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Closer than you think…

Closer than you think - blog with text

The promises of God are closer than we think.

More often than not, we have to fully give our dreams and hopes back to God and trust that He will sustain us and bring them to fruition in His perfect timing.

Reading through the book of Ruth, it could seem at first glance that life for Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi was destined for brokenness. But when you dig deeper and really look at all they went through, you see the perfect picture of redemption, healing, and promises fulfilled.

Check out these verses with me in Ruth 4:4-6, 12, 17, and 22 {AMP}

“So I thought to let you hear of it, saying, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here, and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if not, then tell me, so that I may know; for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I am [next of kin] after you.’ “And he said, “I will redeem it.” Then Boaz said, “The day that you buy the filed from Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, to restore the name of the deceased to his inheritance.” The closest relative (redeemer) said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, because [by marrying a Moabitess] I would jeopardize my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption (purchase) yourself, because I cannot redeem it.”

Further, may hour house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the LORD will give you by this young woman.”

The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son (grandson) has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed (worshiper). He is the father of Jesse, the father of David [the ancestor of Jesus Christ].

Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David [the king of Israel and the ancestor of Jesus Christ].”

If you aren’t familiar with the book of Ruth, I would definitely recommend you taking a few moments to read it the four chapters. The significance of these verses above are a culmination of Ruth and Naomi (both widows) being provided for and taken care of; essentially being saved from a life of poverty and despair.

In the midst of Naomi’s sadness, she knew the only thing left to do was to go back to her people. Even with this plan, she had zero confidence that the town would accept her back into the community.

As someone who has moved 14 times since getting married in 1990, it’s never easy. It’s a strange mixture of excitement and pure terror! Dealing with all the new things ~ neighbors, grocery store, restaurants, different ways to get to church, work, or the kids’ schools. All the things!

But Naomi made sure that everyone knew that she knew, her life had changed. And not for the better. She tells everyone in Ruth 1:20,

“She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi (sweetness); call me Mara (bitter), for the Almighty has caused me great grief and bitterness.”

Thankfully I’ve never moved with that kind of greeting to new neighbors!”

Even though Naomi was beyond distressed, she obeyed the whisper in her heart and moved back to her people. That first step of obedience brought her to the next one and the next one and the one after that. Good things began happening for her and Ruth.

In the passage I shared at the beginning of this blog tells a brief story of how Ruth came to be able to marry Boaz. Prior to this gathering of town folks, it is clear in scripture that Boaz was enamored with Ruth. There is an age gap, and he was a man of great authority in the community, so this meant that he had to remain above reproach. There were enough signs of his affection to encourage Naomi to tell Ruth how to let Boaz know she would return his affection. Even so, there were still hurdles.

Naomi and Ruth could’ve chosen to fall full force into despair and doubt, but they remembered that they served a mighty God.

Can you imagine the tension though at that town meeting? Boaz and Ruth wanted to be together but they had to go through the proper channels. Too long to go into {so yeah…go read Ruth!} but these two decided to trust the Lord that there would be a good plan for them.

And indeed, there was! This next step of obedience on all the parts of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz brought the world one step closer to the celebration of Jesus being born.

The birth of the Savior of the world was closer than they knew.

It would take seven more generations before Jesus was born, but His lineage was written by God since before time. {In all, from Abraham to David was 14 generations.*}

What is that thing you are waiting for? Anticipating? Dreading?

The Christmas and New Years’ seasons are full of so many different emotions for so many of us. As you read this, I’m sure there is a lot going on in your life and in the lives of those around you.

Waiting is hard.

Moving is not comfortable.

Change is not always what we want.

But God…

He will not let you fall.

He will not abandon you.

He simply calls you to take the next obedient step. Then the next one and the one after that. The answer to what you are questioning is most likely closer than you think. It also will most likely not come when you want it to come, but it will unfold at just the right time for you.

Especially as we have a new decade beginning ~ 2020 ~ it’s a perfect season to seek God and find out what He has for you. Spend time in prayer, reading the Word, and reflecting on what He says, and you will not be disappointed.

Be patient, defeat the temptation to become bitter, invest your heart in trusting God’s goodness for your life.

My prayer for you today and always is to remember that Jesus is closer to your heart than you might think. Trust Him.

Blessings,

René

 

 

 

 

‭‭Ruth‬ ‭4:4-6, 12, 17, 22‬ ‭AMP‬‬

https://www.bible.com/1588/rut.4.4-6,12,17,22.amp

“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen; from David to the Babylonian deportation (exile), fourteen generations; and from the Babylonian deportation to the Messiah, fourteen generations.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭AMP‬‬

https://www.bible.com/1588/mat.1.17.amp

Christian Communicators, Christian Mentors, College age women, Mentors, Millenials, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

Getting my roots done…

Roots blog - kyle-ellefson-Y6T1a4gU4ss-unsplash

Life is full of maintenance.

