Ruth and Boaz

Photo by Bruno Kelzer on Unsplash

The story of Ruth and Boaz is a familiar one. It is a story of loss, bitterness, redemption, love, and joy. The main characters are the widow Naomi, her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth, and the kinsman redeemer Boaz.

Throughout the Book of Ruth we see God working. I love how the Bible says, as it happened, and as it turned out. Naomi and Ruth didn’t just happen to arrive in Bethlehem at harvest time, and Ruth didn’t just happen to end up gathering grain in Boaz’s fields. The fact Ruth is King David’s great-grandmother, and Boaz is David’s great-grandfather, putting them both in Christ’s genealogy, is by no means mere happenstance.

If you are familiar with Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz’s story, you remember Naomi’s family moved from Bethlehem in Judah to the land of the Moabites during a severe famine. While there, Naomi’s husband and both sons died, leaving behind three widows.

When word reached Naomi good crops were once again growing in Judah, she decided to return. At first, both daughter-in-laws decided to go with her. In the end, only Ruth left her homeland of Moab to join Naomi on her journey.

First off, this was no leisurely stroll to the market. These two women left their home and walked approximately 50 to 60 miles for 7-10 days. They descended from the mountains in Moab, entered the Jordan River Valley north of the Dead Sea, ascended to Jericho, and climbed an additional 2,500 feet near Jerusalem, before walking south to Bethlehem.

Two women traveling such a great distance alone definitely would not be without its dangers. Wild animals and thieves topped the list.

We know their story ends well. However, I’d like to point out a couple things we might miss by just looking at this as a nice love story between Ruth and Naomi,  and between Ruth and Boaz.

Ruth was from Moab. The Israelites did not like the Moabites for a number of reasons, going all the way back to their wilderness wandering days. So Ruth’s willingness to embrace the God of the Israelites and live among them was huge.

Boaz’s mother, Rahab, was the Canaanite woman who hid Israelite spies right before the people of Israel circled Jericho, and God leveled it.

There was the very real possibility Ruth would be treated roughly if no one protected her.

As the son of an outsider, Boaz understood what being an outsider meant, and was willing to protect Ruth.

Ruth’s devotion to God wasn’t inherited from her family. They were pagan-worshiping child-sacrificers. Ruth chose to worship God.

Boaz was a close kin who could redeem Ruth according to the Levirate law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). He chose to redeem Ruth.

In this story, we see a God who works in our lives to achieve his plan whether we are aware of it or not.

We are shown God invites everyone to be a part of his family, regardless of where they came from or what their previous beliefs were.

Before the kinsman redeemer can redeem, he must be related by blood to those he redeems. He must be able to pay the price of redemption. And there has to be a willingness to redeem. 

Just as Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman redeemer, Jesus is our kinsman redeemer. Through his sacrificial blood we are related to him. Jesus was without sin and able to pay the cost. He willingly paid the price for our redemption.

What is your favorite part of Ruth and Boaz’s story?

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Naomi took the baby and held him in her arms, cuddling him, cooing over him, waiting on him hand and foot.

The neighborhood women started calling him “Naomi’s baby boy!” But his real name was Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David. Ruth 4:116-17 (MSG)

You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry – Beside My Cottage Door It Grows

Beside My Cottage Door It Grows

Taken from Streams in the Desert

Author Unknown

Beside my cottage door it grows,
The loveliest, daintiest flower that blows,
A sweetbriar rose.

At dewy morn or twilight’s close,
The rarest perfume from it flows,
This strange wild rose.

But when the rain-drops on it beat,
Ah, then, its odors grow more sweet,
About my feet.

Ofttimes with loving tenderness,
Its soft green leaves I gently press,
In sweet caress.

A still more wondrous fragrance flows
The more my fingers close
And crush the rose.

Dear Lord, oh, let my life be so
Its perfume when tempests blow,
The sweeter flow.

And should it be Thy blessed will,
With crushing grief my soul to fill,
Press harder still.

And while its dying fragrance flows
I’ll whisper low, “He loves and knows
His crushed briar rose.”

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Be Still My Soul

Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

Within the past four weeks, four people I am connected with in some way died. Be still my soul.

March 13 our neighbor across the street died. We knew Howard for almost twenty-one years.

Two weeks later, the mother of a sweet friend died before she saw her two-week old grandson.

One week after that, the brother-in-law of another dear friend died. His wife came home from work and found him unresponsive.

