Come & study God's Word with the ladies of Journey Christian Church of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Session 4: A Proposal

Wow!  This week our story takes an incredible turn!  We begin to see a softer side of Naomi and an even bolder & braver side of Ruth.

I can't wait to just jump into Chapter 3 of Ruth with you today!

If you haven't read Chapter 3 - please go and do so now.  Believe me... you're not going to want to miss one juicy detail of this part of the story!  It is truly drama-filled!

Here is the intro for this Session.

Here is the local group in session....

Ruth - Session 4 from Penny Franklin on Vimeo.

Day 1:  A Mother-in-Law's Request

Now before we get too deep into Chapter 3 of Ruth - I want to bring out a great point found in the last verse of Chapter 2.  Read Ruth 2:23.

Wow!  Ruth gleaned a very long time!!!  She continued to do a very menial task, to provide for herself and for Naomi, with no hopes of anything ever really changed through the end of the barley harvest and the wheat harvest.

She didn't just happened to find Boaz's field one day and then was getting married and rescued the very next day!  Often times God positions us in a place to be positioned for rescue - but we may have to wait for His delivery and provision.

Think about your life right now.  Could it be that you are in "Boaz's field" - but just waiting for the harvest season to come to an end?  Be patient.  Glean or work on His timing and not your own!

What if Ruth had given up and moved on.... what a blessing we all would have missed!

Now on to Chapter 3....
I just love how Naomi calls Ruth her daughter from the very beginning of this chapter.  You can tell she has a real "love and care tone" to her voice just by the words that we read there in verse 1.

By sticking it out together I believe that Ruth & Naomi experienced healing for their hurting hearts.

As a result of this love and care for Ruth, Naomi comes up with a very strange plan for Ruth.  She basically wants Ruth to get cleaned up and go to where she knows she will find Boaz and lay down beside him.

Now there are several evidences that - coming from Ruth - this was a wholesome act and not one to be questioned - regardless of how risky & risque it sounds:
1.  The clothing that she wore was not at all revealing - the Hebrew version of this part of the passage indicates she was well covered.
2.  The townspeople knew her to be a hard worker, a woman of noble character (we'll cover this more in a bit).
3.  The words that Ruth spoke to Boaz revealed her desire for Boaz to be a redeemer in her life!

Has God ever given you a strange plan to carry out?  One that you were a little scared to fulfill?  One that might have a few dangers along the way?

Remember these verses as you ponder this question:  Proverbs 16:1, Proverbs 21:30-31, Jeremiah 10:23

This one was my favorite!
Proverbs 20:24 - God ordains our steps and we may not ever fully understand them.

Day 2:  A New Day

I loved this day!  I absolutely LOVE new clothes!!  Do you?  Today we get to see the significance of a new set of clothes.  Let go!

Ruth set out to obey all that Naomi required of her to do with amazing amount of courage and bravery - don't you think?

As I think about Naomi's plan - Ruth could have so often turned around in the dark to just go back home.  I don't know about you... but I'm not sure I would be able to travel to the threshing floor, all by myself in the dark of night!  I don't even like to take something out to the trash or to the garage in the dark!  So... way to go Ruth!

I want to ask you something...
Do you make risky moves in your life?  Then.. do you carry out those risky moves with courage or trepidation?

If God has ordained my steps and asked this risky move directly of me - I can move forward with the courage of Ruth!

Now on to the clothes...
I would imagine that the clothes that Ruth wore every day reflected her state of mourning.  But in order to carry out Naomi's plan, she had to change her clothes.  I would imagine as well, that this was not just any "outfit" too - but rather something that signified she was moving forward with her life - that her time of mourning was over.

I love the question that Kelly asks of us on page 99...
"Do you sense that God is asking you to throw of some weighty garments?  Unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, discontentment jealousy, mourning, or anything else that might be keeping you in stagnant place?

Today focus on Isaiah 43:18-19.  Remember not the former things - get cleaned up and look to the future!  Make yourself available to the Lord in the same way that Ruth made herself available to Boaz - total surrender - at his feet! (which we're about to really talk about!)

Day 3:  Lay Down

Okay - just to be sure you've read... take another look at Ruth 3:5-9.

Oooooo.... it's getting good... don't you think?!

Did Ruth do exactly what Naomi told her to do?  NO!!!  She spoke - instead of waited for Boaz to speak!  She did far more than answer, "It's just me, Ruth."  She basically asks Boaz to marry her!!!

Can you say drama?!

I'm not sure that I could have laid still and quiet and actually RESTED - waiting for Boaz to wake up.  Verse 8, says that Boaz was startled and woke up.  I know this is just from my silly brain - but I wonder if Ruth coughed or sneezed or snored or something... in the hopes of him waking up sooner than later!  LOL!  I know, this has nothing to do with the study - but it just got me thinking!

Now before we move on to Day 4 - where we see Boaz's response - let's focus on the act of laying down that Ruth did.

I don't know about you... but love when there's something for me to do... especially when there's a problem to be "fixed".  I'm sure this has a little something to do with my issues of control - off point - sorry!

After Ruth had followed Naomi's instructions she had to lay down at the feet of Boaz and wait... and rest.

Wait and Rest.  Wow!  Is it really possible to do both?!  Yes!

Most of us are used to waiting - we understand that we must do that at times.  But do we rest in our waiting?  I love what Kelly says on page 103, "This place of surrender is the most freeing of places to be and the hardest to get to."

Total Surrender.  Are you there today?  What would it take for you to get there?  Yes, it's a costly & risky move - but so worth it in the end.  It was for Ruth and it will be for you too!

"I Lay Down" Song

Day 4: A Closer Relative

Okay - from the very first paragraph I read something that really hit a chord with me.  The very last sentence of the first paragraph on page 106 reads, "Yes, this is about Ruth, but so much more about our God."

Wow!  I want my life story to be more about my God than about me!  (okay - not really about Ruth chapter 3 - but very worth discussing!)

Noble character.  The people of Boaz knew Ruth to be a woman of noble character.  The Hebrew word here is chayil, meaning virtuous.  It also means valor and strength.  Well, we already know Ruth to be a strong and brave woman and now we see her as virtuous as well.

I'm reminded of another woman who was "chayil" - the woman King Lemuel's Mother describes in Proverbs 31.  I absolutely LOVE this connection!

Okay - just a little history lesson here...
Ruth is described as a woman of noble character - virtuous.  Ruth is the great great grandmother of Solomon.  Solomon is widely accepted to be the "King Lemuel" described in Proverbs 31.  Solomon is the author of most of Proverbs.  So.. I wonder as he was writing Proverbs 31 - if his mother was thinking about Ruth while she described a fitting & suitable wife for him?  Interesting isn't it!!

The main lesson here - is that Ruth's character far exceeded her history or her past sin!  We can take this and have hope for our life as well!!!  Forget the former - clean up your character and let it blaze a trail for your new life ahead!!!

Okay before moving on to the final day of study - I must mention Luke 16:10.  This has been the song of Ruth's life!

Read Luke 16:10.  Ladies... Be faithful in the little!  Keep doing what you're doing!  Don't wait for the big opportunities to come along before you decide to be faithful!

