Of all the books of the scriptures, the book of Ruth stands out. It narrates the story of a young lady from Moab called Ruth, and her journey to the land of Bethlehem.
In chapter one of the book of Ruth, the curtain opens on Naomi, Ruth’s mother in law after the death of her son (Ruth’s husband). Ruth loved Naomi. This love would finally lead her to become the great grandmother of the great king David. Ruth’s story is a beautiful story of grass to grace, a story of hope and one that was written for the present-day believer’s admonition.
I would like to share some lessons that I learnt as I read through the book.
- The Present Circumstance of a Believer doesn’t describe him/her, he possesses something eternal.
To the physical eyes, Naomi was finished. She had just lost her husband and 2 sons. She must have thought “we made a big mistake coming down from Bethlehem to Moab”. Everything her world revolved around was all gone. But you know what? Even at that state, Ruth still clung-on to her, not wanting to let her go. Why? She had God.
Look, said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God”
Rather than Ruth leaving Naomi like Orpah, her sister in law, she knew Naomi had God, and she was interested in having that same God, hence your God will be my God. Ruth knew that despite Naomi appearing to have lost all, she should not be judged by her present situation, she had something of far more eternal value in her possession and she was ready to cleave to Naomi for that. Because that thing that Naomi had, Ruth knew it was able to make her story better and sweeter.
Throughout Scriptures, you see this same scenario play again and again:
Paul said we are poor yet (what we carry) is making others rich… (2 Cor. 6:10).
Jesus was on the cross, stripped naked, losing his life yet he was granting forgiveness and passage to heaven for another.
Jacob: cheated left, right and center having nothing yet, he was making Laban rich. (He had God, he carried the covenant). Same with Joseph in Potiphar’s house. And the list goes on and on.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us
(2 Cor. 4:7 KJV)
- The Need for Mentors
Reading the book of Ruth, you will notice how following Naomi’s instruction and mentorship, Ruth was able to change her story from being a widow to being the great grandmother of King David. Getting a mentor helps you stay on the shoulder of someone taller than you, so you can see far.
For young believers, my admonition is always that Life is too complex, for you to start to figure it out with your brain. Get a mentor, someone who can guide you and you can do life better under his instructions.
The book of 1 Timothy, is full of instructions from Paul on how Timothy was to do life and run the church. Timothy needed that guidance, Paul was there to grant it. So do you need guidance, my reader.
To be contd.
Say with Me:
I know who I am,
I am not defined by my present situation,
Greater is he that is in me,
I’m a covenant carrier,
I’m a grace giver,
I’m blessed in all that I do,
I’m blessed to be a blessing,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I Call You Blessed
“One Generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts”
Ps. 145:4 (NIV)
In Exodus 3:6, God introduced Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I believe this is noteworthy to remind us that even though we humans had but a little time to exist in this sphere, He abides forever. We don’t last forever, He does.
Secondly, I believe it was an example for us to see the transference of the Faith from Father to son and to son’s son. Abraham’s covenant and Faith walk was transferred down to Isaac and Isaac down to Jacob. Same example is found in Lois, Eunice and then Timothy.
“When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that is in thee also. (2 Tim. 1:5 KJV)
Every generation owes the next, to tell it of the mighty works of God. We owe our kids to tell them of our faith and walk with God.
Scriptures clearly inform us that God is highly interested in the next generation and not only interested in that, but He wants to document his dealings with us to show them.
“In the future, when your son asks you “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand” (Deut. 6: 20-21 NIV)
In Joshua 4: 1 – 6, Scriptures also give the account of God instructing the children to pick up twelve stones out of the Jordan, and to set the stones as a sign among them, so that in the future when their children ask what does the stones mean, they will be able to account on to the next generation what mighty acts God worked in their midst.
“That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, what mean ye by these stones?” Then ye shall answer them,…” (Joshua 4:6-7a KJV)
Imagine how spurred and encouraged we are when we read of the acts of the early church in the recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, same also should our generation be ready to encourage the next generation with testimonies of Faith.
One Generation will tell of His mighty works to another.
I call you Blessed,
And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
Jesus, speaking in the verse above used the word ‘cross’ to denote the ‘death’. Of course, through the death of the cross he paid for the sins of humanity. So, did he mean we are also to expect to be crucified like he was? No. Rather “taking up our cross daily” signifies “dying to the flesh daily”.
As believers we must be aware of the potency in our flesh to hinder or possibly stop the move of the spirit, the work of God in and through us. The flesh sometimes manifests as a veil denying men to see the glory of God upon us. As we allow the working of the spirit, putting the flesh to death, we create room and space for the holy spirit to work in and through us.
