Ruth, A Love Story

RUTH AND BOAZWidowed Naomi with Ruth by her side

Alone on a journey in loss

Broken undone, exhausted and empty

“Does God have Grace enough?”

Entered in Bethlehem, Boaz took notice

Extended his Grace undeserved

Arms full of grain, food for the evening

Naomi ignites with a plan

“Washed and perfumed, go and find Boaz

Uncover his feet and lie down

Redemption is nearing, take off your mourning

At the feet of Boaz be found”

Boaz watched the field for intruders

Returned home to rest and restore

Awoken by Ruth, appealing and humbled

“Spread your cloak over me”

 

A Boaz for every Ruth

Kinsman redeemer for all

Anoint yourself, prepare for the day

“Get thee down to the floor”

Ruth, no different than you or I

A foreigner seeking appeal

Ruth was poor, as we are poor

Without offer in need of help

Ruth sought out her kinsman redeemer

The road led to Grace in her groom

Our kinsman redeemer in Christ our Lord

Most faithful unfathomable bride

Hopelessness replaced, pours in His Grace

Desires fulfilled lack regained

Grace reaches out, embraces our nothing

And we become heirs of the King!

One of the greatest love stories to be found is the story of Ruth, in the book of Ruth, in the bible. Ruth was a Moabite woman who married into an Israelite family and eventually converted to Judaism. She is the great-grandmother of King David and hence an ancestor of the Messiah.

The book of Ruth and Max Lucado’s message on Grace inspired this poem. Click hear to listen.

You Are My Portion

Bland oatmeal with slices of banana in almond milk; I lift the spoon to my lips and think on the connection between the Daniel Fast† and my spiritual growth. I am not a veteran of fasting, frankly, I have fasted infrequently. My carnal mind questions the significance of fasting past the physical benefits, “Daniel had conviction to remove himself from the kings food and God called Daniel to speak to the king through his fasting”. Moments later Christ directs my thoughts to Him.

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.
Daniel 1:8-14

The Daily Light on the Daily Path” devotional and the text opens with, “O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.—The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup. The devotional ‘coincidentally’ uses terms that parallel consuming food and drink. As the Word is written, His Bread, scripture, guidance and council, will satisfy.¹ This scripture does not suggest we should not eat or drink but, the pleasure that can be momentarily received in sweet and rich foods is obtainable in Christ. When Daniel fasted with three other young men, God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

Each of us needs to hear from God and none are without needs. The bible provides many examples of how through fasting results were obtained and difficulties broken. Discipline is another objective of fasting. Some unable to fast for extended periods will often fast one meal coinciding with prayer to seek God’s intervention.

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove hence in the yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind [that is this kind of faith] only goes out by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:20-21).

Jesus shared this previous passage with the disciples because they were wondering how they were powerless in a situation. Prayer and fasting was direction to build faith in the disciples. How often do we feel powerless? There are many areas in my life which I feel powerless. Could fasting be the key to victory? Today, arms wide open, we come; You are our portion, You hold our right hand, Father, You guide us.

Dear Lord, 
As your Word equates faith with hearing the Word of God², grow in us a hunger for your Word. For many of us Lord, our carnal man lacks zeal and desire to sit with You. Our minds are weak and we tend to drift in our thoughts when we should be fixed on you. Grow in us discipline. Grow in us zeal. Lord, we lack faith that you demonstrated in the bible and men of faith demonstrated for your purpose. Grow in us faith. Our spirits are discouraged Lord as our eyes move to what we see all around us. Flood in us Your Spirit to overcome discouragement and fill us with Your Joy. We love you today and always—You are our portion and our cup, fill us Precious Lord.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

¹But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
² Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
†Daniel Fast:
http://christianity.about.com/od/whatdoesthebiblesay/a/spiritualfasting.htm
http://keystonefellowship.com/40days/daniel-fast-information
http://danielfast.wordpress.com/daniel-fast-food-list/
http://danielfast.com/
http://www.ultimatedanielfast.com/

Confident Hope

“Camellias, tulip trees, and narcissus are blooming, and hyacinths and even a few brave azaleas are peeking out.”

Sscrr-sccrr-sccrr-sccrr-sccrr-sccrr

“Last spring I planted a few broccoli plants and was amazed at how prolific they were! I didn’t think broccoli would thrive in our hot weather.”

photo: Danielle Closs, 2008; photo editing, Denise Cotter

photo: Danielle Closs, 2008; photo editing, Denise Cotter

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Backing out the driveway I comment to my daughter, “Looking out this windshield is like viewing the world through frosted zebra stripes”. She sits a bit hunched beside me rubbing her chilled hands to recover them from clearing the ice from the car window shield. My body stiffened to brace from the cold, toe tips beginning to feel the impact of the rude air that seems to seep through my souls— another day in paradise! As the car peeps over the hill we are hit by the blinding impact of raw sunlight bursting from the mass of light unusually low and large. It seems out of place in the scenic view of the farm school fields with fences barely visible hazed by the morning frost and moist air.

“Springtime is very near here in Southeast Texas!”¹

Warmed by the mental images of a blog share yesterday, when a friend, Auntie Em, posted garden-fresh broccoli images and shared a verbal illustration of spring. It is coming! I can smell the hyacinths and see the forsythia boldly confirming — spring is here!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12 ESV

Auntie Em’s images of spring brought me hope—not the winsome half-hearted hope we often hear expressed in, “I hope so” <sigh>, but confident hope— the hope of the bible. Biblical hope is without doubt. The Greek and Hebrew meaning of hope is compounded in confidence, security, and being without care; therefore, the concept of doubt is not part of this word!

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; My flesh also dwells secure. Psalm 16:9

…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Biblical hope has substance and a home for our faith as Christians. We hope in Jesus. We hope in salvation. We hope in justice. We are instructed to hope and not be discouraged which is evidence of a lack of faith. Our unseen heart, or soul², is instructed to reach to the unseen and trust God, and have confidence in His Sovereignty.

Dear Father,

We are weak and needy and our faith is failing. Lord we ask you today to fill us with Godly faith—the faith of the bible. Where there is doubt, fill us with confidence in You. Where we lack hope, fill us with a conviction of your promises to us for goodness. Lord, where discouragement and fear has found a place in our spirits, rid us of these evils and fill the void with joy and security rooted in You, the maker of all that is good.

Thank you for hearing us and loving us. Help us to keep you close in our hearts, the unseen home, and erect in us spiritual eyes for the unseen good that is found in You. Fill us with a love that is pure and pleasing to you. Use us to share this love with others who are imprisoned in their circumstances and what is seen. In the name of Jesus, Your precious Son, Amen.

¹http://auntieemsguide.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/auntie-ems-garden-fresh-broccoli/

²http://www.jesusteachings.com/thesoul.html: Did you know that the soul is a part of the human design? Reading Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within (out of the soul), and defile the man.”And Reading in Romans 3:10, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (No, not one soul is righteous.) Reading Luke 16:15, “God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart (soul) of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”