Day 5:  A Gift to Give

Today we see Ruth go to Boaz for herself - and end up taking home more blessings for Naomi!

But all that happens at the end... let's back up a bit!

Ruth finds herself having to wait.  I'm really beginning to believe that there are more stories in the Bible about "waiting" than "hurrying" - hmmm.... lesson here?  I think so!

Read Ruth 3:14-18.

Boaz informs her that he would love to redeem her - but there was a closer relative (we'll more in detail about this person next week).  So he would check with him and in the mean time - take some more barley to Naomi and wait for him to call her.  Somehow I don't think this was the typically guy saying, "I'll call ya!" and then never does - LOL!

So while Ruth is waiting to see if she's going to marry Boaz or some other guy she doesn't even know... she carries a heavy load of barley back to her Mother-in-Law.  Now that's service!

We just read about Waiting and Resting... and now we see Waiting and Serving.  In both, Ruth had to wait.  But she did in both cases - she acted appropriately.

I want to end today's study in the same manner that I did with the local groups.  On page 110, Kelly says this, "I can get so spent running around, pouring out of my own paltry resources, and trying to drum something up for the people around me, when all along God has called me to be a deliverer of His gifts, not the creator of them."

Deliverer of His Gifts.

I want you to write this down "Deliverer of His Gifts" in the margin of your book on page 110.  Draw a line under it and list His Gifts that He wants you to deliver to those around you.

These were mine:
1.  How to pray
2.  How to read the Bible - really!
3.  How to have contentment in really difficult situations
4.  How to have real joy

What were yours?  These are things that we can do - while we're waiting... and I can speak from experience - they help me to truly be at peace & rest!

I look forward to meeting you here for next week's study!  
In the mean time... lay at the Redeemer's Feet!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Session 3: An Encounter

This week is all about kindness & humility! Typically in this online study, I jump right to the daily assignments. However, this week I was truly moved by the intro. If you haven't taken time to read it - please stop and do so now.

Here is the video from our local New Orleans session.  Remember - the first 2-3 minutes are just an opener - please feel free to watch this - and then do you own study - or continue on to "join us" for our entire time of study!

Ruth Study - Session 3, Week 4 from Penny Franklin on Vimeo.

I love this story about how the probation officer took the time to be nice - to relate with Kelly's friend Lisa. Isn't it amazing how just one small statement - or even a look can make your day? We often look for someone to show us this kind of kindness in our every day lives - but how often do we look for others to show kindness to?

Today, really look that person in the grocery store in the eye and find a way to relate - to be kind! You just never know how it will impact their day!

Day 1 - Unexpected Kindness

Our text for this day is Ruth 2:10-12. Ruth wants to know why Boaz is being so nice to her. Ever wondered that about God? Boaz noticed Ruth for what she did, rather than how she looked! As Kelly puts it on page 68 - Boaz noticed her for her character rather than all the things she thought she would be known for - Moabite, widow, financial status.

Isn't it comforting to know that our Lord doesn't notice us by our sinful status - rather He wants to save us from it!!

Ruth was a very hard worker... and probably thought that no one noticed all that she was doing! Do you ever feel this way? Do you ever get weary & discouraged in thinking that no one sees all that you do? Read Isaiah 58:6-12 and find hope today!

Before we move on to Day 2 - I want to show you 2 more things...

On page 69 we read about how Boaz understood that God was Ruth's ultimate authority! He would do what he could to take care of Ruth - but in verse 12 we see him recognize that it would be the Lord who would reward & protect her. Read this verse and let the Lord speak to you as well.

I hope that no matter who you run to for strength and protection - that you too get that the Lord should be your ultimate provider!!

Read Psalm 91 - (yes the entire chapter!)
I love how it talks about the shadow of God. Imagine for just a moment what His shadow must be like! There is no shadow bigger than the Lord's - and we can find comfort in His shadow!!

Day 2 - Humility

Ok, I TOTALLY loved the story that Kelly told about her Dad shining shoes before he became a Pastor!!  If you haven't read it - go and do so now - it's on page 72.

This was my favorite quote, "the posture of his heart could be fully surrendered."  Where is the posture of your heart today?  It is in a place of complete and total humility and surrender?

Kelly talked about seasons of hardship and humbling and how they don't always make us feel good - but they do put us in a place to most be used and blessed by God!

I love the verses that she had us look up in this section of homework - Matthew 23:11-12, James 4:6, 10, 1 Peter 5:5-6.  It is from these verses that we learn that exaltation comes not from promoting ourselves, but from humbling ourselves!  God exalts us in His proper time!

In studying Ruth, we get to see Ruth's "proper or due time" - and we can have hope that God has a proper time to bring us up from that humble assignment and exalt us as well!  So hang on - it's coming in due time!

Day 3 - Invited to the Table

Read Ruth 2:14  Ruth had a seat at one of the best tables in the land!  Here is the beautiful part of this invitation - she was invited just as she was and got restored in the process!

Boaz had the authority to invite her to his table and to dine with him.  We too, ladies, have been invited to an amazing feast!  We have been invited to eat at the King's table!  Read Revelation 19:6-10.

We have been invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb!  And ladies we will be wearing fine linen - bright and clean!

I don't know about you - but that sounds magical!  Almost like a fairy tale that I ready to my daughter at night!  He (Jesus) clothes us in His righteousness!  Yes, we can come to the table as we are- but as we arrive, we find ourselves totally restored and clothed by the Lord!

Day 4 - A Generous Gift

Read Ruth 2:15-19

On this day, I was completely inspired by how hard Ruth worked at such a menial task.  And when given more to pick up - she actually does!  She goes home with so much food for her and Naomi.  I love how Kelly puts this on page 79, "God provides us with the gift of work yet still invites us to do the work."

Wow!  I want you to think about how you "work".  Is it a fun job?  Do you get a ton of accolades?  We never see Ruth complain!  Today, thank God for the work that you do have and that you have able hands in which to work!

Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-11

What was your favorite part of this passage?  Here's mine: verse 8, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed."

Whew!  Did you catch the "all's" and the "everythings" here?  Now that is some energy to keep doing the work!  No matter how tedious or mundane!

Ruth provided for Naomi and never complained.  She never once told Naomi she would just go her on way once they got to Bethlehem.  She never once asked Naomi to get up and help her!  She didn't even question if Naomi was going to do anything to help bring in money or food.

Basically Ruth gave from the very place she had need herself!  Ruth never wallowed!

Ouch!  I know this was a moment of conviction for me!  I wallow when I should be giving.  I want to give you a challenge today:

Don't wallow - instead give from that exact area!  On page 81, Kelly says, "We all have something to give even if we're broke or broken."

Today, find someway that you can give instead of wallow!

Day 5 - A Kinsman-Redeemer

Read Ruth 2:19-23

I love this section of study!  Mainly because I see my Lord in so much of what we learn about Boaz.  Let's see...

Naomi asked Ruth where she had been and Ruth answers with a "who" instead of a "where".  On one level I think this is kind of cute.  Perhaps she has Boaz on the brain.  Perhaps he was all she was thinking about so when Naomi asked where she gleaned - "Boaz" is all that could come out of her mouth!

{insert laughter and smiles here - remembering our first crush and such}

But on to a more serious correlation...

