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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ruth

I love the book of Ruth. It is probably one of my favorite Old Testament books.

When I was at Capernwray, the week of Thanksgiving, Christine spoke on Ruth and Lawrence spoke on Colossians. It was probably one of my favorite weeks of teaching while at Capernwray. Those two books flowed together so well in my heart and at times I didn't feel like I could take notes fast enough to write down everything the Lord was revealing to me through the them.

But back to Ruth. I have times when I sit down to read my Bible, flip to where my book mark is and think "I would like to read somewhere else today". Do you ever feel that way? I like to keep things interesting and not get into a rut with my quiet times, so whenever that happens I just start flipping through my Bible and start reading when something catches my eye. Sometimes it's a place I am very familiar with and other times not so much, but I stop anyway and begin reading. Well today was one of those days, and as I began flipping through my Bible I ended up in Ruth. Now I have read Ruth many, many times so this time I decided to get out my study Bible and read it in The Message. As a I read I referenced back to my notes from Capernwray and my NASB Bible to keep track of where I was and how these scripture verses had spoken to me in the past. This time as I was reading I spent a lot of time in chapter 2. You see when Ruth arrived in a foreign country with her mother-in-law after both their husbands had died and they didn't seem to have much at all, she went out to find work. Are we called to wait upon the Lord? Yes. Does that mean sitting around being lazy? No. I often times struggle with the "being active in the waiting". What does that look like? What if I'm doing something that will distract me from hearing God's direction and guidance? I used to be very concerned about being "in His will". I am slowly learning that if I am in constant communion with Him, if I am seeking Him in what I am doing, than I will know when something isn't right or if I am out of His will. I remember sitting around worrying about if I was doing things the way that God wanted and worrying about if I was living my life the way that He wanted. Then I was reminded of Matthew 6:25-34 and Philippians 4:6, where the Lord clearly says that we are not to worry. So I have decided that I will pray, I will seek the Lord, and I will wait on His leading. But I will do my best to remember to not worry and to trust Him, because He loves me, He is faithful, and His plan is perfect. With promises like that, why should I worry? (Feel free to remind of not this decision when I begin again because I'm sure I will!)

And again, back to Ruth :) Have you ever thought about the parallels in Ruth? When Christine was going through Ruth she listed off a few and I love to be reminded of them as I read, a few of them are...Ruth:Boaz...Me:Jehovah (LORD, LIFE). As I read I think about the words that that Boaz says and I imagine them coming from God. In Ruth 2:15&16 coming from The Message, Boaz (or God), speaking of Ruth (or me) says "When she (Ruth) got up to go back to work, Boaz ordered his servants: 'Let her glean where there's still plenty of grain on the ground - make it easy for her. Better yet, pull some of the good stuff out and leave for her to glean. Give her special treatment.'" What a beautiful picture of God's provision and faithfulness! I know that things are not always easy, but I also know that the Lord will never give us more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). I am so grateful that the Word is living and breathing. That every time I read it I learn something new and see Him in new light. Though He never changes, and neither do the words, I change, and therefore I read words differently depending on my circumstances. And He never fails to meet me right where I am. It is amazing the peace and encouragement that I feel when I finally put aside the craziness of life and sit down and have time with my Heavenly Father. I wonder why it always seems to take me so long...sometimes "so long" is only a couple days, but unfortunately "so long" many times turns out to be much longer than a couple days. Why is it that He's my last resort? I long for Him to be my first resort. It seems that I take two steps forward but then take three steps back. Though I guess no one ever "arrives", right? I will never be perfect. I will never always turn to Him first, because I am a sinner. But I am grateful that He knows my heart, and that He is willing to take me just as I am. I don't ever have to be "good enough", because Jesus took care of that when He died on the cross, and that alone is more than I could ever hope or wish for. I love you Abba, thank You so much for being who You are, for being I AM, and for taking me as I am.