FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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She Didn’t Know

I love the story of Ruth from the Scriptures of the Bible.  A good love story is always a joy to read, and certainly Ruth and Boaz’s story is counted among the great love stories of history.  But that Ruth, a widowed woman left with her also widowed mother-in-law, is literally rescued by the wealthy kinsman redeemer, Boaz, is not even the best part of the story.

The best part of this story is actually what even Ruth didn’t know!

Scripture says that Ruth and Boaz married and had a baby boy named Obed.  Obed grew up and fathered his own son, Jesse.  Jesse grew up and fathered several sons, one named David.  Yes, the same David who slew Goliath, who became King and who was counted as a man after God’s heart.  Exciting?  Yes!  Fascinating?  Yes!  The best part of the story?  Nope!

The best part of Ruth’s story is actually tucked in the Scriptures of the book of Matthew!

Matthew 1:2-16 (NASB) reads:

“Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram.  Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse.  Jesse was the father of David the king.

David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa.  Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah.  Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.  Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah.  Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel.  Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor.  Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud.  Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob.  Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.”

Did you see it?  Do you get it?

Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior came through Ruth’s generational line!

Ruth never knew.

There was a lot of “begetting” and “fathering” between Ruth’s baby, Obed, and Jesus but nevertheless, Ruth and Obed were essential generational links.

Ruth’s story offers many invaluable lessons for us; here are a few to ponder:

  • God is faithful.  The Scriptures foretold the coming of the Messiah.  The genealogy in Matthew makes clear that many generations passed before the actual birth of Christ, but just as promised, the Messiah came.
  • God rewards obedience.  Ruth experienced a long, hard season of loss.  Her husband died leaving her with her mother-in-law.  They were poor.  They were alone.  Ruth had to glean the fields (translation:  harvest the leftovers) for food.  She had no inheritance and was rejected by the closest relative expected to be her redeemer.  But Ruth made a commitment to her mother-in-law and to God.  God, in turn, rewarded her faithfulness, obedience, perseverance and commitment.
  • Ruth never knew, and we may never know.  We can only imagine Ruth’s simultaneous delight and relief when in Ruth 4:10 (NASB) Boaz said, “I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place…”  Many of us can relate to her joy at conceiving and birthing a son (Ruth 4:13) NASB.  But Ruth never knew that Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior and Redeemer, the Messiah, came through her generational line.  And we may never know the generational line or influence that flows from us.

Three passages best summarize the lesson for us:

Galatians 6:9    

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”

Colossians 3:23-24

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

Luke 6:22-23a

Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.  Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.

Be faithful.  Obedient.  Persevere.  You just never know!


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God is Faithful

I read somewhere that someone once counted all the promises in the Bible and came up with an astonishing figure of almost 7500.  Even more amazing than the number is that as children of God and servants of His kingdom, we can claim those promises even today.

I have discovered and rediscovered, just this week even, that there are times the only hope to keep you going will be in something God has declared in His Word – His promises to never leave you (Deuteronomy 31:6), to supply every need (Philippians 4:19), to establish and guard you (2 Thessalonians 3:3), to strengthen and uphold you (Isaiah 41:10), to complete the work that He began in you (Philippians 1:6), to never change (Malachi 3:6), to be faithful (Deuteronomy 7:8-9, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, Matthew 24:35).

Even if (when) we are faithless, He remains faithful! (2 Timothy 2:13)

7500+ promises. Surely there is one for you!

LISTEN: “He’s Been Faithful”                                                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6etlqdy5uo&list=RDg6etlqdy5uo#t=0


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Amazed

Having worked in the field of education for more than 30 years, I was sure that I’d seen and heard it all, but I really never cease to be amazed.

I am amazed by the fashions of the students and the adults, like the guidance counselor who came to work with her shirt tied Daisy Duke style because she’d gotten her navel pierced the evening before and wanted to show it off…to elementary students!

I am amazed by the excuses for not doing homework and for coming to work late, like the teacher who said she woke up and decide to try a new route and got lost on the way.

I am amazed by the behaviors, like the teacher who thought a student might have intentionally clogged a toilet with paper too much tissue, so she gave her a paper towel and told her to use it to take all that excess soggy tissue out of the toilet. This one also falls under the category of amazing thinking – a paper towel to keep her hands clean while she took tissue from a nasty, recently used toilet? Hmm.

Fortunately, not all of the things that amaze me are negative. Daily I am amazed by the glory of nature – the beauty of the clouds, the majesty of the trees, the melody of the birds. In the Psalms David declared, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:1-3). Nature alone is proof that He is and that He is great!

I cannot share these amazements, good and bad, without acknowledging that sometimes I have been amazed by my own thinking and my own behavior and surely I confess, it was not always good. Some of it was selfish. Some of it was vengeful. Some of it hurt others. I am especially sorry about that and this, perhaps, is why I am most amazed by God and His grace, His mercy and His love for us even when we falter.

As Deuteronomy tells us, He is “God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God” (Deuteronomy 10:17 ESV). Sometimes we forget that or, at the very least, we take it for granted. The Desperation Band sings, “You dance over me while I am unaware. You sing all around, but I never hear the sound. Lord, I’m amazed by you – how you love me! How wide, how deep, how great is your love for me! Lord, I’m amazed by you – how you love me!”

He formed light; He created darkness (Isaiah 45:7, ESV); He made “heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and” He preserves all of them (Nehemiah 9:6, ESV). He is “the Rock, His work is perfect, all His ways are justice.” He is “a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright” (Deuteronomy 32:4, ESV) and yet, He loves us. He loves us. So much so that He pursues us! As long as we live in this sinful and fallen world we will sin – even those of us who are believers (though Jesus paid our sin debt), and we may still have to deal with the consequence of sin. He knows the pain of sin, so He teaches us and shows us His way, a better way, the way that He desires for us. He pursues us. He never lets go of us. He loves us! He is amazing, and I am amazed!

LISTEN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1SoPfCIm80