Posts tagged Diane
An Interview With Me

I sit, this morning, propped up in bed, given a couple of hours to spend as I wish. And what I wish most of all is to reconnect with you, my girls, in this over-the-top, crazy, transitional, less-than-controllable time in my life. And since I’m as confused as anyone about why everything seems so bone-jarringly bumpy right now, I thought I’d ask myself a few questions to see if I can clear my messy mind.

Diane:  What do you see from where you sit?

Me:  A worn-at-the-edges sheet covering my window, clothes hanging to dry draped all over my dresser, a suitcase half packed, a desk piled with stuff that needs doing right-now-this-minute!… and baby Scarlet’s new red shoes pattering by while she chatters joyfully to her Amma about who-knows-what.

Diane:  Why is your life in upheaval?


1.  We just moved into a not-yet-finished house.

2.  A few days after the move, our daughter and her family moved in with us for a couple of weeks.

3.  All their boxes joined ours in our garage, leaving the smallest pathway possible to the jury-rigged washer and dryer.

4. Two days ago Brook, Elizabeth and Duke climbed into a moving truck to caravan to their new home in L.A.

5.  I’ve been teary over the move for weeks.

6.  Scarlet stayed with us because her parents couldn’t quite fathom the 20-plus hour drive down I-5 with a two year old.

7.  And I couldn’t quite fathom saying good-bye to the two-year old. And like said two-year-old, I’m employing strategic delay tactics.

8. Soon I’ll fly with Scarlet to L.A. I’ll stay a few days to help Elizabeth get settled and spend some time with my other daughter, Rebekah, who lives just 15 minutes away.

9.  I’ll be home for one day, then fly to San Francisco to teach an Intentional  conference with Phil at Reality S.F. to a really great group of young parents wanting more than anything to raise children who are passionate about Jesus.

10. Then we’ll rent a car and go see my parents in the mountains east of San Francisco for a couple of days, checking in on both of them as their health declines, wondering aloud with them what the future holds.

Diane:  Just normal life stuff, it sounds like. What’s the big deal?

Me: I am supposed to be writing a book… and writing for this blog. And I’m not.

Diane: Well, girl, you’d better just work harder and longer and faster and smarter!  Clearly you’re not doing what you should… you’re not enough.

Me:  Hush! And stop all that incessant scolding!

I am listening to the Spirit of God, not to all the worries and fear that suffocate my spirit and leave me crabby and anxious.

He promises rest, and peace, and strength, and honor to His name. He says He’s enough so I don’t have to be. (Ps 23).

And He says things like: “The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness… He will show them the path they should choose… Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart…”[1]

Diane:  Oh, sorry. I thought scolding myself was the best way to avoid failure. You know, motivation to get to it.

Me: I am learning that scolding myself makes it all about me. As if it’s up to me to control every aspect of my life. As if worry whips me into shape.

I am choosing to take those runaway worries captive— catching the fiery arrows before they sink deep.

I am determining to stay sheltered close to the Shadow of the Almighty so that He can be to me all that I need.

I am recognizing that His way of working through me is different than my way of intimidating myself into productivity.

Diane:  What advice do you have for other women in a season of too-much-to-do?

Me: Carve out space to listen closely to the Master. Is it His voice that is driving you? Or could it be the spirit of guilt and obligation? In busy times we need to purposefully listen… to Him. And when life is hectic and less than perfectly tidy we actually need more time for the silence.

Diane:  Then what?

Me: Do each day with determined joy, deciding to hope, to trust, to believe God. At the end of the day go back and thank Him for His presence in each hour. See Him and listen to Him.  His presence makes all the difference in our days.

Diane:  Have you heard or read anything lately that is helping you figure this out?

Me:  I just closed the last page of a book that is so full of wisdom I want every woman to read it. It’s called Restless, by Jennie Allen. I plan to write a full review next week (but who knows, at this rate?!), but for now a quote or two:

“As you become more secure in Christ… you will feel a new tension surface: a life that feels semi-chaotic. You realize that what you had been calling “balance” in your family was really a determined effort to control your life at all costs. You see, God never promises balance. So this new life that feels semi-chaotic is likely a symptom of a couple attempting to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.” (from the author’s husband)

“I wanted to be comfortable more than I wanted God’s will for my days.” (from the author)

And this…

“Great people don’t do great things. God does great things with surrendered people.”

So here I am surrendering the order I crave. Not passively shrugging my shoulders and simmering below the surface… but really surrendering to the One who knows me and wants to do great things through me— in spite of my mixed up, semi-psychotic self.

I’m surrendering my daughter too. To run with the Spirit into all the beautiful, chaotic, mess He wants to use in her, through her, for her.

And I’m praying for you, my girls. Because I believe that God has great things for you… things only you can do… things that won’t get done unless you choose to surrender, to listen, to face your fears, to let go of comfort, and to fling yourself unreservedly after the One who is leading you.

From my heart,


P.S. You know I’m needing to hear from you too!  Are you learning to delight in the chaos of a life lived hard after Jesus? Can you tell us about it? Please?

[1] Psalm 23, Psalm 25, Psalm 37



Ruth 4v18-22

Epilogue (Part Five) 

(Click here to listen to the seventh Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week





More Words fro the Father

Romans 12

Colossians 3




From my Heart

Page from the past: December 1995


A husband and a wife. Four children (including two teenagers, one pre-adolescent, and one toddler)! Two cats. One totally disobedient dog. And two horses. This is the make-up of our family. Needless to say, with all our comings and goings, individual personalities, and distinct wills, ours is not always a peaceful place. There is plenty of teasing and laughter…and fun. And if I'm honest, quite a few thunderclaps of conflict as well.


And I love it.


Oh, I don’t always like it. I am, after all, a woman who thrives on solitude, order, calm, quiet, and peace (rare qualities in this busy household). Yet I love the richness, the ever-changing variety, the heart-stopping intimacy of shared thoughts. I find such safety in the “kindred spirits” I have found in each of my family members.


I know what they like…


They know what I like…


We know what we like together.


There is something soul-satisfying about a shared beauty; a favorite song on the radio, a breath-taking sunset, or better yet, the groggy-eyed wonder of an early morning sunrise. When I see a brilliant rainbow with my family, it takes on a deeper beauty because we gasp in wonder together.


This family of mine is nothing like the still-life portrait I once imagined it would be. For goodness sake, we can’t even get a quick snapshot of all six of us smiling with all 12 eyes open at once!


I am learning, ever so slowly, that if I let go and stop trying to get everybody to be quiet and still and orderly, I enjoy this crazy crowd a whole lot more.


Though I treasure order, they do not. Though I love quiet, I have never known one of them to leave our noisy family circle to seek solitude for the sake of silence. They prefer noise, and lots of it. And while neatness seems essential to my peace of mind, not a one of the rest of them care a whit if the house is in perfect order before they go to bed, or when they get up, or anytime in between!


I’m finally getting it. That family peace consists more in letting go and accepting each other than in trying frantically to keep everybody calm, quiet, and tidy. I am learning that conflict is sometimes okay (will I ever really believe that?) and that closeness comes not by obliterating conflict, but by living with it comfortably.


We do not always agree. In fact, we rarely all agree. And that’s okay. It is when we graciously respect each other’s differing opinions and ways of doing things that friendship sprouts like well-watered weeds all over the relationships in this family.


So I am learning painstakingly slowly to let go and enjoy this crew of six. I am daily resisting the hundreds of urges to control and corral them into my version of the Happy Family.


They are they…


and I am me…


and together we are we.


From my heart,






The Old Testament contains about two-dozen genealogical lists. The aim of these lists was to establish links from the past to the present. Biblical genealogies differ from the family trees that so many Americans attempt to reconstruct, in that they were linear genealogies. Lots and lots of names were left out, skipped over not because they were unknown, but because they were considered insignificant to the purpose of the list. Linear genealogies functioned as legal documents to legitimize claims to position, authority, or power.


This genealogy at the end of the book of Ruth was written, at least in part, in order to validate David’s claim to the throne. It starts with the name of Perez, who was the son of Judah, linking David’s ancestry to the promise given to Abraham.


The ancient Hebrew genealogies were usually limited to ten generations. In this descending format, the names at the beginning are the revered, honored founders whose stories lend examples of power and prestige, while the names at the end of the list were of the well-known recent generations.


This particular genealogy emphasizes how God included imperfect people in the generations who would bring about Israel’s greatest king, David. It gives us hope by showing us that He is in the habit of using messy stories. And if He can orchestrate the dysfunctional families of the past, perhaps He can redeem our own less-than-perfect lives.


The Abrahamic Covenant

Genesis 22v16-17


By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord,

because you have done this thing,

and have not withheld your son, your only son,

indeed I will greatly bless you,

and I will greatly multiply your seed

as the stars of the heavens,

and as the sand which is on the seashore;

and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.

And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,

Because you have obeyed My voice.”


Ruth 4v18-22

Epilogue (Part Four)

(Click here to listen to the seventh Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week





More Words from the Father

1 John 4v7-5v21

1 Thessalonians 4v13-5v11




From my Heart


We’ve read the stories of Ruth and Naomi, Boaz and Orpah, Elimelech and his sons. Add to that mix King Eglon, Rahab, Salmon, Tamar, and several others. In the process, I’ve told you about me - my fears and my failures, my life and loves. But what about your story?


I’ve gathered together ten questions for you. Ten queries about who you are and who you want to be. I’ve left no room for you to fill in the blanks, for these are thinking questions – the kind you bring before the Father in those quiet, questioning hours before life’s pressures push you through your day.


I would urge you to ponder prayerfully. Think about your relationships, examine the way you use your time. Every once in a while we need to take stock of our lives and make sure we are who we want to be, that we’re doing what our Redeemer redeemed us for. After all, your story will end someday too.


From my heart,



Ten Questions

1. Who am I?

2. Who do I want to be?

3. What’s stopping me from being who I want to be?

4. What do I need to do now?

5. What kind of woman do I want to be when I’m old?

6. Who do I want to miss me when I’m gone?

7. Who needs more of me now?

8. How can I organize my life to make this happen?

9. Where does God fit into my wants and wishes?

10. Am I going after God with every ounce of my being?





Tamar’s Story

Tamar was Perez’s mother. Her story reads like a desperate soap opera set in the middle of the great patriarchal biographies. It is an ugly story, filled with deception and danger. This is not a history to be proud of. So why is it here? Why highlight this particular tragedy by including it in both David’s and Jesus’ genealogies? What is there about this story that the Author of the Scriptures wanted to be sure to communicate to us?


The story starts with Judah, one of the twelve sons of Israel, separating himself from his family. He is appalled at the shameful plot he got involved in to sell his brother, Joseph, into slavery in Egypt. Watching his father grieve over the loss of his younger son was Judah’s undoing. Instead of staying to face the consequences, Judah ran from his family in a futile attempt to forget his guilt. While away, he met a woman, married her, and started a family.


His firstborn son, Er, needed a wife so Judah found him a Canaanite bride by the name of Tamar. Because of his evil ways, God chose to take Er’s life, leaving Tamar a childless widow.


Following the levirate practice, Judah demanded that his next son marry Tamar, which he did with great reluctance. Onan took advantage of Tamar’s situation by enjoying the privileges of sexual pleasure for himself but “spilling his seed” in order to prevent her from getting pregnant. God took him too.


By now Judah is looking on Tamar with suspicion. Two sons dead on their honeymoon! Making promises he has no intention of keeping, he sends Tamar back home to her father’s house to wait for his next son to grow up. Years pass. Tamar knows that her future is sealed if she does not get a son soon. So she concocts a deception of her own. Knowing that Judah is now a widower, she dresses up like a prostitute and offers herself to him in exchange for payment. Without so much as a twinge of conscience, Judah has sex with the disguised Tamar for the price of a goat. She gets pregnant.


Three months later, a rumor reaches Judah that his ex-daughter-in-law is pregnant with an illegitimate baby. Outraged, Judah demands her death by burning. When Tamar is roughly dragged in front of him to be humiliated before her death, she rises up to bring evidence that it is Judah himself who is the father of this child.


Silenced and humbled, Judah acknowledges his sin in the matter and saves her life. Soon after, Tamar gives birth to twin boys. One of them, Perez, is named in the family of King David, and hundreds of years later, in the genealogy of Jesus.


Ruth 4v18-22

Epilogue (Part Three)

(Click here to listen to the seventh Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week





More Words from the Father

Psalm 139

1 Corinthians 9v24-10v15




From my Heart

The End

This week our story has ended. The characters we have grown to love are gone. Ruth, Boaz, and even Naomi are silent. Simply a memory.


Yet the list of names tacked on at the end - that genealogy which we so easily skip over -represents real lives, people who lived and loved and made history.


When someday my life falls silent, I’ll leave a list as well. John Mark, Tammy, Jude, Moses, Sunday, Rebekah and Steve, Elizabeth, Brook, Duke, Scarlet and Matt. My sons and daughters. My grandkids. Maybe even a few extras grafted in. All people who will live and love and make history themselves.


