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Interpreting More in Ruth

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

Hi friends, how are you doing with studying Ruth? Feeling behind? That is okay. Honestly, we would do a whole lot better if we were showing up and being accountable to each other weekly, but without you having to be present it is easy to skip it and then just drop it. I know. I’ve been there.

Belonging to a solid group Bible study is a great way to connect and certainly to discuss what you are learning, but that may not always work either so although I encourage you to be part of one some time in your life, my purpose in helping you appreciate the inductive study method in these blog posts is so that YOU can be alone in the Bible with helpful tools and try to make some headway in getting a grasp on the how-to of it all.

So, let’s get cracking. We are still in the interpretation portion of inductive study and if you missed any earlier posts, click on the “Bible study” tab at the top of the page and then search for Ruth.

We could wrap up Ruth today with some application, but I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that in reading all of Scripture we are to keep the BIG picture of God redeeming a people for himself at the center of it all.

Today, I want you to read all of Ruth (again? yes, again!). As you are reading it, think about anything in this narrative that reminds you of Jesus coming to save his people. Do you see any picture or type of Christ?

Let me define “type” – In Webster’s dictionary, type is defined as “to figure, to represent by a model or symbol beforehand.” In studying the Bible a type is a person, place, thing, or event that is a foreshadowing of a future person or event.

With that understanding in mind, go back and answer that question up there again, about a picture/type of Christ to come. Thinking along those lines, is there anything in your reading of Ruth that prompts you to think about a coming event that has already happened in history after Ruth was written and is there anything that still remains to happen in the future of mankind according to Scripture that you are reminded of in your reading of Ruth? 

In last week’s lesson, I had you do a little digging for news about how widows and sojourners in Israel were to be treated. I hope you found out some things.

Then I had you do a bit of research on your own regarding how a widow could be redeemed by a relative if she had no one else in her immediate family to assist her. Lots of cultural/historical background to grasp, but not get bogged down in because at the heart of it all was the need for a relative to redeem her, a relative to carry on the family line and name.

Here are a couple of key words (relative and redeem, redeemer, redemption) in Ruth. Remember back in observation mode I had you list some key words? Well, I hope these stood out to you, especially in light of the meta-narrative of Scripture.

Read back through Ruth and mark those words if you didn’t already and make some lists about those words and what they shine light on in Ruth. Then, in a Bible dictionary seek information on redeem by looking at cross-references, or go to a Bible encyclopedia for that information. Take some notes. If commentary assists you more, then go ahead and read that resource.

Lastly, for this week, make a list about God and how he was at work in redemption of you in this story. Also, what attributes of his or characteristics did you see? Jot those down. How did he provide? Go crazy seeing him in the midst of this.

Then, offer up a prayer to him as he moves your heart through this story.

I’ll see you back next week when we move into the third part of inductive study – application.

[If you missed it, I was on Grace in Color’s Facebook Live episode this past Tuesday sharing how to use more creativity in inductive study. Although there is an echo at first, it improves. My mouth and sound don’t quite match up and for those of you like me who are bothered by that, just look away and listen. Mainly, be encouraged to be in the Word. You can see that here.] NOTE: This will probably be the subject of an upcoming blog series on Bible study, so stay tuned.

{An update on our dads: my dad is still in a rehab facility trying to regain his strength to be able to stand and walk. His appetite is poor, so please pray for him to be hungry and the food to be yummy while you also pray for the therapies to work as he is able to work. Rob’s dad fell July 4, and broke his shoulder so he needs your prayers for healing and good sleep. Both our moms are well and tending to our dads greatly, but your prayers for their stamina would be fabulous.Thank you.}

As always, if you have any questions about what I have shared in today’s post regarding Bible study, shoot me a question via this contact form and I will respond to you.

 

 

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Morgan Cheek and On Milk and Honey

Posted by on May 27, 2017 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

I just completed devouring a book I’ve been told I needed to read for a couple of years because the author was our former (because our boys grew up into men) pediatrician’s daughter-in-law and my birthday group friends had all read it and I was left out of their conversation over her wisdom as a young mom.

So I finally bought Morgan Cheek’s On Milk and Honey: How God’s Goodness Shows Up in Unexpected Places and downloaded it to my Kindle and I was hooked from the opening pages. I should have known to read it much sooner by the title alone (God’s Goodness? Hello!!)

