Forgiven and Remembered
Mother's Day is here, and for many, it will be a relaxing day filled with joyous memories of your children or the memories of your mother. Nevertheless, for others, it may be a day filled with thoughts of failures, looking back on your life with shame.
Let us read Ruth 2:1 together, "And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.
This seems to be an odd verse for Mother's Day, doesn't it? The book of Ruth is filled with several other verses that we could have chosen from, but I want to take a moment to reflect on what we see in Boaz. In Ruth 4:21, we note that Salmon begat or was the father of Boaz, but who was the mother of Boaz? In Matthew 1:5, the bible says, "And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab, and Booz begat Obed of Ruth, and Obed begat Jesse;" Rachab is also spelled Rahab and Booz is also spelled, Boaz.
Rahab, you mean Rahab, the harlot? We are not 100% sure if, indeed, the Rahab spoken of in Matthew 1:5 is the same woman in Joshua 2:1. However, there is a lot of evidence that would suggest that she is the same woman.
The question we should start with is, how did her past life affect the way she raised her children? Was she too ashamed to tell her little ones what her past life looked like? Or, would she willingly tell them of God's redeeming grace on her and her family's life?
Looking at her son Boaz, I would like to think that she openly showed her children the amazing redeeming forgiveness that God bestowed on her. We can see throughout the short book of Ruth that Boaz was kind and welcoming to his workers and the gleaners. In Ruth 2:4, it notes that Boaz came from Bethlehem and greeted the gleaners, "The Lord be with you" and blessed them, saying, "The Lord bless thee."
Boaz protected Ruth from the aggressive males that were also working the fields she was gleaning from (Ruth 2:9), and he noticed the excellent qualities that Ruth possessed (2:11 and 12). Boaz not only protected her from harm's way, but he also made it possible for her to eat with his workers as well as glean extra food for Naomi (2:14-19). Boaz was noted for his kindness by Naomi in verse 20.
He cared about her character by not allowing others to see her lying at his feet so as to mar her reputation (3:10-11 and 13-14). He was an honest man, knowing that there was another kinsman redeemer before he could take Ruth as his wife (3:12). He went before the other kinsman to allow him to take Ruth (4:3-6) as his wife. The kinsman declined the opportunity because his own inheritance would be marred, and he did not want to lose his own inheritance to Ruth and her future child.
So, as we have read through an amazing account of a godly man, we are drawn back to Boaz and his mother, We read in Proverbs 6:20 "My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:" The mother carried an important role during the Old Testament of caring, tending to, and raising her children in the Lord. If Rahab had allowed her former life to destroy her future, would her son have turned out the way he did?
Today as you examine your past, as a believer, it is through God's redeeming grace that you have been forgiven (1 John 1:9). Because of Jesus' death on the cross, the sins of a believer has been removed from the presence of God. Hebrews 8:12 says, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."
Do not let your past faults ruin your future opportunity; instead, let it be a way to show God's work in your life.
Happy Mother's Day!
The Heart of Worship
If someone were to say, "Jack of all trades." It might make a person pop up in your mind; you could have said that about the handyman that is working on your house. But do you know the meaning behind the statement?
The Collins dictionary states, "If you refer to someone as a jack-of-all-trades, you mean that they are able to do a variety of different jobs. You are also often suggesting that they are not very good at any of these jobs." That last portion may make you rethink calling a good friend that term.
What about the statement from Psalms 50:10? "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills." I have heard this several times as a way to comfort another believer. Still, the question should be raised "Is this really a comforting statement?"
This Psalm is written by Asaph, who is painting the picture of a court scene for the readers. At the beginning of Psalms 50, we can see that the Almighty God of Israel using words that show that He is taking His people to court to sue them. In Verse 4 we read, "He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people." He summons the heavens and the earth as His witness against the nation of Israel. Not only will He be the judge in this trial, as stated in verse 6, but as we continue reading on to verse 7, we see that God will also testify against the nation of Israel.
When we are reading through those beginning verses, it may make us start to rethinking verse 10, right?
What did Israel do that God would take the Nation of Israel to court? In verse 7, we read, "Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God." This statement is similar to Deuteronomy 6:4; it's a call that begins with the imperative ( שִׁמְעָ֤הšim·ʿā(h) to Hear or listen. Closing with the statement, "I am God, even thy God." (אֱלֹהֶ֣יךָʾělō·hêʹ·ḵā) instead of the more common "I am the Lord."
