This is going to be a short post. I'm not so interested in giving you a bunch of my words today. I would like to simply encourage you to remember how practical God is. That may sound like an oxymoron (... a combination of words that have opposite or very different meanings) but I believe it is true. If you want success, peace, and favour in your life, follow God. Learn His ways. Emulate Jesus.
I was reading Proverbs 3 when these thoughts struck me. God is smart. He made me and knows how I tick best. I would be wise to follow His advice...
God is smart. He made me and knows how I tick best. I would be wise to follow His advice...
The story of Naomi and Ruth is an amazing one! Every time I read it, I am blown away by how big God is, how involved He is in details, and mostly, how loving and kind He is toward those who are after His heart. Here's the intro to a Bible study that I wrote that expresses my heart ... sorry guys, this study is not directed at you :)
What does it mean to be a godly woman?
We are women and we are unique. We are not like men, and they are not like us. I know this sounds kind of elementary, but we live in a world that seems to be getting it a little mixed up. To be ‘godly’ seems to have little to do with our past. If it does, I for one failed the test several years ago; in fact I probably failed it the moment I began my journey as a Christian! Godliness has nothing to do with successes and failures, but everything to do with my present posture & state of mind before God. I guess another way of putting it is; a godly past does not justify or acquit an ungodly present.
As I was pondering the question of being a godly woman, I was drawn to the book of Ruth. As I read and reread the book, I was impressed with the many things that we could learn from the lives involved. I was stunned by the significance of Ruth’s choices, especially as I reflected on the genealogy listed in chapter 4 (Ruth 4:13-22). It was then that I saw the women specifically that were used to fulfill the coming of Jesus; unlikely candidates for a King’s lineage! In Matthew 1:1-16; there’s another genealogy account listed for us that takes the one from Ruth all the way to Jesus’ birth. Christ’s lineage includes woman like Tamar (she slept with her father-in-law), Rahab (a harlot & Canaanite), Ruth (a Moabite), and Mary (unwed & young). God takes great delight in using unlikely people for His glory.
The very nature of ‘being’ a Christian is to be constantly growing and learning, ever changing as Christ increases in us and we recognize our intense need of Him. That is my life-long endeavour; to always be teachable, pursuing the heart of God and bringing Him glory with my life. The more I mature, the more I realize that I am like most of those that God used in scripture; unlikely candidates to be used effectively for a King. But, this is mere human reasoning as God takes great delight in taking foolish things, weak vessels, and broken lives to exhibit His salvation.
"Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That's why we have the saying, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.""
(1 Corinthians 1:26-31 MSG)
"In that day the remnant left in Israel, the survivors in the house of Jacob, will no longer depend on allies who seek to destroy them. But they will faithfully trust the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return... "
Isaiah 10:20, 21a
I hear this call just about everyday, "Return". What? Is Wanda backsliding? Isn't Isaiah talking about the 'remnant' of Israel who survived God's punishment toward them because of their unfaithfulness toward Him? In less words... they were a remnant of disobedient people.
Every day I make choices to either stay close to innocence (God) or not. I see, smell and hear things that want to challenge my desires and appetites - that require some type of response. These parade as allies - fulfilling my imminent needs while sabotaging my future. Often, the best reply I can give is what may look like indifference - to walk away without response. You know; not taking the 2nd look, closing the fridge door, turning the pity off, etc. Otherwise the pity starts to party and the treat turns into bondage.
Sound trivial? Maybe, but these are the things that spoil my connection with the Holy Spirit. I am human. I decided to follow Jesus a long time ago. And I tend to get distracted. When I do, He calls me back.
Maybe one day I'll be so perfect in my desires and pursuits that I will not need to have this reminder. But until that day comes, this remnant will return as often as is necessary!
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)
A friend put out a public prayer request asking for a non-believer's healing. It was given with her consent and with the assurance that God is a healer, has been doing some great things in people's lives lately, and that we will ask for a miracle to happen ... that she has a full recovery.
I found myself praying for the individual and then, I thought, "God, Your name is being put out on the line today." And just as quick as the thought was out, was this realization: God is His Name!
We serve a great God; One who actually personifies His name.
Healer Lover Provider Redeemer Faithful Friend Powerful Merciful Just Compassionate Forgiving
Let them know that You, whose name is the Lord —
that You alone are the Most High over all the earth.
Psalm 83:18 NIV
God stands by His Name.
I woke up this morning from a dream that was a flashback of three situations involving fast moving water and near death experiences.
As I recalled each one my heart went down to my stomach again, for the potential of disaster had been upon us. But, what I also remembered was standing on the bank, watching and praying. Let me rephrase that last line more accurately - I was literally yelling out, pleading for God to help, to send His angels, and shouting out encouragement to the swimmers so they would not give up! In each case, I watched as God intervened. The swimmers did not quit, a rescuer timed his entry perfectly to match the current and grab the victim. (I am not talking about a trained rescuer; it was my brother who jumped in to save the individual.) God caused another person to be drawn to the rocky shore, outside of the path of the crazy current, where they were able to grab hold and wait for help.
It is impossible for me to describe these scenarios so that you could envision them. But I do know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God intercepted and diverted disaster for all of us.
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Psalm 34:7
So, back to today. As I opened my Bible my eyes fell on the above verses. On those days in my history, the voice of the Lord was over the waters. He looked past our ignorance and calculations of it for we did not see the danger, and He rescued us.
