Monday, February 28, 2011

A New Dance - Serena Woods

And a Titus 2sday Linkup!!

Steer clear of the barking dogs,
those religious busybodies,
all bark and no bite.
All they're interested in is
appearances—knife-happy circumcisers,
I call them.
~ Philippians 3:2

Something that I've learned over the past several years is that you cannot have enough self-control to perfect your Christianity. The realization is heart breaking, at first.

Every once in a while, I get asked to prove my worth. To list the steps I've taken and provide evidence of God's grace and restoration. There is a pressure to refine my appearance so that others can say, 'She's doing this or that.' 'God has obviously blessed her here. Look at these credentials...'

One thing that I am most thankful for is the realization that destroyed my sense of self-accomplishment. I learned that I cannot do this on my own and, in trying I was trying to gain independence from a God I was not made to be emancipated from. He gifts me with what I was reaching for all along and He did it when I realized I couldn't. You don't realize you can't until you are at your worst and are incapable of making it right.

Until I came to that point, I had no idea that I had deep roots of selfishness and conceit. I had been able to keep that part of me under control and dress in the cheap fabric of self-righteousness. When those roots surfaced in my life, I had no choice but to accept the damaged appearance and spend time watching Jesus clean out the depths of my heart.

My life, whether seen or not, is the healing dance of a crippled child. He holds my twisted legs straight and lets me dance on His toes. His feet moving me about. His spin catching my hair. He sings to me and I sing along. I worship Him from my depths. The depths I hid with my self-control. I give Him my worst and He shows me how to worship Him there.

The real believers are the ones
the Spirit of God leads to work
away at this ministry, filling
the air with Christ's praise
as we do it.
~ Philippians 3:3

Every once in a while, I get praised for my heart. They see me dancing and hear my song and they remark at the beauty. I'm telling you, it's not me you are seeing. It's my Father. I'm dancing on His toes, remember. I'm singing a song He taught me. It's not me. The sin you saw was me, the dance you see is Him.

Compared to the high privilege of
knowing Christ Jesus as my Master,
firsthand, everything I once thought
I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung.
I've dumped it all in the trash so that
I could embrace Christ and be embraced
by him. I didn't want some petty,
inferior brand of righteousness that
comes from keeping a list of rules when
I could get the robust kind that comes
from trusting Christ—God's righteousness.
~ Philippians 3:8-9

There will always be those who want something more than the dance of praise. They won't accept you unless you've earned a diploma from their school. But, I'm saying, forget about the way you look to others. Feel His feet under yours, His grip on your hands. Lean back, shut your eyes and let Him spin you around in a song of praise. Think about what that must look like to Him...

Serena Woods, author of Grace is For Sinners

Scripture taken from The Message Translation of the Bible

About the Author, Serena Woods

There are certain things from which a human cannot recover. Grace is one of those things. Serena's experience with God's grace has taken her over and is holding her hostage. She's adored by a husband who holds her together with the look in his eyes. Her four daughters fill their house with infectious giggles and chaotic glitter. She rests in the love of a Father who refused to give up on her and she positions her naked heart to catch the reflection of God's grace so someone else can see it.

If you have any questions or comments, you can contact Serena through her website, Grace is for Sinners.

Just Trying to Matter

Purpose is found in those quiet
moments when no one but God
sees the work of your hands.
~ Time-Warp Wife

Late Saturday night I discovered that Reshaping it All had hit the New York Times best-sellers list, coming in at number thirteen for its category.

Hands trembled, thoughts swirled, lips ran dry as I dialed Candace Cameron Bure. Could it be true? Could God possibly bestow that much grace on a broken woman like me? There is nothing I've ever done to deserve such an honor, nor will ever do to measure up. I'm a grade 12 English flunky, who was gifted with a passion to write.

With the Academy Awards looming over the weekend the famous quote, "I'm just trying to matter," by June Carter Cash came to mind. Those words were echoed in the 2006 acceptance speech for best-actress by Reece Witherspoon.

But does it matter? Does any of this matter? Do I really need to make my mark on the world? No. I already matter to a God who loved me before I loved Him. One who cared enough to send His son to die for my sins so that I might live. He's all that matters. There isn't a red carpet, a trophy, or a list that could elevate us to a place any higher than that.

