A Thirst Quencher

Enough sprinkles, enough drips, drops.  

I WANT THE RAIN

Jesus was teaching in the temple, exhorting his followers and saying, “I will be with you a little while longer, and I go to Him who sent Me.” – John 7:33-39.

The crowd grew concerned and began to question, where is He going that we won’t be able to find him.

Then the next thing Jesus says took place during one of the Jewish Feast.

I’m sure some thought that next He did was odd.

Nonetheless, Jesus He stood in the middle of a crowd and exclaimed,

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”

Mountain-Stream

If anyone is tired, frustrated, you’ve been attacked at every front, you’ve been hit on every side. 

If anyone has been searching for satisfaction, longing for love, nothing seems to satisfy your heart or fulfill your soul.

If anyone is wilting, suffering, hurting from the empty wells of this world.  For all the pleasures of this world- greed, lust and pride- will leaving you thirsting for more.  

Why not try “the Living Water” that quenches all of thirsts, satisfies all of your longings, answers all of your prayer and gives you the hope to face tomorrow!  – John 4:14

If you feel robbed of peace, happiness and joy, meaning and significance.  If you are burdened with guilt and shame of past foolish decisions and sins, don’t let it weigh you down any longer or hold you hostage!  Receive of God’s love and grace!  He offers it freely to you.

Hear God saying,

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.

– 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Come to Christ and allow Him to quench you thirst, free you from any hurts and shame and make you brand new!

 

Reference scriptures:

Christ is our salvation, simply believe on him. – 1John 1:9, Romans 10:9

His Holy Spirit will comfort our hearts daily.   -John 14:26

His presence will strengthen our joy.   -Ps. 16:11

His joy will be our strength.   -Neh. 8:18

His love will encourage our souls.   -John 3:16-17

 

Follow Your Dreams…..

I was at a Women of Faith Conference last year, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  The theme of the conference was BELIEVE.

Simply: Believe.

And when I think of the word “believe”, a flood of thoughts come pouring through my mind.  You often hear motivational-speakers or motivational coaches say:  Believe in the impossible,

Believe you have it in you!

Believe and you will achieve!

Believe to reach that goal, dream, ambition or position in life.

And while these self-motivating phrases may be good and even noteworthy; WITHOUT Christ as the center of your dreams, goals or ambitions- what profit is it!!

Mark 8:36 reads

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Matthew 16:26,   “…Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Nothing.

And when we look around we see very many successful and famous people of the world, but so many giants and leaders for Christ!

And I believe Jesus wants us to dream and go far in reaching great heights for Him.  And I believe He wants us to do it as unto Him.

Are you dreaming? Good.

But who is at the center of your dreams?

Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:9 and Romans 10:9

The Woman Who Anoints Jesus Feet

One day, Jesus was invited to lunch at the house of a Pharisee- a religious leader or priest- and while there in the middle of all these religious leaders, priests and disciples, a woman who is only referred to as a “Sinful woman,” (Luke 7:37,NKJV) enters their presence holding an alabaster box in her hands.  Sobbing, she falls to her knees behind Jesus and continues cry and weep in their midst.

Undoubtedly, the these men felt uncomfortable, but as she wept her tears were so abundant, the text says, she began to “wash” Jesus’ feet.  As she bathed his feet with her tears, she dried them with her hair, then in a moment of gratitude and splendor, she took out a very valuable bottle of perfume.  She had this expensive perfume hidden inside her alabaster box.  I can imagine that the room suddenly filled with a beautiful aroma as she poured and rubbed this oil at feet of Jesus.  Overwhelming heart of gratitude, overwhelming flow of tears. She is the woman known for anointing Jesus before his death.

Why was she crying so much?  Why did she use such an expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet?Image

Later on in Luke 7:39, you will see that the Pharisee that invited Jesus to his home begins to scorn this woman: only thinking of her as an unclean, unworthy “sinner.”

You see this “sinful woman” had a recent encounter with Jesus.

