Women of Integrity: Ruth I

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

bigstock-Beautiful-woman-with-Bible-50524241

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

Women of Integrity: Esther

We pick up the story where the King Ahaesurus (king of 127 provinces, from India to Ethiopia) had just promoted a man by the name of Haman.  Haman was the son of Hammedatha, and the King promoted Haman above all of the princes of his kingdom.  And the king commanded all of the servants of his palace and within his gate to bow down before Haman when in his presence.  And everyone indeed bowed before him, except one, Mordecai.  I figure, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, he was about to bow down before anyone or thing that was not the living God, Our Creator and King!  However, when Haman noticed Mordecai he was furious and from then on looked for avenues to kill Mordecai and his people- The Jews.

Then one day Haman wen and spake with King Ahasuerus and convinced the King that the laws of the Jews contradicted the laws of his kingdom; that they were the only people in all his provinces that did not serve Haman or his men, and that the Jews in essence, must be completely destroyed.  He was saying that since they were following his commands and decrees, it is better that they not live! If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed.” (Esther 3:9)

The decree was written and signed into law and every Jew, young and old, child and senior, man and woman will be killed on a proposed date to come.  On that day, throughout all the provinces of the land, mourning and wailing rise from the cities, as the Jews wept for their lives.

The moment Queen Esther heard the decree of Haman, she was immediately offended.  No one in the King’s court or palace including King Ahasuerus himself, had known this info: Queen Esther was a Jew too!  Esther sent out her servant to confirm the report executed against the Jews.

1.     A woman of integrity seeks out the truth, and do not engage in idle or vain conversations.

When Mordecai who was like a father to Esther, explained the story, giving her an actual copy of the law written against her people, he requested of Esther that she go and petition the King on behalf of her people.  Esther reminded Mordecai that anyone regardless of their title, whether male or female; whoever goes in the inner courts before the King without been given permission by the King, could very well lose their life!   But Mordecai advised Esther strongly: Do not think you will escape the wrath of the King (since you live in the King’s palace) you are just like the rest of us.  If you do not deliver us, God will raise up a deliverer elsewhere!   Was it just a coincidence that Esther, a Jew, was in the King’s court and the Queen at the time when the Jews need help?  Perhaps she was brought to this kingdom for such a time as this! (Esther 4:14)

So Esther called all of the Jews at Shushan to fast three days and three nights for her.  When this time was up, she will go before the King to petition for their deliverance. She continued and if I perish, I perish!”

2.       A woman of integrity understands her calling and rises to the occasion.

At the end of the third day, when their fasting was complete, Esther changed into her illustrious and royal apparel and went to the inner court of the King palace where King Ahasuerus was sitting on the throne.  And when the King saw Esther standing in his court, the passage says, she “obtained favor in his sight” (Esther 5:2).  So he held out his golden sceptre permitting her to come forward.  Esther certainly obtained favor for the King replied to Esther,

What is it that you want; up to half of my kingdom is yours!

So Esther requested that the King and Haman join her at a banquet that she and her maids had prepared for them.  At the banquet again King Ahasuerus asked her, what is it that you desire?  Yet Esther just requested that he and Haman join her tomorrow for a second banquet she and her maids will prepare for them.

3.     A woman of integrity “works willingly with her hands.”  Faithfully and gently serving others as best she can.

– Proverbs 31:13

Esther diligently served the King of the best that she had.

The second day, the King and Haman came to Esther’s banquet.  Again, the King asked Esther, What is your request?  What do you desire?  And that’s when replied,  “Spare my life and the life of my people and bring recompense to the man seeking to destroy them.” (7:3-7)  Then King Ahasuerus gave Esther his ring and seal, and told her write a new decree for the protection of your people. Once the decree, is signed by my name and sealed with my ring, it cannot be reversed! And this is exactly what Esther did.  Haman, who had devised the scheme against the Jews, was hanged at the gallows immediately.  And what was meant to be the utter destruction of a nation, became the promotion of a nation.

Women Of Integrity: Hannah

Though not often, there are cases in the Bible where men were married to more than one wife.  So in 1 Samuel one, we find a man named Elkanah that had two wives: Hannah and Peninnah. Already you can tell that something, some issue is about to arise.  The thing was that Peninnah had children for Elkanah, several children indeed; but Hannah, on the other hand, had none.  She was barren and childless; at least for now.