And YOU matter. Right where you are; right at this moment. You were created and are loved by an almighty God. That's what really matters in this mixed-up world of fame and fortune. Purpose is found in those quiet moments when no one but God sees the work of your hands.

Am I happy? Of course I am. Who wouldn't be grateful to receive such a blessing from the Lord. I was able to co-author a book with a Hollywood star, and now that same book has given me the title of a "New York Times best-selling author." Nothing I would have ever dreamed up for myself. It's all a gift through His amazing unwavering grace. Not deserved, yet bestowed. Thank you, Lord.

The day will come when I take my last breath, bow for the last curtain call, and leave this world on my journey to home. And when that day comes self gratification will be nothing but dust in the wind. It's His mark I desire to leave on this world, not my own.

You are loved by an almighty God,


For comments or questions, contact me at:

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bible Study - Philippians Chapter 1 {And a Link Up!}



Paul was an apostle, not one of the original 12 disciples.

Latin word for disciple is discipulus, or pupil.

Apostle comes from the Greek word apostolos, meaning to delegate.

The difference between the two is that a disciple is a pupil or a student, while an apostle is delegated for a purpose--Paul’s purpose being that of bringing Christ to the Greeks.

Who Paul was is well summed up in these verses:

“And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:8-10

This statement is the big difference between self righteous people and Paul. A self righteous person focuses on the good they do, Paul focused on ridding his life of sin. He saw his sin, which made him different from those who saw their goodness. His over-abundance of sin put things into perspective for him, so that he lived his life in a very humble manner.

Timothy was a follower of Paul’s. Paul was his mentor and spiritual leader. His grandmother was Lois, and his mother was Eunice, both referred to in scripture as women with sincere faith.

In a letter to Timothy from Paul, he mentioned that Timothy had “frequent illnesses” (1 Timothy 5:23).

Pilippi was a city in Greece. Paul founded the church in Philippi during his second missionary journey, Acts 16:11.

The theme of this book is joy, which is why it’s an exciting book to study. Throughout the book Paul refers to the joy that is available to all Christians.

Philippians 1:7

Paul says, “You are partakers of my grace.” It was Paul’s mission to speak to the Greeks, that is “The Gentiles” who were brought in to the new covenant through the death of Jesus Christ.

“If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root.” ~ Romans 11:17

Since Philippi was Roman colony in Greece, we can compare this verse with understanding: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” ~ Romans 1:16

Paul is offering the grace of God to all of the believers at Philippi without exception.


Because God took a Pharisee and transformed his life completely, Paul could see himself in non-believers, and felt affection for them. Once Christ showed him the truth, he saw just how lost he once was. He had a heart for the Greeks because some of the Jews in those days weren’t ready to accept the fact that the gospel of Jesus Christ was for ALL men. Paul knew differently and had a passion to reach them with the gospel.

When Paul says that your “love” may abound in knowledge and judgment, he is pointing out that everything we do should stem from a deep love for the Father and mankind. Our knowledge and understanding of the scripture is nothing without an intimate relationship with Christ.

It’s with that knowledge that we are then able to discern right from wrong, and likewise choose right from wrong. Love for the Father is what makes a moral transformation different from a spiritual one.

Consider the good that you do. Does it stem from a love for God, or a desire to be good?



Here Paul talks about being filled with righteousness:

What exactly is righteousness? Here is a link to




Why does Paul say that the fruits of righteousness are by Jesus Christ? (Compare Romans 4:11)





Because Paul was imprisoned and on trial before Ceasar’s Palace in a Roman court, he is saying that it was a good thing, because through it the message of Gospel was further spread. Whether people were against him or for him, the message was being heard.

What example can you take from that?





Paul is likely the most optimistic person in history aside from Jesus Christ himself. Whether he was rich or poor, imprisoned or free, sick or healthy, he found a reason to be both content in his situation and to rejoice in it.

In this section we start to see the theme of joy unfolding in the book of Philippians.

Notice the word Paul uses here is “rejoice,” Strong's G5463 – chairō, to rejoice exceedingly.

