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Posts Tagged ‘faithfulness’

This night was just like any other. Routines were in place. Last minute homework I didn’t want to do, and procrastination running rapid. It was 11:00 PM, time for my nightly shower. I am no morning person. Mom was watching TV in bed and Dad reading the paper on the couch.

Finishing my shower, I opened the door to a change in scenery. My mom was out of bed and lights were on. My father was nowhere to be found. Sobs were coming from downstairs as my mom was talking to my brother on the phone; “you need to come home” is all she could get out.

I quickly threw my clothes on and rushed downstairs. “What happened!?” I demanded of my mom. Tears rushed down her face, “your father has left. He is not coming back.” Words of a confessed affair came in slow motion as the mushroom cloud of my life went up.

Talking about God’s redemption in a life changing chapter of my life. Would love you thoughts and stories on how you have experienced God in the midst of your grief.

Hanging out with my friend Marni Arnold on her site, Relevant Brokenness. Come stop by!

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Our culture thrives on results. We like to see tangible things that speak to progress. We are a people who like measurable goals and plans. We like to sit back and look at all of the fruit of our labor laid out around us.

But what if God is more about who we are more than the results we are making? What if character is the fruit God is looking for more than a tangible thing?

I have been talking about stories of characters who have definitive paths and dreams for their lives. Joseph was to be right hand man to the king, and David was on the road to becoming king.

What about someone with a life who had a path that was not so clear cut?

Ruth is an amazing person in the bible who exudes character. Ruth was not on a track to be the next king or even some famous warrior. Ruth set a high bar that illustrates commitment and character. Life for Ruth was hard and full of grief. She chose the hard and God blessed her for it.

Ruth was the daughter-in-law to Naomi. Naomi lost both her sons, which widowed both of her daughter-in-laws. This was a huge blow to Naomi, because her sons were supposed to care for her as their father had passed. Naomi was a widow who had no one to care for her. Her two-daughter-in-laws were in the same predicament. However, both women were younger with time to find new husbands. Naomi released the two women from her care and sent them on their way back to their home towns.

I don’t know what made Ruth want to stay. I don’t know what Ruth’s home situation was. I don’t know what she left behind, but she chose the harder road. Ruth left a life and friends she knew to stay with Naomi. Ruth committed to Naomi in a way that went against cultural values. Ruth sacrificed her option of security to return home and get remarried. Instead, Ruth chose to  travel to a place where she knew no one and life would be all unknown. She chose Naomi. Ruth chose commitment and faithfulness.

Cultivating character is not easy. It often does not look like the logical or even best thing to do. God taught Ruth to value responsibility more than results. Ruth treasured faithfulness more than fruitfulness. She chose a life that might have been mocked over what was easy.

I don’t know the thoughts of Ruth after arriving with Naomi to her new life in Bethlehem. I wonder if she just resigned herself to think that this was her life. She committed to Naomi and was going to take care of her. She stayed true to her commitment. God took Ruth’s choice of good character and showed an old town a new level of love and integrity.

God blessed Ruth so much for her choice of faithfulness and commitment. Ruth had no idea what doors would be opened for her, or even what life would bring, but she chose character.

God cultivated Ruth’s character and she was richly blessed. God blessed Ruth with protection and favor. She was given opportunities not usually afforded to women “like her.” Ruth was shown favor by many people. She was even given a husband who had amazing cultivated character as well.

Character calls to character like deep calls to deep.

Ruth could have chosen the easy way, or even the way that made sense to her culture. Ruth chose the hard. When Ruth “arrived” at a life that looked like “just caring” for Naomi, God showed her more.

God cares about our hearts and character above all else. Even in the glimpses of our dreams, we never “arrive” at them. God is always cultivating our character. In that process, we will know more life then thought possible.

Ruth committed to the one who was her path not the path itself. Life looks a little crazy that way.

How is God cultivating your character?

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Distrust has been one of those strongholds in my life. I have a hard time trusting other people on many levels. Distrust seems to be a knee jerk reaction for me. This is not a character trait I want to hang around in me. Distrust in my relationships starts from my distrust in  my relationship with the Lord. If I have a hard time trusting others, it is because I have a hard time trusting God.

God is always gentle with my heart. He is patient with my deep fears of distrust. He has remained so faithful to me. I am prone to wander because of my fear of trust. When this fear kicks in, my natural bend is to become self-sufficient and self-protective. It is usually out of this place where I become unfaithful to him. I take control of the reigns and take off.

God shows himself even more faithful to me when I am unfaithful. That is so humbling. I have been praying a lot about his faithfulness lately. I have a quieting going on in my heart as I try and grasp what “abiding in him” means. This has been a humbling process.

God is truly faithful. He always meets me where my heart kneels down. This week he has blessed me with little things that seem to be just for me. At various moments I will recognize little unique reminders just for me of his faithfulness. I exhale that he loves me so much that he knows my little things.

He is so faithful. I feel humbled by his faithfulness. The little things matter. They are there.

How do you recognize God’s faithfulness?

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I have been thinking about the qualities of Paul. Paul is brilliant man when it comes to knowledge of the scriptures. He experienced great success in his life. Paul also experienced a miraculous encounter with God. This encounter changed the course of his life forever. Paul’s conversation with God didn’t just change his career path, but it changed a driven man from the path of destruction to a path of grace. Paul was a man who knew grace intimately.

I read a glimpse of this understanding of grace in Acts. In this chapter, Paul is describing the evidence of Jesus as savior by talking about his lineage. At the point in the lineage where David is introduced, Paul refers back to God’s description of David, “a man after God’s own heart, who will do all my will.

If you remember David’s story, it includes adultery and murder. Yet David is known to be a man after God’s own heart, who did God’s will.

Author Mike Bickle comments about this description in Acts this way, “what about all the failures and set backs (of David)? They were edited out by the grace of God.”

Paul understood the promise made to David, “my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.” Paul was a man who knew the weight of being a sinner. He also knew the weight of a faithful and grace filled God. Both David and Paul were transformed by the wonder’s of God’s heart.

I am understanding more and more how faithful and gracious our God is. I so crave being transformed by the wonder’s of God’s heart.

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