The Journey (Part Three)
(click here to listen to the second Ruth teaching)
Verse of the Week:
“THEREFORE, SINCE WE ARE SURROUNDED BY SUCH A HUGE CROWD OF WITNESSES TO THE LIFE OF FAITH, LET US STRIP OFF EVERY WEIGHT THAT SLOWS US DOWN, ESPECIALLY THE SIN THAT SO EASILY HINDERS OUR PROGRESS. AND LET US RUN WITH ENDURANCE THE RACE THAT GOD HAS SET BEFORE US.” HEBREWS 12:1 NLT
More Words from the Father:
1 Peter 3:1-9
2 Peter 1:2,3
From my Heart:
Today, I Choose
Ruth followed a well-worn formula to rewrite the story of her life. Simply put, she repented. To repent means to “turn around and go the other way.” And that’s just what she did when she left Moab to pursue the God of Naomi.
“…Your people shall be my people and your God, my God…”
And while we love to quote her moving lyrics during weddings, her intent was anything but romantic. Ruth decided, with all the determination of a tigress, to chase down Naomi’s God and be one of His people.
As did Peter, and Paul, and John…and Mary, and the men and women on the marquis of God’s Hall of Faith found in Hebrews 11. These are people who chose with iron-clad determination to follow God no matter the cost, regardless of their past, in simple adoration of the One.
I choose to stop excusing my sin, and to start confessing it instead.
When I am mean and crabby and controlling, it is not really because I think no one will listen if I say it nicely.
When I am lazy and self-indulgent, it is not a sign of “normal aging.” I have simply eaten too much and exercised too little.
And when I gripe and complain, I have failed to acknowledge with a grateful heart that my King is in charge of each and every glorious day of my life.
No, this is no one else’s fault. I have allowed a virus of sin to enter my heart and take over my attitude. Much like those viruses let loose to ruin computers while they are running, my own sin is disabling my ability to be filled with the beauty and glory of the Spirit of God. And all it takes is confession and repentance…lots and lots of confession and repentance, to drive it out.
The miracle of miracles for the believing Christian is that Christ lives in me. All that He is can be mine. His kindness, His love, His patience, His goodness, His faithfulness…all that pertains to life and godliness has been “granted to us.” My identity is not in me, but in Him and who He is.
As J. Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest, “Jesus Christ can put into any man who would let Him a new heredity… He can put into any man His own disposition and make him as unsullied and as simple as a child. The one marvelous secret of the holy life lies…in letting the perfections of Jesus manifest themselves in my mortal flesh… slowly and surely I begin to live a life of ineffable order and sanity and holiness.”
Today I choose to let Him.
With truth-focused eyes I choose…
to bring the desires that so relentlessly drive me…
and the sin that so easily entangles me to the foot of the Cross.
From my heart,
Hall of Faith
“…Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…” (vs. 1) “…By it the men of old gained approval.” (vs. 2)
Abel: Genesis 4:3, 10, Matthew 23:35, Luke 11:51
Enoch: Genesis 5:22-24
Noah: Genesis 6, 7, 8, 9
Abraham: Genesis 12-22, Romans 4:17-21
Sarah: Genesis 18:1-15, Genesis 20-23:2, 1 Peter 3
Isaac: Genesis 27:30-28:4
Jacob: Genesis 27-32
Joseph: Genesis 37-50
Moses’ parents: Exodus 2:1-1
Moses: Exodus 2-14
Jericho: participants Joshua 6
Rahab: Joshua 2, 6:23, 25-27, James 2:25
Gideon: Judges 6-8
Barak: Judges 4, 5
Sampson: Judges 13-16
Jephath: Judges 11, 12
David: 1, 2 Samuel - 1 Kings 2:11
Samuel: 1 Samuel 1-3
The Prophets: Isaiah-Malachi
The word shub is repeated 11 times in Ruth chapter two. Ten times the translators rendered the word as return in English. Once, they used the phrase gone back (vs. 15), and another time brought me back (vs. 21). In each case, the Hebrew word is the same. The connotations of this word are weighty when we consider the redemptive theme of the book of Ruth.
Shub means to turn, to go back, to change, to reestablish, to restore. It is used over 1050 times in the Old Testament. According to one well-respected language resource, it is used overwhelmingly in the sense of repentence. It involves “man’s going beyond contrition and sorrow to a conscience decision of turning to God…and includes repudiation of all sin and affirmation of God’s total will for one’s life.”
So you see, when Ruth refused to return to her old way of life, she was in effect echoing the old and well-loved hymn,
“The world behind me, the Cross before me,
The world behind me, the Cross before me,
The world behind me, the Cross before me,
No turning back, no turning back.”
Ruth made her confession of repentence when she proclaimed to Naomi her determination to follow and know her God. She didn’t know much about Him, and she certainly didn’t have the lingo down pat, but she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that her old life was done and a new life was dawning.