Oftentimes, the manifestation of the flesh is in our holding on to material things. We want to boast about our certificates, cars, houses, achievements and even sometimes our spiritual knowledge of scriptures. If there was any man in scriptures who had enough things to boast about, Paul was one.
In Philippians 3: 4 – 7, he itemized a lot of these things that he could boast about. Asides those, looking at his life, there were a lot of things to boast about. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews (this was a strong spiritual boast in those days), a scholar who learned from the best (more like attending Harvard in our time), in prayers, fervent, in spiritual understanding he wrote a large part of the new testament we all read today and the list goes on and on. But instead of holding on to all of these, he said:
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. (Philippians 3: 8)
Paul, instead of holding on to all he had achieved, he counted them as “dung”, “garbage” instead, why? To gain Christ. To give more room for Christ to be revealed to him. As such, our holding on to these things actually rob us of the possible revelations of Christ that have been given to us to walk in.
It is interesting how we allow the flesh to have its way in our affairs every day without even noticing it. Recently, the Lord began to show me this in my own life. I noticed many of them were things that even though good to have, they were taking too much space in my heart.
Sometime ago I said to myself, I want to achieve this and buy that before the end of the year. I want to get better at work so I need to take that course, or learn that new software, etc. Even though all of these things are good, the moment they begin to become my top premonition, that’s likely the flesh.
The Lord wants to be first in all our affairs. The moment this happens in our lives, we are likely to have died completely to the flesh. This is also explained in Luke 9: 57 – 62.
Lastly, when temptations come, they are meant to check the amount to which our flesh is in control of our lives. To think that Judas and Peter were both followers of Jesus, but the devil knew that if Judas was tempted by money, that his flesh was still alive in that area, and he could be led by the flesh into betraying his master, is a strong indication showing us the potency of the flesh.
“But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions)” James 1:14 AMP
Jesus overcame temptations by dying to the flesh. He didn’t just overcome by knowing scriptures, which is good but, he overcame because he didn’t allow lust for the material things of this world to be found in him.
“…And he has no claim on Me. [He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me]” John 14:30
I will close with the words of Jesus, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ.
I call you blessed
Everyone says “Evolve or Die”, “make sure to stay at the top of the game”, “Create your own niche”, “Be Unique”, “Stand-Out”, while I believe all these are true, we must be careful to know in which context this advice holds true.
In our pursuit of success in our careers I believe this is true. I always counsel the same. Read books, be unique, Create a special value, do something new and I always give the example of some of the former prominent chat applications like 2go, BBM. Those were the most famous messaging famous some years ago, but now no one knows where they are anymore. And that’s why you always notice your phone applications updating themselves, the programmers keep adding new features to them so they still relevant and keep being useful to their customers.
But, in spiritual things, there’s no new teaching. The teaching is same. The message doesn’t change. The message was Jesus, it is at present Jesus and in years to come, it will be Jesus. Don’t try to sound New, trying to sound New would lead you to error.
Definitely in time, we would grow, increase in knowledge of scriptures, have deeper insight into the scriptures. We would be able to explain things simpler and more clearly because of access into deeper revelation but the message stays same JESUS.
Paul speaking to Timothy said:
And the things that you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit you to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2
See the trend. Paul taught Timothy some things, EXACTLY this same things Timothy was to teach some Faithful Men, this faithful men are then to teach this SAME things to OTHERS (me and you).
It is Jesus the same yesterday, today and forever. And did you just say it’s going to be boring? No. He is new Every morning but still the same.
It’s the same Gospel, the Same Spirit, the same Jesus.
*all scriptures are quoted from the KJV except otherwise stated.
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;” (Eph. 4:4)
Recently, I was re-reading the account of the first pentecost after the death and resurrection of Christ. The account gave details about the infilling of the Holy Spirit received by the disciples, fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel, the boldness of Peter in preaching to those present and the resulting multitudes who came to receive Christ through Peter’s message that day.
In this account, there is a very important verse in Acts 2, which I believe was pivotal to what we read today in Acts 2, and it is the first verse of this chapter:
“And the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
I believe the phrase “ONE ACCORD” really describes the state of how God’s people (the Church) is to be. Everyone comes to fellowship together in unity irrespective of their background, life experiences, self worth, achievements and without any wall of division or segmentation in their hearts. The Holy Spirit through Paul wrote to the Ephesians saying:
“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all” (Eph. 4: 3 – 6 NLT)
Notice the first statement…”Make every effort!” I believe the Holy Spirit knows strongly the importance of brethren dwelling together in unity and as such, encourages us strongly to make sure that this is seen and witnessed amongst us. So today, I want to encourage you, make every effort to keep the Church of God united in the Spirit! Note that the Church is not limited to your local assembly but believers round the world. It is One body of Christ! One Church!
