Ruth 1:22 A Sign Of Hope

Barley field

So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning. Ruth 1:22 

Going through difficult times can often make a person feel as though God is against him and forgotten him. Some people have gone through one trouble after another for years and wonder why God is against them.

As people go through difficult times, some will give up and try to do something different to make a change in the circumstances. They will change jobs, move, seek help, and many other attempts, all while crying out to God for help.

Naomi had been going through some difficult times. Her husband had died, leaving her with her two sons and their wives. Later her sons then died, leaving her with just her daughters-in-law. On top of the troubles of being a widow with two daughters, there was a famine in the land. Food was scarce and she could not work.

Feeling as though God cursed her, she changes her name to Mara, meaning bitter, and then chooses to move back to Bethlehem. Her daughter-in-law Ruth chooses to continue to go with her to a foreign country and people.

As they arrive in Bethlehem it was the beginning of the time for harvesting the barley. This is a sign of things about to change. Although it didn’t look like much, God was providing food, despite the famine.

From this point forward the lives of Ruth and Naomi changed drastically.

It is little signs like this that can show a believer that God is still there and with him. It shows that God will provide in the time of need, at the right time and place.

Although, today, most people are not in farming communities, God still does provide in new ways. Sometimes these ways are simple and small, but it is still provision, a sudden small lump of cash, a new open door, an extra gift of food, or more.

You may be going through a tough time and feel as though God has left you. You want to change your name to bitter or broken. Keep moving forward trusting God. Look for that sign that God is still there with you, no matter how little or big that sign may be.

The barley was not much, but it was provision and a sign God had not left them.

God has not left you either and will provide for your needs.

I pray today that you will know God’s presence in your life; that you will see God’s hand at work in your life; that you will see God’s provision in your life; and that you will know God is not against you. 

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Joshua 2:8-9 The World Will Be Afraid

Afraid

Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.” Joshua 2:8-9

Joshua had sent some men into Jericho to spy out the city in order to take it over. They stayed with Rahab, a prostitute, who protects them. She tells them that everyone in the city has heard of the Israelites and that God is with them. Everyone was living in fear of the Israelites.

The people had reason to fear the Israelites. Word had been brought to them of the various battles that they had been in and won. Defeating Egypt and several other large nations and kings, they were a force to be reckoned with and feared.

In today’s society, Christians are also feared as the Israelites were. The world does not always understand or give the same reason, but they fear believers. It is very common for believers to be accused of hate crimes, because they are taking a stand against sinful acts that the world wants everyone to accept.

Judgments are brought against individual believers or churches, because they refuse to accept or participate in a sinful act.

These actions by the world, though seen as persecution (and it is), is also done out of fear. They fear that Christians will cause them to change their ways and beliefs, that they will no longer be able to live as they want to live. It is a threat against their lifestyle.

The world feared Jesus also, even though He never did anything harmful. Jesus just lived for God and did what God told Him to do.

When you are fully living for God, the world will begin to fear you. As they fear you, there will be some who fight back and bring on persecution. Others will try to bring judgments against you.

Do not be afraid of the world, but stand strong and true to God’s word. God is with you and will not leave you. God, who is in you, is stronger than the world. The world does have a reason to fear, God will change their lifestyle.

Be willing to be a witness of Jesus to this world. Be willing to change this world for God.

Does the world fear you? Or are you on their side?

I pray today that you will live your life for God; that you will be a witness to this world; that the world will see Jesus in you; and that God will remove fear of this world from you.

Genesis 13:18 First Priority

At the altar

So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the LORD. Genesis 13:18

Moving to a new location brings on new challenges when a person arrives. Getting set up and settled in the first challenge most people think about.

Getting set up with a new job is often the first priority, however, there is much more needed in the new location. Getting electricity and heat set up, the mailing address is changed, unpacking the house, setting up things in the house, learning where the different stores are, finding the right church to attend, getting children enrolled in a school, and much more.

Each of these challenges present their own set of difficulties and what level of priority each is. For each person, the level of priority may different for each need.

Abram and his nephew lot were too large to stay in the same area, so they each moved to a new separate location. As Abram was setting up, God told him that all the land would be his one day. When he had set up the tents, his first priority was to set up the altar to God.

