Thursday, June 2, 2016

I'm here. Where are you?

For the month of May I decided to study the book of Ruth. Not just Ruth but the entire book of Ruth. I wanted to grow deeper in my relationship with God. Reading different plans on the Bible App wasn't cutting it for me. I was all over the place. One Sunday at church my pastor mentioned he was studying Genesis. Eureka!!! I needed to choose a specific topic or book in the Bible to study. Otherwise I would be reading aimlessly. For weeks I was stuck on what to study until that particular Sunday. I realize in this situation I had to make myself available by choosing and let God work. There are times when I feel like I'm not in tune with God so I become fearful with my decisions. In moments like that I end up not doing anything. So I made the decision to read Ruth in faith and allow God to work.

Now why did I choose Ruth? It was a short book lol. Hey this was my first personal in-depth study and I didn't want to overwhelm myself. Also I know there's more to the Book of Ruth than Ruth and Boaz got married. So let the games begin. I saved all plans on the Bible App pertaining to the book of Ruth. Some days I would continuously read one chapter. I enjoyed what I was learning but still craved more. A few weeks later I found myself in Lifeway Christian Stores. I was in there because it was hot outside and I wanted to cool off before catching the bus. As I was cooling off I came to my senses. I thought about my location and what I said I was doing for the month of May. So thank God I found a book about Ruth. It's titled Ruth:loss, love & legacy by Kelly Minter for her The Living Room Series. It's a 6-week study and has two-recipes per week. (Yum and Yay) It's set up for a small group setting. Of course I'm currently going through the study by myself. But I have been sharing a few tips or revelations with some friends. God has truly been speaking to me with this study. If you don't mind I'd like to share what I've learned thus far.

1. Trust God No Matter What

The first thing every study honed in on was the first two verses of Ruth. 

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
~Ruth 1:1-2 NIV

Elimelech was an Israelite who lived in the land of Judah. Famine struck the land and he moved his family to the land of the Moabites. At surface it may seem noble for a man to move his family to help save them. However God had instructed his people to not interact with the Moabites. There are several occasions when the Israelites turned away from God and He allowed the Moabites to rule over them.

No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, not even in the tenth generation. For they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Aram Naharaim[c] to pronounce a curse on you. However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them as long as you live.
~Deuteronomy 23:3-6 NIV

12 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and because they did this evil the Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel. 13 Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms. 14 The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years.
~Judges 3:12-14 NIV

So please ma'am and please sir stay planted wherever God has you. You may think you're helping but you can be hindering. Thankfully God used this story to show faith and redemption.

2. Cry Moving Forward

Both Orpah and Ruth were presented with the same situation. Both of them cried. But they ended up going opposite directions when it's all said and done. I like the possible difference in perspective here. Both at and had a dead husband and no children, Like Naomi said they had a better chance of remarrying in their own land instead of looking for a husband in a foreign land or waiting on Naomi to birth two sons again. With the presented information it seems Orpah felt she had everything to lose but Ruth felt she had nothing to lose. When tough situations come it's okay to cry. Sometimes the thought of a good outcome may seem like an impossible outcome. Don't let the tears stop you or cause you to go back to comfort. God wants you to push forward.

3. Be Willingly Available

We must make ourselves willingly available to God. Ruth twice made herself. willingly available by following Naomi to the land of Judah and going to work in the field. She was willing to pick up scraps. Scraps. As a foreigner technically that's what was expected.

When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen.Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.
~Leviticus 19:9-10 NIV

 19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.
~Deuteronomy 24:19-22 NIV

God worked His will. In Ruth chapter 2 verse 3 the scripture reads as it turned out or it so happened she was in Boaz's field. God allowed Ruth to receive extra harvest and she could continue working in Boaz's field. Once you make yourself willingly available watch God's Divine Hand work. I definitely have to remember this when looking for jobs. It's okay to start small. Make sure to have great work ethic and watch the promotion come. This doesn't mean work nonstop even Ruth rested. She made herself available to God and the rest is history.

So that's just a few of the key notes I've taken away from this study thus far. There's still so much to be learned as I continue this study. I had to make myself willingly available to God during this study. I'm just amazed at what I've learned thus far. For so long I've been crying out to God, "Where are you?" I had to take step in a faith like Ruth. I've learned that God is always around. Are you making yourself available and trusting Him to turn things around? Or are you moving from where God has you because it's uncomfortable and you think the grass is greener on the other side? Or are you the person that cries and then goes back to the same routine? Trust God, move forward and make yourself available. It's as if God is rhetorically saying, "I'm here. Where are you?"

Relax, Relate, Release,


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