Showing posts with label Guidance from the book of Ruth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guidance from the book of Ruth. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

April Bible Reading Plan for Widows

Dear Friends,
This month's plan takes us through the Gospel of John and the book of Ruth. One chapter per day unless I just "had to" pair them with Psalms that were so fitting and precious. I know each day will touch your hearts and encourage you to praise and worship the Lord with gratitude as we consider His awesome resurrection power and victory over death this Easter. Simply copy the chart below, then paste and print to tuck in your Bible. 

As you read Ruth remember that it's the very same time of year when Ruth and Naomi returned to Bethlehem and the barley harvest! We finish off the month with Prov. 31 because I have a hunch that Ruth and Naomi were the inspirations for "The Virtuous Woman!" In fact, Ruth 3:11 has a cross-reference to Prov. 31:10 in many Bibles.

No matter where you are on your journey through widowhood, do not neglect reading God's Word! It is sustenance for your soul, and you'll spiritually starve without it. ♥ ferree



May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,
your salvation, according to your promise; Psalm 119:41 (NIV)


April 2017



Sunday

Monday

Tues.

Wed.

Thurs.

Friday

Sat.


1






Psalm 119:33-48
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
John 1
John 2
John 3
John 4
John 5
John 6
John 7
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
John 8
John 9
John 10
John 11
John 12
John 13
John 14
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
John 15
John 16
John 17
John 18
John 19
Psalm 69
John 20
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
John 21
Psalm 18
Psalm 19
Psalm 20
Ruth 1
Ruth 2
Psalm 91
Ruth 3
Psalm 15
Ruth 4
Psalm 89
30





Prov. 31






Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Can You Be Happily NOT Married?

We're nearing the end of this series on 10 Reasons Why Ruth Is For Widows
Today we're on this reason...
9. The Book of Ruth shows that not all widows want to or will get remarried--- and that’s OK!

permission-granted.png

I felt like someone had given me a permission slip when I discovered this truth--I don't have to get remarried to be happy--It's OK to be single!

Previously it seemed like my future as a widow was a big black hole of nothingness if I didn't get married. But Naomi's life changed all that for me. And then, ironically, I did get married.

Gleaning from Naomi's life relieved me to be free from the pressure to marry and the discontent of singleness before I met Tom. I was permitted to be happy again even if I didn't have a husband! To be free! To be OK! To be on my own with God, and to step out of my husband's shadow. All that came to me from Naomi's example.

Here's a snippet of insight from chapter 16 of Postcards from the Widows' Path----

I have a feeling Naomi could have married Boaz—she had “first rights.” Maybe she just didn’t want to remarry. As I talk to widows I find some like Naomi. It’s not that they can’t remarry, they just don’t want to; they are God’s individual creation, content with their identity, accepting of their lot, even preferring it to remarriage. It reminds me that when God created Adam He created Eve to help Adam; but He didn’t create anyone to help Eve! We women were designed by God to be the helpmate, not to necessarily need a helpmate. I think we’re far better equipped to handle solo living than men are.

What about you? Are you ready to fly solo? Do you honestly prefer marriage? Why not check your current state of thoughts and feelings about remarriage. No one is going to judge your answer, this is simply a gauge for your heart. Check it again in 6 months to see if you've changed:

___Never. Re-marriage is not for me. I don’t want it.

___Probably not. I think it’s a statistical impossibility.

___Maybe, if I met the right man.

___I’d do anything to get married again.

___I’m not ready to risk losing another husband.

Use the following verse as a prayer for your journey as a widow. The Lord truly will show you the way He's chosen for you as you lift your soul to Him. Whether you remarry or not, His love never fails and that's what matters most. ferree

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

For Widows Who Want to Remarry---Reason #8 Why the Book of Ruth Is for Widows

The Book of Ruth shows the virtues to build while single. Virtues like patience, trust, gratitude, humility, respect, abstinence, perserverance and prayer...things that every Christian should strive for but widows get to exercise them all in this particular trial called bereavement.