I don’t know where she was, she may have been in the middle of party, drunk at a bar, leaving a prostitution curb, who knows, but at the same time Jesus was passing by.  She was expecting him to scorn her, look-down on her, cast her out of his presence or out of the church.  No!  Jesus loved her, embraced her and talked with her.  And taught her that all of her answers are found in him- Him alone. Not only had no other religious person receive her like this, no other person received her like this.  No other person on the planet loved her like Jesus did!

Even in midst of her condition, in the deepest depts of her sin and evil, in the midst of her prison cell or drug addition or a place as far as she could possibly be- Jesus met her there and he loved her!

As He said in Luke 7:42, This woman loves much, because she was forgiven much. She an encountered with Jesus and was never the same!

If you can relate to the past this woman had, know that God loves and wants to set you free.  Or if you know God, but have drawn distant from him lately, repeat this prayer.

Jesus,

Come into my heart.  Make me a brand new woman. 

I confess that I am a sinner and I’m in need of a savior. 

I believe when you died and rose again.  And when you died

you took all my shame. I no longer have to live in this! 

Father now use me as you choose to be a vessel of light of you.

In Jesus’ name

References: John 8:36, 1 John 1:9, Romans 10:9, Acts 16:31ever you can imagine, she did it. esus slander, spit on her like the

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29 Take My yoke upon you and

learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

Women of Integrity- Ruth II

[Quotes are paraphrased unless otherwise indicated.]

Let’s take another look at the life of Ruth as we seek to gain insight and strength on our journey.

So Ruth had left her parents, her brothers and sisters and entire family, she had to leave her friends and the comfort and familiarity of her home country.  Ruth left all made networks and connections behind, along with the idols and gods of Moab, in order to serve Naomi.  What a sacrifice she made, just to bless Naomi who had lost all hope when tragedies struck her husband and both sons leaving her to fend alone.  Now she was a widow and childless.

Was Ruth a woman of integrity for leaving her home to tend to her mother-in-law?  … Absolutely.

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Ruth’s famous lines are still remembered: Where ever you go I will go… Your people shall be my people, And your God my God.

Ruth and Naomi returned back to Bethlehem from Moab after hearing that the long, difficult famine in Bethlehem had relinquished.  Orpah, Naomi’s second daughter-in-law had left them, and the family Naomi had left Bethlehem with; now it was only Ruth returning to Bethlehem with her.

As soon as Ruth arrived in Bethlehem she did not rest or recuperate from their sojourn,  Ruth went directly to work!  She asked her mother-in-law, Naomi,

“Let me go to the field and pick leftover ears of grain” that both they may have sufficient food.

Naomi responded, “Go!”

Ruth was now in need a break. With a spirit of humility and a mind to work, Ruth gleaned the field as best she could.  It turns out that Ruth just happened to land on the field belonging to Boaz.

Who is Boaz?

A wealthy “man of standing” and “influence.” But Boaz was also a close relative to Naomi!  In Israel a close relative can “redeem” their relative’s family.  He can buyback all of the property Naomi lost when leaving Israel, marry Ruth and raise an hier to a woman who had no hope for an heir.  [Read Ruth ch 3 & 4 to see how the story ended.

While Ruth was gleaning, Boaz returned to see his field; another incredible odd that met on the same day.  When Boaz saw Ruth as gathering in the field, he asked, Who is she with?

The foreman of the harvest said, She came with Naomi.  Did Boaz know Naomi?  More than likely.  Let’s listen to what he says to Ruth.

Boaz calls to Ruth to come over, then says,

“My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field….”  Remain here, focus on the reapers and follow them.  Boaz told Ruth, Let your eyes be on the field.  Like he was a coach, he encouraged and pushed Ruth to glean as much from the field as she could.  His kindness was rare.  Practically unheard-of.   He also told Ruth, I have commanded the young men not to touch you?  And whenever you are thirsty, drink from the water jugs (these were set aside for workers only).  Boaz and his workers treated Ruth like she is and was always apart of them.

