Christ at Christmas

One thing I have been thinking about lately is how we celebrate Christmas. Many say that Jesus wasn’t born in December, and by what I have read, it was probably in the fall, but that is another subject. But, are we celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ or is it a time of indulging in our own desires? Not that having desires is bad, but where is our heart? Where is our priorities and how do we treat those who are in need? Jesus says, “where your heart is there your treasure will be with you also” and “seek first the kingdom of heaven.” The world has made Christmas to be about getting presents and eating as much as possible for a couple days, which is fun, but I think we often forget the real reason. Often throughout the season we reflect on this, but when it really comes down to it, how often do we thank God for sending His Son on Christmas? How often do we meditate on His word during Christmas? I know I am guilty of this and not putting my focus on Him enough. It may be some in the morning, but what about the rest of the day? What about while we are opening presents with family? Continue reading “Christ at Christmas”

Forgive You, Forgive Me

I was thinking about talking about forgiveness and as I was the line from the movie, Jerry Maguire, “Help Me Help you!” kept coming into my head.  That is sort of where this title came from.  In order to forgive others, I think one must learn how to forgive one’s self.  And, when being forgiven, one must learn to forgive.  “Help me Help you.”  God has shown us mercy through His Son, who loved us so much that He gave His life in order that we may be forgiven.  Nothing we do can earn forgiveness, it is God’s act of love.  We don’t deserve His forgiveness, but He forgives us anyways.  We just need to accept it.  In the same way, those who have hurt us do not deserve forgiveness but if we remember what Jesus did on the cross, we can forgive them too. Continue reading “Forgive You, Forgive Me”

Love and Marriage

In a few days is my wife’s and my 21st anniversary!  What a blessing God has given me to be happily married to a wonderful wife that I love.  It is sad to see what the world has become when it comes to love and marriage, especially in American society.  We have twisted the values of marriage, of love, of relationships and wonder why there is so much hatred and violence.  We try to pass laws to “fix” the situations instead of going to the source…the home and the heart.  Until those things are fixed, it’s not going to get better.  We need more love, less selfishness.  We need to raise our kids to love and respect others and how to treat our spouses.  We need to make God the center of our home and our lives.  Most of us know “the love chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13.  You hear it in weddings often.  We need to read through this carefully and live it.  What else does God say about marriage?

siblings-817369_1280 Continue reading “Love and Marriage”

Ruth 3: Assurance of Redemption

As the story of Ruth continues, we see the parallels between Ruth’s and our own redemption.  We learn more about who she is and who Boaz is.  We begin to see the picture of a redeemer, of Boaz for Ruth, of Jesus Christ for all of us.

Ruth 3

Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”

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

Naomi continues to teach Ruth about the customs of the land and encourages her.  Boaz is their relative, or in some translations, the word is “kinsmen-redeemer.”  It is a picture of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.  To be a kinsmen-redeemer, or ga’al in Hebrew, one must be family, and he must be willing able to redeem.  In ancient Israel, for one to accept this, he must be willing to marry the widow, to carry on his name and produce an heir, he would also buy back property the family sold and buy back a family member who had been sold to slavery due to poverty.  Jesus Christ, God’s Son, or, “Son of Man,” came to this earth for that very purpose.  He was willing to pay for our sins in full.  He was able because He is God and He is sinless.  Through His death and resurrection, we are redeemd by His blood, if we accept it.

feetSo she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her. And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.

Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet. And he said, “Who are you?”

So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”

Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you — good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the Lord  lives! Lie down until morning.”

Here, Boaz shows his integrity.  He follows the customs, he keeps her pure and keeps he reputation and virtuousness.  He is determined to make things right and in the morning he will talk to the other kinsmen and make arrangements for Ruth.  More on that in the next chapter.

Boaz also notes Ruth’s character.  She is an honorable woman of good reputation, virtuous.  She obeys her mother in law and shows her kindness by not going after a younger man but seeking that kinsmen-redeemer to take care of her and Naomi.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo she lay at his feet until morning, and she arose before one could recognize another. Then he said, “Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” Also he said, “Bring the shawl that is on you and hold it.” And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley, and laid it on her. Then she went into the city.

In a sense, Boaz gives Ruth a down-payment or guarantee.  God gave us a guarantee of our inheritance in Christ, His Holy Spirit:

Ephesians 1:13-14

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “Is that you, my daughter?”

Then she told her all that the man had done for her. And she said, “These six ephahs of barley he gave me; for he said to me, ‘Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.'”

praying in lightThen she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”

So, Ruth waits.  We wait.  One day Jesus Christ will come and take His people, His bride, home to live forever with Him.  Praise God for His mercy and grace, that He made the sacrifice for us, that He paid the price for us, that we are redeemed.  I pray that you put you trust in Jesus Christ that your soul will be in poverty no more, but rich in His glory.

Ruth 2: Showing Character

The second chapter of Ruth reveals the character of Ruth and of Boaz.  Ruth meets Boaz as she is gleaning wheat in his field during the harvest.  The culture in Israel allows the poor to go to fields and “glean,” or basically pick up the scraps in a field during the harvest.  A landowner is to leave the corners of the field so that the poor can come and collect grain for their family.  Also, anything that the harvesters drop is free for the poor to collect.  What a great welfare system! Continue reading “Ruth 2: Showing Character”