Friday, June 29, 2012

Eyes Bigger Than the Stomach Can Handle

2Samuel 13:20
20Her brother Absalom said to her, "Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet now, my sister; he is your brother. Don't take this thing to heart."

As much as I have read the story about Tamar being raped by her brother, never did I recall the above verse. I REALLY now understand what King Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 1 that there is nothing new under the sun. For this statement is true, even in the conversation of assault and sexual abuse. Tamar was told by her other brother to keep quiet because publicly speaking against her brother about the wrong he did to her would be shameful on him. But what about the shame that was brought on her? During that time, if a woman was not a virgin, she couldn't get married. She was considered damaged goods. As a matter of fact whoever violated her or whoever she willingly had sex with  in most cases had to marry her if she was found to be a virgin before the incident. But Tamar could not marry her brother, God thinks  that to be detestable in Leviticus 18. So Tamar was not only violated and her future ransacked by her brother but then she was told she couldn't speak against him. For any survivor of assault and/or sexual abuse, does this not sound familiar? Absalom was beyond angry at what was done to his sister. King David was furious but the word says in verse 21 that Absalom said nothing good or bad. He hated Amnon and plotted to kill him. His anger was past the point of no return. If King David had done more to discipline his son for the wrong against Tamar, Amnon and Absalom might have lived. God did say to King David that the sword would never leave his house because of his mistake with Bathsheba and having her husband killed. One never knows how their actions will impact future generations. Living beyond the moment is prudent. Amnon didn't and it led to Tamar's shame and his own death. Absalom didn't and it led to his death as well. Learning to live beyond the moment is a good lesson to learn early. Ask yourself a question before you do something, "If I do this, how might it affect me and the ones behind me in the future? Is it worth it? If you don't ask yourself these questions, you may bite off more than you can chew and it surely will be a case of your eyes being bigger than what your stomach can handle.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bitter Tears

Matthew 26:75
75Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Has the Lord ever told you something unpleasant about you or your situation and you denied it? When it happened, did you remember the words the Lord said to you directly or through a servant? What did you do? Did you weep bitterly the way Peter did? Peter swore he would never do what Jesus said he was going to do. But Jesus was right. Peter denied Him. Peter was given three opportunities to come clean about how he knew Jesus and for fear of his own life, he lied. The denial that Peter would ever do what Jesus said finally left him and all he could do was weep bitterly. Bitterly is defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary as marked by intensity or severity (as of distress or hatred), extremely harsh or cruel. Peter had bitter tears because he could no longer dispute what Jesus knew about him. Remember, God created you. He even knows you better than your earthly parents. He gave you to your earthly parents. Therefore, every thought, word and action He already knows. What did Jesus tell you about yourself that you denied? Was it that when given the opportunity to say and show that you call Him friend, you wouldn't? Was it that when given the opportunity to tell the truth about something you didn't? Was it that when given an opportunity to take a stand on something Jesus wants of you, you didn't? How many bitter tears have you cried since? Has Jesus restored you yet? Or is He still waiting for you to come out of denial?


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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What About Ruth?

Ruth 1:16
16But 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."

You often hear about Ruth waiting on Boaz but rarely do you hear about the qualities of Ruth that caused her to receive favor through a man such as Boaz. Ruth was a Moabite woman. What makes the verse above so special is the love and loyalty Ruth had for her mother-in-law Naomi. More importantly, her willingness to come to know God. The history of where Ruth comes from makes her statement to Naomi so significant. Moabs are the descendants of Lot's oldest daughter who assisted in getting her father drunk in order to be impregnated by him after fleeing from Sodom and Gomorrah when God destroyed it. So now you understand that Moabite women had a very "not so clean" history. As the leader goes, so do the followers. Ruth experienced God through the love of Naomi and did not wish to go back to the life she previously knew. Ruth was a woman who did not want to turn back to a wicked people or past. BLESS GOD!!

Ruth 2:2
2And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Let me go to the fields and pick up the left over grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor."

Ruth was willing to support Naomi. Remember, both women were widows and had no man to support them. Ruth stepped up to do so which shows strength. She was a worker!! She kept busy. Ruth was not idle in the field. When Boaz asked the foreman later who was the woman in the field as he did not recognize her among the workers, the foreman said the following;

Ruth 2:7b "She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter."

Boaz and the foreman took notice of Ruth not for her throwing her hips in their face nor even her looks but because she showed strength and willingness to work in the field to support both her and the woman of God they all knew. (Hint for both women and men)

Ruth 3:11
11 And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.

This is the turning point in the story because Boaz had already been watching over because she was working in his field. Ruth and Naomi already had property. Yes, Ruth already had something to bring to the table. The custom was for the right man, a kinsman, to take the responsibility of caring for a widow and her property. Boaz knew it was dangerous for Ruth to be working in the field so he kept an eye on her. He protected her. A man such as Boaz wants to protect a good woman. From the first day she was in the field, Ruth was watched by all men because she was a worker. Boaz referred to her as a woman of noble character. Ruth was a  Proverbs 31 woman. She not only had something of value but she showed love, loyalty, strength and her hands were not idle.

Women, are you portraying the qualities of Ruth? Men, are you SEEKING a woman like Ruth?( emphasis on man's responsibility to seek) A king's mother told him the story about the the type of woman to have and it was indeed a Proverbs 31 woman. A woman such as Ruth. So what about Ruth?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Do You Know His Power?

Psalm 111:6
6He has shown his people the power of his works, giving them the lands of other nations.

The psalmist praises God and recounts His wonderful works, in particular God's power. Many underestimate the power of God and overestimate the power of mere man. Man is nothing without God. The psalmist remembers the acts of God turning over to His people the land of enemy nations. Just to refresh your memory: Joshua and the Israelites took over the land of Canaan as God promised also knocking down the walls of Jericho without a fight. Gideon and three hundred men took over the camp of the Midianites. With barely a fight each time, God handed over land that belonged to other nations to His people. For God's people to barely have to break a sweat and receive a reward, truly God was in it. Do you really understand the power of God? Do you understand that a mountain that seems impossible to defeat to you God can remove? Do you understand that no matter who you are up against, with one breath, God can remove them from your path? Do you know that whatever looks like it can't be done, God can do it? That's the amount of power He has and no one, not even the strongest man on earth, can defeat God. Do you REALLY know His power?

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