Was it because Israel was not doing their job, were they not sacrificing? Actually, God wasn't rebuking them over their sacrifices at all! Instead, it was how the nation of Israel would give to God. He points out in verse 8 that the sacrifices have been placed before Him continually.
God makes the statement in verse 10. "For every breast of the forest in mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills." Does this mean that we need not worry about life, or that God is blessing us with the cattle of the field? No, this verse is given to remind the nation that He doesn't need their sacrifices. He created and owns all things dwelling on the earth. God becomes more vocal about this point as Israel was "preparing a meal" for God- in verse 12-13, we read, " If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?" He is not looking for breakfast, lunch, or dinner from the Israelites.
In verse 14, God signals what He is looking for in worship "Offer unto God thanksgiving."
God gives a list of sins that the nation is doing to break their covenant with God. They made friends with thieves, and partakers with adulterers (vs. 18) they use their mouths for evil, and their tongues fathomed deceit (vs.19). They speak against their brother, and they slander their mothers' son (vs. 20)
I'm sure by now you would say well, of course, God doesn't want worship from those sinful people! What does this have to do with me? In verse 22, it states, "ye that forget God," but did they really forget God? Looking back at verse 5, if you remember, the sacrifices were always before Him. In the Far Eastern region, it was common for people to believe it was their obligation to serve their gods three meals a day. It would appear that they adopted such an idea that meeting the needs of God would allow humankind to manipulate Him in some way.
Ouch! That steps on a few toes. For many believers, the thought is, I attend church, sing in the choir, I give my tithe, and even work in the nursery, so how many blessings can I get from God by serving Him? We need to ask when we worship God, what is the underlying cause of such worship? Are we honoring God in our worship, or do we worship to gain or manipulate God into getting what we want?
"Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God." God desires your heart; He wants you not your money, time, or goods.
The final question remains, are you giving your goods, money, and time to God to gain favor or blessing, or are you giving Him your heart?
- Good morning everyone, I know that many are looking forward to the day when we will be able to return to in-person worship services, and I am right there with you. The decision to cancel in-person meetings and shift to a Livestream and zoom meetings format was not taken lightly, and I assure you that the deacons and I spent several days thinking through that decision. Since the middle of march, we have been monitoring the situation on a daily basis and talking with health care professionals, pastors, and many others about what is going on and their response to the COVID 19 pandemic. It has been advised by many that we continue to Livestream and have zoom prayer meetings until the risk of infection is minimal or gone. Over the past few days, I have spoken with the deacons, and we agree that we should maintain our current path until at least May 15th. We remain flexible on the date as the situation changes on an almost daily basis. While I would love to say that the May 15th date is a hard and fast date, we have not come to a conclusion on that just yet. The deacons and I will be meeting this Thursday to discuss and plan our return to in-person services. There are many details and factors that go into starting back up, and we will be discussing them all at the meeting. The health and safety of our congregation are of utmost importance to us. Please be patient with us as we plan toward a safe and healthy return. We will continue to update you all as more information becomes available. Have a wonderful day, Lee Lennox Pastor First Baptist Church of Reed City 262-822-8574 email@example.com www.fbcreedcity.com
- ReadMissionary UpdateAn update from the Bobbett family.Bobbett Spring Letter 2020
Dear Prayer Warriors, Spring 2020
Greetings to all of our fellow house-bound friends! In Ecclesiastes 1:9 King Solomon wrote “…there is nothing new under the sun”. His words were true concerning the things about which he wrote, but I wonder, if he were alive today, what his comments might be?
What would he have to say about the effects of the coronavirus with people all over the world being quarantined, told not to venture out in public unless absolutely necessary, to have to attend church on line, and if we have to go out in public – to wear a mask and practice “social distancing,” keeping a distance of six feet from one another?
To us at least, this is something new under the sun. We remember when the “Asian flu” epidemic took place in the late 1950’s. We were doing deputation work, raising our support so that we might go to language study in France before proceeding to the Niger Republic of West Africa. Thankfully we were visiting the church of my former BBS roommate when that bug caught up with us in Kansas. But as widespread as it was, there was no national shutdown or global health crises such as we are seeing today.
We also experienced something else new under the sun today, when we met for our monthly prayer meeting with friends burdened as are we for the M. world. We logged on with our laptop (something else new) to a site called “Zoom” (new again) and were able to see the faces and communicate with those we usually gathered together with in person.