Kelly says on the bottom of page 83, "she knew the significance wasn't in the where, but in the who".  Oh that we might see the same thing in our Lord!  It's not about how I'm going to find the money to pay my bills, it's not about where to go to work, it's not about why is all this happening... instead it's all about the Who that can deliver and provide for it all!

This week we learned about what a kinsman-redeemer can do for their family!  We get to see how Boaz has the opportunity to fully restore and redeem Ruth.

We also get to see some restoration happen in the heart of Naomi as well.  Strange how going home - going back to the place where you know the Lord to be - can restore your soul.

When Naomi first left Moab she was very bitter because she felt that God had brought about all the hurt she was experiencing.  Then look and see what she says in Ruth 2:20, "May he be blessed of the Lord..."

What?!  We see Naomi talking about Boaz being blessed of the Lord!  I some healing is going on in Naomi's heart!  What can we learn from Naomi here?  If you are bitter, sad, overwhelmed by all that's happened to you.  Go back to where you know the Lord is working - church, your Bible, etc... and wait for the Lord to restore you.  If it can happen to Naomi - a mother who lost both of her children, her husband, her home - it can happen to you!

Let the Lord be your Kinsman-Redeemer today!

To end our session - we listened to Kelly's song "Redeeming Love"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Session 2: Arriving

While in the last session we saw Naomi "get up" and arise, this week we will see Ruth "get to work!".

This week, as we journey with Naomi & Ruth, we finally arrive in Bethlehem.  Our text for this week's worth of study comes from Ruth 1:19-21.  I can hardly wait to share with you some of the wonderful truths that I personally took home from this portion of our study!!

(In this video - there is a small 2 minute intro.  Please feel free to stop the video after this intro.  Otherwise feel free to watch our entire local bible study session).

Untitled from Penny Franklin on Vimeo.

Day 1: Coming Home

Did you notice that the town was stirring about Naomi "coming home"?  I wonder if she was well known and well like.  I wonder if the women were noticing Ruth and talking about who she was and why she was with Naomi.  The scripture doesn't share these details with us, but as women, who love to talk - you can only imagine what was being whispered behind the tents of Bethlehem.

Also take note that Naomi changes her name.  Naomi means "lovely" and in verse 20 she says to the women of the city to no longer call her by her given name, but rather to call her Mara - which means bitter.

Did you notice who she blames for all her hardships?  the Almighty!

Look at verse 21 - "I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.  Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?"

I want to ask you two things here...

1.)  Can you be "lovely" and afflicted by the Lord at the same time?  Naomi didn't think so.  Was she on target or did she miss an opportunity to rise above her circumstances?

2.)  Is it okay to be honest with God about your feelings about what He has allowed or caused to happen in your life?

I believe that it is okay to be honest with God.  The fact is, He already knows your thoughts.  If we would take the time to be honest with Him, about how we feel about Him, we would more than likely come to a place of dependance upon Him.  And in dependance we find power!  Power to rise above the junk that we're living through.

I hope you took the time to go through the verses where Job & David got honest with God.  Seeing how our heroes of the faith dealt with affliction helps to guide us through our painful experiences - yet with their wisdom!

Day 2:  A Hopeful Glimmer

In this day's homework we begin to see a light far in the distance.  The tide changes in these verses.  But before we look at that glimmering light - I want you to see a wonderful summary of Ruth Chapter 1.

Look back on page 42 - first paragraph...
"I say quickly because we can read the first chapter in a couple of minutes, potentially hindering us from giving proper weight to the famine, the move, the marriage of two sons, the death of a husband, the death of two sons, the beginning of a return journey, the turning back of one woman, and now the arrival in Bethlehem."

Wow!  Now that is a lot to cover in one small chapter.  Recently I wrote a "Decade in Review" on my Living Above blog.  It was quite amazing to see all that happened in a 10 year period.  Chapter 1 of Ruth is in essence the same thing.  Remember they stayed in Moab for 10 years.  So in just 10 years - Naomi went from complete joy to complete devastation.

What about you?  What have you experienced in the past 10 years?  What would your "chapter 1" look like?

Now on to the sowing & reaping...
I love this quote from Hubbard told by Kelly on page 43 - "When God is at work, bitter hopelessness can be the beginning of some surprising good."

Look at Ruth 1:22 - "So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab.  And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest."

I want to focus on the "barley harvest".  This was were it all starts turning good for these two ladies!  I'm sure they knew or understood the extent of the "good" that was to come... but a harvest is almost always a sign of hope!  Seed has been sown and now produce is to be harvested or reaped!

I want to ask you today - When was your barley harvest?  Have you experienced a time in your life when everything was all bad - all the time - and then something happened that made it all good?

Today - look for and identify your barley harvest!  Thank God for sowing those seeds and reaping them for your benefit & good.

One quick thing... if you think for a moment that it's just not your season for sowing or reaping... THINK AGAIN!!!

Read Genesis 8:22.  While the earth remains, shall not cease - these are pretty good indicators that it's always a time of sowing and reaping - for everyone!

At this time in the workbook, Kelly inserts a song for us to enjoy that goes along with our study.  As you listen to the song, follow along on page 46 of your book.  I want you to imagine Ruth & Naomi - arriving in Bethlehem, tired, weary and emotional, and yet understanding that it was time to reap the barley harvest!

(If you want to watch our local Bible Study in session - feel free to click here.  If not, skip over this video to continue reading our homework summaries!)

Ruth Study - 9-15-10 - Part 2 from Penny Franklin on Vimeo.

Day 3:  A Mysterious Relative

I just love history.  You really can have a better understand of what's happening today - when you understand what's come before you!

We get to see a little of the history behind Ruth's story in this day's homework.  We learn that Boaz was from Elimilech's family.  Remember that Elimilech was Naomi's husband.  We also learn that Boaz was a wealthy man.

Read Ruth 2:1-3

I want to focus on verses 2-3 for just a bit.  Did you notice that in verse 2 and also in Ruth 1:22 - the author of Ruth refers to Ruth as the Moabitess!  As if we had forgotten that she was from that sinful place!!!  Why do you think they refered to Ruth in this manner?

I love what Kelly has to say about this on page 48 - at the bottom - "it's a tarnished heritage she is powerless to change."

I want to ask you today - do you have a "tarnished heritage" that you too are powerless to change?  Perhaps it's a life style, or a life status?  Or maybe it's more about your current living location or conditions?  Or maybe it's more about the results of a sin in your life?

I want to give you some hope today!  Keep reading Ruth!  Ruth overcomes her "Moabitess" status and you can overcome your sinful status as well.  Don't let it linger and identify you!  Ruth finds a redeemer in Boaz (sorry, I know I'm getting ahead here - but I want to sow some seeds of hope for you!) and you have a Redeemer as well that accepts you in your sinful status and makes you clean!

Again just a few more things... before we move on to Day 4. (I'm really trying to keep it short - but it's just stuffed with too much good stuff to learn!)

In Ruth 2:2 - look at how respectful Ruth is to Naomi.  She basically asks permission to go out and find a way to provide for the two of them.  Don't miss this!  Notice that there is always room for us to be polite - no matter how desperate our circumstances are!  There is no need for us to transfer our heartache onto someone else by being rude!