The story is never really over. God started something way back in Genesis which is not ever going to be finished. There is no “The End.”


You will leave a legacy. And it is the cry of my heart that our stories -yours and mine- will be included in the annuls of the Kingdom just as Ruth and Boaz and Naomi’s were. That someday when we gather together in that place we’ll call home, you and I will sit down and read those histories together. They will, no doubt, be edited by His great grace. A few spots may well be covered over by His beautiful blood. And, my dear sisters, I think we might be surprised to find that the ending reads something like this:


“And they lived happily ever after…”


From my heart,





Ruth and the Feast of Pentecost

It is the ancient custom of devout Jews to read the story of Ruth during the Shavout, the Feast of Pentecost. This Jewish holiday occurs exactly seven weeks, or 50 days, after the Passover. The name Pentecost comes from the Greek word for “fiftieth,” and signifies the gathering of the wheat harvest. Why Ruth is read during this festival, no one knows for sure. Perhaps the connection to harvest with Ruth’s gleaning brought this story into the celebrations. Today, orthodox Jews give thanks to God for bringing His Word, the Torah, to His people during the Shavout celebrations. Here is what they say about Ruth:

“As a result of her embrace of Torah, Ruth’s life was utterly transformed. She rose from the existence of a penniless and barren widow, facing a miserable present and a bleak future, to a life of spiritual richness and fulfillment, leaving an eternal mark as the progenitor of the Davidic dynasty.


Ruth 4v18-22

Epilogue (Part Two)

(Click here to listen to the next Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week




More Words from the Father

Joshua 2

Joshua 6v21-27

Hebrews 11v30-40

James 2v20-26

1 Peter 3v4-6



From my Heart

What is it You Want?

Rahab was a woman who knew how to get what she wanted. And what she wanted was what we all want: security, wealth, recognition, family, influence, health, and safety. One thing was missing from her list, though - love. Rahab was willing to sacrifice love in order to get her grasp around every opportunity that came her way. And she had that rare inborn entrepreneurial ability to recognize opportunity which can make certain men and women wildly successful. In our day, I have no doubt Rahab would have been heralded among the rich and famous. Paparazzi would have hounded her while People magazine splashed her face and figure on the cover page.


Yet reading her story, I can’t help but wonder - What happened to Rahab that propelled her into prostitution? Why would this woman give up on the dream of being pursued and sought and valued? How could Rahab choose wealth over love? Security over romance?


And why would I?


Why would I sell my soul for cheap trinkets?


I want everything that Rahab wanted. I want security. I want to feel safe. I want to know that I will have all I need and maybe a little more all the way up until its time for me to go home to heaven. And I want wealth too, sure I do. Be honest with yourself, you do too! I am far from content with the bare basics. I want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise - surrounded by a family who adores me. Is that so bad?




If those wants and wishes drive me to pursue them at the cost of love. If, instead of surrendering my life’s circumstances to the One who loves me like no other, I strive and connive to get what I want no matter what.


How about you? What have you sacrificed to get what you want? What you think you need? Have you lost a little of your passion for your Redeemer along the way?


If you have, then this story is your story.


Somewhere deep inside, Rahab held on to a tiny spark of hope for something more. When she heard about the Israelites camped down the road, and about their God who had such power, that spark leapt into a raging fire. The moment she got her chance to come under the protection of this God, Rahab risked everything she had. All her wealth, her home, her security, her reputation, and her safety. Even her family! How could she know if they would go along with her plan?


Rahab’s life was transformed by the power of faith. She thrust herself at God’s feet and got up to aggressively go after Him with every ounce of her being. And in so doing, Rahab’s life was rescued from all the ugliness and emptiness she had filled it with.


God is still in the habit of rescuing broken women. What He loved about Rahab - enough to put her into His son’s heritage - was her unerring trust in His goodness. Rahab risked everything of value to her in order to belong to Him. She proved her faith by her actions. She set aside her fear, her worries and her illicit patterns of self-protection in order to entrust herself to God.


I can’t help but admire this woman. And, strange as it may be to say it, I find myself wanting to be like this ex-prostitute (please don’t tell my kids I said that!). She is both bold and beautiful, courageous and crafty. Rahab, more than any woman I know, had the guts to go after God with her whole heart.


And that’s something to think about.

From my heart,





Rahab’s Story

Rahab was a successful woman. She ran a thriving hotel, entertained powerful men, had the attention of her city-state’s ruling monarch, invested in the growing commodity market of linen, and owned a house which was the envy of every woman in town.


How do I know all that? Well, read up on her in Joshua, chapter 2.


Two spies were sent by Israel’s new leader, Joshua, to spy out the city of Jericho. With the million-strong encampment of the Hebrews camped uncomfortably close to the walled city, security in Jericho was at level red. In order to slip in unobtrusively, these two spies made their way to the bustling hospitality business Rahab ran from her home.


In a day when there were no Comfort Inns, Rahab took advantage of her city’s strategic location at the only major ford between the Jabbok River and the Dead Sea. She regularly took in travelers, no doubt charging them exorbitant prices for her enviable location.


And sometimes she did more than give them a room. She gave herself – for a price. Rahab watched her nest egg grow at the expense of her soul. Somehow she managed to harden her heart against the inner loathing every woman feels when she sells her body in exchange for survival.


Rahab was ambitious. She wanted more. Seeing the rising trade in linen from far away Egypt, she figured out a way to obtain the stalks of flax from which fine linen was made. The flat roof of her house rising high above the city made a precipitous place to process the tough fibers. First soaking them in water, then dragging them to the rooftop to soak in the sun was not a task for the timid. But Rahab wasn’t afraid of hard work. She was driven by the insatiable thirst for more.


Protecting all those assets in a male dominated society kept Rahab’s stress level on alert at all times. When a rumor reached her ears that the march of the dreaded Hebrews was headed her way, she took inventory of all she owned and searched for a solution. The power of the Hebrew god was too great to stand against.


Never before had Rahab heard of one god who controlled the weather and the sea and all the natural world. The gods of her experience were puny, competitive deities who were easily appeased with rituals and sacrifice. Listening to the city leaders debate strategy, Rahab knew they didn’t stand a chance against such power. Let them talk all they want, she would do what she must to secure her future.


Rahab’s vigilance apparently paid off. The Hebrew spies sought lodging in her home.


As a logical location to blend in with other travelers. It didn’t take Rahab long to see through their disguise, nor did it take long for rumors of their whereabouts to reach the ears of the king of Jericho.


As Rahab hurried to hide the men amongst the flax on her roof, she must have weighed her options. Turn them over to the authorities and incur the king’s favor with its lucrative reward, or hide the men at great risk to her life in the hopes that they would be obligated to return the favor if and when the Hebrews attacked. She chose the latter.


Their hiding place would not have endeared her to these men. The stalks of flax were soggy, having been soaked in stagnant water to separate the fibers. It would have been a ripe incubator of all sorts of insects. The unbearable stench choked the men as they lay in the midst of the mess wondering if Rahab had led them into a trap.


But Rahab had made up her mind, and when she decided something, she didn’t back down. Downstairs, she used all her cunning and probably a few feminine wiles to convince the guards that she had seen the spies heading out the gate near her home, headed for the hills. The soldiers set out after the phantom men as the city gate was lowered behind them.


Before Rahab led the spies to safety, she gathered her years of business acumen to negotiate a contract which would ensure security for herself and her family. Letting the spies down the massive wall with a woven rope put Rahab in a position to bargain - her life in exchange for their safe escape. When the Israelites attacked the city, Rahab would set out an identifying strand of scarlet cord. This was to be the signal that her house and her entire family were to remain under the direct protection of the men whose lives she had saved.


Sure enough, on the day of the invasion, Joshua directed his men to “go into the harlot’s house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to them.” As her city was being ransacked, Rahab was led to safety, bringing not only her family with her, but also “all she had.”


What now? They couldn’t live alone on the outskirts of the ruins of Jericho. Once again, Rahab’s forward thinking saved the day. The family followed the Israelites, living at first on the outer edges of their encampment. At some point however, Rahab must have embraced the God of the Hebrews for whom she held such great respect. Though the men of Israel were not permitted to associate with the women of the foreign lands they were invading, they could marry one who converted to their faith. One of these men, a man by the name of Salmon, chose Rahab to be his bride. Elevated from her former reputation as a harlot, Rahab now had full legal and social protection as his wife.


A nice story, you might say. Indeed, but it gets even better.


Rahab and her family are absorbed into the wandering nation of Israel. She settles in a little town called Bethlehem, married to a man of standing. There, Rahab begins a family of her own, eventually bearing a son by the name of Boaz. When Boaz grows up, he follows in the footsteps of his father and finds a wife of somewhat shady heritage but stalwart character (that would be Ruth). She presents him with a son, whose name is Obed.


As Rahab’s physical beauty gives way to wrinkles and grey hair, the beauty of her life lived under the protection of Yahweh blossoms. Her grandson grows up to have a son of his own, whom he names Jesse. Around the family hearth, Jesse hears stories of his great-grandmother’s courage and his great-grandfather’s love for her. Jesse has seven sons of his own. The youngest, born long after Rahab has passed into the presence of God, grows up to be the king of Israel.


By this time, Rahab’s story is but a distant memory - her name left out of the patriarchal genealogies of Hebrew history. But God has a way of remembering His own. In the opening pages of the biography of His Son, God inserts Rahab’s name into Jesus’ biological line of descent. There it is, right in the forefront of Jesus’ family tree - Rahab. It’s almost as if God is proud of her!


Jump ahead a few decades, and her name pops up again. In that famous tribute to men and women of great faith, Hebrews, chapter 11, we see this inscription: “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she welcomed the spies in peace.”


Flip over a few pages to the epistle of James and Rahab is once again used as a fine example of faith that works. This woman’s sordid story is told all over the pages of our Bibles! Why? Because Rahab was real. Like us, she struggled. Like us, Rahab’s life was all about choices - both good and bad. Some of those choices came back to haunt her. But in the end, she had the guts to follow her heartright to her Redeemer.


I can’t help but wonder, as I study her story, if Rahab had any idea that God would use her so? As she picked up the pieces of her shattered life after the fall of Jericho, did she ever despair? Did she think her usefulness was over?


And why did God give us her story? Why stretch it out, this history of harlotry and intrigue? Could He have had Rahab in mind when he wrote in 1 Peter 3 of His “precious” women from former times who put their hope in God?


And one last question:


Could it be that your story could end like hers?


Ruth 4v13-17

Ever After

(Click here to listen to the sixth Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week





More Words from the Father

Isaiah 35

Luke 15

Matthew 9v35,36

Matthew 11v28,29




From my Heart  

Living in Moab

Some of you are living in Moab.


In a time of desperation, emotional thirstiness, or just plain disobedience, you slipped out from under the shadow of His wings, away from His presence, and into a forbidden place.


And you feel like you are dying a slow death.


Like a terminal cancer, guilt and shame are eating away at your soul. You ache inside. Feel emotionally drained. Joy takes too much effort.


What are you going to do?


Will you let the lethargy overwhelm you, keeping you in that place of death? Will you justify and compromise, plastering on a plastic smile, covering the sores with band-aids?

Or, having heard of the favor of the Lord once again, will you, like Naomi, set out from the place where you have been living and take the road that would lead you back to the Kingdom… back Home?


Move out from your boyfriend’s bed…


Turn away from your perpetual self-pity…


Reign in your irresponsible spending…


Soften your sassy tongue…


And embrace the Love of your life. Head down His path, the way He calls the Highway of Holiness.


I can’t promise you it will be easy or that you will feel happy all the way. You have a lot to lose if you choose the Kingdom way of doing things. But you will never, ever be alone there on that path to His heart. You’ll have the Lord Himself orchestrating your way, clearing the path ahead, whispering in your ear. Somewhere in the unseen, there will be that “great cloud of witnesses” cheering you on. Maybe Naomi will be there rooting for you, wishing she could convey the urgency of heading Home.


How do you go back, you wonder? Moab is far way from where you belong. Maybe you’re afraid you’ve gone too far.


My grandfather thought so. Something he’d done long ago while fighting a far-off war so shamed him that he spent the rest of his days bitter and angry, biting at anyone and everyone who got in his way. He wasted his life convinced he was banished forever from the grace and mercy of the Father. When he died, we all sighed a sorrowful sigh of relief at his passing.


What a shame. What a waste.


How about you? Will you follow in Naomi’s footsteps and return to where you belong? Or will you be like Gramps? Forever trapped by your own foolishness?

“Then Naomi heard that the Lord had blessed His people…so…she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah.” Ruth 1v7 (NLT)


From my heart,






Seven Sons

“Your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons…” Ruth 4v15

The ancient Israelites believed that the perfect family consisted of seven sons. Though daughters were welcomed and lavishly loved, it was through the sons that the family lineage continued. By reminding Naomi that Ruth had been better for her than seven sons, they were saying that she had provided all that an ideal family could offer for Naomi.