Scriptures again and again tell us of the importance of this unity. In the description of the Church given in 1 Peter 2:5, the Church is described as a spiritual house.
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2: 5)
Jesus speaking said:
“And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mark 3:25)
I believe this explains the weakness we see in the Church today. There is so much division amidst ourselves, along denominational lines, ethnic lines etc. One person is saying I am of this group, while the other says I am of that group. One says I know better, the other says, No! I have more resources than you, so I’m better, causing so much strife and contention within a house which is supposed to stand together in one accord. It is One Faith! One body! One Father of all!
Paul writing to the Corinthians on the issue of strifes and contentions wrote:
“For you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says “I am a follower of Paul” and another says “I follow Apollos” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.” (1 Cor. 3 : 3 – 5 NLT)
Paul again writes:
“Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.”Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ”. Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not!
(1 Cor. 1:12 – 13 NLT)
In other instances, scriptures describe the Church as a body which needs each part to function perfectly. The eyes are not greater than the hand, neither is the head better than the stomach. All parts need each other to function. The eyes can’t walk on its own, it needs the legs for that, and of course while in motion the legs need the eyes so it doesn’t fall into a ditch. None less, none greater.
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12: 12 – 13 NLT)
“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” (1 Cor. 12: 27 NLT)
Today, I encourage you to strive to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Don’t seek exaltation for one part of the body over another. Strife and contentions weaken the body, don’t do it!
Pray this with me:
“As a believer,
I will make every effort to keep myself united with my brethren,
As a part of the Spiritual house that Christ is building,
I will not be part of strife or contentions that weaken it.
As a part of the body of Christ,
I will contribute my part to its growth and functioning,
Without thinking I’m better or lesser than the other parts,
All this by His grace.
It is one faith, We have one body and one Father over all,
Who is Lord of all. Amen”
Thanks for reading.
I Call You Blessed
Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the Children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee and keep thee. (Num. 6: 23 – 24 KJV)
It is the Father’s will to bless us. Beyond that conviction, it is important to know what the blessing is, how it is received , what qualifies one for it and why God blesses.
And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and gave dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.
The account above is of the beginning; God was proclaiming a blessing to man even before he was created. Even when he was without works, without any good or bad deeds, he was blessed. He came into life with that blessing upon his life. He was created to be in charge, to subdue, to have dominion. He was blessed. Even though this blessing was lost, when he fell but it was restored in Christ. Even before we had any works, the Father blessed us!
May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm! (Eph 1:3 AMP)
He blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm. I find this amazing, that the account in Ephesians 1 is similar to Genesis 1. While Genesis 1 explains what happened at the beginning, Paul, in Ephesians 1 through the Holy Spirit explains to us what happened at the point we were born into God’s household. And in both instances, God blessed us when we were without any good works. Before we even thought about service to Him or doing good or paying our tithe or offerings, we were blessed with all spiritual BLESSINGS in CHRIST JESUS.
Everything we want is in God’s blessing for us. Everything God has blessed us with is in Christ. All our requests for life are in Christ and Christ is in us.
Notice Ephesians 1:3 tells us He blessed us in Christ Jesus, telling us the channel with which God blessed us is Christ Jesus. As the verse describes this blessing as spiritual, I do believe they can be manifested in the physical. Various scriptures tell us of God’s blessings upon the believer.
But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption: (1 Cor. 1: 30)
Christ has been made unto me wisdom
Christ has been made unto me righteousness
Christ has been made unto me sanctification
Christ has been made unto me redemption
It is in Christ that we are blessed not on account of any good works we have done. In Christ, we have a sound mind. Notice scripture does not say we will have it, it says we already have it.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7)
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed. (1 Pet. 2:24)
It is part of God’s blessing upon the believer’s life that we should be in good health. Scripture also tells us that the blessing of Abraham is upon the believer.
“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14)
And here is one of the blessings God proclaimed upon Abraham:
“And I will make of thee a great nation, that I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12: 2 – 3)
I believe one of the reasons God blesses us is so we can be a blessing to all the families of the earth. We are God’s channel of blessing the earth. One might be tempted to say, “of the 10 richest people on earth, none of them is a believer”. Well, we need to start seeing that the blessing is not first, financial! Of course it may manifest as financial but God’s blessing upon our life is far more than money. We need to have this perspective. That’s why every now and then, I tell myself “Samson, you are blessed”.
Brothers and Sisters, whether we feel like it or not, we are blessed, and not because of what we do or don’t do but because of what Christ did. And we are blessed to be a blessing.
He Calls us blessed.