Glean.  What a word.  Ruth asks if she could go out and glean and basically find someone to be gracious to her.  Do you know what the word glean means?  It means to gather or to pick up.  Basically Ruth was asking Naomi if it was okay if she joined the other poor people and gather and pick up what was left behind by the servants or hired hands in someone else's field.

What a lowly job!  In today's standards, it might be getting in line at a soup kitchen.  Or standing in line to apply for unemployment.  I don't know this for sure... but I would imagine that coming from Moab, Ruth didn't do too much "gleaning."  And in doing so - she was hoping to find someone that would show her some favor.

Where are you today?  Are you hoping & praying someone will show you some favor?  If so, don't give up!  Ruth didn't and as a result... she just so "happened" to come to Boaz's field.  Has God ever provided for you in a "just so happened" kind of way?  Praise Him for His provision right now if He has!

Day 4:  A Day's Work

Here we see Ruth get to work!  I loved this day's homework.  Ruth, yes was a Moabite - but she was also a very hard worker.  Look at what Kelly says about Ruth and the foreman on the bottom of page 53.  "The foreman reminds us that where we come from and what kind of blood runs though our veins is not nearly as impactful as our character and reputation.

Ruth saw no task beneath her (gleaning) and she arrived early (she had been there since early morning!).

I want to ask you today - Is there work, or an assignment that you have not embraced because you think it is too beneath you?  If so... you might just be missing not only a HUGE blessing - but God's rescue for you!

By Ruth humbling herself to be a gleaner - she put herself in just the right location to meet Boaz!  And from the union of Ruth and Boaz we get King David and eventually Jesus!  Think about this for a moment.  What amazing event are you missing out on in the future - all because you will not bow low to what God wants you to do today!

Don't wait sit around and wait for things to "just happen to and for you" - be like Ruth & get to work!

On page 56, Kelly asks us what was meaningful to us in the lesson.  My answer was this:
"No task is too small!  You (God) provided even in the what seemed like the mundane!"

(I did have a small little aside question for God... Ruth 2:7 - the foreman takes note that she had been sitting in the house only for a little while.  I asked God would I ever get to sit in the house - if just for a few minutes of rest - :) LOL!)

Day 5: A First Encounter

We finally get to see the romance get started!  Don't you wish you could watch this story unfold on the big screen?!

Read Ruth 2:8-9.  Wow!  He talks to her!  Let's listen in...

"Listen carefully, my daughter.  Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids.  Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them.  Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you.  When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servant draw."

Wow!  I think he likes her - what do you think?  LOL!

He wants to stay with him.  He wants to provide for her.  He wants to protect her.  He wants to bring some ease to her life.

Boaz did not condemn Ruth for her Moabite status.  It's as if he completely overlooks this about her moves right into taking care of the innocent!  My sweet sisters... this is EXACTLY what Jesus wants to do for us.  I want you to read Ruth 2:8-9 again.  But this time, imagine Christ saying this to you!

Jesus wants you to stay with Him.  He wants to provide for you!  He wants to protect you from harm and evil.  He want to give you living water that will quench your dry spirit!  Please let Him!  He doesn't condemn you - He loves you so!  Drink from His well of kindness.

Close your Bible study time listening to Kelly's song - Arriving.  It's an upbeat song that will put a spring in your step today!

See you all later!  Session 3 is going to be GREAT!!!

Your sis in the faith,

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Session 1: Two Journeys

Welcome to our first real week of studying Ruth!  I'm not sure if you've already done your "homework" or if you're checking in with the blog first... but I would like to encourage you to go and read & work through the first 5 days of assignments in Session 1.

You're going to read about 2 very different journeys.  Come on back and let's talk about them when you're done!

If you've already completed the daily work - then let's dive right in!

I'm having a journey of my own through this study... it's one of a technical nature.  We do have video this week!  Yeah!  However the video for the entire study somehow (operational error) did not record.  I promise for week 2 - you'll get to see and watch and hear the entire local study!

But for now - please listen to this introduction and summary of Session 1.  In this video - I point out a few things that I saw that are not necessarily in your book.  They're just a few things that seemed to just jump off the pages of my Bible and I want to share them with you!

Okay, let's get started.  I've outlined just a few things (day by day) that I hope you picked up while doing your own study.  Please feel free to leave your comments here.  I would love to build a community of new friends and sisters in the faith - right here on this Bible study blog!

Day 1 - Fleeing Home

I loved learning about how Naomi & Elimelech "found" themselves in Moab.  It's interesting to me that they choose to go to such a place.  Based on the other verses that we read in this chapter, I'm guessing that every good Israelite knew that the people of Moab were not God-fearing folks.

They left Bethlehem because there was a famine and decided to go to Moab - where there was food.  I wonder if there was another more pleasing option for them to choose - some place other than Moab.

I hope you did your homework and discovered how the nation of Moab came to be!  It all goes back to Lot in Genesis.  Take to to dig this out if you haven't had a chance.

I love this from Kelly, "Perhaps the Lord has you in difficult circumstances and the attractive land of Moab is an alluring decision away.  Escaping to easier terrain is all too tempting when we're weary in hardship."

Are you weary today?  Do you just want to escape and you're willing to throw caution to the wind just for a "piece of bread?"  As we read more about Ruth's story I hope that you can learn from their mistakes and cling to your God no matter how hard the times get!

Don't lose heart!  Galatians 6:9 - for a wonderful harvest is waiting for you if you don't give up!

Day 2 - Returning Home

Naomi made the first journey - from Bethlehem to Moab with her husband and 2 sons.  Then she returned to Bethlehem with a completely different group of people.  Naomi was the only one who made both trips!

Upon arriving in Moab, Naomi's 2 sons took for themselves Moabite wives.  Makes sense, it's where they are living.  Does this make it okay or even right?  No way!  And very quickly in our reading of Ruth, we find all the men gone!  First Naomi's husband and then later both of her sons die.

Think about this for a moment.  You lose both your husband and your 2 sons within a very short period of time!  I was amazed this week to see how Naomi handles this!  What would be your reaction?  How would you handle this extremely tragic loss?

Let's look and see what Naomi did.  Read Ruth 1:5-6.

What did Naomi do right after reading that her sons died?  You can answer this within the first 2 words of the verse!

She arose.  She got up!  I found this to be amazing!  I would probably be in the bed not answering my phone or talking to anyone!!!  And we see Naomi get up!

I want to ask you today - do you need to arise?  Do you need to get up from where you are - a place you should have never come to in the first place?

Let's look and see what she did next... (same verses)
She packed her bags to head back to Judah, for she had heard that the Lord had visited His people!

She got up and decided to go be where she knew she could find God!!!  The Lord has visited Judah and had released the famine.  Naomi made a decision to return to her people, her God, at a place where she knew she could find His provisions.

Today, I want to ask you a similar question... do you need to get up and go back to where you know you can find not only His provisions for your life - but God Himself?!  If so... pack your bags and do not delay!!!

Day 3 - Weeping Forward

Don't you just love chick-flicks?!  They allow us women to cry without guilt!  I love a good tear-jerker movie!  And we get to see the waterworks here in Ruth 1:7-14.  (go read it again if you want!)

