Saturday, January 21, 2012

Crossroads of Life

Ruth 1:16 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. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
 This story is about loyalty in the toughest of times. What do you do when everything seems to be lost? What Ruth decided to do was to stay with Naomi, the mother of her deceased husband. She could not leave her and she felt this deep sense of love and loyalty, even loyalty that overrides her own needs. She could have gone back to her old way of life, to her home town and sought a husband to have a new life. The choice was hers and yet here it was, she was to go ahead and to make sure that her husband’s mother was going to be taken care of. Naomi was in despair and without hope, as you can see in this chapter. Ruth decides to stay, minister to her mother in law and take care of her. This is the greatest story about loyalty and love. But, it is also a great story about how at times in our lives, when we come to a defining moment in our lives, which path do we choose. This is where the road splits into two, one path to the right and the other to the left. Which way do we go? The consequence of our choices will determine our entire lives. When we look at the spiritual side, Ruth would have gone back to the “other gods” of her homeland, but when she decided to go with Naomi, she decided to choose the one God, the God of Naomi. This was the defining moment in her life and her life will change forever. Defining moments come around quite infrequently. When they do, we need to  seek guidance from the Lord and to which path to take. Regardless of how we would feel, which is the way the Lord wants us to go. It is not about satisfying ourselves and putting ourselves first, but it may mean a sacrifice at the time. We need to ask ourselves, “what is the right thing, the honorable thing, the thing that God wants me to do?”. For God knows the path He wants us to choose and he has our whole future decided upon from this. May we make those right decisions based on God’s Will for our lives and be like Ruth, who followed loyalty over self.
Question: Are you at the crossroads of your life and not sure which path to take?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reverse the Curse

"The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children,[b] and to plunder the property of their enemies. The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar.  A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies." Esther 8:11-13
As I was reading through the book of Esther, I got to Chapter 8 and realized something about God and His plans in our lives. What happened in Esther was that  the King had issued a decree to kill all the Jews. Once this decree went out, it could not be cancelled - but there was a way around it. This was to issue another decree that stated that the Jews were ALLOWED to protect themselves against any attack and that they also were allowed to plunder the property of those that attacked them. This is really cool, for this decree, basically makes the first decree invalid. No one would attack a Jew, knowing that they had the right to fight back and claim all property.  There always seems to be a way around an impossible task. God was in control of this whole situation from the beginning. The Jews didn’t see the whole picture but God had everything under control and He worked it out for His good. But what did it look like from the human perspective? It looked like the situation was impossible. What made the difference? FASTING AND PRAYER. Sometimes when we are in what we may think of as impossible situations, we need to remember that God always has a plan B. Who would have thought that the curse could be reversed? It seemed impossible that once an order was given, it could not be withdrawn. But there WAS another way. What kind is situation are you in today? Does it seem impossible? Is there no way out when you look at it with your human perception? Is it a job situation? Is it a failed marriage? Is it finances? We can be up against a wall and see no way out, but God has a way out and always has a way for the curse to be reversed. I am grateful to know that no matter what impossible situation I may face,  God always has an alternate solution to the problem. We need to do our part by fasting and praying, then God does His part. We are in partnership with Him and He delights when we come to Him in prayer and lay all of our cares and worries at His feet and trust Him that He is going to get us through those tough times. 
Question: Are you facing an impossible situation? Do you think there is no way out?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Accept or Reject

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:39-43

 it is important to remember that there were three men on crosses that terrible day. There was Jesus and two other men that were guilty, and only Jesus was not guilty. So let us look at that scenario. Two men in the presence of Jesus in the midst of pain and suffering. They both had the same choice. They could either accept or reject Jesus. It is the same today, everyone is given that same choice, do you want eternal life or do you want eternal death. The choice is up to the individual. Jesus was there, he was present is their suffering and only one chose to acknowledge that Jesus was Lord and all he wanted was to be remembered in God’s Kingdom. Jesus saw his heart and told him that he would be with him in paradise. Good choice. Now the other man is a different story. It is a story of a man that was full of bitterness and resentment. Even at the end of his life, he choice to take that to the grave with him. Two men on a cross and two different decisions that would make a difference in where they would spend eternity. Do we want others to perish? Do we want to see those that have this gift of eternal life, die and not be able to spend eternity in paradise with Jesus? This is the good news that we need to carry out to others to let them know, it is a decision that will carry them into eternity.
Question: What can you do today, to share the Good News with others?