The book is well-written and conversational in style. The story of Morgan and Hugh Cheek’s life as new parents to twins is raw and honest as she lays out coming to terms within the first 16 months of their lives over God’s mysterious ways in their creation and how a desire for a diagnosis for them is a hope and at times a struggle with her needing information, yet all the while firmly grasping God’s sovereignty in ways far beyond most her age and circumstance.

I’d rather honor their story by not giving it away and encouraging you to check into it for yourself.

Most importantly and a needed reminder that refreshing is that God is on display as their faithful creative Father for Hugh, Morgan, Ally, and Bailey Grace as she shares solid biblical foundation for grasping all that God writes in our stories whether similar to theirs, simpler than theirs, or more strenuous. Comparison is not the heart, nor self-pity. God is.

She openly shares the struggles with her desires for solutions and diagnoses at times as they’ve learned to parent two unique and precious girls. But, Morgan always comes back to how God sustains, provides, and is glorified in lives if we will just open our eyes and see Him at work.

Morgan uses the English Standard Version of the Bible as her translation mostly and that gets my attention. Call me a translation snob, but so be it.

She also draws quotes in from biblically grounded people who have lived before her. No prosperity gospel is happening here.

Her doctrine is solid and their family story real and raw.

Find more of it at her blog His Hands, His Feet, His Heart. She’s also on Facebook and Instagram.

Be encouraged and be hope-filled as you read Morgan’s story and see God writing your own. After all, He is the author and perfecter of your faith if you are His child. Although my own story is different from that of the Cheek family, I have seen firsthand God at work penning the happenings of my own life and seeing it all unfold for my good and His glory.

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Dry Spell Rained Out

Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 in Blog Posts | 6 comments

Isaiah via She Reads Truth, New Inductive Study Bible (ESV), and my bullet journal keep my quiet time well watered lately.

Do you ever have a dry spell, spiritually speaking?

I have been in one that was rather long lasting and I realized that much of my desert living was due to not being intentional in my relationship with God. My spirit was struggling and parched.

I finally confessed to God that I was absent in my relationship with him and was desperate for change. I told him that my Bible pages were dusty and my prayers stale. I asked him for a bit of revival and asked him what steps to take.

I’m that kind of person. Give me a detailed plan and I’m there. Most days.

Of late, however, I am in the school of flexibility and spontaneity. (A challenge for me.) I make plans and they have to be able to change quickly. Plans for a great and lengthy quiet time are not realistic, and as much as I would like to blame my spiritual desert dryness on unplanned things, that is a pathetic excuse.

It is my own neglect of quiet time that interrupts refreshing time.

So here are my steps for reviving a desert slump of spirit. Ready? It’s game-changing.

  1. Read the Bible.
  2. Pray.

TAH and DAH!!! Amazing?!

Read the Bible

That book. The one that God wrote through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the pens of men. Not a book about it. But THAT book. Pick a smaller portion of it, but read it. For me, Isaiah is where I am currently camping thanks to She Reads Truth’s beautiful Lenten version. No muss and no fuss, but beautiful (and yes, more that I should have spent but I splurged anyway). I led a study on Isaiah a few years ago, so it is actually refreshing to read for the sake of reading rather than for the sake of leading. If you teach Bible studies, you’ll understand that.

Pray

I journal my prayers and I also pray them out loud. To sit still and journal pray or pray silently or aloud takes time and discipline. It takes work and I have been slacking at it. But, once I pulled out my pen and paper and began jotting my prayers as bullet points, the words began to flow in written form. And those things so personal that I dare not write, turned into pauses on paper as words were spoken.

Nothing fancy and no gimmicks, either, are involved in reviving a quiet time. Just plain and simple prayer and Scripture reading have turned on the showers and my spiritual dryness has been rained   out.

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Craftsy Supplies Sale

Posted by on Feb 25, 2017 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

Just a couple of the shawl kits at Craftsy.

(Affiliate disclosure at the bottom of my blog page)

I’ve been rather busy knitting lately and wanted to let you know that Craftsy is having a great sale on supplies and kits for ALL kinds of crafts. Some of their shawl kits are gorgeous.

As an affiliate, if you click via this link and order supplies/kits, I’ll get a smidgen of moolah back.

But here’s the great news, if you have always wanted a shawl, but don’t know how to knit and you see and purchase a shawl kit you like, let me know and I’ll be happy to complete the shawl for you for a fee. You can contact me via my contact page to begin the dialog for me completing your shawl.

This is only for shawls at this time. I do not do sweaters, yet.

So, happy shopping, crafting, and creating! Thank you!

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Advent, Already? Amen.