And then two days ago, my sister-in-law’s sister died. Dee was scheduled to go into Hospice care at home the next day if she lived that long. She didn’t.

If you are wondering, none of these deaths were COVID related. Only one was expected.

During that same period of time, a baby was born. Our next door neighbors celebrated their first child’s two-month birthday. I was able to hold my friend’s five-month-old baby for the first time. New neighbors moved into the other house next to us.

Also during this four week span of time, Pilot and I celebrated our twenty-ninth anniversary and the Church celebrated the Resurrected Christ.

Life. From birth to death, and everything in between. Be still my soul.

I do not know what you face right now. Health concerns. The health concerns of loved ones. Job uncertainties. Financial worries. Relationship difficulties. Personal struggles. Doubts. Fears. Insecurities.

What I do know is this. Nothing reaches us God didn’t plan or permit. It all passes through his hand first. When the wars of life attack us, and they will, Jesus is as close as our skin. He stands ready to lead us through our battles.

In closing, I leave you with the song I requested be played at my mother’s funeral. I hope it brings you peace in whatever stage on life’s spectrum you currently find yourself in. Be still my soul.

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 “When you go to war and see before you vast numbers of horses and chariots, an army far greater than yours, don’t be frightened! The Lord your God is with you—the same God who brought you safely out of Egypt! 

“‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Don’t be afraid as you go out to fight today! For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you the victory!’” Deuteronomy 20:1, 3-4

You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here.Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well,

Sandy

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When No One’s Watching

Photo by Gabriel Meinert on Unsplash

The other day, I drove through the neighborhood as the elementary school dismissed. I chuckled when I noticed one particular boy. Once he was out of sight of the police officer directing traffic, he removed his bicycle helmet and hung it from the bike’s handlebars.

However, after he turned onto my street, things changed. He placed the helmet on his head. A few houses later, he pulled to the curb and tightened the straps under his chin.

When he believed no one was watching, he acted one way. When he knew there was the possibility his parents might see him, he acted another. Obedience had nothing to do with it. Doing the right thing had nothing to do with it. Getting caught had everything to do with it.

While I found the incident rather humorous, it led me to wonder. How often do I, do we, behave one way when we believe no one’s watching, and behave another way when we believe they are? Not really out of obedience to God or out of love for him, but out of the fear of being reprimanded for not wearing our helmets?

We don’t need to look further than the third chapter of Genesis to see this played out in the lives of Adam and Eve. After they were deceived by the serpent, they tried to hide from God. Things did not work out as they thought they would.

When the LORD told Abraham he and Sarah would have a son in a year’s time in Genesis 18, Sarah laughed. She thought God wouldn’t hear. Guess what? God heard.

Before we leave the book of Genesis, there’s the story in Genesis 37 of Joseph and his ten older brothers. Out of jealousy, and believing no one would find out, they threw Joseph into a dry cistern. They planned on leaving him there and concocted a wild story to tell their father Jacob about how Joseph died. But then some Ishmaelite merchants traveling to Egypt arrived. The older brothers sold their younger know-it-all brother into slavery. The going price? Twenty shekels of silver. They didn’t think anyone would find out. Boy were they wrong. What they planned for evil when no one was watching, God planned for good.

The Bible is filled with stories like these where people thought they could do whatever they wanted when they believed no one was watching. The Israelites and that golden calf of theirs recorded in Exodus 32. Jonah and the large fish he found himself taking up residence in recorded in the book of Jonah. Ananias and Sapphira and their land deal recorded in Acts 5 shortly after the New Testament Church began.

Regardless of the situation or reason, when we act as if no one’s watching and do wrong, we forget a very important fact. We can’t fool God. God sees. God hears. God knows. We show our love for God through our obedience, whether anyone sees us or not.

Instead of removing our helmet when we think no one’s watching and then putting it on when we think they are, what say we act like God’s watching? Because, you know, he really is. Not as someone looking to punish, but as someone who loves us too much to allow us to harm ourselves through disobedience.

Which story in the Bible about someone doing something when they think no one’s watching is your favorite?

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Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and my Father and I will come to them and live with them. Those who do not love me do not obey my teaching. And the teaching you have heard is not mine, but comes from the Father, who sent me.” John 14:23-24 (GNT)

You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Who Will Call Him King of Kings?