Naomi just wants to get home - to her people and she tried four different times to urge her daughters-in-law to go back to Moab.  It's interesting that she doesn't urge them to stay in Moab - rather they immediately go with her and later Naomi wants to send them back!

And eventually Orpah decides to go back home to Moab while Ruth decides to travel on with Naomi.  I learned a new phrase in this day of study - weeping forward.  Orpah wept and went back to her old life.  Ruth wept and moved forward to a new life.

I'm sure we've all wept over our past life and probably even continued in that very life that made us cry... but have you ever wept forward?  Discuss this with us!  This is usually a positive thing!!

I love the very last sentence on this day, "It's possible to cry and walk."  Don't let your tears keep you from moving forward!

Day 4 - A Long Obedience

I have to admit something personal here... the study from this day has helped me in my morning exercise program.  Kelly talked about a "sustained obedience."  Four times Naomi tried to persuade her daughters-in-law to go home, to turn around and go back where they came from!  And finally... Orpah gave in and Ruth pushed forward.  Ruth dodged every bullet coming from Naomi and was persistent!  You can almost here the determination in her voice in Ruth 1:16, "Don't urge me to leave you or turn back from following you."

To put this in modern day language it might sound something like this..."Enough already with the "returning"  I'm going with you and that's that!"

Oh to have that kind of persistent determination about doing what God has told us to do!  I want to ask you today - do you have sustained obedience or spotty obedience?

I realized this morning that I have spotty obedience when it comes to running every morning.  So today, even though my iPod needed to be charged up - I went and ran.  I thought about running in a sustained manner as well!  And I love the freedom I felt as I got on the scales upon my return.

Kelly says this on page 26 of your workbook, "when we grasp His love and the truth that obedience is for our freedom, we will change our circumstances to protect our environment to obey."

Do you need to change your circumstances so you can find freedom in your obedience?

Day 5 - Wherever you go

AH!  Ruth's voice... finally!  Read Ruth 1:16-17
This is the first time we really get to hear from Ruth.  I love hearing her strength - right from the get go!

Ruth was honest and yet kind, persistent and loyal all at the same time.  What we say outloud has amazing power.  Our words can bring both life and death to someone's spirit.

Kelly took us on a journey of our own on this day regarding what we say, how we say it and when we say it!

Just for review - here were the verses: Proverbs 16:23-24, Proverbs 18:13, Proverbs 25:11, Proverbs 27:5-6

Which one spoke to you the most and why?

Mine was Proverbs 25:11.  "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances".  Wow!  I need to mindful of the timing of what comes out of my mouth!!!

Kelly says this on page 29, "Lack of honest communication has to be one of the ultimate destroyers of relationships, while learning the quality of gracious but bold speech can be a balm in bitter and complicated situations."

Do you need to have an honest conversation with someone today?  If so, be bold, like Ruth - and yet gracious and healing in the words that you choose.

My charge for you today is this - Love God's people!  Ruth did.  She loved His people so much that she wanted to stay with Naomi and make her home with her mother-in-law wherever that took her!  Make your home with God's people and love them!

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this first Session!

To end our local time together we listened to Kelly's song "Wherever You Go".  Follow along in your book on page 31 and let God speak to your heart with this modern day version of Ruth 1:16.  Keep in mind that the context of this verse was pain and sadness and yet filled with determination & loyalty!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Week 1 - Introduction

I am so thrilled that you have decided to be a part of the wonderful Ladies Bible Study.  I that if you give God the opportunity, He is going to show you some amazing things about Himself, about you and about His plan for your life.  Yes,  all that can happen through the 4 very small chapters of Ruth.

So how will this work exactly?  I hope that you have your book right beside you!  If you do... I would like to "introduce you to your book."  (don't you just love new books and the promise that they bring!)

This book/study has 6 sessions.  Within each session, there are 5 assignments, which are separated out into "days."  Please feel free to work through these daily assignments at your leisure - whatever best fits your schedule.  Of course I would recommend that you fit the assignments into one week.  Not only because that is how we are going through the study here locally - but you will more than likely stick with this study and get the most out of it if you put yourself on a disciplined schedule.

Here, online, we will address some of the discussion questions that are found throughout the book.  Please feel free to truly "voice" your thoughts and the things that God tells you and shows you within the pages of this book!  Make this book PERSONAL!  I do this often and am constantly amazed at what I learn, when my pen begins to write!

Now turn to page 31.  Kelly Minter has written an entire album to go along with this study!  You can find the music at iTunes or you can purchase a CD at the same place you found the book.  I would highly encourage you to get this!  Your spirit is going to truly be touched when you hear the music that matches Ruth's journey.

Now turn to page 32-33 - RECIPES!!!  Yummy!  If you're doing this study with a group (in your location) you might consider making these meals together!  Cooking and eating together brings a whole new level to bonding and relating.  I wish we could do this in our local group - but space, location, and schedule are not allowing us to do so.  However... all in one book we get Jesus and recipes - you can't get much better than that!!!

So with ALL that said.... now let me introduce you to Ruth.

I'm curious, before we reference the book... how much you know about this girl?  Yes, she was a real person in the Bible!  Her story is truly amazing.  I hope you have your Bible right beside your computer!  If so, please turn to the book of Ruth.

Find it?  Don't worry if you had to use the Table of Contents!  It's a great story - but a small one.  She's tucked away in between Judges and 1 Samuel.  If you're not really looking for it - you'll probably miss it and skip right over it as you're turning the pages of your Bible.

I want to share with you a little commentary I found in my own Bible about her story.

(yes, this was originally recorded via video - but at the time we're having some technical difficulties... I promise to have those resolved for the next session)

Listen to Introduction to Ruth

Okay... we're almost done for today...
I want you to read pages 6 & 7 of your book.  I want you to know go back to the first paragraph on page 7 and circle every description of Ruth that relates in some way to your life.

Have you...
longed to be loved?
                been devastated by loss?
                                      struggled as a stranger?
                                                         lived with bitterness?

You see ladies, once we can connect on a personal level with the people in the Bible, we can come to an understanding that our Bibles are more than just history books - but that it is a book about ourselves and how and Almighty God loves us very much!

I hope you've been encouraged by Ruth's history so far!  I want you to know from the beginning... her story ends well  and yours can too when we walk with God!

In our local group, we concluded our time together in prayer and asked that God would show us something special in this study.  We then watched the following video of Kelly.

I'll see ya next week!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Welcome Everyone!

I'm so excited about our brand new online Bible Study!  For the next 6-7 weeks we'll be studying RUTH, by Kelly Minter.  

If you're wondering if this study is for you... let me say a resounding YES IT IS!!  Why would I make such a definitive statement, when I may not even know you?  Well, for starters doing a Bible study online is super convenient.  You can log onto this very site anytime that best fits your schedule.  And follow publically (by clicking the FOLLOW button on the right) or privately.  You can leave comments below each weekly lesson to let us all know how the study is impacting your walk with Christ - or you can just read what others are saying and grow & learn from them.

You are in the driver's seat with this study!  You don't have to worry about making it on time to a local study, struggling with childcare or even finding a place to park!  You can log on during the day or in the middle of the night.  You can be in your pj's or all dressed up for the day.  It makes no difference.

