These blog entries are teasers. Insights and revelations to encourage you to read the bible, the greatest piece of literature that was written especially for you, God's child.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Ruth 3:5 "I will do whatever you say," Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
It's uncool to listen to our elders in today's culture. We dismiss their advice as irrelevant, thinking they don't understand who we are or the systems of the modern world.
Naomi shared her wisdom with Ruth, her daughter-in-law, and Ruth was blessed with a marriage, children and prosperity beyond her imagination.
Are you underestimating the elderly in your life? Their keen observations, their knowledge of social systems and wisdom, solely carved from hardship's hands?
This week be open-minded toward those who are a generation or two above you. Listen to their advice. Respect and honor them. View them as blessings in your life.
Photo: "Portrait of a Stranger" by Saibotregeel (http://www.flickr.com/photos/61212260@N00/2068274423/)
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Ruth 2:18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.
How much money do you make? Do you honor God with your wealth? Do you share with your family, friends and the marginalized?
Abundance is not how much money you make. It's trusting and knowing that God is your ultimate Provider and as long as you cling to and trust Him, He will meet all your material needs.
Ruth didn't have a job or husband to support her. But when Boaz gave her the opportunity to gather grain from his field, she shared the fruit of her labor with her mother-in-law. Ruth could've hidden her newfound wealth. She could've complained that Naomi didn't deserve the grain because she didn't lift a finger. But out of the abundance of her heart, Ruth decided to be generous.
Are you struggling with the idea of tithing? Is it difficult to be generous with your family and friends? Today, trust that the Lord is your Provider and He will meet all your material needs. Honor Him with your wealth and be generous to someone in need.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Ruth 2:14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, "Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar." When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, "Even if she gathers among the sheaves, don't embarrass her. 16 Rather, pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don't rebuke her."
God opposes the proud and exalts the humble. Ruth exhibited her humility by her whole-hearted trust in God. Why else would she leave the community she grew up in to take care of her mother-in-law? Why else would she live as a second-class citizen in a foreign land?
Ruth's humility and faith allowed her to see who she was in relation to the Almighty. Seemingly difficulty circumstances were a blessing in disguise because they shattered her pride. Her pride in being secure as a married woman who was provided for. Her newfound humility allowed her to see herself as a grain of sand compared to the vastness of the Almighty, and He rewarded her with a divine appointment.
Boaz, who took a liking to Ruth, provided her with food, protection and a source of income. In the same way, when we trust God, and we see how tiny we are compared to Him, He will protect and provide for us.
Do you have areas of pride in your life? Are you proud and overly reliant on your abilities, wealth and achievements? Do you ascribe these to God? Are you too proud to admit your wrong? Today, allow God to shatter your pride and trust that He will exalt you.
Photo: "Let's Go!" by Calca (http://www.flickr.com/photos/75502371@N00/124119876/)
Friday, August 28, 2009
11 Boaz replied, "I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 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."
Do you recognize people who are Christ-like? People who are humble, godly and loving toward their family?
Boaz was a prominent man in his community. He must have had hundreds of farmers working for him and many relatives and friends to spend time with. Yet, a simple widow, who exhibited an undying love for God and a unique loyalty for her mother-in-law was what caught his eye and moved his heart. He honored her with his words, and blessed her with his friendship.
How was he able to see Ruth's heart through her simple clothing and humble stature? He, himself, must have been a man after God's heart. Sometimes it takes a Christ-like person to recognize another one.
Today, seek God's heart and pray that you recognize and honor Christ-like people in your life.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Ruth 2:8 So Boaz said to Ruth, "My daughter, listen to me. Don't go and glean in another field and don't go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled."
Do you see other people through God's eyes? Are you able to have compassion and bless others through your talents, position and wealth?
When Boaz saw Ruth, He saw her through God's eyes. He immediately had compassion on the widow who had no source of income. He valued her humility. He called her, spoke to her, initiated a friendship. He provided a source of food and protected her from the men of his field. He offered to quench her thirst.
Boaz was the picture of Christ way before our Heavenly Father sent His only son into this planet, to protect us, feed us and quench our thirst.
Today, open your heart and see others through God's eyes. Value humility and bless others with your talents, position and wealth.
Painting from www.filipinowriter.com
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Ruth 2:4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, "The LORD be with you!" "The LORD bless you!" they called back.
Is God the king of your school or workplace? Do you pray for your colleagues? Do you talk about the Lord with them? Do you bless them? Are your school and work decisions aligned to His will?
