Chapter Eight: “Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It” Ruth 3:1-6
As we move into a new chapter of Ruth, we can sense a fresh wind blowing across the fields of Boaz. Change is in the air, and Naomi is the one who is putting things in motion.
1. a. Louise Pettibone Smith wrote, “Ruth and Naomi stand in the Hebrew scriptures beside David and Jonathan.” Read 1 Samuel 18:3–4 and 19:1–6 to get a sense of their brotherly bond. In what ways does their commitment to each other mirror that of Naomi and Ruth?
Just as “Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him” (1 Samuel 18:3), Ruth made a loving pledge to stay with Naomi (Ruth 1:16).
In the same way Jonathan provided for David when he “took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic” (1 Samuel 18:4), Ruth shared her grain with Naomi and made certain her mother-in-law was well fed (Ruth 2:18).
There are, of course, many ways in which these two relationships are not at all parallel—we have no one like double-minded Saul to appease in Ruth’s story—yet the mutual affection of these two women is apparent at the start of this chapter, and it surely warms our hearts.
1. b. Do you have a deep, loving relationship with another woman in your family? If you’ve always been there for each other, how have you continued to nurture your close friendship?
I love both my sisters: Sarah, who is twelve years older than me; and Mary, nine years older. (Our brothers are David, Thomas, and John. Mom and Dad went overboard with those biblical names, huh?)
My sisters and I have gone through seasons of staying in close contact, then losing touch for a few months (we live in New Jersey, North Carolina, and Kentucky, which makes getting together tricky). Still, as is often the case with siblings, we reconnect the moment we hear each other’s voices on the phone.
We’ve all turned out to be quite different—spiritually and politically in particular—yet that doesn’t diminish our love for one another. It does, however, mean that we don’t share the one thing that matters most to me: a relationship with the Lord. I will never stop praying for my dear sisters, and never stop loving them right where they are.
Talking about my sisters makes me want to stop right now and call them both. But since it’s nearly midnight, I’m thinking I’d better just keep blogging.
2. a. Ruth’s preparation for her midnight rendezvous with Boaz involves three vital rituals—bathing, anointing, and dressing—echoed in the New Testament. Our Kinsman-Redeemer wants us spiritually clean. Read John 13:5–8 and Ephesians 5:25–27. In each passage…
Who is being washed?
John 13:5–8 Peter, the disciple
Ephesians 5:25–27 The bride, the church
John 13:5–8 Jesus
Ephesians 5:25–27 Christ
Using what substance?
John 13:5–8 Water from a basin
Ephesians 5:25–27 Living water, the Word of God
And what is the outcome?
John 13:5–8 Cleanliness
Ephesians 5:25–27 Holiness
How might you experience his daily cleansing in a spiritual sense?
Nothing washes us like the Word. When we meditate on Scripture, it scrubs our mind clean of unkind thoughts, of unholy ideas. Worshipful music helps too. But it’s the grace of God, and the assurance of his forgiveness, that really cleanses us.
Check out this excerpt from my book, Really Bad Girls of the Bible:
When your skin is covered with sweat, dust, and grime, you take a bath, yes? You don’t say, “I’m too filthy to get in this tub. I’ll just have to stay grungy.” No way. You get in and get clean.
How Satan blinds us to this truth! We think we have to be “good” to deserve God’s grace. That’s like saying you have to be clean to take a bath! Dear one, the more grimy our lives are, the more we need Jesus. The dirtier your body, the better that bath feels.
—from Chapter 5 on Bathsheba
2. b. Like Ruth, we are also anointed with perfume. Read 2 Corinthians 1:21–22. As with the washing, who does the anointing? To what end?
God anoints us in the same way he anointed priests and kings, marking us for his service, claiming us as his own, filling us with the Holy Spirit, until the day when our flesh is no more, and we have new bodies altogether (can I just say, “Woo hoo!?”).
According to 2 Corinthians 2:15–16, what is the purpose of our fragrant aroma?
We smell delightful to other believers who share our perfume. But to those who have rejected Christ, we…um…stink.
I’m thinking of a fragrance I once purchased because I loved how it smelled in the store and on other people. But when I tried to wear it, I couldn’t scrub it off fast enough. It made my head throb and my stomach feel queasy. Yuck.
If that’s how non-believers respond to our spiritual perfume, it behooves us not to shove our beliefs under their noses. Believe me, they are picking up our scent. If they draw near, you can be sure it’s Christ’s fragrant aroma, and not ours, that is at work.
