January 23, 2018

A Cord Of Three Strands

“God does not intend that you experience mediocre relationships. He created you for far greater things. Building lasting relationships requires compassion, wisdom, empathy, kindness, courtesy, perseverance, and forgiveness. If it sounds like a lot of work, it is – which is perfectly fine with God. Why? Because He knows you are capable of doing that work and because He knows that the fruits of your labours will enrich the lives of your loved ones and the lives of generations unborn.”

 “30 Essential Lessons from Women of the Bible
Freeman-Smith Publishing

It’s Friday morning…the coffee is brewing, and the front door is open, and women gather together in my home.  We do life together and it truly is so much better.  I have to pinch myself sometimes because of how blessed I am to lead this community group. All of us have different stories and we all come from different places BUT we all have met Jesus and we have been changed.  And what better way to help each other than to share our stories of forgiveness and redemption.  Stories of hope that may lift another up from the pit of hopelessness. Taking someone else’s hand and walking them through the same things you have walked through.  Reminds me of the story of Ruth and Naomi. Here’s part of their story. I encourage you to read their whole story in your Bible.

But Ruth replied: Do not persuade me
to leave you or go back and not follow you.

For wherever you go, I will go,
and wherever you live, I will live;
your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God.
Where you die, I will die,
and there I will be buried.
May Yahweh punish me, and do so severely,
if anything but death separates you and me.
When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her,
she stopped trying to persuade her.
Ruth 1:16-18

Have you ever been in such a deep pit that you really didn’t want anyone to save you?  Maybe you are so tired of the way your life is going and it seems like everyone else’s lives are moving forward…But not yours.  You are so down that all you want to do it sit alone and cry.  Well, my friend, that is exactly where the enemy wants you. He can speak so loudly to you there and you might start believing his lies. But God wants so much more for you.

See, He didn’t create us to be alone. He intended for us to walk this life together sharing each other’s burdens.  The reason that we go through some of the hard things is so we can give someone else hope that it will be okay and they will get though it…just like you did.  It’s time for us to step out of ourselves and start being available to others.  Pray earnestly for God to bring you a woman who you can guide and mentor. Someone who needs to hear what you have to share.  For there is freedom is sharing your story and the enemy loses his grip when we are open and honest.  Walls come down and we become a force for Jesus. This world can’t hold us back from sharing His good news!

So which one are you today? Are you the one sitting at home alone, isolating from the rest of the world? I encourage you to pray right now that God will guide you to a group of women or even one special one to share with you. Or are you a woman who has been a Jesus follower for some time and you have so much to share. You have really seen Jesus’s hand in your life and you need to share it with someone else. I join you today in prayer that God will bring you someone to mentor. Friends, let’s do this together!

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated,
but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.
Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:12

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Let us pray: Dear Lord, You are so amazing and so full of love for us.  You are worthy to be praised.  We love You so much and we want to share the hope that You have given us so freely.  Lord, thank You that You have given each one of us a story to share and You have never left us in one place for too long. Give us the courage to step out and help another one of Your daughters who is hurting.  Give those who are hurting today the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other and the courage to share their burdens. Bring us together, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Ruth, Naomi, and Grace

The Book of Ruth was written to help us all see God’s grace in our lives and to help us trust His grace even when the clouds are so thick that we can’t see the road.  We also see how, in our own lives, God acts to turn our setbacks into stepping stones for joy and that God is always working on our behalf…for our good.

Naomi’s gift in Ruth: Naomi’s whole life caved in when she lived in Moab and God gave her Ruth.

And Ruth said, Urge me not to leave you or to turn back from following you;
for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.
Your people shall be my people and your God shall be my God.
Ruth 1:16

Ruth has a commitment and a love for God. Because of that, she had a deep commitment to her mother-in-law, Naomi.  Ruth 2:12, Ruth goes to Judah with Naomi to take refuge under the shelter of God. She left her own home and family to serve her mother-in-law.  God was turning Naomi’s setbacks into joy—even when she didn’t see His grace.

Ruth 1:12, Naomi suggests that Ruth will not be able to remarry but little did they know that God was preserving a wealthy man after God’s own heart, named Boaz.  In Ruth 2:20, Naomi realizes that God is behind the meeting of Boaz and Ruth.  God’s lesson is this—in every loss we endure, God is already plotting our gain.

See, God was always at work in Naomi’s life and in her setbacks.  She loses her husband and sons…God gave her Ruth.  No children?…God gives her Boaz (Ruth and Boaz meet and they give Naomi grandchildren.)   So many lessons in this story show how God replaces the losses we endure, and He is so loving and faithful to do so.  Our lives, as we serve Him, may not go along perfect and straight, but God sees that we do get there.

The Book of Ruth wants us to learn that God’s purpose for our lives is to show us something far greater than ourselves and our circumstances.  As well as a life full of joy and peace and love abundant.  He wants us to know that when we follow Him, our lives have meaning; and that everything we do in obedience to Him, no matter how small, is significant.  He also wants us to know that the best is yet to come.  Stay the course, follow Him always and hang on for the greatest adventure of your life!  It’s gonna be wild, it’s gonna be great, and it’s gonna be full of Him!

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Do you know Him?  He loves you and wants the best for you.  He has a life planned for you that is full of blessings and is to give you joy and so much more. If you do want to know Him, then pray this prayer with me:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner and I need You.  I believe that Your Son, Jesus died on the cross to save me from my sins.  I want You to come into my life and be my Lord and Savior.  I trust You and I love You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

{If you prayed this prayer, let us know in the comment section below.  We would love to talk to you about this decision you’ve just made.}