Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday's With Jesus #145

#145 “Today’s The Day…”

April 29, 2008


Today I am going to allow my 17 year old son, Kyle, to share his story with you. And I must tell you that my heart is alive with the reality of Proverbs 23: 15-16 which says: "My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right." What a kid!!



“Then Samson prayed to the LORD, "O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” - Judges 16:28

Passage Lookup: Judges 13-16


I’ve always grown up in a Christian home.  I mean, my mother has been writing devotionals and doing ministry for quite some time now.  But it wasn’t until recently that I became more than a Christian.  It wasn’t until "Taylor Youth Conference 2008" that I realized what it was to know Christ – to come into His presence and just let it all go.  It wasn’t until I was brought to tears that I realized how much our Father loves us.


            I still remember the Sunday mornings when I would wake up at noon and think to myself, “What a great day…I got to sleep in, and breakfast is waiting for me downstairs.”  I’d roll out of bed, with no acknowledgement of  God, no realization that the feeling of my carpet at my feet and the vision of the pictures on my wall were all from God.  I started going to youth group as a punishment, but learned to love it (not for the right reasons, though).  As time went by, I started going to church as a simple routine. 


            I went through all the motions.  Bowed my head at prayer time, sung at the top of my lungs during praise and worship – believing what I was singing, but not living it.  I’d walk out of church thinking, “Today’s the day I’m going to change,” and just go back to my regular life.


            But it was the moment I saw the skit to the song “Everything” by Lifehouse, performed in tiny Upland, Indiana, that I realized how much I was taking for granted.  I tried to do everything on my own, and it was understandably overwhelming.  It was then that I understood that I could be more than just a believer in Christ. I could be a follower.


            I said all of that to get to here – Strength in Christ, our Father.  Today we’re going to be looking at Judges – the story of Samson.  An angel of the Lord appeared to Samson’s mother, telling her that Samson must be born a Nazirite, which, according to Numbers, states that “During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head.”  Samson felt that his strength came from his hair.  Throughout his story, the power of the Holy Spirit moved through him, while he felt that the power truly came from himself, his hair.  Samson used the strength granted to him by the Holy Spirit to kill hundreds at a time.  Then he met Delilah.


            Delilah was a woman from the Valley of Sorek that Samson fell in love with.  The Philistines paid Delilah to figure out the secret of Samson’s power.  Love and women were Samson’s weaknesses, and eventually he cracked and told her that his power was found in his hair.  The Philistines rushed in at night after Delilah had betrayed Samson and dragged him away – bald none-the-less. It was after this he was chained down to the pillars, his eyes were gouged out, and he was to be killed.


            We’ve all found ourselves in that situation.  We bank on the strength we feel we have in ourselves, and the next thing we know, the one thing that made us “strong” is gone, and we are stuck to the wall – with no way out.  We try and try and try, however we cannot seem to find the strength we once held so dear. 


            This is where Samson found himself.  Lost, alone, and powerless against the Philistines.  The book of Judges proceeds to account, “Then Samson prayed to the LORD, "O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes." Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.” (Judges 16:28-30).  It was at this moment he realized that the strength he had was not his own, but the strength of our God Almighty!!


            It’s as if he had the most important, and final epiphany of his life.  That his strength was not of his flesh, but of the Holy Spirit moving in him.  He could not do it on his own.


            We cannot do things on our own either. We need the power of the Holy Spirit in us to kill our metaphorical Philistines.  I learned this one the hard way…


            I recently ended my relationship with my best friend of almost a full year.  We had fought before, but I always went back.  She wasn’t the girl that I really should’ve been associating myself with.  She had a horrible mouth, even worse reputation, and just loved being anything but Holy.  I just couldn’t help myself.  She was so much a part of my life, she was my Delilah. I told her everything about my life – all the mistakes I had made, and the ones I even thought about making.  It wasn’t until I realized that I had strength in my Lord, Jesus Christ, that I was finally able to sever the friendship that had, in ways, become one of the largest valleys between me and God. 


            I tried many times before to just work it out on my own.  Use my own strength to end the relationship that was tearing me down inside.  But it just never worked – I kept on going back.  But by giving the relationship to the Lord and asking Him to do what needed to be done, whether I liked it or not, it was shortly after that I realized the effect she had had on my life. 