The origin of the word rejoice means “to enjoy the possession of.” So it’s more than just being content, it’s embracing our situation with a heightened sense of joy.

Consider difficult situations in your life. Are there any trials that you are struggling to rejoice in?





Remember the verse, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). Here we see living proof of that victory in the life of Paul who in verse 21 says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Death doesn’t have dominion over those who are in Christ Jesus, nor does pending death, when we believe that being away from this world is better than being in it.

Paul explains that dying is of benefit to one’s self, while living benefits those around us. That is so true when you consider those who grieve at the loss of a loved one. But more so, every day that God gives us is yet another chance to win souls for eternity. Our focus should always remain on doing the will of the Father rather than living for our own gratification.

If you’ve ever thought that your life isn’t worth living, think again. There is so much to be done for the furtherance of the gospel, all you have to do is be ready and willing when the opportunity comes. Or better yet, step out and create opportunities to share your faith.

Can you think of any way that you might be able to share your faith today?





If you are reading a King James Version of the Bible, you will often come across the word “conversation.” More often than not it is referring to ones conduct or lifestyle. Here we see Strong's G4176 – politeuomai, meaning, to avail one's self of or recognize the laws [of Jesus Christ.]

I love this verse. He is empowering the Philippian church with the instruction to stand firm against those who oppose the gospel, and those who set themselves against us. They see it as tearing us down, but to us it is counted as a blessing for which we will one day receive a reward.

If we follow Christ, we will be persecuted for our faith, because God’s wisdom can’t be understood by mankind. Those who walk in faith choose the wisdom of God over theirs, which means that it isn’t always the most comfortable path to walk.

Have you been persecuted for your faith? If so, what comfort do you find in these verses?





Paul closes this chapter with the use of a very interesting word: “Having the same conflict which you saw in me.” Strong's G73 – agōn, meaning assembly. An assembly to the Greeks was in some ways like our “stadiums” it was a place where they gathered to watch contests and games. In Paul’s writing you will often notice that he references athletes and sports. It’s a good analogy to use when describing our fight for the gospel.

Optional homework for the week:

Memorize Philippians 1:21

Underline some of the scriptures that stood out to you and add cross references for future study.

Read the first chapter again with some of the lessons in mind.

That closes our study on chapter one. Come back next Monday for chapter 2!

If you are studying along with us this week, you are welcome to leave a link to your site in the Linky tool below. But rather than linking up with a graphic from your blog like we usually do, it would be nice if you could post your profile photo so we can all see each other. If you don't have one--not a problem, another graphic will do. The Linky tool is just a way for all of us to get to know each other, it's not necessary to write a corresponding post.

I'm also posting the button code to the Bible study in hopes that you can add it to your post or sidebar.

And don't forget, tomorrow is Titus 2sdays, so if you're a blogger, come back and link up with your post on marriage, parenting, housekeeping or recipes.

You are loved by an almighty God,


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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not Everyone Cheats !

According to today's statistics, there are more cheaters out there these days and so many marriages broken up over them....however, I wonder if there were just as many cheaters way back in the day and we just didn't know about it because back then everyone just seemed to stay together, and divorce wasn't very prevalent. I also want to say  that not everyone will experience cheating by their mates. I know that there are good men out there, but how do you find them?  Or perhaps, you let them find you. Recently, someone within my family had a divorce due to her cheating husband and it wasn't pretty at all. He was actually ANGRY at HER for wanting a divorce due to his cheating and he blamed it all on her. She was devastated for a long period of time....however, she has been "taking a break" to work on her own issues and trying to get through her hurt. It is a much needed break. I honestly think that by taking the break is in her best interest...especially to re-group herself and try to work through all the pain, before going out with someone new. I told her to keep her chin up because not everyone cheats!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fix That Leaky Faucet!

And a Titus 2sday Linkup!!

Introducing our host today, Jessica Heights...

Jessica is a passionately Christian, blissfully wed, full-time homemaker and mother of four. She is the author and founder of Muthering Heights and Other Senseless Sensibility, in which she grows alongside and encourages women as they blossom as mothers, wives, seekers of truth and conduits of grace. She is also a co-host of Relevant and a contributing writer to Raising Homemakers, and Christmas Change.

