Five Women; One Amazing Story!

For some of you, it’s hard to put the word “happy” in front of Mother’s Day.

One definition of happy is “favored by fortune; lucky.” In other words, we’re happy IF things happen to be going our way. But we don’t know how things are going to turn out?

In the last Super Bowl, the New England Patriots were down by 25 points early in the 3rd quarter. It didn’t appear that things were going the Patriots’ way … except they won!

So don’t judge “happy” or “not happy” by how things are going in the middle of the story! 

To God, all of History is His Story. He knows every move, every hurt, every fumble, every betrayal, every noble deed, every evil deed … nothing escapes His notice. And it all fits into His Story—We are assured and know that God being a partner in their labor ALL THINGS work together and are fitting into a plan for good… (Romans 8:28).

Check out the stories of these five women—

Tamar had to pretend to be a prostitute in order to get her father-in-law to followthrough on his commitment. As a result, she became pregnant by him and was almost burned at the stake.

Rahab didn’t pretend to be a prostitute; she was a prostitute. She lived in an important city that was about to be defeated by the Israelites. Instead of trying to make things easier on herself, she trusted God and put herself in a very dangerous position.

Ruth was a non-Israelite married to an Israelite man. But when her husband, her brother-in-law, and her father-in-law all died, she took a huge risk in staying with her mother-in-law. She could have moved in with her family in a country she knew, but she went where she was an alien, a widow, and dirt poor.

Bathsheba was married to Uriah, who was a member of the king’s inner circle. But the king took advantage of her when Uriah was away at war, impregnated her, killed her husband, and then married her. Their son from that union died shortly after being born, but Bathsheba trusted God to make something good of her tragedy.

Mary was engaged to be married when she was found to be pregnant. Society could have shunned her, her fiancé could have had her killed for her unfaithfulness, but she trusted God to keep His word.

These five mothers are the ONLY women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-6, 16)

God used all of these women. Despite the way they were treated or mistreated; despite their own mistakes; despite the injustices committed against them. God used all of them as irreplaceable parts of His Story.

To God, all of History is His Story! He’s doing things through your life that you can’t possibly imagine. Trust Him—if you do, your name will also be recorded in the best “His Story” ever recorded! 

Whenever you don’t know what’s going on, lean into Him, cry out to Him. But then say with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” And what does God say? “I am working ALL THINGS together to tell My Story through your life!”

Love Beyond Imagining!

God has always been revealing Himself. Sometimes it’s in His Creation, or the conscience He placed inside every human, or the prophets who remind us of God’s ways. But ultimately God revealed His fullness in the Person of Jesus.

Nancy Guthrie wrote

“God has always wanted His people to know Him—not in a generic or shallow way, but personally, as He truly is. So He revealed Himself in a progressive way, not only through His name, but also through His glorious presence that dwelt in the Temple, through the Law, and through His mighty deeds on behalf of His people. But these revelations all led up to a definitive revelation in the Person of Jesus.

One of the ways the love of Jesus was revealed to us is in the story of Ruth and Boaz. This is one of my favorite Bible stories. It’s a short story, so please check it out when you have 10 minutes to read it.

Here’s the part of the story I want to share today. Ruth is…

  • a foreigner in Israel (she has no citizenship)
  • a widowed woman (she has no legal standing)
  • without money and no way to earn money, which means she is merely in survival mode
  • so far in debt that creditors are about to foreclose on the one remaining asset she and her mother-in-law have.

Ruth meets a man named Boaz, who is…

  • a rich land owner;
  • a “man of standing,” which can mean hero
  • well respected by the city leaders
  • a popular and successful employer
  • God-fearing and above-and-beyond obedient to God’s laws

Ruth, in an unexpected twist, asks Boaz to marry her!

Boaz has nothing to gain and everything to lose by agreeing to this marriage proposal, but he does it anyway!

In the language of the day, Ruth asks Boaz to “cover me with the corner of your robe.” This becomes the picture that Jesus will ultimately fulfill.

Not only does the corner of Christ’s robe heal people physically (Matthew 9:20-22; 14:34-36), but it also signifies His willingness to take in marriage anyone who is as utterly helpless as Ruth was.

Ruth had nothing but debts; we have nothing but debts. Ruth was barely surviving unless help came; we are headed for death without Jesus.

Boaz took Ruth as she was and gave her citizenship, legal standing, and riches. He covered her shame and allowed her to stand boldly in the city square.

Jesus takes us as we are and gives us citizenship in Heaven, a legal standing before Almighty God, all of His riches, and then…

All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before My Father and His angels that THEY ARE MINE! (Revelation 3:5)

Oh, how Jesus loves us!!

6 Quotes On Commitment From “The Seven Laws Of Love”

The Seven Laws Of LoveIn The Seven Laws Of Love, Dave Willis gives us some highly practical, biblically-based counsel for investing in all of our relationships. Normally when I share quotes from books, I share all of them at once, but I felt like it would be good to share these quotes a bit more slowly, to give you time to read them and apply them.

