VIDEO Mothers Know Best: Ruth and her faith

Naomi and Ruth

Ruth grew up in a pagan land, one condemned by God—Moab, just across the Jordan from Israel. She fell in love with a Jewish boy whose family had moved into the area during a famine. When he died, she was a young widow. Because of the influence of her mother-in-law, Naomi, Ruth longed for a relationship with God. She returned with Naomi to Bethlehem, where she met and married Boaz. Their child, Obed, became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of King David. Amazingly, this widow from a pagan land became a link in the Messianic genealogy of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps as a mother or father, you feel hindered by your background. Maybe you came from a dysfunctional or broken home. There might be sorrow in your past. Instead of longing your background was better, do as Ruth did. Give yourself totally to God and start where you are, under the wings of the One who gives you refuge and can give you a mighty legacy.

Opportunities don’t present themselves in ideal circumstances. If you wait for all the lights to turn green, you will never leave your driveway. John Maxwell


Ruth könyve./Feliratos Bibliai film – Ruth’s Book / Hungarian Subtitled Bible Movie

Water Where We Need It

Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. John 4:14

Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake, is vast and magnificent. Measuring one-mile-deep and nearly 400 miles (636 km) by 49 miles (79 km) across, it contains one-fifth of all the surface fresh water in the world. But this water is largely inaccessible. Lake Baikal is located in Siberia—one of the most remote areas of Russia. With water so desperately needed for much of our planet, it’s ironic that such a vast supply of water is tucked away in a place where not many people can access it.

Although Lake Baikal may be remote, there is an endless source of life-giving water that is available and accessible to those who need it most. When at a well in Samaria, Jesus engaged a woman in conversation, probing at the edges of her deep spiritual thirst. The solution to her heart-need? Jesus Himself.

In contrast to the water she had come to draw from the well, Jesus offered something better: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13–14).

Many things promise satisfaction but never fully quench our thirsty hearts. Jesus alone can truly satisfy our spiritual thirst, and His provision is available to everyone, everywhere.

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

Where are you seeking fulfillment or satisfaction in life? Why is the search for true satisfaction impossible apart from Christ?

Loving God, thank You for the life You provide and the purpose and meaning You give to me. Teach me to find my truest satisfaction in You and Your love.

To learn more, listen to “The Woman at the Well,” DiscoverTheWord.org/series/the-woman-at-the-well/.

Self-Focused Prayer

John 6:1-27

Which interests you more—who Jesus is or what He can do for you? I’m afraid many of us are more concerned about what He gives than discovering who He is. But this is nothing new. When Jesus walked the earth, the crowds often sought Him out for what He could do for them. Even though their needs were quite often legitimate, Christ knew their motives.

There is a fine line between using the Lord to get what we want and humbly coming to Him with our needs and struggles. Sometimes issues are so urgent in our mind that instead of submitting to His will, we’d rather pray for Him to act in the way we want. Then, what might appear to be “faith” is really a demanding spirit.

If our prayers have dealt only with presenting our requests to the Lord, we’ve missed a great opportunity to get to know the One with whom we’ll spend eternity. How much of your communion with God is devoted to your needs—even legitimate ones? Are you getting to know the Lord? Although God delights in our prayers and the details of our life, He also wants us to enjoy His presence.

Near to the Heart of God

“And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.” (Exodus 28:29)

The clothing of the high priest was made according to very specific instructions. Each piece of the garment both symbolized and preshadowed a ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as the “one mediator between God and man” (1 Timothy 2:5).

The names of the tribes of Israel were engraved upon two stones (six names per stone), and they were to be mounted upon the shoulders of the ephod. The broad shoulders of a man are often used as a symbol of strength, particularly in carrying a heavy load. Illustrating His perfect faithfulness and capability, the burden-bearing work of Christ weighted with the sins and needs of His people is pictured through Aaron, who would “bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial” (Exodus 28:12). It is with great confidence in that capability that His people can therefore turn to Him, “casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

As seen from the text verse, this work is not a drudgery but a labor of love. The names of the children of Israel were not only on the high priest’s shoulders but also carried “upon his heart.” In one sense this was a visible token of what He had said of old: “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). For believers today, Christ’s high priestly ministry is explained more fully in the book of Hebrews, where believers are assured that “because he continueth ever, [he] hath an unchangeable priesthood” (Hebrews 7:24). Therefore, “let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:1), for He has your name upon His own heart “for a memorial before the LORD continually.” RJG

Walking the Waves Toward Jesus

Matthew 14:22-33

PETER is the only mere human who ever walked on water. Probably he did not go very far, but he went farther than anyone else ever has gone.

It is a stormy night, and the disciples in the boat are “tossed with waves, for the wind was contrary.” Verily, we are in tempestuous times nowadays: the waves are boisterous, the wind against us. But Jesus is still walking the sea. Do not despair, however buffeted; in the fourth watch of your night He will come toward you.

The disciples are terrified when they see Jesus; they say, “It is a spirit!” They cry out with fear. How the old Book shows up the humanness of believers! It is a “spook”! Sometimes we do not know the Lord when He does come to our rescue.

Then comes the blessed reassurance: “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” No matter how dark the night, how nearly upset your frail bark, cheer up, the Lord is on the sea!