But what about remarriage? Does Ruth reveal especially good traits to look for in a man?

The answer is YES! Let me list the qualities I saw in Boaz, the man who married Ruth. These might not be all the qualities of a great husband but they helped me know that Tom was right for me when I met him. I'm glad Tom decided I was right for him too!

The following list is from chapter 15 of my book, Postcards from the Widows' Path. This chapter also tells about the weirdest week of my life and further explains the character qualities, but I think you can benefit from this brief list too.
  • Boaz put God first
  • He appreciated and understood Ruth's actions and character
  • He was sensitive to Ruth's possible fears
  • He didn't make promises he couldn't keep
  • He was concerned for Ruth's safety and reputation
  • He was generous and well-mannered
  • He was comfortable and accepting of Ruth's strength
  • He didn't procrastinate
  • He was financially secure
However, it's not all about the man! Ruth equalled Boaz in virtue (Ruth 3:11); they were a matched set! So, ladies, please don't imagine Ruth was a helpless princess waiting around for her knight in shining armor to come to her rescue.

It's not all about the two lovers either! Ruth never would have met and married Boaz without working in the barley field and listening to the promptings of her friend and mother-in-law Naomi. I myself would have never met and married Tom without some effort and the promptings of my friend Laura. God's plans come to fruition in the community of God's people, not in isolation.
Ask yourself these questions:
  • Ruth worked in a barley field----where do I work, volunteer, worship, learn and fellowship? Where can I venture today to meet new people and enrich my life?
  • Ruth listened to Naomi---who is my Naomi? Who's wise? Who knows me and wants what's best for me? To whom can I be a friend like Naomi?
If you want your life to change, then start changing your life according to God's Word. Take the first small step today. 

ferree

Monday, February 15, 2016

2 Secrets That Transform Loss

Dear Reader,
Today we pick back up on our 10 Reasons Why Ruth is for Widows. Don't forget to take advantage of my annual book sale today, tomorrow is the last day!

7. The Book of Ruth shows

two secrets for transforming
loss:

finding favor &
 
exercising gratitude.
FINDING FAVOR
The idea for "Finding favor" comes from Ruth 2:2 (NIV)
And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”

Like Ruth, a widow needs to be willing to work and earn respect as a good worker, but she should pray that she may work for someone with a favorable and positive attitude about her. I don't mean that they'll discriminate in her favor. Employers must provide a good and fair work atmosphere for everyone and not show favoritism. But on the other hand, they should not greedily take advantage of a widow's plight, and they should value her experience and wisdom.
Realize that many people will sympathize with a widow but they remain afraid of her. Afraid of her grief, her femininity, her circumstances. I know many widows who've felt that. So just as Ruth asked Naomi to grant her authority to seek employment and favor, so too should widows ask the Lord to find favorable work. It might be full-time, part-time, volunteer, or with a temp agency, but where ever a widow seeks to contribute her time, finding favor can be the key sign of what the Lord has opened up for her.

EXERCISING GRATITUDE
Many books have already been written about gratitude and the key it plays in helping us through grief and life in general. But did you know we also see it in the Book of Ruth? It's rather amazing that the wisdom of gratitude is over 3000 years old!
When Ruth came home from her first day on the job and showed Naomi all the "favor" Boaz granted her, Naomi just about bursted with exclamations of praise and gratitude! Read Ruth 2:19-200. Can you hear her excitement? Verse 19 states

Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!”

These words are opposite the cries of despair about God's mistreatment that Naomi vented in Ruth 1:20-22. And what's amazing to me is that they are the turning point in this book! Instead of bitterness, Naomi is blessing!