And how are you made equal to the task of bearing his scent?
Though we may not feel worthy, God chooses whom he chooses and anoints whom he anoints. It’s never about us. It’s always about him.
2. c. Now we’re ready to get dressed. How does Galatians 3:26–27 describe this process?
Interesting that baptism—another cleansing, watery process—is part of being “clothed with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Instead of being covered in our sin, we’re covered in his cleanliness. It isn’t the amount of water used that determines whether we’re properly dressed. It’s an inside job, as we learn from Peter: “this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God“ (1 Peter 3:21).
What further clarification about this holy attire does Luke 24:49 add? Once again, who dresses us, and why?
Jesus dresses us once more, this time with “power from on high,” the promised Holy Spirit. Throughout the New Testament, water and the Spirit walk hand in hand. Jesus said, “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5).
Washed, perfumed, dressed…let’s go!
3. a. When Naomi assures Ruth, “He will tell you what to do,” we’re reminded of Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, when the Lord told him to go into the city “and you will be told what you must do.” Who told Saul what to do? And who told him what to do?
Ananias told Saul what to do (Acts 9:17), but it was the Lord who first told Ananias what to do (Acts 9:10).
What advantages do you see to this God-ordained method of communication?
More than once I’ve had a godly friend make a strongly worded suggestion, and I know it’s not her idea—it’s God’s. How do I know? Because it was clear she didn’t really want to say it, and it was equally hard for me to hear it, yet it was completely in line with Scripture.
How did it benefit Ananias? And how did it help Saul?
Ananias’s faith surely increased, after hearing from the Lord in a vision. “Yes, Lord,” Ananias answered (Acts 9:10). He clearly knew Who was speaking!
As for Saul, he’d already heard the Lord’s voice on the road. Now he needed to hear from one of these believers whom he’d persecuted. Their forgiveness would assure him of God’s forgiveness. Indeed, Ananias called him “Brother Saul,” and told him, “the Lord…has sent me.” How that must have comforted the blind and befuddled Saul!
3. b. In chapter 8 I mentioned the possibility that Ruth will be told what to do, not by Boaz, but by the Lord himself. Might God be speaking through Naomi in this scene? What makes you say that?
I really do think this threshing floor scenario was God’s idea. Here’s why: it ran counter to the cultural norm, it elevated Ruth’s trust in God to a whole new level, and though Naomi couldn’t be certain of the outcome, God could.
If you’ve ever had a sense of the Holy Spirit leading you as you spoke to someone, what convinced you it was the Lord’s words and not your own?
Earlier this month I was praying with two friends whom I hadn’t seen in ages. We were specifically asking the Lord what we needed to lay down in our lives. I blurted something out almost against my will, fearing it might hurt my friend’s feelings. She immediately took it to heart, and the other friend said, “You have no idea, Liz, what a timely word that is for her.” Whew.
When a word comes from the Spirit and not from our own flesh—not born of jealousy or envy or fear or unkindness—and when it’s prompted by love and compassion, that’s almost certainly God at work.
3. c. Whoever tells Ruth what she must do, her next move requires great courage, as she embarks on “a sacred journey, a ritual descent into darkness and danger.” What’s the scariest, holiest thing you’ve ever done?
I should have known better than to ask for the greatest example of something. It makes us think too hard! Since it’s my question, I will gladly accept any scary, holy thing that pops into your mind.
Don’t laugh, but for me, it’s this Bible Study Blog. If you’ve been following along each week, you know I’m not holding anything back. I just keep putting stuff out there, hoping it helps, and trying not to be afraid.
I often say this on the platform and mean it with all my heart: “It doesn’t matter what you think of Lizzie. It only matters what you think of Jesus.”
How did you find the strength to go forward? And what was the result of your obedience?
The strength not only comes from the Lord; it also comes from you. Reading your comments each week gives me the courage to keep going, to let the clock spin past midnight, to push myself to be honest with you, and with the Lord.
As for the result, I’ll leave that in God’s hands. If you are digging deeper into his Word for the rich truths he has planted there, then every hour is well spent.
I’d love to hear your answer to our closing question: What’s the most memorable truth you’ve learned from this week’s lesson?
See you next Wednesday for Chapter Nine, when we move onto the threshing floor…oh!