            I finally just let go of what I was holding on to.  Dropped my bags at the door and said, “Lord, take this from me.  I cannot do this on my own.  Let your voice billow through and lead me where you want me to go.”  The very next day, the friendship had ended.


            I cannot say I was not sad.  That’d be a bald-faced lie.  But I was at peace with it.  Because I knew that it was only through God that it had happened, and His Strength prevailed, allowing me not to react to her pithy comments in the hallway, or the dirty looks she would give me as she’d walk by.  Through the power of God, I was able to overcome a huge obstacle in my life, and can now begin to truly know God.


            We all have our own Delilah – our own weakness.  It may be love, lust, drugs, money, power, depression…no matter what it is, we all have it.  But we cannot fix it on our own.  How many of you are trying so hard to just pull yourself out of the situation?  It’s like trying to see when you have no eyes.  You just cannot do it.  But if you just let go of it all, give it all to God, the way He will move in you will simply astound you.  The band 4HIM said it best:


Someday you will find it may not be like you expect it. But I will come to you in a perfect time. You may be waiting for the fire when I'm calling through the rain. You may be listening for thunder while I'm whispering your name. You may be searching for a sign to let you know that it’s ok. Hold on cause I'm on my way.”


When you just let go of your situation, your baggage, you will find that God will move in you as He never has before.  He will raise you up from the valley, and place you where you need to be.  It may not be the way you expected it to end up – it probably won’t be.  But God is a perfect, loving, merciful God.  He placed you today, wherever you are, and He placed you there for a reason.  And you’ve just got to give everything up to Him – and then you can find true strength.  Strength in our Savior, Jesus the Christ.


God Bless,



Our dear, loving, merciful Father....humbly we ask for our children's lives. Reach down from Heaven with your nail-scarred hands and release the grip of the enemy's bony fingers from around each one of them. He wants to steal, kill and destroy their todays and their tomorrows. Give them life Father... life in abundance, to the full, until it overflows. With each child that You set free and claim as your own, may the enemy feel the deep blows and be reminded of his future. Set our children's feet on the solid Rock, that is Christ Jesus, our Lord.  Grant them repentence, kind Father, and lead them to a knowledge of the truth. May any who stray come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil who wants to take them captive to do his will. May only your will save them, lead them, and guide them safely Home. Amen. 






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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday's with Jesus #144

#144 "Toward the Light"
April 22, 2008
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8: 12)
I bought a bunch of bright, yellow tulips on Saturday. They have defied my sense of order and balance ever since. No matter which way or that I try to turn these beauties, they ignore my prodding and keep leaning toward the window. I want them to stand up tall and straight. They seem to have a mind of their own and they just keep on leaning. Toward the light.
Jesus referred to Himself as the "light of the world". In Jesus is life, "and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it". (John 1: 4-5) "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world". (John 1:9) And Jesus said, "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9: 5) 
There are no small amount of things that try to prod us away from the Light each and every day. Just like my hands pulling and prodding those tulips to change direction, we are pulled and prodded and tempted to move away from the Light and the Truth that is in Jesus Christ. If you just watch the evening news or read the morning paper you can easily slip into the darkness and get caught up in worry over increasing gas prices and home foreclosures. Fear wells up at the news of even more violence and danger on our streets. The grip of failing marriages, difficult job situations, difficult children, illness, and unfulfilled dreams will choke the light right out of us, if we don't keep on leaning. Other people's hands grab onto us and attempt to force us into moving away from our convictions and our righteous decisions, and walking in the darkness with them. They think we're weak, but leaning is not weakness. It takes enormous strength to not go the way of the world, but instead to trust and lean on Christ for everything.
This world is full of darkness. It has rebelled against God and has lost contact with the one true Source of light. Jesus said that "men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." (John 3: 19) Light exposes evil. But we don't have to stay in the dark. According to Christ, "no one who believes in [Him] should stay in darkness". (John 12: 46) The apostle Paul put it this way: "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them (by your godly character...my own addition). For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible." (Ephesians 5: 11-14) Didn't Jesus also tell us that we are "the light of the world"? When the light of Christ shines on us, we reflect that light and we can dispel the darkness in our own personal worlds.
When we lean into the Light that is in Christ by spending time with Him, reading His Word and praying, we begin to reflect that light. When we trust Him and refuse to be pulled or prodded by anyone or anything else, we will reflect His life. Psalm 34: 5 says that "those who look to Him are radiant". Don't you just love that? Every time that Moses was in the Lord's presence, his face was radiant. (see Exodus 34: 29-35) Spending time in the presence of the Lord dispels the darkness and fills us with His light.
Light and dark cannot co-exist. We can't have one foot in the things of Christ and the other foot in a world filled with darkness. "God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all". (1 John 1: 5) Darkness opposes God. It is hostile to Him. Darkness tries to lay it's claim on us and we must decide where we will live. "If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin." (1 John 1: 6-7) I couldn't say it any better than John. 
Walking in darkness is walking outside of the will of God. Let light reveal right and wrong to you through God's Word and His Holy Spirit and respond to that light continually. Be steadfast. Be resolved. Be stubborn like my tulips. Don't let anything deter you from leaning. In the midst of the chaos and confusion of men's lives, you will be radiant with the light of Christ. That light will dispel the darkness around you.  
The sun is pouring through my kitchen window and the light is illuminating those tulip heads. They're leaning and they are radiant!  Let the Son pour into the window of your heart and spirit right now. Stay in the Light.
And as for those tulips...I think I shall just let them lean!
Be sure to make a stop at the website and check out the details for the Living The Word Ministries Meeting, "Living Sacrifices in Alabaster Boxes", on May 31st.  
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday's with Jesus #143