She didn't have to do that. Instead, she could have leaned into her grief and turned her face to the wall when Ruth got home that evening. She could have compared Ruth's work to what her late husband would have brought home. She could have regretted it was Ruth coming through that door instead of her husband. Do you see what I mean?
But Naomi opened her eyes to see the answer to prayer. She saw grace and favor and she was thankful. Do you remember the blessing jar I've encouraged you to fill this year? I've been lax in recognizing my blessings so far. If you have too, why not join me in determining to be more like the Naomi we read about today? Let's trade our bitterness for blessing, OK?
Although we must be realistic about our losses and we've got to work through them, every time we catch a regret or comparison we can also catch something good that's happened too. Watch for it, jot it down, and put it in your jar. Try to find one-blessing-a-day with me, won't you? Some days you might not see one, but on other days you'll find many. Finding favor and then being thankful and praising God for His work in your personal life are the "secrets" that can change everything!

ferree

Monday, February 8, 2016

God Knows Our Losses

This week we'll continue the reasons why Ruth is for widows. Today is a severe mercy as we realize God knew Naomi's heartbreaks and He knows our own. Yet He does not spare us; He sees something more:

The Book of Ruth shows the many layers of loss a widow may experience.

Three little words sum up what happened to Naomi: "...she was left..." (Ruth 1:3) Their clinical starkness startles me with the shock, despair and helplessness she must have felt. Three little words shouldn’t be the end result of her investment of nurture and love for her husband and sons.
Worse yet, Naomi was left in a foreign country. Today Moab would be in the country of Jordan, approximately fifty miles from Bethlehem, about an hour-long drive by car. But in Naomi’s time it was a five-day journey by foot. They could not communicate by mail, telephone or e-mail with the people back home. Naomi was virtually cut off. She had left her house, her mother, her friends, neighbors and everything familiar back in Bethlehem. She submissively followed her husband to a foreign place she had probably never even seen before— and then she was left.
She lost her husband who, according to cultural norms of the day was at the very least her personal security, financial support and structure of her time. Her life circled around him like the moon around the earth.
In a sweeping and final devastation, her sons’ deaths stripped her of all hope and her personal identity for the future. The original Hebrew denotes this by deleting her name in verse three. She’s simply referred to as the woman.* Naomi’s life was blown apart.
A year after my husband died I began to realize losing my husband wasn’t a straight and easy street through mourning and then it was over and done. The street had potholes the size of elephants and I stumbled and fell into them time after time! I shattered in many places as I realized all my losses! I had lost my dear friend, my parenting partner, my spiritual leader, and my lover. I’d lost my daily routine of prioritizing around his schedule. And the church’s schedule!—I’d lost my calling as a pastor’s wife, too. I’d lost my dreams of grand-parenting and growing old with him.
I identified with Naomi. As scripture stated she was left, so, too, was I. I was left to raise our children and make important decisions alone. I was left without the comfort, security and daily routine of marriage. I was left to face a future I did not want. I understood why the original Hebrew deleted Naomi’s name, reducing her to “the woman.” I felt like half a person and secretly pondered my value and purpose.
Admitting my multiple losses was painful. But if I not listed my losses and brokenness, I never would have known that the pain was cutting deep places for joy. But God knew.
How about you, dear reader? Have you begun to understand the many layers of loss? This is something to prayerfully consider and struggle through in God's timing. May the Lord gently guide you through this painful phase of grief.
ferree
 
Postcards from the Widows' Path will help you walk this difficult journey of loss by spotlighting these insights from Ruth and then allowing you to journal your own. Each chapter starts with a fictional "postcard" from one of the characters in the story. Next is a short chapter which takes only a few minutes to read. Following that is a place for the reader to correlate the Scripture with her own grief and experiences, closing with a meaningful Bible verse and prayer. Women who follow through with the reading and journaling will see an actual difference and improvement in their own journey by the end of the book. God gave Ruth and Naomi faith, hope and love and He offers the same to widows today. Click the Book Sale link here or at the top of the blog. but hurry --- only 8 more days for this lowest price of the year.