Every year Elkanah, his two wives and children went to a place called Shiloh to worship and give sacrifice offerings to God.  But because Peninnah had children and Hannah had none, Peninnah sadly would taunt and provoke Hannah continually.  The text says “year by year” she did this. (V. 7)  And the situation came to the point that Hannah would weep and in this instance, she wouldn’t eat.

Elkanah, her husband said to Hannah, “Why do you weep, why do you not eat?  Am I not better to you than 10 sons?”

He just didn’t get it!  A woman’s desire and heart for her own children is unlike anything her husband can give.  But Hannah goes into the temple of the Lord, pours out her heart and frustrations before God.  (Pause) The first thing we must take note:

    1.      A woman of integrity does not retaliate or allow bitterness toward others to overwhelm her.

Hannah turned to God and wept in anguish. And like Hannah, we too can come to our Lord any time we are in need of help! While at the temple Hannah prayed and said, “Oh Lord, if you will indeed look at the affliction of your servant, and will remember me….” (V. 11)  In that prayer, Hannah made a vow to God.  She vowed that if He gives her a son, she will in turn, give the son back to Him.

While Hannah prayed, the priest Eli stepped in and because he saw her lips moving but saw no one or heard anything from her- he assumed that she was drinking.  “How long will you be drunk?” Eli exclaimed. (V. 14) But it was far from Hannah to do such a thing.  She started to explain how she was praying, praying with a very “sorrowful spirit,” and petitioning the Lord out of much grief.

bigstock-Medieval-Woman-With-Bible-55220453

Eli then responded to her, “Go in peace, and God… grant you your request.” (V. 17)

Key verses

*James 4:8Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Also…

*Proverbs 15:29God hears the prayers of the righteous.    

So Hannah washed her face and went on with things as usual.  She believed God would do what he said.

    2.      A woman of integrity lives consistent with what she believes in.

Hannah trusted in God: and behold our gracious God did indeed grant her request.  When the child was born, it was a boy.

As soon as the boy (verse 24) was old enough to be weaned, Hannah brought him to the “House of the Lord” along with sacrifice offerings, and present him to the Lord.  So Hannah brought her young son to the temple, and in front of the priest Eli, explained how she spoke to him after praying for a son, and now that she is holding him in her arms, she will perform her word as she said.

     3.      A woman of integrity keeps her word and fulfils her vow.

Hannah gave the son over to the priest, she presented her son to the Lord.  “For his whole life (Samuel) was given over to the Lord,” and became a mighty man and prophet of God.

Prayer:

Father,

First of all cleanse my heart of all guilt and sin.  Teach me

to turn to and depend on you. When others mistreat me,

give me the strength not to retaliate or grow bitter, but give

the situation over to you.  May I live a consistent life of

righteousness wherever I go.  And as much as is within me, help

me to always keep my word, for your glory, honor and majesty!

Amen.

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree means many things to many people.  But how wonderful this thing can be!  Christmas trees can often bring childhood memories to life, like when one sits in a dim room, Christmas music streaming through the air, as the flashings of the tree light glistens in your eyes.   What a beauty!

Several stories are credited for the start of the Christmas tree.  n the sixteenth century people made a pyramid of wood and added evergreen leaves and candles for decoration.  One in particular stands out: it widely believed that one winter evening while Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer, was strolling in the forest that he was captured by the sparkle of the starlight among the evergreen forest trees.  He wanted to he bring this beauty in his home by constructing wired candles on an evergreen tree in his front room! And the practice has seemed to stick…

Then some people do not grasp the history of Christmas tree or even the truth that Christmas actually recognizes the birth of Christ.  Some just love the beauty and décor the Christmas tree gives. 

Candy canes, shiny red& green ornaments and silver bells all hang.   The extravagant ginger bread houses and pine scents all express the warmth and beauty of Christmas!

But there was another Christmas tree not always recognized. 

 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.  Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  – Acts 5:31-32

Another passage similarly says:

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”) – Galations 3:13

Yet this Christmas, Jesus is standing at the door, and knocking on your heart.  Let Him in…

He takes the old and makes it New…

He takes sin and Cleanses it….