#143 "In This Thing..."
April 15, 2008
"Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 1: 32)
There are times when a chapter of Scripture will hold such treasures of revelation that they are too much to absorb in one sitting. Other times, we come away and we don't think that God's Word has spoken to us at all. Maybe you can relate when you're trying to digest Leviticus and Numbers. But I love those glorious mornings when I'm reading along and a real word just leaps off of the page. Not an entire chapter. Not a whole book. Just one word or one verse that comes alive and hits me right square in the heart. Deuteronomy 1: 32 is one such verse.
Let me set it up for you. Standing at the banks of the Jordan River with the nation of Israel, Moses begins his farewell sermon. They are about to enter into the Promised Land of Canaan and he wants to make sure that they are ready. Moses won't be joining them on the other side and he gives the people instruction on how to walk with God in their new home.
Israel's call to faith and obedience was based on God's mighty acts thus far toward His chosen people. Moses was speaking for God when he took them on a history lesson through the last 40 years. He reminded them of God's constant care for them and also reminded them about the mistakes that they made. One such mistake took place a distant 38 years before.
You remember the story. Twelve spies were sent out to explore the land of Canaan but only two came back with a good report. The other ten saw the enemies instead of the abundance of their new residence. They saw giants instead of grapes and refused to go in and possess the land. In spite of seeing the Red Sea part and grant them passage to the other side, in spite of watching Pharaoh and his chariots drown behind them, in spite of God's provision of manna and quail in the desert, in spite of water to quench their thirst in a parched land, in spite of fire by night and cloud by day to guide them along their journey, in spite of all their eyes had seen, God reminds them of their biggest blunder... "Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God." They saw it all with their own eyes and still didn't believe that God would carry them the rest of the way. They were paralyzed at the banks of the Jordan River because of unbelief. They even had the nerve to say that God had brought them out of Egypt to deliver them into the hands of the enemy, to destroy them! (v. 27) And that one mistake cost them forty years of wilderness wanderings.
Do you have a "this thing"? Is there one thing in your life today that you just can't seem to believe the Lord your God for? It just seems too big. It just seems too impossible. You've been waiting for so long. And the enemy whispers in your ear that it ain't never gonna happen. 
Often we need to look back at the past to gain strength for the future. There are so many situations back there where you saw God move on your behalf right before your very eyes. But today, you only see the giant thumbing his nose at you in this new situation. Friend, look back. Recall all of the times that God brought you through. Some people like to journal when they get an answer to prayer and that's probably a really good idea. Keep a written record so that in times like these you can see God's faithfulness to you all along the way. In ancient times, the people would lay a stone on a place where God had performed some mighty work on their behalf. Every time they passed by that stone...every time one of their children saw that stone...they would remember God and all of His goodness. We need to set up some memorial stones. Some written records. Some way to never, ever forget. God will never deliver us just to turn around and destroy us! He hasn't brought you this far to abandon you now. 
The giants may seem huge. But your God is bigger. And He has been oh, so faithful to you. You know that He has. So is He different "in this thing" ? No...He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) Our situations may change, but He is unchangeable and always available. If He brought you out before, He'll bring you out of "this thing" again. Lift your eyes to Heaven and say, out loud..."In This Thing...I believe the Lord my God!" Go ahead, seriously, say it! Say it as many times as you have to until you believe it...until you believe God.
Brother...sister...believe God. He will bless you in all the work of your hands. He will watch over your journey through this vast desert. The Lord is with you and you will lack nothing. (Deut. 2: 7)
Your Promised Land is just up ahead. You can spend the rest of your life gazing at your destiny from the other side, murmuring and complaining, wandering for years around the same mountain, or you can believe God "in this thing" and march into your future victoriously. 
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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Tuesday's with Jesus #142

