All posts by ruthsgenuineblogtasticblog

About ruthsgenuineblogtasticblog

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am writing this blog to share my walk with the world. I am struggling, I am flawed, I am weak, I stumble. But I keep pressing on, throwing off anything which hinders, and pursuing God with abandon. "Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus." - Phillipians 3:12-14 This blog will be about the Bible, and principles. I will write about the lessons I am learning, about the scriptures I am studying, and to a certain degree I will talk about my life. I invite you to give me honest feedback on my posts in the comments section. I want to help you in your faith journey any way I can. I am praying for all of my readers! God bless you! Love and Prayers, Abigail Ruth

By HIS Power

  Every Christian I know has, at least once, wasted time feeling inadequate for the calling God has given them. I’m willing to bet you have too.
  You tell yourself, “God can’t use me. I’ve sinned too much. My human nature often gets the best of me.”
  Perhaps you prefer to play the timeless game of As. You know, it goes like this: “I could never be AS gifted AS John. John is so good at teaching the Word, I could never be AS good AS he.” “I can’t sing AS well AS Emma. She is a great soprano, I’m just a mediocre alto!”
“I’m not a husband/father/wife/mother/child/etc like So-and-So. I could never fulfill my duties AS spiritually AS they do.”
And on and on it goes, until you’re so focused on your own shortcomings you ignore your God’s power. Christian, you cannot win this game, yet you stake your spiritual productivity on its outcome! That’s certainly not a safe bet.
  Let’s break down two areas to feel guilty about.

  I.  Pre-salvation lifestyle
  We all have sinned before becoming a Christian. Invariably, there’s something in every Christian’s past that haunts us, that we wish everyday we could go back & reverse. These things are in our past though! It is foolish to allow our past in the world to determine our future in God’s Kingdom.
  2Corinthians 5:16-19 admonishes us to “regard no one from a worldly point of view.” That certainly includes ourselves! This passage further explains that once we have been born again, we’re a new creature, no longer sinners in God’s eyes. Not only have we been reconciled to God, but we’ve been given the ministry of reconciliation. Despite our past sins, we all are called to be ministers of the Gospel in some way.
    II. Post-salvation sins
    Even the best-grounded Christ followers slip up now & then, allowing their old self to overtake their new self. Maybe you’re a mom, and you find yourself yelling at your children over some minor infraction because you’re tired and frustrated. Perhaps you’re a businessman who turns your head when you see corruption in the workplace. This is all not to mention the ministers having extra-marital affairs, rebelling teenagers, wives who dress to make their husband jealous rather than proud, and the person who didn’t give back to the harried cashier that extra quarter he accidentally gave them.
  Yes, we’ve all done it. We’ve all done or said something we shouldn’t’ve, or not said or done something we should’ve. As Philippians 2:13 clarifies for us, these “slipups” happen whenever we rely on our own power rather than God’s to live sinlessly.
  2Corinthians 3:18 more than hints at this concept of being a work-in-progress, saying we’re “being transformed into His [Christ’s] likeness….” Notice this says “are being” not “have been”. Don’t we all wish we were finished! But we aren’t. This side of Heaven, the struggle between the old us and the new will be painfully felt every moment. But if we continue on to verse one of chapter four, we are given a glimmer of hope. “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.”
  The efficacy of our Christian walk is not determined by whether or not we are perfect, but by whether or not we’re surrendered.

  “And we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, were being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” – 2Corinthians 3:18-4:1, 7 (NIV)

  “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them- 2Corinthians 5:16-19 (NIV)

 

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Quiet Wind

If you’re anything like I am, you’re very busy! You’ve got work, maybe kids, volunteering, church activities, maybe school or continuing education for work, etc. The list is virtually endless. There is simply never quite enough time in the day to get it all done. As a Christian, you know you’re supposed to get in devotional/prayer time every day, but it just doesn’t  seem doable. And sometimes you wonder if it will help at all.

I have to tell you the truth; you & I are created for intimate & constant fellowship with our Creator. Without listening to His voice, no matter how much time it takes to hear it, we are powerless against our adversary Satan. God is many things, among them our General in (spiritual) battle. Even the best-armed army couldn’t win battles if they didn’t consult their leader first. So it is with you & me. If we do not daily consult with our “General” (i.e. God), we will be defeated by Satan. “I pray every day,” you say. Good! The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing”. But there is more to any relationship, including our relationship with God, than us talking to Him: we must also listen to God speak to us!

1Kings 19:9-13 recounts to us Elijah’s encounter with God. The first point of interest to us in this passage is in verse 9 when the Lord asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?”. In other words, “Are you seriously seeking an encounter with me?”. We should note that at this point Elijah was fearfully hiding out in a cave, fleeing Queen Jezebel. God was asking Elijah if he really wanted to know what His will was, or did he want to continue to wallow in fear? That is God’s question to you & me; “Are you really ready for what I am about to say?” Elijah responded honestly, confiding in God his deepest fears & shortcomings. As we see here, when we are honest with God, He reveals Himself to us.