Your sister, Liz
(1.b) I formed a deep, loving relationship with my aunt (my mothers’ sister) at a young age. My mothers’ side of the family is small – she has 1 sibling, I have 1 sibling & am the only granddaughter, my aunt only had one child – who was killed in an auto accident at the age of 16. Growing up, people always thought I looked more like my aunt than my mother. There have been many times when I felt more comfortable seeking advice from my aunt than my mother. Even though I have lived in & out-of state numerous times over the years (& moved back home again 5 years ago) – I have always remained close to my aunt. Since I have moved back home, my aunt has become homebound, due to health problems, & I handle a lot of her business matters, run all her errands, do her shopping, take her to doctor appointments, & was her caregiver – after surgery last year.
(3.c) The scariest, holiest thing I have ever done was to move out of state to become a cast member of a Passion Play portraying the life of Christ. I have always enjoyed traveling & experiencing living in new cities/states, but this was the first time I had ever moved without first securing employment & a place to live, & without knowing anyone there. The first time I saw the Passion Play, the Lord used it to convict me in such a way that I left my “bad girl” life & totally turned my life over to him. My family was convinced that the move was just another period of rebellion & bad decisions for me – until they witnessed the change in my spiritual life & the resulting joy it gave me.
Sounds like you are a true Ruth in your aunt’s life. Well done, Bonnie! And indeed, that was a great leap of faith, following God’s lead. What looked like rebellion was just the opposite!
Hmm, the scariest is probably the holiest thing I’ve ever done as well. My husband and I moved our family (including three wee ones- 16, 5 & 2) to live/work on the mission field in Honduras — a country I’d never even visited before. We sold everything that didn’t fit into the allowed suitcase sizes for the flight, loaded up my youngins and headed to our new home in Central America sight-unseen. God is in control! He knows what is to be. I trusted/trust Him fully.
The most memorable truth is that God will be there where ever you go!
Okay, now THAT is holy AND scary, Betsy. Wow. What a faith builder for you and your family, I imagine each of your children would have a story to tell as well. The mission field is not for the faint of heart. Yet, as you wisely say, God was with you. Thanks for sharing!
I have so much admiration & love for those brothers & sisters who follow God’s plans for their lives by relocating to another country & the many possible adjustments to their lifestyle: different language, less comforts, riskier/less health care, unsanitary living conditions, income reduction, less contact with family & friends “back home”, & risk of life in extreme situations. Thank you for your love of, & dedication to, the Lord!
The scariest thing I have ever had to deal with is when after speaking to a close friend inin tears twice about her behavior, it became necessary for me to break fellowship with her. I have never done this before, and it was and is painful because we had lots of good times together. This is something that has recently happen so only the Lord knows what will be the result, if any. I hope so. I makes me sad to lose a friend.
If the Lord made it clear that was the necessary next step, Phyllis, then wait and see what he will do with your relationship. As CeCe Winans sings, “It ain’t over!” God may yet do a restorative work in your friend’s life and knit you two back together. Praying to that end.
I think maybe the holiest thing I have done is actually, really obey my husband, even when I thought it was completely wrong. I had been facing the reality that I only listened to my husband when I found it convenient to. Soo, my husband wanted me to take a full time job to help with expenses, I had been helping voluntarily at our church organizing music ministry and just loved it. I came to the conclusion that to obey my husband meant packing up all my music books and supplies (through tears, I might add) and taking them to the Pastor to tell him I could no longer work with this, even though I loved it, because I was needed to help provide income for the family. Well, God had other things in store through my willingness to submit. The church actually decided to hire me to work in the office and part of what I got to do was organize the music ministry. It was a huge lesson to me to listen to my husband, even when I didn’t agree and see how God worked through it to bring blessing.
Oh, Nancy, I LOVE this story! A blessing often comes on the other side of obedience. It sure did for Ruth, and it clearly did for you. Thrilling!
Nancy – love to read stories of the Lord turning sorrow into joy!
The scariest/holiest thing I’ve ever done was uprooting myself from my entire life in the same place to over 700 miles away for a new married life with my husband. In a lot of ways, there were many biblical parallels to our courtship. I prayed fervently for God’s assurance about my husband being “the one” God wanted for me and the same night had a vivid dream affirming he was (at a time when I hadn’t had a dream in possibly a year). We met each other after a lot of corresponding and phone conversations–I felt a lot like Rebecca on her way to meet Issac for the first time.
I’ll hold myself back from going on and on about my sappy stories…
God was the source of my strength during that time–I had my eyes opened to some toxic relationships in my life at the time. I learned to trust my husband’s discernment and wisdom.