#142 " My Legacy"
April 8, 2008
"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."
(Proverbs 14: 1)
So you're probably wondering what took me so long. After all, my first grandchild, Ashton Kate Hogan, is now two weeks old. Might I add that she's a beauty! I know that every Grammy thinks her grandbaby is beautiful, but I have to tell you that even if this precious girl didn't have my blood running through her little veins, she'd still be out and out gorgeous!
This little darlin' has already brought such joy even at her tender age. Besides the fact that she's adorable, her birth has opened my eyes to so many awesome things. I was able to watch my oldest daughter, still bearing the scabs from her own miscarriage, holding Ashton in her arms. The healing process visibly unfolded right before my eyes. Thank you Jesus! Then there was my oldest son. He was told he was going to be a father himself a few years ago at the ripe old age of 17. It turned out the baby wasn't his. I watched his whole body shake as he held Ashton for the first time. I lifted my eyes and thanked the Lord for mercies given all those years ago. Great is His faithfulness! And our youngest, at 17, tough on the outside, but melting on the inside, with his new niece snuggled safely in his arms. Thank you Father, for drawing him closer and closer to you everyday. And Ashton's mom. My daughter. She's a mom now too. And watching her with her own little one fills my heart with joy unspeakable. I am truly full. 
The place of our tent is enlarging. The curtains are being stretched and the cords lengthened to make room for more of us. This family's beginnings were more than shaky. We've all made our share of mistakes. We've loved, we've laughed, we've cried. We've stood by one another. We've let each other down. But that's what family is all about. A wise woman builds her house. I haven't always been wise, but I pray I'm doing better. I have the most perfect parent in my Heavenly Father, and over the years He has taught me what it means to love...freely and unconditionally, because that's how He has loved me. And to the best of my human ability and with His strength I have set my heart to love like Him. I want my children to know happiness. But more than that, I want them to know love. God is Love. I want them to follow their dreams and their heart's desires. But more than that, I want them to follow Christ. I want them to always know that no matter what they do, even when they don't measure up to other people's standards, they always measure up with me. Because I always measure up with God. When they fail, I will forgive much, because I have been forgiven much. I will love them much, because my Father has loved me much. He is my example. Oh, that they would see Him in me and choose to follow!
Now there's Ashton. Only my groom, who knows me so well, knew what I was doing on the first day I held her in my arms. We were telling secrets. I whispered in her ear that Jesus loves her and so do I. I told her quietly when no one else was listening how she has a Father in Heaven who created her inmost being and knit her together in her Mommy's womb. I told her that she is fearfully and wonderfully made and that every day of her life was already written in God's book before one of those days ever came to pass. That there's an awesome plan for her life and that she is a mighty woman of God.
She never opened her eyes. But God's Word is living and active. There is power in the Word and I prophesied it over this precious ones life. I'm building my house. And Grammy has more secrets to tell her as she grows. 
Something supernatural happens when you make a decision to stand in the gap between the generations. When you make a decision to build your house. Ancient ruins of the past are rebuilt. Places long devastated are restored. The things of the generation that preceded me are defeated because of Christ Jesus who armed me for battle against them. Ruined cities that have been devastated for generations are renewed. And all who see us will acknowledge that we are a people the Lord has blessed. (See Isaiah 61: 4, 9b) Generational curses have been broken in Jesus' name. My mistakes have been redeemed and God's faithfulness has kept my children in spite of myself.
The past and it's power over us is broken. I have stood in the gap. I bear the battle scars. But it has been oh, so worth it. My children are the better for it. They will, in turn, build their houses, not tear them down. It's going to be better for you, Ashton Kate. And it will be better for all the grandbabies to come. Grammy's sure of that. And she has enough secrets to tell you all. Because you see, this family's house is built on the sure foundation of Christ Jesus, our Lord. The storms may come and the winds may blow and beat against this house, but it will not fall.... You, Ashton, are the first of the next generation for whom a legacy has been left. A legacy of unconditional love. A legacy of acceptance and forgiveness. A legacy that has been bought with a price. But worth every tear that's been shed and every fight that's been fought. It's going to be so much better for you, my lovely little girl. 
This wise woman has built her house. It is a house built with wisdom and established through understanding. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. (Proverbs 24: 3-4) The Lord gives wisdom and it is only because of Him that I didn't tear my house down with my own hands years ago. There's plenty of room now for grandbaby boys and grandbaby girls. Lord, I promise to do better with them. I promise to do better this time around. Because of You...I will leave a legacy.
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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tuesday's with Jesus #141