The number seven in Jewish culture represented the works of God. It also signified completion or fullness. In 1 Samuel 2:7, we see another blessing involving the hope for seven sons. Hannah, the once barren mother of a young son who would grow up to become the great prophet, Samuel, composes a song of thanksgiving to God for giving her a child. “Even the barren gives birth to seven sons,” she sings. A mother with so many sons could be certain to be provided for in her old age.


Because of Ruth’s love for her, Naomi would not die a childless widow. Instead, she would become the “tribe-mother of a numerous and flourishing family.”


Had Naomi only known from the beginning of her story that God was still fully in control of her situation, perhaps she would not have lamented so fervently about her “emptiness.” In her disappointment with life’s curve balls, Naomi almost overlooked the unlikely source of her ultimate joy - her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth.


Are you following in Naomi’s footsteps? Could there be something or someone you are overlooking in your disappointment with life’s circumstances? Is there a Ruth in your life, someone full of hesed who just might be “better than seven sons” to you?


Look around this week. Pray for eyes to see and ears to hear what the sovereign Spirit of God may be gently pointing out to you.

Like Naomi, you just might be in for the surprise and delight of your life!






“May you become famous…through the offspring which the Lord shall give…” Ruth 4v11, 12

This word is loaded with symbolism. With some delicacy, our English translators took the Hebrew word meaning “seed” or “semen” and glossed over the organic implications to come up with the very tame word, “offspring.” The people of Bethlehem were not nearly so polite. They were simply celebrating their belief that children are a heritage from the Lord Himself.

God sees the germ of life in what our world so callously considers an empty embryo.

In the story of God’s promise to bless the world through Abraham, He chooses this same word to symbolize abundant, ongoing, productive life:

“In your seed, all the nations shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22v18


Ruth 4v1-12 

The Wedding (Part Five)

(Click here to listen to the fifth Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week





More Words from the Father 

Matthew 18v1-14

Mark 9v33-37

Mark 10v13-16

Luke 18v15-17

Psalm 145




From my Heart

Pages from the past: April 1990

King David’s Men

Rising early on this bright, sunny morning, I determined to write of the dramatic exploits of King David and his Mighty Men. Just as I began to form the words in my mind and put pen to paper, Phil came out, coffee in hand, ready to talk

Down went the pad, closed went my Bible as I listened to my “Mighty Man” tell of the ministry of the day before. He talked. I listened. He questioned. I confirmed. Soon he was off to fight the battles and train the saints of the army of God.

Once more, pen met paper, as I returned to David’s Mighty Men. Not one sentence later, Rebekah plopped down on the sofa, positioning Blankly and Teddy carefully around as she began to read aloud to me.

After a few pages of Amelia Bedelia, David’s mighty warriors began to lose their dramatic flair.

Soon, John Mark came out with the escapades of Homer Price, excitedly showing me an ingenious illustration of a giant mousetrap designed to catch hundreds of mice without harming the poor, adorable little varmints.


David’s Mighty Men are being overshadowed by a Mighty Mousetrap.


Little Beth lets the dog in. Shep the circus lion (alias Sheba) dutifully performs his running, jumping, circling routine while his glamorous trainer struts about barefoot in her too short nighty, stick in hand, jump rope swinging wildly.


David’s mighty warriors have faded completely from my mind.


Though I would have loved to write a meaningful page or two about David’s godly leadership and his men’s faithful following, I find myself absolutely delighted with my crazy brood. Amelia Bedelia, Sheba the lion, Homer Price and his mouse machine…


David didn’t have it half as good.


From my heart,






What’s with the Sandal?

In the ancient eastern culture in which Boaz conducted business, land values were measured by the distance a man could walk off a triangle of the land. One day’s walk, a week, or a month of trekking over the land determined the monetary value of that piece of property. Out of this business practice sprang this custom of removing the sandal as a symbol of a sale.  When a man removed his sandal, he essentially relinquished his right to that property and bestowed it on another.

This is not to be confused with the statute recorded in Deuteronomy 25:5-10 wherein a widow had the legal right to demand that her dead husband’s unmarried brother marry her in order to perpetuate the family line. If he refused, she was to spit in his face in front of all his friends and family, publicly humiliating the man for reneging on his responsibilities. Then the wronged widow would pull his sandal off his foot in a grand display of disgust. This was meant as a means of using social pressure to push a young man to grow up and take responsibility.

Boaz’s interaction was clearly not intended to humiliate the nearer kinsman. He wanted Ruth for himself, yet recognized that he was second in line to take her and the land she would inherit. The custom in Ruth’s day was simply Boaz’ way of legalizing his marrying of Ruth and assuming control of Elimelch’s holdings.


RUTH 4v1-12

The Wedding (Part Four) 

(Click here to listen to the fifth Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week




More Words from the Father

Revelations 3v20

Song of Songs 1v1-4

Song of Songs 2v3-14

Matthew 11v28-30

John 1v1-18



From my Heart

…He Commands the Morning Job 38v12

The dark hour before dawn wrapped its silence around me as I burrowed deeper beneath the comforter. Ahh…that luscious sense of waking early, only to realize I can luxuriate in a couple more hours of sleep…ahh…sleep.

Then a whisper echoing over the silence,




Blinking open my sleep encrusted eyes, I peek out of my warm nest into the darkness.




This time I raise my head. Did someone call my name? Who could be up? My husband’s steady snoring assured me it wasn’t him. My imagination, of course, a dream perhaps. Back to sleep.




This time I’m startled awake. What? Who?


“Come, my beloved. Come meet with Me.”


Could I be hearing right? Could this inexplicable voice be my Lord’s? Was He calling me to come to Him?

As I lay there wondering, I heard it one more time.




Reluctance fled and with it all sense of sleepiness. Throwing back the covers, I padded downstairs with my heart pounding in anticipation. What did He want? Why would He wake me? Was this real or was I going crazy?

Within moments I had my answers.

God wanted me. He wanted me to be with Him. And what’s more, He wanted to be with me. Just be. Not to read my Bible, not to pray, not to do anything at all.


Just be.


Curled up in the corner of the sofa, my Bible open on my lap, a steaming mug of tea in hand, He spoke to my heart. Words of wisdom, words of delight poured over my heart that morning. I felt lavished in His love. Surrounded. He simply wanted me.


And He still does.


From my heart,






Come with me

my friend

and be.

Be with me

a while.

Just be.

Your senses-

Do you hear?

Do you see?

Tell me.

Tell me of your wanderings.

Be with me

a while.

Just be.


-Rebekah Fechter





The City Gate

Boaz hurried away from his clandestine meeting with Ruth driven with determination. This was not the time to dream about the future, for he faced a formidable mandate. He had to establish himself at the city gate in order to negotiate a complex contract to obtain what he wanted - Ruth.

Every city or town of decent size in Israel was surrounded by a thick fortress-like wall for protection. These walls were constructed of stones or brick, with fortified towers placed at intervals in order to survey the surrounding area. Oftentimes, houses were incorporated into the wall, with the entrance facing into the town. The gate through these walls leading into the city became a place of political importance. Legal proceedings were often conducted there, sometimes out in the open air for all to observe and, on other occasions, in deep niches within the walls themselves. This is where Boaz rushed to in those early morning hours after his proposal from Ruth.

Several instances in the Bible illustrate the importance of these places of power in Old Testament culture. Rebekah is given a blessing by her family when she left them to marry Isaac, which includes the hope that her children would “possess the gate” of their enemies.  Job looks back longingly on the days before his afflictions, when he sat in his seat at the city gate to be revered by young men and honored by the aged. He made a difference there, where he “investigated the case I did not know” and “chose a way for them and sat as chief.”  And we all know about the woman described in Proverbs 31, whose “husband is known in the gates” and whose life of service caused her husband and children to “praise her in the gates.”

Boaz called a meeting at the city gate in order to declare his honorable intention to marry Ruth and to redeem the land for Naomi. He wanted the proceedings to be witnessed by the entire town and endorsed by the ruling men in clear legal terms. In this action, Boaz brings his bride-to-be into a place of legal, moral, and social safety.

Can you see the implications? There are parallels between Jesus, our Redeemer, and Boaz, Ruth’s redeemer. The two collide in this moment to create a magnificent picture of His bringing us legally and morally into a safe place. Before the entire world, He declares us worthy to be His bride. Like Boaz, Jesus rushes to our defense, making our right standing before God His primary concern.


Ruth 4v1-12

The Wedding (Part Three)

(Click here to listen to the fifth Ruth teaching)



Verse of the Week




More Words from the Father

Proverbs 3

Revelations 2v1-5




From my Heart

Falling in Love

I’m falling in love with Boaz.

From the first time I heard his voice resounding off the written page, the man caught my attention. He sounds big, strong, and safe. He sounds warm, ready to break out in unbidden laughter with the least provocation. I can just hear his great chuckle of pure joy as he gathers his dusty workers ‘round his table for lunch.


Boaz invites. He invites his people to a meal. He invites his foreman to an opinion. He invites a stranger into his inner circle.


And Boaz welcomes.


He welcomes gleaners to his fields. He welcomes two hungry women to leftovers. He welcomes his workers into relationship.


Boaz is a leader.


He leads his work crew to give honor to God out loud. He leads his close relative to an opportunity to help someone in need. He leads ten men to step up to the plate and get involved.


Boaz is successful


He is a hands-on kind of boss. He is a man whose wealth comes as a result of pouring himself into his career with passion and resolve, a man who loves what he does.


Boaz is bold.


He spots Ruth and right away lets everyone know how much he admires her. When confronted with a problem, he faces it. He’s not afraid to get right in the middle of a mess and fix it.


Boaz is fun.


The moment he rides into the story, people begin to gather for celebration. Lunch in the middle of a workday becomes a picnic. The backbreaking job at the threshing floor becomes a party. His wedding involves the whole town.


Boaz protects.


He protects Ruth from abuse. He protects the young guys who might instinctively gravitate towards this young Moabitess, warning them to leave her alone before they mess up! Then He protects Ruth’s reputation in the middle of the night by urging discretion.

The guy is amazing! Captivating. Strong. Compelling. He is godly and playful, considerate and kind. The man is driven with purpose to excel, but also to do right by people in the process. Somehow he balances relationships with responsibility in perfect harmony so that everyone seems to genuinely want to be on his team. They like him.


Do you see why I am falling head over heels in love? What woman wouldn’t?


This man, my dear friend, is the One you’ve been waiting for your entire life. He is Jesus, the lover of your soul, the only One who will never leave you nor forsake you. Not that guy who misused you or the boyfriend who dumped you. You had the wrong one all along.


Boaz is the One you were longing for.


All the others are cheap substitutes.






Boaz is the real deal.


Are you with me? Do you see what I see? Is your heart aware of what’s going on here? Is the hope you thought you’d lost awakening yet? Are you falling in love?


I hope so, I really do.


From my heart,






The Matriarchs

“…May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel…” Ruth 4v11

What was it about Rachel and Leah? To have Boaz’s friends offer such a prayer - such a desire for his new marriage? After all, the story of these two women dated back 600 years before Ruth was born! The answer lies in the stark reality of childbearing - nothing short of a small feat before the breakthroughs in safe medical practices we enjoy today.

About the time that Boaz and Ruth were starting a family, the infant mortality rate stood at 35%. That meant that if Ruth were able to conceive and carry her pregnancy to completion, her baby had less than a three in ten chance of surviving until the age of five. The overwhelming odds against a child growing to adulthood and even old age were staggering. Rachel and Leah bore and raised 12 sons to adulthood - an obvious percentage breaker in those times.

Thus, the blessing their friends wished on Boaz and Ruth came from hearts that understood the tragedy of the death of a child in a way we can barely grasp. They wanted Boaz and Ruth to grow old together, surrounded by children and grandchildren to validate their lives.


And who wouldn’t want that for these two beautiful people?



How to Pray for our Friends

The Tripartite Blessing

“God bless you.” It’s a phrase we often toss out with meaningless ease. What we really mean is that we hope everything in their life follows a safe, predictable, hunky-dory path. But the friends and family who surrounded Boaz and Ruth at their wedding ceremony sang a chorus of blessing on the couple that went much deeper. The ink was barely dry on the wedding certificate when this community of friends issued their three-fold blessing. Called a tripartite blessing by theologians, their spiritual wish list reached far beyond our light benevolence.

First, the blessing involved their family heritage. The ancient understanding of family is all but lost in our culture. The Israelites put enormous emphasis on evangelizing and training their children to walk in the ways of the Lord. Their communities joined them in adding their social pressures to assure that very few children drifted from the path their parents had paved for them.

Second, the blessing focused on recognition and respect in the community. Since Boaz was already considered a man of strength and influence, this was given in the hope that he would continue to grow in wisdom and stature and financial wealth.

Third, the blessing looks to genealogy. Echoing the second blessing, this last aspect of the tripartite blessing is on Boaz’s recognition and respect throughout history. They could have had no idea how prophetic this statement would turn out to be! Boaz became the great-grandfather of Israel’s most beloved king. His name is listed not only on David’s family tree, but also on Jesus’ genealogy. Boaz and Ruth both went down in history with their compelling love story preserved right in the middle of God’s ageless Scriptures.