My most memorable truth from this lesson: God blesses us when we hear Him (through others, through His Word, etc) and follow HIS direction for our life. I had to learn the hard way that people who I *thought* were speakers of God’s truth, actually were the strongest opposers to the way the Father wanted me to go. Even though it wasn’t easy, I followed His direction and now have such a beautiful family He has blessed me with! My cup runneth over!
Nothing sappy about a beautiful love story (at least, not for those of us who are romantics at heart!). It is interesting that sometimes those we trust for guidance turn out to be stumbling blocks. So glad you listened to the Lord, Sarah. A real testimony to God’s faithfulness and your trust in him!
The truth that God uses other people to guide us into taking the right steps to help others or to bring us closer to Himself, is what I have taken from this chapter. God used Naomi. God uses you. If I will let Him, He will use me…somehow?? As the middle child, my relationship with my brothers have waxed and waned through the years…especially with my 9 years younger brother who wants nothing to do with me or my husband. This has always been a source of emotional pain for me and it has been hard to follow my mother’s advice given oh so many years ago, that I should just pray for him. If I let loose of this pain and replace it with the knowledge, that I need to only wait upon the Lord, that He will either change my heart or change my brother’s or perhaps there will be no change and that I only need to accept the fact of what is. My perception that there is a problem is what is causing my pain. Am I making sense Liz? Not having a natural sister makes me glow whenever you call us your sisters in Christ.
Becky, it would definitely be tricky being the only girl with a brother on either side. Take heart: you’ll always find sisters here! As for what is causing your pain, it may be your estranged relationship with your younger brother, or it may be something else entirely. You would know best. I do agree with your mother. Love your brother, pray for him, and give your pain to the Great Physician. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Becky – I, also, have a less-than-perfect relationship with a close family member. I have asked the Lord to reveal to me – anything that I may have done to cause the problem. The only thing I can do now is pray & wait – waiting isn’t always easy, but I feel there is a lesson to be learned for someone, & an opportunity for spiritual growth, through this situation.
Becky, I have a brother with the same issues. He recently moved back home with us and one of the conditions was that he had to go to church every week. He goes but he can’t wait to tell us how stupid we are to believe in this. At times he’s so harsh that it seems like nothing and no one, God included will be able to reach him. However I know that’s not true. Another lady in our church spoke salvation over him the first week he was there at the church, not directly to him but to my mother, my sister, and I. Lately he’s made living in the same house almost unbearable. So Sunday morning the same lady asked my mom if she believed that ALL God’s promises to us are true. She said yes and then she told my mom to remember and to remind herself every morning that we are one day closer to His promises. We don’t know God’s timing, but if we believe His promises are true then everyday that comes means we’re one day closer to their fulfillment.
She also reminded me that when he makes it hard to even want to pray for him, to think of him as an innocent child. Try to remember something good in our past that makes me see the good in him. She said if that doesn’t work try looking at a picture of him as a young innocent child. That way I can remember that no matter what he’s doing now, that innocent child is still buried in him somewhere.
The most memorable truth I learned from this lesson is the fact that God is at the heart of the plan and is with us every step of the way. A truth that is so comforting to know and to be reminded of often!! Over the last several years, our family has continued to face several major health challenges, one after another. Knowing that God was in control gave me such a sense of peace! God provided the strength for me to move forward in each situation by giving me His strength & His patience. These trials have deepened my trust in Him. Picture Jesus walking with us every moment of every day – cool huh! Praying that I can always have the fragrance of Christ, even during the tough times. Ruth by demonstrating her courage, faith, determination, hope, righteousness, and sacrificial love, gives us an example for us to follow as we face each new day. Letting go and trusting Him with everything I consider precious to me!
This is a HUGE takeaway, Sherry: “God is at the heart of the plan and is with us every step of the way.” YES! Your closing line about “trusting Him with everything I consider precious to me” is also powerful. That’s so much more than just trusting God with the small stuff, the minor issues in our lives.
When I first opened my heart to the Lord, I bought an inexpensive oil painting of Jesus. The classic one people had back in the day. I needed a constant reminder that Jesus was THERE with me, all the time. Now that I carry his truth in my heart, I don’t need the visual reminder (good thing, since I travel so much!). But I still see that painting in my mind’s eye, and it comforts me.