We have added a new feature to the Online Bible Study this time!  It is a feature that I am REALLY excited about and nervous all at the same time... it's VIDEO!!!

With each weekly session (or blog post) you will find a summary of the week's lessons along with questions and commentary from myself.  In addition to both of these - we will provide a video!  

The beginning of the video will be a small intro to the session as well as a few discussion questions that you can answer on your own - or that you can discuss with your own small group!

If you're wanting to feel like you're a part of our local group that meets weekly... the video will continue and you can watch and listen to the group discussion that meets locally in New Orleans each week.  Neat huh?  Kind of a menu of options... summary, thought provoking questions, small 5-10 minute video, and/or 1.5 hour Bible Study session in its entirety.  You can pick and choose what best fits your schedule, mood, and learning style.

I hope you enjoy this!  Either way - leave a comment for me or send me an email - letting me know you're going to be a part of this RUTH study - so I can be praying for you on this new journey through God's Word.

Okay - so what are the EXACT DETAILS?
We'll be starting locally tomorrow, September 1st.  Each Wednesday night the new video and session will be posted on this site.  So feel free to start with us this week - Thursday, September 2nd.  However... you're never behind - because it's all online!!!  So feel free to start whenever you get your book - whenever it best fits your schedule!

How do I get the book?
You can get it at most Christian book stores.  I got mine at LifeWay.  However, you can also click on the link on the right to order directly from Kelly Minter.  Enjoy!

In the mean time... enjoy some of Kelly's music she wrote just for this study!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chapter 15: Jehovah-raah - The Lord my Shepherd

Calls them by name & leads them!  This is the job of a shepherd.  I don't know about you, but with every name of God that we study I think, "this one is my favorite!"  And then we turn the page and I think this all over again!

In Chapter 15 we learned about Jehovah-raah - the Lord my Shepherd.

Before we get started I want to ask you a question... "Do you follow or listen to strangers?"  I know it seems like an odd question now - but just put it on the side burner and we'll address it again in a moment.

Have you ever pictured yourself as a sheep - needing a shepherd?  If not, I hope this chapter did not insult you.  If you have, then you probably found a lot of comfort knowing all the things that our Shepherd - our Jehovah-raah does for us!!!

Kay uses 2 focal passages for our study on Jehovah-raah. 

1.  Psalm 23
2.  John 10:1-17, 26-33

I want to encourage you to go and read them both now before continuing on - even for this blog study!

From the very beginning of Psalm 23 - starting in verse 1, we see Jehovah-raah.

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."

My friends - we are the sheep and the Lord is our Shepherd.  "What makes the difference in sheep is the shepherd" - says Kay.

We're going to spend some more time with Psalm 23 in a moment, but for now turn to the John passage - John 10.

Kay had us mark key words - we had to do this on our own!  Yikes!  So which words did you mark?

I marked the following:  door, sheep/flock, voice, thief/robber, shepherd

I loved learning about all of these.  Make a list of all that you learned about these different characters.

Here are some of my favorites:
The Shepherd - calls my name, leads me out, sacrifices His life for me
The Sheep - knows the shepherd's voice, follows the shepherd, will NOT follow a stranger and actually flees from him.
The thief/robber - does things their own way, comes only to steal, kill, and destroy

I love that my Lord knows my name - calls me and leads me!!  But He does so much more than that!  Let's read on....

Kay showed us that found in Psalm 23 are all the things that a Shepherd will do.  There are many of them found here - but let's just focus on the first one - He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.

Oh, to take a nap in a green pasture!  I can picture it now.  But I wonder, if given the opportunity, would I really be able to rest. 

Have you ever gone to bed and not been able to sleep because your mind was racing - or worrying?

Kay points out that there are four things that must be true before a sheep can rest....

1.  Sheep must be free from hunger.  The Shepherd must provide good pastures for them.
2.  Sheep must be free from fear.  Sheep are timid and defenseless - they can only rest if they know they are being protected.
3.  Sheep must be free from friction.  Tension with other sheep keeps them on their feet.
4.  Sheep must be free from pests.  Flies can get inside a sheep's nose and can ultimately cause their death if not cleaned and protected by the Shepherd's oil.

I hope that you see the benefit of calling the Lord your Jehovah-raah.  That He is a God who feeds you, protects you, helps you handle the points of friction in your life, and heals you of your sores and pests.

The best news of all regarding Jehovah-raah is found in Psalm 23:6

"Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Chapter 14: Jehovah-sabaoth - The Lord of Hosts

"My friend, if you come to the end of your strength and need deliverance, you might seek refuge in a place that seems unnatural to you.  You might turn to...

Jehovah-sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts!"

This is a quote from Kay on the first page of this new chapter.  I couldn't think of a better way to say it myself.  Thanks Kay!

Okay, I did a little extra research on this particular Name of God.  I didn't want it to get lost in a sea of all the others that we've been learning.  I'm so glad I did and I can't wait to share what I learned with you!!!

I looked up what "hosts" means and the Hebrew word for hosts is "Tsaba" - meaning, armies, or warfare.  So what we're talking about here is the Lord over the armies!  I even wrote in my Bible God is my Warrior!

Are you in need of a warrior for your circumstances?  Stop and think for a moment (or perhaps it's ever before you and you don't have to "stop" and think) - What is your war?  What is your current battle?  Could you use someone leading the charge to victory in that battle?!  I know I sure could - and we find that "someone" in Jehovah-sabaoth!

He is Lord over Armies!  I like that I can find a military name for my God - especially since I know I'm at war with this world!

I love how Kay further describes this character of God.  It is not a name for you to call upon if you have given up and no longer want to fight!  Rather it is the name of God you call upon when you feel like failure is imminent and you are desperate for deliverance!  "This is the name for those who find their resources inadequate in the midst of a struggle", says Kay.

(just another little extra - if you have an NIV Bible and do not find "Lord of Hosts" in the scriptures we're about to read - this translation has replaced Hosts with Almighty)

So where do we first see Jehovah-sabaoth in the scriptures?  1 Samuel 1:1-11.  Go and read this passage.  We see Hannah crying out to Jehovah-sabaoth when she was desperate for a child.   She was at the end of her emotional rope of taking the abuse from Peninnah and she went to the Lord of hosts!

Another time that we see Jehovah-sabaoth is with David.  Aren't you glad?!  David fought many battles - I, for one, am glad to to know that he called on the Lord of the armies - aren't you?!

1 Samuel 17:42-47.  Read the entire passage - but the verse I want us to focus on is verse 45.

"You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted."

Ouch!  Little young David has brought the big daddy of the army to this one-on-one fight.  The sword, the spear, and the javelin and being a giant - doesn't even stand a chance!!!

What giant holding a sword, spear, and javelin are you facing today?  
Call on Jehovah-sabaoth!!  And He will rescue you!

I can think of no better verse to end this chapter than Zechariah 4:6

"Then he answered and said to me, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might, nor by power, but my My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts."

When you are at the end of your resources in whatever battle you're facing - say this verse!  Not by might, not by power, sword, spear, or javelin - but by Jehovah-sabaoth!

As my Husband & army Dad would say... Hoo-Ah!