If there is one area you could improve in your marriage – specifically in your treatment of your husband - what would it be?

Sadly, if many husbands were asked this same question, referring to your treatment of him, they may offer a different answer than you might think. And so today, I’d like to address a topic that I’m sure will hit home for nearly all of the wives out there: resisting the womanly urge to become a “dripping faucet” in our husband’s lives; aka, a NAG.

As women, I feel that it’s easy to fall into a pattern of needling our husbands when they repeatedly annoy us. Doesn’t it seem as though your husband required a thousand reminders about even the smallest thing?? Doesn’t he seem to need your direction on just about everything???

The short answer is NO!

I probably just lost half of you, but stay with me here, ladies: if you strive to make your home a haven for your family, a place lit by loving camaraderie and mutual esteem, why on earth would you want to make the man to whom you joined your life uncomfortable there? Who {especially a male “who”} wants to spend their time in the presence of a pugnacious person every single day?

…and a quarrelsome wife
is like a constant dripping.
~ Proverbs 19:13b

So what is a wife to do?

I’ve outlined a few points that have helped me to avoid becoming contentious to my husband. While I’m certainly not a perfect wife, keeping these things in mind helps me to stay focused on being his crown, rather than a constant dripping!

  1. Choose your battles.

    Better to live on a corner of the roof
    than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
    ~ Proverbs 21:9

    When Jordan and I were newly married, I began to notice some little habits of his that, to be quite frank, drove me crazy {yes, he knows I’m sharing these things with you}. The first is that he never closed a door – closet or cabinet. I would walk through our apartment to find every door he had touched ajar. The second is that somehow, he managed to teleport out of his clothing without pulling it apart; I was quite literally pulling shirts, undershirts, pants, underwear, and socks apart for each of his outfits every time I did the laundry!!

    At that point in our marriage, he was working so much that I only saw him for about two hours or so each night. Rather than ruining that time with him by reminding him of the fact that he wasn’t living up to my expectations of door-closing practices and undressing techniques, or complaining that he left his clothing entangled, I made a choice. I decided that the two seconds it took me to reach my hand out to close a door was not worth risking an argument. I did, however, ask him to please pull his clothing apart as he deposited it into the hamper…and lo and behold, he was happy to do so!

  2. Speak to him gently.

    A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.
    ~ Proverbs 15:1

    Let’s revisit the scenario above. If your best friend, your closest and most treasured female companion was engaging in those particular behaviors, would you storm up to her and bellow “What is wrong with you?? Can’t you SEE the hamper 3 feet in front of you???? WHY can’t you do something as simple as pulling your underwear out of your pants? Are you incapable of closing a door?? Were you raised in a BARN?” or sigh audibly and stomp around to show her how righteously angry you are? I would hope not! {And if you answered yes, how many close friends do you really have?}

    Your husband is far more than your best friend; the two of you are one! He is your mate, your leader, your lifelong counterpart whom you owe respect, affection and grace. Instead, of spewing out commands, insults, or even using an acrid tone, simply ask gently! Remember that bit about attracting more flies with honey? It’s applicable to your man as well!! Because I was kind in my request concerning the clothing, my husband was more than happy to undress in a more contentious manner.

  3. Nix that critical tongue!

    Reckless words pierce like a sword,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
    ~ Proverbs 12:8

    Let’s face facts: no one likes to have their flaws and shortcomings magnified, discussed, and regularly picked apart. I repeat: No. One.

    Imagine that your husband has just returned home from work. For all you know, he had the WORST day of his life, and hoped to find some reprieve when he came home…but instead, he is greeted by snarling criticism. Wouldn’t that just make him want to hurry home into your presence the next time he left the house?

    If your husband treated you that way, imagine how quickly the barbs of his words would bring you to your knees! Again, if you would not treat a friend in this manner, you must never behave this way toward your husband!! Rather, you should endeavor to regularly compliment him, as a means to build him up. Now, I’m not insinuating that you need to shower him with praise every minute. But by keeping your focus on the positive, he will feel respected and cherished. In addition, when the majority of your speech is positive, it will create focus on the concerns you voice {gently}, and demonstrate that doing what you ask is important to you.