Photo by Sean O. on Unsplash

Easter is over for one more year. Now what? Has anything in our lives changed since Sunday in how we respond to that most glorious news; He is Risen! He is Risen indeed? Or are we living pretty much unchanged? Like the disciples we are called to let the whole world know Jesus is the resurrected King of kings and Lord of lords. So how are we doing with that?

Jesus told the disciples to meet him in Galilee after his resurrection. The disciples did just as Jesus told them. There they worshiped him. At this time, before he ascended back to his throne at the Father’s right in heaven, Jesus commissioned the disciples to go into all the world, ALL the world, and make disciples in all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey all the commands Jesus gave them. (Matthew 28:16-20) The disciples went everywhere preaching, and the Lord was with them and confirmed what they said by the miracles that followed their messages. (Mark 16:20)

As Christ-followers we are called to spread the Good News of a Risen Savior who loved us so much he willingly took our sin stain on himself, paid the debt we owed but could never pay, all so none would perish, and could live with him forever. This great commission is not just for the season surrounding Resurrection Sunday, but for every day of our life. Amen?

Who will call him king of Kings?

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 It was not long afterwards that he rose into the sky and disappeared into a cloud, leaving them staring after him. As they were straining their eyes for another glimpse, suddenly two white-robed men were standing there among them, and said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has gone away to heaven, and some day, just as he went, he will return!” Acts 1:9-11 (TLB)
 
You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well,

Sandy

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Christ is Risen

 

 

Christ Is Risen

by Frances Gregory Pasch

Let’s look beyond the Easter scene
Of colored eggs and jelly beans.
Let’s set our eyes upon the Lord
And feast instead upon His Word.

Let’s not forget that we’d be lost
Had Jesus not died on the cross.
He nailed our sins upon the tree
And rose again so we’d be free.

So let’s sing out in jubilation!
Christ, alone, is our salvation.
Lord and Savior…Counselor, King,
Great Provider…Our Everything.

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published hundreds of times in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Frances’ latest book, Greater Than Gold is available on Amazon. Her first book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry, which was published when she was eighty years old, is also available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991 and makes her own holiday greeting cards incorporating her poetry. She and her husband, Jim, have been married since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. Contact her at http://www.francesgregorypasch.com.

Very early that Sunday morning, the women made their way to the tomb, carrying the spices they had prepared.  Arriving at the tomb they discovered that the huge stone covering the entrance had been rolled aside,  so they went in to look. But the tomb was empty. The body of Jesus was gone!

 They stood there, stunned and perplexed. Suddenly two men in dazzling white robes shining like lightning appeared above them. Terrified, the women fell to the ground on their faces.

The men in white said to them, “Why would you look for the living On in a tomb? He is not here, for he has risen! Have you forgotten what he said to you while he was still in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man is destined to be handed over to sinful men to be nailed to a cross, and on the third day he will rise again’?”

 All at once they remembered his words. Luke 24:1-8 (TPT)

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Jesus Died So We Wouldn’t Have To

The movie depicted the life of Jesus. The title was King of Kings. Jeffrey Hunter portrayed Christ. Harry Guardino portrayed Barabbas. The scene in the movie where the people cried for the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus is seared forever into my memory. It didn’t matter how fine an actor Guardino was in later movies, I never particularly cared for him because of how good a job he did presenting Barabbas.

During Christ’s interrogation before Pilate, Pilate had a choice. Release an innocent man, Jesus, in exchange for a convicted criminal, Barabbas. Or cave to the demands of the religious leaders and crucify Christ instead of Barabbas. Pilate gave in to the people. 

Pilate had the power and authority to make the decision to release Jesus, but he decided to grant the demands of the shouting crowds. As a result, an innocent man died in the place of a criminal.

We might look at the scripture that recounts these details and think, “That isn’t fair. Barabbas broke the law. Everyone knew it. He deserved to die. Jesus was innocent. Sinless. He did nothing worthy of the punishment he received.”

That’s the way my brain reasoned as a second grader when I listened to the crowds in the movie chant for Barabbas to be released. Tears ran down my face because Pilate didn’t make the right choice. I wanted to tell Pilate, no! You have to release Jesus. You just have to! Don’t release Barabbas. I wanted Jesus to live. I wanted Barabbas to be punished.

But you know what? It could just as easily have been my name that was called out to be released. Or your name. Because, really, isn’t that what happened? You and I have broken God’s law. We know it. Jesus knows it. We deserve to die. We deserve to be punished.