In the book of Ruth, Boaz walks into his field and blesses his harvesters. The harvesters bless him back, not just with words but with the field's grain. Let's emulate Boaz's example of a leader.
Today, pray for and bless your colleagues. Align your decisions with God's will, and watch your harvest multiply.
Photo from pacific-islander.blogspot.com
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Ruth 2:2 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."
Have you ever lost someone or something important to you? Parents? Your spouse? Your career and status?
That's precisely what happened to Ruth. She lost her husband--her source of love, income and status. She lost everything. Yet, she decided to look beyond her circumstances. She sought God and pursued Him in her husband's land. But she didn't end there. She took a humble stance. One day, she got up in the morning, put on her working clothes and walked to an unknown field, hoping that she would be able to gather leftover grain.
Are you willing to take a humble stance? Are you willing to give up control, walk into the unknown and seek help? Today, take a humble stance before the Lord and others.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Ruth 1:20 "Don't call me Naomi, " she told them. "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me."
Many of us are going through desperate situations right now. You may have a terminal illness or know of a loved one who does. You may have constant feelings of failure, which you subconsciously live out in your career and relationships. You may be living beyond your means and have no idea how you're going to manage.
Do you curse yourself during these times? Do you blame yourself and God for your illness and failures? Do you call yourself a loser? Or poor? Or unlovable? Do you allow your present circumstances to bring you down?
Stop speaking curses into your life today. Instead, allow God to speak to your heart. Know that your present circumstances are temporary. Step back and trust that God will see you through. He knows what He's doing. His purposes are always greater than ours.
Painting: "The Bitter Draught" by Adriaen Brouwer (http://www.1st-art-gallery.com)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Ruth 1:16 But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
Are you an unlikely follower of Christ? You may have had a difficult childhood. You may have been abused, neglected, abandoned. You may be going through difficult times. Your marriage may be falling apart. Or you may be imprisoned in an addiction.
It's easier to be a victim and invite others to your pity party. After all, life sucks. You've gone through hard times and don't know why. All you know is you deserve better.
In the book of Ruth, we discover that Ruth wasn't raised in a religious family. She was an outsider amongst the Jews and she didn't know God. Her husband died. She had no income. Yet what did she choose to do? She chose to seek God and pursue Him. Let me say that again--she chose to seek God and pursue him in a foreign land.
Today, if you are in a desperate situation, acknowledge but don't dwell on it. Instead, choose to seek God and pursue Him. Be an unlikely follower today.
Photo is from http://eduspaces.net/csessums/weblog/190701.html
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Sometime we find ourselves in a desperate situation and we ask others to pray for us. During these times, we may receive a timely bible verse or godly advice. If you are in debt--Live within your means. If you lost your job--Don't hold a pity party. Use your time to polish your resume and contact possible employers. If you have difficult children--Discipline them.
We don't always like listening to advice. But after surrendering your desperate situation and asking others to intercede for you, you need to do your part. Obey God's word today.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Jeremiah 42:4 "I have heard you," replied Jeremiah the prophet. "I will certainly pray to the LORD your God as you have requested; I will tell you everything the LORD says and will keep nothing back from you."
Do people constantly ask you to pray for them? Jeremiah interceded for his people. God is asking you to do the same. Stand between the gap of God and others, and watch answered prayers grow. It's another way of testifying that God loves us and He is real and mighty. Pray for others and their needs today.
Painting: "Pathea Cliffs No. 2" by Cath Sheard
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Jeremiah 42:1 Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah a]">[a] son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached 2 Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, "Please hear our petition and pray to the LORD your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left. 3 Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do."
Are you in a desperate situation? A situation that you can't do anything about? Your children who are walking in the wrong direction won't listen to or follow you. Your spouse is non-communicative and you don't know why. You're in debt and can't pay for it. You lost your job.
Desperation is a gift from God. It forces us to acknowledge our limitations and tap into Him and His greater power. It forces us to seek His direction. Today, surrender your desperate situation to God and pray for others who are in the same boat.
"Thirsty Painting" by Maria Hathaway (www.fineartsamerica.com)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
God called Gideon to free the Israelites from their enemy, the Midianites. This is was what Gideon said "yes" to. What about you? What have you said "yes" to?
- Has God called you to lead?
- Has He confirmed the call through His word and godly counsel?
- Have you taken action steps to lead?
- Have you asked God to fill you with His spirit and bless you with a team?
- Are your teammates committed and bold?
- Do you worship before you face battles?
