Posts tagged listens

Ruth 1v6-22

The Journey (Part Two)

Verse of the Week:



More words from the Father:

Colossians 3:8-14

Psalm 139

Luke 10:41,42


From my Heart:

What About Me? 

On pondering Ruth’s boldness, her verve, her enthusiastic embracing of hardship, I find myself asking, “What about me?”

Have I arrived at this place, in this role, because God led me here? Or did I take a few too many wrong turns along the way and then settle in just to survive? Am I here…doing what I’m doing…being who I am…because I’ve so entrusted my life to the Father that I have followed every hint, every word He has spoken and landed finally in my sweet spot? Am I in that place intended for me to serve Him?

Or not?

Did I, instead, take the reins in my own hands to drive me and everyone else around me down the road I chose…the path I preferred? What if, deep down inside, I don’t want to be this person I’ve become along the way? What if I don’t want to do the things that define me?

What if…

I don’t want to play the role of policewoman/Nazi-commander in my home anymore? Will the world collapse around me if I turn nice? Will clothes mold in wadded up piles? Will the health department have to step in and close down the kitchen if I’m not there to catch every crumb? Will my husband bankrupt us? Will he go off and buy a Maserati the minute I let up?

What would happen if I let go of control?

Should I warn them first?

“By the way, I’ve decided to play the nice guy from now on. No more scolding, sulking, silently disapproving. I’ve decided to be like Ruth and Sarah. Oh…and Mary. Definitely like her.”

“From now on I’ll ask nicely, or not at all. Because I love you, with all your faults and flaws, you don’t have to fit yourself to me any more because I find you fascinating and fun, intriguing, and delightful.”

What would happen after I scraped them off the floor?

And what if…

I don’t want to be bound by my birthdays anymore? Are the freshman 15 and baby-fat and middle-age spread inevitable? Or could I push my slothful self out the door, slip into my running shoes and change all that? And if my body is indeed the temple of the Spirit of God, aren’t I somewhat obligated to try?

What if…

I quit complaining? Would I be okay if nobody knew I had a headache? I once tried not to complain for a whole week. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even make it through one whole day! My conversation is laced with common complaints.

“My, its hot…







boring today.”

What if I stopped all that?

What if I never said a bad thing about anybody ever again? Would I have anything to talk about?

The real question is, “Can I change?” Can I overcome my past patterns to become who I want to be…who I believe God made me to be? Can I overthrow my history, much like Ruth did, to reinvent myself? Can I really change by choosing?

One glance through Scripture convinces me I can. The change in Peter between who he was at the end of the gospel of Luke and who he emerged to be in the beginning of the story of Acts is nothing short of astounding! He went from whining wimp to warrior preacher in how many days?

What about Paul? Talk about an about-face!

And John? Jesus nicknamed him and his brother, James, the “sons of thunder,” clearly referring to their raging tempers. A look at his trilogy of letters in first, second, and third John reveals an entirely different temperament. There he’s known as the “Apostle of Love.”

If they can change, can’t I?

I can almost hear Jesus break in to interrupt my raging thoughts… “Martha, Martha…hush now…settle down…you are worried and bothered about so many things.” “Mary,” He gently reminds me, “has chosen the good part.

Choosing the good part…again,

From my heart,



Wisdom from the Scriptures


Naomi’s life started out well. Pleasant, as the meaning of her name suggests. She grew up in the town of Bethlehem, situated in the bread basket of Israel. Her childhood would have evolved around agriculture: plowing, planting, gathering, preparing, and the celebrations which accompanied ample harvests.

She married well. Elimelech was of the elite tribe of Ephrathites, thought to be the founding fathers of Judah. Their family originated with Caleb, Joshua’s consort in their spying days.1

But then her life took a downturn. Due to an apparent famine, Naomi’s husband chose to defy the dictates of the Mosaic Covenant2 and migrate to the land of Moab. There, she lost her entire family to premature death; first Elimelech, and soon thereafter, her two adult sons, Mahlon and Chilion. She found herself abandoned and alone in a foreign land, estranged from the God of her childhood, far away from all that was familiar and safe.

Called a “female Job” by many commentators,3 Naomi becomes a spokesperson for every woman who suffers. In the narrative you get a clear look at Naomi’s hurting heart. She is exposed, bearing her pain for all to see. Naomi feels that God is against her (Ruth 1:13, 21), that He has afflicted her (1:21), and brought misfortune upon her (1:21). She feels empty (1:21) and bitter (1:20).