Ruth 4v1-12

The Wedding (Part Two)

(Click here to listen to the fifth Ruth teaching)



Verse of the Week




More Words from the Father

1 Peter 1v1-15

1 Peter 4v7-19

1 Peter 5v4-10

2 Peter 1v2-8

2 Peter 3v17-18



From my Heart

Testing for the Task

Naomi said to Ruth,

“Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” Ruth 1v15

God often tests our resolve before He trusts us with an important task. Just look at Abraham: preparing to kill his own son. Or Rebekah: setting aside her own agenda to serve a servant. And David: dutifully trudging back to tend sheep after he’d been proclaimed the next King of Israel.

God was testing Ruth. Would she, when given a chance, go home? Was her commitment to Naomi mere lip service-a preference perhaps-but certainly not enough to carry her into foreign territory?


Is God testing you? Giving you an out? Checking to see if you really mean it?


Will you breathe a sigh of relief like Orpah and turn back - careful to cover your tracks and keep to your comfort zone?

I don’t always like the choice set in front of me. But if I’m honest, I do know it is a choice. And, I dare say, so do you.

And that, my dear friends, is just the way it is…


From my heart,



To which Ruth replied,

“Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her." Ruth 1v17, 18





The Task

(I found this nugget of gold roughly typed on a bit of wrinkled paper in a pocket of my old bathrobe many years ago. I don’t know who wrote it or where it came from, but I know that this is just the way He is!)


Lord, You give me a task

So utterly impossible

So totally beyond comprehension-

The very thought of it

Startles me.

I want to run, hide, escape,


Anything, Lord.

Then You electrify me.

You invade and permeate me.

You penetrate every fiber of me

Until the task is accomplished

By Your own magnificent power.


Then You praise the performance

Your creativity achieved

And You reward me beyond expectation-

As though I had done it

All by myself.



The Headlines

Rachel and Leah

Back at least six centuries before our story takes place, another love story played itself out with all the drama and intrigue of a paperback novel.

Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, went looking for a wife. He wound up working for his Uncle Laban who happened to have two daughters. Jacob fell head over heals in love with the second daughter, Rachel, but her father denied Jacob’s request to marry her without an exorbitant bride price.

Laban demanded that Jacob work without wages for seven long years before he was granted permission to marry Rebekah. Then, on the eve of the wedding, Laban deceitfully switched brides. After spending the night with his new bride, enjoying all the anticipated delights of physical intimacy, Jacob woke up with the morning light to find not his beloved Rachel, but her sister, Leah!

Having been consummated, the marriage was entirely legal and no amount of protest could alter the fact that Jacob was now married to Leah. However, his situation was not entirely hopeless. The culture in which Laban lived made allowances for polygamy. So Jacob went back to Laban, seething with anger over his deceit, and made another deal with his father-in-law. Jacob would be allowed to take Rachel as his second wife in exchange for another seven years of wage-less labor.

The animosity between Jacob’s two wives was legendary. They competed for everything from conjugal rights to mandrake leaves. Between them, however, they bore and raised a whopping twelve sons who lived to adulthood. Rachel and Leah were considered the matriarchs of the nation of Israel.





Mandrakes are a root of the potato family which grew in the stony ground of the Mediterranean area. They bear yellow fruit about the size of a small tomato. The mandrake fruit was believed to be an aphrodisiac, increasing the eater’s ability to conceive. It may have also had some narcotic qualities.


Ruth 4v1-12

The Wedding (Part One)

(Click here to listen to the fifth Ruth teaching)

Ruth 4v1-12

The last scene of our story left us hanging. Would Boaz come through? Would the unnamed mystery man block the hopeful outcome of Ruth and Boaz’s love story?

As Ruth and Naomi wait back home with baited breath, Boaz hurries into town like a man on a mission. With cunning planning, he sets up the scene, using all the powers at his disposal to influence the outcome.

First, he politely petitions the close relative to take a seat and chat a while. Before the conversation is allowed to develop into a contractual dispute, Boaz wisely nabs ten of the leading men of the city to validate the transaction. Only then does Boaz bring up the relative’s opportunity to redeem Elimelech’s land. Just as the unsuspecting man is about to sign on the dotted line, Boaz throws a fast one. “By the way, you’ve got to marry Ruth if you acquire this particular piece of property.” That little piece of information jolts the relative back to earth in a hurry! A wife is the last thing he needs at this point in his life - he hands over his right to purchase the land to Boaz with a sigh of relief.

Somehow everyone comes out satisfied with Boaz’s solution. Naomi gets her money, the relative keeps his freedom, Ruth secures her future, and Boaz, with titillating glee, surrenders his bachelorhood to his bride. Even the onlookers join with our characters to pronounce a blessing on the young couple as they pledge their lives to each other.

This week, we’ll look a little closer at some of the customs of the day whose meaning alludes to us as we read through the story. We’ll delight together in Jesus’ choice of us as His bride, find ourselves further in love with Boaz as he mirrors our Lord to us, and delight in how He sets us up to accomplish more than we ever dreamed. And more than anything else, we’ll be reminded that our God is luring us into relationship with Himself. It is intimacy He is after - that closeness you and I long for with all our hearts.


Revel in His love this week, my dear friend. Be amazed at the grace that saved a wretch like me!



Ruth 4v1-12

The Wedding (Part One)


Verse of the Week




More Words from the Father

1 Thessalonians 1v2-10

Psalm 57

Hebrews 6v9-19

Isaiah 26v3-9

Psalm 51v10



From my Heart 

“But Moses’ Hands Were Heavy…”

Exodus 17v12

Moses was wearing out. His job was overwhelming, impossible, too much for one man to bear. For months now he’d lived with dissatisfied, contentious people. Trying to love them was like embracing a porcupine. He’d felt the sting of their criticism one too many times. Their quarreling and grumbling were finally turning his own heart cold and angry. Right when he felt about ready to explode, the final straw came. A group of foreign invaders chose just that weak moment to attack their seemingly safe camp. A fierce battle ensued. His people turned from tearing each other apart to engaging the enemy in a fight for survival. And now those who had been increasingly critical of Moses were desperately dependent on him to help them win the war.

Have you been there? Do you find yourself faltering? Do you sometimes feel as though your life is on an emotional roller coaster and you are hanging on for dear life? That if you let go of control for one moment you will go hurling into who-knows-where? That the people you most love are the very people who most hurt? That your soul is weakening, and like Moses, your hands are heavy?

The Bible has one answer for your dilemma - one solution to your impending meltdown….


“Be ye steadfast.”


I know that’s the last thing you want to hear right now. What you really want is sympathy, and maybe permission to blast away at those who hound you, to just release all that irritation and let ‘em have it. And they deserve it. I’m sure they do. Just like Moses’ people deserved to be wiped out by the enemy who had snuck in while they were busy lambasting Moses.

But just as God expected more of Moses, He is asking more of you.


Be steadfast.


“Okay, okay, but how?” you ask. “So far, I’ve tried to just knuckle down and grin and bear it, but that hasn’t worked very well. I’ve stuffed all that frustration and plastered a smile on my face, but even I can feel the anger seeping out of my pores. How in the world do I be steadfast?”

As always, the Scriptures are imminently practical, making the impossible possible for even such weaklings as you and I. And, as is often the case, God provides an example of someone who did what He asked and thrived in the process.

In Acts 17, we read a story of a group of “prominent women” who heard the Gospel explained and expounded on by the Apostle Paul. For three weeks, they absorbed his teaching and their hearts embraced the truth. Then their husbands, friends, co-workers, and families drove Paul out of town in a fit of rage. Later, we read his letter to them as he encourages them in their new faith. In his opening lines, Paul praises them for their “steadfastness of hope” (1 Thessalonians 1v3). In Paul’s outpouring of encouragement to these persecuted people, I think we can find some clues as to how they maintained that steadfastness of hope which we long to experience.

First of all, the hope which held them steady was not some kind of Pollyanna prudishness claiming that everything would work out hunky-dory in the end. That kind of hope leads to the opposite of steadfastness as soon as we wake up to the realization that the circumstances and relationships in our lives do not always resolve themselves in our favor. Divorce happens. Children choose their own way. Economies collapse and health is a precarious gift. The hope that held these new believers steady was hope in God. They were able to look beyond the crabbiness of their husbands and the conflicts in their families to find their needs met in His presence. Their world was not stable, but their God was. That’s what got them up in the morning. That’s what kept them strong.


And they knew their purpose.


These women, (okay, there were men in the group too!) knew in their deepest beings that God had a specific purpose for them. A task to accomplish. A role to play in His Kingdom. They were keenly aware of “His choice of you.”  To the Ephesians he wrote of the “good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” These people woke up every day with that energizing realization that they mattered immensely.


Do you?


Are you aware of His choice of you? Are you figuring out His plan to accomplish those tasks custom designed by God for you?

Of course, these women sometimes faltered. Steadfastness does not mean perfection. Sometimes they struggled to see God in their circumstances just like you and I. Sometimes they felt overwhelmed and their footsteps slowed to a crawl. And undoubtedly, there were times when their own chore lists superseded God’s task sheet for their kingdom role. But in those times, these women had a hidden treasure that they had discovered to keep them going when the going got tough. Not only did they hope in God, not only were they keenly aware of their choice by God, these women had something else which kept them steadfast:


They had each other.


We cannot do this alone, my dear sisters. If we try to be strong and independent, always with the got-my-act-together façade firmly in place, we’ll fail. Like Moses who had his friends Hur and Aaron on either side of him holding up his arms when he grew weary, we need intimate relationships with a few other women to help us stay strong. Not the kind of friendships we so often fill our social calendars with; those connections based on common interests or compelling personalities. We need a few friends who will hold us up before the Father when we falter. We need the kind of friends who will interrupt our sad soliloquies, place their hands on our shoulders, and pray that our hearts will align with His. We need the kind of deep friendships that will do whatever they have to do to keep us from segueing into that kind of dreary complacency which characterizes so many women of faith.

Paul saw this in these women when he thanked God for “the love of each one of you toward one another,” which he noted “grows ever stronger.”


These kinds of friendships don’t happen by accident.


They rarely fall in your lap unexpectedly. You and I will have to go after this kind of love with all the determination with which Ruth went after Naomi’s friendship. Naomi wasn’t easy to love by any means. Yet when Ruth needed her the most, she held her up, helped her wait, and kept her heart steadfast.

So, if your hands are growing heavy and your soul weary, don’t give up. Don’t buckle down and “try harder.” Don’t hold all your frustrations in ‘til they threatened to burst. Instead, follow the leading of these women of faith who hoped in God, who delighted in their specific roles in the Kingdom, and who tucked a few close friends around them who would hold them up when their faith faltered.


Hanging on steadfastly with you,


From my heart,






For Sale

The real estate market in Canaan

Putting your house up for sale in ancient Israel was not as simple as it is today. In fact, the house itself wasn’t worth much. The wealth was in the land.

In the days of Joshua, God had instituted a unique system of land management which revolved around individual tribes or extended families. The assigned land belonged to its respective clan forever. When an individual fell on hard times, and needed the cash the land could offer, he could sell it only within his own clan. As if that was not limiting enough, every fifty years, in what was called the year of Jubilee, the land legally reverted back to its original owner. So if someone bought the piece of property two years before the designated year of Jubilee, he had to hand it back free of charge no matter how many improvements he had made to it.

When Boaz declared that Naomi was selling the piece of land which belonged to Elimelech, he was presenting the nearer kinsman with first rights of refusal. Since the land had to be sold within the clan, Boaz was next in line to buy it. The man refused on the grounds that being expected to take care of Ruth along with the land would somehow add unwanted burden to his own estate.

Everyone benefited from this transaction. Boaz acquired the land, and with it, a wife. Naomi was lifted out of dire poverty into independence, living off the proceeds of the sale. Ruth had a husband to provide for her, and the tribe of Judah kept their piece of Bethlehem within their borders.


Ruth 3v1-18

The Proposal (Part Five)

Click here to listen to the fourth teaching of Ruth)

The Verse of the Week




More Words From the Father

Revelation 22v17

Isaiah 53-54v5

Psalm 46

Mark 12v29-31

1 John 1v1-5

1 John 3v1-3



From my Heart 

Pages from the Past: September 1998 Memories Well Worth It

Yesterday, I took my son to college. With a quick hug and “See ya at Thanksgiving, maybe,” he turned to begin the next stage of his life.


Today, all I can remember is the past.


Just yesterday, it seems, he was born. Not squalling and screaming, but wide-eyed and silently staring at these two strangers who would love him, and discipline him, and teach him, and wipe away his tears for the next 18 years.


I remember the moments.


His hand resting on my breast as I nursed him. His first flinging steps as he raced from his dad’s outstretched hands to mine. His squeal as he ran naked down the sidewalk.

I remember the first time he opened his Bible and read it on his own. Listening as he led his little sister to receive Jesus. His ear-to-ear grin when he was baptized by his dad.