Keeping a {basically} clean house, dealing with those pesky piles of paperwork that seem to grow on their own, putting gas in the car before it’s ‘too late’, paying bills, making dinner…you get the idea.

But there is one thing that I don’t skimp on, and that’s getting my hair done. I love my hair stylist as she keeps me looking young{ish} and it’s worth every penny to get my roots done every four weeks. I’m very organized when it’s comes to my hair cut & color appointments and I make sure to set up the next one (or two!) after each appointment ends.

One day I will have beautiful slivery-gray-white hair…but NOT today! Maybe when I hit my 80’s…but for now, cut & color are thankfully an integral part of our monthly budget!! And along with that is of course the ‘color-safe’ shampoo and conditioner, the plant-based mousse and hair spray, and hair masks on occasion.

It takes planning & effort to keep up with my roots looking good!

But what do we do to keep our spiritual roots healthy and vibrant?

Just as solid roots are vital for a healthy tree, and a strong anchor keeps a boat steady, our spiritual roots must be nurtured in order for us to live in such a way that we draw others to the Lord.

This idea about ‘roots’ struck me in a new way when I was reading in James 1 and hit verse 21 “So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls.”

I prefer to use the Amplified Version translation when I’m studying because I love words and the AMP has a LOT of words! In this verse, it so clearly jumped out to me that the Word is implanted into my heart ~ but it is God that does the planting. He is the One who causes the roots of His Word to grow deep. BUT…I have to read the word and be in it in order for the watering to happen that causes those roots to take hold of my whole heart.

One of the best examples of roots, I think anyway, is the palm tree.

When you look at a palm tree spiraling straight up to the sky, it does not make sense that it is standing. They are so tall and slender and frankly, top heavy with all the fronds and such. But then you look at those beauties bending to the will of a torrential storm and it’s crazy that they don’t uproot and blow away. In Southern California, I don’t see that very often, but we do see the palm trees around us bend toward the sun and they still don’t fall over! It’s all because of their roots.

Check out this info from a reference site*:

“Palm tree roots tend to be fairly shallow when compared to the height of the tree. Despite urban legends to the contrary, palm tree roots do not equal the height of the tree. Instead, they grow in a root ball.

Palm tree roots do not widen out as they grow; rather, they tend to grow straight down. As a result, they are unlikely to damage nearby sidewalk or pavement. Palm tree roots regularly regenerate from the root ball. Since they are always regenerating and dying off, they do not grow very long. Palms have no tap root. Instead, their roots jut out from the root ball in all directions, drawing nourishment and water from a wide swath of ground.”

Our ‘root ball’, if you will, is God’s Word. It has all we need to be nourished as it buried just under the surface into our mind. As the roots grow, they go straight down to our heart. Every time we learn something new from God’s Word, it’s a new root taking its form and providing a new stream of nourishment to our soul. And even if we look a bit “crooked” to the world, it’s simply because we are leaning toward the Son!

So, here’s my question to you again ~ how are you keeping your roots healthy?

God uniquely created each and every one of us, so our time with Him is also going to be unique. How beautiful it is that my quiet time and study doesn’t have to look like yours, and vice-versa! God is completely creative and works in our hearts in ways that will truly impact us individually. God’s Word is universal and relatable, yet it is so incredibly personal because it is His Living Word! He activates what we read, worship songs we sing, devotionals we ponder, and He does so in delightful ways to let us know He sees us.

With all my heart, I hope you have experienced times when you are reading something in the Bible that you have read “a thousand times” yet it jumps off the page and ministers to your soul in a brand new way! Friends, that’s the Holy Spirit giving you a big “Hey there! I’m so glad that you are here with me today! I love spending time with you and I have new things to show you!” Seriously…I really think the Holy Spirit is beyond excited when we see the new thing He is revealing to us through scripture!

As we are getting closer and closer to the new year…literally a new decade…let me encourage you to find new ways to ‘get your roots done’. It could be a new devotional, a new journal, new worship music, sitting in a new spot in your house, finding a new coffee shop nearby ~ it could be any number of things. If you’re stuck on what that might look like, pray about it and ask the Lord to give you some new ideas and He absolutely will!

He is a good, good Father and wants to give you strong roots. To give you the opportunity to deepen your relationship with Him in order to be His hands and feet in your community and show them Jesus.

Get rooted in God’s Word ~ be that palm tree ~ go deep, lean in, and stand tall!

