Verse to Meditate on

Verse to Meditate on

I have been seriously MIA lately! But I thought I’d share some verses that I have been reading today and thinking about. It is so important to learn the truth of God’s Word for ourselves, and to pass these truths along to our children and the next generation. I pray as a mother of two children, and one on the way, I can be aware of the need to teach and instruct my children in the Word of God.

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This second lesson from Ruth’s life comes from chapter 2 of the book of Ruth.  We can learn from Ruth’s life that she took no thought for herself while serving her mother-in-law.  Ruth was willing to consider Naomi’s need above her own, and she went beyond what would have been expected of her in order to do that.  Ruth humbled herself to the mean task of gleaning.  Gleaning was truly a tedious task.  The gleaners in the fields were essentially gathering in the leftovers and the castoffs of the harvest.  When the reapers went through, they were to leave that which was dropped for the poor and the unfortunate.  God had made provision for this when He gave the laws to Moses:

Leviticus 19:9, 10 ~ “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.  And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.”

Those who did not have food for their own tables would come behind the reapers, and arduously pick up those few small kernels that were left on the ground.  It was the least praiseworthy job in all Israel.  And Ruth was willing to do it to help support her mother-in-law through their reduced circumstances. 

As a mother, I am often putting another’s needs before my own!  That’s kinda the understood duty of a mom. The kids need caring for and our of love and just sheer duty, we make sure they are cared for, fed, changed, bathed, etc.  But I wonder about other people, outside the home.  Are my eyes watching to be a helper?  An encourager?  A friend?  Am I willing to help others? 

Ruth did not consider going back to her life in Moab.  She didn’t consider trying to find someone else the help her out, she shouldered the task herself.  She didn’t take the easy way out.  She showed she was willing to do whatever it took to help her month-in-law.  Now we know the end of the story.  Boaz takes notice, watches our for her, falls in love, marries her, and they live happily ever after.  But Ruth didn’t know any of this. She didn’t know that by doing this menial task, she was paving her way out of poverty and into wealth.  All she knew was that she and Naomi had needs that weren’t going to be met unless she took action.  But we also see that in the end, God blesses her effort and her life is changed so much for the better!  But before we look into all the blessings, stay tuned for a couple more steps in Ruth’s life.  And watch as she stays faithful to God and faithful to Naomi.

Lessons on Ruth (#2)

Lessons while shoveling snow…and we have plenty of it!

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Well today dawned bright and sunny to the excitement of our whole family!  We have about 14 inches of snow on the ground and the 44 degree, sunny weather was very welcome.  Melting snow all around is wonderful!  Warm weather means that this mommy and her kiddos get to go outside and play and take a walk after several weeks of being cooped up inside.  (Can you say CABIN FEVER!!!)

So this morning, I decided to read the book of Ruth since my husband will be preaching a message on Ruth’s life this evening in church.  And since I may not get to hear it, I figured I’d just go ahead and read the account from the Bible, and see what I could glean from her story. Did you catch the “glean” pun?  ;)  So I read the four chapters this morning, then went about my day, thinking little more of it.  And this afternoon as I was shoveling all that snow, I began to think about it again.  I learned some things from her life, and I pray that the observations I made may be a blessing to someone else also.

First, Ruth was willing to leave her comfort zone in order to minister to a person that she loved – her mother-in-law, Naomi.  May I also point out that Naomi tried to convince Ruth to turn back and return to her home country of Moab.  Naomi knew she had nothing to offer Ruth and that she was returning to unknown circumstances in Bethlehem Judah.  She knew the famine was over, but not having a husband or anyone to provide for her, she would have had to means of support for herself or her two daughters-in-law.  So, she tried to persuade her two daughters-in-law to return to Moab.  Orpah heeds the admonition, and returns; but we see Ruth steadfastly clinging to her mother-in-law, and refusing to forsake her.  Such faithfulness is rarely found!  But what would this faithfulness mean for Ruth?  Certainly it meant a blessing for Naomi, but for Ruth it meant the forsaking of all that she had ever known, and all that she called familiar.  It meant the embracing of a new religion, a new culture, and a new family, all at once.  And she was more than willing to do so, to show love to her mother-in-law. 

The lesson here is, are you willing to step out of your comfort zone to minister to others?  Sometimes, it may seem there are no benefits for us, but what a blessing we can be to someone else!  Stepping out of our comfort zone may mean putting someone else’s needs before our own.  It may mean that you are put on display.  It may mean that you are left vulnerable to ridicule.  It may also mean that risk of failure.  But when we are truly following God’s leading, we can be sure He will always bless our efforts.

For my family, stepping out of our comfort zone has meant uprooting our family and traveling across the country to take the pastorate of a church in western PA.  For my husband, a new job was involved, with new people and different surrounding.  It was a big and sometimes scary move, but God has blessed us with such victories along the way!  For Ruth, it meant of a forsaking of familiar things.  For you, it might mean something completely different.  But we should always be willing to serve the Lord, even when it means doing something that might get us out of our little bubble.  Don’t be afraid to follow the Lord’s leading!  My Father has a plan for our lives, and it is so much better than anything we could have dreamed up.

The blessings in having my dryer quit!

 

So today my dryer quit. I’m still hoping my super handy husband can get it back up and running, but until then, I have four lines of drying clothes strung throughout my house!  Isn’t it funny how a day you thought you had all planned out suddenly takes an interesting turn?  But I the midst of the midmorning laundry chaos, the Lord showed me the silver lining, and how He has prepared me for this and blessed me…oh yes I said it – THE LORD HAS BLESSED ME!!!