  4. You are his wife, NOT his mommy.

    Your desire will be for your husband…
    ~ Genesis 3:16b

    Listen to me here, ladies: you are not raising your husband!

    The meaning behind the verse listed above raises a very important point. Due to the sinful, fallen nature of humanity, women have a natural desire to control their husbands. We try to micro-manage them. Manipulate them. Change them. We just can’t help ourselves, can we?

    Your husband may have habits, some trivial {like my silly laundry problem}, and some gravely serious sin issues that have roots in his childhood. Your continual digging at him will never change those things. It will only make you seem like a constant dripping! Rather, with loving, supportive words from you, prayer may be the only way to help him overcome larger issues and hurts.

    What you need to understand is this: it is not your job to “fix” him!! Some things may never change. If his mother trained him carelessly when he was a child, the fault for that is on her head, not yours. As his wife, your place is to prayerfully support him in overcoming. Stop trying to hold the world on your shoulders, girl! Give these things to God!

  5. Bottom line: you married a human being.

    Be completely humble and gentle;
    be patient, bearing with one
    another in love.
    ~ Ephesians 4:2

    Unless you know something I don’t about your husband, you married a flawed, fleshly sinner. {If you have a Stepford husband, feel free click your remote, start a foot massage, and skip to my next post. But for the rest of you, this is important!}

    He is going to make mistakes. He will annoy you. He will forget to do things you’ve asked him to do, he will fall back into negative behavioral patterns, and will be snared by the devil into issues of sin. This is why he needs you-his helpmeet, companion, and other half--to offer your steadfast support and to lift him up in prayer!! You would crumble internally if your husband expected you to me superwoman…so conversely, you cannot expect him to be superman!!!!

    It has been said many times, by many people that love is a choice. That is not only true for you, but also for your husband. For goodness’ sake ladies, in a world that holds so many things fighting to seduce your husband’s heart away from you, fix that faucet and make it an easy choice!!
If you have any questions or comments, you can contact Jessica through her website, Muthering Heights:

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To Mend or Not to Mend? That is the Question!

By Nigel Lawson

The other day I called up an old musician friend of mine I hadn’t seen in about five years.  He asked how I was doing and how my wife was doing.  When I told him I was divorced,  he sounded shocked and equally embarrassed.  I reassured him I was doing fine, and the break up was really the best thing for both of us.

He inquired more about what led to our break up and what measures we took to try to salvage our marriage.  After answering his questions, he admitted the reason for his interest in my situation was that he himself was contemplating divorce. 

Without going into details, he expressed his unhappiness with his situation at home.  What stood out in our conversation were his overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame over wishing to leave his wife.  Of course his first concern was the well being of his two young children, and how it would affect them. In addition, he was very troubled over the stigma of divorce and how his parents and in-laws would perceive him for wanting a divorce.

I explained to him that being happy is the one thing we do have control over in our lives.  If you are unhappy in a relationship or any unpleasant situation, find ways to change it.  I suggested couples therapy where he and his spouse could discuss their feelings and tackle the issues threatening their marriage.  I even suggested a trial separation to find out if divorce is the choice he and his spouse really wanted to make. 

Using separation as a means to gain insight on your relationship is something I read about in the book Contemplating Divorce   by Susan Pease Gadoua.  She states’ “However, rather than a means to an end, separation can be a helpful tool to stay together.” 

I recommended the book to him in order to address his conflicting feelings and uncertainty about the next chapter of his life.  It discusses the stigma attached to divorce and the unrealistic expectations society places on couples to fulfill the roles of the “perfect spouse,” and it provides insightful activities which will help couples come to one of the most important decisions of their lives.

Obviously it takes more than a band aid to mend a troubled relationship.  It is a commitment to work together and overcome life’s challenges which mends hearts.  Communication is key.  Don’t isolate yourself from your spouse and make this decision on your own.  Together find and utilize every resource available before making your final decision.  And, if you do decide on divorce, make that choice together. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bible Study - Ruth Chapter 4 & a Link Up!!

Names in this chapter (excluding the closing genealogy):

Obed: Servant

Ruth 4:1

This chapter begins by telling us that Boaz went up to the gate. In scripture we often read about leaders sitting at the city gates, it’s similar to what we know as town hall meetings, a market place, and a court house. There was much activity at the city gates.

