We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
A generous friend offered to babysit our kids so my wife and I could go on a date. “You should go somewhere fancy!” she gushed. Being practical people, we decided to go grocery shopping instead. When we returned, grocery bags in arms, our friend asked why we hadn’t done anything special. We told her that what makes a date special isn’t so much what you do, but who you’re with.
One of the few books of the Bible that doesn’t record God directly saying or doing anything, the book of Ruth could seem to be pretty ordinary. So some read it as a touching but largely human drama of two people coming together in a relationship.
But in truth, something extraordinary is taking place. In the final chapter of Ruth, we read that Ruth and Boaz’s union results in a son named Obed, the grandfather of David (4:17). And as we read in Matthew 1:1, it’s from David’s family that Jesus was born. It’s Jesus who unveils the ordinary story of Ruth and Boaz and reveals the extraordinary story of God’s amazing plans and purposes at work.
So often we see our own lives in the same way: as ordinary and serving no special purpose. But when we view our lives through Christ, He gives eternal significance to even the most ordinary situations and relationships.
Reflect & Pray
When has God turned an ordinary situation into one of extraordinary significance for you? How has He made all moments in life something sacred and extraordinary?
Jesus, You give eternal purpose and meaning to the most ordinary of circumstances. Help me to see all my relationships and circumstances through You!
Abraham is known as the father of our faith because he believed God. Although he sometimes struggled to trust the Lord and made a few missteps along the way, his faith continued to grow stronger. He ultimately believed God’s promise to give him a son even though he and Sarah were both quite old.
This is the path we all take as believers. The walk of faith begins at salvation and continues until we reach heaven. At first we may stumble, but along the way, our focus should begin to shift: Instead of focusing on the obstacles facing us, we look to the Lord. And rather than battle nagging doubts about God’s trustworthiness, we’ll cling to the knowledge that He loves us and is always faithful to His Word.
In time, our life will begin to revolve around the Lord. When our prayers are not answered immediately, we’ll rely on His wisdom and trust He will answer in His way and time. In the midst of frailties, failures, and sin, we’ll cultivate a heavenward perspective by means of prayer and meditation on Scripture. And instead of responding to uncertainties with fear and fretting, we’ll focus on God’s sovereignty and promises.
This kind of thinking, practiced consistently, will lead us into mature faith, which rests in the goodness and sufficiency of God. The Christian life becomes an exciting adventure—a chance to see what God will do next and how He will work out His will in each situation. Then, like Abraham, we’ll begin to see our obstacles through the Lord’s eyes and grow strong in faith, giving glory to God.
“I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof.” (Zechariah 2:1-2)
Seeing a human in the vision is a departure from the earlier visions of Zechariah. Each of the prior three visions included only angelic beings interacting with the Lord of hosts. Suddenly a man emerges holding a measuring rod, attempting to measure Jerusalem.
Immediately, a second angel is sent to the angel who has been explaining the visions to Zechariah, instructing him to “run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein” (Zechariah 2:4). Obviously, whatever time is anticipated by the vision, it is not the time of the present Jerusalem. God sees a vast Jerusalem that cannot be measured (Zechariah 14:8-11).
Not only will the city grow beyond historical memory, but the Lord “will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her” (Zechariah 2:5). No longer will Jerusalem be the pawn of other nations, no longer will she be subject to the whims of rival nations and competing religions. The Lord Himself will become a wall around her similar to the way God protected them as they fled from Egypt (Exodus 13:21-22).
Yet beyond even that wonderful promise, the Lord insists that “many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee” (Zechariah 2:11). Not only will God restore the city to prominence, but the nation itself will become the center of His global government. “Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation” (Zechariah 2:13). HMM III
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word…. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
It is amazing to me! There are people within the ranks of Christianity who have been taught and who believe that Christ will shield His followers from wounds of every kind.
If the truth were known, the saints of God in every age were only effective after they had been wounded. They experienced the humbling wounds that brought contrition, compassion and a yearning for the knowledge of God. I could only wish that more among the followers of Christ knew what some of the early saints meant when they spoke of being wounded by the Holy Spirit….
In every generation, the people who have found God have been those who have come to the end of themselves. Recognizing their hopelessness, they have been ready to throw themselves on the mercy and grace of a forgiving God. MMG059, 062
Lord, don’t let me waste the humbling wounds. Do Your great work within me, and help me to respond properly and learn all You want me to learn through Your working. Amen.
Perplexed, but not in despair, cast down, but not destroyed.—2 Corinthians 4:8, 9.
Faint yet pursuing.—Judges 8:4.
I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.—Isaiah 43:25.
I Don’t think it is possible to overrate the hardness of the first close struggle with any natural passion, but indeed the easiness of after-steps is often quite beyond one’s expectations. The free gift of grace with which God perfects our efforts may come in many ways, but I am convinced that it is the common experience of Christians that it does come. There may be some souls, whose brave and bitter lot it is to conquer comfortless. Perhaps some terrible inheritance of strong sin from the father is visited upon the son, and, only able to keep his purpose pure, he falls as fast as he struggles up, and still struggling falls again. Soft moments of peace with God and man may never come to him. He may feel himself viler than a thousand trumpery souls who could not have borne his trials for a day. For you and me is reserved no such cross and no such crown as theirs who falling still fight, and fighting fall, with their faces Zionwards, into the arms of the everlasting Father. “As one whom his comforteth” shall be the healing of their wounds.
Juliana Horatia Ewing.
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” Rev. 21:5
Glory be to His name! All things need making new, for they are sadly battered and worn by sin. It is time that the old vesture was rolled up and laid aside, and that creation put on her Sunday suit. But no one else can make all things new except the Lord who made them at the first; for it needs as much power to make out of evil as to make out of nothing. Our Lord Jesus has undertaken the task, and He is fully competent for the performance of it. Already He has commenced His labor, and for centuries He has persevered in making new the hearts of men, and the order of society. By-and-by He will make new the whole constitution of human government, and human nature shall be changed by His grace; and there shall come a day when the body shall be made new, and raised like unto His glorious body.
What a joy to belong to a kingdom in which everything is being made new by the power of its King! We are not dying out: we are hastening on to a more glorious life. Despite the opposition of the powers of evil, our glorious Lord Jesus is accomplishing His purpose, and making us, and all things about us, “new,” and as full of beauty as when they first came from the hand of the Lord.