The seven laws Dave identifies are:

  1. Love requires commitment
  2. Love selflessly sacrifices
  3. Love speaks truth
  4. Love conquers fear
  5. Love offers grace
  6. Love brings healing
  7. Love lives forever

Dave writes in the introduction to his book, “God wants love to flow through our lives like a mighty river. The laws of love are the invisible banks God has placed around love for our prosperity and protection. When our relationships live with in those boundaries, everyone involved is enriched. When we dismiss or disregard the boundaries, our relationships can quickly become unhealthy and unsustainable.”

From law #1, here are some quotes on commitment—

“God created love to be a transformative force in every aspect of our lives. … Before that can happen, though, there must be commitment. Without a real commitment, there can be no real love.”

“The strength of your commitment will always determine the strength of your relationship.”

“God brought His own Son through the lineage of a poor young woman named Ruth who understood the power of commitment in the meaning of love. God wants to create a generational impact through your life as well. The level at which you’ll make an eternal impact is defined by your level of commitment to the people God has placed in your life.” 

“Our commitment to others is evident in the consistency with which we serve them. Grand, one-time gestures can be nice, it’s what we do with consistency that will ultimately shape our relationships.”

“We’ve traded true intimacy for porn. We’ve traded committed marriages for commitment-free cohabitation. We’ve traded having children for having pets. We’ve traded meaningful conversations for text messages. We’ve traded ‘till death do us part’ for divorce. We’ve traded the pursuit of holiness for the pursuit of happiness. We’ve traded love for lust. We’ve attempted to exploit all the benefits and pleasures of love without investing the commitment and self-sacrifice that love requires.” 

“Your life and your relationships will be defined by the commitments you make and how well you keep them.”

Check out my review of The Seven Laws Of Love by clicking here.

Watch for more quotes from the other laws of love explained in this book throughout the next few days.

A Mother’s Prayerful Perseverance

Prayerful perseveranceNaomi had it rough. It seemed like everything in her life fell apart. And to add insult to injury, everything around her seemed to mock her pain—

  • She lived in Bethlehem, which means House of Bread, but there was no bread because of the famine.
  • Her husband’s name was Elimelech, which means God is my king, but instead of him trusting God, he trusted his own wits.
  • Her sons were supposed to bring her joy and a hopeful future, but their names also haunted her: Mahlon means sickly, and Kilion means wasting away.

Naomi hit rock-bottom—Now Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died… And after they had lived there about ten years both Mahlon and Kilion both died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband (Ruth 1:3, 5).

Is it any wonder Naomi—whose name means pleasant—wanted to change her name to Mara (bitterness)?

But somewhere deep inside, Naomi had courage enough to hang on to hope. She heard that God had once again provided bread in the House of Bread, and she returned home. She had no prospects for success, and her husband’s debts were still awaiting her, but she went back to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth.

It was here they encountered Boaz. His name means pillar and he is described as “a man of standing” (2:1). Boaz was a kinsman-redeemer. Boaz is a picture of Jesus. As our Kinsman-Redeemer, only Jesus can…

  • Give our needs a voice as He intercedes for us
  • Bring us peace as He asks us to cast all our cares on Him
  • Pay all of our debts
  • Give us a hope-filled future

Especially as we remember Mothers Day, it’s a great reminder that a mother’s prayerful perseverance on her Kinsman-Redeemer yields blessings now and for generations to come! 

Don’t give up! Jesus is your Kinsman-Redeemer, and He is waiting for you to cling to Him.

(The Book of Ruth is an absolutely amazing, hope-inspiring story. It you haven’t read it lately, you can read it through in just a few minutes.)

It Just So Happened That…

I love the incredible love story in the Bible about Ruth and Boaz. I’m not sure why this hasn’t been made into a movie yet, because it would be a blockbuster!

Ruth is a picture of a God-fearing woman who turns her back on all she’s known to follow God’s leading. Boaz is a real man: strong, successful, respectful of women, honoring of tradition, hard working, God loving. You would expect in a story about two people who love God, and who fall in love with each other, and who have a son who becomes the grandfather of King David, that there would be at least one “divine moment.” You know, one of those unmistakable God-ordained moments when everything falls into place.

Here it is. In chapter two when Ruth first meets Boaz — when they have their first divine encounter — the Scripture says:

As it turned out, Ruth found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz.

As it turned out?!? That’s not very romantic. Or powerful. Or even God-honoring. Other translations are equally as bland —

The Message: Eventually she ended up in the field owned by Boaz.

ESV: She happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz.

KJV: And her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging to Boaz.

You see, we know the end of the story. We know God was in control of their lives. We know God set it up for Ruth and Boaz to cross paths. And yet even Samuel (or whomever wrote down this story) or Ruth (or whomever told this story to the author) could hardly believe it. “I just happened to end up in the right field at the right time!”

At the end of the story of my life, I think I will look back and see so many as-it-turned-out moments. So many things that just-so-happened. But that would mean I’m living in an as-it-turned-out moment right now. If I believe God is directing my paths, then…

every moment is divinely orchestrated.

every moment is strategic.

every moment is God-directed.

If you knew that this moment was a divine moment, how would you live differently? If you knew this was an as-it-turned-out, God-directed moment, how would you respond?

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