Some references include:
  • Lot at the gate of Sodom (Genesis 19:1)
  • Abraham in front of an audience of the children of Heth (Genesis 23:10)
  • David sitting at the gate, and all the people came to the gate to hear him. (2 Samuel 19:8)
  • David acknowledges the murmuring against him at the city gates (Psalm 69:12)
  • Husband of Proverbs 31 woman was known at the gates and sat among the elders (Proverbs 31:23)
Ruth 4:2-5

The “kinsman” walked by. Hebrew word used there is Strong's H1350 - ga'al “To redeem or to ransom.

In verse two, Boaz took ten “elders” to witness the discussion, and hopefully, their transaction. In much the same way, a public confession of faith is a necessary step in living a victorious Christian life. Baptism is one way we do that.

What are some ways that you have publicly confessed your faith? Or haven't you?




Boaz chose ten men. Yet it was required in the Jewish law that they required the witness of two or three. The only significance that I can see in his choice of ten is that of the Ten Commandments. The commandments, and our failure to keep them, prove our need for a kinsman redeemer. In a sense they bear witness to our sin. (we’ll discuss this a little more further down).

The word “brother” used in verse three likely refers to Elimelech being a close relative. It doesn’t necessarily mean “brother” as we know it.

Boaz states his intentions in front of the witnesses, offering the unnamed man first-right of redemption. Boaz offers the kinsman the right to purchase Elimelech’s land, but advises him that should he wish to purchase it, he must also take Ruth to be his wife so that Elimelech’s name would live on.

Ruth 4:6

This is a key verse in the book of Ruth. Although this historical account is true, remember from our previous studies that Naomi represented Israel, Ruth represented the Gentiles who were grafted in to the faith, and Boaz represents Jesus Christ as our Kinsman Redeemer. It’s interesting to note that in this chapter we are introduced to an unknown next-of-kin who would seem to represent the old law.

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” ~ Romans 8:3

“Weak through the flesh” means that we are slaves to our sin (the Ten Commandments and our failure to keep them, bear witness to that), but when we are in Christ Jesus we walk after the Sprit and die to ourselves.

Buying the land was inviting, but marrying Ruth meant that he would also raise up the name of Elimelech and destroy his own inheritance.

Look at this scripture:

Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he [the rich young ruler] said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. ~ Luke 18:20-23

In what ways, if any, are the near kinsman and the rich young ruler similar?




How might that piece of scripture from Luke relate to your walk with Christ?




You see the law and commandments were good—their purpose is to show us our need for a savior--but the new covenant requires us to give up our own desires to serve the Lord and raise up His name. That’s what being born again is all about. Our old life along with its passions and desires are gone, and we are born into a new life that seeks to serve God.

Being a moral citizen does not a Christian make. Desiring to serve God and live according to His wisdom sets us apart as Holy.

The kinsman in chapter four wasn’t ready to give of himself to become one with his people, and so he passed his right on to Boaz.

Ruth 4:7-9

Removing one’s shoe was a custom in Israel as a public confirmation of transfer in the redemption process.

Ruth 4:10-12

Boaz knew that there was a coming Messiah, born through the line of Judah (Genesis 49:10) and therefore it was his honor to carry on the lineage of his family, “That the name of the dead be not cut off from his brethren.” It’s this hope in the coming Messiah that was counted as faith in the Old Testament, whereas our hope is in Jesus Christ who came to redeem us and will come again.

Because of his faith, the witnesses blessed him, which came to pass since the Messiah was born through their blood line.

Ruth 4:13-22

The “he” referred to in verse fifteen is the “Lord” mentioned in verse fourteen. God restored Naomi’s life in the sense that Boaz carried on the family name of Elimelech, and through his marriage to Ruth brought descendants to their family. The book of Ruth started out with the death of three men, but what was once death became life through kinsman redemption.

“Seven” is generally considered spiritual completeness in the Bible. To have seven sons would give a mother a sense of completeness, but in verse fifteen we see that Ruth was deemed higher than that. It is evident that Ruth was deemed as a great blessing.

Consider the full study of Ruth. What are some of the many ways that Ruth was a blessing to Naomi?