I remember playing army, dramatically dying, imitating machine gun fire, throwing waterfilled grenades. I remember playing hide and seek when he thought no one could see him if he covered his eyes.

I remember matchbox cars in the bathtub and G.I. Joe in my purse. Melted crayons in the car and rock collections in the washing machine.

I remember skinned knees and stitches, pimples and braces, loud music…and soft serenades on the piano as he waited for the carpool. Late night talks…and tears. Silly jokes with no punch line. Artwork on the fridge.


Eighteen years of memories.


One thing I know now - one thing I want to pass on to every mother of every little boy - all that work, the lost sleep, the worry, the spankings, the cooking, the cleaning up of little-boy-messes, the reading and rereading of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, the hours of listening, the carpooling, the cuts and scrapes and trips to the emergency room…


Every moment is worth it.


When you kiss him good-bye, when your job is done, when you send him off to his future, you too will remember the moments. And you will agree…


It was well worth it.


From my heart,




Saving Ruth

Redemption is at the heart of the story of Ruth. Some would say it is the whole point - the very premise of the book. It is more than a rescue, for Boaz lifts Ruth out of a precariously uncertain future and hands her hope. He rewrites the rest of her story by redeeming her from a life of poverty and rejection and loneliness.

In one breath-taking scene, Boaz concocts a plan to combine two ancient Hebrew legal institutions into one brilliant strategy. He takes the premise of property redemption by a close relative (Kinsman-Redeemer) and mixes it up with an entirely different concept which involved a brother providing for his widowed sister-in-law (levirate marriage).

Kinsman-Redeemer (go’el)

This was a way by which property would be guaranteed to stay within the tribal divisions set by Moses and Joshua as they divided the Promised Land. Families descended from the patriarchs in Genesis stayed together in an assigned vicinity within the boundaries of Israel. Further, families stayed together in close community, caring for and looking out for each family member in a sort of preemptive welfare approach.

When one head of a family died, the closest relative was required to buy that man’s land and take the dependents under his protection and provision. He got the land, but he also inherited all the responsibilities that went with it. The go’el took on hero status as he redeemed the land from the possibility of hostile take over by someone outside the family (see Leviticus 25v23-25).

Levirate marriage

This concept comes out of the latin word levir, which means husband’s brother. Simply put, it meant that when a man died without leaving an heir, a single brother or next of kin was expected to marry his widow in order to carry on his name and family line2 (see Deuteronomy 25v5-10).

Read the story in Matthew 22v23-33 when Jesus takes on a crowd of Sadducees (a group of religious scholars who refuted the idea of life after death) over this idea of Levirate marriage. Trying to trip Him up, they twist this simple concept into a complex argument. Rather than enter into the fray, Jesus urges them to see the big picture: God’s redeeming love for His people throughout the ages. In response, the Sadducees were silenced and the multitudes who were listening in “were astonished at His teaching.”





In Boaz’s response to Ruth’s proposal, he calls her a “woman of excellence” or “woman of noble character.” The Hebrew word is hayil, meaning a person of wealth, character, virtue, attainment, and comprehensive excellence. This is the same Hebrew word used to describe Boaz in Ruth 2v1, translated in most versions as “wealth” or “man of standing.”

Clearly, Ruth and Boaz had both gained reputations as people of integrity and spiritual strength.



An interesting note: The ideal woman described in Proverbs 31 is also named a woman of hayil.

“An excellent (hayil) wife who can find?

For her worth is far above jewels.”- Proverbs 31v10


Ruth 3v1-18

The Proposal (Part Four)

 (Click here to listen to the fourth teaching of Ruth)



The Verse of the Week 





More Words from the Father

1 Peter 2v19-25

1 Peter 3v1-19

Psalm 34




From my Heart

Home / Not Always a Safe Place

Some of you are “making your home” amongst difficult people. You feel afflicted and picked on; judged and found wanting. No Walton family reruns, where everyone kisses each other at the end of the day and tucks them in with kindness. Instead, you absorb sarcasm and criticism, harsh words which poke and cause pain.

Oh, I’m not talking about abuse here, but about that every day brand of meanness that is so prevalent in our society today - so seemingly acceptable in its boundaries.

Not one of us is immune to the wounds received when living in this fallen world. And though it ought not to be in our homes, the reality is that sometimes it just is.


What’s a woman to do?


Some of us protect ourselves by putting a hard shell around our hearts. Others withdraw, keeping a safe distance from anyone who might lash out and hurt their tender souls. Or sometimes we fight back, returning meanness for meanness in an attempt to turn away the flood of negativity, giving them just what they deserve for hurting us so.


It doesn’t work, though, does it?


We end up feeling as ugly as we sound, or bound up and cold hearted; unable to pour on people the extravagant affection that makes a woman truly beautiful.

I have found Psalm 34 to be an invitation into the shelter of the Almighty during those trying times. This is David’s answer to those afflicted (NIV), discouraging (NLT), and humbling (NASB) realities.

Let’s walk through this Psalm together to discover how David found shelter from what he so poetically called, “the strife of tongues.”


Psalm 34

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly sing His praises.

I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are discouraged take heart.

Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt His name together.


It sounds to me like David is having to pull himself out of his discouragement one painful handful at a time. By turning away from his detractors and determining to focus his thoughts on God, David’s sore heart is being healed.

Sometimes it takes herculean effort to pull yourself away from the pain of hurt feelings. The only possible way to do so is to praise God, to boast about Him, to open your mouth and sing  out loud to Him. The out-loud part is important. You can’t stay down in the dumps for long when you are singing about God’s greatness.


I prayed to the Lord and He answered me, freeing me from all my fears.


This is just what you will need: freedom from the fear that life will always be this way - that strife and conflict instead of “goodness and mercy” will follow you all the days of your life.


Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; 

no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and He heard me.

He set me free from all my fears. 

For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear Him, and He rescues them.


Just like Ruth, you and I need a Rescuer - someone who will tuck you under His wing and guard your fragile heart. Rather than step in and rescue yourself by fighting back, what might happen if you, like David, chose instead to simply cry out to the Lord and wait? What if, instead of acting out your hurt and anger, you chose to bow low before the Father and honor Him with your tongue?


What if we so feared Him that we wouldn’t dare lash out?

Here’s what He says would happen:


Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Oh, the joys of those who trust in Him!

Let the people show Him reverence,

for those who honor Him will have all they need.

Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,

but those who trust in the Lord will never lack any good thing.


To taste is to experience, to relish the flavor of God’s goodness. When you get a taste of God, especially in the face of difficulties, you take Him in and are filled with His joy. When you honor Him in spite of how you are being treated, He will see to it that you have all you need. That hunger and that longing for love will be satisfied by God Himself.


How do I know this is true?


By long, hard experience. Too often, I have taken things into my own hands, determined to stick up for myself when feeling underappreciated, or ready to sass back when someone’s irritation interrupts my peace. My face wears a frown, and filled with “righteous indignation,” I let‘em know not to mess with me!


But that is not the way of Jesus, nor is it the way of beauty.


On those all-too-rare occasions when I have chosen to follow His way of dealing with difficult people, I have known a peace and a joy and a deep-down satisfaction that puts me in instant intimacy with the Father. There is nothing like it!

If your home is not an easy place to rest, and you find yourself longing for the love and acceptance that Ruth found with Boaz, perhaps you should follow the example of Jesus…and of those “holy women of old” in our Scripture reading for today. Read over those verses again. Ponder them in the light of your own circumstances. They are loaded with wisdom, full of keys to staying safely tucked under the wings of the Almighty.


And while tucked into that safe place, look around. You just might spot Sarah…or Ruth, maybe even Esther.


From my heart,





Fear Not


“…and now my daughter, do not fear.” Ruth 3v11


If this phrase sounds comfortingly familiar to you, it may be because it is something our God says over and over again to His far-from-courageous chosen leaders. Men and women who seem invincible when we read their stories were in fact terrified at the time. Yet they didn’t stay that way. As they watched Him at work, and as they listened for His voice, they gained the temerity to trust God to do what they knew they couldn’t. Ruth was one of them.


Maybe it’s time you were too.


Read up on their situations and ask Him for the kind of faith that banishes fear.


“Fear not…


Abraham  / Genesis 15v1

Isaac / Genesis 26v24

Jacob / Genesis 43v3

Moses / Exodus 14v13

Joshua / Joshua 8v1; 10v8

Jehoshaphat / 2 Chronicles 20v17

The RemnantIsaiah 41v10, 13, 14; 43v1, 5; 44v2

Ezekiel / Ezekiel 3v9

Daniel / Daniel 10v12

Joseph / Matthew 1v20

Zacharias / Luke 1v13

Mary / Luke 1v30

The shepherds / Luke 2v10

Paul / Acts 27v24

John / Revelations 1v17


“Thus Sarah obeyed…and you become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” 1 Peter 3v6


Ruth 3v1-18

The Proposal (Part Three)

 (Click here to listen to the fourth teaching of Ruth)



The Verse of the Week 





More Words from the Father

Proverbs 31v10-31

Galatians 5v13-6v10




From my Heart

How to Create a Haven (Part Two)

A haven of rest and peace doesn’t just happen. It is built, one brick at a time. According to God’s Word, it is often built by a woman, a very wise woman. A woman must be willing to give her all to the building process. She will need to plot and plan with purposeful determination. If this is what we want, you and I are going to need to learn everything we can by scouring the Scriptures for any scrap of wisdom about how to build this kind of home. We need to be looking around for women whose homes carry that special “scent of home.” Then we can find ways to ply those women with questions and watch how they go about the building.

For me, one of the saddest things to see is when a woman lazes into a passive role in her home and then complains incessantly about it. What a waste! We women have been created by God with an uncanny capacity to create an atmosphere of hope and happiness in our homes and relationships. Imbedded deep within the heart of every woman is that image of the Creator who made beauty out of chaos.

Ruth listened well to her mentor, Naomi. She followed Boaz’ leading as he bought in to the vision of home. Then she threw in a little spice of her own in order to create what God intended her to have all along. Let’s look a bit more at what they built...


A place of blessing.


Every time Boaz opens his mouth, encouraging words pour out. Not merely trite compliments, but words which Ruth will mull over and treasure when she finds a moment alone. He recounts her reputation of kindness, letting her know how highly she is thought of in town. He praises her in front of his field workers as well as when they are alone. He lets not the smallest deed go unnoticed, highlighting her uniqueness as a woman.

Such words of affirmation do not come naturally for most of us, yet all of us crave them. It was Mark Twain who declared, “I can go months on a good compliment.” So are we starving our friends and children of the affirmation which only we can give? Who else is going to tell your husband that he still thrills your heart after all these years, or your teenager that you are proud of him for the way he treats his girlfriend? And shouldn’t we all have bragging rights at home - a safe arena in which to showcase our hard won victories?


A place where problems are solved together.


When someone feels all alone in their struggles, as if they were the only one able to solve their dilemmas, they begin to slowly sink into despair. And that’s just where the devil wants them - just where he wants our kids.

Isolation has long been one of the enemies’ favorite and most effective tools. But Boaz didn’t leave these two women to figure it out for themselves. He knew it wouldn’t be easy. He was all too aware of the obstacles ahead of them. Yet he took their problems on as his own. And that’s what we ought to be endeavoring to do in our homes.

Home ought to be the first place our friends and family run to when they are afraid or overwhelmed. But the only way that is going to happen in our naturally guarded society is if we women watch over our homes with the vigilance of a soldier on guard duty. If at the first sign of distress, we step into soothe and sympathize, our loved ones will feel the freedom to unburden themselves. We’ll have to be careful, though, not to look shocked at what they have to say.

Our children are facing situations we couldn’t dream up with our wildest imaginations. How foolish we often are when we pretend that terrible things will just go away if we don’t talk about them! Our families and friends need us to come alongside and pray with them. When we take their hands in ours and bring them before the Father, He picks up their problems and makes them His own. What could be better than that?


A place of promises kept.


Boaz knew that time was of the essence. As soon as it was light he hurried into town to fulfill his promise to Ruth. The words of his pledge to her were beautiful enough, but they were not empty promises. He inconvenienced himself to do all within his power to help her. Why? Because he had her best interests at heart.

How often do we make promises with the best of intentions, only to fail to follow through? How many people have we hurt in the process? This is a glaring fault of every people-pleaser like me; a flaw which creates an expectation of disappointment which is hard to shake. Yet it’s so simple to overcome. Just be careful to assign significance to the people who depend on you.


A place full of affection.


Happiness is big business these days. More people are popping anti-depressants than ever before. Yet one of the simplest (and cheapest) solutions yet to be found for emotional well-being has to do with hugs. Yes, you read it right, hugs! Here’s what every woman needs to know...


“Hugging strengthens the immune system, reduces stress, assists sleep, lowers blood pressure, and is an antidote to depression. Hugging bolsters a patient’s will to live, dispels loneliness, eases fear, opens doors to buried feelings, builds self-esteem, fosters altruism, and imparts feelings of belonging. Hugging offers a wholesome alternative to promiscuity, alcohol, and drugs.”