Instead, an innocent man, Jesus, died in the place of a criminal, put your name here.

Jesus took our sins upon his perfect, sinless self. He paid the penalty for the debt we owed but could never pay.

We are the prisoners, the law-breakers, who should die. Instead, we are shown God’s great mercy.

Don’t you want to thank him for that great gift by living a life worthy of being called a Child of God?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Then Pilate summoned the chief priests, the officials and the people and addressed them in these words. “You have brought this man to me as a mischief-maker among the people, and I want you to realise that, after examining him in your presence, I have found nothing criminal about him, in spite of all your accusations. And neither has Herod, for he has sent him back to us. Obviously, then, he has done nothing to deserve the death penalty. I propose, therefore, to teach him a sharp lesson and let him go.”

But they all yelled as one man, “Take this man away! We want Barabbas set free!” (Barabbas was a man who had been put in prison for causing a riot in the city and for murder.) But Pilate wanted to set Jesus free and he called out to them again, but they shouted back at him, “Crucify, crucify him!”

Then he spoke to them, for a third time, “What is his crime, then? I have found nothing in him that deserves execution; I am going to teach him a lesson and let him go.”

But they shouted him down, yelling their demand that he should be crucified.

Their shouting won the day, and Pilate pronounced the official decision that their request should be granted. He released the man for whom they asked, the man who had been imprisoned for rioting and murder, and surrendered Jesus to their demands. Luke 23:13-25 (Phillips)

You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Red As Scarlet

Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

Red dye stains on my favorite light blue blouse. I couldn’t believe it. All because I hung a red blouse to dry next to the blue blouse, and they pressed against each other.

I scrubbed, and scrubbed, and scrubbed. I tried various stain removal products. Nothing helped. The stains would not budge.

While I worked on this dilemma, it dawned on me. Isn’t that the way it is with the sin in our lives? We don’t have to be wrapped in it, smeared by it, or even dunked into it to have sin stain us. No amount of washing, scrubbing, or product can remove it from us either. The stain is permanently inked on our heart.

Although I ended up getting rid of my blue blouse because I couldn’t remove the stain, we need never wonder if God will get rid of us because of our sin stain. He tells us when we give our lives to him, he will remove all our sins through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.

Because of Jesus’ blood, though our sins are red as scarlet, they will be made whiter than snow and remembered no more. Thank you, Jesus.

Like me, do you have scarlet stains of sin that need removed? Tell Jesus. Nothing but his blood will do the job.

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Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool! Isaiah 1:18 (TLB)

You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Flooded Book Review

In Flooded Nicki Koziarz looks at the biblical account of Noah and five decisions he made. Decisions we, too, can make to help quiet fear, resist the urge to try and control the uncontrollable, and find the familiar faithfulness of God when everything is falling apart.

Through examples she shows us:

  1. Noah was able to rise above the doubt his assignment could have caused by making the decision to walk with God.
  2. Noah listened and obeyed whether he agreed with God or not.
  3. Noah didn’t try to make sense of what God asked him to do.
  4. Noah remembered who was in control and believed God had a plan.
  5. Noah held to the familiar faithfulness of God when he stepped off the ark.

Using events from her own life interspersed throughout the book, Nicki shows how, like Noah, she worked through these decisions.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry – Heavenly Treasures

Welcome to Pause for Poetry featuring a poem, Heavenly Treasures, written by my writer-friend, Frances Gregory Pasch.

Heavenly Treasures

Dear Jesus, You have shown me

By Your guidance and Your love,

The things that I must strive for

Are the things that are above.

They’re the only things that matter.

They’re the only things of worth.

For when I die I cannot take

My treasures stored on earth.

So help me, Lord, to concentrate

On ways to love and share.

Show me where I’m needed

Let others know I care.

Don’t let the devil fill my mind

With thoughts of fear and dread,

Just let me feed upon Your Word

And trust in You instead.

Frances Gregory Pasch

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published hundreds of times in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Frances’ latest book, Greater Than Gold is available on Amazon. Her first book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry, which was published when she was eighty years old, is also available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991 and makes her own holiday greeting cards incorporating her poetry. She and her husband, Jim, have been married since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. Contact her at http://www.francesgregorypasch.com.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.
You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.
I wish you well.
Sandy
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