God does not call us to go to places of comfort, He calls us to places we cannot endure without Him.
So many faithful men and women of the Bible give us encouragement in this truth.
Noah, Abraham, David, Jonathan, Esther, Jonah, Ruth & Paul to name just a few.
Even these “famous” followers had fear and doubt…yet, with the Lord’s help, they stepped into their purpose to do His great work.
I have found that it is often the short distances God asks us to travel that “trip” us up.
The distance between loving our neighbor as ourselves, or harder still…loving our enemy as ourselves.
As we finished this week’s study in “Believing Jesus” we took a closer look at those places we overlook. Those we knowingly and unknowingly discriminate against.
Loving and supporting our family members who “seem unlovable” (as Ruth), loving a Jew as Roman soldier, loving a Roman soldier as a Jew (Cornelius & Peter)…showing a child their worth among men (as Jesus did), caring for those who have opposing views (“good Samaritan), loving a sinner who others shunned (Jesus & the Samarian at the well).
These are the places we tend to pass by, ignoring the Holy Spirit’s prompting because it might be too uncomfortable.
Like Isaiah, I want to be willing enough to say, “Lord, send me” and then go…to whomever He calls me to love.
Without the Lord’s provision this is impossible for our human heart.
God, please give me your heart to love your people…and the obedience to act…daily.
As I continue to study with Lisa Harper & Annie Downs, using their Bible Study Believing Jesus, we dive into the Story of Ruth.
If you have not read this story, I encourage you to take a few minutes (it’s a short book!) to hear the story for yourself. Ruth is one of two books in scripture named after a faithful woman. Esther is the other.
We are told that Ruth and her Mother-in-Law Naomi have both lost their husbands -along with Naomi’s second son.
Deciding to go back to her homeland Bethlehem, Naomi urges her daughter-in-laws to remain in the land of Moab where they are from.
Full of love, honor, and grace, Ruth refuses to leave Naomi.
“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” -Ruth
Naomi, wrought with grief and discouragement then names herself “bitter.” (Mara)
“Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”
We can be swallowed up in our grief, like Naomi, unable to see any provision or grace extended to us.
Ruth was bearing her own grief, and could have easily chosen to stay in Moab, but that’s not what she did… willingly…even LOVINGLY, she sticks to Naomi like glue. Leaving her hometown and everything she had known to go on a journey of UNKNOWNS…with her bitter Mother-in-Law? Seriously? Who would do that?
Ruth…for she was rooted in love, faithfulness, & grace.
What unfolds in the following chapters is a glimpse and fortelling of the Redeemer God would give to us all.
Below is a great article on Ruth-based on John Piper’s book “A Sweet and Bitter Providence.” (A link to the article is at the bottom)
7 reasons to study the book of Ruth
1. Ruth is the Word of God.
The message of Ruth is unwaveringly true. It’s a rock to stand on when the terrain of ideas feels like quicksand. It’s an anchor to hold us when tides are ripping….
The message of Ruth is filled with God-inspired hope.
2. Ruth is a love story.
The way Ruth and Boaz find each other is the stuff of epics…. But the story is the flesh-and-blood experience of one family living the unexpected plan of God.
3. Ruth is a portrait of beautiful, noble manhood and womanhood.
In a day when movies and television and advertising and the Internet portray masculinity and femininity in the lowest ways, we are in great need of stories that elevate the magnificent meaning of manhood and womanhood….
Ruth and Boaz are extraordinary. Men and women today need heroes like this.
4. Ruth address racial and ethnic diversity and harmony.
Ruth is an “unclean” pagan Moabitess. But she is drawn into faith and into the lineage of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Her marriage is an interracial marriage. There are lessons here that we need as much as ever today.
5. Ruth displays the sovereignty of God.
Is God’s bitter providence the last word?… Everywhere I look in the world today, whether near or far, the issue for real people in real life is, Can I trust and love the God who has dealt me this painful hand in life? That is the question the book of Ruth intends to answer.
6. Ruth displays radical acts of risk-taking love.
[The book of Ruth is in the Bible] to make you a new kind of person—a person who is able “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
7. Ruth displays the glory of Christ.
A thousand years before Christ, this book glorifies his saving work on the cross, as we will see. Ruth is about the work of God in the darkest times to prepare the world for the glories ot Jesus Christ.
This article can be found by clicking the link below
From the humble place of gleaning wheat, (picking up the left over discarded sheaths after harvest) God makes a way for Ruth, and for us all.
I love this quote from John Piper
“RADICAL ACTS OF RISK-TAKING LOVE”
LOVE is ALL about RISK. “Ascribing worth to another, at cost to oneself.” -Greg Boyd.
Bless you in your study and obedience to God.
I have not been doodling these past few weeks…instead, I have been in awe of God’s creative hand…on “the trip of a lifetime!”