Most memorable truth learned: It’s not about me! It’s always about Jesus! And how I thank you for continuing to blog–so keep it up! My mil has lived with my husband and I for 28 yrs. now. Folks are amazed, and so are we. Evelyn used to be one of my best friends. God put her in my life, as well as her hunky hunk of a son-heh heh- 45 yrs. ago. Both my folks died when I was in my teens and she was the mom to come alongside and teach me everything. But now, our Ruth/Naomi deal has changed into one of caregiver/elderly elder at age 97 and neither of us like it so much. Sooooo sad–but God is still blessing us. Just differently, and not as “happily”, but certainly more holy. Ahhhh, these trade offs in seasons of our lives. Couldn’t get through a day without Jesus… And dear, dear peeps like you who remind us. The scariest thing ever done? We moved, with a 97 yr old, to fulfill our 35 yr. dream. From city to a retirement community in a forest resort area. Snow has arrived–new life with Evelyn is an adventure, I’ll tell ya! I’m sure God is laughing at us all every day–well, so are we! hahahahahah! 🙂
What an adventure, Patti! I appreciate your pointing out that, while your life is not as happy as it once was, it is in fact holier. In the reading we had this week about Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus, one verse keeps circling back for deeper reflection: Jesus said, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Acts 9:16
Everything that comes from your mouth and fingers to my mind and ears is timely. I totally relate on the family situation, btw. About the Holy Spirit’s prompt…I am trying to think on that one. I am working on discernment: when it is God’s prompting and when is it my own. That is a tough one!
I was feeling discouraged last night…even wrote my own blog entry about it…but the reason is because I am in a season of change. A season I know God wants me to walk through. I want to know what’s on the other end. BUT. He wants me to trust Him. Now, THAT can be scary!
Love your heart,
Bless you for the encouragement, Laurel. I was chatting with a talk show host in Albany, NY today about how we long to know what the next step is. But if we knew, no faith would be required to walk forward! I keep reminding myself it is enough that GOD knows, and has chosen every step with my best interests at heart. Trust, trust, TRUST!
Thank-you for the reminder! 🙂 I need it and lots of prayer.
Laurel – agreed re: the timing of the things that Liz speaks & writes, for me, as well (& many others, I am sure). A reinforcement of the Lord working through her – thank you, Lord, for using Liz to bless her sisters!
So much truth, my head is spinning! In 3b you spoke of the threshing floor episode being counter cultural. Attending fairly mainstream fundamental churches as an adult I grew as a believer and loved where I was. Well my kids started attending a more demonstrative church, christian rock music and lots of hands held high and banner waving, amen’s and hallelujahs. I just wasn’t sure about all that but wanted to be where the kids were. One Sunday afternoon, on my own, I attended a River Service at this church. Amazing worship, lights dimmed, scripture read. Women I did not know, walked up behind me to lay their hands on my shoulders and pray for me.
Cool, right? Then I heard it, “Lay on your face before Me.”
I knew it was Him. This little sheep knew His voice. Hadn’t heard it before but I knew it!
“But Lord, I have a skirt on!” Dumb, right? The Lord god of Heaven tells you to drop on your face and you argue that you have a skirt on? I wasn’t worried what the people would think. I’d have to have been pretty weird to get a second glance. But I had never heard His audible voice before and it was hard to believe He was talking to me.
So I went face flat before the Lord.
Why did He ask such a thing? I believe He wanted to see if His girl was willing to listen and obey when He spoke. It was a little thing compared to what others are asked to sacrifice but big for me at the time. Since then the flood gates have opened and we have moved from a walk to a run, together. It’s so humbling. to be so loved
How I love this precious story of yours, Cathy. No question God sometimes asks us to do something that feels a little…weird. But when we know that we know, we gotta go! Love that you are running by his side now. Your last comment is beautiful: “It’s so humbling, to be so loved.” Amen, sis.
Cathy, loved your story! I have a similar story – for 11 years, while living in another state, I attended a christian church of a denomination that was much more vocal & demonstrative than the one in which I had grown up. At first, I was very much out of my comfort zone re: freeing my emotions so that I could join in. I prayed for the Lord to reveal to me that it was the Holy Spirit prompting me rather than my just being “caught up in the moment”. Although the Lord has led me back to attend the church of my youth – with my elderly parents – he used the other church to deepen my closeness to him, thereby maturing me spiritually. I am able to worship him in either situation & will be overjoyed if the Lord chooses to ever lead me back to a more demonstrative church.
wow! how exciting! I love when we learn to hear God’s voice and than obey! What blessings come with obedience! I love God and want to do His will in my heart and it starts with obedience when He speaks to us.