According to Virginia Satir, a noted American psychotherapist, people need at least four hugs a day for mere survival! We require eight daily hugs in order to maintain mental health, and a whopping twelve hugs to grow and thrive. That’s a lot of hugging!

Is your teenager thriving from all the affection dished out in your home?


How about you?


Giving is as good as getting in this case. So do yourself a favor and throw your arms around anyone and everyone who dares to enter your haven!

When Elohim, our Creator, set out to build a home for Adam and Eve, He worked and planned and purposed to create just what He envisioned. There was nothing passive about the process. He laid it all on the line. So much so that on the sixth day, He heaved a great sigh of relief and rested. If God had to rest after all His labors, what does that tell you about this job of ours? Why does it surprise us that we get worn out sometimes by the task of building homes that are truly havens?

One thing I am absolutely certain of: when I get to the end of my life, I am not going to regret one bit of work or imagination or effort I put into creating this home of mine. I might wish I hadn’t wasted so much time keeping it clean. I’ll probably bemoan the hours I spent wishing it were different. But I’ll be glad, oh so very glad, that I partnered with my Father to carve out a little haven of rest for those who call this place home.


From my heart,






“The House of Bread”

Like most of you, I grew up in the city. Bread, as far as I knew it, came in clear plastic packaging which sealed it nice and fresh for my lunch box sandwich. It wasn’t until a visit to my grandparent’s farm in eastern Oregon when I was ten years old that I discovered that bread doesn’t originate in a grocery store!

In fact, just getting the barley (the primary ingredient for making bread in Bethlehem) ready to be milled for flour was an eight-step process. Add in the plowing and planting, watering and tending, harvesting and transportation, and you have a lot of hard work. Here’s a brief overview of how it happened...

1. The ripened grain was cut by men with hand sickles.

2. The grain was then bound by men and women into sheaves.

3. The stalks of grain left behind were gathered, or “gleaned,” by the poor.

4. The sheaves were transported to the threshing floor by donkey or by cart.

5. The grain was loosened from the straw stalks by the treading of cattle over and over, or by huge cart wheels, or by a threshing sledge.

6. The grain was tossed in the air with winnowing forks so that the wind could carry away the useless straw and chaff.

7. The grain was sifted to remove small stones or debris.

8. The grain was bagged for transportation and storage.1

And that doesn’t include the mixing, kneading, rising, shaping, and baking involved with the bread itself! Not the easiest of tasks. Keep that in mind next time you pick up a loaf of Wonder Bread.






This Hebrew word is at the root of dozens of expressions. Yada is used to denote God knowing us intimately and completely. It can also mean “to distinguish,” in the sense of knowing right and wrong. Yada is a term used for both an acquaintance and for sexual intimacy between a man and a woman. The most astounding use of this term, however, is “da’ at ‘ elohim,” which expresses the incomprehensible gift we are given through the Word and the Spirit: the knowledge of God.

The term “to know” is used over and over again in this scene from the third chapter of Ruth. In Hebrew, the root word is yada. And it has several uses...


“ relative”; one known (vs. 2)


“do not make yourself known” (vs. 3)


“observe (know) the place where he lies” (vs. 4)


“my…townsmen know…you are a worthy woman” (vs. 11)


“until you learn (know) how the matter turns out” (vs. 18)


Ruth 3v1-18

The Proposal (Part Two)

 (Click here to listen to the fourth teaching of Ruth)


The Verse of the Week 




More Words from the Father

John 14v1-4

Luke 6v30-38

Colossians 3

Psalm 90v1,2



From my Heart

How to Create a Haven (Part One)

Every woman longs for a home. Not just a house filled with lovely things, but a home to run into and be safe. An abode where love spills on to everyone who enters there. A dwelling overflowing with comfort. A nest which pulls people in by its peace.

Naomi dreams of this for Ruth. She wants to see her daughter blossom in a place where she is valued. Her hopes for Ruth have risen from a heart which finally sees her for the jewel she is. It is this very desire which propels Naomi to urge Ruth to throw out convention and risk rejection in order to go after what they both need.

What about you? Are you willing to make yourself uncomfortable, to put your grand sense of self aside in order to create the kind of home you long for - the kind of home God longs for you to build?

I have to ask myself the same question. You see, all my life I’ve been called a dreamer. As I leaned on my window sill overlooking the rooftops of the town in which I grew up in Europe, I weaved lovely stories of life as it ought to be - a handsome prince, a house full of children who talked just like my Chatty Cathy, and me, pampered and petted and adored.

Reality painted a different picture. My handsome prince had to go to work, my children argued, whined, and complained (sounding an awful lot like me!) and moments of pampering got lost somewhere between loads of laundry

Are you disappointed that your home isn’t what you wish it were? Do you gaze around and wonder what happened? Do you look at your kids or your roommate and feel your heart sink in discouragement?

Here’s what I have discovered along this adventure of listening and learning from God’s Word for the last three decades: the kind of haven I envision for myself doesn’t just happen,


it is built on purpose.


This third chapter of Ruth provides for us a picture of what our homes can be. Here, the Father gives us a glimpse of home as He intended it to look and feel and smell. Whether your home is an apartment or a mansion, a cottage or a cot in the corner, it can be a place of refuge for all who enter its doors.

Let’s take a look at what Ruth and Boaz, with a little nudging from Naomi, created in the beginnings of their home.


A place of beauty.


From the beginning, God created man and woman for a beautiful place. The Garden was a reflection of His creativity and care - His welcome of us. It was there that He placed in our hearts an instinctive embracing of beauty which has never gone away. Naomi knew this. She helped Ruth to bathe and slather on perfume and to put on her finest clothes, not to impress Boaz, but to welcome him.

It takes time to create beauty. It takes effort. It takes forethought and planning. Yet when our home looks and feels and smells beautiful, we can’t help but sigh a great sigh of relief and rest there.


A soft place.


“Then she came softly…” I love that phrase. Here we get a glimpse of Ruth’s unique imprint on the scene…her signature style. As we go about building our home we add our uniquely gentle touch. By our own example as well as by our watchful enforcement (think hall monitor with a smile), we can create and defend an aura of gentleness within our relationships. We can insulate our homes from the harshness of the outside world - a world where horns blare, bloggers decimate strangers, teachers belittle teenagers, and peers point out every misstep. Our home ought to offer relief from all that in-your-face sort of confrontation.

And mothers, take note. If you follow the current strategies in child-raising by allowing your children to “work it out for themselves,” you will be an unwitting participant in what often amounts to sibling brutality. We have all seen it happen. Voices escalate, words proliferate, and the strongest, ugliest, meanest man wins. Training our children to control their feelings, reign in their tongues, and learn to communicate in loving, direct dialogue takes a lot of work. It requires constant vigilance and incredible wisdom as well. We know who to go to for that, though, don’t we?


A delightful place.


Ruth gave Boaz the surprise of his life when he woke up in the middle of the night to find her curled at his feet. Heart thumping, adrenalin surging, Boaz sat up with a start. His response to Ruth’s overtures bubbled up and spilled over her in the form of an outpouring of praise. He couldn’t say enough about her kindness to him in that moment. What about you? Do you often bring exclamations of delight from those who reside in your home? Are you filling your family and friends with memories of delightful surprises - those extra touches that speak volumes to whom they are directed? When I got the rare chance to visit my parents in their home in the mountains all by myself, my mom delighted me each night by slipping into my room, turning on the electric blanket, and folding back the bedding. That small gesture practically shouted love and care to me.

What would bring delight to those you love the most? Perhaps it’s time to give it some thought.


A place of discovery.


Every once in a great while there comes into our lives someone who “gets” us. They find us fascinating instead of weird. They shine a flashlight into the corners of our personalities to discover strengths we didn’t know we had. When we find such a treasure in a friend, we find ourselves feeling freer than we’ve ever felt before. Those of us who are kind of quiet begin to talk. Talkative people rest. Walls fall down and our hopes and dreams seem doable.

Boaz listened to Ruth. He asked questions instead of firing accusations. He waited to interpret her behavior through the grid of respect and what he discovered was a gold mine. How can we unleash that sense of discovery in our own homes? Could we, like Boaz, learn to believe the best of those we love? Dare we ban that attitude of distrust we find ourselves so naturally reverting to? What if we choose instead to highlight each other’s value and overlook each other’s flaws? I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of heart I want to come home to.

Whether your home is a suburban house with a husband, children, and a menagerie of pets or an apartment with three roommates, are you making it a place of rest and refuge? Is it time that you, like Naomi, threw off that passive complacency and poured yourself into creating a home for those you are called to love?

Somehow, I think, this longing in our hearts for home may be part of the Father’s plan. He wants to use us to create an alluring glimpse of God’s dwelling place. And that just makes me want to jump in and get to work!


To be continued tomorrow…from my heart,





 How Big is a Scoop?

A pinch of salt, a dash of nutmeg, a dot of butter. We can imitate these in our kitchens. But an ephah of barley? Six measures of grain? Is that a lot or a little? A token or a treasure?

According to historians, an ephah of barley was an enormous amount of grain. It would have weighed between 30 and 50 pounds by today’s measurements. Considering that an average bag of whole wheat flour which we buy at the grocery store weighs about five pounds, Ruth gleaned a lot of grain! In one day, she gathered the equivalent of a month’s ration of grain for the average male worker in Israel.

A measure is uncertain terminology and, in fact, is not specified in the text. Translators filled in the blank with a vague term in order to keep the sentence coherent. He measured six somethings of barley into her upheld cloak. It could have been six shovelfuls or even six omers, which would have equaled about half of what she’d carried home from the fields. Whatever it was, it was more than enough to convince Naomi that Boaz’ intentions were serious. Their days of hunger were over.





What in the world was Ruth up to when she snuck up to the place where Boaz was sleeping, uncovered his feet, and lay down? Was this some sort of sexual seduction? Not at all! Ruth was using a common idiom for a proposal of marriage. The phrase “corner of your garment” is kanap. It is a word which can be applied either to the edge of his covering or as coming under his wings for protection. It is the same word Boaz used in Ruth 2v12 when he admired Ruth for seeking security in God.

Ruth may have been bold, but she was not in any way suggesting something shocking. Boaz response to her proposal was immediately enthusiastic, for he knew exactly what she meant. He had given her plenty of reason to believe that he held a strong affection for her. She was simply encouraging him to pursue his interest. Still, he knew that others could possibly perceive her presence at the threshing floor late at night as inappropriate, so Boaz took steps to protect both her purity and her reputation.

Note: for a really interesting rabbit trail, read what Jesus had to say about measurements in Luke 6v30-38.


The Proposal 

Ruth 3v1-18 (Part One)

(Click here to listen to the fourth Ruth teaching)

As the fourth scene of our story opens, a light begins to dawn in Naomi’s heart. All these inexplicable events which “happened to happen” to her and Ruth begin to add up to a revolutionary idea. Maybe, just maybe, God is in control after all.

She sees that she has a part to play in this drama - an essential role. Whereas previously we pitied Naomi for her irritating passivity, now we watch as she plunges into her position as matchmaker. Naomi has found her niche and she revels in it!

Naomi’s perspective on Ruth’s role has changed seemingly overnight: from tagalong servant to treasured daughter. As Naomi scurries to undo some of the damage of Ruth’s backbreaking labor in the gleaning fields, she sets about to secure a home for her future. With explicit instructions, she directs Ruth in how to nab her man.

A bath?...Check...Lotion and perfume?...Check...Feminine clothes?...Check.

Naomi knows just what to do. And Ruth enthusiastically complies even as she adds her own imprint to the intrigue. What man could possibly resist the charming way in which Ruth “comes softly” into his world and invites his love? Boaz certainly offers no sign of resistance to Ruth’s overtures, blowing every book’s theory that men don’t like to be chased! He passionately welcomes Ruth even as he protects her purity and her reputation.

The scene closes in suspense. Will Boaz come through? Will Ruth be rescued? Is the home the women have been longing for about to become a reality or another dismaying disappointment?

This week, we will spend some time delving into the idea of rest and security and home.

Just as Ruth and Naomi threw off any vestiges of passive complacency, we’ll be challenged to actively cooperate with God to create a place of beauty for those He calls us to love.

Most of all, as we involve ourselves in this scene, we will fall head over heels in love with Boaz. He is the man of our dreams; the one we’ve been looking for our whole lives. Our protector, our provider, our Prince Charming…he’s the man!

Come along with me as we open the curtain on Scene Four of our story to reveal our Redeemer.



The Verse of the Week:

“…I will give you rest.” Matthew 11v28b NASB


More Words from the Father:

Matthew 11v28-30

Ruth 3v1-18

Psalm 116


From my Heart:

 A Rare Place

Outside the quaint cottage where we spent our honeymoon, a conglomeration of letters set in a beautiful mosaic had us completely stumped. Framed by planters and overflowing with cascading blooms sat the wonderfully curious phrase, “Resta bitfo rtisa ra replace tor estat.” At first we thought it an odd bit of Scottish poetry or some beautiful Gallic saying. But, as the days passed and our eyes adjusted to the strange configuration of letters, a message emerged. The message intended all along:

Rest a bit for tis a rare place to rest at.