Chapter 13: Jehovah-shalom - The Lord is Peace

Peace.  How often do we pray for just a moment of peace, to have peace in our decisions, to have peace in our homes?  This is what this chapter is all about!

In this chapter of the book, Kay leads us to some incredible verses that show us exactly how to find the peace that we've always wanted.

Read to get started?  I know you'll be saying, "Ahhhhh....." by the time we get to know this name of God!

The Lord is Peace - Jehovah-shalom - we first see this name of God used in scripture with Gideon in the book of Judges.  I love Gideon!  He is not a giant nor does he run with a big strong army.  But with God he leads many victories!

Here in Judges 6 - we find Gideon being visited by the angel of the Lord.  Gideon was very troubled at the time with his current situation.  In fact, listen to this verse and see if you haven't said this same thing to God at one time or another...

Judges 6:13 - 'Then Gideon said to him, O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian."

Because of Midian - Gideon and his people had no peace.  Midian has stolen their peace - so to speak.

Who has stolen your peace?  
Are you wondering if you can get it back? 

YES YOU CAN!  (read on to see how)

I love this quote from Kay,
"When the hour is dark and the situation desperate, we finally long for God's peace.  Then we crave it. Our sanity depends on it.  Fear grips up.  We grope through the darkness, longing for peace's reassurance that everything will be all right."

When Gideon realized that he had seen the angel of the Lord - face to face - fear gripped him.  He was afraid that he must die because of this!!!  And then the Lord says this...

"Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die."  
Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace" (Judges 6:23-24)

We can experience true peace when we are in a right relationship with God and God alone.

Okay, so if peace comes from a relationship with God - what exactly do I need to do to maintain a right relationship with God?  Kay, gives us several verses to look up and read.  We can learn many things about peace & it's connection to relating to God.  Let's take a look at just a few.

Leviticus 26:2-6 - Go and read this passage.  My favorite part of this passage is this.."I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble."

Wow!  Wouldn't it be nice not to "tremble" over the fears in our lives?!!!  Peace comes from God and He will remove the danger so that we can truly experience His peace.

Isaiah 26:3 - You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.

Okay - so we can experience peace when we keep our mind focused on the Lord AND trusting in Him alone.  Trust & focused attention brings about peace.

Okay just two more....

Psalm 119:165 - Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.

Do you have a love for God's commandments?  If so - you will have great peace.  I don't know about you - but I don't want just a little peace - I want GREAT PEACE!!!

Finally - I want to close with Philippians 4:8-9.  I have an exercise for you to do after you read it through at least once.

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in Me, practice these things; and the God of peace will be with you."

Okay, I want you to make a list with the following words:  TRUE, HONORABLE, RIGHT, PURE, LOVELY, GOOD REPUTE (good reputation).  Now.... go back and write something from you life that describes these words.  (For example:  beside PURE - I wrote down the love of my little boy).
Got something beside every word?  Good.  Now let your mind dwell on these things!  Not on the worries of this world - but on these things!!

Now make a second list with the following words:  LEARNED, RECEIVED, HEARD, SEEN.  And do the same.  Write something that you have seen in the Lord beside each word.  (For example:  I wrote redemption beside RECEIVED).

Got something for every word?  Good - now practice these things!  And when you dwell and practice all that you've written down... the God of peace will be with you!!!

No matter who or what has stolen your peace - you can get it back!  Trust in the Lord, practice & dwell on Him and He will give you peace that surpasses all understanding! (Philippians 4:4-7)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chapter 11: Jehovah-nissi - The Lord My Banner

I love a good game!  I love to sit in the stands with my team's jersey on, popcorn in hand and ready to scream (from either the stands or my couch) my team on to victory!

However, this next name of God does not allow us to scream from the cheap seats... we are to join in the fight.  You may be asking, "how in the world is this good news?"  The Good News is that we don't have to fight alone!

Jehovah-nissi means The Lord My Banner.

And we first see the use of this name for God in Exodus 17, when Moses and the children of Israel came upon the Amelekites.   If you haven't taken the time to read - go and read this incredible story.  It's found in Exodus 17:8-16.

Here's a quick summary:
The children of Israel are making their way to the Promised Land and the Amelekites showed up a Rephidim to fight them.  Moses told Joshua to go and fight them and he went to the mountain with his staff - his rod.  When Moses held his staff up to God, the Israelites prevailed, when he got tired and lowered his staff, the Amelekites prevailed!  So Aaron & Hur helped to hold up or support Moses's hands and as a result Joshua overwhelmed the Amalekites!

Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner.

There is so much we can learn from this passage and this name of God.  The main thing to take home from this chapter is that we can attain victory over our enemy!

Who or what are you battling today?  Who or what is your enemy?

Before I get too far into the lessons from this chapter I want you to have a proper visual of the banner.

In the translated meaning of banner is "to glisten".  Today when we think of a battle banner, we get an image of a flag of some sort.  However, Moses's banner was more like a staff with a metal object near the top and it would catch the sun's rays and glisten.  It would be like a beacon to the warriors to let them know where the battle lines were.  Where safety could be found.  It was a rallying point. 

Do you need to see those lines today?  Have you lost where the rally point is with your God?

Most of the times, our greatest enemy is our flesh.  Kay, in this chapter, compares Amelek to our flesh.  Ladies... we must first recognize that we are in a battle.  We are battling the ways of our flesh against the ways of our Lord.  And when we give in to flesh we will only find sorrow.

We learned from this chapter that originally Saul was commanded by God to destroy the Amelekites.  He did not completely obey this command and later he was killed by them.  Oh!  If only he had fully obeyed!  Instead he made excuses and tried to prove that he did something better than what God asked of him. 

Don't we do that too!  So often we try to convince God that our way is better - only to have to suffer later as a result of our pride and selfishness.

I love this quote from Kay, "Under the banner of God, victory is always assured; but apart from it, defeat is a certainty.  You can't do battle against the flesh under your own power."

Remember as long as Moses held up his staff - the Israelites prevailed - when he dropped it - the enemy got a stronghold.  We must look to God for our victory - we must look for His glistening banner!

I want to ask you today...

            What is your Amelek?  And do you need to put it to death?

Deuteronomy 20:3-4 says, 
"Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today.  Do no be fainthearted.  Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you."

We are in a battle - so suit up!

Ephesians 6:11 
Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

And then watch the victory come to pass...

Romans 8:37 
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Let me tell you a little secret - a spoiler alert that I know you won't mind hearing...

Yes, we're in a battle 


WE WIN!!!!

So today, call out to your Jehovah-nissi - find his staff glistening in the sun and get behind Him.  Let Him lead you to victory!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chapter 10: Pausing for a Momentary Summary

Chapter 10 - Wow!  You're doing so well!  I think it's time for a break and allow our brain to really take in all that we've learned about the many names of God.

So  - let's review the names that we've covered so far...

Elohim - Creator

El Elyon - God Most High

El Roi - The God Who Sees

El Shaddai - The All-Sufficient One

Adonai - Lord/Master

Jehovah/Yahweh - LORD

Jehovah-jireh - The God Who Provides

Jehovah-rapha - The God Who Heals

Very Good!!!  Hopefully as you did this review in your workbook you were able to remember their meanings without looking back in your book.  It's certainly okay if you had to flip a few pages - I sure did - but it only helps us in our prayers to really know them from our heart!!!