When Naomi took the child and became “nurse” to it, let’s not confuse it with her with a wet nurse as we might see elsewhere in the Bible. The word “nurse” used here is ‘aman, Strong's H539, which means to support, confirm, or be faithful.

The name given to their child was Obed, meaning servant. Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David, King of Israel. It’s exciting to see that one who is called “servant” became grandfather to the King of Israel.

Optional homework for the week:

Memorize Ruth 4:15

Underline some of the scriptures that stood out to you and add cross references for future study.

Read the fourth chapter again with some of the lessons in mind.

That closes our study on chapter four.

If you are studying along with us this week, you are welcome to leave a link to your site in the Linky tool below. But rather than linking up with a graphic from your blog like we usually do, it would be nice if you could post your profile photo so we can all see each other. If you don't have one--not a problem, another graphic will do. The Linky tool is just a way for all of us to get to know each other, it's not necessary to write a corresponding post.

I'm also posting the button code to the Ruth study in hopes that you can add it to your post or sidebar.

And don't forget, tomorrow is Titus 2sdays, so if you're a blogger, come back and link up with your post on marriage, parenting, housekeeping or recipes.

You are loved by an almighty God,


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Friday, February 18, 2011

2 Easy Ways to Serve Refried Beans

Tex Mex

If you haven't noticed a theme in my recipes, you soon will--they are incredibly easy. The truth is I'm domestically challenged, especially when it comes to cooking, but I try because I know that serving my family is a gift I can bring to the table.

I received this recipe from a neighbor several years ago, and since then it has become a family favorite. There is rarely a party we attend where one of my sisters hasn't brought the Tex Mex Dip. But if you're clever like I am, you offer to bring the Tex Mex first so that you beat the others to the punch.

My daughter's been making this since she was about nine years old, because it's so easy. And since there are few ingredients we often have them on hand.

Here they are:

2 cans of refried beans (or one large can)
500 ml of sour cream (2 cups)
Chopped green onions
Diced tomatoes
3/4 cup of shredded mild cheddar cheese (optional)

1 Large bag of Tortilla chips

Layer the ingredients in a large casserole dish. Start with beans on the bottom. Spread them evenly. Top with sour cream and gently spread it with the back of a large spoon.

Top with green onions, chopped tomatoes and cheese. (We don't usually add the cheese).

Serve with Tortilla chips.

Refried Beans and Cheese

This recipe is even easier--yes, that's possible!

You need three ingredients:

Note: This recipe serves 1, so repeat for each person.

1/2 can of refried beans
1/4 cup of shredded mild cheddar
Sour cream

Spread 1/2 can of refried beans on an oven safe plate. Broil for 10 minutes in the oven uncovered. You will see that the top of the beans get slightly toasted--perfect! I spread them quite thin because I love that they get a bit crispy.

Remove the plate from the oven, but be careful because it will be extremely hot.

Sprinkle with a layer of cheese. Return to the oven until the cheese is melted (about two minutes).

Remove from the oven and serve with sour cream on the side.

Yum! Yum! Yum!

You are loved by an almighty God,


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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Desiring Purity

Dear Darlene,

I'm getting married later this year to the love of my life and best friend. We started dating several years ago in high school, and after a few months together, we fell into the ways of our society and we had sex. We agreed before we first had sex, that we would live the rest of our lives together, and that we would be true to each other, not being interested in anyone else.

Today, I LOVE God, I praise Him, I fear Him, and I try to live in His Word daily. But one thing I know about being a woman of God is that we must be pure until marriage.

We've talked to our pastor and he is challenging us to be abstinent until our marriage night. This pulls at my heartstrings. I've been sleeping with this man for several years, and I look forward to our intimate moments together.

My fiancé is often gone for months due to work, and because of his absence we both want to be intimate when he comes home. He supports me as a homemaker. I stay at home daily, taking care of our animals and our house. I don't have a job, and we don't have the finances to have me or him live somewhere else until our wedding day.

I have read almost daily the same scriptures over and over, and each time I read them, it cuts deeper and deeper.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so
deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Anyone who listens to the word but does
not do what it says is like someone who
looks at his face in a mirror and, after
looking at himself, goes away and
immediately forgets what he looks like.

