.  God has stirred in me some thoughts about a controversial topic of which I'd rather not think about or write about, and truly I'm not ready to write about it.  But as He continues to stir these thoughts, I began to think about Ruth more, and her decision to leave Moab.  She had to accept that His ways were higher and better than the ways of life in Moab, even if His ways did not seem to jive with what she felt was true.  I wondered what drew her into this truth.  In what ways did she sense His goodness and love for her?  You see Orpah thought life was good enough in Moab so she didn't leave and presumably she missed a blessing.  We don't know what ultimately happened to her or if she remarried, but she missed an opportunity for a greater relationship with Yahweh.  What was different about Ruth?  Or was it simply her accepting an invitation?  a softness of heart?  A hunger for something different?

That aside, today we are looking at Ruth 2:1-3, which says,

"Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz.  And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor."  Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.”  So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech."

Here we see more evidence of God's behind the scenes work.  What are the odds that Ruth would find herself gleaning in a field owned by a relative of Elimelech and therefore, Naomi?  Was it mere chance that she picked that particular field?  Or was her footsteps directed in some way by a loving God?

"In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:6
"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."  Psalm 16:11

I read over at Gypsy Mama today that success is found in obedience.  {You will be blessed if you go read this post.

I wonder how God is directing your path today?  Be still and surrender to Him.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vlog Day 9: Ruth 1:19-22

This song by Sandra McCracken, "O Heart Bereaved and Lonely," reminded me of Naomi.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vlog Day 8: Ruth 1:16-18

The voice and the video do not match up and so you may want to just listen rather than watch.  I know why this happened this time, but I wasn't sure I would capture what I wanted to say in another video, so left it as is.

Meditate on the precious promise of God's presence and love in this song:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 6: Ruth 1:8-10

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother's home.  May the LORD show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me.  May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband."  Then she kissed them and they wept aloud and said to her, "We will go back with you to your people."  Ruth 1:8-10

{Today I'm writing instead of vlogging.}

Naomi has packed up and prepared along with her daughters in law to go back to Judah.  Then as they are leaving, she tells them to go back to their mothers, which is slightly unusual.  Then she says something infinitely more interesting and intriguing to the story.  She says "May God show hesed to you, as you have shown hesed to your dead (my sons) and to me."  She kissed them.  All three wept.  And then both girls exclaimed that they would continue on with her.  She is telling them in essence, "Stay here to find another husband."

Why would either girl go with Naomi?  As Moabites, wouldn't it be hard to find another husband in Judah?  What did they have to gain?  Did they both agree to go purely out of a love and loyalty to Ruth? 

This is where we see whether any of them loved one another with an everlasting love - a love as powerful as God's.

So let's look at hesedHesed is a Hebrew word usually translated, "kindness," "love," "loving-kindness," "mercy," and at least one scholar suggests it should be translated, "loyalty."  When used of God, hesed refers to God's unconditional covenant He made with His people, that no matter what they do He would keep going with them and never turn away from them.  In fact, He promised this knowing that they would indeed be unfaithful to Him.  In regards to man or in this case woman, it means kindness to your fellow woman in doing favors, mercy, may mean lovely appearance, and in rare circumstances means love of Israel to God.

Truly all three woman are showing hesed as defined by woman to woman.  They have loved one another. All three of them are heart-broken widows.  Who will take care of them now?  Where will their hope come from?  Who will mend the brokenness? and restore new life?

Naomi recognizes that because these woman have married Israelite men, they are now under God's covenant.  But in asking the girls to go home, Naomi is not practicing hesed as in eternal bound for life with you loving kindness.  She does hope that God will display this to them. She is thinking in a worldly sense that their only chance of remarrying is in staying in Moab. She loves them dearly, do not get me wrong, but at the same time, perhaps there is a sense in which she no longer wants to care for them.

Have you experienced God's hesed in your own life?  You know the kind of love that sticks with you even if you commit adultery again and again.  God's love for us is like that.  And now, it is offered to everyone, even you!! 

Have you ever given Godly hesed to someone else?  This is a convicting question, and at the end of the month, what I hope to find is that I've learned how to love infinitely more than I do now.

Perhaps we will find as we dig into Ruth, "comfort for those who mourn, and provision for those who grieve, that He will to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair" (Isaiah 61:2-3).   My heart keeps going back to Psalm 126

"He who goes out weeping,
   carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
   carrying sheaves with him."
Psalm 126:6

May we find God's love in unexpected places today!  A harvest of hope is coming!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Press On

Because I have not been posting regularly prior to this 31 day challenge, there is a good chance that not many are reading my blog or pressing the play button on my vlogs. But that is okay. I speak, I write, for the One who calls me and urges me to write and speak words that would please Him.  I fret, I worry, I wonder, I hope that what God says to me in the depths of my heart is true.  He has spoken before, and still I wait to see if what I believe He has said will come to pass.  So instead of acting on the fret and worry, I dismiss it.  I act on hope and continue to write and to speak.

There are over 700 blogs participating in the 31 day challenge.  A few of the blogs that I am reading are:
I list these because Emily has a way of inspiring you to keep on keeping on doing the thing God is calling you to do, and that's how we change the world.  Earlier this week I read on her blog a quote from Mary DeMuth's new book, "11 Secrets of Getting Published," which says this:

"Did you know that George Clooney appeared in The Golden Girls’ episode, “To Catch a Neighbor” in 1987? He was one of the two police officers who stayed in the women’s home as protection. And now what’s he up to? Anything he wants. But George had to work. He had to pretend he was a young police man on The Golden Girls. He paid his dues."

The idea of pressing on toward the goal I believe God has me on helps me persevere.  I'm not saying that I will be George Clooney one day, but that God will achieve his purposes in me as I do what often feels a lofty goal, being transformed from novice to learned.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 3:12-14

So I write, I vlog, as one working for a goal, but I also blog as a way to rest.  Stop by the blogs listed above; you will be blessed. 

Vlog Day 5: Ruth 1:3-7

An interesting fact about the book of Ruth: it is read in its entirety during the Feast of Pentecost or Shavuot.  This celebration traditionally occurred 50 days after Passover, and it is reminder to thank God for His harvest blessing.

Just to be clear about Moab, a quote from the Kelly Minter Ruth study:
"Understanding the history of Moab and their relationship with Israel changes the tone of Elimelech and Naomi's journey.  It's not like they were Americans heading to Canada.  This was an enemy of Israel, a nation the Lord had historically commanded His children not be be in relationship with."  (Week 1, Day 1, pg 12)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Vlog Day 3: Ruth 1:1-2

Today we are looking at Ruth 1:1-2.

Additional reading:
Some helpful background information that I did not cover in my video:
  • Bethlehem means "house of Bread."
  • The time of the judges followed after Joshua's death.  Joshua was Moses's successor as the leader of the Israelites.  He led them into the promised land of Canaan.
  • Prior to this the Israelites had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, and had seen many miracles:
    • Parting of Red Sea
    • Provision of manna
    • Providing water when there was none
    • Making water sweet when it was bitter
    • Allowing their clothes not to wear out
    • Crossing of the Jordan River
    • God's presence at Mt. Sinai
    • The Commandments
  • Under the period of the Judges they did not achieve success against their enemies when they turned away from God. 
Here is a map that shows where Moab is located in relation to Bethlehem.

Things to think about:
  • Have you ever turned away from God?  What were the consequences?  
  • What specific things did God tell you to do that you did not do?
  • Do you believe that God has specific plans for you?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vlog Day 2: Intro to Ruth

You may have been able to guess that I am just now learning how to make graphics for my blog.  So just smile and play along with me.  :)


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