The next part of this chapter was really a neat experience.  I hope you really took the time to do it.  In fact, I almost skipped it and even thought about calling the local ladies to tell them to skip it too!  

WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!  It was so good - if you haven't completed it - take the time now.  Come back when you've finished.

See... wasn't it good?!  Kay had us take Exodus 17: 1-16 and really analyze it to the fullest.

She had us give the Chapter a Title and had us mark a Key Verse.

I'm curious... What was your Title and Verse?  Okay, I'll be vulnerable with you - here's mine.  And this is what I wrote down before I saw her guidelines for titles and verses (so they may not be very accurate).  Love me anyway?  I hope so!

My Title:  Israel Gets Water & Fights

My Verse:  v15:  And Moses built an altar, and named it The Lord is My Banner;

Now that wasn't so hard was it?  Oh!  And what about the key word - what did you choose for that?  Okay here I go again, making myself vulnerable - mine were:  water (and any water related words), rock, fight/fought, Amalek, and hand

Then Kay had us answer the Who, What, When, Why, Where, & How questions from this passage.  I learned so much just from digging out the answers for myself.  

The majority of what was learned from this chapter was found in the quiet time of reading and analyzing the scripture for yourself.  Isn't this a great way to study God's Word?!

The one thing I will leave you with that I thought was really fascinating about this passage was the rock question at the end of the chapter.

God told Moses to strike the rock and water would come out of it.  Can you think of another rock that was struck?  1 Corinthians 10:4, "and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them, and the rock was Christ."

Ladies - our Rock, Jesus Christ, offers us Living Water.  He was struck and beaten for us - to bring us Healing and to allow us to stand under His Banner!  

I can't wait for Chapter 11 - Jehovah-nissi - The Lord My Banner

Comments:  Please share with me what your title, verse, key words, and something interesting you learned from asking the W questions!

I love you all dearly and am amazed at your faithfulness in this study!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chapter 8: Jehovah Jireh - The Lord Will Provide

Wow!  Chapter 8!  Can you believe it?!  We're halfway through the book, Lord, I Want To Know You.

I am super duper proud of you!  I don't know if you're attending the local study and you're using the blog as your "Cliff Notes" for your prep time - or if you're somewhere in your house, with your cup of coffee in your pj's nice and cozy near your computer - but either way... I'm so glad you've stuck with it this far!

It's been a great study!  But it just keeps getting better!  If you've found this page today and you're wondering - "Did I miss it?"  or "I wish I could have found this sooner - it's too late now."  I'm here to encourage you to just start here and follow us from here on out!  We're really about to enter into some of my favorite Names of God.  And perhaps, God led you here at this very moment - just for you!

In this chapter we're studying The God Who Provides - Jehovah Jireh.

Okay, if you know me - you know I LOVE to study the words from the original manuscript - what words were actually used before we applied our English translations & understandings to them?

In Chapter 7 we studied Jehovah (okay, so if you're new - back up just one lesson/chapter and look at Jehovah).

We're about to enter a group of names that are actually compound words.  That's exactly what Jehovah Jireh is - a compound name.  Now why in the world would God need to add to His name.  Isn't His name alone enough?  Sure it is!  But it's also in the very character - the nature - of our God to extend Himself - to reach out beyond Himself.

Do you have areas in your life where you are desperate for God to reach out beyond?  I do.  Take a moment right know and cry those out to Him.  He already knows them - but it will do your spirit good to actually talk to God about them.

Actually before we get started I want to ask you 2 questions. Think about them as we go through this chapter and we'll answer them together at the end.

What are your greatest needs?  Where are you needing some BIG TIME provisions?
(sorry, that's really all one question)
What is most precious to you?  What can you NOT live without?
(Man!  Can I not ask just 1 simple question?  Sorry!)

Okay - back to the word study...
Jehovah-jireh means "the Lord will provide".  Did you know that jireh, in the Old Testament, actually means "to see"?  It actually means that He foresees and what He sees, what He foresees, He provides!  I love when our English word actually matches Hebrew words.  Take a look at our word provision.  Did you know this is actually a compound word - pro (beforehand) and vision (to see).

How cool is this?!  In provision we have both seeing beforehand and providing... all in the same word!  Just soak this up for a moment!  God not only sees where you are now... but He saw before you did and He has a plan for provision already in the works!!  We just need to trust that He's got it under control.

Next... it's always important to see where a word is used for the very first time in scripture - it really helps bring meaning and context to the word.  The first time we see Jehovah-jireh is with Abraham.  It's a very familiar story - Abraham & Isaac going to Mt. Moriah.  It's found in Genesis 22:1-19.  Take a moment to read through this story.

In the workbook, Kay had us mark every time we read the words love, worship, and obey.  I hope you took time to do this.  We're going to look in a moment about the significant of these 3 words and even their order!!!

From this passage we see that God told Abraham to take Isaac up to the mountain and offer him as a sacrifice.  What?!  His only son - really?!  We don't see Abraham having this kind of conversation with God.  He just immediately obeys!  Now that is some kind of trust!!!

Ken Hemphill, in his book The Names of God, says this about obedience...

Delayed obedience is immediate disobedience 
Partial obedience is complete disobedience.

Wow!  I sure have some lessons to learn from Abraham!  Have you ever connected your obedience with God's provision?  Let that sink in for a moment.  God told Abraham to do something.  In fact, He told Abraham to give up the one thing he cared for the most - his only son!  And as he was worshiping the Lord at the altar, and about to sacrifice his only son - Jehovah-jireh provided another sacrifice - a ram.  And it was here that Abraham named the place, "The Lord Will Provide" (Jehovah-jireh).

In the passage above - the order of the three words that Kay told us to mark - is:

Do you have this same kind of order in your life?  Love God.  Worship Him.  And immediately and completely obey Him.

Did you know that God desperately wants to provide for your every need?  The big ones and the small ones!  I want you to leave this study making the connection between obedience and having your needs provided.  So... back to the questions above.

What is most precious to you?  In other words, what is your Isaac?  It might not be a person.  It might be your money - your career - your house - your time.  I want to ask you today, are you willing to put it on the altar for the Lord - if He were to ask you?  Whew!  I know!  This is a hard one for me too!

But if we're following the example of Abraham - God provided for him immediately when he obeyed.  I'm here to tell you today that you CAN trust God with your Isaac!!!

Now you may be thinking - I can trust God with my eternal destiny - for salvation - but the everyday stuff I still struggle with trust.  You know - like will I be able to pay my bills, will I be able to raise my children the right way, will my marriage be healthy forever, so on and so forth - you know the questions that haunt your mind at night!

Look at this:  
Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Get to know God as your Jehovah-jireh.  He sees & He provides.  He provides for your death through salvation in Jesus Christ - AND He provides for your life through your complete surrender and trust in full obedience to Him.

I'm not saying any of this is easy.  I am saying that there are wonderful blessings to experience when we trust and obey - and allow Him to be our Jehovah-jireh!

One last thing... Ken Hemphill compared God providing for Abraham with a "bottom of the ninth" save in a baseball game.  If you waiting for God to provide for you and He hasn't yet... maybe... just maybe it's not the end of the game yet!!