Friday, October 30, 2015

The Journey of Ruth

The Journey of Ruth 

Everyone has experienced a season in life where the dry places of the heart feel just like a desert. Spiritual rain is scarce, bitter pain destroys flowers of hope and confusion clouds any rays of sunlight.
As the Book of Ruth opens, we find Naomi trapped in a season like this. The fresh pain of widowhood is piercing her heart, as well as the staggering blow of losing her two sons.
Hope was nowhere to be seen on Naomi’s radar.
I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. (Ruth 1:21)
All of her cisterns had run dry. All joy was gone.
She was so deep in the pit of depression that she desired to change her name to Mara, which means bitterness. Naomi felt all alone. But little did she know that there was someone who could totally relate to her lot in life: her daughter-in-law, Ruth.
Ruth had also lost everything she cherished and loved so dearly. The husband of her youth was taken from her, and now she had nowhere to turn.
Naomi advised her daughter-in-love to go and find a new husband. “I’m going back to my homeland. But you’re still young! You have time! Don’t waste your life grieving with me. Make the most of what you still have.”
Despite Naomi’s compelling speech to leave her and go find a new man, Ruth had something else in mind.
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.” (Ruth 1:16)
Ruth’s faithfulness and devotion here go far beyond a simple act of friendship and kindness. This is Ruth pounding her stakes in the ground, setting her firm resolve, making a lifelong commitment to serving this woman.
“I’m not leaving you. Where you die, I’ll die, and where you’re buried, I will be buried.”
That’s some gutsy love. That’s the kind of friendship that remains. That’s the tenacity that Jesus requires of us when He commands us to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).
This same spirit of devotion urged Peter to follow Christ, even to the point of martyrdom. This same cry, “I’ll follow You anywhere!” echoed through the heart of Thomas as he ministered in India and Asia before being brutally murdered for his faith. This is what kept Paul rejoicing in the midst of his chains and beatings.
This is what keeps a young girl on her high school campus, boldly speaking out for Christ, despite all the teasing. This is what keeps a young man pure until marriage, in spite of the sinful temptation this world has to offer.
This is what keeps the missionary going, pouring herself out and loving until there’s nothing left. This is what keeps the pastor preaching truth on the days when nobody shows up.
This is what keeps us lifting our hands, singing songs of praise and seeking His face in the midst of our dry seasons.
When we cry frustrated tears and it feels like Heaven is silent, we choose to press on;
“I will follow You anywhere Lord. Where else can I go? You are the One who has the Words of life. Where You go I’ll go, You are my God and my King, and my life is yours forever!”
Just like Ruth, we must daily make the choice to be committed to our King. Ruth and Naomi took the long journey from Moab back to Bethlehem despite all the questions, pain and bitterness. What they didn’t know is that God had something absolutely beautiful in store for them. Just up the road, a grand adventure was about to unfold.
The same is true for you, sister! The desert isn’t going to last forever. This road isn’t going to lead you to more disappointment and pain.
If you’re following Jesus, keep moving forward.
This is only the beginning of the story! The Author is weaving together a most beautiful tale! All it takes is a few more steps down this dusty road. The page is about to turn, and an exciting chapter will begin!
Once the two arrived in Bethlehem, things didn’t look much better. They were still hungry, they still had to live life and they still hurt on the inside.
The only upside to their scenario was that they arrived just in time for the barley harvest.
Naomi advised Ruth to choose a field, settle her attention there and start gleaning. The fields were full of harvesters, hustling and bustling around, leaving an ample amount of grain behind for widows, orphans and strangers in Israel. Those who had nothing were free to glean and take home whatever they could find left over.
Ruth entered the field of a man named Boaz, and he expressed much kindness and favor toward her. She returned home with her hands full, carrying more than enough for both herself and Naomi. Boaz promised that she could stay there, gleaning as much as she needed, until the harvest was over.
The Lord is so faithful to provide for us, even in the midst of our most dry and desperate seasons. When we glean in the fields of our Lord, feasting on His Word, there is always more than enough. The Lord’s generosity is overwhelming. His kindness is too much to process. His love leaves us speechless.
Sister, if you are trapped in a season of feeling alone or discouraged, it’s time to head out into the field.
God’s Word is RIPE and ready for you to glean from! He desires to minister to you, feed your heart, water it and refresh your soul. The Lord doesn’t want you to feel orphaned and widowed. He wants to generously provide for you—physically, emotionally and spiritually. You are His princess, and He cares so deeply for you! He has so much to give. All you have to do is step into His presence and receive it. The Lord is faithful to give you everything that you need.
But there comes a time in a girl’s life when she must step into the Royal Throne Room of the King, and boldly petition Him for things that she desires and dreams about seeing unfold in the future.
Truth is, Ruth couldn’t live off manna forever. Harvest season was nearly over, and Naomi wanted to make sure that she was thinking of the future.
Ruth said, “My daughter, I must find a home for you where you will be well provided for. Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 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. 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.” (Ruth 3:1-4)
Boaz was in a special position to possibly rescue Ruth from her widowed state. As a unique family member called a “Kinsman Redeemer,” he had the ability to redeem everything that was broken and shattered in her life.
Jesus can do the same for us! On the cross, Jesus offered the free gift of redemption for anyone who receives it. On the cross, Jesus completely destroyed the curse and written code against us (Colossians 2:14), and opened up the gates of Heaven! He has promised every resource of Heaven (Ephesians 1:3), but we must ask! Jesus said, “Until now you have asked for nothing in my name; ask and you will receive so that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24)
It took boldness for Ruth to enter the threshing floor in the middle of the night and risk it all by lying down at Boaz’s feet (an act of submission). We must possess the same bold faith when we enter the courts of the King by making our requests known with whole-hearted faith! It is impossible to please God without faith.
But how can a girl have faith and expect better things for the future, when in the past, everything has just crashed down around her?
When life has been difficult in the past, hope deferred tries to make our heart sick with thoughts of discouragement like “I’ve been stuck in this situation for so long. I don’t know how things are ever going to change. I feel like God isn’t even listening to me anymore.”
But hope must rise up in our souls as we encounter our Kinsman Redeemer. We must pray with the strength we have left.
Lord, fill me with hope! You have promised to care for every detail in my life, and You have been faithful to provide all I need, but these dreams stirring inside of my soul feel so impossible.
I desire to see You move in my life in such a mighty and powerful way, so that it’s totally undeniable that it was You! I’m asking for You to do the impossible by making these God-sized dreams come true!
I know that a desire fulfilled is a tree of life, so encourage me, Lord, and help my unbelief! Strengthen me when I get weak, and so tired, and don’t feel the desire to fight for these dreams. Don’t let the lioness of courage inside of me shrink back in fear. Remind me that You are the King of the jungle! I will NOT be afraid because my Daddy is King.
Raise me up to be all that You’ve created me to be, to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Give me the courage to fight for the rights of all who are destitute, for the poor, the needy, and those who are in much worse situations than I am. Fill me with Your Spirit of boldness! I give You my brokenness, and ask for deeper healing. Be my swift strength. (That’s what the name “Boaz” means!)
My soul clings to You, and my heart hopes in You alone. I know You will not disappoint me!
In Ruth’s story, Boaz was faithful to ride in and save the day. Just at her lowest point, He proved himself faithful. He abundantly answered her request and happily took Ruth as his wife, redeeming all that was lost. They had a son, and Ruth was no longer unfruitful. Her heart was full and satisfied.  Naomi was also so full of joy as she welcomed her grandson into the world.
Sweet sister, the Lord has GOOD things in store for you. His plan for you is more beautiful than you could ever dream. Don’t listen to the voice of deception that says “It’s hopeless.”
Just like Ruth, you are on a journey. Whether you’re just leaving Moab, the land of heartbreak; gleaning at the field of God’s goodness; mustering up the courage to make a Kingdom Request, standing in the place of faith that He will come through; or rejoicing because your Boaz has blessed your life with joy—the journey you’re on is beautiful. Embrace every moment and bless the Lord with each breath, because no matter where you are, the King is forever faithful!

