The name Naomi means “pleasant.” Yet the life of Naomi in the first chapter of Ruth seems anything but pleasant. Naomi herself is brought to wonder, “Is this who I even am any more?” Yet Naomi’s story is that of the sweet bitterness of God’s affliction, of the pleasant paths of pain that God sends.
Ruth is not so much the story of Naomi’s provision but of God’s sufficiency. It is not so much a love story between Ruth and Boaz as it is between Ruth and God. And it is not so much a story of friendship between Ruth and Naomi as it is a story of the faithful friendship of God to them both. As we continue through the book of Ruth, make no mistake: like every other Bible book, the book of Ruth is ultimately about the exclusive glory of the one true God, and the foolishness and futility of seeking help
Reading the book of Ruth is like reading a tragedy (the book of Judges) into which someone has inserted a happily-ever-after fairy tale! In fact it is so sweet, so beautiful that we might be tempted to think it is just a too-good-to-be-true legend or myth. Thankfully, however, Ruth’s real story is just a microcosm of what God is actually doing in every believer’s life, all the time.
Having begun the Christian race, how can I finish well? Can I be assured of God’s continued work in and through me, as I seek to follow and honor him? Or will I peter out, fall spectacularly, or fail in the end? Thankfully, the Bible does promise us that God will continue and complete his saving work in us. Yet, God does use certain means to establish and strengthen us to that end.
While, as believers in Jesus Christ, we all have known marvelous periods of grace, deliverance, and unspeakable joy – most of us probably have also known moments (perhaps very long periods) of utter discouragement, grief, and unspeakable pain. In times such as these, we can sometimes feel as though God is not answering our prayers. In fact, He may not be granting the precise thing for which we are asking. Join us, then, as we consider this experience in the light of God’s perfect and reliable Word.
Every Christian knows we are supposed to pray. In fact, most of us would probably rate prayer as one of the top five things we are supposed to be doing as a believer. Yet many of us have doubt that haunts the back of our minds: “Does this really make any difference?” Why should we pray? What difference, if any, does prayer make? No question, or answer, could be more important.
Each of the majestic cathedrals found across Europe required multiple generations to build. Raising children — or making disciples — is like raising a cathedral. It is a multi-generational goal, and while you are laying each stone, facing each obstacle, it can be difficult to envision the magnificent finished product.
Considering that the first command is that we love and worship God, it is important for us to ask, “How do we worship God?” God of course does not leave us to guess about the answer. And as we might expect, in worshiping such a good and gracious God we not only glorify him but find satisfaction and eternal joy ourselves!
Genesis 38 is nothing less than scandalous. Although a passage of Scripture that talks openly about embarrassing sin might at first affront our cultured sensibilities, the reality is this is exactly the kind of Bible we would wish for! A Bible that is about real sinners, who make really big mistakes, and mess up in horribly embarrassing ways, just like us – who God nonetheless saves, and even uses, in his great plan of Redemption.
The body does not consist of one member but of many (1 Corinthians 12:14). As Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, it seems that some of their members, far from consciously affirming the diversity in their midst, were working against it. One group in the church was suggesting everyone should be just like them—have the same ministry, the same social status, the same convictions about idol-food, the same favorite preacher. Others, who felt inferior, were allowing themselves to drift into inactivity by embracing the lie that they were not useful to the church. Into this unhealthy atmosphere, Paul speaks,
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7). The fact that God has displayed his grace in calling us “to his eternal glory in Christ” (1 Peter 5:10) is rock solid confirmation that he is the God of all grace. It is proof of his love, wisdom, and power to overcome every obstacle to bring you to himself. And the goal of bringing you to himself is so that you will, for all of eternity
In this message we consider motherhood in a way that every person will be able to relate to and learn from. Join us as we consider motherhood through the lens of two mothers in the Bible, one from the beginning of the Old Testament, and one from the beginning of the New Testament. We intend to learn from these two mothers: Eve and Mary. While thinking about good mothers makes any person feel sentimental and even emotional, that is not our main goal here. Because the reality is, as any mother knows very well, life cannot be successfully navigated merely
Text: Romans 4:25 Introduction If what this verse says is true, is true, then the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not just something we should be celebrating once a year, but every day. We are justified—declared guiltless before the perfect, holy God—because Jesus did not stay in the tomb but “was raised again.” Jesus’ resurrection is best-case scenario for the world we live in; and so the good news of the Christian gospel is that the best-case scenario for this world has actually come true. I. Jesus Was Delivered for Our Offenses Your initial response to that statement might be:
Text: Genesis 35:1-29 Introduction As Jacob’s story draws toward its conclusion, we are reminded 1) of God’s faithfulness to Jacob individually, and 2) of God’s faithfulness to His larger covenant promises to bring about redemption thru the Promised Seed. This serves then to reflect a truth for us as readers as well: with Jacob, we are meant to rejoice in the personal faithfulness of God to each of us as believers—but more importantly, we are reminded that we are not the center of the story of God’s redemption. Even God’s faithfulness to us personally is meant to enable us to
Text: Genesis 34:1-31 Introduction Genesis 34 is the account of the defiling of Jacob’s daughter Dinah, and how Israel responds to this tragedy. Though we might feel eager to hurry through the scandalous material in the chapter, God doesn’t seem to feel the same as he inspires Moses to write this. Moses devotes 31 verses to this event! Why? What does this chapter teach us about Israel, about ourselves, and about God? The primary issue in Genesis 34 is this: how do God’s people respond when He allows suffering in their lives? Will they trust God’s covenant promises, or look