III John–Who Do You Look Like

When we walk with the Lord, we are constantly seeking ways to emulate and imitate him.  It is a freeing and joyful thing to know your performance does not affect your salvation.  It is, however, critical to remember as God’s kids that our behavior and actions speak volumes about who we are and who we serve.  John spent an entire letter to praise his friend for his representation of God in his life.  In addition, he encouraged him to continue to cultivate the attitude of service and community that he lived.

In our lives, we are often tempted to withdraw, withhold and simply walk away from serving others.  It is messy, risky and often completely thankless.  But, when we die to ourselves and pour our lives into others, they do not see us–they see the Father who loved us and gave himself for us.  We derive great joy in simply seeing him glorified.  We can never give up.  We can never withdraw and we can never forget that the one who died for us is God himself—who considered us a treasure and gladly did what was necessary to restore us to his family.

Help me Lord to serve with humility and joy.

God Bless You

 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters,[a] even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth…11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

Ruth 4 final–you can’t make this stuff up.

Disney could not of created a better story.  Ruth married Boaz.  Their great grandson was David—A man after God’s own heart.  The King that would unite Israel and finally bring peace to God’s people.  David the patriarch of Jesus.  All from a Moabite woman that refused to leave her dear mother-in-law in a desperate situation.  So many times, the selfless act we complete carry such huge dividends that we are unable to get or minds around them.  Neither Ruth or Boaz acted the way they did for the impact and reward that followed—they simply acted in a way that honored God.

In our lives we do the same thing.  We often take steps to honor God with no expectation of changing the world…Yet, the world gets changed because we did.  That should be motivation enough to always behave in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel.  We may never see the impact, but, by faith we can know that God’s plan is flawless and our willing obedience and submission is a recipe for blessing and success.  Then, when we stand before him the crowd will roar and we will say, “what is all the fuss—and they will respond—Great job my friend the world was a bit different, because you changed it for the Lord!”  Well done—my good and faithful servants.

God Bless You

 13 So Boaz took Ruth she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Ruth 4 Part 1–Happy Ever After

What a fairy tale scenario.  Ruth the young widow returns from Moab to help her Mother-in-law.  She works in the fields scraping enough food to keep her and her mother-in-law alive and winds up as the wife of her  redeemer, Boaz. This was no wedding of convenience, it was a selfless and sacrificial act of Love.  Boaz trusted God and offered her up to the neighbor who had the legal right to gain Ruth and her lands.  Ut, God had a better plan.   God caused there to be only one answer—Boaz and Ruth to live happily ever after.

 

When we follow God, his paths can seem awfully strange, sometimes.  The road seems dark, the circumstances grave—but God on his throne is always ready to execute the greatest plan of all.  Ruth and Boaz were to be married and what happened next, well, that is truly a fairy tale end.

 

God Bless You

Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the[c] dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”…Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”  11 Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”

 

Ruth 3 part 2–A Gentleman’s Heart

There is a certain character of a gentleman.  It is a combination of class and chivalry.  It is engrained and obvious in everything that he attempts.  The way he treats strangers, the way he treats women and the way he responds to opportunity all show a selflessness that makes him beloved to all he comes into contact with.  That was the Character of Boaz. He made sure that Ruth was not embarrassed, he made sure she knew that he had listened.  In addition, he made sure  she knew he would follow the rules and preserve her reputation.  Finally, he made sure she went home with adequate provision for her and her mother-in-law.

As Godly men, we are to have the same character.  We are to be selfless, honorable and men of integrity.  All that we do should reflect the very nature of God.  When we live our lives that way, we stand out to those we know.  They want to be a part of our lives and they want to know what makes us different.  When they learn it is our restored relationship with God, they want to be a part of the family as well.  We will never know the impact we will have as we journey through life.  But, we know that how we live can impact lives daily and eternally.  Father, help me to live in a way that honors you and blesses others.

God Bless You

10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”

14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”

15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he[c] went back to town.

Ruth 3 part 1–A Hot time on the Threshing Floor Tonight!

We must be ready to take steps to execute God’s Plan. In the Great Commission, Jesus tells us that as you are going, make disciples…So often, we are afraid to take steps for fear we are going to miss God’s plan. Conversely, other times we simply strike out on our own without thought or prayer assuming we know better than God what is best for us, In Ruth, we see the place where God lies in the continuum. Ruth listened to her Godly mother-in-law. Naomi trusted God and followed his lead. She instructed Ruth to look and be at her best, but to do what she is told, not make things happen. That is what Satan would have us do–simply help God out. There is a balance.

In our lives, what we do, where we go all are significant to God. He wants us to be sensitive to his leadership. He does not want us to live paralyzed and afraid to face life. We need to walk humbly–but boldly each day seeking him in prayer and listening to Godly men and women he has placed in our lives. We then study his word and hide it in our heart–Finally we go and as we go we seek, listen and ask for his leadership in our lives. As we do, we see amazing answers and know his presence is with us guiding us to a full and meaningful life. We must not be afraid–we must simply trust and obey.

God Bless You and those amazing folks that died so we can remain free.

 

One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home[a] for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”

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.

7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!

9 “Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer[b] of our family.”