Verse 12 tells us that when Elijah allowed God to lead him to the place where he was ready to hear from Him (in this case the lonely & probably frightening side of the mountain), Elijah was then bombarded with the noise of the rest of the world: whirlwind, earthquake, & fire (swirling & overwhelming circumstances, a shaking up of our lives such as job loss, &/or destruction of something precious to us).

This brings us home to where I was going with this. When we most desperately need guidance from God is when the world &/or Satan chime in & try to drown out His voice. As with Elijah, God’s voice more often than not comes to us in a quiet whisper. But notice that Elijah waited through the noise & chaos. He waited hear upon the Lord. And look what happened: God spoke!

Likewise, when we sacrifice the time to wait upon God to hear His voice no matter what it takes, we will be richly rewarded. God did indeed speak to Elijah, fearful & faithless though he was. And although we are at least as inadequate, God wants to speak to us if we seek Him as diligently as did Elijah (imagine the spiritual hunger it took to stay on that mountain through a whirlwind, an earthquake, & a fire!)

We as fallen, sinful human beings cannot find within ourselves that level of spiritual diligence. So if we want to hear from God & be in HIs presence, we must ask Him to grant us an insatiable hunger & thirst for Him. In Genesis 3 we see that our post-sin instinct is to go the opposite direction from God right when we most need Him. But Elijah’s story of relentless pursuit of God also tells us that God can & will change that if we ask Him to.

So my closing challenge to you today is; go before the Lord, & ask Him to implant within you an insatiable longing to hear His voice.

“You will seek me & find me when you search for me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

 

 

Definition of A Soul

  Human beings tend to define themselves & others by what they do & have. When we’re initially becoming acquainted with someone, we find out 1) their name (which is the label society puts on them) 2) their career/financial standing (which is their value as the bank sees it). Supposedly, these things will reveal to us who this person really is. Our assumption is that human beings are defined by what they do, how much wealth they’ve accumulated, & who others say they are.
  What a sadly shallow way of defining people! Even sadder is that not only do we define/value others by these shallow means, we also define ourselves this way. We as a global culture have bought the lie that our individual worth is determined by how much we accomplish.
  The Bible, however, makes it quite clear that our value is not nearly so superficial. Rather, our value & defintion are derived from our Creator. Genesis 1:27 tells us that God made us in His likeness. Don’t misinterpret this; to be clear, since Adam’s fall, we are not godlike. But nonetheless, we still derive our personhood from God. This is a value inherent to each individual, & an unchanging valuation, because it’s “set in stone” by God. No one & nothing can alter the value of someone.
  No matter how badly we mess up, no matter how worthless the world says we are, God has given us value, purpose, & perpetual second chances. Nothing & no one can change that!
  These truths are easily forgotten though, if we allow ourselves to become so caught up in the “daily grind” that we neglect to spend time with God, being reminded of who He says we are, & what our true purpose is.
  Our true purpose is to know, glorify, & worship God. Sending our children to the best schools, having a bigger house, a newer car, more savings, etc, are all mere asides. They’re not what life is about. While such goals aren’t wrong per se, it breaks God’s heart when we misguidedly allow them to define us. You are who God says you are, Christian!

  “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

  “As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at His feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10: 38-42 (NIV)

Radical Faithfulness

  In today’s society, faithfulness is a rare commodity. Employees stay with their jobs only as long as its beneficial for them. Friends stand by each other only as long it’s good for their popularity. Spouses are faithful in both body & soul only as long as it’s not challenging.
  The world says these standards are perfectly acceptable. But Christ calls us to go above & beyond the world’s standards in every area. The world’s standard of “faithful to Number One” is simply unacceptable to God!
  The Bible has numerous examples of radical faithfulness in its pages. Take David Jonathan, for instance. Jonathan stuck by David even when David was “Israel’s Most Wanted Man”, so to speak. Or how about one of my favorite examples of radical faithfulness: Naomi & Ruth.
  Ruth had lost everything she knew: husband, social status, home, money, etc. In times of loss, it is human nature to cling to what is familiar. No one could have blamed Ruth if she chose to live out her the rest of her life of widowhood in her homeland. Instead, she chose to take a leap of faith & exercise radical faithfulness to God & Naomi, by going with Naomi to Israel.
  Remember, women, widows, foreigners, & the poor firmly occupied the lowest rung of the social ladder in Israeli society at the time. Ruth was all four! Such faithfulness required an enormous sacrifice. Ruth had to trust in God completely. She couldn’t listen to the taunting, discouraging voice of other people. She had to listen to God!
  And look how amazingly God rewarded Ruth for her faith, faithfulness, trust, & Love! She not only had the course of her life turned around (she fell in love, got married, had children, became wealthy by marriage, etc) but also became an ancestor of Christ, & a book about her life has been canonized in the Holy Bible as sacred Scripture, read by billions of people for thousands of years.
  Likewise, it is never easy to be faithful in today’s society. Everything in our culture discourages faithfulness to anyone or anything but “self”. Radical faithfulness such as that depicted in the Bible is these days the target of jokes, not the idealized-yet-achievable standard it is in Scripture.
  But, IF WE TRUST GOD ENOUGH TO GO OUT ON A LIMB AND BE RADICALLY FAITHFUL, God will richly bless us for it. Like Ruth, we may not live to see all the ways in which our faithfulness literally changes the world; but I can assure you that in due time it will. The first step of obedience is up to you and me, though!