Blessings,
René

Photo by Kyle Ellefson on Unsplash

* https://www.reference.com/world-view/deep-roots-palm-trees-2e566c7025f44749

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Do you have enough Steam?

Well, it’s January 2nd…Happy New Year and two days in already.  Do I feel ready for a new year? Do I feel prepared to do all that in rolling around in my brain to do?  CAN I do everything I want and hope to do? Do I have enough steam?  Stop the madness already!!

I was ironing a shirt the other day and didn’t feel like refilling the water tank in the iron.  No big deal…it’s still going to get hot enough to iron the shirt.  And it did…sort of.  There was enough heat to begin the job, but the steam is what completes the job.  So, I stopped, got the water pitcher and filled up the tank.  Within a few seconds, the water and the neat of the iron connected and huge plume of steam burst out of the iron ~ magic!  Now, my shirt would be ready sans wrinkles very soon.  That little transaction made me think about my life.  Yes…it did…doesn’t take much for God to make a point to get me to pay attention.

How many times this year did I use a “hot enough” iron to get the job done, when I really needed the steam?  It’s a little thing really.  How much time did it take me to fill the iron with water ~ about 20 seconds.  But I had to stop what I was doing, and I didn’t want to because I was kinda in a rush.  I didn’t want to have to concentrate on pouring water into the tiny little hole at the top of the handle area. If I didn’t concentrate though, I’d have a river of water flowing out of the iron and all over my shirt and the ironing board and then I’d have to stop and mop that mess up!  UGH! Was it worth it?  To pay attention for about a minute and do the job right?  Absolutely!

So in this new year…I’m not going to make any resolutions.  Nope.  Not gonna do it!  Because then I beat myself up when I don’t accomplish those resolution goals.  Sometimes it’s simply because I put too many restrictions on myself, or make unrealistic goals.

What I am going to do in this new year of 2016 ~ I’m going to make sure I have enough steam to accomplish what is set before me.

That “steam” is going to take a lot of different forms this year.

*Eat well & drink more water ~ this means I’ll have the energy I need for my mind and body to flow through the day.

*Bible study time ~ this means I’ll have enough spiritual energy to tackle whatever comes my way.  And not just a scheduled 15 minute “read my devotional”, but to really dig deep and fall in love with God’s Word more and more each day.  I will have to make a concentrated effort to plug in to what God is wanting to teach me so that He can pour in His living water!

*Family meal time ~ this means having purposeful time together with my sweet family.  We already do a pretty good job having dinner together every night, but I need to inject more “steam” in cooking dinner and not picking up something from a restaurant or resort to breakfast for dinner as often as I have in the past few months. (Hey…there is definitely a place for waffles and scrambled eggs for dinner….don’t get me wrong. 🙂  Just not as frequent).

*Friend time ~ this means making an actual phone call to a friend to plan a coffee or lunch date.  NOT texting back and forth to confirm it.  But go the old-fashion route of calling them and hearing their voice.

*Electronic Free time ~ this means not carrying around my phone and checking it a million times a day. We don’t have a land line, so I do need to have my cell phone close by if someone calls, but I don’t have to be holding it and looking at facebook or instagram updates every five seconds.  This will also mean that I have time to do another “old-fashioned” thing ~ it’s called writing a letter!  You know, when you get a card or just a plain old piece of paper, and write down your thoughts  and mail it to another person!  Hand written letters are a treasure ~ trust me when I tell you that if you take the time to write someone a letter (or even jot a short thought down on a postcard), the recipient will feel like royalty!!  Definitely something that will be treasured!

So, will I have enough steam this year?  My prayer is a resounding YES!!  My reality may fall short sometimes, but I’m not going for perfection.  That only happens on TV.  Everyday that I wake up, I’m going to pray and ask the Lord to show me how I can get enough steam for the day….and where to direct that steam!  Direction is very important!!  When you’re ironing a shirt, and you get your hand too close to the front of the iron & you hit that “steam” symbol button and you end up steaming your fingers…OUCH!  Or if you are ironing very fast and end up creating new creases in your shirt than when you started out with.  Those are tougher to get out than just regular wrinkles.  They seem “set in” and are so crisp and perfect.  That’s when you have to use that other button, the “sprayer” and get a larger amount of water down on that one spot, then hit it again with the hot iron and steam.

~ Concentration ~ Direction ~ Commitment ~ Time  ~

Hebrews 4:16, “Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.”
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Jump into this new year and leave all the old junk in 2015!  You don’t need it and it’ll just weigh you down.  Gotta keep things light so that the steam can carry you throughout your days.  Keep your eyes on the task that God has given you and trust that He will fill you with His living water, heated by His compassion and love for you, with enough gracious direction to help you flow from one day to the next.

Happy New Year!!

Blessings,

René