About the Author: Livy Lynn is a dreamer, singer, songwriter and orphan advocate. As the founder of Crown of Beauty Magazine, she strives to reach young women and inspire them to realize their true worth in Christ. Check out Crown of Beauty's brand new book, "Beauty Boys and Ball Gowns" & come connect at

{I attached a pic at the bottom. It's totally up to you whether you want to use it or not.} 
Livy Jarmusch 

Founder of Crown of Beauty online magazine for girls
Visit our website:

Friday, October 23, 2015

Secure by Hillary Beth

In Bible study this week, someone shared about the word, "security." I have often cringed at that word, because I know it's easy to feel insecure about things.

Ironically, I was also re-memorizing a bunch of verses and "Questions and Answers" from the AWANA program 3rd grade book, as I am a Truth & Training Director this year, and I don't want to challenge others to do something I can't do myself... anyhow... one of the sections says:

How does God want me to live my life?
God wants me to be secure in Him.

The back up verse is: John 10:28-29. It says, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

Now there's a lot of things I could feel insecure about right now. I'll list a few:
  • Upcoming trips I want to take, but will have to do "alone"
  • My weight or physical appearance
  • The long list of "to-do's" I'm not getting done
  • How my voice sounds when I sing on stage with my sisters in Christ
  • Being a good enough leader when I prepare for large group time for Awana
  • Managing my time well 
 There's a lot of things on my mind, and maybe you can relate to some of them - maybe there are things you are about to do on your own for the first time, maybe there are things you think if you could accomplish them people would pay attention to you, maybe you are too aware of, and hard on yourself about, things that other people don't notice - or notice and think are great about you - or maybe you just fear not being good enough for God to use you.