For two glorious weeks we rested at that rare place. It became our respite from the real world - our own secluded island, far from the cares and chaos of life in the fast lane. Eventually, however, we had to go back. Back to work. Back to bills. Back to all the hassles and hurts that are a part of the reality of living in this world.

For my husband and I, that place was magical. We found joy and peace and wonder and delight under the eaves of its shelter.

A rare place to rest at.

After months of misery, Naomi finally wakes up one morning and realizes that it’s time to stop sulking, time to “get off her duff,” time to stop making excuses and create for Ruth what she’d been longing for all along. A place of rest.

The Hebrew word used here and throughout Scripture is manoah. Naomi set out to find manoah for Ruth.



A home.

Naomi wanted more for Ruth than the cold cave they had found shelter in. She wanted what we all want. She wanted a rare place to rest at.

Is that what your home is?

Is your home a sanctuary from the storm? A cozy place to curl up and relax? A place of welcome? A place of delight?

What would your kids say…or your husband…or your friends? Would your roommate agree?

Maybe it’s time, like Naomi, for us to wake up and start over - to clear out the closets full of criticism and conflict. Time to smooth down some ruffled feathers and sing a soothing song of joy and acceptance. Maybe it’s time to get off your duff and get to work, rethinking, rebuilding, renewing, and restoring the ruins of relationships that have become anything but restful. Time to unscramble the letters and to plant some beauty there.

It wasn’t until Naomi stopped thinking about herself and started loving on Ruth that her own joy returned.

I can just see Naomi as she concocts her female scheme. Washing Ruth’s tangled hair. Hauling water for a long hot soak in the tub. Finding perfume for her to slather on. Rummaging through their clothes to create something appealing. Naomi is having the time of her life! Gone is the sour expression and depression that have characterized this woman since the first sentence of our story. Now Naomi is happy, and busy, and full of hope and creativity.

I don’t know anything about your home, but I know about mine.

I know that “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I know I set the tone of our home. When everybody is uptight, it’s usually because I’ve been on a rampage, trying to shape everyone up and quiet everyone down. On the other hand, if I welcome my friends and family into my home with peace in my heart and the presence of the Holy One shining through me, they respond with an inexplicable sense of rest.

Light a few candles, spray around some perfume, and they sink in and stay a while.


How about it? Should we try? Can we cheer each other on as we attempt, with Naomi, to provide a place of rest for those we love?

Let’s unscramble those letters. Let’s write with beauty. Let’s…

Rest a bit, for ‘tis a rare place to rest at.


From my heart,





A Type of What?

A type is a theological term referring to an event or person in the Old Testament which foreshadows its fulfillment in the New Testament. The idea of what constitutes a type and what it represents is fraught with controversy and confusion. It seems best to err on the side of caution when identifying a biblical type while recognizing that the Old Testament stories and prophesies inevitably point to the Messiah.

Three rules of hermeneutical interpretation2 lend legitimacy to types:

1. There must be an obvious resemblance between the type and the antitype.

2. There must be some biblical evidence that God intended it to be a type.

3. A genuine type must clearly portray, without any mystery, what is being prefigured.

Boaz is clearly and without controversy an Old Testament type of Christ. His role as the Kinsman-Redeemer who steps in and rescues Ruth is a provocative picture of Jesus. Many commentators, including the late J. Vernon McGee, interpreted the entire book of Ruth as a beautiful prefiguring of Christ. There is undoubtedly an underlying sense of double meaning throughout the story. It is, however, a genuine historical story involving people who actually lived, who loved, and who married in the town of Bethlehem.

Boaz was a man. Imperfect and flawed. In every way real. The story doesn’t show any of that. Instead, the author beckons us along to peer down the ages and imagine what it might be like when Jesus comes.

The original readers didn’t know what we know now. They couldn’t imagine Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, then paying the awful price for our redemption. But we know, and that knowing makes this story come alive.

While reading about Boaz, remember Jesus. You’ll find yourself falling in love with Him right along with Ruth.





When Naomi seeks a home for Ruth, she uses the Hebrew word manoah. It is a noun designating a resting place. The word does not indicate a freedom from hard work as much as it is points to a particular location where someone settles down and remains.1 Since this is not the typical word used to denote a house, translators chose a variety of English words to give its meaning:

ESV: rest

NASB: security

NLT: a permanent home

NIV: a home

This rest can also mean a spiritual place of rest for the soul. In the midst of difficulties and stress, the Psalmist cried out to the Lord and He answered with manoah, rest for his soul.

“Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul. For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Psalm 116v7


Ruth 2v1-23

The Gleaning (Part Five)

(Click here to listen to the third Ruth teaching)


Verse of the Week:



More Words from the Father:

1 Samuel 1v19-2:11

1 Samuel 2v18-21

John 19v25-27

Ruth 4v15

Psalm 127

Psalm 78v1-7


From my Heart:

Pages from the past: September 1998

Off to School

 Today my little boy went off to school.

He was afraid. I was afraid.

He was excited. So was I.

He was brave. I cried.

We chattered cheerfully in the van on the way to school. He looked so fresh and grown up in his new haircut, plaid shirt tucked neatly in, appropriately cool baggy pants and black suede tennis shoes. I took pictures in front of the flagpole. He smiled.

Walking into the classroom, he gripped my hand in sweaty palm and sat oh-so-quietly at his pint-sized desk.

“Don’t leave yet, Mom. Wait ‘til all the other parents go…”

I rubbed his back and labeled his supplies. Crayons, scissors, lots of glue, a binder covered in G. I. Joe stickers. I took a picture of my little boy at his desk. No smile.

Time for Mom to leave. One last squeeze of his shoulder. One last kiss on his cheek and out the door.

That’s when the tears betrayed me. Unbidden, they pushed against my eyes, threatening to embarrass me completely. Gulping them back, I waved with false cheer at a neighbor and drove in my empty van to my empty house. So quiet.

No chaos, no arguments, no laughter, no messes.

I have looked forward to this day. I have made plans. For years I had said, “When my children all go to school…”

Yet today I can do nothing. I grieve an end of an era. An era I have loved, filled with memories I cherish.

I did my share of complaining to be sure. “Can’t I even go to the bathroom alone?!” But I loved the unrushed mornings cuddling with blankie and bear and my squirmy little boy.

I loved the Lego creations and the storybooks and Wee Sing tapes. I loved sidewalk chalk and popsicles dribbling down dimpled chins. Rainy days spent building forts in the family room with blankets anchored with encyclopedias.

Most of all, I have loved the absolute trust in his eyes. He knows I am here for him to protect him, to be proud, to understand.

For I am Mom. Matthew’s mom. The Best-Mom-in-the-Whole-World.

That is who I was yesterday when I held him as a babe in my arms. It is who I am today as I leave him at his desk- at school. And tomorrow, when he is a man, I will still be…Mom.


From my heart,





King Eglon

“the very fat man” 

The ancient Jewish Midrash claims that Ruth was actually the daughter of the infamous Moabite King Eglon. Of course, no one can know for sure, as there is no concrete written record to confirm such speculation. Reaching back into history, let’s take a look at his story…

Sometime towards the beginning of the period of the Judges of Israel, a despised Moabite King led a coalition of Moabites, Ammonites, and Amalekites (all of whom were distant relatives of the tribes of Israel, descendants of Lot’s incestuously conceived sons) who attacked and conquered the land of Promise. King Eglon and his entourage set up some sort of headquarters at Jericho also called the City of Palms. There they collected a required monetary tribute from the subdued yet subversive Israelites.

In 1933, a British archeologist uncovered the Palace of Eglon. It was a single structure set in solitude amongst the rubble of the once great city of Jericho. On top of the building was an “aleah,” a rooftop sitting room that provided a cool retreat from the heat of the day. These rooms were built to catch the prevailing winds, a kind of unmechanized air conditioning, which only the very rich enjoyed. It was there that King Eglon sat in all his condescending splendor to accept the tribute so abhorrent to his conquered enemies.

For 18 years, King Eglon ruled over the Israelites, draining their already subsistent economy to the point of poverty.

Finally, the over-burdened people of God “cried out to the Lord” (Judges 3v15). Yahweh had prepared a man for this very purpose - a man named Ehud. His name means “loner” and indeed, he stood alone for God in his courageous and dangerous mission. Ehud was an interesting choice. The text states that he was left-handed, but a further look at the Hebrew wording indicates that in reality, he relied on his left hand due to the fact that his right hand was rendered useless. Ironically,

Ehud was born into the tribe of the Benjamites, which means “son of the right hand.” In spite of his handicap, or maybe because of it, God used him to set His people free from a particularly oppressive enemy. Here’s how it happened: Ehud studied his opponents meticulously before crafting his daring plan. He knew that the guards had become careless over the years. No one had ever made a valid threat on their king’s life. It was their habit to haphazardly search visiting emissaries with a cursory search for weapons on the right side of the body. After all, every soldier knew that weapons might be hidden on the right side of a man’s body where they could be drawn swiftly. In addition to that useful piece of knowledge, Ehud understood that the king was an enormously obese man who spent his days on the aleah in an attempt to alleviate his discomfort in the hot Middle Eastern climate. His own country of Moab sat high on a plateau, cooled to a comfortable year round temperature by breezes from the Mediterranean Sea.

Crafting a custom-made sword, which historians believe would have been at least 30 inches long, he strapped it to his left side before entering the King’s chamber to pay his tribute. After much bowing and a plentitude of eastern obeisance, the entourage filed out. But not Ehud. He turned to the king and whispered, “I have a secret for you…”

At once, the foolish King sent his bodyguards out; eager to hear what he must have thought would benefit him in some way. Alone, now, Ehud approached the King, thrust the double-edged sword straight towards his belly, and killed him. To his surprise and horror, the sword disappeared into the fat man’s belly without a trace (My, the gruesome stories that must have proliferated around the campfires that night)!

Quickly, Ehud slipped out of the rooftop chamber, locking the doors behind him. As he hurried out of the palace he could hear the worried whispers of the servants, wondering why the King seemed to be taking so long. “Perhaps he’s going to the bathroom,” (the less-than-polite transliteration of the idiom “he’s covering his feet” in verse 24) the servants murmured, as they went about their business. Meanwhile, Ehud escaped unnoticed and blew a trumpet in a signal to summon the fighting men of Israel. They gathered at the ford of the Jordan River, cutting down thousands of Moabite men fleeing their fallen king.

-Read all about it in Judges 3-




The Jewish Midrash is an ancient commentary on parts of the Hebrew Scriptures. These were written by rabbis “both steeped in Bible and absorbed by the Jewish questions of their time.” In particular, the “Great Midrash” is the name of the collections linked to the five books of the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) and the “Five Scrolls” (Esther, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes).

Compiled between 200 and 1000 A.D., these writings are, in effect, commentaries, which have earned the respect of Jewish scholars and teachers. These documents hold no claim to infallibility and are used primarily for the application of Biblical teaching to Jewish life and law.


 Ruth 2v1-23

The Gleaning (Part Four)

(Click here to listen to the third Ruth teaching)


Verse of the Week:



More Words from the Father:

Psalm 36v7-8

Psalm 91

John 14v1-6

Matthew 10v16-31

2 Timothy 1v7


From my Heart:

In the Shadow

Fear has stalked me my whole life.

Since I can remember, I’ve been afraid. Afraid of heights, afraid of falling, afraid ofgetting lost in the grocery story, afraid of getting in trouble, afraid of anything fast.

Nicknames get attached to little girls like that…








I was afraid of people too. Afraid of being noticed, of talking to someone I didn’t know. Afraid of standing in front of people, of giving book reports, of giving speeches. Afraid to walk to my teacher’s desk to ask a question (After all, someone might see me!).

My imagination ran rampant. It ran my life, defined my days, and determined my future.

And my fears grew up with me.

As a teenager, I was afraid to walk through the courtyard area where hundreds of students gathered for lunch. Instead, I’d walk all the way around the school to slip into the cafeteria unnoticed.

As a young woman, I was terrified of staying alone at night. Every creak and groan of our old house shot a surge of adrenalin through me. Was someone there?

I wouldn’t drive alone to visit my little sister in college three hours away. The roads were isolated, after all. What if my little Volkswagen Bug broke down?

Earthquakes scared me the most. When I was fifteen, my family moved to California. Every few months, it seemed, the earth rattled and shook. The slightest tremor would leave me weak-kneed for weeks. I imagined the house coming crashing down around me, being trapped, alone. The rumbling of a truck left me scurrying for cover, an airplane overhead sent my heart racing.

But somewhere in there I gave my heart and life to Christ. I heard that He was my Father.

That He cared about me. That He would take care of me. I read His Word and sang His songs and surrounded myself with His people. Little by little, fears fled. I grew more confident, composed even.

But earthquakes were still my undoing.