But with all of these new experiences we are all living through, how wonderful to be able to rejoice in and meditate upon the Word of the Lord, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we can confidently say “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man [or viruses] do to me?” (Heb. 13:5-6 ESV)
We also talked today to our Saudi friend by phone. With the university closed, he and his wife are doing their studies “on line” – something else somewhat new. The last time I met with him I gave him a DVD of the JESUS film (another new thing – since Solomon’s days). Pray they will watch it and the Lord would speak to their hearts.
We realize that one day, hopefully before many more weeks, “this too shall pass.” Let us all be faithful, asking that during this season at home we might grow spiritually as we listen to the Father’s voice, using our time wisely to be in the Word and prayer. May the Lord continue to watch over us all, use us in these unusual days for His Glory, and draw many to Himself. Thank you for continuing to stand with us by your faithful prayers and support.
In the Hollow of His Hand,
Heath and Norma Bobbett
Serving with Central Missionary Clearinghouse, P. O. Box 219228, Houston, TX 77218-9228
- Update on Ezra. He was tested yesterday for the caronavirus. Results may take 5 days. He has been started on an antibiotic and steroids as well as increased breathing treatment.
Where Does Your Confidence Lie?
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.”
Context is key, right?
Why would David pen such words, where was God if David desired to be in the presence of God? In verses 2-3, we find that David is hidden from His enemies “When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.” (vs. 2)
David knew the protective role God had in His life; he speaks from experience having confidence that God can and will protect him. David was not afraid of the enemies, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” God was his stronghold; he had no reason to fear the attacks of man.
Why then would David continue, if he was not afraid of his enemies? Remember, this passage was written in the Old Testament when men and women did not have the pleasure of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The only way to have communion with God was through the Holy Temple, where God resided. David was not from the tribe of Levi, so the close presence he desired wouldn’t allow him to enter the Holy Place.
Yet, David longed to be in the presence of God. He desired to be near Him. To seek ( בקשׁ) and to ask or desire( שׁאל ), David may have been not only seeking the face of God but also looking to God for guidance. David was committed to God and the way of life in which God has commanded the nation of Israel. David knew that he didn’t need to fear the shadows of death or any foe that came up against him because God was his fortress and his hiding place.
As a believer, you have that close presence of God that David so longed and hoped for because you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. Even though He is always with you, is it your desire to have that same presence and fellowship with Him? Do you desire to be near to your ever-present God? Is your confidence for the future placed in God as it was for David, or are you worried about the future and the events that are happening around you?
Please pray.Pray for Ezra, Magi's grandson, he has asthma and a respiratory infection.
- ReadMissionary UpdateRonk's April 2020 Update
Dear praying friends,
Greetings from southern Wisconsin!
We are thankful that God has allowed us to be "at home" with family and in a place where we can work on preparations for our return to Brasil. We had planned to be in Michigan during this time, but we know that it has been best to adjust our schedules with the rest of the country (world) and stay put. Lord willing, we hope to make up some of these visits before we leave for the field. Thank you for your prayers and understanding.
Our last furlough meetings were in southern Texas, and we discovered quite a few challenges as we traveled back to Wisconsin in mid-March. I can't remember the last time we went through a major city with so few cars on the roads! We stopped regularly to fill the gas tank and take a walk, ever aware that many around us were without hope and looking for answers. It's a privilege that God allows us to share the gospel - especially during these challenging times.
Through this time at home we have been keeping busy with correspondence, medical clearance, and packing boxes that will need to be stored during our next term. It has also been exciting to have so much contact with our Brasilian brethren and be able to watch their church services through the internet.
Our churches in Brasil have adapted surprisingly well to holding church services on-line. Many of them are posting 10-20 minute Bible studies throughout the week, so the church family gets about an hour of Bible study. Most of our pastors have reported better attendance through these internet services, including many people who would not normally attend a protestant church. That was a blessing to our hearts!
From what we have heard, the epidemic has not been as traumatic in Brasil - possibly because shortages are very common there. It is also common to experience various tropical diseases which might help our Brasilian brethren to take on a quarantine like this in stride. Since there is a serious lack of facilities or doctors available there, most of our church family will "stay sick at home" for treatment instead of going to a clinic or hospital. Unfortunately, many are now without income due to the quarantine and that has put more pressure on the families for basic needs. We appreciate your prayers for our people!
We are praying for the church family - for unity and for encouragement as we all work through these challenges. May God bless you all. Thank you for your faithful prayers and words of encouragement. You are a blessing to us!
In Christ, Ray and Annette