The following is an email devotional I sent out to the ladies in my small group.
I hope that this email finds you well! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been just exhausted lately. If that describes you this week, make sure to take some time (even 30 minutes) to do something just for you And if you need to rest more than you need to read this email, that’s ok! I totally give you permission to close your email and come back to this at another time. 🙂
This week’s devotional is in two parts. First, I’d like to spend some time processing some of the themes in Judges. Then we’ll move on to Ruth briefly.
Chris preached on the theme of Judges this past weekend, and I thought he did a good job! When he presented the cycle we see in Judges of sin – oppression – repentance – deliverance, did you see yourself in there? I did! Do you ever feel like certain areas of your life are 2 steps forward 2 steps back? Or maybe you’re just stuck in a sin-confess, sin-confess kind of cycle and never find deliverance.
It can be so frustrating! Where is the victory Jesus talked about in that?!
As a teen and into my early 20s, I had a major problem with anger. I couldn’t seem to get it under control. And worse, I had a sharp tongue. I often regretted the things that came out of my mouth, but I couldn’t seem to stop it from running wild. I knew all the verses about anger (Eph. 4:31), keeping a reign on your tongue (James 3:2-10), etc, etc… but it didn’t seem to help.
I cried out to God to help me get it under control, but yet I never seemed to make any progress. And that’s because God was trying to show me that my anger wasn’t the root… it was a symptom of something deeper: unforgiveness.
When I dealt with the unforgiveness, the anger disappeared with it. Poof! Just like that! I finally had the victory I had desired.
If you find yourself stuck in that cycle, here are a few questions to ask God this week:
- Is my issued just a symptom of something else? What is it?
- How do you want me to deal with it? What steps do I need to take?
- Is there a lie I’m believing that is keeping me stuck? What truth do I need to replace it with?
- Do I need to forgive anyone?
But maybe you feel really, really stuck. If that is the case there are things my ministry can help with. We have amazing resources that the Lord continually uses in people’s lives. If you have a copy of The Lord’s Prayer Journey from when Grace shared with our group, go through that. If you would like help going through it, I am more than happy to meet with you. If you don’t have a copy, I will bring some with me next Tuesday night; they’re only $6 a piece (but we’re a soft touch if you can’t afford it).
Just, whatever you do, don’t give up! You can break the cycle! You can be victorious in Jesus! Keep pressing forward, sweet sister! Just like the Lord promised to Gideon, He will be with you, He IS with you.
I want to dwell on one more thing that Chris challenged us with – the two questions at the end of his message:
- What is it that God wants to call you?
- Where are you hiding?
The Lord loves to declare truth over us – let Him! Ask Him if has something new to call you or if you need to be reminded of something He has already called you.
Or are you hiding from the thing He’s called you to? Are you afraid to step into it because it seems too big and overwhelming? The beautiful thing is – He’s not calling us to do the whole thing now! He’s calling us to take one faithful step after another. He will not let you fall if you keep your eyes on Him.
If any of these questions ring true, spend some time with Him this week and let Him speak the truth into those areas.
Now that we are almost through Judges, we will be reading the book of Ruth on Thursday. I want to encourage you read that book this week, even if you aren’t doing Eat This Book.
This is probably one of my favorite books in the Bible. I love Ruth! She is the kind of woman I would love to sit down with at Starbucks and just pick her brain (or in Bethlehem, a “Star and Bucks” café… I kid you not!). I would love to hear this story from her own lips. She is so faithful and diligent, even when things are darkest. She sticks close to her mother-in-law who is a bit of a prickly personality. She faithfully serves and because of her humble, hard-working nature she finds favor.
Boaz even says to her: “I’ve been told all about what you have done …. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” (Ruth 2:11-12)
One of the things I love that isn’t obvious at first is Ruth’s background. She was from Moab. The Israelites were commanded never to mingle with the Moabites. Yet during a famine, Naomi’s family moves to Moab, and her sons marry there. Then, after both women are widowed, Ruth moves from Moab to Bethlehem with Naomi, declares she will serve God, marries Boaz, and three generations later, we have Kind David! God uses the people who have a heart for Him, regardless of their situation.
The theme of God’s loving-kindness is woven throughout this book. It is a beautiful story that foreshadows Jesus’ loving-kindness towards us and His eventual redemption of humanity. It is a story of hope. It is quite literally a Cinderella story!
If you’d like to watch a video, Dave Gruhn gives a great summary of Ruth in this week’s Bible in Five: http://vimeo.com/61218884
I hope you enjoy getting to know God better through Ruth this week!
Love you girls!