The altar was needed because it represented God. It was the connection to God. A place to worship God and a place to repent of sins against God. Where there is an altar, there could be a focus on God, a reminder to allow God to be in control. It was a place to sacrifice self in order to allow God to reign.

Although there are no longer any physical sacrifices being done to God, every believer needs to set up an altar before God. It does not have to be a physical altar, but one in the heart. A place to allow God to sit on the throne of one’s life.

Your first priority in your life should be to put God on the throne of your life. To set up a place to worship God. A place you can repent of sins and keep your focus upon God.

This can be a daily focus. Renew your altar before God each day. God before Him and let Him rule your life.

Having an altar allows you to let God be your first priority in your life. Everything else becomes second. Let God order your life as you put Him first.

I pray today that you will put God first in your life; that you will serve God first; that you will not get distracted with the things of this world; and that you will have an altar in your life to keep you focused on God. 

Hebrews 1:12 Forever The Same

 

Yosemite Valley Mountains

You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end. Hebrews 1:12

Looking around this world and up into the sky, a person can see a lot of wonderful things. One can see great mountains, or valleys, lakes, oceans, rivers, various plants, many animals and much more. Or looking up into the sky to see the moon, sun, and endless stars.

Looking at the beauty of the mountains or the sky can put a person in awe. Those things seen seem to have been there forever and will last forever. Yet, they will come to an end.

Areas have been removed or filled in by man. Erosion from the weather has changed coastlines and mountain tops. Change occurs.

Along with looking at things in nature, one looks at people and see a lot of change. People change all the time. Most people are much different when they are in their forties than when they were in their teens. Views of life change. Ways to act and react to things change. Beliefs often change. Friends come and go. Locations for living change. Level of living change. Jobs change.

All these things change and can cause fear and mistrust in people. People often ask what they can rely on, what can they trust that will remain.

Jesus is the One who was there in the beginning and will be there through the end. He is the One who created the heavens and the earth, and He will be the One who will destroy both. The heavens and earth will be rolled up and tossed out by Jesus, in order to make a new heaven and a new earth not corrupted by sin and death.

Knowing this can give you hope. Jesus remains the same forever. Look in the gospels and see what Jesus was like, that is how He is today. He loved people. He healed people. He forgave people. He was compassionate with people. He listened to people.

All of these things and more, Jesus still does today. He will do each of these things for you today. You can rely on Jesus being there for you in and through every situation in your life. Trust in what He is doing in your life, even when you don’t feel Him.

Jesus will always be the same.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know the power Jesus has; that you will know the character of Jesus; that you will know Jesus will never change; and that you will trust in all that Jesus leads you in and through.

Mark 2:21 A Technological Change

Stream Of Water.png

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.” Matthew 2:21

Jesus had been asked why the disciples did not fast. He responds with the fact that while the bridegroom is with them, no one will fast, but that they will later. Then He begins talking about not sewing a new patch on an old patch of cloth.

In a time when sewing patches on clothing is not very common, many people will ignore this verse. Holes in clothing are now often accepted, or they will just go out and purchase new clothing. Yet, the truth remains that if one is to put a new patch on an old piece of clothing, the new patch must be prepared or pre-shrunk.

One common thing that people today are familiar with is technology. New things are coming out on a regular basis. The new patches of technology for the smart phones would never work on the old traditional dial-up phones of the past.

In order for the new technology to work, the old item must be changed. It cannot remain the same. The old phones cannot take the new technology, no matter how good or great the technology is.

When Jesus came to this earth, He was bringing something new. That something was that everyone could have access to God, not just the Israelites and the priests. He was opening a new door.

For people to be able to take on this new ability, there has to be a change. They can no longer stay the same. The new ‘technology’ of salvation by the blood of Jesus, cannot be put into someone who is under the Law or in the world. He has to be changed.

You must be willing to change in order to follow Jesus. It starts with accepting you failed and need Him, repenting of your sins and accepting His forgiveness. You must become a new creation in Him, in order to accept what He has for you.

If you stay in your old ways, you will burst when trying to take what Jesus has for  you. Living in the ways of this world is the old cloth, living in Jesus is the new cloth. If you are being patched with Jesus, you must be made new in Him.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will allow Jesus to change your life; that you will accept what Jesus has for you; and that you will be a new creation in Jesus.