But whoever looks intently into the
perfect law that gives freedom, and
continues in it—not forgetting what
they have heard, but doing it—they
will be blessed in what they do.
~ James 1:22-25

This says to me, don't just read and listen to God's word, but LIVE in His word daily. It's telling me that I need to do what God directs us to do, which means to be abstinent until marriage.

But I've already sinned, I apologize daily, I even apologize to God after we are intimate, because I feel so guilty by not following God's words.

How do we stop doing something that we've done for years, we enjoy, we look forward to, and something that feels right?

Friends and family tell me that God will decide for us, and make it an action. They believe that we are doing nothing wrong in God's eyes because we are practically married, and because we have committed so many years of our lives to each other and look forward to spending eternity together. I know that once we are married, our intimacy level will change and we will have even more love for one another once we do consummate our marriage.

Whatever it is that you would like to say would be helpful. I'm just having a hard time making a decision on what the Christian thing to do is. Not until recently did I start feeling this way. Not until I've come to KNOW God, did these burdens push harder and harder. I feel like the Bible is telling us to be abstinent, but God is telling us that it is alright. I'm not sure how to distinguish what I'm feeling.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to what you have to tell me.

God Bless,

Desiring Purity

Desiring Purity,

My heart goes out to you, because I know that you are in a tough place right now. You pull at MY heartstrings. But keep things in perspective and realize that things could be more difficult yet. There are women dealing with hard choices that will affect them the rest of their lives, but you are blessed with an end in sight--that's a good thing.

Every day that you take up your cross and refuse to give in to your trial you are one day closer to living in freedom.

I understand the comforting words of friends who say, they believe that you are doing nothing wrong in God's eyes because you are practically married, and because you have committed several years of your lives to each other. They care for you and want to offer you a sense of peace and happiness, so do I. I really do, but I also know that real peace only comes through obedience to the Word.

There are so many engaged couples who say, “We’re getting married anyway, so isn’t that the same thing?” To the world it probably is. In fact “life partners” are the accepted norm today. But unless we measure our life against the perfect plan laid out in scripture, we will never see our sin for what it is.

Consider the words of Jesus when He spoke to the woman at the well:

For thou hast had five husbands;
and he whom thou now hast is not thy
husband: in that saidst thou truly.
~ John 4:18

We are gifted with a pure conscience. That pure conscience is the very thing you are wrestling with. It needs to be protected and here's why: choosing to ignore your conscience creates a lasting problem. There will always be something new. Every day brings new struggles, different challenges, and a new cross to bear. Realize what sin is and arm yourself against it so that you keep your conscience pure rather than, as the Bible puts it, searing it with a hot iron.

God’s commandments are in place to instruct us for our good. When we disobey, we are putting so much on the line, because when we go against the will of God we risk losing our joy and our peace.

I was in a dark place a few years ago and my joy was sucked dry. Looking back now I can finally say without a shadow of doubt that His wisdom exceeds mine. I didn’t want to believe it at the time, and so I went my own way and after it was all said and done I dealt with devastating consequences.

We choose to sin when we’re tempted, and say, “I’ll repent of it later.” But you have an opportunity to rise above that. You can make excuses, but if you're not mastering sin, it is mastering you.

And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art
thou wroth? And why is thy countenance
fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou
not be accepted? And if thou doest
not well, sin lieth at the door. And
unto thee shall be his desire, and
thou shalt rule over him.
~ Genesis 4:6-7

Cain got so caught up in his sin that it led to the death of his brother.

I want to close by saying this…

In John 8:11 Jesus spoke to a woman caught in adultery saying, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

That verse really speaks to me. I am a sinner, and because my sins are far worse than yours I can never cast a stone of condemnation in your direction. Regardless of the choices you make, I will love you--without condemnation.

But at the same time I say, "Go and sin no more."

I pray that you will walk in the Grace of God. That you won’t let sin, condemnation, or shame stand between you and your relationship with Him.

I’m here for you as a sister--to listen, to pray, and to cheer you on in your walk with Christ. My hand is empty—I have no stone to throw. All I can offer is love.

You are loved by an almighty God,


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