#141 "At The Edge of Moab"
April 1, 2008
"With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother's home." Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her." (Ruth 1: 7-8, 14)
I am having an out and out blast studying the Book of Ruth! God's Word truly is "living and active" (Hebrews 4:12). You can read it over and over again over the course of your Christian life, and then, POW!, new revelation jumps off the page. The first chapter alone, has so much to say to us right where we are living today. I've had a hard time deciding what to focus our "Tuesdays" attention to. I want to share everything with you. But being conscious of your valuable time, we'll just take a walk to the edge of Moab, as Naomi, Orpah and Ruth prepare to go to Bethlehem.
Naomi ended up in Moab because there was a famine in Bethlehem-Judah. In the ancient Near East, women were totally dependent on their husbands and if she were to survive, she would have to abide by his decision to go. Much could be said about Elimelech's choice to leave his homeland, but suffice it to say that Naomi and her two sons had to follow. It isn't clear what happened, but Elimelech died. Though filled with grief, practically speaking, she could still survive because her two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, were with her, along with their two Moabite wives, Ruth and Orpah. But after about ten years, her sons died too. The Bible says, "Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband." (v. 5)
Naomi never cancelled her subscription to the "Bethlehem Times" and one day she read that God "had come to the aid of His people by providing food for them". (v. 6) The famine at home was over. Her husband was dead. Her sons ... dead as well. It was decision time and it was up to Naomi. Stay in Moab, a place filled with idolatry and a place that was originally only going to be a temporary stay, or return home to Bethlehem. Home. The place where she was known by name. The place where she had friends. The place where her God was and the place that He was blessing. Like the Prodigal Son, she was in the far country. In Psalm 108: 9, God called Moab his "washbasin". Literally He was saying that Moab was His garbage can. Things never turn out well in the far country. Not for the prodigal and not for the Elimelech's. They had gone out full, but now Naomi was alone and empty. The choice was up to her. She decided it was time to go home.
Sometimes we make the decision to run away to the far country. When times get tough and we are experiencing famines of our own, we run away from God. We're overwhelmed by what is happening to us and we just can't seem to trust that God will take care of us. Other times, we run off because we are full. Life is good. Our needs are being met and we forget Who the Source of all good and perfect blessings is. Little by little we stray and before we know it we're eating from the pig trough, far, far away from home. Or like Naomi, there are times that we end up far away from home because of someone else's decision. We were abused and too young to fight. We were mistreated and too beaten down to stand up for ourselves. We were led away by someone we had to depend on to survive. Or someone too strong for us. The reasons vary but the destination is the same. And only we can make the decision to return home. That's what Naomi did.
Somewhere out on the long road back to Bethlehem, Naomi came to a halt. Something in this account makes me believe that she was a good mother-in-law and that she dearly loved Orpah and Ruth. At this point of the journey, her love for them allowed her to let them go, if they would so choose. In Bethlehem, they would be strangers and outcasts. Moabites were the Samaritans of that day. They would not be able to marry any Hebrew man. These young women would have no chance for any kind of future aside from living with Naomi for the rest of their days. Naomi set out the facts for them both and I guess Orpah decided that the cost was too high. Oh, she wept right along with Ruth. Tears flowed from her eyes as she told Naomi that she couldn't ever leave her. But I'll bet her mind was racing with all that she would be giving up. They both wept. Someone wrote "leavers and cleavers look the same". There are folks who can cry and show much emotion but when the rubber meets the road, their commitment falls away. Orpah had one eye on Naomi and one eye looking back at Moab. She's lucky God didn't turn her into a pillar of salt like Lot's wife. Remember Jesus' story of the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19? When Jesus told him to sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor, the Bible says that "he went away sad because he had great wealth".  