And yet, little does she know, God is lovingly dictating even the most excruciating of circumstances. By the middle of the story, Naomi is dishing out wise advice to her daughter-in-law. She exhibits a keen understanding of her culture and even an underlying sense of God’s purpose for His people. And she gets her happily-ever-after ending. Holding her grandson, Obed, in her arms, Naomi’s life once again takes on meaning and purpose. Her friends bless her and help her to recognize that God is restoring her life and giving her hope for her future.

In this raw and wrenching depiction of pain, the God of Scripture gives us permission to go ahead and ask those questions that defy easy answers, to rail against the circumstances that upend everything we hoped for.

Naomi’s story is a story of a God who listens…and cares.

LETTERS TO MY SON: from drudgery to delight

She gets up while it is still night;

she provides food for her family 

and portions for her female servants. 

Proverbs 31:15


Dearest Matthew,

Last week in my letter to you I let you in on the secret so many women share— the whole intimidation factor in the Proverbs 31 description of a “worthy woman”. Since I read the chapter of Proverbs corresponding to the day of the month most mornings, I get faced with her seeming perfection once a month.

Who can do all she does? And if I tried, wouldn’t I get lost in all that work? Become a mindless machine, lose my own creativity, shrivel up inside, and have a massive identity crisis while failing to be perfect?

The fact is, this is an overview of a woman’s life, not what she did every day. Kind of a portfolio of one woman’s description to her son of what an intelligent and godly woman’s achievements can look like over a lifetime and how those doings can benefit her husband and family in such a way as to enrich their lives incredibly.

But notice her first act of the day— getting up early.

It was many years ago that I learned my need for those early morning hours alone. I’d tried and failed time and time again to be disciplined enough to get up early and read my Bible. I knew it was the right thing to do, but with babies up at night and a husband whose ministry mostly happened in the evening hours, it just seemed impossible. The thought of losing precious sleep to cross Bible reading off my list just wasn’t enough to rouse me from slumber.

It wasn’t until my world began to unravel that I discovered the truth this woman in Proverbs 31 lived every day— that it wasn’t more discipline I needed, but more desire. And that when I craved hearing God’s intimate speaking to me more than I craved a little extra sleep, and when that craving actually woke me up in the morning and propelled me into His presence, He had treasures of wisdom waiting for me.

The Bible often likens the Scriptures to food.  Jesus spoke of Himself as the Bread of Life, able to fill and strengthen and nourish us deep within. In the Psalms, God cried out to His people, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it…. I would feed you with the finest of wheat; and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” (Psalm 81:10,16)

He longed for His people to listen to Him, to hear and obey the instructions He was waiting to give them.

The wise woman knows God hasn’t changed through all the days of history. He still longs for us to listen. He has tasks for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Directions and impressions to lay on our hearts, wisdom and understanding to satisfy our longings.

Matt, I would wish for you a wife who is hungry enough to get up early and feast on God’s words.

A woman who listens carefully to the wisdom God gives and then goes to meet the needs of those whom God has given her to serve.

A woman who listens with a pen in hand, making a list of how the Father wants her to love that day.

A woman who sees need before anyone else does and applies the strength she’s already received from God to rise to the challenges of real life.

And son, I would wish for your someday-wife that she would have a husband who shakes off those sleepy morning cobwebs, gets out of bed, starts some coffee, opens the Scriptures, and listens.  Every morning.

I don’t have a list to leave you today. What I do have is a record of my own journey towards this kind of early morning listening. Maybe it will help you to see where you are headed as long as you keep crying out for more of Jesus. And maybe my own list will help you to lovingly lead a woman as she seeks to do the same.

I started with DRUDGERY,

grew up a little into DUTY,

tried but failed for a long time at DISCIPLINE.

Then life led me to a place of DESPERATION,

and that’s when DESIRE

for more of what He poured all over me

led to absolute, unending, every morning DELIGHT.

From my heart,


P.S. For those who are reading these letters:

Are you stuck in the DISCIPLINE phase?

Mad at yourself for failing too often to manage your life in such a way that getting up early to read the Scriptures and listen to God actually happens?

Let me give you a little motherly advice: ask the Father to do whatever it takes to fill you with enough DESIRE so that you will know the DELIGHT of rising early to listen for more.

And if you’re already there- will you tell us your story? I love stories, and I especially love hearing how God moved others to want Him more.