God’s Redeeming Grace (Part 1)

“He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” Ruth 3:9 ESV

There are four simple and short chapters in the book of Ruth – these highlight a redemption story with a genealogy that birth’s the Messiah and redeems the world – Redemption in the small mundane little things as well as salvation for all of mankind and it starts with saving a young foreign widowed woman. 

Dear Heavenly Father – you are The Redeemer! Thank you for caring about the little things in our life and using them for your greater plans. You alone restore. You alone redeem. You alone are to be glorified!  Please open our eyes to see and our understanding to the ways of you. – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

I have a short commute to work every day. I used to catch half a song (maybe half of two) and a bunch of senseless ramblings in the radio morning show – while my mind races around planning all the work I need to accomplish during the coming day. However, I have changed my practice sometime during the last year or so – and now I spend that moment in prayer, giving my day to God and focusing on the blessings He has spoken over my life, and I stay prayerful ensuring I have my spiritual hands firmly holding on to peace so I can walk into work with the right heart and mindset.

Recently, while driving and praying my way into work, a thought interrupted me saying ‘the car in front of me will make a sudden left turn be ready to slow”.  It was a weird and random thought to interrupt. But I was a good distance behind that car and so I just remained, giving a distance between us. I returned to my prayerful thoughts… AND HE TURNED! SUDDENLY! He had to slam on his own breaks in order to do so. I had given space and was easily able to navigate slowing down and continuing on my way without incident. I began to praise God for the warning and I heard a voice: “I have gone before you and I have every little detail in my control.”  

What a day I had! But I had the assurance that God had all these details under control. What a week I had!!! But I have the assurance that God has it all under control.  I keep the verse, 2 Timothy 1:12, next to my desk and recite it throughout the day, mediating on it and working on memorizing it – I have gone back and reread my studies on that verse – God keeps me encouraged as I go through these trials and tests in my work place.  (Which I have come to see as not workplace issues as much as testing and trials God has placed in my life to prepare me and to grow me.)

At the beginning of all this – I said to this mountain “MOVE”. And God answered me saying, no child – climb the mountain, get to the high ground in the battle and get a new perspective. I am to overcome by climbing, reading and praying.  But not by my strength and ability – BUT by grace! By God’s power and provisions! Because HE IS THE REDEEMER and He handles all the little details. (As we see in the book of Ruth and as we see in my morning commute.)

Ruth chapter one begins with hard times for Naomi (a Jewish women whose name means pleasant). The entire first chapter of Ruth follows this blog post for your convenience and reference. I encourage you to read the whole book. These hard times were made worse by famine, made worse by relocating in search of food, made worse by the death of her husband, made worse by the death of both her sons (all of her children), and made worse by having to move/relocate (saying good bye to her daughters-in-law who she loved) and return to her home land as an elderly widow (back then it was a difficult life for a widow). Ruth was not a Jew, but she was loyal and believed in God – so even though she was choosing a difficult path, she stayed with Naomi. And when they returned, Naomi changed her name to Mara, which means bitter…

“She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi;call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” Ruth 1:20-21 ESV

Oh how I have been there – how about you? There is one thing, then the next, and then the next – it’s like this year, 2020, when all these crazy, unbelievable things just keep coming – one after another after another – plagues and famines (supply shortages), pandemics, fires, weather, earthquakes – not to mention the political unrest, and on and on! Oh Naomi, we have been there! Life can be bitter!

I have lost a child, lost loved ones, and had people I love reject me to the point that they are gone from my life and might as well be dead, since there is no contact. Life can be bitter. Did Naomi forget, though, that she was a daughter of the one true living God? The God of restoration???

I am a foreigner, like Ruth – not a Jew by bloodline but adopted in though our faith and conviction (as promised through the spilled blood of Christ).  I have said: “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16c

And my God cares about the little things – Ruth and Naomi would get food, clothing and shelter (our God provides), they have a blessed and provided for future (our God restores), and their names and lives would be eternally written in the word of God (our God is victorious)! AND (as if that wasn’t enough) the redemption of the whole world would come from this humble broken beginning. OUR GOD REDEEMS!

Oh Lord I am broken! I have loss! My story has this portion that is bitter, it emptied me, and depleted me. I have nowhere to go but home to you, Almighty God, like Naomi and Ruth! I know in whom I believe, Lord! You are able to keep me and able to redeem me. My story doesn’t end with the bitterness and brokenness!  In the name of Jesus – I bind any bitter spirit in me and in these reader, Lord please forbid bitterness to have a stronghold – and I loose the Holy Spirit to fill us up and help us stand fast in the liberty wherein Christ has made us free!  Because I have stepped out in faith and asked to have a relationship with you – I have experienced you and know now that you are real! And I know the story of Naomi and Ruth ends in redemption and I know my story ends in redemption and I know, oh Lord, that your plans for these readers is for their story to end in redemption! Thank you Lord God! You are great and greatly to be praised! Your grace and undue favor upon us is sufficient to get us through the tough times that deplete and empty us – Lord fill that emptiness with your redemption and your blessings! Continue to pour into us more of you!!!  In the name of Jesus we pray in agreement – amen

If you don’t already, and today you would like to have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ I love you and love one another
Watch and Pray ~ Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Ruth Chapter 1 ESV

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” 14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return 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 my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

19 So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi;call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”

22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

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