My scariest time was going to Kenya with church team. The car wasn’t big enough to allow all of us to travel together. I was left at our house in Kenya to wait for the missionary to return so we could go out to witness. During that time I heard a man rummaging around outside. Fear gripped me. I decided after quick prayers to let him know I was still inside. I started singing every song I knew that had the name of JESUS in it. What a Friend we have in Jesus….etc. God answered my prayer. He taught me during that trip that I had Christian brothers willing to lay down their life to protect me. I walked the dusty hills from hut to hut with two Kenyan brothers for several days if you knew how out of shape i was you would know what a miracle that was We serve an awesome God.
I’m shaking my head at having said that writing this BLOG was a scary thing for me, when our sisters here have done FAR scarier, holier things! Walking hut to hut with two Kenyan brothers? Whoa. Love that you used music and the name of Jesus to hold fear (or worse!) at bay. God is indeed awe inspiring, beloved.
Hi Liz, Every Wed, early in the morning, after I return from my workout with a few sisters in the Lord, I turn on the computer, to read your blog/Bible study in Ruth. I don’t have your book yet. Nevertheless, I look forward to study and pray and read with you and all the other sisters. I read your other books: “Here Burns My Candle” and Mine Is The Night”, and enjoyed them immensely. I’ve loaned to my mother, who enjoys reading such hystorical novels. I don’t have the greatest relationship with her latelly, mainly because of how close I’ve become to my sister in law. You see my sil, is divorcing my brother, for reasons I seem to be the only one my family to understand. I don’t know if I would call this “a scary/holy” thing to do, but at present the Lord is telling me to pursue this relationship with my sil. She is a believer, and I actually informed her about this study. I also hope and pray that my mother, who I’m certain, is one of the King’s daughter, will be willing to embrace my sister in law, in the same manner or close to it as possible, as Naomi did with Ruth. Thank you so very much for this study. I try my best to apply it to my everyday life.
Adriana, I’m thrilled to know you are gleaning truths from our online study, even without the book in hand. And, of course, I’m honored that you read my Scottish historical novels based on the book of Ruth as well. I think anytime you are seeking to deepen a thorny family relationship, it is both scary AND holy, and can lead to real spiritual growth. Press on, sis!
Lizzie, Lizzie, Lizzie,
There is nothing you have shared on this blog to scare me away from you! You are such an encouragement to me, I can barely stand it.
So, Unfortunately my answer for the scary/holy thing was…. “Lord, please show me, cause I don’t know”.
I’m answering the what has Ruth 3:1-6 shown me? BE READY to follow HIM in obedience.
Brandi, I’m betting you’ve done scary/holy things without thinking of them in those terms. I hope God will indeed show you, so you won’t doubt your courage or your faith. And yes, “Be ready to follow him” is a great lesson for us all!
Liz, I inherited that same picture of Jesus and it is on my living room wall, along with a plaque that says “Yes, Lord”. With the encouragement that I have received from this blog, I will try to keep His face before me and to listen for His voice.
Love it, Becky. Now I want to go find my print, because I feel quite certain I never parted with it! Even without that visual reminder, I can see his tender expression and the compassion in his eyes. Yes, Lord!
I have read a lot of your books, but I have not read “Really Bad Girls of the Bible”. But now I think I should. I love the quote you wrote about needing a bath. It’s easy for me to become discouraged because I tend to fall into the same bad habits over and over again. And then I go to God and ask him, yet again, for his forgiveness, to renew my mind, and help me to turn away and resist these destructive habitis I have allowed in my life. (How did they even get there?)
A friend of mine was telling me about a conversation he had with his 4 year old son about sin, and why we need to ask Jesus to forgive us. His son’s response was to ask “how can I get the sin out of me?” I find myself asking God to “get this sin out of me” as well. And although while on this earth we will always struggle with sin, we can be confident that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Phillipians 1:6 God gave me that verse today, and it was just what I needed to hear. God will continue to work in us no matter how many times we fail. Praise God He is so loving and patient!
Thank you, Liz, for this blog. It is wonderful to connect with an author whose books have really taught me about who God is and helped me grow in my walk with Him. They have helped me understand Bible stories that I have known since childhood in a whole new way.
