SUNDAY SONG

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 4:7
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

Nothing I can say this week can say things more plainly and clearly than the Bible, and cannot compare to the words of the song I’ve posted this week. Please listen to the words.

Have a blessed Sunday! 🙂

PSALM 105

Sometimes we (and I mean me) need reminders about God’s protection of us.

Jeremiah 29:11 states that God has a hope and a purpose for our lives.

Psalm 105 is a text of proof for the assertions made in Jeremiah 29:11

While the entire Psalm shows God’s faithfulness and protective hand, because of his promises to bring about His plans, Psalm 105: 23-36 discusses all that God did for the Jews when they were about to be freed from Egypt:

23 Then Israel entered Egypt;
Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham.
24 The LORD made his people very fruitful;
he made them too numerous for their foes,
25 whose hearts he turned to hate his people,
to conspire against his servants.
26 He sent Moses his servant,
and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
27 They performed his signs among them,
his wonders in the land of Ham.
28 He sent darkness and made the land dark—
for had they not rebelled against his words?
29 He turned their waters into blood,
causing their fish to die.
30 Their land teemed with frogs,
which went up into the bedrooms of their rulers.
31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,
and gnats throughout their country.
32 He turned their rain into hail,
with lightning throughout their land;
33 he struck down their vines and fig trees
and shattered the trees of their country.
34 He spoke, and the locusts came,
grasshoppers without number;
35 they ate up every green thing in their land,
ate up the produce of their soil.
36 Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land,
the firstfruits of all their manhood.

What struck me was verse 37:

He also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among His tribes.

Looking closely, you will see that God laid out His judgment on Egypt; however, when Egypt finally relented and allowed the Jews to leave, the Jews left blessed financially and able to be up to the task they faced.

Now, I know that they ended up in the wilderness, because they couldn’t be patient with God, unable to show solid faith some of the time. However, God did keep His promises–He was faithful.

The same is true, today. The world is crazy, people are seem to just be losing sight of right and wrong and how we are suppose to live according to God’s Word. We all have flaws contributing to the ills of society. HOWEVER….a huge however, God is still faithful, long-suffering and full of love for us. He wants to bless us and show  us that even though we are surrounded by societal dysfunction of epic proportions, God can cause our circumstances to transcend everything, so that He is glorified, so folks look to Him.

I don’t know about you, but I am so glad and grateful that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Ruth 1

Ruth 1:16-18
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. 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.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

This passage is often quoted/read during wedding ceremonies. It is a vow. I often wonder how many people who include this “vow” this in their wedding truly honor the words stated without complaint when it comes time to “pay up” on those words.

Ruth, when she said these words to her mother-in-law, Naomi, was vowing to go to Bethlehem and see to Naomi’s well-being no matter what it took. This Moabite chose to leave her land, her family and her gods for the worship and honoring of God the Father.

That is no small task. In doing so, Ruth also opened herself up to be seen as an outcast and interloper in the Jewish society.

On the surface, we have two widows: Naomi, who has lost her husband and both of her sons, and Ruth, who lost her husband–Naomi’s son. (Orpah the other daughter-in-law decided to stay in Moab after Naomi persuaded her not to leave, so she’d have a future.) Ruth, despite Naomi’s pleas, stayed with Naomi.

This is true loyalty and faithfulness. This is also a blessing on so many levels.

Ruth is a blessing to Naomi, because she is willing to give up everything to be with her mother-in-law and to follow God.

Naomi is a blessing to Ruth, because she has provided Ruth with the example of someone who follows God and accepts His presence in her life.

Even though Naomi’s family went to a land where they should not have, because of the culture of Moab and because of the historical importance of the strife between Moab and the Jews, Naomi still kept her ties with God.

In Chapter 1 of the book of Ruth, we have the beginning of God showing us how He blesses us in spite of our wandering. We have the beginning of God showing us how He redeems us. These points will developed throughout the book of Ruth, as will the importance of a legacy of faith.

For a very small book in the Bible, so much is said.

Yes, there is a love story (eventually), but it so much more than that…although, love stories are nice, too.

I hope this encourages you to break out a study Bible to read Ruth. If you do, remember to read the notes. 🙂

And my next Bible study will be. . .

Today, I began a Bible study that I wanted to begin last summer (opted for Esther instead). Over the next week or two, I will be studying the book of Ruth.

Mostly, I am reading a commentary and then I will read the Bible and its study notes. I look forward to it, and I will post more as I study.

For me, being able to say that I’d be up for anything and willing to go anywhere is a true statement, even though the realities of doing so would take God’s hand…big time.

For Ruth, picking up and “going” came at a cost–leaving her faith and leaving her homeland. She turned to God completely by leaving Moab with her mother-in-law, Naomi.

That took clear devotion and a genuine heart–one that says, “By leaving here with you, I am choosing your God as my God.”  Her decisions to follow God and to show obedience were rewarded.

In doing so, Christ’s lineage and birthplace were solidified.

Ruth is a small book, but a very important one for many, many reasons.

SUNDAY SONG

Luke 12:6-8
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God.

The past year, God has taught me many lessons, especially about myself.

The past month, He has humbled me beyond words. He protects me and He loves me, and God is faithful.

Thank you, Lord, for your blessings and your love. Thank you for showing me how valuable and loved I am.

SUNDAY SONG

2 Corinthians 5:17-18
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

I think to some degree, we all struggle with thinking had we made better choices in life, we’d have less wreckage to deal with.

I know I do.

Sometimes when we look at our lives we feel we don’t have much to show for it. When I was younger, I used to look at my poor decisions and how they stunted my growth from a world view: didn’t have a house, didn’t have any savings, didn’t have a real career or education. Well, I have those things.  And they are blessings for which I can never truly relate how grateful I am.  But even with those things, I must still look back at the trash heap my life once was.  Out of all of it, God provided so many blessings and chances to grow.  He provided a life wherein I thrive and do not wither.  The world will always find something to judge, but God will always use my deficiencies to glorify Him.

Those are the reasons to look back–to see how far I’ve come and to realize and acknowledge, that it wasn’t me improving things and giving me beauty out of the ashes of my life, it was and still is God.Simply, God has taken the areas of my life that were so destoyed and created something beautiful. Many people in my life discount my efforts, my successes and usually still think of me as that messed up punk of a kid and young adult.  I am so grateful for God seeing past all of that–even still working in me.   He sees us in ways others can never see us, because you know…they are wiser than God. /snark.

God will take anything, even something that equates a landfill of a life and turn it into something wonderous and beautiful.

My only hope is that God continues to bless me, so that I can bless others.

Psalm 121

I was reading this, today, and I just thought I’d share.

PSALM 121
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.