OUr first stop was New York, with an 8 hour layover. We decided to go to the 911 Memorial. I can’t express the thoughts and feelings I had as we walked through that history…looking into the lives of heros lost…of innocents…loved ones who left their lives here on earth so tragically unexpected. As I walked, I prayed for those who were left behind…that the Lord would comfort those in need, and continue to use this senseless tragedy for His glory in ways we may never understand.
Next stop, Ireland. Shannon, The Cliffs of Moher, Killarney, Kinsale, & Dingle.My husband & I have been traveling with good friends…how fortunate are we- to enjoy BOTH abundant fellowship with Brothers and Sisters & sites like we’ve never seen before. Breathtaking at every turn. Deep History with a rich heritage rooted in Christ.
I have to give BIG credit to my husband…the ultimate planner! He takes care of all the details and I just show up…how great is that? Pinch me, I must be sleeping…I’ve said this to myself over and over. Thank you dear husband!
Ireland won my heart. Never have we met more grace filled people. Absolutely “lovely.” And the scenery…words cannot describe the beauty.
Of course, there was golf:)
But we enjoyed great adventures of our own!
“Irish hair day.”
I married into the family:)
Then my hubby and I were off to London and Wales…a bit of business mixed with a whole lot of pleasure.
Wales made me think of “Outlander.” Rolling vibrant green countryside with breathtaking views and herds of sheep and cattle:) Castles and quaint little villages everywhere!
We found ourselves driving down one lane roads (meant for two) but hardly possible! “GIVE WAY” were the signs of the day as we WATCHED OUT for runaway cattle traveling head on into our hood! My husband thought it was a GREAT adventure…unfortunately the rental car company had to add a new console onto our bill after they pulled my fingernails out:) Stay on the left, stay on the left, oh, no, too far left!!!!
Hard to leave this view this morning…headed back to Shannon, and then home:)
I am constantly reminded of how GRATEFUL I am. We don’t know what day will be our last…we must see the beauty in each day we are given…
It hasn’t been too much of a challenge for me lately.
(CLICK ABOVE FOR PDF FILE)
(CLICK ABOVE FOR PDF)
I am privileged to study with a group of women who are hungry for the Bread of Life! We NEED one another Sisters! I just can’t say it enough…Women’s Bible Study is my lifeline…the lifeboat in which the Lord rescued me.
We have just finished our 2nd week of study in “Believing Jesus” by Lisa Harper & Annie F. Downs…(WK 2 -Earth, Wind, and Celestial Fire)
As we looked at the scriptures Genesis 1:1-2 & Deuteronomy 32:10-1,
the word HOVER jumped off the pages as did the picture of the eagle, with its MIGHTY wings, spread out in protection over us.
A lovely Sister at my table (who shares such wisdom from the Lord) told our group this story…
A Mama Eagle spreads her wings of protection over her little ones. When they are ready, she carries them out of the nest and lets go.
They do not yet know how to fly, and they hurl to the ground.
Just as they are about to hit the earth, she swoops in, underneath them, and “carries them aloft” —> Deut. 32:11.
Repeating this process until they can fly.
Our Father is a good Father…He allows us the freedom to try our wings….always present, always ready to lift us up above our circumstances, with a loving plan to save us from death.
“Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict us in regards to three things.”
-He will convict the world of sin. (unbelief)
-He will guide us into ALL truth
-He will Glorify Christ (points us to The Savior)
-from “Believing Jesus” by Lisa Harper the & Annie F. Downs.
All the while, the Spirit of God HOVERS, and lives within us…protecting, guiding, and affirming Christ in our hearts. Always present.
I am picturing His MIGHTY wings around me…protecting, guiding, and swooping in to lift me up in truth…carrying me to the ONE who can save me, and give me wings to fly.
I am including a pdf file for “Ah-Ha Moment tags,” that when cut, FIT RIGHT INSIDE YOUR BOOK. They are perfect to laminate for bookmarks or keyring tags. If you are doing Lisa’s study, I hope you will find them helpful!
Click on photo for pdf
I am in the second week of LISA HARPER’S STUDY “Believing Jesus,” The Lord has already used it to change lives.
I have the privilege of meeting in my home church with over 60 Christ following women.
Women’s Bible Study is my lifeline.
This quote comes from Week 2’s Video Teaching by Lisa.
It’s going to be the YEAR OF LISA HARPER for me!
Fall : Believing Jesus
Abudance Conference (with Lisa Harper, Lysa Terkeurst, Kelly Minter,Annie Downs, Christy Nockels and Natalie Grant! ) -it was amazing:)
FEB: Lisa Harper will be speaking at my church’s Women’s Conference!
Lisa, Lisa, Lisa:)
Can’t wait for February!