Last weekend you were in Minnesota, where I am, and I wasn’t able to come and listen to you speak. Please come back so I can catch you next time!
First, Krista, I totally get how discouraging it can be to keep going back to God with the same challenge. The amazing nature of his grace REALLY shines in those moments. And I love the story you shared. God does continue to work on us from the inside out. Finally, I WILL be back in Minnesota at “A Day Set Apart for Women” next March. The other speaker is Ann Voskamp…not to be missed! The tickets just went on sale November 1st. Details here: http://www.setapartconference.com/
In thinking over the question of what is the biggest lesson learned, I would have to say it would be obedience to a God whispered suggestion no matter how bizzare it may seem at the time. The outcome can be such a blessing. Like you, Liz, my greatest fear was when I took on teaching an adult Bible study, I was always involved with 1st and 2nd graders in Sunday School. What a blessing this group of women are to me and each other and others. I am so glad I made that move.
Good for you, Janet! We truly see God at work when we step out on faith. Well done!
I just love this time we share! It so blesses my heart. I have been babysitting two of my grandbabies so I am behind again BUT catching up! Thank you Liz for being obedient and doing this Bible study and blog. You just don’t know how much this has meant to me. I have been in a HARD spot in my life but believing God is getting me through and this study really helps. It’s like I have a new friend in you Liz. God is so good. Let’s go forward and let God show us the way and listen to Him speak. When I read these blogs I feel like I have a whole new bunch of friends! Thank you all!
What a kind affirmation, Kathy! I gotta admit, I LOVE meeting with our sisters like this. Easy to catch up and stay in touch. I hate that you’ve been in a hard spot, yet rejoice in all the ways God is getting you through. Press on, beloved!
Scariest thing I ever had to do was sign papers that allowed all our property to be mortgaged for my husbands new business. I remember crying about it one night because of fear of the economy & then it was like the Lord spoke to me how God owned everything so it was really God’s, not mine, anyways “He owns the cattle on a thousands hills… I know that He will care for me”
A HUGE relief, when you realize God owns it all. And still a big leap of faith, to sign those papers. Good for you! Whenever I’ve followed the Lord’s lead and taken a scary step like that, he has always proven faithful. ALWAYS. Eager to hear the rest of the story!
Where to start?? First time I’ve posted since I’ve started this study…Let me say, I just love Liz’s way of writing to catch your attention in this study! After reading the posts on week 8, thank you to everyone who opens up her heart to us online here, I have enjoyed reading all of them…at first I wasn’t going to post…but Krista M’s post hit my button…I am always going to God to ask forgiveness, time and time again for those sins that I keep repeating, wondering when I am going to get it and thankful that we have such a loving, forgiving God, and patient One also…He must shake His head when He hears me again!
Scariest? When asked to be a sub teacher in my ladies Sunday School class years ago…who was I? I didn’t qualify…on and on the negative thoughts in my mind, but out of my mouth, I said I would pray about it! Well, God had other plans and His answer came quickly and the very next day! In my daily devotions, it was about Moses and how he told God in Exodus 3:10-12 “O, my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant, but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord. Now, therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” Well, it was plain and right out there, hard to miss. Needless to say, I did the sub and ended up being the teacher for awhile. And the rewards, were outstanding! God truly blessed me! Yes, it was hard to do a lesson each week, and yes, I still felt inadequate most times, but I had God right there beside me all the way. God put me there, but He also let me know when it was time to move on to His other plans! Which was the second part of scary, knowing when He had other plans…but as always, His timing is right, we just have to be able to hear it, I went to be a helper in a kids class and now am a teacher of 2nd and 3rd graders…and loving this so much! Thank you Jesus!
Before I go, just one thing about the Ruth and Naomi study this week that really stood out for me…the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew is one passage I love to read…but when you mentioned David as Ruth’s great grandson..it just was a WOW for me! I just loved that! It’s all about your style of writing that brings it all to life again…and Ruth has always been my favorite book of the Bible! Thanks be to God that He gave you this gift of writing so we can all come together her in the online Bible study and in all your other wonderful books!
Alaine, we’re so glad you chimed in! I have good news: nowhere in the Bible does it say, “God rolled his eyes” or “God shook his head.” ;>) His patience and mercy and loving-kindness stretch farther than we can ever imagine, let alone duplicate.
Wonderful to hear how God spoke to you through the story of Moses AND through the genealogy of his Son. His Word is so rich: a feast that delights the eyes and satisfies the soul.