Peter speaks up: “Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.” He is throwing a challenge to the Lord. Yet I rather like his daring proposition. He is impetuous, venturesome, and it often gets him into trouble, but there is nothing dull and commonplace about Simon Peter. He does not say, “Lord, if it be Thou, come to our aid,” but, “Let me come to Thee.” He wants God to give him something to do, and God likes to give such men a dare. So Jesus says, “Come.”

Peter walks some distance at least, but his characteristic weakness shows up. “When he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid.” He got his mind on circumstances—and when a believer looks away from Christ to circumstance, sink he must. He must cry for help—and the Lord rescues him, saying, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

Are you alarmed in your boat and afraid to walk toward Jesus? You put first this foot, then that, into the water. “Yes, I know I should walk by faith and not by sight, but it looks so dangerous. I shall not hold out; are you sure He will keep me?”

What if you do have a sinking spell! Suppose you do weaken out there and think of the wind! Jesus is looking at you! Better to walk by faith a little way and have to cry “Lord, save me” than to live the smug, safe life of those who never step out on His promises! If you wait until you are sure that you never will sink, you will never walk by faith. But you can be sure of this: If you walk toward Him and call to Him when your faith grows small, you may sink but you will not drown! If only we faltering souls could see that and live by it, how we might tread triumphantly every stormy sea! He does not guarantee you that your faith will not falter, that you will not forget and begin to sink. But He has promised to lose no life committed to Him.

You are going through this world but once. Have you been up to now a poor, terrified doubter in a battered boat? Walk the waves toward Jesus! Friends may discourage you, the skeptical may laugh, smug and safe souls may rate you a crank, but resolve for yourself: “Live or die, sink or swim, I will take God at His word and Jesus at His challenge. I had rather sink a thousand times and have Him pull me up again than never to have stepped out on His promise.”

As with Peter here, there will always be for those who dare a happy ending. Like him, you will walk with the Lord on the waves; the wind will cease; and you and those in the ship—believers who would not dare—will be constrained to cry, “Of a truth Thou art the Son of God!”

Easier to Pretend

You are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.—John 5:40

In Psalm 42:1, the psalmist states, “As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God.” Why do most Christians not long for God in this way? Because to long for God means we must get in touch with the deep thirst that is at the center of our being and acknowledge our basic helplessness—a feeling which our fallen human nature deeply dislikes.

Most of us instinctively draw back from dealing with this stubborn commitment to independence, pretending we are all right as we are. It is much easier to pretend we are thirsting after God than it is to face the challenge of giving up our commitment to independence.

I am conscious that the challenge I am putting before you is one I want to deny in my own life. There is something in me that would like to think—and would like you to think—that I have a heart that thirsts for God. But I know that if I stop short of identifying my independent strategies for finding life on my own and giving them up, I will never get in touch with the deep thirst for God that exists at the core of my being.

What is the answer? I must ask God to search my heart, expose my self-centered motivations, and help me see just where it is that I stop short of panting after Him.

You see, the more deeply we sense our thirst, the more passionately we will pursue water. But we will never sense that thirst until we are willing to face the fact that we may be drinking more from our own self-constructed wells than from the wells of God.

Prayer

Father, I tremble as I recognize this tendency within me to walk right past the fountain of living water and drink from a well of my own making. But help me to recognize it for what it really is—not just a terrible tendency, but a terrible sin. Amen.

Further Study

Ex 32:1-9; Isa 28:12; 30:15; 2Ch 24:19

How did God describe the children of Israel?

What is said of them time and time again?

A General’s Resource

2 Corinthians 4:16

As a lad in Australia, I was converted as unexpectedly as was Saul on the Damascus road. My life was turned upside down and inside out by the convicting and saving power of the Holy Spirit. Responding to the voice that spoke in my soul I yielded, thus taking the first step in a career which has grown more and more dependent upon the guidance of God as it has developed beyond my wildest imaginings [George Carpenter was General of The Salvation Army from 1939 to 1946].

Were I not able to ask for this strength and guidance, and to receive it, I should never have the resolution to face the demands which any one day now brings to me. But as I awake in the morning I can, and do, know the sense of God’s presence. So I come to my desk to spread my affairs before God, and throughout each day I am conscious that His Spirit is with me.

He illuminates the Word of God. As I read, my heart is suddenly warmed, my mind sees deeper import in a truth with which I have been familiar for years. Often one word or text is, as it were, carried before me through the hours.

He gives me to see the inward significance of my daily business. Perhaps more than any would suppose, I am called upon to deal with matters not usually regarded as spiritual matters of business, finance, property and personal affairs. But the Holy Spirit reminds me that all these things are tools to be used skillfully and reverently for the building of the kingdom of God. He gives me patience with myself, with others and with the unending frustrations of each day. He warms my heart, averting the ever-present danger of a cold professionalism.

To His glory alone I would say that He does direct, control and suggest each day. Sometimes I want to get on more quickly, to see the road ahead. Especially do I find need for patience and faith because of war-time hindrances to make contact with our worldwide forces. By day and by night I seek for wisdom in the matters to which God has called me.

He keeps before me the vision which won my heart as a youth. I cannot thank Him enough for this constant renewing. Let no one imagine that, because of divine aid, life for me is merely like riding on an escalator up to mansions in the skies. Life is warfare. I have to struggle. I know the effects of unceasing strain upon brain and heart and body. The flight of time appalls me; the battle with human sins and frailties burdens me. But in the darkest hour there is still the unquenchable conviction that if I trust God and seek only to do His will I shall come out all right.

George Carpenter, War Cry