He takes burdens and Lightens them….

Jesus makes us brand new creatures! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

When Jesus was nailed to that tree and took on our shame- the work of salvation was complete! It was finished. 

Be Encouraged to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and has made us a brand new creation!

 

http://www.history.com/topics/history-of-christmas-trees

Fulfilling God’s Divine Purpose

I am purposefully designed, masterfully made. –Ps139:14 Ain’t no mistake here!! 

God made me with a purpose in mind. His plans for me are great!  I am His masterpiece.

When we say things like this, we are repeating and meditating on what God says about us and our lives!  Go ahead and say it again….

Today when so many people live in despair and fret for their lives as to whether things will follow through. Will they loose a job, will their house foreclose, and so on.  So many people live without having the assurance that God will work everything out on their behalf.  This is God’s Word in Romans 8:28:

 And we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Anyone that loves and honors God and seeks to live a life pleasing to Him; do not have to worry.  God will make everything work together for their good!

Not that we won’t have hardships and tribulations, just that He will bring us through even stronger than when we enter it!

Not that we won’t suffer pain sometimes, but that He (God) will not put on more than we can bear. -1 Corinthians 10:13

 

Also, God has a purpose for each and every one of our lives.  Knowing this divine purpose for our lives brings clarity and direction.  It helps us avoid life’s many distractions and focus on the specific tasks in line with our purpose.  We can develop and grow in that specific area. So that more people would be changed!!  We must not settle for less and forfeit our God-given assignments, but seize them in an attitude of expectation. 

Our enemy, Satan seeks to destroy our Divine purpose.  Jesus said,

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. – John 10:10.

If we can only grasp how much God wants to live in His purpose- to live an abundant, victorious and Spirit-led life.  But when hardships and tribulations come (which they will), we can lift up our heads and bold declare: “I AM AN OVERCOMER!”

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

-Philippians 1:6

Be Blessed!

 

 

Something to be Thankful For!

I’m Thankful for life, Hope, Happiness and Joy
Thankful for health, wealth and God’s strength to employ
His Divine Peace to overcome every strife
For God’s favor, God’s blessings, but most of all my life.

I’m thankful for God’s Provision, God’s Protection and faithful Plan
The Christ Child- Jesus, His Son, to redeem all of man
Thankful for mothers, fathers, husbands and wives
God’s favor, God’s blessings, but most of all our lives

I’m thankful for God’s Presence, His Awe, Mysterious wonder
Thankful for God’s Amazing Grace and mercies new every day
Jesus stripes, mocks, and nailing on the Cross for all to See
Thankful He endured the Persecution that we might be Free!

AMAZING GRACE!

I can hear the singer Chris Tomlin now sing the words:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. 

I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.

Wow.

Ephesians 2:4, 7-8 says,

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us….That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding RICHES OF HIS GRACE in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God….”

OUT OF ALL the things people have given me and the awards people have presented to me. Or anything could EVER receive: the Grace of God surpasses them all!  We can see here that God is rich in three areas:  God is rich in Mercy.  God is rich in Love.  AND God is rich in Grace.

Money, Fame, THAT position on the job, cars, houses in Beverley Hills, and a yacht just won’t satisfy the longing in each person’s heart!

Don’t give me a Car!  Give me a Savior.

Don’t give me gold and expensive jewelry! Give me a Protector!

Don’t give me fame and all the publicity this world has to offer!  GIVE ME A REDEEMER!

— Do not give me things that take up a lot of space in my house, but doesn’t give an inch of satisfaction in my soul! —

The point is I was a Wretch. Sinner. Undone. Quite proud and Very selfish.  Thinking I was righteous on MY OWN acts and account.  But far from redeemed until I heard the good news: Jesus died, that I might live! Jesus took on my sin with his death, and because he arose from the dead, I too will live forever with him and all I must do is BELIEVE on him.

May be you were born Saved! Holy and literally an angel delivered from heaven.  BUT I WAS NOT!

I needed a Savior, I needed GRACE.  Amazing grace from God, to redeem my soul from Hell!

And to think that while I was still in sin, Jesus died for me! What a gift of GRACE!

—-Blessings.

 

Follow me for more inspirational and devotional
messages and LEAVE A COMMENT