Have you ever wondered what it must have been like for Ruth? No, not a recent Ruth, but the Ruth of the Bible. I mean, she landed in quite a pickle! So, she was married to someone from a foreign land (probably without any choice) and had to learn their strange ways. At some point, her father-in-law, brother-in-law, and husband died. Her mother-in-law, whom she loved dearly, decides to go back to her homeland…and Ruth follows! She is often revered as an ancestress of Christ and a paragon of womanhood….so, in just what ways can we be like her? Continue Reading…
Tragic. Heart-wrenching. Causing anguish. There are so many things going on right now that are so wrong. There are people dying. There is so much hatred from one group for another, in so many instances. A police officer shoots a suspect. Was it warranted, or was it the product of bias? Snipers ambush police officers because of perceived (real or imagined) bias on the part of other officers. Someone walks into a building (a church, a club, a theater, a school) and harms or kills people (with a gun, with a bomb, with a knife). Saying it’s sad is quite an understatement.
The question that God has challenged me with is this: where was the Church? Not my individual local body of believers, but the group of Americans that identify with Him. Can we really say that we are putting God first and giving Him our best? Where were we when children were growing up without fathers? Where were we when a young woman found herself unmarried, pregnant, and afraid….or with a child but without a husband to support and help? Where were we when society taught children that the skin color or occupation of a person made a difference about the worth of a person? Continue Reading…
This weekend we celebrate Independence Day. That’s the time w e remember the signing of the Declaration of Independence and becoming a nation in our own right. It marks the birthday of our country, but also reminds us of where we, as a nation, came from. These men said this: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection from Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor. Can you imagine the resolve of these men? To pledge life, money, and honor in the pursuit of something for their progeny is a big deal! It makes me consider what they were leaving, and what they hoped to create with the help of “Divine Providence” (yep, folks….that would be God!). Continue Reading…
You want it so bad. It’s been promised. You have faith that it will be yours. You’ve wanted it for *so* *long*. Now you see it, almost in front of you. It’s not something you could ever get on your own, but God has given you a way to have it. Because He promised.
Just imagine the Israelites as they have crossed the Jordan River on dry ground while it’s at flood stage. The miracle sustains their faith. They’re here. Finally here. They’ve wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Can you imagine wanting something that long…watching your grandparents and parents die without reaching the goal? Finally here. *This* is what God promised. But wait. The first city, the very first conquest, isn’t for you. This one is God’s. Continue Reading…
You’ve got to put it in to get it out. My mother-in-law has given us some plants from her garden. I must admit, I don’t have the greenest of thumbs. We also don’t have the greatest soil here, which means amending the soil or getting good soil and putting it in pots. I’ve opted to add potting soil to normal soil in pots. It takes work to get these plants going. Continue Reading…
Empty. I don’t even feel like I have fumes in my tank to run on. I woke up feeling touched-out, crabby, and generally not wanting to do anything with anyone. Part of that is because, frankly, I need to get much better at self-care. And part of it is that I’m not taking time to listen to God’s voice in my life. Continue Reading…
The first. The best. These are the qualifications for the offering to be brought at Firstfruits. An offering from the second harvest wasn’t acceptable. It wasn’t okay to bring your leftovers, or what you didn’t want. This is also true for my service, my offering, to Him. Ephesians 6:7 says: Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. That means I can’t just do a halfway job. Everything I do has to be done with everything I have. I must give my best effort.
Jehovah Jireh: God our Provider. The name God identified Himself to Abraham by when He asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. God provided for them on that day, and He still provides for us today.
I was reminded of that last night when I began to deal with a migraine. You see, the medicine I was given when we first discovered I had migraines had side effects I greatly dislike, so I have found a natural option in the form of peppermint and frankincense essential oils. Natural. From Nature. Provided by God. Every need we have has been anticipated by God and provided for. Continue Reading…
It’s all in the timing.
Sometimes, it seems that God places a desire in our hearts, one He intends to fill, quite some time before He’s ready to fill it. For instance, Dad and I have a desire for him to be able to work from home or in a family business. We don’t enjoy being separated while he’s at work, and we feel that God will eventually call Dad to come out of the “traditional workforce” and allow us to spend that time of productivity together as a family. But it’s not yet. We are still looking forward to a time when that can happen.
It’s much like the seasons in Scripture. Firstfruits occurs during the first month of the biblical Jewish calendar. God said that Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits would occur during the first month. What my study has revealed, however, is that the month was to start the day of the new moon after the barley harvest became “aviv”, or ready for harvest. If the time for the end of the year came and there was no barley ready for harvest anywhere in the land, they actually added a month to the year! Only when God provided this crop to be harvested could the new year begin! Talk about waiting on God.
In all honesty, it is hard for me to imagine waiting to set the national calendar until we can see what God has put into place. It must have taken quite a bit of faith to patiently wait to see when they would be able to celebrate the feast days (almost like telling your kids “we don’t know exactly when Christmas will be this year”). Is it really possible, in this day and age, to have the kind of reliance on God to simply keep on doing life until God indicates that the time is right for the anticipated event?
Firstfruits is a call for that kind of faith and reliance. It’s a reminder that God always provides. I’m learning that I can’t really please Him until I’m willing to surrender my timing and the fulfillment of my desires to Him, and admit that God provides all things at the right time.
Our pastor made a comment tonight that he has the best job in the world,
because he gets to really delve deep into the Word. The first thought that crossed my mind was one of envy. “If only”. But coveting someone else’s job is not okay. That’s not where God has me right now.
Right now, God has me in the thick of motherhood, with children who consume nearly every moment and every drop of energy I have. God hasn’t, at this time in my life, given me an opportunity to spend the time I would like “delving deep” into Scripture.
Instead, He has given me an opportunity to speak life into the 5 blessings He’s chosen for me and Dad to raise. He’s given me the job of raising a new generation to follow Him. Right now, my job is to build a legacy that has the potential to drive the future of our family.
So, I have a choice. I can choose to live my life in gratitude to God for the opportunities He has given me, with faith and reliance on Him for the good harvest He has planned and only He can bring to fruition. Or, I can live in frustration and covetousness, wanting what God has ordained for another. The choice is mine. Do I praise God for all He’s done and is doing in my life, or do I whine and complain that my life isn’t working out the way I wanted?
As I study the feast of Firstfruits, I am learning to choose gratitude and praise.