Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Where Should Our Focus Be? - A Dose of Encouragement


Where is your focus?

Where is my focus?


Where are we told our focus should be?






What are we focusing on?


What should we really be focusing on?



Have you noticed the I, I, I mentality that people are exerting these days?

So many blog posts, tweets, facebook posts are all trying to direct us to focus in on 

what we feel, 

          what we think, 

                    what we want to do, 

                              who we want to be, 

                                        where we want to get to etc.


I saw a tweet a few months ago where someone wanted to encourage us to know 


"who we were and to cultivate the person we wanted to be"



Even in Christian circles and unfortunately also in some churches we are being led in the same direction with the focus being on how great we are and how we can be better if we see and know and push on to be the great person who is within us.


BUT


Does the Bible tell us that?


Does the Bible focus on us?


NO





The Bible always focuses on Jesus
 and is constantly directing us
 to His Death on the cross
 and
 not to ourselves.




Jesus is the one who leads us to God, 

               Jesus is the one who stood in our place, 

                              we cannot do anything without His strength, 

                                             we are not the overcomers Jesus is the overcomer.




Preachers like to take the story of David and Goliath and turn it all to be about us.
We are not going to overcome our giants as so many people preach today. 
God will do that. 




Any limelight is not for the preacher, 
and
 not for the congregation 
but for 


Jesus.



Preachers like to preach about us and our mountains.  
But what does the Bible really tell us?
Prayer will move mountains.
Faith will move mountains.  
We should not take the credit for anything we must give all the credit to God.



Preachers quote Mark 11 v 23


For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

and preach on it giving the impression that if we believe it, then it will happen.


However as with all scripture it must be taken in context and then we see more of what Jesus had said hence giving a clearer picture.


Mark 11 v 20-24 


The Lesson of the Withered Fig Tree
20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

This clearly shows us that:

  • Our prayers will be answered if we have Faith in God.
  • God will move the mountains.


Preachers also like to quote Matthew 17 v 20

20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 

However again let's take it in context and see the clearer picture. 


Matthew 17 v 19-21
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your [e]unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Nothing will be impossible for us because nothing is impossible for God.  
If God was not there then the things would be impossible for us.


We also know that Scripture backs up scripture and so looking at other places in the Bible such as Nahum we see the definite proof that it is God who has all power and not us.




The mountains do not tremble before us they tremble before God.


And further this is the reason it is God who has power over the mountains


Psalm 95 v 3-5


For the Lord is the great God, And the great King above all gods.  In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also.  The sea is His, for He made it; And His hands formed the dry land.

because they are His.


Why does faith do anything?   
To bring glory to God.
Not to bring attention to us.


What is man’s purpose on earth?  
To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.







So why should we be told that we are great?  or that we are the conquerors of our Goliaths?  or that we are strong?  or that we are the overcomers?  or that we can work miracles?




We can't 

But God can.


We can't, but God can!

Let us focus on Jesus and His love for us shown by His death on the cross and our salvation through faith by the grace and mercy of God.

Only by knowing Jesus and the Bible better will be grow in faith.


If you are wondering about this faith we are talking about then please click on the short 3.2.1. video on my sidebar.






Monday, 25 March 2019

Top 10 things I Do Each Day to NOT Keep a Tidy Home


Notice I DID write NOT keep a TIDY Home

AND

This was not a mistake





So here are my very simple honest


 Top 10 Things I Do Each Day to NOT Keep a Tidy House 


1.     Set my alarm and then repeatedly hit snooze


2.     Open the Post and throw it on the table


3.     Go right from breakfast to the computer before filling the dishwasher


4.     Do not read my Todo list until the afternoon


5.     Go through Social Media before lunch


6.     Set my timer, ignore and then set it again








7.     Last thing at night - say I'm going to turn off the lamp and clear the living room - then an hour later......


8.     Say to myself - I can fit some more paper in that waste paper bin in my study but no it overflows on to the floor instead.


9.     Go to check the washings in the Utility room but get waylaid by the draw of a cup of coffee and then forget what I was going to do and end up back at the computer with my coffee mug.


10.    Any other form of procrastination I can think of at any time of the day.



Why don't I keep my home tidy?