Posted by on Sep 15, 2016 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

advent-presalesI realized this morning that there are 100 days until Christmas. I am not typically interested in counting down the days until December 25. I really look forward to the days of Advent that lead up to Christmas Day. On the Christian church calendar, Advent officially begins Sunday, November 27 this year.

I enjoy Advent, but not for the presents, not for the parties, and not for the nativity set or tree we put in our home.  Those are great, but not my happiest place during Advent and Christmas. No, I enjoy it because it gives me the “excuse” to be still. It is in the being still that I find space in my day to pray, read my Bible, and work through an advent devotional. I need the motivation to be intentional in being still even more during the holidays. Do you?

When it comes to a devotional, I may read the same one for several years or I may search for a new one. I enjoy the process of selecting a devotional that is solid in the gospel and doctrine without fluff of more things I need to do to make this Christmas my best yet.

You may not be thinking about an Advent devotional today, but I want to pass along an opportunity to purchase a beautiful Advent calendar and devotional at a discount between now and next Wednesday.

The ladies at Amen Paper Company and the artist from Lindsay Letters have collaborated to pull this bundle of Christmas joy together sooner than later so you can be intentional in preparing your heart for Christ again or maybe for the first time in your life. Jess and Helen of APC put out an APB to those who may be inclined to submit written pieces on specific topics within the theme of, “Let it Be,” which is another way of saying, “Amen”.

I submitted a piece and it was selected and I cannot wait to see it all together. Words and art creatively colliding and displaying the splendor of Christ and his magnificent So Be It when his atonement was accomplished is where I desire my focus today and all my days.

Christmas is 100 days away. Let us prepare our hearts and make him room today and everyday. Amen?

 

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Who Me, Disciple? An Invitation.

Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

An invitation for you...

An invitation for you…

Today’s text from a younger woman in our church prompted me to consider again this recurring and blessed nudge from God, this commission as spoken by Jesus to his disciples at the end of Matthew, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”

What about you? Are you ever nudged by God about this?

Backing up a bit, I know the need for discipling from the perspective of this younger woman. Giving my heart to Christ as a young teenager was wonderful and memorable, but my growth was sporadic and unguided until I got out of college and became a mom two and a half years later.

Reflecting back to being a young newly married woman, I remember calling a wise woman in our church and asking her if she knew of a Bible study in which I could participate. This woman was someone whose faith I admired from afar. She seemed to have her life together when it came to her ability to share about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. At the least, I was hoping for an invitation to her Bible study. At the most, I was envisioning being discipled by her, one on one.

But I cannot forget her heartfelt response to me. She steered me to no one – not herself, and not her Bible study group because of my youthfulness and her group’s not-so-youthfulness. She steered me far away from pursuing discipling of any kind.

I hung up the phone dejected and ashamed to have made a cold call to this woman.

Fast forwarding now, I have been blessed in the years since that phone call being in the providential combo of right place and time of receiving from godly women – from group Bible studies, to one-on-one over steaming coffee, to authors who challenged me from afar unbeknownst to their discipling affect on my soul through the words in books.

The common denominator of all those life-giving and life changing encounters with godly women was the Word of God as central to nurturing younger women. Repeatedly pointing me back to truths found in Scripture was key to my growth.

Being a new mom challenged my faith and mentors pointed me to the solidity of the gospel in keeping Jesus at the center of my calling to parent. This sustained me through all the phases of parenting. I knew to whom I could drag my weary soul at the end of a hard day and it was to the Trinity. Women discipling me faithfully pointed me there.

Praying was never my strong suit, but through my discipling relationships, I learned how to pray alone and in community. I learned that God was to be the first ears to hear my heart’s burdens and not my husband’s, friends’, or mentors’. I saw confidentiality modeled and godly strength upheld. I saw repentance and seeking forgiveness displayed. I learned the value of communicating regularly with God.

And I learned the value of being invested in by godly (not perfect) women who gave of their time to come alongside me. For them, I am thankful.

I know the benefits of discipleship. Women discipling women are a breath of fresh air in the Church. To pour into another life (through the power of the Holy Spirit) as I’ve been blessed is a valuable benefit of being an active part of a church body.

I will talk with my younger friend and find out what God has laid on her heart. I will do my best to encourage and teach her as others have modeled for me. I will keep the gospel at the heart of our relationship. I will share my failures and flaws, my meager attempts and few successes, by God’s grace. I will ask her to disciple others, too, at the right time.

Is it time for you to do the same?

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