 
“Let Love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” – Proverbs 3:3 (NIV)

Grace Without Measure

  The church is supposed to be a spiritually & emotionally safe place where broken souls can let their wounds heal in the open, without fear of condemnation. The church should be a shelter from the battering of the world.
  Sadly, this is not the case. The people in the church are typically just as cruel as non-church people. This is not as it should be, my friends! We, as self-proclaimed “little Christs”, have failed miserably if people are battered and/or condemned by us!
  I could fill a large volume with the many occurrences of cruelty (in one form or another) perpetrated BY Christians TO Christians, which I personally have witnessed. Oh, how this saddens me! And oh, how this saddens our Lord Jesus.
  Not only are we actively cruel to one another, we also tend to be cruel by way of inaction.
  Sometimes those people with the brightest smiles are struggling the hardest. No one has all their ducks in a row all the time. Sooner or later, even the strongest among us will stumble & even fall flat on their face. For a wide variety of reasons, these people will pretend they’re okay when they’re really not.
  When they put on that act, you & I face a choice: will we respond with compassion? Or will we judge & condemn them? Will we ignore their suffering? Or will we give agape-style Love?
  Let me remind you that Holy Scripture makes it abundantly clear that NONE of us have any right to judge one another. Jesus has given each of us Grace without measure. It is our command to “pay it forward.”

Beauty Is Not Skin Deep

  Our global culture places much emphasis on external attractiveness. In recent years, this mindset has been taken to an absurd extreme. I, as much as the next person, like to look nice. I take care of my appearance, and try to dress attractively and wear my hair nicely, etc. Don’t we all? There isn’t anything wrong with that, either!
  What IS wrong is an obsession with our appearance that causes us to strive for “perfection” (whatever THAT is!). Worst of all, some people base their sense of self-worth and self-confidence on whether or not the culture says they’re physically attractive. That is so tragic and distorted!
  It is absolutely heartbreaking that (at least in America) eating disorders are steadily on the rise among children, even girls as young as twelve! Something in society is terribly amiss if children are feeling that their young bodies are “ugly” or “fat”. Obviously, we are overdue for drastic change in our culture’s definition of “beauty”. This change starts with you and me.
  It is important that we teach young people that external attractiveness does not define them! That beauty comes in every shape, size, skin tone, hair and eye color, etc. No one form of physical beauty is superior to another!
  Most importantly, it is imperative that “Generation X” realize that outer beauty is only temporary. The significant form of beauty/attractiveness for which we should all strive is the beauty of a gentle, loving, kind spirit. It shows itself not in well-applied makeup, nice clothes, cute hairstyles, etc., but in selfless service, a kind word, a warm hug, a listening ear. This inner beauty does not concern itself with the latest fashion in clothing, rather it cloaks itself in the “classic” cloak of humility. It does not fade with the ravages of age and time, but increases proportionally to the increase of wisdom, experience, and love in the person who has it. This timeless inner beauty cannot be purchased for any sum of money, but is attained through selflessness and love. THIS is the beauty we must teach our children to seek and cultivate.
  We wonder why the world is in chaos; one reason is because the world is overrun with sad, empty, self-loathing people who are desperately searching for value and purpose. I propose to you that if children are taught from the very beginning who they are in Christ, and that no one and nothing can diminish their worth in Him, many of society’s ills would be cured.

Forgiveness vs Unforgiveness

  Forgiveness cleanses our soul and releases us from the past.  Unforgiveness, on the other hand, tethers us to the past. It forces us to wallow in the negative wake created by other people’s mistakes. Unforgiveness, I might add, is completely optional!
  Unforgiveness is self-centered. It is the voice in your head saying, “MY rights were violated! Look what they did to ME! I am hurting!,” etc, etc.
  Forgiveness, however, is God-centered. It bears in mind Christ’s sacrifice for us, and the unconditional grace granted to us. It focuses on what will glorify God, rather than what will vindicate the idol of “self”. Forgiveness brings freedom, joy, and peace through God-centeredness.
  Unforgiveness is in error because it completely leaves God out of the equation, whereas forgiveness is in the right because it leaves “self”, as well as the transgressor, completely out of the equation!
  Unforgiveness is proud, having a disturbingly bloated sense of self-importance. Pride always isolates us from others, thereby needlessly deepening and prolonging our suffering.
  We as fallen human beings are incapable of forgiveness until we received it from God, and once we have received it from Him, it becomes forever and always inexcusable for us to withhold it from our fellowman.
 
  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34 (NIV)

  “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)

  “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12 (NIV)