I know I sort of filed this in my mind as part of  Coffee & Conversation  because it is one of my short chatty posts but perhaps it actually falls under the category of  Home Organising as illustrated above because let's face it there wasn't actually any housework was there!







Or perhaps it truly belongs under the category of 10 Things because I like numbers






You can choose for yourself where you think it belongs.










Sunday, 17 March 2019

Ruth & Boaz - The Start of the Story


In this blog post we are going to look at the relationship between Ruth and Boaz from the book of Ruth in the Old Testament.

There are two parts clearly identified in the relationship between Ruth and Boaz so this is the first one which considers the start of the story which (although the book is named after Ruth) is clearly about these two main characters Ruth and Boaz. 







I have described this as a Devotional but it could be somewhat considered as a brief Bible Study of the main characters in the Book of Ruth because we are going to look at many of the verses in this short Book of the bible.



Although this is entitled Ruth and Boaz we could not look at this objectively if we did not first take the character of Naomi into consideration to see the feelings that lead to the journey and the destination.



Naomi

When looking at the book of Ruth the first chapter is all about the history and love of a family which seemed to have ended in sadness and hurt which was turning into bitterness.


Ch 1
20  But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.  21  I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

It is with Naomi that this commentary of the whole situation begins and throughout the book she plays a very important role.



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Ruth

Ch 1


The verse below sums up the attitude of Ruth after all the heartache and unsettled circumstances she and Naomi found themselves in - she was not ready to give up and she was mindful of the responsibility she had towards her mother-in-law.


Ruth was in fact starting out in a new story of her life and had chosen who she was going to serve - God.







Boaz


Ch 2

To see what type of a man Boaz was we can look at some individual verses 

His Immediate Greeting  

The first thing Boaz did was to greet his workers  v 4


Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!”And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!”


and this greeting was one of blessing


Then he knew all his workers (long time ones and more recent ones obviously as some of these workers would come and go) well enough to notice a new person  v 5


Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?”


He is considerate to someone who is not used to what they are now doing  v 8


Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. 

He thinks of Ruth's safety  v 9


Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”


He recognises the good qualities in Ruth and wants God to bless her  v 11-12


11  And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”


He comforts Ruth  v 13

He treats her kindly like a worker he is responsible for and not like a begger  v 13


13 Then she said, “Let me find favour in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”

He personally makes sure she gets the food at the mealtime  v 14


14 Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back.


He provides easy access to the grain for gleaning  v 15


15 And when she rose up to [b]glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not [c]reproach her. 


He then makes the gleaning easier for her by providing extra grain to fall  v 16


16 Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”


He is thoughtful not just for that one day but for the rest of the harvest time  v 23


23 So she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.

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Ruth

Ch 2

Ruth knows she is a foreigner so she feels different and perhaps inferior  v 10


10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favour in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”


Obviously Ruth has been kind and others have noticed this so that it has been talked about  v 11


11 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 


Ruth had needed comforting and she was thankful to Boaz  v 13

She appreciated being treated like one of his servants even though she is only there to gain for herself and not work for him  v 13


13 Then she said, “Let me find favour in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken [a]kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”


She worked hard  v 17  & 23

17 So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.

23 So she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.


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Naomi

Ch 2

Ruth shared all that happened to her in the fields with her mother-in-law.

Naomi pointed out to her this also was looking after her safety  v 22

22  And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that people do not meet you in any other field.”



Naomi had the extra view and thought on the whole situation and was the wise counsel that Ruth in a strange land would need.



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Boaz

Ch 3

Boaz knew her situation and how it would not be easy for Ruth to look after herself and her mother-in-law when neither of them had a husband.  He clearly saw she was not rushing into finding a substitute for her first husband but was willing to work hard to take care of  herself and Naomi  v 10

10 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.



What is important in a good relationship?




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Ruth

Ch 3


Ruth was respectful enough to listen to advice from Naomi even if she may not have understood the traditions of her new homeland  v 3-4


Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”


Ruth was wise enough to agree to take this advice from Naomi  v 5


And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.”

But I think she must have felt something for Boaz to agree to do something so intimate and risky.





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