Three days ago, I got “a bee in my bonnet”, to use the cliché.  I just had to clean out the master bedroom closet.  It had to be done, and it was going to get done TODAY!!!  Our closet has been a work in progress since we moved.  For one thing, it is now not only the place to keep our clothes and shoes, but it also contains many of the contents of out backyard shed back in Cottonwood: Christmas decorations and lots of miscellaneous items not normally stored in my closet.  We don’t have a shed at our new home, so all the things I used to store outside are now in my closet.  That means it has already been worked over about three times since we moved in last Oct.  In the process, I found my extra close-line sting.  It had gotten stuck in some random place and forgotten after we moved.  I was glad to know where it was in case I ever needed it.  I haven’t used a clothes-line since I stopped cloth diapering before the move.  So, even in just this small part, God was preparing ahead of time what He knew I would need on this Saturday mornings.

The second thing is that if we do need a new one (which is looking likely at this point), God has times this just right in the tax return season.  Our return will be small this year, but certainly enough to cover a new dryer if needed.  Or if needed we could pull from our scant, but present savings.  It’s seems sometimes in life that we can’t get ahead and stay ahead in our finances.  However, when looking at it from another perspective, we’re so thankful that God is supplying so that we don’t get behind and go back into debt.

But I’m still praying my husband can fix it!  Update on the situation to come.  :)  Until then, keep serving the Lord with your whole heart, and seek to honor Him and Glorify Him today.

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UPDATE: February 10th
So my husband was able to fix our dryer!!! Probably temporary, but at least it is up and running again, and no more clotheslines for me! Wanna know the funny part about how he fixed it? I wish I could tell you that he truly was a genius (which he really is) and I wish I could tell you that he miraculously fixed it (but he didn’t). In truth, all that he had to do was reset the breaker (which I had already tried) and unplug it from the wall. And since it was set to dry the clothes it had never dried, when he plugged it back in, it automatically came on! End of story, and it’s still working three loads of clothes later. But he did say that he’s pretty sure the motor is going bad, so it was probably a safety switch that triggered it to not work on Saturday morning. I’m thankful we didn’t have a drop several hundred dollars right at this moment though. Our Kenmore dryer just keeps on going!

Reposting from Cary Schmidt: HAVE YOU EVER BEEN HURT BY CHURCH?

This is an excellent article talking about what we can do when we have been hurt by Christians and those who attend church.  When we go to church, we expect to find a peaceful, safe environment, but we are often disappointed.  The church seems to be always full of hypocritical, selfish people.  Why is that?  Well, I won’t rewrite the article, so click on the link and read for yourself!  It’s is a longer article, but well worth the read.

http://caryschmidt.com/2014/01/have-you-ever-been-hurt-at-church

My Theme for the Year of 2014

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Wow, was that a “14″ I wrote up there?  Wasn’t it just yesterday we finished out the 90′s with the Y2K scare?   It’s incredible to me that we’re already entering the year 2014!  I think the holidays and the new year snuck up on me fast this time, and I was left somewhere back in November.  But whether or not I’m ready, a new year is upon us, and all the blessings and testings that the Lord has in store for me this year are already in the making.  Even before this new year hit, I knew what I was going to choose as my personal theme for 2014.  It is not something that I have often done before, but occasionally I have chosen an area of my life to work on in the new year, or even less often have I actually made a “New Years Resolution.”  But late last year, around the first couple weeks of November, the Lord gave me a song.  I sang it in church once, and it has been on my mind and heart every since.  I want to share that today, and also share a little about what it means to me in my walk with God.

My Father Planned It All

 Verse 1:  What tho’ the way be lonely, and dark the shadows fall; I know where’er it leadeth, My Father planned it all.

Verse 2:  There may be sunshine tomorrow, Shadows may break and flee; ‘Twill be the way He chooses, The Father’s plan for me.

Verse 3:  He guides my faltering footsteps Along the weary way, For well He knows the pathway Will lead to endless day.

Verse 4:  A day of light and gladness On which no shade will fall; ‘Tis this at last awaits me – My Father planned it all.

Chorus:  I sing thru the shade and the sunshine, I’ll trust Him whatever befall; I sing for I cannot be silent – My Father planned it all.

This song is such a blessing in a believers life when we can realize in our lives that anything and everything that happens in our life, God already knew.  Not only did He know, He planned and orchestrated every part of our lives.  He knows everything about us.  Psalm 139:2 “[He] knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.”  II Kings 19:27 “But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in…” Our heavenly Father is not a busy Being flying around up there somewhere and every once in awhile He might check in on me.  He is watching over me day and night, and He sees my strengths and my weaknesses.  He knows what trials may befall me, and He sends that grace and strength over and over again that I need to keep me going.

God knows if you’re frustrated in your workplace.

God knows if you’re a parent of a struggling or rebellious teen.  (Or in my case a mother of a two year in the process of potty training!)

God knows your work and labor of love, even when you’re not getting any appreciation.

God knows if your marriage is struggling.

God knows if you’ve lost a loved one.

God knows if you’ve hit hard financial times.

God knows if you’re tempted with  _____________.

God also sees the good times.  The laughter, and the blessings.  The triumphs and the victories.  He smiles, and delights to bless us.

My Father Planned It All.  Why, you might be tempted to ask?  To draw you closer to Himself as His child.  He wants you to realize that you can trust in His strength when you don’t have any left of your own.  You can trust in His promises, even when His ways seem to be outside of your understanding.  Hebrews 10:23 “… he is faithful that promised.”

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!  Now is the time to leave 2013 in the past and look forward to the newness and opportunities that God gives us in this new year.  It really is like a new start each year, but it is also just another day that we are given in which we can choose to love and serve God.  We have two choices today, and this year:  serve God and others, or serve ourselves.  Throughout each day of this new year, may we be drawing closer to Him and learning more about Him.   May God be glorified in all that we say and do this year!