Thoughts on Ruth

In Sin

She was a Moabite. She lived her own way apart from God and oblivious to Him.  She thought lifewas fine.

A Different Life

She meets this guy from Judah, a man of God. Something is different about him and his family. She marries him.
Conflict and Decision

Her father-in-law dies. Then her husband dies too. Now her mother-in-law is trying to making her goback to her own family and her old way of life.She decides to go where ever Naomi goes.

Servanthood Begins

She accepts Naomi’s God as her own.  She serves Naomi. She is a companion, friend, daughter and servant to Naomi.

God’s Providence

The two travel back to Jerusalem, where Naomi is well known. It’s harvest time, so Ruth goes to glean grain for food.  She happens across Boaz’field. He is a close relative of Naomi.

Redemption

Naomi is excited to hear about Boaz.  He can be their redeemer to buy back their land and providefor them.  But there is another relative even closer than Boaz.

Inheritance

The closer relative declines the offer to be the redeemer for fear of losing his own inheritance.

Saved

Boaz steps up, redeems the land and marries Ruth. Ruth and Naomi are cared for again.

Father, thank you for calling us out of sin, showing us a different life, giving us opportunity to turn, andallowing us to serve others.  Thank you for your provision, redemption in Jesus, our inheritance in you. Thank you for saving us from a life apart from you. In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, founder ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc, a 501(c) (3) Public Charity, has a heart to encourage and equip you with God’s Word.


All That You Say To Me I Will Do

Read Ruth 3

And she said to her “All that you say to me I will do.”

If ever there was a statement of faith and obedience this is it.  Ruth, a Moabite, had left her land, and her relatives to go with Naomi, her mother-in-law, to the land of Judah.  She puts complete trust in her mother-in-law and her mother-in-law’s God.

What does it take for you to follow through with anything? Some need to know everything will work out as planned. Others may do a certain thing, if they know they will receive something in the end.  Precious few follow through because it is what God wants.

Can you say to God, “All that you say to me I will do?” For God has told us His desire, that we love Him, walk humbly before Him and follow His ways.  As the story of Ruth shows, blessings follow obedience.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.  With faith, obedience will follow.  With obedience blessings follow.

Whether you are seeking love, forgiveness, protection, or provision it is found through faith in God.  When we are obedient to His ways, He blesses us with what we need.

Father the One of infinite abundance, you love us. Thank you for wanting to bless us.  Help us trust you more with each passing day.  May obedience to your ways become nature to us.  Give us desire for you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, founder ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc, a 501(c) (3) Public Charity, has a heart to encourage and equip you with God’s Word.

Some Things Are Learned Only Through Hardship

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 2:3 NKJV

Until recently I never completely understood this passage.  Endure hardship, yeah, okay when it happens I’ll endure.  Let me tell you it is harder than you might think.

The last two months have been a whirlwind of unexpected chaos.  I’ll spare you all the details, but allow me to outline some of what we went through.

We had planned an all expenses paid cruise to Bahamas for just my husband and me.  I looked forward to this trip with great expectation. It’s been almost 15 years since our last “alone together” trip.  The weekend before our trip, out dog started having problems walking.  He’s only 6 so it wasn’t like he had arthritis or something like that.  Some testing at the vet revealed high calcium levels, bladder stones and various other ailments.  We continued test after to test to find the cause of the high calcium. Meanwhile, the dog grew sicker, worse each day that we ended up cancelling our trip.

The bummer was the trip was a company reward and didn’t cost us anything.  When we cancelled we lost the “free money”. Not only that, but I allowed the enemy’s lies to penetrate my mind with thoughts such as “the dog is more important than me.”

The timing was just terrible.  My elder son has been struggling with his grades had final exams the same week of the dog crisis.  I became anxious about him staying focused on his studying.

We also experienced car trouble. Not just one of our cars, but both cars needed multiple hundreds of dollars in repairs. With the dog doctor bills, the car repairs, my other son’s school tuition became due a month earlier than usual.

At work, we were planning an event which I would be facilitator.  There were many late nights preparing, last minute changes which led to my unease about having an effective meeting.  It also caused my family to be upset with all the late nights.

During all of this my mind was racing, my emotions were swelling, my body ached with tension. My prayer life was all about solving the problems.  I began talking to everyone about all this as though I collecting all the “poor you” comments I could.  I was so disappointed, angry, anxious and stressed.  It sapped my ability to think straight.  I could barely take care of my normal routines.

When I searched God’s Word looking for encouragement, enlightenment, resolution I found 2 Timothy 2:3.  Not exactly what I had hoped for.  But God knew what I needed.

These “trials” were exactly that, a trial to test my faith.  I’m ashamed to say I don’t think I did very well.  But God’s purposes prevailed.  These difficulties revealed many things about the condition of my heart.

First, I was depending on the trip too heavily. My marriage relationship needed some work and I relied on that trip as the major step in the right direction.  God led me to see other small steps I could take to improve things as I follow His leading.

Second, I discovered a hidden pride.  The trip was a “Circle of Excellence” award for good work I had done the previous year.  When denied the ability to use this award, prideful thoughts abound, such as “you deserved that tip” and “next time I’ll take the trip alone.” Of course this would not do.  So a humbly process began.