When Ruth heard Boaz gracious words, according to Ruth 2:10 she fell to the ground and bowing her face to the ground.  NLT says “she fell at his feet.”   They she asked Boaz, “What have I done to deserve such kindness?”  Why have you noticed by you– a foreigner.

1. A woman of integrity possess a spirit of humility and gratitude.

You see, Ruth knew and understood her situation.  She was a Moabite that had moved to Israel.  Plus she just met Boaz.  Why would Boaz treat her a foreigner, a stranger with generous favor? [Favor – isolated, unmerited kindness.]  But Boaz was no typical man, he also feared God.

Note Boaz’ answer to her question “Why?”.  The reason he showed kindness to Ruth was because her reputation preceded her.  Boaz heard how Ruth had left her parents, brothers and sisters and her entire family; how she left her country: a place of familiarity and comfort to join her mother-in-law Naomi in her time of grief.  Boaz had no problem opening his field to this kind of woman.

2. A woman of integrity maintains a good character, a righteous reputation and everyone she meets testify to this.  

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Women of Integrity: Ruth I

Never have I met a woman display integrity more powerfully than Ruth. [Ruth 1]

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The story begins with a man and his wife, Elimelech and Naomi along with their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion together.  They were Jews of Bethlehem (Ephraimites), and situations happened that a famine broke out in region of Bethlehem.  Keep in mind that Bethlehem is also called “the House of Bread,” but there was no longer any bread there and Elimelech and Naomi had some hard decisions to make.  So Elimelech, Naomi and their two sons packed up and made their way to the country of Moab.  Food was certainly in abundance here, but also was many gods and false teachings.  No time had gone by and Elimelech dies, leaving Naomi a widow. Though this was a tragedy, Naomi still maintained hope, for her two sons were alive and well.

Naomi two sons Mahlon and Chilion then marries Ruth and Orpah, both Moabites, and for ten years Naomi, her sons and daughters-in-law lived quietly and peacefully in Moab.  Life was starting to look up, but tragedy struck a second time, and Mahlon and Chilion die also.

Now both Ruth and Orpah are young widows.  But how is Naomi suppose to respond to this.  She lost her husband, now both of her sons die.  There were tragedies all around!

Meanwhile, Naomi hears “in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread.” (Ruth 1:6)  Do take note, that Naomi maintains and acknowledges God as her “Lord” despite the travesties occurring all around her.

So, Naomi begins her journey back home to Bethlehem. Ruth and Orpah by her side, but not long in Naomi turns to her daughter-in-laws and says in not so many, Turn around.  Return to your parents home. Go! (Verse8)  Naomi thanks them for their kindness to her and their deceased, and concludes, “The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”   Ruth and Orpah both begin to weep on Naomi’s shoulder and to say in verse 9 “Surely we will return with you to your people.”

But Naomi repeats, “Turn back, turn back.” If I should say I have hope and bear a son tonight, would you wait for him to grow up to take him on as husband.  Hope had depleted.  Naomi had just lost her dearest loved-ones, and now she saw no hope in her life.

At Noami’s insistence (verse 14) , Orpah kisses Naomi (goodbye), but Ruth clings to Naomi. 

1.   A woman of integrity shows compassion and genuine empathy to others around them.

With Orpah now gone, Naomi in a final attempt to rid Ruth as well says, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” (verse 15)

Ruth’s compassion is great and very evident in the statement we are about to see.  Ruth may have been humble, but by no stretch of the imagination was she weak.  Ruth tells Naomi,

Entreat me (Urge me) not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you
For wherever you go, I will go
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God

And right when you think Ruth’s pledge to support and love Naomi was confined to as long as she lived, you hear her commitment also extending into her death.

Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”

In this passage here, the name “Lord” who Ruth seals her vow is translated Yahweh– showing that Ruth’s her allegiance no longer lie to the gods of Moab, but to the God of all heaven and earth (Isaiah 37:16, Genesis 1:1)

As a woman of integrity, Ruth meant every word that she said and lived up her vow.  But we shall see what became of the tragedies and heartaches.  [TO BE CONTINUED]

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

– Matthew 5:3 & 7