Orpah counted the cost and Bethlehem's uncertainty wasn't worth the risk. Still wiping the tears from her eyes, she kissed Naomi good-bye and went back to Moab. Back to her "gods" and back to the garbage can. 
We never hear about Orpah again. She fades into obscurity and as one commentator put it, "she falls off the pages of the Bible". In our own decision to follow Christ, there is a cost. There is a price to be paid. Will we choose to stay in whatever "Moab" is our life and fade into obscurity, or will we choose to pay the price, trust in God and leave an everlasting legacy?  Sometimes it's easier to stay. But how exciting is the decision to take the journey with your hand in the hand of your Savior? You may not know where you're going, but He does. Orpah chose to go back...what about you?
Ruth heard the same words. She wept as well. But we read that "Ruth clung to" Naomi. She decided to go on with her mother-in-law into the unknown. There must've been something about Naomi that caused Ruth to follow her. We can only surmise at what their life was like in Moab and what things of God Naomi imparted to Ruth while they lived there. Perhaps without words, Naomi's life was a testimony to her God. And Ruth caught the fire. Oh, that I could live a life that is a walking testimony to Jesus Christ! Oh, that someone would see Him in me and want to cling. 
Ruth makes a decision to leave her family, her national identity and her religious idolatry to follow Naomi. This one decision changes her entire destiny. She makes a complete break with her past. Old ways, old habits and old family dysfunctions are left behind. It reminds me of Abraham when he set out for Canaan, leaving his kinfolk and everything that he knew behind in Ur. But Abraham had a promise. Ruth did not. And she speaks some of the most beautiful words that the Bible records: "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." (Ruth 1: 16-17 KJV)
One decision can change your entire life. One decision can literally change your course, show you your purpose in life and lead you into your destiny. You can fall into obscurity or you can find abundant life in Christ and affect the destiny of generations to come. I urge you to read the rest of Ruth's story. You will see that because of one choice, Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David and her name appears in Matthew 1 in the genealogy of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We can truly go out weeping but come in singing songs of joy. (Psalm 126: 6)   
Are you standing at the fork in the road today? Are you on the outskirts of Moab needing to decide which way to go? Major decisions are often made on the outskirts of life. Who do you relate to the most today? Are you like Naomi, out in Moab, needing to return home? Have you been in the far country for way too long? Decide today to make that journey home and return to the things that really matter. One of my favorite authors, Tommy Tenney, puts it this way: "Leave your Moab behind-it should mark only where you have been, but have no influence on where you are going. This is the place where you existed but never really lived."  Or are you Orpah, willing to fade into obscurity, make no mark on the future, not willing to pay the price? It's your decision, but friend, you don't know what you're missing! Or are you akin to Ruth? Counting the cost, considering it worth it and following your Savior wherever He may lead.
As Act One of Ruth closes we see two women arriving in Bethlehem. Two women of different ages. Two women of different ethnicity. Two women whose story began with a famine in the land. A ripe barley harvest is at hand. There was hope ahead for their future. There is hope ahead for your future today. One decision can change your whole destiny.
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