Third, my thoughts were focused on my circumstances (things of this world) and not on God’s greatness.  God gently got my attention and led me to look at my responses rather the problems.  In that I could see how wrong I had been.

Fourth, I discovered I had slipped back into doing out of my own effort.  I thought I had been in lock-step with the Lord.  Yet my behavior and my attitudes were the warning signals telling me I drifted from walking by faith and was, in fact, walking by the flesh instead.

So whether this was a spiritual attack or not, what was meant for evil God turned around and used for good.  My hope in sharing my weakness is that you may be strengthen, encouraged and lead to call on the Lord in your times of trials rather than trying to figure things out through your own understanding.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

First Christmas gift

 

The first Christmas gift came from above

Wrapped in starlight, tied with love,

Given with joy, a sweet baby boy

A gift for you and me.

 

Only a few really new,

This child so helpless and small,

Would one day be for you and me

The greatest gift of all.

 

Jesus was born when the world needed love,

Someone to show the way.

So God gave us all his only son

On that first Christmas day.

 

Author unknown

Memorial

Read Joshua 4

The Lord tells Joshua to appoint twelve men, one from every tribe to gather stones from the Jordan.  The stones were to be set up as a memorial for the children of Israel so they may remember what God did for them.  The stones were also a teaching aid so parents could explain to their children what God did for them.

Webster’s dictionary defines memorial as something keeping a remembrance alive.  All through the Bible we are encouraged to remember, to consider, to meditate, to think about all the Lord has done for us.  In a sense, the Bible itself is a memorial record of a past age.  It documents God’s relationship with His people.  It describes the people’s decision to maintain relationship with God or not.  In the 66 books we are given a detailed memoir of God.  The fact the Bible have survived thousands of years without changing its content is a testimony of its supreme importance.  God wants us to remember Him.

In Joshua 4 the people were to explain how they crossed the Jordan to their children.  This way the children would see God’s glory through the miracle He made happen at the Jordan.  The parents had to be available, to hear the question, and be able to answer it.

The next time you notice your Bible on the coffee table, think of the Jordan memorial stones.  If someone asked you what is so special about the Bible, how would your respond?  God wants us prepared to answer anyone who may ask.  How familiar are you with the contents of the Bible?  Could you recite one truth that changed your life?

For me that truth is Romans 5:8 But God demonstrated His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  This truth opened my eyes and changed the course of my life.  After receiving the truth of God’s love for me I accepted Christ’s sacrifice for me.  From that moment I became a child of God, adopted into His family.  I found forgiveness, love, acceptance and belonging in God.

Lord thank you for all you have done for us. Thank you for the many memorials you’ve given us.  Thank you for your power, your love and self-control to enable us to remember all you have done for us.  In Jesus’ name Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

For He Himself is our peace

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:14-22 NKJV

The law separates people who think they keep the law and those who know they don’t.  The law was meant to show everyone their sinfulness.  Some used the law to show themselves better than others because they didn’t break certain laws.  For others the law caused hopelessness because they could not keep it 100% of the time.  The law drew a line between the people.  It separated.  It caused division, not unity in awareness of sin.

Enter Jesus Christ.  Enough of the law.  The people can’t keep it, so He will fulfill all the law for them.  Now peace is possible.  All people have access to God through Jesus Christ.  Not two ways to God, one way through Christ Jesus.  John 14:6 NKJV says “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Now we are no longer separated from others and from God.  We are fellow citizens with the saints.  We belong to the household of God.  We are being fit together as a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.   For Jesus is our peace.  He is the ultimate Peacemaker.  In Him we have peace.  In Him we have assess to God.  In Him we have forgiveness of sin.  In Him we have life abundantly.

Lord Jesus we thank you for all you do for us.  Thank you for the peace beyond our understanding.  Thank you for life forever more.  In your precious name we pray. Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

Who Hallows Who?

Read Deuteronomy 32:44-52.

Have you ever thought about what you might be missing out on because you choose not to hallow God?

Surely Moses did not think his actions would cost him a trip to the Promised Land.  He was after all chosen to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Sadly, he allowed his emotions, his anger, his pride to strip him of that privilege.  God has many privileges we are destined for. But just like Moses, we can jeopardize those privileges by carelessness in not honoring, recognizing, acknowledging God in all we do.

Father God, who deserves all praise, Forgive our transgressions against you.  Lead us back to your path of righteousness. In Jesus’ name we come to you. Amen.

The phrase “careful to observe” is an indication of effort on our part to stay in lock step with God.  Not that we work to earn our salvation or standing before God, for that’s a gift of God.  Rather, we work to maintain a right connection with God.  All relationships require effort.  Our relationship with the Lord is no different in that respect.

Think about your human relationships.  If you never call your friend or make plans to visit them or only call when you want something, how long would they stay your friend? Probably not for very long, as you didn’t give them any time to cultivate a friendship, and when you did call it was out of selfish ambition.

God wants us to talk with Him every day, throughout the day.  He wants us to remember He is with us always.  His word tells us not to lean on our own understanding but acknowledge Him in all we do.   When we do acknowledge Him, we hallow Him as He deserves.

Lord, may you be hallowed this day and always.  In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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