God is good. God does care. He saves His people ... even from their own folly. He rescues those who trust in Him. (Psalm 28:7-9)
With my song, I will praise Him!
By His Spirit, I will declare words of encouragement and words of life!
The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the Lord sits as King forever.
The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.
No, sir, I will not yield!
"They yielded to their intense cravings." Numbers 11:2
Cravings. Temptations. Unhealthy desires will not go away. We will continue to have them come across our path, our eyes, our appetites until we die. (Fun, eh?!)
So, don't be fooled! A craving is not a sign that you need something, it is a sign that you want something. Need & want are very different from each other.
Consider this; just because I committed to be faithful to one man (over 30 years ago now!) does not mean that I do not see or cannot be tempted to desire another. When I walked down that church isle and signed the marriage license, I did not become blind or desensitized to the world we live in. I would have to live as a hermit with no technology or people surrounding me to escape the visual & sensual propaganda that the devil throws my way. BUT, I made a vow. I chose to commit. I will not yield!
So, don't be fooled! Temptation is always lurking around the corner, BUT you have Christ in your midst; the power of God to keep you from evil and to help you hold to your word. God is strong in your midst. Do not yield to temptation. Hold fast to your commitment and allow Jesus to be strong in you.
Here are some great scriptures to hold on to ...
1 Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people. Acts 12:11 NKJV
There's an old song that says, "He touched me ... something happened and now I know, He touched me ..."
We've all been touched by God. We just might not realize it. We all got touched (so to speak) when we were created. God was hands on in the designing and creating of each of us. (Read Psalm 119:73) I just don't remember that one!
But, sometimes in life, God gives us a special moment, where we actually have a sense that He has come down and touched us.
Peter had that. He was in prison (again) and an angel jolted him out of his sleep. The image I have in my head as I read this is actually comical, for the angel was not passive. The Bible says that the angel 'struck' Peter on the side and pulled him up! Ha! So here's what my brain sees ... Peter sound asleep. An angel shows up with tons of light happening. Peter stays asleep. The angel gives him a boot in the side and yanks him up. He tells him to get dressed, put his shoes on and follow. Peter thinks he is dreaming. They go by the 1st and 2nd guard posts and when they come to the exit, which happens to be a large, iron gate, it opens all by itself! They walk out, go down the street a bit and the angel ... vanishes! Peter wakes up. (Read the whole story here)
Have you ever been touched by God? Has He delivered you from something that held you in a prison of sorts? I have. He has touched me. He has delivered me and led me past the 1st and 2nd guard posts. He opened the massive iron gates without me even lifting a finger. He touched me and healed me. And I wasn't dreaming.
So, I ask you again, has God touched you? If He has, tell someone about it. If He hasn't, ask Him to.
And I bowed down my head and worshiped the Lord and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, Who had led me in the right way... Genesis 24:48
I've just finished reading the story of Abraham's servant going to find a wife for Isaac (I'm glad times have changed!), and was so impressed by this man's reliance on God. He asked God for direction, was thoughtful in discerning it, and gave immediate credit and worship to Him when the answer came. No wonder Abraham could trust his servant with this huge task!
It's caused me to reflect on my own life and recall the several times that God has obviously directed me and our family over the years. A lot of these instances resulted in significant course changes for us. I remember the moment that Bruce & I knew we were meant for each other, the time when we knew we were to go to Israel, the way He led us to one of our homes, the purchase of a property for our church, etc., etc. I can also remember some instances that surprised us, but God has shown that He was closing a door (I think it was right on our foot!) only to open another one.
Do you remember such times? Why not take some time to write them down and worship God for His intervention in your life. Encourage someone else by posting a brief comment here to give testimony of God's faithfulness in your life.
Train me, God, to walk straight;
then I'll follow your true path.
Put me together, one heart and mind;
then, undivided, I'll worship in joyful fear.
From the bottom of my heart I thank you, dear Lord;
I've never kept secret what you're up to.
You've always been great toward me—what love!
You snatched me from the brink of disaster!
God, these bullies have reared their heads! A gang of thugs is after me—
and they don't care a thing about you. But you, O God, are both tender and kind,
not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit.
So look me in the eye and show kindness, give your servant the strength to go on,
save your dear, dear child! Make a show of how much you love me
so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed,
As you, God, gently and powerfully put me back on my feet.
Psalm 86:11-17 MSG
"It came to pass that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah went to dwell in the country of Moab, he & his wife and his two sons." Ruth 1:1
Have you ever wanted to run? I have many times and I must say, the times that I gave in to the urge did not prove to be profitable!
The book of Ruth opens with this type of dilemma. We read of a family that left home, but more than that, they left the covering of God that was over that home. Judah was a land established by God through Abraham. (Times of famine usually occured due to disobedience, but they always remained under the promise of covenant that God established with Abraham. God always turned things around when they came to Him in repentance.) Anyway, Elimilech & his family left Judah and went to Moab. Moab was a nation that descended from Lot's son; a son that was born to him through his daughter. Yup, that's what I said. (see Genesis 19:30-38) Are you getting the picture?
God plants, establishes and promises to take care of His own. We are to trust Him in the place that He leads us. He will make good on His Word. I can't help but think of Job here, when he cried out...
"How deep, how wide is the love of God..." What God loves, He loves always.
Please inquire for the word of the LORD today. 1 Kings 22:5