Ruth 2 part 2 Guardian Redeemer

 

Ruth had by “coincidence“ stumbled into the field of the family’s guardian redeemer—Levitical law said that if you have a relative that has fallen into hard times, as a close relative you were to assist them to get back and going again. What a concept—if a part of the family is struggling then pitch in and assist them in getting free. God directed Ruth to that person and he also directed Boaz to fill that role. God’s plan demonstrated and shows how he cares for each of his own.
Today, we as a family of believers are called to do the same. We are to pour our lives into those that are struggling to assist them in getting free. We, like Boaz, must be proactive in our generosity and assistance. There is nothing we have that cannot be gone in a blink of an eye. We, therefore must hold on loosely and share liberally. God will bless our generosity. He will make our accounts balance.

He says in Malachi—“Trust me, try me, prove me-says the Lord of Hosts; and see if a blessing—unmeasured blessing will not fall out on you!” We cannot out give God, and we cannot ever go wrong by taking on his character traits!
God Bless You
17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah.[a] 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.
19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!”
Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said.
20 “The LORD bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.[b]”
21 Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’”
22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”

Ruth 2 Part 1–Gleaning God’s Best

wheat-field-wallpapers_13409_2560x1600Ruth had no idea what God had in mind.  She left her family and returned to Bethlehem with Naomi—her dead husband’s mom.  She committed not only to follow Naomi, but also to follow the Lord.   Job one was to provide for Naomi.  She decided to do the only thing she could—pick up the left over wheat—Gleaning the field.  She had no plans except to trust God to provide.  She ended up in a field owned by Boaz.  Boaz admired Ruth for her care of Naomi and her work ethic.  The result was that he allowed Ruth free reign in gathering what she needed to survive and even made it pleasant for her.  Her faithfulness was rewarded.

God watches as we fill our days.  He sees our selfless nature and work ethic and seeks, like Boaz, to meet our needs.  Ruth was not serving to earn Boaz blessing; nor—are we performing to earn God’s favor.  The simple fact is that we love to bless those who are selfless, those that do everything in a manner that is worthy of the gospel.  So does our Father take joy in the blessing of his kids that model that character.  As we endeavor to become like Christ, we “Glean” many of his blessings he wants for us.  Help me, Lord to glean the fruits of your spirit and the blessings of your hand.

God Bless You

22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.  Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.And Ruth the Moabite 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, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!” “The Lord bless you!” they answered.

Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”

The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”

Ruth 1 part 2–Walking Together

coaching%202What does it mean to be committed.  When we speak of relationships, it means we get into the lives of others wherever they are.  It is often messy—it is mostly thankless but it is always the most rewarding thing we could ever do.  Ruth, a young and beautiful woman had the opportunity to go back to her people and be safe and cared for.  She had her mother-in-law’s blessing.  But, she knew that leaving her mother-in-law would be a terrible thing for Naomi.  No husband, no sons, Naomi would struggle to survive.  She stepped up and became the friend and daughter Naomi needed. There were no assurances, neither knew how they were to survive—but, they were together and committed.

When we commit to others, we risk pain, sadness and have little idea where the commitment will lead us.  But, as we remain faithful, God protects, provides and blesses us through the lives we touch.  We learn how silly it is to judge, how useless it is to put on masks and how rewarding it is to journey together with others.  We learn so much when we are in others lives.  We see so many great things happen as we pray for and help one another.  We realize that we cannot do this alone, and really do not want to. Just as Jesus walked along with his disciples, so we need to journey together and not alone.  It is critical, that we never give in or give up on each other.  Help me, Lord to follow you with my life and make the journey with those I love.

God Bless You

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

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 even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

20 “Don’t call me Naomi,[b]” she told them. “Call me Mara,[c] because the Almighty[d] 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[e] me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

 

Ruth 1 part 1–Just Do It

We try not to burden others when we are facing tragedy.  We do not want others to have to experience the pain or loss we are experiencing.  It takes a person that really cares and is wise to understand that our polite offers to allow others not to be burdened are a combination of fear and confusion.  Naomi needed Ruth.  God had a plan for the two of them.  Yet, Naomi in grief tried to send Ruth away.  Ruth, in love refused. She was family and that is not how family behaves.

We are often tasked with opportunities to come along side of our friends and family and simply meet the needs that are before them.  When we ask, we are told that they are fine and under control. We, like Ruth, must be committed to doing the things necessary to assist family.  We have to become a part of their lives and love them.  That is what will make the difference in the lives of those in need. Nike’s Logo says it best—Just do it.  Please keep our friends and neighbors in OKC in prayer.  The tragedy in Moore—Yesterday was horrific.

God Bless You

  Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

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 even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

Matthew 28 final–The Great Commission

Jesus returned to start the church.  He completed his mission of revealing the heart of God and paying the price to restore man’s relationship to God.  In the midst of that, he raised a group of men to now build the Church.  These were the guys that walked, ate, laughed and cried with him.  These were the guys that he had been ripped away from only a few days before.  These were the guys that he entrusted the entire development of the Church to.

 

His charge to them was simple—As you are going…make disciples, baptize them, teach them and encourage them.  But, please do not worry because I will be with you right to the end. That charge started  the church.  That Charge has carried the church through countless persecutions, through the rise and fall of empires, the eradication of God from cultures and the direct attack on the people that love God. 

The Great commission is personal to each of us that follow him.  It is an honor to be given the same call as Peter, James and John.  The author, Matthew was challenged to do the very same thing.  We must walk each day with our finger on the pulse of our mission.  As we are going…(to work, school, vacation, lunch or on errands)make disciples.  Help me Lord to accept and execute your Great commission in my life.

 God Bless You

 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.