I can relate to the relationship that Naomi and Ruth had and to the relationship of Jonathan and David. Now that I think about it the movie, Beaches, comes to mind!
I grew up in a family of five girls. We are all close but my twin sister and I are especially close. We don’t feel each others physical pain but each other’s heartaches. I am now, we are now, 55 years of age and still just as close. The nice thing about having an especially close relationship with someone is that when one is down the other is usually up. So, when I went through my divorce she was there for me. It was during my recovering that I began studying the Word, more than I had ever done before, and became involved in Bible studies. Our relationship took on a new dimension, as I began sharing what I was learning. She began studying the same material and although our lives have been miles apart we have grown closer and send each other through our personal trials. Learning to express my faith to my sister gave me the strength to begin sharing my relationship, with God, with others.
Because I had a close relationship with my sister, I gave grown to be a better parent of adult children. Our conversations always include what the Lord is doing in our lives and a faith that He will see each of us through the coming months and years.
My oldest daughter and her husband, have one child and are beginning the process of adoption. Her husband, was adopted at 2 months of age, to a loving Christian family and he wants to do the same for a child. Together they have agreed to adopt one or two siblings and twins would be okay!
I am anxious to see how my story continues to unfold……
What a blessing it must be to have a twin, especially when you are there for each other through bad times and good, and even more when you have a mutual faith in God. Love seeing how sharing your faith with her gave you the courage to share with others. Brava, sis!
Oh Dear Liz,
I am ever so grateful that you face that fear and continue to be real in your blog. God truly knew what He was doing when He placed this study in your heart. (of course He always knows what He’s doing 🙂 ) Your being real and honest speaks even more volumes into my life as I’m sure it does our Sisters here and helps me to push past that fear to the honesty in my answers as well.
This blogg tought me to cultivate my friendship with my sister more deeply. We’re not on the same spiritual level. I would like to bring her closer to Jesus.
I will bath, anoint, and dress for this, as far as I can do these things myself and believe the Lord will do His part.
I felt like my scary thing was crazy, but after reading the comments have realized that others shared a similar one. So, here goes nothing.
Several years ago I was still in college and had stepped down from being a lead teacher in our Missionette group because I felt like I wasn’t giving my 4 and 5 year olds all that they needed because I had to put school and work before studying for my class. I was happy to be a helper since all I had to do was show up and lend a hand when needed. I got very close to the lead teacher in the class and had no desire to leave. We went to this leadership training course and in the middle of the class the teacher of the workshop mentioned this new group for 2 year olds that was to be released soon. Instantly I heard this voice say you’ll be the one to teach it at your church. I was like no, I’m happy where I’m at. I didn’t want to leave my friend and I was still in school. I went through all my excuses, but He had an answer for everyone. So at lunch I asked my friend that I was working with what she would think if I left her. She simply said I knew you wouldn’t stay too long because you’re not supposed to help. You’re a teacher. Then she said I’ll miss you, but I know the new 2 year old class is where you belong.
For this to make sense you have to know that our church didn’t have this class. There was no material yet. I didn’t even know that it existed or if our coordinator was planning on adding it.
Anyway I went to coordinator and mentioned that I might be interested in teaching this group. She said we had a room set aside because they had already moved the 2 year olds out of the nursery simply because there wasn’t enough room. Random people had been in the room to watch the kids, but it wasn’t an established class. It was basically just an extension of the nursery. Then she wrote my name down as the lead and kept going leaving me stuttering and saying over and over that I had only said maybe.
I continued to hear this voice that I knew was God and tried to argue with Him. By the way, it’s really dumb to argue with God because you NEVER win. Anyway, when we got home I called my mom and bounced the idea off her. She said you need to pray about it, but if you’re looking for confirmation the answer is yes. By the next day, at the end of service I went to the coordinator and told her I couldn’t keep arguing with God and the answer was yes I’d take the class if I could finish out the year helping where I was. She started crying and said God told me He’d send me someone and I know this is right.The class is yours.
We started this class with 12 lessons, 2 teachers that had never worked together before, about 9 kids,and a hope that somehow we could make this class work. That was about 4 or 5 years ago. I’m still doing it. The class has touched about 50 little lives. The parents have been so grateful. I’ve changed helpers several times, but I’ve never enjoyed teaching a class more than I enjoy this one. They’re so excited to learn. I just love it.
Sorry this is longer than I meant it to be, but I had to share my story. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to do so.