I remember sitting on the edge of my bed once, talking on the phone, when the bed began to wiggle wildly. I turned to scold my son (sure he was bouncing on the bed!) only to realize that the whole room was shaking! I could hardly sleep on that antique iron bed after that, every movement felt like that tremor.

I prayed for courage…prayed for strength…prayed for healing…




It seemed I was destined to be defeated by fear for the rest of my life.

Then it struck. On a mellow October day, the Great Quake of ‘89 rocked my world. Literally. As soon as it started, I knew it was a big one. Really big. Hollering for my kids over the earsplitting roar, I grabbed them close as we huddled in a doorway. When it was finally over, we weaved our way through our broken glass-filled living room to the back yard. News from neighbors filtered in fast. Several tuned in to the emergency broadcast system since phones were out and power lines down. Hundreds of people had been crushed beneath falling bridges and buildings. Some were still trapped.

And that’s how God freed me of fear.

In that moment, when all our lives were completely and unequivocally out of our control, He stepped in. He took over. He became to me who He is-


 El Roi: the God Who Sees


El Shaddai: the All-Sufficient One


Adonai: Master


Who can fear when He is so supremely in charge? When the Master of the Universe, the One who can shake and subjugate the very earth, is watching over me, how dare I be afraid? Suddenly my fear-filled life seemed silly, trite, and petty.

A few weeks later, Phil and I wrote our first and only song together. And though the tune is over two decades old now, the words still ring true and ageless. Perhaps this is a song Ruth could have sung as she labored out in those fields, gleaning, working, sweating, yet resting in the shadow of the Almighty (Ruth 2v12).


In the Shadow of His Wings

By Phil and Diane Comer


In the shadow of Thy wings I find my refuge,

In the shadow of Thy wings I will abide,

It is there that I will lay my burdens and my cares,

It is only there my heart finds rest.

It is there that I will feel You lift my heavy load,

And in the shadow of Thy wings,

In the shadow of Thy wings,

Yes, in the shadow of Thy wings

I’ll rest,

For in the shadow of Thy wings

I’m blessed.

In the shadow of Thy wings, I find my refuge

In the shadow of Thy wings, I will abide

For You are the source of strength

To those who wait for You

And in Your strength I’ll run and not grow tired

For You are the Most High God,

It's You that I desire

And in the shadow of Thy wings,

In the shadow of Thy wings,

Yes, in the shadow of Thy wings,

I’ll rest,

For in the shadow of Thy wings

I’m blessed.


From my no longer fearful heart,







Boaz pays Ruth a beautiful compliment when he meets her for the first time. Apparently, he’d been inquiring about her previously, for he already knew of her reputation around town.

“May the LORD reward your work, And your wages be full from the LORD, The God of Israel, Under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Ruth 2v12

The Hebrew word translated here as “wings” is kenapayim. Later in Ruth 3v9, the same word is translated into English with the word “skirt.” When a woman took refuge under the “skirt” or the “wings” of a man’s garment, she became his wife - his to take care of, to provide for, to lead, and to love. All the town, and Boaz especially, took notice of Ruth’s devotion and dependence on Yahweh. She was like one married to Him. Faithful, determined, secure, and thriving.

No wonder Boaz couldn’t keep his eyes off her!




Jesus taught that fear is something to be battled. We have the ability to choose not to fear.

Fear and afraid come from the same Greek word: phobeo. It is where we get our English word, phobia. The meaning is rich and graphic: to put in fear, terrify, frighten. At its root is a sense of terror and of running for your life. 

Timidity is a little different. Deilia means cowardice or one who is cowardly and fearful.

Paul spoke of a “spirit of timidity” that does not come from God (2 Timothy 1v7). He also referred to a “spirit of bondage” which leads to fear (Romans 8v15). Both of these spirits are to be replaced with the truth of God’s Word.


Ruth 2v1-23

The Gleaning (Part Three)

(Click here to listen to the third Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week:



More Words from the Father:

Genesis 1

Psalm 90v12,16,17

Psalm 30v10

Psalm 57v2, 3

Psalm 138v8

Ephesians 2v10

(John 14v16; 15v26; 16v7)


From my Heart:

Tossing and Turning

I worried as I tossed and turned all last night. A running dialogue of what if’s and mustdo’s galloped behind my closed eyelids, robbing me of rest and leaving my bed a rumpled mash of misbegotten bed sheets.

It was a relief to wake up!

Rolling out of that wrestling ring of worry, I reached for two ibuprofen to ease the aches and pains my buffeted body bore, padded down to the kitchen to make my morning tea, lit a candle or two to chase away the sodden gloom, and drank in the healing Words of God.



Control (His, not mine!).

Soon my weariness lifted as I poured out my petty worries to God. Like a child, I showed Him my “owies.” Nothing earth-shattering or even heart-breaking, just daily stuff and my usual “How will I get it all done?” My self-imposed standards of perfection chasing joy and peace right out of my day. He reminded me - with the patience that makes me love Him all the more - of a few lessons already taught, if not yet fully learned. I’ll pass some of those on to you, in case you’re popping a few aspirins of your own…

1). Don’t cram too much into one day. Specifically, don’t crowd too many different categories of tasks into one day. Looking back at His plan for creating the world (a bit bigger than my burdens today), each day took on a logical, well thought through order. First light, then the skies, then land on which to grow food, then seasons…You see the idea? He had a plan. My frantic hurrying from thing to thing leaves me exhausted, discombobulated (I love that word!), dingy, and out-of-sorts. No wonder my head aches!

2). Acknowledge what you have done. Again, in the creation story, at the end of each and every day, the Lord looked back over His accomplishments and relished the completed creativity of His work. A simple notebook will do the job. Set it beside your bed and take a few minutes each night to list the things you did accomplish that day. Come on, write it down! You’ll be surprised how much you did on a day when you “didn’t get anything done.”

3). Remember who is in control (hint: not you!). If only I could get this one through my thick head! I am not in charge. I have abandoned my life to God and told Him in all sincerity that I want Him to control everything, everyone, every circumstance, every detail of my life. But He’s not so neat and tidy. He does things differently than I do. And He doesn’t usually tell me why! (Read Psalm 138:8).

4). He has a plan and purpose for me. This is one of the most exhilarating, energizing truths to ever grip me. The fact that He has specific tasks for me to accomplish… assigned tasks just for me…wow! I read once that giving your kids chores to do around the house enhances their self-esteem. So I did. Lots of chores. They were the most self-esteemed kids on the block. And now I have a chore list from the Father…because He thinks I’m the one to do it. Every time I think about that, I sit up a little straighter, clear my desk, and get to work (read Ephesians 2:10). …and moms, remember that your tasks have names…

We don’t know if Ruth worried or if Naomi lay awake at night wondering what to do. But we do know that their lives were full of challenges. There was plenty to worry about. But this story is written for our encouragement - to let us see how our Father works behind the scenes to help us.

After all, Helper is one of His names!

From my heart,


(Check His name out in John 14v16; 15v26, and 16v7).



Mystery and Mystique

Many students of the Word see shadows of truths taught elsewhere in Scripture played out in this story of Ruth. These scholars tend to lend a metaphorical meaning into the biblical narrative. The dispensational theologians, such as Merrill Unger (Unger’s Bible Handbook) read all sorts of lessons and prefigures into many of the characters and events in Ruth. And while certainly not the original meaning behind the story, a speculative look at this form of interpretation is at the very least, insightful.

Here’s what he says:

1. Naomi reflects Israel, the chosen people.

2. Elimelech depicts Israel’s prosperity in the land, married to the Lord and faithful to Him.

3. The sorrows of Naomi speak of spiritual failure and chastisement.

4. Elimelech’s death in a foreign land illustrates Israel’s national rejection of the Lord during her years of exile.

5. Naomi’s return to Bethlehem suggests Israel’s decision to set her face homeward.

6. Orpah, who remained in Moab, speaks of the unbelieving mass of Jews who elected to remain among foreign lands when Israel was reestablished as a nation.

7. Ruth portrays the faithful remnant of the nation, which will ultimately come in touch with the Kinsman-Redeemer.

8. The barley harvest signifies the end of the age (Matthew 13v30).

9. Ruth resting at Boaz’s feet represents the truth that rest can only be found at the foot of the Redeemer.

10. Boaz is a type of Christ, our Redeemer.

Beware however, of pressing this too far. J. Vernon McGee, a well-respected expositor, writes that such interpretation is indeed “suggestive” but warns his readers against “wandering off into the field of speculation.”


 Ruth 2v1-23

The Gleaning (Part Two)

(Click here to listen to the third Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week:



More Word from the Father:

Isaiah 55v8,9

Proverbs 16v3

Psalm 37v1-34

Jeremiah 29v11

James 4v13-15

Matthew 11v28-30


From my Heart:

A Test and a Task

 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55v8, 9

God didn’t just sweep in and rescue Ruth. He didn’t “heal” her. Instead, God gave her a task to do. A test of obedience.

A job to accomplish.

And that’s so often the way He works.

We want healing; He gives enabling. We want answers; He asks questions. We yearn for guarantees, signs, wonders; He waits for faith, yielding, and surrender. His ways often perplex us, usually confuse us, and always satisfy us in the end.

God knew what He was doing with Ruth…and she didn’t have a clue. She didn’t need to and she wasn’t supposed to.

And that, my dear friends, is just the way it is…

From my heart,





A bite to eat…

They were two hungry women without income, without land, and without a provider. Their city had no welfare office to request assistance. There were no women’s shelters, no soup kitchen. What were they to do? While Naomi twiddled her aching thumbs, Ruth came up with an idea. Gleaning. Where she heard of it, or how she thought of it, is unclear. The practice was uniquely Jewish.

Like many countries today, most of the Middle East relied on subsistence agriculture to feed their people, barely. Trade was nearly non-existent, and generosity might well jeopardize the well being of the giver’s dependents. All this left two widows without resources in dire straits.

Gleaning, however, was God’s idea. First mentioned in Leviticus 23:22, and then reiterated in Deuteronomy 24:17-22, the Israelites were commanded to leave a little behind when harvesting all kinds of grains, grapes, and olives. That enabled the poor to provide for their basic needs through their own hard work. And gleaning was indeed hard work! Bending over for hours on end, pulling and cutting the grain, battling flies, rodents, snakes, and people who prey on the disadvantaged, this was not for the faint of heart.

For Ruth to stoop so low (pardon the pun), she had to have been desperate. No wonder she felt the need to ask for Naomi’s permission before she set out. When she “happed” (that’s the quaint King James wording) to land in the field of Boaz, who happened to be a distant relative of her father-in-law, who also happened to be a kind and God-fearing man, even the soured and cynical Naomi did a little jig for joy.

Gleaning became Ruth’s task, Naomi’s blessing, and God’s rescue.


What Did They Eat?

Since the earliest of days, God’s people have celebrated His abundance with feasts and food. It was His idea, after all! As a means of remembering His goodness, He instituted a series of holidays throughout the year, all of which involved good food. But what did they eat? Where did they get it? How was it harvested?

Historians and archeologists have found a plethora of evidence indicating just what the Israelites ate in the Promised Land. Let’s take a look at what filled their larders.

Seven crops dominated the farm land of Canaan:

Wheat- mostly ground to make bread.

Barley- also ground for bread and other baked goods, sometimes eaten raw.

Grapes- primarily red grapes were grown for wine, to eat fresh, to make vinegars and raisins. Raisin cakes were used as a favorite “fast food” which could be taken on a journey.

Figs- figs ripened in June and then again in August or September. The first crop was generally eaten fresh, and the second picking was dried to eat during the winter months. Figs were also used in the making of special wines.

Pomegranates- juice and wine were made from fresh pomegranates harvested in the hot Judean summer months. The seeds were eaten fresh or dried for later use.

Olives- harvesting the olives during the months of September and October gave the Israelites plenty of rich olive oil for cooking and baking. The oil was also used as a medicine, a lotion, lamp oil, and for anointing kings to their thrones. There is, however, no record of the Hebrews eating olives in Old Testament times.

Honey- some scholars believe that the honey referred to throughout the Old Testament is actually the juice produced by the date palm tree. The juice was extracted from the trunk of the tree and used as a drink, either fresh or fermented.

There were other, less plentiful foods available as well. Apricots and nuts (such as almond, pistachio, and walnut) were cultivated. Legumes were grown, including beans, lentils, chick-peas (we know them as garbanzo beans), and peas. Eventually garlic was planted, as well as onions and cucumbers.

And of course, the shepherds of the land kept the people well supplied with the meat and milk of sheep and goats as well as the by-products thereof, such cheese in many forms.

The Promised Land was indeed a land overflowing with abundance. With hard work and God’s blessings, the people of Israel need never have suffered a moment of real hunger. They could trust God to feed them from the abundance of His hand as long as they kept their covenant promises with Him.


The Blessing

“The Lord will make you abound in prosperity…in the offspring of your beast…in the offspring of your ground, in the land…The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, The heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand…” Deuteronomy 28v10-12


The Curse

Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things…” Deuteronomy 28v47-48