But those aren't things we need to worry about!
God has said He would give us the words to say in tough situations - Luke 12:12 - "for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say." If He will do that, will He not also give us the strength to do what Colossians 3:17 asks of us? "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." That encompasses a lot. When I sing, I sing for Him. When I write, I write for Him. When I wipe down my baby's high chair for the millionth time... maybe for ya'll it's cleaning your room or helping a sibling... I should be doing it for Him. 

What are you insecure about tonight? Write a list - it's good to see it in writing. Then pray through each item, giving each to God. Admit your limitations, weaknesses, and fears - and resolve to do what you do, one step at a time, for Him!

Standing Out by Rachel Joy

Precious and I have a bit of a morning routine. Every morning she wakes me up--at a time I don’t see the purpose of waking up at--followed by me sassing her through the door.

After I bant* with her for about 15 minutes, I get out of bed and stumble, proceedstagger walk to the kitchen where I start the coffee, whilst saying a lot of snarky things to Precious. I then feed her and mostly just stare at the coffee pot, waiting in desperation for it to be ready for my consumption. (The struggle is real. Just saying.) 

When she gets done eating (and the coffee is done) she heads to the front doors and meows relentlessly until I open the door for her.

Yesterday morning as I was letting her out (to get my peace and quiet) I noticed these two black crows sitting at the end of the front… cement thing.
Precious noticed them too.

Now, before I tell this story I want to say something. Precious has a beautiful coat. I literally want to take her with me to Home Depot or something and be like, “Hello, can I have two buckets of paint in these colours?” And then pull her out of her cage and be like, “Yeah. These colours.”

She’s a beautiful cat! But she is not good colours to hunt. I can literally see her all the way across the lawn.

She also has the grace of a hippo. Those two factors have saved the life of many birds, mice and large insects.

So when Precious saw these crows and decided that one of them was going to be breakfast, the crows also saw her. They were like, “Ha, look at that thing trying to eat us. Maybe I’ll let her… Just kidding! *Flies away crowing sarcastically*” 

After watching her futilely trying to get those birds, I sat  down on the stairs with my coffee, and I started to think.

So often we have these goals that we set and we are like, “I’m just gonna rule the world! Come on everyone let’s do this!” There is nothing wrong with that, I have a lot of outlandish goals that I want to do with as many people as I can. But sometimes people see us coming and are like, “Ah… you know. Doing that is great and I applaud you for that, but it’s a Netflix and pizza night. I’ll like your pictures on Facebook! Good luck!” And they fly away. (Or walk. Most people walk.)

This can lead to disappointment, discouragement and other forms of depression.

We can be like, “What’s wrong with me that I can’t do *whatever your amazing goal is*” and we just get so frustrated with ourselves.

First of all, you are amazing. Keep pressing on toward the goal that God has laid on your heart! Because with him by your side, you can do it. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.)

Second of all, don’t try to change the colour of your coat to make it blend in. Because you stand out, and it’s beautiful when you do so. There are so many people that match, and when you stand out in the way that God has created you, it’s absolutely stunning. 

It's priceless when you stand out. Don't try to stick a price tag on your self, because you are so valuable that a King laid down his life for you. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, Precious is meowing to be let in, so I should do that...

 Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect” – Romans 12:2

~Rachel Joy

*My mother, Google and spellcheck say “Bant” is not a word, but I’m pretty sure it is, so I’m just gonna make it a word. Bant is now a word. It means “Sass sarcastically” and is basically short for ‘banter.’ 

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Fruit of the Heart by Sarah P.

The Fruit of the Heart 
“You can identify them by their fruit, that is, the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit…Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” –Matthew 7:16-18, 20 NLT 
I don't know about you, but I’m definitely a fruit person! There's nothing quite like ripe strawberries or freshly-picked peaches. The awesome thing about fruit is that it is naturally sweet and flavorful; it not only tastes good, it’s also good for you! 
In this passage of Scripture, Jesus compares our actions to fruit. He tells us that how we live shows what our hearts are like, much how the fruit that a tree produces shows what kind of tree it is. If a tree produces figs, you can conclude that it's a fig tree. Similarly, if a person produces good actions and loves God, you can conclude that they’re a Christian 
Jesus also says that the condition of our hearts will always determine our actions. A sinful heart full of bad attitudes, fear, and doubt won't produce charitable actions, good attitudes, and godliness, just like a patch of brambles won't produce apples.  
Yet sometimes Christians fall. We revert back to our old sinful ways instead of relying on God’s grace. Like even good fruit can rot and get old, our actions can change from good to bad very quickly. In Romans 6:15-16, Paul tells us, “Since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.  
When we become Christians, we commit to following God’s will instead of sin. If we fall, we can ask God for a new heartone that will lead us to good things instead of sin. It is our duty to make sure our hearts are right with God. In order to keep producing good actions, we have to rely on His grace and His power to renew our hearts.  
What do your actions say about you?


Bible Gateway Blogger Grid member badge