- Are you a role model?
- Do you submit to authority? Are you a trustworthy authority?
- Do you obey the Lord even if it's against popular culture?
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Judges 7:22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.
Sometimes, we look at people who don't obey God, and we wonder why they're living the good life. Professional bullies garner influence at the workplace. The youth follow ungodly celebrities. Corrupt leaders reign countries for decades.
In the story of Gideon, God told him to blow his trumpet and as he did, his enemies turned on each other with swords. In the same way, God is telling us to acknowledge the reality that surrounds us, but at the same time, keep our eyes fixed on Him, declare His ways and follow Him. In due time, the wicked will turn on each other and fall. We, God's children, will always win the battle.
Today, trust the Lord and obey Him, even if it's against the world's flow. You will win the battle.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Judges 7:19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”
You may not always understand or agree with the authority figures in your life. You may have a boss who you can't connect with. You may have a church leader who is offensive when he preaches. You may have to pay taxes to government officials you don't trust. Remember that it is God who establishes the authority figures in your life for a reason, and it is a biblical principle to submit to authority. Today, pray for God to pour out His wisdom and compassion to your authority figures. Also pray that you may learn to trust and support these leaders.
Painting: "King Louis XIII" by Champaigne Philippe De (www.bestpriceart.com)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Are you a leader in your home, workplace or church? If God has gifted you with this privileged position, He is calling you to be a role model for those you lead. If you expect your colleagues to be excellent in the workplace, model excellence. If you expect your church members to serve, model a heart of service. If you want your children to be loving, be a loving spouse and parent. Actions always speak louder than words. Today, choose to be a role model for those you lead.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Judges 7:15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.”
What does God want you to do right before you face a battle? What does He want you to do right before you go onto the operating table? Or right before you fight a case in court? Or right before you have a confrontation with your boss?
God wants you to worship Him. You are staring at your impossible battle and worried. God is gently holding your chin, tilting it up until your eyes meet His. He says--Look at me. Magnify me. I am larger than your battle. I am here to prosper you, not to harm you.
If you are facing a battle today, carve some quiet time with your Heavenly Father, look up to Him. Worship Him. He fights your battles, and before you know it, it will be in your hands.
Painting is from www.griffingrafix.com
Friday, August 14, 2009
Judges 7:5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” 6Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
The Lord is searching for followers who are committed to Him and His purposes. Search your heart today. Are you committed to God? Do you spend time in prayer and reading His word? Or do you never have enough time and energy? Are you a doer of His word? Do you follow the nudge of the Holy Spirit when it calls you into action? Or do you say, Not today. I'm too tired. Maybe tomorrow. Today, renew your commitment to your Heavenly Father and commit to being a doer of His Word.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Judges 7:2-3 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
God has called you to lead, you've said yes, taken action and are filled with the Holy Spirit. Now how do you choose your teammates? In Gideon's story, God tells him that there were too many people in his team. God wanted Israel to know that it was Him who would save Israel from battle, not human strength. So He asked those who were trembling in fear to leave the battle site. Today, choose teammates whose are so focused on the Lord that they are able to overcome their fears.
Painting: "Fear and Faith" by John Lautermilch (www.fineartsamerica.com)
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Judges 6:34-35 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.
Has God called you to lead? Are you taking the plunge? If your answers are yes, expect God to bless you with the Holy Spirit and a team to accomplish His call.
The Holy Spirit is our Counselor. He reveals truth. He helps you say the right thing. He teaches and reminds you of God's word when you need it. All are essential for leadership.
We need a team to lead because by ourselves, we are limited. Others have strengths that compensate for our weaknesses, and there is power in numbers.
Today, lead boldly. Ask God to fill you with his Spirit and surround you with people who are eager to fulfill His purposes.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Judges 6:27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.
If God is calling you to lead, you asked for confirmation and He confirmed the call, it is time to take a step. Remember that leaders do not lead through position. They lead through action. Sometimes, this action is unpopular. It's offensive to co-workers, friends and family. Nevertheless, keep your eyes focused on God and see yourself through Him. If He called you to lead and is using you as an instrument for His greater purposes, He will prosper the work of your hands. Take a step to lead today.
Painting from http://www.davidlilford.com
Monday, August 10, 2009
Judges 6:17 Gideon replied, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me."
