Posts tagged task

John didn’t want to do it. This was way beyond his comfort zone, unexpected and unwelcome. He knew his role and this didn’t fit.

For as long as he could remember John had known that God’s calling on his life was to urge his people to make space in their hearts for the coming of the Messiah. To repent from the sins that held them captive and turn to the One who would set them free.

He even had his handy come-back to ward off his many ciritics: God in heaven appoints each man’s work, (John 3:27)  

John knew his job and this surely wasn’t it. This felt all wrong.

Yet Jesus insisted, demanded really.

It must be done, because we must do everything that is right. (Mt 3:15)

Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation that goes against the grain. We don’t want to do it— at all.

That’s when Jesus comes alongside us, saying we.

We must do everything that is right. 

He never wags His finger in our face with ought’s and should’s and shame-on-you’s. Instead He inserts that lovely, welcoming, inclusive pronoun.


He joins Himself with us in that too-hard task. He won’t do it for us but He doesn’t make us do it alone either.

It must be done, He whispers, we must do everything that is right.

If you’re facing one of those everythings today, something you must do just because it’s right, may I remind you that…

Jesus is right there beside you and with you and for you.

Welcome Him, drink deeply of His presence, delight in His nearness… and then go together to do that thing that must be done.

From my heart,


P.S. Can you tell us a story of how He turned that thing you didn't want to do but knew you must into something good?


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 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