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In adult Sunday school, we are studying the book of Ruth.  One of the things that the study points out is how depressed and stressed Naomi is. She’s lost her husband and both sons.  She has two daughters-in-law and none of them have a way to support themselves.  She felt deserted by God.

Maybe this is why she didn’t see the blessing that was Ruth.  Remember Naomi even tried to send her away. It wasn’t until Ruth gleaned gallons of grain, it may have been six, from the fields of Boaz that Naomi could see that God had not abandoned them.

Like Naomi, we often focus on the storms even when our situations aren’t particularly dire.  A clerk is snippy.  They are out of our favorite coffee.  A package won’t arrive until tomorrow.  Alas and woe!  We focus on what has made us unhappy as we post on their Facebook wall, fire off angry e-mails or sit on hold.

How much better would it to focus on the blessings, the sunshine in our days?  With that in mind, you’ll have to excuse me.  It is still less than 80 degrees.  I’m going to go putter.

–SueBE

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This may be one of my all time favorite Bible verses and it has only become more so after a God moment I experienced this week.

My friend and I are once again preparing to teach adult Sunday school.  Our class uses two sets of material.  One consists of pamphlets put out by a religious press.  They cover a wide range of topics from the Lord’s Prayer to the Kings.  While I try to tell myself that I’m okay with them, 90% of the time they feel like an educational snack.  There’s just enough there to make me want more.

The other set of books are the ones produced by the Presbyterian Church USA for women’s Bible study. My friend and I chose the 2007/2008 study that taught Jonah and Ruth.  We tend to like these books so we didn’t really look at it.  We already knew there would be almost more information than we could use.

Thursday I flipped it open and read lesson 1.  Some scholars believe that both Ruth and Jonah were written after the Babylonian captivity.  That is why both books are strongly anti-foreign, an issue that God addresses with Ruth and Jonah and the author addresses in the study.

This study may be 10 years old but it is still needed today.  Thank you, Lord, for leading us to it.

–SueBE

NaomiLast Sunday, Pastor Sean finished a sermon series on Ruth.  This time, he discussed Naomi and Ruth finding a place with Boaz.  If you don’t know this particular Bible Story, you can find it here.

What impressed me about this story, and was emphasized in Pastor’s sermon, was the fact that here was God at work but there were no big miracles.  No one was healed.  The sea didn’t part.  Water was still water, and not wine, at the end of the day.

Instead God was at work through day-to-day events. He was with Naomi as she chose Boaz’s fields to glean. He was with Boaz when he decided to welcome Naomi to glean with the women under his protection and drink her fill at their water jars.

How do we know God was at work?  Because Naomi and Boaz married. Their son was the grandfather of King David, ancestor of Christ. All of this through day-to-day choices that at the time wouldn’t have seemed at all world changing.

It’s enough to make me wonder about the ho-hum choices I make each day.  Who will be impacted because I’ve donated books to a sale, welcomed one of my son’s friends to the table for dinner, or taken homemade baked goods to a friend?  None of them are big decisions.

It also mas me thinking about the many times that I pray and God doesn’t seem to answer.  Maybe I just don’t see the answer because I’m looking for something BIG, something EARTH SHATTERING, something LIFE CHANGING.

But Naomi’s story shows me that God orchestrates even tiny, day-to-day events. I’ll try to keep this in mind the next time I pray and don’t seem to receive an answer. His response may be right in front of me because of a simple action I’ve taken or a choice I’ve made. It certainly gives “go with God” a whole new meaning.

–SueBE

My namesake from the Old Testament, Ruth,

endured,

abided,

and her faith held fast.

As for me?

I’m flawed and unfocused.

I’ve left Your side more times than I can count.

But wherever life takes me, I know You’re already there.

Craft me into something substantive.

Grace me with Your wisdom.

Be my soul’s salvation.

Restore me as I leave the righteous path and return me to Your favor.

Whither Thou goest, by Your Mercy, I shall surely go.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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