How do you confirm God's call to lead? First, read God's word on a daily basis. He won't tell you something that contradicts His Word. Second, pray for wisdom and ask for confirmation. God will do this through a verse, a preaching, a vision or a timely word from a friend. Third, ask godly people for advice. An objective perspective can enlighten and give us a sober view of reality. Have you ever had a confirmation from God? Share your stories today.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Judges 6:14 The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?"15 "But Lord , " Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."16 The LORD answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together."
There's a gentle tug in our heart when God calls us to lead. But sometimes we are nearsighted, focused on our limits, our ears hearing voices from the past--You come from humble beginnings. You have no business doing that. Who will listen to you? How can you lead when you're such a sinner? Black sheep.
Yet God persists in calling you to lead in your family, workplace and church. Focus on His promises to strike down negative thoughts, low self-esteem and communication barriers. Trust His promise of victory when the problems and crises arrive.
Today, adopt God's point of view. See yourself through His eyes and expect to lead and do great things for Him.
Photo from www.goodhousekeeping.com
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
We're all betting our lives on something, hoping and expecting victory. What are you betting your life on? Is it on something you can see?
Are you risking your life for money and success? Will these bring you joy? What happens when you die? Will you be able to take money and success to the grave?
Are you placing your bet on relationships? Relationships can be fulfilling because they give us a sense of purpose and joy. But what happens when we put people at the center of our lives rather than God? What happens when these people leave or die?
Or are you placing your bet on Jesus? The only one who can give you pure joy on this earth and eternal life after. He also promises to nourish our relationships and prosper us.
Today, place your bet on Jesus. Win.
Photo by eiya76
Friday, August 7, 2009
Hebrews 8:10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Look at the mirror. Do you know who you are? Is your identity tied to your job? Your relationships? Your hobbies and sports? What happens when those things end as they eventually will? What will you anchor your identity to?
When you accept Jesus as your Lord and savior, you sign an eternal contract with God. You become His child. Your identity is anchored on Him, the only being in the universe that's eternal. He promises to put His law in your mind and write it in your heart. He also promises you eternal life.
Today, sign the contract with God and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If you already have, pass this on to someone who needs Him.
Photo from http://www.quickpurchase.co.uk
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
Temptation is inevitable. Some of us need to watch what we say. Some us need to stay away from addiction. And some need to guard their hearts so they don't fall into adulterous relationships.
When faced with temptation, we have two doors to choose from. The first door is the easy to choose. Open it and you give in to temptation as well as reap the consequences that go with it: hurt feelings, the prison of addiction and broken marriages. The second door is more difficult to choose, but when you open it and stay inside you receive blessings: healed relationships, freedom from addiction's bondage and God's best spouse for you.
Today, close the door on temptation. Open the door to obedience. Walk in. Stay in.
Artwork from http://blogs.voices.com/voxdaily/door-opening-to-the-sky.jpg
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
God speaks. Enter a quiet space with the Lord today. Open your bible. Read a passage. Is there a verse that cuts your heart? Is the Lord helping you deal with an anger issue? Does He want you to start tithing? Does He want you to prioritize your family over your job? Listen to His voice, meditate on His words and step into action.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Matthew 22:39 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
Neighbors can be annoying. Some wake us up at six in the morning with their TV. Some steal our parking spaces and some cook food that stinks up our apartment's hallway. Friends can be stressful. They arrive late for dinners and they tell us we're fat when we don't want to hear it. And relatives can be downright unlovable. They overstay for the holidays, dig up memories we prefer to forget and compare themselves to us.
Yet it is no accident that God chose specific people in our lives to build our character. Iron sharpens iron. In the midst of annoyance we learn to be patient. During stressful times we learn to cling to God's peace. And with the unlovable, we learn to love like Jesus. Also remember, we ourselves can be that annoying neighbor, a tool to build another person's character.
Today, step back, take a deep breath and choose to love the unlovable.
Painting: "Peaceful Coexistence" by Darnell (www.artbywicks.com)
Monday, August 3, 2009
Matthew 22:37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment.
There is a special room in your heart that is reserved only for your spouse. This intimacy separates your marriage from other friendships. Wouldn't it hurt if your spouse shared his affection and the highlights of his day with a co-worker and not you? Wouldn't it be painful to discover that she consulted a college friend for crisis advice, rather than you?
In the same way, God carved a special room in your heart where only He can reside. Remember, He is a jealous God. He commands you to put Him first in your heart, your soul, your mind. He wants you to approach Him with your affection and the highlights of your day. He wants you to seek Him first in times of crisis. Today, spend time with God and experience the most satisfying intimacy that you were always meant to have.